Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mausoleum, Sweet Mausoleum

Well, I am not the culinary blog type of fellow, but I simply must tell you about my dinner last night! It was a delightful, harmonious melange of blood soup filled with steaming, meaty human eyeballs. How they frolicked like swimming toddlers each time we plunged in the spoons! At the base of the plate there was a garnish of severed fingers with stewed brain dipping sauce. Yum-my. I won't even get into the spinal cord remoulade -- there simply are not words enough. For dessert, my wife served chopped earlobes sprinkled over iced entrails. Oh -- the ecstasy of the taste buds.

Afterwards, we retreated to the torture room where we dusted the skeletons (always a chore around the metatarsals) and then tapped our feet in time to the panicked screams of our suffering captives. Ha. Good times. Great for the digestion. Nothing says "home" like the creaking of the ropes on the rack as a loved one cranks the capstan. Why, I remember my grandmother shutting children into the oven (oh, they were strays she found in the forest) -- she would always sing the same song in her cute, emaciated, wavering little soprano: "A Fat Little Treat For Grandma to Eat." Memories . . .

After our post-dinner rest, my wife and I got the blood-caked axes out of the umbrella stand and went out for a twilight walk, looking for someone to dismember. On our journey we would wave the axes menacingly at passing kids. Fortunately, we happened upon that annoying fellow down the street who cuts his grass at eight on Sunday mornings, long before we have to get up and go to black mass. (We'll be sleeping in this week.)

So, after that -- shall we say -- "exercise," we two climbed into our cozy coffins and lapsed into hibernation. Oh, it only lasts until the blood lust kicks in again in the morning, but we get the rest we need.

Sigh . . .

Can someone please tell me why talk like this is okay once a year? What is it about Halloween that makes severed limbs in casual conversation acceptable? I mean we get used to it and all, and tolerate it because we smile while we say it, but doesn't anyone ever worry about what the joy we take in the all of this says about us as people? For God's sake, everyone: BEWARE YOURSELVES!!!!!! The day is coming . . .

Where does it come from?

Monday, September 27, 2010

David and the Fig Leaf

Apparently, there has been a bit of a scuffle over what type of nudity is quite proper in French resorts. At Cap d'Agde, the town is in a clash: the "naturists" vs. the "libertines". (They still have libertines?) It seems the libertines are using the legal public nudity to, let's say, allow easier access to naughty fun in random places with various Biblically inadvisable combinations and numbers of people. The traditional naturists -- the ones who see nudity as a perfectly fine family activity which is devoid of sexuality -- find this appalling. It makes me wonder how long we are going to try to narrow down our incredibly complex human spirits and minds into neat categories. It won't work, people. We are much more complex than that.

William Blake, that wonderful early Romantic nut, said, in the Proverbs of Hell, that "the nakedness of woman is the work of God." The guy was, in much of his philosophy and work, maybe the first proponent of "free love" in literary history -- yes, even before Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. But, in his ironic proverbs, he is making a point for the purity of nakedness. In short, there is a balance in this fairly loony poet/artist that most people lack.

Generally, I find myself annoyed that people seem to accept that stuff just happens.  They say, "Teens just become rebellious -- and they all experiment with drugs and alcohol; people become heartless as they get older; people will succumb to temptation." I once heard a youth counselor tell kids they shouldn't even hug each other -- that any physical contact, like pressing the bodies together, was a bad idea before marriage because it could "lead to other things." Well, yeah, it could. But do we tell people who love sports not to go into Modell's because it might lead to stealing? (Or rubbing the leather gloves wantonly?) How about just encouraging kids, guiding them -- saying to them: "You can control yourself. Identify your own line and don't cross it." Teaching kids to avoid all contact is the same as teaching them to avoid taking responsibility for controlling themselves.

And, please, don't tell me that is an unrealistic way of thinking. It is only unrealistic as long as we believe it is as a collective societal mind.

So, back to the naked French people. The natural nudies are mad at the hoochy-coochy nudies for engaging in hoo-ha and not just playing volleyball and cooking burgers with their kids. (Why does it always have to be volleyball? Can't it be, like, horseshoes, or something?) The "libertines" feel they are simply engaging in natural, unabashed human fun. To me, each of these groups is composed of les idiots.

Nudity is both a sexual and non-sexual state. If you are right in the head, you can appreciate the aesthetics of the human body, the way Michelangelo did, and also realize that the sexual impulse is strong (like Michelangelo did) and, at the right times, perfectly wonderful.

As things stand, we wear clothes in public in most places. It is practical in terms of avoiding both sunburn and frostbite, and it helps us to keep perspective. To take clothes off is a choice as is the time during which we do it. Having them on and taking them off can be equally tantalizing states. We make the choices to be celibate or not. Our respective religions guide us as to when these choices are appropriate. But let us not act as if a "wardrobe malfunction" or a low-cut shirt is an evil. Let's just teach our kids: The body is beautiful and powerful. Respect it in every way -- both yours and everyone else's. "Sin" starts in the mind. Let's not equate the body with it from day one.

In the end, how silly is it to put a fig leaf over David's privates? You see them everywhere, these censored masterpieces: on lawns; in front of pizza places and caterers. Why? He's just standing there, either pre or post Goliath clobbering. The sculptor's work is a celebration of the body's aesthetic beauty. If David makes people feel randy, they will simply have to control themselves. And, just maybe, if more kids grow up thinking the body is beautiful and with a perspective of having seen what it looks like, especially in great art and under the thoughtful guidance of their parents, they may not be as eager to undress their dates after the prom to get a look.


Friday, September 24, 2010

It Doesn't Make You a Robot

I know I am supposed to play it all cool and techno-savvy. And I am pretty good with buttons and wires and stuff. I should function on this site as if there is a USB/Mr. Data hookup to my head that runs right into the computer and I should spout out words like "resolution" and "upload" and "server" in the same breath with references to peanut butter and jelly, right? But, can we all stop playing cool here for a minute? The Internet is pretty neat. So is technology, in general. 

We could treat technology in two polar-opposite ways: We can act like giddy, techno-drunk morons with pictures of our new iPads above the mantle where Grandma used to be, or we can posture ourselves as throwbacks -- tortured souls who "would rather use pencil and paper." There has to be, as usual, a better place in the middle, don't you think?

Today I was checking my blog stats. I got hits from Romania. Whether or not they are accidents is not the point.  Romania!  I also got some from Russia. I'm in the US. That's far.  I have had this blog for about two weeks. Japan, South Korea, Ireland, the UK, Canada (but I know who that is -- a former butler of mine) have all clicked on here, too. The other countries may have been mistakes -- a click or two apiece -- but the Romania person may be for real -- nine hits.

Are you sticking with me? If you are the person in Romania, please leave a comment. Say hello. It would make my century, because the Internet is cool beyond belief.

Most people who have lived in "golden ages" weren't aware of it when they were living through them. Let's pause for a minute and soak it in: We live in an age where technology is allowing musicians to get their music out to people, instantly, and where writers can communicate with the world, instantly. No stuffed shirts need to validate them with contracts. Soldiers in Afghanistan can Skype with their wives and kids. In short, this cold technology can help us to warm up to each other and to express ourselves. This isn't something new that I'm pointing out, but many still see computers and iPhones as a dark machinery -- as a replacement for the human touch. Well, they ain't -- not unless we insist on seeing it as such. Hamlet said "there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." (Granted, things did not work out well for him, but he was right about that.) If we insist on thinking like humans, we will never become robots, no matter how much chrome surrounds us.

That being said, time for a shameless promotion of some good fortune that came out of the Internet and this blog. I am now a contributing writer for When Falls the Coliseum -- a journal of American culture [or lack thereof]. It is a great online magazine, with a bit of a trailblazing history, full of excellent articles. My first article, "In Defense of Shameless Pleasures" was published yesterday. Please check it out by clicking on the title you just read. (The preceding piece of advice was brought to you by TASFPPAP -- the American Society for the Preservation of Pencils and Paper.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Why Your Dad is Like Othello

I'm not a big fan of justifying behaviors by explaining them but I do believe in understanding behaviors in order to help soften their negative blow to our world. 

People have been pointing a certain group out for a few years now: "helicopter parents".  There are jokes about them and horror stories of these clingy parents accompanying their adult children to job interviews.  Every teacher and, these days, every professor, has to deal with them.  They do all the work for their kids, from picking classes to disputing grades -- they even do their homework.  (Oh, yes you do, sir.  I didn't just fall off of the rhubarb truck. )  If they could, they would walk everywhere in front of their kids wielding bubble wrap, deflecting everything from falling acorns to smart bombs.  It's all a result of the intensity of parental love -- a love that some people simply can't handle with reason.

Love can heal cancer, some say, but it can also ruin lives.  Ask Othello.  Oh, wait, you can't because he let his overwhelming obsession with the purity, faithfulness and the well-being of his wife, Desdemona, drive him into insane fits of jealousy, brought on by Iago whose paranoia-inspiring whispers completely cracked the Moor's confidence and ability to think rationally.  So what did he do?  He smothered his wife.  Smuh-thered.  Art thou with me?

So, take out the "romantic" and leave the intense, all-consuming  love and we have parents in the role of Othello and our society and media in the role of Iago.  (Please don't forget the part about taking out "romantic" -- I don't want this to turn Freudian and gross.) The kids?  Smuh-thered. 

Like with Othello, it's crazy, but I do get it.  Iago is constantly telling parents how children are abducted from their front yards; how most child-molesters are members of our own families; how kids get sick and die for no reason; how teachers are no good and lazy and sometimes seduce their innocent students; how all kids rebel and do stupid stuff to impress their friends and sometimes die as a result; and, most horrifically, how our kids will someday no longer be our cuddly little pals who tell the truth and who run to us when the thunder claps . . . 

I mean, we spend about eight years being capable of saving our kids from nearly all harm, then the little ingrates have the gall to start wandering off on their own to friends' houses -- next thing you know they are sneaking kisses with the neighbor's daughter (or son -- let's be fair).  Then what do these rotor-equipped parents do?  They try to control what they can in a desperate attempt to keep protecting the thing they hold dearest -- the precious child that the world wants to kill, maim, make sick and, ultimately, seduce into leaving them. 

The seduction begins with video games and moves to  parties, random independence and, finally, fat, shiny jobs.  That hurts.  So if the parents can't have their children, no one can.  They get jealous.  They control, guide and cover.  Smuh-thered.

Obviously, we need to be stronger than this for our kids.  But let's not go in the other direction, either: "We never wore seat belts and we were okay!"  Who is this "we"?  Not the kid who smashed through the windshield and died in 1949 when his dad bumped the car in front of him at twenty five miles per hour, surely.  Let's just agree not to say stupid crap like that.

So what message can we give to these parents?  Maybe it's that kids are like kites.  You put them together with love, carefully carry them to where the wind is -- taking care not to rip the thin paper or break the balsam bracings -- then you run them into the wind and let them rise up on their own, gently guiding them.  But when they are up so high they are out of sight, you need to sit down in the sand -- still holding the string so they don't fly away and crash somewhere, alone -- and wait there in case they fall and need you to put them back together again.  But take heart: you don't ever have to let go completely.  Not completely.  You just can't fly everywhere with them.

Friday, September 17, 2010

On the Lonaconing Trail

Every day I drive on a road that was once a Native American path for journeys to the sea and that became, for some time at least, the longest highway in the world.  And, every day, I pass a particular house.  For years I would wonder whose it "is". Now I wonder whose it was, as it sits empty and crumbles into a beautiful decay.

This road is bullied, on both sides, by businesses, gas stations, billboards, cell phone towers, abandoned lots with grassy cracks, apartment complexes and diners.  But the house I see every day squats a few feet down off of the road, on a property of a few acres that muscles away the artificial ugliness around it like a crew-cut Samson grunting between crumbling pillars.  It's a small green house with a glass solarium on the front.  Behind it, there is a matching green barn with an old winch poised over the upper door for lifting the ghosts of hay bales.  It is surrounded by trees and clumps of high, brushy grass that stretch off into the distance as far as I have time to see in a leftward glance at sixty miles-per-hour.  There used to be two cars parked next to the door in the mornings; small ones; modest ones.  Most days I would wonder about those people in that eccentric house in that unlikely location.  Now I wonder where they have gone.  I wonder whose house it was.

It's on an easy-to-forget curve in the road that stagecoaches once clopped around so much more slowly than we daily travelers do.  Sometimes, stepping out of my car, I question whether I've ever really seen the place at all.

Among the brush, streaked with brown rust stains, there stands a giant satellite dish, next to what's left of a brick stove.  The dish has to be ten feet across.  It looks desperate -- pleading for a signal from any source from anywhere. 

In the end, I do know whose house that is, on the long road, standing its ground among businesses, towers, lots and motels; dropping in and out of the minds of those who see it now and again; sitting in its own temporary oasis, quiet in a noisy world, full of forgotten history and facing its misty future.  In the end, I know exactly whose house that is.  It's mine.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tempus Holdit

I just remembered a magic spell I once knew.  Here's how it happened:

The other day, I had my metaphorical butt kicked by a twelve-year-old.  Part of my lifelong musical journey is that I have been studying classical guitar for the past five years.  My teacher is kind enough to hold "salons" for her students several times per year, at which we can perform solo pieces for each other -- mostly adults.  Many self-conscious jokes are cracked before performances (mostly by me), many excuses are made from the stage (mostly by me) and many right hands shake nervously over the strings (mine, especially), derailing passages that sounded so great just the day before in everyone's practice rooms. 

But none of this applies to the kid in question.  He nailed it.  He nailed it because he is talented, no doubt, but (forgive me for this) so am I.  Mostly, he nailed it because he is twelve.  As always, I find there's so much to learn from those to whom we constantly condescend: "these kids."

I'm willing to bet you will hear the name of the young man above, someday.  And, probably, of another student of my teacher's, who is now nineteen and is studying guitar in college.  I love to watch this second young man take the stage.  He lopes up there deliberately, pointedly, and manages to make his formal bow feel like a high-five.  Then, without a moment's hesitaton after sitting down, without so much as the slightest facial affectation, he digs into, say, a Barrios piece the way you or I might dig into a bowl of mint-chocolate-chip.  He proceeds with downright discouraging precision and with a blossoming and quickly maturing sense of interpretation that makes me smile every time.  Again, talent is not the issue here -- he clearly has scads of that.  But, mix talent with youth, and you have a kind of tao as exquisite as a pin balancing on the point of another pin.

I don't think this is just developmental stuff -- throwing information into a rapidly growing dendrite jungle and all that.  It is something else.  You could see it as a cliche, but it comes down to living in the present. 

Oh, we suck this out of our kids as soon as possible: Think of the future!  Plan, predict and educate yourself so you will be financially secure, someday.  Go to college! -- not so you can learn, but so you can get a good job. ("How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?*)  But they refuse to listen for awhile, thank goodness -- until they cave in as we all eventually do.  But, until then, "now" is everything to them. 

So, while they are flying through an arpeggio at dazzling speeds; while they jump from "position one" to "position ten" and back to "position three" in allegro, they are thinking only of the guitar neck, not of what their audience will think of them or what homework they need to do later.  They are living the piece the way they live a layup or a trick on a skateboard that it takes them three hours to land.  "Now" is all there is.  (Yes, they have hangups about what people think of them -- more than adults do, maybe -- but not while they are doing.)

And, by the way, the twelve year old was playing a piece from "book three."  I'm in "book five."  But he played the piece in book three way better than I did at the time -- with greater smoothness, with a quicker tempo and with a whole lot less self-consciousness.  He probably also got to it a lot faster than I did.  The machinations of mind and body are just more efficient at that age. 

As I said, the young eventually lose this ability, the same way they forget the magic spell for making time actually stop.  

On the way home from the salon, thinking about all of this, I saw a group of kids on a corner of a suburban neighborhood.  They had done it -- stopped time; created a hovering "now."  I could see the shimmer of it around them.  Now, I don't know if we grown-ups still maintain sufficient chi to pull this off, but now I know the process, at least.  The thing is, I used to do it myself.  So did you, probably.  Here's the incantation:

You get into a circle with your friends, preferably on a summer night in early September -- a good mix of girls and boys, freshly bathed and changed into T-shirts and shorts after a day's swimming, if possible -- and you sit on your bike, one sneakered foot on the ground, and you slowly and rhythmically rock your bike back and forth while talking.  As far as I know, this is the only way to actually stop the Earth from spinning; sort of massage it to sleep with bike wheels the way you put a rabbit to sleep by rubbing its cheeks with your thumbs.

We grown-ups don't notice this effect because we are busy, of course.  But I have reason to believe that that's why, sometimes, an hour seems to pass too slowly: somewhere, a little pack of wizards is making its magic.  When the streetlights come on and the kids go home, the Great Spin begins again and morning comes much too quickly.

* Roger Waters, from "Another Brick in the Wall."

Monday, September 13, 2010

Power Primping

Brothers!  Fellow warriors!  Don't fall for it.  I tell you, there looms a secret conspiracy against all that is hairy and gruff and it wafts through our culture like a dog fart on the breeze.  There is a clandestine effort going on out there to make soft what should be rough; to take those who traditionally have been noted, favorably, for the age-old ability to beat others senseless and to inject us with a poison designed to release its toxic sensitivity into our testosterone rivers, thereby turning the subterranean piranhas of aggression into insipid guppies.  Beware! Whence comes this insidious, dark force?  From advertising, the media and . . . women.

(Ladies . . . stick with me here, please. I realize this an artless way to appeal to one's audience, but I'm reasonably desperate.)

Where has gone the sword?  Where, the battle-axe (yes, with an "e" at the end, dammit)?  Where is the noble stench of grunting contention?  I'll tell you where: scrubbed off or our unnecessarily moisturized skin with a loofah and whirling, perfumed with body wash, down the drains of the full, sloshing tub of glorious blubber that we all once were.  That's where.  But it is not too late.  The power to return us all to our former forest-chested glory is in your (MANICURED?) hands.  Let me lift the veil from your eyes, my bewitched pal . . .

Perfuming and moisturizing, for example.  Would you do this voluntarily?  Of course not.  It's silly.  So the advertisers use manipulative language to smokescreen us.  They seduce our warrior natures with phrases like: "power away dirt" and "defeat dry skin" with "active hydrators".  They bid us to "unleash" the power that lies dormant, as if it were a sleeping dragon's conflagratory breath, in our showers.  For the love of God!  However they package it, you wind up with soft skin.  Do you hear this?  Don't fall for the lies, my friends.  Next thing you know, we'll be tweezing stuff.  (I know, I know -- some dudes already do that.  It's just too horrifying for me to ponder.)

And the women in our lives? (Just to be safe, let's not tell my wife about this post.) These plotting flibbertigibbets want to recreate us in their own image.  I can feel it.  Do you know what I did this morning?  I ate yogurt with fruit in it and a little granola sprinkled on top.  Fruit, I said.  And my wife? She blends stuff up and puts it into milkshakes. (Actually, she blends up just about everything and drinks it.  Check out her site to the right if you don't believe me. I'm thinking of trying it with a hamburger -- no pickles.) Anyway, I enjoyed the most delicious chocolate milkshake the other day, only to discover, afterward, that the scheming wench had blended spinach into it.  I mean, getting me to clean my own crumbs off of the counter is one thing, but slipping nutrition into what remains decadent, mindless yumminess is downright evil.  Just when you think you can trust a girl.  It's affecting me like a drug.  I'm slipping.  I'm playing right into that suburban Circe's hands.  Parfaits, indeed.

But I will not give in.  Nor should the rest of you, my stinking brethren.  If we start softening up, the world could become an unrecognizable place.  Millions of military employees will be out of work.  (Do you think Patton moisturized?) If we wind up healthy, we could very well lose our chance to face cancer with bravado.  If we start caring about personal aesthetics, we could easily wind up doing lunatic crap like buying art or listening to La Boheme.  Danger lurks around every corner, bub.  Beware.  And don't say I didn't warn you when you find yourself giggling as the cuddly puppy of social conditioning licks you into submission.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Wond'rous Fall of Dirk Goodteeth

There are few things as mystifying as the joy that children take from building with blocks and then knocking them down. They clap joyfully as their hard work crumbles loudly down around them. Then they get building again and do it all over. The clops and clacks of plummeting pinewood and gleeful chuckles in concert are, well, kind of scary, if you think about it.

We like to build and we like to destroy, instinctually. We can agree on that. What is unsettling is that we seem to like to do this with people as we mature. So it goes from pine to flesh -- but not just any flesh. Movie screen flesh. Athletic field flesh. Reality TV flesh.  (Fortunately, most of us are slightly less sadistic than to do this to people we actually know.  We are not as savage as the warrior with the ax, all covered in gore -- we are the far more civilized sniper deftly picking off his target from a thousand yards out.)  Stars. Celebrities. We build them up. We put them up on a flatboard Olympus by purchasing the tickets, snacks and merchandise that pay their astronomical salaries and then we watch those celebrities try to "fill 'er up" with adulation and material baubles, which of course just doesn't work. Then we sit back, rip open the chips and enjoy a good tragic fall.

So far, so good. Leading man, Dirk Goodteeth, gets caught testing the shocks of his Land Rover with a highly-skilled girl named Snowy in central park. (Nice!) The Vicar of the Church of Happy Angels lifts his mitre and child pornography tumbles out around the feet of his flock. (Even better!) The beloved host of "Family Rocks!" turns up on video, in bed with seventeen naked women (that his wife doesn't even know) at a motel in Akron. (Sublime!) The media is abuzz with chattering energy . . .

Then, things settle. The crickets chirp.

Now what? You Tube hits drop. The last news magazine report has been aired. No one cares any more. So we do what we must: We let our fallen heroes say they are sorry and we restore them to their former glory.

"But the guy is a sex addict, Myrtle -- try to understand . . ."

"He has taken responsibility for his actions . . . that's noble . . ."

"She admitted she lied under oath. That took courage . . ."

I’m not saying we shouldn’t forgive. Philosophically speaking, forgiveness is good stuff. (A whole handful of guys in robes and sandals have said so for millenia, if you need verification.)  I’m just a little afraid of why we do it so easily. Could it be that if we take a moral stand and tell our icons we won't support them anymore that we face the risk of eventually running out of block towers to push over?

CRASH. Hee-hee-hee . . .

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Drugging the Munchkin

I want an audience, but not so they’ll clap for me. It took me about three decades to figure this out. But back in my teenage years, I wanted to be Billy Joel playing to stadiums full of screaming fans. I wanted an audience, but I didn’t realize why. I thought it was for the accolades of all those people loving my music.

Maybe the dreams of the young are the answer. Could it be they project images of what we really need, if a little out of focus? Teenagers, to me, are the most honest form of human. They know what their souls need – they just have a hard time making sense of how to get to it. They just don’t have the intellectual mojo to decipher the messages the emotions are sending in hormone-drenched code.

Sometimes, we never figure out what our souls need – and we deal with this in a whole lot of ways. One way is to give up the dreams, dismissing them as silly, youthful obsessions – we’re more mature than that. This can be tragic.

Can anyone honestly say they don’t wish they could have been what they dreamed of in youth? Is there a salesman out there who wouldn’t rather have been a pro baseball player? Is there a mail-carrier in the world who wouldn’t rather have been a detective, like she imagined while lying in bed at night? I’m guessing a lot of people who have smugly snuggled up to the “real world” know the truth of this. But you gotta eat . . .

So we do what we have to. We give up the dreams for “practicality”. Why do we feel we have to do that? Because for some reason, we think the dream ain’t the dream if it doesn’t match the projection. But it isn’t necessarily so. At least not down deep.

One day, in a high school classroom, while I was teaching a literature course, the kids really picked up on what I was saying – the discussion really affected them – and it felt, to paraphrase Emily Dickinson, like the top of my head had been lifted off and my soul was flying around the room. I felt literally high. I realized it wasn’t accolades I wanted from my audience, it was connection. Connecting with others in communication (whether artistic or verbal) is a way for me to “plug in” and recharge my spirit. I feel it when I’m on stage sometimes (all too rarely). I feel it when I’m just having a great conversation or when someone really “gets” my music. See, I had it right when I was a teenager, I just didn’t see that there was more to it.

I only figured this out by not tossing the dream away as nonsense – by, in a sense, not growing up too much. I did what I needed to and “got a job”, but the music and the writing never disappeared. I still need them as much as I ever did, but now I don’t feel the only way to get satisfaction is to play in front of a stadium crowd. (Ironically, once, I did get to play in front of 20,000 and it was kind of a letdown. Could this be why there are so many unhappy famous people?)

I guess at some point we all need to look closely at our teenage dreams. Maybe we wanted to be ballplayers because we take joy in motion and love being outside, but we mistook our desire for wanting to be rich and famous. Maybe we wanted to be detectives because we simply love solving problems, but we mistook this for wanting to carry a badge and a gun and be “important,” moving around in movie shadows. My point is that there are a lot of ways we can “move” and “solve problems” – and connect. We just need to uncover them by refusing to give up the quest -- not for our dreams but for the payoff of our dreams really offer; for what our dreams represent about us.

I don’t think it is ever too early or too late to uncover their real meanings.

Of course, none of this means any of us can walk around twenty-four hours a day grinning like a drugged munchkin. That just doesn’t happen. But continual happiness would be lame, don’t you think?