Sexual Privacy – Is that Hip Anymore?

The world can be divided into two groups:

  1. Group A wants their sex life private, behind closed doors.
  2. Group B wants their sex romps open, at least some of them, in front of other eyes or cameras.

I belong to the private Group A and I’m assuming we’re the majority. Establishing that, our planet can be divided again:

  1. Group #1 likes to watch Group B’s public sex.
  2. Group#2 does not.

I’m a member of Group #1, and I KNOW we’re the majority, whether we all get to see the shows or not.

NoKissing*****

Why do people like to watch other people have sex? The same reason they like to have sex themselves. It feels good…if you really want it. “Virtual Sex” tricks our brains into thinking somebody else’s intercourse is our own, and it sure can be. But that’s not what this post is about. I’m trying to figure out just why some people, of all ages and origins, like to be watched having sex. I don’t condone child porn or forced sex acts. These practices are as close to evil and people can get.

I’m looking at consenting, sane adults like me and you. I’d like to understand why some of us want to be viewed doing the most personal things we do. What is the advantage of exposing our animal-natural behavior to strangers? Why is giving up physical privacy a turn-on?

These questions are full of mystery and I have no answers. Maybe you do. Maybe you’re a Group B and know I’m over-thinking this. I asked a few Group B’s why they want to do porn or ARE doing it and I got these answers:

  • Her: I love sex and I always wanted to try this.      Me: Why?
  • Him: It’s an easy way to make money.                    Me: But why THIS way to make money?
  • Her: It’s exciting to do naughty things.                   Me: But why THIS kind of naughty thing?
  • Him: Having people watch me is a turn on.            Me: Again, why?

When I asked those B Groups my Why? follow-up’s, here’s what I heard: “I don’t know. It just is that way.”ShootingPorn

Humm… How many people really know why they do things?

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Now that the internet delivers free “Adult” movies to the world and Group B adults are uploading their private sex tapes for all of us Group #1’s to watch, it seems to me that money is no longer the primary motivation for public exposure. Wannabe sex-star couples, triples and groups don’t have to be pros on film sets anymore. It’s anyone’s game and those happy folks down the street, well they’re goin’ for that watch-me thing too.

But why? For fame buried in a pool of thousands and thousands of porn flicks? THAT kind of measly fame? THAT kind of minimal relevance?

To be fair, I do know why some movie sex workers stay in the business. They are famous. They do make money there and they have a sense of family, of belonging to an exclusive group – a club membership with benefits. And those benefits are not just about paid sex. They are about friendships with really nice people. Yes, caring people, and kind and loyal. I know this from first-hand experience.

After graduating USC Film School as a potential movie director, but actually a desperate need-rent-&-food-money movie director, I finally landed my first job in 1970 directing three films – “Adult” films; my fragile exposure to public sex and the young guys and gals doing it. None of them were addicts or crazy or ever mentioned sexual abuse. Performers like that probably existed but not in my circle of friends.

So as I said, I’m not analyzing professional porn personalities. I’m writing about everyone else who screws in front of an audience, real or remote. I writing about the last smidgen of privacy we have left – what we do in bed and how those instincts are enthusiastically offered as entertainment.

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StrippersWhy is having open sex exciting for some and embarrassing for others? It can’t be just about a broadcasted watch me movie because there are swing clubs and salacious pre-wedding bachelor and bachelorette parties and the oral-sex-audience-participation strip clubs where no cameras are allowed. Is party bonking so mainstream now that it’s just another kick or intoxicated rite-of-passage?

I don’t know. Maybe it always was. I don’t think Group B’s think about it that much.

I met a younger woman a few years ago who told me she wanted to jump into porn but was afraid her thirteen year-old son would find her on the internet. She had good cause for concern. What amazed me was that she wasn’t worried about anyone else discovering her bouncing butt; like her parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, workplace friends or her book club ladies.

Humm… Must be everybody’s doin’ it so it’s okay now. Like getting tattoos and divorces. Still, not everybody’s doin’ it and I’m in the group that’s still clinging to privacy. But if someone asked me why I don’t want to be seen in the shower, I’d probably say, “I don’t know. I’m just like that.”

But that’s not good enough. I should know why I need to keep my sex drives closed to others when it’s not the trend anymore. Privacy, and the desire to maintain it, is diminishing everywhere, especially in the younger generations. Am out-of-step with the modern and courageous Free-World? Am I an old-fashioned, overly modest guy?

To find out, I typed some questions into my Google search window. First query: Why do people upload their sex tapes?

I found a bunch of How-to-Upload-Your-Sex Video instructional sites but only one place that gave any commentary about it. City-Data, a public forum, published a thread of uploaded reasons. Here they are. People do get paid something for their amateur uploads, it’s another way for narcissists to get attention, or exhibitionists, or to break taboos, or monkey see-monkey do, or it’s hip now. But no one had any follow up explanations as to the Why’s of all that.

So I tried another search question: Why is sex tape sharing popular? Got nothing there, except more how-to-share-your-sex video links.

Then I tried: Psychological studies of the pornography business.

Okay, some info, but almost all articles were written about the effects of pornography or the pornography business itself. Live Science told me that porn models don’t want to be studied and there’s a lack of funding for it.  I figured that.

An article in Psychology Today (12/24/12) said that porn performers are generally not “damaged goods” and that they like sex more than the control group, presumable Group A. Porn people have more “sociosexuality” it said. Well yeah! But mating studies has nothing to do with desires for watch-me arousals.

“So I read the follow up Psychology Today article written a year later. Again it said:

…male and female performers reported higher self-esteem, earlier age of first sexual experience, greater enjoyment of sex, and a far greater number of sex partners (outside their profession).

The essay continued to talk more about high sociosexuality and personality types. Translation: What kind of person likes lots of sex with lots of people? My answer: (without laws, religion and potential pregnancy…) EVERYBODY does. We all want sex but not all of us want to be watched doing it.

On to the next article: Pornography actors: a qualitative analysis of motivations and dislikes. This was such a dry and boring research paper I couldn’t read it.

Porn Studies and the English On-line newspaper, Independent (11/25/12) reported more of the same conclusions.

So I advance my search and typed: The Truth about Amateur Porn. Again, I found tons of sites devoted to uploading videos but only one that discussed it – The Huffington Post (2/12/14) and it said,

Amateur porn site Homegrown Video cataloged all video submissions they received over a six-month period. They found that almost one-third of homemade sex tapes submitted between July and December 2013 were created not in sexually liberal coastal cities, as one might imagine, but in the Bible Belt. Furthermore, 56.9 percent of videos were submitted by women.

So what? Who’s surprised? Not me. But where am I going with this? Psychological research about sexual privacy did NOT hit my eyes. Could it be that I’m the only dude who wants to know about it? Maybe I’m not supposed to. But maybe YOU are.

*****eyebehindkeyhole

Do you care about your privacy? Do you know about the data brokers who don’t ask your permission as they profile your history. Do you know those companies sell your identity to anyone who wants to visit your computers and phones with advertising and solicitations?

Is Homegrown Video watching us? Of course not. But companies like Axiom, Epsilon and Experian are, and they’re not letting us watch them back. Homegrown does not care about my sexual orientation, health issues, religion, bank account, traffic tickets, age, gender or my driving locations and shopping habits. Homegrown and the people who show their naked butts on that site will not be pricing my purchasing preferences. And they’re not forcing me to watch fornication either.

So in that regard, porn sites are those neighbors down the street offering me whatever they have which I might want to take. On the other hand, I AM getting fucked by privacy thieves who spy on my internet clicks, use my smart phone to track me, dive into my credit and school grades and then log my life. Why are there no laws or religious morals that makes those practices downright wrong?

As we lose more and more isolation, I ask you to reconsider which group will be your home. Group A, who wants their lives totally self-controlled, closed and private? Or Group B who reveals it all and assumes they’re safe from predators?

I’m looking for an informed and practical Group C somewhere in the middle.

 

 

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The Big Secret Grandma and Grandpa Don’t Want You to Know

man_reflectionsThe secret? Here it is: Not everyone grows old but all bodies do.

So what. You knew that.

So if we all know it, why won’t we admit it? Reason: Either we’re young enough to worry about it sometime in the future, or we’re old enough to LIVE in that future and we’re pretending we’re not. Nobody wants to grow old.

But you knew that too, unless you’re ten. And if you’re twenty, here’s something else you still don’t know. If you’re lucky enough to get really old and think like forty, you’re probably feeling like eighty from the neck down. That’s when you know life is not fair. But long before that, as you trudge into your fifties, you’ll deny those first joint pains and queasy stomachs, telling yourself you’re still young until some body part stops working.

But wait! Good news! There’s “after-market” organ replacements and surgery. Yea! All is well again! With added plastic surgery, youth forever…until we can’t get out of bed anymore. Damn! Life sucks.

Lately I’ve been watching lots of old people growing older. Why? Because I’m getting old too and so I’m noticing the most important issue in every old person’s life. It’s INDEPENDENCE, the number one priority. We have to do stuff alone as long as we can because when we can’t, physical freedom goes bye-bye. Super bummer! Getting from point A to point B is THE most precious and yet taken for granted human need we have…after sex and Ben & Jerry’s.

Yep. We grow up believing what makes us go will work for a long, long time. Old people know that myth exists solely in the minds of the young. We Oldies also know that you Younglings insist you’re invulnerable. That’s what makes you YOUNG…until your first wake up call, like a serious debilitation.

*****oldyoungGetty

But again, GOOD NEWS! As long as you DO have independence, as long as your brain connects the dots and you’re making good choices, life is very much a precious treat. As you age, you come to understand you have much to give back. You are a living history full of answers, assuming you remember them.

And now the bad news: Once you’re an Old One, you find that very few Young Ones want to learn from you. And then you remember what you were like at sixteen and it hits you: Whoa! This is age discrimination! Was I like that?

But more good news: After years of getting in and out of bed, as long as you’re acting young and thinking current, lots of people want to hear what you have to say. Well, maybe not sixteen year-old’s, but perhaps twenty-something’s.

Are you a twenty-something? A thirty-something? Watch out. Someday you’ll be a sixty-something.

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More bad news: If you’re a parent, your children still think you’re just Mom and Dad. In their minds you were never their age and you’ll never understand.

But Parents, you know you’re actually people and your friends think your words are important. And if you’re hip, happy and interested in developing minds, your friends can be younger than your kids.

But some more bad news: The moment you get that first body pain and it doesn’t go away, you know you’ve crossed the line into SENIOR WORLD! (Kids, remember that.)

Good news: Crossing-the-line is being pushed back further and further into aging.

Bad news: Pushing it back means taking care of yourself when you don’t have to, when you’re still young and not thinking about growing old. (Kids, remember that.)

Good news: We now have access to the truth about what we take into our bodies and what that stuff does to us and how we should help our body instead of harming it.

Bad news: The youth (if that’s you) don’t care about recent science news. Smoking is cool, like driving fast.

Hey! Young Adult! Yeah, that’s you! Are ya hearing your grandpa’s advice? Or Uncle Jimmy with his emphysema and oxygen bottle?

Good news…for me. (Maybe it’s good for you too.) I don’t have aches and pains that don’t go away. And I’m sixty-six.

The bitter truth: Pain make you feel and be old.

PicketFenceBad news: Since I still reside on the pain-free side of the fence, I don’t want to hang out with all those old people. I don’t want to be in the bowling, Bingo and early brunch club. I don’t want to be reminded that we’re all ticking clocks and face mortality. I don’t want the Young Ones to think I’m old.

But there’s better news about this: I’m starting to realize how dumb it is to deny aging. I’m figuring out that it’s unwise to disrespect the rewards that come from living more years. It will backfire on me. When that day comes and I get pushed over the fence into Senior World, I’ll be the wrinkled, saggy-skin guy I’m afraid to be now. If I don’t respect the Older Irv, who else will?

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So, with a change of attitude, maybe there’s still hope for me. A few years ago I discovered my mother as she appears to everyone else – a super groovy lady with wrinkled, saggy skin.

More good news: I’m starting to befriend more “old” people, the ones who still think youngish. They have interesting things to say and they’re not that much different than me.

More good news: Having gently drifted into the Twilight Zone of not Young and not Old, I can look at both groups and find mentors in each – lessons about the fearlessness of youth, insights about wise caution evolving out of experience. Every time I look at an “Old One” I imagine how he played when he was six. When I watch an eight year-old romp with delight, I imagine how she’ll be slowing down when she’s eighty.

Early years gifts us the armor of perceived immortality. Later years teach the truth about transience. Living richly and wisely opens our eyes to live in both worlds at once, taking youthful risks with matured mellowed caution.

If you’re past forty, can you still feel the excitement of discovery? Can you still marvel in the wonder of All-There-Is?

If you’re past sixty, can you still look forward to new adventures, even if those journeys exist solely in your mind and come from thinking new thoughts?

If you’re thirty, can you find a six year-old interesting, or a seventy year-old?

If you’re eighty, can you still find the courage to leave the security of the known?

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Yes, we all want to stay young. So let’s do it! Let’s commit to fresh-faced joy with the wisdom of age. Let’s prove that over-used saying false: Youth is wasted on the young. If you’re twenty, ponder your future. If your eighty, reflect on your past. Realize we all come together in the eternal NOW as we move towards the end…if there is an end.

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How to be Happy with 80-20 when Your Part is 20

woman_in_tears“Why do you always feel diminished?”

That’s what my mother said to me over the phone yesterday as she collapsed into sobs. The conversation was not supposed to be about me. We were talking again about my sister Rachel and her shattered life. Now suddenly I was the problem.

My mother will be ninety-four this coming September eleventh – a date everyone else remembers for an entirely different reason. We lost Dad last June, which culminated Mom’s 71 years of a somewhat okay marriage. My mother is now free of my father’s dominance and dependence, and she’s also free to focus more on my sister’s dismal state of affairs.

Rachel and I are not teens anymore and Mom isn’t fifty. Yet we’re still dealing with the same toxic issues. I wish there were bad guys in this drama. Bad people make it easier to figure out right and wrong. Instead I’m now part of an aging threesome where we’re just trying to cope and do the right thing. But the right thing for Mom and Rachel may not be right for me. I’m trying to see the big picture. I’m trying to make Mom’s decision feel appropriate. But my wife insists I’m being treated unfairly while my mother tells me she’s torn up about her decision and I should accept it. So I’m squeezed between how my wife wants me to feel and how my mother thinks I should feel.

Here’s the question: Should parents treat their children equally, or should they give more of everything to the child who needs it the most?

I’m glad I’m not a parent. I would not want to make that decision. But I am one of two children, and I am not the one who needs it the most.

You may be wondering why I’m describing such private matters in a public blog. I’m writing about personal dilemmas because we all have them and maybe the expression of mine will shed some light on yours. Beyond that, my family doesn’t know I’m a writer or about Irv Podolsky, my wife doesn’t read my website and her family doesn’t either. Finally, I change names to protect real identities, starting with mine.

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So here it goes…the unfolding.

I haven’t liked my sister for a long time – as a sibling, as a person. I consider her dishonest and disloyal. But up until last night I never considered her especially needy. Demanding, yes. Manipulative, sure. But not a special-needs case, not handicapped in any way.

Last night, after my mother told me I was psychologically deficient, that I’m supposedly feeling like a victim, diminished in her words, I had to rethink my entire life again and come to some honest conclusions. Am I making myself a victim?

No. I’m not. But I do feel betrayed…by my mother, my father, and in the last ten years, deliberately by my sister.

I don’t want this post to be a trash-my-sister essay, so I won’t go into all the details. But I can tell you this, Rachel was one of those high-maintenance babies you could never leave alone. She turned into an angry teenager who turned into an high-achieving super-star adult destined for greatness but couldn’t stop making bad choices. Those bad choices left her with a first-marriage divorce and a second-marriage in shambles. She made terrible monetary and business decisions which drained all, and I mean ALL of her reserves to the point where her two kids, both prep-school graduates, couldn’t finish college because she ran out of money and they couldn’t pay their school loans. Her husband has an on-again, off-again low income career. So at the age of sixty, my sister is a bankrupt attorney working out of her house with a cell phone and two clients.

Yes, a sad story. But what makes it worse, is that Rachel alienated almost every person who could help her. Who knows why she refuses to take my calls and answer my emails, AND my mother’s, but she does. And then she lies about it with feeble excuses, as she does to every family member who she ignores for reasons no one understands.

Since our father died, Rachel has been better about calling Mom and she’s taking care of the legal stuff, all admirable. But my sister also manages to drop a hint or two about another mortgage crisis which prompts Mom to write a check, as I have.

The last words my sister said to my mother, according to Mom, went something like this: “When you go, I won’t be able to handle it. I just won’t.”

“Well Mom,” I said in yesterday’s call, “No pressure you understand, but for Rachel’s sake, you are not allowed to die.”

We both feigned laughter and then I said. “But Mom, if Rachel loves you to pieces, even though she admits she won’t call you back, why did she blast you two years ago about you failing her?”

“Irv…” Oh, I could hear it coming – You never know what’s happening in a person’s life. “We don’t know what’s going on in Rachel’s mind,” Mom continued. “Whatever she said…”

I finished it. “…it wasn’t about you. She was dealing with some overwhelming crisis and transferred that frustration into a wash of babble, just to vent.”

“That’s right,” my mother confirmed. “Rachel’s lost.” (Translation: emotionally crippled) “She’s struggling, Irv. She’s trying the best she can, but it’s the business.”

Yes, the Business. My sister is an entertainment lawyer. And sure, it’s really tight now. But it’s been crunching tighter for fifteen years. We all saw it coming. Most of us made corrections to keep afloat. My sister didn’t, and I feel sorry about that. I also wish she hadn’t told us how great she was doing until she couldn’t hide her crash anymore and then pretend we didn’t warn her.

So now she’s desperate and Mom wants to help her by re-balancing our inheritance from 50-50 to 80-20 with eighty percent going to Rachel. last_will

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“I’m only trying to do the right thing!” Mom wept yesterday over the phone. “You have no idea what I’m going through! I’m so torn!”

“I do know what you’re going through. You’re a mother and you will never stop being a mother and Rachel will never stop being your daughter. I get it.”

“Then why won’t you accept the twenty percent? Why does it have to be half or nothing?”

“Because twenty percent is insulting, Mom. If Rachel needs your inheritance so much, give it all to her. I don’t need a token donation. I never expected anything from you.”

Mom broke down again. “I wanted to give you that money so maybe you could go on a nice cruise and think of me.”

“Mom, I think of you everyday. I call three times a week. I was there when Dad died. I don’t need to be paid for doing what sons are supposed to do.”

“It’s not a salary! Why do you always feel diminished?”

“Well Mom, truth is, from the time I was two, YOU made me feel diminished with your constant working and dealing with Rachel. And Dad, he had his own thing going all the time too; and then my only-sister decided one day I wasn’t important enough for a call back. Now her kids think that way. So yeah, I definitely grew up feeling alone and less valued. And I’ve been trying to forget it ever since.”

That’s what I thought. What I said was, “Mom, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you. If you want to leave me something, I’ll accept whatever it is. I know you’re just trying to do the right thing.”

holding-hands*****

 

Sometimes you can’t always tell the truth. Sometimes doing the right thing hurts others. Sometimes the world is not fair. Sometimes you just have to suck it up, grow up and be grateful for 20 percent. Some people have zero.

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How to Take Out the Garbage and Feel Good About It

angry_bossThis post is mostly about men, motivated men, men that are scared to fail.

I can write about this because I’m one of those men, a guy who does his best because he doesn’t want to fuck up in public and have people think he’s less than what he wants to be. I feel good when people like what I do and I feel terrible when they don’t. Validation has been the driving force behind my ability to make a living. Still, it hasn’t helped me to achieve my biggest dreams. I realize now that super status and fame was never meant for me. I never had the personality to be a high achiever. Many people think I am and I suppose, when compared to the rest of the world, I’ve gotten some place. I’m not rich but I don’t have to worry about money. Having finished the game, that’s been taken care of.

Did I write, finish the game? Yes I did. I’ve retired.

How do I feel about that? How do all of my retired friends feel about that? The same way I do. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be retired.

This commentary is also about the workplace and how it can make grown men cry. Sure, it makes us happy to feel appreciated and score personal victories and get rewarded. But for most of us, that doesn’t happen very often. I worked with the silent majority where, in the last years, our jobs depleted us instead of building us. Now I’m out of the competition and off the game board. How is it? Let me put it this way.

Remember how we’ve always been told that a man needs a purpose to feel good about himself, that without meaningful goals and successes, life becomes empty and worthless?

Guess what? NOT TRUE!

That’s right! Most people don’t need a big purpose to be happy. Who made that up? Our bosses?

If we need any purpose at all, it’s about survival. I arranged that and now I have no problem dumping those impossible, constant deadlines for another person’s agenda. After a life of having to be a good baby, a good boy, a good student and a good worker, I’m thrilled to move past those demands. I’m relieved that failing in a job is no longer a possibility even though winning isn’t either. The only kind of winning I ever wanted is the personal-best kind where I’m improving and growing for myself, where mistakes are not embarrassing because they’re needed to find the best choice, and no one’s keeping score about that except ME.

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I’m not drawn to competition. I never felt any satisfaction when I won the contract and my competitor didn’t. I only felt relief that I was again working in a freelance market that had turned us craft people into gladiators fighting each other for the last job. I worked in the film business. It is no longer a happy space. With more people than jobs, it’s a struggle to keep working. Yes, the projects can be rewarding, but staying in the game comes with great sacrifices. Those trade-off’s apply to most industries in our modern world and it takes a certain kind of emotionally armored warrior to thrive in the fight. That’s not me.

But maybe it’s you. Maybe you embrace the stress (or at least feel comfortable in it) and come out on top. If that’s the case, I admire you. You’re the kind of person I always wanted to be.

Over the years I’ve noticed that certain personalities do better than others in the work world. There are the fit-in, non-confrontational types who threaten no one. They move up the corporate ladder because their bosses trust them to carry out company policies and not question them. They are “Yes Sir” people but that’s a good thing. Agreeable lieutenants stay employed because bosses don’t want their employees competing with them over decisions. Yes-Sir people say “Yes, sir,” and actually mean it.

I was never a Yes-Sir either, although I tried. Problem was, I couldn’t stop thinking like a manager. If I conceived a different way of doing the task, as tactfully as I could I’d suggest my “better” solution. I use the world better because that’s what I thought at the time and that attitude surfaced despite my attempts to keep it masked. So yeah, many times I felt I could do my boss’s job and somehow he/she felt it. I never messed up but rarely was I someone’s first choice.

So if I thought I could do my boss’s job, why didn’t I do more of that? The answer is, I tried to be fair and nice and be liked. I wish I could say I was 100% successful doing that. I wish I could say I was 100% fair and nice.

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We all know about ruthless people and how they intimidate others to follow them. The film industry has plenty of tyrants and books have been written about them. But assholes exist in all businesses and most of the time those people, doing whatever-it-takes, get what they want and amass fortunes and power. It’s believed that high rollers are greedy, have no conscience, empathy or scruples, and that they break the rules. In many cases that’s true. In many cases it’s not.

Not all rich and powerful people abuse others. Many super successful people ARE nice. And generous too. They are also fearless, ultra confident, likable, love to network, play golf and are really, really smart.

I’m not fearless or ultra confident. I get bored with networking and I don’t play golf. I’m not really, really smart but I’m sorta smart. I hope I’m likable but I don’t like too many people. How I got this far is a miracle.

The third kind of person that excels in the business world are the Hatchet Men. Women probably do it too but I haven’t watched enough TV drama to get a sense of that. In my environment, it’s always been men who do the dirty work for those bosses who don’t want to be blamed for their mean, cut-throat policies. These “Cut & Clean Guys” are also very valuable in the work place…as well as the Mafia. I personally know a guy like that, and he sleeps at night just fine, with dough in the bank. He also cheats on his wife, his second wife. And while smiling, he calls people, “Buddy.” He named me Buddy too as he sold me out – more than once. I couldn’t report him to the department head because the department head was the same boss (his and mine) who authorized all the manipulation. Putting employees into jeopardy was never actually spelled out. But under-bidding contacts and then forcing the job to get done, even if it meant exploiting the workers, was something we all understood. Anyone who objected to that policy found themselves outside the opportunities in the department.

I found myself outside the opportunities in the department. That’s why I left it and the entire industry which had turned into a “Whatever-It-Takes” weekly war.

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So after all these years of trying to be the best, I turned out to be “above average” with an above average monetary outcome, which should be okay, right?

garbagetoTheDumpsterMaybe. But I was never supposed to be above average. I was supposed to be the best, according to all the grown-ups who told me that from before I can remember. And now, having failed at being the BEST, I’m just grateful that I can finally chuck that pursuit and forget about working for validation. I can just be ME and feel good about myself while taking out the garbage.

So what’s the take-away for YOU, a person with still more days on your job? It’s a simple reminder: Value and nurture the friendships you have at work. In the end, it’s just us and that doesn’t end when we clock-out. The ultimate purpose in life is sharing rich ideas, affection, and yes…LOVE.

But you knew that.

 

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WE’RE ALL FORGETTING…but we forgot that

OldHandYoungHandMy father died with practically no memory left in his brain. His mother, my grandmother, passed away having lost all of it. Will I end up that way too?

That’s the wrong question. My memories have already betrayed me. And so have yours.

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I’ve been forgetting things over the past few years, simple things like names and words. People tell me, especially folks my age, that forgetting names and words is just “old age”. I’m sixty-six. Am I old? I don’t feel old, look old or act old. At least that’s what people tell me and I agree with them. But still I’m forgetting, and although my “older” friends explain that they forget too and it’s nothing to fret about, I have to wonder, do I have a brain that will start to die before the rest of me?

Will I drift into a Thirty Second Universe where my father ended up, a state of mind where normality lasts only half a minute before its all forgotten?

A few years ago I read about a blood test that predicts dementia. Last week my doctor told it me it’s not conclusive, but if I wanted it, the test is covered by my insurance and Medicare. blood_in-viles

If it’s not conclusive, why would insurance companies and the United States Government pay for something that’s iffy at best? Why would they think it’s a good idea to know where you’re headed if there’s really no way to know that? And even if this test gives me just a MAYBE, should I decide that maybe is not MY maybe?

In my mind I’m still young, although aches and pains attack me now and then. Between assaults, when I’m pain free and can easily open a tight pickle jar lid with only my hands, I pretend aging is still in the future. Dad died in June at ninety-six, a long life by anyone’s standards. Still, I’m trying to reduce his finale to a remote concept about something that happens all the time. Everyone’s parents die. We all die. Dying is just one of those things you get over, even your own.

But this thing called Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia or Fronto-temporal dementia – this brain deconstruction is different than other disabilities. It’s about everything shrinking. It’s where everyone else who lives beyond your personal Thirty Second Universe knows more about reality than you do. They know what you did (the stuff you forgot) and they know what you’ll be doing (like looping the conversation back to the beginning for the third time with the same questions). If you believe there is a conspiracy circling you, you’re probably right once your family stops stating that you just said this or that. When you no longer remember that you can’t remember anything at all, you’ve lost your identity. My dad never got that far. His mother did.

*****

If you’re getting depressed and want to stop reading, you probably wouldn’t want to take a blood test that says you’re prone to get brain shrinkage. It’s not depressing to write this because I have yet to get back my test results and I also read heredity is not usually the reason for dementia. So I’m just curious as to what the test will tell me. If it says I have the gene for dementia, I’ll note that but tell myself that brain-fade is for very old people and I’m nowhere close to that.

Actually that’s not true. We’re all forgetting, almost everything. And what we don’t forget, we distort in our minds.

*****

Ebbinghaus ForgetsHere’s the bitter truth about remembering our past. Sure, we have many recollections, but they are only the events that made an impression at the time, the stuff we considered important enough to remember. Our memory selection is filtered and then integrated into our world-view. And what’s not important, well, that we don’t remember. What’s important and what isn’t is shaped by ATTITUDE, not by the intrinsic significance of the event.

You’re approached by someone you don’t know but as words are exchanged you begin to realize you two have met before. You even worked with that person but you forgot. He didn’t. Guess who decided that past encounter wasn’t important enough to retain.

We selectively remember what we think we can use later. Only a few people remember events as they actually happened. All the rest of us remember the IMPRESSIONS of what happened. And those impressions are molded moment by moment by our desire of how we want our life to turn out.

Obviously I do that too. Even the stuff I think I clearly remember is actually jumbled. I wrote three novels based on my memories of 44 years ago. There were many holes to fill in and all the dialogue. So I bridged the gaps and used conclusions that came from later experiences. The story couldn’t have be authored any other way. Or remembered.

Recently I read two years of letters I had written to my parents during part of the time referenced in the books. I couldn’t believe how much I had forgotten, including people who were with me during some of the events I had written about. Without realizing it, I had completely erased those people from my personal drama. I didn’t remember they were there too. And when I phoned those old friends to ask about our shared experiences, they described something totally different than I recalled.

So how much of my memory life was absolutely real? Probably none of it. And that goes for you as well.

*****

What IS real, then? Just ME and YOU in the present with all of our attitudes, beliefs and behaviors built on a mishmash of reconstructed recollection. Yep, we’re a collection of assumptions based on biased data reorganizing from moment to moment. Ultimately the only reality that exists is that which we record with machines, and even that playback is interpreted differently from person to person. Few of us agree on what the facts are anymore, if we can find some that haven’t been edited in someway to impress a point-of-view.

So here’s the point: Most, if not all of our memories are an illusion. We experience an event, interpret it, accept or reject those ideas, store the essence of the memory consciously or unconsciously and then make a decision based on what we believe to be true. Truth is relative. We’re all prisoners of time kept guessing by the way our brains reshape personal data to fit what we want to happen.

*****manLooksOutWindow

At the end of his life, my dad had lost most of his personal data. And what was left, didn’t matter anymore. In his last seven days the only mental activity remaining was the essence of who my father was – simply gratitude. He no longer cared about reinventing anything to win an argument or impress us. Control had lost its significance. Decisions were basic. He had no need for assumptions or critical opinions. He was holy.

How much of our memory do we have to lose to get to that point? How much do we have to remember?

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What it’s Like to Live in a Thirty Second Universe

clock eyeLast month my father’s life ended inside his Thirty Second Universe. At the age of 96 Dad’s dementia had reduced his short-term recall to half a minute. Within that time, a thought, a conversation, any decision was anchored in the world we lived in too. But beyond his memory edge where present events and exchanges of ideas evaporated into a gray abyss, his reality stopped and rebooted again for the next thirty seconds of his ever looping Here and Now. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

We take memory for granted until it leaves us. Without recollection of past events and conclusions, we can’t build upon what has gone before. We can’t expand the matrix. This is what a Thirty Second Universe is all about: relearning every experience as if it were new for the first time.

How would it be if we all lived there? Nothing beyond what already exists would get invented. Nothing would improve, unless Nature did it, because Nature never forgets. The same problems would have to be solved over and over again. Collections of information would be useless, because once read, that too would be forgotten and needed to be reviewed once more.

My father loved novels and in his later years he continued to read them, but only from moment to moment. As he turned to page 204 he had already forgotten page 203, and 202, and everything before that. He had no sense of continued story, only the present as he rediscovered each character with only a sliver of personalities confined to those five or six paragraphs his eyes were scanning. He couldn’t accumulate information and build on it. And hence, constructing a logical order of reasoning was beyond his reach, unless it happened within his Thirty Second Universe.

Can you imagine what it’s like to be leashed inside thirty seconds and realize it? My dad did and he coped somehow, with a great deal of help from Mom, our family and friends. We filled in the gaps because Dad had mentally deteriorated. It wasn’t his decision.

Would anyone intentionally limit their thinking to thirty seconds of memory? No. But we all lock ourselves within similar limits anyway, sometime debilitating. Many times debilitating.

*****

Unless we’re mentally impaired, you and I have a choice about what we remember and learn. That’s FREEDOM, plain and simple. It’s our human right to think the way we want and know more and expand. Why would anyone choose to give up that freedom? We do though, by selectively narrowing our exposure to cultures different than ours, to new inventions, to contrasting ideas and to the insight that matures out of that. Why would anyone refuse to get bigger and better?

Why?

I ask Why, because in some respect, we all refuse to get bigger and better. We all draw limits as to how much new information we want to accept and how much of it we choose to remember. And we also decide in what way to remember it. Were those new ideas good for us or bad for us? Was that discussion comforting or threatening? Was the change reassuring or frightening?

These are opinions about survival and we ponder them everyday. Shall we stick to the tired and true or take a chance with a new route…or restaurant, or job challenge, or software upgrade? Can we trust current information or should we rely on the established gospel? Do we stick to the fundamentals, those words which should never be questioned or revised? Or do we question and revise?

Which policy works best?

Answering this question rarely resolves the debate because rarely is what-works-best taken into consideration. What motivates our actions and resistance is how we FEEL about things and how secure we are with change and differences. If change and difference is uncomfortable we’ll revert to clearly defined borders and rules about right and wrong, good and evil, Us and Them. We’ll rally around fundamental truths, or what we all agree are God-given, fundamental truths. Without needing to revise and expand, there’s no reason to seek more truth or other truths. Simply read the Good Book, the one our religion is using, finish it and start over.

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

And why not? Ethics and morality are intrinsic human values. It was all understood and written down many years ago in all the world’s religions. Sin is sin no matter when it’s committed, then or now. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to doing the right thing and knowing what God wants.

Or do we?

When the scriptures of the oldest religions were written, a conventional marriage was one of multiple wives, slavery was the norm and stoning a woman for adultery was encouraged. And don’t forget making war on the infidels. That never changed.

So who decides what’s right and wrong anymore? Is there really a one-size-fits-all moral code? Can the story of Humankind and God be relegated to one teaching?

No. Our world is not the same anywhere, anytime, or in agreement. Everything keeps changing and reinventing itself, despite our relentless struggle to lock in fundamental, forever-and-ever truths. There’s no natural Thirty Second Universe to read and reread.

*****

Ultimately, everyone’s main purpose is the same: to survive in order to achieve our secondary purpose – doing what we want to do. We come into this world with a predisposition for survival. Somehow we all know what we want, even if it takes a lot of time figuring that out. Of course we need help figuring it out and we get it with food and shelter (if we’re fortunate) and with much advice about how to think. Some of us accept that advice and carry on the traditions. Some of us reject the Old Ways to search for new paths. Who conforms and who doesn’t is determined by our intrinsic personalities, by our unique way of perceiving the world. Have you wondered why you think the way you do? I have. I was born this way.

What way were YOU born? Have you tried expanding your boundaries? Or have you set limits? If so, why? And if you’re comfortable relying on a structured set of beliefs from a single source of philosophy, do you feel disadvantaged when competing with someone who has more or different information than you do?

You don’t? You’re secure in your faith and it helps you get through the day? Okay, I respect that. But please, respect my beliefs when they’re different than yours. Live and let live, as long as no one is harmed along the way. That’s me. But it’s not a perfect world and lots of people get harmed along the way. Beyond that, the definition of “harm” is in constant debate, which only divides us even more. So we watch the news that validates are predisposed opinions or we watch and listen to none of it. It feels safer inside a stable Thirty Second Universe.

 *****clock faces

Last month I watched Dad die in seven days. Those were my seven days. For Dad, it was a single cycle of reoccurring thirty seconds. And within those seconds, my father consistently asked me, “What’s happening to me? Why am I so sick? Will I get better?”

Sometimes I told him what I thought he wanted to hear. Sometimes I told him the truth. It didn’t matter what I said. He kept forgetting the reality of his very short future. Watching Dad grasp for life when I knew it would soon end was incredible painful for me. I felt I was betraying him by suggesting false hope. Now I know I did no harm. Dad eventually figured it out and remembered his conclusion, and whether he believed in Heaven or not, that didn’t matter either. If Heaven exists, he’s there. If it doesn’t, he’s not around to miss it.

Maybe that’s Life’s lesson: It doesn’t matter what we know or what we think we know. It doesn’t matter who’s right and who’s wrong. What matters, is that this Universe IS what it IS and it all changes from moment to moment whether we agree to that or not. We’re born, we live, we die.

Repeat, repeat, repeat. How many times do we have to be reminded we’re all eventually shutting down? Everything else is just stuff to do to fill in the time.

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Can You Love Your Dad When You Don’t?

IMGP0684I’ve been away from this blog for months. I ran out of stuff I wanted to write about. Then it happened. Now I’m writing.

*****

From about the time I looked like my long haired avatar, I didn’t like my dad anymore. Lots of people did, though, and he had many guy friends. I couldn’t figure out why. I figured they didn’t really know him as I did, the way he was when the charm machine was turned off and the control he demanded was routinely established through subtle put-downs, teasing or simply losing interest in a conversation that wasn’t about him.

He wasn’t a bad dad, really. But his lack of deep interest in me while I was growing up left a hurting hole in my heart. You see I didn’t know at the time that my dad was very much like most of the dads of his time: Men who were expected to bring home the bacon while their wives took care of the kids at home. As long as there was food on the table and the mortgage or rent was paid, those WWII vets had done their job and their mission-accomplished reward came in the packages of tinkering fun time alone or letting loose with their buddies on a golf course or in a bar or on fishing trips. Father/Son stuff didn’t bloom until the Baby Boomers like me had more time on our hands, thanks to the parental sacrifices for our higher education and the 60’s and 70’s job opportunities in an expanding economy.

So now, having finally figured out how the American Father/Provider roles and goals changed from one generation to the next, I thought I knew my dad. I did and I didn’t. Then again, I thought I knew myself. I did and I didn’t. What changed? Three weeks ago I walked through the fire holding my father’s hands to his last open door. And here’s what I came to realize:

The core of who we really are isn’t revealed until our lives shrink from an imagined Forever, to the reality of passing years and finally to our last days and minutes. Somewhere between the fantasy of forever and the reality of old age, we all learn to shield our fragile feelings with the construction of a character we pretend to be. We also learn to compete for survival doing whatever it takes to win the day, or protect our integrity, our homes, our children and families…or end a petty argument with “I’m right and you’re not.”

It’s important to be right, to be the best, to be winners so that we can feel good about ourselves, even if it sometimes means hurting others, especially the ones we love. Most of the time we don’t feel good about ourselves anyway, even with our wins, real or not. So we try harder to convince the world that we’re valuable and worthy and nice and deserving to be wanted. With many people, this propensity to love and be loved makes that world a better place. But figuring out how to do that, learning what works and what doesn’t, takes many years of mistakes and failures. That’s called growing up.

At the age of sixty-six I’m still growing up and this month Dad helped me to do that. He broke me apart and put me back together with a deeper grasp of what we’re all about. And he did that by trusting me to help him to die when I didn’t want to do it. He showed me, by example, how a righteous warrior departs with dignity – a dignity that came from his core and not from the molded character I thought was my real dad.

I’m about to give you some quotes coming from the man my father actually was. His life was shrinking and he knew it. The persona and social tools chosen long ago weren’t working anymore. Some of you reading this know that Dad had been diminished by dementia. Still, as his strength waned, as his final years, months and days wore him down, he continued to fight for one more “Trust me! I’m right about this,” and “I can do it myself,” until he no longer could. And then, subconsciously, Dad asked for a time-out. In those precious time-out’s, when he gave himself permission to be vulnerable, all that remained of my father was clarity and truth. And that’s what he expressed to me in his last week of human existence.

What IS clarity and truth? In Dad’s case it was the essence of love, and a man who gratefully accepted the kindness of family and strangers. When single days became cherished again, I heard my father say, “Life isn’t worth living if you can’t remember any of it.”

That’s what he said to me eight months ago. “Does that make you feel sad?” I asked, wondering if he could keep this conversation going.

“No, not really,” he muttered.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because,” he said, “if I think about it again, I’ll forget that too.”

I sat on the couch next to him, dumbfounded. How profound.

“You live with what you have, Irv,” he continued. And then the conversation ended. Dad’s brain had already erased what we were talking about. The door was shut again, time resumed and Dad donned his armor to return to the world of needing to be the man-in-charge.

 *****

I had scheduled a short get-away to visit my aging parents months ago. Ten days before my scheduled departure, I got a call from Mom telling me about Dad’s rapid and sudden physical decline. By the time I stepped into my parent’s home, the same house we moved into when I was fourteen, a permanent but sublime time-out was already in place and Dad’s forgetting fixed me inside his repeated loop of, “What’s happening to me?” The correct answer was, “You’re dying Dad,” but I didn’t have the courage to tell him. I didn’t trust that he could handle the truth. I was so wrong. As his final days stretched into what seemed like weeks, Dad revealed who he really was, and how strong he was, and how fearless. It took a while, but eventually he prodded me to trust his stamina and answer his last question, “Do I have cancer?”

Did I tell him? No, not then. I had more growing up to do. So for a while he stopped questioning. I think he knew anyway.

I want this fact to be known to all who read this story: Through the process of losing more and more control, of everything, including getting to the bathroom on his own, Dad never asked me for anything at all. Nor did I ever hear a word of regret about his condition. I never saw him cry about it or feel sorry for himself. What he did say was, “I’m getting worse and worse,” and finally, “I’m in really bad shape,” on his last morning when he could no longer move more than a few inches anywhere.

And so the time came when I needed to tell the truth. And here’s how it went down. The day before he passed he said to me, “My body doesn’t know what it wants to do anymore. This is crazy, isn’t it?”

“It’s sad.” That’s all I could say. So he looked at me, right into my soul and said, “I’m dying, aren’t I?”

I nodded and began to weep.

He then shook his finger as if to say, “Let’s not get melodramatic about this.” And then he said, with words this time, “There’s nothing we can do about it. Let’s try to make it comfortable.”

“You’re so brave,” I sighed.

And he said, “People get stronger through adversity.”

Again I nodded. “Dad, I think it’s all gonna be okay. I really believe it.”

“That’s nice to know,” he said. “In the meantime, can you help me up so I can take a shit?”

 *****

That was my real dad talking, the man I hadn’t known before. But there was more of him to discover, the deep feelings he had for me, the stuff I took for granted because all fathers are supposed to love their sons, no matter how casual the relationship turns out to be. Now I was lifting him off the bed to walk ten feet, or just four, and as we embraced, he said to me, “I love you, Irv. Thank you, thank you…”

For the first time in my life I understood what he meant and it tore me to shreds. I was holding my father/child who was thanking me for anything I could do for him. Roles had reversed. I had to accept the responsibility. Without having reared children of my own, I had never been challenged in that way. But my Dad was offering me that experience now. Not demanding it, you understand. Not even asking for it. He was simply allowing me to do whatever I could handle and he accepted whatever I could give.

Incredibly impressive…

Still, I miss his greatest fear, even when he screamed it out to my mother from the bedroom, almost everyday. “Doris, I’m gonna take a shower. Don’t use up all the hot water!”

*****

I love you Dad, and I hope you’re not resting at all. I hope you’re charming other souls around you and cracking jokes like you always did. I hope you’re laughing. I always loved to hear you laugh. I still do. You were so good at it.

 

 

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It was Great While It Lasted

Goodbye

Yep. This blog was great while it lasted. But it’s time to close the store. It might open again at some time in the future. Maybe. But I don’t think anytime soon. For those of you who’ve been reading my thoughts over the past two years, I want you to know I wholly appreciated your interest, many shares and occasional comments. You made me happy.

Ultimately though, I’ve said what I needed to say and have started repeating subjects and themes. To be totally open, the posts have become homework and I don’t think that’s good for you or me. My writing and your reading my blog no longer feels like it’s a good use of our time. Perhaps you came to that conclusion a while back. If you did, it’s understandable. I’m with you on that.

So I’m saying, “Goodbye.” I’m not leaving the planet nor my writing. I’m just adjusting my focus again like I do about almost everything. Change keeps my life refreshed. I have to keep exploring new stuff to avoid the “B” word – boredom. You know that about me if you’ve been reading my blogs for any length of time. I believe expansion is necessary for evolution, personal and in nature. That’s why I have to stop the column. I’m finding that widening the content isn’t working that well, at least not in this format. So I think you understand, when a creative project has matured it’s time to wrap it up and start something new.

As I close this door, I send my best wishes to you and for all your pursuits and challenges. Don’t settle for anything less than you can possibly be and don’t give up. If you can step back after reading my blog and agree with me, that going the distance pays off, then I’ve done my job encouraging you with your job. Have fun with it and don’t be scared. If you’re fulfilled and happy because you’re not letting yourself down, because you’re always moving closer to your goals, because you put yourself in charge, I promise you more good things will come your way. That’ how it works: like attracts like – happiness attracts more happiness. DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s all good.

For anyone who wishes to keep in touch, you can reach me via Irving.Podolsky@Earthlink.net. If you write I’ll answer.

Irv

 

Originally posted on Curiosityquills.com.

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Why I like Breasts

2nd graders in hall

Actually I don’t know why I like breasts. I just do. Always have, even before I realized I did.

My first realization that breasts were my friends flashed in my little boy brain at the age of seven. My elementary school had two lunch times and as one class marched out of the cafeteria down the hall, another class waited in line against the opposite wall. One day the principal’s secretary, Mrs. Lamb, stepped into the front office doorway and stood next to me as my second grade class waited to be let in to the lunchroom.

I liked Mrs. Lamb. She was always happy and waved to us kids when she saw us. So being so close to her skirt, I looked up to catch a smile. Couldn’t see it. Her face was blocked by a budging double canopy over my head.

That very moment I realized some mommies had bigger chests than other mommies. (When you’re a seven year-old boy, all ladies are mommies.) I also realized, Wow! Those really big mounds, they’re like…really big! And super mommy-ish. Then I though, Does my own mommy have mounds? I have to look when I get home.

I looked. They were much smaller that Mrs. Lamb’s and not particularly interesting. Apparently, at birth, I had been pre-programmed for Big Boob Mania and was set for life. Breasts were on my radar.

*****

funicelloMy next reminder that girl’s chests had a place in my life came with my crush on Mousketeer Annette Funicello. I loved Annette! So much so, I wrote for her picture and taped that autographed 8×10 glossy on the wall above my bed so she’d look down at me before I drifted into dreamland. I think I was nine and Annette was probably thirteen. Of all the Mousketeers girls, Annette had more chest curves than Doreen, Karen, Darlene and Sharon. I didn’t love Annette because she had budding breasts. Still, I was glad she had them, although the thought of touching her never crossed my mind. Tactile contact would have to wait until I was thirteen.

*****

My first girlfriend was Sandy S.. Sandy was a shy, plain-Jane science-smart girl with egg-shaped thick glasses. And no, Sandy was not popular. I wasn’t either. I was shorter than average (until I caught up), nearsighted with homely glasses too, a stupid brush cut hair style and definitely outside the group.

Sandy and I were perfect for each other. Nobody ever suspected, not for one second, that after school, in Sandy’s bedroom (her Mom & Dad worked), we played Show Me – Feel Me. I remember that first time. This Nice Jewish Boy talked Sandy S. her into taking off her blouse, then her skirt, then her panties. Even then I had a way with calming words, like a doctor. My mother wanted me to become a doctor.

Anyway, we came together that way because Sandy really liked me and I liked her. We trusted each other. Although we had no concept about what comes after the exploring part, we still did lots of touching and talking and I knew she wouldn’t blab about it. The whole thing was about getting naked which we knew was naughty and that made our secret meetings exciting and very special, the closest thing to loyalty thirteen year-olds can grasp.

Between ClassesSandy was a thin girl. Puberty hadn’t hit her yet and she was very sensitive about her looks. She didn’t need a bra and she wanted one, explaining to me that all the other girls were starting to get their breasts and she wasn’t. She asked me if that was all right, that she didn’t have soft things for me to feel and I said it was fine, that it didn’t matter to me.

It did matter to me, a little bit. I was programmed to love big breasts but I never, ever told Sandy that. I’m glad I didn’t. We “broke up” two months later. Lack-of-breasts had nothing to do with it. I stopped going home with Sandy because my early adolescent ego didn’t want Sandy talking, and maybe liking, another boy. And in class I saw her talking to another boy. She likes him more, I thought. So I punished my first girlfriend by ignoring her after that.

Sandy cried. And yeah, I felt really bad that I hurt Sandy but she hurt me too by maybe liking another boy more than me. That meant I wasn’t so important to her anymore although she said I was. Still, I wanted Sandy to feel like I felt – less important, and she did. So I got my revenge and regret it to this day.

Sandy, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry.

Okay, at thirteen my immature psychology and behavior was understandable. I grew out of it. It’s unfortunate though, so many adults have not.

*****

I was bottle-fed as an infant. And my mom was very conscious about covering herself up once I was old enough to remember things. So breasts were always hidden treasures, a reward on a date. As I said, I don’t know why larger breasts pull my attention more than smaller ones, but I’m not alone in the Guy Club about that preference, which is not good news. Preferred body shapes put pressure on women to deliver what men desire. Although these aesthetics are cultural and change, it shouldn’t be that way.

But there’s good news about that too. Not all men like big breasts. I know one dude who doesn’t, but he’s Swedish and in Sweden, women generally are smaller breasted. So if you’re a gal living in Stockholm, maybe you’re exempt from big boob demands. I hope so. And I also hope men are exempt from having to grow big penises, big muscles and big bank accounts.

Who am I kidding.

*****

 measuring-womans-bust

As much as I love breasts and the whole experience of getting close to them, after a while, they’re just sort of there, like elbows and knees. As with anything that’s new, it’s great as long as it’s new and then it’s not new and something else that’s newer takes its place.

My wife’s breasts are not on that list. Nor is my wife. She stays new all the time by changing her interests, pursuits and goals. Lately she’s been immersed in political social media, writing emails to politicians, the President and leaving comments in online newspapers. She’s a kick! Next year she’ll reinvent herself again and that makes her all the more interesting.

So ladies, I’m about to say something you already know, ‘cause I’m the Reminder Guy. When it comes to your breasts, sure, men are attracted to them (as well as a number of other women), but not for long. Then it’s just YOU, not your body. YOU are object of love, as long as you love yourself.

Sure, sex for sex’s sake is great. And for me, hopping onto bouncing boobs is great too. But I understand that attaching too much importance to a physical frame has dismal consequences. Bodies wear out and no longer work as they did at prime – for sexual gratification, and as an object of desire.

But this is not bad news. Really. Because you’ve got something that never wears out – a playful demeanor, a caring heart and the trust to try new things. That kind of spirit NEVER grows old. It stays beautiful and attracts all kinds of wonderful people. And those who don’t see your intrinsic allure, well, you don’t want them anyway.

Okay… Just for the record, a healthy body is nice too. So maybe we should take care of it as best we can. Not just for looks, but for a longer life, and longer love.

 

Originally published on Curiosityquills.com.

 

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Somebody is Lying

crossed fingers behind back

I listen, I watch, I hear stuff, I read, I read some more and then even more about what’s good and bad for the American People, as if the entire United States was one big happy family of exactly the same thing. Left-right battle lines are clearly drawn and screamers on both sides throw facts at each other to prove they’re right…about everything.

When each side’s set of facts contradict each other, six year-old logic tells us somebody is lying. And of course we know who that is. The Bad Guys are lying!

But who are the Bad Guys? Who’s really telling the truth? What IS the truth? Where do we find it if we doubt what we’re told, even by the Good Guys?

Let’s face it, folks, we don’t want to take a lot of time hunting for the truth. Most of us are not scientists. Uncovering secrets is not our game. For you and me with a job and family, the truth should be a given, something we can rely on to get past screwing up.

But the world is not a perfect place. Everybody lies. Yes, even you. “Honey, I’ll be there in a minute.” When are we ever there in a minute?

As I said, by six we pretty much figured out we can’t trust anyone over seven, at least not all the time. And that’s a bad thing, because lately more and more lies are going down that severely affect us and unless we know what’s true and what’s false, we’ll end up royally screwed with everything else.

So where and how do we find the truth? It’s a psychological thing, actually. Once we DECIDE to seek truth, we have to DECIDE who’s telling the truth; who we can trust and who we can’t. Choosing not to DECIDE is still a decision. It happens when we don’t even trust our own deciding! seek truth

Yep. Deciding to believe lies, which is trusting a liar, happens all the time. Lots of smart people get robbed. We know that. So we don’t trust much of anything anymore and we don’t like it that way. We want to at least trust SOMETHING! SOMEBODY! Somewhere!

How and where do we find that something to trust?

Okay, here’s where we start. First, we have to assume that all human life reduces to seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. And the only way to get the good stuff, is by knowing what’s really going on so we can avoid the bad stuff, which means we’re forced to make time for investigation.

That means no cheating. We have to find TRUE truth. We just can’t accept things because we WISH they were true. And if things scare us, we should not look at them AS IF they were true. It’s all gotta be the objective real thing. Because if we’re dealing with shit that’s only in our mind, that leads us into decisions that don’t play out well, which only gets us more angry and scared, which leads to wanting more PROOF and FACTS about protections we hope will let us sleep at night.

So in desperation, we believe what we want to hear and seek to hear what we want to believe, because agreement with our wishes is comforting, even when it’s not true. But alas, forcing validation does not a-safe-world-make. Nor do we feel any safer.

So what’s the answer?

I told you. We need true truth! And that demands an open mind. We have to admit that “facts” can be lies and many times are. And so we have to fact-check the facts, and then we have to fact-check the fact-checkers, because everything we read or see on a screen somewhere is second, third or forth hand information. It’s all somebody else’s facts, which may or may not be true.

Conclusion: We have to question EVERYTHING. We have to keep in mind somebody is always lying somewhere!

That brings us back to needing the real facts, which have to be proven by other facts which agree with those first facts. And then we need even more facts to back up our backup facts. We’ll never have too much cowbell and we’ll never have too many facts feeding a premise. The more we compare and contract various news sources, the more detailed our picture gets of the real world.

Again, that takes time and commitment. Damn!

*****

If hunting for truth sounds like scientific method, it is. Researchers start with a speculation about how and why something works and then they look for tangible ways of proving it. If they can’t find enough hard evidence to absolutely prove something IS what it is, they call it a THEORY.

If they DO find enough proof that can be replicated over time, and the majority agrees it IS what it is, they call it a LAW.

Almost everything in politics is a theory. Nothing stays the same long enough to anchor an intrinsic universal truth. And eventually every law is broken.

So if there’s no ultimate truth and everything changes all the time, how can the world feel safe for you and me?

As I keep saying, if we know what’s really going on, when we can finally trust something or someone, when we know that a promise will be kept (or try to be kept because it’s not a lie), when our group agrees on certain facts, only then will we will feel safer and BE safer.

And where is that safety place? This you know. It starts with our families. Safety comes from truth among family, friends and your shrink.

But for this security to work, no one can break the trust. Not even once. Lying is not an option. Ever. No love grows in a nest of distrust. This you know too.

politician w gun & flagAnd you also know that people lie so much they lie about their lying, insisting they only want to help us. You know where I’m headed. It’s getting really, really hard to trust our elected officials – the people making decisions on our behalf, or so they say.

Are any of them telling the truth? If so, how will we know?

*****

Here’s how you’ll find out if your representative is lying. But you have to DECIDE to find out.

When it comes to your state and national elected officials, you should check their voting record, what they’re really for and against. Read the bills and their new laws. It’s all public record. Read your congress man or woman’s website. Call their local offices and talk to their staffers. Ask about their positions on certain issues. Attend their town hall meetings and ask direct questions. Watch them as they answer and then check their words against their voting actions. And if you don’t have time for all that, find websites that compile that information for you, but you’ll have to fact-check that stuff too.

There’s a big fight going on about ObamaCare. Perhaps you’ve heard the rumors. Want to know what the Affordable Care Act is REALLY all about? Here’s a link to the actual document – all 906 pages. It’s direct, unbiased information, people! Be the first on your block who’s truly informed!

What? You don’t have time to read 906 pages of national law? I do, but I’m not reading it either. So yeah, I know I can find truth and I have to work for it. I know it takes time. Instead, I’m trusting the people who put it together, which was a bipartisan committee.

And if it turns out to be a lousy plan, I’ll blame the Bad Guys, whoever they turn out to be. It’s so hard to DECIDE.

 

Originally published at Curiosityquills.com.

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