Dorien Grey's

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Dorien's blogs are being reposted on Tuesdays and Fridays.  You can access additional blogs

at http://doriengreyandme.blogspot.com/. (Please note that the DorienGreyandMe.com site is no longer
functioning.)  His blogs can also be found as an ebook from Untreed Reads and at Amazon;
there is also an audio book edition available at Amazon/Audible.com:
Cover of "Short Circuits"


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Friday, January 19, 2018
AT&T--Not
AT&T and Me

My internet service is via something called DSL, which is an option provided by AT&T at a rate far lower than combined phone-internet service. Since I buy my cell-phone service in blocks of 500 minutes for $50 (which can last me sometimes four months or longer) and therefore have no monthly-fee contract with any telephone provider, I signed up.

My third-in-18-months DSL modem (a Motorola) died eight days ago and I’m still waiting for a replacement.

The day before yesterday (Tuesday), an AT&T phone repairman actually did show up at 10 a.m. (six days into the problem and my sixth day without internet service) only long enough to tell me that the phone lines to my new apartment were “shot” and needed to be replaced, that someone would be over to fix the problem “within 24 hours,” I called
once again at 2:00 yesterday (Wednesday). I went through my by-now-rote recitation of the problem, that it had been dragging on for (then) seven days, and that I relied on the internet for my business—which is true to a large extent—only to be told that no work order had yet been placed, but that because they would try to get someone out here by 4 p.m. today, if that was alright. I told them no, after seven days of waiting, 4 p.m. was NOT alright, and that I expected someone to be here no later than 8:30 this morning. After being put on hold several times while the person I was talking to conversed with higher powers, she reluctantly—and I am sure now, condescendingly—agreed that someone would be here “first thing Thursday morning.” “For sure?” “Yes. Definitely.”

It is now 1:31 p.m. Thursday afternoon and I have not seen an AT&T repairman. I have not received a telephone call from an AT&T repairman. What I have seen is red! Lots and lots of red. Even knowing that my anger/rage/frustration is an absolute, total exercise in futility, I still rage. AT&T will get here, if it ever deigns to do so, in its own good time and on its own schedule. After all, who in the hell do I think I am, anyway? A mere mortal having the unmitigated gall to complain about a Corporation’s service?

Oh, but they are clever! “They’ll call first,” I was told, which I now realize was their way of saying “just shut up and wait.” They may consider 1:31 p.m. to be “first thing in the morning” but I do not. And the brilliance of “they’ll call first” is to prevent me from getting on the phone yet again to interfere with their busy day. It effectively assures that I will not call since, if I did, while I am on hold for 15 minutes waiting to talk to someone, I am providing them with a solid base for what would undoubtedly be their later claim that “the repairman tried to reach you, but your line was busy.”

I realize I exist, in AT&T’s eyes, solely as one tiny red corpuscle of income in the vast blood flow of the corporate body, and that there is no possible way they could give a rat’s behind that they have kept me in a state alternating between (and frequently a combination of) frustration and rage for eight days. (“And we should care…why?”)

Now, let me make it perfectly clear lest AT&T attorneys begin knocking on my door, that all this is a simple recitation of my personal experiences. I am positive no one else in the history of the world has had a similar one. And I am not, in any way, shape, or form suggesting for one instant that you should avoid any…ANY…contact with AT&T like the plague, as I certainly would do if just now considering going with them. No, no, I am sure your association with this august, revered, and omnipotent/omniscient corporate giant would be absolutely flawless. I am quite sure any possible complaint—though the mere idea of a complaint probably would never arise—would be dealt with expeditiously and efficiently, and you would nestle forever in their warm, loving embrace; the perfect marriage of fragile, flawed human and loving, caring, protective corporation.

And me? Well, what’s there to say? I am a troublemaker, a curmudgeon of the first order, and a lightning rod for disasters, real and contrived. If I am unhappy with AT&T, I am perfectly free to choose another gigantic conglomerate corporative carrier who will, I am sure, treat me as a valued customer. Riiight!

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This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits; A Life in Blogs; it can be ordered from Untreed Reads and Amazon; it is also available as an audio book:
Cover of "Short Circuits"


Dorien's blogs are  posted every Tuesday and Friday.



Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Cartoon Figured Huddled in Paranoid Fear
Paranoia Rides Again

I always liked the bumper sticker that says: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean somebody isn’t out to get you.” I can relate.

All evidence to the contrary, I really do not like making an ass of myself. Most of the time, I readily admit, I am the instigator. But every now and then…today I wrote a note to one of the groups to which I belong, including a link to one of my sites. When the message was posted, I saw it came across with a space between the “gr” and the “ey” in “doriengrey.” With my sterling track record for screwing up, I knew the error was mine. (Like, who else’s could it be? Ya’ know what I’m sayin’?). So I hastily sent a note of embarrassed apology for the error, including the correct link, without the space between “gr” and “ey.”

I checked the site a few minutes later, and there it was...the space where I had not put in a space, where no space should be, and where no space was intended. So, glutton for punishment that I am, I sent yet another note, typing, when I came to the link, each note with one finger and deliberate slowness: “d...o...r...i...e...n...g...r...e...y.” I looked at it for a good ten seconds on the chance that a space might creep in while I watched. It did not. I posted the note again. And when I went to check…yep; the space was back.

This particular site to which I refer is run by Yahoo which, I have noticed, seems to have an absolutely wonderful time at the expense of its customers. We have one member whose every post comes across with a question mark wherever a period is supposed to be. I know he didn’t do it, unless he is so terribly insecure he must seek approval for every sentence. He is not.

Another member of the same list posts frequently. She has been a member for a couple of years, now. Yet every single post she sends is automatically pitched into Yahoo’s Spam bin. I have no idea what she might have done to deserve it, but I’m sure the Yahoo gods are doubled over with laughter each time the poor woman tries to get directly through to the group. (Oh, and tossing her every post into the Spam bin means that I have to go into the Spam bin about ten times more frequently than would normally be necessary, just to retrieve her posts.)

And there are two other members with whom Yahoo takes delight in playing some sort of cyber ping-pong. At least fifty percent of the time, their posts will also be tossed into the Spam folder. Exactly the same address each time. Absolutely no reason for it, but, hey…

I received a call on my cell phone yesterday. I answered it (punch the “open” button to talk). I did it exactly as I have done it with every call I have ever received. But instead of being able to talk, or being able to hear, I got a random page from the phone’s “Menu.” I hung up, hoping whomever called would call again. They did. I punched the “open” button. I got a random page from the “Menu”. This went on three times until I literally had to hold the hand with the phone tightly with my other hand to keep me from tossing it through the window.

But, hey, it’s all in jolly good fun, isn’t it? ……I said, isn’t it? Why am I seeing a menu page from my cell phone?

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This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits; A Life in Blogs; it can be ordered from Untreed Reads and Amazon; it is also available as an audio book:
Cover of "Short Circuits"


Dorien's blogs are posted every Tuesday and Friday.



Friday, January 12, 2018
Photo of a Single Raindrop
To Catch a Rainddrop


I have always been a misfit. What seems to be so elementary to everyone else is totally beyond my comprehension. What everyone else does…how they interact with one another and seem automatically to understand what is expected of them…is to me the deepest of mysteries and a source of very real anguish.

It’s as though I have been sent out into a rainstorm for the specific purpose of catching a raindrop. Just one raindrop. But not just any raindrop, mind you: a specific raindrop. I have its detailed description: it is roughly globular in shape, and it is wet. This is, it has been made clear to me, all the information I should require or will be given. It is to be retrieved intact, and not to be contaminated by being diluted by or blended with any other raindrop. My failure to do so will be and is taken as absolute, irrefutable proof of my total incompetence and inadequacy as a human being.

I have been a raindrop catcher all my life, and at the end of each day, back from the failed hunt, inside where it is warm and dry, I picture everyone else proudly displaying their own perfect, pristine, and prismatic raindrops. I imagine they keep them in display cases, neatly cataloged, and referenced with an infuriating casualness. (“Oh, this one I got December 22, 1990. It was a snowflake when I first saw it, but I recognized it at once, and when it turned into a raindrop, I had it.”) To me, and to my great shame, raindrops are raindrops and they all look alike.

I tell myself that all of this is nonsense, and that I am really no more incompetent than anyone else. Unfortunately, I don’t believe me. This sense of alienation, of being alone and neither understanding nor understood is, once again, why I write, because despite all my pontifical blather, I know I am not alone in being alone.

The realization that I expect far too much of myself does not stop me from expecting it. I never cease to measure myself against others, and I never fail to come up short.

The problem lies in the fact that I do, truly, want to be so very much more than I have ever been, or than I can ever realistically hope to be. I want to be a good person, and I really do try. I want to be liked by everyone (an indication of the illogic of my expectations). I do sincerely try to live the Golden Rule and I am ashamed of myself when I find myself being petty or insensitive to others. I largely succeed in not disliking anyone as an individual, though there are large groups of people for whom I have nothing but utter contempt—primarily those who presume to speak for God, and those (often the same groups) who are convinced they have the right to dictate and pass judgement on how other people live their lives.

I cannot comprehend or tolerate bigotry or hypocrisy—which, for some unknown reason my computer’s “dictionary” insists is spelled “hypocreaceae”—or gratuitous cruelty or even lack of common civility. We can all be so much better…I can be so much better…why are we not? Why am I not?

While there is a great deal of pain in frustration in holding myself up to standards nearly impossible to meet, I keep telling myself that because I cannot meet them does not mean I should not try.

Everything begins somewhere. And for me (since I cannot and will not presume to speak for you) I think I’ll be on the right track as soon as I can catch that one perfect raindrop. Wish me luck.

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This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits; A Life in Blogs; it can be ordered from Untreed Reads and Amazon; it is also available as an audio book:
Cover of "Short Circuits"


Dorien's blogs are posted every Tuesday and Friday.



Tuesday, January 9, 2018

"Giving Thanks"

Giving Thanks

I know I spend far more time than I should revisiting the past and feeling true and deep sorrow for the loss of so many things—friends, lovers, and family—I once had and no longer have. Thinking of them truly does create a physical ache of longing. But even as I grieve my losses, I realize just how blessed I am to have them in my life at all. I have from time to time wondered, if offered the choice of having been spared the pain of losing them by never having had them in my life at all, would I choose to relive my life without them? The answer, of course, is “no.” So even while I grieve, I am thankful for having had their company—no matter for how short or long a time—on my walk through life.

No matter how I may bewail not being 21 again, the fact is that I have been lucky enough to have lived as long as I have. Tens of millions of people never have that chance. As to physical limitations, just by looking around me, I see legions of people who I consider far worse off than I (and it is quite probable that each of them, looking around, feel the same way when they look at me).

I still have friends and family who are very dear to me, and who make my life infinitely more pleasant and meaningful than it would be without them. We seldom realize what we have until we lose it.

We are all given special gifts, talents, or character traits we are too close to ourselves to see. We’re generally too busy concentrating on what we do not have to realize and appreciate what we do have. I bemoan the changes my poor, brave body has gone through, but I get a sharp wake-up call every time I go to the Mayo Clinic, and see what others endure with far more nobility than I could ever muster. I think of Stephen Hawking, trapped in a body which barely functions but with a mind as brilliant as the sun. I would not choose to be Stephen Hawking, but it is unlikely that he would choose to be me.

All of the above comes down to the fact that we shouldn’t limit our giving thanks for our gifts to one day in November, but consciously try to make it a part of our everyday lives. And of all our gifts, by far the most important is simply the gift of life. It’s all too soon taken away; so every now and then, it might be a good idea for us all to sit back, think a moment, and truly appreciate what we have.

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This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits; A Life in Blogs; it can be ordered from Untreed Reads and Amazon; it is also available as an audio book:
Cover of "Short Circuits"


Dorien's blogs are posted Tuesdays and Fridays.



Friday, January 5, 2018
Two Birds Discussing the Meaning of Condescension
Condescension

Oh, dear Lord, how I hate condescension! Deliberate condescension is infuriating; unintentional condescension is just hurtful. But either way, it is dismissal…and I find myself increasingly on the receiving end of it as the years too-rapidly pass. Again, most of it is well-intentioned, but the fact is that the older we become, the more we are regarded the same way as we regard small children. (“Oh, that’s a very pretty picture, Bobby. Did you draw it all by yourself?”)


esterday, in a store, a young woman dropped a plastic bottle of water, and I quickly bent over to pick it up for her. Rather than a simple “thank you” she went out of her way to let me know how very much she appreciated my kindness, and wished me a very nice day, which, in turn, was very nice of her. But would she have reacted the same way if a 30-year-old had done the same thing? Possible, but I somehow doubt it.

What happens to us as we grow older? Why do people begin treating us differently just because we have accumulated several more years than they have? And have not the slightest doubt, regardless of how young you now are, that if you are lucky enough to live long enough, your days of being on the receiving end of condescension will come.

Part of the problem, admittedly, belongs with the aging, who too often stop doing things for themselves when they see they can rely on other people to do it for them. Strong, dynamic people who once ran successful businesses and raised families and whose opinions were sought and valued on every subject slowly slide into timidity and hesitancy and insecurity. “Oh, I can’t do that anymore!” “I’m too old to do thus and so.” “No, thanks, I think I’ll just stay home and knit.”

When I lived in northern Wisconsin, my neighbor and good friend Louisa was nearing 80, living alone, keeping her house spotless, cooking wonderful things which she would make sure I would share. She tended a good sized garden, and was always on the go. Then one day she fell in her home and wasn’t found for a couple of hours. Her daughter Marge immediately came from Minneapolis to care for her and in the blink of an eye, it seemed, Louisa changed from “Let me get you a cup of coffee” to “Marge, could you get me a glass of water?” Marge, out of love and concern, insisted Louisa come to live with her and her family in Minneapolis, taking Louisa not only from her home but from everyone and everything she had known all her life. Within a year, she was dead. In a way, I can’t help but think she was a victim of a virulent strain of unintentional condescension.

The gap between what we were and what we, willingly or unwillingly, become grows with each act of condescension. “How are we today, Bob?” (The use of “We” is the epitome of condescension.) “Would you like some help with that?” If Bob looks like he needs “some help with that,” by all means offer it. If he looks too frail to stand by himself on a bus, by all means offer him a seat. But if he is just carrying a package or standing there minding his own business, give him the dignity of treating him like everyone else.

We should never stop being kind, or thoughtful of others of any age. But when it comes to those much older than you, just, please, adapt the level of kindness to the situation. Be careful that your kindness does not say, as condescension to the elderly too often says: “You are no longer one of us.”

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This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits; A Life in Blogs; it can be ordered from Untreed Reads and Amazon; it is also available as an audio book:
Cover of "Short Circuits"


Dorien's blogs are posted every Tuesday and Friday.



Tuesday, January 2, 2018
A Clock Face Spiraling Backwards Infinitely
Backward, Turn Backward

Though I couldn’t find it, I distinctly remember a poem beginning “Backward, turn backward, O Time in your flight….” (Some credit it to a woman named Elizabeth Akers Allen, of whom I’d otherwise not heard.) [Dorien is right: you can read the poem here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/52071/rock-me-to-sleep]

I had a dream the other night where time had begun running backwards. I emerged backwards from sleep one evening and began moving backward through the day. And with each moment I moved backward, my memory of what then became the future disappeared. I had full memory of the past, of course, and was aware of what was happening.


Dreams being what they are, I accepted this as perfectly natural. I knew that I would eventually move backward through my cancer recovery, treatment, and symptoms until I emerged from that period able to eat again: to actually eat and chew and taste and swallow and take a huge bite out of a Big Mac, and look up at a passing airplane, and be totally oblivious to what lie ahead. I would continue to move backwards from Pence to Los Angeles, to my mom’s dying in the hospital to her cancer disappearing to my dad’s being alive again, to my original years in Chicago, to graduating from college, go back into the navy, enlist in the NavCads, graduate from high school…well, you get the idea.

It was really a most interesting dream, but it reminded me that, as much time as I spend dwelling on the past in these blogs and elsewhere, for all the wonderful things I would re-experience while moving back through time, there would also be an incredible amount of pain. The fact that it would be experienced backward would be of some comfort (if I were still aware what was happening) since whatever heartache or physical pain I was going through would always get better and eventually disappear completely. But pain is pain no matter in which direction you’re moving through it.

Things would get easier and easier as time regressed. Fewer and fewer major problems. More and more reliance on the love and protection of parents and family. And eventually, in moving backward in time, would come to the point of reentering that place where babies go before they are born. It is exactly the same place, I believe with all my heart, that we go when, moving forward through time, we however reluctantly, reach the end of our allotted time on earth. And I think that I have never really been afraid of death. We came from nothing, we return to nothing. And how can one fear nothing?

I’m not quite sure why I seem to take so much pleasure—which I must or I wouldn’t be doing it—in speculating on the impossible. But I find “what if?” to be among the most fascinating of phrases. I suppose it is another reflection of the fact that I really have never been satisfied with the way things are, and always want…and often truly ache for…what I cannot have.

So I spend endless hours in the attic of my mind, sitting cross-legged on the dusty floor, opening boxes of long-sealed memories and watching tiny spiders in the rafters spin dreams. Each provide me with an endless supply of “never was” and “never could be” to contemplate and play with. But while I fully realize that I can never have all those things that I so desperately want, it certainly doesn’t stand in the way of my wanting them.

And so contemplating having time move backward is just another exercise in the game of “what if?” But it’s a fun game.

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This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits; A Life in Blogs; it can be ordered from Untreed Reads and Amazon; it is also available as an audio book:
Cover of "Short Circuits"


Dorien's blogs are  posted Tuesday and Friday.



Friday, December 29, 2017
Cartoon of Young People Respecting the Elderly
A Seat on the Bus

Returning home one evening last week, I boarded a crowded bus and was just standing there, wedged in among the other standing passengers, when a young lady seated in front of me got up and offered me her seat. I was at once touched by her totally gratuitous kindness, and at the same time heartsick and humiliated to think how I must appear to other people. I thanked her sincerely, but declined her offer, explaining that I am only old on the outside. That I could even speak the word “old” in any sentence referring to myself was a milestone in my life, and not a pleasant one.
But, thanks to increasing evidence presented by young ladies on busses, I am, to my horror, turning into J. Alfred Prufrock. I am also increasingly and painfully aware of how aging changes not so much the way I look at the world, but the way the world looks at me. I am no longer indistinguishable from those around me, and those who have not yet reached that stage of existence cannot comprehend how devastating that knowledge is. In any given group of people, I am increasingly the oldest; sometimes by far, and am subtly but definitely being pushed to the outside of the circle.

In the gay community, of which I have been a card-carrying member for literally all my life, if you are a gay male, once you pass 40 you are less and less welcome as a player in that comforting and exhilarating game of sexual tag you’ve been part of for so long. By the time you are 50, the pool of potential partners has all but dried up. By the time you are 60, you are invisible to anyone under 30—or at best only a shadowy presence easily ignored. Your circle of gay friends tends to narrow to others your same age or older: no one younger wishes to join the circle.

And the terrible irony is that the young simply cannot comprehend that those invisible old men sitting in a coffee shop were once exactly like them, and that if they are very very lucky to live long enough, they too will one day be sitting with their peers at a similar table.

Some time ago, I wrote a short poem on this subject:

       Whenever I hear a young gay man
       scorning an older man,
       I hear the future laughing.

Although I use the gay community as an example only because I have absolutely no knowledge of how it is for older heterosexuals, I suspect it’s pretty much the same for older, unmarried straights. We are all human, after all (and please, do write that down somewhere to remember when you have doubts).

Age is the price we must pay for the gift of living long enough. It very often is not pleasant, especially for those like myself who cling so tightly to the past and to memories of who we always were until now. So, much as I hate not being who I was, and resent being made to feel unwanted and unworthy, I’ll readily take it over the only viable alternative.

My one word of advice to you, no matter what your age: truly appreciate and be grateful for everything and whatever you have this very moment. I may not always show it myself, but I assure you I am.

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This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits; A Life in Blogs; it can be ordered from Untreed Reads and Amazon; it is also available as an audio book:
Cover of "Short Circuits"


Dorien's blogs are posted every Tuesday and Friday. 



Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Cartoon About an Agnostic's Prayers

An Agnostic's Christmas

Writing this on Christmas morning, while having my morning coffee and chocolate donut (remember “Ruts and Routines”?) and listening to “What Child is This” on public radio, I was thinking of what a short shrift is given to agnostics, who are invariably and totally erroneously lumped in with atheists. Atheists don’t believe in God: agnostics just aren’t sure based on logic, but definitely don’t believe in organized religion, and the atrocities created throughout history by religious fanatics strongly supports this stand.

I love Christmas. I really do. I love the concept of Peace on Earth, and of hope and promise. I find the image of a sky full of angels lovely, as I do the thought of Santa coming down the chimney with a bag of toys. But while Christianity—rather smugly, I’m afraid—assumes it holds a patent on the Golden Rule and all that is good and noble in the world, in truth it does not. The principle of the Golden Rule is shared by most of the world’s religions.

I honestly do not think one must belong to a specific religion to believe in goodness and kindness, and to work for the betterment of mankind. Good people are good people. Simply belonging to a religion does not make one good. Bigotry, intolerance, and hate, however subtly hidden beneath all the “Amens” and “Hallelujahs” in the world, are still bigotry, intolerance, and hate and do not make one person or one group superior to any other.

Every human being is…or should be…free to choose whatever concept of God he or she feels comfortable with. Relatively few have or take this option of choice which, like any form of choice, requires asking questions. But it is far easier to simply accept what one is told. So little thinking is involved that way, and thinking too much can give one a headache.

I’ve been an agnostic since I was old enough to ask “Why?” in matters religious. “Why?” is a question neither welcomed nor tolerated by most organized religions. It is often seen as...well, sacrilegious...to question, and to persist in asking results in such responses as “God has a reason for everything.” Well, thanks, but that was my question: Why? Evasions are not answers. One of my favorite bumper stickers of all time is: “God says it. I believe it. That settles it.” Which is not unlike saying, “My mother, drunk or sober.”

I have no problem with anyone believing anything they want to believe. I appreciate that organized religion is truly and deeply comforting for many, and provides a form of stability in an all-too-unstable world. And as long as your beliefs do not result in a restriction of my own or anyone else’s rights and freedoms, more power to you. But I believe with all my heart and soul that if your religion of choice promotes or even condones anything that limits the rights or beliefs of others, you are in the wrong religion.

It is possible to firmly believe in God without showing up in a building every Sunday or Friday to confirm it. Again, if gathering with others who share your beliefs gives you comfort, that is fine…for you, as long as you do not fall into the trap of assuming superiority over others who do not think exactly the same way you think.

I try my very best to be a good person, to treat everyone with courtesy and dignity, and to always take the feelings of others into consideration. I don’t always succeed, of course, but I really do try. But the world abounds in those who assume their particular religious beliefs give them the right to impose their beliefs on everyone else. Again, how many millions have, over history, been slaughtered in the name of religion? How can God be on both sides in a war? And by what stupefying arrogance can and do people presume to speak for God?

No, thank you. I prefer to keep my own counsel. I have enough faith in myself to decide fairly accurately what is right and what is wrong…again based on the simple yardstick of the Golden Rule. I truly respect the rights of others to believe or not believe in any organized religion or philosophy even though I may not agree with them. Why does it seem to be too much to ask the same of them?

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This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits; A Life in Blogs; it can be ordered from Untreed Reads and Amazon; it is also available as an audio book:
Cover of "Short Circuits"


Dorien's blogs are posted every Tuesday and Friday.




Friday, December 22, 2017

Drawing of a Captain Steering His Ship
The Captain and the Ship

William Ernest Henley said, in his poem “Invictus”: I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul.

I’ve mentioned numerous times that I am increasingly compartmentalizing myself into two separate entities: my mind and my body. This morning, for absolutely no reason, I was thinking of captains and their ships, and it occurred to me that it was a great analogy for life.

While I’m probably more aware of it than most, in a very real sense each of us is both the captain and the ship. The captain…the mind…steers the ship…the body…through the often stormy seas of life. And as each of us is physically different…some ocean liners, some tugboats…captains vary in ability and skill. But a ship without a captain, or a captain without a ship, is basically helpless.

Unlike real life, the captain boards the ship the moment it is launched and stays with it until it, as it must inevitably do, sinks, taking the captain with it.
I’ve always been very proud of my ship. Despite my frequent complaints that it was not nearly as attractive as I’d have liked it to be, or as graceful to maneuver, and tended to run aground from time to time, it has been a very good ship. It truly hurts me to see the bright, shiny paint of the hull fading, rust forming on the steel plates, and the once bright and crisp flags flying from the masts increasingly tattered and faded. Odd sounds emanate from the engine room, and while it tries its best, to keep up to its former self, its top speed has dropped considerably.

As captain, I watch with envy as I am passed by newer, faster, far more attractive vessels, all fresh-paint, shiny smokestacks undented and unfaded. They pass with seldom an acknowledgement, to leave me bobbing in their wake.

It’s taken me far too long to realize that, while I may not be the best captain on the sea, I really haven’t done too bad a job. I’ve sailed on while more than a few magnificent liners plowed head-first into icebergs. During the early “war years” of the AIDS epidemic, I remained afloat while watching in horror as so many other ships, and captains, were torpedoed by the virus, floundered and sank.

I’ve never comprehended those captains who deliberately scuttle their ships with alcohol, and tobacco. They know when they take them aboard that the danger is there, but they just don’t care, and keep packing them into the cargo holds far beyond their capacity until the ship sinks under their weight.

So: we are each captain of the ship of our body, and it behooves us to steer it wisely and do whatever we can to keep it seaworthy for as long as possible. No matter what we do, the day will come when the ship goes down, taking us with it. But as for me, mine will not go down without a fight...and with great gratitude for the pleasures of the trip.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, let us close with a reference to another poem, John Masefield’s “Sea Fever”: And all I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by. Amen to that.

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This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits; A Life in Blogs; it can be ordered from Untreed Reads and Amazon; it is also available as an audio book:
Cover of "Short Circuits"


Dorien's blogs are  posted every Tuesday and Friday.



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