The True Christmas Of Spirit

No, it’s not dyslexia kicking in. It’s what I meant to write.

Christmas, we are told, is a season of renewal and promise and rebirth and blessed peace. Sounds good, but the rebirthing you can keep. I’ve seen what the house looked like for the next three years after a regular birth and I don’t really want to see that again. And the smell…

But renewal is fine, as long as you do not ask me to renew marriage vows or coronary arteries again. I’ll stick with the way things are at present. They would both be occasions for a party, but guess who would end up paying for it…

Promises – well we can have them in the pallet-load out of Parliament House. Fresh , new, implausible ones or old, tired, cynical ones. Or an allsorts mixture of the two. They actually keep very well on a shelf.

And blessed peace. Well, I have no grandchildren, so there is not quite the intensity of celebration that others suffer…but I do really appreciate it when the kids go off to the other rellies for family affairs and the wife and I are left to our own, quiet, devices here at home. We do not do much, but we do it in contentment.

Well, if we are to have any of these ingredients they must act upon our spirit. Here’s hoping they will raise it, rather than lower it. So far the several-weeks-before-New Year’s resolution has been adhered to, and in the face of temptation. I am lucky – I am allowed to eat and drink, unlike a friend who has recently been put on a food and drink diet…just before Christmas. All I have to do is be financially responsible.

I’ll be fine as long as the pocket money holds out…Then I will have to go out and pick more pockets.

Have a Merry Christmas anyway, diet, budget, or otherwise.

 

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I Want To Buy A Conspiracy Theory For Christmas

I mean, I’ve got a camera and an iPad and a whole cupboard full of new underwear and socks…so I’m running out of ideas for a Christmas gift. I met a conspiracy theorist a few days ago at a social club BBQ and he seemed to be having so much fun being suspicious of everyone, that I thought it would make a nifty present.

I’m not going to be ambitious – I don’t need world domination or global catastrophe or anything like that. I am prepared to start small – perhaps something that involves the reduction in the size of chocolate bars or toasters that secretly report your bread use back to General Electric via wi-fi. A conspiracy that involved a holiday in a nice resort would be good. I could sit there on a deck chair with a fruit cocktail and glower at people.

Hell, I glower at people at the mall – the tropical version would be a doddle.

Reaching Out To Your Audience

As a weblog column writer I get a number of return contacts; spam, emails from people who admire one or other of the posts, and offers to help me increase my popularity with my readers. I do inspect each new contact, and have actually added one weblog column to my daily reading as a result of a comment, but by and large that is it.

It is not that I do not want to increase the ” traffic ” of my columns – it is just that I do not want to be writing or dancing for the audience on their terms. If that were the case I would take up Instagramming or Twittering or Facebooking on a serious basis and fire off memes like machine-gun bullets. It may sound selfish, but I write my own thoughts here…and I am happy to have you read them whenever you’ve a mind to. I can’t write yours – I am not you. And I know some of you are not you, either.

When I try to entertain I fail about as many times as I succeed – that is the fate of most Catskill comedians. The best I can hope for is that you read through to the end of any particular column – in some cases to see if I mention your name, Bill – and do not send in a complaint to your ISP about it. If you laugh or ponder it is a bonus. I will already have done so while writing it.

I do want your readership, and appreciate the likes and replies – at least the ones that do not want me to buy Viagra in an online Russian casino. If some days are less enlightening, be patient – eventually a zeppelin will crash outside the front door and I have a camera ready. In the meantime reflect that all of our lives are somewhat similar, and what happens here in Perth also happens where you live…with the possible exception of the venomous snakes coursing through the local hospital car park. We actually do have that as a real thing here on the south side of the river and it pays to look carefully when you get out of the car. Not all humorous Australian memes are just exaggerated jokes – not in the springtime.

Note: These are not kindly snakes…Google Dugite.

Trying To Be Plain, Without Being Simple

I have come a little late to realise that I am plain bun. Possibly with one sultana in it, and occasionally a bit of jam…but a simple bun nevertheless. For an awful long time I pretended to be fancy pastry.

Do we all do this in our youth and early adulthood? Do we dress, drive, and do far more than we need to? Do we try to live to a fancier standard than we are really able to sustain? Do we intend to fool others and end up fooling ourselves? I fear this has been the case for me.

It was the access to ready money – derived from a secure professional job – that made it easy to attain more and fancier goods than were strictly required. In its turn this produced fancier internal visions which demanded more goods…and the cycle went on and on.

Occasionally there was a hiccup – when tax time revealed that I was not the high-flyer I imagined. But the taxes were paid, goods accumulated, activities ongoing at the time smoothed over the unease, and there was always something new to do. And new things could keep the money flow going.

Eventually, however, retirement reduced the spending river to a small rivulet, and eventually it became time to close down the luxury mills or take up train robbing to pay for them. I have chosen the former, rather than the latter, though the idea of a pistol and a mask is still attractive. The wonderful side effect is to discover – as the first paragraph states, that I have simpler tastes than I suspected.

My hobby pursuits do not see me wearing $ 1500 clothes, $1500 away from home. My dinners cost well under $ 10. I play happily on $ 20 a week and am never bored. And I do not have a debt that lasts longer than a month.

The life of a plain bun can be just as nourishing as anything the patisserie can supply.

Verge Collection Week – The Dance Of The Unwanted

It’s on again for young and old.

Verge collection week in our suburb and we are allowed to stack 1.5 trailer loads of hard goods on the grass near the roadway with a reasonable expectation that the council will haul it away.

Actually, the real expectation is that scruffy people in old utes and 4WD’s with cage trailers will swoop before the council workers. What they do with the stuff is a mystery, but as they haul it away we can put more out – it’s almost as if the trash takes itself out. There sometimes seems no rhyme or reason about what is picked up and what is picked over. I have seen perfectly good items rot in the rain as the week progresses while seemingly useless broken chairs are whisked away.

Are there households here in the metro area that have backyards full of verge gleanings? Do they repair them? Do they break down the goods and recycle metals or plastic or components? Is any of it economically or psychologically rewarding? Or is it just hoarding someplace new?

But of course the big question must always be: Where do the exercise machines that are left on the verge go to? And the ironing boards? Is there an ironing board graveyard? I would add another one…if we can have a hard goods and a green waste collection, can we have an intellectual verge dump. Books, tapes, CD’s, and all other sorts of media. I would be prepared to cruise the streets for that one…

It’s Not A Blog…

It’s a weblog column. Something that comes out regularly and has a complete set of thoughts in it. My thoughts.

It is not a poem, though there have been times when I’ve written it in poetry.

It’s not a novel. Nothing novel at all. Indeed, there are some very old things in it.

It’s not a connected story – it bounces around as new things are discovered. People say things in the street that eventually become columns here. Wait until you read ” Hey! Bring back my purse! Police! Police! “. ( Good purse but there was nothing of much value in there. Still, it goes with my tan shoes.)

It’s not a rant. One of my columns is a commercial one advertising for a shop and the IT specialist who set it up characterized it in the sidebar as a ” rant “. That actually offends me, but since they do nothing to remedy the situation I merely raise my rates for the jobs I am asked to do. The extra money assuages my injured soul.

So what is it? This one’s a daily essay based upon observation and humour. One of the others is a similar thing devoted to photographic matters – a third revolves around scale models and toys of all sorts. I am happily long retired from my first profession and need not write about teeth and jaws.

Who are my readers? You, for one. And many more, though I cannot exactly figure out how many are constant. I suspect many of the ones that notify me that they like a certain post are using their own weblogs as commercial enterprises and may have automatic programs to throw out electronic grappling hooks. I don’t mind – I do read their connection emails  at least once and have actually added four of them to my daily reading. A couple more seem to have dried up – I mourn that as they had interesting things to read.

Why do I write these columns?

a. It lets me speak freely. That’s not possible on many social media platforms.

b. It lets me crystallize thoughts and memories. If I remember it, I write it, and vice versa. At 70, any mental agility is welcome.

c. I can debunk the myths I have invented for myself and finally be a plain person. That’s hard – even the Amish have to work like devils to be angelic. I need to look at me, and reading what I write helps me to do it. Unfortunately I find others looking over my shoulder and I am aware that no admission ever really vanishes from the internet. But as long as the authorities do not find out about the incident with the chicken necks and the tax inspector I should be fine.

d. It lets me play a part that real life would condemn. The Backstabbers Guild of Australia is a wonderful haven of vile behaviour. The BGA doesn’t have a Speaker of the Senate or a Pauline, but we do have horrid practices nevertheless.

 

Synchromesh

If you never learn another thing…learn to shift gears smoothly.

The people who have automatic transmissions miss this skill – they jerk their T-bar into ” D ” and just accept whatever the unseen mechanism decides to do. In some cases this is flawless work, but in some it is a drag upon their resources.

And it can be worse if they are steering a motor car. Those car transmissions need a lot of maintenance.

What? You though this was all about motor cars in the first place? Wrong – it is about life.

You’ll do lots of things in life that happen at different speeds and under different loads; you’ll be a little kid one day with no responsibilities and a school student next day – with the weight of the world on your shoulders. If you cannot shift smoothly from a 4-year-old centre of the universe to the 5-year-old who is in line and quiet, you have trouble.

Likewise when you transition from grade school to high school – high school to university or trade training – and so on through your lifetime. Be assured that you need a good deal of strategy and patience to make the leap from employed person to retired one. You need to plan to speed up one set of gears while you are slowing another down to get them to mesh properly – you need a mental Synchromesh.

My transition involved writing these columns  as well as hobby interests gathered over the years. I selected a couple that still resonated with me – ones that I could afford and could manage on a physical level. The result has been a smooth transition with no loss of traction. No gears grind and no teeth have broken off the idlers.

If I travel slower than before, and do not surmount such high hills of achievement, I can still take some comfort from the smoothness evident in the ride. It’ll stop one day, of course, but hopefully not from idleness or inattention.