I was not surprised when Jesse Ventura was elected Governor of Minnesota because politics is exactly like professional wrestling. I am actually surprised more wrestlers do not run for political office. Both games are rigged, full of deceit, and fueled by a huge fan base that absolutely craves being outraged by villains and outrageous characters. Humans love to hate rival athletes and sports teams. We despise rival politicians and political parties. We are addicted to being upset at other drivers, bosses, co-workers, government and company employees, customers, educators, neighbors, relatives, and our unfavorite celebrities. Social media now enables us to take shaming to great new depths. It works for me because contempt is dished out like crazy on such a grand scale that lesser villains like myself escape relatively unscathed. People in glass houses are hurling stones at the violinists fiddling while Rome burns. I laugh so hard it brings tears to my eyes.
Month: January 2020
I read this opening sentence in a notebook I found while downsizing: “The idea of having fun is more important than actually having it.” I believe my middle son penned those words based on a number of clues, including some vulgar material found elsewhere in the journal. My brother Kevin shared this outlook. Part of his checklist before embarking on any adventure was to have a plan for the next adventure after the upcoming one. This always made sense to me, although I was never able to practice it because my ventures tended to be unplanned and unfun. I abandoned my Volkswagen Rabbit on Crystal Mountain and hitched a ride home when it would not start. At the time I had no plan for the next adventure which turned out to be running my Rabbit out of oil and exploding the engine on the freeway in Seattle. So many of my escapades involve abandoning vehicles. I have been stranded in Idaho more than once. I tried to plan more fun itineraries. But my wife and I were detained by gunmen in fatigues in a mountain pass on our only trip to Mexico. We permanently lost all our luggage in Puerto Rico. We were put in a holding pen for hours when we tried to attend a Super Bowl in Dallas with tickets to seats they could not find. Occasionally we attract people to join us on trips because they think we are exaggerating. They always offer to drive though.
Facebook checked their survey for validity and bias with instructions before the last question. Participants were told to check the “no answer” option from among six choices asking about the length of the survey and to write “I read instructions” in the “any other comments” box. I make an outlier comment: “I read the last instruction carefully but skimmed the earlier ones.” I am fascinated by psychological and lie detector tests. I assume “Have you ever lied?” must be answered “yes” or you identify yourself as a liar. If you actually never lied or even thought you never lied, an employer still does not want to hire you. The last medical form I submitted included back to back pages of yes/no questions. I crave checking “no” to bolster my superhuman fantasy, but my unfortunate kryptonite exposure requires a “yes” for rheumatic fever and skin cancers. In the “last year” section, I admitted to a four day melanoma excision but after checking “no” to all sorts of drugs, I was paralyzed by “aspirin.” I kept some handy just in case but never did ingest any, mostly because I do not understand when to take it versus Tylenol and ibuprofen. I was tempted to lie and say I took aspirin in case it was a control question but I resist lies under pressure. My lies are generally calculated after due deliberation. Like when I told my wife I was taking my medication after the excisions.
Adenoidal Baboon Caps
I wondered if Russell Grant’s Illustrated Dream Dictionary would be just a fancy horoscope. Grant says adenoid removal dreams mean “new friends will greatly admire you.” So dreaming about that procedure is much better than actually having it. Anteater dreams mean bankruptcy is looming. That bolstered credibility because I have never dreamed about anteaters and sure enough, I have never come close to bankruptcy. I am too timid to go for broke, focusing mostly on a risk averse existence. For example, marrying my wife was a no-brainer after I started dreaming about baboons. They “are a good sign for the single” because marriage is “just around the corner.” I would quibble about the universality of the “good sign” characterization. Either way, knowing the future dampens the excitement of surprises. According to Grant, dreaming about “wearing a cap is a good omen for your love life.” So I am going to start wearing a cap to bed. I hope it helps me dream about wearing one. I am only up to the letter C, so imagine all the postings I am going to milk from this dream topic.
Marriage by the Day
Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher were married for a record 84 years. Their secret: they both made the effort to stay alive until age 105. Some marriages are contrived. One woman married her female roommate because it was the only way freshmen were permitted to live off campus, presumably providing better access to boyfriends and a wilder lifestyle. But some short-lived marriages are contracted by couples who are in love and planning (seemingly naively) on the long term. Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth finalized their divorce settlement last month after an August 2019 separation ended their marriage at seven months. They outlasted other celebrity unions: Britney Spears/Jason Alexander (55 hours), Dennis Hopper/Michelle Phillips (8 days), Cher/Greg Allman (9 days), Carmen Electra/Dennis Rodman (9 days), Eddie Murphy/Tracey Edmonds (14 days), Mario Lopez/Ali Landry (18 days), and Axl Rose/Erin Everly (26 days). Some are serial short-termers. Rick Salomon was married to Shannon Doherty for nine months but also wed Pamela Anderson twice in marriages that were measured in months. So some celebrities have demonstrated they can make marriages work for many months despite all the disadvantages of wealth and fame. I guess no matter your station in life, marriage is always a day to day effort.
A writer of my talent does not have to worry about plagiarism. I am judgment proof. So far my book Suicide Squeeze has lost money and my Blog postings have forfeited all advertising revenue for failure to attract enough readers. So when I am sued, I will concede to any alleged plagiarism. I expect damages will be awarded to me based on the detrimental effect the plaintiff’s words have had on my work. Unfortunately, solvent writers are not suing me because they are embarrassed to claim any part of my writings. So mostly I plagiarize myself. Last August 12th, I inadvertently posted two pieces on the same day and finally updated and rewrote one. I moved it into tomorrow’s slot because my obsessive compulsive anxiety was spiraling up the longer I let this glitch dangle unresolved.
My eight year old granddaughter knows to rip open a Fortune Cookie for the message and discard the cookie fragments. A half dozen cookies remain on the kitchen counter. I plan to savor them over the next several days. But in the morning I find the six unwrapped cookies floating on top of the garbage. I fish them out as always when good food is wasted. I confront the culprit. My wife is not only not embarrassed but thinks I should be. What kind of person tosses away their fortune? I quickly open all six cookies, seeking my fortune. I am a little disappointed to find they are sayings rather than predictions: (1) A problem clearly stated is a problem half solved [False: my wife and I have both clearly stated the garbage problem in ways that preclude any solution]; (2) A smooth sea never made a skillful mariner [Neither has a Seattle Mariner owner or general manager]; (3) We judge others by actions; we judge ourselves by intentions [My intention of not wasting good food goes under appreciated]; (4) Wealth is the ability to fully experience life [Clearly a rationalization for wealthy restaurant customers]; (5) Whatever your life’s work is, do it well [Scary when your life’s work is getting wealthy at the expense of others]; (6) Be a winner [I finally found the one meant for me!]. I tried a bite of the last cookie but it tasted like garbage.
Passing the Torch
When friends and two of my brothers died in their 60’s, I was shocked because they were so young. Now that I am in my 70’s, death notices arrive more often. In a two day period this past week, I learned about three work colleagues who died fairly recently. All three were contemporaries who had been kinder to me than they needed to be, so I mourned with pleasant memories. I also realized that I am quickly approaching a tipping point. Soon I will be shocked when I learn that people in my age group are still alive.
Modern life demands too many decisions. We have so many choices online, in stores, and on menus. I am always surprised when they are not enough. People regularly make substitution requests. Cave dwelling ancestors made relatively few decisions but their choices were more consequential. Do I go hunting today or starve to death? Do I gather firewood or freeze to death? Do I mate or paint on the cave wall? Now we pick clarifying, volumizing, and conditioning shampoos to fight dandruff, oily hair, and damage to our colored locks. We decide between espresso, cappuccino, latte, or a banana oatmeal smoothie. Do we want fluoride, whitener, charcoal, or lauryl sulphate in our toothpaste? Who feeds the dog, makes the lunches, and takes the kids to school? The possibilities are endless even before we leave the house for school, work, or running errands. Luckily we have plenty of choices when it comes to counseling options, anxiety medications, and treatment programs.
I still use a Rolodex with the addresses of all my contacts handwritten on the little cards. I hate knowing this is inefficient compared to electronic alternatives available today. I cling to paper access. I rationalize that computer information deserts me during power failures, computer glitches, and human interventions when someone else is camped out on my machine. My Rolodex could burn up in a fire but that has never happened, unlike the computer disruptions. I am still a repository of address information for others. They should be using the latest technology. As a side note, no one should physically remove a card from my Rolodex box, even with the best intentions of returning it. Occasionally giving out addresses is not an imposition and it embarrasses me to mention it. But I do find myself providing the exact same information to the same people over and over. Currently three address retrieval options seem to exist: (1) electronic app or program; (2) old fashioned address book or Rolodex; or (3) nerdy friends or family members who provide the information as needed using whatever method.