Monday, September 19, 2016

Dream, Part2

So Grand Inquisitor and I have a number of interests in common... blondes, old movies, cake... but we don't usually share dreams. Friday seems to have been an exception to that rule however because that night I also dreamed I went to a wedding.

My plus-one and I came in the side door and looked around. It was a big, fancy wedding. The kind that smells like flowers and lemon polish and a big empty church. The kind where young men stand awkardly at the back and ask "bride's side or groom's side?" The kind where you hope the free drinks and tiny fancy food at the reception make up for sitting through a homily about putting God at the center of a marriage. At this wedding in my dream, the groom stood in the back of the church in a dark tuxedo, looking like he'd just robbed a bank and was looking for the door. If ever a man looked liked he could use a friend, it was that groom, and I felt moved by pity.  Rather than just finding a seat immediately, I decided to go be supportive. My mother would have told me to mind my own business, but I couldnt just leave him like that. And in a small way, I had the nagging suspicion that GI was my business.  Touching Not-Allison's arm and pointing at my goal, I led the way across the church in his direction. She shrugged apathetically and tagged along.

Now his version credits me with more sarcasm and wit than my dream included and I think what I said was something like, "Hello friend, this is some wedding!" without much follow up. I didn't much know how to ask all the questions that seemed to be running through my head without seeming rude. "What the hell are you thinking?' and "Have you lost your goddamn mind?" being the top two candidates. I wondered if maybe, given the bride's obvious wealth, he'd finally had enough of a meager paycheck and an apartment that is most kindly described as modest. Maybe he's just in it for the money. There's nothing wrong with that, if it were true. In fact it's much less crazy than most of the reasons people get married. But GI doesnt strike me as the materialistic type, and he hadn't mentioned wanting to move out of his apartment, so I had my doubts. But my own confusion and curiosity wasn't why I wanted to talk to GI.

He looked like he was in truly desperate straits and replied only in monosylables. "Yep. Right. Seems like."  Conversation flagged a bit as we stood awkwardly-- him confused and me sympathetic but out of ideas. But I was determined to stay where I was in case I could be helpful, and if not, at least I'd have a court-side seat to his downfall.   I could see Not-Allison getting restless, scanning the crowd for more interesting company. She had on a new dress for the occasion and wanted to find a more appreciative audience than the two of us, I gathered. She checked her phone a couple of times and then gestured vaguely at the door, where a tall guy with fancy hair was looking for a seat near the back. I waved her off, and turned my full attention to GI. But just as I started to ask him, as gently as possible, to explain himself and this circus of a wedding, the music started. All I could do then was smile weakly at him and I made my way to my own seat seat... trying to enjoy flowers and the pretty music and not dwell on GI's imminent and questionable life choices.

But in the way of many dreams, my friend was saved by a shifting of the scene. The wedding suddenly became a courtroom and GI drifted from the lead role to that of a spectator. Not-Allison  made her way to the front and began making her argument... but it shifted shifted from a summary of the merits of the legal case and to an explanation of her own merits instead. The crowd watched her as she walked back and forth and nodded its agreement. Knowing the content of that lecture could be lengthy, I began to head for the door. I looked for GI on my way out, to see how he was faring after his narrow escape. I saw him in the front corner of the church, looking cheerful again and talking to a woman I did not recognize. She was wearing white, however, and was very pretty. She even had very bright red hair. The bride, I thought, and woke up with a jerk and a laugh. How nice for him.

Friday, September 16, 2016

I do? Maybe? Sort of

This post is sponsored by the raging cold that I've had for a week, and the NyQuil and Advil PM that I have been consuming like mad in order to combat it (mostly unsuccessfully). They bring us this lovely dream, and all its weirdness, which is cheap at twice the price.

It appears that today I am getting married, which comes as a bit of a shock to me, but here I am all dressed up in my sacrificial tuxedo waiting for my bride to be to come and join me in the joys of (my second) marriage. The first one didn't end so well, and I am idly pondering why I chose to make the same mistake twice, but it appears that the day of the nuptials is upon us, and that pondering might be a bit tardy in the making.

For reasons passing understanding, not only am I getting married again, but I am having a HUGE wedding, something that may require the Pope to officiate because it is so huge. The social event of the season it seems. I am not sure why I would ever be a part of such a circus, but here I am. The head clown in this circus of silliness that is about to see me hitch my wagon to some new star in the galaxy of doom that has been my life up until now.  I am sure she is a lovely woman, because after all, I have wonderful taste in women, don't I? I have through some careful listening to the myriad of party guests, learned my blushing bride's name. Which I would guess is a plus, it will certainly make saying the vows a bit easier if I don't have to pause, and introduce myself to her in order to learn the name I need to insert in those vows. Her name is J______, a name that carries it own dark past in my life, and one that I am not exactly pleased that she has. But, I suppose it's a bit too late now to renew my own previous vow of swearing off J____'s. After all, it would be just a bit awkward to explain to what appears to be half the free world in attendance that I can't marry this woman because of her first name. A cleft chin, now that is a reason to call the whole thing off, but her name? That is unlikely to elicit the sympathy of the crowd.

The good news, if there is to be any good news, is that she doesn't appear to be any of the J____'s of my previous acquaintance. The bad news, of which there will be more to come, is that it seems that I've no idea who she actually is, and what she looks like. It would seem that the dream is just a bit light on those details. Details that would normally put the whole ceremony in doubt, unless I was someone like Henry VIII seeking any brood mare that could produce me a male heir to the throne, and willing to marry someone based off a portrait painted by some fellow with exceedingly poor vision, and a much broader view of what constitutes female beauty (see Anne of Cleaves if you dare).


Perhaps the size of the crowd is down to the fact that I have in the past sworn very loudly, both sober and drunk, and to anyone that would listen (and to quite a few who didn't want to hear it) that I would never, ever, ever get married again. Maybe half of the group that are here are just attending out of a sense of glee, to watch me eat a whole lot of crow at the wedding feast while they have their choice of the chicken or beef.  Knowing the mob of people that I loosely define as "my friends" I am fairly certain that is the reason they have put on actual pants, and sobered up enough to show up to this ceremony. That and the free booze that all weddings promise to entice people to come, and watch some damn fool make the same mistake twice.

Being the fool in question, I am not exactly sure how to feel about all of this pomp. Popular opinion should suggest that I should be happy as a clam in mud, and all that. After all, this is supposed to be a joyous event, a union of two people madly in love (with each other no less) who are joining their separate lives into one with the intention of it lasting until one keels over, or one kills the other in a fit of rage about whose turn it is to take out the trash. Everyone certainly seems in a festive mood, as I circulate among the million of guests which seems to include everybody I have know or ever met even in passing. Who is that guy? Did we once ride the same elevator together? Well come to the wedding buddy, we are mates for life. Who is that woman? Did I order a book from her? Wasn't it about beekeeping? Come to the wedding, sweetie you'll love it, no there won't be any honey from the non-existence hives of bees that I don't keep, sorry about that, but have a drink, and mingle.

I can only surmise that my bride to be must come from wealth, because the amount of coin that her parental units have spent on this soiree would probably pay off my student loans, and I owe a whole LOT of students lots. Perhaps I have taken the sage of advice of "marrying once for love, and once for money", and have decided my bride's bank account outweighs her poorly chosen first name? This seems like something I might decide to do, since I am a bit of a bastard and all, but I still wonder about the actual looks of the money cow I have decided to milk. Is she possessed of a harelip and a lisp? Is she Orca fat? Not that I am a slim fellow myself, so that complaint seems a bit of the pot calling the kettle black. I suppose there is a chance that is just an average, normal, wholesome, toothy girl that loves her mother, and me in equal parts, and thinks that marrying me is a good idea. Who am I to disabuse her of such a notion?

This is a dream, and there are a lot of other issues going on during this wedding dream bit that make little to no sense. Those details are mostly lost to the haze of the NyQuil, and really need not concern us here, but realize that dreams, like real life, don't always follow an exact linear path to their logical (or fantastical) conclusion. A some point a penguin made an appearance, I am not sure if it was from me reading too much Bloom County, or an allegory to me in a tuxedo. Either way it didn't really advance the "plot" of the dream, and I discounted it then, as I do now. These meanderings of penguins and strangers things did consume some dream time, time I could have spent trying to figure out who in the actual fuck I was marrying, but I don't get to control the dream. The dream controls you, and you are merely watching your life unfold in front of you, like watching a three penny opera on the silver screen from the cheap seats in the back. Enjoy the show, maybe snag a bag of popcorn, and hope for a happy ending.

Since everyone in the world that I had ever met was at the wedding it was only a matter of time before I spotted them. Ladislaw and Not Allison together, arm in arm, and dressed to the nines. Ladislaw with a knowing smirk, and Not Allison looking ever so slightly disappointed in me. I knew the reason for the smirk, the disappointment was more of a mystery.  Ladislaw, as usual, was quicker off the mark, and bid me a hearty hello, and well met with a broad wink, and a jovial punch to the shoulder. "Well, done GI, judging by the coin spent on this funeral, it seems you are quite the catch after all".  "If we" and here Ladislaw put an arm around Not Allison's shoulder, "had known that, maybe we would have had a bit more fun in the time you allowed us, right sweetie"?  Not Allison, not exactly amused by Ladislaw's comment only offered a small, trying to be polite smile, and stated "well, I hope J____ makes you happy, or at least as happy as a miserable sod such as yourself can be".  That last bit stung a bit, I really didn't think Not Allison had that kind of venom in her, must be hanging out with Ladislaw too much I figured, "Oh, I suspect that if she doesn't, I will still find a way to be happy regardless." Not the most stellar of endorsements regarding my bride, but in my defense, I was having real trouble recalling anything about her looks, her personality, or her ability to make me, or anyone else, happy.

The hour of death for my (second) bachelorhood was quickly approaching, and I didn't think that I was quite ready to say goodbye to it, but time waits for no man, and it certainly seems to pass quicker when something dreadful may be approaching.  Not Allison had wandered off, but Ladislaw remained by my side like a priest waiting for a prisoner's final confession. One of Ladislaw's more decent qualities is the ability to exude calmness, even if the world is falling to shit around them, Ladislaw will appear to be as unconcerned as someone on a Sunday stroll in the park. It was a gift, and at this juncture it was one that I wish they could share with me. However, I was not to be so lucky, and as the odd noise that seemed to be the death knell of my singleness begin to sound, I was stuck by that oddness. Shouldn't it be music of some variety, or maybe bells? The noise that the wedding of my century seemed to have picked was an odd clunk followed by a beep, beep, beep. That's when I noticed two things, a very fleeting glimpse of J____ my bride to be, and the alarm clock that was making the beeping noise that jolted me awake just in the nick of time. Perhaps it had anticipated the "does anyone have any objection to these two people be married" question, thus saving Ladislaw, and perhaps Not Allison the trouble. 










Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Jumble

I have been told that I write well, a fantasy that I don't actually subscribe to, and that ability must make the inside of my mind a wonderfully horrible place. The latter part of that statement I can attest to. The inside of my mind can be both horrible and wonderful, usually the horrible just shades matters, and I write dross that would only do a slightly intellectually challenged 4th grader proud.  That is, for the most part, entirely my fault. These words that I put down "on paper" are my own. Formed and fashioned in the factory of my own limited intellect.  On occasion I quote from my betters, and my writing improves, but in the main these horrible blog posts are my own to take blame (or more rarely, credit) for.

Perhaps the biggest problem that my mind, and therefore my writing face, other than a lack of imagination and talent, is the fact that it is very jumbled inside of there. There are random thoughts, or lines from some book, song, or poem that I hear and immediately begin to weave a few lines around that should, if I were to apply myself, turn into a blog post. There are piles of them, there are blog posts to keep me busy writing away for the next six months, if I only had the willpower to write them down, and flesh them out.  There are situations that I encounter almost daily that could, with some application, turn into lovely stories, or at least lovely for someone like me.

It is very difficult for me to separate my "real" life from the things that I write down in this blog. Not every blog post has a real life inspiration, after all I do have an imagination, but a fair amount of them are usually, however obliquely, about someone I know, or something I saw or did.  It is a very personal failing of mine that I mostly lack the imagination to make this separation. The real, day to day, life I live isn't at all exciting. It mostly consists of me hoping to be somewhere else, or for it to be either earlier or later in the day, or (mostly) for me to want to take a nap. I am tired of the everyday routine and want a life of romantic adventure, but sadly the rent is due, and the bills have to be paid, and wandering off to Mexico in search of lost treasure doesn't seem feasible to a fellow in my situation. I have inhabited many bars in my time on the planet and I have yet to meet some leggy, blonde Femme Fatale that needs rescuing from some brute, and will sweep me off into some Casablanca type adventure where I get to dodge secret police, and make witty wise cracks in the face of danger, and find my fortune in unmarked 100 dollar bills.

 My adventures are much more mundane like trying to walk in the park without being run over by some dipshit playing Pokemon while driving their car in some intimation of Mr. MacGoo.  Sure it is dangerous, but the only remarks I get to make as I dodge out of the way, are not exactly Bogart like in their wittiness. Comments about their mothers fornicating with turtles of the same sex might sound clever, but to the dipshit driving off they aren't even a blip on their idiot radar. Most of the time they don't even see how close they have come to taking away my mother's pride and joy, i.e. me. If that isn't enough adventure for me, then there is always the weekly drive to Kroger that usually leads to at least three near death experiences. James Bond just has to worry about Odd Job and his lethal hat. Try dodging a distracted Granny in a 1997 Cadillac at 8:30 in the morning. That, my friend, takes skill.

 These fantastic car dodging adventures are sandwiched around having a real job. A job that I don't feel that I am particularly good at, but which remains necessary in order to keep me in beer money. The fact that the job makes me want to drink, and thus require more beer money is just an added bit of (American) irony. This job does take up a fair portion of my day, and it is not something that throws romantic adventure my way on a daily basis. Body and soul do need to be kept together, and unless I've some rich dowager aunt that has escaped discovery, and that wishes to make me her sole heir to some oil baron like estate, this job will be the means to keep body and soul together for quite a while longer. In theory, I should just forget escaping to the Anti-podes to become some god-king to unwashed savage natives, and get better at my job. Give it more of my time, more effort, maybe pay someone to shout slogans at me whilst I wander around the halls of my office in order to encourage me to be the best at this job anyone can be.

In theory that is what I should do, but it seems that if I were going to do that, I would have done it by now, and not wait for some random day in hot as balls August to make this major, life changing decision. In reality, what is more likely to happen is that I will continue to sleep walk through the majority of my days, and try to figure out some dodgy way to make a fortune, steal a leggy blonde, and run off to the south of France, where she would probably leave me for the cabana boy. But, at least I'd have a pool, so I'd have that going for me.  The real reality, the one that I am going to attempt to actually bring to fruition is one where I actually give this blog the attention it needs. The title, which made sense at the beginning before I wandered off on a tangent, is about the jumble of ideas wandering around in my head that never somehow manage to make it to print.

This is a very personal failing of mine, and with each unwritten idea it gets worse. There is a post on bridges that I have mostly written twice, and forgotten three times. There is the 2nd part/half of Fortress around you heart, that must needs be committed to paper. There is the ongoing saga of Ladislaw, and not Allison that I need to explore within the bounds of the confidentiality agreement that certain people insisted upon me signing. There is the further story of what happened when someone kicked open the door numbered 6, and what happened on the inside of that flea infested place that lead to even more trouble for everyone involved, well except for the dead guy.  All of these and a few more, need to be unjumbled (see a new word), sorted out, and written down for all the grammar Nazis of the world to correct. Gives them something to do. Helps distract them from their own miserable existence, and gives them a sense of both purpose and superiority. Watch this space, but do so with the caveat that I have been trying to do these things for almost a year. However, hope spring eternal, and who knows maybe the romantic adventure is more fun to write than to live. One can only hope. 















Friday, July 29, 2016

Secrets and Lies

So this post was originally supposed to be an alternative version of the threesome “how I really met Grand Inquisitor” story. It was going to be charming and witty and have a great twist at the end that turned the whole thing on his head. But I never could think of anything remotely entertaining much less clever and so gave up on the idea. But it started me thinking about the nature of fiction, which is a theme I intend to revisit from time to time. Many great stories are made up, in that the events they describe never took place. But they must be true at the heart of the story or they make no sense and, worse, no one cares. What I mean by that is that the people in every story must be motivated by true feelings that we can all identify with, even if they are fighting dragons or having great sex or doing magic spells at the time. We see ourselves in the characters that way and can laugh and cry and cast magic spells with them to our own heart’s delight. That’s what makes for a good story, in my book (Get it? Book!!) anyway… but what is fiction but a complex lie written down, anyway? Is that what it is?

We all tell lies. Some are necessary if we want to live politely with other people. “Of course your hair looks fine.” or “What an adorable baby!” are harmless enough. Others are slightly more dangerous…”I’d love to join your book club” is not quite as bad as “No, I’m sure you are right...he’s not cheating on you, he just has to work late.” These minor departures from the truth are accepted as unavoidable evils in civil society. We figure they actually improve our relationships rather than harming them and we’re probably right. The one person I ever knew who refused to follow these social niceties was truly terrible to be around. The unfiltered truth is not something any of us are conditioned for. The danger we face is in deciding where to draw that line.

“What she doesn't know wont hurt her.” We all know the phrase and in many ways it is true. Lies can spare other people the pain or anger of finding out something that they wouldn’t like. It seems a kind and merciful thing to do. The problem is that lies eat away at the foundation of friendship or love like a river running underground. And then one day, you take a step and find yourself plunged into a hole that you didn’t see and that is bigger than you ever imagined.

Unlike lies, I maintain that secrets can be maintained without spreading corruption beyond their boundaries. Secrets are thrust upon us sometimes without our signing up for them. Friends tell us things we didn't ever want to know and ask us not to tell. And we keep their secrets if we choose, or we don’t. But problems arise when secrets lead to lies…and the more central a secret is to the heart of a relationship, the more likely that becomes.

After years of living a life in which I’ve probably told more lies than any person should, I've come to a painful conclusion... Lies hurt the teller of them more than the listener. The more lies we tell and the more often we repeat them, the more distance we place between ourselves and the people we lie to. Brick by brick by brick. Lie by lie. We build a bridge away from people. And I’ve yet to learn whether we can cross back over it after we’ve built it. I’m certainly old enough to have learned this lesson earlier, and possibly I’m not very bright, but it seemed worth mentioning to anyone unlucky enough to have read this far. And the bright spot is that it’s a simple (if not an easy) problem to avoid. Telling the truth seems to build foundations quickly and build them strong even in unexpected places. People we haven’t known very long seem to become essential to survival when they know the truth about us. And the more truths we tell the stronger that bond is. Like a rope thrown to a drowning man, the truth can pull us to dry land.

I was hoping that by the time I'd gotten this far, I'd have figured out how to tie this all back in with what makes for good storytelling. I’m not sure i have except for this… that, whether that truth be a real event or a real emotion or even just a real idea, only a story with truth as the foundation is worth telling. I will take a quote from one of my very favorite movies to end with... "Playwrights teach us nothing about love. They make it pretty, they make it comical, or they make it lust, but they cannot make it true." And just like the character in the movie, I think playwrights, book authors, poets, and yes, the odd blogger or two can occasionally come up with the truth. It's just a little more difficult than many of us had hoped.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Rousse

There are blondes and blondes and it is almost a joke word nowadays. All blondes have their points, except perhaps the metallic ones who are as blond as a Zulu under the bleach and as to disposition as soft as a sidewalk. There is the small cute blonde who cheeps and twitters, and the big statuesque blonde who straight-arms you with an ice-blue glare. There is the blonde who gives you the up-from-under look and smells lovely and shimmers and hangs on your arm and is always very very tired when you take her home. She makes that helpless gesture and has that goddamned headache and you would like to slug her except that you are glad you found out about the headache before you invested too much time and money and hope in her. Because the headache will always be there, a weapon that never wears out and is as deadly as the bravo’s rapier or Lucrezia’s poison vial.
 

There is the soft and willing and alcoholic blonde who doesn’t care what she wears as long as it is mink or where she goes as long as it is the Starlight Roof and there is plenty of dry champagne. There is the small perky blonde who is a little pal and wants to pay her own way and is full of sunshine and common sense and knows judo from the ground up and can toss a truck driver over her shoulder without missing more than one sentence out of the editorial in the Saturday Review.
 

There is the pale, pale blonde with anemia of some non-fatal but incurable type. She is very languid and very shadowy and she speaks softly out of nowhere and you can’t lay a finger on her because in the first place you don’t want to and in the second place she is reading The Waste Land or Dante in the original, or Kafka or Kierkegaard or studying Proven├žal. She adores music and when the New York Philharmonic is playing Hindemith she can tell you which one of the six bass viols came in a quarter of a beat too late. I hear Toscanini can also. That makes two of them.
 

And lastly there is the gorgeous show piece who will outlast three kingpin racketeers and then marry a couple of millionaires at a million a head and end up with a pale rose villa at Cap Antibes, an Alfa-Romeo town car complete with pilot and co-pilot, and a stable of shopworn aristocrats, all of whom she will treat with the affectionate absent-mindedness of an elderly duke saying goodnight to his butler.

There are gingers and there are gingers, and they are few and far between, only about 1-2%  of the population, and we can't really count the male ones, because ginger men mostly look like circus freaks.  If you are lucky enough to like gingers, you should live in either Ireland or Scotland those two countries have the highest percentage of redheads per capita than anywhere else in the world. We don't count the bottled one, because like the pigment they place in their hair to become a ginger, they will fade as quickly as they came. Like a small shooting star, blazing across your sky for the briefest of moments, and only leaving behind a small, slightly dazzling after image upon your pupils.

There is the bold, and brassy redhead, hair burnt orange, and visible from space if you pay enough attention. The ones you see from around a corner, because their hair pushes out an aura in front of them that is almost physical in nature. The ones that laugh just a bit too loudly, and take up just a bit too much attention from their set of admirers to allow you to do anything but dislike them with the intensity of a pulsar. They know they are bold, they know they are brassy, and dare you to do fuck all about it. They usually should be avoided if you value your feelings. However, they do not really steal your soul,they just borrow it for a while, and then return it slightly worse for wear.

There is the deep, burgundy redhead with the eyes that glitter even though they are not gold. The type that make you think of Sunday walks in the park, and even the briefest thought of pushing a stroller along on that walk. The type you want so very much to trust with all the secrets that the brassy redhead would break you apart with, the type that never need to raise their voice in order to be heard. The ones that can just merely with a wave of a hand make you do what they think needs to be done. The solid, sexy type that makes you want to get, and actually keep a job. They will steal your soul, and if you are lucky keep it. If you are unlucky they will steal your soul, shatter it, but do you the small mercy of putting most it back together again before they sail out of your life like the Spanish Armada with much more important things to do.

There is the auburn redhead, which isn't really red at all, but a different shade of brown trying to pass itself off as the genuine article. They usually possess light coloured eyes that are able to share a ton of experiences with you with just a brief glance. They are a poorer cousin of the burgundy redheads, maybe you want to take a Sunday walk with them, but you soon realize the walk has no real destination, and no deeper meaning. It is just a walk. Pleasant enough, and maybe healthy, but eventually you are going to have to turn around and head back from whence you started, and they are unlikely to come with you.  

There is the occasional redhead that can actually tan, and posses darker eyes. Some sort of genetic pot luck that took a little bit of material from blonds, gingers, and brunettes and tried to make it seem natural.  It's not, and that is important to remember redheads shouldn't be dark, it lessens the effect, like putting an under powered engine in a fancy sports car. Generally, these gingers should be avoided, after all if your walking in the garden of ginger delights, then you should go for the real deal, not some cross-breed that lacks the true refinement of a real ginger. They aren't really the soul stealing types these doppelgangers of real gingers. They understand, most of them, their place on the genetic food chain, and only a rare few of them ever really get ideas above their station. You can take them home to mother, but mother isn't going to fully approve.

And just like blondes, there are the showpiece redheads. The ones who's hair is just simply RED, not auburn, not orange, not burgundy or any other shade, but just simply red. They walk into a room and heads that shouldn't turn and stayed turned just a moment too long for their respective dates to be happy about it. They crave attention and usually receive it in spades. They are universally the tall ones, because tall girls are distracting, and tall really RED heads are as fascinating as watching the inner working of a well made Swiss watch tick away the time until you can see them again. Redheads don't go grey, and this type of red head will defy that Swiss watch and all the time it ticks away, and stay as bold as brass for more years that you will be able to remember in your dotage. They are the ones that give all the other redheads the yardstick by which they are defined. They are soul stealing, but you don't mind. In fact, you generally hand over your soul to them lock, stock, and barrel in the (vain) hopes they will be kind. Most of them aren't. They can get souls such as yours by the dozen like a clutch of bananas at the local fresh market. Therefore, which is it extremely difficult to do, they really, and truly should be avoided. Admire them from afar, but admire them nonetheless.

One part of the above post was written by me, and the other part by a pretty famous author. I sent the part written by this author to two different people as an example of, in my opinion, great writing. I did not tell them who had written it when I sent it, just sent it to be read. They both asked me if it was "a new blog post" of mine. It seems they thought that I had written it. At first, I thought it was a lark, a joke to attempt to stroke my ego, but after telling them who had actually written it, they both said that it still sounded like something I would write. I was flattered very much by this, and therefore attempted to write my own view in reply. One is mine, one is Raymond Chandler from "The Long Goodbye." I figure that most people will be able to tell the difference, one is good, one is shite, and we all know which is which.

 M. Chandler's first novel was published when he was 50 years old, an age that I am quickly approaching. Perhaps there is hope for me yet. If I can pass off to at least two people, neither of which are retarded, both of which have opinions that I generally value, then maybe it is time to turn to a blank page, and start filling the hours with something other than empty words, and thoughts.  If only. 







Wednesday, July 06, 2016

There goes my Hero

You are dead asleep, safely tucked away in your bed, alone as usual, but the reason for that is not the reason(s) that I am here, and are a different story entirely. Alone, or accompanied by some random hussy you've convinced to share your bed, neither matters to me. I am here for you. You toss and turn, mutter some nonsense under your breath as I take over your subconscious, but that is normal it happens to everyone. I try to take control gently, most of the time, but now and then, you lot either resist me, or are assholes that I care less about being gentle with when I take control. You are a bit of an asshole, but your resistance is not particularly strong tonight, and I gently force it to crumble in front of only a modicum of my power. After all, you admire me, I am a hero to you, why ruin the love fest by running over you like a Panzer division? At least not unless you force me to, then well, then, you take your chances just like the rest of them.


As I mentioned I am your hero, a title you bestowed upon me and 365 other people throughout time and space. Some of are 'real' people, some of us are fictional characters, some of us are animals, and at least one of us is a number. You picked fairly decent range of heroes from all sorts of places and all sorts of times, and given your relative limited imagination, I am slightly impressed. Not that it matters, I can assume the guise of any of those 366 people or things that you put on your hero pedestal(s). Though I choose not to pick the number or the horse, because that would make communication a little more difficult. Not that I have to speak aloud or your language to communicate with you, after all I am mucking about in your mind. You don't get to talk, and I don't really need to speak aloud to make myself understood. But, I figure a talking horse, or number would make this take over just a little too weird for you to take seriously. 


And it is time you took something seriously, even if it is a visitation in the middle of the night from a hero of yours that may or may not really exist. But to you, and for as long as I want to (tonight at least) I exist. Therefore, I am going to make myself at home in this train wreck you call a mind, and dispense with a few home truths that you need to, but don't want to hear. They are nothing you don't really already know. After all, you are, for your age group and time period, a fairly clever fellow when you apply yourself. Obviously, the problem is you rarely apply yourself, and a couple of people left some serious self-doubt in your mind for you to carry around with you as you wander through your day to day existence. That makes it difficult for you, but no more difficult than it is for a lot of other of your kind. At least you have the sense to realize the self-doubt isn't true, but not quite enough sense to dispel it, and be the clever fellow the world sometimes needs you to be. Which is, in many ways, a true pity, but something that need not detain us at this time.


The main home truth that I've been elected by our various guises to impart to you is pretty simple. We aren't heroes, either yours or anyone else's. Most of us don't give two shits for our place in history, and we don't care that you think we are worthy of, or even need, your idolatry. You've never met any of us, and we agree with your statement that one shouldn't meet your heroes. There is very little chance that you and any of us would get along. Most of us would find you an annoying little shit, and you would probably be appalled at some of our lesser publicized life decisions. But, fuck you, we didn't ask your opinion, and if we did, we would give it to you in terms which even you could understand. These ivory tower like pedestals that you've constructed for us, aren't suited for the vast majority of us. Certainly a couple of us were very close to being saints, but we are your heroes, and you are not the saint worshipping type.


In order to qualify for the dubious distinction of being one of your heroes, you judged us. Mostly for the good, but we didn't ask for your judgment. In fact, most of us could care less about you, or what you think. We are (almost) all dead, or fictional, and are past caring what someone, anyone, you think.  You look up to us like some star struck teenage girl going ape shit over the Beatles (which we notice are absent from your list, a fact that pleases most of us), and we are not amused.  Granted we are a talented lot, we went down in history for (mostly good) reason, and we understand how people could fall into the trap of admiring us overmuch. However, like the song says, we are mostly ordinary, there are a few of us that would dispute that, but in the main, we are ordinary. Not so much greater than you could be, if you tried. Which of course you seem to be incapable of doing.


You use the hero worship of us to attempt to explain away your own failings. And you have failings, lots of them, a string of failures that would make a particularly clumsy inventor proud. However your multitude of failures is, and this is the point you miss so very badly, not anymore lengthy than the average person in your world. You at least like to think that you stand out at something, even if that something is failing. Certainly you do a fine job of failing, and you seem remarkably prone to making the same mistake(s) over and over again, but none of your failures are particularly remarkable in their scope. This is a lesson, or an idea that you need to wrap your fragile, eggshell mind around, and move on with your life. Being defined by your failures isn't noble, it won't win you any friends, and won't make you cool.


Tomorrow marks the tenth anniversary of this blog, granted it is mostly dross, and needs an editor in the worst possible way, but it is still something of an accomplishment. Not many of the people in your life would ever think you were capable of such dedication. This is as close to praise as you are going to get from us. Maybe it will help, maybe it won't, we don't particularly care. What we care about is ourselves. We care that by making us your heroes, by hiding behind our achievements, and accomplishments, you are stunting (we think on purpose) your own growth. You aren't getting any younger lad, and at some point you are going to have to come out from behind our skirts, and become your own man. We would like for this to happen sooner rather than later. We wouldn't have bothered hijacking your mind if we didn't think that maybe you may be made of sterner stuff than you think.


We are well are aware of the mess you've gotten yourself into at present. It is a fine mess, and you did a fantastic job of dropping yourself into it. You have (we know) scoured our collective pasts looking for one of us that had been in the same situation as you are now, in the vain hope that we would provide you guidance. Quite a few of have been in very similar situations as you are now, but you just haven't figured out which ones. Your current situation, while not as bad as you think, is a bit dodgy, and it is yours and yours alone. You are the one that needs to sort it out, and relying on one or more of us isn't going to help. We are (for the most part) of a different time, a different set of social mores guided or constrained us, and we each reacted in matter most suited to our personality. You didn't need our lines to get into this situation (or at least not many of them, we suspect you poached a few, we do mainly approve), and we don't believe that any of our lines can help you get out of it. If that is want you want to do, and we suspect you don't.


Quite simply, we are going to pay you back your blind faith and worship of us with a little bit of the same for you. As a group (though the vote was close between the "he will be fine" camp and the "he will fuck this up in an explosive manner" camp) we think you can do this. We have decided that you need to be your own hero, and take your current situation as a defining moment in your life. Something that people might actually remember YOU for doing, for better or worse.  We have determined to have a little faith in you, after all, you did have enough sense to pick each and every one of us as heroes, and while that annoys us to some degree, it is still a bit flattering. We are not immune to flattery, but don't get carried away. We are not gods (or at least most of us, some of us are almost convinced they are), and we are almost all dead. That doesn't really matter as the few living ones wouldn't deign to speak to you anyway.


Dawn is about to break, and that alarm clock sitting on your bedside table is about to jolt you awake, and send you off to whatever tasks the world has set before you. However, the world can wait, our task is more important, our task which is now your task is to be your own hero. There are, much to your and our shock, a few people who actually think you can do it. One or two of them have enough sense that you should believe them. We think you can, and since we are your heroes, you should listen to us. If only for the fact that if you don't we will be back in your dreams, and our return visits will be less than pleasant. Bon chance. 










































Thursday, June 09, 2016

L'idiot

Suppose you are an idiot, and then let's give you the benefit of the doubt and suppose you aren't a drooling in the corner of the mental ward throwing feces at the attendant type of idiot, or the knuckle dragging, mouth breathing type of idiot. Let's also suppose that you aren't the idiot savant type either, with some insane type of skill that allows you to count all the jellybeans in a jar with just a moments glance. No, you are the average, run of the mill type of idiot. The type of idiot you complain about when one of them cuts you off in traffic, or the type that makes you wonder how they got themselves dressed, out the door, and to work in the morning without the aid of some gentle, loving, caregiver.  You are just an average idiot, with an average idiot's problems. Problems that may entail all or parts of things like rent, work, school, kids, accidentally sexting your boss at 3 a.m., donuts, elephants, your fear of flying, your fear of elephants flying, all sorts of problems that beset the average idiot on a day to day basis. Some of them are real, some are them are part of the idiot's overactive imagination, and quite a few are caused by the idiot themselves.

The word itself doesn't really do any damage, after all it's just a word. Derived from some long, hard to pronounce Greek word (like a lot of words are) meaning person lacking professional skill, private, or one's own. Different meanings all from the same little innocent word. None of those meanings are quite like the meaning we attach to the word today, and none are particularly mean spirited. "Lacking professional skill" could be a bit mean, but it could also just mean that no one has properly trained you (yet) in your job as horse masturbater. The saying "practice makes perfect" could very well move you out of the idiot category into someone who can get a horse off  with a steamy glance, and a naughty word whispered in his ear.  Private or one's own might have to do with somethings that are best not spoken aloud at all those fancy parties your wife makes you go to "because that's what people do, not just sit at home and plot the death of all of their co-workers in a large, but accidental fire." It was Latin, and I assume those tricky bastards, the Romans, that changed the definition to mean "an uneducated or ignorant" person. Again, not necessarily a mean spirited word, I am uneducated as to speaking Swedish, it's not that I am stupid (which is actually probably true) it is just that I've never been exposed to the language enough to fill that gap in my education. I do know the word for awful, and I know how to say I love you in Swedish. Which, in theory, may be the same thing, but that's not the reason we are here today.

It wasn't until the 19th century that the word idiot started to take on the negative meaning that we apply to it today. Shockingly enough we owe that to doctors, one of the many crimes for which all doctors, except maybe Dr. Who, will have to answer for when the end of the world comes, and makes all men even, and not the gods that doctors think they are.  Idiot became to mean someone with a mental age of less than three years old. A rather low bar for people to get over, but I suppose there is a group of people to which the act of just putting on pants remains a bridge too far, and not as an act of civil disobedience against the tyranny of pants. After the doctors decided to put a negative spin on the word, lawyers, not to be outdone in the asshole Olympics, decided to add the word to the penal code. However, being the kinder, gentler type, lawyers cut the idiots of the world a break, and classified them as one of six types of people that were unable to commit crimes. We (lawyers) also decided that a further crime idiots couldn't commit was to vote, and we took away that right as well. Which, given the current choice of candidates for the highest office in the land, is probably quite a favour. Idiots shouldn't be allowed to help elect idiots, that would queer the whole system.

The author to which is blog is dedicated, wrote an entire, lengthy book called "The Idiot" in which his main character's idiocy is not his mental age of less than three, or an IQ of under 30, but based upon his honesty, kindness, and humility. Perhaps that was a gentler use of the word, but if an idiot is defined by those words, then the world needs a whole lot more idiots, and a whole lot fewer doctors, and lawyers.  Nietzsche went so far as to describe Jesus as an idiot because of his aversion to the material world, Wonder how that conversation worked out if the Christian view of the after life is correct, but that is Nietzsche's problem.

Let's step away from the evolution of the word, and get back to our average idiot, and their problem(s). Let's also narrow the field down a bit, and put before this particular idiot, a particular problem that doesn't involved Dumbo throwing exploding donuts at him at 3 in morning. No, our idiot's problem is much more mundane, and much more complicated. How it is possible to be more complicated than exploding donut throwing elephants is an accomplishment, but nevertheless it is. Our idiot's problem is not one of kindness, honesty, or humility. Very rarely are any of those words applied, in seriousness, to our idiot. Like most idiots, our idiot has his own unique way of looking at the world. Or at least he likes to think so, originality is a very hard thing to accomplish, and creativity is sometimes merely a matter of being able to successfully hide your sources.

 Our idiot knows this, he has an IQ over 30 and a mental age slightly over 3, therefore is not the medical definition of the word, he is also quite capable of committing, and has in fact, planned several crimes for which he would serve a whole heap of jail time, therefore he is not the legal definition of the word either.  He knows that his problems in general, and this problem in particular is not original to him. He is fairly convinced that somewhere in an alternate universe, where the Vikings are four time Super Bowl champions, a nearly exact copy of him is sitting at their keyboard typing a very different, and probably more successful story. At least he hopes it is a nearly exact copy, he hopes for the sake of the other him, that he (the other him) has navigated the minefield of their duplicate existence better than he has. It is probably a forlorn hope, but it is a hope nonetheless.

That bit of hope coupled with just a modicum of self-awareness, is the one thing that may just take our idiot to the upper echelon on the scale of idiots. He's not out of the idiot forest yet, but he can at least see the edge. Not that it does him a whole lot of good. That hope is being slowly dismantled like a warehouse in what has become some newly developed posh district of town. It has outlived its usefulness, and needs to make way for the realities of the more modern world. The self-awareness foundation remains, and therein lies the rub, our idiot is just smart (using the term very loosely) enough to understand he is an idiot, and moreover, not equipped to solve his problem(s). The paradox of this sad tale of woe and misunderstanding is that the idiot knows this, he knows he can't solve the problem, partly because he is a large part of the problem, partly because he's an idiot, and partly because other, outside forces beyond his limited control are the other part of the problem.

However, the tragedy of the idiot is that he is the only person on this rock, in this version of his universe(s) that could, with the help of a miracle or three, solve the problem. It must needs doing, and he realizes this, he pounds himself with that thought daily. But, he is an idiot, and sending an idiot to fix the problem that the idiot was a large part in creating seems to be an exercise in futility that would make Sisyphus proud. However, the band aid that is the idiot has to be applied to the gunshot wound(s) that are his problem(s) in the, probably vain, attempt to staunch the bleeding. Otherwise, the rock (from the myth of Sisyphus) wins, and that is a universe/fate/future that our idiot isn't sure that he can bear.