Saturday, March 31, 2012

She's Coming Back

You may recognize these lyrics from Sir Paulie and the late great Johnnie but you may not know where they could go.

She's Leaving Home:
Wednesday morning at five o'clock as the day begins
Silently closing her bedroom door
Leaving the note that she hoped would say more
She goes downstairs to the kitchen clutching her handkerchief
Quietly turning the backdoor key
Stepping outside she is free
She (We gave her most of our lives)
Is leaving (Sacrificed most of our lives)
Home (We gave her everything money could buy)
She's leaving home after living alone
For so many years (Bye bye)

Father snores as his wife gets into her dressing gown
Picks up the letter that's lying there
Standing alone at the top of the stairs
She breaks down and cries to her husband 'Daddy our baby's gone
Why would she treat us so thoughtlessly?
How could she do this to me?'

She (We never thought of ourselves)
Is leaving (Never a thought for ourselves)
Home (We struggled hard all our lives to get by)
She's leaving home after living alone
For so many years (Bye bye)

Friday morning at nine o'clock she is far away
Waiting to keep the appointment she made
Meeting a man from the motor trade

She (What did we do that was wrong)
Is having (We didn't know it was wrong)
Fun (Fun is the one thing that money can't buy)
Something inside that was always denied
For so many years (Bye bye)

She's leaving home
Bye bye

OK, you’ve sung along and hummed along and remembrance of that wonderful carefree hippy drippy days when sunshine and butterflies and wandering into adventures filled your thoughts, but not me.

Back in the early 70’s I decided to take the non-concept album that was “THE” Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album and write it to the standards…. Or should I say perhaps values I understood.

So I rewrote the entire album.

Some of it is pretty perverted (warning to the young readers) so it says something about me, but don’t hold that against me. Remember this was the 70’s. This was the time of anti-war, women’s lib, black panthers, and the KKK running rampant. Most of the Kennedys had been shot and they were the hope of the future, then the soldiers started shooting us. Being married and not knowing why with a house and a car and a job and trying to figure out what the future held, so I started expressing myself through music.

My “Mansland” at that time was the basement, so with a Hagstrom triple pickup hollow body electric and a Ovation acoustic and a Vox bass and a Frafisa organ plugged into a Fender bandmaster amp, I started rewriting the wonderful sweet Beatle tunes into a indescribable mess of words wrapped around a warped sense of time and place.

The results, with some assistance from cases of Heineken beer, were: “Private Salt’s Homely Farts Rubber Band”. Sure, not a unique title, but it worked for me. I was probably inspired by Frank Zappa’s “We’re only in it for the Money” or some other cynicism approach to this faded dream that life would be full of glowing dreams and poetry full of bliss only to find reality was a five day work week, paying bills, and living with someone who you didn’t expect to be living with for so long.

If the reality of the future may have been true, the song might have sounded like this:

She’s Coming Back

Sunday morning at 1:15 as she steps inside
Silently closing the big front door
Leaving her date that kept asking for more
She goes downstairs to her bedroom clutching her underwear
Counting the money she’d made that night
Drinking more till she is tight.

She (we gave her all of our dough)
Is coming (gave her so much of our dough)
Back (we gave her dough, but still she won’t go)
She’s coming back, oh no

Papa grunts as his wife struggles into her pantyhose.
Picks up the clothes scattered here and there
Stumbles over trash at the top of the stairs
And falls down and calls to her husband,
“Howard, I did it again….
This time I think that I broke my knee.
What does this happen to me?”

 She (we always thought of ourselves)
Is Coming (tried just to think of ourselves)
Back (we worked real hard just to get her to leave)
She’s coming back, oh no

Sunday evening at 5 o’clock she is out again
Down at the bar where she deals her trade
Wanting to spend the money she made.

She (where did we go that was wrong?)
Is Coming (we never tried to go wrong)
Back (back with more money than we’ve ever seen)
Using her body to commit something naughty and who knows what
She’s coming back, oh no

I had written before about taking a song apart and look at the lyrics, so don’t ponder this too much. It was over three decades ago but holds true to today. I’ve never been an empty nester, but I did return to my parent’s home for a while and understand the difference in their values and the stress I must have put on them.

Sometimes things don’t work out as planned.

In Common

 What draws us together or create relationships or companionship or friendships or even families?

We all are strangers until we find out what we have “in common”.

We may be attracted to another person by their appearance or clothing or posture or even their voice, but after the sharing of names we attempt to find similarities that may draw us closer.

Books? Movies? Friends? Work? Homes? Cars? Animals? Music? Drinks? Politics? Religion? Art?

All topics quickly covered trying to find a match.

So what got me on this subject? A program on the radio the other day talking about two babies who were swapped at birth ( each living with another family caught my ear. The thesis of the show was the two families realized the child they brought home was not similar to the other children.

Starting with your own family, what do you have “in common”? Well there is the last name but there are these old people from another generation and you are just a little tike. So these old people tend to conform you into the family’s values to share the experience of being “in common”.

But even family reunions presents the conflict of what is in common with the uncles and aunts and the cousins and grand parents or even siblings. The last names might be the same but they come from different locations have different hobbies and likes and even if the same age go to different schools. And the mother’s family and the father’s family may have nothing “in common”.

Then there is religion. These old people dress us up and expose us to the ceremonies that occur in large halls filled with others who are dress up in non-daily attire so sit quietly and absorb the speeches and sing the songs trying to form what is good or evil. And each story and tale is interesting but when the questions are asked “Why?” the human response has nothing “in common” with the other six days of daily existence.

Now school brings a whole new quandary. Other kids the same age are placed in a room with a single adult figure but what do we have “in common”? Age of course, unless you fail and become older than everyone else in the class, then there used to be race but even that was skewed. If the kids were in similar economical levels, we would dress alike, have similar haircuts, and even arrive to school in familiar automobiles or bicycles. All our books are the same. All our desks are the same. Yet on the playground we find that we are not the same. One kid is Jewish. One kid plays the accordion. One kid has aggressive behavior. One kid can draw Superman. One kid stutters. And one kid wears a skirt and has long hair.

And yet we have the link to our school “in common” and will recall the good times later in life even though we never spoke a word to each other at the time.

Our similarities grown stronger through the schools, special classes, clubs, teams declaring our individual structure with those we have these associations “in common” with.

Careers throw another group of strangers together all trying to provide enough effort to be rewarded with monetary gains for survival. Each has a certain talent or skill “in common” to perform a task. Again, we search for other similarities to have “in common” for conversation at the water cooler.

Personal experiences shared with others form friendships, some closer than others due to agreement on different values, feelings, and thoughts.

So could a family with an adopted baby suggest they have nothing “in common” with a chosen family member? And does it really matter?

If an individual can realize that each of us is unique and accept each other for their uniqueness then perhaps bullying or racism or prejudice would go away.

Look around at your friends, work associates, and even family. What do you have “in common”?

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Defined as “mentally troubled”. “Uneasy”, “uncertain”, all words associate with being anxious.

Anxiety can be a protective reflex or a driving force.

The reason I thought about that word “anxiety” was last night’s storm. 

Now thunder and lightning are suppose to create some anxiety, like a siren or a warning signal, but I am obviously attracted to nature’s disruptions. 

Since the last hurricane I know I want to be a close observer, not a passive sheltered. Probably a trait learned from my mother, when I see bad weather coming I go out on the porch to meet it, settle down in my rocker, grab a cold drink and wait for it. 

A few years ago I felt part of the weather by basic living in a leaking unheated shed. 

Since I only ride two-wheels I’ve learned to understand and respect what the environment offers. Each day is organized by the weather patterns. Getting wet, while not preferred, can be rationalizes as you dry out. Cold requires more layers, heat requires sweat and hydration, wind requires attention and reaction, but the wonder of every day being in nature sensing the constant changes, the seasons variations is more than worth it.

As a kid, I didn’t know what “outside” was. Grew up in the “television baby sitter” era and wasn’t good at sport so other than going to the beach, I stayed in my climate controlled dark room. I don’t remember seeing any squirrels or birds or chipmunks when I was growing up. The only participation I had with nature was cutting the grass or attempting to trim a hedge. 

And now it is addictive. The constant movement colors and smells, when taken the time to observe and appreciate is the best and the cheapest entertainment one can have. 

So I sit on the porch expecting nature’s light show. While I wait the scent of the wet leaves fills the air. A rustle of leaves in the shadows reminds me this is their land and I’m only sharing it. Even though I am pre-programmed to supply food and water, they are perfectly capable to survive without my generous buffet. 

After checking the radar, refreshing my libation, I turn off the overhead light and settle in for the show. The passing light enlivens the waving texture of new leafage against rain soaked black bark. Then the sky flashes as almost day.

The tense feeling increases awaiting the humbling roar to follow.  

As the rain hardens, I go inside and bring out a guitar. By now I’ve had several adult beverages and am becoming engulfed by the pressure in the air and the rhythms in my head.

I softly plunk the nylon strings not wanting to disturb the quiet neighbors then I notice “anxiety”.
As the dark clouds move in my playing increases with more velocity. The intensity of the storm coming in has educed my anxiety and thus my playing. 

It is not the same anxiety when the roof was dripping into a bucket but a realization of the excitement of trying to play along with nature’s song.

After an hour or two or more, I stopped. The neighbors had gone to sleep long before and I thought it would probably be good for me to do the same.

Reluctantly I bide adieu to this singular experience having grown even closer to the coming season and the possibilities of what the following day may bring. 

The day is done as is the anxiety, we have made peace with each other, at least for tonight.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Let’s take a walk

It is not a difficult task. It does not have to have a destination but it can. A simple preparation with finding the right jacket and shoes for the weather, checking the house for all the electronics that are continually invading our world, grab a bottle of water, if needed, and a pair of shades and hat if sunny or a scarf is windy and cold, close and lock the door turn then place one foot in front of the other and start walking. 

It is an upright position that is actually very good for your back to get your body inline. You can walk your dog. You can walk to the store. You can walk hand in hand. You can walk with your baby carriage. You can walk in circles. You can walk up steps and you can walk down hill. You can walk in the park. You can walk on the street. You can walk for miles until the walk hurts your feet. You can walk in the dark but it is not very safe. You can walk for foundations that make you feel great. You can walk as a group or walk all alone. You can walk to work. You can walk home. 

The best thing about walking is you can find your cadence. This is your body rhythm. The faster you walk you breathe with more distinction and the slower you walk the more you notice the surroundings. Even without an iPod for music the body will associate the swing of the leg and the pat of the foot on the ground with a familiar beat of a song. 

Now some need to be constantly entertained so you can walk with music or an inspirational message in your ears forming a pattern for your pace or you can wonder off into multi-tasking with a pad or phone connecting you to your friends and family and their latest adventures of the mundane. 

But if you really want to enjoy your walk, if you really want to experience the adventure, put all the electronics down and walk without the distractions. 

It is said the Steve Jobs used to like to walk to get his thoughts together. It seemed to be a pretty good process for him.

Remembering your youth when you had to beg your parents to deliver you to another location in a mobile machine, but if that form of transportation was unavailable, you walked. 

Personal note: For years the people and places I knew, even through college, were in walking distance. Public transportation was available, but the footpath was easy and always there. Miles and miles and miles were trekked through this inner city to destinations unknown.

Now to really make the walk a wonderful experience, take someone with you. 

For a walk with someone else will bring out a conversation and that conversation will be firm as the steps you take together. The shared motion will bring out words that will change your life. 

The slow walk with a friend to complain about the troubles or shared feelings that only friends can share. The fast walk to try to overcome frustration or accomplish an unattained goal. The walk hand-in-hand with a special person ends way to early and the words that should be said are never said. 

So the next time I see you, let’s take a walk.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Quiet Time


 Heard a storm was coming so stepped out on the porch to watch. Seem to like doing that. Moved the wreath from the door to the bench on the side with a gentle touch only due to the next inside. Waved the pillows from the chair as if the inhabitants were going somewhere else and knowing they would still be there as I sat down. The light in the sky reflected off the roofs across the street but it seems the weather predicted was going south or east or north as usual. As a few drops of water started to fall the rocker moved faster. The thoughts of the day returned to be examined. Spider web of black silhouettes that last week were tipped with fuzz are now like real trees with blooms and leaves and decisions of which ones to keep and which ones to cut. Amazing how much you can hear from the houses around. A few cars ride up to the corner but turn to travel north or south as do the lights in the sky flickering on their way to distant airports. 

But this is the quiet time.

Thinking of the projects that wait with one checked off to answer questions of a distant friend looking for reference to award security clearance for whatever reason. Peanuts and seed were already spread to a familiar family so the daily obligation could be satisfied. Bought another razor but do not shave so what is that all about. The critters did their usual acrobatics but the perfumed filled shed did not wake the spirit. An “Appalachian” program on PBS, that was a repeat to my mind but held a lot of realization of what growing up here meant. The music that I hated as a youngster but it was the only alternative to the “Big Band” sound that my parents sang I’ve learned to understand and with both in the background appreciate the connections. 

But this is the quiet time.

The local or at least convenient provider for tires and spokes and accessories plus the replacement for stolen vehicles will be closing soon. Much like a family member or no, a core of the structure that keeps the level possibility of living going will be gone. While to some it may not seem like a change of life, but for one who lives in a limited area with limited resources, to have one gone may be a game changer. Few companies or associations are respected enough to conjure the thought of going to see them tomorrow and wish them the best, but that is what will happen. 

But this is the quiet time.

The rocker speeds up to the wind or maybe the thoughts. Walk back inside without disturbing the next and grab a sweatshirt for security and another beer for warmth, or visa-verse. So many nights has this rocker held the thoughts of the quiet time? Some nights it has been the sleeping place. Some nights it has been the discovery place. Some nights it has been a revealing yet disturbing place. Tonight is no different. Blame it on the lack of sleep? Blame it on the storm? Blame it on the diet? 

But this is the quiet time.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

You will never see her again

Realizing some people in your life will never be seen again can be a revelation of our brief existence. Some people will not be missed and some will be easily forgotten. But there are some who will never ever be seen again.

Somehow these people meant something at sometime in your life and you carry the memory around because the time spent together sculptured your life. 

Now everyone you meet influence your life whether you realizing it or not, but some will touch your spirit. And time passes the reality that that experience will never happen again. 

Yet there will be others who weave a path across your journey and maybe even for a period of time accommodate but never replace the space left empty.  The space will be reserved for another possible encounter that will never come.

Some who read this or think they know enough about me probably have in mind that this is written about, but they would be wrong.

Some secrets will stay secrets.

Have a Good Laugh everyday


Since life is so quiet now without any conversation except to inanimate objects the only voices I hear are those coming through the speakers of the radio. And once in a while I hear a phrase or thought or joke or sentence that makes me actually laugh out loud. Not a snicker or a blow of air but an outright chuckle. Sometimes it brings a tear to my eye. Sometimes it hits a nerve. Usually it is absurd and totally unexpected. It just happens.

Very few familiar jokes have the same affect but there is one television show that consistently gives me a laugh. M*A*S*H is back on television at the same time that it used to be, right after dinner. Used to watch that show every night. It was the show the settled us down together for a night of reacting to the critters silently sleeping then suddenly running and causing mass confusion inter-sprinkled by quiet conversation during the commercials with sips of alcohol or herbal cigarettes. It was a short moment in time but was religiously watched. Though the theme of the show was repulsive to me having tripped through the movie from wince it was copied and cleaned up for television. Luckily the cast had familiar names but different faces and the writers clouded the absurdity and drastic consequences of war with humor so how many times I watch any episode I get a chuckle. It is guaranteed.

The best laughs are the ones you didn’t anticipate. I’ve never was thrilled by slap stick comedy even growing up with the “3 Stooges” or the “Monkees”, but off beat comment can catch me unaware and I break a smile into a guffaw. A prate fall does little for me unleash it is brought to me by a bunny jumping over a pair of scooting chipmunks as it winds up in a John Belushi stance ears erect. I don’t laugh at the antics at the moment but feel that warm lump that comes seeing nature’s original gymnastics. There is a laugh inside that just doesn’t make a sound. 

So the story goes to enjoy a good laugh, everyday.

What time is it anyway?


It happens two times a year. All the clocks go bananas. No, not yellow and peel but all the displays are different. 

Even with all the announcements that it is time to spring ahead and the constant warnings that our bodies must adjust to this time shift, my clocks don’t seem to read the memo.

Now time is a funny thing anyway. It is how, as I have proposed before, we measure our life.
So when the time changes, we must get all confused for a couple of days.

Is it time to wake up? Is there time for coffee? Is there a wreck on the highway so I have to make more time to transport? Is there time to go back home to change my tie that I spilled coffee on or do I just wear the sweater hanging on the back of my door (hook on my cubicle now). Is it time for lunch? Is it time to go potty?  Is the next meeting going to take too much of my time so I come late to the meeting after that? Is it time to call home to say I will not be home on time due to all the work I have no time to do? Is it time to eat again? Is it time to put the kids to bed? Is it time to watch the late night celebrity questionnaire show? Is it time for a nightcap? Is it time for a ….. Oh sorry, I know you don’t feel well and are too tired? Is it time to go to sleep? 

Stopped wearing watch so they can wait until the next time adjustment then they will be right again. It is much more reliable to just follow the sun.

But these dare clocks showing different times. Technology has quiet caught up with them so even the satellite clocks that are suppose to get the time right down to the silly millisecond bear witness that the satellite must send it’s frequencies through all the space trash and cell phone and CB radio and emergency signal waves to finally calculate correctly 24 hours later. The rest I must manually twist up an hour whenever I get time to.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Take your medicine or you'll die


A scary thought, but this is what an entire industry plus its subsidiaries tell us weakling human beings.

For every pain and ache there is a pill or shot or rub or concoction only subscribed by a qualified professional who takes your temperature, blood pressure, and a few questions.
How do they become so smart so quick about how your body feels?

Sure you understand if your body is broken or bleeding the woes are easily diagnosis and tended to, usually by an assistant following prescribed procedures. Of course that also includes a bunch of test, necessary or unnecessary, to preserve the insurance requirements and the physician’s liability claims.

But if you don’t take the additional pill or substance to preserve longevity will you die?
Yet one of the two industries who touch us most, health and religion, we prescribe to the notion that we must buy insurance to cover the cost of the additional test and inspections of our bodies only to be ordered to take a substance that will possibility cure or at least maintain us until we die. Don’t read the small print. The 2-point print at the bottom that defines the ingredients of this mystery potion and the possible consequences that may occur if not properly consumed or applied.

And the most dire possible side affect is you will have a unforeseen reaction and die.
Now I’m not apposed to drugs for they do ease the pain or distort reality for a short period of time but do they make you well?

For in the end, no one gets out of here alive.