Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ode to the Short Fuse

ode [Noun]: a lyric poem in the form of an address to a particular subject, often elevated in style or manner and written in varied or irregular meter.

Okay, so I lied--this isn't exactly a lyric poem, but it is addressed to a particular subject, sort of, and is being written in a varied and very irregular meter, and it is "owed" to the severely patience-challenged among us.

This morning, I went to join yet another internet site/group for authors. Don't ask me why. I already belong to far more sites/groups than I can possibly keep up with, but I seem incapable of just saying, "no, thanks." So I went to the site to register, following each of the simple 327 steps required, including typing in those two illegible words you must copy into a little box for some reason or other. Finally finished, after stopping for lunch, a coffee break, and two or three trips to the bathroom. Hit "Register." Was informed the password I'd entered was already in use. When I went to put in a new one, everything I'd just entered disappeared and I had to start all over again.

Resisting the strong urge to just forget it--I mean, pass up a chance to get my name out there one more place?--I went through the entire ritual again. Hit "Register." Was informed the user name I'd entered was already taken. Already taken? My user name is Dorien Grey. How many Dorien Grey's are out there? I know there's a british rock band with that name, but that they'd be joining a site for writers struck me as unlikely in the extreme. Deleted the user name while trying to figure out whether or not it was worth all the bother. The minute I deleted the user name, all the other information I'd already entered twice disappeared.

That did it. Lava began flowing out of my ears and my usual multi-chromatic vision turned monochromatic--bright red with little dancing flames everywhere. Only by grasping the arms of my chair so tightly my knuckles lost color and clamping my eyes shut tight while taking fifty or sixty deep breaths and counting to 600 was I able to regain my usual calm, zen-like composure.

Needless to say, I decided that perhaps I would not join that group even in the event of hell freezing over.

So I have, as the title of this blog suggests, a rather short fuse. I have no idea where I got the idea that everything should go right the first time, but I've had it since childhood, and when something--anything--doesn't go right I consider it axiomatic that it is my fault, somehow. My response is not mild dissatisfaction, not anger, but volcanic fury, directed both at whatever sparked the incident and myself for allowing it to happen.

When I was a kid, I went through the usual model-making stage. I began with airplanes constructed of glued strips of balsa wood covered with cloth. I never got as far as applying the cloth. I would carefully, patiently (well, patiently for me) follow the directions, gluing piece A to piece B. About halfway through, half the glued strips would suddenly come apart--as would I. I had two basic reactions: throw the model on the floor and stomp on it, or throw it across the room and then stomp on it.

While I was living in Los Angeles, my then-partner Ray, knowing my fascination with the Titanic, bought me a beautiful scale-model kit, with hundreds and hundreds of plastic parts, most of which had to be hand painted. I spent more hours than I can count doing my very best to follow the detailed instructions, which were printed on both sides a sheet of paper that measured, as I recall, about three feet by four feet. I have never seen, anywhere, a completed model from this same kit and sincerely doubt there is one. But because Ray had given it to me, when one piece I was working with would not immediately and easily go exactly where it should, I would set it aside and move on to the next piece. Well, of course, the pieces are all interrelated, so that plan didn't work very well, and I ended up with a large pile of assorted, unfinished pieces. I did get the two pieces of the hull glued together, though. They didn't quite fit perfectly, but what the hell?

I still have the box--the cover showing the magnificent ship sailing the bright blue sea with smoke pouring from its four gleaming funnels--with the pieces all inside. I might get back to it one of these days. Might.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to check out his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs ( ).

1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

I would have been creating entirely new obscenities if that happened to me again. It has before and it was unpleasant enough.