Monday, October 30, 2017
Every once in a while I like to publicly profess my love for dogs. You know how it goes, nothing softens your image and puts you in the good graces of others than your love for dogs and showing a soft spot for their cute antics.
Which I don't say cynically; it's just a side benefit deriving from My True Feelings about those great, human-like (without all the bad parts) creatures. Do I love every dog there is? I haven't met every dog and I know there are some that aren't great. There used to be a dog in my neighborhood named Sarge. He was so mean they sent him to Vietnam. He was tough to like, one of the reasons he went to war.
OK, as old as I'm getting, nearly 65(!), of course I'm thinking more and more about my future. Which is relatively limited in this life. I could do a whole thing just on that subject. I'm forever figuring up what percentage is left based on ideal factors. 100 is reasonable, but not likely. Some of my male forebears didn't do so well. Anyway, today I want to write about dogs AND the afterlife. In Heaven.
I enter the Glorious Gates, and my dogs from the years come walking in a group toward me, greeting me. I won't mention each one. Just one representative from my childhood and one from adulthood. From childhood is my first dog, Eggard. And from adulthood is Fritz. Eggard I had probably under three years, and Fritz died a week after I got him.
Here they come! Eggard I can barely remember what he looked like. His mom was a Collie and his dad was something else. Fritz had generally a German Shepherd look without being precisely a G.S. So here they come! Welcoming me to my heavenly home, eternal life. They're joyous as they watch the look of amazement on my face at all the beauty in that great place. I haven't seen anything this impressive since the home shows of the '60s, when they showed us the All Electric Homes of the Future!
I can barely take in the glory. I've been overwhelmed before, but this is the entire panoply of wonders. If you can picture the amazement and activity of the State Fair but it's made of glass and diamonds, you'll have a good idea of the beauty. But the true glory is to bend down and become reacquainted with Eggard. Eggard! What a great name for a great dog! "You were so little when Poohie had you! And look at you now!" Even though my memories are limited, they come flooding back in my mind's expansion.
Eggard knows it's me, even though of course I've grown. Was I too rough with him in life? I don't think so. I surely was gentle. I was very proud of his name, Eggard. My brother and I used to laugh. His dog's name was a plain old name, Rats. But mine had an elegant name, Eggard! What a pair of brothers we were. Then Rats ran away. And Eggard at some point died and I personally buried him by the fence. I can't drive by that old house without thinking of his grave somewhere down there.
Here comes another dog in glory, the already-mentioned Fritz. They say there's no tears in heaven, but I'm crying when I see Fritz. I was crying when we parted. I had gotten Fritz at a pound, a rescue place where they had unwanted dogs. And it turned out his health was bad. I had Fritz only a week, when he crawled under the back stairs and died. I brought him out and carried him across my arms to a grave, like a hero in an opera. I was crying like a baby.
In the years since Fritz, I've used his story lots of times to express my own philosophy that death ought to be like that. When you sense it's time for your death -- and with humans it'd mean you know in your core that this is it, say you had late stage cancer -- you simply crawl under something and die. It's admirable. Whether I could actually do it, that is the question.
Fritz jumps up on me (back in Heaven here), as if to say he also remembers that day. How do dogs say goodbye? With Fritz, it was like in the song, "I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date. No time to say hello, goodbye! I'm late." Such an admirable act at the end -- instinct is beautiful -- to crawl under the stairs and simply die! I've never gotten over the act of that. It impressed me beyond anything any other dog's ever done.
So we have a nice reunion in Glory. His worms are all gone, his heart is good, he's shaken off the dirt of the grave, he's radiant. And he was an unwanted dog at the time, too!
OK, beyond that, the other dogs showed up, though I won't mention each by name. Eggard said, "I was his first." My current dog said, "I was his last." Which got old, since they were repeating it over and over. I finally get fed up with it and say, "There's room and time for all at my glorious table!"
"Gather with me, my fantastic dogs, and let us sup!" So there we are, like in the Last Supper, me in the middle, surrounded by dogs. As all this is going on, my great relatives (humans) start filing in. They welcome me, and I'm friendly, but I have to ask them to come back later. "As you can see, my dear family, I'm still dealing with my dogs."
Friday, October 13, 2017
Anyone remember The Crumpled Bird? And how I so wonderfully vowed to Take the Plunge and do it, appear to those who were waiting and faithful. Well, it's still a thing. I had a little secret strategy in not mentioning it much, trying to sift the gold from the chaff. Not expecting, frankly, everyone to be chaff and no one gold.
The promise was, I would put up the Sign of the Crumpled Bird. Then overcome my general introversion and even disdain for being with people all-that-much. I would appear in public, to greet those who were faithful, watching the Sign for my appearing. And when I said I would "Take the Plunge," that's exactly what I intended to do, barring any change of mind or outright psychological refusal -- a complete shutdown -- that would prevent me.
Well, I had a plan. I would put the Sign of the Crumpled Bird up, then test everyone's resolve -- sifting, sifting, ever sifting -- I've been there more than a few times without revealing myself as the crowds looked at the Sign and wondered aloud about it. "Will he appear?" they asked, even asking me personally. Thinking, apparently, that I was a wise person who might know. I had a scarf up and covering the lower half of my face, looking very mysterious. Not a disguise, I should say, since no one knows what I look like. I've been careful to keep pictures of myself off the blog; I'm so mysterious, when I look in the mirror to comb my hair, I have to look twice to make sure it's me!
OK, so one day a few weeks ago, I put up the Sign, then got the hell out of there. I went around a couple blocks and came up as the crowds were looking at it. "Will he appear?" "He said he would." "I'd love to see the guy," one adoring hippie-chick said, a little young for me by about four decades. Still, my heart fluttered and I felt 18 for a couple seconds, before fainting and falling into a huge planter. They gathered around to see if I was OK. I waved them off. I pointed to the distance, and asked loudly, "Is that him!?" A guy was moving behind a car, and if I didn't know better, it could've been me. They took off that way and I ducked out the other way.
As days went on, the crowds thinned and interest seemed to wane; it definitely waned. We had a cold spell, and that kept them away. Then it rained, and no one wanted to come out. Then it actually got hot again, and more people were out, but by now the Sign of the Crumpled Bird was very weathered. Torn at the edges from the wind, holes in it from repeated flapping, the ink was fading from the rain and the sun, really looking like hell. Not the pristine poster I first printed on my printer, wasting, as it turned out, about $8 of precious toner.
I decided to leave it up. By now, though, it was simply out of defiance. You all haven't got the patience to wait for me, to gather around my sign and wait a few stinking weeks!? What's the world coming to? When I was a kid we used to wait forever; it was like a hobby, waiting, tarrying, abiding, watching the signs, watching the skies, really looking desperately for any sign that something somewhere might happen, which it never did. But did I give up? Not for a second!
Seriously, friends, it's no skin off my ass -- either cheek -- if you wait or don't wait. And I really blame modern conveniences like Google and whatnot. If you google "signs obscure writers heroes demigods," it seems like guys like me are a dime-a-dozen. We think we're Big Shit for having influential blogs and that anyone really cares. Well, a few do care. Like that hippie chick, whom I never saw again, although the whiff of patchouli I got from her hair that night sustains me. Yeah, we think we're Das Shitz, Megaturd, but the public is fickle.
Another week went by. They had hurricanes throughout the world, but none where I live. And the Sign remained up, although it had flapped in the breeze so much, it was hopelessly tattered, as you see in the photo. No one anywhere by then had confidence that I would show up. That old guy in the heavy coat, shifting from foot to foot in the cold, having to pee, that wasn't him, they thought. Just a guy waiting for him, when it was me. Awesome phenomenon, huh? The waitress across the road could be Christ and to us all she's good for is scooping pie.
I was bemused by the indignity I was suffering from lack of interest, then it rolled over into an actual angry fit. The town had some old wooden posts that held up a decaying shed behind one particular building. It was 4 in the morning one night and I went back there and kicked the posts so the shed collapsed, then I got the hell out of there. I came back the next day and the posts were cleaned up and everyone had moved on.
The Sign of the Crumpled Bird remained, very very crumpled, sad and sorry. And none of these bastard ingrates came out to see me! How you like that?
Saturday, October 7, 2017
This is a thought piece on what a good idea is and whether you should act on it. Probably the key thing to most decisions is: Is it a good idea? Do I think it's a good idea? Is my thinking generally in line with what is socially accepted as yielding good ideas? (Not that I care all that much about social acceptance, but it's the same standard they use in deciding whether you go to prison or not.)
When we get done here, let me assure you, we will have a wonderful result, something vague enough that I can leave the decision up to you, thereby keeping me from complicity in any crimes you choose to commit based on what you read here about something being a good idea or not. To read further is to hold me free and harmless of complicity in any misuse of this teaching that you may be guilty of, now or in the future, world without end, Amen. Please keep reading, though, because maybe there'll be a mention of sex.
OK, there is an enemy you have. You've had it. You're fed up. You've reached your limit. You're at the breaking point. It's either him or me. Someone must die. What's this?! A butcher knife! An idea is born. I will take the butcher knife, you think, and (step-by-step thinking ensues) I will push the thing into his gut! No one will ever know! So the idea is hatched, the step-by-step thinking is through...
Here you are now with the butcher knife. Strop, strop, strop, sharpening it. There your enemy is! You creep up ... You see your opportunity ... You lift the knife ... There's a look of terror on his face ... When instead of going through with the stabbing, you drop the knife to the floor.
This is a critical juncture. Because it's still not too late. It was a good idea originally. Why not snatch up the knife and carry out the deed? You're thinking to yourself, It was a good idea to kill him 5 minutes ago, it's a good idea now.
You retrieve the dreadful butcher knife. There's no need to strop it; it's still sharp enough. Your enemy comes into view again, somehow oblivious to the noise and commotion and indecisiveness just displayed. His previous look of terror must have been gas. You can thank your lucky stars you have this opportunity to carry through with it. What a horrible enemy he's been. Anyway, you're doing him a favor, in a sense, dispatching him to his heavenly reward a little sooner than he's expecting.
Again, you creep up. You lift that terrible blade of judgment. You're strong. You're decisive. You've made your peace with the world; the enemy has to die! When -- and this is a key point -- you think back to the good idea of just 5 minutes ago, the second idea, that you would not carry through with it. Thinking to yourself, echoing the earlier decision, If not killing him was a good idea 5 minutes ago, it's still a good idea now. Good ideas are sometimes like that, what can you do?
You go home and have wild sex, the knife now at the bottom of the North Skunk River.