I’m So Short of Money, It Makes My Eyes Itch

(Photos by Monte Dutton)
(Photos by Monte Dutton)

Sunday was astonishingly productive. I touched all the bases of my various sources of income. Now it’s Tuesday. Monday was a blink-out.

Chris Liner
Chris Liner

On Monday, I went to Laurens District High School to take photos of football players. Before that, I chatted with Raiders head coach Chris Liner during the waning minutes of practice. Afterwards, my right eye got irritated. Really irritated. I’ve been wearing contact lenses for nearly forty years. I know irritation. This was the worst it’s ever been.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

I went home, removed the lenses, and began squirting eye drops. It only got worse. Clear Eyes didn’t cure scratchy, inflamed eyes. Clear Eyes just burned. I couldn’t do much once I got all the photos processed. I went to bed at about eight, mainly just to get my mind off the constant stinging. I awakened at midnight and watched the end of the San Francisco Giants’ 10-9, 14-inning victory in a game that began in Miami at seven. Brandon Crawford, the Giants’ shortstop, collected seven hits, making him the third player in big-league history to do so. The seventh drove in the winning run.

Then I went back to sleep. By an incredible coincidence, this happened to be the morning of my yearly eye exam. Dr. Gill Thomas said I had developed some powerful allergies. I now have drops to use four times a day. It’s much better now. I also have a pair of bifocals in my future. I’ve owned no eyeglasses for anything more than reading in thirty years. It’s time.

Back to the good day. Sunday.

All morning I wrote fiction. The sixth novel that still does not have a name has a sixth chapter, now splitting the fifth and seventh. I wrote about 4,000 words before NASCAR racing from Watkins Glen, and a Bleacher Report column that followed, intruded. I wrote two high school football stories while the Red Sox were getting clobbered by the Dodgers on TV (as had been the race). Then, knowing that Monday I was scheduled to take photos of LDHS football players, I wrote the Bleacher Report column that I typically write on Monday morning late Sunday night. I saved the layout for the following morning, so I picked out photos, inserted tweets, compiled a table, and devised a poll question before I filed the whole shebang and drove off to the county seat to kid around with Liner, take photos and blink my reddened right eye.

I edited the mug shots, shipped them to Greenwood, made a few adjustments of last night’s stories — Laurens, for instance, has chosen a starting quarterback, Nathan Rutter — and snacked on a few crackers slathered with peanut butter. I watched the Olympics for a while, having little other choice besides a Red Skelton movie, and enjoyed a long session of playing my guitar.

My standard operating procedure when I can’t decide what to do next is write a blog. Voila. It’s now being revised because my eyes got too painful to file it Monday. One factor was that I was grimacing at the stinging right eye so much that I couldn’t concentrate enough to write a headline. That’s when I decided to go to sleep. I figured my eyes couldn’t possibly hurt worse if I was unconscious.

I am, perhaps, the premier novelist/high school sports reporter in the country. There might be as many as five nationwide. In order to make oneself superlative, one must narrow the category. For instance, my third novel, Crazy of Natural Causes, has been perched near the top of agnostic sports fiction since it was published. It’s akin to being the top lefthanded catcher in career triples. With one.

Oh, by the way, the Kindle edition of Crazy of Natural Causes is currently on sale at $1.99 on Amazon. It is so worth $1.99. Even if you don’t read much, you’re bound to get more out of my novel than a sixty-four-ounce fountain Pepsi over ice or even, believe it or not, a large order of crinkle-cut fries.

You won’t remember those fries tomorrow. A large cheeseburger, all the way, might be different, but that costs more than $1.99. Next month, when my novel goes back up to an outrageous $3.49 download, then you’ll have a cheeseburger-level choice.

Meanwhile, I’m hoping a PayPal transfer into my checking account posts before I’m five dollars and thirty-seven cents overdrawn. It’s such a helpless feeling. The great Roger Miller line: I lack fourteen dollars having twenty-seven cents.

Service charges hang in the balance. The late comedian Tim Wilson had a routine about going to the bank to discover a three-dollar charge for a balance inquiry.

“How much money I got in the bank?”

“Thirty-nine dollars.”

“How much?”

“Thirty-six dollars.”

“In other words, ma’am, if I ask you twelve more times how much money I got, I ain’t got no money.”

Nowadays, I just hope, when the phone rings, I’ll get to talk to a human.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written four novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.

Most of my sports columns are at montedutton.com.

(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).

Coming soon: My fifth novel, a modern western, Cowboys Come Home.

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