Thursday, April 21, 2011

IDYLLIC LADY EDITOR



IDYLL

I had a mother and a father
who gave me
beauty,
and perfect eyesight
(so I could see the imperfections in nature).
And wisdom
like an asp in the bottom of a well.

I got to know the nature of men.

And
when you came to court me
with your bouquet of words,
which were jumbled,
I turned
And rejected you.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Close encounters of the creepy kind.




Sitting in the managing editor's office, while his secretary and receptionist are poring over something I had left for the M.E.--probably my scrapbook of published articles.

They are giggling and, it seemed to me, nigh-on to peeing themselves with laughter.

Silently, I keen, What's the joke, what's the fucking joke?

I check to see if my fly is not undone.

But no. It's something in my scrapbook.

Maybe I'd finally made it as a humorist.

Finally the receptionist, a good looking brunette in a paisely dress, said "Mr.Inch will see you now."

I go through an oaken door and there he is.

Grey. Pinstripe.Established. Comfortable. "Have a seat," he says in a friendly tone.
He looked up from his desk, where he had been marking some copy.

"It was your letter that won me over. You said you had no antecedents."
...It took me two days to realize afterwards that bastards of a feather tend to stick together. But it was mistaken identity.
What I had meant was that there were no powdered wigs in my family--I was a cultural orphan, while his Fine Old Ontario Family was likely wigged-out and even incestuous.
He had probably been born illegitimate.
But likely a Mason. And Masons can prop you up.

But by thirty, I wasn't exactly at the bottom either.
BA MA PHD--almost. Not from colleges I'd care to mention,
but, "Senor, I give you your PhD."...But not the Masonic apron.

There are two ways to get into the Canadian upper class. You either bully your way into it, or you marry into it.
I had bullied my way into Mexican university because I had lots of money and could, sort of, speak Spanish--and half a dozen other languages not related. I was rich because of my father's hard-earned money but a cultural hermaphrodite. You could not draw cartoons of me as wasp in a freshman beanie.
I had no antecedents.

Well, when a Mason meets a grunt comin' through the rye.

Quietly, the grey guy says again. "It was your letter that won me over. If you can write, you can probably edit." He goes to shake my hand. "You're in."

An editor in the family. For the Globe and Mail. I'll take it!

But it was kind of a set up. In six weeks, I was suddenly laid off.

On the way out with my scrap books, I noticed that the girls in the front office were giggling again.

What's the joke, what's the fucking joke?

Almost through esp, the secretary said to me. "It's your name. Why don't you get a decent name like O'Flaherty?"

Oh Toronto in the Sixties! Luigi Orellio had to become Lou O'Reilly.
And in the business culture around the Globe, you had to be at least a McDougald. And probaly a Mason.

What's the joke, what's the fucking joke?

The self-educated man had had a fool for a teacher. He had had no idea
where he was, and among whom he had moved.

And had just gotten the waggly handshake.

But he had studied Masonry.

He had said,unexpectedly to the editor, "My mother is a widow."

And "I have no antecedents."

...And through those two lucky phrases, was again back at work the next day.

What's the joke, what's the fucking joke?

##

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Nut Bolts and Screws (almost)




Those of you who may have read the more interesting parts of Wuthering Heights--and are there any parts that aren't interesting?--may have come across the sickly Character of Hareton, who trundles around like an old TV dinner tray; he has trouble even sitting on the ground, let alone standing up...

Well, I have been Hareton this week. Trouble walking. Certainly running. Also a dizzy bastard. I should add, dizzy old bastard.
Part if the dizziness probably comes from the high octane beer I have been using to make up for the missing IV's--in both arms-- that I had unilaterally removed at the hospital."You can't do that!" the nurses had protested as I ran off, almost in my gown, all the way home to have a smoke and a drink...I spent half the night with a friend in a glass overcoat, worrying about police and men in white coats come to get me.
As in the headline joke about the madman, "Nut bolts and screws!"
...Last part would have been hard to do as I swear I still had half a catheter in there.
Beautiful hospital. Lovely, caring nurses. Great doctors.
But what. No booze? No cigarettes?...They had to have been kidding!
Did they not know I have been using my body as a theme park these last sixty years and that I had no idea that I would ever get this old...And this sick?

I am today trying to think of good things about old age.
Are there any?
The only saving graces are periods of incredible clarity in the dizziness and disorientation.
Surely it must be the company of Pierre Smirnoff.
At least, he got me to write somethin'.

...Had to be careful. I almost set this down in Russian!