"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can break my heart..." Linda McCartney

Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Courage and Consequences

In Life, Society on February 10, 2010 at 12:01 am

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!
If  |  Rudyard Kipling

Last night, I dreamed I won the lottery.  I waited the obligatory 180 days before coming forward to claim my prize during which time I met with my lawyers and a team of accountants.  I was being interviewed on TV.  The interviewer asked if I thought my life would change.  I realized then how fortunate I am, that even a shit load of cash would not affect my life in the least.

I couldn’t buy back my youth.  Or share my prize with the husband of my youth.  I would never share the prize with a friend I’ve had for thirty years or the family I’ve loved, been surrounded, nourished and encouraged by all my whole life long.  No church home do I have, no community where I belong.  No.  My life would not change in all the ways that matter at all.

Being different and having cognition around just how “different” I am makes for a life that is not full of pleasant surprises. At work, people abruptly stop talking when I happen by or worse, they’re talking about me just as I enter in and hear every word they’ve said. Before I got my dog, I can go entire weekends without ever parting my lips to utter a single word. The phone never rings and there is never anyone to call. I have never owned nor have I ever needed a day planner.

Now I have all this money.  I can pay my bills, move back to Manhattan and afford to live there and live the remainder of my days confident I will not be set upon or harassed by anyone calling themselves “family” or “friend.”

Living a life of principle based on reason is not the broad and spacious road.  The world rewards its own; those whose greatest hope and highest aspiration is to be different, just like everybody else.  After all there is safety in numbers, in not only thinking with the group but like the group.  While you may not be the most popular you’re not on the outside. You belong where it’s safe. And let’s not forget there is the emotional perk. Yup, yup, yup, it’s fun to be mean.

The greatest benefit though is you get to keep your job.  Keeping your job means you get to pay your bills.  Paying your bills means you get to create more bills, acquire stuff, send the kids to camp, keep in touch with mom and dad, lunch with your siblings. Own a dog. Your greatest ambition is to get invited to lunch with Mean People. It’s good to fit in.  It’s smart, too. You’re popular.  People like you.

Popularity is people liking you…

Courage is:

  • Following your conscience instead of “following the crowd.”
  • Refusing to take part in hurtful or disrespectful behaviors.
  • Sacrificing personal gain for the benefit of others.
  • Speaking your mind even though others don’t agree.
  • Taking complete responsibility for your actions…and your mistakes.
  • Following the rules – and insisting that others do the same.
  • Challenging the status quo in search of better ways.
  • Doing what you know is right – regardless of the risks and potential consequences

Source:  http://drlill.com/

Happiness…  is You liking you.

Which is hard to do when you’re unable to sustain a quality of life.  That’s why I rather dislike pithy feel-goodisms.  And being hungry.

“You are not deep.  You made your bed. Now sleep.”–Hater tweet

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♫This Is The End

In Death, Despair, Life, Music, Musicians on January 26, 2010 at 11:49 pm

“Love conquers all.” “Every cloud has a silver lining.” “Faith can move mountains.” “Love will always find a way.” “Everything happens for a reason.” “Where there is life, there is hope.” Oh, well… They gotta tell you somethin’…” Charlize Theron as Aileen Wournos in Monster (2003)

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end

Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I’ll never look into your eyes…again

Can you picture what will be
So limitless and free
Desperately in need…of some…stranger’s hand
In a…desperate land

Lost in a Roman…wilderness of pain
And all the children are insane
All the children are insane
Waiting for the summer rain, yeah

There’s danger on the edge of town
Ride the King’s highway, baby
Weird scenes inside the gold mine
Ride the highway west, baby

Ride the snake, ride the snake
To the lake, the ancient lake, baby
The snake is long, seven miles
Ride the snake…he’s old, and his skin is cold

The west is the best
The west is the best
Get here, and we’ll do the rest

The blue bus is callin’ us
The blue bus is callin’ us
Driver, where you taken’ us

The killer awoke before dawn, he put his boots on
He took a face from the ancient gallery
And he walked on down the hall
He went into the room where his sister lived, and…then he
Paid a visit to his brother, and then he
He walked on down the hall, and
And he came to a door…and he looked inside
Father, yes son, I want to kill you
Mother…I want to…fuck you

C’mon baby, take a chance with us
C’mon baby, take a chance with us
C’mon baby, take a chance with us
And meet me at the back of the blue bus
Doin’ a blue rock
On a blue bus
Doin’ a blue rock
C’mon, yeah

Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end

It hurts to set you free
But you’ll never follow me
The end of laughter and soft lies
The end of nights we tried to die

This is the end

Mend your fences with your families
Keep up with your friends
Don’t burn your bridges
Forgive your mean mom
Because
If God is your only friend,
Well then, my dear
You are
Pretty much
screwed

Mommy… Why Does Everybody Have A Blog?

In Books, Life, Reading, Twitter on January 19, 2010 at 2:46 pm

“To the making of many books there is no end, and much devotion [to them] is wearisome to the flesh.” Eccl 12:12

Mommy, why does everybody have a b—?
Mommy, why does everybody have a b—?

©1982 Controversy Music|ASCAP | Prince | 1999

You can “publish your own sound bite” on Twitter, or you can do it the old fashioned way and blog. The results will be the same– page after page after page after page after page of “many books”–” People making sense of their lives, their work, their world– or propagating their world view.

The Tweeps and the Bloggers, a lot of them women, “making” sense of men, (mostly why they don’t have, can’t get, or can’t keep a man), babies, mommyhood, work; or deconstructing religion, politics, society, God.

People who are funny or who only just think they are, mounting e-glossy magazines full of color and graphics and photos; pithy, philosophical, practical and witty, or whimsical, angst riddled and hopeful; often poignant, repulsive, rhapsodic, ironic and sarcastic, perhaps, even with a side of pathos.  So much color and content– so little time to plow through them all.  So many words, so little opportunity to transform them into a living. When the visitor counter displays hundreds, thousands, and to the mighty among them, millions, does it really mean their “makings” have been read? Is it really proof  that anyone is listening?  Is anyone  paying attention?  Does anybody really care?

Countless numbers of people turn to the Internet, self publishing with blogs or on Twitter. Why scribble “I was here” on a cliff or carve initials into tree trunks anymore when you can leave your mark on MySpace or Facebook, or form your own social network on Ning, or Ellen? I wonder if there has been a noticeable drop in graffiti?

Never in the history of man’s six thousand year existence on earth has there been so many people with the time and the access to say so much to so many.  Many “makings” go uncommented on. Why do readers stop and speak to some and merely stop to leak on others?  What makes one blog great fish and all the others plain fish wrapping?

Big enough for everyonePeople, young and old, smart and not so smart, poor and not so poor…  every kind of people busting out all over with thoughts and feelings, baring their souls to the world (or so they think).  All those very busy, very invisible, unreciprocated, unlistened to, unresponded to “Makers” of many blogs and tweets.

Much devotion to them is impossible to keep up with and wearisome to the flesh.

The Bee Gees | WordsIt’s only words, and words are all I have…

Decide! It’s Your Decision

In Despair, Life, Living, Music, Reading, Society, Unemployment on January 15, 2010 at 5:00 pm

No temptation has taken you except what is common to men.  But God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear..,”   I Corinthians 10:13

I guess this basically means, then, that if you’re like me and have a high threshold for emotional and psychological pain, He can let it go on ad infinitum. But can you?

They say that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Is this really true?  Only if you’re Job.  Death is not the worse thing that can happen to you, you know.  God let Satan do anything he wanted to Job short of taking his life.  In the end, Satan had to leave Job just as he found him– alive and only wishing he were dead.

Job’s ordeal only lasted a whopping three years.  Come to think of it, so did Jesus’. So how do you cope when your ordeals are recurring, last much, much, much, much longer and there is not a locust, wild fig tree or even a false friend in sight?  What do you do?

Here’s a few things I didn’t do:  I never turned to drugs (prescribed or otherwise) or alcohol or sexual promiscuity to anesthetize my pain. I have never sought revenge against any other person or been involved in any deliberate acts of unkindness toward anyone. I have never committed an act of violence upon any person, or skulked about in parking lots or back offices plotting to have someone fired. I never willfully set out to hurt anyone or kill anyone’s spirit.  That’s murder as far as I’m concerned.

These are the usual ways the majority of people, (at least almost every single person I have ever met in my life) seems to deal with insecurity, unresolved adolescent issues, undiagnosed borderline personality disorder or “temptation…beyond” what they could bear.

I did take up smoking cigarettes for a time.  The rituals of smoking– the lighting of the cigarette and with what, the having of the cigarette with coffee and after meals, standing outside alone inhaling, then exhaling, watching streams of cigarette smoke disappear into the still, night air…  I did find comfort in that.

It was something to do, a way for me to regain control and a sense of routine during those stark times when I needed to occupy my hands and my thoughts.  But I hated the ash, and the smell of the ash, and the discarding of the ash.  The expense became prohibitive.  It was ridicules, so after a time, I just stopped. I didn’t need a buddy or a patch, or a scary PSA.  I just needed to decide.

Just how much can one person “bear?” What does “beyond” mean? Those filthy, dirty, discolored people you see pushing shopping carts filled with all their stuff and sleeping in subway tunnels–  do they know?  Those people who snap and kill their wives, or boyfriends, or parents, or child, or classmates–  do they know?  Schizophrenics, or people living with mental illness or who have suffered severe mental breakdowns–  do they know?

“…He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear…”

What about the millions of people who each year commit suicide?  Is the “what you can bear” threshold beyond life worth living? At that eleventh hour and fifty ninth second, did they cry out to God in their pain, agony and solitude and saw nothing beyond “beyond” at all to be afraid of?  Did they become like God, “KNOWING good and bad?” (Gen. 3:5) Is that why they did it? Could it be death is highly underrated?

” No temptation has taken you except what is common to men.”

Poverty, homelessness, disease, mental illness, abandonment, betrayal, isolation, hurt…  All human conditions “common to men.”  You’re not special, or unique, or being singled out for punishment or future increase.  You don’t get to stop bearing all things life burdens you with.  You don’t get to surrender your torment and become numb. Miracles ceased upon the death of the last apostle, so don’t overstay your welcome during the sackcloth and ashes phase of grief. Is there a limit to endurance?  Yes there is and guess what?  You determine it!

“…but along with the temptation He will also make the way out in order for you to be able to endure it.”

Popularity is people liking you.  Happiness is You liking you.

“Love… bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” I Cor. 13:4, 7

Some people have families who help assuage the pain.  The rest of us do not.  Some people have a circle of friends who help assuage the pain.  The rest of us do not.  Some people have a so-called church home, or a job, or a community or a passion or even a dog to help help assuage the pain. The rest of us..?  Well, we just have to like ourselves more.

“No temptation has taken you except what is common to men.  But God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but along with the temptation He will also make the way out in order for you to be able to endure it.” I Cor. 10:13

We just have to endure.

I hurt myself today
to see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
the only thing that’s real
the needle tears a hole
the old familiar sting
try to kill it all away
but I remember everything

what have I become?
my sweetest friend
everyone I know
goes away in the end
and you could have it all
my empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

I wear this crown of thorns
upon my liar’s chair
full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
beneath the stains of time
the feelings disappear
you are someone else
I am still right here

what have I become?
my sweetest friend
everyone I know
goes away in the end
and you could have it all
my empire of dirt

I will let you down
I will make you hurt

if I could start again
a million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way

Hurt | performed by Johnny Cash

How Does It Feel?

In Books, Civility, Death, Life, Racism, Unemployment on January 14, 2010 at 12:05 pm

For all the talk about honesty and integrity and authenticity, the most life altering circumstance where these attributes are glaringly absent is during the job search process.  You may be driving on fumes, so hungry your stomach muscles are stuck in a painful concave or twisted up in a knot with fear about the phone and ISP bill that’s past due and you know full well there’s no income coming in this week… but when you show up at that interview you better look like you haven’t got a care in the world. You better act like you don’t need this job.

“People call me rude.  I wish we all were nude…  I wish there was no Black or White, I wish there were no rules…” Prince/Controversy

The hiring process as it stands today makes thieves and liars out 0f all of us. Worse, it transforms otherwise law abiding, tax-paying wives and mothers, husbands and fathers, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, Protestants and Catholics, Christians and Jews into cold-hearted murderers of the spirit before lunch at Subway.  Given the choice between having my spirit killed and being shot 42 times, in this economy, I choose the latter.

The 21st century workplace is the new Roman Coliseum.  All it takes is the downturned thumbs of the masses for you, even you, to be thrown to the lions.  You don’t like somebody you work with?  Conspire to make the office environment so unbearably uncomfortable, the disliked person feels compelled to quit.  You don’t like somebody you work with?Don’t like the way they look, or the way they type or breathe? Subscribe to the belief that “most Christians” believe that religion is a cult?   Start a bad rumor about them.  Have them fired!

Never mind that person may have a child or two to support, or a mortgage, or car note, or college loans to repay, same as you.  Never mind that person you don’t like may want to look toward tomorrow with a modicum of hope and confidence, the same as you.

Never mind that every thread that constitutes the fabric of life is completely unattainable when one does not have a job.  You can’t make friends.  You isolate yourself from family.  You can’t own anything or even make plans.  You can’t provide for your children.  You can never let anyone in to know your shame and deprivation.  You are forced to keep terrible secrets.  You’re afraid all the time. You can never tell the truth.

And that’s probably a good thing because the truth is not what prospective employers want to hear from job-hopping, gaps-in-your-resume-having, slow-bill paying, deadbeats like you.  That’s just the way it is.., Right?

Standing in line marking time
Waiting for the welfare dime
‘Cause they can’t buy a job
The man in the silk suit hurries by
As he catches the poor old ladies’ eyes
Just for fun, he says, “Get a job”

That’s just the way it is

Some things will never change

That’s just the way it is
But don’t you believe them

They say, “Hey little boy you can’t go where the others go

‘Cause you don’t look like they do”

Said,”Hey old man, how can you stand to think that way?
Did you really think about it
Before you made the rules?”
He said, “Son”

That’s just the way it is

Some things will never change
That’s just the way it is
But don’t you believe them”

That’s just the way it is
That’s just the way it is

Well, they passed a law in ‘64

To give those who ain’t got a little more

But it only goes so far
Because the law don’ change another’s mind
When all it sees at the hiring time
Is the line on the color bar

That’s just the way it is
Some things will never change
That’s just the way it is
That’s just the way it is, it is, it is, it is

Performed/Lyrics Bruce Hornsby, 2004

Let’s just say for the sake of argument all that’s true?  What could anyone in this country or anywhere in the world for that matter possibly do that could be so terrible they may not be allowed to earn a living?  Or eat?  Or have a place to lay their head and store their stuff? To be?

W.E.B DuBois wrote in The Souls of Black Folk “…How does it feel to be a problem?” (page 5, paragraph 1)

It’s How It Feels Not To Have a Job.

From Blastocyst and Beyond!

In Civility, Film, Life, Parenting on January 12, 2010 at 6:00 am

Oh, now don’t be hatin’, but children should be seen and not heard.  This is especially true in restaurants, movie theaters, supermarkets, libraries–  any and all public places where people are paying for the privilege to eat, watch a movie, enjoy a leisurely read or are studying in public libraries (yes we do pay for this privilege with our tax dollars).

For you parents who blithely move about the country under the mistaken belief that your child’s protracted shrieks, screams, outcries, growls, grunts, yips, squeals, yells and all manner of vocalizations are just too adorable, I’m here to lovingly tell you–  they’re not.

What they are is inconsiderate, startling, unpleasant, unwelcomed, alarming, distracting and annoying.  They are way, way, way on the negative side of the spectrum of cute and adorable; nowhere near within range.  The longer you allow the outburst to go on, the more my blood begins to boil.  One of us needs to be put out of our misery.

I vote for me.

Now this is the part where you ever so slightly shrug your shoulders and then sheepishly direct one of those “Oh well, nothing we can do about it” glances towards me that’s supposed to make everything wholly tolerable then.

Oh, oh, of course.  That’s your child.  Everybody and their mother knows they’re not responsible for their behavior, silly me.  Let me just digest my food. After all, what can these hapless parent(s), grown adults with jobs, maybe even piloting our airplanes, possibly do to control their own kids?  How stupid of me.  You’re right.  Let me just pay for my meal and leave. Heaven forbid I should be the nasty old curmudgeon who ruins your dining experience this evening.

Not!

Oh, and I especially  love when your kids are running amuck about the place, hiding under tables, teetering and tottering about with grown folk tripping over themselves  trying  not to  trip over them, or having to stand and wait while walking behind them, or narrowly  avoiding nearly  braining them when  a door opens and oops–  why there’s little Austin or Emily obliviously running by with you cooing and  smiling and coaching ten feet away.

My most favorite thing is when you allow your kid to approach our table, mid-fork to mouth, and just stand and stare while you sit ten feet away.  After all, your child is just too adorable and I’m the adult so let me just bear this uninvited, unwelcomed, insufferable alien landing.  If you can’t fix it, you gotta stand it*,” right?

Wrong!

I was eighteen years a single mom.  My only child is now 24 years old.  I received a whoppin’ $25.00 a week in child support.  He said he couldn’t “be involved in this.”  I said ‘I ain’t mad at’cha.’  I didn’t win the love lottery.  What’s the use in crying?  But I chose to continue with the pregnancy.  I could not wrap my brain or my gut around my “choices”  so when that airplane landed on the runway of my life I knew I just needed to decide.  I began to pilot that plane and lift it off the ground.  I experienced turbulence during that eighteen year journey.  I had no encouragement, no help, no support from family.  There was not even proximity.  I found it difficult to start and sustain friendships.  I had no circle.

I did have a few really nice, but sadly transient experiences with some really great people who wandered in and out of my life during my 18 year journey.  One was a lovely young man named David.  At one time, I worked three jobs to support myself and my then nine month old son.  I worked full time for a group insurance company, weekends during the day at  Fotomat, and then four week nights and every weekend at night at a basic cable network operations facility on Long Island.  That’s where I met David, a tall, gangly, 28 year old with a thick, wavy helmet of light brown hair.  He was thin with a long swan-like neck and a giant  Adam’s apple protruding from within it.  He had a deep, breathy, velvety smooth voice and a low, rapid-fire, staccato giggle that makes me smile as I think of it.

The year was 1984 and David was in the closet.  He was gay, and I was his fag-hag.  I was his confidant, his friend, his cover.  Whenever there was a company function, we went together.  We spent a lot of time together outside of work.  He was a delight with my son.  He was one of the dearest, most warm-hearted people I have  ever known in my adult life.

The guys at the facility suspected he was gay, but I could never figure out how.  I had no idea he was gay until he told me, and while I never witnessed David being mistreated, or shamed or belittled or anything, when he told me what he was experiencing there, I believed him.  David decided he needed to move to San Francisco.  Within six months, he was gone.  I received one phone call, but then I myself moved and we lost touch.  I never saw nor heard from him again.

Being a single parent, even under the best circumstances is 100% wretched and 100% joy; 100% giving and 100% receiving; 100% blessing, 100% malediction.  It’s all-in, baby, and women who characterize the SP life  as 50-50 are already standing 100% behind the eight ball. SP is more than just a part of your life–  It’s your entire life but only for a finite and relatively brief period of time.

In my case, the “parenting” phase was complete by the time my son was 16.  By then, not only did he  know what the expectations were, he was mastering them. He had his baseball league.  He worked part time for the Seattle Mariners.  He was making responsible choices.  He was never in trouble at school or with the law. I was only providing for him materially and guiding him.  I was just his mother– not a parent.

Now I realize some of you appear not to have it as I did.  From conception (yes, we knew right then and there we were pregnant) to birth (I was in labor only two hours, natural birth, no drugs) I won the labor and childbirth lottery.  From blastocyst to this very day, my boy is my joy.  How did this happen?  I was not afraid to discipline him.  I didn’t fear damaging his self-esteem or hurting his fragile  feelings, and you know what..? It didn’t rock my world when he hurt mine. The expectations I had for him were high and so were my standards and these were never compromised.

My son was not my “little man” or the “man of the house” or my “Boo.”  He was never my friend, my peer or my confidant.  I didn’t stop being an adult so I could be on his level.  He had enough on his plate just being my son and I had all I could handle just being the best mom I knew how to be.  To this day, I think my son would rather drive steel pins through his eyes than disappoint me and he knows I feel exactly the same towards him.

I did not tolerate my son behaving badly in public or being disrespectful, rude or discourteous to grown folk.  I did this by letting him see my disappointment on those occasions he indulged those behaviors, and by showing him my approval when he didn’t.  Unwanted behaviors prompted expressions of disappointment and were frowned upon.  Desired behaviors were approved and smiled upon.  Literally.  And you have to stand your ground and stay the course, even when it’s especially hard and you are especially exhausted.

I suspect this is the hardest part of parenting for many.  It’s the part that’s often replete with unpleasantness.  My experience has shown me that parents who fear disciplining their children most are the ones most likely to verbally, physically and emotionally abandon self-control, and they know this about themselves.  The rest of us may have steelier nerves or use what Lee and Marlene Canter called “the broken record” technique, or we tend to be more alert, conscientious and considerate when we are in public with our children.  I know I certainly was.

More than anything in the whole, wide world, your child wants to please you, but you have to teach them how. They’re depending on you to do that. Your child does not want to alienate your affections.  They want your approval, acceptance and attention.  Acting out behaviors are born out of a mistaken belief that this is how to succeed in getting your  approval, acceptance and attention.  Disciplining your child guarantees they’ll always be able to do just that. Maybe then I can enjoy my dinner and maybe truly see your Austin or Emily is just too cute.

*Ennis Del Mar,  Brokeback Mountain |  2005 |

Mother’s Little Helper

In Civility, Death, Despair, Feelings, Life, Music, Musicians, Society, The Bible, Twitter, Unemployment on January 10, 2010 at 6:17 pm

I think I’ll just let these lyrics speak for me here and now.  It’s my story, only without the “little helper.”  But I think on it. We’re not designed to be perpetually alone.  Even Adam had Eve.  I think I’m being conversant. In my mind I want to be helpful or funny. Only year after year, decade after decade, I find I am characterized as a “know-it-all.”   The penalty for this harsh, unsparing indictment is death, first by insult, then some public humiliation, then banishment.  You may not work, earn money or live.  It’s a death sentence. Life without the possibility for parole.

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards penned and produced this tune in 1966. Unlike the paradoxes of the bible, the language here is straightforward and impossible for even the lowest level of understanding to miss.  It’s a great song. Mostly because She is Me.  I hope I will find my “little helper.”

♫What a drag it is getting old

“Kids are different today,”
I hear every mother say
Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though she’s not really ill
There’s a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day

“Things are different today,”
I hear every mother say
Cooking fresh food for a husband’s just a drag
So she buys an instant cake and she burns her frozen steak
And goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And two help her on her way, get her through her busy day

Doctor please, some more of these
Outside the door, she took four more
What a drag it is getting old

“Men just aren’t the same today”
I hear every mother say
They just don’t appreciate that you get tired
They’re so hard to satisfy, you can tranquilize your mind
So go running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And four help you through the night, help to minimize your plight

Doctor please, some more of these
Outside the door, she took four more
What a drag it is getting old

“Life’s just much too hard today,”
I hear every mother say
The pursuit of happiness just seems a bore
And if you take more of those, you will get an overdose
No more running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
They just helped you on your way, through your busy dying day  [clearspring_widget title=”Grooveshark Widget: Single Song” wid=”48f3f305ad1283e4″ pid=”4b4a7000e2ee16a2″ width=”400″ height=”300″ domain=”widgets.clearspring.com”]

Up In The Air

In Books, Economy, Feelings, Film, Life, Living, Music, Unemployment on November 30, 2009 at 10:58 pm
Help!  I need somebody,
Help!  Not just anybody,
Help!  You know,  I need Someone…,
Help!
Look at me. Still here. Languishing unhappily in this place some might call Hell.  I listened to Jason Reitman today as he discussed, in an interview with Robert Seigle on NPR what he learned from his experience working with “real people who had lost their jobs” for his newly released movie Up In The Air” starring George Clooney and Vera Farmiga.

“If you’d asked me before I did this movie, ‘What’s the worst thing about losing your job in this type of economy?’ I would’ve probably said the loss of income,” Reitman explains. “But as I talked to these people, that rarely came up. What people said, time and time again, was: ‘I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.’ … It was really about a lack of purpose. They would say, you know, ‘After I finish this interview, I’m going to go get in my car, and I have nowhere to be.’ And I can’t imagine thinking that every day.”

“I can’t imagine thinking that every day” young Mr. Reitman said.  We’re not just thinking it, Mr. Reitman.  We’re feeling it and that, I can tell you from experience is far, far worse.

You can’t  imagine getting up every morning with no one in the entire world expecting you.  No one even knowing or caring if you’re  even ALIVE or not.  Days blend into weeks.  Weeks into months.  You check and recheck the calendar constantly to remind yourself what day of the week it is.  Or watch The Today Show.

There is no greater hell than to have to begin and end each and every day having had nothing to do.  Nothing to think about.  No Where to be.  No one to be with.  No one who gives a shit.

No one says “See you tomorrow.”  I  go whole days, weeks and months without ever having to part my lips to make a sound.  I can go equally as long not ever hearing the sound of my own name.

The phone never rings.

Death of a SalesmanYou are absolutely right, Mr. Reitman.  It is not the loss of income that is the thing.  I used to always joke if I wanted to work soley for money I’d be a prostitute.  No, it’s not the loss of an income that we miss most.

Work is the anchor of a life. Look what happened to Willy Loman, for gods sake. Everything you do in life is because you work.   Work is not a privilege.  It’s a RIGHT!  There can be no Life, Liberty or PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS without WORK!  Work is the American dream!

Once you have your job and feel secure in it and have adapted to the routine of collecting and managing the paycheck, that’s when L.I.V.I.N.G begins. Every plan, every decision, every thought, even your commute to and from work each day is dictated by the completion of at least eight hours and the blessed assurance you’ll  repeat that routine again tomorrow.

Before work you may do a load of laundry, drop the kids off with the caregivers, stop at a drive through for a McGriddle, stop at the dry cleaner, plan dinner while you’re driving.  Once you get to work, you chit-chat about those mundane, shared experiences with co-workers, grocery shop on your lunch hour, use online bill payer at work, pitch in for birthday cards and cakes for co-workers you hardly know (or may not even like) .

After work, you complain about traffic, listen to your car radio (or iPod), pick up the kids, stop at the grocery store or Pet Smart or Target or just head straight home because dinner has to be made, the dryer has to be emptied, the floor needs to be vacuumed, homework needs to be done.  Bills need to be paid.  Everybody has to pee.

Meal time, bath time, bedtime,  quiet time.  All the while your mind’s already reflecting on tomorrow’s in-basket, e-mails that need to be responded to, deadlines, projects, special assignments or just the every day joy of the every day routine of everyday people doing what they do every day–  anchoring their lives so they can orbit all the things they really love and care about.  The JOB is the sun.  Family.  Friends.  Food. Music, TV and NPR all nourished by the Sun’s life-giving, life-sustaining  perennial rays.

Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They DoThere is no community without  people who are working. Studs Terkel wrote a book about it.  Real people don’t give a shit about “Champagne wishes and caviar dreams.”  All they wanna do is work so they can live in the same neighborhood they grew up in, make their parents proud and live close to them, grow their childhood friendships, marry their childhood sweethearts, share the old neighborhood and their most cherished memories with their children and then check out realizing some content with the measure of their life. People have to be working to do that.

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways,
My independence seems to vanish in the haze.
But every now and then I feel so insecure,
I know that I just need you like I’ve never done before.

I’m estranged from my family, too ashamed to let them know where I am and how I’ve ended up.  I force myself to be cheerful and happy seeming around my only child because I don’t want to worry him or be a burden to him.  He’s all I have–  That’s human.

And then there is my dog.  He’s what keeps me alive right now.  I will not relinquish him. I will not surrender him. I will not give him up.  I love my dog.  He’s here with me every day.  He sleeps in the bed with me. He keeps me hanging on with hope that tomorow… maybe tomorrow something excellent will happen to me at last.  Maybe I just might survive this depression/recession– decession.

Or maybe I’ll just end up like those elephants in Africa who don’t survive the drought or the long trek toward water.  I’m prepared for that, too.

I the meantime I hope.  Maybe once again I will be able to do a load of laundry, drop my dog off at the pet sitter, stop at the drive though for a McMuffin, drop off the dry cleaning, eat  birthday sheet cake at the office, plan dinner, save for an Elton John concert…  Be not afraid everyday.  Be normal.
When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody’s help in any way.
But now those daya are gone, I’m not so self assured,
Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors.
Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won’t you please, please help me
Help me..,
HELP me…
Oooooo…. ♫♫

Just Like A Tree…

In Despair, Despair Inc, Life, Music, Religion on October 6, 2009 at 10:30 pm

The thing about characterizing yourself as “spiritual” or “non-practicing,” or “non-religious” is that you are alone. Without a community it’s like being a big tree in a South American rain forest. You’re doing your thing, your roots are firmly entrenched in the ground, but you stand alone, surrounded by a lot of other great trees. There’s no connection.

You don’t go to church.  You don’t attend meetings or fraternize with any like-minded others at all.  You are a great tree.  Firmly planted.  Roots deeply entrenched.  Shading none.  Sheltering no one. Bearing no fruit. You are neither lamp nor light.  You’re lost and alone and afraid.

Dear God…
is there somebody out there?
Is there someone to hear my prayer?
I’m a simple man with simple words to say
Is there some point in asking?
Asking for more only got us where we are today
Lost and alone and afraid
Give me, love for the lonely
Give me, food for the hungry
Give me, peace in a restless world
Give me, hope for the children
Give me, a worldwide religion
Give me, peace in a restless world
Dear God, can you hear me crying?
A whole world crying
Looking for something to say
We had it all and we threw it all away
Is there somebody watching
Somebody watching over the mess that we’ve
made
We’re lost and alone and afraid
Give me, love for the lonely
Give me, food for the hungry
Give me, peace in a restless world
Give me, hope for the children
Give me, a worldwide religion
Give me, peace in a restless world
And we need to know there’s something good
Though all our years of solitude go on and on and on…
Give me, love for the lonely
Give me, food for the hungry
Give me, peace in a restless world
Give me, hope for the children
Give me, a worldwide religion
Give me, peace in a restless world
Dear God..,
is there somebody out there,
Is there someone to hear my prayer..?

♫♫The Sound Of Silence

In Art, Death, Feelings, Life, Music on September 30, 2009 at 8:02 pm

[clearspring_widget title=”Grooveshark Widget: Chameleon” wid=”48f3ef6c29317865″ pid=”4ac3efeb767dc68e” width=”400″ height=”300″ domain=”widgets.clearspring.com”]

The thing about music is once you have it in you, it’s yours forever.  No other art form burrows so deep inside your heart and your head like music.  You feel it. You crave it.  It creates sensations inside.  It makes you leap to your feet or can place you gently into a chair.  It makes you grimace, it makes you smile, it makes you laugh out loud.

It resurrects memories and sights and smells and tastes.  You see colors.  It reunites you with loved ones– or vice versa, the living and the dead.  It blurs the constraints of time or alters them completely.  Suddenly you’re twenty-five year old son or daughter is two again or you yourself are nineteen.  Music is the most powerful art form.

It’s not like a movie, or book or theater.  You can play whole songs in your head; your intimate, personal, private soundtrack  anytime, anyplace, anywhere. It’s portable.  No batteries required.  No equipment necessary.  It is all yours.  No one’s inner audio library is exactly like anyone else’s. No one may judge the sounds in your soul.

You can feel it by yourself or you can feel it in a group.  It can envelope you in melancholy and with the next cut, ecstasy. And the emotional explosion of excitement you experience when just one person relates to your inner sea. Music makes you feel good and makes feeling bad even better.

People fear death because they can feel just how much they’ll miss their music. Like a premonition– A foreboding.  Music is the moon that swells the tide of your being.  Music is your soul and your soul is you. What would it be like when music is turned off? It’s the SILENCE we’re all so afraid of.

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence
And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
“Fools”, said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls”
And whispered in the sounds of silence
Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools”, said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls”
And whispered in the sounds of silence

♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫…

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