You Don’t Get Out of Life Alive, but, Choose Your Battles Wisely

 

Axl Rose

My son didn’t ask, but mothers are pretty good at unsolicited advice in life and love and all those things that are only somewhat discerned by merit of age and time.  If I were to try to explain to him why he should abandon the “friends with benefits” arrangement he’s got going on with the ex-stripper, it would go something like this:

The great theologian and philosopher Axl Rose (of Guns-N-Roses fame) once stated in his version of Bob Dylan’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” that, “You don’t get out of life alive.”  I  also understand his point about both the bank and the mortician- the two inevitabilities of this life are death and taxes.  Nobody escapes either of those.  Nobody escapes the common human dilemma of finding one’s way through life and surviving in the process, either, though some do a better job of it than others.

As far as the wisdom of the concepts of “not getting out of life alive,” and “you can’t take it with you,” go, both sort of go along with the Biblical admonition to give one’s life as an offering. You were created to have a purpose in this life, even if it’s simply one of being an example of what not to do,  or serving to expand others’ vocabularies.  We all came into the world naked and not having any stuff, and we all go out the same way, so what are you going to do with the time in-between?

coffin

We all know that our physical bodies are going to become worm food.  There are a few things worth sacrificing and fighting for, precisely because we cannot preserve youth and health and wholeness in these physical bodies, or for that matter, youth and health and wholeness in any aspect of our lives.  Entropy WILL win.  Systems all eventually break down, if you want to frame the inevitability of entropy in tech geek terms.  Life in this world is a finite proposition.

The question is, what do you do with the finite resources you have been given, that you can acquire, that you can pool with others?

gold-bars

It’s great if you can amass all kinds of wealth and get all the best stuff, and prepare for every possible contingency, but in the end, what do you do on that night when your life is required of you? (I’m referring to what Jesus said in Luke 12:13-21.)

If you don’t get what really matters, then who cares about money or power or prestige or stuff?

I’m not going to go on a morality-chastity-clean living rant, because I am no poster child for any of the aforementioned.  I have never been a paragon of virtue.  I am a Christian, but that is only by the grace of God.  He left me to my rebellion and own devices for awhile (about seven years’ worth) so I could see just how much trouble I could get into out there in the pig pen. I got a rather nasty taste of how nasty and depraved I can be apart from a relationship with God.  Finally, I realized, again, by the grace of God, like C.S. Lewis did, that if I were going to be sane and worth anything to myself and others, that it was and is Christ or nothing.

That realization does not make me more virtuous or more moral or  more prudy. It does not make me less human or  less fallible.  It does make me all the more aware that anything good anyone sees in me is not my inherent goodness, but the goodness of God. I fail a lot, but apart from Him I fail and screw up a lot more.

hypocrisy

 

Yes, Christians are hypocrites. Get over it.  So is everyone else.  I can say that, but for the grace of God, I would be a LOT worse.  I need God precisely because I know how depraved and hopeless I am without Him.

All these theological and philosophical observations being said, and back to the assertion that one of my purposes in life is to serve as an example of what not to do, I will give you a heartfelt admonition.

If you are one of those people who are blessed enough to find true love in this life, don’t let it go.  I know that it can and does happen, even if it is too late for me.

true love

Part of the reason why I can be so cynical and snarky when I consider matters of the heart is because true love has always eluded me.  I’ve been used, abandoned, exploited and deeply damaged by people who claimed to “love” me.   My wiring is such that I don’t understand or communicate very well in the emotional realm.  To add insult to injury, most men are intimidated by intelligent women, and most men are not terribly thrilled with plain and frumpy looking women.   I blend in to the wall pretty well.  It’s a survival mechanism.  At no time in my life were dudes ever banging down my door.   If they did talk to me it was to get my phone number- so they could call my sisters.  I was even voted, “Least Likely to Get Laid” in my (unofficial) high school senior will.  So I felt like I had to take what I could get, even if it meant settling for minimum standards such as, “vertical and sucking up valuable oxygen.”

Minimum_Standards

Hair and teeth optional, especially at my age.

I hate to admit it, but all I can say about my own marriage is that at best it’s a symbiotic relationship, but a good deal of the time it’s more like a parasite vs. host relationship.  Maybe it’s harsh to call Jerry a parasite, but he can and does suck the life out of me with his incessant whining and infantile demands.  He didn’t need a wife, he needed a mommy.  And I’m not all that great at playing the mommy role, but it’s all I have to offer.  I haven’t gotten a better offer, and even if I did, I would be morally obligated to decline it.  In Jerry’s defense, he has put up with me for all of these years, as frumpy and plain looking as I am, and as eccentric as I am.  That says something- although in Jerry’s mind it’s probably, “there’s someone in this world who will fetch my beer and smokes for me.”

But if you find true love, that indescribable and blissful universe of two, understand what it is.  Hold it, cherish it, fight for it, and never let it go.  Otherwise you will find yourself in the same predicament I am- either completely alone, or bound by a sense of duty(?) pity (?) desperation (?) to someone who only cares about you as long as you’re useful to them.

unique-not-useful

I guess I’m good for as long as I can fetch beer and smokes.

I will tell you that expediency and usefulness are not the same as love.  Sex doesn’t necessarily equate to love either.  It’s easy to get caught up in hormones and horniness (been there done that) but when the excitement and lust die down, what do you have?  From my own experience I can say that following the hormones and horniness path has led to a lot of guilt, embarrassment and shattered dreams.  It’s not worth it.  I’m thankful that my past indiscretions didn’t wreak as much havoc as they could have.

Don’t follow in my path.  Don’t let a chance at true love go because of fear or because you need to hold on to perceived obligations.  It sounds trite, but love will find a way.  Unless you’re an eccentric old bat who’s proportioned like a mutant troll.

True Love Quotes and Pictures (5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picking On the Emotionally Impaired, and I Wanna Be Sedated

no-stupid-people11

But how do you keep them out?  They’re like zombies- and they’re multiplying.

Every once in awhile I like the Ramones, even though their songs are to music as junk food is to real food- trite, and full of empty calories, but oddly satisfying while they are being consumed.  I don’t think I could sit through hours and hours of “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “I Wanna Be Sedated,” but I like to just zone out and not have to think too much every now and then.  The Ramones are good for that.

My penchant for rock, metal and the occasional grunge or punk fix would make my voice teachers cringe, but the line between classical music and orchestral metal is a very fine one.  Even though I’ve not played bass or fronted a metal band in 20 years, I still find the musician in me analyzing what I’m listening to.  I still have an appreciation for what is technically good and what is more or less musical junk food, for whatever that’s worth.  I hate to say it, but that’s probably why most of my MP3 collection dates back to 1985 and earlier.

your music sucks

There is some good new music out there today, but it’s not mainstream.  You have to know where to look. The unholy crud that is currently polluting the airwaves and the TV screens generally does suck.  It sucks like sucking has never sucked before.  We have fantastic, amazing, digital technology but we’re recording and distributing total crap on it.  We traded Steve Perry for Katy Perry (really sucky trade there) and I don’t understand why.  I mean in 1981 we had Steve Perry as the greatest singer ever and Ronald Reagan as president.  Today we have Katy Perry and Obama.  Go figure.  The evidence for devolution is right before our eyes (and ears.) Blecch.

I’m just thankful that through the gift of technology I can bring the past up to date in some ways.  I can get good music on MP3s and save good songs to my SD card so I can spare myself from the pollution of the airwaves.

passenger car

When Jerry and I went on the train ride last week it was cold.  The train was delayed because they had oversold and had to add cars to the train.  A fat old lady took Jerry’s seat while he decided to go out and smoke because we had to wait, even when I told him that it was crowded, therefore, the “move your feet lose your seat” rule would come into play, so we had to find different seats to sit together.  Even so, it was a good time and very interesting.  The train car we rode in until the first stop was built in 1927, the second car we rode on for the rest of the trip was built in the mid 1950s and had two levels.  We sat up top in the second car for a better view.

AnimeGirl

On the first car we sat behind a Japanese family.  Mom and Dad were facing Jerry and I, while their teenage son and preteen daughter were sitting across from their parents. I could see over the boy’s shoulder that he was more interested in his i-phone and his animé cartoons that would be porn if they weren’t cartoons.  My question is, since animé is just cartoons, is it really porn or is it just a porn substitute?  His mother probably still would have been mortified if she had seen what I was getting an eyeful of, but either she didn’t know or didn’t care about what Junior was watching.

I remember Steve-o’s brief infatuation with animé “sort-of-porn” at the same age.  I knew full well what he was gawking at online, but I figured if I made a big scene over it like my mother did over anything even remotely risqué that it would become an obsession for him.  She was more wigged out about finding rubbers in his personal effects than about finding cigarettes, which struck me odd.   Sex can potentially kill you, but wearing a rubber can help prevent STDs, so he’s mitigating that risk.  Cigarettes are in no way safe.  I was more upset about the smokes.  But Mom’s Catholic, and as far as I know for Catholics, smoking is not considered a sin- you can be a priest and smoke- but sex (unless one is married and having sex for procreational reasons only) is a mortal sin.  Doesn’t that suck?

questionable morals

I’m no paragon of moral virtue, so I have absolutely no room to talk.

The Meow Game, Communicating With Others, and True Believers

The Meow Game from Super Troopers

I have no idea where people get the idea that it’s in any way beneficial to get lippy with cops.  I know some cops like to play mind games with people to see how they’re going to respond, which positively terrifies and paralyzes me.

I have a difficult enough time under normal circumstances carrying on a conversation face to face without freaking people out.  I don’t get the nuances of eye contact (generally I avoid eye contact lest I be accused of staring,) and I also have real problems with sending the right body language.  Non-verbals for me are a learned skill from years of observation and interaction and do not come naturally.  I have to consciously think about and orchestrate all my non-verbal signals constantly when I deal with people face to face in order to communicate effectively.  For most people eye contact and physical gestures come naturally, almost subliminally, without thinking about it.  For me, if left to my own devices, I would simply observe others with a bit of a catatonic stare until or unless I have something to say.  Electronic communication is so much easier for me because I can simply concentrate on what I would like to convey rather than worry about whether or not I’m staring into space or standing at a weird angle.

I may not be responding, but I do hear you- with some reservations.  If I want to, and if I’m not focusing on whatever song’s stuck in my head, that is.

So my interactions with law enforcement (fortunately for me they have been precious few,) are usually limited to staring at the ground or off to the side and saying “yes, sir, Officer” at the appropriate times.  I’ve only gotten out of a speeding ticket once, and that was because I was working as a driver and the cop knew my boss.  Knock on Formica or whatever that plastic looking stuff is, but the last time I got busted for any kind of traffic violation I was nine months pregnant (my son was born on the same day they would have wanted me to appear in court) and was pulled over for running a yellow light.  Of course the cop could obviously tell I was preggers- I looked like a battleship- but all I could do was keep from giving him the stink-eye, sign the damned ticket and keep on going.  I don’t do tears on demand. Even when crying is the correct response, I usually can’t.  I break down after the crisis has passed, and sometimes it takes years for the tears to find their way out.

This strategy- even if I would dare to try it- is not open to me.

I don’t think that crying is the correct response when you get busted anyway, but it works for some women.

I just didn’t have the physical energy or the emotional strength to explain to this primadouche just-out-of-the-academy-looking-for-someone-to-bust cop that going through a yellow light is legal.   The cop didn’t need to know I wasn’t supposed to be driving at all, (I had pre-eclampsia, had been in and out of the hospital for sky-high blood pressure, and was supposed to be on strict bed rest) but I had to go out because my POS ex was too lazy to go to the grocery store, or to help unload the car, or really do much of anything else besides suck up valuable oxygen and whine (yeah, I sure know how to pick ’em, but Jerry is a nominal upgrade to some degree- at least Jerry showers regularly and he hasn’t morphed into Jabba the Hut.)   I sent the bastards their check for $125- because knowing the good-ol-boy system in the town I’m from, you might as well just pay it, because who is the judge going to getting paid to believe? (This was before the days of surveillance cameras everywhere, so I had no way of documenting for posterity that the light was yellow and all that.) It would have been my luck- even had I not been in the hospital that day- that the cop would actually have shown up in court and I’d had to pay the ticket and court costs too.  Sometimes local government sucks just as much as government in higher places.

I can go on with this subject too, but suffice to say I don’t have the gold, so I don’t make the rules.  Too bad.

I am a really paranoid driver, partially because of that incident.  I’d like to drive like I did when I was a young punk out on the back roads, where your worst fear would be running off the road into a drainage ditch, where your nominally decomposed corpse might be found in a few weeks, but those days are over.  The cops have GPS and helicopters now.  Besides, a Yaris isn’t exactly a rally car.

Unless you’re in Thailand.

That is whacked, but I guess with enough suspension mods and such, you could make  a Yaris into a rally car.  But mine is more geared for basic transportation, and as a forum for my mobile political commentary.  Since I have to drive, and I’m pretty slow, some people just might get an education just from reading the back of my car.

German does sound scary, but remember, English is a derivative of German.

I enjoy language and its nuances, probably more so than most because I don’t do well with the non-verbal and emotional sides of communication.  Interacting with dogs has helped me immensely because in order to communicate with them I have to cue in on their non-verbals, which are easier to read because theirs are far more exaggerated than humans’.  I learn a lot from them.  Subtlety is not their nature.

Sheena is as subtle as a freight train.

This morning I was thinking about all the personalities in history who were true believers- in all the wrong things.  I can’t help but to observe that it really doesn’t matter if your heart is in the right place, if your head is up your ass.   A good example of this phenomenon are the crazy people who think that if they die in the process of killing “infidels” that they go to heaven and collect 70 virgins.  Faith is not something that comes easy to me, but I would find it hard to believe that God intends for people to completely check their brains at the door.  Why would God have actually bothered to give us brains if He didn’t intend for us to use them?  And then there’s Dennis Kucinich, for whom logic cannot offer a suitable explanation.  There’s plenty of shithouse-rat-crazy people out there who will believe any sort of clap trap if the right talking head is blathering away (Obama supporters who still don’t get that he’s anti-American, the Heaven’s Gate followers, white supremacists, and so on.)

I wonder if the Visitors have picked him up yet.

I think I get it why so many analytical/rational types are secular humanists.  They get the logic that good is better than evil, but they can’t prove or disprove the existence of a Creator or Higher Power.  The only problem with secular humanism is that it degrades into utilitarianism very quickly.  There is no room in a utilitarian economy for the aesthetic- for beauty, or art, or emotion.  Even though I’m a rational type, even I need something beyond the get up, go to work, go to bed routine that most of us are beholden to.  To deny there is a sphere beyond our understanding is to indulge in the ultimate human hubris- to claim we are the be-all, end-all of the universe- when our best secular explanation for creation involves an ex nihilo big bang from the depths of nowhere.  I’m not a creationist in the 6 days, Adam and Eve made from real mud, wandering naked in the Garden with all the wild animals sense.  It would have been cool, but I don’t think creation happened that way. I don’t take the Garden account of Genesis as being literal (I do believe it to be a beautiful allegory) but I think it does tell us much about the Whom involved, if not so much the How or the Why.

Naked with all the little critters of nature.  Just imagine all the mosquitoes and fleas in places where insects are totally unauthorized.

I would rather acknowledge and embrace the mystery.  I would rather take Pascal’s Wager and assume that God IS, than to have to live in a world having decided that He is not.  While I cannot prove His existence, I cannot disprove it either, and I’d rather err on the side of embracing the mystery.

Belief in and of itself is neutral, but I think that God gave us brains to inform our beliefs, so that we are neither beholden to blind emotionalism or locked into pragmatic utilitarianism.

I do find it a bit ironic that the same people who will defy thousands of years of moral teaching vehemently despise those who still think there is value in that moral teaching, and are enraged when traditionalists speak out.

I’m OK with admitting there are black and whites, and I will gladly share my take on morality should anyone ask.  I know people disagree with me, and vehemently on some issues.  That is their prerogative.  There are some people who don’t believe morality is relevant any more and nothing I say- or that I can back up with scientific fact- is going to change their opinions.  If you want to have a relationship with a Ford Escort, or dress like a furry, or pretty much whatever, as long as you aren’t killing people, you’re not charging me for it, and you leave me alone, knock yourself out.  Just don’t expect me to announce to the world how wonderful your life choices are.

Why I Am No Paragon of Morality, Frumpiness and Poverty=Deliverance From Temptation?

 

I try to avoid scandal and gossip for the most part, but a snippet in the (for lack of a better term) gossip column of yesterday’s Columbus Dispatch caught my eye.  To my horror, none other than Neal Schon has been implicated in a rather sordid affair with the White House party crasher chick.  I think he could do better, but that’s neither here nor there.  Granted, Neal Schon is probably the finest living guitarist on the planet today, (and nothing would change my opinion on that one) but that doesn’t mean one should look to him as some kind of moral example.  If anyone were tempted to be a tomcat, I can see how Neal Schon would be- he’s still a good looking guy, even though he’s well into geezer territory,  he’s a phenomenal songwriter and guitar player, and he has money to burn, etc.  He can pick and choose his women freely.  I find it hard to imagine too many women (yours truly included) who would have the moral fortitude to say no to a dude like that, even if you were well aware that regardless of whatever dalliances you get to enjoy, the relationship itself will almost assuredly turn out to be temporary.  In other words, I don’t know too many women, especially Journey fans of cougar age, who would turn down an opportunity to get busy with Neal Schon. 

I think in some ways my troll-like appearance and lack of material success has helped me maintain some kind of morality, especially in recent years.  I’m not tempted to drop everything and take off with a hot rock legend, but there is more to the story.  I’d never be offered the opportunity in a million years.  It can’t be a temptation if it’s an impossibility.  Jerry has his faults, but I’m lucky to have an old man with hair and teeth who is gainfully employed. 

Any dude I could scrounge at my advanced age, with my rather pathetic bait, would more than likely be a downgrade.  I am not digging correctional institute inmates, dudes 80 and older, the chronically unemployed, or deviants from the sex offender registry, even if there were a chance that they might have working Johnsons.  I’d much rather use my imagination and battery operated assistance like I already do than to stoop to an even lower level.   I hate to say it, but there ain’t no Coupe deVille in any Cracker Jack box I would be able to pick from.   Jerry, with his drunken tirades and ED, is definitely no prize, but then again, neither am I.

The silver lining of this dark cloud is: It’s a lot easier to be chaste and moral when you have no access to the alternative.  I should really be thankful for my frumpiness and relative poverty when all is said and done.  I get to stay out of trouble- if only by default.  No moral dilemmas here for me, and that’s a good thing.

I freely admit I don’t have the moral fiber to resist that kind of temptation.  If (and this is most certainly in theory) I was some hot chick that every man alive wanted, I would be the first one out there sampling the buffet.  If it were raining men, I would be right on out there with a big old bucket.  Believe that.  I can’t blame Neal Schon for doing exactly the same thing know I would do (only I would, obviously, be banging every hot dude at my disposal) if I had the means.  Truth be told, I don’t know very many people, when given the means, would be able to resist.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak- especially if the flesh is hot and has plenty of cash and popularity.  Yeah, you know it’s morally wrong and you might even feel guilty, but at the end of the day I know I don’t have that kind of fortitude.

Nobody in their right mind is going to settle for last night’s leftovers when you’re having gourmet dinners delivered to your door. 

Perhaps it’s wrong for me to put a theological spin on things, especially with the clear and ever present knowledge that a lot of my outward moral behavior is by default, but maybe this is one of the things Jesus is talking about in the Lord’s Prayer.  Lead us not into temptation.  I know all too well if I were able to get close enough to that kind of temptation- hot dudes, sordid affairs, etc. that I would fall right on in. 

That’s not to say I avoid temptation altogether.  As much as I would like to say otherwise, even though chastity is the least of my worries (by default), I am tempted by a lot of other things.  I am tempted to be judgmental and sarcastic- even though I don’t have any kind of inherent virtue apart from the grace of God.  Left to my own devices I know full well I am a vindictive, vengeful, greedy, sarcastic bitch.  As hard as it is to take sometimes, I should be more thankful for my situation and shortcomings- if only to be reminded of my proper place.

I can’t point a derisive finger at Neal Schon or throw stones at his current paramour.  I’ve probably done far worse (though much more privately) in my lifetime than either of them.  I live in the glass house, and I have skeletons aplenty in my closets.  The major difference is that because of my frumpiness, poverty and obscurity nobody cares.  I’m thankful for that too.  What happened in the ’93 Camry stays in the Camry, you know?

The Camry tells no tales.  I am very thankful for this fact.

I even have a certain amount of pity for serial fornicators.  Even though it has been a very long time ago, I do know the thrill and the excitement of the pursuit of forbidden fruit.  It’s a hell of a rush- until the excitement dies, the other party decides to chase something else, and all you have left is shame and regret and a faded memory.  I know all too well the embarrassment of having done ridiculous things under the spell of temporary lust.  It’s not rational.  Following one’s heart- or one’s desires I should say- can lead one to act like a horse’s ass. 

Maybe there is more to the story for these lovers.  I know, it’s like a car wreck.  You don’t want to watch but you can’t help it.  Everyone wants dirty laundry (to quote Don Henley) and it’s particularly juicy when it comes from a highly unlikely and shocking source. Perhaps there is more to this sordid saga than simply animal attraction. Perhaps they truly do love each other.  Sending the cuckolded husband a pic of one’s junk is probably not the most tactful move, but I have to admit,  it is funny.  I wouldn’t mind a peek myself.