Give Yourself an Ill-Deserved Slap on the Back

Every now and then on Facebook or Twitter, I run across a give-yourself-a-point list like the one below.

I remember my first one. I was maybe twelve or thirteen, hadn’t even broken a bone, much less skinny-dipped or enjoyed a one-night stand.

In fact, I scored a 19.  I had appeared on a local kiddie afternoon TV show where preadolescents celebrated birthdays between Hanna and Barbara cartoons. There was an elephant named Suzie-Q. chained up outside the TV station. That was the extent of worldliness.

Anyway, the list made me feel like a loser.

How bittersweet it must be for Mormons and Liberty University alumni to encounter these lists. Sure, some probably feel righteous, but I suspect that more than a few feel somehow inadequate, inexperienced, left out.

Therefore, in the spirit of solidarity with my inexperienced brothers and sisters, I have compiled a list where they, too, can achieve a low score.

GIVE YOURSELF 1 POINT FOR EACH THING YOU HAVEN’T DONE

  1. Eaten at Appleby’s
  2. Discarded gum underneath a desk
  3. Jaywalked
  4. Seen a PG-13 movie
  5. Stubbed a toe
  6. Talked behind someone’s back
  7. Farted in a bathtub
  8. Forgot to floss
  9. Ogled natives in a National Geographic magazine
  10.  Dreaded going to school.

How’d you do? I don’t like to brag, but I scored a 0! What a badass!

The ABZs of Auto-Obituary Writing

Look, I’m vain, love attention.[1] Therefore, there’s no way I’m going to let anyone get in the last word after I have checked out of this Motel 6 of Life. 

No, I’m writing my own obituary before I expire, and you should as well. What after I succumb to something or another, my cousin Zilla is tapped to compose my obituary? Rather than merely “dying” or “passing away” or “entering eternal rest,” I might have “left the world to be with the Lord,” or worse, “entered the loving embrace of [my] Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  Though I wouldn’t mind getting a hug from Jesus, I’m agnostic, so I want my obituary to be an accurate reflection of my life. 

Don’t trust others to do right by you. Do it yourself!

So, what follows is an easy guide for composing your very own obituary.[2]

Okay, let’s get started.

Rule #1. Know your audience. Chances are the readers of the obit are friends, family, or acquaintances. Most people don’t read strangers’ obits (yours truly being a notable exception), and if they do, you can bet they’re retired, likely former English teachers, and/or grammar Nazis. Therefore, make sure to proofread carefully but address the audience in a familiar fashion.

Rule #2. Sentence one should state the sad fact that Wesley is dead and when and where that regrettable transition took place. Although it’s not necessary to state the cause of death, inquiring minds want to know. In the following I have bracketed words that can be omitted according to your own predilections. 

Wesley “Rusty” Moore died Monday [at his home/at a sterile assisted living facility/on the side of the road] [after a short/long illness[3]//months of neglect// stumbling in front of a car outside of Chico Feo].

Rule #3. It’s best to get the bio out of the way first. Make sure to include the occasional introductory subordinate clause; otherwise, these lists of facts are deadly tiresome enough without your bludgeoning the reader with an unrelenting barrage of declarative sentences.

Wesley, the first son of Wesley E Moore, Jr and Sue Blanton Moore, began life on 14 December 1952 in Summerville, South Carolina. After graduating from Summerville High, Wesley attended the University of South Carolina and received a BA in English in 1975.[4] [Because of the post-OPEC oil embargo recession of 1975 and the fact that he didn’t own a car and couldn’t score a job], Wesley immediately entered the English graduate program the fall after his graduation.

Tending bar as a graduate student, Wesley met his first wife, fellow bartender Judy Birdsong. After they decided to marry, Wesley [weary of scaling the mountainous molehills that characterize literary criticism] left the university without a degree. After [somehow] getting an adjunct gig at Trident Technical College, Wesley and Judy wed on 4 February 1978 [in Decatur, Georgia.]

[After a short stint of collecting rejection slips,] in 1985, Wesley started teaching at Porter-Gaud. By then, Wesley and Judy had two sons, Harrison and Ned, [who eventually attended Porter-Gaud and rode to school with their father, providing the boys the opportunity to amass quite a quantity of profane and vulgar words as their father battled traffic from the Isle of Palms and later Folly Beach on their way to West Ashley.]

After Judy’s death from lymphoma [on Mother’s Day] in 2017, Wesley fell in love and married Caroline Tigner.  Caroline, her daughter Brooks, and Wesley made their home in Folly Beach, a community they treasured [until it was overrun by Airbnb short term rentals that transformed the once funky residential island into a virtual Sodom and Gomorrah/ Myrtle Beach].

Bored yet? 

Rule #4. You should follow the bio with a paragraph that humanizes the deceased. I don’t know how many obits I’ve read that have short-changed the not-seemingly-so-dearly departed by shortchanging him by merely expending a sentence or two. 

For example, Harold enjoyed fishing. That’s it; that’s all it says. Or Mabel enjoying playing with her grandsons.

In mine, I would mention my writing, particularly the novel Today, Oh Boy! and the handful of writing awards I’ve received. I would also mention my collage-making and blog and perhaps my four decades of surfing.

Papa Hemingway, Joyce, and Tom Waits in Wilmington, a collage by Wesley Moore

Rule #5. You should then list survivors and pre-decedents. By the way, if you’re old like me, there’s no need to specify that your parents preceded you in death.

NOT: The great-great-great-great-great grandson of Adam and Eve, Methuselah was predeceased by his parents . . . 

Rule #5. Although the time and place of the memorial service/funeral/burial at sea, can be stated at the beginning of the obituary, I prefer it at the end, though it’s completely up to you.

Now, all you have left is to designate where memorial donations should go and perhaps to thank anyone who was especially helpful in the dying process.

So that’s it, have at it, don’t put off until tomorrow because, well, you know why.

Fin.


[1] Hence this blog.

[2] I realize that most people (Prince Hamlet being a notable exception), don’t cotton to contemplating their own demise. However, look upon the exercise of auto obituary composition as a fond look back on a life well lived. On the other hand, if you consider your life a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, you can lash out at your enemies in your obit. It’s up to you! [insert smiley emoji].

[3] For me, the more specific the better. If possible, I’d like to precisely name the illness, for example, “after an acute case of cirrhosis of the liver.” BTW, I hate the trite trope of illness as a martial encounter. Waging heroic battles with Goliath like adversaries like inoperable brain cancer is yawn-producing. Certainly, there must be people out there who whined their way to the grave.

[4] Why are red-blooded Americans omitting the “from” in sentences pertaining to graduation, as in “graduated high school or graduated university?”  

South Carolina, the Creation Science State

Senator Mike Fair, the carefree hypochondriac, has successfully struck a clause from cutting edge South Carolina’s not-so-new new science standards as the Modular Home State continues to lead the nation in embracing the concept of a 1st Century AD classroom.  

This educational apostasyphilosophy, according to Senator Fair, will prepare students for the most profound challenge they will face in the upcoming century, i.e., avoiding an eternity of everlasting perdition, “torture without end [. . .] a fiery deluge, fed with ever-burning sulphur (sic) unconsumed,” as the 17th Century astro-physicist John Milton put it.[1]

Here is the controversial clause in question:

Conceptual Understanding: Biological evolution occurs primarily when natural selection acts on the genetic variation in a population and changes the distribution of traits in that in that population over multiple generations.

Not so fast, says broad-minded Baptist Fair: “To teach natural selection is the answer to origins is wrong.  I don’t have a problem with teaching theories.  I don’t think it should be taught as fact.”[2]

In agreement with Fair is state Superintendent of Education Mick Zais, a Darwinian doubter who for some odd reason introduced forensic chemistry into Newberry College’s college curriculum when he served as president.  “This has been going on in South Carolina for quite some time,” Zais noted.  “We ought to teach them both sides and let students draw their own conclusions.[3]

Actually, Dr. Zais’s idea of teaching the theory of evolution vis a vis with creation mythsscience has already been implemented in a few avant garde Upcountry independent schools in the state.  Your commentator has obtained an exclusive copy of a comparison/contrast essay by a senior at Pitchfork Ben Tillman Christian Academy.

***

Skinner Hodges
Mrs. Tammy Jean Weektee
English IllI
Febuary 2014 A.D.

For the six thousand years man has walked the planet

earth, they have been arguing about how this God-Created

miracle of a planet came to be. And we are not only talking

about people, that are saved, but about pagean people, too.

That being the case, it is not, we reckon, not all that

surprising that people are still arguing about this topic.

This six-weeks we have been studying two different

versions of creation. The scientific and biblical versions.

The scientific version is based on human observation, that

is often faulty, and the Biblical version is based on the

unerrant Word of God. This paper using the block method

will compare and contrast the two theories.

     First, the scientific theory, which is full of holes. According

to this, out of nowhere this bigbang spit stars that cooled

and somehow or other little cells popped up on earth,

started dividing and over a ridiculous long period of time

ended up being monkeys that ended up being man. Not to

mention they haven’t found a missing link to prove any of

this.

     The Biblical theory is that the Lord created the world and

all of its creatures. This makes more sense. First, the world

did not come from nothing, which even a special education

kid could tell you makes no sense, but from the Hand of the

Almighty. Adam and Eve started out as people, not as

germs and viruses, who could walk upright in the garden

from Day 1. Add to this that this version does not come

from the faulty observations of Fallen Man but from the

Mouth of the Almighty by way of Its servant Moses.

     In conclusion. We live in a free country. You’re free to

believe in evolution if you like or in the Biblical version.

The facts, though, speak for themselves.

A+

Great job Skinner. Almost perfect, except that
“Six Weeks” should be in capitols because it
refers to a specific school-related period of time

***

In other good news, Governor Hayley is expected to sign the bill allowing patrons to bring their firearms into bars without their having to go through training or criminal background checks.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

SC Celebrity, Pee Wee Gaskins

[1] Symbol S, atomic number 16.

[2] When self-proclaimed right-thinking leftist Pointee Head questioned if Fair, a product of SC schools, could actually read, given that the above clause says nothing about “origins,” he was easily squashed by Fair’s Churchillian sally, “Hey, if I can’t read, how did I get a football scholarship to USC?”

[3] The “naked” this in above sentence doesn’t refer to sex education but to “not believing in science.” Dr. Zais believes students should receive abstinence only sex education and that students should not be aware that condoms even exist because sometimes letting students “see both sides” and “draw their own conclusions” can lead to eternal damnation.

Welcome Guest Blogger, Edward Lee-Edward Edwards IV

Edward Lee-Edward Edwards IV

Hello, Hoodoo readers. Today I’m honored to introduce guest blogger Edward Lee-Edward Edwards IV, the distinguished Henry James Professor of Locution at Vanderbilt University. Professor Edwards holds many provocative viewpoints that no doubt would shock (and perhaps dismay you) if you could only figure out what in the hell he’s trying to get at.

So, without any further ado . . . 

A Confession

I need to phrase delicately the following to soften (i.e., to obscure) with carefully selected Latinate diction and syntax rife with interruptive asides, to soften, as I say, the impact of an opinion that I hold that is anathema to Christian charity, i.e., to common human decency.

To wit: whenever I run across an account (which happens more frequently than you might imagine) of an illiberal rightwing radio personality[1] who had broadcast misinformation about the Covid-19 virus, e.g., that masks and vaccinations are ineffective, that vaccinations result in sci-fi-grade side effects such as epidermal magnification, or that other non-approved veterinary drugs such as Ivermectin can successfully treat the malady, and discover, as I read these accounts, that the said radio personality has succumbed to Covid, instead of dismay, a warm, pleasant feeling of schadenfreude washes over me until I realize that, oh no, dullards will perceive the deceased radio personality’s flaunting of COVID protocols and then dying of the disease as ironic when in fact his contracting the disease is just what one would expect, i.e., the antithesis of irony!

Edward Lee-Edward Edwards IV

Way Yonder East in the Land of Tora Bora

Yesterday, the former President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump, issued a proclamation decrying the removal of a statue in Richmond, Virginia, of the famed Confederate General Robert Edward Lee.[2] After lauding the statue’s aesthetic attributes and lamenting its being “cut into three pieces […] prior to its complete desecration,” the former President muses that “[i]f only we had Robert E. Lee to command our troops in Afghanistan, that disaster would have ended in a complete and total victory many years ago. What an embarrassment we are suffering because we don’t have the genius of a Robert E. Lee!”

I won’t beleaguer my readers with an interminable recapitulation of the abject failure of Western Invaders’ attempts over the centuries (commencing with Alexander the Great) to subdue the Afghan people or to argue that perhaps the removal of the statue had more to do with Great Uncle General Lee’s status as slaveowner and insurrectionist than it did with his military genius nor point out that Trump’s claim that Lee was indeed a military genius is, in fact, not universally shared by historians[3], but rather, I’d like to acknowledge the amusement Trump’s statement provided me as I visualized the Army of Northern Virginia clashing with the Taliban in Tora Bora or in the streets of Kabul. 

At any rate, few pleasures are possible for a man of my advanced age, gout-ridden, suffering from vertigo, etc., so I doff my hat to President Trump for the that wry smile that creased my age-etched visage.

ELEEIV


So that’s it for today. Kudos and thanks to Professor Edwards. We’d love to invite you back sometime. You certainly have a way with words!

WLM3


[1] I concede “illiberal rightwing radio host” may be a tautology, i.e., redundant, like the explanation in this footnote itself.

[2] For the sake of full disclosure, General Lee was a great-great-great-uncle of mine, i.e., I’m a distant relative. 

[3] There is, however, a consensus among historians that Lee was the losing general in the Civil War.

An Anthropological Adventure Highlighting Late Pandemic Folly Beach Behaviors

The last time I donned the ol’ pith helmet and ventured inside the rich anthropological domain of Folly Beach, SC, was on 17 March 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic. Even though it was St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday associated with the consumption of intoxicating spirits, a day when inebriates typically jampack the bars of the so-called Edge of America, only a few foolhardy hedonists stumbled the streets that Saturday, their left hands clutching red cups, their right hands thumbing their noses, as it were, at Dr. Fauci’s fervent pleas to stay indoors to stem the contagion.

Why would I – whom sociologists classify as geriatric, advertisers term a golden ager, and young people consider an old fart – expose myself to possible infection? After all, at 67, I fell into the likely-to-die demographic. Why, you ask?  

Because I’m a scientist, damn it; that’s why.

Of course, I submitted a report of that field work, including video, which you can access here.

Well, 407 long days have elapsed since that death-defying foray onto the potentially contagious sidewalks of FBSC 17 March 2020. Now, with COVID cases waning nationwide (albeit spiking in India and elsewhere abroad) and having received two doses of the Moderna vaccine – the second one a month ago – I decided it was high time to investigate. With Caroline, my invaluable anthropological colleague, erstwhile grief counsellor, and crackerjack photographer at my side, we trekked to Center Street to determine to what degree behaviors have changed since the early days of the pandemic.

We set up base camp at Chico Feo and found that outdoor eatery a-swarm with Friday night foragers, mostly tourists, but a considerable number of local denizens lolled there as well. After one low-impact libation, Caroline and I decided to head straight to Ground Zero, the shitshow known as the Rooftop at Snapper Jack’s, a two-block walk. Before departing however, our sponsors, pictured below, suggested we be on the lookout for topers tippling drinks that Jenny (pictured far right) has dubbed “ho-a-canes” and “bro-nados.”

from left to right, Dylan, Patrick, Faith, and Jenny

At the base of the stairs leading to Snapper Jack’s rooftop bar, we encountered our first bachelorette crew, pictured below. They seemed to me, despite the festive pink cowgirl hats, a bit subdued. Caroline and I peppered them with questions. The 23-year-old bride-to-be (second from the left) had found, according to her, the “man of her dreams,” but her companion, the most loquacious of the quartet (far right), said she was patiently waiting for a man who “worshipped the very ground she stood upon” and would settle for nothing less. Upon hearing this, my subconscious selected from its poetic jukebox these lines from Yeats’s “Never Give All the Heart”:

Never give all the heart, for love 

Will hardly seem worth thinking of 

To passionate women if it seem 

Certain, and they never dream 

That it fades out from kiss to kiss . . .

Anyway, we bade them good fortune, wished the bride-to-be a long happy and fruitful marriage, and climbed the stairs passing through a portal that ferried us to the Jersey shore.

No doubt these images can attest far better than my spendthrift prose.

Ladies and gentlemen, as far as these folks are concerned, the pandemic is kaput.


A Short, Disjointed History of Recreational Cannabis Use, 4/20 2011 Edition

Indians eating bhang (cannabis) circa 1790

Happy 4/20 recreational drug users! 

Hey, you’re probably too young to remember when Jack Casady, the bassist for the Jefferson Airplane, admitted that, like President Ford’s son Jack, he, too, had experimented with marijuana. 

These twin bombshells dropped in October of 1975.  President’s Ford’s “shaggy-haired, free-spirited son’s”[1]admission created quite a brouhaha, making the front pages of the New York Times and Washington Post

ALEXANDRIA, VA – AUGUST 9: (NO U.S. TABLOID SALES) President Gerald R. Ford (R) and First Lady Betty Ford (L) pose with three of their four children (L-R) Steven Ford, John “Jack” Ford (not looking all that shaggy-haired), and Susan Ford in the family home on August 9, 1974 in Alexandria, Virginia. Ford stepped into office as president that afternoon, after the resignation and departure of ex-President Richard M. Nixon. (Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)

Of course, the Airplane’s bassist’s tongue was firmly in his cheek when he followed up Jack Ford’s confession with his own. After all, Jack Casady had laid down the bass licks on the Airplane’s 1967 hit “White Rabbit,” which ends with this exhortation – “Feed your head, feed your head, feed your head!”

Needless to say,[2] people had been fueling their crania via cannabis long before the double Jacks discovered its mind-altering qualities, as this soporific sentence from Wikipedia attests[3]

The oldest archeological evidence for the burning of cannabis was found in Romanian kurgans dated 3,500 BC, and scholars suggest that the drug was first used in ritual ceremonies by Proto-Indo-European tribes living in the Pontic-Caspian steppe during the Chalcolithic period, a custom they eventually spread throughout western Eurasia during the Indo-European migrations.

Not surprisingly, it was the French, the inventors of un baiser avec la langue[4], who introduced marijuana to the West. Jacques-Joseph Moreau experimented with and wrote about cannabis during his travels to North Africa and the Middle East in the late 1830s. 

In 1842, an Irish physician William Brooke O’Shaughnessy copped some quantity in Bengal and brought it back with him to Britain. Later, Charles Baudelaire got a hold of some hashish and extolled its effects. The red-eyed munchie-afflicted genie was out of the bottle. 

Baudelaire demonstrating why it’s preferable to wear shades when you’re stoned. At least with shades, people might guess you’re stoned rather than seeing for sure that you are.

I won’t bore you with the history of its criminalization/ decriminalization. Even in South Carolina, which is about as progressive as electric shock therapy, a medicinal marijuana bill made it out of committee last week in a 9-5 vote. Now, it’s headed to the full Senate. At this rate, who knows, recreational legalization might take place by the centennial of the two Jacks’ admissions in 2175!

I should add, however, that the argument about whether cannabis is a gateway drug is still in dispute, despite the appearance of Wesley Moore’s score-settling poem published over a decade ago.

On the Slave Ship Lollipop

I used to stuff my face with candy
when I was a little boy,
couldn’t cop enough Mary Janes,
would kill for an Almond Joy.

Then I graduated to the Real Thing – Coke.
I was popping five cans a day,
plopping nickels and dimes upon the counter
under caffeine and sugar’s sway.

Now I’m hooked on heroin,
am little more than a thug.
Wish I’d known then what I know now –
that sugar is the gateway drug.


[1] This hipster description comes to us from Business Insider’s website.

[2] EB White would disapprove of this transition, but he’s dead, and I don’t care. 

[3] Don’t even attempt to read the senetence if you’re stoned.

[4] Or as it was known in my hometown of Summerville, SC, “swapping spit.”

Smugness, a Etymological Analysis of Matt Gaetz’s Maledic[k]tions

If you know anything about language, you can tell immediately that the English adjective smug is of Anglo-Saxon origin. It’s short ­– one syllable – but certainly not sweet.  After all, smug rhymes with ugh, that imitative sound of a cough that over time evolved into an interjection of disgust, the involuntary mouthing you might make when running across roadkill or this photograph.

[As in the case of Melville’s detailed explanations of various aspects of cetology in Moby Dick, an impatient reader is advised to skip the next two paragraphs and pick up the prose following the book image below.]

In English, smug first appeared in the 1550s and meant “trim, neat, spruce, smart.” Smug and smock are the immigrant offspring of Middle Low German smücken, “to dress,” as in “to creep or slip into.” [1]  You smücken into a smock. Smücken itself comes from Low German smuk, which means “pretty,” even though it’s a homophone for the Yiddish word schmuck, which means dick, as in penis or schlong

I can’t speculate on why the Low German word for pretty sounds so ugly or how it morphed into the Yiddish word for penis, which over time came to mean “a contemptible person.” I would hazard to say, however, that smug people are generally schmucks.

Ugh, smug Matt Gaetz is a dick, an entitled asshole[2], the type of insecure Lothario who carves notches in his bedpost (i. e., flashes photos of sexual conquests to acquaintances from his cell phone), the type of scuzzball whose success stems from being the scion of a wealthy shitwad who made a fortune providing hospice care, the type of chuff who frat-boyed his way from prep school to Congress exuding entitlement like a princeling dipped in AxL. Obviously, anyone who behaves with such reckless abandon has never faced any real consequences for his misdeeds. 

And perhaps he’ll sidestep repercussions this time as well. After all, he’s hired Harlan Hill (pictured below) as his spokesperson.

But I wouldn’t bet on it. 

[Full Disclosure: over the years, some have accused me of smugness just because of my relaxed demeanor, because I’m trim, neat, and smart, but they are wrong. I’m just snazzy, that’s all[3]].  

the blogger, circa 1980

[1] etymonline.com

[2] C.f. https://wlm3.com/2017/10/25/my-favorite-vulgarity/

[3] I’d insert a “tongue-in-cheek” emoji here, but they all suck.


Stuck Inside of Peoria’s Suburbs with the Arden Forest Blues Again





Dear Abby, 
 
My girlfriend disses me 
when I put “thee” 
in my confessional poetry. 
 
“So Seventeenth Century,” 
she says, “the antithesis of hip, old-fashioned, out of time.”
 
which triggers 
            Bill Wyman’s bass line
                        in the juke box of my mind.
 
You’re out of touch my baby,
My poor old-fashioned baby,
I said baby, baby, baby, you’re out of time.
 
“No way you can publish this rubbish,”
she says, “too loosey goosey, sugar britches.
 
“Try not rhyming every other word. 
The syllables should interlock
like a choo-choo train,
and go chug-chug-chug-chugging,
in a straight line,
 
not go staggering 
               all over the page, 
like a sentimental drunk 
                smashed on Toostie Roll wine.”
 
Otherwise, she’s sweet as pie, my girlfriend,
and treats me nice. 
 
Any advice?
 
 
Signed,
 
Stuck Inside of Peoria’s Suburbs with the Arden Forest Blues Again
 
Dear Stuck,
 
A wise man once wrote:
 
A poem should be palpable and mute   
As a globed fruit,

Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb,

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown—

A poem should be wordless   
As the flight of birds.
 
So, yeah, your GF has a point.


 

A Malcontented Blogger Turns His Back on Aggression: Roman Empire/Super Bowl Edition

If ever an event exists that epitomizes Late Empire decadence, it’s the Super Bowl, the trashy teenage illegitimate daughter of Walt Disney and Joan Rivers.

First, there’s the obscenity of the salaries of these gladiators who essentially entertain us through ritualistic war, a string of overhyped “battles,” each becoming less memorable as the Roman numerals march on into Super Bowl oblivion.  Admittedly, it can be fun to watch these impressive specimens of predatory machismo smash into one another, sidestep tackles, propel perfect spirals, and make acrobatic diving fingertip grabs (though their inability to master the snap count can become tedious).[1] Nevertheless, you can’t help but wonder if the over-compensation for these essentially physical skills is indicative of some sort of skewed cultural atavism that harkens back to Spartacus.  Why, for example, does the secondary coach of the Baltimore Ravens, whoever he is, earn considerably more per annum than Pulitzer winning novelist Richard Ford?  Not to mention Deion Sanders[2] whose career earnings undoubtedly dwarf Cormac McCarthy’s, Toni Morrison’s, and Philip Roth’s combined?

Because our priorities are fucked-up perhaps?[3]

Can you guess which house belongs to Deion Sanders and which to Robert Frost?

Second, there’s the Roman circus of the halftime show, which began innocently enough in the late Sixties with marching bands, but now features antediluvian rockers like Steve Tyler and the Who or commercial hiphoppers like the Black-Eyed Peas.  These performances nearly always end up flat (Prince and Springsteen being exceptions) and occasionally can be painful to watch (Grandpa Jagger frenetically cavorting back and forth across the stage as if it were strewn with red hot coals).[4]  I’m far too lazy to research the cost of these extravaganzas, but I suspect we could coax the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hahn to meditate on the artificial turf at halftime for free, which would be more entertaining than 90% of the halftime shows I’ve suffered through.

Brittany Spears passing gas at the 2008 spectacle

What, may you ask, binds together all of these facets of this undeclared national holiday – the verbal jostling of the interminable lead-ins (Terry Bradshaw bickering with Howie Long) – the game itself, the outsized attempt at halftime entertainment, the pratfalls of the commercials?

Aggression, that’s what.  Aggression is what separates the winners from the losers, those who pay sticker price from those who browbeat the salesperson into surrender, those who claw their way to the top from those who rely on honor and integrity to guide their lives, those who bury their helmets into the runner’s chest from those who wanly attempt an arm tackle.

Aggression is what fuels capitalism, and sports is a wonderful training ground for aggression, from the bestial grunting of tennis players returning volleys to the narcissistic celebratory endzone fandangoes of wide receivers.  These gladiators are worshipped in their high schools and wooed by head coaches who during recruiting banter with mothers they would never actually associate with otherwise. No wonder most professional football players possess Caligula-sized egos. These mannish boys have clawed their way to fame and fortune (the latter thanks in part to their labor unions).  

Who can blame them for copping the Conan the Barbarian look?

Mike Roemer Photography Inc

[1] When I played junior varsity football for the mighty Summerville Green Wave, we were so collectively stupid that we could only go on “hut one.”

[2] I had the misfortune to share an elevator with Deion once, who exuded all of the warmth of a Secret Service agent as he avoided eye contact with the children asking for his autograph.

[3] Here’s a longish quote copped from Business Insider website that discusses one of the reasons for the fall of the Roman Empire: 

The richest 1 percent of the Romans during the early Republic was only 10 to 20 times as wealthy as an average Roman citizen. Now compare that to the situation in Late Antiquity when an average Roman noble of senatorial class had property valued in the neighborhood of 20,000 Roman pounds of gold. There was no “middle class” comparable to the small landholders of the third century B.C.; the huge majority of the population was made up of landless peasants working land that belonged to nobles. These peasants had hardly any property at all, but if we estimate it (very generously) at one tenth of a pound of gold, the wealth differential would be 200,000! Inequality grew both as a result of the rich getting richer (late imperial senators were 100 times wealthier than their Republican predecessors) and those of the middling wealth becoming poor.”

[4] To be fair, I saw the Stones in 2019, and they were terrific. The Supper Bowl performance was an aberration.

From the Journal of Percival Reginal Ignatius Morehouse

[Editor’s note: Dr. Morehouse is the esteemed editor of Latinate Locutions for the Habitually Silent.]

Perhaps what occurred last Friday is the result of the moon’s and the sun’s elliptical longitudes differing by 180 degrees, for in the wee hours, having been prompted from my recumbent position in the arms of Morpheus by a corporal need for vesical relief, I noticed from the bathroom window that the lunar hemisphere facing me was completely sunlit, appearing as a circular disc illuminating the night sky.

You know, it’s possible that these geriatric spouses’ curtailed narratives possess smidgens of veracity. No, I didn’t bay at the full moon, nor did thick fur suddenly pullulate from my epidermis in a lupine metamorphosis; however, the synapses of my cerebral cortex did misfire – if that’s the word –  into a subversive ideation, a completely impractical plan of action, as if the Imp of the Perverse had commandeered my common sense. 

Or as Ovid might say, Habeo cilium barbam supra Fundamentum meum.

A few hours after Dawn had painted the eastern sky with her rosy digits, I descended the stairs to find my consort standing before a pile of dishes  an accumulation of platters in that domestic space where meals are prepared.

“Beloved,” I said, “how would you like to engage in an impractical odyssey that would have us motor from the Holy City to her sister city Savannah for lunch and then turn around and drive home in time to retrieve Haselden from the halls of academe?”

A smile of enchantment beamed from that face capable of launching a thousand ships, a face so beautiful it might prompt Mrs. Menelaus herself to google “plastic surgeons.”

Consort vis-a-vis Rossetti’s Helen (aka Mrs. Menelaus )

Still smiling, she queried, “But do we have time?”

“Yes, my darling,” I replied. “I have officiated a marriage of science and serendipity. If we depart in thirty minutes, we can arrive at Chive Seabar & Lounge on Broughton Street at eleven when it opens, enjoy a repast of an hour-and-a-half, and then drive home and arrive at Haselden’s educational institution by 2:30 post meridian.”

Savannah, Georgia

By nine, we were in transit, headed south on Highway 17S, motoring past the three Rs: the Red Top Community, Rantowles, and Ravenel, the last hamlet infamous for its severe enforcement of municipal strictures governing vehicular speed. On we progressed through Jacksonboro, past the quaint Edisto Motel, and that notorious naval launch site that has been christened with the unfortunate appellation of “Cuckold’s Landing.” 

After what NASCAR aficionados term a “pitstop”* (where I encountered the abomination below), we merged onto I-95, and in a mere hour found ourselves traversing the Savannah River and into the city itself.

*No, I do not suffer from a lisp.


Exactly at 10:55, our cellular amanuensis Siri informed us that “the destination is on your left,” and much to our astonishment, a parking space devoid of vehicle presented itself for the taking.

Even though what happened next might mislead the reader to consider the narrative a fictional account, just as my consort and I reached the door of Chive Seabar & Lounge, a masked woman of Asian heritage somersaulted the sign from closed to open, unsheathed the deadbolt and ushered us in to a corner table. 

Otherwise, the restaurant was devoid of customers.

We ordered mussels in a yellow curry festooned with onions and pickled cucumbers, skewered scallops, and a mushroom salad, which in honor of Mr. Biden’s election, we shared socialistically. 

Each dish was a savory culinary concoction of toothsomeness. And though castigated in verse for his winged acceleration, Time’s airborne Pegasus-propelled transport did not seem in a haste-post-haste mode, so the luncheon progressed in a comfortable sequence of leisurely elapsing.

By 12:30 PM, after the remuneration of the computation of the meal’s reckoning had transpired, we had exited, were ensconced in our automobile, and retracing the trip in reverse order.

The only glitch in an otherwise splendid sojourn was that we arrived at Haselden’s educational institution forty-five minutes early, although, truth be told, that miscalculation afforded us a premiere position in the vehicular parade known as – pardon the vulgarity – “the pick-up line,” but then again, our prolonged  idleness also presented me with the opportunity to chide the English Department Chairman for refusing my suggestion of adding Tristram Shandy to the 6th grade reading list.

At any rate, it was a full day, and I am now more than ready to close the leaves of this journal and retreat once again into Morpheus’s narcotic embrace.

8:45 PM, 29 January 2021.