The Gertrude Stein claim that “Everyone gets so much information all day long that he loses his common sense” sounds as if it makes perfectly good sense. I’ve never considered common sense a good thing though. According to the impression I’ve always gotten from someone who invokes it as a standard of measurement, it always seems to appear that the individual who refers to it sees himself as being on a somehow superior plane to the other party, as if he’s in cahoots with a more worthwhile, more impressive kind of knowledge or wisdom which we unworthy peons lack entirely. As much as I’ve always liked, admired and respected G.K. Chesterton, who is known to his admirers as the Apostle of Common Sense, I truly wish they would come up with a better term to describe his approach to life. Just listen to anyone who invokes references to common sense. He always seems to be employing a larger than life standard in order to pass sentence on someone who is ultimately a perfectly decent individual but who, because of a minor momentary lapse of judgment, has the misfortune to make a bad mistake. I’ve often heard of these mistakes referred to as dumb-ass moments. Someone who invokes the all-important common sense appears to be harboring the delusion that no one, except of course for him, gets to have the satisfaction of anyone’s having any patience with his dumb-ass moments. Common sense is a nightmarishly horrible unforgiving standard wielded by self-centered control freaks. What tolerance is to liberals, common sense is to the general population.
A few weeks ago I found my Garmin Nuvi G.P.S., after not having bothered with it for quite a significant length of time. I needed a new charger for it so I went to the Radio Shack on Park Avenue and got one. When I plugged it into my car’s lighter it wouldn’t work. I then got Mary Anne and Steve to plug it into their cars. It worked for them both. The salesman in the store tried it on his charger and it worked for him. For some strange reason I can’t get it to work in only my car. Everyone assumed the car needed a new fuse. Steve changed it. It still doesn’t work. The company sent me a free USB charger when I complained to them. I’ve been using it to keep the G.P.S. charged. No one has any idea why it won’t work in my car, especially since the fuse has already been changed. It’s really been bothering me quite a lot because it’s always been such an exceptionally good G.P.S. In general I’ve been quite happy with it. The car is really good too. The charger just won’t work in that car though. It truly grates upon my nerves that the obvious solution to the problem doesn’t work in this specific case.
Two of the things I’ve always wished I could change in my life are my lack of physical strength and coordination. Unfortunately, though, that doesn’t appear to be possible. Another is my anxiety. Although I’ve been much better recently than I was a couple of decades ago it still gets me crazy much of the time. I’ve never been the least bit tough enough on people who presume to push me around and to expect me to take things I don’t have to accept. The last thing is my fear of heights. If I could have a day in my life during which all these shortcomings could be eradicated entirely it would be so much easier for me to climb and to reach into high places, to climb a ladder or anything else of significant height, and to pick up things of even average weight. I could do a wider variety of things without the frustration I’ve always been subjected to. There are very many things that each of us is confronted with, over the course of his average day, that require him to have a steady grasp of things physically. It might not seem like much to most people, but to someone who’s always had trouble with these kinds of things it’s a major problem. A life free of anxiety could make even the problems I should still have appear much less intense compared to the way they now always seem. I always tend to get inordinately frustrated while traveling and with new circumstances so without that trouble I could be much more flexible. If I could figure out a way to deal with people who try to take advantage of me, always mindful of my obligation to avoid letting my temper get out of control, that would make my day as good as possible. I could be legitimately tough without getting nasty, and I could also avoid accepting the unacceptable. It may not seem easy to believe but I honestly think that the elimination of those defects of mine would lead to a drastically less stressful and more competent way of life for me.
I haven’t noticed any person like properties in any of the machines I now own, though my computer can be as temperamental as anyone. Since I’ve only recently started driving my father’s 2001 dark blue Saturn it’s still kind of hard to tell. I still technically own my 1992 blue-green Saturn SC even though it’s entirely out of commission. In its day it was quite the distinctive character. It was an exceptionally nice sports car and had a sleek appearance. Perhaps it’s because I kept it for long that my imagination started playing tricks on me, but it was like an old reliable friend for me. I first got it in January of 1996 and went everywhere with it. It started falling apart around five years ago though. Over the years it became a perfect trademark for me and people always associated me with that car. It was so quiet and subtle, exactly the way I’d really like people to be. I spent so much time driving it back and forth to work, school, my Knights of Columbus council and everyplace else I wanted to go. Often I’d just hang around in the car, in parking lots, reading and thinking. Since I’m so compulsively punctual I spend a lot of time waiting for things to get started, after I’ve arrived somewhere. All throughout the time I drove this car I spent countless hours sitting in it, merely hanging around and keeping busy. During its last few years unfortunately it got quite seriously nasty. There was a leak in one of the windows and the thermostat didn’t work anymore. Over the course of its heyday, though, my car got me through absolutely everything whatsoever. Maybe more in a passive way than actively, perhaps more in my imagination than in reality, my Saturn SC, took on a life of its own.
Of course it would be quite difficult for me to pick the perfect voice to narrate my blog’s posts. I should suppose that considering how I’ve always so very much liked the sounds of the Beatles’ voices, both separately and together, perhaps I should choose either Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr to perform this most ominous and foreboding task for me. It would be so very interesting for me to hear the voice of one of the Fab Four relate all my ideas and adventures to the public. A nice Liverpudlian scouse accent would do my writing style quite a world of good as far as I can see. Ever since I was little I’ve always wanted to have some kind of connection to my favorite band. There would be no other way for me to get involved with them since I can’t sing and I’m not a good enough musician. I make so many references, in my entries, to them and their adventures, musical and otherwise anyway. Everyone would be so shocked if I could get one of them to help me, but no one could possibly be the least bit surprised at my having tried.
Over the years, ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been surrounded by second hand things. As a kid I always wore clothes that were originally worn by my older cousins Larry and Gary from Ozone Park. Now I drive my father’s car, and often wear my mother’s watch. Because it’s been going back for as long as I can remember I don’t even bother to think twice about it. Even in general my world has always been quite significantly characterized by the derivative. I tell other people’s jokes and stories, listen to second hand music and otherwise wallow absolutely constantly in the borrowed and left over. Perhaps I can even be characterized as the Linda Ronstadt of life in general. No one is even capable of being very original anyway. Each of us takes great phony pride in what he seems to consider some kind of ex nihilo creativity. Everything is inevitably derivative in one way or another anyway though. I honestly don’t happen to think it’s even the least bit bad. I obviously wasn’t around during the 1960’s but I borrow quite shamelessly from that era. As long as I can continue to be happy as a throwback I shall continue to make the best of all sorts of borrowed things, circumstances and ideas.
Albert wandered into the bathroom one morning to get ready for work.
“Clara?” he called out from force of habit.
He got no answer. She was away visiting her parents. Now he could at last have some free time to think. The silence was deafening though. The long-married man both enjoyed the break from routine and missed her company.
“Life is filled with confusion like that,” he thought out loud.
He proceeded to shave and to brush his teeth, eagerly awaiting his coffee and the Daily News. More importantly, he was eager to call her that afternoon.
Occasionally I think I should enjoy having the top spot in a royal family. That feeling always passes quite fast though. If my parents would have ever been king and queen, I should gladly have passed the crown on to my sister, even though she’s younger than I. Over the course of my lifetime I’ve always been the somewhat offbeat character in everyone’s crowd. It’s a role I’ve learned to handle quite exceptionally well by now. A regnant monarch, of course, is fully expected to be so terribly prim and proper, with all sorts of annoying obligations. As king, I should have to be constantly on my guard in order to avoid even the slightest of possible gaffes. Each and every single move I should make under such circumstances would always be hounded by the world’s absolutely undivided attention. As a mere family member I could count on all the glamour and gusto with none of the difficult things. I could even get quite a few laughs to be able to show for it. The media nabobs could count on me to make a few appearances every once in a while, and to recite a few enchanting witticisms. I could dine at the finest restaurants, imbibe the best of drinks, court the loveliest women, all the while having a good laugh at one and all because I shouldn’t ever have to be bothered with all the hoo ha that goes with being a head of state, or even a prospective one. Even though Elizabeth and Philip are mere figureheads, they’re still obligated, by definition, to behave in a manner proper to their station.
Early last Saturday afternoon I was sitting at a table at one of the local cafes on Park Avenue, leisurely sipping my caramel cappuccino, when I was approached by a tall stranger in a dark grey pin striped suit. He asked me my name. I introduced myself politely, not understanding entirely why I bothered. The fellow, who insisted on remaining anonymous, nodded and replied,
“I’ve been looking for you.”
He went on to explain that a group of gentlemen, whom he would only refer to as Messrs. Waverly, Solo and Kuryakin, were interested in getting in touch with me about quite an exceptionally urgent problem. According to him, they believed that I was the only man in the Western Hemisphere who was capable of handling such a grave responsibility.
“Aah!” I exclaimed. “So my reputation appears to be all that people have told me it is.”
He then asked me to get into his unmarked limousine so we could take a brief ride to the nearby train station. We got onto the Long Island Railroad train and rode for about an hour to Penn Station in Manhattan. We then walked over to one of the restaurants in the station and he proceeded to introduce me to the three gentlemen. They explained all they wanted me to do. Another fellow gave me my passport and a large sum of money in order to facilitate my adventures. Of course I’m not at liberty to divulge any information. Naturally I was a little taken aback at first, not having been positive that I could be expected to handle such a responsibility. After a while, though, I started getting quite a kick out of it all. I knew I’d be expected to wear expensive clothes and hairstyles, to drive a seriously fancy car, to consort with exceptionally lovely women, and to drink my martinis shaken, not stirred. Inevitably I shall soon be given a collection of guns, and all the other hep gadgets that go with such a groovy lifestyle. I shall also have to learn about all the requisite protocol that inevitably is incumbent upon a gentleman who has taken such a profound responsibility upon himself. It will take me a while to become acclimated to my new surroundings and circumstances but I’m really looking forward to it.