“In our day-to-day circumstances, our self-regard is hungry for three things: an opportunity to be generous to the disadvantaged; an opportunity to be reverent to the noble; an opportunity to be superior to the ignorant. And we are more than eager to imagine these creatures before us, should we not encounter them naturally.”
Top 10 reasons and excuses for not having posted in a while.
- Beau is living a much more exciting blog right now, with prettier pictures and better writing.
- I can’t stop listening to the new Eminem album.
- I’ve gotten sucked into The Goldfinch, but I’m not far enough into it to give a full assessment. (It’s good, though; definitely literary.)
- Mario Kart!
- Bolts’ playoff push.
- I just rediscovered Chain Rxn on Facebook.
- Surprise Sunday-Night Tequila Delivery Service.
- Getting pictures from my phone to WordPress is hard.
- Let’s face it: My fat ass needs more exercise.
- Work conversations like this:
Me: Also because [special issue] is less fun than a hysterectomy. We should put that on the cover. “219 local [redacted]! Less fun than a hysterectomy!”
McD: Yeah, there’s a catchy coverline! People would pick THAT issue up just to see what the hell was inside.
Not a uterus, that’s for sure.
to get the mail.
to get out of the rain?
To get over
That walkway is slippery,
When the publisher says we need a poem for a colleague’s going-away-to-hike-the-Appalachian-Trail party, you better believe I’m all over that shit. (With thanks/apologies to Dr. Seuss, of course.)
Today is your day.
They’re your Appalachians!
(Though we begged you to stay.)
You have beard on your head
And feet in your boots;
You can hike yourself
Wherever it suits.
You’re on your own. And you like what you like.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to hike.
You’ll look up and down trees, look them over with care.
About some you will say, “Oh my goodness! A bear!”
With your head full of beard and your pack full of pants,
You’re too smart to look at the wildlife askance.
And you may find some ticks.
And you may find some snakes.
And you may trip on sticks—
Do whatever it takes.
It’s Beau-ier there
In the brisk mountain air.
Up there stuff can happen
And frequently does
To people as beardy
As you and your fuzz.
And when it starts raining
Don’t worry, don’t fret.
Just keep on refraining:
“It’s fun being wet.”
Oh! The places you’ll Beau!
You’ll hike your way up!
You’ll hike your way down!
You’ll hike through the mountains
And sometimes a town.
You won’t lag behind, because you’ve got the beard.
You’ll make lots of new friends; you shall be revered.
Wherever you hike, you’ll love it, we swear.
Wherever you go, you’re supposed to be there.
Except when you’re not.
Please don’t get shot.
I’m sorry to tell you
But it might be scary
Even for someone
So Beau-like and hairy.
You might hurt your back.
You might see a yeti.
You might burn your pack
Of freeze-dried spaghetti.
And when you feel low
And your feet start to hurt,
You might be quite slow
Getting up off the dirt.
You will come to a place where the path gets so steep
That your happy-feet pace will be harder to keep.
The path may be slippery, pointy and mean.
Can you make it around? Can you go in between?
Do you know where to go? Do you know where you’ve been?
And if you should stumble, or fall on your butt,
Or slide down a mountain, or get in a rut,
Or step your boots into some icky poo piles,
You’ll know you’re prepared for these challenging trials—
‘Cause that’s just the nature of two thousand miles.
You can get so confused
That you’ll start to wonder
If you really should carry this stuff that you’re under
Your pack and your spirit may both fall asunder
And you shall be tempted to make a great blunder.
The Standing-Still Blunder.
For people standing still.
Standing to keep their place in line.
Or to worry about bills, or to remember and pine,
Or to cry a good cry, or to whine a good whine,
Or to watch someone go, or to tell them they’re fine,
Or to wait for a change, or to avoid a bad sign,
Or just standing still till the clock strikes nine.
Everyone is just standing still.
Standing still for the time to come
Or standing still to rest their bum
Or standing still right there where they’re from
Or standing, perhaps, because that’s what they’re told
Or standing still as they wait to grow old
Or standing still so that they’ll feel tall
Or standing still for no reason at all.
Everyone is just standing still.
No! That’s not for Beau!
Somehow you’ve escaped
All that standing and staying
Your life will be shaped
By hiking and playing.
With the sun in your beard,
Once more you’ll walk tall,
All the gear you can haul
And the bears you can maul.
Oh the places you’ll Beau! There is fun to be hiked!
There are mountains to climb, there are peaks to be piked,
And the magical things you can do with this trail
Will make you a teller of a helluva tale.
Blog! Your stories will generate one million hits!
You’ll crash all our websites! Mark will have fits!
Or maybe they won’t.
(Mark says, “Please don’t.)
I’m afraid that sometimes
You’ll play lonely games, too.
At those times, try bathing—
You might smell like poo.
Whether you showered or no,
Sometimes on the trail
It’ll just be a Beau.
And when you’re a Beau, there might come a time
When into your head there will pop this here rhyme
To remind you of life when you’d write and you’d edit—
Just be sure that you’re giving me all of the credit.
But on you will Beau
While we’re all back here
On you will Beau
You’ll be less and less near
On you will Beau
Though you’re craving a beer
Onward up many
A beautiful peak
Though your beard will get long
And your clothes will get reek.
On and on you will hike
And I know you’ll hike far—
Are you sure that you don’t
Want to try it by car?
And we’ll miss you, of course,
As you already know.
We’ll miss you but also
We’re proud that you go.
So be sure when you step
To remember us here
Doing 10 times the sitting
With none of the gear.
Just never forget that you’re part of the mag;
We’ll talk of you often—in fact, we will brag.
And will you get through?
Yes, be sure that you do.
(But really what matters is what works for you.)
Kid, you’ll climb mountains.
Be you editor, techie, hippie or no,
Be somebody awesome—somebody named Beau,
You’re leaving for Georgia, to Maine you will go.
Your mountains are waiting, so on with the show!
To you I owe my greatest debt—
You’re at my side, my safety net.
Repaying you is just too hard.
It’s all for you, my credit card.
When times are rough, you pay the tab.
You’re there when I need beers to grab.
You’ve rescued me when money’s tight.
You’ve bought me pizza late at night.
And never once have you complained
About the way my love is strained.
When things are good, I want you dead;
I’ll love my debit card instead.
When payday comes, the ATMs
Will always be my new best friends.
And nothing can replace the coin
With whom I will forever join.
But when that dough does disappear,
It’s you who keeps me in the clear.
And though I make you sit and hide,
You’re there when cash cannot abide.
These ways and more you serve me well,
And make my debts forever swell.
And all you ask is that I pay
A little of my soul away.
You’re such an asset, just like that,
And when it comes I lose my hat,
You’ll know you’ve done your job fantastic.
So here’s to you, you bastard plastic.
I’ve noticed I tend to try to be optimistic in my blogs; my instinct is to end them with some sentiment of hopefulness.
What’s interesting is that I’ve also noticed that I’m the opposite when I talk one-on-one with people: I feel the need to be very clear in communicating exactly why something sucks. It’s frustrating, sometimes, because the best-intentioned folks are put in the position of trying to talk me out of that negativity, but from my point of view, their positivity means that I’ve failed to communicate my troubles to them.
When they argue that there’s reason to feel better, I hear it almost as an inadvertent judgment—they think I am failing to see the happy truth, failing to do what needs to be done. To me, I’m very, very aware of truth, at least as it applies in my own brain, but if they can’t see that, then I’m failing to explain it to others.
Introspection does not wear well on me. I am prone to self-loathing spirals.
In saner moments, of course, this is all very self-centered and gross. But the compulsion to communicate rules all in me.
Today there’s been more resignation than compulsion. I was first too tired to care; now I’m too caffeinated to dwell.
Looking back on this time last year, as is obviously the day’s tradition, I’m not sure what conclusions I should draw. I’m afraid not enough has changed. I’m afraid that the things that have changed, that are even now changing, have not done so for the better. I’m afraid that all this might still be true a year hence. I’m afraid the regrets I have, I still have, that predate 2013 still won’t be dissolved by this time next year.
But the day is built on hopefulness. As is the blog. And so there shall be hope. (And good lord in heaven, theis triple-grande mocha is helping.) Happy New Year. Here’s to 2014.