One day recently I wandered, as usual, into a time warp and met 2004 me for coffee. He was happy to see that I still drink coffee so compulsively. He reminded me of what life was like back then, with all its good and bad news. I told him about what was up ahead of him. He was happy to see that I’m still a lay Carmelite. I tried to explain to him that I still have all the same staunchly conservative ideas now as then, but that by now, they’re more fully developed. I gave him the impression that turning fifty didn’t seem to carry with it any major milestones, that the passage of time would, in many ways, leave me neither in better nor worse shape. I explained to him that both my parents died last year and that that left me with quite a few major irrevocable changes in my circumstances. Having lived for much of the past decade in northeastern Pennsylvania gave me some insights into what life in a radically different environment was like. The internet, of course, was quite a major topic of conversation. My younger persona was quite happy to hear of all the advances that were to transpire during the time between then and now. He got a kick out of all the things people have been doing with sites like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and all the others. He was so happy to know that I’ve been able to keep in touch with all my oldest friends from school for so long. Most certainly, he was quite disgusted when I told him about everyone’s having a cell phone these days. He reminded me of the days when my cousins and I were on the Knights of Columbus’ bowling league, with the Wantagh council and recommended that I get involved in something like that again. He also reminded me that since my anxiety, temper and migraines have mostly subsided into virtual obsolescence, I should by now be hepper than ever.
If I were ever to be asked to devise a new zodiac sign for people who were born around my birthday, and to base it upon my character traits, it would have to incorporate my obnoxious sense of humor and imagination, along with all my intellectual interests and my perpetual tendency to be quite exceptionally suspicious and to feel uncomfortable with all things new, and with change. Those are perhaps the most significant properties I possess. People born around the tame time of year as I could be expected to have quite an insanely annoying tendency to bug the hell out of each other, and people in general, with all manner of silly antics. Our sense of the absurd would keep people truly on their toes by necessity. We all should have a tendency to think things through by way of a profoundly intense manner of considering things from the point of view of the conservative intellectual tradition, poring over the collected works of all the great minds who have contributed to western theology, philosophy, history and literature among other disciplines. Someone with a birthday during our time of year would also be known as perhaps a bit too much of a stick in the mud, entirely on unfriendly terms with change, and with a quite inordinate interest in the past. If someone under this sign simply inevitably must face up to change, he would only be capable of accepting it, grudgingly, if it happened quite slowly and incrementally. He’d be a bit on the oddly absent minded side, having a significantly easier time remembering things from decades in the past than from his every day life in the here and now. Assuming he could handle an intense dose of impatience and anxiety he’d be quite a jolly good character. The official symbol for this sign would be the beady-eyed square because we’re all such a bunch of beady-eyed squares, now aren’t we? Of course everyone knows that belief in horoscopes is just an ignorant backwoods superstition but if there were such a thing, that’s what mine would be like.
John Winston (later Ono) Lennon only lived from October 9, 1940 until December 8,1980. He was a founding member of the Beatles. He’s always been quite a favorite of mine even though we’re poles apart. Ever since I was little I’ve always listened to the Beatles and to all of Lennon’s solo songs. Today would have been his seventy fourth birthday. It’s kind of odd that I’ve always been so favorably impressed by all his antics because, as people have always reminded me, he was such an extreme liberal and I’ve always been such an equally radical conservative. I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed his music, story telling, and obnoxious antics though. Unfortunately the Beatles broke up in April of 1970 so I’m entirely too young to be able to remember them from the days when they were still together. Like most people my age, though, I’m quite an enthusiastic better-late-than-never fan. It’s too bad that there’s never again going to be anyone who can possibly be that talented or interesting.Let’s all kick back for a while and have a good time listening to his songs and reminiscing about all his behavior. I’ve always enjoyed his Beatle music, especially the early years, better than his solo music but it’s all very good. It’s too bad we can’t have him around anymore.
If I were ever forced to come up with exactly one question, the answer to which would be the deciding factor in whether or not I could befriend a given individual, I should assume it would be a question about whether he’s a liberal or a conservative. The right answer, inevitably, would be a staunch assertion of his being quite a conservative. Of course real life is always so very much more complicated than that, so things will never work out that way. I happen to think, though, that’s it’s a good idea for friendships always to be cultivated between and among like-minded individuals. The distinction between liberal and conservative makes an exceptionally significant difference. It covers all the most profound significant questions that come up in life.
If I were ever to enter a roomful of strangers, on the condition that I should be required to spend precisely four minutes attempting to tell a story that would convey my true personality, because I should be forced to cover many salient points I should hope for my sake that I may be allow to prepare something in advance. It would be to my advantage to have a speech rehearsed and ready to deliver. I should like to tell one and all about my intelligence, hep sense of humor and determination to be a good person. It’s kind of a difficult task to distill into such a short time frame. I quite think that I do a good job of being fair with people. Of course I’m exceptionally conservative. To my chagrin I have quite a significant supply of shortcomings so I should be forced to refer to them. I can be annoying, lazy and thoughtless if I let my guard down. With any luck I can give people a reasonably good idea of all my good and bad qualities.
Everyone who knows me even only slightly knows quite well that I have always been quite passionately conservative. Liberalism always comes down on the wrong side of every question. Leftists promote things like abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, excessive personal freedom, the omnipotent state, reverse discrimination and everything else that works to the inevitable detriment of mankind’s well being. Because of their intrinsically atheistic materialistic understanding of life they condemn formal and final causality. They prefer a world of freedom of indifference over one of freedom for excellence. Much of the problem is that they flatly refuse to accept a “no” for an answer. They’ve given entirely too much credibility to a very small elite. College professors and celebrities, among other self-proclaimed guardians of the public good, are constantly making pronouncements about how they have presumed to decide we are to eat, to speak, to dress and to behave in general. The media are absolutely saturated with liberal influence. Because they also have so much control of the educational world, their influence is incessantly coming through by way of both narrative and didactic means. One of the things I’ve always noticed over the years is that when liberals are on the outside looking in, from a counter-cultural point of view, they advocate a strict ban on any kind of censorship whatsoever and brag about how defiantly offensive they are. Now, however, that they are the dominant culture, they equally relentlessly condemn and censor anything that strikes their favorite demographic groups as even the least bit offensive. Liberals have done all they possibly can to turn us into a polarized society of supposed victims and aggressors. Of course they can’t stand it when I defiantly inform them that I don’t consider racism, anti Semitism and other kinds of discrimination the least bit of a problem. It’s gotten so far out of control over the course of the past few years that they’ve even given bullying (a problem that only exists among kids in school) the status of a form of discrimination. What can possibly beat that for stupid as it gets?! I decided quite a while ago to be a strict orthodox Catholic. Because of that I started getting exceptionally concerned with all the cultural movements that were transpiring around me. The Church, as everyone knows, is always public enemy number one when the secularist point of view prevails. I honestly think I do quite an exceptionally good job of not going overboard in my criticism of liberals. It’s very important to keep things as entirely objective as possible and to avoid entirely any ad hominem attacks Since, to my chagrin, I’ve always been quite seriously accursed with such a nasty temper I really have to watch my step in order to make sure I don’t do too much foaming at the mouth when things get intense. I understand quite well that this post will infuriate very many people. I also understand, though, that that’s primarily because I’m tampering with quite a very seriously lucrative gravy train. That much power, especially because it’s been so deeply entrenched for so very long, will not be relinquished the least bit easily.
If there’s one thing I absolutely can’t stand, and quite bitterly resent, it’s any unwelcome unnecessary noise. I can’t stand any kind of noise in general anyway but at least I’ve been able to resign myself to the kind that’s unavoidably necessary by definition. It wouldn’t be realistic for someone to hang around an airport or construction site and to cuss people out for being too loud. Over the course of my lifetime I’ve always had quite a razor’s edge relationship with sound. This is also true in my dealings with language, the written and spoken word. Nothing impresses me anywhere near as much as well written and well performed music, or when someone writes or speaks articulately. When,however, I have to be subjected to something that’s poorly written or spoken, played or sung, it gets me crazy.
For as long as I can remember I’ve always been compulsively articulate and very conservative. Whenever I either hear, or read, something that’s either inarticulate or of a left wing ideological slant it makes me cringe. Language should be used solely as a vehicle for the conveyance of the truth and not as a means of promulgating an ideological agenda. Besides that I’ve always been quite prone toward getting all my tenses, cases and other linguistic proprieties entirely in order. Everyone knows about my notoriously hypersensitive nerves. For approximately the past two decades we’ve been bombarded with cell phones. Ever since I was a kid I’ve never been able to stand the telephone anyway. I not only don’t like the sound of its ring, or having to talk on it. I can’t even stand to be in the company of someone who’s talking on the phone. Now that each and every single one of us has a phone in his possession at all times it’s quite a major chore for me to attempt to accept it. I’ve never been able to understand why cell phones are considered acceptable in churches and libraries. In the old days, churches and libraries were considered places where peace and quiet was mandatory. Now phones are allowed. A couple of months ago, Mary Anne, Steve and I went to see “Madama Butterfly” at Lincoln Center. I couldn’t help noticing that when the people who are in charge there say cell phones aren’t allowed they really mean it, and patrons respect that fact. In churches and libraries, though, the people in charge claim that cell phones aren’t allowed but they don’t bother to enforce it and everyone leaves his phone on, thereby subjecting the rest of us to endless unwelcome noise. Throughout my life I’ve always been subjected to people with very loud voices, as well as bad music and flagrant misuse of language. I can still remember, from when I worked at Citicorp Retail Services in the late 1980’s and 1990’s, a representative example of the unbearable impact that noise can have on me. When I was working in the Sales Processing department with Sal, Carole and Yolanda, Miz Kitti, Doreen and Kimbley, there was a department within earshot of ours where the employees were unbearably loud and unruly. They literally yelled, and even laughed hysterically for no reason, all day long. It was quite an unbearably torturous experience for me. Unfortunately it turned me into a nasty, anti social little creep. I got very bitterly angry and resentful. There appears to be something about unwelcome noise, and a poor command of language, which I truly find entirely unbearable. I’ve always really liked to consider myself quite good natured, a jolly good fellow. When I have to deal with noise, or with someone who’s inarticulate, though, I truly am subjected to quite a torture treatment. My ability to accept it and to maintain my cheerful side takes quite a beating. I’ve tried all sorts of ways to maintain my cool but it’s quite a frustrating problem. By now I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve learned to accept the simple facts that it’s a loud inarticulate world, and that all I can do is to try, as politely and as firmly as possible, to convince people to be a lot more respectful of others, both by being a lot quieter and by speaking and writing a lot more articulately.
I like always both to adhere to a strict code of conduct and to keep an interesting sense of humor about things. Beware the false dichotomy. The more I see of today’s leftist ‘who-am-I-to-judge’ mentality, with its permissive approach to abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, reverse discrimination and all sorts of other horrors, the more I see that we simply can’t afford to allow it to go on. What they call diversity I call chaos. Genuine legitimate freedom is being begrudged us in favor of a need to demand that we feel a sense of supposed indebtedness to a bunch of self-pitying, self-aggrandizing special interest groups. Amazingly we are expected to trust the judgment of the likes of Al Sharpton, Barack Obama and television, movie and talk show personalities People are encouraged, now more than ever, to take advantage of each other for the sake of pleasure and profit. I like to mind my own business as much as possible but I’ve never been able to resist a good debate about these kinds of things. As everyone knows I’ve always been quite the staunch conservative. Liberalism, while claiming to reject censorship, presumes to censor each and every single move we make in order to affect a supposed Great Society. Lately there are movements afoot to ban the use of the words ‘retard’ and ‘bossy’. This is simply not permissible. Although I’ve always been determined to be as articulate as possible I have no intention of putting up with anyone else’s controlling my speech. Christianity (Catholicism) has always been so very important for me. Liberals, as well as other totalitarians, manipulators and control freaks, see fanaticism and hypocrisy in this claim because it begrudges them absolute control over people’s lives. They want a world devoid of formal or final causality because that would put them in charge. I like to be as strict an orthodox Catholic as possible. On an everyday basis I should really like to think that I do a reasonably good job of humoring people. I’ve always tried to be at least fairly good natured. Unfortunately I’ve always tended to be somewhat short tempered and I have a major problem with forgiveness. My ability to hold a grudge is quite legendary though I’m not very happy with it. At least I’ve learned over the years never deliberately to throw the first punch. Hep Larry understands that people are quite a mixed bag of nuts. Real Larry needs quite a few lessons in patience and understanding though. One lesson I have to keep track of is like the warning given by St. John of the Cross in his “The Living Flame of Love” about how each of us tends to see his own character traits, both good and bad, in other people. If I can have so hard a time dealing with a particular individual, I can just imagine how hysterical he must be over my character defects. As I said earlier keeping a very good sense of humor about life is exceptionally important. People can often be hard to take and I know they have the same problem with me too. Because each of us, in his life and worldview, has such a wide variety of distinct quirks and preferences, many of which deviate from those of other people, an inability to laugh at it all can be toxic. Because all the things I’ve been complaining about are forms of fanaticism, I really like to refrain from any sort of an extreme position about anything. In the end it’s all about text, context and subtext. Whenever someone pushes too hard he finds out in the end, the hard way, that things always backfire anyway.