Thursday, April 18, 2019

Guidance Counselor Recitations

No. 18 of 30 -- Guidance Counselor series

We don’t recite enough these days. I must’ve been born in the wrong century. I think it would’ve been cool to be one of those guys in the past who goes town to town reciting things. Before TV, before radio, when it was your memory and a confident ability to warble out inspiration. It’s hard to picture us these days, or even in the last 50-60 years, being patient with recitations. But people used to love it.

And it’s stuff that I don’t even know. I actually do know a bunch of Bible passages more or less because that’s one of my interests. But recitations once upon a time was so much more. Verses from Whittier, Shakespeare, and other literary talents, and no doubt a lot of  wash-ups from the past as well. The greats and plenty of hacks.

How’d they do it? Why’d they do it? Other forms of entertainment were totally primitive compared to now. I have a TV set up where I record movies to my cloud 24 hours a day, but I have time to watch maybe four or five a week. The others will eventually go away, I guess. Certainly cloud based music has made listening to music a lot easier. Still, I can see why people want to go out and invest in an expensive record collection, taking back personal control of it. And better sound. And the pride of having it.

The old recitations though, like from preachers, traveling evangelists, or just local guys with booming voices, would've been nice too. Just because I personally don't like a lot of affectation in voices, the rolling of Rs, archaic gestures and affectations, doesn't mean others didn't. And how fun it would’ve been to live in those times and go around mimicking it, making a little fun. Surely someone would’ve thought it was funny, but more likely they would’ve strung you up.

In terms of the Guidance Counselor, I’m saying he was a pompous ass. And it's easy to picture him spouting the wondrous words of deity, the psalmist, as though they’re meant to exercise his tongue and make people marvel at his eloquence. Later he'd be back in his trailer counting his coins, praising or cussing out the rubes and the county.

Opposing him, then, in the graphic, we have someone more from our way of doing things today. Someone who hasn’t imbibed the great words of oratory, but is still with-it enough to know that the best way to puncture oratory and pretentiousness is by quick vulgarity and a dismissive attitude. Stand on your head with your ass and/or crotch in someone’s face and belittle them for what they’re doing and you’ll see the power of language and gestures. And everyone's got it going on today in social media.

Our guidance counselor lesson for the day: I gave the guidance counselor power over me. I realize that now but I had no power at the time to counteract his poison tongue. I sat there and took it and tried to stay out of trouble. But he still beat me down with his nasty spirit, making him one of the bastards of the century.

In high school I was good at standing on my head, but I really didn’t know enough (or wasn't brave enough) to dress him down with vulgarities. It would’ve had bad consequences, so it's all better left in the fantasy world of today than in the actual world of those dark days.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Guidance Counselor Judgment Day

No. 17 of 30 -- Guidance Counselor series

Are you up for Judgment Day? Morality and mortality. It's handier to keep your morality right in front of your pointy little nose than not. So I do, a persistent state of consciousness coupling it with a feeling of imminent mortality. Goodness is its own reward. Birds and fish probably feel the same thing as they're driven by the sun or tides, inexorable and feels just right.

My usual consciousness, like the average guy, is life goes along as normal. With ups and downs, yes, but consciousness always hitting the target in the same ways and places. Making life predictable, and except for extremes — the ever present danger of serial killers and being wiped out on the freeway — it keeps its predictability. On the serial killer front, though, we can all be buoyed by the great work they’re doing with DNA. Wait several decades and they'll be nailed as toddlers, thanks to ever better science and robo guidance counselors.

Before then I will have faced my Judgment Day, and that'll be a piece of cake, really, thanks to certain Sunday School doctrines I’m pinning my hopes on. It'd be all the same, really, if none of it panned out and instead there’s fountains of living water, and beauties by the score according to your innate preferences, magical bliss for eternity. With no sign of guidance counselors.

Say Amen if you agree, no Paradise should ever be crawling with evil sin-inducing serpents or these other scurvy dudes. We could start a movement, our own religion. A lot of people don’t believe in the literal devil, and that’s understandable. Evil is a matter of choices and every coin has a flip side, etc., which I don’t want to get into. But other people have had at least a brief run in with a guidance counselor, so their theology on ultimate things runs deeper.

The key thing I remember about mine is the sense of stern judgment he held against me. For things that weren’t really my fault, having had a series of seizures and so getting a deferment from taking the semester of boy’s wrestling. It’d be great to go back and find the statistics, how many kids caught the same break. It couldn't have been many, because week after week it was just me alone with him. No one else. It would’ve been nice to have at least one other kid to dull the blow of his disappointment. Because he saw implications for my distant future that were dire, and a lot of it has come true. Every pain I get — and I got mad one day a few years ago and kicked something heavy and my toe still tingles — might’ve been the future he foresaw.

As a Judge, had the personality for it. It might've come from his time in the service where they have exacting standards and allow little deviance from the requirements. The politically correct side of me says to honor his service, but the practical side of me hints that he might’ve had a happier disposition if he’d just dodged the draft and left the fighting to other less fortunate souls. Be all that as it may, fate brought us together. He had one battlefield, the front, then chose another battlefield, my life, messing up my one fortunate break...

Looking back, though, and I oftentimes have, it could’ve been fun wrestling boys. I obviously can’t go back now. But I probably would’ve lived through it. Now I could almost do it, be flipped by classmates, pinned, depantsed, whatever it takes, with pictures of me later showing up in the bathroom. And everyone's rumor, “The wilting flower act is just an act, the little perv has a hidden agenda...” No, that'd be horrible.

But as the guidance counselor and his staff of bewigged judges would no doubt rule: “Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Condemned to be hanged by the neck until he’s dead, and leave him there just in case.”

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

What Guidance Counselors Die Of

No. 16 of 30 -- Guidance Counselor series

At this point, it has to be clear, whether or not you understand its nature, severity, etc., that something awful happened to me with a guidance counselor.

Yes, I'm a broken man. Wrung out like a sponge. Barely a drop to my name. Soon to seize up -- that'd be the ultimate ending -- eyes as big as saucers, mouthing but unable to utter my last vain complaint: "What ... happened ... to ... my ... life?" Nothing comes out clearly, but I motion to my neck, which everyone at first takes as senseless muscle/nerve activity, involuntary motions. But, no, there's a purpose. They find a locket and open it, never for a moment expecting Super Fly to launch himself into the air and fly off who knows where! Super Fly will destroy the world! Then they look to the locket one last time for a clue to this terror: It's a picture of a man, of the sons of men! Hands out as if in a wrestling pose! And a strange expression on his face as if to say, I'm here to do guidance counseling!

Hope that clarifies things. The guidance counselor caused me endless suffering, all because of a few seizures and me being excused from a semester of wrestling. Doesn't seem like much of an offense at this point, decades later. But at the time, you would’ve thought I was the one standing in the way of some great cause or hope. I don’t know what it could’ve been; the cure of cancer comes to mind. Or other dread diseases -- Dog breath and Italian breath present themselves --  that have given the world such tragedy and sadness.

My own thoughts on tragedies and diseases is, I hope they don’t get me. I’ve been in pretty good health since those days. No more seizures, which proves the wisdom of me skipping that semester of wrestling. Since then I’ve had the usual sickness, the flu a time or two. I’ve cut myself on nails or whatever, nothing too bad, and I’ve survived nicely. All the while, the guidance counselor, who was quite a bit older, himself did die. That’s true, he’s gone. So what’s that prove? He was older than me and was likely to die first? Or that his unrighteousness did him in? I can’t prove either one, so I'll just go with the one that has me at the center of the trouble. But my hands are up! It's not my fault, it's his!

Who knows what exactly did him in, heart attack, cancer, rickets, juvenile diabetes, plain cussedness, lymphoma, or something easier to spell, but it was something. I walk through cemeteries every once in a while and usually they don’t say what they died off. But we can guess, Whatever it was, it was something. So something’s what did the guidance counselor in, related to me or not. He might’ve died of a broken heart. Say everyone else took wrestling after me and no one stirred his enmity a second time, he might’ve just died of disappointment.

It’s true there are lots of terrible diseases that I wouldn’t want to have. But am I all for stamping them out? Not really, because 1) Doctors need to make a living, too; 2) We need a full slate of things to die from so everyone’s not dying of the same boring stuff. You might die of boredom itself but for interesting diseases.

Another great reason to keep on track with death is, You are going to have enemies, just like the guidance counselor was to me. If they’re going to die, it needs to be something they don’t necessarily understand. I don’t know if the guidance counselor thought of me right before his death. That would've been wild: "Father, forgive me for treating that kid like crap so long ago. I didn't know I'd die from it.” But a consoling voice comes from Heaven: "Don't worry, my son, even if that's what it was, I had lots of other stuff to choose from, like your time in Las Vegas."

Monday, April 15, 2019

Guidance Counselor's Hot Time In Vegas

No. 15 of 30 -- Guidance Counselor series

I try to keep my blog clean of too much sex and dirty talk. I’ve always been that way, keep the bedroom talk for the bedroom or between friends behind the barn, just randomly cussing this or that for each other’s laughs. On the blog, I have a lot of innocent people, maybe even students researching topics for essays, and if they quote me I don’t want them to fail. There are times, periodically, where it’d be better for the teacher to steer them clear to some other site than here. Which is usually safe.

Today is one of those bad days, perhaps, but I just started. I'm wondering today what happened that time the guidance counselor went to Las Vegas. And as usual I have no hard and fast knowledge of what he actually did. It was obviously covered up immediately. No light escaped the darkness. He went for knowledge, he got knowledge. Carnal knowledge, perhaps. The last thing he would’ve ever done would be confide in me. Which would’ve been a real gas, to pull me over and say, “Guess what I did on my vacation....” Then my eyes are big as saucers and later I’m telling my friends on the bus.

Now, however, I’m an adult, and know how things hang. And my mind is every bit as sneaky as his was back in the day. And I know exactly what he had on his dirty little mind when he went to Las Vegas, for a (cough cough) seminar on guidance counseling. How the administration of the school could ever be taken in to allow such a thing, that’s a mystery. The mystery must find its answer in a blunt: They Knew. He goes to Vegas with a certain amount of money, then goes to all the shady places where they give shady receipts. How about that? Wild oats time at the seminar.

All the way out there, he’s rubbing his hands in excited anticipation. “Can’t wait for that seminar on 'The Tortured Psyche of Our Students Today' or 'Constructive Criticism Is Out, Criticize for the Hell of It.'" Let's say he spent five minutes at each of those meetings, enough time to get the notes and his picture taken at the dais, then he's off to the happy girls, boa feathers starting at the crack of the ass and proceeding six feet over their heads. From the slimiest, slitheringest boas you can think of out of the depths of the deepest Amazon...

I personally wouldn’t be caught dead with girls like that. I have a huge fear intolerance and would rather die a happy life as an out and out virgin than spend a dime on the feverish hell they have to offer. But then again I was and am a person with huge ideals. Yeah, I've had my moments, like everyone, but when I say “No, not happening,” that’s exactly how it is. And I’ve never varied from that standard, piece of trivia for you. Rock of purity.

As it turns out, I probably would’ve made a decent guidance counselor. Had I not been tainted by the profession. And even if I did, I’d probably have been excluded from the polite society of guidance counselors for the cudgel I’ve held against them so many decades. Wouldn’t that be great though? I’ve literally never thought of me as a guidance counselor till this very moment. Because I’ve always had this grudge, kept secret except from people I’ve known personally who actually hated to hear it. I would’ve made a great guidance counselor.

But picture my guidance counselor. He’d be in Las Vegas, everything on lurid repulsive display, his whole works right there in plain sight, as big as life, however big life happened to be in his case. Then the happy girls come in, who’ve already seen everything and know the science of getting rid of guys fast. “Ooo la la,” they purr, getting him going. “Oh, you bad boy!” They sternly lecture him, “What are you, a guidance counselor,” she purrs, “how fun!” At that point or in the next few minutes he gets his money’s worth, ha! His fake receipt stamped, he heads home, thinking it over on the plane what he’s going to say: “It was a great conference, full of insights.” Yeah, I’ll bet you buggered everything in sight, you dog!”

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Abe Lincoln vs Guidance Counselors

No. 14 of 30 -- Guidance Counselor series

I’ve long claimed Abraham Lincoln as my spirit animal. And in spite of the pathetic pleas of those who think they know him better — scholars, historians, and other self-appointed busybodies who never even met the man — I’ll keep right on believing and living in strength through that truth.

Like Lincoln, I’m a person of many dreams. I’ve been dreaming since I was a kid and I believe in dreams. Many are scary, doubts whether I will withstand the challenges of the future, etc. But a lot of my fears I’ve put away, such as the childhood nightmares of Judgment Day. They pop up maybe weekly, but a few good screams and a tiny bit of crawling the walls and it's all over. That’s on my parents, of course, for taking me to church every time the doors were open. It might’ve stunted my childhood, but in a way I’m happy for it: It's a killer excuse for anything that goes wrong.

I used to wander in the snow like in the picture and think, think, think. Some very practical things, such as “What should I do about these boots, so kids won’t make fun of me for having big clodhoppers?” I remember once taking them off and slogging the rest of the way to school in Hush Puppies, which were ruined by the snow. The lesson wasn’t to quit worrying about what kids would think, but hope Mom found better boots.

All the time I was thinking, huffing and puffing: Would I die in the snow? Would class be OK? Would I be able to skate by another year, then be promoted? What would it be like in high school, when I’d be faced with all sorts of things — higher learning, dissecting frogs? I could only imagine it as a kid. I imagined the older kids at school towering over me. They seemed to be laughing, not crying. So whatever was to come, I’d have to manage.

Then high school had a lot of downsides, of course, really apparent when the guidance counselor showed his ugly head. But he had to earn his bread like everyone, meaning, when you’re guidance counselor you have to instill in kids a terrible fear of the future. Always hinting they’ll never make it unless... And then you get the scary bully tactics, laced with criticism, taking advantage of your innocence. “There are those who make it, then there's the vast majority who fall dead on the way.” Which finally explained the ditches full of corpses every time I went to town.

Is that any way to do education? It is if the goal is to keep one-time barber-college, wrestling-coach wannabes who settle for counseling and guiding students with barely five cents worth of personal decency to rub together employed. My big problem wasn’t native ability and lack of drive, but someone to walk beside me and not to kick me in the snow when the bell was about to ring.

So Abraham Lincoln towers above, whom -- if my vast historical knowledge still holds true to the facts and isn’t touched with Alzheimer’s Blessing, sweet forgetfulness, and a soon sinking into insentience and a calling home by the Lord of Judgment Day that I glimpsed so long ago -- was the 16th president. Which rankles everyone a bit that he’s so far down the list when we celebrate his day and Washington’s like they were contemporaries. Spoiler alert, Washington was already dead and moldering before Lincoln's dad took it out!

But the guidance counselor and I, though from different generations, were contemporaries. And my contempt for him to this day proves it. I’m even somewhat provoked right this minute, even though that stale dude's been dead these many years, to walk out in the snow right now, if we had any, and call out to the skies, “What’ve you got, Guidance Fool!? Something better than Lincoln?!”

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Mentality Half-Formed, Totally Stupid

No. 13 of 30 -- Guidance Counselor series

Through this hardhitting guidance counselor series, I have rightly portrayed myself as the aggrieved party. With the guidance counselor being the supposedly responsible adult with an actual profession of “guidance” and “counseling” to uphold and perform. Far from what I was, an innocent high school kid, not an adult, with the innocent psyche of a half-formed, mentally bereft person, barely there at all.

It's so hard to picture me as immature, but I was. Because look at me today. People look at me, they point to me, maybe they read my blog and say, “There’s no one more mature, more responsible or qualified to lead the youth of tomorrow.” And it’s so true. I always take the position most aligned with good behavior, benefits for all, and responsibility. It’s not for nothing that my blog was voted “Best Blog to Fall Asleep To” three years in a row by the juvenile delinquents in my neighborhood. It was also a true survey, the results not determined, like most, by payoffs.

But I seriously wasn’t precisely an infant in a playpen in high school, but virtually. I didn’t know anything about anything. If you would’ve told me that babies came from baby factories and parents picked them up, I would’ve believed it. The closest thing to sex I knew was dirty magazines, which in those days weren’t explicit. More cartoons than anything, all hinting around about something but never quite coming out and showing it. Not like we have today, a fully inflamed wanton moisturized ready-to-go double-page spread and engraved invitation unmistakable in begging eyes.

So when I showed up at the guidance counselor’s office, I wasn't ready to be under his thumb and wasn't prepared to take him on. I appreciate it today that kids are schooled a lot more in what adults can do to them and the signs they need to watch for and the responsible things to do as a response. Back then they simply trusted adults and suspected kids of being dummies, which I at least was.

So we might wonder how did wrestling coaches get away with so much? And how did guidance counselors manage to break their students psychologically? With so few consequences. There was an stupid innocence and lack of awareness then that adults are up to no good if given half a chance. So these guys could commit murder and it'd be your fault...

It makes my blood boil, at least simmer, to see an adult guidance counselor in the same playpen as an innocent baby (representing me) wailing like he’s somehow the aggrieved party. I’d like to grab that lousy stinking bastard by the scruff of the neck, or let’s say cinch his tie up a little tighter for him. Then with his head straining like a filthy pimple, engage him toward expanding his professional disciplinary horizons. "You bastard" is right! How dare you?!

Friday, April 12, 2019

I'm Perfectly Normal

No. 12 of 30 -- Guidance Counselor series

This isn’t a good day. I’m feeling mucho funky about myself. Usually everything's great and I have the world’s best self image, perpetually, depending on which parts of the world we’re talking about. But not today.

And, yes, this cross on my back -- this guidance counselor series -- is bringing out the best and the worst in me, depending on how it hits me at any given moment. Some days I’m on top of the world; there were a couple fleeting moments yesterday. Then other times I’m sinking somewhat, but still bobbling along like the red red robin. Other times, unfortunately, like today, I’m a wild-eyed mad man, in one of my budget barn Elvis costumes, wild-eyed as I said, bad complexion, and eyes going crazy wild, wielding a sword and swishing it madly through the air, cutting everything in sight!

Call it what it is, some sort of dissociative dysfunction, I think, crabgrass of the brain. I’m having a hard time scooping out memories of the guidance counselor and dumping them before the public. And most of you have been sympathetic and encouraging, don’t get me wrong. But there’s a small group — like always — that comes down on the side of the guidance counselor... The guy could’ve flayed and panbroiled me and these buzzards would see no problem at all: "Don’t question your betters!" Their twisted myopic view is guidance counselors can do no wrong! Let's flip 'em off!

Dredging up any detail of the past for me has karma the size of the Titanic. If I'm thinking of some innocent thing, like us kids threatening a Nude-In in high school, I would associate it now in a negative way. Instead of the great joy it was. Certainly, then, something as tumultuous and negatively memorable as the guidance counselor making me his personal punching bag, all while keeping it psychological and therefore hard to prove, has a hurtful side.

One of my doctors thinks my flailing about with the sword is healthy and one strenuously disagrees. So with one doctor, I’m sitting there with it proudly. With the other I’m a little more reticent, because I hate being judged, as I know this guy is no doubt thinking in his mind, “This dude’s squirrelly. His stupid sword. His stupid guidance counselor issues. How insipid. Let’s move on, pal. Give me a break. Pay the bill and make another appointment.”

And I don’t have the slightest clue how dismissive he is of me and my ever-present traumas. Giving me, unbeknownst to him, yet another grievance that someday if I live long enough I’ll also be working through.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Guidance Counselor -- A Shinola Shine

 No. 11 of 30 -- Guidance Counselor series

I'm a firm believer in the sense we have these days that everyone is a person of value and worth. And that all the jobs people have, if it’s honest labor and accompanied with a certain amount of dignity, it’s good. I know that's an over-generalization and that anyone can think of exceptions — beyond the obvious exception, guidance counselors — but it’s not my place today to run the gamut of possibilities, just to express in general the way life works.

Are there good guidance counselors? I believe there must be. We look out on a dark night at the stars. And we have no real sense of how far away they are because the distances are impossible to fully embrace. I see a lot of videos these days on outer space and the distances from earth to even the next galaxy over (with there being millions of other galaxies) and it’d take you tens of thousands of years, were even possible, to get to the next galaxy. So, yes, in an existence where the seemingly impossible is possible, it's more than likely that good guidance counselors exist.

Sounds like heresy, I know, from someone who’s spent his post-high school life railing incessantly against them. But look back at the record and you will not find me categorically saying every guidance counselor is evil, worthless, etc. Because in my heart of hearts I am a definite optimist. I see the impossibility of space travel to distant galaxies and say, “It could be done were it possible.” See the optimism? The fact that it is impossible with current technology, and my current level of ignorance, off the charts, puts me among the skeptics. But never say never, unless you’re saying never say never.

One thing I know for sure, my guidance counselor wasn’t good to me. You tell me the chances of me as an old adult still dealing with the bad memories of a guidance counselor. I'm virtually a dead weed -- I envy crabgrass --  but I'm still going at it. And that dirt-bag still occupies a very dark place near my roots, my psyche, a place entirely off limits to everything and everyone except the bitterest foes from hell. And even with demons I expect a certain level of decency and accountability.

I would love to open the records and air my grievances on some grand stage, where of course I would be dealt with fairly and not just as a guy with sour grapes. But I’m afraid my case would never be dealt with fairly. Instead, they would likely to take the guidance counselor’s side every time, and even though they said they wouldn’t deal with me as a guy with sour grapes, that’s exactly how it’d work out. Or it'd be like this, smoothing the edges; the guidance counselor was misunderstood, his ways were inscrutable but always meant for good. Don't go there...

Next, they’d bring in the grandchildren of the guidance counselor who would say he was a quality person right up to his demise. And that his saintly last words were a survey of his righteousness and a plea that, “If there’s anyone I’ve ever wronged in my godly life — and there’s absolutely not — that I be absolved of all that now and forever — blogs to the contrary be damned.”

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Better Places To Hide

No. 10 of 30 -- Guidance Counselor series

Is the world big enough for you? Or do you agree with me that we need better places to hide from guidance counselors? And if the world were bigger, that’s exactly what we would have. If you agree wholeheartedly with me, please sit in absolute silence and tell yourself it’s so. I will sense your agreement. Because if we say it out loud, we'd certainly encourage guidance counselors to buckle down and torment their kids more. And knowing guidance counselors as I do, the last thing they need is more incentive than what they have inappropriately appropriated to themselves already.

Am I serious about guidance counselors or is this some kind of joke? Are heart attacks serious? Diphtheria, cancer, dog breath, Italian breath, rickets, psoriasis, hangovers? Are these dread conditions serious? Yes, they’re DAMNED serious, forgive the profanity. And I’m D——— serious too. My life, saints be praised, wasn’t completely ruined as it turned out, but if my guidance counselor had fulfilled his complete will, I would’ve been mush a long time ago, consigned to the garbage heap, tossed out like so many dirty diapers.

One thing I did when I didn’t have to be with him was scrupulously avoid him. It couldn’t be done all the time, of course, because the school wasn’t enormous, but if I knew he was going to be someplace, I avoided that place. Just like you would avoid toxins to the extent that you could. Poison ivy, poison oak, poison anything.

If I would’ve had full range and not been a minor and not had parents, I would’ve been long gone. As it was, once I graduated, I immediately moved to a different town. More because I got a job there, then went to college and had other jobs over the years, with only the positive additional benefit of being away from him. After high school, my prayers were answered, and I never saw the guidance counselor again. I went my way, and though I had been unfortunate enough to have crossed his path in high school, the rest of my life was lived in greater happiness and peace.

It actually turned out that if the world had been even smaller I likely would’ve avoided him too. But all that is with the benefit of hindsight. At the time I didn’t know. I could’ve gone to the ends of the earth and he would’ve been there. I didn’t know. I actually was in a small town hitchhiking once, well over 100 miles from where I lived, and someone pulled up and asked me if I was such-and-such, my name. And I didn’t know them. So I’ve never been sure if that person was a living tentacle from him.

Speaking of the earth, it’s interesting how we got the continents we have. I saw this on a science show recently. The continents once upon a time were one land mass! So you can look at the contours of the different continents and see how they fit together like a puzzle. Pretty cool that I learned that, huh?

But why did the Good Lord cause the continents to separate over eons, millions of years? Scientists don’t know the full answer, but research is starting more and more to point to one clear inescapable conclusion: to give kids more places to avoid guidance counselors if push comes to shove.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Credo: Strip 'Em Down

No. 9 of 30 - Guidance Counselor series

I don’t know if people hear the same things we used to hear, more or less on a daily basis, that you’re a cog, a gear, or screw somewhere in the ultimate works of society. The days I’m recalling were well before they encouraged big aspirations in every kid. Essentially they helped you focus on your little place as a responsible nut or bolt in the overall works.

I say I don’t know, but on reflection, it appears certain, at least on the surface, that a lot of that has gone by the wayside. In the post-WWII period it was one way, settling into your position, whether by social planning, a divine purpose, or just your natural responsiveness to the obvious underlying drive. The same thought went into the cookie cutter houses they came up with, in haste, in getting society back on a peacetime footing.

Not to be too sociological, there seems to be a natural progression from the helter skelter scene of wartime to fitting into definite channels for peacetime. But they never actually said any of this. So if you’re a kid, you think they’re just against you personally. When it’s really only a macro sense of things and getting you situated in your little slot. And anyone who doesn’t fit precisely, now now now, is like a spare part to be cast aside.

And I suppose, naturally, some of those drives went into giving us a generation of guidance counselors straight from the bowels of hell. There they were, fermenting in the bowels of hell -- like other bowels but smellier -- not even fully aware themselves of the infernal basis of their hellish drives, every bit the same cogs in an unforgiving machine that they expected us to be, working it point by point, sending you up the chute of happiness or driving you down down down like the worm you were. Or pond scum, which to me is nastier than worms. And we grew up afraid of pond scum, not knowing we shared certain sociological qualities with those denizens of the shallow.

So here we have the guidance counselors of that day, assembling in rigid lines, themselves parts in the system, and being sent like demons to their bitter work, marking the quick and privileged for their destiny, then the rest of us to a dim purgatory of fruitless existence. Without even the mercy we might grant worms, the mercy we show when we poke air-holes in their little cup or container.

Is it too harsh to suggest that the Guidance Counselor Credo was “Strip ‘em down, sell them into servitude, etc.”? It’s right up there with Death Row, of course, with the 13 last steps to the gallows and a priest muttering words of comfort, more or less for himself, before they release the trapdoor. It’s a terrible credo, yes, but 100% accurate. And if the guidance counselor worked overtime, the percentage went up several additional points.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Desperately Seeking Grunts

Part 8 of 30 -- Guidance Counselor series

What are the motives of guidance counselors? This is one of the unanswered mysteries that has never been definitely answered. The surface explanation, of course, has to do with supposed guidance and counseling. A student, let’s say, needs counseling about his or her path. What will I be? How do I get there? The guidance counselor is there, at least superficially informed about those issues and at his best faithfully tending to students’ needs.

I wondered what I would be too. I thought about the future. But in all the weeks I was with the guidance counselor, sitting in his office literally with him right there present with me, I can't remember him once asking me any such questions or wondering what I’d need to do to get there. Instead, he was more often sour, like he resented the fact that I was there, and acted like it was ridiculous for a kid should've been wrestling to be sitting in the office with him. Wish I hadn't been so innocent and nice, I could've jabbed him. "You served our country fighting the Koreans (and by extension Chinese and Russian Communists) and you can't handle the weekly visitation of one meek boy?"

Why was I there? In case you missed one of the other parts, I had a series of seizures, just a few, and my mother thought the semester of wrestling would equal the onset of more. And I can see that, if I were thrown about the room, and bearing the pressure of other boys on top of me, or holding my legs up in the air as they pinned me hard to the mat below. Why it had to be the guidance counselor to babysit me, that's something I can’t remember at all, school choice. He was probably the only guy with few actual duties. What’s a guidance counselor do all day? Not counseling kids much while they’re in school, because they’re already in classes. I guess the basic purpose of a guidance counselor is to have someone step in for the wrestling coach when and if the wrestling coach is ever disgraced by his lust for the ladies.

I really hate thinking of myself as a guy the guidance counselor resented. Spectacular little old me? But he made it clear enough in his funky little asides and look of disdain that it was so. With a little more maturity I really could’ve entertained him, or kept his spirits up. If I’d known about the internet in the future and blogs, I might’ve told him, “Sometime in the distant future I will be writing a series about you. This won’t be posted in the newspaper or on bathroom walls, but will be visible and available to the entire world. But I won't use your name, because your name should be forgotten.”

It’s one of my big regrets that I wasn’t able to flummox the guidance counselor a little bit more. To get on his nerves. To really take him on not so much personally but on a professional level. By asking the obvious questions (obvious now, not then), What are guidance counselors for?

I’m afraid the answer might not be as high flown as we’ve all come to expect. But instead is something like this, to sift out the undesirables from the desirables. The haves and the have-nots. Those destined to be the grunts of industry, dispensable in every way, and quick to be forgotten when they’re ground under foot. What if guidance counselors were becoming hugely wealthy by selling students into industry for 30 cents per kid? I can see it becoming so mainstream very few people would even notice. Look at the things we get used to in politics. These days if someone broke the Bill of Rights out of its hermetically sealed case and wiped their ass on it, we’re so jaded we’d be saying “Would you like a hot towel with that?” They’d say yes and we’d be heating up Betsy Ross’s dirty old antique flag.

Well, buster, I’m no grunt... I’m here from the future to put you under arrest, and to take you with me back to the future to stand trial for your crimes and the crimes of your profession. Who do you work for? What are their plans for the future. Skip that last question; I’ll look it up on the WWW when I get back. And when you and I get to the future, the first thing we’ll do is Google your death to make sure we get you back in time for it. Don’t look at me like that. I’m not crazy. That’s how we talk someday.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Disembowel Him Once For Us

No. 7 of 30 -- Guidance Counselor series

Real life happens without a chorus. You get choruses in plays, Greek plays. They’re a technique to show public opinion and the sentiments of the times and circumstances without having a guy stand there and tell you. More choruses would be great now, but we do have pundits on TV to explain every nuance of public affairs. And choruses might be unreliable, since they’d be giving us everything on their fool minds, not the salient points of an established playwright.

I wouldn’t mind being a member of the chorus, alternately booing whoever it is who’s the villain of the day or cheering the heroes. But doing it without booing and cheering, but by super targeted comments, encapsulating public sentiment and immediately convicting or encouraging those in the light. Like Twitter.

In school, I kept most of my affairs to myself. I don’t even think I told my mom of my travails with the guidance counselor. That would’ve been interesting, wish I would have planted a bug in her ear. She was the one who got me the wrestling deferment, and it’s only right she should’ve been the one to stand up to the guidance counselor and pull his evil fangs out of my back. Always making me feel badly about myself — or trying his devilish best to do so. She could’ve gone in there and rained hail-knots on his garbage scalp. As it was, he saw his chance to make me an example — to no one in particular except for his own satisfaction — and took it. My big regret.

One thing about it is clearly wrong, his delight at reducing me in his and my own estimation by my compliance, 1) by even going to his office; and 2) sitting there and taking it. Wow, looking back on it in hindsight, I had great options, but maybe greater consequences if they'd gone sour. I could've been instrumental in getting him removed as guidance counselor! That would’ve been awesome. But then I would’ve had to face the next loser they dragged in, and he or she (it would’ve been a he then) might’ve been worse. ‘So you’re the little punk who offs guidance counselor, huh? Well, off THIS!” he demands, and suddenly I’m deflowered.

Or I wouldn't have had to have the original guidance counselor barred; I could’ve petitioned for some relief from his scornful behavior. Which everyone would’ve understood and applauded if they were true to their values. It was these very souls — the few good and the many evil — who taught me about the American colonists petitioning the King of England for America. I can’t remember all their demands. I think they sought lemonade every other weekend and three square meals on Wednesdays.

How bad the crowd must’ve been in England and America. Because crowds are out for blood, mobs. Mob action, death! Hang him! Disembowel him! Even as the guy is whetting his most ferocious blade, a big machete, big enough to lop someone’s head off, or otherwise trim him, making him worthless for women or men of the same mind.

Well, anyway, here we are decades later. I still have all my bowels. However many you’re born with, they’re all still there. And exercised on a daily basis, as nature calls.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

The Guidance Counselor's Influence

No. 6 of 30 -- Guidance Counselor series

The graphic is from recent years, when as an old man I started having colonoscopies. Now I'm an evangelist for colonoscopies, recommending them to everyone for the good they can do. It involves going in the anus with some kind of camera tube and it extends up into you and sees if there’s polyps in there. If there are they can be cancerous. Whether they are or not they usually take them out, depending on various factors that I don’t need to go into. The beauty of the whole thing from the patient’s point of view is they put you to sleep and a second later you’re in recovery.

Do I mind having them? Not really. Of course I’d rather I'd never need anything of the medical type. But eventually there we are. If you get older, things will go wrong with age, and if you want your life to progress with less complications, a little prevention or intervention is necessary. Colonoscopies are one of the procedures that are very helpful toward having positive outcomes. Get together with your doctor and see if you could benefit from one.

Now, naturally, when you’re on the table, you’re not there to quibble with the doctors about their views on things. For instance, I don’t ask them which news channels they watch. Because I’m trusting that no matter how crazy their viewpoints might be, they know their colonoscopy stuff. And I don’t seriously ask them whether they’ve been influenced at any point in the past by guidance counselors. (Yes, it always crosses my mind.) One, what can you do about it? Your past is your past. And again, they can do great colonoscopies no matter their interactions with guidance counselors.

I'm definitely suspicious of anyone who’s had interactions with guidance counselors and have liked them. Because my guidance counselor was a no-good so and so. But that doesn’t mean I’m personally a bad person. Just as it wouldn’t mean my doctors were no-good if they had these relationships. Anyway, a guidance counselor's influence may be fleeting, and the consensus almost has to be that there are guidance counselors who are good people. I’m optimistic enough to believe that, but never forget, they're more likely out to get you in a negative way.

A person could ask their physician just as quickly if they were ever influenced by wrestling coaches. Which is equally questionable as far as I’m concerned. Am I saying there’s no good wrestling coaches? Again, for legal reasons, I can’t go that far. Not every wrestling coach is a varmint. It’s hard to type that, but my lawyer said it should be there. And anything I write that seems to suggest anything to the contrary deals with individuals not cited by name and not representative of the profession as a whole (wink wink).

Which could be the actual truth, hard as it is to believe. Because think of the statistics. They say there’s good in everyone — we’ve all heard that — so despite the individuals we’ve known and loathed over the years, they do not necessarily taint entire classes of people. I know that objectively and affirm that as the truth.

I should probably also put a disclaimer about colonoscopies. I personally think they’re good, with a doctor’s recommendation, for their purpose, diagnosing problems or giving the all clear. But they may not be for everyone and I’m not claiming they are.

Why I feel I need to scrupulously hedge my legal bets here is anyone’s guess. But I do. And let me add, Nothing in this blog should be used to judge, diagnose, or derive actual useful information. It is for entertainment purposes only, and by reading it, you hold the writer absolutely harmless from all legal ramifications and/or claims. If you're not entertained, you read a long way trying to be, and I affirm that.

Anything else that you read here that might be offensive — like almost everything else I write — is strictly my personal opinion and not anyone else’s, except my loyal readers', who dwell somewhere in the known world and do not wish to be identified as such.

Friday, April 5, 2019

My Violent Fantasies

No. 5 of 30 - Guidance Counselor series

Of course in terms of actual history I never hit the guidance counselor. I sat there like a good boy. And we weren’t opposed to violence in those days. But I had some pragmatism, a self-interest to protect. And if he showed up today, I'd give him a friendly embrace. Even though he deserved a good whacking, a thrashing like he wouldn’t believe. But I had to worry about staying in school. Because to drop out would’ve meant a life of low paying jobs. Instead of the wealth I'm surrounded with now. Just bought a microwave three weeks ago.

But those days are gone, and we’re geared for fantasies, you know I’m right. I bet most of you have serious fantasies. I’m not going to sketch out any of mine, except to state what’s obvious in everyone’s experience: I’m the center of it and it involves lots of different characters all with very perverse intentions and playful schemes of behavior. Which is enough about that.

Most of my fantasies do not — let me repeat, do not — involve guidance counselors. But now that I’m old, maybe I missed out on something. It really took a lot of thinking in these latter days of my life, leading to this blog series, for me to flesh out what are likely the patterns of guidance counselors. Most of you probably had good guidance counselors, at least seemingly good. They were good enough not to jump your bones on the first session, and if you only had one session with them, you got off scot-free.

To be fair to my guidance counselor — a guy I did not like and would have no reason to say good things about if they weren’t true — he never once jumped my bones or attempted to. He was passive/aggressive, yes, but only in ways either to help me or injure me psychically, not sexually. I would never accuse anyone falsely of such a thing. As it turns out, with adults (and me as a kid) there was never ever the slightest untoward thing that anyone did to me. Which these days is no laughing matter, of course.

I didn't care for his words and attitude, though, and his behavior was not exemplary in the fullest psychological sense. But there was lots of room for deniability for him. Which my Mom could've discerned and figured it out. She got me in with the guidance counselor in the first place, so I wouldn’t have to take part in a semester of wrestling. But even she did not know the problem.

It does me some devious mental good to take him on in memory. It's funny. Like this sitting on a bench and faking a yawn and, oops, a black eye. And, yes, I know gratuitous violence is also out today -- we're so righteous -- but this is purposeful violence, indicating my desire to strike back, to smite righteously a hostile adult figure. Which is still allowed. "Oh, did my fist accidentally smite your eye?"