Monday, September 24, 2012

A Suldog Primer

[You may have given this a read at some point in the past. I've had a link to it, on my sidebar, for some time now. I felt it needed freshening up, though, so I've subtracted some stuff and added a tidbit here and there. If you think it needs anything else, feel free to tell me. Since I'm the type of guy I am, I probably won't do anything that you suggest.]

A couple of years ago, a visitor left a comment that my posts were like reading a pinball machine. That’s pretty funny. Much as the silver ball caroms from flippers to bumpers to posts, I flit from thought to thought like a drunken fly in a pasture full of cow patties. I think it also means that most people under the age of 25 (as well as a fair amount over) find me to be a boring waste of time. Fair enough. I find most people under the age of 25 (as well as a fair amount over) not just boring, but supercilious.

(I tend to use too many parentheses.)

And sentences beginning and ending conjunctions and prepositions with.

I like to think I’m an interesting writer, but I'm sometimes not an easy read.

I tend to lead with my heart, and I’ll go from a week or two of posts that are all goodness and light, to following up with two or three posts in a row that appear to have been soaked overnight in particularly odiferous bile. I can understand why some people come here, read a few posts, think I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread, and then send their friends here only to find that the bread has turned moldy. In order to head off further defections from the ranks, I’ll point out that without moldy bread, we wouldn’t have penicillin. Also, I’m going to give you a primer concerning me and what you’re likely to find in my writings. That way, the next time somebody says they had no idea what they were getting into when they gave me an award, I can just refer them to this post. It likely won’t make that person feel any better about having been reamed, but it will make ME feel better accusing THEM of laziness in their reading habits rather than having to acknowledge the fact that I’m a jerk.

Let’s start with what you’re likely to find here.

I write essays. I tell stories. I string together bunches of corny jokes. I sometimes give my opinion concerning some part of the world or its people. I start lots of sentences with I.

Most of my essays and stories concern my family. Since I’m part of my family, I tend to speak about myself a lot. This upsets the odd reader or two. Personally, I find it strange when someone accuses me of being too self-involved. It’s nearly impossible to not be self-involved and remain interesting as a writer. Anyone who isn’t the star of his or her own life – or, at least, the co-star – isn’t likely to be a very compelling read.

(I think the problem isn’t that I pay so much attention to myself, as it is that I’m unwilling to acknowledge the moral superiority of the person complaining. I’ve found it usually the case that when someone says, “Get over yourself”, the person saying it needs to take that advice to heart more than the person toward which it’s directed.)

Most of what I write is true. That is, I draw upon my life experiences, and it will involve real people and places (although I sometimes change names to protect my nose when I visit the old neighborhood.) I hope that I make it clear enough when something is supposed to be taken as humor, either by explicitly admitting that I’m full of shit or through the use of wildly ridiculous jokes. If you find neither, either your sense of humor is deficient or I’m telling a lie. Or something like that.

When it’s brought to my attention that I might actually have offended someone, I’ll usually apologize. I rarely set sail with the specific purpose of making someone feel bad.

(If I do have that goal in mind, I think I’ll generally make it quite obvious by the overwhelming amount of vitriol used. I see no reason to engage in hand-to-hand combat if I have enough bombs to do the job.)

I have some pet peeves, and I’ll likely write something concerning them in any calendar year. The main one is Christmas advertising and music before Thanksgiving. Others include, but are not limited to, television shows that exploit discord in personal relationships; ads that pop up on-screen during television shows; people who lie for personal gain; political commentators and writers who faun over Democrats and/or Republicans while utterly ignoring anyone outside of the mainstream; and those who want to take away my freedom, no matter how noble they feel their cause.

My loves include MY WIFE, The Boston Celtics, fast-pitch softball, playing the bass guitar, The Three Stooges, peanut butter, and Mister Rogers. I’ll mention some of them too often for your comfort.

I tend to post re-runs once every couple of months. If you’re new here, you won’t notice it for a while. When I post them, I usually try to give some added value by writing fresh introductory material. I’ll be doing it this Friday, actually. Hope you enjoy it!

[The following used to be true, but I very rarely accept awards now. It still applies to a thing or two you may find if you cruise the archives.]

When someone gives me an award, I generally insult the hell out of that person (as well as his or her ethnic origins, personal habits, photographs on their website, and anything else I can latch onto for a cheap laugh.) I actually appreciate getting awards, and almost all of them I’ve received are listed on my sidebar. The attacks are meant in fun. In most instances, even though I’ve denigrated others, I’ve aimed the bulk of the disparaging material at myself.

I guess that’s enough about what you can expect to read if you keep coming here. Now I’ll give you information concerning my background and what may be informing the words I choose to publish.

I was raised as a Catholic. I flirted with agnosticism for a while, but then came back to the church. I left it again, a few years back, when I found that I could no longer stand to contribute time or money to an institution with so many hypocrites holding high-ranking positions. Your mileage may vary, and, if so, there’s something to be said for you being a better Christian than I am since you suffer fools more gladly. As could be inferred from the previous sentence, I still consider myself a Christian. I believe in God, and Jesus Christ as my savior. I’m unaffiliated, a free agent. That’s because I find something objectionable in every sect I’ve thus far explored. Of course, they’d probably find something objectionable in me, too, so we’re even.

I was raised a Democrat. I discovered Libertarianism in my teens and have been a Libertarian ever since. I once held the office of State Chair for the Libertarian Party in Massachusetts. I’ve run for office as a Libertarian, as well as been campaign manager for a few other folks. While I still firmly believe that a system of government that allows the most individual freedom is best, I’ve also come to the realization that the Libertarian Party, as a political entity, will ultimately, and without fail, shoot itself in the foot. The folks within that organization who truly understand politics are few and far between, and the ideologues that insist on purity at the expense of success will always sabotage the gains made by those who were willing to compromise. I no longer officially belong to the party. I am listed as ‘unenrolled’ on the Massachusetts voter registration lists (that would be ‘independent’, in most other states), and I mostly tend to ignore politics as much as possible because it is better for my mental health.

I am a great believer in sex, both as a fun activity and as a therapeutic aid. How you get your rocks off is your business, so long as you cause no harm to another. I am a firm proponent of onanism, and whatever tools you bring to the table to accomplish the task at hand is OK by me.

(One would hope you’re not actually doing it on the table to which you bring the tools, but if you’re the only one eating dinner there, more power to you.)

As regards the above, I think pornography is a swell thing. It provides incentive for the mentally healthy to take matters into their own hands rather than foist their desires upon unwilling others. It is akin to methadone for a heroin addict.

Speaking of drugs, I’ve done them. Lots of them. And I enjoyed most of them; otherwise, I wouldn’t have done more. So far as I can tell, I’ve suffered few lasting ill effects from my drug usage. That’s the case for most who do drugs. We come out the other end of the experience mostly whole and appreciably wiser.

(I’m not belittling the unfortunate folks who have done harm to themselves, but I think that education and legality would do a whole lot more to prevent such instances than ignorance and prohibition. Many folks who die from drug usage do so because of either impurity in unregulated junk or because they don’t know enough about what they’re ingesting and so take too much. And those who go on to crime often do so because they can’t afford their fixes, which they could if their drugs were legal. I believe it should completely be up to each individual to decide what he or she puts into his or her body.)

I suppose it goes without saying that I’m opinionated. Having admitted that, I’ll let you know that I consider myself one of the easiest people in the world with whom to get along. You can be six different kinds of asshole and I can probably find some sort of common ground where we won’t argue and can coexist in peace. I’ll diligently search for that ground, if you give me a chance.

Despite the many ways I’ve already glorified myself here, I’m basically modest and shy. I know – just saying that seems to make it false, but I still feel it’s true. I’m the king of blushing. The slightest praise or the smallest gaffe will turn my face crimson. Perhaps I’m not so much humble as I have sucky blood pressure, but humble serves my purposes here, so I’m going with that.

I could go on, and recapitulate the entirety of every personal fact I've already put out here over the course of 7 years, but even I get tired of me after a while. I’ll give you just one more useful piece of information. I end almost every piece with the following illiterate sign-off:

Soon, with more better stuff.


Jeni said...

Jim -as you know already, I've been following you for several years now (following, not stalking -there is a difference!) And I've also recommended your stuff to several others during those years as well. Whether they visited you on a good day or a not so shiny one, I don't know but I hope they were open-minded and understand that none of us can write something totally awesome for the general public every time the fingers touch the keyboard. (Well with the exception perhaps of Magazine Man who is totally awesome but you're the one who pointed me in his direction!) For whatever it's worth, I love the way you flit back and forth between the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly too -and allow your readers to choose then -"To read or not to read." I think I've always opted to read though -broadens my horizons instead of just my backside!

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip said...

...and you write such that a person can tell when one paragraph ends and the next begins.

Craig said...

Not a big fan of Survivor, then?

Yeah, me neither. . .

Well, I'm awfully glad to have made your acquaintance, however long ago that happened. It's nice just to have someone who can understand my baseball jones, when it flares up. . .

And, "I mostly tend to ignore politics as much as possible because it is better for my mental health." - Amen. . .

Maybe one of these days, I'll come to Boston (whether in the springtime or not, I can't say), and we can 'take it real' over a suitably convivial beverage (or maybe a batch of brownies. . .)

Buck said...

I've said this before, but I'll say it again: yer re-runs are better than 90% (give or take a few percent) of the original posts written by the other bloggers out there.

stephen Hayes said...

This wasn't a rerun for me so I enjoyed plowing through it, excessive parentheses and all. It's been said that the unexamined life isn't worth living, but you seem to have examined your life meticulously. A fun read for us pinballs.

lime said...

you're just a super swell guy and your quirks are what make you endearing. at least in my view. and i can attest to the ease of your blushing. sitting at a table across from you and YOUR WIFE is a great pleasure. you guys are a great comedy team, ya know? and hey, just a word of advice....keep your peanut butter apart from your bass.

Jimmy said...

Hey Jim, One of your newest followers here and I already had most of this stuff figured out, and I choose to continue following you. Seriously I enjoy reading your posts and look forward to upcoming and reposts alike.

Don't Bug Me! said...

Have you upset someone, again?

Daryl said...

another practically sport free post .. i love your stories about family and I I I I I or you you you

7 yrs .. mine was just 4 .. time flies, they grow up so fast ..

IT (aka Ivan Toblog) said...

I miss your roasts, but totally understand how some folks might misconstrue how you accept awards

This post is about as good a disclaimer about your blog as you could write

messymimi said...

Background makes everything easier to understand, even if i've already heard, known, or guessed most of it before. Thanks for putting it all in one place.

Michelle H. said...

Unlike what Jeni said, you know I've been stalking you all this time. You're such a nice guy, and I can't understand it since you have the penchant to really ripping people a new one if they get too cocky.

You're life is the depiction of Leave It To Beaver with a mixture of hard rock band roots and a smidgen of self-idolization all covered over with sappy goodness.

Expat From Hell said...

It's good to be back here, Suldog! Your writing has not lost it's razor-sharp edge. The "tribute" to the Three Stooges was pure poetry. And I mean that in a good way. Waiting for the annual Christmas Rag, as we get close to decoration time. It is already late September, you know! Best to you. EFH

Jackie said...

I know you are modest and shy...and one of the easiest people to get along with. can write! That's why I keep returning.
There are Blogs A Million out there. I read very few of 'em.
I love yours.

Anonymous said...

I think Michelle H. nailed a description of you much better than I could. I was thinking something like 'brazenly-honest-outside with a vanilla-cream-center." Whatever you write, you usually make me laugh. And I thank you for that!

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Time sure does fly huh? I started reading you about 2 -ish years after you started writing. I have zero recollection how I even stumbled across your blog. But despite the vast number of bloggers who have come and gone from my reading list over the years you, my friend, have stuck. I always enjoy reading whether the piece is "more better" or not (aka about softball heehee). Thanks for never failing to stay true to your voice & for letting us enjoy your words. :-)

Hilary said...

I'm glad that I found your blog on a good day (probably) and have stuck through the others (sports). ;)

You've pretty much nutshelled your content, here. It's a rather large nutshell, but then again, you're a rather large and loveable nut.

Matt Conlon said...

Well done! Reading through this post, it occurred to me that it's quite a good idea to have one of these... However, were I to steal your idea, I'd almost be able to copy and paste the whole damned thing, with the exception of the drugs... I could substitute ice cream and beer though.

On second thought, that all sounds like an awful lot of work...