“The last check I write is to the undertaker and it bounces.”
“I don’t wanna.” I am sure was my initial reaction.
I can not say I remember not knowing, yet I am pretty sure I had to find out sometime.
Or is it instinctual knowledge as monarch butterflies know where to migrate to and from. After all we are trained from the get go to organize our instincts into acceptable reactions, so maybe that knowledge gets short circuited, only to be reintroduced in a more elaborate lesson further down the road.
We have told ourselves, have been told, taught by others, many elaborate stories on the subject of the long dirt nap. Before we ritualized and institutionalized the process I would imagine it was rather like going to sleep in a manner ranging from peacefully to horribly and then waking up dead. I suppose that waking up dead part is where the story begins in some versions and where it ends in others.
From celebrating my grandmothers “last” birthday for the first twenty one years of my life to witnessing my child’s crying jag upon the realization of the apparent inevitable; I felt always aware of the final summation. If the equation is alive or not alive, i can say I have spent a lot more time not alive than alive in the grand scheme of things. So as I walk through this vacation from being not alive the words of Melville always vibrate through every strand of my DNA.
“Wherefore, for all these things, we account the whale immortal in his species, however perishable in his individuality.”
So if you are looking for answers I say, “Move along. There is nothing to see here.” You want answers, people got a million of them. In price ranges from free to all your earthly possessions. Up to and including your life. After all, you can’t take it with you. The ultimate sliding scale.
From the first time I saw “Lady & the Tramp” I was twitter-patted. I would lay in bed at night thinking of new adventures for me and the adorable Lady. The story seemed to sum up life as it should be. The lowly hard scrabble Tramp falls for the gentle well bred Lady. Sure I was a little boy and these were cartoon dogs, but never let details get in the way of aspirations. Every night for months I would tell myself stories as I fell asleep in my middle class bed in a well cared for home. Again, details. I had found my goal. Become a Tramp and someday I would find my Lady. After a day of saving the lady we would have the most romantic dinner. What happened after the diner never crossed my mind at that tender age. But once I found out I became even more googly eyed.
I have worked hard to be a Tramp since then. Every new relationship I entered into would seem like the beginning of another romantic adventure for those two anthropomorphized characters ala nineteen fifties Walt Disney scenes-cape. In some cases I was not the only Tramp in the story. But being a hopeless romantic my partners were always ladies even with a little tramp thrown in for spice.
Of course my mother never forgave the movie’s deleterious effects on the way I would consume spaghetti.
Hardy har har.
A stranger knockin’ on a door here in ‘Merica.
Very brave stranger or very stupid stranger.
I’ll give ‘em directions.
Hands up. Back away from the door slowly and don’t come around here no mo’.
This short and cynical message brought to you by me.
Oh dear, I have to use the carpet sweeper around his darn cars, the three year old me’s mother of three dolefully thought to herself. The caboose showed up nine years after she thought she was done. She never should have given her husband that birthday present nine months before the caboose was pulled kicking and screaming into their familie’s rail yard. She certainly wouldn’t have given her husband the gift of herself if she had known he was more than a few years older than she had thought through two decades marriage.
Life is full of surprises.
What is President Eisenhower talking about now she thought noticing the round screen television. Sure his Generalship had brought back her husband safe from the Normandy invasion, but now she questioned whether she was grateful or not for that fact. Sometimes she was . Sometimes she wasn’t.
“Peter. move you toys off the rug and go out and play on the screened porch.”
Peter looked up and obeyed with out speaking. She wished his older brother and sister would spend more time playing with him, but she did not push that too hard. That may make them resent the caboose even more. She finished sweeping the carpets as The President droned on and on and on TV. For a military hero he was sure boring. But boring was good for her generation. After The Great Depression and World War Two boring was just fine with her and many Americans.
She went in the kitchen and found the child playing in the doorway. He seemed fascinated by the cracked tiles that separated the kitchen from the screened back porch. The unfinished back porch she thought dolefully and accusingly. That shanty Irishman she married never finishes any of these household projects. Why didn’t she marry a carpenter like her father had been.
Just as she completed her thought that he was no good either Peter piped up gibbering about “Tommie”.
The only Tommie she knew was her mothers parakeet. She looked out the unfinished back porch window to the small coach house where her mother lived with her pet parakeet, Tommie.
To this day I still recall as my first memory a picture in my mind of that budgie while I played in that doorway . The bird too.
Make do Pete.
I will keep things held together from cars to electronics to things that should not be held together with bubble gum, duct tape, and super glue until they are beyond the pale.
But I do.
I might tell myself that it has to do with my life’s cash flow misadventures, but I know that would not be true.
Even before I became a NINJA (No Income No Job No Assets) I would tinker endlessly with things that others would pronounce broken, fix them, and then happily use them for years to come. Even when I could have easily and comfortably partaken in our quickly disposable culture.
When my possibilities were well stacked and tied to the selling of items to people who did not need, want ,or could afford in order to impress people they did not like.
I was the anti-consumer.
My life’s mantra before purchasing has always been, “is this something I need or just something I want.”
When I felt I was of an age and in a position to partake fully in the American Scheme I sought and found assistance to become the job creating consumer it was my patriotic duty to be. I enlisted the aid of another.
So back to being me. Who needs new stuff when I can fill my time tinkering with old well worn items. I feel personally responsible for the economic downturn because I am no longer the much needed consumer in our consumer driven economy.
But that is my take on things.
Now in experiences I have always enjoyed the new. I don’t watch the same movie twice, read the same book over, or listen to the same music over and over again. That has kept the boat anchor of outdated media formats from hanging around my neck and cluttering up the feng shui of my life stream.
My addiction for the new experience has it’s problematic side, but I feel rewarded when I am awash in uncharted sensations. But it has given some in my life the feeling that I wanted to be somewhere else. That is a false perception on their part. People are not things or experiences. They are a category unto themselves.
Make do Pete accepts them for who they are. I have learned not to tinker in that tank the hard way.
So not avante garde but on guard in an avate garde sort of way
Bedroom is rather Spartan. Austere I would say. I do not have a lot of stuff, so the last place that gets junked up is the bedroom. The only mess I ever really had in the bedroom, once I became a adult and learned to pick up after myself, was cleared out with my divorce. Ten years of blissful order.
As for the electronic desktops on my newfangled ciphering machines; I have always been a folder guy so nothing untoward there.
Dull. I know.
Now if you want to talk about messy I would like to introduce you to my kitchen. We are not talking about the sink. That is fairly sparse. Keeping my “stuff” to a minimum helps that situation. The oven may be a bit crusty and shall be attacked chemically.
But when I say you could eat off the kitchen floor; that you can take literally. I mean there are enough crumbs and aged schmears spread across that tiled expanse to feed Sherman’s army for a week.