*

*
Peregrine flight

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hole in my shoe

My life, like that of many others in this country, is starting to look a bit frayed. I hit the back of my van against the gatepost backing out of the driveway the other day. A quick look at my checkbook confirms that it will bear the mark of my clumsiness for some time to come.  Note the scotch tape now sealing the broken taillight and the freehand sgraffito etched deeply into the metal.

I was thinking about my sorry state of affairs this morning as I left the gym. My dirty functional Chrysler stood in stark contrast to the gleaming, polished steeds that posed so stately in the parking lot. In the semi upscale bedroom community where I hang my hat and shingle, my threadbare persona sticks out like an old sore thumb next to the well groomed populace. The new currency of the realm is the tony S.U.V., be it Lexus, Infiniti, Porsche or Beamer, with the occasional Range Rover thrown in for seasoning.

In different times, poverty was more of a badge of honor, we displayed our wounds openly since they gave such wonderful testament to the generous breadth of our character. Now it has lost its cachet and is downright embarrassing.

I think that the goal today is to lead a tight, compartmentalized life, above the fray and free of any rust, blemishes or scratches. Untouched and teflon coated if you will. Perfect impenetrable lives. Perfect teeth. Perfect children.

I suppose that I could have had such a life when I was young and swimming in money. I know that I was foolish, living life to the fullest and with mucho gusto. Gave a lot away and pissed a lot away. In any case, that ship has left the dock long ago and a month in which I can pay my bills without a near nervous breakdown is a successful month indeed.

Now I stare at a pile of bills and it is like triage. That stack won't get paid until I am about to lose oxygen, pay those, hold off a few weeks on that stack, you may know the drill. Still have a hole in the roof out back, there's a $1600 I don't have right now. Back and shoulder are hurting because I can't spring for a new bed. Scratch the idea of going to Hawaii next January. Forget new carpet, the original harvest gold has served the house well since oh about 1972. Hey, we don't entertain anyway. I can always borrow used asthma inhalers from the neighbor instead of coughing up the $275 per.

I salute those fine souls who have lived exemplary lives and made better choices than I have and congratulate them on their continued success. I just don't necessarily want to hear about it ad nauseam. Might have to go over and steal their chickens.

***

Of course it is easier for me to fall than for some, because there is in actuality so little distance to fall. I know a couple people who have been living cadillac lives who have really taken a serious smack. Their plunge might prove far more tragic. Like a beautiful woman who has played that beauty card her whole life and now sees the petals start to wilt, I know a guy around here whose whole persona has been about having the right car and the right cabernet. And now his edifice is starting to crumble. Populist poverty might be more than his tender persona can take at this point.

I, on the other hand have made it my practice to celebrate every personal wart and failure, holding myself up for public ridicule whenever possible. I will spit in the eye of my enemies and remain standing and unbowed until the very end. I have tried to associate with people that I genuinely respect and love, regardless of their wealth and position. Interesting people are always good.

***

Feller moved to town a few months ago, drove up in one of those fancy italian sports cars. Immediately showed me his expensive watch, did I know that it cost a 100k? Had my realtor friend show him around to some of the best joints available. Caught up with him the other morning, he's gonna move to one of those fancy ski areas in the Rockies instead. Probably the best idea for all concerned parties. People with that kind of dough need to hang out amongst themselves. Don't want to get any on you, if you know what I mean... Hope it wasn't my van.