Surviving Contentment While Aging

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The Magic & Wisdom of Our Differences

Shush or Shhhhhh

Communication the Developmentally Disparate Group

There’re noisy people (I’m one) And there are less noisy, Even quiet people.

We noisy people hear this “Shush!” thing pretty frequently From introverts and “Strong, silent types.”

I like This noise. But what is it exactly?

A Word? A sound effect? You know what I mean: It’s the thing a person does When she wants the other person To Shut-up: To stop talking, or singing, or whatever It is that we noisy ones are doing That irritates the other.

Whether content-based (Were saying things that annoy) Or simply noise-related, It’s bugging them And they react, angrily, As in, “I’m trying to watch/listen To this movie/program/song” (Whatever, They don’t actually SAY all this or explain They just jump right to) “For Christ's sake Shush!”

Or more often just, “SHUSHHHHH!!!!!”

Only with great familiarity and trust can one use this absent the fear of hurting the noise-maker’s feelings. Without that intimacy, that trust, It becomes a simple matter of being unwilling to sacrifice the quiet of one’s own agenda and desires.

This shouldn’t be a crime But in some cases it is…

I could go on but I think I’ll just Shush, for now – content to listen.

Communication Breakdown 9,985,104

You’d think I’d get used to it

So I’m downstairs in my office where I go every day to write and work.

It’s not like I’m solving, or trying to solve, ALL the world’s problems, not like I think that thousands of lives hang in the balance re what I’m doing but I do like to...


Patti calls to me from what sounds like the top of the stairs, maybe 40 or so feet away from where I’m sitting.

“Yes,” I answer back


“Yes,” I say again, a little louder.

(Side note: she’s actually put her hand up over her ear while we’re just sitting talking with me before, and commented, “You’re SO loud” So I know better than to scream, “WHAT?! WHATA YA WANT?!”)

“Yes...” I try once more.

Now use her name. “Patti?” I call out, a little bit louder.

So, that’s four responses to her one call to me and zero back from her.

Is she being raped by a savage serial killer? Has she fallen down, gashing a giant cut into her forehead from a massive stroke just before, “slipping into unconsciousness?”


Struck mute?

Dead, for god’s sake?

Of course I know that none of these things have happened.


I stop what I’m working on (having lost all train of thought anyway) and I trudge up the stairs as she’s coming out of our bedroom,

“I think the new patio rugs are here!”

She exclaims excitedly (I know, I know; “exclaiming” clearly implies “excitement,” not to mention the exclamation point, but work with me.)

Later, when I gently try and tell her how annoying it is for me to have to jump up at the call of my name or “Honey” absent any kind of follow-up or explanation for why I’m needed:

(Space invaders? FBI raid? Giant insects? Maniacal right-wing lunatic neighbors?)

She says, “You didn’t hear the Fed X truck? It was so loud? How could you NOT hear it?”

And this goes on for awhile, until I am sure that the fault lies with me, or the fed X delivery guy or the patio-rug-makers at Overstocked. com or anything, anyone but her inability to say, “Honey, the door” which I would know to mean there is something or someone at the front door and since my sole job is to “protect her/us from intruders.”

(Which it NEVER is BTW).


“Communication breakdown” again, in a rather long list of them.

Unprecedented Northwest Heatwave Labeled ‘Most Extreme’ by Scientists

First a plague, now this weather . . . can’t wait for haboobs and the locust swarms — take that End Times deniers!

Isn’t It Great?

There are spots in every Werner Herzog film where he gives away how addicted he is to extremism in life — not the political type of extremism, after all, Werner is European and thus somewhat loaded with antibodies against radical fuckin’ Fascist idiocy, but personal extremism as shown in his art: Fitzcarraldo, Grizzly Man, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, and films about Herzog’s life Les Blank’s The Burden of Dreams. and Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe.

Indeed, Herzog is deeply burdened by life and dreams.

There is an apocryphal story about Herzog lying in a hospital bed in a full body cast after barely surviving a terrible skiing accident and when he is asked how he’s feeling he grins, glancing at his totally broken body and smiles asking “Isn’t it GREAT?”

I will be 74 my next birthday should I be lucky enough to make it while still recognizing myself in the mirror and who knows what other remarkable skills I may still possess.

So I gotta tell you having lived through a year-plus long plague that killed more than half a million of my fellow ‘Merican citz’s and surviving 113 degrees on Tuesday and almost equally deadly hot days ever since I wonder How many long lives lived can claim such remarkable times? We could ask the dinosaurs but . . . well . . . you know . . .

So I’m afraid all I’ve got left to say is: “Isn’t it GREAT?!”

That Former Profanity, “Contentment”

How come happiness is such a tricky get?


Used to be almost profanity to me. to say it, feel it, think about it, much less to accept it implied a giving-up a resolve towards satisfaction, the death of ambition.

But that’s changed over the years.

I still dream grand schemes of immortality and greatness total happiness, fame and fortune but time and age have created a wide space in me for satisfaction and contentment in the moments/things/the time I have left.

And in relishing the present when that moment is not full of pain. And even when pain is present I have the ability to sustain my recollection of those soft, gentle moments that make being alive worth the trouble: a well-cooked steak a happy hour full of laughter a breeze blowing lightly through the mesquite tree just outside the big window.

One day, maybe, I’ll unravel whether these moments provide contentment or contentment provides these moments?

But for now, whichever way that trail runs, I’m content to be on it.

Rock & Roll . . .Well, Once a Long Time Ago

I don’t want anyone I’ve ever loved to die . . . enough are gone already

Mysteries and Remembrance

I generally don’t have good experiences in reacquainting with long lost pals. I’m not saying they are fully to blame, nor am I. In fact, blame doesn’t play any role in this; it’s just that what usually happens when old friends try to reconnect with me is that it doesn’t work for anyone involved.

This has proven true even for guys I once played music with in R & R bands in the 1960’s, one of whom has become an oppressive Jesus-freak using his supposed “Faith believe” the same way he used, when we were young, his wit and cruelty as a cudgel to control and abuse. Happy memories of making fun music a lifetime ago aren’t enough to change the drag it is to see him now. I felt sure nothing could make those memories work again So I have avoided the whole thing whenever possible.

But recently, over the last year or two, Max, who used to be named Don, came back into my life.

In truth, I felt some distrust of this. But somehow his gentle, mild persistence helped me decide what the hell, there’s always an exception to the way things usually go.

We were friends in high school, played in a couple rock bands together. He was the talented one who taught the rest of us how to perform with enough minimal proficiency to accompany him on stage.

The first time I ever got laid right afterwards, (the girl still, likely, slipping her clothes back on while her mom ironed in the room right next to where we’d been), I hopped in my car and raced over to Max’s/Don’s house because I had to tell somebody and he was that kind of buddy.

Yesterday, half a century later, Patti and I got together with Max and his wife for drinks and hors d’oeuvres at their new condo, just around the corner (by sheer coincidence) from our winter home in Tucson, thousands of miles away from the old neighborhood where we first became friends.

And drinking and eating, we talked and laughed about our shared pasts. We remembered those days on stage — the giddy excitement of noise and of pretty girls staring at us while they danced to our music. And I remembered the hours spent in my parents’ basement. And later in various garages as we made music and were together. We recounted escapades, adventures, misdemeanors and even a few light felonies (the statute of limitations having run out on those indiscretions fifty years ago).

There was this great warmth, laughter and remembrance that forced me to reconsider the oh-so-rare possibility that a few people, once known during an earlier almost forgotten life, can re-surface and help fill in if not quite blanks, at least details out of those foggy, opaque regions of memory and personal history that merit remembering. It’s like realizing that all the nonsense and bullshit one was force-fed about God, while still nonsense and bullshit, doesn’t necessarily ruin every angle in our struggles to grasp the greatest mysteries still unsolved and unresolved. Therefore, thanks Max, I owe you one. And I hope I’m repaying you for that contentment gifted me, at least in some small measure by what I’m telling you here.

These are a few of my favorite lines to achieve contentment

When it hurts the worst,
you gut it out.
Is that too fuckin’ complicated?


Photo by RhondaK Native Florida Folk Artist on Unsplash

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