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Never Plan Revenge

November 23, 2017 1 comment

I love revenge. I love the release of stress over what’s been done against me when I am able to get even. However, I would never plan or set up a situation to get revenge. I wait until an opportunity falls into my lap. I’m not talking about big, dangerous acts of vengeance; I’m talking about small things that cause me a loss or a humiliation. I won’t bring bad karma on myself by engineering an act of revenge.

It comes to mind a situation many years ago, when we were high school kids. There’s a neighbourhood park where we’d all gather on warm summer evenings to talk, laugh, and make dates with girls who always joined us in the park. Two girls from a wealthier neighbourhood were often there; one was named Judy and the other was Barbara.

I was hoping to date Judy, a slender blond girl. I was chatting with Judy when the rumble of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle came up the street and into the park. It was Marv Morton, who I knew from school. He was from the other side of the tracks, so to speak… the working class district. I was from the upper middle class neighbourhood, and the two girls came from the really rich neighbourhood on the other side of the main street.

Marv rolled up on the mint-green bike, and the girls left me and went to ogle the Harley. I was sitting alone then. I saw Judy climb onto the motorcycle behind Marvin and the pair rolled away to the rumble of that big engine. Barbara came over to me and we talked a while. But it was Judy that I wanted. I soon went home, as did Barbara.

About ten years later, I pulled up in front of my office building in my new, silver Oldsmobile rocket 88 hardtop. A guy in a postal uniform was on the sidewalk, emptying all the business mail out of one of those green collection boxes where mailmen pick up the mail for their route. I recognized him as I stepped out of my car.

“Hi Marv,” I said. He looked up, saw my suit, saw my big car, and with obvious embarrassment, he took his heavy, loaded mail sack and slung it onto his shoulder. He nodded at me in silence and trudged away to go door to door with the mail.

That was all I needed to get my revenge. I did nothing to set it up, but just as Marv had bested me with his motorcycle in the past, I bested him by being a business executive with a nice car while he was a basic hourly worker. I felt fine.

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CONFESSIONS OF A TRANSITION MAN

November 22, 2017 Leave a comment

I didn’t intend to be a transition man.  In fact, I didn’t even realize I am one until one woman called me that.

“You’re a terrific transition man,” she said.

“What do you mean,” I said. I was getting dressed.  “What’s a transition man?”

“He’s the guy who helps a woman make the transition from her unsatisfactory life to a better existence.  It might be to change jobs, or change homes, but most often it’s to change relationships.  It could be from a marriage, boyfriend, roommate, even lesbian lovers. In view of your skill with your tongue, I’m sure a lesbian would find you satisfying.”

“So your transition has been your split from the truck-loving Ralphy Boy to what? To me?” I said.

“No, definitely not to you,” she said.  “Your destiny is to be the wonderful, gentle, safe bridge from frustrated sedentariness to life and light, and I will be grateful throughout my life for what you’ve done for me.  Thank you forever. Stay safe, be happy, and carry on your good deeds.”

And she left me like that, sprawled on my bed, where we had been lovers for weeks.  I watched her go, her behind and legs disappeared through the door, and I was left to contemplate her words.  I felt slightly hurt, but not much because our agreement had always been that we were not to pursue any long-term relationship.  It would have to be that way, because I was 64 and she was 39.

I thought about our initial contact.  I was doing something on my computer when the ICQ called for my attention. Someone named Judith wanted to say hello, so I typed back ‘hello’.

We conversed from time to time over the next few weeks. We became lovers. Judy went on to a semi-permanent relationship, had kids and built a career.

I went on to be a Transition Man for several other unsatisfied ladies aged from forty to sixty-five.

On one occasion one of the ladies showed up at my office2 years later. She must have done some research to learn where I was working. She’d been a plain, shy spinster about 40 years old, and I had liberated her. She swept into my office looking unbelievably happy and pretty. She wore a long leather coat with fur trim. She took my hands in hers and looked into my eyes.

“Thank you,” she said, and turned on her heel and swept out of the office. I love to imagine what a happy life she moved into. She’s a good person, and deserves the best. She had been a low level office worker in her father’s department until she took me home with her that day.

Symbiotic Sex

November 21, 2017 Leave a comment

We have seen videos of sharks swimming along with a gaggle of smaller fish eagerly eating bits left in the shark’s teeth. The shark keeps its mouth is open so the tooth-pickers can do the job it needs done. It’s symbiotic: the shark gets its teeth cleaned, the smaller fish get fed and not eaten. They are parasites that are welcomed by the ones that need their help.

I believe symbiotic sex happens regularly in human society. Imagine Eileen, an attractive office manager enters a quiet pub at the end of a punishing Friday at work. The whole week was a misery, not only because of the office problems, but Charles had dumped her six weeks ago. She was badly hurt by the breakup. The apartment now felt dark and empty. Charles’ closet was empty, his chess set was gone, and Eileen is painfully lonely and longing to be held closely and gently.

Eileen expects to meet some of her co-workers for an end-of-week winding down. She looked around over the tables and along the bar stools. Her friends were not yet there. As she searched, her eyes met the eyes of a man who sat at the bar. He started to smile but she turned away too quickly to see it. It was one of those situations when there is a strong emotion in an instant, with no logical reason why.

Eileen strode through the busy tables to an unoccupied table near the back of the room. She sat with her back to the wall so she could see the entrance when her friends arrived. The man with the eyes was no longer at the bar, and Eileen shook off the uncomfortable feeling he’d given her. She checked her phone for messages and learned that her friends decided they were too tired to join her and headed home.

Suddenly, the man with the eyes stood at her side, looking down at her. He appeared to be seven feet tall in a crisp, conservative suit.

“May I join you?” he said. The words rolled out smoothly and deeply.

“I-I’m expecting friends,” she lied. He sat down opposite her.

“I’ll leave when they get here. My name is Roland O’Donnell.” He extended his hand. Eileen hesitated, and then put her hand in his. His was warm, dry, and steady; Eileen feared that hers might be limp and damp. Roland made Eileen feel vulnerable.

“Do you work around here?” said Roland.

“Yes. Just around the corner.”

“I work upstairs in this building. Are you hungry? Would you like to get something to eat?” said Roland.

They went together in Roland’s car to a small, obscure Chinese restaurant on a narrow lane off a wide thoroughfare. They shared their sad stories of lonesomeness and heartbreak.

Their meal complete, their stories shared, Roland drove Eileen home. She invited him in for a nightcap.

In the morning, she made breakfast for Roland and herself. They chatted amiably, and when Roland left, they thanked each other for satisfying their mutual needs.

Not Of God’s Doing

November 19, 2017 Leave a comment

Two species of sea birds live, breed, and hunt for the same type of fish in the same global location. Each has independently developed its own survival system. Remarkably, they differ from each other rather dramatically.

18TB-NECKS-superJumbo

The penguin, well insulated with layers of fat, dives straight into the water like a dart and shoots through the water to snap up her lunch before it knows she’s coming.

The cormorant dives deep, and assumes a dormant position with its long neck coiled. A victim swims past a short distance from the bird’s hiding place and the long, coiled neck shoots out with lightning speed to snatch its snack.

ASIDE: When I was a young boy I saw a drawing that has never faded from my memory. Chinese fishermen at night stood in dories holding torches in one hand, and leashes that held cormorants in the other hand. The collars around the cormorant’s long necks were tight enough to prevent the birds from swallowing the fish. The birds were sent down to capture the fish that were attracted to the torch light and bring them up to the fisherman. I imagine the cormorants must be very cherished and well cared for.

I’m taking this example of ‘not by god’ from something Ricky Gervais said. God created the flowers. Then he created the bees. I’m sure he did not have the foresight to make bees and flowers need each other. He did not create bees with an addiction to pollen. Clearly, the two different species developed the symbiotic relationship through uncounted eons of evolution.

Some people call it god, and place it in an ultimate position of importance. It is nature that performs all the miracles. It is nature that is of the ultimate importance. Science has developed so we can discover much that has evolved throughout eternity. Science explores and exploits the billions of secrets that evolution has wrought throughout the planet Earth and all that exists within infinity.

Abba Da Gooch

November 15, 2017 Leave a comment

I didn’t know his real name. To all the men at the club, he was Abba Da Gooch. Da Gooch was a colourful character. He’d hang around the poker table for hours until he’d decide to sit in on the game in progress. He played quietly, and sometimes won a bit, sometimes lost a bit. Nobody knew where Da Gooch got his money or what he actually did with his days.

Like a character out of a Damon Runyon novel, he slouched around in loose fitting striped trousers that were crumpled onto his well-worn penny loafers. His shirt was plaid flannel; very out of place in the poker club. His mustache was too long, and his hair was a black, greasy-looking mess under a stained, pork-pie hat.

Da Gooch was something of a mystery among the players. All of the players were what we called ‘rounders’; guys who got around the city, doing various kinds of business, usually for cash. I don’t think they were criminals, just street guys, taking care of business.

I had a job as a courier. One day I get called to a pickup from Templeton Cosmetics. At the Templeton office I am given a small, gift-wrapped box, with instructions to deliver it to Morris Gross, with an address in a very expensive part of town. It was the same as any of a hundred calls, until I got to the large, splendid home and knocked at the door.

A uniformed maid answered the door. I told her why I was there, and she asked me to step inside. She called out that it was for Mr. Gross. The maid walked away, and I stood waiting. After a minute, Mr. Gross came down the wide staircase. My eyes bugged out of my head; Mr. Gross was Abba Da Gooch. His hair was carefully combed, there was no hat, and he looked good.

It was like Da Gooch was another guy. He wore a silk robe in black, with a gold crest on the right breast. His slippers were polished black patent leather. He called me kid, said he didn’t know I was a courier, and took the box from me. He called out for Lorna. A beautiful teenaged girl in jeans and a T-shirt entered from the next room. Da Gooch handed the box to his daughter and asked her to go try it on.

I turned to leave, and Da Gooch stopped me. He said that I was the only one that knew of his double life, and his real name. I assured him it was just between him and me. He slipped me a $20 tip and ushered me out the door. I wonder which life was his real life, the character at the poker club, or the elegant man in the splendid house. And how did he earn his money? Only Mr. Gross knows.

My First Steady Girlfriend

November 15, 2017 Leave a comment

I hope the teenagers of today have some of the fun we had in the 1950s. I can’t call our group a gang, because the word gang has come to denote troubled youths. We were a middle class group of friends that met at high school and at occasional school dances.

I don’t remember how I got to be coupled with Rochelle Schwartz. She was not the prettiest girl in the bunch, but she was pretty enough and had a nice figure. She was a good girl, as most were in the fifties. It was the era of flared felt skirts supported beneath by something called crinolines. We were steadies for a few years, during which we were never intimate. We were only about 15 years old, and light petting was the maximum among the ‘nice’ kids.

Rochelle was often known as ‘Schwartzie’, because there was another Rochelle in the group, Rochelle Zon. Zon told me, when she was 13, that she was going to be a doctor. She was a petite, pretty girl and yes, she became a successful doctor. Schwartzie played the piano and she won several talent contests, and later became a piano teacher.

Some of the most enjoyable times in my life, I shared with Schwartzie. For one thing, I was too young to drive, so we went on dates to movies or house parties on public transportation. Schwartzie’s father ran a small smoke shop. That’s what they were called before ‘convenience stores’ came to be. Her family lived upstairs from the store, and streetcar tracks ran by the front.

I lived in an upper-middle class neighbourhood about 20 blocks away, so I took the bus and streetcar to pick Rochelle up for a Friday night movie date. It was fun to meet her Dad in the store, then take Rochelle out the front of the store and board the tram together and have our evening out. Even when Rochelle was baby-sitting to earn money, I sat with her. Television had not happened yet, so we talked a lot, did homework, and just enjoyed being together – without sex.

Coming home after a party, dance, movie or babysitting was always fun. We’d get off the tram and she’d take me into the store, in dark after hours. We’d cuddle and kiss goodnight in the store, and I’d choose a car magazine off the rack and leave. I heard Rochelle married an accountant and moved to a small city a few hours away. Ours was an enjoyable relationship from beginning to end. I met her son recently. He was boldly gay, and almost identical to his mother in movements and speech.

If I Was A Religious Person

November 13, 2017 Leave a comment

I might have been tempted to believe that the wrath of God is upon us. The proliferation of hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, earthquakes, forest fires, landslides, avalanches, floods and tsunamis seems like punishment for our massive sins against nature and our planet’s people.

I am, however, an atheist, so I must find another way to explain the mess. It is nature attacking us. Nature does not seek vengeance or harbor a grudge. Nature responds to its conditions and works to survive, just as we people do when we’re up against a dangerous situation.

These days, it’s obvious that the climate is in the throes of change. Of course, the climate has always changed over the millennia, but human activities have made it change too quickly. We’ve crammed centuries into decades. The planet is unable to absorb and adapt so quickly to the atmospheric changes. Perhaps we, as a species have been so consumed with gaining and maintaining superiority that we gobbled up everything we could turn into ‘goods’.

Recent reports in the USA claim an increase in jobs. The reason is that the Trump administration removed controls that moderate our natural resources so he and his oligarch gang can enrich themselves at the cost of the planet. With no control over polluting water and air, industry can hurry on, free of expensive restrictions.

While they make more money from making more stink to make more widgets, Trump voters march happily to work, overlooking the destruction being foisted upon their grandchildren and beyond. In the end, nothing matters because eternity is not ours. We are limited in time but eternity and infinity will go on without us. It is not God’s work.