Thursday, January 28, 2016


Few things are more frustrating or more futile than trying to deal with bureaucracies whose sole purpose is on expanding their own authority through absolute inflexibility and a total disregard for the individual human beings they were created to serve. Bureaucracy is the perfect example of what happens when the servant becomes the master.

Bureaucracies beget bureaucracies and have within themselves subsidiary bureaucracies, and thus was this particular blog born.

I moved into an apartment building owned by the Chicago Housing Authority (a bureaucracy) and managed by Legume & Norman, an independent management company (also a bureaucracy) in November of 2006 and was assigned an apartment on the east side of the building, facing the elevated tracks, 500 feet away, of the Chicago Transportation Authority (yet another bureaucracy). The decibel levels in the apartment from trains roaring by every 3-5 minutes, day and night, may never have been measured by any of the above-named bureaucracies, but since it is not their concern and only mere individual humans are involved, there has never been any interest in doing so. (Whatever the decibel levels may be, I’m sure they approach the limits of human tolerability. In summer, with the windows open, it is impossible to hear a TV while trains pass.)

When the CHA reopened a facility about a mile away and managed by yet another bureaucratic management company, I put in an application for a one-bedroom apartment there and was approved. I was all packed and ready to go when a “quarantine” was placed on my current building due to an infestation of bedbugs. This dragged on for at least six months, during which I sat in an apartment stacked with packed boxes, waiting to move.

I checked frequently with the management of the building I was approved to move into and was assured no fewer than four times that a one-bedroom apartment was definitely being held for me. When the “quarantine” was partially lifted, I received a call from them saying that my studio apartment was ready. When I pointed out that I had been assured several times that they were holding a one-bedroom for me, I was told the one-bedrooms were filled and that they had no idea I had wanted a one-bedroom. There was no apology for having kept me in limbo all those months of course. I was given the choice of a studio or nothing. I chose nothing.

I then approached the management at my current building, asking to move from the east side of the building to the west side, to escape the noise. The apartment directly across the hall from mine had been empty for more than six months. It had not been cleaned/repainted/repaired since, but the management agreed I could have it as soon as it was ready for new occupancy. Two more months of “next week/soon/maybe by the first of the month” promises from the building’s management.

Finally I was able to move in, and was very happy with it. Then, a month or so ago, the building manager came to tell me that the CHA had deemed “construction” had to be done on my just-refurbished apartment, and that I would have to move out—back across the hall to my original apartment and the problems which had forced me to leave in the first place—while the changes were being made. But I was assured that I could move back in when the “construction” was completed.

The building was recently was taken over by another management firm: Habitat Company, which obviously is out to set new records for intransigence and contempt for anyone who dares question their edicts. I was subsequently informed that I would NOT be able to move back into my current apartment when the unspecified “construction” was finished. I said that if I were not going to be able to return to my current apartment, I at least did not want to move back to my original apartment and be right back where I started regarding the problem with the noise, and asked for another apartment on the west side of the building, away from the noise. Despite the fact that there are a number of empty units on the west side, I was told that moving into one of them was not possible...that there are procedures and processes and rules and regulations and waiting lists and forms and paperwork and....

When I mentioned to the new building manager that the previous manager had assured me that I could move back into my current apartment, her response should be engraved on the plinth of the Temple of Bureaucracy. (Get a pencil; you may want to write this down.) She said: “Did you get it in writing?”

No, you insufferably pompous bureaucratic hack. I was foolish enough to think that when I was told something by someone in authority, I could believe them. Silly, silly me.

So I am preparing a letter similar to this blog, to be sent to the management of this building, the Habitat Company, my alderman, my city councilman, the head of the Chicago Housing Authority (noting that when I asked the manager of the building to whom I should address my complaint, she had absolutely no idea), and the office of the Mayor.

I am not quite so deluded as to think that any of this will do one iota of good or result in a single positive action. But I will be damned if I won’t let them know how I feel. Not that they give a dung-beetle’s ass, of course.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from Untreed Reads and Amazon; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/

Monday, January 25, 2016


Of all the wasteful, unproductive, and frustrating pastimes we humans absolutely insist on wasting our time on, fretting surely has to be right there at the top of the list. I’ve come to the conclusion that fretting provides the same perverse form of pain/pleasure as picking a scab, and despite our protestations to the contrary, it must be, or we wouldn’t do it.

I’m quite good at fretting but, as with most things, not really a pro. Were college degrees offered in Fretting, I’d probably qualify for an associate’s degree at best. My friend Gary, however, would have a double PhD with honors. I have no idea where he possibly finds all the things to fret about, but if they are there, he will seek them out. He’s my best friend, and it’s unfair of me to single him out, since he is far from alone. He is in fact only one of a vast number of people for whom the making of an appointment for a routine dental checkup three weeks in advance provides three rich weeks of fretting, though not even they are sure exactly what it is they’re fretting about. Being a closet Obsessive-Compulsive probably helps. Full-time fretters never have housekeepers—they would fret so much about fearing to be thought untidy that they would clean the place from top to bottom (probably twice) before the housekeeper arrived.

I think I register so low on the Fret scale because I don’t really give a damn about some of the richest veins of ore for fretting.

Of course, fretting seems to be a part of the human condition, and there are times when it is both inevitable and understandable, as in the anticipation of physical, relationship, or financial crises. But even then fretting is less than worthless; it’s counterproductive. Fretting is Worry Lite, it’s Worry on a caffeine buzz, and while worry can sometimes lead to conclusions and solutions, fretting almost never results in anything positive.

One of the worst things about fretting is its insidiousness; it’s like inviting a vampire through the open window of your mind: once it enters, you’re doomed, and applying logic and rationality have absolutely no effect. Even knowing full well that the anticipation is far worse than the event, and that once the cause of the fret…that dentist’s appointment, say…is over, it simply goes away, like passing a kidney stone, and has no effect. We simply erase it from our minds and immediately move on to the next fret.

My total inability to control fretting once it has snuck into my mind is what I find most disturbing. I know it’s pointless; I know perfectly well that whatever I’m fretting about will not only pass, but that once it’s over I will wonder yet again why I’d ever wasted my time on it in the first place.

Animals don’t fret. Whatever happens happens when it happens and that seems to be just fine with them. They might put up something of a fuss if they want to be fed, but I wouldn’t call that fretting, necessarily…it’s more a physical reaction to being hungry. I doubt they spend much time fretting about what time they’ll have dinner and what might be on the menu. Even when animals have good reason to fret, they don’t. I have yet to open a closet door without my cat immediately darting in as though he’d never seen it before, though he’d just been in there half an hour earlier. Once inside, he refuses to respond to my calls to come out, and I’m not about to get down on my hands and knees and go feeling around behind the laundry basket to try to find him. So eventually and inevitably I will simply close the door and walk away. Does he fret and worry that I will forget about him and that he may be in there forever? He may not fret about it but I inevitably do, wondering how long it will be before he begins a plaintive mewling to be released. The fretting mounts until I stop what I’m doing, go to the closet, and let him out until the next time.

Fretting certainly does not respond to logic. We know it’s pointless. We know that whatever we’re fretting about will resolve itself one way or the other without the fretting. But still we do it.

A case of “simple pleasures,” I guess.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from Untreed Reads and Amazon; it's also available as an audible book from Amazon/

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Lazy Perfectionist

It’s hard enough, I’d imagine, to be a perfectionist under the best of conditions. But for me to aspire to perfection…as I continue to do despite stupefying amounts of evidence to the contrary, is a source of constant frustration and not a little bemusement. I know of many people who aspire to it, and a few who come relatively close. I’d like to think of myself as a perfectionist, but fall so far short of the goal I’ve just about given up.

I so want to be so many things, and might possibly even manage to come within a stellar nebula’s circumference of attaining one or two of them were it not for the unfortunate fact that I much prefer to wish for something than to work for it.

Laziness has been one of the banes of my life. Somewhere I have notes from teachers stretched over the years, all saying in effect the same thing: “Roger’s a relatively good student, but could be so much better if he just applied himself.”

I am sure that one of the reasons I was dropped from the NavCads was because I was simply too lazy to work at things. I remember with horror, now, that I never memorized the numbers of the various runways from which I was expected to take off and land…I merely followed the other planes. And one time I actually came within seconds of being killed when, during night flying exercises with a large number of other planes, we were carefully instructed to climb at a specific rate of speed, and to descend at another specific rate of speed. I got them confused and, in descending, suddenly saw the looming wing and tail lights of a plane directly in front of me. I pushed the stick forward just in time and looked up as I passed not more than 20 feet below the plane that had been in front of and was now directly above me. Luckily, being at night, no one who saw my stupidity could see my plane’s ID number and I was not reported, as I certainly should have been.

My total inability to grasp the workings of anything with moving parts or worse, should something go wrong with them, figuring out how to fix the problem, has provided me with endless frustration and resulted in childish fits of uncontrollable rage. But for those who say simply: “Well, did you check the manual?” my answer is invariably “No.” I once read the manual for a product made in China and was halfway through it before I realized it was written in Chinese. The English version made even less sense. I find it much easier just to have someone else do it for me, even if I have to pay them to do it.

And yet none of that stops me from demanding perfection of myself. The fact, again, that no one is perfect in no way keeps me from expecting it. It’s okay for you to make a mistake, or do or say something stupid, or something you wish you hadn’t done or said, but it is not all right for me, and I hold myself in contempt for being so flawed. One of my self-deprecating mantras is: “If I can’t do something well, I won’t do it at all.” And one side-effect of that is that my heart aches when I see someone who does do something well. And that they do what I cannot/will not fills me with envy and fuels the fires of self-loathing.

But I manage, somehow. I do what I can do, and take refuge in my own little world, wherein my Dorien side and the characters in my books can do all those things I cannot do. All in all, I consider it a fair trade.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from Untreed Reads and Amazon; it's also available from Amazon/Auible as an audio book:

Monday, January 18, 2016


It all began on July 3, 1978 when I met a beautiful (to me) young man by the name of Ray Lopez in the Silver Dollar Bar in Los Angeles. I soon discovered that Ray was a hopeless alcoholic, and the story of our relationship the stuff of which bad soap operas are made. But what I want to address here is the astounding power of epiphany, and how deeply we tend to hide things from ourselves.

When Ray died of AIDS in, I think it was 1994…I can never remember for some reason which probably has significance of some sort…my first thought was “Oh, Ray!” I was truly sorry, but it was an oddly detached feeling, and I was proud of myself for handling it far more calmly than I would have imagined. Later, when I thought of his death, the feeling was largely of frustration and anger: how could he not have saved himself? How could I not have saved him?

I have often said that I consider Ray to have been the love of my life. When he was sober, there was no one on earth more kind, caring, or sweet natured. But when he drank…and in the eight or nine years (on and off) we were together the longest he went without drinking was eight months…he became a tortured animal, lashing out at everyone and everything. Knowing that many others who have alcoholics in their lives have gone through basically the same thing didn’t make it any easier.

At any rate, time passed and while I thought of him often, it was still almost always rather as though I were viewing a display case of beautiful (but of course dead) butterflies skewered on a pin. Real but not real.
And then in June of 1999, a friend called me to tell me that PBS was doing an all-male version of the ballet Swan Lake that nightand insisted I watch. I’d seen the Ballets du Trockadero group…men with light beards and hairy chests dressed up in tutus and tiaras and toe shoes…a couple of times, and while they were mildly amusing, I have never cared for men in tutus. But since I’d told him I’d watch, I did.

From the minute I turned the program on, I did not move from my chair: I was transfixed…overwhelmed. This was no silly story of men pretending to be women: the swans here were all powerful, fascinating, alternately beautiful and threatening, and the love story between the lead male swan and the prince nearly tore my heart out. It was, I still feel, the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.

When the production ended, I went directly to the phone to order the VHS of the performance, which I watched at least a dozen times. And when I heard the production…Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake…was opening on Broadway, I drove to New York for three days to see it: three times! And each time I was overwhelmed by the power and beauty…and ultimately, the tragedy…of it. Because of the impossibility of the lead dancers to do eight shows a week, they had two alternates for both the Prince and the Swan, and I did not get a chance to see the two from the video dance together.

So I returned to northern Wisconsin, still enthralled, still watching and re-watching the video.
And then I read that Adam Cooper, the Swan from the video, was leaving the show, and his last performance would be on December 19…and that he would be dancing with Scott Ambler, the video’s prince. I knew I had to be there, and (flying, this time) I returned to New York to see the show four more times, including Adam Cooper’s last performance.

The story of Swan Lake, as you know, concerns the love of a prince and a beautiful White Swan, who later becomes an evil Stranger. The Prince and the White Swan are reunited at the end of the show, but the indescribably bittersweet reunion ends in their death. As one review of the production stated with total accuracy and total understatement: “Simply heartbreaking.” And coupled with Tchaikovsky’s almost unbearably moving score, the result was breathtaking every time I saw it.

And the last night, as I was walking from the theater, I had my epiphany...why I had not realized it before, I don’t know—I’m sure you’ve already realized it. But it suddenly struck me that the Prince was me, and both the Swan and the Stranger were Ray: the loving Swan when sober, the inconceivably cruel Stranger when drunk. And most significantly I had not realized until that moment that I had never allowed myself to grieve for Ray, and that each time I watched this production, I was in fact allowing myself, finally to grieve for him.

Somehow, that epiphany lifted an indescribable weight from my shoulders...and my heart, and I have been able to finally say, maudlin as I’m sure it sounds, “I love you, Ray. Good-bye.”
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, "Short Circuits," available from Untreed Reads and Amazon:

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Why and Because

I am constantly asking questions to which no one seems to have what I consider to be a logical answer.

“Why” is, even to a child, a very logical question, and my agnosticism stems directly from the dearth of acceptable “becauses” I received to them in Sundayschool. Most of the things I was told there struck me, even then, as totally illogical, and they still do. I have always been willing to accept many things on faith, draw the line at mindless acceptance.

My parents were not particularly religious, but my mom thought it would be good for me to be sent off to Sunday school each week. I attended, as I recall, an evangelical church of some kind, and it was not a match made in Heaven. The minister and congregation were of the “we are but dirt beneath God’s feet” school, and that concept alone totally alienated me. If God created me in His image, how could I be dirt under His feet? Even in the days before computers, it did not compute. If God is Love, how was it that so many of the people who presumed to speak in His name taught—and teach—hatred and intolerance?

I was constantly reminded of Al Capp’s “Li’l Abner,” in which a group called the Lily-Whiters had a marvelous theme song: “We are the Lily-Whiters, brave and pure and strong! We are the Always-Righters; everyone else is wrong.” That pretty much summed up organized religion for me.

The fork in the road, for me, occurred one Sunday, after the usual scaring-the-hell-out-of-everyone (literally) lesson on the evils of just about everything, and on the fires of hell which were lapping at our feet every second of our existence. The teacher went on to contrast this with the glories of Heaven, in which there was never, ever, a single problem or an instant of sadness.

I made the mistake of asking the teacher what I thought was a perfectly logical question: if my best friend somehow goes to hell and I somehow go to Heaven, won’t I miss him and be sad because he isn’t there with me? The question was greeted with a deer-in-the-headlights stunned silence quickly followed by an out of hand dismissal. That was clearly the end of my formal religious instruction.

I’ve often wondered how they would have reacted had they known I was gay?

So the church and I parted ways with a mutual sense of relief and I have never willingly entered a church since. (When I do, for funerals or weddings, I am intensely uncomfortable.)

I have no quarrel with those who truly find comfort in organized religion, but I believe (and we are talking here about beliefs) with all my heart and soul…and, yes, I do believe I have a soul…that if everyone were simply to live by the Golden Rule, there would be no need for the Lily-Whiters of organized religion. We could all gather on Sunday morning to socialize and address questions of how to deal with the very real problems confronting mankind: hunger and disease and poverty and rampant social injustice. We should and could concentrate our energies on improving the world in which we are living rather than chasing a dangled carrot of what might come after.

I’ve never been able to comprehend how normally intelligent people so readily accept illogic on the basis of “faith.” Maybe, again that’s one of the reasons I’m agnostic…I just can’t do it. The same people who readily understand that laws of the physical universe prevent pigs from flying totally accept without question the proposition that Jesus ascended bodily into Heaven. I’m really sorry, but the word “faith” utterly dismisses logic.

It is not easy to think for one’s self, and my main problem with organized religion is that it assumes this responsibility. (“Oh, don’t bother yourself with those niggling little ‘why’s’…here’s what you think:….”)

Faith and logic can find a comfortable balance, the fulcrum of which is the simple word “why?” We should all use that word more often.
------This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from Untreed Reads and Amazon; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/Audible:

Monday, January 11, 2016


When I went, in 2000, I think it was, for surgery for a para-hyatal hernia (in which a tear in my diaphragm allowed part of my stomach to move back and forth into my chest cavity), it was my first time in a hospital in more than 30 years. For the occasion, I bought a pair of blue-and-white-vertical-striped pajamas for the occasion. I’d not had, or worn, a pair of pajamas since I was about 10 years old, preferring either just shorts or nothing at all.

I still have them, and wear them every day (well, I do alternate them with a pair I was given a couple of years ago as a gift). The elastic in the pants gave out years ago, and I adjust them with a safety pin. There are places on the arms and elbows so badly worn that I can actually read a newspaper through them. But they are not torn, and so I wear them. Why do I wear them? Because, like so many of my clothes and other personal belongings which have seen better days, I simply cannot consider getting rid of them. They have been a part of my life for so long that to simply discard them when they are still wearable would seem, to me, to be an act of betrayal and abandonment. Would you discard an old friend just because he wasn’t as handsome as he once was? Of course not.

I’ve mentioned before that I have a pair of sweat pants with “Margason” stenciled across the rear, which I was given on the day I received my Navy issued clothing immediately after I’d joined the NavCads in August of 1954. I somewhere have a never-worn, neatly folded tee shirt with my name stenciled across the back on it from that same clothing allotment. And as long as I have them, all I have to do is touch them, hold them, close my eyes, and 55 years vanish. I am a NavCad again and my chest aches with memories of and longing for that time.

And how, you might wonder, do I manage that? Easily. I use selective logic as a buffer against my sworn enemy, reality. (Whether reality considers me its enemy I have no way of knowing, but I rather suspect if it had any thoughts on the matter at all, its reaction would similar to the Mona Lisa’s smile.)

If there is one thing I am not…and there are, in fact, a very great number of things I am not…it is practical-as-other-people-regard-practical. I have, as I’ve explained so often, two existences: the existence of my body and the existence of my mind, and I increasingly prefer the latter.

I greatly admire loyalty, and loyalty is a two-way street. I am intensely loyal to those things and people who are important to me and extremely fortunate in that that loyalty is largely reciprocated. I probably just carry it a bit further than most, to include inanimate objects, which generally do not have much of a say in the matter, and when the time comes when I cannot avoid parting with them, I do so with true regret and a sincere sense of loss, for to lose a part of my past is to…lose a part of my past, and with it a part of myself. When the time comes that I must throw away my blue-and-white pajamas—when they tear or the already too-thin fabric simply gives out through wear—I will part with them, but not willingly, and not without regret. With them will go a direct, physical link to several thousand mornings of coffee, comfort and TV news, and sitting at the computer writing emails and books.

It will be yet another ending, and there have already been far, far too many of those. Maybe I should go out and get a new pair of pajamas. Maybe I should go out and get a new cat.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, and is available from Untreed Reads and Amazon:

Friday, January 08, 2016


One thing I never have to concern myself with is a lack of things to concern myself with. They just sort of appear, like bugs on the windshield of a speeding car on a summer night. I was thinking just now about the fact that I don’t seem to laugh nearly as much as I used to, and that I miss it. Laughter is one of life’s greatest and most underrated pleasures.

I don’t think it’s a matter of things not being as funny as they once were, though a case could be made for that argument. Perhaps it’s just that humor is a personal thing, and one’s degree of appreciating and responding to it changes as one gets older. Things that send a five year old into peals of uncontrollable laughter don’t seem quite so funny when one is ten. Fart jokes, all the rage in high school, lose their charm over time, and that is largely due to the familiarity that comes with repetition. The funniest joke you’ve ever heard loses some of its edge by the fifth time it’s told, and by the twentieth it’s stale beer.

Nevertheless, I do miss laughing like I used to: the kind of laugh that scrinches up your face and leaves you gasping for air: the kind of laugh that lasts so long your stomach hurts. They still come along from time to time, but with each passing year, one is exposed to more and more things, and more and more of them are repeats or variations of things you’ve seen or heard before. A good laugh sneaks up on you from behind and yells “BOO!”: when you can see it coming from a block away, you’re pretty inured to it by the time it arrives.

I can still recall the source of one of my best and longest laughs: It was a (Mad Magazine?) spoof on high school yearbooks. In the section devoted to class photos, there were the usual, typical photos we’ve all seen a thousand times, each student’s photo about 2 x 2 ½ inches, perhaps 24 to a page. A page of Seniors, a page of Juniors, two pages of Sophomores…all typical of annuals. Then turning to the Freshmen, there were what looked to be 10,000 tiny, 1/8 x 1/8 inch thumbnail shots. I went into hysterics the first time I saw it, and it still makes me laugh just thinking about it.

And of course, each of us has our own type of humor: things I find laugh-out-loud funny, you may stare at blankly…and vice-versa. Books have been written on what people find funny, and why. Mine tends to lean toward the totally unexpected, out-of-left-field slap up the side of the head, like the freshmen’s page in the yearbook spoof. But I also go equally for humor that creeps up slowly, as is epitomized so often by covers of the New Yorker magazine. These are seldom guffaw-inducing, but they are incredibly satisfying. An example of that type of subtle humor is also epitomized for me in another New Yorker cartoon of a vase on a table under a mirror. The vase has two daisies: the one facing out into the room is totally wilted; the one turned to the mirror is picture-perfect.

Some humor escapes me totally. I never, as a child, found The Three Stooges—or slapstick in general—to be remotely amusing. I never cared much for Bob Hope, either. Maybe, again, it’s a matter of preferring to have it sneak up on me; to have to think about it for a split second or two.

Scientific studies have shown the therapeutic benefits of laughter, and some even claim that the simple, physical act of smiling—even forcing yourself to grin when you don’t feel like it—has definite health benefits.

It sometimes seems that humor is similar to our planet’s other dwindling resources: and that nothing is funny anymore. But it’s still there, if we take the time to look for it, and it is worth all the gold in the world.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from Untreed Reads and Amazon; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/

Monday, January 04, 2016


A friend sent me a video taken from YouTube…a Budweiser commercial which aired only once, during the first Super Bowl game following 9-11. It shows the Budweiser Clydesdales...magnificent animals...pulling the Budweiser wagon through farmland and into New York City. Framed against the skyline, the horses bow toward the space where the twin towers once stood. Lump-in-throat time.

I regret I cannot recall the sponsor of what is, to me, the most powerful commercial I’ve seen. I may have mentioned it once before: a young boy is with his father in a dog pound, looking into the cages at various strays in eye-level cages. The boy points to one and says, “I want that one.” A close-up of the dog shows it is missing an eye. “You don’t want that one!” the father says. “Get a normal one.” The final scene shows the boy and his father walking out of the shelter, the father holding the disfigured dog while his beaming son walks beside him with crutches and leg braces. Bigtime heart grabber!

Patriotic songs. Broadway show tunes (“Impossible Dream,” “I Am What I Am,” “Maybe This Time” and countless others), full orchestral music, movies and plays with powerfully uplifting endings (I cried at not one but three points in E.T., twice near the end of Man of La Mancha, and had my heart torn out every one of the eight times I saw Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake).

People’s bravery under the unfathomable stresses of a major disaster fill me with both sorrow and wonder for what it shows about the nobility of the human condition. Seeing men cry on television frequently brings me, too, to tears. Gratuitous acts of kindness move me.

I sometimes cry when I am writing dramatic passages in my books. I can easily cry when I think of those people I loved (and still love) who have died…which is why if I start to think of them, I have trained myself to think of other things.

I’m not a blubberer who can burst into tears at the slightest provocation, but when things move me deeply I do get a tightness in my chest and a lump in my throat. I shed tears of joy and wonder as often as tears of sadness. And like most men, I cannot recall the last time (if I have ever done it since turning six years old) I cried in public…which is probably why I am moved to tears by television coverage of events in which men are shown crying.

I turn to mush around babies of all species, except possibly reptiles.

As to how or when I became such a softie, it’s a classic “the-chicken-or-the-egg” situation. I am and have always been an incorrigible romantic, so it’s impossible to say whether I’m a softie because I’m a romantic, or a romantic because I’m a softie. Not surprisingly, I generally tend to be a Pollyannaish, Dr. Panglossian heart-on-my-sleeve liberal, for which I make absolutely no apology despite there being mounds of evidence pointing to life’s ample negatives. For me, the glass is half full rather than half empty, and I choose to see the world as three-quarters good rather than being three-quarters hopeless.

Have I mentioned that I also choose to largely ignore reality?
This blog is from Dorien's book of blogs, Short Circuits, available from Untreed Reads and Amazon:

Friday, January 01, 2016

Puck Was Right

I don’t know…it has to be a missing “comprehension” gene in my DNA. Other people glide so easily through life, fully aware and accepting of everything that goes on. They are never confused. They accept things which strike me as sheer idiocy at best or totally incomprehensible at worst. Shakespeare had it right when he had Puck say: “What fools these mortals be.” And Shakespeare lived long before the advent of cyberspace, the cell phone, and George W. Bush.

I am truly sincere when I say I simply cannot understand so many, many things. I see that Prince William may have broken up with his girlfriend, which apparently sent tsunamis of shock and deep concern across the face of the earth. And they have at last (oh, thank GOD!) determined the father of Anna Nicole Smith (...who?)’s baby. And Brad and Angelina are adopting their 45th third-world baby (apparently there are not enough orphans in the United States)! Singing and dancing in the streets!! And what about them Bears? Did you see last week’s Big Game? I mean, like, wow!!! But my question is always the same: how could anyone not a friend or relative of these people possibly, possibly care?

Canned cat food comes in gourmet flavors (“Sliced Roast Guinea Hen in a delicious BĂ©arnaise sauce”), and people stand in line to shell out good money to buy it. They’re cats, people! They eat mice, for Pete’s sake! Do you really think they care? I recently saw a news item (I swear, it was a news item!) on people who pay $3,000 to have their cats painted in designer patterns and colors. Of course, the paint job only lasts a couple months, but it’s so...well, just precious!! And these people taking Fluffy in for a $3,000 touch-up may have to step over 20 homeless people to get to the paint shop, but who cares? And that is the Question of Questions: Who cares?

I have for the past three years been getting vital email messages from a number of people of whom I have never heard, let alone met, who apparently consider themselves my dear friends and therefore entitled to intrude themselves into my life. They are constantly informing me of astounding advances in medical science designed to improve my sex life (“Make your girl scream for more!” “We cure all disease!”). You’d think after three years of my hitting “Delete Spam” they might get the idea. If they don’t know by now I’m gay—perhaps they’re just in denial—and that I somehow doubt that they can cure a belch, I can’t help but question the true basis for our relationship.

Whenever I sign on to something on the net, I must approve the conditions of membership, which generally consist of a five-minute scroll down page after page of legalese to which I will be bound should I hit the “I Agree” button. I am considering starting a website and doing something similar, and slipping in a line somewhere: “I agree to give up my firstborn child or, having no children, to turn over the entire contents of my bank account (including savings accounts, CDs, IRAs, contents of any piggy banks in my possession, etc.).” Perhaps that is already in those “I Agree” contracts I’ve already signed. Who would know?

I do not comprehend why we are sheep. Why, when served cold food in a restaurant, we do not send it back? Why, when we are treated with utter contempt by some petty civil servant, we do not demand to speak to a supervisor then and there and, while doing so, demand the name and addresses of the supervisor’s supervisor? We are so often taken advantage of because we let ourselves be taken advantage of, and if that is the case, then we deserve what we get.

I have not run out of material for this subject, you can be sure…just out of space for now. I’ll be back.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from Untreed Reads and Amazon: