Saturday, December 24, 2011

Share a cigarette with negativity...

I know, at the age of 54 that the best half of my life is gone.  It's a simple mathematical work.  I could give you great odds that I'm not going to last 105 years, and I can also safely assume that the last 25 or so of my years will be spent in some hunched-over, problematic knee pain, hard-of-hearing-lost-sight-body-fat-gaining sustenance.  It's difficult to imagine now, but unless I'm some Jack LaLanne clone I don't see it ending any differently.

I have to look back, at this point, and assess the events of the past and reflect - both negatively and positively - on their impact. This isn't some New Year's resolution-type thing, just random junk ...

My gym is filled with 50-something year-old guys with tattoos and unsightly body hair.  It's what makes me wonder what guys find appealing in other guys.  I find nothing appealing about hairy asses and paunches - but reasonable men may differ.

So there's that.  And I'm left to wonder about my future.  I find 30 year-old women appealing, but the appeal is not reciprocal.  I'm working hard, trying to stay in shape, but the 50s are creeping in.  I think 30-something's find 20-something's appealing, and therein lies the conflict.

I'm not sure we'll ever match up sexually.  It's sad really.  There isn't a lot of appeal in us old guys.  We don't get any random "Hey, nice shirt" comments from girls anymore.  I started shaving my head in the mid-1990s, when it wasn't fashionable [self back-pat] and I used to get a lot of requests from beautiful young women to touch it, as though I was some sort of bald Buddah that they had to touch, or else their lives would be meaningless.  I obliged.

Now, every jackass is shaving and it isn't such a big deal anymore.  What really offends me is when I see guys with otherwise full heads of hair shaving for the mere sake of it. That's a violation.  I feel like I was part of a 1960s music revolution and jerks like the Beach Boys took advantage of my good work. Hey, pay your dues, then let the girls rub your head.

Meanwhile, I'm stuck in gym locker rooms with elderly guys who have lost track of the fact that their junk has migrated south with gravity.  Their hanging testicles look like Chinese lanterns, they wander around with (apparently) no idea of what they are displaying in public.  As for me, I turn my back on men when I change pants and I can't imagine displaying anything significant in front of them. But, I have a sense of self-awareness that escapes most people.  Like those guys who wear shorts and sandals (with socks) when they should be covering their bony knees and hammer toes.

So, to you men who are wandering around with your junk hanging out, let this be your word of warning ... "None of us wants to see it" - and I think I can speak for everyone.  We don't want to watch you scoop up your testicles and deposit them in your underpants.  We don't need to see your hairy ass and rotund, furry abdomen on display.  It isn't interesting in the least.  You are better off finding a secluded corner of the locker room and dressing in private, because your privates deserve that.

It could be your New Year's Resolution.  Please.

The Evil That Men Do.

Victim number 7 has emerged in the Bill Conlin child sex abuse case, and victim number 12 in the Sandusky case.  I guess we're supposed to be shocked and appalled, but I'd guess that we've heard from maybe ten percent of the potential victims.

This isn't like trying Sushi or skydiving.  You don't do it once and say, "OK, I got that out of my system."  It's not a Bucket List item that gets checked off.  It's recidivist behavior, just like adult sex.  It's perverted potato chips.

On the grand scale of human behavior, I understand sex between consenting adults.  I even understand it between adults of the same sex, because we have opposable thumbs and reasoned thought.  But, when it comes to fondling 7-year old boys, that's on Pluto. People on Neptune are laughing at them.  "Wow, we like a lot of strange shit, but we aren't that bad."
I can't figure out what climactic sexual thrill is derived from putting your hand in a kid's pants.  But that's me.  I'm on Mars.

I wonder if at least some of it comes from our supressed sexuality.  We resist talking about sex with kids because they are supposedly too young to understand.  The problem with that is that they don't know the difference between what is appropriate and inappropriate.  They know that stealing is wrong and that they shouldn't lie - we have no problem telling them that.  But when it comes to their sexuality (which they will carry with them forever) we keep the "birds and bees" discussion until we feel that they're ready for it.  And even then, it is approached by many with all the anticipation of a root canal.

That is never going to change.  Our repressed feelings about sex and our bodies is bred throughout generations.  We're a little better at it now than our ancestors, but most of it is confined to telling dirty jokes and saying "fuck" in front of people.  There isn't a lot of frank talk about what really makes us tick.  We're just at the front of a societal awakening on homosexuality and what rights we feel they are entitled, which is to say all of them - but that is another matter.

For now, we are confined to our pre-conceived notion of what constitutes normal behavior and when and where it should occur.  That's fine, but at some point you may be faced with the difficult task of explaining why Uncle Bob shouldn't show your 12-year old son his penis.

For now, we choose to say nothing. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thoughts and Things.

Somebody should have Bill Conlin on suicide watch.  I'm just saying.

I cut my baseball teeth on his Daily News columns in the 1970s and 1980s.  Who knew the deep secrets he was hiding?  Nobody, which is exactly the point.  Football coaches, filmmakers, musicians and writers perform their craft to our admiration, while we go about our daily lives.  They are awarded Grammy's, Pulitzers and are admitted to various sports Halls of Fame, all the while concealing their hideous private lives.  It's long past time that we stop admiring people for their so-called worth to society and start looking at their work - and their work alone - when it comes time to awarding them.  Does it make Bill Conlin any less a sportswriter because he enjoyed fondling young boys and girls?  No. What it does is make him less of a human, and that is something to which we all should aspire to overcome.

Every night this week I have been on the road with a driver who has had his headlights off at the brink of darkness, which is now nearly 4:45pm here on the east coast.  I followed one driver tonight on the mis-named "North-South Freeway" (which actually runs East-West) its entire length; their shadowy presence preceding me on my trip home.  In my silent secrecy, I hoped someone would turn into them so that the court document surrounding their accident would include the phrase "driving in darkness with their headlights off." I'm a bit of a saddist sometimes.

It's three days and counting and I have managed to avoid stepping into a shopping center during what marketing people call the "Christmas Shopping Season."  Oh, if I can only manage Thursday and Friday, I'll have it made!  Meanwhile, I listen to radio and TV ads proclaiming that your gift tells that "special someone" how much you love [him or her]" and asking if you are "ready for the holidays."  Are we ready? Well, isn't that like asking if we're ready for a two-foot snowfall?  It's coming.  On Saturday, mindless fools will be invading the shopping malls and the local news will be filled with stories about those "last-minute shoppers."  Somehow, I feel both free and lonely.

I'm one step closer to abandoning the Christmas season entirely.  This year, I have managed to avoid not only the shopping but the office Pollyanna that accompanies the season.  It's simple, really.  Just drive past the mall instead of stopping in.  The $20 gift that I could do without will eventually go to someone else.  Some would ask how I could endure spending the holiday alone.  To those, I would respond that I spend the other 364 days alone, so what's the difference?

 “I know nobody likes me. Why do we have to have a holiday season to emphasize it?”
– Charlie Brown about not receiving any Christmas cards