©2013 by Jack Andrew Urquhart 2378 words
It’s Jack here. Your better self. Just a note to say … well to say …
TO SAY HOW DAMNED MUCH YOU’VE BEEN PISSING ME OFF, MAN!
Jesus! Sorry, but that ‘flamer’ has been a long time coming! So don’t be giving me any of your looks!
You know full well that you’ve been insufferable!
It’s months now, you’ve had us wallowing in that hole, that latrine. Ever since we both know exactly when.
Yeah, that’s right. Go on and try to slink away. But don’t forget, I know you, Andy-man. I know your self-centered arse. Know every one of your tricks and hiding places. I’ll find you, Kiddo.
No use playing cagey with me about why you’ve been down and out.
Just between ourselves, I think it’s a damned shame what you’ve been up to. All the pity partying you’ve put us through.
For your information, there’s a name for what you’ve been studying.
It’s called omphaloskepsis, and I’m thinking you get off on it. I’m thinking you enjoy rooting our heads in that fuzzy belly button. Got us stuck in there good’n proper, don’t you, Andrew.
But enough, already!
Isn’t it about time you gave up all that gassing around in the pits? Isn’t it time we came up for fresh air?
I’m just saying.
To begin, you should know the foregoing ‘endearment’ is meant to be ironic, not that a black-and-white guy like you would appreciate the difference.
Just a note, you say. More like a criminal indictment, I’d argue.
And what’s with the jive talk, man?
“Just sayin’ ”?
Bet you figured that would sound cool, didn’t you.
I thought you literary types didn’t mess with clichés.
Probably think that fancy word you threw out’s hot stuff, too.
Omphaloskepsis, my foot! I can just see your pretentious self pouring over Wikipedia to dig that one up!
So you think I’ve dragged us into the toilet, do you? That would be just like you. Accusing me of crass action.
It’s all ‘bout Jack-son nowadays, ain’t it? Only a few bother to call on old Andy anymore; why, he’s just the little-ole Cracker boy, neck red as a cherry, got hisself left behind back in the Sunshine State, right?
Well, I ain’t gone nowhere. Right here with you, man.
And now you say one of us has his head shoved belly-button deep.
Well Mister Big Shot, seems to me that’s a more pleasant space than where you’ve had yours stuck!
Got yourself a Helluva nerve, calling me out! A Helluva nerve accusing me of ‘self’ absorption.
Give us a break, why don’t you. We both know what’s what—like why we started up this blog in the first place:
It was so you could grandstand, ya’Jack-off!
It was so the both of us would have a place to sing our favorite tunes.
It’s over a year we’ve been harmonizing. And the lyrics are always the same, Jack-O:
That’s how it goes.
Canaries in a mirrored cage, that’s us.
So drop the attitude.
Time you consider what the Good Book says:
“Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam from thine own eye,”
“Only then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote from thy brother’s eye.”
It’s right there in the KJB, Matthew, chapter 7, verse 5.
And another thing since you want to play with ‘big words’; try this adjective on for size:
Bet you’ll find it fits just fine.
Resorting to Bible verses, are we? Well, I suppose desperate times call for desperate measures.
Still, to my mind, that religious jive is half of what ails ourselves. Too much Southern Baptism, I’m thinking. Way too many hours wasted in ‘Bi-buh Skool’. Got us steeped in that sticky original sin early, didn’t you? It’s hard to shake that shit off, Cracker-boy.
But be that as it may, we won’t get anywhere carrying on like this.
What do you say we try something constructive? What do you say we try working ourselves through some of this nasty grief?
Processing. That’s what Shrinks call it.
How about we make a list of what’s had us in the dumpster—see if we can’t work ourselves back to daylight?
You game for working with old Jack?
What do you say, Buddy?
First off, since when have we been Buds? Not recently, I’m thinking!
And another thing: I call it rich, Kiddo—you making an offer after all these months. After all this time I’ve been carrying the load by myself?
I can see how insults won’t help.
So I’m willing to give your plan a go. On the following conditions.
You get to bear the burdens this time. You get to spell out the griefs.
And for God’s sake, drop the Cracker bit. No more implying you’re Mister Big Stuff and I’m all about red necks and out houses. Got it?
But hey, don’t knock potty humor, man! I read somewhere that even Einstein cracked up at flatulence!
Shoot, everybody needs a good laugh, Kiddo. And you can bet your bottom (sorry!) that since time immemorial, there’s never been anything better for provoking a chortle than a good fart joke.
Just take a look at your Neanderthals. It’s right there! Documented evidence on those cave walls—little stick-figure pictures of folks breaking wind! I’d wager drawing those cartoons did folks a world of good even back then.
Trouble is, everybody’s got a tight ass these days; got themselves constipated on keeping P.C. Damned shame, if you ask me.
But never mind that.
I’m up to your conditions. You’d be surprised how strong these shoulders have gotten, what with you standing on them all the time. It won’t be any trouble bearing the ‘griefs’ you’ve got in mind. I’m happy to name them—so long as you’ll search for the good that comes along with the bad.
But let’s keep it brief. Keep that list to a few items this time around. We’ll start ourselves out small. Work up to the monumentals.
You’ve been worrying about how our body is changing, haven’t you, Andy? Been brooding over how it’s shrinking, thickening, slowing down.
You’ve been fretting over how we aren’t always the tallest person in the room nowadays—or the slimmest. It pisses you off how our 30-inch waist is going all Walmarts.
Bugs you big time that we can’t run sprints like we used to either, or manage lengthy cross-country distances, doesn’t it?
Also, I’m thinking you worry about how the old memory banks aren’t as reliable these days; about how names, telephone numbers, addresses flit in one ear and out the other, and how that leaves us bankrupt and embarrassed on the street when it comes time to greet a neighbor.
And let’s not gloss over the down and dirty either. I’ve read your mind on that junk—about how, to use your parlance, the old rooster’s nowhere near as randy as in olden times. About how he doesn’t cock-a-doodle-do as often or as loud.
So, there you go, Anda-Panda. Let’s see how you deal with that shit. Can’t wait to see how you’ll make it all pretty after rolling around in the stuff so long.
Still stuck on the nicknames, I see. Still trying to master the trash talk. Wish you could hear yourself. And you call me a Cracker!
But, all right. I’ll take what you’ve dredged up. Give it my best shot.
To begin, we still stand six feet and two last I checked. And, despite all that Starbucks, all those French fries you’ve been chowing down, we’ve kept under 12 stone.
I call that something for an old fart.
Furthermore, I don’t give a crap what you say: we can still run, man. Okay, make that ‘lope’. But we can still move our sorry selves over modest distances at a respectable middle age pace. There’s plenty who can’t, for your information.
As for recall, I’d point out that things that happened years ago come back to us in amazing detail nowadays—which makes it easier for us to appreciate the journey we’ve been on, right?
Now about that rooster.
I hear you, man. That’s a real bummer.
But I’d remind you that we’ve discovered a thing or two about physical prowess and sex along the way. Like how neither of those is the be-all-and-end-all in our human relationships.
Intimacy fills that bill.
Intimacy is what grounds us, what binds and comforts and satisfies us. It’s what makes life worth living. Wouldn’t you agree?
‘Cause you can’t fake it.
I think we appreciate that now—how, over time, “the big I” always trumps “the big O”.
So, how am I doing, Jackie-boy? Keeping positive enough?
Not too bad. For a crybaby.
So let’s take it up a notch this time. See if you can hold it together.
Consider this, why don’t you:
We have (more than once) hurt the folks we love.
We both know it’s true—how we’ve caused unnecessary and lasting rifts, self-sabotaged ourselves with folks we adore.
And all because we felt slighted (poor little us).
It’s the kind of knowledge that can make us feel small and mean, wouldn’t you say? That can make us question ourselves—our values, our scruples, our maturity.
It’s the kind of knowing that can make us feel undeserving of friendship and love—that makes loneliness feel like just desserts.
So, what you got to say about that? How do you like them apples, Andy-man?
Not so much. Not much at all.
But here’s how I can see the brighter side:
I can see that while neither of us is ever going to relish the dish, we’ve finally learned that relationships are all about eating humble pie. Know what I mean?
Which is by way of saying, we know how to apologize—how to say “Jesus, man. I’m sorry.”
Furthermore, we’re not so bollixed when it comes to expressing our feelings anymore—you know, the things that (excepting a handful of us sodomites and a sprinkling of enlightened heteros) guys hate to admit? Like, “Here’s how it is, man. I love you! Love you like crazy.”
And ain’t it amazing, how that keeps working for us!
I mean, consider the fine friends we’ve kept these many moons. Those amazingly tolerant folks who haven’t booted our asses the hell out of their lives.
And more importantly, think how we managed to find and keep our man these beaucoup de years—our One and only to have and to hold mate. Just consider how we’ve held on to ‘R,’ who cooks up a storm for us, proofs every word we write, sees our faults, even points them out. And loves us just the same!
I’d say that’s evidence that miracles happen.
So, there you go, Jack-O. Betcha thought I couldn’t handle it, didn’t you.
Yeah, well don’t get too cocky too quick, because here it comes—the big Kahuna. The thing’s been putting the shovel in your hands, that’s had you digging us to China these many weeks.
Brace yourself for it, Andy.
We lost our boy last summer. Remember?
Remember how He was too young to die? And how He did?
Remember what it was like there in ICU watching Him drift away?
Remember how His absence keeps on feeling like a great big chasm—and how we keep falling into it?
Remember how sometimes we think we won’t crawl out again?
Let’s see you work your way through that, Mister Smarty Pants. What you got to say for yourself now?
… … No fair … No fair at all. That’s what I say.
Do I remember, you’ve the nerve to ask?
Is my name Jack Andrew Urquhart, or what?
Like I could ever forget such a loss.
What do I have to say, you want to know.
Well, I’d … I’d just … I’d just start by reminding yourself that we do … that we do crawl out of that hole.
I’d remind you how we’ve found ways to keep our boy close: in our thoughts, our memories, in our dreams.
I’d remind yourself that we are all of us bound together in atoms and elements; in ways that death has no power to undo. And that we will never let Him go.
We will never let our Boy go.
That’s what I’d say.
And another thing, since you seem to have forgotten.
We’ve still got ourselves a daughter, Kiddo. A wonderful, kick-ass daughter who’s a walking, talking, living miracle.
I’d remind you how that young woman’s grown to be a profoundly imaginative and creative human being. I’d point out how unique she is. And beautiful too—from the inside (where it matters) out.
I’d remind you of that, Jackie-boy. And add that our girl is alive.
Which means so too is love.
So too is hope.
Reasons aplenty to keep on keeping on.
Just between ourselves, I’m thinking a guy would have to be an ass not to be grateful for that. He’d have to be pretty damned self-indulgent, morbidly in to his navel gazing, not to liven up given all that, wouldn’t you agree?
I would agree.
For once, Anda-Panda, Jackie-boy is with you one hundred per cent.
So what do you say we give it a rest for a while—all the doom and gloom stuff?
What do you say we try perking up and see how that goes?
Shoot. I might even stop with the Cracker crap. That is, if you’ll consider pulling the pickle out of your arse.
But don’t go getting all uppity. I’m just yanking your chain, friend.
Happy navel gazing, Andy. See ya ‘round.
Whatever, man. I’m cool. Thanks for the ‘literary’ exchange. In the meantime, here’s a final thought for you and that belly button—just a note between ourselves, you could say:
Why don’t you both sod off!
But hey, don’t get your knickers in a knot! It’s like you said, I’m just yanking your chain, man.
And take care.