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Monica Bielanko
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Down In The Ground Where The Dead Men Go.

Sometimes I try and care about things I need to care about but nothing really happens. I get to focusing on stuff, adult stuff, like life insurance and job benefits and Violet's college money; I'm on the couch looking at job listings on Craigslist, trying to find something I could qualify for that might include some medical/dental/mental. I concentrate. Scroll through the last week of ads. Sales. Flower delivery. Sales. Female personal assistant (perv boss). Phone sales. Laborer (already climbed that ladder). Get paid to lick envelopes. Pay to lick envelopes. Pre-school helper at someone's homemade pre-school ($8 an hour, 25 hours a week.)

Six pages in, even fry cook possibilities seem way more interesting than most of what's out there.

Then. I fuck up, I guess. I wander.

Over into Sporting Goods, to look at fishing shit. Down the backstreets of Farm/Garden. I like to look at what lawn mowers people are selling. I keyword Honda mower because that's what I dream of owning someday though I know I won't. Time goes by and I grow a little older. A few minutes older. Still, no job benefits.

Inside of me I suppose I just shove the whole critically important thing away. Squish it with my fists down behind my stomach and my intestines, to sleep with my shit. It drives me so crazy. Maybe I'm just a pussy. Maybe I just want to work the job I have and sweat my days away and be happy with that. But, then Monica tells me that I have a kid. And another one on the way. And that I need to stop being half a man and find an occupation that will provide all that her occupation provides. And I get it that she's right. But I'm pushing 40 and I'm pretty much only qualified to rock small bars deep in the night. Or am I? I dunno. I get scared. Flattened by the weight of a mile and a half of coal cars full of responsibility clacking over my half-a-man ass. I've already taken so many chances in this life; chased my little dreams up a fucking redwood tree. I love Violet. It all makes me skitzo.

So, you come looking for me in the ads and I ain't where I'm supposed to be. I ain't popping off another resume to another great company like I should be. Ugh.

I walk slow, like an old man full of oatmeal, down through Furniture. I gander at the ads for coffee tables and entertainment centers when I should be taking care of my family. Or, at least, that's what my wife says.

But, when I'm dead and gone, here is what ya'll can put upon my cheap fifty-year stone:


Here Lies Serge Christopher Bielanko.

He was an average man, a bird-brain husband, a loving dad, a decent son and brother. He was husky, then skinny, then just plain huge.

He liked baseball at 7, fishing at 37, and video poker at 57.

He ate what he ate.

He played some guitar and wasn't very good but then again neither are most people.

He read books.

He liked to take a drink, but took it easy in his later years until the night when, dining alone on one of his famous "Date Nights", he drank eleven glasses of cheap chianti and exploded all over the Buca Di Beppo and ended up with The Sweet Lord.

He was a prodigious under-used lover with nary a fear in the bedroom. He grew man-tits. His dogs were fond of him, as were most other people's dogs. He enjoyed the hell out of Christmas Eve. He could shovel a snow with the best of 'em.

He loved his daughter, Violet and his son, Maximus, with all of his heart and soul and even quit the ciggys at age 40 so as to maybe stick around long enough to attend their weddings and shit.

He knew Bruce Springsteen. He knew Nick Hornby. He dated Courtney Love. (Just put that up on there, to fuck with people) He had a semi-short fuse with other drivers. He was a hard worker who wasn't afraid of sweat and blisters and actually took pride in cuts and bruises he received on the job.

He changed a lot of diapers and smiled every time. He understood the love of his kids.

He saw The Ramones and Bill Monroe live, separately. He could talk a blue streak but never said much of anything. He visited other nations, tried their foods, and liked them.

He never made any fortunes.

He sucked at figuring the important stuff out.

He never had a job with benefits. Or good life insurance.

He was dumber on the day he died than he was on the day he was born.

Fuck 'im.


That's a tall stone after all. A stone which I forgot to pay for in advance, of course.


Reader Comments (22)

you are an amazing at guitar and an amazing musician in general. so don't say you weren't good. I hope you find a job that makes you happy , and congrats on the second child on the way!

August 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

the more I learn, the less I know.

but your "just plain huge" is killin' me :)

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterXmastime

very tall stone:)I wish you will find a job that makes you happy and satisfy soon.

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterana_jo

I hate that I am using this phrase but, hang in there. I was unemployed with a "mistake" baby on the way. Nine months spent staring at computers screens. Some of it even looking for jobs. Nights laying in bed with the ceiling stare wondering what kind of man am I that I cant provide for my family. Hurt like hell. Finally got a break and a job a few months prior to the birth. Sweet relief. Keep looking and keep your head up.

One word for you: copywriter. Do it on the side wherever you can for whatever money you can. Build up some of those experiences employers are always asking about.

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDC

Serge - I just spent 15 minutes finding this article I remembered reading. Your post reminded me of it and just maybe it will help you or lead to other ideas.,9171,1971409,00.html
I am off to Johnny Brenda's tonight to see your great band. We will truly miss you and so wish you there.
Yesterday was my 45th birthday - I remember pumping gas and fixing cars and wondering the same thing. Everyone has their ups and downs. Stick to it!

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSupermarket65

sheesh - you are a writer. Acknowledge it, keep at it, and get some frigging ads on this blog in order to support yourself in the manner in which you desire.

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjanet

So, you come looking for me in the ads and I ain't where I'm supposed to be. I ain't popping off another resume to another great company like I should be.
.....kinda sounds like a song to me

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjanet henneman

Hey Serge, ever thought of dusting down the old guitar, harmonica and vocal chords and getting out there for some busking?
Damn it, those locals won't know what's hit them!
All cash, no pension or health insurance, but jolly good hockeysticks.
Stick a few Marah CD's in the guitar case and see what happens. You might just sell the lot!
London misses you.

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

"Pay to lick envelopes". I just got that. My third read. Nice.

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWife?

Here's an interesting job you might consider, I guess some kind of physical therapy...

don't worry any more. everything is going to be alright. "Be anxious for NOTHING...(Read Phil. 4:6). Pray, thank God in advance, wait... and see what happens.

Someone once gave me this advice:
Do the thing which you would do if you were NOT having to make a living at it. Whatever makes your heart sing.

Consider career counseling programs (at a local college) and try the Utah gov job site and this one:

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

You've accomplished more than most and the best part of your life lies ahead.
Your gift is smacking you over the head and your looking at want ads.
C'mon bro!
It's simple. Find a way to use your literary/artistic ability to help others less fortunate.
Consider that to be your mission. It may never pay a lot but you will be able to look at yourself (in whatever state of physicality) and always see the soul.
Time to go.
Much love,
Anonymous 1397

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Hey- Check this out. It's not like a regular benefit type of job you are shooting for but I met this guy in Red Bank the other night. He was teaching these kids to play classic rock, in bands, and then they perform on stage. You could do something like this:

August 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGina

There are no words. This hit me in the gut. What would my eulogy say? Something to think about.

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermeg sanders

You look like Lewbert on iCarly.

August 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I seriously don't know how to put into words how fantastic your writing is. You are most definitely a writer. It started with music...and you should continue writing songs....but there is so a book in you. Write it! I can also see you teaching music to kids. My impression is that you love children and would be an excellent teacher.

August 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

Serge - I've figured it out - you need to become a professional fishing guide! Apparently this is a real, honest-to-God job that one can have. - kag

August 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkatie allison granju

Serge...i have a suggestion for your perfect job...School of

They have 2 locations in Utah now, and tons in PA and are rapidly expanding nationally. great organization, cool people!

August 31, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermcsweenz

That was a beautiful piece of writing. But I should point out that I have never met this guy. That just leaves Bruce. And Courtney Love.

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNick Hornby

Ha! Awesome!

September 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSerge

Sounds like my husband. Of course now it's salmon season so he's taking a break on the job search. He's been a stay at home dad for 3 years due to lack of benefits at his prebaby job and it's kind of sucking the life out of him.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRhiannon

Who are you kidding? You've got the important stuff all figured out. Your kids are going to love you blind.

Brilliant post.

October 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNiedlchen

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