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Now I Know What I Should Have Done With My Life (but it doesn’t matter now, because it’s too late.)

February 26, 2013 Leave a comment

I am looking back over my life now because I’m old enough to have that denouement perspective. It is important for you to remember that when I was a young man in high school, the years were 1950-1955. Our access to the world’s opportunities and societies was not one percent of what it is now. Now, sixty years later, I can see this world and it’s societies quite clearly, through television and internet.

I was born into a previous era that was honestly primitive by today’s standards. We had an ice-box and a man with a horse drawn wagon brought blocks of ice to provide cooling in the ice-box. Jump from that image to how we live today, and you can see the breadth of my perspective.

Most of the men in my expanded family became lawyers or something similar. I mean all the male cousins close in age to my age, throughout my maternal and paternal family. I was put under considerable pressure to also become a lawyer. I suppose my cousins were, too, and so they followed the family trail into the family law firm that was started by the eldest uncle among all the uncles.

I just couldn’t bring myself to follow the family flow. I hated school. I was happy to escape school before I even matriculated, and went to work as a truckers’ helper in a scrap yard. It was great! Going to incredibly noisy old factories that were stamping out metal things of some kind. A pots and pans maker was making the big, galvanized steel garbage cans that we all know. Another plant made brass screws of all sizes. A third factory hammered out nails, and I’m sure the noise level in that place would have been illegal.

I was happy, because I wasn’t in school and I was earning a few bucks. I started hanging around bohemian jazz clubs most nights, and places where artists and actors gathered. To make a long story short, I became a writer, I produced a few television things, and enjoyed the precarious pleasures of being comparatively free versus a law office. It was all very nice, but now that I know what I could have done, I realize what I should have done.

I look at my wide, HD, flat-screen television and see stunning panoramas of African veldt alive with massive herds of wildebeest and zebras. I see massive chunks of glacier plummet into the ocean. I see the birth of a killer whale… and in every case, I think about who took those pictures? Who was really there, really feeling, hearing and smelling the scene?

Had I been aware, back there in the fifties, of some of the options, I’d have educated myself for a career as a naturalist/filmmaker. The tests I took to help me define my potential showed that I should be a writer in show business. The second choice was forest ranger. Within two months of getting the test results I was succeeding as a writer for television. So that’s what I did for about thirty years, and much of the time it was very enjoyable and lucrative.

Still, it sure would have been a nice life, out there in the forest, watching for fires or wildlife problems.

The Down Side of a Long, Active Life.

February 26, 2013 Leave a comment

In the case of horses, most often they go along happily doing their jobs, grazing in the pasture, and then one day, at the age of 25 or so, they lie down and die. No big fuss. You just emerge one morning, prepared to begin your chores, and on your way to the tractor, there’s old Doris, laying on a small pasture slope in the rising sun.

 

It’s not like that with people. I’m not as familiar with the peculiarities of ageing women as I am with a man’s deterioration. I will put forth the point of view and experiences of a man, that man being me. I don’t expect my life to end in my seventy-sixth year, but it could. And to tell the truth, I would have no regrets if it did. Three-quarters of a century is a pretty good run, but a life that often hurts, physically, and requires a lot of medication, is not as much fun as life just ten years earlier. Compared to the most common, rapid demise of horses, the inevitable demise of a man is tainted by an amazing variety of diminished capacities during a painfully long moribund period.

 

Don’t misunderstand my position. I’m not wishing to pass away soon. At a very late stage of life I find myself with something I never anticipated; a warm, surrounding family. I’m loving this time of my life, and I just want to share with you the down side.

 

In your sixties, the anticipation of impotence comes to mind. These days it’s become less traumatic because of the “Erectile Dysfunction” euphemism in all the ads. I don’t know what characteristics of genes dictate when the dysfunction will manifest itself. Sort of the canary in the mine warning of the inevitable, like the moribund period of a penis.

 

Even on a man, the skin on your arms and legs gets thin and crinkles like crepe paper. And stuff starts to grow on you. A variety of brown spots come out all over you. Unsightly moles appear surreptitiously. You develop a “chicken neck”. I had a robust, well-shaped beard for fifty years. Now one side-burn is half gone so I have to shave both cheeks in a meagre attempt at disguising the imbalance.

 

Your back hurts. Your hips feel like they need a lube job in the ball joints. The bottom of your feet get so hard, your heels cut through your socks. When the weather goes up and down every few days as it usually does, stabbing pains shoot through bones all over your body.

 

It’s still worth it, though, if you have a caring family. Don’t be a burden to them, rather be a support because it will feel good. And if you have grandchildren, cherish them and spend as much time with them as you can. Play their games with them, and everything will feel alright.

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Improve Families – skip a generation.

February 18, 2013 Leave a comment

I had an acquaintance many years ago who was a distant relative of the British royals. He sometimes complained that, as a member of the aristocracy, he was passed over in his father’s will. He acquired only the title. It seems it’s traditional that a father not leave his fortune to his son, but rather to his grandchildren.

James is an impoverished intellectual, alcoholic and bisexual. When his wife left him for another man, and his father soon after died, the family fortune went to his son and his daughter. Both were in their latter teen years, and well along in good schools.

The children had been well trained to excel in their eventual responsibilities.  The divorce between James and his wife affected each child differently.  The daughter sided with her mother, and is estranged from her father. The son is in regular contact with his mother and has willingly taken on the care of his father.

With this in mind, now that I live the role of a grandfather, it caused me to think about that skip-a-generation idea. From my older, wiser perspective, I watch the little ones evolve, develop, and learn.  I see it infinitely more clearly than I ever did with my own children. Then, there was the stress of trying to get it right for the kids, but not really being qualified to know what actually is right.

I propose that institutions be established to raise our children for us, from childhood to parenthood.  That leaves us free to establish ourselves solidly in society, free of the burden and responsibility of children.  Our children propagate when we are older and wiser, and we get to raise the infants, to infuse them with our knowledge, values and experience. At about eight, they go into the institution. Meanwhile, their parents have the same freedom the previous generation had, living, earning, and progressing under a lighter load.

In our home we get to raise our grandchildren all day every weekday, and we’re loving it. It’s tiring, and it’s wonderful. 

This tongue-in-cheek scenario is too cold and inhuman to ever be acceptable. At the same time, in a way, it’s smart and warm.

Ambiguous Ambition

February 17, 2013 Leave a comment

Ambiguous Ambition

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Phalic Ballet

February 16, 2013 Leave a comment

Phalic Ballet

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Economics

February 14, 2013 Leave a comment

Economics

The price of pilfering, and that includes supplies, cash, clients, and hours.

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From Childhood to Child-like.

February 14, 2013 Leave a comment

I just realized that the only time I haven’t wasted my life working for a living was in childhood. As soon as you hit school age, you start working.  You have to work at learning, work at socializing, work at being without Mom and Dad.

Then you have to work at higher learning, and higher learning, probably working to earn money at the same time, to pay for the additional learning.  Learning what?  Why, to earn a living. And when you have your document that certifies that you’ve learned, you get a job working at what you’ve learned so you can earn a living.  That goes on for several decades. 

Retirement doesn’t mean work stops, it just gets more pleasant.  Mowing, fence-mending, car-washing, blog writing. I guess I’ll stop all work in the next ten years or so, and become child like.  Less eloquent, less steady on my feet, less competent at most everything, and celibate. Cherish your childhood memories… they are the only time in your life when you’re free, and other people are carrying your load for you.

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