5.21.2021 – Glad! If I had known

Glad! If I had known
that at 20, I wouldn’t
have done anything!

I am not a ‘huge’ William Shatner fan.

I like Star Trek but when I say that, as when I say, “Star Wars’, I mean the original.

I never could figure out the other shows.

There is that one where one feller is light blue/green and is really a computer.

I understand he was supposed to be the modern counter part to Spock

This character was treated as someone with feelings.

But in the original series, Spock was at least half human and could display feeling.

The light blue/green guy WAS A MACHINE.

HELLO.

Would a computer made to look like a human be any less than a machine?

If he got too annoying you could smash him with a baseball bat because he was A MACHINE.

But I digress.

I WILL SAY this though.

The Whale Movie where the Original Team goes back in time to San Francisco was pretty good.

There is that scene where they all stare at a USAToday Newspaper vending machine and read the news above the fold and wait.

Kirk hits the box a few times, but the view of the front page doesn’t change of course.

“Must be broke,” says Kirk and shrugs.

OH SURE I said to myself.

Read a newspaper off a screen.

Like that will happen someday.

Again, I digress.

I remember one teacher at GRJC telling me that the original Star Trek was as close to a play of the genre of the classic Greek Tragedy that our generation would ever produce.

He felt Spock and Dr. McCoy were the pitch-perfect representation of the Greek Chorus whose role in the play, one webpage states, was “to offer important background and summary information that facilitates an audience’s ability to follow the live performance; to offer commentary about and underline main themes animating the action; and to model an ideal audiences response to the unfolding drama.  Nietzsche suggests that it was the rhythmic dance and chants of the chorus, positioned always to mediate the physical space separating audience and actor, that evoked the visionary experience that was the very essence of tragedy.

Can’t argue with that.

But back to Captain Kirk, I mean, William Shatner.

I can never figure him out.

Is Mr. Shatner really dumb but acting smart?

Or is Mr. Shatner really smart and acting dumb?

What cannot be denied is that in a life of 90 years, Mr. Shatner has embraced life.

He has been up.

He has been down.

And when he has been down, he dusts himself off, and gets back up.

I recently read an interview with him and what shined through the interviewer’s writing was that, love him or hate him or don’t care, his life has been full.

About all that he has done, Mr. Shatner said, “I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I just drifted with the currents of happenstance.

It was how he ended that struck me.

So many times we all hear and we all say, “If only I knew then what I know now.”

At the end of the interview, the question is asked, “what he wishes he had known at 20 that he knows at 90.”

His response?

“Here’s an interesting answer!” he says perkily. “I’m glad I didn’t know because what you know at 90 is: take it easy, nothing matters in the end, what goes up must come down. If I’d known that at 20, I wouldn’t have done anything!”

If I’d known that at 20, I wouldn’t have done anything!

That got me to thinking.

But I am typing this and listening to the 3rd movement of Joseph Haydn’s Cello Concerto No.2 in D major on the radio and life is a mess and life is pretty good at the same time.

I really can’t account for how I ended up living on the Atlantic Coast of South Carolina or that I have seven kids or almost anything else that has happened to me.

I didn’t just drift with the currents but I thought I was taking in active part in the direction of my life.

Any decision that I made over the last 60 years would have changed how this all came about.

I am pretty sure though that had I started out with this as a goal, I would have screwed it up.

So I got to agree with Mr. Shatner.

I think that by the time you get to this age, the thing that matters is to take it easy.

Don’t sweat the petty stuff.

Don’t pet the sweaty stuff.

What goes up, must come down.

BUT boy am I glad I DID NOT know that back when I was 20.

Had I known that, really known that, I would not have done anything.

5.20.2021 – I saw him and he

I saw him and he
saw me at same time, Second bite,
one that broke the bones

And other reason to stay out of the woods.

Taken from “Second bite is one that broke the bones’: Alaska man describes bear mauling”

“Allen Minish was alone and surveying land for a real estate agent in a wooded, remote part of Alaska, putting some numbers into his GPS unit when he looked up and saw a large brown bear walking about 30ft (10 meters) away.”

This is better (or worse) than the story from down here in the low country and the dog and the alligator.

That headline was, “Didn’t even have time to bark!”

5.19.2021 – a salutary

a salutary
fear of the future, makes one
watchful, combative

The beginning of wisdom, as Tocqueville put it, is to “have that salutary fear of the future that makes one watchful and combative, and not that sort of soft and idle terror that wears hearts down and enervates them.

Have that salutary fear.

Be watchful.

And.

Be combative.

There might be roving groups of ‘tourists’ trying to find their way into local public buildings.

Or maybe that Washington Riot was just an ‘over reaction’ and really did not take place.

Be watchful as the story gets changed.

As one feller said, you’ll be shocked by what never happened.

Then be combative!

Don’t let be overcome by the sort of soft and idle terror that wears hearts down.

Salutary?

An adjective, (especially with reference to something unwelcome or unpleasant) producing good effects; beneficial. IE: “a salutary reminder of where we came from”

Enervates?

To cause (someone) to feel drained of energy or vitality; weaken.

5.18.2021 – cranking up my brain

cranking up my brain
though world going fast enough
by itself today

In my weird new world, I am woke up by the sound of the coffee maker.

Not the alarm.

Not the awareness that I would be driving in morning rush hour traffic in less than an hour.

But the scoooorp scooooorp scooooooooooooooooooooooorp of the coffee maker sucking up the last bits of hot water to drip down over the coffee.

Then three slight beeps that the coffee is ready for me.

I used to pour the coffee into my eyes to get my brain going.

Okay so I just threatened to do that some mornings.

Still I start cranking up my brain.

But I am finding out, more and more, that world going along fast enough all by itself.

But that I mean that my little world is going along fast enough, at a pace that suits me fine, all by itself.

AND that the big mean old world out has also managed to go along fast enough all by itself without me being involved one bit.

My pace for me is just fine.

And the worlds pace by itself for me, without me, is also just fine.

A body could have a lot worse views on the way to work,

5.17.2021 – ineluctable

ineluctable
sonority, sound of sounds
between sounds of sounds

I may have made an amazing discovery about my favorite author.

I have long admired and enjoyed and written about the writing of Mr. Jim Harrison.

Perhaps Reed City, Michigan’s least recognized famous person.

I was aware of Mr. Harrison through my years of selling his books in a bookstore where I worked but in a ‘prophet has no honor is his home town’ mood, I never picked one up to read.

Somewhere along the line I came across a story about him.

I was attracted by the statement in the story that Mr. Harrison has once retyped a 500 page manuscript after he found he had used the same adjective twice.

While I doubted the truthfulness of the statement, it DID get my attention especially when it was pointed out that Mr. Harrison, like me, managed to operated a typewriter with just two fingers.

I picked up the book Sundog and the rest is history.

While my personal library has been slowly whittled away over the years, some 20 plus Jim Harrison books and poetry collections have followed me from Michigan to Georgia and now here in South Carolina.

I enjoy the quality of the writing often over the plot.

I enjoy the way Mr. Harrison says something for as much as what he says.

Last night I picked the Brown Dog stories off the shelf to flip through to start my weekend.

I came to the words, ineluctable sonority, in a sentence about fly fishing that stated, “His favorite fly, along with the muddler, Adams, and woolly worm, was the bitch creek nymph, a name of ineluctable sonority.

Ineluctable sonority.

I was pretty sure it meant that Brown Dog liked the sound.

The sound of the words alone.

But why be pretty sure in the age of the google?

I fed sonority into the google and I got this:

“the perceptibility or distinctness of speech sounds when spoken in a context in which stress, pitch, and sound duration are constant vowels possessing greater sonority than consonants.”

That made my head hurt.

It also said, “a sonorous tone or speech,”

This I was much more comfortable with.

Then I fed ineluctable into the Google and got this:

“unable to be resisted or avoided; inescapable.”

Ineluctable sonority.

A tone or speech unable to be resisted.

You know.

Darth Vader.

Sorry but I cannot mention Darth Vader without saying that the Wicked Witch of the West would have had Vader (remember when Darth was his first name?) for breakfast. I can make my point but another time.

Darth Vader as I was saying, or at least his voice.

The voice being James Earl Jones.

Which is really weird when you realize Mr. Jones grew up in Brethren, Michigan, about one hour away from Reed City, Michigan.

I guess I should also point out that Mr. Harrison went to State, while Mr. Jones went to Michigan.

That was NOT my amazing discovery.

Remember how I mentioned that what first attracted me to Mr. Harrison was that story about re-typing a manuscript when he found he had used the same adjective twice.

I believe I also motioned I questioned that story.

Good story but would an author really care that much about using words, the right words?

Mark Twain famously said on his choice of words (when being paid by the word) “I never write metropolis for seven cents because I can get the same price for city. I never write policeman because I can get the same money for cop.”

Ernest Hemingway’s word choice was influenced by his years as a foreign correspondent and the newspapers had to pay PER WORD for Mr. Hemingway’s articles to be sent by cable producing Mr. Hemingway’s style of short sentences and short words.

“It was a hot day” from The Big Two Hearted River in the Nick Adams stories.

Still I was shocked and yet not shocked when I fed “ineluctable sonority” into the Google.

In less than one second, the Google came back with 250,000 results.

The top one and the ONLY ONE that used ‘ineluctable sonority’ together in a sentence was in the Brown Dog stories by Jim Harrison.

The very same sentence I read last night.

There isn’t an award or a place where I can submit this for proper recognition but BOY HOWDY let me tell you that Mr. Harrison accomplished something special.

But in the thousands of years of writing and recording the written language, a two finger typist from Reed City, Michigan, pulled off one of the amazing unknow feats of literary genius.

Mr. Harrison wrote out a thought in way no ever had before.

And Mr. Harrison wrote out a thought in way no ever has since.

I think he would be pleased.

5.16.2021 – a day at the beach

a day at the beach
sun, sand, surf, salt, birds, crowds, fun
ugliness showed up

When I say that where I live is just this side of paradise and it has everything, it really does.

This side of paradise DOES have everything.

The good.

The bad.

And the ugly.

Yesterday was a great day for the beach.

I understand the May weekends are better as there are fewer ‘tourists’ before the season starts on Memorial Day and the humidity is less than it is in mid summer.

And it certainly was yesterday.

Clear blue sky.

A little breezy.

Great day for the beach.

By chance we set up right next to a Beach Patrol station.

These are the places on the beach with the red umbrella and someone in red swim shorts who is both a lifeguard and the agent for renting beach chairs and umbrellas.

Also by chance I had just finished creating a web page for my job on ‘Tips for the Beach’ that covered how you can rent beach chairs and umbrella’s right on the beach so I was familiar with their operation.

Just look for a Beach Patrol person in the red swimming gear.

These folks, I wrote, are set up to take cash, check or charge right on the beach.

The young man who was working the Beach Patrol station next to us seemed like a nice enough kid and a good ambassador for the beach and the island.

This is stressed in the hospitality industry of which I now find myself to be a part.

Be a good ambassador.

Represent the island.

And this kid was okay.

Approached by one beach goer about renting some chairs, the Beach Patrol kid quoted the all day price of $45 and then dropped it to $25 as it was ‘almost past noon’ and gave the guy the half day rate.

I caught his eye and he smiled and said under his breath, ‘hey, I work for tips.’

The beach goer offered to pay and the kid said not to worry.

‘Just take two chairs and I’ll come find you’, he said, ‘Right now I am taking lunch.’

And off he went happy and off the beach goer went, just as happy.

Little while later a Mom and her three small girls came up on the other side of us.

They were carrying a Beach Patrol umbrella that the Mom started to set up.

Trying but without a lot of luck as it was a little windy.

My wife pointed out to me that ‘that lady is having some problems with her umbrella.’

I walked over and asked if they needed any help and then started digging a really deep hole for the umbrella pole.

The Mom was very nice and her daughters were really funny.

While we worked on the umbrella, one little girl quickly buried her sisters croc’s in the sand.

While I dug the Mom told me that this was their first time at the beach.

They had just moved from the bay area.

The now lived in the small town nearby of Okatie.

She pronouncedit OHHHHH-ka-tee.

My wife said we knew where that was, but we called it oh-KA-tee.

I said I got in trouble when I said it was oh-KATIE.

Then, without warning, the umbrella disappeared.

It was gone.

Yanked out of the ground where it had been between me and the Mom.

I had been on all fours digging in the ground with my head down and I sat back and looked up.

It was Beach Patrol kid.

A very angry Beach Patrol kid .

He closed up the umbrella and snapped, “You can’t do this. We can lose our license.”

He took the umbrella and stalked off.

No words of warning.

No words at all.

No explanation.

Just one mad Beach Patrol kid.

And me and the Mom and her girls in the sand staring at each other.

The Mom looked at me and says quietly, ‘that was rude.’

She looked like she could cry.

I was at a loss for words.

I asked her had she rented the umbrella or made arrangements with the Beach Patrol.

She said no.

She said it was their first time at the beach.

She said she had money if she had to pay.

She was hurt and confused.

I was sorry and confused.

I apologized for the way things happened.

The Mom shook her head and said again, ‘that was rude.’

She went and talked to the Beach Patrol kid who explained how it all worked but he didn’t help her find any available chairs in our area.

Maybe there weren’t any.

The Mom called the Beach Patrol rental number and they set up with a location further down the beach.

We chatted for a second.

Chatted with the girls.

I did the magic pull my thumb off to make them laugh.

Then they walked off to find their chairs and umbrella.

But the moment stuck with me.

The Beach Patrol kid was still sitting about 10 feet from us.

I couldn’t help myself and I went over and chatted with him.

I wanted him to know that we were locals and that we understood the beach ambassador role and that maybe what we had just witnessed wasn’t the way it should have been handled.

Truthfully I wimped out and didn’t tell he him that in my opinion he had really screwed up.

But there it was.

We went back to our towels and he went back to his chair.

Later walking along the beach my wife and chatted about the incident.

I was still upset.

We tried to figure out what happened to the kid.

Why was he so brusk.

Why was he so mad about?

Why couldn’t he have taken 30 seconds to explain what he was doing?

Trying to rationalize it out we decided that he had just come back from lunch and instead of getting back into the groove of his afternoon he saw someone who had taken an umbrella.

To be sure, in my conversation with him, it turned out that the umbrella was broken and he had put it in a ‘broken equipment’ pile for the beach patrol to pick up and repair.

So maybe he was embarrassed that he had left it out where Mom could find it.

Maybe somehow he was on the spot for letting this Mom find the broken stuff.

It had all been so sudden and so odd.

About an hour later the kid was walking around the beach and checking on the other rentals,

There were two ladies opposite us, on the other side of the spot where the Mom had been trying to set up her umbrella.

‘That lady with the umbrella,’ one of the ladies called out to the Beach Patrol kid.

The Beach Patrol kid walked over to her.

‘I just wanted to tell you,’ said the lady, “we saw her and we called it in.”

The lady said with such pride.

The lady said it was such satisfaction.

The Mom and her small girls were using an umbrella that the Mom had not made arrangements for and that just messed with this lady’s day.

It was a bright beautiful day on a sun splashed beach with pelicans over head and dolphins swimming by.

But the sight of this little family who didn’t know the rules just bit this lady in the butt.

Well, what should she do?

Talk to the family?

Help out the situation in a kindly manner?

In the words of Madea, HELL NO!

Call in the Beach Patrol and inform them that some one was using an umbrella without permission.

That is what you should do.

Get the manager of the Breach Patrol to get on the case of the kid who worked that sector and roust him out of his lunch break and tell to get his section under control.

That is what you should do.

I am sure the manager told the Beach Patrol kid, ‘Don’t you know we could lose our license!!!.’

The Beach Patrol kid runs back out to the beach, sees the umbrella and yanks it out without much of an explanation.

Because these other ladies had to ‘call it in.’

Please understand this all took about 5 minutes.

In other words, the minute this Mom and her daughters came on the scene, those other ladies were so upset, so offended, so small, so mean, that they were grabbing for their phone and ‘calling it in’ faster then might have called in to report a fire or a car accident.

Please understand also that this was a day at the beach that anyone anywhere anytime might dream about.

To have been at the beach yesterday and not be light hearted and care free would have been a sin.

Besides being a sin, it would have been IMPOSSIBLE to have been at the beach yesterday and not be free of any care in the world.

Unless, of course, the sight of a Mom and three little girls struggling with an umbrella made you so upset you had to ‘call it in’ to make the world right again.

You had to ‘call it in’ instantly.

You had to ‘call it in’ with pride.

You had to ‘call it in’ with satisfication.

Not only did you have to ‘call it in’ but you had to make sure the folks in the area gave you credit for it.

I don’t know what else to call it but small.

I don’t know what else to call it but mean.

I don’t know what else to call it but ugly.

Yes-sir-ree Bob – this side of paradise has everything.

The good.

The bad.

And the ugly.

Did I mention that the Mom and daughters were Hispanic?

Did I mention that those other ladies were not Hispanic?

So small.

So mean.

So ugly.

And so very very sad.

5.15.2021 – present is enough

present is enough
to deal with – cannot handle
notion of future

Can I do this on a daily basis?

I am not sure.

Each day is enough for each day.

Do I want to do this?

But here is the point.

For the first time in a long time I can say I miss this.

Maybe its time to try again.

Each day by day.

Biblical teachings abound on the subject.

Guess I will see what happens.

5.14.2021 – might mean represent

might mean represent
a mystery reflected
arrest and reward

Adapted from the book, The Architecture of Happiness (2009, Vintage Books) by Alain de Botton, and the passage:

A bright morning in the Tate Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall. On a plinth sits a marble sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, first exhibited in 1936. Although it is unclear what exactly these three stones might mean or represent – a mystery reflected in their reticent title, Two Segments and a Sphere – they nevertheless manage to arrest and reward our gaze. Their interest centres on the opposition between the ball and the semicircular wedge on which it rests. The ball looks unstable and energetic; we sense how keenly it wants to roll down the segment’s leading edge and bowl across the room. By contrast with this impulsiveness, the accompanying wedge conveys maturity and stability: it seems content to nurse gently from side to side, taming the recklessness of its charge. In viewing the piece, we are witness to a tender and playful relationship, rendered majestic through the primordial medium of polished white marble.

According the The New York Review of Books, this is “A perceptive, thoughtful, original, and richly illustrated exercise in the dramatic personification of buildings of all sorts.”

What I find irrestible in reading Mr. de Botton is his use of language.

I get the feeling that if you made a spread sheet of all the words, adverbs and adjectives used by Mr. de Botton, you just might find that he used each word just once.

Neat trick in writing a book.

If I knew how to do that, I would.

5.13.2021 – Arguments about what

Arguments about what
is beautiful emerge as
what is wise or right

Adapted from the book, The Architecture of Happiness (2009, Vintage Books) by Alain de Botton, and the passage:

Arguments about what is beautiful emerge as no easier to resolve, but then again no harder, than disputes about what is wise or right. We can learn to defend or attack a concept of beauty in the same way we might defend or attack a legal position or an ethical stance. We can understand, and publically explain, why we believe a building to be desirable or offensive on the basis of the things it talks to us about.

According the The New York Review of Books, this is “A perceptive, thoughtful, original, and richly illustrated exercise in the dramatic personification of buildings of all sorts.”

What I find irrestible in reading Mr. de Botton is his use of language.

I get the feeling that if you made a spread sheet of all the words, adverbs and adjectives used by Mr. de Botton, you just might find that he used each word just once.

Neat trick in writing a book.

If I knew how to do that, I would.

5.12.2021 – foam flashes, crashes

foam flashes, crashes
wave explodes white collapses
wash high up on beach

Part of a series based on afternoons spent at the beach on Hilton Head Island.

I wanted to see if I would be ‘inspired’ by what I saw, by what I heard, by what I smelled, by what I tasted, what I felt emotionally and what I felt tactilely.

Some turned out okay.

Some were too forced.

Some were just bad.

Some did involve some or all of those feelings.

As far as it goes, I guess I was inspired by by what I saw, by what I heard, by what I smelled, by what I tasted, what I felt emotionally and what I felt tactilely.

Click here for more Haiku from the BEACH