Forever and ever…?

Coming far too late, the rain splashed effortlessly against the long-dead stalks of grass. The grass that, while dead, will return next season. But it won’t. No, the dead grass before me truly is dead, and those particular blades will never again raise their chipper little stalkish faces to the sun. Only their offspring will. The grass never “comes back.” The grass only continues on. Each blade lives and dies, never to return. And each blade that follows after that, does very much the same.

Am I in a similar boat? Will I one day be gone never to return? Why yes, yes I will of course. But what of God? Does God see me much like I see the grass? Does He feel that “I’ll come back,” but only because He sees one of my kind, continuing on in my place? Am I replaceable like that?

Stop t. Before you go on, you had better check your facts, as I’m thinking grass DOES, in fact, come back. I’m thinking that the “long-dead stalks” you spoke of were only dormant, and will rise again next year. You know, life eternal and all that rot, ya douche.

Thanks for catching that. And while I don’t appreciate the insulting tone, nor the language used, you’re absolutely correct. Turns out that while most grass does appear to be dead, in fact it is simply dormant. But not always. No, sometimes, with some types, and in some instances, the blade that dies does so permanently. So there. Now, back to my derailed train of thought…

Am I of that variety? Am I the type that will dry out, shrivel up, and never be seen again? Or am I the type that will sprout anew, when the next Spring dawns? Scarier still, are the answers to those questions in God’s hands, or mine? I suppose, based on the whole “free will” concept, I already know the answer to the last question. A fact that scares me shitless. And, based on the answer to the last, I would then assume that it is up to me to decide as to what the answer to the first two questions would be as well. Again, imagine me standing here, shitless.

Is that what free will is? Is it really, honestly and truly that, well, free? Do I actually have the choice as to whether I will some day be reborn or not? Whether I will Move On or simply become worm food? DAMN, if I do.

Sorry kids, more questions than answers today – the plus side to that is that the posts of this nature usually end up being shorter. The down side is that you’re left with that “why in the hell am I reading this guy again?” feeling. At any rate, I’ve a sneaking suspicion that the choice actually is mine. I’ve often told my kids (and anyone else foolish enough to ask and/or listen) that I feel that hell is simply the place where God is not. And it was created solely because there were folk along the way who decided that they didn’t want to be with Him (Her, It, whatever). Having the free will to make this determination, it resulted in God being forced into providing them with a joint to hang out, after their days here were done. That place is hell. And hell is only “hellish” in nature, because God’s not allowed in. Life, is not allowed in. Even God can’t go where He’s not welcome. Well, with the exception of that one time of course…

All fine and dandy, but that’s hell t. What about the whole “worm food” concept? Do you think that you can actually decide to just die – end it all here? Now and forever? Is that call left up to your “free will” as well?

I’m no scholar, but I’m thinking “no.” See, free will was built into us – hard-wired, so to speak – and I’m thinking life eternal was as well. I mean, we’re built to last, and why not? God seems like he’s all about duration, if nothing else. Lord knows if I were Him, I would’ve called us all in for an eternal time-out by now. But we needn’t bother any longer with that particular digression, as it could be a whole post unto itself. So, forever and ever (Amen) we are “forced” to live, but where we do so is our call. I know, it’s not fair. But whoever said life was supposed to be fair?

Who indeed? Well, God I suppose. The same cat that may see me as a blade that dies, or as a blade that rises again – and I think he’s waiting for me to tell him which.

A note about today’s tune: To those of you who find yourself a novice on the subject, no, this is not The Clash’s usual sound. But then again, with The Clash, there was no such thing as “usual.”

10/10 keep your questions to yourself

Belle of the Carnival is asking questions (always with the questions, that one…). And while i usually struggle to answer them, much in the same way i might struggle to spontaneously give birth, when she asked for suggestions (in question format, no less) as to what she should write about this month, i quickly clickety clacked my response of “Would your life be any different, fundamentally, if you were the opposite sex of the one you are now?”, without a moments hesitation.

Shortly after i was done feeling all smug about what a wonderful question i had thought up to stump her with however, i began to realize how unfair it would be for me to ask it. The little Old Polish Lady who resides in my mind – ever ready to guilt trip me about any number of things i might have (or have not) done – stared me steadily down whilst waving her finger of indignation pointedly in my face. Her imagined glare is hard, her finger, straighter then God’s justice. And all the while she seemed to be saying “well, if you’re such a Mr. Smarty Pants, then why don’t you chime in with an answer???”. So, i eventually conceded that i couldn’t really ask a question like that without also answering it myself. And so i decided that that was what i would do:

Now, the first thing that would change, if i were the sex opposite my own, is that the old woman of my mind would’ve called me “Mrs. Smarty Pants” instead of “Mr”. Or would she have? i don’t believe i’ve ever heard the phrase “Mrs. Smarty Pants”. Or “Mrs. Smarty Skirt” for that matter. And i’ve definitely never heard of the term “Mrs. Smarty Housecoat”. (A bit off topic, but for me, housecoats are simply dreadful things. Any clothing of convenience really, typically is. As for housecoats, my grandmother had an entire wardrobe that – i swear – consisted solely of the damned things, that she then “accessorized” only with hair curlers, ever present in her head. i mean, i had always thought that curlers were supposed to have some sort of affect on your hair, and i would imagine that this sought-after affect would only be visible upon, you know, their removal. Sadly, with my grandmother, i was hardly ever able to either prove or disprove this theory.) But, i see i’ve once again strolled off into the land of digression – and not at all this time as a result of my having difficulty in answering my own question – so let’s move on.

As to me being the opposite sex, i was almost going to say just now that i would greatly miss the freedom of being able to, well, to pee standing up. Now i know that at least a number of feminist-minded women may be tempted to jump in here and clarify that they too, technically have this ability. But honestly ladies, it’s just not the same, and you’ll just have to begrudge us this one “superior” trait, OK? And it wouldn’t matter at any rate if you did, based on the idea that in this scenario i would be the opposite sex by birth – not by choice. As such, the joy of being able to close one eye and make it appear as if your tie were actually urinating and/or sign your name (in block letters no less) into the freshly fallen snow, would be a pleasure unknown to me. Which leads me – after possibly sharing a bit too much – to the first real difference between the male and the female me: the female me would most definitely spend much more of my life standing in line while waiting to use public restrooms.

On the upside, i would also have many more choices as far as fashion went. The me of today gets quite tired of the polo shirt/slack uniform of summer, that is retired only for the long sleeve shirt/slack uniform of winter. And while i would normally do much more in my “off hours” fashion, apparently very few other men would, and as a result very few clothing manufacturers create very few interesting items for us (the “us” with a budget at any rate). Which results most often in off the rack “off hours” choices of t-shirts/jeans for the summer and sweat shirt/jeans for the winter. Now i recognize that of all the things a life has to offer, this should be a concern towards the bottom rather than the top. But regardless of what sex i would be, i am still fundamentally who i am, and i can only imagine the clothes still count in either scenario. As a female though, i would most likely be broke as a result.

i won’t get too much into hair. It’s a bit of a sore topic, and seeing as i have always had so little of it – and even less now, i have no concept whatsoever as to what it would be like to have an abundance. Or even enough to at least warrant owning a comb. And i can only assume that in this case, the reverse scenario would feel pretty much the same.

i do wonder if i would be more or less sexual than i am now. And before anyone goes off on the tried and true “if i had my own pair…” routine, let’s keep in mind that in this scenario, i would have been born with them, not inherited them. i do know (a college education, once again at work!) that women orgasm differently then men and the point of pleasure is located in a different part of their brain. But other than that, is there really any difference? And would that difference dictate the amount of desire a person has? i’m not sure, and it’s a subject that boggles the mind (well, mine at any rate). While i would gladly (GLADLY) embrace the ability to have multiple orgasms without the need to, ummm, regroup – i highly doubt that going through childbirth would make it an “even” trade. And i guess that would be the second real difference between the “me” me and the female me. If i were a female i wouldn’t have any children right now. Oh, i’m pretty sure C and i would still have “become one” (again, based on the idea that we would all be the sex opposite what we are today), but as to having children goes, i just don’t feel i could do it. It was hard enough to watch C go through it. Three times. Now, i don’t have any of those “oh. My. God. It’s alive and moving around inside of me” symbiotic feelings, but i really don’t think i would have what it takes to push. And breathe. And hold on tight, it’s almost over. And push. And breathe… Everytime i think of it in fact, i tip my mental hat to every woman who has ever done it, and to you, in this instance i will gladly acknowledge superiority.

my mental hat: looking surprisingly a lot like Calvin Coolidge

And if for that alone, i am forever glad that God had the good sense to make me what i am. A man, stuck in a males body. One with children whom he loves more than life itself, even if he never would’ve been strong enough to give them life itself. True, maybe i would’ve been OK as a female. i mean, i am really good at walking in high heels (a different story altogether). And i suppose that regardless of my “bits”, i would be for the most part about the same as i am now – in spirit and mind at any rate (from what i’ve heard from others, it’s not like the “me” me is that far away from being a woman any way…). i’ll never truly know, and i suppose it wouldn’t matter if i did. i can tell you one thing though – if i was a woman me instead of a man me, when asked, i would’ve had the good sense to keep my tongue firmly in cheek, and my silly “stump ’em” questions to myself.

9/9 little old stories

And out of the corner of my eye, the little old man appears. Oh, fine. He’s not exactly what you would think of as “little”, but it does help to set the whole tone, so just work with me here, OK?

Now, where was i? Oh yes, the little old man appears. And honestly, i don’t think i would have ever noticed him except for a couple of items. One, he was walking down a very busy street in a shuffle, and as a result i immediately became very protective of him. Secondly, he was wearing obscenely large headphones. The type that young people wear to look cool, and that old people wear simply to hear. The third thing that struck me though, is the reason i’m writing this. The third thing was his face. Its expression seemed to say that he was aching to tell his story. To someone. Anyone. And combined with the slouch and the scuffling feet, it didn’t appear that he had a soul in this world to convey it to. Least of all me as i sped by – protectively of course. To say i wanted to hug this little old man and to hear his tale is somewhat of an understatement, and somewhat naive. i mean, after all, he could be a total jerk. His “story” might actually be much more of a nightmare than a fairy tale – or more of a washout than an adventure. He might have been a man of great promise, or a person of no import. And i’ll never know which.

And then it dawned on me – as i passed him by only to go under the interstate shortly thereafter, noting the sea of headlights that met with me while doing so – there are millions of stories aching to be told. Simply billions here and now, never mind the past. And of these, most never will be. Not on a grand scale at any rate. Of all the gazillion stories that have ever been lived, only a very select few will ever be given the credit they’re due. And i am of the opinion, that most are due some sort of credit. Some sort of praise. At least some sort of remembrance. Are old faded photographs enough? Pictures that are held in the hands of descendants who say “umm, i believe that was…” while repeatedly turning it ’round, in the hopes that someone had the good sense – since the time that they had first picked the picture up – to write the names of the people contained within? i’m pretty sure not. i’m pretty sure in fact, that our stories should be worth a whole lot more. Especially by those who wouldn’t even have a story of their own, had we not had ours first.

The second man that caught my attention did so well before he normally would have in another time and place. And it wasn’t even the blatantly false nature of his oversized misshapen wig that did so. No, it was the way he randomly stuck his arm high into the air much like a marionette – as if waving to no one in particular – while purposefully striding down the street. A little younger than the first man, this man’s face was somewhat of a blur to me. At the time, i didn’t even realize it, but i do now. And i think this is why. i believe it’s my nature to “not stare” whenever i see someone who is odd – well – odd to me. Maybe he really was just randomly waving at people, but i think not. And in thinking so, my mind determined that there was something quite obviously wrong with him (n addition to the wig attack currently plaguing him of course…), and as such, i felt i mustn’t gawk. So, while in the first man i found myself wanting to hear his tale, for the second man, i decided to write (at least a part of) his story for him. And doing so, i felt comfortable in simply letting him leave my mind and memory altogether.

My question is – of the two, which shall i end up being? And by that i mean, which am i? Or will i be something different from these altogether? While in my youth, i pined to be “one of the select few”, i’ve grown out of that particular delusion. For the most part. And of faded photographs, i’m pretty sure i’ll try to get my name on every last one that contains the likeness of me, prior to my final departure. Simply so that my descendants can at least tap the picture knowingly, while repeating the name scrawled across the backside. But when they do, will it be followed by questioning glances and a shrug, or will it be followed by several short memories, a laugh or two and a feeling of longing for return? In short, will my story be retold fondly? Will my story live on?

i suppose for a while at least, it will. And i suppose that as time goes on, and generations fade into generations, and the photos fade even further, the instances of this occurring will slowly come to a halt. i mean, nothing lasts forever, right? Or does it? i honestly don’t know. What i do know is that if i want my story to be told fondly, i had better make it a damned good one. One where the main character learns from their mistakes, grows in the process and is victorious at the end. A story where the main character has (mostly) a positive impact on those who surround him, and leaves more people smiling than he does frowning. And a tale where the main character stands up for his beliefs, respects those who feel differently than he and defends everyones right to believe exactly as they feel regardless.

And i suppose, had i wanted to say all of the above a bit more succinctly and to the point, i might have simply said, in short, a story worth repeating.

And should it be retold, i need to make extra special sure that at no point can the narrator snigger as they say of me, “and oh, if you could’ve only seen that damned oversized misshapen wig that plagued his head…”

i think i’m safe.