Saturday, November 28, 2009

Making an Ass Out Of You and Me


I've mentioned before how astonishing I find this meta conversation that Blogging (and other computer aided conversation) is.  Well, in my last post I wrote of my fascinating family who really mix the loving and accepting with small grace notes of profundity (the Colts!) as we celebrate our lovely lives together.  A number of you responded with words that delighted me for more than an hour, yesterday, as I attempted to consider not only the meaning they had added to my meditation, but also the significance of them to my life.  You people are a piece of work.  Real piece of work.  And you add to my happiness.  A great deal.

In any case, when I returned to my computer today, I wanted to remind myself, before posting something new, what was so wonderful about yesterday.  There was a new comment, from Mule.  In the comment Mule expanded on some things he had hinted at before to me in other comments.   He's been a somewhat politically conflicted guy his whole life.  He's worked hard, and lived somewhat hard, his whole life.  He feels old, but unlike some, as they near their golden years (he's only 57) his perspectives have not hardened into a disinterested apathy.  No, his perspectives have grown in their breadth and expanse, to be more and more inclusive of others... Hilariously, he voted for a Democrat, last election, EVEN THOUGH HE'S NEVER TRUSTED DEMOCRATS!  Well, Mule, neither have I.  But then... don't get me started.

All of the above was lovely to hear and consider.  But then Mule spoke about a neighbor he had met when he was invited to dinner with her and and her husband.  "Kind decent people.  Her husband is away at evenings and I started visiting the wife when her husband works.  She told me I was welcome any time.  She always gave me delicious food every time I visited.  Turkey, cheese, hamburgers, you name it man.  She told me a lot about her life.  Her husband was appartently an asshole, never made enough money for her.  I told her about my wife who left me fifteen years ago for another man.  And my children who never visit.  This old man sits at home by himself with only a cleaning lady who visits daily. And some friends from my job.  So I suggested she should get over to my house now and then and use my swimming pool.  She was overjoyed.  My house is her house, I told her.  We had a hell of a time for a while.  I felt twenty years younger and started to putting on weight.  We ate a lot, Andy.  And drank.  It was a true paradise.  Then she told me half a year ago they had to move.  Why? I asked.  Turns out the worthless husband had lost his job.  "Alright," I said.  This country doesn't protect its citizens.  I never thought about it before, but when looking at this beautiful, innocent forty year old woman with long black hair, I felt, what the fuck?  I may be turning into a communist or socialist but I will protect my community.  I would not accept this.  I went over to the husband.  He was smoking.  I told him right there and then the poor man had a job as a handy man to help me with things.  I payed him $1400.  More than nothing, the man was in tears as he accepted.  You see, Andy, I look after my community." ....continues, "Lately, I realized this country should do the same!  People with money should help the poor.  Next time it could be me.  Or you my friend.  We aimed for a shining temple on a hill, but this temple shall include all of us."  "Freedom is more than words, don't you think?  It's bread and butter, ham on rye."

Well Mule, their are certainly some pessimistic and cynical wags out there somewhere that would merely see in your words the self medication of a good Samaritin.  But I believe you discovered grace, and like the Dancing Scrooge, found it somewhat difficult to keep the secret.  You opened your home to a stranger, when she showed you an unexpected kindness.  And you found, in these simple, pedestrian moments at home... what? swimming, and having a whiskey? a paradise.  One that was in you all along. But, man Mule, it's a hard thing to find, without a little help from our friends.  I'm so thrilled you shared this with me.

I do not think fiscal conservatism is incompatible with a progressive society.  We need not blow our money.  The biggest waste in America is, as you said, not money, but real "bread and butter, ham on rye."  Our real freedom is the chance to continue, to be free to be loved and to love others.  To sit still, or to come away.  All of which has been converted by a number of complex factors in modernity, to look like a credit card, or a paycheck.  Living from paycheck to paycheck is not only living without proper security to truly be able to see the world around you, but also living through that tiny little porthole called money.  And money cannot be spent on the same merits as love.  It can purchase ribbons, bows, trophies, and baubles.  It can buy a new Macintosh, and be the centerpiece of an evenings admiration by your friends.  But, living through paychecks will only bind you tightly to whatever economic system you live under, providing you with no choices whatsoever beyond the purveyors of your appetites.  A life lived by the brain stem alone.  Fancy.

You can stand still in life.  Even clutching your infant, who, I know, it seems like will die the minute you live for anything other than it.  But you can stand still.  With a bottle for the kid.  And consider what you live for, DESPITE your inclinations.

I wont tell any stories about people I have been loved by, and the happiness it brought them to sacrifice for me.  And I won't tell you any anecdotes that reflect the thick moorings of my happiness... the old wisdoms are nearly obvious in their ubiquity.  It isn't RIGHT to treat people as you want life to treat you... it is basically your only option (should you wish to ever enjoy your dangerous life.) Those who steal from the living, to conjure imaginary kingdoms in their short lives on this planet, are, like it or not, as deserving of my love as the woman with brown hair.  The rich are unhappy in the same proportion as the poor.  Only love, listening, joy, laughter, and the simple, endless truths of the great wisdoms of the world will ever cut the mustard, for this ham on rye.  A dollar is but a promise made by a bank, by comparison. So.... hoard promises, if thats your reality.  Or use them, like Mule, to love another, and receive something---- real---- in return.

Would that the eyes of the world be upon you, Mule.  But hey, I guess, in a sense, you really had no choice.

That you have made mistakes is the consequence of your suspension between birth and death.  That you have loved is the consequence of your discovery of something that ideology could never hope to proffer.

Thank you Mule.  I am eager to be a man like you.

5 comments:

mule said...

andy, thank you for your words. i was moved by them. it warmed my heart. strange how things make me feel younger. like a woman or a friend. i was always the kid with few friends at college. all the cool cats were hippies or what not. i got my revenge i thought when securing my 400000 a year job at the department. however despite the number of dinners invited to, or the number of ducks killed, i still don't feel good. i have friends with positions in the nra. i used to brag about this. however andy, i never lost my fascination for the progressive types of this country. yeah, the computer nerds make money, but they are a part of accepted society. the peculiar types are the hipsters and vegetarians an such i think, the freedom of will they express. i never seen a conservative party member expressing this freedom. despite that they always talk about freedom. you know i never thought about this for 30 long years (between my sociology degree and a month ago). i am a beaver really. not the intellectual type. i love watching tennis and collecting tin cans. typical geriatric joys. you probably think the reason i rebel now is the exposure to hippies i got in my teens. yeah probably. i don't think it matters, though. i fear shrinks really. why do i write like this to a stranger? probably because i don't know you in real life. we only know the representations we make of each other. of course, i have the upper hand since i can see your face up front, but you only see a mule as representing me. you know, andy i have an affair with the woman i told you about in my last comment. while her husband is away, working for me. does this make me a bastard? i don't know. does she love me for my money? who am i kidding i don't know. do i need this? yeah, like mustard and ham. i haven't felt this animate in years. this dry old man wants to live. andy, i think my change began when i noticed that my conservative friends only made me feel empty. and i absolutely love star wars. what do i need money for if i can't use it? i am not a complete bastard. if this woman and i decide to do something major i will fire the husband from my service and offer him 100000 $ in compensation. we can all live happy. i deserve this, i think. andy i am an horrible old man taking advantage of the situation, but i can't help myself. i need her you see. its no fun traveling around the globe without someone besides me. no fun listening to old records with tears in my eyes while my ungrateful kids never call. the kinks, the who, blood, sweat and tears, the grateful dead all made a significant contributions to this dry old mans head. do you think i am a pig, andy? or just a mule?

mule aka clive

Andy Coffey said...

Mule,

It was rather obvious to me from your comments to me about your helping that woman and her husband, that you weren't losing weight from drinking and doing laps with her in the pool.
"I see blossoms when the trees are bare..." You know that line.
Your not a sick bastard Mule, you're just in love. I love talking to some of my elderly friends, when they say, "I never never thought I would ever be this old." It think it goes to the way we always think we're killing ourselves, or we're in heaven. Rarely can we simply exist, not beat ourselves, or others up: not go anywhere, just be 58 years old, and maybe live life.
Obviously your female friend would be best advised not to remain married, while cheating on her husband. I, however, have no clue as to her circumstances, and simply hope that the best thing for the two of you happens without hurting anyone. Most relationships don't work out so well, so even a reasonable period of joy, in this world between a man and a woman, is something to consider with pleasure.

You love Star Wars. I assume you mean the movies? Not the Missile Defense pipe dream that the Reagan Administration found on the back of a Tarot card. RIght? Sure you mean the movies. The movies are tremendously interesting when considered in their time. The recent movies are just as interesting, but far, far less entertaining given the bizarre decisions that Lucas seems to have made "on the Ranch." The good news? It don't matter in the least! Most people like those movies.

Mule... have fun. And remember which side of the Rio Grande your on. Don't think about the labels we've been lying to ourselves with forever. People aren't Republicans and Democrats. Which is why someone different is ALWAYS elected by folks improperly labeled.

We're just screwed up men. In a screwed up world.
Your comments show a person who wants connection. It means you have a heart. And you care about yourself (and others.) If that's screwed up, well...

Ande said...

Oh, I do love mules myself. The democrats look rebellious on the logo; hmm I always seen them as rather slick. I may be wrong, since I am not an American. You're right, Andy. I have friends obsessed with labels; political mostly. At the end of the day it all comes down to our personal happiness. The cells which we are want nourishment I guess. Mentally and physically. Its how I see it. Lately I think, some of my old friends have found me obnoxious.

Andy Coffey said...

Well Ande,

I was saddened to think today, that you have to endure that ridiculous referendum on the outlawing of of muslim architecture (a genuinely grotesque action.) I could more or less care less if some people want to outlaw beautiful things, since the action, like George W. Bush, simply carves into the soul of everyone in the world the precise nature of stupidity and tribalism. In the end, some Muslims will be hurt, but most will be recognized as a singled out minority, and the whole western world knows that's antithetical to modern values.
That said, my heart was mostly with you, and others (many many others, I heard quite a few on the radio today) who said they were worried about their country. It was nice to hear the center right (I think) party in power distance itself from this hilariously dangerous behavior. But, mostly I was just sad at the thought that you might despair a little. And, my friend, your heart should never do that. We must believe in the world that is coming, when the one today, threatens our hope. Thanks for your beliefs and hopes, and sharing some of them with me. And continue, please, to annoy people. A lot of polite people amount to bludgeons on the heads of this worlds slaves.
Nice to see your name, Ande.

Harlequin said...

where I grew up ( in total poverty, BTW) the saying was: Friends are better than money. My dad used to day that all the time and we lived ... a lot of us ... by the barter system. I still feel this value alive and well in my life. thanks for this post, and the thoughtful conversation in the comments.