Although I’ve always so thoroughly enjoyed the taste and aroma of quite a wide variety of spicy foods, I’m often forced to avoid them quite scrupulously because of the seriously nasty after effects. As I’ve stated already most of my problems with anxiety can be avoided virtually entirely if I merely remember to play the game by its rules instead of mine and not to take any unnecessary risks.I thoroughly enjoy hot spicy foods when I can get away with them. The taste is the deciding factor for me. Many people like to eat hot spicy things merely for the sake of what seems to be an endurance test. I’ve never been able to enjoy that kind of diet though. Although I’ve heard frequently that very spicy food can be good for the heart, and has been proven to decrease the risk of coronary disease, an excess of such a taste and feeling will inevitably keep me from overdoing it. Often Mary Anne, Steve and Bridget like to get take-out food, including Oriental, Hispanic and Italian style. That virtually invariably leads to a forced confrontation with at least something that’s quite inordinately spicy. By now I’ve learned quite the hard way always to make sure I ask first what a specific food is like before I presume to put in my order. I recently ate elk meat for the very first time. Although I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was obscenely spicy. So were the mustard and cabbage that came with it on the side. A while ago, along with Mark and Laura and Lisa, we went to Manhattan and stopped at an Indian restaurant. I was most certainly extra careful there about the food, excellent though it was. On Passover, horseradish is virtually mandatory. As enjoyable as it is, it also should be eaten only quite sparingly for fear of major trouble. Somehow these spicy dishes no longer seem to bother me anywhere nearly as violently as they used to, but I still always approach them with fear and trembling.
It’s a bright morning, seven a.m. April 16, 1862, in Amherst, Massachusetts. Emily Dickinson and her older brother Austin are to spend the day at his house celebrating his thirty third birthday with their family. For a while she is left alone. She contemplates her poem number 449. Death for beauty meets death for truth. Engrossed in a mystical vision of their confrontation, the consummate poetess loses all track of time. At about noon, Austin and their sister Lavinia arrive at the house and are stunned. Why had she entirely ignored the candle?
Of course unlike Rahm Emanuel I’m not part of the corrupt Chicago political machine but I can imagine that the line about not letting a crisis go to waste can be true in a legitimate sense too. Each of us should be quite capable of learning not merely from his mistakes, misdeeds and setbacks but from all kinds of bad circumstances in general. Even though no one should ever even think of taking any kind of inappropriate advantage of a crisis, either financially or otherwise, there’s always something that can be learned from each experience. I can’t remember having turned any sort of crisis into an opportunity to accrue some kind of advantage, either financially or otherwise. It’s always quite a good idea for each of us to examine all the specific circumstances that are relevant to each particular crisis and to make sure that he learns how to avoid taking any unnecessary risks from then on. Each individual should pay very strict attention to any crisis that transpires in order to ascertain whether it was the result of problems with either timing, health, spending money or some other kind of trouble. From then on he can avoid, to the best of his ability, falling into the same traps.
Even though I haven’t paid a significant amount of attention to either of them in the many decades since I graduated, my two most prized possessions have always been my high school yearbook and ring. My yearbook is called the Forerunner because St. John the Baptist is the patron saint of my school. They most certainly aren’t the kinds of things an adult can possibly get any kind of mileage out of, but I always want to make sure I can account for them both. It’s boring for me to read all the things in my yearbook except on very rare special occasions. My ring, the few times I’ve tried to wear it, has always given me extremely bad blisters. My interest in them, though, has nothing to do with usage. It’s much more of a symbolic connection. I’ve always been quite smitten, perhaps even a bit inordinately, with my past, and also with the past in general. My yearbook and ring provide me with tangible links to a most significant part of my past. Neither can possibly be replaced. These days, thanks to the internet, I can get in touch with a lot of different people from my school days. I regularly communicate with former teachers and classmates of mine. My yearbook and ring, though, are in a category entirely their own. Associating with someone from my past brings him entirely into my present and there’s no way out of that. A yearbook and ring, precisely because they’re so inextricably linked with someone’s past, are especially specifically going to remind him of it. A lot of other people may consider a car, article of clothing or some other specific thing the most important possession someone can possibly have in his life. Most certainly the average individual would refer to something he at least occasionally uses. In my typically lopsided fashion, my most prized possessions are things I hardly ever so much as bother to think twice about.
When I have to deal with a crisis, my nerves get all inordinately frazzled. Calm, unfortunately, hasn’t ever been an easy thing for me to maintain. It’s most certainly not a lack of confidence in the sense of fear of failure. It’s more like an overwhelmingly annoying kind of adrenaline rush. I can do reasonably well now, though, compared to my younger days. For quite a while in the past I was inordinately prone toward anxiety and panic attacks. Back then I could never figure out how to relax under stress and even relatively minor frustration was quite often entirely too much for me to handle. Conveniently, though, the older I get the more I can understand how to cope with life’s biggest setbacks. The main difference between the current problem I have in the face of crisis and the way things used to be under similar circumstances is that by now I’ve learned how to deal with it. Diet makes a difference. Caffeine, especially in coffee, can make me crazy. Somehow, for whatever reason, it doesn’t bother me anywhere as much now as it used to. In earlier days it gave me very violent migraines. Now it just provokes an annoying sense of frustration if I drink it under stressful circumstances. Besides being exceptionally careful with my diet I make sure I take my time, do all things very slowly and methodically with great attention to every detail, and all works out quite well.
Long ago, when my younger sister Henrietta and I were in grammar school, our parents used to take us to visit our more obscure aunts, uncles and cousins in northeastern Pennsylvania whenever we were on vacation. I especially enjoyed visiting my mother’s Aunt Mabel and Uncle Clem because theirs was such an offbeat house with all sorts of eccentric knick knacks and curios scattered throughout its fourteen huge rooms. Like many long-married childless old couples, they were quite the colorful interesting characters. Uncle Clem claimed to have been a doughboy in World War I and to have fought the Kaiser under Black Jack Pershing. Every time we visited them he and Aunt Mabel would take my sister and me all throughout their house explaining the supposed origins of all the souvenirs. They included a little yellow bicycle, only four inches high but quite real, a shiny conch shell, and autographed pictures of silent movie stars like Francis X. Bushman and Mabel Normand. “Francis”, they’d always say (my name is Frederic), don’t you wish you and your sister Hildegarde could have been around back in the days of vaudeville?” I miss those days. Unfortunately we never got many chances to visit Aunt Mabel and Uncle Clem. They were always quite the veritable storehouse of quaint nostalgia, custodians of a long bygone era. Their reminiscences of the history and pop culture of the early twentieth century were mixed with a nice healthy dosage of Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear.
I was inspired to write the preceding work of fiction by a picture online of a cupboard containing all sorts of really interesting looking old fashioned curios and souvenirs of a bygone era.
Ideally I should like to think that I’ve always been quite the good natured sort of a perfect gentleman. Unfortunately, though, I seem to have quite a significant problem with anger and resentment when someone has hurt me very badly. Although I find it very easy to acknowledge my obligation to forgive, life in practice, unfortunately has never made it even the least bit easy for me to do so. I’ve been hurt significantly frequently, and significantly deeply, over the course of my lifetime by exactly the very same people whom I should have every right to trust more than anyone. That kind of complete betrayal is supremely difficult for me to accept. Throughout my life, I’ve been known as quite supremely good natured. That’s very easy when only entirely lightweight matters are involved. When, however, someone deals me entirely too profound a blow, the sparks really start to fly. I get sick and tired of all the platitudes people are constantly throwing around about how lack of forgiveness hurts me more than it hurts exactly the very characters I so bitterly resent, and I also get disgusted with all the accusations of my supposed hypocrisy. Although I can understand that there’s a certain element of truth to those claims, they’re still a bunch of brain dead platitudes. Everyone knows that resentment, or lack of forgiveness, is based entirely upon phony pride. Mankind has always been prone toward this problem since the third chapter of the book of Genesis, and it’s how Lucifer became Satan in the first place. My tendency toward holding a grudge is quite intense. It’s sort of like when someone gets hurt physically and the aftermath of his injury, in the form of bruises, scars, or some diminished capacity, drives him to frustration. The problem with injury of an emotional nature is analogous to that. Dostoyevsky, in his novel, “The Possessed”, rightly points out that “No one recognizes his own stink”. I’ve always bitterly despised liberalism for, among other things, its pronounced determination to foment a sense of bitterness, resentment and entitlement among women, minorities, the sexually dysfunctional and other darlings of the left, over all the real and imagined affronts to which they claim to have been subjected. I do the same thing, though, when I allow my unforgiving side to overtake me. It’s evil when somebody else takes that approach to things. By definition, therefore, it simply must be equally evil when I do exactly the very same thing.
If I could have complete control over all that happens at a party, there would be all kinds of food, desserts and drinks available. Considering how many people and how much activity would be involved, I should have to arrange to have it in quite an exceptionally large hall. The only things that would be forbidden would be smoking and drugs. Lasagna has always been my very favorite food so there would be plenty of it to go around. I could have all possible other kinds of food, ranging from meat and cheese to vegetables and seafood. An infinite supply of condiments and seasonings would also be on the menu. There would be a wide variety of desserts including chocolate and candy and pastries in general. Besides the inevitable coffees and teas of all possible flavors, there would be free flowing alcohol too. I’ve never been able to handle much liquor well but it should at least be available. I was, for a while, a bartender at Knights of Columbus council 794 in Lindenhurst so I understand quite well the importance of liquor for a nice party. Good music, of course, is also quite an entirely indispensable ingredient for a successful event of any kind. At any party of mine there would be an inevitable bottomless pit of 1960’s music, ranging from Vanilla Fudge’s “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” to Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”, filling the airwaves. Of course, I most certainly can’t possibly leave out the Beatles. Maybe, knowing me and my flair for 1960’s style we could even get all the men to dress in bell bottoms and Nehru jackets, and the women in mini skirts and go go boots. Since there are so very many musicians in my crowd, a lot of people in attendance could even play for us. There would be no real need for any specific events or games, though because of all the constant music, dancing, naturally, would be virtually obligatory. I could invite all the people on my Facebook friend list, including all my old friends, teachers, classmates, relatives and many whom I’ve never once even so much as gotten a chance to set eyes on in person. Unfortunately since people among my guests come from such a wide variety of worldviews there would have to be a very strict rule against any kind of fighting. In order to keep things as distinctive visually as possible I should absolutely have to have it all festooned with a lot of brightly colored decorations including balloons and confetti in every possible color. There would be no dress code. Considering all the activity that would transpire, it would be very smart to allow everyone do dress as comfortably as possible. Since it’s my party, and entirely under my control, there would be no time limit. It could last as long as people are available to keep things going. It wouldn’t even have to be for any particular occasion either. It could all just be for the sake of having a really good time.
Henry first saw Jane one fine spring afternoon at the Copiague Memorial Public Library on Deauville Road. Her gingham blouse and calico skirt put the finishing touches upon her lovely light brown eyes and hair. He noticed that she was reading Emily Dickinson while he was reading Robert Frost. As far as he was concerned it was true love at first sight. Daily he returned to visit his favorite haunt in case she showed up. Occasionally he talked to her for a few minutes at a time. Eventually they fell in love and got married. That’s all it took.
As far as I’m concerned I couldn’t care less about what anyone has to say in reference to the comments I get on either my blogs or my social networking sites. It’s not a question of whether or not someone should have the right to prune his comment section. Such an idea of whether or not it should be within someone’s rights is obscene. Everyone should get to do what he wants with his own site. For one thing it’s none of anyone else’s business who else has something to say on one of my sites. Besides that I don’t ever give anyone the satisfaction of letting his negative disparaging comments bother me anyway. Some people just like to lash out because it makes them feel important. There’s a guy on my Facebook account, who’s only there because we were classmates in grammar school at St. Gabriel’s. He’s in favor of all the left wing scam including atheism, homosexuality and everything else on the liberal agenda. Everything I say, he attacks. I always get such a kick of leaving everything of his alone precisely because he’s so outrageous and defiant he always gives people such an especially good laugh. They’re laughing at him. People frequently make comments about my profile pictures too. When I put up a profile picture I most certainly take quite a risk because it’s so hard to predict what someone will have to say about my appearance. Even if someone says something bad I still don’t mind because it’s all really good for a laugh anyway. My entire point is I don’t take either the internet or other people’s points of view the least bit seriously so I just leave even all the worst most annoying comments alone. It’s quite a bit easier than having to deal with this kind of trouble in person.