Today in My History

2000:  Wonderful! Wonderful!
2001:  I Hate...
2002:  Catch a Falling Star
2003:  When Plans Change
2004:  Why People Go Postal
2005:  Hell Hath No Fury

2006: Honestly Now
2007: Hidden Treasure in my Bathroom
2008: Pockets
2009:  Not at all Funny
2010:  Dorm to Condo
2011:  Apple Pies and Fruitcake
2012: The Three Show Weekend

2013:  Buildings
2014:
The Arm Lady


Bitter Hack
Updated: l11/17
"Into the Woods"

Books Read in 2015
 Updated: 10/24
"Darkest Fears"


Mirror Site for RSS Feed:
Airy Persiflage



NEW....
The New Brasilian in my life
(his video is here)
 


The Philosophy of Juice & Crackers

The story of Delicate Pooh

The story of the Pinata Group

Who IS this Gilbert person anyway?


mail to Walt

mail to Bev  

SPECIMEN LIFE

19 November 2015

Jon Carroll, a wonderful columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, who retires this week after many decades of wonderful columns wrote a piece this morning called "Reality theater:  Its joys and sorrows" which hit a chord with me.  He reflects back over his time with the Chronicle and how his column evolved from

I didn’t know what I was doing. Absolutely without a clue. I didn’t have much time to think about consequences, either; I was just grindin’ ’em out as fast as I could. Anything could be a column. See this rock here? Column potential. See this dead spider? Maybe something about killing spiders and the various fears and reservations around that simple act.

When he began to run out of material,

Eventually I began plagiarizing my own life. Writers are monsters. They feed off other people’s experiences, other people’s emotions. All the time they are sitting there pretending to be entirely in the moment, laughing or crying or going “oops,” and actually they are taking notes, arranging impressions, maybe even writing sentences. They are with you, except in the sense that they are somewhere else.

He began to get regular readers and started to feel they were part of his circle of friends and family to whom he was speaking when he wrote about his life, or his thoughts on the world in general, or his cat.

I looked back on nearly 16 years of Funny the World and reflected on how it began pretty much the way Carroll's did -- not having a clue what I was doing, but wanting to do something.  The very first entry was easy.  Ned had just moved into a playhouse his radio station erected on a 24 hour gas station in Sacramento to raise money for shoes for the homeless.  I posted it and was off and running.  But where...? 

Over the coming weeks, I discussed watching animals on Africam, trying to learn how to write grants, a fraud scam that had been perpetrated using our credit card, The Lamplighters, gay kids, our new dog, and my first Oscar report ("totally tacky and I loved it")

From the beginning it has always been eclectic and over the years, people seem to have continued to follow it.  I don't watch stats, so my only indication is from the guestbook comments I get, but in the days when I did check stats, there were more than 300 hits a day from around the world, and if that isn't heady stuff!  You and I have shared my Weight Watcher years, various death watches (the most painful of which was Kathy's death in 2011), my mother's worsening dementia and Peach's cancer. You enjoyed all the foster dogs, my biking experiences (I got cheers when I conquered the "dreaded overpass"), loved hearing about Cousins Days, followed all of our vacations, and were there to offer a "there there" like yesterday, when I was in a mood.  There are even those who enjoy "Today at Logos," which is why I continue to write it week after week.

Carroll talks about the change in human dynamic over the years, especially how it affects those of us "of a certain age."

In the family culture, there was always someone to talk to. A failed romance? Ask Aunt Sophie how she coped when that bastard Ira moved to Connecticut. A little drinking problem? Uncle Tony had one of those, and so did Pop-Pop’s wife, Clara. Pain in the genital area? Billy is a doctor; he’ll see you for free.

These days, when you reach a certain point in your life, if you don't have in place a close group of friends to whom you can turn when in need, writing it all down helps.

It’s the way we connect now, waving at each other from our mediated redoubts.

Throughout my life I have had close circles of friends, but they gradually dissolve.  Even the Pinata People aren't as close as we once were.  I have lots of acquaintances with whom I have lunch or a coffee a few times a year and share our frustrations about the political scene, but none with whom I have curled up and cried as we shared secrets and wine, not since Kathy died.  It's just not the same to choose an acquaintance at random and spill the sorrows and frustrations of your life. There is a certain "history" that needs to be in place before you feel comfortable doing that.

So I do it here.  I was asked recently why it's such a passion of mine and, honestly, I can't tell you except I have this thing within me which needs to express what I'm feeling.  I have all of my life, I think.  I used to have half a dozen people with whom I corresponded and now other than Char, there is nobody...and if I can't share correspondence or buy a cheesecake and share it with a bunch of Golden Girls here in town, Funny the World is the next best thing.  We each have our own way of coping with the stresses in our lives.  If I could run to my mother and cry in her arms about how I'm feeling about Peach's impending death, for example, I would do it, but knowing that she doesn't respond that way any more leaves me hanging out to dry.

So Funny the World is more than my blog.  It's my circle of "imaginary friends" (as a CompuServe friend used to call us) and my extended family.  In the beginning I shared too much and by the time the Internet world started worrying about privacy, I was already an open book and there was no point in trying to be anonymous.  I learned to edit myself, not to share everything, especially after a few things that upset my kids. 

The global village gets succor from those tales....semipublic humans leading what Terry Gross called “specimen lives.”

On Friday Walt and I have a meeting with a Kaiser counselor to help us fill out Advanced Care Directives (which I have to have on file before my cataract surgery next month).  The form is 16 pages long and much more involved than I realized.  But one question "Life would no longer be worth living if I were unable to...." stumped me a bit.  I realized that one of the things that makes life worth living for me, at this point in my life, is being able to write Funny the World, which is why I lug my heavy laptop around the world with me and get so frustrated when Yahoo shuts me out for 2 days.  It's my drug, I guess.  It's one of the things that make life worth living for me.
 

PHOTO OF THE DAY

"Ned Moves Into a Playhouse"
March 2000

 

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