Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Writing the letter you never send



I’m fascinated with letters. As much as we communicate today, we don’t take the time to write a letter.
Before texting or emails or tweets or even cell phones, we used to write letters. It wasn’t that long ago.
Now when I would write a letter it was different from my parents. Much of the proper form had been lost with me, so I just wrote what ever came to my mind. But letter writing does not have spell-check or a delete button, so before you put pen to paper, you have to have some idea what you are going to write. You could write in pencil and allow for erasing, but who wants a letter written in pencil?
I was taught cursive writing in school, but never formal writing. Our family had a book on the different styles of writing and I would refer to it when writing a business letter, but I never learned how to write those mysteries of life that only written words can say.
Ken Burns did a good job in the “Civil War” series to show how people expressed themselves in letters. There are always stories about soldiers waiting for letters from home to keep in touch. There were certain rules to this game and it required some thought. A soldier could not give away secrets about location or mission and the family didn’t want to worry a son about his mother’s illness.
Some letters were poetic about the seasons and descriptive of occasions and activities. Some letters were more personal.
Even the “love letters” had enough mystery to them to allow the reader to read between the lines. This technique required thought and process before the ink dried. The words had to express the feelings without being misconstrued by the reader. For it would take some time to get a response hoping the meaning was clear.
To put an emotional thought onto paper and mailed was no guarantee of a reply. Even using a special pen or parchment paper and scented envelopes did not guarantee an understanding at the other end. Sometimes an explanation was requested in a following letter and another response. Sometimes this slow back and forth readings lost the original thought.
The reader could use the permanent ink as evidence or could become a fire starter. There are probably land fills full of mistaken ideas that were never sent.
The doctor says to write down your thoughts and it will organize your beliefs. The doctor doesn’t tell you to mail your writings.
The fear that someday you will come face-to-face with the reader can hesitate the mailing. So what do you get when you write the letter but do not send it?
The anticipation of opening an envelope and relishing in every word, every stroke of the pen knowing the writer took the time to sit down and prepare each sentence with the reader in mind has been lost in technology. Our microwave mentality has us comment and send without a second thought.
So I’ll open my email and see no post. I check my social media sites and see nothing of importance or relevance.
And at five o’clock I will walk to the mailbox and hope there is a letter in there amongst the bills and junk mail.

Monday, May 27, 2013

What do you do when Clifford doesn’t come home?



They had a big family. They knew what the country was going through. They all volunteered to help. And when it was over, they all came back home, except Clifford.
I don’t remember the family talking about him. I did find some letters from my mother to her mother trying to give support from across the country. I’m sure at the time it was difficult but like every other family of the time, there was a lot of support. It was a big family and they were there for my grandmother, except for Clifford.
There was a picture in my grandmother’s living room. It was my mother’s brother. He was in his white uniform. A brown metal hung on the picture. No one talked about the picture. No one went into the living room, except for Clifford.
He had a wife. Don’t know if the family ever had any contact with her. Maybe she remarried. Maybe she didn’t. No one seems to know, except for Clifford.
The military records say he was a lieutenant pilot in the navy born in 1922. The military awarded him the Navy flying cross so he must have been a good pilot. The military said he took off from an aircraft carrier. All my uncles and aunts and their spouses came home from the war, except for Clifford.
Photos show him was a smiling handsome man. No one knows what happened to him. Maybe he ran out of gas? Maybe he was shot down? No one knows, except Clifford.
I was given his name.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Plan B


Today’s subject is yet another takeaway from “This American Life” but it is an interesting subject. I refer to that program often because it is well written, full of surprises, and part of my Sunday ritual. (Ira, I expect a check in the mail anytime now.)
The idea was that we all have a Plan A. That is what we intend to do with our life. It is what we are trained and prepared to do. Supposedly our Plan A is what we do to follow our passion.
From what I remember, middle school was when everyone was asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” This was done so we could plan the courses that will allow us to accomplish our dreams. Then again what did we know?
We had our basic training in elementary school of how to read, write, and arithmetic. Our parents had formed our philosophical ideas and social interaction. So what do you say when asked, “What is your passion?” Like we were not having enough trouble with our bodies and racing hormones.
Not being interested in sports and not a good reader I didn’t have a passion. I was not involved in music yet or I would have said, “I want to be a rock star” but I’m not sure there was a curricular for electric guitarist. The porn industry was still in its infancy and besides I didn’t know you could make money doing that. So the only other thing I liked to do beside watching television and eating chocolate was drawing pictures.
“Artist” was my Plan A. It didn’t seem difficult or require taking a foreign language but gave me a reason to take two art classes and work on the yearbook design. Getting into the local art institute seemed pretty easy even with poor grades and even though my counselors told me I would never graduate or make my Plan A work, I kept going.
Either by talent or deception or sheer luck, I made a career of my Plan A. It was a good thing because I didn’t have a Plan B for employment.
We all plan but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. You get the right haircut and wear the right clothes and go out with the best friends, but the girl you are attracted to likes another guy. What is your Plan B? You know how it works. A group gathers with one attractive person and the rest become the second or third choice.
Sometimes Plan B turns out better than Plan A could. Sometimes there is a Plan C.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

What's cooking?



So the kitchen is done, well at least all the appliances and cabinets and floor and ceiling fan are in, so I guess it is time to start cooking. I’ve gone to the store and bought a series of pots and pans and trays and have two drawers of utensils but there is a problem.  What do I want to cook?
Cooking, as I have probably spoken about earlier, is a family activity. People gather in the kitchen and chat, drink wine, add ingredients, learn secrets and taste the meal being prepared. To some this is a classroom to learn recipes to take home and experiment with on their families then to others it is just an excuse to get the family together. The room offers a warm smoky atmosphere that is inviting to all with the constant cutting and moving and cleaning and laughter surrounded by wonderful aromas. In the end, everyone gets to participate in the feast.
There is a history of cooking. Here is mine.
My mother wasn’t much of a cook though she stayed in the kitchen most of the time. Her mother also loved the kitchen and made sure everyone was fed but what was cooked. I didn’t like my mother’s scrambled eggs but I liked my grandmother’s scrambled eggs. I found out the secret ingredient was milk.
I learned to have a taste for meat and potatoes that was the staple diet of the 50’s kid. This moved us into fast food without any resistance.
In college, I was lucky enough to be working for a vending machine company that supplied my apartment with canned chili and stews and sandwiches wrapped in plastic. On Sunday, I would go to the local market and buy a cube steak, beans, and potatoes. Cooked on the small oven and eating in front of the 9” black and white television was the supreme meal of the week. Unfortunately cooking requires cleaning the pots and pans and plates and my roommate and I were not real good at doing that. That bad habit follows me to this day.
Once married I found there was a thing called a “tuna casserole” that was amazing because I had never eaten anything like that. Other than that I don’t remember any overwhelming food discovers other than burning meat on a small Hibachi on our small porch outside. Luckily we could rob the stores from my parents to heat up and stay alive.
Again living alone, I think I mainly ate out. I would ride to the local burger places and order enough for several days. A cold sandwich in paper is just as good as a hot sandwich on my pallet. Salads and vegetables were rare unless prepared by someone else.
Once someone else was there to take care of me and provide interesting meals, I was off the hook from deciding what to eat and only sat back and enjoyed the presentation. There was the satisfaction of old favorites like meat and potatoes and stews but she was curious and wanted to know more.
After some classes we turned to oriental dining. An entirely different spices and oils and preparations were required. Learned to eat with chopsticks. It was fun and adventurous but after awhile we ran out of variations.
Due to whatever extractions were going on, cooking became a problem so the kitchen was unassembled and take-out became the norm. Just like going out to a restaurant but not leaving home, we found a company that offered menu items delivered to your door. Greek salads, double cheese pizza, cheese logs, mushrooms and all kinds of variables became our daily diet. Like a meals-on-wheels plan, an order was placed and we had food in the house for a week.
The past couple of years I have tried all the different taste I can come up with. Meat and potatoes, salads, Mexican, oriental, sandwiches, grilled, fried, take-out, eat-in, and every other variation that I can think of has been tried and tasted. Watching all the cooking shows only confirm what I already know. I don’t check coupons because I seem to leave them at home. I don’t plan ahead for meals of the week because my taste changes from day-to-day. Recipes must present something very special for me to buy additional ingredients that I will later throw away. Preparation doesn’t excite me and cleaning up is a chore.
Now with all the facilities available to me and all the utensils to prepare all the ingredients the local market has to offer, what will I cook?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Oh God


Have been following the discussion about the American Boy Scouts accepting “openly gay” boys into the troop. Now I was a scout. My troop was sponsored by our Baptist church and seemed like a normal phase for young lads to go through. The Boy Scouts were sort of a mini-military organization with uniforms and badges and salutes and all under the guiles of religion.
The Boy Scouts of America is the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.

Scouting will continue to:
* Offer young people responsible fun and adventure
* Instill in young people lifetime values and develop in them ethical character as expressed in the Scout Oath and Law
* Train young people in citizenship, service and leadership
* Serve America’s communities and families with its quality, values-based
Program.

The scouts were fine with me. We had organized gatherings with competent leaders who taught us how to tie knots and start fires and track animals and fish. All things urban boys are not exposed to. We all looked the same and followed the instructions and got new blue then brown then green costumes. Every move was rewarded with a patch our mothers sewed on a sash that was worn probably before the church and the other scouts. 

Scout Law
A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, Reverent (just like what you would want in a marriage or how you wished your dog would behave)

Every year groups of scouts would gather in some large field for a jamboree with tents and cookouts and activities that showed out strengths or skills or just bonding with other boys.
That gets me to the first point.
I know everyone had “don’t ask, don’t tell” and then coming “out of the closet” conflicts about the “gay” subject.
At the time I was a scout, there was never any talk of sexual preference. There was never any talk of sex at all. We were all just camping out and following instructions and getting rewards while looking like a cross between a cowboy and a soldier.  All I know was that back in the day, boys would wrestle and horseplay and sometimes touch each other in what is now inappropriate manners and nothing was ever said.
Maybe we were caught up in the regimentation of the scouts or maybe we just didn’t talk about it. It was just the way boys grew up.
Actuality no one ever talked about it because it was taboo and was swept under the rug. It really didn’t bother us boys not knowing who was gay and who was not. The only people who presented themselves differently were flamboyant and outrageous and drew attention to themselves hearing the familiar degrading remarks of  Qu**r or Ho*o or F*ggot as a response to their actions. The rest of us all looked alike in our uniforms. No one could tell if you were rich or poor or protestant or Jewish or could speak French or play the violin.
Also my time in Boy Scouts was when I was too young and naïve enough not to be influenced by what I didn’t understand or heard about.

Then I saw another story about “atheist boys” joining the scouts. Wooo! Now that is a whole different matter. Read (below) the Boy Scouts Oath:

Boy Scouts oath

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
And to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
Mentally awake, and morally straight.

But then again there is that pesky Pledge Allegiance to the Flag that we learn when we are kids.


"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Then there is that motto we print on every dollar bill.

“In God we trust" was adopted as the official motto of the United States in 1956 as an alternative or replacement to the unofficial motto of E pluribus unum, (out of many, one) adopted when the Great Seal of the United States was created and adopted in 1782.

So what are the Boy Scouts of America going to do with the Atheist Scouts?

"Dumb All Over"
Whoever we are
Wherever we're from
We shoulda noticed by now
Our behavior is dumb
And if our chances
Expect to improve
It's gonna take a lot more
Than tryin' to remove
The other race
Or the other whatever
From the face
Of the planet altogether
They call it THE EARTH
Which is a dumb kinda name
But they named it right
'Cause we behave the same...
We are dumb all over
Dumb all over,
Yes we are
Dumb all over,
Near'n far
Dumb all over
Black 'n white
People, we is not wrapped tight
Nurds on the left
Nurds on the right
Religious fanatics
On the air every night
Sayin' the Bible
Tells the story
Makes the details
Sound real gory
'Bout what to do
If the geeks over there
Don't believe in the book
We got over here
You can't run a race
Without no feet
'N pretty soon
There won't be no street
For dummies to jog on
Or doggies to dog on
Religious fanatics
Can make it be all gone
(I mean it won't blow up
'N disappear
It'll just look ugly
For a thousand years...)
You can't run a country
By a book of religion
Not by a heap
Or a lump or a smidgeon
Of foolish rules
Of ancient date
Designed to make
You all feel great
While you fold, spindle
And mutilate
Those unbelievers
From a neighboring state
TO ARMS! TO ARMS!
Hooray! That's great
Two legs ain't bad
Unless there's a crate
They ship the parts
To mama in
For souvenirs: two ears (Get down!)
Not his, not hers (but what the hey?)
The Good Book says:
"It's gotta be that way!"
But their book says:
"REVENGE THE CRUSADES. . .
With whips 'n chains
'N hand grenades. . ."
TWO ARMS? TWO ARMS?
Have another and another
Our Cod says:
"There ain't no other!"
Our Cod says
"It's all okay!"
Our God says "This is the way!"
It says in the book:
"Burn 'n destroy. ..
'N repent, 'n redeem
'N revenge, 'n deploy
'N rumble thee forth
To the land of the unbelieving scum on the other side
'Cause they don't go for what's in the book
'N that makes 'em BAD
So verily we must choppeth them up
And stompeth them down
Or rent a nice French bomb
To poof them out of existence
While leaving their real estate just where we need it
To use again
For temples in which to praise OURGOD
("Cause he can really take care of business!")
And when his humble TV servant
With humble white hair
And humble glasses
And a nice brown suit
And maybe a blonde wife who takes phone calls
Tells us our God says
It's okay to do this stuff
Then we gotta do it,
'Cause if we don't do it,
We ain't gwine up to hebbin!
(Depending on which book you're using at the time...
Can't use theirs. . .it don't work . . .it's all lies...Gotta use mine...)
Ain't that right?
That's what they say
Every night...
Everyday. ..
Hey, we can't really be dumb
If we're just following
God's Orders
Hey, let's get serious...
God knows what he's doin'
He wrote this book here
An'the book says:
He made us all to be just like Him,"
so...
If we're dumb...
Then God is dumb...
(An' maybe even a little ugly on the side)  Frank Zappa

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

It Makes You Wonder



Money is our driving force. It pays for our food. It pays for our shelter. It pays for our clothing. It pays for our protection. It pays for our entertainment.
We work for money. Someone or something evaluates our value and gives us compensation for required activities. Some of us don’t think we make enough and some probably make too much, but the money flows.
I’m not an economist or a financial advisor, but with today’s news of the tornado destruction I see an outpouring of assistance from the humane society.
I view it as something engrained in our being to want to help. The outpouring almost makes you respect our species.
There is a “But” to this feel good fuzzy emotional reaction.
It seems like only a few days ago there was this political battle over budgets and wars and who pays for this and who doesn’t get that and look at how big the budget for the government is getting.
I know there are financial people who will figure out how much money you need to live a “good” life and retire on easy street. We try to balance between immediate demands on our cash and what we are available to stow away into some kind of stock option or 401 or off shore holding.
Then comes something like a tornado. A tornado wipes out everything. All that is familiar and constant to life is gone in an instant. What do you do?
How do you start over again? Of course there is insurance but as we all know what you think your value of that wedding dress isn’t exactly what the insurance company will pay. I wonder how you take off a lost of your life on taxes?
There are foundations and organizations who help direct our giving spirit to the immediate cause and then there is a overshadowing government that tries to provide whatever we request, even if it is silly, but we don’t want to pay for it. We continue to try and find ways of not paying taxes and arguing over the differences we value as necessary or not.
My point, if they’re ever is one, is why don’t we get rid of this stress. We seem to have enough money to pay for all the stuff we need and all the help or benefits for the downtrodden.
So why can’t we ALL just decide to pay off our debt and stop filling an rainy day funds to get along with the real business at hand? Maybe it is time to innovate, educate, and explore the future instead of fussing about the past. We seem to have enough money and the desire.
Or will it take a tornado to balance the budget?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

“I Married The Slut”



About a dozen years ago I started writing this. I thought about making it a book and still might because it is a long story, but decided to keep it short here.
And so it begins...
I’m sure little boys have gone through this since time began. They get to that certain age when they want to discover the opposite gender.
Being a child of the conservative 50’s, there was no training for what was about to happen. The teachers in school never talked about “it”, the church said “it” was bad, and your parents never discussed “it”.
There were the oblivious and acceptable advertisements and televisions shows that emphasized the degradation and discrimination of the female species. There was mixed signals between the “good girls” and the “bad girls”.
The “good girls” were supposed to become stay-at-home mothers, or secretaries, or nurses, or teachers. They were taught homemaking skills and typing. They also became prom queens and cheerleaders. They read teen magazines and wore crinolines.
And us lads were taught that that is just the way it was. We were expected to go out with the “good girls” and bring them flowers and take them to dances and swoon over malts before taking them home at a proper time. Everything was above board with a possible kiss now and then until vows were passed.
After that there were no instructions on what to do. I guess that is why there are so many of us boomers.
So us boys had an idea of the girl we wanted to take to the prom was supposed to be a “good girl”. The girl we wanted our friends to see on our arm. The girl we would take home to our mother. The girl we would ask for her hand from her father.
The girls were perky and had just right hair dos and wore the latest dresses and giggled with the other girls. She had those big doe eyes and a turned up nose and pouty mouth and a laugh that will wake up the room.
Then there were those girls from the other side of the tracks. They were the girls who were known as the loose girls. They hung out with a different crowd. They had reputations. They had a certain sash and a certain walk that would get your attention but were not available or acceptable to you. These were the “bad girls”.
Some were daughters of warm and caring families. She grew up with Christmas. She played with Barbie dolls. She played team sports and had friends and neighbors. She sat down to turkey dinners and went on first dates.
Society accepted the soldier or cowboy or cop or fireman or fisherman or construction worker or sports figure as the macho male figure that no girl can resist. Movies and advertisements and books created a culture where the “good girl” would be swept off her feet by a big strong handsome hunk and live happily every after with her prince charming.
Some may have found this dream could not be reached and looked elsewhere. Some may have found a different culture too attractive to resist or maybe the rainbow at the end of a rough childhood.
The culture of the time also showed the “good girls” could obsess about “bad boys”. James Dean, Marlon Brando, and Elvis brought a new vision that the white-bread male could be a little dangerous. Even the Beatles were viewed with suspicion. When “good girls” wandered down that path they met a dark side that everyone wanted but were not allowed to ask for.
The term “slut” has been past down through the ages. Slut is an offensive term meaning a woman thought to be sexually promiscuous.
May it be known to all that thought the description of the before mentioned “S” word is not very nice, it may or may not fit the circumstance in this matter. As you read the excerpts of following, I will let you decide what the description means and if it is true to the setting.
The next question you may ask is “Why marry a slut?”
You will have to read the complete manuscript to find out why and how and what happens next.
With that said.... I will begin.
Where does one find a “slut” to marry? Well, you don’t have to look very far. There may be one next to you right now. Look to your right and look to your left. Is she married or is she a “slut”? Is she the family type or is she a “slut”? Can you tell by the look or the feel or the smell?
Sluts don’t look any different, except for that look in their eyes. I’m sassy and I know it.
Yes, we are talking about the three-letter word. “S-E-X” including the hormones that both sexes of our species comply during this period of adventure. The signal that attracts pairs together in the mating ritual since time began. This is the drive that maintains our species to procreate.
If this sounds like a religious experience, then you and hopefully yours have been there. The “slut” can make the ordinary, the mundane, and the same missionary position that has created life for centuries become a rollercoaster ride to ecstasy.
So the big question...
Who are these sluts and where do they come from?
Read on...
What do you think a “slut” is? Is a “slut” the woman who stands on the corner in a short fur jacket, loosely fitting tank top, white hot pants, and knee high vinyl boots offering a quick look, touch, or squeeze for a few bucks as you drive by? Is a “slut” the woman who delivers money she has earned doing unspeakable acts on strangers at their bidding to a sleazy greasy weasel with a lot of gold chains and snot running down his nose? Is a “slut” the business executive in the Pierre Cardin suit who rubs against you in a crowed elevator with a smile? Is a “slut” the little schoolgirl in the short plaid green pleated skirt and knee socks with paten leather shoes who drops her books at the bus stop to bend down allowing you a quick glimpse of white cotton panties?
A “slut” can be anyone, anywhere, anyhow...
Could a “slut” be the girl next door who turns on her bedroom light, opens the blinds at midnight, and slowly undresses, while you quiver and shake, eyes pressed to binoculars focused on the chance to see something that will teach you how to become a man. A slut makes you tremble as you watch her slip out of her underwear and turn off the light. Then imagination takes over.
Do You Get The Picture Yet?
She or he is not the “slut”. The IDEA is the “Slut”. The IDEA of a fantasy or wish or a tawdry desire is the “Slut”. We all create our sluts. A “slut” can be a streetwise hooker or the all American girl next door.
In some eyes, we can take the IDEA and create sluts from the pure or the corrupt. Remember everyone starts out the same way. Some grow to be sluts and some grow out of being sluts.
Imagine, if you will, that the young virgin from high school that doesn’t smoke, drink, or stay out late at night is a “slut”. This is always possible if the rumor mill can provide enough stories, true or made up, to the adolescent mind. And as the stories spread and grow, looks and attitudes toward the young virgin will change.
“How can anyone believe these stories?”. “Don’t they know I’m a nice girl?”  Have you heard this before? Have you told any of these stories? Have any of these stories been spread by you? Have any of these stories been embellished by you? Have you ever wished someone would create stories like this about you?
Through the stories of friends and exaggerations of others, the fantasy is either true or not true? It doesn’t matter. The IDEA is planted and spread. A “slut” is born.
What do you believe?
If these stories persist, the young virgin must face the realization of how to deal with them. Since most of us, at a tender age, listen, no, live for the reaction of our peers, the pressure is immense.
“Will they respect me in the morning?” She’s such a nice girl. “Come on, be one of us.” She’s such a nice girl. “Everyone else does it.” She’s such a nice girl. “It won’t hurt.” she’s such a nice girl. “Trust me.” She’s such a nice girl. “I always wanted to do it anyway.” She’s such a nice girl.
Girl scouts become sluts. Basketball players become sluts. Cheerleaders become sluts. Ballerinas become sluts. Horseback riders become sluts. Debutantes become sluts.
Daddy, don’t fool youself. You fell for sluts, and so will little Bobby, the football star quarterback from Tech who lives down the block. Your wife has agreed with his mom that he takes her to the dance on Saturday. Although he is well groomed and presents himself with lot of “Yes sir, I think we can beat State this year...” and flowers in hand, remember. Bobby views your young virgin daughter, who was riding ponies yesterday, as the hottest babe he hopes to lay his hands on.
Who is a slut...?
You are.
What do I do now?
Now you know who...now what?
Once you find out you are interest in, the “slut” or that you are a “slut”, life changes. Not everyone knows what to do once this revelation is made. Some may try to hide it, some may try to fake it, some may deny it...but the truth is clear. A slut, is a slut, is a slut. And how one reacts to a slut is based on many elements. Is it heredity or is it environment? Just wait and see.
So you were a little upset to find out your pants were wet when you thought you had great control. Did the slut do that? Or is your self-control losing it when around the slut?
What happens when you are around a slut? Do you realize it? The bank teller.... the burger flipper.... the cheerleader.... the woman hanging laundry next door, they could all be sluts. Yes, they all could be sluts.
Just because they look “normal” during the day, when you can see them in the situations of the cultural existence, doesn’t mean that during the evening hours the Slut comes out. The girl who accepts your laundry at the dry cleaners could slide around on satin sheets with one or two of the opposite or same sex doing unspeakable acts of human lust at night.
Think about it. Look around. Is the secretary typing a memo in the front office? Is she a slut? The guy who carries your groceries to your car? Could he deliver an excitement of unforgettable proportions?
Does S-E-X have anything to do with your perceptions? These people who work next to you, drink the same water, go to the same rest rooms, past in the hallways, and sit in the same lunchroom. Do they smell any different after being a “slut”? Could you tell a difference between people who had been a “slut” to one who wasn’t?
If you cannot tell the difference, does that mean that everyone you meet rubs elbows with, pass on the street...could be “sluts”? And if that is true, and everyone else maybe a “slut”, does that mean that everyone else looks at you as a “slut”?
Oh my (or your) God! How do you react to the premise that everyone thinks that you are some sex crazed “slut”?
Sure, in your spare time, after taking off the corporate image, you strap on the leather and force yourself on some unsuspecting virgin. Or you bow to the perverted image of some corporate lawyer and his stepson.
So now you know there is no one you can trust to be a non-slut. You must stop and reevaluate your friends and family. That’s right, family. Can you ever look at your brother or sister and not wonder? Or for that matter, what about mom and dad? That’s right, anyone can be a “slut” and may be living under your roof as we speak.
Scary huh? Well, don’t be scared, it is part of life. The idea of being a slut isn’t as bad as it first seemed. Now that you know that everyone around you is a slut too.
Oops! Did I say too? That would mean that you are already a slut or you think you may.
We all have the potential for presenting the features or status of being a slut in other’s eyes. The imagination is a wonderful thing.
We will follow this notion in later chapters, but to get you ready for this, could you imagine someone or everyone as a slut.
Before we continue too far, let bring us back to the definition of a slut as a sexual premise. There are certain sluts in politics, religion, and business, but we are discussing the personal life that everyone else lives.
How do you identify this slut character and what do you do when you recognize it? What do you want to do when you recognize it? That is the secret question.
Once you find that you or someone around you is a slut, what do you do? How do you react?
Well, I’m sorry that I’m the first one to tell you so far, but these people or yourself have been around since birth and you didn’t even know it. Does it matter? Does it make a difference? Does it change the Ying / Yang of life? The culture? The way the world rotates? I don’t think so.
People don’t smell or act or eat or walk any different after being a slut. You could take a census of sluts and get a true reading. There is not a slut category in the census. That is because the ones that are acting like sluts, are only acting and the other normal reacting beings are or may have been in near or present past reacting like sluts in the out of sight fashion. In other words, you can’t trust your eyes, ears, nose, or the senses to confirm a slut is in your presents.
OK guys, now the time has come for you to face up to your responsibility. Does she like the performance of your immature and ill prepared aggression? Can she tolerate your inaccurate desires? Can she pretend to accept your advances with the utmost pleasure, while satisfy your primal lust and adolescent wants. Will she remain active in the relation?
I married the slut.  Maybe I got her out of a degrading relationship or maybe we just clicked. Perhaps we gave each other what we needed at that period of time. Whatever it was that drew us together, we brought our history with us.

I Gotta Go!



Do you know these people? Maybe you are these people? You know the ones who cannot sit still for any period of time.
Those who must constantly be moving intrigue me. I don’t know if it is the multi-tasking element or just the jitters, but some people seem to need to continue to move.
For some, maybe many, it is the constant wonder of what is next. I noticed this in high school with those who could not sit still and was always looking for another adventure. Now I notice it with people who plan every moment of their lives and stick to the schedule. The consistent reviewing of the phone messages and the agitated behavior means they want to move onto something else.
As the ice cream truck wanders the neighborhood, I think of my parents and their childhood. They didn’t have the cell phones or laptops or radio or television or constant connections with their friends. They went home from school and read a book or sat quietly in their room listening to the chorus from an open window.
Sure, this seems so ancient, but there is a point here. When was the last time you turned off all your electronics and sat quietly while a rainstorm rolled by? When did you wake up in the morning to the song of the yard and just lie there and enjoy it? When did you decide to take a walk in the evening instead of watching the latest news blast and opinion?
Tonight I sit quietly in my chair with a window open. The noise and colored visuals of the news presents information though toned down and the neighbor’s lawnmower just about drowns out the sound.
It can all be turned off, including the overhead light, to watch the activities of the yard. The steady pattern of big furry critter followed by smaller critters and then the feathered friends are consistent yet varied on any given day.
There is the catfight from late last night or the squawks from this morning when the sun rose, but these are just the sounds of a patch of land that is dedicated to nature. This is all a part of what nature has to offer.
But taking the time to put down every distraction and involving yourself in the quiet can be an unexpected adventure. Maybe the abuse of substances assists in these absences of distractions.
Have you ever sat on a sailboat when there is no wind?
So tonight, if the weather decides to rain and provide a light show, I will wander out on the porch and sit for hours as an innocent observer and enjoy the sound and the glory and the mist in my face without the desire to more to something else.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

I’ll drink to that



It is a dark rainy day here. The yard has been fed and they are coming up on the porch to stay dry. The “Antiques Road Show” is on after following some cooking shows. It is a typical slow Saturday afternoon.
As I open another bullet, I think about how much alcohol plays in our lives. I’m sure the historians will say since we’ve been on the planet we have made every attempt to dull the lives we live with some form of alcohol.
When we gather, the first request at the table is, “What do you want to drink?”
Now a touch of history, my father was in the entertainment business. From the 20’s through the 70’s that included alcohol. From running moonshine to the brown bag era to the blue laws, my family was involved in alcohol. Not knowing my parents’ parents’ reaction to this environment or the reaction of the weekly visits to the church, there was always alcohol in my family’s life. I’ve seen pictures of my family having a party for friends with drinks in their hand but I don’t remember. I think the boys were always sent to their rooms when this happened. I’m sure my parents were alcoholics but either it was hidden well or I didn’t see it growing up. Maybe my brother knows more about it?
Growing up, there was a cabinet at the top of the stairs that was full of bottles. My father would purchase decorative bottles and save them there. I never acquired what was in them? I remember goofy shot glasses too were around the kitchen, but I never knew of any other bottles. No one drank at dinner, at least as I could see, or even discussed drinking. It was a grown up sport.
About middle school, boys started to explore the edges and drinking was one of those forbidden challenges. Since there was an age limit to purchase alcohol we had to come up with unscrupulous ways of acquiring the illegal liquid.
Having a wild cousin who would try anything and getting to the age of shaving, I used my artistic skills to forge identification cards and after a day of surfing and sweeping while growing a beard, we stopped by the local bait shop that also sold cases of beer. A group of use gathered our money and sent me in sense I looked the oldest and the shop owner did not know me and I returned with a case of 3.2 beers.
We gathered on the beach under a dark sky and a bright fire celebrating in our plunder. There were so many of us and the beer was so weak we didn’t get buzzed but it was the adventure we celebrated.
Today we celebrate everything with alcohol. We toast at weddings, we hail victories, and we drown our sorrows and wash away our tears. Every weekend there seems to be a beer fest or wine tasting or any excuse to drink. Our sports are fueled in alcohol. Our cultural events are bubbling fest for an excuse to drink. We relax when we get home from a hard day at work with a drink. We calm our nerves with a drink.
Once we start dating, alcohol can make or break a relationship. We combine those passions of being together with the power of the barley or the grape and ruin a perfectly good opportunity and make it into a bad situation. Some of us handle alcohol well and some of us don’t.
In high school I had two sets of friends, well actually three. One group was the guys I went to school with. We had parties and found girls to associate with and played music and laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. This group did not drink.
Another group who lived further out and had automotive transportation and were accepted by my parents, as kids I should hang around with were a little more absorbed in the drink. One of our thrills was going to a local establishment and ordering a round of beers on fake IDs. I’m sure the owner knew these kids but allowed the activity to happen. What he didn’t know was when it was closing time we would load up our vehicles and drive to the end of our acceptable territorial and race to the other end. Not the smartest move, but we were teenagers. Most of us got away with it. I didn’t.
Perhaps that steered me away from this group? Maybe the reaction of the girls we were pouring alcohol into hoping to get lucky? Maybe it was a moral factor I didn’t know? I don’t remember having any obnoxious effects from drinking at this time, but it was sparingly spaced and not very offensive.
On occasion I would overdo the obvious. On one strange night a few friends invaded a girl friend’s house and broke into her father’s bar. Bourbon was what I remember, barely, as being my downfall. Don’t remember what made us do this because it was unusual for us to drink but here we were getting sloshed. I remember my friend’s cousin and I trading places barfing out in the yard. I remember sitting on the kitchen floor holding on to my friends’ girlfriend’s sister’s leg ranting some crazy talk. I remember being carried up to my backdoor and saying, “It’s OK I can make it.” I remember waking up the next morning with a trashcan by the bed and feeling like the world was sitting on my head. I remember some friends coming by that afternoon to watch me die. I remember going out that night enjoying the wind in my face as we drove away. To this day I cannot drink brown liquor.
After that I stayed away from alcohol. Also about his time herbal substances were becoming popular. Even those who did not drink started to take part in the dulling of life, but then this exercise took persistent to the way we interacted.
After some experiments with wine and beer, a couple settled on entertaining with the grape. Trying to have some tasting test we realized our friends just wanted to get buzzed and didn’t care about the quality of the substance they consumed at our expense.
As my mother drowned herself in the lost of her husband, I decided to drown myself in beer. It was cheaper than wine and the other substances started to become worrisome, so the Heinekens filled the basement.
By now I had become a person living alone and had available all kinds of things that might ease the pain. I even went to the dark side.
But today, when we gather, we talk and laugh and drink. Whether it is a barley base or a grape base or some combination of grains and spices and waters and such, it is alcohol.
We’ve grown up with families and settled down and become neighbors and citizens of our local townships. We invite others to come share a cook out on the grill or swap some family stories on the deck over a glass or two or librations.
So does that mean we are a country of drunks? I certainly cannot evaluate that conclusion as I open another bullet.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Who are your friends?


I know I bring this up now and again, but I thought about who are the people you talk to everyday. The ones you confide in. The ones you listen to when they give advice. The ones who are comfortable enough with to just hang around.
When you live alone and only travel to the store and home again you don’t have many friends. I begin to understand what happened 25 years ago.
The morning friends were Matt and Al and Katie then Meredith and then Anne. They were in the kitchen first thing every morning. They joked around and felt like family. Their conversations started the day and attracted more of the attention over coffee and oatmeal.
I would go to work, but other friends entered the house. First there was Whoppie, Joy, Elizabeth, Sherri and Barbara. They would just sit around and gab away. If I weren’t going to work, these guys would force me out of the house. I couldn’t stand it.
The news guys followed with breaking news, weather, traffic and usually something cute. They all came in on the same channel, but now it was time for a change.
Oops! I think I gave it away.
“All My Children”, “One Life To Live”, and a daily passion “General Hospital” took care of the afternoon. I would hear every night the escapades of the riches families as if they had been in the living room. Ericka would do this or that and Luke and Laura did something else. The tales were just like a recap of a day but a day with strangers.
They were strangers to me but they were friends to her.
After dinner we would sit back and relax with our friends Hawkeye and Trapper and Radar and Quincy and Fraser and Niles and Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, Ross and even Buffy, but by that time I was ready for sleep.
Over the years as some of our friends left and we didn’t make friends with reality or hook up or singing and dancing shows, the past history recordings came to become a library.
While everyone else was building families and forming new friends, our friends came and went with the seasons. Work never presented anyone to spend time with and everyone else who had been bonded with moved away, so these were our friends.
Today my friends are Rachael and Brian and Jim and Jeffrey and Gwen and Hari and Ray and Margaret and Judy and Mark and Michael. On weekends, I don’t remember their names but they wear strange uniforms.
Online there are other friends of which some I know and some I only observe like looking through a window or listen through a wall. Sometimes I comment and sometimes they respond. It is a very awkward conversation, like waiting for a letter in the mail.
My friends today are very similar to her friends from the past. They don’t talk back. Much of their conversation I don’t have to listen to but am comforted by their background noise. I can turn down the sound and make up what they are saying and then laugh. Then I can turn them off.
I know they will be there tomorrow. Looking at me behind the glass. The same pleasant smiles and non-evasive remarks are always available. The location may change but I’m guaranteed I will learn something new. They may show me how to cook or take me to distant places or introduce interesting people or ideas. If I don’t like what they are doing I can change their presents with a click of a button. How many times at a party have you ever wanted to do that?
The real friends, those who visit me daily, mostly like hobos seeking free food are the critter crew. Offering a fairly quiet and protected area, they return every day to consume their daily buffet and reward me with their antics of amazement and sing sweet wakeup songs not found on ringtones.
Some day I’ll record some of these strange conversations I have with my feathered and furry friends. When the neighbors hear me they run inside, but these guys seem to understand my crazy talk.
Note: The image above was some friends from junior high school. I have no ideas who they are.