Thursday, March 30, 2017

Hey, Weezy.

(With so much tough weather and March not going out "like a lamb" and the first 100 days, etc. we need this distraction.  This is a re-post from 2014).

The other day I was talking about Bette Davis looking around Joseph Cotton’s house and exclaiming “What a dump.”  It got me to thinking of other famous movie lines. Why do we love them so?  (Two of them are from my favorite philosopher, Mammy (Hattie McDaniel) from Gone With The Wind

What a dump.  
Sometimes I get up and say that to my house especially if it’s in disarray and I have just visited a person who lives in a really good house while I still live in what the realtors like to call a ‘starter house.’  That’s realtor speak for “Let’s face it, that’s all you can afford.”  My house can hardly be called a starter house since I have already had all the children I can have and they are out in the world with their own kids.  I should be living in my “finish” house with all the money I accumulated.  Where is that money by the way?

Most times I LOVE my house especially in winter when the big fat iron radiators are scalding hot and the rooms are like a sauna.  When I come home after a trip I say, “Hello, my friend.  I missed you.”

You can’t handle the truth.
My first response is, “You’re right.”  I can’t handle the truth. There are all kinds of truths.  Some truths are always changing and some never change. If the truth has to do with my self-delusional mistakes where I wasn’t paying attention or just let whatever happened happen, then I need a shot of whiskey before absorbing it. After about a minute, having fortified myself, I would let the truth wash over me and seep into my consciousness and if I don’t die on the spot I guess I can handle the truth. 

You done had a baby, Miss Scarlett and you ain’t never going to be no 18.5 inches (in the waist) again.  Never.  And there ain’t nothing to do about it.
The speech Mammy gives to Scarlett after the birth of Bonnie is a good reminder that once we’ve had a baby we will probably not ever have Gisele Bundchen’s butt no matter how many squats go down.  More important, our girlish consciousness will be replaced by a gritty (grim?) confidence.  We have been to a strange place.  Even Snookie got it.  “It’s different now,” she said.

Mr. Rhett you is bad!
What’s that rustling noise I hear? “
Lawdy Mr. Rhett that ain’t nothing but my red silk petticoat you done give me.
Nothing but your petticoat?  I don’t believe it, let me see … pull up your skirt.”
 Mr. Rhett you is bad. Yo lawdy hoo hoo!”

We love a bad boy.  Always have, always will.  I’ll take a bad boy anytime.

I don’t know nothin’ bout birthin’ babies!”
Who hasn’t exaggerated on the resume only to have it come back and bite. 
Prissy could have walked a little faster to get the doctor.

You complete me.
I have never heard this quoted with any seriousness.  It’s always a joke as it should be.  We come into this world complete and we leave it complete.  Any missing parts have to be self-generated.

(This notion that we need another person to complete us is one of the more misguided myths alive today. The origins of the “soulmate” are found in the writings of Plato who surmised that there was once a “super race” comprising both male and female in one person. They were getting too powerful so Zeus cut each of them in two. This forceful separation left both halves desperate to be reunited.)

Love is never having to say you’re sorry.
This ridiculous idea is exactly what was wrong with the Fifties and even the Sixties and Seventies.  The truth according to MGM.  Wrong. Unrealistic. Delusional.

Hey Weezy.  

Oops how did that get in here although if there’s a better example of a good working marriage than George and Louise Jefferson's, I can’t think of it.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

I haven't prayed seriously in a long time.

(Disclaimer:  this is not a thoughtful discussion on religious beliefs.)

I haven't prayed seriously in a long time, but when Deepak Chopra sent me an e-mail with the subject line: Does God Listen to Prayers? I thought, hey, I want to know that.  Usually I approach God like this: I get up from a chair and my knee hurts. I say, Oh, god. That is shorthand for Really?  It has to hurt just to get up? My lazy default expression to many events is, Oh, my god!  Sometimes, if I look around my house and feel reasonably good and all my kids are okay, I say, Thank you, Lord

I had very formal and intense religious training at the hands of the Pallotine nuns, the German strain.  I know how to sing the Catholic mass in Latin.  I have no idea why I talk to God in this lackadaisical way. Do I think there is a man/woman sitting on a throne up in the clouds who hears me and looks down and thinks, Huh, look at that.  She thanked me so I will reward her with some peace and happiness?  Yes, that's what I probably think in my crude brain stem. But wait - that can't be, right?  A throne?  Up in the clouds?   That makes no sense even to a seriously religious person.

Ever since Google, Skype, the Cloud, etc., I believe in miracles, I believe even more miracles are in the pipeline. I believe that God is so tired of our uninteresting demands and whining he/she is allowing humans to make their own miracles.  In the near future, we will be able to jiggle our brains and manipulate our abilities and emotions. Unhappiness will be a thing of the past.  We will live in a sappy, giggly uninteresting world.  There will be no more writers because if you are already happy, why write?

Deepak's e-mail said the reason we don't get answers to our prayers is that (I'm paraphrasing here) our intentions are muddled and unfocused.  Unanswered prayers are the product of a mind that is restless, shallow, conflicted, or unable to focus.  Guilty as charged.  But wouldn't you think that God has some sentimental affection for the restless and shallow among us who are unable to focus?  Wouldn't he just say, Oh for goddsakes, that woman is never going to be able to focus, just give her whatever she asks for.  Does she even know what she wants?  Of course she doesn't.  Just give her something she asked for in the past. She might even figure it out. 

God actually did that for me and I did figure it out. All my adult life I had yearned for a newspaper column where I could express all my ideas and throw them out to the world and utilize the tyranny of my discontinuous mind. * I was certain that I had some good ideas.  From time to time I published op-ed pieces in The New York Times and Newsday, but I yearned for a regular gig.  Once Mort Persky, the editor of SHE, a sister publication to Playboy, asked me to write a column on sex.  “Mort, I screamed, I was raised in a convent boarding school.  We put on our clothes under our nightgowns.  I can’t even type the word “sex” without looking around for Sister Francisca to come and slap me.”  “That’s exactly why I asked you,” he said.  Sone  It was only recently that I figured out that this blog was the answer to my prayers.  I get to talk about anything and it's a regular gig.

*Richard Dawkins’ essay in The New Statesman, Escaping the Tyranny of the Discontinuous Mind is about something serious but applies to me in a silly way.