All attempts to establish routine are now considered futile; only random acts that resist routine will be allowed. And damn! I wish I could find a comfortable chair in which to sit…. Yes, I know that sounds stilted and pompous, but grammar is grammar, so whattya gonna do?
Any who, back to routine, or lack thereof….. Waking in the middle of the night, sobbing over a dream, is not what I’d call conducive to making a routine. It took me an hour, and two or four solid shots to get back to a state where I could fall asleep again, and consequently gave me a late start this morning…..SIGH…. (That’s a west-county Irish sigh, a long full breath, and slow exhale, accompanied by a sorrowful expression and a sad shake of the head….)
I should probably be getting used to this randomness in my life; not having to work, or to spend any significant time worrying about what other folks need or want, is both the greatest perk, and the most stinging curse of retirement. The outer world no longer has a say in when I do something, or even what I do. I make my own schedule, and thus have no one to blame if it doesn’t suit me…. which, I’m sure you can see, is a reflection of that blessing/curse relationship. Ah well, such is life….
Since I’m late, and will be later, given the upcoming events this morning, we should get to the searching portion of the process, as it is the most time-consuming part. So…. shall we Pearl? Anything has got to be better than what has been happening thus far…..
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” — Lao-Tzu, Tao Teh Ching
The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. — Old Testament — Job i, 21
I don’t know if it actually was Job who first said this particular phrase, but, given what God eventually did to him, all on a bet with Satan, it could have been…. If so, it goes to show, one shouldn’t go too long in the desert sun without finding some shade….
Here we have a statement that purports to provide reason for worship, a justification of why we should bow our heads in prayer to the heavens…. in short it says, “God is unpredictable, and omnipotent; it makes good sense to kowtow to Him…. he likes appeasement.” Well, maybe not, but you get the idea. We are theoretically in the power of a mad God, one who will fuck with his creation at the drop of a hat, just to entertain himself and the Devil over a wager.
He put Job through some outrageous times…. boils, plagues, genocide, hordes of locusts, deformity, God really did a number on Job, trying to see if his mind-conditioning would hold…. Since, according to the story, Job did hold out, and suffered all he did at God’s hand, and still wouldn’t curse him, we see that it did hold fast. What a dolt he must have been! No, I meant Job, but you may be right…. God surely acted like a dickhead in this one….
Sorry, but along about the third time God took everything away from me (had I been his chosen target instead of that stubborn boob, Job…), I would have started trying to figure out some way to fire back a few warning rounds, just to let Him know I’d had enough of that kind of treatment. A certain amount of leeway should be given, of course, but nobody gets more than three, I don’t care who they think they are…. By the act of persecution of Job, in my mind, He gave up any rights to worship, or even belief…. and He ought to know that, as he made me the way I am (according to the theory as given in Genesis).
I’d make this piece longer, but I think I’ve probably offended the Christians out there enough for one day…. also, the next section is a great poem, by my favorite poet, and I’d as soon you read it all, long as it is…. onward…..
This poem is rather long…. but I hope you read it all; it’s a great follow to the previous pearl, and well worth the time it takes….. enjoy!
A Tale Of The Thirteenth Floor
The hands of the clock were reaching high
In an old midtown hotel;
I name no name, but its sordid fame
Is table talk in hell.
I name no name, but hell’s own flame
Illumes the lobby garish,
A gilded snare just off Times Square
For the maidens of the parish.
The revolving door swept the grimy floor
Like a crinoline grotesque,
And a lowly bum from an ancient slum
Crept furtively past the desk.
His footsteps sift into the lift
As a knife in the sheath is slipped,
Stealthy and swift into the lift
As a vampire into a crypt.
Old Maxie, the elevator boy,
Was reading an ode by Shelley,
But he dropped the ode as it were a toad
When the gun jammed into his belly.
There came a whisper as soft as mud
In the bed of an old canal:
“Take me up to the suite of Pinball Pete,
The rat who betrayed my gal.”
The lift doth rise with groans and sighs
Like a duchess for the waltz,
Then in middle shaft, like a duchess daft,
It changes its mind and halts.
The bum bites lip as the landlocked ship
Doth neither fall nor rise,
But Maxie the elevator boy
Regards him with burning eyes.
“First, to explore the thirteenth floor,”
Says Maxie, “would be wise.”
Quoth the bum, “There is moss on your double cross,
I have been this way before,
I have cased the joint at every point,
And there is no thirteenth floor.
The architect he skipped direct
From twelve unto fourteen,
There is twelve below and fourteen above,
And nothing in between,
For the vermin who dwell in this hotel
Could never abide thirteen.”
Said Max, “Thirteen, that floor obscene,
Is hidden from human sight;
But once a year it doth appear,
On this Walpurgis Night.
Ere you peril your soul in murderer’s role,
Heed those who sinned of yore;
The path they trod led away from God,
And onto the thirteenth floor,
Where those they slew, a grisly crew,
Reproach them forevermore.
“We are higher than twelve and below fourteen,”
Said Maxie to the bum,
“And the sickening draft that taints the shaft
Is a whiff of kingdom come.
The sickening draft that taints the shaft
Blows through the devil’s door!”
And he squashed the latch like a fungus patch,
And revealed the thirteenth floor.
It was cheap cigars like lurid scars
That glowed in the rancid gloom,
The murk was a-boil with fusel oil
And the reek of stale perfume.
And round and round there dragged and wound
A loathsome conga chain,
The square and the hep in slow lock step,
The slayer and the slain.
(For the souls of the victims ascend on high,
But their bodies below remain.)
The clean souls fly to their home in the sky,
But their bodies remain below
To pursue the Cain who each has slain
And harry him to and fro.
When life is extinct each corpse is linked
To its gibbering murderer,
As a chicken is bound with wire around
The neck of a killer cur.
Handcuffed to Hate come Doctor Waite
(He tastes the poison now),
And Ruth and Judd and a head of blood
With horns upon its brow.
Up sashays Nan with her feathery fan
From Floradora bright;
She never hung for Caesar Young
But she’s dancing with him tonight.
Here’s the bulging hip and the foam-flecked lip
Of the mad dog, Vincent Coll,
And over there that ill-met pair,
Becker and Rosenthal,
Here’s Legs and Dutch and a dozen such
Of braggart bullies and brutes,
And each one bends ‘neath the weight of friends
Who are wearing concrete suits.
Now the damned make way for the double-damned
Who emerge with shuffling pace
From the nightmare zone of persons unknown,
With neither name nor face.
And poor Dot King to one doth cling,
Joined in a ghastly jig,
While Elwell doth jape at a goblin shape
And tickle it with his wig.
See Rothstein pass like breath on a glass,
The original Black Sox kid;
He riffles the pack, riding piggyback
On the killer whose name he hid.
And smeared like brine on a slavering swine,
Starr Faithful, once so fair,
Drawn from the sea to her debauchee,
With the salt sand in her hair.
And still they come, and from the bum
The icy sweat doth spray;
His white lips scream as in a dream,
“For God’s sake, let’s away!
If ever I meet with Pinball Pete
I will not seek his gore,
Lest a treadmill grim I must trudge with him
On the hideous thirteenth floor.”
“For you I rejoice,” said Maxie’s voice,
“And I bid you go in peace,
But I am late for a dancing date
That nevermore will cease.
So remember, friend, as your way you wend,
That it would have happened to you,
But I turned the heat on Pinball Pete;
You see – I had a daughter, too!”
The bum reached out and he tried to shout,
But the door in his face was slammed,
And silent as stone he rode down alone
From the floor of the double-damned.
The following is an old-school pearl, with a specific thought in mind for you to deduce….. for the sake of everyone’s blood pressure, that specific thought will be revealed at the end…. I don’t usually, but thought I’d give a treat, just ’cause I’m a nice guy…. really, I am……
Child: “Supreme Being, why is there evil in the world?”
Supreme Being (Sir John Gielgud in a Savile Row suit): “Oh, dear, I can’t remember, exactly. . . something to do with free will, I believe.”
— Terry Gilliam, _The Time Bandits_
“The character of human life, like the character of the human condition, like the character of all life, is “ambiguity”: the inseparable mixture of good and evil, the true and false, the creative and destructive forces — both individual and social.” — Paul Tillich
Halfway down the stairs
Is a stair
Where I sit.
There isn’t any
I’m not at the bottom,
I’m not at the top;
So this is the stair
— A.A. Milne
“Belief gets in the way of learning.” — Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love
“Truth, in the matters of religion, is simply the opinion that has survived.” — Oscar Wilde
“SANTA CLAUS comes down a FIRE ESCAPE wearing bright blue LEG WARMERS. He scrubs the POPE with a mild soap or detergent for 15 minutes, starring JANE FONDA!!” — Zippy the Pinhead
You may be asking yourself at this point, just what have I gotten myself into? Well, relax, it’s no big deal….. all of the foregoing is intended to lead you to the following….. which WILL be on the quiz…..
An it harms none, do what thou will. — Wiccan Credo
Alternate answer, also correct:
There’s little in taking or giving,
There’s little in water or wine:
This living, this living, this living,
Was never a project of mine.
Oh, hard is the struggle, and sparse is
The gain of the one at the top,
For art is a form of catharsis,
And love is a permanent flop,
And work is the province of cattle,
And rest’s for a clam in a shell,
So I’m thinking of throwing the battle —
Would you kindly direct me to hell?
— Dorothy Parker
“Birth, school, work, death. About sums it up, I think.” — Smart Bee
For a rush job, this didn’t come out too badly…. it will have to do, anyway, so let’s get on with it….. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you……
I just sits.