Friday, April 29, 2011

Smile when you can

Smile when you can because, one day, there will be nothing to smile about and all you'll have are memories of those smiles. They will be treasures, those memories. And those smiles, too.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Once, when I was a young man, I knew the path to fulfilment would parallel the road less traveled. But fulfillment wasn't what I was after. At least I did not think that was what I was seeking. Nevertheless, those who had traveled that road called to me to follow. They knew me better than I knew myself. Or maybe that's just my wish now, my hope that I might have been better than ever I was.

That road, though, was littered with the corpses of unfunded travel, unbuilt houses, ungaraged cars, and unspoken compliments at all of those unattained things.

So I took a different route.

I took the road that would lead to largess. But I never felt entirely comfortable on that road, so I stayed safely on the shoulder, where my unease would be shielded from the stares of those who sped along the highway and where my conscience would not be so thoroughly out of place. As I was busy hiding from the prying eyes of those who were disappointed at my failure to fully embrace the philosophies that powered the race, I failed to see the disappointment in the eyes of those I'd left to make the lonely trek along that other, less traveled road. It wasn't just disappointment in their eyes, I now realize. It was contempt.

Somewhere along the way, I ran into roadblocks. I tried to run through them or over them, but I hadn't developed sufficient speed. All I did was ruin the undercarriage of the vehicle and slow my progress toward the destination. But I kept trying. I got out and pushed, from time to time, and I made some progress. The closer I got to the destination, though, the harder it was to see. A haze thickened around it. The light was blocked and I could barely make out what once had been, if not brilliant, at least bright. I thought it was bright. Wasn't it bright, before?

As the long journey along the shoulder of that well-traveled road neared the end, I found that the largess I'd been seeking had been damaged in transit. The haze had been caused by the smoldering oil-soaked rags that had been used to tie its broken pieces together. Others around me still clung to the shiny pieces that had been thrown off before the smoldering began. And they seemed to worship them. But I didn't like the looks of largess anymore. Yet when I turned around, hoping to trudge back down that road to the one less traveled, I found that those who would have been my traveling companions had long since completed their journeys. They had attained what I did not even realize we were seeking. And they were no longer willing to share the spoils of the trip. Their contempt at my abandonment of the path was complete.

You forgive a friend, but I was no longer a friend.

And so here I am, a lifetime and a universe and an experience away from the destinations that were so attractive those many years ago. The destination, as it turned out, did not really matter, for it is illusory. But somehow the journey has gone missing and I'm afraid it may be lost.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Mood. Mood controls us. Or me, at least. That's a shame, sometimes. But most of the time it's just a fact. I think we'd all be surprised to look back at our lives in the context of the moods we were in as we experienced each moment. We'd be shocked. And, I'll venture to say, we'd be disappointed.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


If I believed in magic and religion and goblins and fate, I'd believe the world is talking to me tonight. The wind is fierce, ripping and tearing limbs of huge trees as if they were scraps of paper. It's coming out of the south, adding the blast of a southern wind to the awfully heated air. I don't like this; I never have and never will.

It's as if the supreme booggity shepherd were saying, "You're going to pay, motherfucker, for what you'd done to this earth." And I can't help but believe the supreme booggity shepherd is right. We're going to pay.

Maybe not yet. Maybe not my generation, at least any more than we already have. And we have. We've paid by living in crowds while staying in family farms that, half a generation ago, would have been utterly private.

I could go on. I won't. I miss the real world of my childhood. It's gone. Oh, shit, it's gone.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Unlike me, my father was not a man who wore his emotions on his sleeve. But he had emotions and he appreciated the poetic expression thereof. It's interesting to me that one of his favorite poems was this one by Rudyard Kipling, which in my estimation offers accolades to the suppression of emotion:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

The Pointless World Around Me

It's Good Friday. As if that mattered to me. It's just another Friday to me. Another workday. Another day spent in pursuit of something I'm not sure of. Is this sense that it's all utterly and completely pointless unique to me?

Humankind desperately tries to find meaning, something to justify its existence. Not just its existence. Existence. Period. And so we grasp onto events. Simple incidents. And we aggrandize them. We make them bigger than they are. Over time, they grow into massive collections of fables and lies and stories that ostensibly give meaning to what is meaningless. In this context, meaningless is not intended to have a negative connotation; it is no more judgmental than saying the weather is warm.

That having been said, I sometimes wish I could believe in fairy stories and that I believed there were some reason for all this (motioning to the world around me).

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Plan

Lacking a coherent plan, I've begun to take action. That has its drawbacks.

Let me explain by example. Let's assume your objective is to secure a top-level job in biochemistry. But your educational background is in archeology. Nevertheless, you want that senior job as a biochemist. You've even identified the specific job you want and that job is in another town. You move to that town, buy a house, and show up for work at the job you want. But it's already filled by someone else. They question why you've shown up for work at a job that is not yours...especially since you haven't pursued the education needed to be a biochemist.

You failed to plan the intermediate steps required to achieve that dream job.

Now, let's assume your objective isn't the dream job but is, instead, early retirement. But you haven't saved enough money to fund it. And you don't know how you're going to cover necessities like health insurance, let alone living expenses, before Social Security and Medicare kick in. Nevertheless, you make the decision to retire early. You decide to shut down your business and move on to "the next phase" of your life. Whoops. You forgot to plan this out. How's this all going to work? Is it going to work?

Not having the answer, and lacking the ability to even ask the right questions, you blunder blithely ahead.

Plans are so "corporate." So mundane. So necessary.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Repetitive Reptition, Over and Over Again

Manic depression. Depressive mania. Depressive depression. Manic mania.


Monday, April 11, 2011

What a difference a TV makes

I'll be driving 300 miles south in the morning. Into a different culture. Sort of. Fifty years ago, that would be true; a totally different culture. I hate television again for yet a new reason

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Prelude to Summer

It's April 10. Today's high temperature in Dallas is forecast to reach 88 degrees. Why? Was it something I said?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Just Coffee

I have plans for later. You know, when I have more free time. Lots of plans. Objectives to meet. Projects to start. Projects to finish. Things to do.

In the meantime, I suppose I will simply do the regular, routine stuff. The drudgery. Things that MUST be done.

Hey, I can mix them up! Yeah, that's the ticket! I'll execute some of the plans while I move through the mundane. Making the mundane more manageable. My, my, it's magical to make such memories in the moment!

No, just coffee. Why do you ask?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Jury's Out

Here I sit, waiting for the justice building to open so I can go do my civic duty as a juror. They should open the building earlier so hungry jurors could eat at the "justice" cafeteria.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Epiphany: I Don't Control the Weather

Yesterday's comfortable warmth was almost uncomfortable, but not quite. It reached the upper 80s which, in my mind, is a frightening precursor to a summer of hellishly miserable temperatures that soar into triple digits. I shouldn't be so pessimistic, perhaps, but I consider realism and not pessimism. If you lived here you'd know.

But for now, the heat is welcome, at least for awhile. I like going outdoors and feeling myself bake slowly as I putter about in the yard or clean up the garage or do one of the million other chores that need doing.

I would not mind the temperatures spiking during the day if only they would sink again to a chill in the evenings, as they have been doing. The recent oscillations have been to my liking; temperatures in the evening dropping into the 40s or 50s or even the 50s. It's when the temperatures never drop below the upper 70s or the 80s (or, in particularly ugly periods, the 90s) that I feel the urge to relocate for climatic reasons.

If I'm going to live a more peaceful life, though, I have to accept the whims of nature where I live or adapt. And by adapt, I mean move. That's not going to happen immediately. So I should accept nature as "she" comes. I can shed clothes, wear cooler garb, make more liberal use of ceiling (and other) fans, drink more water, get absorbed in things that take precedence over temperature, etc.

I've decided not to fight nature. Weather is not under my control. Nature will always win. Always.