483. The Telltale Singlet

Related imageA lovely time was had by all at yet another dinner party with the same lovely people we have come to know well over the past five years or so. If you recall my earlier post called The Dinner Party, that action took place at Suzanne and Gary’s abode on the hill two years ago. Oh, my!! Time has sprinted away from me. It ended in deep space as I saved the human race by exiting the exploding star ship, or something like that. Anyhow, this meeting of the Great 8 took place at Sue and Mark’s lovely home. The women- Suzanne, Sue, Susan and Sara- meet for a weekly prayer group during the school year. The men- Gary, Mark, Dan and I- just hang around looking for meaning. Haven’t found any yet.

Image result for cher picturesLast night after a wonderful display of Hors d’Oeuvres and white wine, the women retreated to the front parlor, closing the french doors behind them. For the next forty minutes they operated under Cher law, which is a secret to all outsiders except Madonna and Lady Gaga. Leaving the four of us unsupervised. Which would have been okay except for Gary. He loves to talk about wrestling and singlets and the male body’s definition. Since it was Mark’s home, I appealed to him. “Are there any ordinances about home burials in this neighborhood?”Related image

“No, I mean, no you can’t bury someone in your yard. Why do you ask?”

“It’s for Gary. With all this rain the ground must be soft. It would not take the three of us long to dig a shallow grave and clean up. We’d be back before dinner was served.”

Gary, “I’d like it if you could bury me in my Westchester singlet. It might be a little tight on me nowadays. But no matter. Did you know in ancient times they wrestled naked.”Image result for sumo wrestler images

“Gary, you don’t understand: we are serious. Our wives are discussing Cheriah law in the next room and you are drooling about wrestling naked with us. This is clearly a case of justifiable homicide.”

Dan, “In Quincy it’s legal to shoot a guest in your living room if he so much as quotes CNN or votes Democrat. And you are way past that standard of indecency. Plus, you have zero remorse.”

Image result for gene wilder pictures as nutty professorGary, “I will have you know, gentlemen, that in Latin, morse meant to bite or gnaw. Thus, remorse conjures the sense of being gnawed at again in one’s conscience for misdeeds he/she remembers. So, it is true: I have no remorse because I have not had any morse… How can a guy have remorse if he doesn’t have any morse? Um, yum, these bacon wrapped scallops are fabulous.  So I take it you don’t want to see my yearbook wrestling pictures? I sent them to NASA to enhance my physique’s definitions. I might put them on Facebook if I like the results.”

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I re-appealed to Mark, “What if we dug under the shed out there? No one would see the ground had been disturbed. It’s far enough from the house that you could deny knowledge or involvement. It might as well be Ukraine out there. We could dump the dirt in the woods and cover Gary’s grave with concrete to match the existing foundation. We would swear a sacred oath and then kill Dan just to shrink the odds in our favor.”

Dan, “But, but, why not find an empty cistern in P-P- Pond B-B- Bank and put him in there with a b-b- bottle of bl-bl-bleach? No muss, no fuss. You don’t have to k-k- kill m-m-me.”

Mark, “It’s sounding more acceptable as things deteriorate, but my conscience is wrestling with the morality of it. I don’t want to kill Dan, but I hate the smell of chlorine.”

“I don’t like chlorine either. Perhaps we could get scented bleach, but it might have to be done to cover up the Gary incident. That’s how these things work, Mark. Don’t you ever watch Dateline?”

“But why do we have to kill Dan?”Image result for questioning male faces

“He’s a witness with a conscience and a moral compass. You can’t trust a guy like that. Plus, there is room under the shed for up to three bodies. Think of efficiency and expediency. Try not to get all hung up on the moral issues at hand or resale values. It has to be done for the good of the Nation.”

Mark, “I don’t know. I get a queasy feeling when I think about Gary not leaving, haunting us indefinitely. It’s creepy beyond creepy….”

Gary, “You do love me!  I’m gonna get you a helium balloon that says, ‘I love singlets’. You guys, I knew in your hearts you were fellow wrestlers.”Image result for elmer fudd pictures

Mark, “Okay. I am green lighting this. But I don’t want my fingerprints on anything. I’ll stand guard while you and Dan do the deed. Make it quick.”

Just then the french doors opened and out came the ladies. The murderous moment had passed, but we eyed one another suspiciously thereafter. Every word was analyzed. Every glance evaluated for hidden meanings as we broke bread together.Related image

During dinner the rolls were passed clockwise with Susan’s homemade blackberry jam just behind them, as succulent ham was handed around counterclockwise. Cheesy hash browns and winter veggies were passed directly across and then moved in a Z pattern with Marine color guard precision. The entire food passage was choreographed magically above bowls of candy corn and around a single smokeless red candle. Beauty and agility vied with each other and wound up in a draw.  Mark’s Sirius radio blend floated across the white oak floor, completing the rich ambience. If not for the previous plotting, it would easily pass as a warm, loving meal shared among friends.Image result for edgar allen poe portraits

Edgar Allen Poe himself would not have written such macabre Gothic material as The Telltale Singlet. And yet, there it was with all the classic elements of terror– Cheriah law, perversion, betrayal, violence, murder, and dessert, all wrapped into one dish.

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398. Sanguine in Sedona

Nothing surprises me anymore. Here I am checking my blog traffic in the lobby of  the hotel in Sedona and “Play that Funky Music Whiteboy” is on the muzak soundtrack. I suppose it all has to do with the cosmic confluence of energies and vortexes that New Age folks in this town blather about. If you want your soul’s aura mapped, hey, no problem. Consider it done. Need your energy balanced?  Boom, level as a bevel. Raki and yoga are also available across a vast spectrum so that you can get your inner chakras aligned with the great Giver Bear’s liver.  Crystals and readings are omnipresent for whatever ails a weary spirit. You can get a quinoa enema with jasmine highlights at bedtime or snort gluten free steel cut oatmeal for breakfast. Okay, I am making some of this up, but it’s like the Grateful Dead’s tour bus blew a tire here and never left. Hipsters, dipsters, whipsters, and post-menopausal slipsters all chug about in their karmic glory.At any moment Vishnu could sit next to you at the organic deli.

“Is anyone sitting here?” says Vish.
“Dude, you should know that one.”
“Sir, I do indeed know all, but I do not vish to be so conceited as you.”
“Okay, sorry. What are you ordering?”
“I love the hot bean curd.”
At the next table…

“So, like, I was in Glastonbury, you know, and it was, like, such energy, you know, and I was buzzing with it in my lower spine. Don’t know what that means, but it was sooo coooool. Better than an iced colonic.  My aura was pulsing. I could feel it moving… you know?”

“Totally. Glastonbury vibes with Stonehenge and other alien sites where crop circles just erupt from the earth mother like pimples on a teenager’s face cuz the earth is going through adolescence. Sedona is so like that, man. All these canyons vibrate with past and future spirits that course through them with the monsoon rains. And it all comes to oneness in the vast random non-uniformity of nature. The Flow is where the power rolls, the current, the frequency, the quirky quarkiness of it all.” Blather, blather said the big guy who needed deodorant a year ago last winter. Arrogantly grandiose, he carried on without taking a breath while his two disciples breathed in every stinky molecule of his wizzdum. I’ve run into folks like this on a few occasions in my life, but they were on their way to psych wards.

The waitress takes their orders. “We’ll share an unsweetened iced colonic with spearmint and lemon in a recyclable paper cup that was not used in experiments on animals.”

“Great choice. We are the world. What’s inside is out, and what’s outside is in.”

Seriously? Even Jerry would hurl at such b.s.


I’m thinking we should never have come to this vegan garden of vectors and vicissitudes, but my wife and daughter were salivating over the menu of organic, gluten free, flavor free offerings from the Vedic beyond, imagining all their special dietary needs would be soothingly and enthusiastically  accommodated. So I drove over there in a psychological headlock, feeling like a virgin on prom night in a frat house. Nothing good was going to come of this adventure. My pessimism was not disappointed. (Is that a triple negative? What ever happened to Heidi the goat herding virgin? She got sick in the low valley as I recall.)

I was also thinking that a cheeseburger would be good, but we were immersed in a meat free/ preservative free/ hormone free / neo- Fascist food zone. I feared that the truly unwashed crowd might turn on me if I dared to suggest anything carnivorous. I ordered the Sedona Burrito. It seemed the least offensive thing on the limited menu. Beans, sprouts, quinoa, kale, and various other death defying ingredients. I washed it down  with a vodka/Pepto Bismal shake. Very proactive but to no avail. Nasty is what nasty does. It was nasty, lemme tell ya.

It was the worst meal I’ve ever paid for, even surpassing old Leroy’s Jamaican Jerk Chicken that I had on a local adventure years before. It’s hard to ruin barbequed chicken, but Leroy met that challenge before he died. And until this excursion to vegan land I thought I’d come to the end of Gastronomical Nightmare Lane. But I was wrong. This vegan burrito tasted like a dirty sock taken off a death row prison inmate and then dragged cell by cell through prison soup de jour until it dripped no more. Laid out on an unadorned white plate, even the flies would not land on this thing. In perfect hindsight I should have just eaten the plate.

My wife and daughter choked down salad somethings. I wondered if this was really a training camp for sadistic chefs and masochistic diners. No one could serve this sort of slop daily and stay in business, unless, unless every other customer were stoned out of his/her brain. Hmmmm, then even dirt would be palatable and full of cosmic vibes. It was my fault for coming here sober with taste buds that were not hobbled by psychedelics. If only I’d known and smoked up a bunch of Hawaiian herbs, I could have been in the vortex with the others instead of standing outside the party separated by plate glass. A stranger in the great ape house.

The next day we were all suffering buyers’ remorse. Immodium was coveted by all. I’ll skip the sensory details.

“Wow, I feel so freed up, unbound from intestinal fortitude but chained to the porcelain bowl.”

“We are never eating crap like that again. And don’t even say ‘I told  you so'”.

“How about ‘So, I told you’?”

“Don’t make it worse with your verbal incontinence.”

“Okay. But you know what I’d like right now?”

“Surprise me.”

“That milky chalk solution you have to drink before an MRI. It gags you and you think you’ll explode if you have one more sip, on top of Johnnie’s new dog food…”

“Shut up!”

Thank God it’s so beautiful.


211. Border lines

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Like a picture frame, a border line holds an edge and lends definition to something, maybe a garden bed or a basketball court. The line highlights where something ends and something else begins. In the therapy business  borderlines are personality disorders of the first order. The term refers to an imaginary line between psychosis and neurosis. It’s a sanity stripe that some folks dance on all their lives… one foot taps out a rhythm on the scales of depression and anxiety while the other foot occasionally stomps on wild, scorpion delusions.  It’s an awful mix of pathologies that usually results in erratic and fragile folks who are hard to spend any time with, who at the same time are desperately clingy and needy and fear abandonment. Their gasping struggle to hold on to others results in being abandoned over and over again. For them impulsivity is irresistible. Flailing in the deep end of Responsibility’s pool, they drown their rescuers like mythical sirens. Suicidal thinking and attempts go with that awful fence post place where borderlines sit painfully on broken glass, chewing strands of barbed wire licorice. Broken relationships and deaths are hard for the average person to endure, but for the borderline these are exquisitely excruciating exercises in existence. Imagine a swamp that rests on top of a volcano that sits on the San Andreas fault during monsoon mudslide season. The potential for bad things to erupt and splatter is very high.

I’ve read that borderlines are terminal two year olds in their temperament and folks who have no skin– only nerve endings. Everything hurts… the wind, the news, the silence, the drama, the weather, and especially boredom. I’ve also had limited experience with a few. Whew!! Exhausting. And you may be thinking “Oh, sure. How much harder can they be?”  Well, if you’ve ever been in a plane where the oxygen masks deployed, it’s like being in that crisis mode more often than not. You don’t want to get on such a fragile crazy plane again. It’s easy to become a hostage of a terminally flailing victim. Black holes in the social universe that suck up resources and potential disappears… the Bermuda Triangle of mental health… fear, rage, shame, guilt, and chaos swirl there.

BPD’s are forever bored and crave excitement the way that television executives crave market share….”Look at me now, and now, and how about now?” Attention is their oxygen. Endless selfies and soulful despairings attach to their ever changing FB pages. Theirs is the most exceptional life struggle of all time, dontcha know? It’s no surprise that BPD’s are overrepresented in the performing arts and sports and politics where praise and adulation are part of the payment system. And that would make sense because of the intense attention that comes to performers, athletes and politicians. The problem arises when the curtain descends. How on earth is the BPD affirmation junkie gonna get his/her fix in an empty theater, studio or stadium? Oh, I know, go stir up some drama– have a hit of this or spend that or have an affair with someone else’s spouse. And do it now because patience is no virtue in the BPD world. It’s just someone denying an irresistible treat that is deserved somehow.

Do not attempt to be rational with a border line. Their landscape is one of intense superhighway emotions without logical rest stops built in. In fact, there are no off ramps, only breakdown lanes for runaway vehicles. Boundaries do not exist in BPD land: time, privacy, private property, legal rights, social appropriateness, personal space, etc. are always negotiable items. And they promise they’ll never call in the middle of the night again or beg for money or sex or time. Rules, structure, discipline, truth, etc. are all wiggly concepts that can be manipulated by their unrelenting breathless neediness.

“They love without measure those whom they will soon hate without reason.” Thomas Sydenham.
Fallen angels, maybe. Passionate without limits…. Destruction seems inevitable, and there is a higher suicide rate for BPD’s, 8-10%, to be sure. How do you treat these shape shifters with compassion and integrity? I’ve been to personality disorders workshops before and heard that it can be done successfully. But it takes twice a week sessions for at least two to four years. That’s a lot of investment on both sides of the couch. Who has that kind of patience/ time/ money/ or insurance? How do you do therapy with an enraged jealous polar bear at the equator? Always it’s life at the extremes.
The poster girls of BPD do/did have the resources, but I’m not sure that they made it through unscathed if at all. Here are the top seven celebrities who supposedly have/had BPD–Angelina Jolie, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Amy Winehouse, Courtney Love, Princess Diana, and Marilyn Monroe.  Maybe you noticed that three of these ladies met untimely deaths. Swirling tornadoes of hot and cold emotions roiling across the flat lands level anyone and anything that opposes them. Succubi.
 Truly, it’s hard to comprehend such things unless you have experienced them firsthand. And then, since they won’t obey boundaries, you double down on yours, trying to teach them patience or just ignore their drama. Most of the time it is just drama, over blown and exaggerated, full of adrenaline. But there is always the suicide cloud that floats in the background, the ultimate trump card that holds folks hostage. “Don’t abandon me like all the rest have!” Fair? Not at all, but it’s one of the few tricks the borderline knows, emotional extortion. Problem solving interpersonally is not a strong suit.
So we carry them like a pie that didn’t quite bake correctly and we call it cobbler, served in a bowl. We supply the shape for the collapsed boundaries of self. Maybe there never were boundaries to begin with. I don’t know. You and I look in the mirror and see ourselves each morning; borderlines see no one looking back at them; that’s all.