Saturday, August 19, 2006

He Was A Man, Taken For All In All...

"He was a man, taken for all in all. I shall not look upon his like again".

This passage from Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' (Act I, Scene II) crossed my mind this past week. It reminded me of my Dad.

It's been several yrs since his passing, and I still have dreams about the man. I still miss seeing him. I still get sad when I dwell upon his passing. I guess that's a good thing, in a bittersweet kinda way?

Sometimes, I compare my life to his. By my age, he had endured a relatively poor childhood. He had already worked during The Great Depression to support his family when he was a teenager, while struggling thru school. He volunteered for military service before the War came, and fought in some of the most important battles, both in the Pacific and in Europe.

And to all the anti-Nukes crowd out there, you will NEVER convince me otherwise from the fact that the Atomic bombing of Japan to end WWII saved more lives -- Japanese and American -- than it took. Probably including my Dad's. Therefore, mine as well.

By my age, he had long since married, was raising a large & still growing family; supported it with lots of long shifts in the freezing cold of snow & wind, and not much sleep. But never any grumblings or complaints. When Dad was my age, I had still yet to be born.

As I remembered that line from Shakespeare, I remembered my Dad, & measured my life thus lived at my current age vs. his... and I came up with a life by comparison as being barely lived, and muchly wasted. And I wonder, would he tell me to stop moping around, and do something about the things I need to change & correct? I'm sure he would.

"'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
To give these mourning duties to your father.
But you must know, your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his; and the survivor bound
In filial obligation for some term
To do obsequious sorrow. But to persever
In obstinate condolement is a course
Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief;
It shows a will most incorrect to heaven;
A heart unfortified; a mind impatient,
An understanding simple and unschool'd...'"

Despite all of my supposed smarts, I really haven't learned much -- truly, mine is "A heart unfortified; a mind impatient, an understanding simple and unschool'd". It is pretty much a given that I shall leave behind no offspring to remember me -- altho, as I mentioned earlier, when Dad was as old as I am now, I hadn't yet been born. So, I guess there's still that outside chance. (I'm not, however, betting on it). But when I am looked back upon by anyone, will they shake their heads at the life that could've been? Or will they say of me:

"He was a man, taken for all in all. I shall not look upon his like again."

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Evil, Evil Sock Monkey...
(To be read quickly, as if out of breath & anxious...)

Day after day, HE stares at me... he spies me... unwavering... stoic. That unyielding countenance of his... that unbending smirk... that silent mockery.

Does my Being never leave his constant stare? Does my movement not escape him, and his unblinking gaze?? Does he watch o'er me, even as I sleep?

Ahh, sleep... I do indeed take repose, but yet with one eye open... casting about to catch his silent shadow against the unspeaking, unbending walls...

... laying awake for hours without end, and void of peaceful dreams, I listen for him... Him... HIM!!

"And now, have I not told you that what you mistake for madness
is but over-acuteness of the senses? Now I say there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound -- such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well, too... it was the beating of the old man's heart. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates a soldier into courage. But even yet, I refrained & kept still... I scarcely breathed...."

Truly, I tell you, friend -- the Sock Monkey castigates me! He seeks to wear me down & whittle away my peace by the ungodly screaming of his perpetual silence!! Oh! How he seeks to destroy me!!!!

Is that which I speak, blasphemy? How can it be so when all that I have related to you about the Sock Monkey be faithful & true?

"Speak not to me of blasphemy, man! I'd strike the sun if it insulted me!... Look ye, Starbuck... All visible objects are but as pasteboard masks. Some inscrutable, yet reasoning Thing puts forth the molding of their features. The White Whale tasks me.. he HEAPS me! Yet, he is but a mask. Tis the thing behind the mask I chiefly hate... the malignant thing that has plagued & frightened man since time began... the thing that mauls & mutilates our race -- not killing us outright, but letting us live-on with half a heart, and half a lung!"

I swear to thee, that last nite, in darkness of midnite -- or was it the darkness of my soul? -- I did creep upon that Sock Monkey, and caught him whilst he looked away, toward a sound in the opposite corner of the room... Hahahahah! Oh! I did fool that evil, cotton-filled primate by cleverly tossing a small stone against the opposing wall, to distract his perpetual vigil against me!! Twas then that I struck -- quickly and lethally, as a coiled cobra! Struggling mightily, I rendered him helpless, and cast him asunder... never to again disturb me with his evil quietness...

And, yet, now, several hours later... I do swear that I can hear him... I can feel his buttoned-pupils upon me once more... I can sense his ceaseless ridicule and boundless insults against me!! I listen again... and though my ears fail to detect any sound whatever, I DO hear him.. feel him... dread him...

How can this be so?? Did I not rid myself of him but a scarce few hours ago?? What is it that I hear so loudly as if to presently drive me mad??

"... but the noise steadily increased! Oh, God! What could I do? I foamed! I raved! I swore! I swung the chair upon which I had been square-sitting, and grated it upon the boards... but the noise arose over all, and continuously increased! It grew louder, & Louder, & LOUDER!!...

... But, anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bare their hypocritical smiles no longer -- I felt that I must scream or die!! And now, again -- hark! Louder... Louder!! LOUDER!!

Villains!! Disemble no more!! I admit the deed!! Tear up the planks!!! Here! HERE!!... It is the beating of his hideous heart...!!!!"

(with apologies to Edgar Allan Poe & Herman Melville).

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Anatomy Of A Workout...

This is DEFINITELY one of those blog entries where you NEED to click on the pic to enlarge it...

You know it's been TOO LONG since you've worked-out when your exercise machine leaves a silhouette of dust.... If that isn't a metaphor for something...??

Yes, I'm counting down to my next 'real' vacation in the fall. I have 9 weeks to get myself into: "'Here, take my picture in front of....' shape". After faithfully working out this spring to get into summer-time shape (lost 13 lbs!), I've definitely noticed that I've started to put back most of what I labored to get rid of (I've re-gained 9 lbs).. ugh! That's one drawback I have in the summer -- with the nice weather, I'm waaay too inclined to go out to get something to eat, which usually means fast food. In the winter when it's hella cold, good luck on even getting me to leave my hermit's den.

As I pointed out in my May 12th blog, "Bigfoot: We Hardly Knew Ye", we don't have anyone to blame but ourselves if we eat too much junk food. I made the decisions to eat alot of not so healthy stuff this summer - but hey, it's summer!! Eat, drink, and be merry!! That's part of what summer is all about (especially when your winter lasts for 8 months!!). But, starting NOW, I'm freely choosing to start working out faithfully, watching how much I eat, and (kinda) watching what I eat... Hey, it's STILL summer... gotta have a chili dog now n then, and a tastey Strawberry shake! :-)

So, starting today... Resolution #1: Be more active, eat more healthy, drink more water.

Oh, and Resolution #2.... invest in some lemon fresh 'Pledge' (for dusting)!! If I remember right, it's a bright yellow aerosol can, with wood-brown colored lettering...

After that initial workout, I think it's time for... a nice, healthy salad. :-) Wish me luck, readers!

Peace. Out.