the cousins

It’s Independence Day in Hilldale.

As always the cousins gather on Danny’s front stoop to hear Lanfranco and Gary play the accordion.

“Is it just me” Mary Ellen complains, “Or do those songs get sadder each year lately?”

The Ronald points out something interesting.

“Our parents have all died,” he reminds her,”and we’ve reached the second plateau.”

He goes on to explain, “The children and teenagers are having the time of their lives with that music, as we once did. The torch has been passed and we’re stuck with it.”

“But we still have Jitty Joe’s Ice Cream,” she gushes.

Thank you to Vijaya Sundaram for this week’s photo prompt, and to Rochelle Wisoff~Fields who guiddes us weekly through Friday Fictioneers.


let’s do the time warp again

Although I understand that it’s not such a good idea to play games with reality, If I could have a choice between slowing down an event that passes by too fast, or speeding up something that goes by too slowly, I should very much rather speed up the slow circumstances.  Things tend to pass exceptionally slowly when they’re difficult to accept. Boring tasks, illness, pain and fear are all quite notorious for lingering. By speeding things up somewhat under those circumstances, even though painful things would still hurt, and difficult circumstances wouldn’t get any easier, at least I could count on  their seeming not to linger to such an unbearable degree. It might be nice to let all the enjoyable things feel as if they last forever , but since I’d only be able to make one such change, the smarter one would be the one that would reduce tension and frustration.







i’m a sixty minute man

If I were to wake up tomorrow morning only to find out that each day would, from then on, last for twenty five hours, I don’t suppose that it would make much difference. That only adds up to 2.5  more minutes for each hour.  In the long run it would make quite a difference but no noticeable change would transpire over the course of each specific day. I suppose I could sleep a bit more. Unfortunately I never get any sleep anyway so perhaps I should say that I could lie down a little more.  I can imagine that workplaces, schools and other environments where schedules make a difference it would lead to quite a major change of plans, but for the average normal things in a guy’s life a mere hour, whether gained or lost, isn’t exactly the stuff of legends. The bad time change will soon be yet again upon us. With any luck an extra hour could be added to the daylight. If there’s one thing that could be absolutely guaranteed to drive me plum out of my mind it’s even more dark skies. Yet another problem may be my already nasty case of excessive impatience. As long as I don’t have to be kept waiting for things even longer, and to get even more frustrated than I already tend to get, I’m happy with it. Perhaps I could steal the hour from each day and, since I ever so bitterly despise noise, officially declare it a peace and quiet time during which all unwelcome sound would be banished.







the thing o’ leo


Uncle Leo, from what I’ve heard, was quite the studious old bookworm. He could always be found at his desk-relatives from his day always called it the thing o’ Leo-doing his work, reading his Bible, and reminiscing about World War I.

It’s time to dust my house yet again. If I have always to do such a boring chore, it’s at least a nice excuse to reminisce a bit about all the colorful characters in my past, like Aunt Harriet and Uncle Leo. Life is always so much less tedious from the outside looking in.

when i’m sixty four

If I were to wake up tomorrow morning and to find out that I have somehow aged a decade from out of nowhere,  I should have to start making some very significant changes to my approach to health care.    The older someone gets the more careful he has to be about all matters relating his diet and exercise.   The grey hair and wrinkles will force me into quite a major adjustment too.    I shall also have to take a closer look at the reality of death because the more time that passes by the closer the ultimate moment of truth inevitably gets.    Assuming this odd stroke of fate will have happened to me, I should be forced to make up quite an interesting story to explain it all to my contemporaries.     Maybe I could even start wearing old-man clothes and affecting old-man speech patterns, habits and mannerisms.     Since no real time will have lapsed, I shall have missed out on an entire decade’s worth of stories to tell and experiences to capitalize on.   Knowing my imagination, with its tendency to go into all sorts of offbeat directions, I shall have quite a time pondering all the wild twists and turns that I shall be subjected to.    Since, throughout my lifetime, I’ve always been so knowledgeable about the 1960’s I could take advantage of the twist of fate by blending in with people who are a decade older than I.   It would be quite an interesting experience to be able to see who notices that there is something awfully wrong with my particular circumstances.     Because of my advanced years I could feel quite free to make inappropriate remarks, to engage in inappropriate behavior and to flirt with really pretty young girls.    So far I still get into quite an awful lot of trouble for things like that, but since I’ll be so old everyone will be happy to humor the harmless old guy.  







been a long time been a long time been a long lonely lonely lonely lonely time

It seems as if it were only yesterday that I was a youngster.    Now that I have all sorts of Facebook friends from as far back as my days in Jackson Heights,  even before my teens, I’m constantly reminded that even my very earliest days seem quite recent in my memory.   I also spend quite a lot of time with my niece and nephews.   Bridget recently turned seventeen, Sam recently turned twenty one and Michael will be twenty six next month.     That strikes me as quite an eye opener.    It seems as if it were only yesterday that I was that young.    I don’t really mind the passage of time and can even get used to the kids’ constantly rubbing it in.    Perhaps you could say I tend passively to ignore how old I really am.     A few years ago I told my parents that I could understand that twenty years was a long time, but that I couldn’t understand that the 1990’s were a long time ago, even though we were living in the 1990’s twenty years ago.     Thanks to my lifelong obsession with the humanities.   I understand well that time is divided into both objective time and subjective duration.    Man has to deal, in one way or another, with units of time ranging from Grateful Dead time to the New York minute, depending upon his circumstances.     I still think of myself as being young, though I realize quite well that it’s now a crock.   All I have to do is to meet a former classmate or teacher of mine, or anyone else I knew a significantly long time ago.     My appearance has changed, though I’m still recognizably the same as I was in days of yore.     I sort of live in the past in certain ways.    I should like to think that I shall soon be quite a very interesting old timer, the kind who knows how to tell legitimate stories about the past, and to compare and to contrast then and now, but not in a creepy way.      It’s all a question of facing up to the inevitable.    I’ve never liked that as-young-as-you-feel crap.   I’ve also never been able to stand when characters such as Willard Scott refer to fans of his as a hundred and four years young, or anything like that.    When someone pretends that old people can be young in some way he denies the legitimate goodness, beauty and worthiness of both age and youth.    When that happens no one wins and everyone loses.






fourth stone from the sun

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, after having picked me to go on a mission to Mars, gave me all the training and education that was required for me to take the trip.    Today was the big day.   The only catch is that I can never go home.   I shall always be lost in space.     I’m on my way now, ever since six o’clock this morning.    It’s occurred to me over the course of my long journey that there are many things about our third stone from the sun which I shall miss terribly.     I have no idea what kind of things they might possibly have on Mars that could take the place of food, air and water.     Things of that nature, that seem so droll when they’re always available, are greatly missed when they’e gone permanently.    On my home planet, I could go to a restaurant or food store and get any of a wide variety of things to satisfy my hunger and thirst.    That was also true of other interests.    In space, even on Mars, it must be so annoyingly lonely and boring.   In spite of what many people have always claimed,  I don’t ever expect to find any intelligent life forms on my new planet.   Even if some intelligent life could be found, how could I possibly be expected to communicate with such a creature.

Another thingMy_Favorite_Martian_Ray_Walston_1963that will be lacking in my new environment is a familiar sense of temporal and spatial perception.   Gravity is quite a problem too.    Everyone knows  that things like that operate quite differently in other parts of the universe.     Throughout my lifetime I’ve always enjoyed and counted upon familiarity.    Now that I’ve left Earth I shall have to start entirely over again in every possible way.

Besides all the practical things that are unavoidably necessary for mere physical survival and mobility, there will also be quite a social problem.   Mankind has always been quite an intrinsically social animal.   As I said before I shall not have anyone with whom I can communicate.    No one could possibly be expected to maintain such a lonely lifestyle forever.   It must be quite a very weird feeling without other people around.   Mars has no history, culture, politics, philosophy, education or work force.    It will be quite a very nasty experience having all those memories of things like that, and not being able to find any practical application whatsoever for them on my new planet.    I’ve always liked extreme peace and quiet but this will be entirely too much of it.    On Earth there’s such an exceptionally enchanting variety of places, things and experiences.   Somehow I don’t expect such a lot of things on Mars that can possibly be expected to pique my interest in any significant way.


Life on Earth may not have been absolutely perfect but at least it had one advantage.    I was always so good at it.    I knew exactly what to expect.    Everything from now on will be so entirely unprecedented and confusing.    There’s a fairly seriously significantly good chance I may mess things up a bit.











lord I was born a ramblin’ man

On an old episode of “The Odd Couple”, Oscar Madison points out to Felix Unger, “Felix, Dorothy Parker said it best for all writers.   She said she hated writing but loved having written”.      That’s always been my entire approach to life in general, including travel specifically.      Unfortunately I haven’t done a significant amount of traveling.   The farthest trips I’ve ever been on were one to Titusville, Florida, to visit my cousin the Ronald and his family in 1981, and one to Chicago, Illinois, about ten years ago, when his daughter got married.    The trip to Illinois marked the only time I’ve ever been outside my time zone.    During the 1980’s I frequently visited my cousins in North Tonawanda, in western New York, for Thanksgiving.     My biggest problem with travel, as with everything else over the course of my adult lifetime is that I tend to get anxious.  It’s not as bad now as when I was young-it was especially bad when I reacted so violently to coffee- but I still feel significantly more uncomfortable than most other people would be under the same circumstances.      Although my intellect knows quite well that nothing bad will happen, or at least that there’s no inordinate risk of anything bad, my emotions, who’ve always resented me quite bitterly, always seek to have the last laugh.   I should really like to say that I’m the sort of jolly good fellow who can merely hop on a bus, Gus, or make a new plan, Stan, and go wherever I want.    Unlike my imagined alter ego, hep Larry, real Larry has to deal with all sorts of frustration over waiting for the big day to come, getting up and ready on time when it finally gets here,  and all sorts of other practical responsibilities.    I’ve always had quite a Felix Unger-ish flair for obsessing over all sorts of things.    I tend to go crazy when a trip seems to take an inordinately long time, there’s no available men’s room or I’m faced with some other problem.    When I have to drive someplace, I always have to be able to say with absolute certitude that I know precisely where I’m going.    snoopyWandering out of my way, and losing track of where I am, can lead to lots of trouble.   As anyone who’s studied even a little philosophy knows, time is divided into objective time and subjective duration.   Objectively time is merely quantified by an entirely set standard.   Subjectively, though,  the way I react to its passage is often overwhelming.   As I said earlier the manner in which I deal with travel is quite similar to the manner in which I deal with life in general.    The future is no big deal because nothing’s happened yet anyway.    The present is one big bunch of chores and risks.   After it’s all over with, though, I can kick back and acknowledge the obvious fact that I knew it would inevitably work out anyway.