Tuesday, March 04, 2008

One man's progresss: STUD, DUD, FUDD









Don't be a schizoid," warns an old self-help book from back in the days when I was looking for "help".
"Schizoids are needed in society, the artists, painters, even some psychologists.
"But weirdness is not for you. It is best neither to be an extreme introvert or extrovert.
"We think it's best to be an "ambivert:", that is to say adjusting yourself to situations, becoming a real person, with just the right amount of introversion and extroversion to to make you well-adjusted and middleclass.
"Schizoids abound in the upper and the lowest classes. That's where the mad seers and artists come from.
"But most people are in the middle class, where you belong."

Well. After a lifetime of vaccilating between Juke and lowly Kallikak, I don't know where in hell I belong.
One thing is certain:
One is odd.

Seems the last forty years has been a strange enactment of male's progress, biologically and socially, that is to say, STUD, DUD, FUD.

I have been through studhood, married, had children, and yet a particular kind of adolescence persisted. I kept being interested in rock music. I kept writing novels (heh) and that old crotch cobra just kept leaping out of its basket. My wife tried to arrest me with that hook they use, but it was of no avail. The thing had a mind of its own, and predictably, its energy was soon depleted, and by 50, I was a journeyman DUD. No wife, no career, sleeping in old cars.

STUD, DUD, FUD.

Dudhood was no fun at all. The knowledge by my peers that "old Ivan can't get it up any more"--meaning that Ivan wasn't writing professionally any more-- led to false starts to prove oneself: jobs as magazine editor, columnist, short story writer. Great furrows ploughed in all directions, some of them impressive, but as in the case of old Wile E. Coyote, the Roadrunner outmanoeuvred me every time.

DUD.

"I won't live with a man who is a dud." First from the wife and then from all the eight girlfriends.

One of the books I had to teach while duddily ploughing still another furrow as a prof was, strangely, "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz," by Mordecai Richler.
Lower-class kid mentored by his grandfather to "own property, move up. Be somebody. Be a man."
This advice Duddy followed and became a big wheeler dealer, but still Duddy Kravitz, that is to say, a prick.

Well, at least a prick has force of character. You need force of character to be a prick or, let's equal opportunity here-- a bitch.

I don't think I was quite a schlong by the time I reached Dudhood--I was certainly one as a beginning novelist--but being a dud was being nowhere at all... Chekhov character. Immobilized, echoes of my own father's words in my head, long ago, "Pepsi Generation Good For Shit".
Right on Dad, broken English and all. I are a dud.

There is a school of thought that maintains a deprecating parent, telling a child he is no good, will result in the adult child actually becoming a no-goodnik, but I am too old and too experienced as a parent myself to put too much stock in that.
It's just that old pattern, of STUD, DUD, and eventually, FUDD.

So here I was a DUD. Fifty and f*cked up.

I go to other fifty-year-olds.

"At first you fight it. Eventually you learn to accept it. You just slow down, and there is nothing you can do about it."

Ten years later, I meet the man again. I had, somehow become a successful journalist. He is still f*cked up.

Oh Duddiness.

This morning, I woke up to find my computer haywire because Microsoft says "Microsoft has discovered a problem." I click onto the "more info" boxes and all the right places and "Microsoft (is still) reporting a problem.

I am experiencing a familiar moment of weirdnes. A dud for so long, overcoming my condition by what might be called persistence--and now this. My computer is immobilized. I am immobilized. Dudhood lasts a long time!

Somehow, by hook and by crook I managed to write around the "error" box.

I have had my six coffees. I have composed something resembling a blog. I am starting to feel better.
If I had a partner right now, I'd probably drive her crazy in my dudhood.

But wait. I am starting to enjoy this hanging-in-the-air feeling.

Migod, I have become a FUDD.

Now where is that pesky wabbit?

##

30 comments:

Josie said...

You're not a dud or a fudd.

Here is the new me.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hey Josie,

Exotic looking. Touch of the Faerie Queene.
Looks good.

ea monroe said...

I'm with Josie, Ivan! You're an "original." I've got you at least propped up and standing on your feet in your photo, Ivan. It's in the quark-mail.

Wow! Josie! Great photo!

~Liz

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Liz,

Thanks for putting my wild man photo standing "on its feet" instead of horizontal as I have it on my blog, top right.
Seems my photographer had a mild buzz- on and I was too technologically challenged to put the picture up properly once I "giffed" it out of Facebook.

Yes, picture of Josie is great!

Donnetta Lee said...

Hey, Ivan: You got it backwards. First was fudd then dud and NOW stud! Such is the path of life. And Josie looks VERY classy!
Donnetta

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Donnetta,

Whoops! This comment came as an email as well as a blog comment, and I anwered in Quark email.

Oh I so hope you are right!

Yes, Josie look great, and even better in the last email she sent to all the Quarks.
I might post her latest picture if I mention her in a blog.

...Whoops,
Better go over to Josie's blog to see if that last picture of her is up.

the walking man said...

"So here I was a DUD. Fifty and f*cked up."

So I have a question...if the stud's pud was a dud, how did you get fucked up? Stand on your head? Inquiring fifty year old minds want to know the mechanics of fucking with a dud pud, stud.

Or is that a metaphor from your professorial days for a good tongue lashing?

*sigh* I will never master the Canadian language.

Peace

mark

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Ahem.

(Lifts glass, has a good draught,
suppresses a a laugh) and says, "Well, you know,they talk with their hands, fight with their feet, amd (do what?) with their mouths.

Monique said...

I must be a dud then. Josie, great hair! I'm with her too. You are no fudd, you are an original.

Great post.

ivan@cretivewritig.ca said...

Thanks, Monique.
Well, your scripts are ariginal!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Whoops, that should read original!

Can't blame my typos on the computer.
Speaking of typos, I left quite a few in my very first comment to
http://maternalspark.blogspot.com/

My writin' pal Heather Eigler, formerly of PHANTOM KEYBOARD, has begun a new blog wherein she shows what it's like to mix creative writing with rearing a
nine-month-old baby girl--quite a task!
...Google H.E. Eigler.

Charles Gramlich said...

Fuddhood is not a destination, my friend. It's a journey. I'm well on the road.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

The musician Sting, formerely of "The Police", wrote a song some time ago about beating Fuddhood and startintg out on a "Brand New Day".
...Hope he's right!

Josie said...

Ivan, Ivan, Ivan, Liz and I both fixed your picture, and Donnetta even came up with the perfect motto:

EVERYTHING LOOKS BETTER WHEN YOU'RE RIGHT SIDE UP.

And your picture is still turned sideways. *heh*

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

My Ukrainian mother, noticing I was put off by her over something, would say, "What for you look at me sideways, like goose?"

I "not look at you sidways like goose."

I see by Donnetta, Liz, Pam and you that you have already not only blocked out my new blog for me, but, after rotating my zany picture the right way, you have even outfitted me with pink shorts and fuchsia-coloured sox.
Watch out, Ronald McDonald, you have competition!

Okay, okay. You guys have even supplied a header for any ucooming blog I might produce: EVERYTHING LOOKS BETTER WHEN YOU'RE RIGHT SIDE UP.
Yep, I'd better get out of the late Richard Farina's "Been Down So Long It Looks like Up to Me" and turn myself right side up, where things look better.
I am just a little soggy tonight, and hard to light.
Bill Moyers' Journal on PBS will do that to you.
The endless parsing of politicians by really stupid authors who look like Janet Reno.
You look like Helen of Troy.
You should write a book!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

My Ukrainian mother, noticing I was put off by her over something, would say, "What for you look at me sideways, like goose?"

I "not look at you sidways like goose."

I see by Donnetta, Liz, Pam and you that you have already not only blocked out my new blog for me, but, after rotating my zany picture the right way, you have even outfitted me with pink shorts and fuchsia-coloured sox.
Watch out, Ronald McDonald, you have competition!

Okay, okay. You guys have even supplied a header for any ucooming blog I might produce: EVERYTHING LOOKS BETTER WHEN YOU'RE RIGHT SIDE UP.
Yep, I'd better get out of the late Richard Farina's "Been Down So Long It Looks like Up to Me" and turn myself right side up, where things look better.
I am just a little soggy tonight, and hard to light.
Bill Moyers' Journal on PBS will do that to you.
The endless parsing of politicians by really stupid authors who look like Janet Reno.
You look like Helen of Troy.
You should write a book!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Omigod,

I am not only seeing things sideways, I am seeing them double.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Josie,

Ya happy now?
Like them pink shorts?

I've just turned the photo the right way, with Pam's dye job on my shorts and socks.

Try to control yourself! :)

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