No decisions should be made under these circumstances. "These circumstances" being my state of mind. Not my current state of mind- my permanent natural condition. It's not so much that I fear that I've lost my mind. It's more that I've found it.
Suddenly the ads on television are all ludicrous. Well, the ads, themselves, aren't suddenly ludicrous. The ads have been ridiculous all along.
This old man thing may just work out. Only problem is there's not much future in it.
His knuckles were like tiny, bald cartoon characters and his brain was sorta' like Irish oatmeal. He wore jackets from Milan and guzzled Tattinger from a paper cup. Paper. Not plastic. He was nothing if not authentic.
He wasn't a hero without challenges. He could have started his own "Me, Too" movement.
He put truth above showbiz, though, and it cost him dearly- just not in ways that mattered.
Sometimes I think that the grief is just to keep me from exploding with joy. I have some sense of decorum. There is a proper period of mourning and I understand that. Maybe I can't get over her because she's all I had. Fact is I laugh every day at some memory of our time together. She was a showoff. A card. A character. Not unlike Lottie.
If you laughed at Lottie's joke, she would tell it again.
If I could have one wish granted, it would probably be that all living creatures might know the love that I've known.
Untested by any measure of success, I live the life that I have always sought. You don't wish for happiness, you hope for a shot at peace of mind.
Alone, I paint things too pink and shocking green. I get up when I want and I eat guava- cheese pastry for breakfast.
Nobody's waiting for a new record so I write when inspiration strikes. Nobody bothers to break my heart so I write from memory. Sometimes I cry when I deal with them but sometimes I smile. Pretty sure I smile more.
Decency, these days, is like pornography. As Potter Stewart famously declared, "I can't define it but I know it when I see it."
Raised by decent folks, I took fairness for granted. Good manners. Thoughtfulness. Honesty. Villains wore black hats in cowboy movies, bleached their hair and sneaked "foreign objects" into the ring. Nobody could have convinced me that I would live to see "leaders" in government lying on television while preachers advocate hate and prejudice, two cable channels over.
Oh, every now and then a kid would cheat on a test. He- it was always a boy- would get caught and learn his lesson. Of course I was aware that banks were robbed. Sometimes folks are desperate. Kids need shoes. I knew about Capone and Dillinger, but that was like knowing about vampires and zombies.
Now, my innocence has been splattered all over the kitchen floor. I try my best to hold on to my decency, though. If I live long enough for it to come back in fashion, I hope to be all the rage.
Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.
You had better learn to like yourself or you had better work to change. I live with me and, buddy, it's not easy. Oh, I'm neat enough and not too loud. I do my share of the chores around here. My cooking's not much to write home about, but I always wash all the dishes. Immediately.
I'm flexible about "my side" of the bed and which towel is mine.
If you're interested in all of the negatives, send for references.
There are concepts that I have trouble accepting. Money is one of them. Who do you suppose decided that some green paper determines your station in life? My guess is some guy with a printing press. Why do we pay Steve Mnuchin a big salary to print the stuff while we put other crooks in the pokey for the same deal? You can't tell me that we all agreed on Mr. Mnuchin. I didn't vote for him. In fact, I would put him in jail!
Speaking of jails, there's another one. We all know that there are lots of innocent folks in our prisons. We all know, too, that Erik Prince breaks laws routinely. I hate to pick on him,,,
no, wait- I love the idea of picking on him.
You see what I'm getting at here. Our system of justice, which is my second concept that I don't comprehend, is all based on the green paper thing.
Am I supposed to believe that man has some divine dominion of the earth because of this green paper idea? I may be naive and I may be slow but I'm smarter than that.
Tomorrow let's discuss our political system. The one where the guy who got fewer votes steals green paper from us and is protected by guys who should be in prison but, instead, make the rules because they draw lines on the map to get themselves elected by a minority so that they can help them hoard green paper.
If it sounds like I'm preaching revolution, I'm not. It is, however, a concept that I understand.
My mind wandered off a long time ago. Good riddance. My goal is, and has been, to save the world. From what, you ask. I've never gotten that far. That essence that "they" seem to beat out of you by the time that school starts- mine is intact. More or less.
Oh, I'm not bragging. There are lots of negative ways to describe my condition. A group of junior high school girls were kind enough to list them for me and send them through the U.S. mail to avoid any discomfort.
Without the anonymity, a wife updated the list for me. After fifteen years of marriage, I should add.
Now, buddy, I'm not really complaining, either. I still dream. I'll play in puddles.
As I watched the young woman encourage the little blind girl during her swim lessons today it was hard to keep my tears of joy any kind of secret. Today is just one of those days. My little three-legged pal from across the street, Skip, has one more night with me before she goes home. We'll celebrate tonight. Oh, we won't see ten p.m., but we'll celebrate.
My mom gave me everything. Everything. I'm most thankful for a heart that opens for all the miracles around me. You're lucky when you know you're lucky. I guess I'm about the luckiest guy that ever was. I see true perfection everywhere.
WANTED: Cult Leader. Must have charisma galore, unlimited chutzpah and a withering stare.
Since elementary school I've wondered what gives tyrants their power. For me it all began with Adolf Hitler. I always thought that the stupid little mustache should have been a disqualifier. *
You know where I'm going with this, so I won't waste time typing about Charles Manson and other scoundrels that led up to the current state of affairs. Forget Hillary Clinton. P.T. Barnum warned us a very long time ago.
*Yeah, yeah- I know. There's no such word as "disqualifier." That stupid little mustache, though!
Who divides the flowers from the weeds? It occurs to me that the closest I will come in my lifetime to living in an integrated world all happened because of rock'n'roll. My naive dreams of a world without war were fueled by rock'n'roll, too.
You live for awhile, then you die.
When someone asked my pal, David Amram, what he thought happened when life was over, he looked over his shoulder, waved his arm and hollered, "Next!"
Nearly as I can tell, we don't get to pick the time in which we live. This has been the time that I would have chosen.
Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war. Come on, rock'n'roll, save us again.
We would all like to think that we've made this a better world. There are days when just holding on is about as much as I can handle. If I could get these melodies out there and unleash this love, I believe I could earn my keep.
Time, I've found, can't be wasted. Saved, either. Regrets? Well, sir, as much as I hate to contradict myself, regrets are a waste of time. My only regret is that I didn't love harder. Purer. More often. Without conditions and expectations.
What a fine drunk I would have made but I'm no good at drinking. I've been called a lightweight. That's probably about right. When I see camaraderie in barrooms, I'm jealous.
Church won't quite do, either. Oh, I'm sure there's one that's right for me out there somewhere. If there is, it probably wouldn't fit me in a month or two. To twist Groucho a bit, "Any church that would have me, ought to be ashamed of itself."
Be careful what you wish for. I've always thought of myself as an outsider, an underdog. Funny. I'm a white male, born and raised in the United States. I've had my share of most things and way too much of most of it.
Between Elvis' peak in 1956 and the dawn of the Beatles in 1964, I picked up the guitar and dedicated my life to rock'n'roll. That was inevitable but the timing sure made life easier.
To say that I've led a charmed life is to understate the obvious. I'm lonely by nature and I've been lucky enough to spend my life around the sweetest folks in the world. I'm good at feeling sorry for myself. I'm better at laughing 'til iced tea runs out my nose.
Now, I've lived too long to die young. That's another way of saying that I'm an old man. I've had all of the beautiful freedom that the poets go on about, never chained to any kind of humdrum. I've loved in romance, not well, but intensely.
I've not managed to avoid expectations altogether but I have managed to ignore them.
Now, the day of the white guy is over. Oh, it's gonna take some time but I've got time. Some. It's a woman's world. I'll drink to that. The empire that I took for granted is being dismantled in real time and I watch it on cable news.
Here's to the future. Here's to love, kindness and truth.
Sometimes I struggle. Lately I've struggled. Now I find myself in the middle of a re-set. Do I change or is it the world around me? Does it really make any difference?
Everywhere I look there seem to be lonely saints.
Is it not obvious that war kills people? Not soldiers alone. Babies, civilians, invalids. Seems that we join forces with the side standing up to the baby killers. The history books reveal later that our side kills babies, too.
In my despair, a flicker of hope remains. Barely. Rock breaks scissors, but that's not always the match. Love breaks hate. Eventually.
Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war.
Betrayal. The very word is heartbreaking. I'm guessing that maybe the only thing worse than being betrayed is living with the knowledge that you have betrayed someone. The very concept is enough to rationalize being alone.
Eventually you come to realize that loss through death is real. Permanent. Betrayal is never resolved. It will nag you 'til the last wrinkle in your brain flattens.
Too Much Information. If I end up with a tombstone, that's probably what they will chisel onto it. Yeah, I'll tell anybody anything. Oh, it might not be true. I tend to change my mind. A lot. Frequently.
In self-realization terms, I've made several startling discoveries lately. For the moment, I will keep them to myself.
Meantime, I may shut myself off to some extent. I may not.
Do you suppose that there is really good and bad in men's souls or do you think that maybe we just find patterns? I'm not sure which I want to believe.
Genes are behind the dark side of the soul. I understand that. On the other hand, rocks led to knives and spears. Knives led to guns and guns to bombs. Now, we either jiggle the genes or the jig's up. You can quote me.
If we took all the military budgets we could rescue all the dogs and cats in shelters, perform all the surgeries to repair children's cleft palates and put the homeless people on the street into vacant hotel rooms. We'd have enough change to throw parties all over the world. No plastic straws, please.
How much darkness hides in my heart and in my genes? I don't know. I do know that I've got enough love and little enough sense to hold onto all the hope that I was born with.
For maybe the first time in my life, I'm not waiting on anything. Graduation. Promotion. Marriage. Big show. Summer. Mail. Divorce. Inspiration. Destination. My hair to grow out. Peace. Love.
My precious rock'n'roll seems quaint. Those folks who sang and wrote about it never ending are AARP members. The ones who are alive at all.
The principles that were the basis for the founding of this nation are being dismantled before my eyes. Literally. I watch the occurrence on cable news. Oh, we're number one, as usual. We now set the fashion for fascism and inequality. We step over homeless people, arrest children fleeing violence and allow people to die without medical treatment while tyrants tweet from gilded toilets. War has been our major industry for a generation. My generation.
The drift to the right picks up steam. It's palpable.
My beloved Sunday school, where I learned the important lessons to put the finishing touches on Lottie's words, has been appropriated by evangelical thugs who twist bible verses for political advantage and profit. Oh, how I wish that I believed in hell so that I could know that those guys were gonna burn there.
There you go- they've got me spewing hate. Of course I don't want anyone burning anywhere.
Love may not be fashionable. I'm not, either. Sometimes graphic artists like Milton Glaser paint big red hearts and make a lot of money. Occasionally writers like John Lennon can shout "All You Need Is Love" and we can all sing along. He's quoted, you know, as saying that it was the most important thing he ever wrote.
Proudly out of fashion, let me tell you that love flows through my veins. I love you.
"Put out to pasture." Dang! Whatever happened to "put out to stud?"
What are you laughing at? Who have you been talking to?
There's a certain luxury in being so far out of fashion that there is no chance of doing right. Ever. I just worked with a dear friend who is the King of Anti- fashion. He is not aware of the honor, of course. I'm not about to mention his name. Get out your dictionary and look up "hep." That's his picture.
Sometimes I wring my hands and wonder, sometimes I hang my head and cry. The inventory of my attributes as a mate, nay even a date, is skimpy and I'm being generous here. If we're dealing with self- efficacy here, I come by it honestly.
Don't good intentions count for anything anymore?
Lust? Well, a little, yeah.
I'll bet if I were rich and had a red sports car I'd get somewhere. Oh, and if I danced better.
So- the fat, rich kid from down the street stole my bike. He's already flattened both tires and broke the seat. He swipes whatever he can and brags about what he owns.
Karma? Well, I don't know that I believe in it. Actually, I probably don't understand it. I nicked it, myself, from another guy in the neighborhood. I used to make the little boy next door wash it for me. I haven't done that for awhile.
Anyway, the fat kid brags to everybody about how smart he is and how good he looks on my ride. He always takes things that aren't his but how he got my bike out of the garage is a mystery. I'm pretty sure that Boris, the bully from two streets over, helped him.
There are days that I think I don't even want it back. I mean he's made such a mess of it. It's my bike, though, and justice prevails!
Seems to me that most folks are mostly good. Many of the others seem to go into politics. Or religion. Not many weld fenders onto Plymouths these days. Even "service" workers are being replaced by checkout computers.