Blog

Uncategorized

Waiting For a Body

The author C.S. Lewis is sometimes credited with the quotation, “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” I like that notion. There’s some debate about the origin of the quotation, and I don’t particularly care who gets credit, but this idea is a thread that runs through my upcoming novel, Camelot’s Misplaced Son, and I’d like to kick it around a bit.

 
I don’t pretend to be a deep thinker of profundities. I’m doing well to come up with a four-syllable word like “profundities”. But Mr. Lewis’s thesis does beg the question, “How are bodies assigned to souls?” We know who does the assigning – insert your deity here – but what’s the process? How is it decided which soul gets which shell to use while they’re here, and what parents?

 
That’s one that goes unanswered, I suppose, but for the sake of making up a wild-ass theory, let’s just say there’s a line – actually, a line and a list of parents. Please refer to the Table 4A below:

 

 

Soul                                        Parents
Pat                                Howard and Joan Paxton
Davis                             John F. and Jacquelyn Kennedy
Joe                                Clem and Clara Doe

 

As you can see in the list above, the next soul in line for distribution is Pat, who has the wonderful good fortune of being assigned to Howard and Joan. Total fluke. He gets to be assigned to loving parents in a relatively safe part of the world during a time of prosperity. Pat’s given the further advantage of having parents whose shell looks a lot like the overwhelming majority of shells in his part of the world. He is being set up quite nicely. Being born to a middle-class family, he’ll still need to work to create a comfortable life in his adulthood, but will have an advantageous foundation from which to launch.

 
Next comes Davis. He appears to be the most fortunate of this lot of souls. Davis has received the coveted assignment to occupy the fourth and final shell of the Siblings of American Camelot. Like every soul traipsing around this little part of the universe, Davis will have his problems. Everyone, no matter how fortunate, does. However, concerns caused by a lack of resources or uncaring parents will not be among them.

 
Next in line behind Davis, is Joe, who just missed out on a life full of advantages. When he was further back, Joe suppressed the urge to jump out of line and take a leak because chances looked good for him to land in Hyannis Port. However, when his turn arrived, he was hopping around on one foot only to find he would be put in the care of Clem and Clara Doe. Joe gets to look forward to watching Clem get drunk and take out his frustrations on Clara and the kids. Before Clem leaves the family entirely, he so discourages Joe and his siblings of there being any good in the world, that Joe’s prospects for any type of normalcy are severely diminished.

 
I was led to this way of thinking about twenty or so years ago, after seeing a homeless man – like our friend Joe – and wondering how close he might have been to receiving a better shell assignment. Any of us could have been Joe. Any of us Davis. I’m thankful to have been Pat.

 
I’ve tried to resist the urge to want to trade places with anyone. No matter how grand someone else’s life appears, you never know what they’re dealing with, or what problems they may have beneath the surface. I know my problems and can deal them, and I’m not willing to trade the two hundred bucks handed to me by Monty Hall (now, Wayne Brady) for what’s behind Door Number 1. Whether my two hundred bucks looks to others like fifty cents or million bucks, there’s nothing I would trade it for.

 
My point: being born at all – at all – is such an incredible long shot, that every one of us really is incredibly special. You are the result of one little swimmer, beating out about fifty million others to be the first one to the egg and plant his flag. If only one other swimmer got there first, a completely different person is created – not you. I just wish everyone felt as special as they really are, and maybe there wouldn’t be the people in the world acting out in violence and other ways to get attention.

 
I acknowledge all of this optimism is coming from a guy who, after all, gets to be me. If I were prone to using emogis, here’s where I’d insert a smiley facing, winking. I, like everyone, speak from a certain perspective, a perspective which I’m thankful to occupy. So, I won’t sit here and tell everyone they should cheer up. I can’t see the view from where you sit – but I’ll give it a try if you will.

Uncategorized

Poofy Wigs and Posts For the Sake of Posting.

Sleepy Hollow pic

I don’t often prance about in a poofy white wig and knickerbockers, but when I do, it’s on national television. Facebook, with its “memory” reminders, has cruelly brought to my attention that my fifteen minutes of fame expired four years ago. Season 1, Episode 11 of the Fox television show Sleepy Hollow was my vehicle to stardom. The series was set up as a showcase to catapult me into a career in the insurance industry. Worked perfectly. Those guys really know their stuff.

This was my one and only foray into acting. Hadn’t tried it before. Haven’t tried it since. Thought I’d retire while I’m batting a thousand. While living in the Wilmington, North Carolina area, I answered a call on a Facebook page called the Wilmington Casting Call, fooled them in to choosing me, did the job, and collected the envy-inducing sum of $109, plus free breakfast and lunch. All of those years of experience lounging around my house in a big, poofy wig finally paid off.

Despite their pressuring, I told them I wouldn’t do nudity. So they used a butt double – for my face. What appears to by my face in the photo above, is the makeup-enhanced ass of a ninety-two year old man. I’m thankful for the upgrade.

Sleepy Hollow was filmed in Wilmington, an east coast hotbed of film and television production at the time, thanks in part to favorable tax treatment for the film industry by the State of North Carolina. In 2014, a new law was put in place, drastically reducing the tax benefit of film production in the state, so Sleepy Hollow left town, relocating to Georgia.

When you’re a first-time author, and your novel isn’t quite out yet, you’re looking for things to talk about. Even though this blog post doesn’t pertain to my novel, JFK, or much of anything, the picture was just too funny to pass up. Thanks for reading.

 

music, Uncategorized

Buried Treasure and Music Snobs

 
Every so often, I’m going to post songs that interest me, mostly songs that weren’t particularly chart climbers or received much radio play, but should have. I’ve listened to a ton of music over the years, and still do. I promise I’m not one of those music snobs that John Cusack and his record shop buddies admitted to being in the movie “High Fidelity” – good movie, by the way. We all know folks that won’t admit to liking anything that sounds mainstream or commercial, because if so many people like it, then it must only appeal to commoners. Snobs. And once everybody likes a song that they liked first, they don’t like it anymore. I like a lot of different kinds of music, some of it weird, some of it not. But I have a special fondness for well-crafted, hooky, music, even if it does appeal to the masses. I like bringing attention to songs that should have been bigger than they were. Here’s one such tune from the 90’s by the Scottish band, Del Amitri, who were bigger in the UK, but did have a song, Roll to Me, that faired well in the US. This song, “Not Where It’s At”, used to play on the Muzak in an office I worked in, and back in the days before Shazam,  it took me a while to know who performed it because there was no DJ. Never once heard it on the radio. Anyway, please enjoy. Feel free to post your own favorite from YouTube in the comments. Thanks.

 

movies

Non Rom-Com

I like movies, especially in a theater. Polly, my lovely wife,  has never been much interested in going to the movies. When I can get her to go, she doesn’t like anything scary, stupid, or with an unhappy ending. So that means about the only films I see at a theater are romantic comedies.

A few, I’ve found enjoyable. Most, though, not so much. But I’ve seen enough of them now to be able to officially label a movie a chick-flick if any two of the following take place in the film:

1)  Two or more people break into song.
2)  The sister / best friend of the female lead is a Joan Cusak-like character.
3)  Someone cries within the first thirty minutes (not counting the husbands in  the audience).

With all of that said, I will go see such films with my wife because I enjoy her company, and like going to the movies. It’s also the only place I can find Goobers.

But I want to talk about a movie I saw on TV last night. Whenever, I get a free HBO / Cinemax weekend on DirecTV, I wade through the guide and usually record seven or eight movies. Some I watch, some I delete without watching. One that I watched last night, is “500 Days of Summer”. Came out in 2009, and I’d never heard of it, although I did recognize the lead actors (Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel). I won’t tell you what it was about, other than to say it was half romance and half comedy, but NOT a romantic comedy. Didn’t meet the criteria:

  1. No group singing. There was singing (Karaoke), but only one person at a time. And it was acceptable Karaoke, if there’s such a thing, because good songs were chosen, one of which is in my ITunes collection, “Here Comes Your Man” by the Pixies.
  2. No Joan Cusak (or more modern-day equivalent). Nothing against her at all. She’s made me chuckle plenty of times. I’m sure she’s a perfectly lovely person and competent actress. That character, however, is a bellwether.
  3. And no crying whatsoever.

Good movie, with a good soundtrack. Bitter-sweet. Zooey Deschanel alone, makes it worth watching, at least for a geezer like myself. More movies like this, please.

dogs, writing

When Marty Met Macy

My name is Marty. I’ve got blue tag on my collar that says so. That’s me up there on the right. I didn’t come out of my mom’s belly, and I don’t look much like her or my dad, but I do have mom’s big brown eyes, and dad’s cowlick. It’s pretty rough goin’ here.

IMG_4075
I remember the day I found my family, but I’m not sure exactly how long ago it was because I’m not very good at judging times. Like when my mom and dad leave, I’m not sure if they’ve been gone ten minutes, a day, or month in people times. No matter how long it is, it always seems like too long.

I guess if you think about it, since one of my years is like seven years in people times, if I don’t see them for a day, it’s like a week to me. Anyways, dad says July 23, 2004 was the day we found each other at the dog jail. I still don’t know why I was there. I can’t think of nothin’ I did wrong.

I don’t remember much about my life before I met my family. I do remember that I lived outside, and was kind of free to do what I wanted because no peoples were hardly ever around. And I remember being hungry a lot.

One day, I was walkin’ beside the road, and I stopped to sniff a flat racoon, or maybe it was a possum that wasn’t moving. Then a man with a pole came up from behind me and looped some thing around my neck, put me in his truck, and took me to the dog jail. I didn’t have a collar back then, so nobody could tell who my peoples were.

The only good thing about dog jail was I got to eat at the same time every day, and I wasn’t so hungry all the time. A few days later, a family came in and said they wanted to take me to live with them. Before I left the jail, though, one of the jail ladies poked me with a sharp needle, and the next thing I remember, I was wakin’ up and was all sore down around my wainer. I wouldn’t wish that on a dog, whatever that is.

When the family took me to their house, there were two boy peoples there for me to play with. One of them was just a little bit bigger than me, and when we played, I would jump up and put my hands up on him, and he would fall down. Sometimes he would cry, but I was only playin’ with him.

I liked it there. I was glad I wouldn’t have to eat off of the road no more. After a few days, I got in the car with the mom lady and we went for a drive. I thought maybe we were going somewhere fun, but then we turned in to the parking lot of the dog jail. Thought maybe she was gonna get me a friend to take home and play with.  But she put me on my leash and took me back inside. When the jail lady asked her why she brought me back, I heard her say I was too rowdy, whatever that means, and kept knocking their eight year old boy down.

So, the jail lady put me back in my cell. I thought the family would be back to get me after they sent the cryin’ boy off to live somewhere else, but they never came back.
After a while, a man and a woman and a boy came in. I could tell the second I saw them that they were my real family. The boy was a lot bigger than the little boy at the last family’s house.

They looked all around, and then stopped in front of my cell. The boy slipped his hand into my cell through a gap between the gate and post, and I stood up and wrapped my arms around his hand. I heard him say he liked me because I looked like a regular dog, whatever that is, and that if you looked up “dog” in the dictionary, my picture would be there. I don’t remember authorizin’ such a picture, but he said so, so it must be right. My family is right ’bout most everything. The jail lady told them I costed thirty-five dollars, so they paid it.

Anyways, we all got in their car and went home. That’s where I met my sister, Macy.

IMG_3867

We figured out that, in people times, Macy was two years old, and I was eight months old. We had a big back yard and a tall maple tree that we used to chase squirrels up. Every Sunday my dad would take us to the big, empty park in a place called Tornado, and we’d wade all though the river and run across the field.

My mom used buy big bones from the butcher and cook’em for us every week. And even though I loved my back yard, I liked to dig under the fence and run all through the neighborhood. I know I only costed thirty-five dollars, but I think my dad spent a whole lot more on new fence and other things to try to keep me from getting out. Macy would always tell me not go, saying we’d get in trouble. She always was worried about followin’ the rules. But everytime, she would follow me out through the hole I dug, and we’d have a great time. Outside of my yard is where all the peoples were. I love peoples more than anything.

 
Me and Macy lived there together for eight people years (56 for us), then moved to a place called Note Caliney. It was good, though,  because we lived across the street from my mom and dad’s girl. Sometimes we got to got run on the beach, but it was too hot there. Not the place for a fur coat. After a few people years there, we moved one more time to Indiany, is what I think it’s called.

It doesn’t really matter, because wherever we are, all together, is where home really is. Plus we have the same things in our house, like the same soft couch where I like to nap, and the big brown napkin that I rub my face all over after I eat. Mom don’t really like that much. She calls it a chair or somthin’ like that. But sometimes I’m think I’m some help to mom and dad, though. Dad wrote a story, and I heard him tell mom that he was kind of thinking of me when he wrote about someone called Otis.

After a while here in Indiany, Macy started not feeling good a lot of the times. Her belly hurt real bad and she couldn’t stand up very well anymore. She was almost fifteen in people years. We all used to take long walks together, but then I started going with dad on the sidewalk by the road, and Mom took Macy on shorter walks on the golf course behind our house. I always liked it that, from a distance, I could look over at the golf course from the road and see mom and Macy. They would wave at me and dad.

Just before last Christmas time, one morning my dad cooked a big foot-long piece of sausage for Macy. That was her favorite. He gave me one little bite, then fed her all the rest. Dad had never given her that much before. Then he carried her over to me, and we touched noses. Her nose smelled like sausage. Then they got in the car.

Dad got home a while later, and came into the house. I waited and watched the door, but Macy didn’t come in. I figured she must have went in the back yard. So, I went out my little door onto the deck, but didn’t see her there, either.

Mom and dad tell me today is my fourteenth birthday. I haven’t seen Macy in about a people year, I think, but I’m pretty sure she’ll be back soon. Since she’s been gone I do a lot of the same things me and her used to, but it’s just not the same. My mom and dad try to make things fun for me, but it was better when Macy was here. She understood how I felt ‘bout things – dog things. I guess I probably do know what a dog is. My mom and dad always treated me and Macy like peoples, which is nice, but it was good to have someone around that was like me, and really knew me. I miss that.

Now days, I like to lay on the deck, but mostly I just look at the squirrels instead of chase them up the tree. And I’m too tired now to dig under the fence any more. My mom and dad still take me for a walk through the neighborhood every night, and dad has to pick up my doody in a Kroger bag. Heh. I still get a snort out of that.

Some days, dad still takes me up the sidewalk by the road. Every time, I can’t help but stop and look over at the golf course for mom and Macy. But they’re never there. Dad always lets me stop and look for as long as I want. I think he’s watching for her, too.

IMG_0164