Friday, February 25, 2011

Remorse and Remonstrances

I'm depressed.  I bark at my teenaged daughter and snarl at my wife.  Such accusative moods make me more depressed, so I bark at my teenaged daughter some more while snarling at my wife turns to sullen silences.  I examine myself.  Yes, I use snuh words at lot: snarl, sullen, silence.  I'm a grumpy old man.  Heck, I've turned into my father, who is laughing at me somewhere.

I spent my youth being cynical.  Acerbic and cynical.  I had no better reason for being a public pickle than callow youth.  I was small for my age and high school was hell.  I used to carry around a copy of Jack Kerouac's On the Road, which made me a poseur.  The book itself was dull and incomprehensible except in unfamiliar details.  Just as you have to understand the Freudian 1950's to understand Nabokov's Lolita, it helps immensely to grok the context of a Kerouac or Ginsberg.  That made me, a stubborn kid, a ... wait for it ... rebel without a cause.  God, I hate being stupid.  I was an outsider nobody wanted on their dodgeball team.

So I damned myself to a teenager's version of highschool hell.  I was very, very glib about it.  I could spell.  I could write, even — sometimes.  But I had very little to say.  I used very a lot. Other adverbs. My vision was on Forbidden Planet with Alta Alta.

At the age of 16, I was a perfect miniature version of me at 66, with one difference.  Back then, I still had a kind of asthmatic's hope.  Now, with a lifetime of bad habits undermining my unending present moment, all I hope for is the good grace to shut up.  I never did really want (who does?) to tread on the love of my family, whom I love.

Shut up, Grikdog.  You never learn.

You'd think those fifty years from 16 to now might have meant something. But no. I endured the skepticism of a few beautiful girls. I stumbled into jobs that took me as far as the Cannon House Office Building and into the pit of 6502 assembler programming and beyond... the user used. Nothing from that time remains. I scaled no mountains, achieved no great thing that anyone will ever acknowledge or even notice. My consolations are in Taoist solitude, an old man's polite euphemism for loneliness, forgotten and ignored. My grandmother was a forgotten saint who bathed her father's gangrenous feet, injuries received by frostbite whilst riding in the American West with Kit Carson, the family story goes.... My grandmother endured her own approaching age, and bathed her father's feet.

I was as familiar to my parents as a yapping small minded dog. My sentences are just.



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