“So how do you tell a story without telling the story?” I ask as I sit down to write.
A friend wrote today of family humor and an incident at a funeral that evoked guffaws. It got me to thinking about my own sense of humor that is warped. Gallows humor it is called. Mirth in the face of a tragic and hopeless situation.
It is always inappropriate, but there it is. I once remember a scene in a movie where a man goes into the confessional booth to confess his sin, then shoots the priest so there were no witnesses to his confession. I guffawed in the darkened theater over the irony of the scene and got a passel of disbelieving white eyeballs staring at me. That only made it worse, and my date at that time finally had to give me a hard elbow in the ribs. She never went to a movie with me again.
I have been hard on modern day comics and their substitution of snark for humor. In defense of my gallows humor, I do think snark generally springs from an unentitled sense of superiority, and shares that sense with their audience.
One of my favorite cites is:
Robert-François Damiens, a French man who attempted to assassinate king Louis XV, was sentenced on March 26, 1757 to be executed in a gruesome and painstakingly detailed manner. He would first be led to the gallows, holding a torch with 2 lbs. of burning wax. Pliers would then be used to tear his skin at the breast, arms and legs. Then his right arm, which held the knife he had used for his crime, would be burned with sulfur. The aforementioned areas with ripped skin would then be poured upon with molten lead, boiling oil, burning pitch, wax, and sulfur. His body would then be dismembered by four horses, the members and trunk consumed in fire, and the ashes would be spread in the wind. After hearing the sentence, Damiens is reported to have replied: “Well, it’s going to be a tough day.”
I have used that phrase often when faced with an impossible set of circumstances and must ride it out to the end.
So with those thoughts, Shabbat morning unfolds. I feel like I am on a runaway train with my government, and there is no way to get off. There is noting I can do about it but watch the horror unfold. It cant be good.
And yeah. It is going to be a tough day.
The protests have become hollow and stale
The politicians posturings become trite and melodramatic
The press reportings a parody of seriousness.
Let them bleed on someone else
I am beyond care
Update on Annie-Annie:
Annie seems to be responding to the CBD oil, though her front legs are getting weaker and weaker. Her appetite is still good, and she sometimes forgets she is in so much pain and leaps around in excitement at treats.
But she has her bad days where she just sleeps and welcomes her treats that are brought to her. She is unable to get up on the bed any longer and has to be lifted up on it.
I do think the CBD oil is helping with the pain, and I am so grateful to the generosity of Sanchia, another rescue warrior who provided the oil. We thought we would be making that awful decision by now, and I am hopeful she will continue to have a reasonably good life right up to the end. May it be a while.
We have been giving it to Jenna as well, a 70lb who knows what that has epilepsy. She too appears to be doing better. A couple of times we spotted a pre-seizure aura, but she didn’t go into a full icktus.
I sure wish there were more medical studies on CBD oil. It is difficult to know if the improvement is due to the oil or simply coincidence. I am going to go with the oil mitigating the ravages of disease.
I almost never endorse a business, but I am going to make an exception here. Support it if you can.
I have been violently ill over the last five days or so. I seem to go into stasis when I am ill, and time becomes meaningless. Lots of time on the toilet. Lots of time in the netherworld doze wake doze. Every day I would set on the edge of my bed and think that I would pad down to the studio and write, only to diverted to the bathroom and back to bed for some more wakey-sleepy. My strength is largely gone, but the signs are that the disease is loosening its grip. I hope.
I was surprised by the number of messages in my inbox, far more than I can respond to today. Write this, sip a cup of chicken bullion, and then it’s back to slumberville for me.
I think my family realized how serious it was when I asked for a bowl of graveyard stew. A concoction apparently only known to Texans. It is simple, really. Toasted bite sized pieces of heavily butter toast, warm milk and a tablespoon of cream. It is made for infirm people who cant chew or eat strong foods. It did help, and that was encouraging.
I am mainly posting this to apologize to people for my not responding to their posts. I don’t know when I am going to be up for that. Soon, I hope. So don’t give up on me yet, and if you have the time, shoot off prayer for quick healing.
Sunday rolls around a bit cool and sunny this morning as I process the turn of the country towards authoritarianism. I do believe the neoliberal establishment has won the battle of the hearts and minds of the American people, and now it is time to treat them for the boor and bully they are.
I am no longer confronting it. My rebellion is going to be passive, to quietly throw sand in its gears when I can and then disappear. I don’t want to be in the vanguard of this resistance. That is where hero’s die and are remembered for their heroism, and I no longer care to die with my boots on. That is a young mans glory. Old men’s glory is their white hair and peacefully dying in their sleep.
Gray Rocking is some sort of psychological term for dealing with boors by being neutrally responsive to them nor engaging them in any way. I am applying it to the neoliberal left that has split off an declared me the enemy. I am done dealing with them. I’ll deal with them at the ballot box. My vote is still secret, and as long as it remains a secret, I will vote against them. I will quietly but resolutely resist new taxes, new property controls, and not tip my hand in advance. I leave the political sites and comment sections to brash and foolish people.
So goes my patriotism, my love of country, and my legacy to the following generations. I got mine, throw yours away if you wish.
There. That is out of the way.
Annie-Annie, our adopted stray labradore and something else, is still limping along. She has her good moments, and her bad moments. Sometimes I wonder if I am selfishly prolonging her life, and at other times I am glad when I see her offer her toy to me for a gentle game of tug-o-war and playful bites when I try to grab it from between her legs. Still, that gray muzzle and gray eyebrows let me know that this is not going to go on forever. The day will arrive when I have to make that hard decision and that day seems to be approaching faster than I want it to. But perhaps it is better this way so that when the day arrives, I do the right thing.
Bucephalus, my aging Dodge Grand Caravan is inspected for another year now. I admitted defeat and let the mechanic install a new taillight assembly because I couldn’t figure out how to unhook that new-fangled plug from the old one. The mechanic reached in, unplugged it, and popped the new one in and told Snookums there was no charge. Now if I ever get the cataracts done, I’ll drive for a short while longer. My vision is so bad now that I am having difficulty in writing, and I have all but given up on reading.
Soon warm weather will arrive, and I will move to the porch, shooing the feral cats away. They think they own it now, but I am human. I am bully. I am neoliberal on the porch.
So the rota of days goes.
Shabbat morning dawn with a light, wispy winter’s fog. It is a cool, but not unbearable 60° degrees, and very calm. Not much of a winter this year. One day of snow, one day of melt, and everything but the trees is a bright green.
A quick scan of the news yields little news, but lots of opinion. One reporter for a left leaning publication travels to Wyoming and discovers that the people there do not trust her, do not trust Washington, don’t want to hear negative reporting on Trump, and that just saddened her that so many distrust her. Unreasoning brutes! I suspect that the left is about to discover that their scorched earth politics wasn’t their best strategy. It doesn’t bode well for the U.S. as a country. And the headlines say that Nancy Sinatra will never forgive Trump and his supporters. I am just crushed, but not so crushed as to read the article. I suspect that Trumps supporters likely feel the same about her. So I move on. It is what it is.
I was thinking of fixing breakfast, but I am still feeling bloated this morning and may just fast through the morning instead. I chalked it up to aging dyspepsia. Another of a vast cornucopia of maladies that makes growing old a misery. But again, no use griping. It is what it is, and we move on again.
Not much on the social sites this morning either. There was a big push by my friends to move away from facebook, but I note we all sort of gravitate back to it, leaving yet another social platform application sitting idly on the desktop. Complain all we want about the bias, we apparently love the abuse. I have taken to deleting memes showing the new President committing new horrors each day. It is also a given. I resist where I can and sit in sullen silence where I can’t. And apparently, that really is confusing leftists, so that is a good thing.
So, on this anti-politics, anti-news day, I gripe about politics and news. And so, I move on.
Amazingly, Preparation Day (Friday sunrise to sunset) has come again so suddenly. It seems like it was only three days ago. I remember how slowly the days ground by as a pre-teen. That agonizing period between 14 years old to 15 ½ years old when the State would let you get a learner permit. It was at least three æons long. But the 15 years that I have been here in retirement haven have gone by in a blur of high points.
Preparation Day, for the uninitiated, is the day I prepare for the Shabbat. The Shabbat is a celebration of God resting from the labors of His creation. I think that the word would be better nuanced as that ceased from his labors. The world was complete, time had been created within eternity, and his creation would produce fruit at the end that would re-enter eternity.
Eternity is not something that I comprehend yet it is something I desire. Odd that I would desire something I have no understanding of. But then, I have never been totally rational. No matter what I put my hand to, something always compelled me to look beyond them. Eternity is like a faint song that catches me in its beauty at unexpected times. I can’t evoke it. I cannot speak it into existence. It captures me at its own leisure.
I have tried at times to be an atheist. I have tried to take an agnostic position. I have had periods where faith fled from me. But then, that song would faintly play just beyond that gossamer veil, and I would cast aside my doubts and rejections, and begin following that song again.
So on this day I try to prepare enough food for the special day that begins at sundown. Of course, not living in eternity, I can’t really practice that. People must be fed. Babies, livestock, and pets all need tending. And the world at large does not observe the day, nor comprehend why I do. And frankly, neither do I. The song just suggest I do. And so. I do.
And this musing flows through my mind as I stop to spend a little time in this daily journal, coloring my words, my thoughts, and at times, even the work of my hands.
Well, the fog and rains moved on, and Tuesday morning dawns bright and sunshiny. The forecasts report a high of 65° this afternoon with no wind. A good day to prowl the yard and try to fix a couple of minor annoyances on Bucephalus, my aging Dodge Grand Caravan. So far the writing continues, with chirpy reflections in the morning scribbling, and dark, thunderous pieces in the evening.
Don’t know why it is that the time of day effects my thinking so much. Evening is time to consider my frail mortality, and the frailty of all mankind in general. The pieces sort of scare me, but I have made my peace with them and will post them as they are. I have deleted such posts in the past. I am not a fan of darkness and try to not hang out there. But maybe it is time to give the dark thoughts free reign.
But this is a morning coffee post, so I shan’t be about malevolent spirits, sinister plots, and spiritual wickedness abounding.
The rains have made the wildflowers green up, but they haven’t bloomed as of yet, so there is an even green out over the fields that looks like finely mown grass on a golf course. The county has its ditch mowers out early this year, and they offloaded the mower from a truck, and left the truck out on the road to spoil my view of rolling green fields. But that is OK. I want to turn my attention to the world on the other side of the digital screen anyway, sip the morning coffee, and muse on life and love this sunshiny morning.
Another animal lover sent Annie-Annie a bottle of CBD oil, and she seems to be responding to it. That is good. I would like to give her the best of living until the disease finally claims her. I am a skeptic when it comes to patent medicines, and CBD seems to be one of those miracle cures that fixes everything. But the giver owns the CBD company and gifted me with it, and offered more if it runs out. Some people you just love at first sight, and Sanchia is one of them. She works tirelessly for abandoned animals who have no voice of their own, and asks nothing in return.
Kippur da Budgie is happily shrieking, and one of the blessings of hearing loss is that it attenuates her joy, but still lets you share in it. I need to get my hearing aids to the clinic for repairs, but I am sort of enjoying the silence. My family is about to kill me, though. They are getting tired of me saying ‘huh?’ …
Another voice from the past showed up on my blog this morning. It is always good to hear that people are still around, and that they sometimes find my ruminations entertaining, and sometimes even cathartic. My mind goes often to those people, and I mourn the loss of a social platform where we all met.
So the day goes. A strengthening winter sun climbs 10° deosil, the cup needs refilling, and the day needs to be observed.