Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Gettin' Busy Widdit

I’ve been gearing up. Forever. I’ve been trying to figger out what I wanna be when I grow up for 40 years. My mantra has always been “Life is what happens while we make other plans” (Tommy Smothers [on Late Night With Johnny Carson] is the first person I heard say that so I always give him the credit). Well Dodge is changing! And I’m outta time.

The way I usually view it is: I don’t post because I’m writing larger works (in my mind and in assorted scribbling and notes). I’m working on diatribes. I’m making novels. Writing screenplays. Extrapolating wisdom from journals full of collected notes to myself. I just have to go dig them out and polish them off a bit. If I wrote it down it must have been important so it will always be relevant. In fact, it is better to let the stuff age because I might change my mind later. Being objective will be much easier when I view it the next time around.

My problem stems from attaining a goal to be published by age 25. (Yeah, that’s what it was! I also blame a writer’s conference I attended but that’s another story.) It was one of those small press publications where payment is made in the form of copies. It didn’t matter, that’s where the ‘real’ writers were. It was a publishing credit and I was on my way. Which brings me back to the problem. See, I never formulated the next step; there were no further goals. Oh I thought about creating goals. I just couldn’t visualize them. Or maybe I just couldn’t make the commitment.

One might say that I have a commitment problem. Someone else might call it a procrastination problem. I prefer to say that I’ve never had a really good concept of time. In fact, it’s been lousy. I can realize and admit this shortcoming only in a past sense. Because the present has always stood still for me. My favorite ballplayers never peaked and their best years were always ahead. I thought Bonanza would just continue throughout my life. Rock stars were always older than me but they weren’t aging either. My uncles and cousins would always be just a visit away.

It must be because my youth was too damn stable. Poor but never hungry. Never even realizing we were poor until high school. We were like the Waltons and in fact I’ve often characterized my childhood as such. No TV in the house until I was in the 8th grade (and only then because a doctor recommended it to my mom as a sedative to keep my dad down while he recovered from an illness). This, by the way, was probably the reason that my brother and sisters were all reading by the time they went to kindergarten. Hmmm, now there’s an interesting old German word for you—remind me to go back into that later.

Anyway, it was church twice on Sunday as well as Wednesday night. Shared bedrooms. One bathroom shared by a family of 6. A 10-mile drive to town. Happy? Damn right it was happy. Which will do it for this reminisce. What I was ultimately getting to was the irreparable damage done by such a glorious existence. To do that I must skip ahead. At some point life moves along and a certain reality enters into your consciousness. More of those omnipotent people that fill your youth are dying. You no longer have baseball player or racecar driver as an occupational option. At first the players are your age. Then they are younger than you. Then they begin to look like kids. Like your kids even.

Try this sometime: become a homeless person in yer 30’s. Get yerself bailed out by family living 3 states away (thus avoiding jail or death). Get yer act together enough to work as a temp on an assembly line of a large corporation. You should not feel old until you attend a company meeting that is geared to the 20 year olds and what their IRA’s or Keough’s or whatever will be doing by the time they reach yer age. Finish yer assignment and go to work at another company for less pay than you made 20 years earlier. Work that dead-end job fer about 10 years. Done? Now go out and buy yerself a house. You’ve earned it. But doncha think ya better make it a 10-year note?

Ya see what I’m saying here? Time is the ultimate tyranny. Ya better just put that novel on hold and get yer little ass shaking.


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