May-December romance

It’s May. Just in time for a May-December romance. I was inspired this morning by the classic film “Love in the Afternoon,” the story of a dalliance between the young Ariane Chavasse (played by the beautiful Audrey Hepburn) and graying tycoon Frank Flannagan (Gary Cooper).

Mr. Flannagan (as Ariane calls him) is an American playboy who goes from woman to woman. He has absolutely no interest in anything but a fling. On the other hand, the Parisian Ariane falls in love with him immediately, but she is coy about it.

She makes Flannagan believe she also is someone who doesn’t want to make a commitment. Ariane is so good at it that he doesn’t even learn her name until the end of the movie. She also convinces him that she has had numerous lovers, although Flannagan is her first.

This charade goes on until the final scene. Flannagan hops a train to the Riviera while Ariane runs alongside him, telling Frank of all the plans she has to connect with her lovers. But it is obvious she doesn’t mean it. Ariane  can barely hold back the tears.

In the end, Flannagan lifts her onto the train, takes her in his arms, and tells her to be quiet. Ariane melts. We learn in a narration by her father that the two are married and living in New York.

Speaking of melting, my life pretty much is spilling all over the pavement at the moment. I am now unemployed. This means that I may have to leave my current town to find work. If this occurs, I can say goodbye to my dream of my own May-December romance. The girl of my fantasies, a young lady half my age, lives and works here.

I am half tempted to stay in town and do menial labor to be near her. Yet, she doesn’t even know of my interest, nor do I believe she even is aware I am married, albeit estranged for some time from my wife.

Anything can happen, but I think I am truly living in a dream world if I believe I have any hope of making a life with this woman. Stranger things have happened I guess.

Salvaging Fatherhood

If you don’t think father’s make an impact, you should listen to Lukas Graham’s breakout pop hit “7 Years.”

The song is about the life of the group’s lead singer,  Lukas Graham Forchhammer, a young Danish man. It was inspired by his father, who died at age 61. Forchhammer says that his father’s death led him to write “7 Years” and “Happy Home”, the songs that made him and his group stars.

Forchhammer says he is “coming to the realization that being a father is the most important thing.

“My biggest dream is not to be some negative old dude, but to have my kids’ friends say, ‘You’re going to visit your dad? Say hi! He’s awesome.’ I had a perfect father.”*

When I read Forchhammer’s comments, I get a twinge of jealousy in my soul because I am far from a perfect father. My children might be inspired by me to write music, but only because of  the pain I have caused them and their mother.

However, even though I am about the age that Forchammer’s father died, I believe I can still leave my kids  a better legacy.

Spencer Tracy portrays  a character in the 1953 film “The Actress” who shows how it can be done. His daughter Ruth (Jean Simmons) is a flighty teenager who wants to be an actress.

Tracy plays Clinton Gordon Jones,  a curmudgeonly father who wants her to become a physical education instructor, most likely because he himself enjoys early 20th century workouts, which to me resemble Zumba.

But while Clinton is irascible, he also is a pussycat down deep. He loses his job trying to get a bonus so Ruth can fulfill her dream to go to New York and become an actress.  This doesn’t stop Clinton, however. He gives Ruth his prize spyglass from his days as a seaman to hock if necessary.

Clinton reveals to his family during the tug of war with Ruth over her future that he himself had an awful upbringing. His own horrible youth obviously inspires him to give his daughter a chance to fulfill her dreams.

I work with college students. Recently I listened to  them tell me what made them happy. They also discussed memories of their childhood. What was expressed by these students was quite moving. Almost all of them talked about how their parents stood by them, counseled them and made their childhoods meaningful. In this regard I am a failure, at least during the last few years.

Tonight my thinking is leaning toward the idea of going home-or what used to be home. I left my family several years ago because I was unemployed for almost a year and my marriage had collapsed.  This has resulted in deep loneliness.

While I don’t think my marriage is recoverable, I maintain hope that my relationship with my children can be saved.  The door is opening to at least leave my current circumstances. Perhaps another will swing open to return me to my family.

It is at least something I need to ponder.

 

 

 

 

Death and Dying

Just about every aspect of my life is either dead or dying, and I’m dying inside.

My marriage died years ago. Along with that, my relations with the children born of it passed away as well.

Along the way I got a fatal disease. It’s slow moving, but fatal nonetheless. The illness is controlled by medicine, but due to financial constraints it hasn’t been available to me for months. As a result, my last visit to the doctor showed that it had flared up. Without those pill, which I am endeavoring to get now, this showed me that I am a dead duck.

Furthermore, the job I have had the last few years is coming to an end. I’m getting laid off and my prospects are limited.

Once again I have found that I can’t afford to leave my current city, and without a new job here I can’t afford to stay either.  In addition, things do not look good in my field across the board, and it will be difficult to find anything. My skills in other areas are nil, too. Therefore, finding a job I can do in this small town is going to be difficult.

Even imagined life is not available to me. I have fallen for a married friend here. Yet, although she humors my advances it is clear my love is unrequited. She runs hot and cold in responding to me.

“Come on and kill me baby
While you smile like a friend; Oh and I’ll come running
Just to do it again; You are the last drink I never should have drunk;
You are the body hidden in the trunk ; You are the habit I can’t seem to kick ;
You are my secrets on the front page every week ;
You are the car I never should have bought;
You are the dream I never should have caught;
You are the cut that makes me hide my face ;
You are the party that makes me feel my age;
Like a car crash I can see but I just can’t avoid ;
Like a plane I’ve been told I never should board;
Like a film that’s so bad but I’ve got to stay till the end ;
Let me tell you now: it’s lucky for you that we’re friends.”-Pulp

My only hope is to adopt the attitude of the Apostle Paul. He wrote:

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in  Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.  I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings,becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

I can’t say that all of my death and dying has come upon me because I have sought to   follow Christ, but a lot of it has, as misguided as my discipleship has been.

But like Paul, from now on I MUST take Paul’s attitude to life. He also wrote,”For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

If I am to have a complete life in Christ from here on out, I have to keep from dragging around all the dying things noted above and the already dead corpses. I have to forget my past and like Paul  said, “press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

I came to Christ at 17 out of a desire to have a purpose to life.  It seems my purposes have come to nought. Now it’s time to just let Jesus fulfill His purposes here on out, whatever the cost and whatever they might be.

Death is always a negative. Jesus Himself said,

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

I want to bear fruit in this world and begin heading toward abundant and eternal life in the next, and I intend to start now.

 

 

 

 

So far not so good

I don’t know if I turned the corner at the new year with high hopes, but I don’t think I expected this.

I expect to be out of a job by the end of May. I recently got pulled into a room with some other coworkers and told there would be massive layoffs.

Now this kind of thing is not new to me. Several times in my life I have been yanked into cafeterias and offices and informed of my demise.  The end result most of the time has been that I came out smelling like a rose.

The one time in the last few years this didn’t happen helped to send my life into a tailspin. I was unemployed for a year. My bank account went down to nothing and my marriage collapsed.

I think I had better start saving money to get out of here. At the moment I can’t afford airfare or even a bus ride.

Of course, being in a dying workplace is never fun. Morale is low where I work. For the most part, however, my fellows workers are keeping their chins up. But there are subtle things going on around me which reflect our discomfort.

One of them is the rumors. Who is staying. Who is going. The boss is out. In with the new boss.

I really don’t care who stays and who goes. I really expect to be laid off.

I have never taken these pink slips well. I usually complain and whine with the best of them. While my griping isn’t good, I have not violated my moral principles.

However, I am a little concerned over something I did yesterday. Citing poor health, I informed employees  attending a meeting I was supposed to be at that I would be absent. Then I escaped to a coffee shop.

As I sat there I chatted with a colleague online. This person had also fibbed to get out of the meeting. When I told this person what I did they replied,”I love it.”

Their excuse was even more original. And while we were texting, I read an Email from another one who claimed she was stuck at home with a repairman. I texted my friend a “ha ha ha.”

But I am troubled. One thing I tell people is that I am not a liar. I think lying is despicable. Yet, for all intents and purposes I told an untruth.

I justified my failure by noting the bullying of my colleagues at these meetings, their own lousy excuses for not attending, the double standard of my bosses who accept those excuses and in fact don’t come themselves,  and the total ineffectiveness of these gatherings. Furthermore, as I told my online pal, I was in fact dizzy and exhausted. But I could have gone.

The truth was, though,  I was indeed emotionally and mentally unfit that day. So there was a grain of truth to what I told my coworkers. Even so, my excuse would probably not have flown with my boss.

So I need to look under the hood and make some repairs so that my ongoing shitting circumstances don’t result in moral turpitude. Now, if I could only find the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Truth

Yesterday I was sitting in my office hour right now. I had to close the door because I made the mistake of listening to Kelly Clarkson’s “Behind These Hazel Eyes.” I broke out weekpings.

I broke out weeping. I heard it somewhere yesterday and hunted it down on YouTube to give it a closer listen.

How it speaks to me is that in a perhaps not so deep part of me, this is how I feel. I have a broken heart. But right now I am just going through the motions of life. My outward appearances are just a sham. FB shit.
I think perhaps when I finally admit to and face the truth of my marriage and all that has happened that maybe I can start to heal, if I live that long.
Seems like just yesterday
You were a part of me
I used to stand so tall
I used to be so strong
Your arms around me tight
Everything, it felt so right
Unbreakable, like nothin’ could go wrong
Now I can’t breathe
No, I can’t sleep
I’m barely hanging on

Here I am, once again
I’m torn into pieces
Can’t deny it, can’t pretend
Just thought you were the one
Broken up, deep inside
But you won’t get to see the tears I cry
Behind these hazel eyes

I think I will die soon

I think I will die soon.

There are a lot of candidates standing in line to kill me.

First and foremost is my broken heart. I am as lonely as can be.

Then there is my age. I keep reading of celebs who are passing on and they are either in their early  60s like me or not to much older.

Furthermore, there is a time bomb ticking in my body. I have an incurable disease that is under control at the moment, but which could easily put me in the grave if not addressed. Given the state of health care in this country, that is a distinct possibility.

One possible cause of my demise could eventually be my temper. Like the disease, it too is generally under control. But occasionally it rears its ugly head and I lose it with someone. One of these days one of those “someones” is going to lose it so badly themselves that they will plant me six feet under.

But if I could predict the future, my guess is my death will come from the first factor listed above. I am in constant internal pain. I have thought of suicide it is so bad, but only in the abstract. In the final analysis I am too much of a coward and a Christian to kill myself.

I long for a woman, but the ones I want are not available. One is married and the other is too young. Oh yes, I’m married too. That needs to be dealt with, and soon, because it is a marriage name only, having itself bit the dust many moons ago.

I am no great catch, however. I have very little to offer a woman but myself. No doubt any woman reading the above would run for the hills immediately.

Thus, this blog may in the immediate future lie in cyberspace unattended. Who knows? Perhaps this will be my last post.

Life as Art

The last 10 days or so have been a roller coaster.

In my last post I related my ecstasy at finding out my potentially fatal disease is under control.  I have held on to that joy to some degree and sought repentance to God in thanksgiving.

Further, I have found myself more focused on other people. I shared the proceeds of a gift card with two people in a coffee shop last weekend. It reminded me of the movie “Pay It Forward”. I did it out of compassion I believe for the two friends who wandered separately into the store. I believe the Holy Spirit led me to do it.

Unfortunately, some long term bad habits have also reared their ugly heads in the last 10 days.

I again find myself mooning over women. I got a “like” on Facebook from my former crush and it set me into a tizzy. But I quickly came to earth when I noticed that she had switched her profile pic to one which included her new boyfriend. Bummer!

I also have been messaging with a flat out babe at work. We like to complain about our jobs. I also like to flirt . She does respond, but not as often as I would like. I think she is just being kind and humoring me. So this weekend I am just ignoring social media all together. It’s really freeing.

The worst sin that has bubbled up again is my tendency to lose my temper. This happened yesterday as I was walking home.

As I passed a parking lot on my street a couple of dogs scampered through and one of them came after me. I was tired and depressed and not in the mood to get attacked by a mutt. So I let the teenage girl trying to corral them have it.

“Get your dogs under control” I yelled. She was OBVIOUSLY trying to do that. But I was too agitated to give her some kudos for the attempt.

Things escalated when in the distance I saw through blurry eyes (I have poor long-range vision) a short fat younger guy with long black hair. He began to yell at me.

I could only hear parts of the diatribe due to the yapping mutt.

“Jackass”….”It’s people like you…” …”C’mon”.  This last phrase was uttered with the motion to bring it on.

Now the smart thing to do would have been to walk away. But hey, I have my pride.

I held up my phone and told fatso that I was going to call animal control. I think I also said “C’mon!” which also was not very wise given my age and pugilistic skills. I have always been more of a diplomat than a fighter. Not this time.

As all this was happening, a elderly black guy rode by slowly on a bicycle. He just chuckled, and kept chuckling. He stopped for a minute–and chuckled, Then he rode on–and kept chuckling.

Finally, in a state of confusion, I just walked down the sidewalk toward home. That would have been fine, except I also thrust my arm into the air. Attached to it was a hand with a middle finger jutting skyward.

When I got home I called 911. (Yes, I did.) I wasn’t sure it was going to work since my haven’t paid my bill and my account is suspended. But along with the carrier’s three digit number, the emergency line seems to be operable.

“What is your emergency?” I relate the whole story to the woman.

“What is the address?”

I thought,”How in the hell do I know?” I sputtered out that I did not know the dude’s address, but that he had threatened me, and his dogs were running loose. I tried to tell her a general location but couldn’t remember the name of the damned building.

“I’ll try to send someone by when they are available,” she said.

I thought,”Yeah right.” College football is in town today and every available police officer I am sure is committed to the thousands involved in that, not to some raging fart complaining about dogs and an unruly neighbor.

In retrospect, I realize I had been had. Satan got my goat.

How do I know? Well, for over two years I have been walking through this neighborhood and listening to a cacophony of dog barks, many of them aimed at me. Once a fairly large dog got out one night and came after me. These neighborhood mutts are an ongoing thorn in my side.

My friend, a dog lover, told me,”The dogs are fine. It’s the humans.” He was right. These morons leave their dogs to yap all day and night and aren’t even around most of the time to shut them up. It’s the rest of us who have to deal with them.

So Satan knew exactly how to ruin my joy. He knew exactly what button to push.

Then, there was the old age pensioner black guy. It would not the first time I have had angelic beings represented to me in the form of an aging person of African descent.

Now I am not saying, as some like to do with President Obama, that the devil presents himself as a black person. In fact, the other time I encountered an angel, it was an old black woman who saw my depressed mood and from her porch said words of comfort.

It’s just that it seems to me that the evidence is that God and Satan like to represent the principalities and powers in heavenly places to me as African (except for the guy who offered me a ride on morning. He looked more like “Bad Santa”.)

In any case, I realized after these 10 days that I have a long way to go in repentance. Old sins die hard.

I think God saw it coming though. I wasn’t planning on going to church this morning, but I ran into the pastor of the church I have been attending before this incident in my ‘hood and he had offered me a ride. So this morning during communion I was able to face my sinfulness head on.  My tendency is to run.

When this morning I explained to my housemate what had happened to me the day before, he interrupted me and said,”You were not in a fight with a neighbor. You were part of a French art film.”

I was not familiar with the genre, so I looked it up. Among other things, an art film stresses the symbolic and unconventional. That certainly describes what happened to me yesterday. In fact, it tends to describe my whole life to date.