Much More To Come

Distracted living
Click bait for cheapskates
Tijuana brass monkeys
Why was there nothing here?
Took a walk, came back later.


There are lots of things currently going on in my life.  Mostly, de-cluttering sixteen years of excess everything.  Sprucing up the house, in case it is put up for sale.

Made a solemn vow sixteen years before, that I would never move again.  Situations, and people change over the years.  Now, I need to be closer to friends and family.

Every part of the country has good and bad points.  I’m ready to accept colder winters.  Maybe I’ve been in this location for too long?  Nobody in the neighborhood knows we’re going to move–and it shall remain a secret, for now.

A lot of things have to happen in the meantime.  The process has just started.  I don’t intend to give up blogging in the interim.  “Give up the things you love, and there will be nothing left to love.”

 

 

Twenty-First Century Good Fellas (Updated)

“I really like you kid; in an appropriate, non-gender specific sort of way, of course,” Said Sal.

“Jimmy, you’re gonna’ go places if you follow a few ground rules.”

“What do you mean, Boss?” Jimmy asked.

“It means you have to change your ways of doing business. You can’t go around cracking coconuts–like you did with Herman the German. So what if he didn’t sell, locally grown, sustainably produced agricultural products?

“Where was your empathy? Why, in the old days, I woulda’ head-slapped you already. I’m going to be more sensitive and give you one more chance. Don’t screw it up.”

“Don’t thank me. Thank Big Eddie for bailing you out.”

“Eddie, what the hell are you doing? I’m braggin’ on you and you’re falling asleep on me?”

“Sorry Boss, I was meditating,” Eddie answered. Sal’s face was beet red.

“Do your meditating somewhere else–on your own time.”

Big Eddie hadn’t been the same since bariatric surgery–in a quest to become “Not-so-big-Eddie.” Last night at Luigi’s he’d ordered vegetarian lasagna. Lucky for Eddie, Sal hadn’t noticed. Eddie’s Yoga classes would have been the last straw.

“Don’t neither of you lunkheads get too comfortable. I’m not done talking.” Sal was on a roll. Big Eddie craved a fresh-fruit smoothie in the worst way, but kept quiet.

“This business has changed. Think of what we do, as Sal’s Security Services. I want you two guys to become security consultants. Instead of intimidation, arm-twisting and gourd-cracking, you’ve got to play to people’s fears and anxieties.”

“It’s like being a bartender. Bartenders listen. You should say things like, ‘How ya’ doin’ Pal? What can I help you with? That’s a tough break. I’m here for you.’ Listen to people, be sensitive to their needs. Even if you don’t feel like doing it.”

“They sell salty snacks at bars; and how about salty, movie theatre popcorn?” Do you two, knuckleheads have any idea why they do that? Sorry, that was insensitive of me. Do either of you two gentlemen have any idea why they do that?”

“So, they can sell more drinks, Boss.” “That’s right, Jimmy. Keep thinking that way, and I’ll keep you around. Think of people’s fears as salty snacks. We will quench their security needs–just like those, 64 ounce, refreshing, cold drinks.”

“Big Eddie, you’re lookin’ good. You’ve dropped some weight, got those double chins tightened up.”

“Thanks Boss,” Eddie answered. “Still got a ways to go.”

“Jimmy, stop wearing that stupid baseball cap turned around backwards. We’re professionals–want people to like us.”

Both of you could stand to be more sensitive.  Jimmie and Eddie looked as if they’d been shot.  Sal fractured many bones over the years–none of them sensitive.

“Next week you’re both going to sensitivity classes.  Don’t look at me that way.  If you want to work for me–you’ve got to go.”

Sal, alleged, but never convicted, wise guy, became Sal–mentor, philosopher, proprietor of Sal’s 21st Century Security Services.  That was then, this was now.

Jimmy and Eddie looked spiffy in their new, dark green uniform shirts.  Eddie sighed, contemplated going home to play with Biff, his new boxer puppy.

Other Side Of Fear

Monsters with huge featherless wings

Left Henry weak in the knees

He fell away from the others–worthless

One-hundred free tickets for $1.00 each

Then, they really weren’t free–were they?

Bare light bulbs cast harsh shadows

Shadows rocked, back-and-forth

Kept tempo with attic rocking chairs

Henry sat and watched hypnotically

Waited for the curtain to fall

When your chance to leave came

You didn’t take it–he told himself

There would be a face revealed

He couldn’t bear to see it

 

STATE OF THE BLOG (Inner Critics/Faking It/Confidence)

rickles

The last thing I expected on a rainy day was a visit from my “Inner Critic.”  If you don’t have one–you should bow down in thanks.  The  regular group was at the door, plus some uninvited guests.  I brought in lawn chairs from the garage.

To make matters worse, my two dogs were bored–there would be no morning walk.  They checked in with me every half-hour to see if conditions had changed. Why were The Stooges here? …With Curly Joe, the funnier Stooge, and not Shemp.

By way of explanation, my “Inner Critic”– is a concoction, liberally seasoned with advice from my parents, grandparents, my drill sergeant, a crusty old farm hand, named Floyd, a pinch of Don Rickles and John Wayne added for extra zing.

“State of the blog, state of the blog–Hey Moe, that rhymes with frog.  State of the frog, state of the frog,” Curly Joe chanted.  “Shut up you imbecile,”  Moe slapped Curly on the back of the head.

“Is this the place?” Larry asked.  “This is the place,” Moe answered.

“Well, if there’s no other place around the place, this must be the place,  I reckon–Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk,” “Get outta here you moron,”  More mayhem, some eye pokes, more head slaps.

Moe led Curly out the door by the ear.  Larry followed.  I wasn’t sorry to see them go.  Slapstick comedy wasn’t what I was looking for this morning.

“What’s up with taking more risks and getting fewer rewards?” I asked.

“What do you mean, Dear?”  Grandma asked.

“I don’t want this blog to get stale–so, I tried some new stuff.”

“That’s nice, Dear–it’s going to take time.”  “Just don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.”  “I brought you some sock monkeys.”

“Thanks, Gram,” I answered.

“I almost called this post, “Thoughts on a Rainy Day,” but changed my mind.”

“I’m glad you did,” Said my drill sergeant.  “That’s too wimpy.”

“Just write what you want to–what you feel is right,”  Said Floyd.  “If the xxx-xxxx idiots, don’t like the xxxxx-xxxx-xxxx–it’s their xxxxx problem, not yours.”

“Aren’t we all faking it?  I mean everybody does it–everyday.  Acting like we know what we’re doing–whether we do or not. We do it at work, in public, when raising a family.”

“That doesn’t make it right,” Mom said.  “It’s the same thing as lying.”

“But, Mom–It’s not really lying.  It’s showing confidence in facing the unknown.  Because, for most people, showing weakness is a liability they can’t risk?  Could it be, that some people are more afraid of failure, than success?”

“I’m glad you brought that up, Pilgrim,” John Wayne answered.  “Acting is nothing but faking it.  Movie sets are fake.  You have to convince others, that what you say, is genuine and real.”

“Mr. Wayne, Did you ever feel insecure?  That some day the bottom might drop out?”

“You’re damn right I did–many times!  I tried not to show it.  I guess that’s what you mean by ‘faking it.’  The day I first met with the head of a movie studio to sign a contract, my knees were shaking.  There was a lot at stake.”

“That’s what your mother and I tried to teach you,” My father said.  “There’s no reward without taking some risks.  You shouldn’t attempt anything expecting to fail.  Be confident, shoulders back, eyes straight ahead–let the chips fall where they may.”

“I’m hungry,” Grandpa said.  “Where are we going for breakfast?  We’re not going to get anything around here.”

“Come on Rickles, you’ve been unusually quiet, Said John Wayne.  “Duke, the sloppy sentiment around here’s killed my appetite.  Maybe some coffee.  Let’s go to the IHOP.”

My guests, gathered their things and left.  Don Rickles got in the last word–like he always did.

“I’m outta’ here.  Don’t make me come back.  This place is a dump.  You oughta’ clean it up, sometime.  And I don’t want to see you doing sock monkey puppet shows–either.  Because that would be sick.  You’re a sick man.  Nobody really likes you anyway–you know.”

———————————-

Tangled in the falling vines
Waiting for a punch line
I’ve just been fakin’ it
I’m not really makin’ it
This feeling of fakin’ it
I still haven’t shaken it

–Paul Simon–

DAILY PROMPT: WRITER’S BLOCK PARTY: A QUESTION OF BALANCE

When was the last time you experienced writer’s block? What do you think brought it about–and how did you dig your way out of it?

Thanks for the invitation. I really didn’t expect to be here today. I hope my disappointment doesn’t bring everybody down.

My blog’s two-year anniversary passed recently without fanfare.  No applause–it’s too late.  How did I get here?  After 694 posts, am I where I want to be?

Sometimes I don’t want to be here at all.  Is it wrong to feel this way?How long can this crazy love/hate relationship go on?  I feel like a bus driver in a clown suit–expected to be entertaining all the time.

It’s a question of balancing life with blogging.  Living life takes priority.  Perhaps some are better at balancing the two.  My challenge, write better posts, without feeling obligated to post something every day.

When inspiration doesn’t come–I don’t force it.  I re-read my better posts.  I read posts from other blogs.  Even that doesn’t always help.  Sometimes it generates more questions.

When something’s good and worth reading–I know it.  There’s no other way to say it–today my stuff stinks.  I need a nap.

 

BROKE DOWN–SOMEWHERE BETWEEN HAPPY AND SAD

DAILY PROMPT: TALE OF TWO CITIES
If you could split your time evenly between two places, and two places only, which would those be?

Compromised
Cut down to size
Dichotomized
Before, I realized
My long journey
Was over, before it
Had barely begun
Hopes dashed
On rocks
At the college
Of hard knox
The tree of
Good and Evil
Withered, gnarled
Full of weevils
Left to ponder
Where, had I
Gone wrong?

There were
Screams and shouts
No one knew
What, I was
Talking about
Where’s your passion?
Where’s your rage?
It remained
Untouched, on
The second page
Nevertheless, it
Was, all I had
My ‘Tale of Two Cities’
Showed no pity
Left me stranded
Somewhere between
Happy and sad

BACHELORHOOD, REJECTION, LOVEABLE BUMBLERS

Let the superlatives flow, as I relate, how I met my best friend, the love of my life, the person that always makes me smile, that later became my bride.

I was a late-bloomer, not a confirmed bachelor.  There was still a glimmer of hope.  My aspiration was to be seen as a loveable bumbler.  My wife told me that she thought I resembled Richard Dreyfuss–no implication of klutziness on his part.  I sported facial hair that was dark brown, and later, turned salt-and-pepper gray.

My first steady job was with a large corporation as a service representative.  As fate would have it, I would later work on a construction crew for the same corporation.  Our contract was in the same building where I’d previously worked.

Though this experience I further sharpened my shtick.  It helped that my fellow construction workers played along.  I played the “I thrive on rejection” self-deprecation angle to the hilt.  Here’s rejection depicted in a “Just for Men” commercial with Keith Hernandez and Clyde Duncan.  I took rejection a step further.  “Give it your best shot ladies, I can take it; I thrived on rejection.”

An offshoot corollary–I was “stuffy, repetitious, and boring.”  Anything, from my mouth, perceived negatively, merely upheld my aforementioned reputation.  “Ladies, you’ve been forewarned.” With these fortress-like defenses, how could a young man go wrong?

Then one fateful day I met her.  A slender, attractive woman doing data entry, that would later become my wife.  She looked past my craziness.  My defenses, meant to hide my social awkwardness, quickly crumbled.

That’s the “Cliff Notes” version of our courtship.  I wasn’t going to give away all our secrets.  It’s Valentine’s Day.  We were wed on April 11, 1981, and have been in love ever since.  The best way to describe our relationship, is to say–we complete each other.  I’m no longer rejected, and hope I’m not boring.

valentines