That’s what it’s all about. When I was teaching creative writing many years ago I would present the tots of 17 or so with a task to enable them to better understand the flow of ideas that lead to creativity. I’d give them a word. “Today, children, the word is sunshine. Go with it.” Kind of a stream-of-consciousness. Kind of. Don’t want to go too far with that. Look what happened to Virginia Woolf. Not only did she write tediously long passages she stuffed a bunch of rocks into her pockets and walked into the River Ouse.
But sunshine. It’s a sunny day here. Where do we do with that? You are the Sunshine of My Life. Stevie Wonder couldn’t see the sunshine, but he could feel it. Remember when he was ‘Little’ Stevie Wonder? I do. I’m old. I don’t much like being old but I like it better than the alternative. I wonder if in being ‘an older man’ if I am still remotely attractive to females. When does an older man become an old man? A codger? A geezer? I like the term ‘geezer’. Yep, dad-burn-it, I’m a geezer. I guess you become a geezer when you start saying “dagnab it!” That’s, of course, a euphemism for “Goddamn it!” Can’t imagine Walter Huston in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (he was the definitive geezer) being profane or blasphemous: “Goddamn it, Dobbs, you really are a greedy asshole!” It would have taken from that wonderful tale and film.
We’ve become a profane and blasphemous society and what we used to call ‘swear words’ are progressively creeping into the mainstream. I was watching The Closer (a TV drama I quite enjoy) last evening and somebody was referred to as an “asshole”. I remember a kid being kicked out of the gym in high school for calling somebody (deservedly) an asshole. Another guy got kicked out after somebody else lobbed a basketball at his crotch for exclaiming: “Ooh, my nuts!” as he writhed in pain. I guess the moronic PE teacher felt he should have referred to them as testicles, even though it would be doubtful that same teacher could have actually spelled testicles.
What is it with PE teachers anyway? I’ve never honestly met one that I liked. They always struck me as slightly mentally challenged jocks who devoted their lives to at one level sucking up to the big jocks (that is, the ones that were much more athletically skilled than the teacher would ever hope to be), and at another to tormenting and deriding the less-than-able athletically, and the fat kids.
Guess they don’t have fat kids any more. Maybe the ‘adiposity challenged’ kids. Fat kids and fat people used to be called fat. I don’t know if they were hurt by that. I went to school with a porky little guy who went by the nickname ‘Tubby’. He didn’t mind. He called himself that. We didn’t think he was inferior because in the fifth grade he wore pants with a waistline wider than my old man’s. But, political correctness no doubt dictates that we must now use the term obese – or more frighteningly ‘morbidly obese.’ Ooh, that sounds fatal.
What about musicians? Would we now call the wonderful Fats Waller ‘Morbidly Obese’ Waller? I mean, he died pretty young, so maybe. Fats Domino? ‘High Body Mass Index’ Domino? Chubby Checker might be able to squeak through and keep his nickname though I am sure there might be those who would prefer ‘Big Boned’ Checker. No, that sounds kind of obscene. Forget about that one.
Anyway, we’ve moved well on from sunshine. But, it is sunny today and the temperature is 9 degrees Celsius (or nudging 50 old school). I still prefer old school temp measurement. You know me. I hate having stuff imposed on me without my permission. We should all have our permission sought before major changes in the patterns of our lives are invoked by those who would believe they know better than we do about what we need.
In that context, I have a special place in hell reserved for those medical decision makers who recently came up with a plan of ‘harm reduction’ for alcoholics in a city near here. Just a big old ‘Huhhhhhhhhh?’ here. There ain’t no harm reduction for alcoholics. Might work with junkies and cokeheads but not lushes. You don’t teach alcoholics to savor a nice glass of decent vintage. Oh, that might work for a day – if that. Alcoholics drink to get drunk. It’s their job. Anybody who knows anything about the process, and anybody who is a recovering lush knows that to be true. Who appointed these assholes (there, I said it. It was the only word that works) to make such outrageous decisions in the name of trendiness?
And that’s the way my warped process works.