Saturday, January 04, 2014

A Happy Blog Post

Occasionally I gather feedback from things I write, most often from things written for this bloggish page.  The last post, a somewhat sarcastic one, I admit, depressed my poor father.  Apparently, I’m good at that sort of thing—being a bummer.  We all have talents.

To remedy my old man’s depression—and that of any of the rest of you readers, all five of you—I shall now write a very serious post about the good things in my life, past and present.  As for the future… the fucker doesn’t really exist, so what can I possibly say about it?

Let’s get the sappy stuff done first: I am happy to be married.  I have friends and associates who have said things along the lines of “I don’t believe in marriage.”  These friends and associates usually take the form of feminists or misogynists.  It seems that marriage is the one thing these two groups agree on.  And they don’t believe in it when the evidence of marriage’s existence is ample.  I’ll never understand this claim. 

Of course I’m joshing.  I do understand what they mean, which roughly translates to: I don’t think people ought to get married.  This is, of course, another ridiculous thing to say, as it is really just another in the vast examples history provides us of one group telling the rest of the world what to do.  Now, what they really ought to say, were they to carefully consider their words, is that they do not feel that marriage is ideal for them.  Or: they do not agree with the form marriage has often taken.  These are valid statements.  The feminists equate marriage with indentured servitude and the misogynists assume that marriage will mean the end of their freedom.  While both sides have a point, they both ignore the fact that marriage is created by individuals.  If you don’t want to be a domestic slave, don’t marry a misogynist asshole.  And if you want to lose your freedom, don’t marry a domineering shrew.  Or don't get married, but leave me alone.  

Okay, at the very least maybe consider having conversations about freedom, in both senses, before you get married.  I had such a conversation before I tied the ol’ knot.  And I’m happy.  And I assure you my wife is not chained to a stove.  She’s an intelligent, independent individual who is well aware of the pitfalls of marriage and so went to lengths to ensure hers to me would not be so horrendous.  She’s aware that the institution has been historically one-sided favoring men, and that often women get into the union for poor reasons, but she’s not about to let herself be that woman.   The idea is this: if you dislike something and the way it is works, change it.  But no, by all means, do nothing more than gripe and announce that you don’t believe in marriage, as if it were Santa Claus.  And you call yourself a progressive…

Damn, I thought this was going to be a cheery post for a change.  Sorry.

So yes, I am happy to be married but that is, again, just me.  It may not be for you, but don’t let me preach that you ought to find the right person, blah, blah, blah.  Just be happy with your station in life, single or otherwise.   And I’m happy in this regard. 

Maybe we should move on.

I am happy to have the family that I have.  This is no small thing.  Many people, whether they admit it or not, do not like their relatives.  I know this and I know that, in comparison, I am happy with mine.  They are an odd bunch, sure, but interesting.  And that’s what counts.  Dull relations are no good.  No, whatever else you can say about them, they are not boring.  Especially the loud Italians. 

To support my claim, I’ll offer a few small anecdotes and examples cobbled from what remains of my memory:

I have far more noble and beautiful examples to give, but I remember this about my mom (still alive, don’t get the wrong impression):  She opened a bill once, looked at the amount due, and said: “Oh, balls,” which sent me and my brother on our backs, rolling on the kitchen floor, laughing as if we’d never heard a joke before.  Sure, there are all the other things I can say about this woman who worked hard as a single mom and faced all the challenges that go with that territory, but I always think back to that moment for some dumb reason.  That and the music I associate with her: Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell, “Miss You” by the Stones, “Dirty Lowdown” by Boz Scaggs, “Dreadlock Holiday” by 10cc.  Eclectic mix, eh?  Maybe I can credit her with my own varied taste in music.  Thanks, Ma.

And my dad… I have many things to write about him as well, but I’ll limit it one small item: during the summers I’d spend with him in Ohio, he would take my brother and me to the library.  I was barely literate, but I still checked out books about Van Gogh, fascinated that someone else had my name.  These trips did much to foster a love of libraries and printed/bound material.  I suppose I have him to thank for my love of books.  (And my mom—she supplied me with Stephen Kings.  And my Stepdad—he had the Douglas Adams books lying around.) 

And my Stepdad.  Aside from the Douglas Adams books, the guy was quite good at making me laugh.  And he wasn’t afraid to tell me when I was acting like an asshole without making me succumb to the terrible cliché of young man who hates his stepdad.  No, he was a constant source of support and a key element in my picking up a guitar and finding a very important outlet for the many inanities that bombard the average American adolescent. 

Now, if I were to spend a paragraph, or even a sentence, on all the important family members, this would get even more unwieldy than it already is, so I’m limiting myself to the parental figures of my pre-college years.  I could also include some kind words about my stepmom, a woman of incredible strength and patience, my godmother/aunt, a woman who spoiled me rotten, my Aunt Kathy, whose lasagna is so good that I’m forever ruined for anything else, who I always think of when I hear “Another One Bites the Dust”, or, of course, my grandparents, two of the most important people to me.  But again, space is prohibited.

So let’s go forward a bit: what other positives to highlight? 

I have none. 

You see, the above was written days ago in a fit of whatthefuck, but having stewed for a bit on all things me I find that there is little else worth highlighting.  Oh yes, I have a fairly nice apartment, infestation not withstanding, and a large library of books I will never finish reading, and the number one greatest dog in the world, all of which is very wonderful.  And I have a job that some would consider good.  And I have my health, which is no fucking joke.  All of this is, seriously, quite good and worth mentioning, which is why I just mentioned it, but otherwise… no great accomplishments, no fantastic adventures, no superlatives, nothing to gossip about. 

But that’s the thing: people are always writing these sorts of posts or lists or whathaveyous in order to highlight things that really ought to be givens (in a perfect world).  If you have your health and some money and a job and some love, well that is all fantastic, but chances are if you’re taking the time to write  (or talk) about these things it is because you’re actually so depressed that you have to focus intensely on the positives in order to silence the crashing ocean of shit.  If you were happy, or at least content, you’d not focus so much on the positives.  You’d just live your life. You wouldn't have a personal blog.

But if you have a blog, then chances are you’re not always a happy person.  And chances are double that something is wrong with you, something that dictates that you spend considerable time in a room very much like the one I am sitting in.  And in that room you will write nonsense very much like the kind I am writing.  And you will take days off between writing a bullshit blog post in an effort to find things to list that qualify you as a happy person, all because someone in your life made a comment, surely long forgotten by them, about how you’re a bummer.  And look—you’ve proved them right!

If this seems like I’ve strayed from my original intention of writing a happy little post and sunk back into the muck of negativity, well too bad.   Maybe the inverse of the above is in fact true; maybe my near constant writing about depressing things means that I am actually so happy that I must wallow in the seemingly negative from time to time. 

That’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it.