Saturday, March 28, 2009

March ids, Ides, Odes, & Hares

March, I do hope you will leave soon. I know you think you’re pretty damn popular sporting the first day of Spring – that priceless accessory that we all so ardently pray and long for. But you, March, might as well know how I really feel about you. I’ve held back way too long. To begin with you are not popular. I disdain the sight of you and so do most of my friends.

You think history has ingratiated you with glory of id, and ides, and odes, but that is a bunch of malarky. You have been too ugly, too often, for any of us to ever again see any appeal in your nature and manner.

Too often we’ve been bewitched by the mirages you flutter on the distant landscape of crocus buds and silky green fronds, only to find it nothing more than a false display. Yet, believing it might be true, when we rush to your sunny and shimmering display, you whip about and wield another incoming surf of winter horrors upon us compacted fifty-fold.

I try to make room, excuses as it were, for those who have your kind of deficiency. But there have been too many Marches like this in my lifetime to continue to be so forgiving. For me you have crossed the line. I’m ripping you right out of the calendar and I don’t want to ever see you again.

If you are so popular as you think, how come there is so little prose or poetry dedicated to your honor? No odes or eulogies glorifying your kindness or charitable nature. No March-Day trees, no 1st of March parades, no March balloon and fireworks celebrations, and no March 21st carols or hymns of joy. But then, I guess the truth is, March gets what March deserves.

You are mad, mad, totally mad. The pre-cursor of one figurative individual – The March Hare. Even he was a nice sophisticated little fellow with a gold watch and distinguished manners until you showed up at Alice and Company’s tea party and drove him and all the other guests to such distraction that they were soon speaking utter nonsense. And amusing themselves by trying to shove a helpless little dormouse into a tea-pot. If it had been me I’d have tarred you in the treacle pot, rolled you in feathers, and sent you on your way.

And on top of that you pretend that if you come in like a lion, you will leave as a lamb. That’s just more of your bloody nonsense. The antithesis of the lion and the lamb has nothing to your entry and departure. It has only to do with your inconsistency, willful confusion, and utter madness for the entire month, from start to finish. You do the lion and lamb thing every day for the 31 days of March with even the first day of Spring treated in that same sacrilegious manner.

This year you rained down sadness and grief that was way beyond reason. When your plans failed – the plans you made to spear individuals from overhead with those sharp silvery daggers that you precariously hung from every suspended-over-head plane, you still remained bent on causing the extreme of heartache and confusion and madness that you take such delight in.

When Shakespeare said, “Beware the Ides of March”, I’m quite certain he would have said more, but you are too ugly to fit into sophisticated prose or poetry or pentameter. ‘Ides’ is pluralized, while one day – the 15th, is singular. So seems something has been lost in the translation. Knowing you as I do, ‘Ides’ refers to more than one day. It refers to any March day, hour, minute, or any other fuzzy or foggy prospect of time between midnight on the last day of February and midnight on March 31st.

Weeks of your craziness have come and gone, but you are not done yet. I still hear in the barren branches outside my window, the evil cackling craziness of your wind song. Funereal with pitchy, screaming, notes that drive me to cover my head with blankets to muffle the sound.

Physically, you are a drag. No, not just a drag, a true hardship. And mentally, you are a lethal dose to counteract the gentlest of positive emotions. You grind optimism into icy patches under drain pipes, and buffet good cheer with gales of chilly rejection.

I cannot say it enough.

“Be off with you, March before I kick your id, and ides, and odes, and callus a-- into the middle of the next century!”

Monday, March 23, 2009

An Exercise in Exercise

I’m so fed up with the constant drone of the message of good health through regular exercise. It’s a theory I remain skeptical about. And with my love of freedom, I have objections to an oppressive exercise regime that forces me to hand over lengthy irretrievable chunks of my lifetime to the most undesirable of activities.

‘Living longer and stronger’ is a questionable theory at best, if one considers the balance of input and output. It seems likely to me that if the accumulated drill time were mathematically tallied and subtracted from a fixed lifetime, the remaining ‘living time’ is more likely to be less than the foreshortened life of a couch-potato.

If quality of life means anything, wouldn’t it be better if more time could be carved out of a yet-undetermined-life-span for more pleasant indulgences? Like a cozy nap, a good book, idle thoughts, twiddling my thumbs, or basking in the sun? Shouldn’t I give preeminence to that, rather than to ripping great raw and ritual chunks of my one and only life-span to the long walk, the long jog, the long drill, and the long grind at the gym with tread-mill and bench-press?

I’ve often contemplated this kind of debate about gain or loss. But now I can finally sit up, clap my hands with glee, and wiggle my toes with delight. My good cheer today is a consequence of a report on Health News that the latest study has proven that compressed exercise can be every bit as beneficial as the extended sessions previously recommended.

So how elated was I to find that this new study suggests that equal benefits can be achieved with only 3 minutes of brisk exercise twice a week? How sweet to know that there is a way to sidestep the time-consuming exercises of the past that gluttonously devoured huge blocks of valuable and irreplaceable present-time existence.

The one drawback is that with the new condensed approach to exercise, there is a warning. The warning is that very few individuals will have sufficient zeal to get blood vessels flowing and heart pumping with the vigor needed to achieve the desired effect.

Still, it’s a warning that doesn’t apply to me. I examined my life style and found I fully meet the strait-laced and unbending requirements of the 3-minute program. I have vigor. I have zeal. In fact my routines go far beyond that requirement.

So now let me tell you how my personal program works.

Starting first thing every day there is the intense frolic of pulling myself out of bed including the repeated rocking to get a leg on the floor and my body off the bed. And then, combined with that, the effort to recover a wayward sock that slithered under the bed. An effort with such extreme stretch and intensity it gridlocks my neck in the search (oh pain!), but eventually the sock is retrieved. But now my bones are locked in a low crawl position and upright stance can only be achieved with as much effort as it would take a walrus to scale a telephone pole.

And so, when I eventually right myself, we move on to calisthenics with even greater intensity. Now, rather than sitting on the bed or bracing myself against wall, bed, or dresser, as I used to do, I dress free-standing in the middle of the room. Obviously dressing from the waist down is most challenging – i.e. underpants, socks, jeans—but I keep my balance, on one leg at a time, with a fast flailing dance imitative in every respect of keeping one’s balance in a slip-dance on keen ice. It can’t get more intense than that.

So you see, I haven’t even had morning coffee yet, but my exercise program is vigorous enough that I can cancel, guilt-free, gym visits or road jogs. The process may have swiped 20 minutes from my free-living time, rather than the optimum 3 minutes, but at the same time, I am well-ahead of the exercise game for this week, this month, this year.

And yes, I am exhausted and as breathless as I should be. All my muscles have been stretched, all blood-paths rushed, heart palpitated, and all cells oxygenated. And now I’m so ready for the couch.

Friday, March 13, 2009

An Open Letter to Anti-Bloggers

Dear Anti-Blogger,

March 17 is my 6-year Bloggiversary and with that I decided it was time to let you know how things stand with me.

I guess my first mistake was when I admitted that I blog. You said, “Get a life. Get out of the house. Make some new friends, find some new contacts, or join a club.”

“Come with me,” you said, but what you didn’t say (but still I knew), was you wanted me to compulsively, and almost daily embed myself in clusters of animated individuals.”

And I imagined you might be right. So for three weeks I engaged in dinners, dancing, and your other social events with their ribald conversations and compulsory social rites that accompany the ornamental membership that insulates your life from mine.

Together we whirled and twirled. Out and about. But despite the excellent food, the delightful bouquet of the wine, the brocade cloth, set against symphonic background music, and tables set with fork number one, and fork number two, and fork number three, all seem linked to a gloomy insincerity. I mean, maybe it’s just me, but I find it just a bit unsettling when forks have to line up and vie for time and an appointment?

I find that somewhat representative of the mockery of real life – where society is so bent on individual rights in a world of cloned disposition, designation, and duplication. Despite these thoughts, I remained silent. I promised myself I would not wound your intentions, though you didn’t hesitate to wound mine.

“It’s an ego-thing,” you said, “that blogging business. Like busking on the corner. ‘Look at me! I’m here! Listen to my song and dance and then drop a comment or two into the bucket.’ ”

Okay, okay. I can’t deny that, because that part of it, I’m not too sure about. Maybe that is the case.

But there is more, and for me to explain to you would be asking you to recognize the improbable. How can I defend my position by saying that here I form alliances with individuals for whom I have immense fondness? If I said that, you would laugh, roll your eyes, and say that I either lie or exaggerate.

How can I expect you to absorb my conviction that there is preciseness to be found in my Blog-World of totally diverse, yet collective intelligence? And brightness to each day gleaned from complexity made simple and simplicity made complex?

That here I see stunning world champions of Beauty and Brawn embellished with nothing more than the glow of ideas. Or sincerity in oblique convictions cast from another side of the seas of life. Though separated by vast geographical distances, we express closeted thoughts and analyze only those bits of interchange conveyed by words. But as limited as our exchange is, it is enough to know who is of sound judgment, sweet heart, and sober thought.

Relationships here are not based on superficial visual-perceptions of worthiness that trick us into forming new relationships that progress at such a reckless pace. Relationships formed in one day, fast-ripening by next week, and showing bits of rot and deterioration in three months.

Bloggers form alliances at a much slower rate. But in the end they are relationships that cause us to be touched, ambitious, and mindful of each other in special ways. I know you can’t understand it, but in the end we are linked as soundly by mirror-matter of the soul as gregarious and indiscriminate individuals in real life are linked by hot-spots of the flesh.

So frolic in your pulsing, steaming, social immersions of breath and body, while I frolic with equal delight with dear friends in the rapid transit of word, and phrase—essay, poetry, and composition—letters, quotes, punctuation.

(Written in honor of Blogger Friends who visit, cheer, and comment-comfort me.)