Turkey Day

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Ah, Thanksgiving… that special time of year where we traditionally congregate in the company of our loved ones, fill our faces with stuffing and turkey meat, and take time to acknowledge that for which we are most thankful.  However, some years aren’t so traditional, and sometimes we may find ourselves in the company of only a single loved one, or even alone, and we just may or may not be thankful for a goddamn thing.  In these less traditional lean years, oftentimes we find ourselves focusing instead on the things we don’t have:  the loves lost, the lives ruined, the opportunities wasted– the truly good things in our lives we let slip through our fingers only to be lost forever.

So this holiday I’m spending Thanksgiving with my favorite kind of turkey:

wildturkey

Gobble gobble gobble.

 

Life is full of disappointments

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Waiting in line at Braum’s for a late-night dinner after a long day’s work, I witness a white-trash woman undertaking an arduous order of ice cream.  One of her feet is wrapped in an oversized protective boot as though she had fractured it falling out of her above-ground pool (or possibly trampoline) and the other foot taps incessantly as she stares at the overhead menu.  Quite a line-up forms behind her while she’s hemming and hawing at the myriad of ice cream choices available to her, and after several minutes of mouth breathing she finally speaks:

Woman:  “Now… with the pecan caramel fudge sundae… are those pecans… toasted?

Fast Food Worker:  [brief pause as he’s processing her question]

Woman:  “I mean, are they… raw?

Fast Food Worker:  “Um…

Woman:  “Or are they toasted?

Fast Food Worker:  “I don’t think they’re toasted…” [proceeds to hold up a cup of crushed nuts, apparently not toasted]

Woman:  “Ooooh… nope, that’s not gonna’ do.  Hmmm…

Apparently unaware that she is in a fucking fast food restaurant and not the Four Seasons, the lady goes back to studying the overhead menu, her epiglottis making an unappealing noise as she continues to mouth breathe with her head tilted back.  Her facial expression is one of deep consternation while she carefully weighs her confectionery options, and all I want to do is tell her, “Life is full of disappointments, lady.”  But before I get the chance, my order number is called, so I grab my to-go cheeseburger value meal, the grease from the fries already permeating the paper bag, and get the hell out of there.

Thought for the Day [commentary on a reblogged post]

Perhaps. But speaking from experience, ten years ago I sure as hell did choose my life and at that moment I was absolutely certain about the choice. Time and traumatic life events have a knack for changing one’s perspective, though, and before that ten years was up I fooled myself into believing that I had settled for the life I had chosen. So I chose another life. Now that it’s actually been ten years, I’ve finally had my epiphany. That’s the problem with epiphanies–they almost always come too late. Joni Mitchell was right– “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone.” Seriously, there’s something to be said for settling. It’s not necessarily such a bad thing. When you know you’ve got something really good, well, you hold on to it, goddammit–you don’t fool yourself into thinking that you could have something better. People prone to reevaluating their lives in the manner of this quote also run the risk of putting themselves into a state of perpetual motion in pursuit of potentially unattainable happiness. These same folks seem to forget that “a rolling stone gathers no moss” is not a good thing. The only people who should keep on moving are wanted fugitives and Caine from Kung Fu. The rest of us run the risk of finding ourselves rolling downhill not like a stone, but rather like a snowball headed for Hell.

Wonder Of My Worlds

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37 Years is a Long Time

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Saw this on someecards.com and thought, “Yeah, that sounds about right.”  I just “celebrated” my 36th birthday, and I couldn’t help but recognize the sad truth in the humorous caption to this card.  Boy, they really don’t pull any punches over at someecards.

In case you don’t pay attention to the ponies, this past weekend American Pharoah became the first Thoroughbred since 1978 to win the prestigious triple crown (consisting of three races:  the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes).  Horse racing fans have been waiting since a year before I was even born to see this happen again.

The Huffington Post recently ran a short and clever commentary about the historic event and the gut-wrenchingly wonderful current cover photo for Sports Illustrated.  The brief article is titled “Sports Illustrated’s American Pharoah Cover Photo Epitomizes Everything Wrong With Modern Society“and you can read the bit here.  I have included the cover below.

siReally, folks?  I mean, REALLY?!?  Sheesh…

Behind Every Great Man…

A few days ago I posted “behind every great man is an even greater woman” as my thought for the day.  Well, I have thought about it, and now I’d like to take a moment to briefly expand upon that thought.

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This old adage has been around in one form or another for what seems like forever (usually as “a great woman” rather than “a greater woman,” because that would just be giving the fairer sex too much credit, now, wouldn’t it?).  As much as I might like to consider myself a feminist, I’ve never fully bought into this proverbial nonsense.  I’ve always believed that a man (or woman, for that matter) is capable of his (or her) own greatness, independent of the assistance or even presence of any kind of “significant other.”  Well, I recognize now that I was wrong.

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That’s me.  Well, some of the time, anyway.

History is chock-full of examples of men made stronger by even stronger women:  Jacob had Rachel; Abraham had Sarah; Menelaus (and Paris) had Helen; Odysseus had Penelope; Arthur (and Lancelot) had Guinevere; FDR had Eleanor; Bill had Hillary; Juan Peron had Evita; Caesar and Marc Antony BOTH had Cleopatra; hell, even Macbeth had Lady Macbeth (which is actually kinda macabre when you think about it, but it still serves my point).

My favorite example, however, is Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine.  Conventional wisdom tells us that Napoleon conquered most of Europe because he was overcompensating for being short (hence “Napoleonic Complex”), but in all honesty he wasn’t really that vertically challenged.  Rather, it was the love of that black-toothed beauty (yes, Josephine had rotten teeth–look it up) that lit a fire under Napoleon’s ass and subsequently spurred him to whip the asses of damn-near everyone on his continent.

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The little Emperor and his blushing black-toothed bride

In the world of creative arts, the phenomenon is even more apparent: Robert Browning had Elizabeth Barrett Browning; Percy Bysshe Shelley had Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley; Diego Rivera had Frida Kahlo; Bob Dylan had Joan Baez; Ted Hughes had Sylvia Plath; Stieglitz had O’Keeffe; Man Ray had Lee Miller; Lindsey Buckingham had Stevie Nicks; Paul Newman had Joanne Woodward; Charles Eames had Ray Eames; Ike Turner had Tina; Sonny had Cher; Pollack had Krasner; Christo had Jean-Claude; Bogey had Bacall; Tracy had Hepburn; Johnny had June; the list goes on and on, but the song is still the same–“It Takes Two, Baby.

“It takes two, bay-baaay, to make a dream come true”

I’m almost convinced now that to be truly successful in life, or at least to reach one’s full potential as a human being, one absolutely needs the love and support of a significant other.  “People… need people…,” to paraphrase Barbara Streisand.  We need someone to hold–someone to be there for us in our most desperate times of need; someone who not only offers encouragement in our moments of doubt and pushes us to be a better person, but someone who actually makes us want to be a better person.  I once had someone like that in my life, but I blew it because I ceased wishing to be a better person.  I ceased wishing to be, period.

Companionship isn’t just the key to success–it’s the key to happiness, I believe, because it’s one of the most vital components to the human experience.  And by “companionship,” I’m not talking about casual companionship or flavor-of-the-month relationships ala Sex in the City.  I’m talking about the whole enchilada–something real and permanent and inexplicably linked to the human heart’s acknowledgement of something greater outside itself.  When someone loves you enough to recognize your potential, and helps you to recognize that potential yourself, they’re a keeper.  When you can look into the eyes of someone you love and know that not only do they love you back unconditionally, but that they’ve got your back unconditionally as well… THAT’S what it’s actually all about, Alfie.  To love and to be loved.

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Shave and a Haircut

I did a double take after seeing my bedhead in the bathroom mirror the other morning. I must’ve slept hard, because my hair stuck straight up on both sides yet down in the middle, and with my raggedy unshaven face and sideburns, I swear to God I looked like Wolverine (or the dude from Flock of Seagulls–you be the judge).

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For one brief shining moment I considered keeping my hair like that, putting on a wife-beater, and going out to kick somebody’s ass.  But then I realized it was too cold to go out in a sleeveless undershirt, and whose ass was I going to kick at eight o’clock in the morning anyway?  So I settled instead for putting on a pot of coffee and trying to figure out where to go for a haircut.

Truthfully, every once in a while I wake up with incredibly ridiculous hair and seriously contemplate keeping it up like that just to mess with everybody as some kind of pseudo-punk act of defiance–two middle fingers and a hearty “fuck you” to the stuffed shirts who think they have it all figured out, like Sid Vicious did when he “sang” Frank Sinatra’s My Way (which, by the way, happens to be in an Acura commercial now, begging the question, “What in the HELL were they THINKING?” The absolute last thing the Sex Pistols should be identified with is a luxury Japanese sports sedan). The world seems to be short on Sid Vicious-types nowadays, which is probably a good thing considering he was a psychopathic drug addict and a murderer, but I think I could definitely use a little more of that “piss off” attitude. Film producer Brian Grazer proudly sports Sid Vicious hair, and I remember reading an interview with him several years ago in Esquire where he discussed why he wore such an absurd hairstyle:

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“I put my hair up like this about eight years ago by accident. My daughter happened to be in the room with me and she went, ‘Hey, I like that.’ I liked it, too, but I also quickly realized that it was a test to the world. People either liked it — thought it was courageous — or else they thought, Who the fuck do you think you are? So I left it up like this to quickly discern the truth about people I meet.”

I’m not in the habit of admiring Hollywood producers, but I’ve gotta say, I respect the hell out of Grazer for that (though it still doesn’t atone for Cowboys and Aliens–I want my eight bucks back, Brian). I wish I had the moxy or the chutzpah to wear my hair like a crazy person and not give a damn what other people thought of me. I used to have that kind of courage and self-assuredness, but that was a long, long time ago.

We’re supposedly living in an age of rampant individualism where letting your freak flag fly is something to be proud of, and yet even the most ardent individualists can be accused of more or less conforming to whatever culture or subculture they identify most with.  Hell, many subcultures have even winded their way into the mainstream in some form or fashion.  I almost shot my television a while back when I saw one of the kids from One Direction wearing a Ramones t-shirt.  How can a manufactured boy band get away with identifying themselves with the Ramones?  When did punk turn into Broadway musicals by Green Day and fashion accessories at Hot Topic?  And when did everyone suddenly have tattoos?  Damn near everyone I see, whether it be on television or in line at Wal-Mart, is covered in tattoos (full sleeves, necks, everywhere).  When the hell did this happen?  When did counter culture become mainstream?  I’m not entirely sure, but I blame MTV. (I blame MTV for a lot of things, come to think of it.)