May-December on Mt. Olympus

First Posted 14-May-2015

I was asked if I’m being somehow secretly self-revealing in the use of the name SumYung HotTea and the phrase “horizontal bop”. As much as I have written about how I really don’t think it’d work out for she and I, this writer is suspected of desiring her. And I’m accused of being disgusting in my undeclared desire. Yet, one of my friends is fond of saying that SumYung HotTea has an undeniable attraction difficult to ignore.

pretty-girl-quoteThat’s a porn trope. Older guy and hot young thing. Little god and mortal marry. It must be a thing because it has hung around literature since at least the Greeks if not earlier. Lolita is a much liked movie. So, there is an audience for that fantasy. I am not immune to it. I have a kind of devil/angel on my shoulder thing working. I get the fantasy of hot romance with a girl young enough to be my daughter. If it were just that maybe I’d go for it. It’s never just that. The rest of what being with a woman means arrives soon enough to intrude in the short burst of ecstasy hoped for. Total buzz kill.

Hugh Hefner is a bit of a legend. He had a coterie of young women living in the Playboy Mansion for decades. Even Hef has slowed down over the years. The Playboy Mansion’s heyday as a swinging place has faded over time to be transformed into a family home. The yelps of young women in erotic play have been replaced with the squeals of children at innocent play. For every Friday night bacchanal launched there is a Sunday morning hangover recovery. There was a story recently that the Playboy Mansion is for sale. Even Hef has chilled out over time.

Yeah, that happens. Old dumbass and yungin hang out & hookup. A member of my church passed from cancer recently. He leaves behind a wife in her forties, a daughter in her teens and a grandson. He was in his late sixties. Do the math. This family, though, is the annoying minority to a too oft told majority of bad choices with relationships between old folk and yungins.

I’ve crossed the midline of fifty-something. A diligent reader of this blog will learn that my choice to not live the life I thought my Dad wanted for me has come out well but the road here has been tough. Along the way I’ve learned and experienced things that are hard to translate for SumYung HotTea. It’s as if I’ve made it to the top of Mt. Olympus to walk among the gods. There are some things I’ve become that are hard to explain to the yungins. You kiddies just don’t get some of what I say. I ain’t mad, though. I don’t imagine I’m one of the rare ones who could catch SumYung HotTea and have it work out the way I wanted. She has shallow roots and short wings. She hasn’t been where I’ve been or been beaten down like I have. She hasn’t risen from the dark places I’ve been.

I wouldn’t want that for her. Part of SumYung HotTea’s charm is her naivete. I am the sum of my story, of what I’ve lived in my fifty-something years. It is what will keep me from SumYung HotTea’s bed. It’s worth it, though. *She*, the next girlfriend, needs to be old enough, road-worn enough, that some of my hard times do not trigger a starry-eyed fan-girl admiration of me. Dr. Laura famously said this, that love is not enough. The initial heat of a relationship is great. That nervousness, disruption to a previously calm life, is thrilling. Life, though, includes hungover Sunday mornings with unwashed dishes and stinky laundry. It includes regrets. There are hours where she is riding you about one thing or another. There is so much more to a relationship than dating and bumped uglies.

You need that experience, that willingness to stick it through, for the mornings when it’s that Sunday–the one where your head is killing you, you are about to puke (again), the honeydo list is way long, church . . . CHURCH!? yeah, He’s important so . . . church, her, oy. and you get the needful done. Try to put the ass-spew in the toilet and aim for the bathtub with what is coming out of your mouth. It’ll make the cleanup easier. Just saying. Didn’t happen that way? Yeah. Been there, done that. Sorry. Pinesol. That’s my last word for you. Pinesol. I hate the smell of Pinesol. Too many hours cleaning bathrooms with it. You need it on Sunday mornings like this one.

This is where I want to end. It’s beyond where I stopped the post last time. SumYung HotTea sings melody. Her rhythm is complex and syncopated. I have a hard time finding the root chords, the key signatures, the bass beat. I was all treble clef and melody for a long time. Even married I only gave a small nod on the upbeat to the bass clef and root chords. My life has been a tension between G above the clef and d-minor down on the floor. I’m tired. A lot of Sundays though I can sing tenor I drop into a baritone groove and stay there. I see her, I see SumYung HotTea. I hear her melody. It’s nice. The heart stirs still. But as time passes I like the 4-4 beat in d-minor rocking alone with B.B. and Taj Mahal. I got a good thing working and it needs a good old woman to work it with me.


3-Dot Mediocrity

First Posted 24-Jun-2015

Ok, yungins, go Google “Herb Cain“. Also Walter Winchell. Both published columns talking about what was going on in their respective cities. Herb Cain was a fixture in the San Francisco Chronicle for almost 60 years. His columns were tidbits of news seperated by an elipsis. I will never be as good as either Herb or Walter. But I’ve been away from this blog for a while and the backlog of topics has gotten long. Rather than try to make a post per topic I figure I’d steal a tactic from Herb Cain and do a few topics in this post.

confederate_flagLet me start with Rachel Dolezal. I need to marry her. Brown, crazy, liar, single mother, divorced, bitter, all my major malfunctions in one woman. She’d hate me so I’d feel right at home. Oh, and Rachel? Newsflash: you are white. . . We are a week into the aftermath of the tragic death of 9 Christians by a lone gunman. A lot has been said. I don’t know how much I can add to the conversation. Definitely prayers and condolences to the families that lost loved ones. As for a-hat, everything I have to say involves a criminal act of vengeance so I’ll not say it here. I am pleased that folk have taken the high road and talked about love and forgiveness. . . the knee-jerk reaction of Obummer and Billary to lay the blame at the feet of inadequate gun control is just stupid. There is gun control. For a law abiding citizen it is plenty difficult to get a gun. Yet, the a-hat who killed 9 people was able to get a gun. The gun isn’t the problem. The a-hat and his evil ideas about African-Americans is the problem . . . the various politicians and corporate leaders who are reacting to public opinion and removing the Confederate Battle flag from public buildings and products. I get it that some view that flag as a symbol of racism. Yes, we did unspeakable evil as a nation in our first century. Yes, the Confederate flag was flown by those who fought to keep slavery. I get that. I can understand a desire to not have that symbol part of ones visual landscape. . . 9 people are dead because of the heart of an evil man.

The problem is/was his heart, our hearts. The battle should not be over external symbols. It should be over the content of our character and the quality of our hearts. The absence of the Confederate Battle flag will not change that. . . I haven’t heard much from Billary. I’m working in New Hampshire, the focus of a lot of campaigning for the 2016 Presidential election. Of what I’ve heard it’s as if nothing was done over the last 8 years. Healthcare has to be reformed, more money taken from the rich and given to the poor, the same tired rhetoric about being a change agent for the middle class (meaning Union workers). Blah, blah, blah. Can we get a new song from the Democrats? Please and thank-you. While I’m at it, can we get some political leadership that hasn’t sold their testicles to the Chinese? The current crop sounded wonderful in the election prior to starting their term in Congress. Now they are a bunch of whining weenies who happily bend over for the Democrats and Obummer. Useless.


The Alien Returns

I took a break from scrubbing the carpet in my living room to type this. Alien puke smells worse than human puke. Robert, who on a whim decides s/he’s Roberta, is asleep in his (?her?) S-10 pickup at the curb outside my house. I have a hard time telling the difference between Robert and Robert(a). They seem to dress from the same racks at Fantastic Thrift. It’s a rather Goth look using a lot of deep greens and splashes of pink. Roberta assures me that if I were an alien it would be obvious to me that s/he was a she. Noted. I’m not an alien, so . . .

rainy mondayIt’s sunny and wintery warm outside my window. The recycling truck came by an hour ago. I’m hungry, broke (again), with no job since 12/9/2015 and the usual pile of bills I can’t pay. Our vaunted Affordable Healthcare Act so profusely promoted as a better way has resulted in my appearing to not have health insurance even though I’ve done everything asked of me. Yay! I’m scheduled to see my doctor for the first time tomorrow and though I’ve paid for insurance and my insurance company has recorded my payment the Health Insurance Exchange in Virginia thinks that (a) I have not applied and (b) I haven’t paid. Can I punch Obama in the face? No? Damn.

I offered to volunteer at the jails with prisoners who need help finding a job once they are released. The pastor who runs the program suggested I take the class myself, since I am an unemployed ex-offender. The “Therapeeved” post is one I still have to repost because it was lost along with everything else when I tried with good intentions to upgrade the MySQL instance that runs this site. The too oft offered answer for almost half a century has been, “do some therapy.” I’ve done my share of therapy. I am incorrigible. One thing this this site is for me is a narrative on what it’s like to be a hot mess and maintain a quiet, stable personal life.

At least in church people know this and know that what works for me is to learn how to behave appropriately in a given circumstance. Which, I’d say, I’ve done ok with in the last decade or so. Another class to teach me how to apply for jobs and keep a job doesn’t excite me. It kind of pisses me off.

My living room still stinks. With all my therapy and martial arts and reading and Boaz & Ruth and Sunday School and counseling and long teary conversations with friends you would think I’d just not let Robert in the door. I’d get the locks changed. I’d call the cops and have him (?her?) trespassed. I’d get a restraining order. He’s there, on the curb in his truck, snoring loud enough to be heard here in the spare bedroom. “Anxiety is a choice, just get over it.” Right. Were it that easy.

Yah Yah. It’ll be fine. It always is. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you . . .” The usual cavalry has arrived and is helping out. But the habit of worrying is a hard one to break. Robert now says I should call him, “Bob”. I can’t help but think of the original “AA” Bob of many moons ago. The tract listing meetings I put on his windshield is gone. Maybe this time.


Remain True, Serve All

First Posted 12-23-2015

I was asked by someone I met through Tinder if I am “gay friendly”. Her daughter is going to marry her longtime girlfriend. I am not “gay friendly”. Homosexuality is a sin. Marriage is something between a hetero-cis-female and a hetero-cis-male. This puts me at odds with the majority mood of the country. It also gets me shunned by some. Outlier that I am, I’m good with that.

I wasn’t asked by God to go on annual mission trips to a nominally third-world country and put in a well or build a church or give a cinder-block home to a family that previously lived in a mud hut or be a prayer warrior against James P. Sullivan. I was asked to serve right here, in Richmond, VA, to people who live around me.

To serve those I am asked to serve it is almost assured that I’ll encounter someone doing something I think is taboo. To serve as I am asked to serve it is almost assured that I’ll be in places where the shiny teeth bunch believes I’ll be prey. I would be in good company if I reacted with horror and tried to make the folk in the scary places stop being so predatory and transgressive. Plenty do. My crowd isn’t the bunch that will quickly agree that they are doing something so macro-aggressive. More likely, we’ll punch you in the face and tell you to get the hell away from us. We don’t take kindly to being told what we already know–we are a hot mess and some of what we do causes problems for others. I’m not the one who feels fulfilled if I close another deal at the altar with another soul saved. I was asked to serve us, the problem children, the brats, the monsters under the bed. Thus, to do my job, to fulfill my call, I am going to be uncomfortable and perhaps afraid.

I also know from those I have served that my service is diminished if I bend my principles in order to be more palatable to those I serve. That’s the second part of my call. I am to remain true to Christ. He is my model. He is how I live. This means I’ll make some I serve uncomfortable because my faith conflicts with their values. So be it. If the tension created by my truth is strong enough to tempt you away from your lifestyle then maybe change is in the wind for you. It’s not what God asked me to do. I’m not the one who will hit you upside the head with a bible. I’m more subtle, more difficult. I’ll just do what I’m asked to do knowing that my service, my authenticity as a Christian may mess with you.

This too. In the places where everybody is chasing their tail trying to please everybody, offend no one, and increase freedom from distasteful rules, the strictures against what you can’t say or do are far more burdensome than places where people pretty much don’t care. These phrases are not new to those who live in these cultures: micro-aggressions, trigger warnings and cultural appropriation. These come from a crowd so wired for perceived threats that they self-incarcerate in safe-spaces that exclude everyone except those who fit a superficial profile of African-American traits–kinky hair, broad nose, thick lips, brown to dark-chocolate skin, fluent in Ebonics as a way to protect them from the dangers of those different from them. BOO!

For this crowd I am evil incarnate: WASP, from a bloodline that traces its origins to both Plymouth and Jamestown, over 30, hetero cis-male, conservative, Christian, convicted abuser and deemed racist. This is the crowd that by their choices creates the very oppression they claim to protest. The difference is the target of their discrimination, oppression and the unintended consequence of incarcerating themselves in their hate. This is why this space is the way it is. I am pugnacious because I am authentic. I am pugnacious because my values, my principles are at odds with those who claim to be for the peepul. And . . . if you can set aside all the crud you load on me without actually knowing me, you may find that my authenticity, my speaking truth to insanity, is more compassionate than locking oneself in a room to be only with those who don’t generate triggers.

My Christian brethren who obsess over darkness, who worry that it is Lucifer himself under their bed every night, and hide in the safe confines of a sanctuary doing the rosary and startling at every odd noise, these too need to calm down. They are a bit full of themselves. Too much of their prayer life is devoted to asking God for protection from him, from James P. Sullivan and his buddies. I have disappointing news for them. You are not that interesting. You taste bad to Lucifer. There are plenty of souls in his pantry far tastier. If these brethren really believe in Christ then Lucifer can’t really touch them. I’m wasting my breath, though. This paranoia over Lucifer and Sully is as pernicious a psychosis as believing that I, hot mess that I am, have an evil control over that hapless college student who happens to feel black and has yellow-brown skin and blue eyes. It takes more than a blog post for them to release their attachment to the monsters under their bed.

I’m not like that crowd huddled in a college library study room carefully allowing in only those who feel safe. I’m a lot more tolerant, patient, willing to work than that bunch. You don’t have to preface a joke with a trigger warning. You don’t have to go home and change to meet me if you are currently dressed in a pastiche of men’s & women’s clothing. Nor do you have to schedule your same-sex partner’s time around my schedule so that I don’t figure out that you mix nuts & bolts. Probably clean up the needles, pipes, bongs, roach clips & empties for me, though. Addiction is one on my naughty list. Otherwise, do you. Be you. We’ll be fine.

My core tasks are to serve all and be true. My service would be less meaningful if I back-peddled on my emulation of Christ. I can still serve you as you are. You can do the same. Here is the cool thing about this. It’s not something that requires you to be a member of my church or any church for that matter. You can come out of your safe space. You can be with us and learn that we are not micro-aggressive (more probably macro-aggressive and trigger-rich). You can drop the chains & shackles of your effort to avoid triggers. If you want to follow me, do as I do, just look around you for someone who needs a small act of kindness done with great love. Do that. Do the small act of kindness with great love. Having done it, be done with it. Don’t look over your shoulder, call the recipient, text them, poke them on FB, or Instagram or whatever. Do it and walk away with no hope of any return or influence on the outcome. Anybody can do this. Everybody should do it at least once and hopefully more than once, hopefully a lot.

I’m good with being uncomfortable. I’m in this for the long game. I don’t have to win today or even at all. I know that I am on the right side of God and eventually some I serve will turn in my direction. I know that there are plenty of my Christian brethren armed with bibles who are really good at that whack upside the head and cajole for the desired answer to the altar call. I don’t have to be comfortable. Our opposition is has no lack of brethren walking about with messenger bags holding copies of the Communist Manifesto or Mao’s Little Red Book at the ready for a similar whack upside the head and a cajole to come to a seminar on redistribution of wealth. I’ll leave the snake oil sales to those who feel that their service is through closing deals on heathens. I don’t have to sell Mao, Lenin or Cheezus to serve God. I’m no less of a Christian if you flip me off. I don’t have to be right. In the end, if it is meant to be, I’ll win anyway. If not, in the meantime.I’ve got plenty to do.