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The Human Need for Stupid Stunts

June 10, 2017 1 comment

Bernie and I were both 17 years old. He was a couple of months older than I was, and we were close pals. In fact, our steady girlfriends were identical twins, one with him and one with me. We eventually married the twins, but that’s another story.

One night, Bernie and I went out to the quiet, wide highway 400 to do a stupid stunt. It was in the 1950s, when cars were huge. I was driving my father’s massive, cream coloured ’57 Buick Roadmaster. Bernie was driving his Aunt Lillian’s dark blue ‘53 Cadillac Coup de Ville. We roared up the empty highway at 3:30 one morning. We went side by side, Bernie on my left, me on his right. I powered down my window as did Bernie’s then girlfriend, and I reached to her and she took my hand. We roared up the road at about 100 miles an hour (160 km/h), two feet apart, holding hands, for no reason except the big V8 engines could do it.

The drive for stupid stunts must be quite strong in some people’s DNA.

In Toronto and Montreal, and perhaps other cities with subways, young people leap onto the exterior of the subway car and cling to the side as the train roars through the dark tunnels. I haven’t heard if anyone’s been killed or injured yet, but it is inevitable. Why do they do it? Perhaps they believe they’re showing courage and skill, although it’s actually reckless and foolish.

We scuba dive amid predators; we race cars; we ride motorcycles across deserts; we sail boats across oceans, for sport. Some of us need the challenge, the risk, the adrenaline dose that comes with pressure or anxiety.

I’ve done a good deal of auto racing, and ridden some motorcycles, and even did a fair amount of hang gliding. I enjoyed all of it, although I don’t really know why, except for the ‘stone’ one enjoys when the adrenaline sharpens all the senses. We see better, we hear more acutely, and our bodies feel fit and strong. I now get a good feeling from reading, writing, drawing and commenting on others’ works.

If one lives past the age of reckless foolishness, one learns the value of deeper activities.

Locked Eyes with a Stranger

June 3, 2017 Leave a comment

I’m sure every mature person has experienced it. You’re walking up a busy downtown street after work. You’re satisfied with how your day went, you’re in no hurry to get home, so you’re enjoying a summer day in the city, as the sun gravitates to the west. A black person (male or female, depending on your preference) comes around the corner in front of you.

Your eyes lock, and in less than a second, the minds of both people scan through a list of familiar analyses. “That’s interesting; good looking; kind of sexy; nice body; moves well; I would have sex with that person.” You pass shoulder to shoulder in silence. The moment has passed.

A man walks into a large store. He seeks some parts for plumbing repairs, but can’t find the plumbing department. He sees a woman, and on her back she’s wearing the store’s logo, so she might help. He touches her shoulder.

“Excuse me,” he says. She turns and their eyes lock. In that instant, flames seemed to fill both chests. It’s amazing, immediate passion for both parties. The woman tries to turn her eyes away from his eyes, but they spring back for a second look. At the same time, the man is trying to ignore the sexual impulse and speak. At last the woman looks away, and the man asks her for directions to plumbing supplies.

The woman is tongue tied, and can barely say “Come.” She moves past him and leaves her department to escort him to plumbing supplies. Following her, he sees that her shape and movements are as enticing as her face and eyes.

She is wondering, “what am I feeling? I could get into trouble with this man”. He is wondering, “this is incredible. Should I make a move on her? I think she feels the same. What if it’s only me, and she just sees me as another schmuck customer”.

She arrives at the plumbing department, waves her hand in the direction of the aisle and takes off back to her department. He gets his plumbing parts and leaves the store without seeing that woman again. He never forgets her, and wonders if she also remembers the moment. She does, and both individuals regret that they let the magic moment pass.

A woman is standing at the vegetable display in a large supermarket. She is opening the small plastic bag that the store makes available in fruit and vegetable departments. From behind her, a man’s voice says, “how does one open these things?” The woman turns, holding her own bag, to demonstrate. She sees his face, their eyes lock, and in an instant, each is aware that they would accept the other as a lover. But not in a vegetable department of a supermarket.

She licks her fingertips and deftly slides the thin plastic bag open. The man copies her actions and opens his bag. He wants to carry on with her, but fears rejection. He goes to the fruit department, and doesn’t see the woman again.

If I Had Power

June 2, 2017 Leave a comment

There are some things I would do with power. Some rules would be made about television commercials. Some rules about society in general would be made, too.

Television commercials for automobiles, directed at adults, must stop showing the vehicles in dangerous, high performance attitudes. Four-wheel-drifting on the salt flats is not how you should sell your van. It is not a performance vehicle, and there should not be scenes that make it appear macho to dangerously abuse the family car.

Television commercials for children’s toys and treats must stop making the crappy little plastic palaces and whatever, appear to be magical. Mnemonic devises, like clowns, dragons, and superheroes must not advocate for a toy or a treat. It is abuse of the little person’s mind, and when Mom gets the crappy toy, and it comes out of the box and does whatever it does, it is very little like the example in the commercial.

Television commercials for household products must stop making  everything look impossibly perfect. Sellers of cutters, choppers, and dicers must admit that the blades do not last forever. Perhaps they don’t last very long at all. And when a product is offered for $29.99…  “But wait! We’ll include a second gimmick at no extra charge! What’s more, at no extra charge we’ll include attachments to spin, curl, and cook with your gimmick.”

Go to hell, you TV hustlers. Nobody needs two tub scrubbers or two waffle irons. Just offer the damn things for $15.00 each, and see how it works out for you.

If only we had the television opportunity that they have in England. They can buy an annual license that gets them entertainment, news, and sports, commercial free.

Don’t Apologize for Wealth

May 24, 2017 Leave a comment

No matter if you inherit it, earn it, or win wealth, you should not have anything for which you should apologize. In some cases, oligarchs acquire wealth at the expense of others. Those people should be required to apologize, and to reward and repay where possible. All too often, amends cannot be made. Greed on the part of one person often requires that they acquire other peoples’ fair share.

It is not always financial security that is stolen from deserving people. Factories pollute in low income neighbourhoods. Innocent, working class people and their children carry illness and damage from living in the cloud of poison. The poison could be stopped, or at least diminished, but that would cut into profits. The profits are paid out to wealthy investors in dividends. The investors never see the factories, never breath the fouled air; never give a thought to the burdens they place upon others.

Some people just earn wealth. A real estate broker could spend 30 years, putting together families and homes. She might also invest in commercial properties about which she learns through her profession. At sixty years of age, she is wealthy, and has nothing for which she should apologize.

A young man growing up in a poor family that becomes wealthy need not apologize. The wealth grows while the boy grows. It is the normal flow of his life, and he doesn’t see it as any different from the lives of his high school friends. He was not aware that his friends were often pressed for money. They had to save up to take a girl out on a date. They had to hope they could borrow their father’s car, and that there was gas in the tank.

In our teens, we are largely dependent upon our parents to supplement our lives. If one person’s parent is lucky, or gifted with the ability to earn a greater amount of money, then the offspring might also be lucky. That does not mean he feels superior. He lives by the standards established by his parents. Those whose parents are not as ambitious or capable might live an average life.

Don’t hate him because he’s wealthy. He took nothing from you or from anyone else. He was given wealth, and that merely meant he lived in a larger house and drove a nicer car. But when a group of friends are playing ball, or drinking coffee in a Tim Horton’s, it’s just a group of friends. The individual, personal burdens of each friend is private, and the rich kid has his share, too. There is a price to pay for enjoying wealth.

Later in life, the boy would be in the same position as any of his friends: he had to get a job, earn a living, make car and mortgage payments, keep ahead of the utilities bills, and try to keep some aside for pleasure and hobbies. It all evens out in the end.

09. THE LAND OF MILT AND HONEY

May 17, 2017 Leave a comment

Chapter 9

Milton Korn listened while he ate the meal that Mitch, the albino friend/butler prepared and served. It was a good meal of roast beef, roasted potatoes, and bean sprouts. Across the table, Honey Freed talked slowly, with enthusiasm, about her plans and possibilities for the farm property.

While she spoke, Milt half-listened while he watched her face. It was a beautiful face, oval, tanned, and framed by a tumble of blond hair, streaked with darker shades. Her eyes were a deep, dark blue under neatly arched brows. While she spoke, excited by the visions in her head, her face was fully animated. Milt thought she behaved as if she didn’t know she was gorgeous. Of course she had to know, because people, mostly men, had been telling her she was beautiful since she was a little girl.

Watching the woman’s expressive face, Milt decided that she might be the most interesting woman he’d ever met. They knew nothing much about each other, and he knew that was a setup for problems. He decided it was time to talk about something other than the property and its potential.

“I’m 28 years old,” said Milt. It startled Honey, who was pouring out her heartfelt ideas for the farm, including animals.

“Wha… oh, uh?” said Honey.

“I think we have to know each other, before we go into details of the partnership,” said Milt.

“Oh. Well, what do you want to know?” said Honey.

Milton Korn began to tell his own story. His wealthy family in the legal, medical marijuana industry. His uphill battle to just be an artist, win or lose. Finally, his talent and concepts developed to the point where he can earn a very good living by doing the one thing he really wants to do – paint pictures.

Honey Freed unfolded her own story. Her grandfather developed a magical medical treatment that made him tremendously wealthy. He had only meant to do good for society, and surprised himself by succeeding in the rather high goal he’d set for himself. There was no reason for Honey to seek a career, but she did so because she wanted to be a producer/director. She began by studying broadcasting at Seneca, then acquired a job as a weather girl at a local station. She knew it was her looks that got her the job, and she used her brain and energy to rise to the position of producer/director. Her next goal, after acquiring the farm, was to put together a feature film deal, from script to Hollywood premier.

While they talked, they moved to the living room. They sat together, jotting notes about details agreed upon, and sharing a plump joint. The discussion began to get a bit silly as the drug took its effect. They giggled together about things that were not funny, while they passed the joint back and forth between them.

“I will have a couple of horses,” said Honey, “and some goats, some Scottish Highland Longhorn cattle, many dogs…”

“Hang on,” said Milt, drowsily. “I tol’ you I don’ want to aminals… animals.” He laughed.

Honey turned to face Milton. She put her hand on his thigh, and slid it up until it touched his scrotum in his jeans crotch. She leaned in and kissed him with a wide open mouth. Milton’s inhibitions had also been removed by the smoke. He cupped her breast and responded to the kiss. Honey felt the stiffness in his pants, and moved her hand over it.

Encourage writers: if you like it, please “like” it.

08. THE LAND OF MILT AND HONEY

May 15, 2017 Leave a comment

Chapter 8

Honey sat on the sofa, close to Milt. On the corner of the glass coffee table, she set a crystal ashtray with two cigarette sized, flawlessly rolled joints. A gold Dunhill lighter lay in the ashtray. She opened the file folder on the table and pushed it over so it could be seen by both of them.

“Do you expect to fill the country place with such extravagance?” said Milt.

“You mean the big joints?” said Honey. “I like them like that. Why not in the country?”

“I mean the gold, and crystal and the joints too, I guess,” said Milt.

“No. I’m leaving all that stuff here. I’ll keep this condo, for when we have to be in the city to take care of business,” said Honey.

“Very nice. Very generous. Very expensive,” said Milt. “I guess that’s why you can’t buy the farm by yourself. I’m a necessary evil, then.”

Honey took one of the joints and put it between her lips. She wore no lipstick, and her natural colouring was beautiful. The lips are soft, pastel pink, and pout slightly in her face of smooth alabaster. She lit the joint, inhaled and handed it to Milt. She exhaled into the air, and the pale blue cloud of fragrance slowly dissipated.

“I admit that I originally did not like the idea of a partner, and had expected to lose my chance at that place,” she said. “I also admit that I was very attracted by your art. Then we met, and then we talked, and now… I might not want the farm without you.”

“I certainly would not want it without you,” said Milt. “I wouldn’t even know about it.”

They bent to the chore of reviewing the paperwork that Honey had accumulated. They reviewed the numbers, the costs, the mortgage, utilities and equipment. The details, agreement by agreement, moved along just fine, until they came to Honey’s intent to have some livestock. Not a lot of animals, just enough to raise and enjoy.

“Let’s have the smoke, and dinner, then discuss it,” said Honey. She rang for Mitch.

King’s Life

May 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Bartholomew King was proud of his eccentricity. He knew that he was regarded as a shallow, slow-witted, trust-fund child. By the time he was 28, he was well established as a wealthy nut. Fortunately for Barth (as people liked to call him), he never had to earn a living. His parents had accumulated a substantial fortune in the medical marijuana industry, growing and distributing through their burgeoning chain of greenhouses. Unfortunately, they lost their lives prematurely, while testing their design for a four-seated hang-glider.

Of course, Barth immediately sold the marijuana business and closed down the development of the hang-glider design. As a result, he was sitting on almost three million after-tax dollars. He did regard himself as the king, at least in the large county where he was highly influential. As such, he demanded exclusivity – in everything.

He had a ranch built to his own, eccentric design. He had Brigham Coachworks build a custom body of his own design. He had it built on the chassis of an Alpha Romeo Disco Volante, the most exclusive car he could find. The Disco Volante body was discarded and the new body was constructed of aluminum.

There were many opportunities for a prolific social life laid at Bartholomew’s feet. He was hesitant, because he was never certain which woman might be the most exclusive. He attended dinner parties, if the guest list was sufficiently exclusive. He attended sporting events only if the event was rare, such as polo for blind players. He was introduced to many very beautiful women, but he was unable to feel certain of the one of a kind that he sought.

On a rare evening out, with one of the women who hoped to be The One, Barth saw The One. It was not the woman with Barth. Rather, it was a woman who sang on the small stage of the club they were in.  After they ordered, Barth looked casually toward the stage. A woman stood at the microphone in baggy, blue denim bib overalls, singing a twangy country song. A keyboard player, a guitarist, and a drummer backed her up. The woman’s face made Barth’s stomach flip. She was gorgeous, almost exactly the face he created in his mind to be the exclusive one.

She appeared to be more than 6 feet tall. Barth was an average 5’9”. Barth’s problem was, he didn’t like country music, or the rural wardrobe. The drinks arrived at Barth’s table, and he clinked glasses with his date and sipped his Highball. The country song ended and Barth turned to look at the stage again. The woman had dropped the baggy overalls and kicked them aside. She stood in the spotlight in a blazing green Spandex body suit. It fit so tightly, it looked painted onto her body. She had the shape of an oversize mannequin, virtually perfect. She began to sing a love ballad, “The Nearness of You,” and the mellow tones of her deep voice infused Barth with passion.

Barth knew that this woman was the exclusive beauty he sought. He unashamedly ushered his date out the club door and put her into a taxi. The outraged woman made a scene throughout the club, and people knew that it was just Bartholomew King being Barthish. He gave the driver one hundred dollars and asked him to take her wherever she wanted to go.

Barth returned to the club and boldly went backstage. In an open area, the trio of musicians were sharing a joint. In her dressing room, the woman… The One, was sitting at her makeup table.

“I’m Bartholomew King,” he said. He extended his hand. She ignored it.

“I know who you are,” she said. “Where’s your date?”

“She had to leave,” he said. “I wonder… would you come to dinner with me tomorrow evening?”

The woman stood up and looked down at Bartholomew. She put her hand on his shoulder and walked with him toward the dressing room door.

“I want you to know something, and remember it,” she smiled. “No. Never, nay, no way. I only date exclusive men. You are so common.” She gave him a gentle push out into the passageway, and closed the door. He heard the click of the lock.