DAILY PROMPT: NEVER AGAIN

Have you ever gone to a new place or tried a new experience and thought to yourself, “I’m never doing THAT again!”  Tell us about it.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us NEVER. 

xel-ha 1

“WAITING FOR MAGIC TO HAPPEN”

How, and why, I made this unwise decision, is still a mystery.  Maybe, it was the setting–Xel-Ha Ecological Water Park in Mexico?  It was my first visit south of the border.  The beautiful crystal-clear water, gently flowed to the sea surrounded by tropical flora and fauna.

At any rate, my spouse wanted to go snorkeling.  My preference was lazily floating down the river in inner tubes lashed together.  I should mention, that, I’m not a swimmer.  Proper equipment was secured and I proudly “galoomphed,” (walked with exaggerated steps, because of the swim fins), down the dock.  “Don’t forget to smear spit on the inside of your mask,” My wife advised.  It sounded gross, but I did it anyway.

I stepped off into the water, stayed afloat because of the life jacket.  My head was submerged, with just the snorkel tube above the water.  “Remember to breathe through your mouth,” Said a muffled voice.  Too many new experiences, happened too quickly.  My mask was fogged up–I couldn’t see a thing.  Salt water came in through my breathing tube–that wasn’t supposed to happen.  I couldn’t touch the bottom.  Now, I was just a living piece of driftwood floating with the current.

Somehow, I expected to propel myself through the water with ease, just like in my dreams.  It didn’t happen that way in real life.  I panicked, flailed in the water, and someway, somehow, got back to the dock.  That wasn’t going to be the day, I drowned, while on vacation in Mexico.  I pulled off the life jacket, mask, and fins–returned them to the rental counter.  My wife claimed I was gasping for air and was, “white as a sheet.”

Snorkeling is something I never plan to try again.  …At least, not without taking swimming and snorkeling lessons first.  I still don’t like to talk about my embarrassing experience.  That’s the difference between me and my wife–she immensely enjoys relating this story–to my chagrin.

 

DAILY PROMPT: A to Z

Create a short story, or epic poem that is 26 sentences long, in which the first sentence begins with “A” and each sentence thereafter begins with the next letter of the alphabet.

“BEGINNING & ENDING”

All pleasantries set aside
Bridges burned at both ends
Called play-by-play
Drive-time shock jocks
Egomaniacs, eagerly self-anticipated
Full of one-liners, punch lines, buzzwords
Glorified baser human instincts
Hipster heroes, Harry Whodunits
Ignored implications, complications
Jumped on their own bandwagons
Kissed babies and behinds
Liars for hire, professional deniers
Mostly cheered for their sides
Never seemed to shut up
Only to catch their breath
Please, give me a break!
Quickly–I need peace and quiet!
Relief, sweet relief!
Sooner, rather than later!
Trash, talking fools
Usurpers of the air waves
Vacant, vapid voices
Wrong-way Willies
Xerographic imitators of imitators
You shall irritate me no more
Zombie apocalypse has finally come!

DAILY PROMPT: THE STAT CONNECTION (“LIFE IN A BLENDER”)

“Go to your stats page and check your top 3-5 posts.  Why do you think they’ve been successful?  Find the connection between them and write about it.”

1.Home Page/Archives,” 3,436 views

I’m reluctant to use the first example because it’s too inclusive.  My first few posts from last year would probably elicit the, (“Who wrote this crap?”), response.  However, I would suggest perusal of two early posts, “Widgets” and “The One Thing Leads to Another Rule.”    

2.  “Off the Grid,” 858 views

This story about homelessness, told in poetic form, took on a life of its own.  The characters, Alonzo and Pamela, represented what could happen to anyone under the same circumstances.

3.  “Black Dragon Rose,” 475 views

“Black Dragon Rose” sprang to life after viewing a picture of an exotic tea rose.  The question I asked myself–what was the true essence of intrigue?

4.  “About,” 241 views

My continuing goal is to follow the ideals spelled out in my “mission statement.”

5.  “One Soldier’s Story (Dad’s WWII Letters),” 128 views

This was the first installment of My father’s WWII story, told in letters written to his parents.  For those that took the time to read through some of these long posts, there was a clear picture of one family’s emotional upheaval during wartime.  I did historical research to fill in some of the gaps.  WWII GI’s weren’t always talkative about war experiences.  I’ve yet to meet anyone that loves war.  The sacrifices of veterans, made our present day world safer, and should not be taken for granted.

 

The Connection?

I find the most fulfillment in storytelling–whether in poetry or prose.  I use stats as guidelines only.  If I like a post, that doesn’t guarantee that anyone else will like it.  My most popular posts went beyond my normal comfort zones.  Perhaps, that’s the connection?  Posts two through five were about vastly different subjects.  The second post, “Off the Grid,” was my furthest trek off the beaten path.  Collectively, these efforts could best be described, as “Life in a Blender.

 

DAILY PROMPT: PARTY ANIMALS (?)

“After spending time with a group of people, do you feel energized and ready for anything or do you want to hide in the corner with a good book?”life of the partyMost importantly, its dependent on the type of function and why I’d be there.  If it were an obligatory social function, I’d make sure to see and be seen by the important people.  After that, I’d take full advantage of people watching opportunities.  Every party has main characters playing typical roles.  It doesn’t take long to figure out who they are.  Sometimes I’ve assigned names to characters and shared them with my spouse.  …A private game–names assigned based on behavior.  A pretentious, social-climbing, “thirtyish” couple at one function, I christened “Googie” and “XuXu.”

If it were a party of close friends, I’d stay longer.  Group dynamics would determine the remainder of the gathering.  I’m more introverted than extroverted–loud obnoxious people put me off.  If the majority of attendees were positive and uplifting, I’d feel energized.  If there were too many drama kings and queens in attendance, I’d be more emotionally drained.  I have no desire to be poisoned by toxic personalities.  If things went completely awry, I’d make a trip to the restroom, mysteriously disappear, and go home.  At that point, a good book would be an enjoyable alternative.

DAILY PROMPT: FANDOM (SPORTS FAN, YES–SPORTS LUNATIC, NO)

“Are you a sports fan?  Tell us about fandom.  If you’re not, tell us why not.”

cardinals

I grew up in Central Illinois.  My county of residence was considered part of the greater St. Louis metropolitan area.  Being a St. Louis baseball Cardinals fan came with the territory.  I idolized sports figures like Stan Musial, Al “The Mad Hungarian” Hrabowsky, Ernie Banks, Joe Garagiola, Yogi Berra, among others.  While stationed overseas, I listened as Jack Buck announced Cardinals West Coast games against the Giants and Dodgers on AFN (Armed Forces Network).  Prior to 1969, I listened to the late great Harry Carey.  Harry Carey, Joe Garagiola, and Yogi Berra came from the same south St. Louis Italian neighborhood, known as “The Hill.”

I follow the other St. Louis sports teams, but baseball is my favorite sport.  My hometown region was evenly divided between Cubs and Cardinals fans.  I consider myself a baseball fan and not a sports fanatic.  There’s an important distinction between the two.  Until I moved to the Gulf Coast, I didn’t understand the true meaning of sports fanaticism.  Following a favorite team is a “religion” to a sports fanatic.

Here on the Gulf Coast there’s a proliferation of sports fanatics and fanaticism.  Favorite SEC football teams are supported “come hell or high water.”  Those favoring non-SEC teams would be well advised to proceed with extreme caution when discussing sports with SEC fans–things could get ugly in a hurry.  Harvey Updyke, a fanatical Alabama fan, poisoned revered live oak trees near the arch-rival Auburn University campus.  Fanatical SEC dads have skipped out on being at the hospital, when children were born, to be at playoff games.  Sports fanatics put all else aside to follow their passion.

SEC fanaticism is tame, compared to the extreme actions of World Cup soccer fans.  If killing trees weren’t bad enough, a Brazilian referee, recently killed a soccer player; irate fans, in retaliation, murdered and dismembered the ref.  In this instance, sports fanaticism crossed over into mob action, and became sports lunacy.  That’s where I draw the line.  I’m a sports fan without intentions of ever being a sports fanatic.

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DAILY PROMPT: EARWORM (TERMINALLY NOSTALGIC)

The Logical Song
The Logical Song (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Write whatever you normally write about, and weave in a book quote, film quote, or song lyric that’s been sticking with you this week. 

I may, yet, be committed to the “Home for the Terminally Nostalgic.”  Until that day happens, I can’t help but think, that in several ways, personal electronic devices enslave us, make us work more, and communicate less interpersonally.

Before the internet, there were movies, television and radio–all served to mass-culturize and make the world a little smaller.  In the not-too-distant future there won’t be anyone that remembers what pre-internet days were like.  Some days, I could do without the excessive drama, in my hectic, twenty-first century, day-to-day life.

Would the world go on without an internet?  For some people it already does.  From today’s “New York Times” the
“Quote of the Day,” “For me, internet doesn’t exist.  I’ve never seen it.  I don’t know what it does.”  From Ana Marie Hernandez, a retired nurse in Cuba, where web access is rare and costly.   

Maturity is not always what it’s cracked up to be, either.  When I was addressed as “Sir” on a regular basis, I knew the express train to Geezerville had left the station.  There’s a finiteness about being sixty-something.  It calls for savoring every day–finding things to be grateful for.  I would like to go back to a simpler time–especially when my gadgets go kaput and I can’t fix them.  There’s no way, I now, could handle teenage angst.  Maybe that’s why it’s visited on the young?  When did it happen?  When did I become predictable, dependable, responsible, and logical?  The lyrics, steadfastly sticking with me, are from “Supertramp’s” “Breakfast in America” album.

“THE LOGICAL SONG”

When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful
A miracle, it was beautiful, magical
And all the birds in the trees
Well they’d be singing so happily, joyfully, playfully
Watching me, but then they sent me away
To teach me how to be sensible, logical, responsible, practical
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable
Clinical, intellectual, cynical
There are times when all the world’s asleep
The questions run too deep for such a simple man
Won’t you please tell me what we’ve learned
I know it sounds absurd, but please tell me who I am 

I said now, watch what you say, now we’re calling you a radical
A liberal, fanatical, criminal
Won’t you sign up your name, we’d like to feel you’re acceptable
Respectable, presentable…

DAILY PROMPT: TABLES TURNED

Are as comfortable in front of a camera as behind one?  Being written about, as well as writing?

old time photography

I LIKE IT THAT WAY!

Under the scrutiny
Of a photographer’s lens
Or, when talked about
In printed words
Of others, I squirm
And stammer, In spite
Of, having plenty to say

As if, my image
Captured, could
Somehow, capture
My soul, nor, do
I wish, my words
To be, parroted
Back to me, as
Mocking caricatures
Of what, they were
Intended to be

I don’t relish being
The center of attention
I’m not beholden
To anyone, nor do
I desire, to be
Classified, in
Someone’s, Dewey
Decimal System
My creativity, needs
Free reign
I like it that way!

DP: Island of Misfit Posts, “E. PLURIBUS UNIM”–NOT?

“WE ALL HAVE SOMETHING WE’D LIKE TO WRITE ABOUT THAT DOESN’T REALLY “FIT” OUR BLOG, WRITE IT ANYWAY.”

I don’t normally post about social issues that bug me.  Perhaps, it’s because I don’t want to risk being stereotyped because of my geographical background, race, religion, age, or politics.  No one wanted to be “spindled, folded, or mutilated,” when I grew up.  In other words, “don’t prejudge me just because of my age.”  No one would readily admit to stereotyping, but we all consciously or unconsciously do it anyway.  I’m what I am, because of my background, and consider these factors strengths, rather than weaknesses.

Has rational discourse gone out of fashion?  It seems to be in shorter and shorter supply.  It’s only through rational discourse with others of opposing viewpoints that we gain an understanding.  There’d be fewer wars and riots if we as a people could settle differences rationally and calmly.  Too simplistic?  Perhaps–I still think it’s something to “shoot for,” (sorry, bad choice of words).

Intolerance, exclusion, insensitivity–three things I see demonstrated more every day.  Does everybody need mandatory sensitivity training?  Do we need to shout down opposing viewpoints?  We’re from different backgrounds with different interests.  There are blogs dedicated to scrapbooking–I personally have no interest, but applaud their efforts.  I see blog posts that are intolerant of opposing viewpoints.  When did being intolerant ever help change hearts and minds of those thought to be intolerant?

Posts that express inflammatory, intolerant, exclusionary, or insensitive viewpoints are divisive–serve to further polarize rather than to unite.  I don’t necessarily have to agree with opposing viewpoints to understand where they’re coming from.  E. Pluribus Unim. “out of many, one,” symbolized the grand social experiment that is our country.  Out of many cultural, political, religious backgrounds we came together for the good of all.  Are we proving our founders wrong?

DP: NAME NONSENSE

PrinceMy first name is “William,” middle name “Arthur.”  As a matter of fact, all, of my three names, could be first names.  If I was named after someone, it had to be an obscure relative on my mother’s side of the family.  I fantasized about being named for historical figures–like “William the Conqueror,” or “King Arthur.”  If that were true, imagine my parent’s disappointment, when I didn’t live up to expectations.

From “William” came the usual nicknames: “Will,” “Willie,” “Bill,” and “Billy.  To which unflattering modifiers were added by cruel schoolmates, that will remain secret.  The nickname that stuck was “Bill.”  In adolescence, my first name suddenly became boring.  What could I do to punch up my identity–make my mark?  One idea, was shaving off my hair, replacing it with tattooed-on hair.  Thank goodness that never happened.

Perhaps a distinctive name, difficult to pronounce?  …With lots of consonants, few vowels, silent letters.  Then, I could feign indignantly, when my name was mispronounced.  …A different spelling?  Why not “Bill,” with three “L’s?” Maybe something like “ZX729,” consisting of letters and numbers?

Several years later, the rocker “Prince,” seized the opportunity, changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol.  It was a gigantic flop.  People didn’t have time or patience for this naming nonsense and used the abbreviation TAFKAP, (The Artist Formerly Known As Prince).  Explanations of identity proved more troublesome than his conventional name.

I’m “William Arthur,” for a brief imaginative moment, known as “ZX729.” I’m happy with my name and who I am!  Although, junk mail comes addressed to “Occupant.”  Now, there’s a very distinctive name.