24 May 2017

Jumble Tumble Crumble -- A Hodge Podge of Recent Scribblings (Worth a look, actually)



Friday 5/19
In many jobs you have to attend meetings. Some jobs require a lot of meetings. This is generally not a good thing. Actually probably never. I’ve been a teacher for decades, anyone outside the education racket would likely be shocked at how damn many meetings teachers have to attend. It’s a lot. This was much more so when I taught in public school. Staff meetings, faculty meetings, department meetings, team meetings, parent conferences and any committees you may be a part of, either by volunteering (sucker!) or by fiat. If you’re a union rep you’ve got yourself a whole other batch of meetings — in this case for a decidedly good cause.

Meetings can be necessary and productive, especially if they are specific and relate directly to the attendees. Did you know that a lot of meetings are held because they are scheduled and not because they are needed? Did you further know that meetings will sometimes fill a specified amount —an hour, for example — despite the fact that there is only half an hour’s worth of business to attend to?

As I write this I’m sitting in an hour long meeting that has yet to feature so much as one iota of information that is relevant to me. The sum of the presentations — by four different people, so far — could have been condensed into a two paragraph email or a five minute announcement. Yet here I am half listening on the off chance that something will be said that I need to know. I think leading a meeting is like teaching a class, you've got to know your audience and your presentation has to be given with as few words as possible. Also you need to read the room and adjust on the fly. The fact is that teachers are more likely to be presenting relevant material than the useless garbage you're subjected to in meetings.

Saturday 5/20
I watched The Long Voyage Home (1940) directed by John Ford. In my estimation its his most underrated film and it features my favorite John Wayne performance (not that I am generally enamored of Wayne's acting.) The film is beautifully shot with amazing shot composition and brilliant use of shadows and lighting. I'm hoping that the good folks at Criterion will release it someday soon. It deserves the full treatment.

Sunday 5/21
Someone said this about a friend: “he never has a bad word to say about anybody.”  

Fuck that guy. 

First of all he’s making the rest of us look bad. Secondly he’s making the rest of us look bad and third he’s making the rest of us look bad.

Get with the program, buddy, trashing people is a perfectly natural, sometimes healthy practice. Like most anything, overdoing it is bad for you but in moderation talking shit about other people is nothing to be ashamed of. Whattaya gonna do when there’s some jerk at work that everyone is having a go about during lunch? You’re gonna sit there while everyone else is running Sid down one side and up the other? What are you, one of those jerks who says, “aww, he’s a nice guy.” Ole Sid has been getting on people’s nerves for weeks, maybe months, maybe years with his haughty attitude, inappropriate remarks and selfishness, now you’re going to give with the old “he’s a nice guy, bit?” Gimme a break. By your use of the term anyone this said of a serial killer is a “nice guy.” Don’t let people off so easy.

Okay my tongue was spending considerable time in cheek with that last bit but I do doubt those goody two shoes who claim to never say anything bad, they're just not trying hard enough or they're brain dead.

Monday 5/22 


So what’s it like here fully encased in depressed? For one thing it’s slow. Thoughts take their time formulating, speech comes as if I were sedated. Also it’s sad. Very, very sad. Yesterday and all the days before it seem wasted, tomorrow and all the days to follow look bleak. Today is dark and hopeless. 

There’s no reason, no method, just….The dull ache of depression. If you've never had it, depression seems a simple thing to rid yourself. Shake it off. Occupy yourself. Make love. Drink. The words easier said then done come to mind. Distracting depression can be done. An episode of The Simpsons can do it. But that episode ends and you're right back encased in the pain.

Tuesday 5/23
Hospice. My friend’s wife was updating all concerned about Paul’s condition. I told the missus I was dreading the one that had the word hospice in it. Sunday there it was. Fifth word in. Jumped off the page like a blaring siren. Unmistakable. A deceptively pleasant sounding word. Hospice. After all it’s good people performing an important task with great compassion. But it meant that Paul, with whom I go back to freshman year of college, was going to die soon. Heavy heart is an apt way of describing that feeling. Mine felt like a brick.

He will be dead. You can say he passed or that we lost him but that will not alter the grim reality that his life will be no more. My good friend Kevin already died this year. There’s only so much a person can take.

(FUCKING PANCREATIC CANCER!)

Lot of messages on Paul’s Caring Bridge site. Apparently Paul is in a lot of thoughts and prayers as is his family. I don’t have prayers for him to be in but he’s prominent in my thoughts.

There are lessons to be learned like make each day special, live life to the fullest, appreciate every day, they are gifts. That’s the type of thing that sounds great but practically speaking is impossible. Some days just suck. Some days you’re busy. Many of my days I’m battling depression. But I can keep Paul in my heart and remember how he lived with such relish for life. I can learn I can draw inspiration. I’d rather he was cancer free.

Wednesday 5/24
Today on Paul's Caring Bridge site someone named Cindy wrote the following:
"Paul, I have been planning to call you to see how things are going. We miss you tremendously at work. It has been extremely busy- CWF is coming together, and I have been spending more time than I would like in Sacramento. I have been half expecting you to have this cancer thing licked by now, knowing your strength of mind and self discipline. Keep hanging in there. If anyone can conquer cancer, you can."

Poor Cindy is spending more time in Sacramento than she'd like to. The American tragedy that Dreiser didn't write about. But Paul learns that CWF is coming together. That'll be just the tonic for the man in hospice. She also suggests that if anyone "can conquer cancer" Paul can. She is evidently unclear on the concept of hospice. Ya know, some people are better off just sending their thoughts and prayers.



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