I Talk And We Listen

I’ve been taken somewhat to task recently by a reader of another weblog column who complained that I did not write what he wished to read. I suspect that what he wanted to read was what he had written – and that if I had written to his mind I should equally have displeased him…for I should have stolen his story and portrayed it as my own.

And there it is for many authors…if they write their story they risk the wrath. And yet, in the end, their own story is the only one they can honestly tell.

This is no bad thing. Consider – if I tell something I know to you, you are not required to hear it – you can turn away unheeding. But I can’t tell you without telling myself, and in many cases I am the person who needs to hear that story. I need to get something straight in my own mind…to remember or to understand. The rehearsal of the facts helps me where it might just bore you.

The WordPress weblog columns can be therapeutic instruments for many people and I am impressed that they are made available to so many for such a little cost. I think mine have done me a world of good in the last six years and I would readily recommend the writing of one to anyone upon a trial basis. There may be no more Hemingways out there, but there are certainly writers who can toll their own bells.

 

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Let And Hindrance III

Gosh, time flies. It’s been four years since I last considered this subject, and so much has happened in the meantime; I’ve retired from retail shop work and taken up home hobby shop work, and I’ve officially gotten too old to give a good God Damn.

It’s a little frightening – this new freedom. As middle-aged citizens in employment  we were required to be a pillar of the community and an example to the young. We needed to follow all applicable laws and apply for official permission on the correct forms.  Now that I am 70 years old, no-one looks, no-one asks, and no-one cares. Other people are depressed by this but I am exhilarated. I feel like a kid with a box of limpet mines and a pair of swim fins.

I’ve given up nearly every activity that requires permission – shooting firearms, flying toy airplanes and sailing toy boats, entering prestigious photographic contests, etc. Having had as much success with these things as was ever likely to be, I can leave them – and their lets and hindrances – far behind. And I can be a lot smarter in the next few years about joining into things that require obedience.

Please understand – I’m not an old rebel. I was never a young one, and wouldn’t know how to do it. I am merely a person who is determined to consult their own counsel and take their own decisions. I shall not be a nuisance nor a danger to navigation – but I shan’t be a sheep any more.

The tax people have my complete respect and obedience – monitored and assisted by an honest accountant. The police also have my wholehearted support for civil law – I shall do all I can not to be a scoff-law in any vital matter. I shall be delighted to participate in the political process of my state and nation – but decline to be bullied by friends or strangers regarding my own vote.

Past this – I shall enjoy toy boats, cars, and airplanes – studio photography,writing, reading – interstate trips and whatever local amusements offer – and I shall not ask permission nor take scolding from anyone whilst doing so.

The chief care I will have to take is not to shock those who like to dictate and direct. I do hope my smile will be bland enough – I must go get my copy of Alice In  Wonderland and  practice Cheshire catting in the mirror.

 

” Will You Ever Shut Up? “

When people ask you this assure them that there will come a time, when you do, indeed, shut up. No life goes on forever and even if you leave behind video tapes and recordings of yourself scolding your neighbours and relatives, eventually the recordings will wear out and a blessed silence will descend.

Writers have a better chance of pressing their opinions on others long after they are dead. These may be good things, like P.G. Wodehouse novels or rubbish like Samuel Johnson’s writings. The only real end to a writer’s influence comes when they go out of print and out of circulation – Voltaire is still going and Euclid shows little sign of ceasing any time soon as long as there are parallel lines or right angles.

We might grant some eternal influence to politicians and statesmen but these reputations tend to tarnish and rot more readily than those of the writers. Territories and resources are much more desirable than ideas, and new people will always arrive trying to acquire them. In the process they remove the old rulers, then their remains, and finally their history and their names. The unlucky ones are kept round as curiosities in museums or powdered for Chinese medicines. At least the mummies that may be ground up for this sort of thing have the satisfaction of being able to make some modern Asian fool sicker than when they started out.

I am grateful for the internet as it allows me to monopolise people’s attention for five or ten minutes every morning and no talking back. I suppose one day it will disappear in an EMP but until then I have an extremely small portion of the public eye or ear to remember what I said.

And to ignore it.

 

I’d Have Joined The Amish, But I Couldn’t Get The Batteries

The business of being a super-hero is a popular thing these days – from the mainstream Superman, Batman, and Spiderman to the more esoteric Tick, Dog Welder, or Squirrel Girl – everyone has a secret desire to don a suit and fight crime. Actually, some of the suits are a crime, but that is something I’ll leave to Edna Mode to sort out.

In my case I have to adapt my ambitions to my resources. I have not got big muscles or eyes that send out laser rays  – not even the ability to cloud men’s minds with a hypnotic gesture. The best I can do is grin and bear it and get revenge later. ( Revengeman? The Nemesis?  Schadenfreuder? All possibilities…) I need to reduce the idea of super to a manageable commodity.

I can write. That I’ll admit to. It was not always thus, and I daresay it will go again one day, but right now I can spit out copy like a teenager regurgitating pizza. I can fight crime and injustice by writing biting little articles and slipping them under the doors of the guilty. Or I can slip them onto WordPress and hope that the veiled references are going to work.  I regret that no-one will let me near the keyboard controls of the scoreboard at the sports stadium…

Or I could promote myself as The Backstabber. I’ve been the head of the Backstabber’s Guild of Australia for decades and there is no-one more qualified than I to tell your friends exactly what I found out about you with one simple credit check. I wonder if I could have a super-hero costume with a cape?

No, Edna? Well, you’re  the boss. Not too tight around the shorts, please – I have no ambitions.

CatskillMan? Only if I can work with a snare drummer at the supper show. Tish-boom…Try the veal.

It’s Never Too Late To Be Pretty

I should know. I’m 70 and I’ve had a good look in the mirror. I can’t get anyone else to look in there with me, but…

Being older than you were is a universal phenomenon – we all do it from the day we’re born till the day we die. Then we stop and hand over the problem to someone else. The thing is – it ain’t a problem.

Poverty, illness, criminality,war…they’re problems…but getting older isn’t. Oh, you’ll have to pay the price of aches and pains and insults – those are the common lot of mankind. But you’ll also have the privileges of age; no-one will listen to you so you can tell ’em the truth with impunity…no-one will desire you, so you are safe from the hazards of vice…no-one will lend you money, so you are kept from indebtedness. All you really need is a moderately successful digestion and something to read while you’re sitting on the can.

But don’t neglect being pretty. Being pretty is something you can have as long as you like, and when you are old you can have it on your own terms:

a. You are not subject to the whim of current clothing fashion. You can wear the clothes that make you feel good and that flatter you. If they are the designs of 3 or 4 decades ago, that is fine. You will move and speak, see and think far better wearing them than some imposed look from the current catalogue.

You can certainly wear socks and sandals if they are comfortable and make you feel happy. No-one can say you nay based upon some meme or whim. If they try, you are free to curse them roundly in public to their embarrassment.

b. You are not required to participate in foolish ventures – you can treat them with undisguised contempt. You’ll be assumed to be wiser than the foolish youth, even if you are not. Just refuse politely.

c. On the other hand, you can certainly do foolish things and get away with more of them than you might have earlier on. People will regard it as just an effect of your age – of course you might play this for all it’s worth and cause mayhem, but then mayhem can be a nice hobby.

c. Your hair is no longer anyone’s concern. They are not running their fingers though it, sighing. You’re not, either. If it is not there, wear a hat, cap or touque.

Get a good barber or hairdresser to make it look the way you like it.

d. Do you like green? Wear it. Yellow? Wear it. You may be a parrot.

e. Do you like to read? Or to go to the cinema? Or to fish? Or to garden? Or to build model airplanes? You need not hesitate to do any of these things, in any form you desire. Nor need you hesitate to pursue any other honourable activity. Go toit.

f. Like a drink? Like to eat certain foods? Well, as long as you’re not driving, you may order your menu as you like. Your digestion will set a natural limit to your consumption and there are always tasty alternatives if your physician becomes oppressive.

g. Gain is fun and exciting when you are 20 – whether it is financial, sexual, or sensual…you want it and you want it now. Well, now that you have passed the point of being able to effectively rob and rut, you are allowed to let those desires go – you need not prove anything to yourself or others. You can have friends who are not potential customers or potential lovers.

You can cease to keep your eye out for the main chance and stow it back aboard. The passage through life will be smoother and more pleasant.

h. You are allowed enemies. And as long as you keep them at arm’s length, no harm will be done. Treat yourself occasionally to a bout of either Schadenfreude or forgiveness – just as the fancy takes you. Most enemies will be straw figures anyway and the best method to deal with them is to refuse to stuff more straw in.

 

” Hello – Put Me Through To Spell – Check, Please…”

Okay. Then put me thru to spelchek, plz.

Look, just go get the goober in your office with the dictionary and put them on the phone.

Okay, now listen. I’m an author of four daily weblog columns and I use your service all the time. It’s the one up at the top of the WordPress dashboard with the ABC and the checkmark, right? Well, I want to know why you are objecting to my grammar and spelling and then letting glaring errors creep through unchallenged.

Like hl. I just typed that and pressed the ABC button and it came out approved. At the same time you red-lined WordPress and goober. WordPress is your own name and a goober is a peanut. The word hl isn’t a word at all – it might have been a typo for ” hole ” or ” hale ” or anything.

I accept the fact that my fingers and sticky keyboard will put out rubbish at times. I welcome your caution about most things and assiduously correct what you flag for me. But you let some howlers through nevertheless, and I’m starting to become worried about he stuff you do approve.

Is there a way that I can register my own style with you – my age, history, and likely speech patterns? Then when I end a sentence with ” eh? ” or use the phrase ” my own whatever ” you need not scold me for it. That’s who I am and that’s how I speak.

I promise not to use bad words – not because I am moral, but because I do not know many of them. I cannot promise to use gender-neutral words and phrases because I have observed for a long time that this has more to do with politics and power than it does with effective communication. Plus I like genders – they can be soothing on cold nights.

 

 

How To Increase Your Blog’s Traffic/Likes/Money/Power/Bloodlust

I have been receiving likes recently from a number of different sources:

a. People who wish to read what I write.

b. People who wish that I would like what they write.

c. People who wish I would send them money to read about how to get money from other people.

d. People who have impossible names but dwell in a place called outlook.com.

I am pleased and flattered to receive communications from the first group. Their praise, even if it is only a click on the computer keyboard, is a kindly act and I thank them for it. Their joy is one of the reasons I write these columns daily.

The second group is also welcome – because many of them write about interesting things and some of them write well. The ones who combine those two features are on my little reading list. I’m afraid I do not do all that well with poetry and certainly don’t pursue political blogs very far, but I do give everyone a read at least once to see if I will enjoy going back.

The third group really flag themselves as soon as you see their summaries on the ‘ like ‘ email. If the answer to getting more money was to ask people to send you more money…well I could do that unbidden. I don’t do so for a number of reasons – some of them practical and some of them moral.

It may help this group to know that I write for the pleasure of exercising memory and developing thought. A well-crafted essay launched is instant reward, whether or not it is subsequently praised by others.

The fourth set of people are not people as such – they are probably a robotic scam program that is manipulating statistics for some purpose. I delete them from the emails and dismiss them from my mind. Presumably the WordPress people will get on top of this flood of nonsense eventually and it will dry up.

I should welcome more people reading my essays. I refuse to do circus tricks to try to produce this result. Though I wouldn’t mind a pair of clown shoes or a some spangled tights…