Monthly Archives: June 2012

I may be guilty of a few of the 7 Deadly Sins, but envy isn’t one of them

For all of the flaws in my personal makeup – and there are one or two that I at least choose to recognize – one affliction I have never suffered from is envy.

It’s true. I have no desire to trade places with anybody on the planet

Well, maybe with Kate Winslet’s partner (if there is one, I don’t keep up on this stuff) for just one evening – but that’s about it.

There are skills and talents that I wouldn’t mind having more of, and there are skills and talents I can see in others that I admire, but I do not want to be that person. I do not want to exchange my life; such as it is, with that of another.

In honesty, I have never understood envy. My life assuredly isn’t perfect. Like many others I go through, depending on my mood of the day, feelings of insecurity, neurosis, self-pity, frustration, anxiety, rejection, hypochondria, fear, panic, misdirected lust, rage, crankiness, bitchiness, short-sightedness, longing, loneliness, isolation, failure, stupidity, wariness, shyness, horniness, jumpiness, clumsiness, talentlessness, emotional infidelity, and so on and so on and so on. But into that mix there is no mention of envy. The reason being that I, as a moderately functional person am, in those aforementioned flaws not much worse than the average bear, have no desire to exchange my life with that of another, regardless of how charmed that person’s life may be.

While it’s true that it might be wonderful to do that horizontal tango with Kate or any one of a number of other women, and it might be agreeable to go out to my porte cochere and climb into my new Bentley convertible, or to be staying at the Ritz in Paris, or the Savoy in London, but ultimately sex is sex, a car is just a car, and a hotel room is a hotel room and as long as it’s vermin-free and there aren’t questionable stains on the mattress, does it make a lot of difference.

Because, if I was to exchange my life with that of another, I would also have to pick up that person’s baggage. His bizarre childhood, his insecurities, his addictions, his fears, his health concerns, and all manner of other stuff.

I have all the negatives I mentioned, but I also have my talents – maybe not great ones but agreeable ones – and my home, my relationship, my history, my drama, and I kind of like the theatre of my own life and want to see how it will play out in the long haul.

There’s stuff that needs fixing and I know I’m up for that because I’ve done it in the past. And there are other things that either will be fixed, or explored, or sheer idleness on my part will keep me from addressing those.

That’s OK, too since it’s my idleness.

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A highly personal testament of love

As have many people, I have made a number of foolish decisions in my life.

Decisions Like:

–         Investing money in the market rather than stuffing it away in a sock under my mattress.

–         Believing that ‘just one more drink’ wouldn’t hurt.

–         Thinking that a brief ‘non-serious’ liaison (it’s OK, it was many years ago) with another guy’s wife was a good idea.

–         Assuming that nobody ever broke a tooth eating peanut brittle.

–         Telling myself I didn’t need to study for a literature exam since I ‘knew all that there was to know’. Shameful admission, I once flunked a freshman lit exam. Fortunately, it wasn’t the final.

–         Telling myself that now, because I am so wise, that I’ll never make further mistakes or misjudgments.

But, there is one decision that was jointly made in this household that was no mistake whatsoever, and that was the acquisition of Max, our beautiful wonder dog.

From the day he arrived, notably underweight, riddled with worms, apprehensive as hell due to his time in the shelter and his prior abandonment, we’ve never looked back.

He’s been a blessing in this household. Even of disposition, friendly, quiet, outgoing, and amazingly beautiful to behold. Really he is. I’ve said to people that I sometimes wish I’d had Max when I was single because he adores female humans and draws them easily into his lair, so charming is he in manner, and so friendly. And he likes ‘ladies’ more than he likes men. Just who he is. And I confess I understand that.

So, recently it behooved me to want to capture Max for posterity by painting a picture of him. I was apprehensive because I wanted to do him justice.

I selected a favorite photo as the model inspiration. It was taken a little over a year ago at the beach in Bandon, Oregon. Max loves the beach and he is looking seaward at a spot that is one of our favorites on that state’s lovely coastline.

In the photo (and subsequent painting) you cannot see his face. That’s OK. His pose captures the essence of him. That was what I wanted. And what I wanted was the feeling of anticipation in him just prior to tearing down the bank and onto the sand below.

And, by golly, I think I got it. I got the ‘essence’ of Max in the completed painting. I was wary and I strove to be completely at ease with the result.

For me, I succeeded. It may not be an award-winning painting but it is a testament to a dog I have come to love dearly and who is a reflection of a blessed life-decision.

So, I’ll run the painting again. For those who’ve already seen it on Facebook, you’ll just have to indulge me once more.

And then the pretty lady cop provocatively put her tongue in my ear

I had a dream the other night that I really quite liked. Not only did I like it, but also I remembered it, and still do a few days later. Personally I don’t believe dreams have much ‘meaning’, but if dreams are meant to have meaning, this one might have. Don’t have a clue what the meaning might be, however.

Now, I’ll preface this by saying that I generally hate hearing about other people’s dreams, but I’ll mention mine because it’s leading to a premise of sorts.

So, there is this traffic accident and a car has gone off the road and out of sight into the bush near my childhood home as it was back then, and the car then explodes. Then police come. For some reason it’s decided that I must be the ‘go-to’ person with this incident. A female cop – quite beautiful she was – speaks to me. She rubs up closely to me and tells me she wants me to fill out the accident report. She asks me to do this in a very suggestive voice, and then tells me to bring it to her later and we can go over it together. She then, prior to departing, sticks her tongue in my ear. The overt gesture has the desired effect.

And then, of course, I $#@&& wake up so I never do have that later encounter with her. By the way, I am a bit of a sucker for women in uniform and I like to think of them wearing flimsy little and uber-feminine undies beneath their starched and rigid tunics. That’s as an aside.

But, what happened is exactly what infuriates me about dreaming. I might add that I dream a great deal.

But dreams are frustrating. They are frauds. They offer promises and then  leave a person with false hopes and if the dream has been vivid enough, that nasty feeling can permeate one’s consciousness the next day. Sometimes for a number of days.

For example, over the years I’ve had a number of dreams about a reunion with my estranged stepdaughter – something I’d love to have happen. OK, so that’s the reason for the dream – you know unfulfilled desire. So she comes to me in a dream and she is sweet and friendly and says how much she wants us to renew our connection. And then, at that precise moment, she must do something, but she promises we will link up later and it will be good.

You know the rest, if you’re a dreamer. It never happens. I never reconnect and then I awaken and my disappointment is almost palpable.

That’s why I hate dreams – they never fulfill their obligations.

 

 

‘Oh yeah — well, you’re nothing but a dumb poop-head, that’s what you are — yeah

“If you were my husband,” American-born British Parliamentarian, Lady Astor once said to Winston Churchill, whom she detested, “I would poison your coffee.”

“If you were my wife,” Churchill replied. “I’d drink it.”

Indeed, legend holds that Churchill, so astute in many respects, was also a consummate master of the snappy, appropriate and witheringly insulting comeback.

Another interchange between Churchill, and I believe it was Nancy Astor again, was reported to have gone like this:

“Mr. Churchill, you are drunk,” the teetotaller was alleged to have said to the hefty brandy tippler at a social occasion.

“And you, madam, are ugly,” he replied. “But in the morning, I shall be sober.

There is no way of knowing how many of these tales are apocryphal, but they do serve to show that the immaculately timed and aimed insult, for which there can be virtually no face-saving reply is a talent that separates humankind from the lower orders.

The brilliant riposte sets is apart from primordial ooze-dwellers because it is non-physical violence. While an insult can lead to a carpet search for bloody, shattered bridgework, it is true, or even a duel, the person who has hurled the insult remains the victor, regardless of what takes place afterwards. It’s a bit like listening to insult-master Don Rickles. His popularity arises from a conflict within the rest of us, which goes: “How can he say that? I wish I’d said that.”

The master or mistress of the insult must be adept with the language, slow to anger, and possessing of a superlative sense of timing. He or she must sense instinctively that momentary lull in the conversation that has left the gate wide open for a savagely stinging remark.

Too late off the mark never works. It must be direct and utterly appropriate to the moment, such as was the case when a young Clare Boothe Luce stepped aside to permit wit Dorothy Parker to enter a room first.

“Age before beauty,” said Miss Luce.

“Pearls before swine,” responded Miss Parker, without missing a beat.

Now, that interchange would have been considerably less noteworthy had Parker gone home, brooded, and then telephoned Luce five hours later when the apt riposte had manifested itself in her mind.

Such, alas, is the situation in which most of us find ourselves. Stung by a nasty bit of sniping at the office or a cocktail party, we get home and take the insult we received on a spouse, children or the dog. “If only I’d said ….” We sputter and fume. But, nothing to equal the original insult comes to mind – until three a.m. when we awaken from a feverish sleep with “the most unkindest cut of all” manifesting itself in our minds like that perfect vision of paradise. But, by now it is too late, and we know it. The accompanying stress has shortened our lives by 3.7 minutes.

The English are terrifically good at the well-aimed insult that will send lesser mortals to Purgatory with withering irony and sarcasm that hits like a howitzer once the recipient realizes what has been said.

Among other nationalities, Italians seem quite adept at verbal insults. The rhythm of the language lends itself to linguistic jabs when Italians get involved in a row – often as frequently as every five minutes. The thrust and parry of the verbal insult is accentuated with a well-bitten thumb and assorted lewd gestures that seem to add to the overall effect.

Meanwhile, the heaviest insults among African-Americans and Latinos seem to often relate to the sexual proclivities of the female members of the family combined with the inadequacies in that regard of the male members, along with questions about the insultee’s legitimacy.

The Irish have great long religiously inspired poetic curses that leave the victim without doubt he has been grievously insulted, not only for the duration of his lifetime, but for all of eternity.

Canadians, meanwhile, shouldn’t feel inferior because the best they can muster is a few crude copulatory or excretory invectives. Our insults, after all, originate with our politicians, and they regularly deliver the cruellest cuts of all.

I once had a wonderful imagination. I’d kind of like it back

“We think we understand the rules when we become adults, but what we really experience is a narrowing of the imagination.”

–         David Lynch

When I was a child I had the dandiest damn imagination. From the time I was very young I had a magic fantasy realm at my disposal and there was no limit to the images and scenarios I conjured up. Probably not too different from a lot of kids, but my images were my own and I didn’t share them, but jealously guarded them.

I had a couple of guys named Jack and Bill. They weren’t little kids like I was, but grown men, with grown men names. They had histories and lived lives with their wives and families. I don’t recall what they did, but mainly they did ‘man’ stuff.

I had a comic strip, too, which I began drawing very early on, from about age 8 or so. It involved a couple of bad apples named ‘Smudge’ and his cohort, “Gus”.

Smudge and Gus were gangsters from the 1920s who were getting on in years. Smudge also had an arch-nemesis whose name escapes my recall. He once tried to kill Smudge by blowing him up in a car. This left Smudge with a wooden-leg, a black eyepatch and a hook. Smudge was pretty smart, but mean. Gus was likable but dumb, similar to Goofy, in fact.

Anyway, I drew countless strips involving those guys and, regrettably, I never kept one of them.

Anyway, I hearken to the comment made by David Lynch at the beginning of this blog entry. What happened to that imagination? Where did that rich fantasy world go? I miss it.

By the way, I’ll add the caveat that none of this arose because I was a lonely and isolated kid. I had plenty of friends and a ‘real’ life, too. But, when I was on my own, I had ‘other’ companions.

My free-flowing thoughts actually continued through to the early days of column writing from the mid 1970s on. Many of my early columns are, to me at least, a bit unrecognizable in a certain silliness that permeated. I would write broad satires like a spoof of a TV Guide magazine, or a day in the life of Madonna. Funny smut, or a scenario for an independent Vancouver Island that actually attracted a few advocates.

But then, for some inexplicable reason (life, I suspect) I became more serious and considered in my writings – you know, sort of like what you’re reading now, a bunch of introspective navel gazing shit, you might think if you are feeling uncharitable. So I hope you’ll humor me in this musing.

But that meant some fertility and flights-of-fancy went away. I’d like to find a means of getting them back. I miss them.

Wonder what Jack and Bill are up to these days?

 

 

Being single doesn’t always mean lonely; being in a relationship sometimes does

Just read an article that informed me that statistically being ‘single’ is the new norm in North America, for singles now outnmber the married or those in committed relationships.

WTF is that? What a bunch of cowards. Afraid to face the agony and the ecstasy of that aforementioned ‘committed’ relationship.

So, there are many reasons for reluctance to join somebody at an altar or even in a cozy common-law bed. One of the primary ones is, of course, economic. But there are others, including widespread aversion to commitment. And, of course, the lack of availability of suitable life partners. I’m not so sure about that one. I see lots of females every day that I think would make jim-dandy life partners – even for a couple of days.

But I jest.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be single. Oh, don’t worry, there’s nothing matrimonially wrong chez nous. But I wonder as, I suspect, do many married or committed people. What would it be like to be a free agent; to come and go as I please; to have sex with anybody with whom there was a mutual attraction; to have complete and total control of the TV remote.

Since I became an adult I’ve mostly been married. But there was a time, after the end of my second marriage, when I was single. Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but I actually really liked it. Oh sure, there were lonely times and sometimes the evenings seemed terribly long, but that was why God gave us porn sites.

When I came out of that marriage, and after I’d gotten over the emotional agony of its demise, and that took a while, I vowed that I wasn’t going to marry again. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted a steady girlfriend. What I wanted was to be comfortable with myself in my own skin and not be beholden to the approval of anyone.

I worked at that and, as can so magically happen with something you work at, a comfort level evolved. I had me a nice apartment. I got a cat. I’d put flowers in a vase on the dining table and, unlike sleazy bachelor pads, I kept it neat, tidy, vacuumed etc. It was cool. I liked it because I came to like myself.

I didn’t become celibate – puhleeze, that would have been a bit much – and did have some female friends “with benefits”, but I also had female friends that stayed fully robed in my company. They felt ‘safe’ with me and that was a compliment. They felt safe because I wasn’t after anything they didn’t want to share. If they did want to share, so much the better, provided they weren’t expecting anything permanent. More importantly they became friends. Friends who taught me a great deal.

During this time I had a brief relationship with somebody I’d initially met on-line. Actually, I had a few on-line encounters, but this one evolved into a real-life situation, and it was great.

Ultimately, at the end of my ‘alone’ time I met Wendy and have never looked back. At the same time, however, while I’d formerly always been afraid of being alone, I ultimately found out it wasn’t so bad. I could ‘do’ it and not feel lonely.

And I never really did feel lonely in my single time. In instead, I felt oddly liberated. In fact, I’d often felt lonelier when I was married

My alone time was vital for me to get to know me. Despite my bad nuptial track record I didn’t see myself as a bad person. And that was how I know I was capable of moving on into a new relationship.

 NB: I didn’t know they made ‘randy’ wedding cake toppers. How cool is that?

 

 

 

Will our boy, Don succumb to overt temptation? Stay tuned

Is Don Draper still a philandering rogue and cad? Or is the ‘new’ Don Draper with his yummy Quebecoise wife whom he obviously loves very much, a changed man?

I’m inclined to opt for the latter assessment. Wendy, however, is of a more cynical view and doesn’t grant Don the ability to have changed sufficiently to keep his fly zipped when temptation presents itself.

The series-closing scene of the most recent incarnation of Mad Men showed Don sitting solo in a bar, nursing his drink and (of course) smoking. He is approached by a young attractive female who makes contact. He sizes her up and down in his ‘Don’ manner. Neither he nor she knows that she is a friend of his wife’s.

And that was how it ended. Of course we shall have to wait about 20 thousand weeks before the next series is trotted out just to see what transpires, but Wendy and I immediately went to that aforementioned conversation.

It seems that I, as a male, cut Don more slack and lean towards believing in his newfound integrity and his seeming love for new wife. I mean to say that Betty, his former wife, was kind of a demanding and cold cow so I made infinite excuses for old Don.

This time around, however, he should have no excuses. For example, he could easily bond carnally with the unbelievably built and beautiful-visaged, Joan, but he hasn’t done so. He’s not Roger. And in not being Roger, that speaks volumes of positive things.

He did things in the past that weren’t praiseworthy and for which he should have been ashamed. But, the point is, he was.

So, I have decided that when the new season begins, Don will politely and even charmingly turn the bar babe down. He won’t make the ‘mistake’ that will cost him all he has gained. Some of us have made such mistakes (I understand) and some of us have learned the penalties are mighty dire (I understand).

Regardless of what happens, however, Sunday evening just wasn’t the same without Mad Men.