random thoughts

Who sells liability insurance to superheroes?

One of my few remaining pleasures is watching cartoons with my youngest son, this being a way to spend time with him and at the same time let my inner 12 year old out for some air. We mostly watch superhero stuff like Superman, Batman, Spiderman, The Hulk.  One of the biggest pleasures of watching these is the amount of destruction wreaked by superheroes and supervillains alike.  But it does occur to me that either all the superheroes have to have enormous bank accounts (we know Batman does at least), have really good liability insurance, or are secretly a public works program paid for by the government.

Why do I feel the need to try things that I know in my heart of hearts are just going to be awful?  The list of items in this category are quite lengthy, but the most recent experience I’ve had in this arena was in the realm of snackfood.  Lays came out recently with new and interesting flavors of potato chips, in the same way that the latest Adam Sandler movie is new and interesting.  You’ll try it out, even though you know it’s going to be awful, and then hate yourself afterward and wish you could have the time back.  So today, I broke down and bought a bag of Chicken and Waffles Flavored Lays.  Think of a mcdonald’s mcgriddle sandwich, with the faint chemical flavor of maple syrup.  Then add chicken bullion into the flavor profile and you’ll have an idea of what they taste like, unless of course you have at least a few functional taste buds at which time you will be rushing for the bathroom to brush your teeth, tongue and do whatever you can to get the taste out of your mouth.  I like fried chicken, I like waffles, but I really question whether this remotely resembles either.

If I ever get around to starting my own religion, mint chocolate chip ice cream will be a sacrament.

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how did it get to this point?

I’d like to think that my life is the result of a number of conscious purposeful choices I’ve made, but I think, like most people it’s really been a series of happy and unfortunate accidents that I was only able to see the patterns in after looking back and considering them further.  I suspect the reason I didn’t see any patterns during the time and as things were happening was because I wasn’t paying particularly close attention.  That seems to be a pattern in my life irregardless, not paying attention. Unfortunately my mind tends to wander, which probably explains why I’ve been writing, but haven’t posted anything until just now.

Having a wandering mind is a good thing I guess if you want to be a creative writer, which I do.  I should clarify that I used to think being a writer used to mean someone who got paid. Now I realize it’s just someone who writes. My wife who is a professional writer, in other words a journalist, has taught me that the important thing isn’t to write perfectly it’s just to write. Editing should be a separate process, so that’s what I’m doing,

I do write and think about writing daily, though I don’t always get it written at the keyboard until it’s had time to percolate for a while.  But that’s getting away from what I had originally wanted to write about in this particular post.

Back to purposeful and accidental choices.  As Eddie Izzard once famously said, there is a very thin line between being a visionary and looking like a dickhead.  In my case, unfortunately, I seem to have mostly managed to be on the right side of that spectrum:

Being a Visionary | Looking Like a Dickhead

This is me there   >     ^

It’s not the effect that I was looking for, but due to my own unreasoning hubris at times, it’s what I’ve managed to accomplish.  I think most of the time, we’re lucky that nobody really sees the vast number of times we end up looking silly or foolish, but we are saved from that by our having the good sense to fail in private, rather than out in public.  I seem to have public embarrassing failure down to an art form.

Which I think I might be able to handle, if I could just do stupid things and forget about them, but they seem to have found little memory crannies to hide in, only to jump out when I’m under stress or feeling depressed.  “You think you feel bad now, wait til I remind you of that time that you said something really stupid this one time that no one remembers but you.  On the other hand, someone must remember since I can count on one hand the number of friends I’ve had for more than a year or two.  I think I must be a nice guy until you get to know me or something.  But I’m really not trying to have a pity party.  For one thing I’ve never every found that to be all that useful, since feeling sorry for yourself is just a way to avoid taking responsibility for the actions that put you in the situation in the first place.

I have a couple more posts I’ve started that I need to finish, so I’ll leave it at that.

In which our hero contemplates his own bad self.

Flat Coated Retriever

Flat Coated Retriever (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is something innately useful in acknowledging one’s own fundamental fecklessness.  However, in my case, it has merely made me suspicious that somewhere my good twin is living the life I should have had.  This is the version of me who managed to make it to school the day they taught home repair, money management, and any number of other life skills I’ve managed to avoid acquiring in 50 years of living.   This is the person who doesn’t suffer from crippling depression intermixed with momentary bouts of unreasonable hubris.  I’ve never been diagnosed as bi-polar, but I sometimes wonder if that isn’t the problem.

My wife, who is either blind or loves me very much, insists that I can be that person, provided I don’t spend all my time dwelling on how I’m not.  This blog is part of that quest.  Frankly, I don’t care if anyone reads this.  It’s mostly for my own entertainment, and to develop a writing habit.  The goal right now is 20 entries of 500 words or more by April 30th, 2013.  My stretch goal is one every day.

So what am I going to write 500 words about every day?  I may as well start with myself and my family.

I’m 50,  6’2″ 393 pounds, how I got to that deplorable state later on, when I get the courage to face it myself.  I’m married to the most patient, lovely, and generally forgiving person I could have ever hoped to find.  She’s my second (or as she prefers to be called, my FINAL wife). She has a remarkable ability to look at me and see my other self when all I can see when I look in the mirror is the picture of Dorian Gray, only with less unspeakable evil and more gray hair and belly fat. I’m very happy with her, and in all honesty I am sure she’s the reason I’m able to get out of bed most mornings.

I got married the first time to someone who pretty much lacked most of those qualities.  Unfortunately, I didn’t discover that until after we’d been married for a couple of years.  She on the other hand, didn’t discover that I had a remarkable streak of sadism (nothing severe, just prone to unfunny pranks) and severe anger management issues.  Three more years and two kids later, she had enough, and left.  I have to admit I was pretty angry for a good long while, but it certainly taught me a lot of things about myself, mostly that I had the capability to be a tremendous asshole.  It’s hard coming to that conclusion and finally accept that your still not insignificant other had perfectly good reasons not to want to spend her life being miserable and you were the primary cause of her misery.

I have two sons with my first wife.  One is 24 and one is 22.  I won’t talk about them other than my issues with my not insubstantial difficulties in being a long distance father for most of their lives.  My second wife and I have one child together, who is 11.   He is the beneficiary, like most third or fourth children, of the lessons I learned from the first two.  He is very much my son,  which has its good and bad points.  Mostly good.  He’s very bright, and very funny, an A student and I am very proud of him.

I also have two furkids, Toby and Buster.  Both were adopted from pet shelters.  Buster is a Lhasa Apso cross who if he could talk, would generally say one word: “What?” as he is under the mistaken assumption that he is second in command to the alpha, my wife.  He is prone to barking orders, “Food! Water! Walk!”  Of course being a small dog, he has developed the capability of doing this in a high pitched piercing voice that drives itself directly to the center of your brain like an ice pick.  Toby is a bit more laid back, being a flat coated retriever, a breed which seems to have a single primary characteristic shared with most other retrievers, a heavy tail that is a metronome of happiness and destruction, depending on where it is applied.  He also has managed to acquire in his 9 or 10 years what we call furnace breath.  He is prone to waiting until I am sitting bare-legged in my favorite chair, putting his head in my lap and breathing heavily with anticipation that I might let him out.  Other than that, he is a major doofus, who is frequently, as my mom says “All one wiggle.”  His wiggletude has become markedly reduced as he gets older, since napping has become a primary form of recreation.

Speaking of naps, now’s time for mine. More later.