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Since the ex-Mrs.Dr.Malamud has chosen to revert to her maiden name, in a bid to make her seem more human, from this page forward, I will refer to her as Hanna-Marie Malamud
Monday... More and more, I keep turning to the oddest of comfort foods. Maybe not that odd, but still, canned tomato soup, Chef Boyardee® spaghetti, split pea soup, soup, made out of individually wrapped cubes of bullion, Ritz©crackers and cheese crisps?
As a pre-schooler, I'll always remember the wonderful walks my mother and I took down to the 1950s cafe that served cheese crisps and tea. These little trips meant so much to the little boy and fifty years later still warm my heart. Parents who are willing to spend time with their children are so important.
As a growing child, the canned tomato soup & the Chef Boyardee spaghetti & meatballs were a staple of mine. They were also some of the very few consumables that my mother didn't burn. Not so her meat and salmon loafs. I'll always remember my father saying, on a regular basis, that "carbon was good for the system." This many years later, I think I've discovered why I've become addicted to burnt foods.
It's a lot easier, any challenge, any recession, if you have someone to hug.
If I was a tiny tot staring at these same clouds, some adult would ask me what I saw. As a senior citizen doing the same thing no one cares.
How do the 'cloud-namers' go about their work when clouds simply change shape or darken and they are given another name?
Reading the stories of another person whose mother was a drunk, I finally figured out why our family's dinners were always burnt. I guess my mother passed out a lot...
Sunday... My new supervisor is certifiable. I earned several de-merits for not filling out my time-sheet exactly perfectly. What do I mean? Well, for instance, I signed my name (perfectly legibly) on a line where it should have been printed. Never mind that there are no written instructions to "print" your name.
On these same sheets for the past three months, I've been putting "0001-0700" indicating my hours of 'midnight' to 7AM. Now, I'm told to write "0000", unless, and this is a quote, "... you want the office to pay you one less minute each day."
For the longest time I could not understand why this mental-case, looser, EmEff, would tear up my reports, take a felt marker and black-out my memos to other employees (as if they were the result of a government FOIA redaction) and squawked like a mother hen whose chicks had just been eaten by a javelina, about virtually anything and everything I did.
One time I had written down the incorrect serial number on a piece of equipment that couldn't have cost more than five dollars. The next afternoon he charged at me wearing a face-twisting rage as he sternly pronounced to me that every morning he inventoried those ten pieces of equipment, so that he immediately realized I had recorded the wrong serial number in the log!
And, as I listened to his so carefully spaced and exactly emphasized verbiage, I couldn't help but picture the Downs Syndrome adults who ride three-wheeled bicycles to their workplace at Safeway to bag groceries.
The other day while visiting Aili and the giant infant grandson Kimmo, I was forced to watch a cop show she had DVR'd.
In this program, a couple of officers, who were teamed-up on duty, off duty get into a fist fight at their backyard barbecue. After a few blows were traded, my daughter announced, "And now, they're going to kiss!" And sure enough, thinking the wife inside the house wasn't watching, they tangled katsup, mustard, mayonnaise, and meat-coated tongues. Later on, I'm certain they again traded blows of a different sort involving a different sort of meat.
Far, far before I was anywhere near the age of consent in any Western country, I've attracted male homosexuals as long as I can remember (can you say, "pedophiles"?), I'm fairly certain this sad sack of a supervisor is a butt-pirate, possibly without even knowing it himself.
That would explain the virulence, the constant plotting, and steaming anger I've seen during the past few weeks over identical incidents that only bring a quiet reminder to my female co-workers.
Every now and then, and only after asking a direct question via e-mail will Hanna-Marie reply. A recent one included her phrase, "I had a friend over". Which of course, to this heart-broken fool, means, "A male friend with a turgid part so rigid it can pound nails into a walnut 4X4 piece of lumber."
Not that I think about it constantly, and even though I know going back to the "way we were" is one hundred percent entirely impossible, I guess I'll always love Hanna-Marie.
I'm almost lonely enough to finally pick up my phone when the Caller-ID again displays: "MORGAN FAIRCHILD."
Friday... I haven't written in a while. Part of that was due to a pair of 70 & 72 hour work weeks. Most of it was due to my ongoing consumption of alcohol that begins about 30 seconds after I enter my 700 square foot hovel and set down my Johnny-Depp-replica shoulder bag.
Currently my skin is being terrorized by a body rash (probably common among drunks) that causes such itching that I often draw blood attempting to scratch my way to relief. My belly is criss-crossed with finger shaped bruises caused by my brutal attempts to quell the itch.
Dr. Abimelech said it's a virus and will "run its course" and prescribed me a salve to stop the itching, but since I have no one to apply it to my back, which feels as if I am Obama's voodoo doll of Rush Limbaugh, I figured I'd just tough it out.
Nowadays, even simple trips to my doctor remind me of how alone I am.
I have a theory the rash is an allergic reaction to either a "Product of Mexico" hot sauce, that I've finally tossed out, or to a different tequila I purchased during the Christmas season. And to throw out tequila would only bring down the wrath of the Agave gods on me.
In any case, my waking hours are consumed by a fierce and never-ending desire to scub my entire body with a wooden-handled wire brush as if my skin were the greasy-black-coated grill of some community-use barbecue at a local park.
I think a major reason I haven't been writing--other than being in a state of drunkenness, or in a state of slumber, recovering from the aforementioned drunkenness--is that writing here on my Malamud pages forces me to focus on my life and that focus only depresses me more.
On work weeks where I have a weekend (in the hopes of a solid 8 to 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep) I will exceed my normal allotment of alcohol by two or three ounces, only to be awakened by a muscle cramp, a "charlie-horse" halfway up the inside of my right thigh.
This is a pain so delicious (having had 10 sessions of being Rolfed, I know pain) I wish I could simply step back in my mind and observe it, as was required during my Rolfing visits, but I cannot. The pain is immense, and within seconds brings tears to my eyes and thoughts of Nazi World War II tortures.
No amount of massaging, or attempting to walk while dragging my wounded leg behind me, or handfuls of aspirin seem to quell its desire to cripple me. When the pain finally abates, I am left in the weakened and shivering state of a Chihuahua after his first visit to the dog doctor.
I consider it a message from God to limit my drinking. Or maybe the Ex, Hanna-Marie has a voodoo-doll of me?
Saturday... The day before the SuperBowl and "my" team is in it and tomorrow I'm being paid to watch it because I'll be at work and I'm about as excited as a pussy cat with a new bone.
They're "my" team because they are based in the state of my birth, the state of my continued residence, while I'll bet many of them don't even have a permanent home here.
|| But, it's all bullshit because for the MLB, NBA & NFL these sports contests amount to a bunch of millionaires playing for a bunch of billionaire owners. Except for Steve Nash, the majority of these players can do only one thing exceptionally well, so they are wealthy beyond dreams and I should root for them and get my heart all a pitter-patter?
Regardless, as you might be able to discern, today I feel like an out of shape and overweight dehydrated marathon runner the day after the race. And once again, I vow not to ever drink alcohol again. Which is not a specious claim since I quit drinking altogether for about ten consecutive years last century.
After only three hours of sleep, fueled by 3 beers, 3 pizza slices and 3 scoops of ice cream, this morning I was rocketed out of bed by the klaxon sounds from Star Trek as my cellphone erupted with the heart-rending alert--I was expected at work in three minutes. And me without my transporter.
How could this be? I took way too long to locate the saved phone number to work and dialed it ready to apologize to my coworker for being late. Before she could answer, I hung up. Because I had realized the alarm had been set last week and my hours had been since changed.
After a brief interval posting my previous column, and discovering I had barely enough money left to pay my rent--and this after 62 hours of overtime--I went back to bed.
And I was again reminded of why I spend so much time in bed, asleep.
I had a wondrous dream involving Hanna-Marie and when I awoke, before reality struck me in the face like Roseanne Barr's dimple covered ass, I could not have been more happy than if I had died and gone to heaven.
And, being stuck, once again I'm giving that option serious consideration. The only problem is, that like Las Vegas, "What happens in Heaven, stays in Heaven" ... and would I even go to Heaven?
Wednesday... While waiting to drive out to the desert to visit my grandson Kimmo and my only daughter, I'm working on my other massive web presence. On this rare day off, having started at 4am this morning, and trying to avoid grabbing a beer (remember people I work nights and days, and days and nights) I find myself giving up and finally rummaging in the refrigerator at 8am for a Widmer Brothers Broken Halo brewski. How many times am I going to rip up my hands trying to twist off bottle caps that don't twist off?
I later told my Aili, "Jobs should be this way. I ended up working 7 or 8 hours on my website and was upset that I didn't have more time to labor on, all the while honestly having no idea if anyone ever visits it."
But yet, if being a (non-porno) webmaster was my job, if I were being paid to do it, as I occasionally glanced down at my keyboard, I would be stealing a look at my Citizen® wristwatch, watching the hands so slowly creep towards 5 O'clock, since like most Americans, I would hate my job. It shouldn't be that way.
The guy or gal designing web sites, working for someone else, hates his job, while he may be perfectly happy and energized and fulfilled by doing what I do for a living. (Which I seriously doubt, unless he or she likes being crapped on sixteen hours a day.) While instead, every day at work, I barely constrain myself from traveling up to a sixth or seventh floor home and using some Peter-Sellers-like-routine to 'accidentally' tumble off a balcony.
I was reading in a magazine article that postulated that since the advertising industry has Americans so convinced into believing that if only we had this and that, or that and this, we would finally attain happiness via consumerism. You didn't think they spent $100,000 per second on Super Bowl commercials simply to entertain us, did you?
What eventually transpires is that now we have all these gloriously advertised 'this' and 'thats' stacked about in our abodes, yet we remain discontented. But now we have to make the payments the early attainment of 'this-and-that' have left dribbled across our paychecks like roach turds left on a well-traveled often darkened ledge in the kitchen. So we are forced to search for and accept employment based not on what activities energize us, makes us happy and feel fulfilled, but on what job pays the most money.
It shouldn't be that way.
Thursday... Is it normal to go to bed at 6pm and awake the next day at 5am? I don't think so. But I did have some wonderful dreams, however, that I remember them means I also awoke several times and really didn't get as much sleep as I thought.
Let's see, one dream had a huge military plane (C-140?) doing acrobatics, and crashing straight into the ground and exploding. That wasn't 'wonderful' but I've had that foreboding dream many times before. And just like the many times before, I wasn't able to whip my camera out fast enough to catch the actual crash, I only captured the nosecone of the plane flying through the air and the smoke and fire afterward.
In another dream, my bosses drew me a map and outlined in pink of everywhere I was to drive. There was a mad, bizarre murderer at work (wish I could remember more of that one).
In yet another dream segment, there were a bunch of teen girls marching down the street in pink skirts, never did figure out what that was about.
What sent me to bed in the first place, was that I was worn-out from my two-hour round-trip drive out to visit Aili and Kimmo my grandson. That, and I wanted to avoid doing laundry for the fourth week in a row (don't ask), and I simply wasn't feeling well.
I'm fairly certain that I have something seriously amiss with my metabolism, and when I eat the 'wrong' foods, I soon am tired and feel as if a massive someone is pushing me down with a man-sized pillow restricting my breathing.
I probably should set an appointment for the 'non-urgent, follow-up' the doctor's office called me for last week. That call was very odd, for Dr. Abimelech has been my Sphinx-like physician for over two decades, and I can't recall getting a call like that ... "Oh, it's nothing urgent ..."
Who cares?! I'm still trying to decide whether to stick it out or depart prematurely. I can't help but think that God has a plan for each of our lives, and when we, using the free will agency He gave us, cut it short, that's He's not too happy about it.
It's 5:00am and my coffee's a tad bitter this morning because I rushed and used city water which has a chlorine content higher than many public pools. And there are still morons who are concerned about fluoride in the water. Hell there's enough chlorine in our H2O to turn your tongue white, and the only reason it doesn't show is that coffee is brown.
Even though I just gulped a Benadryl® anti-histamine oblong pink tablet, my itching is starting up again, the part of my middle back I cannot reach, my neck, the inside of my upper arms, behind the knee, my scalp, the inside of my forearms, my wrists, my face, my shoulders--geeze.
Thank God the favorite part of my body has been left untouched. Well, untouched by the rampage of rash and, sadly, by any female body parts since 2003.
I'm fairly certain I have what was termed 'leprosy' in the Old Testament Bible. This is worse than the disease we term leprosy today, because with what I have, the parts of the body that itch never fall off, they just keep screaming out "scratch me" until the day one dies.
The grandchild Kimmo is becoming more and more of a person. It is so very odd how his happy-to-be-alive attitude makes everyone around him happy to be alive too. Including me. Right now, unless he's crying or throwing a carefully staged and choreographed tantrum, he wears a perpetual semi-smile.
So odd that I remembered this on the hour drive home, and that is when I was first married to Hanna-Marie and how I hurried home from work in the hopes of exercising my favorite parts with her, and how gradually, by her unreasonable actions, my urges became less and less.
No, it never was a perfect match, none are.
Thursday... I still haven't returned to Doctor
Abimelech to learn what else his lab tests found out wrong with me. I've got an itching rash that covers most of my body. I've got a fungal growth ravaging the inside of my thighs. I've got a cold sore (aka: herpes outbreak) on my upper lip, and I feel like I'm coming down with the cold my lesbian co-worker has or, worse yet, the flu Mainio had.
Mainio told me (in order to absolve himself from guilt for his not getting vaccinated) that the influenza vaccine for this year wasn't for the correct strains (the laboratories only formulate for four each year) and wasn't working because rather than a new bug, instead last year's strain had returned. I told him that was A-okay, because I had gotten last year's injection also.
Mainio, at 22 years of age, and I remain quite close and he continues to surprise me with his astute observations on life. As I was giving him a ride home from work Wednesday afternoon, he advised me that I drive too fast through the corners but yet not fast enough when we are going straight.
(Mainio does a damned good job of putting on the airs of an outgoing and somewhat benevolent tough-guy, and being five ten and 225 solidly packed pounds helps, but inside, he doesn't comprehend the pain he sees everyday in the world any more than his father does.)
Back in the car ride home from work, he said that the more that he lived life and learned what a pile of poop earning a living was, the more grateful he was to have Mikaela (his live-in girlfriend) to come home and hug and share his life with.
And I told him that yes, that it makes a world of difference when you have someone to hold.
Monday... On the way to work, knowing it was shift-change for the city police, of the three available, I hugged the sidewalk lane because my car license tags were exactly one month expired and I would be sure to see at least two coppers, prowling like hungry sharks, searching for one more vehicle to ticket on their return to their liar. Sure enough, at a stop light, in the center lane, the man with the badge pulled up to my left. Ended up I saw only two of the blue and white cruisers on my thirteen kilometer drive.
When I arrived at work my European-educated, nurse-to-be filled me with the happenings. Turned out we had a well-known and media-hungry billionaire drop in and he was being a prick, but he met his match in a duel of wills with my hourly-paid co-worker.
I told this so-young Millennial, that I would have been fearful, and she responded that they are just people too, to which I responded that to me, "Everyone of those people appear to me as my father--who beat us boys down..." most times with vindictive verbosity, sometimes with a rubber hose. "And my two older brothers are quite insane..." although I'm fairly certain I'm the only sibling who's been beyond the cyclone fence walls of our state mental hospital that bordered Van Buren and 24th Streets.
Saturday... Valentine's Day. No valentines or flowers for me.
As one ages and becomes single (remember, Hanna-Marie e-mailed her divorce wishes to me from 1,013 miles away on Valentine's Day, 2003) the friends drop away as gradually as does the hair from the head.
Of course it remains the now absent wife's duty to arrange the gatherings and socializing. But after she's paddled off to discover her own gold coasts, the husband, thrown overboard, is tangled in the old-fat-tired-single-guy rip tide and pulled down and out of the social scene.
As Hanna-Marie told me over six years ago, while laying in the the bed, in the brand-new residence we would never share,
"You've got to float your own boat, Hammurabi."
Wednesday... How do I tell where I'm at? No I'm not incarcerated behind the bars of one of Sheriff Joe's jury-rigged jails. Besides, I'm no longer concerned with Arizona's insane and illegal enforcement of D.U.I. laws, where their "Zero Tolerance" spoken of in the commercials, translates to that if you consume more than zero alcoholic beverages you can be thrown in jail and have your life ruined even if your BAC is nowhere near the point-oh-eight limit. The fanatical furniture-polish-sniffing bitches from MADD have taken over law enforcement.
Absolutely no female is in my sights. However I continue getting 'hits' from my country & western, Arkansas-based matching service, even though I got tired of them sending me 'compatibles' who either had 'no photo available', or, three children under the age of six, or when they had a photo, it took two frames for them to fit in, so I let my membership lapse.
All I want to do lately is read and keep my many mainstream websites up and running, eat too much, sleep, and go to work. It's gotten so weird lately that some days (and nights) I'm actually anxious to get to my workplace--while at the same time--hating my job.
And my profession is such an odd one, that it is highly unlikely that I'd meet a compatible female, although at one point it did seem I had (in my Atkins-diet days) attracted the attentions of a sweet young thing, (who although my age, looked a decade younger) but was already hitched to a cousin of that elevator-shoe wearing Rambo-dude actor.
Been thinking more & more of the early check-out option, but all I can come up with is that it could be a huge mistake, monumental even, especially if there is no life after this one. It literally could be the 'mistake of a lifetime', eh?
Except for those vibrating in the throes of religious ecstasy, while actually knowing no more of what awaits us than an excrement-nibbling insect who cannot see the waffle-iron-sized fly swatter on its downward stroke, I imagine that many of us believe our after-life to be consistent with our most pleasant sleeping dreams.
Lately, I've been wandering through the most wonderful dreams and they are a prime cause of my literally sleeping my life away in ten to twelve hour sessions. I've been tracking my dreams for decades, with the hardest part being to force myself to etch them in ink (eschewing my digital audio recorder) before they dissolve and melt away into the ether, like warm butter disappearing into freshly toasted rye bread.
Years ago, Hanna-Marie, bless her heart, even bought me a dream journal, instead however, I record them in MS Word on my laptop.
Regular readers know that Dr. Malamud one-hundred-percent believes that God not bound by the strictures of the time dimension He built for us that limits our own time on Earth, like a roadway that simply disappears at the next blind corner, or drops into the unknowable void at any point in an uphill climb, and that He is guiding and guarding my way. So that even though I make a choice so poor that even I have challenges justifying them, He insures the result is never more than I can bear.
Several times each year I recount all the close-calls I've somehow lived through and wonder if my life is so meaningless why is Providence sustaining it?
Saturday... We get busy 'doing things' and then we quickly forget how crappy our lives are so we can live another day? In my line of crappy work, I often hear co-workers tell me they like it busy because it makes the time go by faster. Don't they realize that the 'time' they are talking about going by faster are irreplaceable hours of the only life they get?
In the purposeful gloom of a bedroom darkened against the daylight rays of the Arizona sun, but still unable to sleep, and without enough time to relax under a sleep-inducing shower, I pondered what it was all about.
What's to miss in the future when you can clearly see that the bad times must surely outweigh the good times, all the time?
What is a good time anyway? Do I deserve a good time? Is life about only good times?
I watched the Finish Strong video and realized it's not what's on the outside, it's what's in the inside. And what if the inside is empty? What if, regardless of all the books, the seminars, the expensive counselling, the inside remains hollow? Vacant?
What do I have to share with my children? With Santeri (my oldest) with Aili, with Mainio? Aren't I no more than a place for them to air their complaints? to absorb their blame?
"Keep fighting, keep fighting, keep fighting" what for? America is the most civilized and democratic country ever known and the majority of the voters are bird-brains, while so very many of its citizens are incredibly self-centered bastards, with those remaining, being drunks, addicts, or in the throes of gluttony-induced adult-onset diabetes.
When we learn of another suicide, our first thoughts are always, "It's never that bad."
Physical ailings, my knees, cataracts, obesity, everything can be fixed but my broken heart. Sounds stupid doesn't it? Childish even? Sounds like a 1950s top ten love ballad.
I wonder if these other people, of my equivalent or higher intelligence, who did end it all, felt like me, or was there something unique to their pain?
It's easy for me to predict that world-wide situations can only get worse, and since I'm unwilling or unable to make a move to improve my own financial fix, and I see my nation being turned into a socialist shit-hole, where hard work and conscientiousness are spat upon, and where it seems any code of ethics lays as undiscovered as The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine, while anyone with any brains at all is 100% concerned with only himself.
Why the hell do people stay alive--cling to life so tenaciously? What are they expecting to happen? How do so many people remain living without ever knowing happiness?
When I see the little people, like my grandson Kimmo so full of life, energetic and just happy to be alive, I wonder what happened to us. What happened to us as we grew up? Is our maturing actually a saddening process where we physically become more and more feeble as our brains incorporate the knowledge that we can never again be happy?
Wednesday... I'm at my 7th Street Starbucks' after spending a day with my grandson Kimmo and Aili.
A couple sits across the way from me, he, his purposely-bald head gleaming in the incandescent light, and her, of course, on her gawdamned cellphone chatting with someone distant.
Do people have no manners or conception of what is proper or considerate?
I feel almost as badly as I did as I wrote my last entry less than one week ago. Only now, I'm learning of how the country is going to hell in a handbasket. And why the hell is the federal government so fearful of law-abiding citizens who own legal firearms? This from a government so concerned with our welfare that it collects far more in taxes from the sale of a pack of cigarettes than the manufacturer collects in gross profit, while at the same time declaring tobacco smoke kills 400,000 per year?
I'm wondering whether I'll be able to make rent in a few weeks, while one of my clients, on what was clearly a whim, purchased a brand new 2009 Escalade SUV Hybrid. Such are the disparities in the incomes I see. The difference between someone with a plan, timetable and goals, vs. someone floating along waiting for a miracle, but who is smart enough to avoid the lottery.
I'm outside, sneezing my eyesight white, throwing snot yards in every direction and blowing into the so environmentally sensitive recycled Starbucks napkins that are about as absorbent as sandpaper and as sturdy as 1-ply toilet paper.
I'm thinking of contacting one of the 'rescue' lines to see if they've got any ideas on what I could possibly be missing by sticking around: Hanna-Marie's re-marriage? (I just checked Google Earth on her Texas address and see a car in the driveway that is not hers and my heart sinks. And this, after five years!) The passing of a close friend? The unexpected death of one of my progeny? The death of my country?
"Finish strong". Finish strong for what? For who? There's always someone who does it better, quicker, smarter. Why struggle to see how long you can live; for what? Do you die better? Do you get a gold star on your casket or what?
It's like the old story of the guy being buried in his Ferrari and one of the bystanders whispers, "Man, that's living."
Actually I don't feel as negative as I've put down here, it's just that after 57 years, you'd imagine I'd have some idea as to the purpose of life, eh?
Maybe I'll finally go in for that follow-up Dr.Abimelech phoned me about in Late February. Although I think it's just a way to charge the insurance company one more time--maybe he'll tell me I've got liver or pancreatic cancer.
Who says I don't have a positive attitude?
Sunday... I'm at Barnes & Nobel bookstore at Desert Ridge Mall, waiting for Mainio to get off work. I am the only person not currently on a cellphone.
I watched as a squat-ugly, middle-aged woman was talking on her headset-phone with so serious a voice, you know, the voice you use when you want other people to overhear? What a dip. Is there no modesty, no consideration for others. Does she think I'd actually express a camel's turd worth of concern over her 'important' call?
Geeze my Venti-sized horrible Starbucks coffee cost almost two dollars. But when you think about it, $2.00 for a seat, in refrigerated air, and a table, that's still pretty good deal.
After spending yesterday with Mainio, Kimmo (my behemoth grandson), and my daughter at Target, I am once again aware of what care women take in their clothing choices. There are so many young ladies dressed 'just so' here at Barnes & Nobel, and I know I'm probably the only male who even appreciates it.
I'm fighting the urge to wander the aisles, but I sort of did that Saturday, albeit, while I was chasing the full-steam-ahead Kimmo, at the Surprise, Arizona, Barnes & Nobel.
One of me could easily replace all three of the worthless barristas here behind the counter--but, of course the two colors of my hair are not blue and cobalt black, but gray and brown.
More and more I'm thinking the work-world is indeed like the NBC series The Office. I saw one episode and labeled it, in my experience, 'unrealistic'. Both Mainio and Aili, my twenty-something children, tell me the show is pretty much the truth in the 21st Century.
I slept from about 8pm yesterday to 8pm today, worked a little on my web pages, mostly correcting obvious errors in my HTML coding, then took another ninety-minute nap from my labors.
I am indeed sleeping my life away. But if you had the wild dreams I do, if you could be in the movie like I am, and your life was garbage like mine, you might do this too.
Like the bits of one dream I remember where, from a higher vantage point, I marveled at a cow-sized javelina with long maroon hair onto whose back a tiny bobcat was clawing away...
More and more life is coming to a head. I can no longer drift along with even the hope that something good will happen.
As soon as I get anxious about something, I push it out of my mind--however, anxious moments are those that could bump my Titanic-like life off its certain collision with the iceburg I've been so carefully constructing since Hanna-Marie departed.
Easter Monday... I'm at the Barnes & Nobel bookstore at Kierland Commons, waiting for my time to report to my awful job to come rolling around. This is where the ultra-rich are known to hang out. I'm certain many of my clients are here. Somewhere. Hiding from me. Scared to face me, adult to adult.
On a Monday afternoon, the rest of my companions are most likely vacationers. A good porportion of my clients are year-round vacationers.
I feel a pinch of being out of place, in uniform and all, and can't seem to shed my inner-image of unworthiness. While perusing books on a table, I am approached by a shorter-than-myself, fat, Barnes & Noble male employee asking if I need help. I'm probably the only person seemingly below his own caste that he felt safe in approaching.
I slip him an extra-large, gooey-warm Snickers bar, that I keep with me for just circumstances as this, and as he grabs it, turns, and waddles off, a huge, saliva-coated grin crosses his porcine countenance.
I'm so glad that the 'affluent look' continues to encompass being slim. I am so tired of seeing so many fat asses like me everywhere I go.
I've always maintained that if you are a pretty lady, with a pretty face, there is no excuse for being obese; for if you simply lost weight, you would be pretty again.
Myself, there is no way I'd qualify under any condition for the male form of pretty, i.e., 'handsome'. Unless you're attracted to the Charles Bronson or Scott Glenn kind of look. So you see? I've got a reason to be a lard ass.
Although, with my drive beginning to return, I may lose weight, drop forty or so pounds and gain forty or so more facial folds.
What keeps me alive and laughing though, is my own unquenchable optimism, because I immediately see the new folds in my face will bury a few of the pockmarks left over from my pre-acutane high school days last century.
I say my optimism is unquenchable because even my darkest depressions, which can be darker than a black pearl dropped into a drip pan full of scalding hot motor oil, cannot hinder my ad hoc positive thoughts.
Will these affluent I see around me here today always be that way? Of course not. I myself am firsthand evidence of that. But, I feel that they've attained such heights, tasted of such delights, that losing them, they will do whatever it takes to scramble back up. Whatever it takes.
Not me. Not yet. Not ever am I going to lie in order to make a living. That leaves out sales and politics.
E-mailed with Hanna-Marie (it still hurts to talk to her, and even if I wished, I do not have her cell number). She incidentally revealed that on unemployment, she's getting more than I am working a 48 hour week.
Certainly she's on her climb back up.
Tuesday... Another three hours and I'll have been at work 24 hours straight. For a moment I thought the office might figure out I'd been here just a tad longer that the 15 hour state-mandated limit, but, without mentioning my marathon shift, they instead brought me out a brand new uniform shirt. Of course, in their search for excellent, the blouse displayed more wrinkles than a white rhino's hide.
The English-as-a-second-language landscapers in their long sleeve blue pin-stripped shirts are mowing, edging, and blowing the grounds bordering my office. Usually I'm deep asleep and at home in my hovel by this hour.
Arriving for his day-shift, a co-worker said something that required me to mention my divorce from the long-gone Hanna-Marie ... well, at least I can talk about it fairly unemotionally these days. When I told him we had been married 27 years my comment hit his face like a right jab. He quickly ended our conversation.
After he left, and me not thinking of anything in particular, I thought of how much I missed being married. Of course, like many dumped lovers, I remember and miss only the good things--and I had it pretty good. Not surprisingly, my 'pretty good' meant Hanna-Marie was constantly contributing way more than her fair share. But, then again, it seemed she preferred it that way.
Until it was too late, I didn't realize we were a partnership. That we were supposed to be a team of equals.
Every now and then I think of how she humbled herself, restrained herself to become my wife and the mother of our children. And I've finally realized that her humbling and restraint were a visible expression of her love.
Monday... Had to give Mainio a lift to work which left me we exactly an hour to burn, so I'm at my Starbucks at Kierland Commons. (With no physical friends, no spouse, no dogs, not even a goldfish, I treasure every moment I spend with my children, so "had" may be a little too harsh of a word.)
The last time I was here at the Kierland Starbucks I had tried to meet my buddy Kyle and could not find a single area with two empty seats, resulting in our relocation to the nearby Barnes & Noble bookstore. But today, at the beginning of May and its three digit temperatures, many of the truly wealthy have already departed for cooler climes, leaving many empty places.
With my thyroid gland hormones (thyroxine and triiodothyronine) approaching optimal levels I find it odd to feel so wide awake. Used to be, no matter how much sack time I got, once in the vertical position again, I was still dragging.
Yesterday I finished a stint at work that began at 11pm Wednesday and ended at 11pm Sunday with 67 hours of labor in between. That may be another reason I feel so wide awake this afternoon, because my first sleep period of more than five hours in the past six days was last night. It's not easy being Dr.Malamud.
After eight pink packets of sweeteners and probably three ounces of Half & Half creamer, I'm savoring the revived Pikes Place Roast and it's actually enjoyable. And the way I drink it, it's a meal in itself.
Since I left the 'business world' in November of 1991 (although I did receive a $75,000 'non-compete' payment in 1996...approximately 100,000 in today's dollars) I continue to find it so odd that people use Starbucks for their office. How low class is that?
Behind me, a woman apparently from the Colgate-Palmolive Company, is explaining how to use their SAP-based computer system to a newbie. And in today's wanton corporate climate, she may be training her own replacement.
Wow, this place is so high-class it's got laptops to use. Could you imagine how much a Starbucks brand computer would be? Forty-five hundred dollars? But it would be saving the environment, because it would be manufactured only with the material from recycled Toyota Prius's.
More and more I've been thinking about a mate. Not constantly, but then and again. Heck, losing weight without changing a thing, helps me to imagine losing even more lard, because what female with any self respect (and especially knowing my net worth) would be seen with me in my current slovenly display of the result of consuming far too many Swanson's Hungry Man frozen dinners followed by Ben & Jerry's Ice Creams, whose cold contentment causes my neglected root-canal-needing teeth to scream out in pleasure?
At my new bank I was serviced by a lovely red-headed teller with the also lovely name of Sierra. She even appears to be taller than me, although after surreptitiously leaning over the counter and spying her three-inch heels, I can't be certain. Only problem is, she's younger than my 29-year old daughter. But still I can't help picturing her in shiny patent leather head to toe, whip in hand, telling me what a very bad boy I've been.
That I must lose weight. "Whack!"
Saturday... As I look at children playing and laughing and smiling and exploring their world with their boundless energy and limitless imaginations, I often ask myself, "What the hell happens to us?"
What causes us to become the too often self deprecating, unsure, angry, aloof, distant, and snobbish adults who are indeed fortunate to gather three true friends through our life's eighty or so years?
Why are very often the friendliest people those 8 years and younger, or those ten times as old, with very few nice people in between? Admit it, the only nice people not 8 or 80 are being paid to be nice.
Does the question answer itself? The eight year old usually hasn't usually experienced enough trauma in his life to become 'unfriendly' and the eighty-year old has managed to live long enough and seen enough to realize that very much of what we imagine to be so damned important as 'adults' simply does not matter?
My profession allows me odd hours off during the day when I can hang-out with my progeny, and hear their concerns, worries, and hopes and complaints. And I simply want to tell them it will all work out ... even though they can see that it didn't apparently "work out" for dear old dad.
And then later, alone again, like a child, I delight in things that are all but invisible to the adults around me. (Adults whose vision is often blindered by greed, selfishness, self-importance and anger.) I talk to my bird friends, Heckel & Jeckel. Yes of course it's silly for a 57 year old adult to imagine he has bird friends that he can talk to. Better I have a one of those dog-rat creatures all the wealthy seem to own, eh?
I delight in the summer smells that bring back memories of Saturday night choir practice. And later up on the flat roof of 1960s era 1st Christian Church, courting Jeanie or Becky. Of course this was prior to Frank Lloyd Wright taking over heavenly design duties and with his peaks and valleys, physically forbidding teenagers from attaining the climax.
I marvel at the fact that God has put me in the unique position where my clients are the very people I would have become had Hanna-Marie and I maintained our road to wealthdom.
They look at me, and I look at them, and we both think the same thing: "Loser".
Wednesday... Good news, bad news has struck. Has struck many times during my almost six decades on Earth. One of the current Good News-Bad News scenarios in my life consists of the good news being that cataract surgery is covered under my $600 a month corporate health insurance provider's plan. The bad news is that apparently I'll have to be as blind as cartoon character, Mr. Magoo, before they will operate.
And yet another GNBN citation could be that the IRS owes me into the four digits for a refund on my yet un-filed 2006 personal tax return. That's the good news. The bad news is, they being the Internal Revenue Service, all powerful, accountable to no-one, nameless, face-less and operating unlike any other financial institution outside of communist China, don't deign to make refunds on tax returns over two years old. Although, they will let corporate entities spread a tax credit out over ten years.
Since I am forced (God tells me it's a blessing) to be daily tossed in with such a diverse variety of individuals, (like a convenience store-sized salad spinner), from my troubled neighbor, who at 7am and then again at 7pm yesterday, came out to where I was parking my Peugeot and tried to hand me a one dollar bill in exchange for four quarters because he said, "My car is missing and I've got to get to the bottom of this", to some client party animal (from Omaha no less) who has none other than billionaire A.H. Mark Cuban invited to his Phoenix-police-refereed parties, it is indeed a 'blessing' to see all types.
Dammit! God was right again. Oops, sorry.
I imagine people younger in age than me, and there are becoming many more of them each year, know for a fact that older people like Dr. Malamud, have been forcibly transformed by time into some sort of creaking, muted, and feeble image of what they were in their 20s. That's not the case with me as the age of my soul, my spark, my spirit, ME, seems to be hovering somewhere below the chronological age I was in 1971.
I constantly must remind myself that the reason I generate so much attention, comment, and mostly quizzical looks or total avoidance from egoists and low-IQ-types, is because they are witnessing a twenty-year old who is encased in an almost 60-year old flesh-cocoon. It would help if I'd take better care of myself when the issue is further clouded because I am too-often forced to explain that, "I'm (physically) younger than I look."
My younger-appearing contemporaries are indeed often-times slimmer than me, and they are also usually busy keeping themselves and Just for Men and Grecian Formula hair-dye companies in the black. I'd love to tell some guy twenty-years older than me, that his wrinkled countenance covered by his cobalt-colored mane looks about as natural as a killer whale babysitting an orphaned penguin.
What is the final Good News, Bad News statement?
It is that I ran across a woman near my age who has managed to keep her flesh-cocoon in very nice shape, especially when viewed as she walks away. She is also pleasant, Christian, non-bombastic, and judging from my almost 50 years in the girl-boy business (as I was thrust into this "she loves me, she loves me not" quagmire in the third grade--thanks a lot Sandra Cockerell), this quite proper lady appears to have a crush on me.
And what is the bad news?
The bad news is that she is married.
Monday... I suppose I should, as I finally (after over six years of being physically separated from the lovely Hanna-Marie) begin to think about me. I also suppose I should feel guilty for holding down a job an eighteen year old could do.
Right there I misspoke, because I've been putting in slaughterhouse-hours, essentially working two shifts, because not even one Generation Y-er can not be found to do my job, whose basic evening requirement is to simply remain awake.
But really, a responsible adult nearing the age of Social Security should not be in an entry-level job making, in real dollars, eight less dollars an hour than he did as a teenager 40 years ago. Should he?
Maybe the 'should' is the problem (or not the problem, depending on how you look at it). Because at Winnie Ruth Judd's alma mater, I learned two things, and one was that for Dr. Malamud to maintain his mental equilibrium he could not let the omniscient 'shoulds' weigh him down or guilt him out.
Now 30 years later, 'should', while still having the power to shoot sharp pangs of disapproval through my heart, 'should' can no longer make me feel guilty, or depressed, or hector me every waking hour like my long dead Germanic father would.
Recently I read one of those 'You can do it' books that reminded me that the entire reason I chose a no-future job was to have choices for my 'I-was-born-for-this avocations' of writing and acting.
And now that I've got my emotions leavened by time, wisdom and levothyroxine, maybe I 'should' get the show on the road?
Saturday... Aili ("Eye Lee") has taken it upon herself, hopefully in a one hundred percent altruistic effort, to clean up my 700 square foot compartment. However, being Hanna-Marie (her mother) is in town visiting and staying at Aili's residence, maybe her clean-a-thon is simply a method to stay away from her mom. Her mom who has many reasons to be angry with her. What ever the motivation I am delighted with the results.
Today is Mainio's 20-something birthday, and I will always remember him, induced three weeks premature, sliding out of the prone Hanna-Marie almost as easily as a torpedo leaves its tube in a submarine.
He was delivered before his body could pack on the usual baby fat so he a bit resembled the 1980s popular & muscle-bound Stretch Armstrong doll.
He also resembled a father with Hispanic roots (I am 50% German and 50% Finnish) so when I bitch-slapped the still prone mother, she grabbed the close-by episiotomy scalpel and as I began my second downward backhand, she deftly jammed the super sharp stainless still shiv deep into my armpit. We then kissed and made up.
Mainio was definitely a product of my loins, including the exhibition of the extreme shyness I had myself displayed and which my parents used to manipulate me through sometimes carried out threats of violence along with liberally applied dumptruck loads of guilt.
However, they were only doing what they thought was right. I find it amazing that during the time I was very young the accepted child-rearing theory was that you could actually handle and hug and hold your child too much, and that it was best just to leave them alone.
Speaking of Mainio, he knew his mother was in town, but out of respect for my feelings, refused to let it slip even though I quickly realized from conversations with Aili that their grandmother was back home.
Seeing Hanna-Marie induces melancholy on three levels: What was. What will never be, and what is.