Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"The Signal"

It's a primary “Life Lesson”, up there with the recently mentioned “For a lot of the big stuff that happens to us, we have frighteningly little control.”

This lesson is better, in that if we retain it in our consciousness, it will allow us to feel hopeful (as opposed to the above-mentioned one, the natural response to which is, “Yikes!”  Particularly for people like me – and of my ilk – of little faith.) 

Today’s reminder (which I forgot when I came down with Legionnaires’ Disease) is:

Moods change.

(As, parenthetically, does your medical condition.  {Hopefully for the better.}  When you’re sick, especially extendedly, it is imaginable, at least to some of us, that we will never feel like we used to feel again.)

So there I am, a weakened warrior, shrouded in a less than upbeat perspective – remembering I am a person for whom at the best of times “upbeat” comprises only a sliverish slice of my temperamental pie – and I am thinking to myself, which I should know better than to do considering the dumps in which I am currently residing… but anyway, I am thinking…

Maybe I should give up my blog.

At that moment, the option to permanently “hang ‘em up” makes reasonable sense.  (Of course, at that particular juncture, I am under the sway of a dark – or at least dark-er – reasoning apparatus.

I had told close to two thousand stories.  That seems to be a lot. 

Every well runs dry eventually.     

Maybe I was legitimately “storied out.”

I had assiduously mined my past – “Story of a Writer”, my summer camp recollections, memorable tales of the various offices I had occupied during my extended career in show business.  My once-burgeoning cache of stories was  emptying out.  A handful of scraggly anecdotes remained, but you know… if I haven’t related them yet, how blogworthy could they possibly be?    

Yes, there are always new experiences to chronicle – technological devises I am unable to successfully program, infuriating “support staff” making me regret I ever called them for assistance in the first place, contemporary nonsense – cultural and political – that passes today for “business as usual”, the latest movies, plays and TV shows that do not measure up to their – possibly faultily remembered – predecessors.

I acknowledge perhaps a soupcon of literary flair.  But how many different ways can you say,

“It’s bad!

How many “Thursday Walks” can I tell you about?  How many convalescences in the hospital?  How many excursions to “that fitness spa we go to in Mexico” or our little cabin in Michiana?  Yes, it’s an hour later across the street, but how many times do you need to hear that before going, “We get it!”  Probably once.

And then there’s the reverberating question haunting all writers, once posed to me by a stranger years ago when I told her I wrote a blog and I explained to her what it was about.   

Her immediate reaction:

“Why would anyone be interested what you have to say?”

So there’s that.

And, by the way, “Ouch!”

At that moment, it occurs to me that maybe it is just ‘Time.’”

Maybe I’m like the guy in the joke:

“Doctor, I can’t pee.”

“How old are you?”


“You peed enough.”

Maybe after almost eight years of five-day-a-week postings, I had – as is inevitable…

Peed enough.

A week or so later, I am home from the hospital, and I am watching TV.  The show breaks for commercial, and up comes one of those perplexing ads for a prescription medicine whose product name, though certifiably cheerful, gives no indication of the malady it was developed to treat.

Reflexively, I reach over for a nearby pen and a notepad, and I record the name of the medicine, for inclusion, I am imagining, in some upcoming post. 

Seeing myself doing this, I am genuinely astonished by my behavior.  And rightly or wrongly, I interpret it as a signal.

It would appear, ladies and gentlemen, that I have not entirely…

Peed enough.


Ian said...

That's good to hear... Long may you be lexically incontinent!

JED said...

I was worried there for a few minutes. Now I can relax. It's always a good start to my day to read this blog. I know I'd survive if you stopped it but I wouldn't survive as well.

By the way, thinking about TV ads for medicine: There is an advertisement for a pill to help men "get it on" but they end the ad with the couple in separate bathtubs out in the open. How is this sexy? Why in the world, if this stupid pill works, would I want to be in a bathtub, out where everyone can see me, with my wife in a different bathtub? It sounds more like one of those nightmares where you show up naked at work.

FFS said...

At a resort in the DR and the first thing I do in the morning at the free wifi zone is check your blog. Please keep peeing.

ScottR said...

"Weakened warrior" is excellent and shows your bladder is still in good condition.

ScottR said...

"Weakened warrior" is excellent and shows your bladder is still in good condition.

Alan said...

That's a relief!

Frank said...

It can't be over till you hear a fat funny lady singing.

Rebecca said...

I once ordered a series of books published by Time magazine. They were slim volumes on topics I didn't feel I understood properly, like space, and I thought I probably didn't need to know more than what would be contained in a slim volume. I'm a fast reader, I figured I could grasp these subjects in a day or two.

Well, after cracking a few open, it became clear that these books were written in the most boring manner ever. I could barely get through a paragraph, certainly not a page.

Then, when people started writing blogs, I somehow ended following several young college professors. Nowhere near me in age, and nothing whatsoever in common with me, but they were all good writers and I enjoyed reading about their lives.

A good writer can make pretty much anything interesting. And a boring writer...can't. A person's character and personality come through in their writing. We care about what they have to say because we have come to care about them.

Which is why there was so much consternation when you were ill. We are very glad to have you back, and care very much about what you have to say.