Okay, my last Blog. Taa Daa….it was nice meeting all of you. Now, it is time to go to pasture…or whatever. LOL

Today, I stop.

Why today?

Why not, today? LOL

Having scanned a newspaper, read the trending items on facebook, and getting the uggliest digg digest ever…I realized, I don’t belong in cyber space anymore.

In fact, I am not sure I belong in the comment section of life itself. LOL

So, I shall , like I did from work- retire.

I would rather savor my day, instead of spending it finding out what really happened, and what the real story was, out of the things I was exposed to in cyberspace. I shall keep the good parts- free documentaries, EdX, Khan Academy, TEDTalks, etc…but the rest is gone. As am I.

Smiles, Kevin

Not much left to say, but I do have to vent -again. LOL This time, it is Facebook…and man, that can really make you madder than a hatter…without the mercury poisoning.

Okay, So, I find out my FACEBOOk page is still active, after I asked them to close it down, did all the things they told me to do. Then they send me a message saying I missed two messages – like a fool, I check, in case it is an old ship acquaintance…and now, my page is active again, after being closed for four months. Man, you can’t really delete anything from the WEB. LOL

On my wife’s page, there is a trending story pull down menu- and if you want a rehash of just about every horrible thing you can think of- just browse the titles. School shooting, attacks, murder, kidnappings, etc…or vicious polemics of one sort or another. Somehow my wife can ignore the many postings unrelated to anything she wants to see, or put there by friends, workers, or relatives, with whom she doesn’t necessarily agree with – she only stops to see things that matter to her. Me? Just glancing over the posts can make me feel bad…I read very fast, and well, even a glancing blow on some subjects leaves me with that same ill feeling I get from TV or YouTube Trolls…ugly – if ugly was a feeling.

So, I have learned the hard way. I have to drop all social media, and just not look at it at all. I shall keep my emails. I shall still look things up that I am curious about, and of course, that will lead to adds popping up right in the middle of the article, even with my pop up blocker on. LOL  I think, soon, I shall even abandon computers all together. As with my old age, I am concerned less and less with gossip and hyperbole. Can’t even go to the weather channel, as it is covered with adds, videos, and if you click on one, you soon learn what the word hyperbole means, and you get yet more adds. Money, money, money. Someone has to make it. LOL

One of the many reasons I have decided to let this Blog fade into the night, is this: I feel I am adding to the endless glut of content. I am a curious and wondering person, still capable of awe and true wonder- I don’t want to lose that to marketing, adds, and hyperbole. LOL

Kevin of the magnificent, incredible, luscious, solitude. LOL

re: Okay, I came across a creative writing job, for what it might be like to be two miles tall…and that led to this:

 

Okay, so I am browsing for writing gigs, and I see one for ten dollars an hour, and it says:

 “I am looking for someone to write a short story about a college kid who ends up growing to a height of two miles tall. Looking for a very detailed story that describes the process of growing to this massive size, how he is perceived from normal-sized people and how he affects them. Story should include everyday, normal functions of a person including his need to sleep, urinate, defecate, breathe, etc., and how these events are portrayed at such a scale as his through the eyes of witnesses and or best friend.  “

  Whoa Nellie! Let’s just look at some of the things that – apparently, this guy never thought of. LOL

   1) No known material, and certainly not bone, could sustain the weight of a two mile tall human being.

  2) No known muscle, of any type, even the strongest muscle in existence (the tail muscle of a humpback whale) could move any of the limbs on said two mile Titan.

 3) My engineering fans would have a blast figuring out the pressure it would take to pump a heart that has to push blood up and down a two mile column . There actually is a formula for determining the pressure in a cylinder filled with fluid- it is called “Poisson’s Ratio” . It is the equation used to determine the strength of an erection, and the flexibility of an Artery, or Vein.

4) As he wants defecation, well, a fecal sample from a two mile tall human being would be in the area of several tons…and diarrhea well, would be a natural disaster.

5) If he spoke, there is little hope that anyone on the ground could hear him, as you can’t even hear jets five thousand feet above ground level, and he would be twice that.

6) Breathing would be a giant problem for him. LOL Pun intended. For, the air at 10,000 feet is only 40% less than it is down here. He would have to have lungs, that would make him have a chest close to a mile wide. In fact, from the waist up, he would have to be almost as wide, as he would be tall.

7) His stride would cover a mile with each step, and when running, maybe 7 miles to a stride- of course, if he ran full out, he would approach speeds near the speed of sound, and his skin and clothes would burst into flames from friction. LOL  Not to mention the craters that a foot more than 1,400 feet in length (Yep, a foot is about a sixth, or a little more of the height of the person. So a six footer would have a foot about 13-15 inches or so long)

8. Dating is out.

9.Feeding is out.

10. Trying to sip a drink through a mile long straw, also out.

11. His internal heat would melt him. LOL Spontaneous combustion.

12. He would be a navigation menace, and his house and chairs would be the largest  construction projects ever attempted.

13: His bedroom alone, would have to be more than four square miles, unless he wanted a King Size Bed. LOL

14: Last, but not least, no spoon known to man, could be lifted by him to eat mash potatoes. LOL Or any food, of any kind. At that height, one bite would be a block of food would be about seven hundred feet across, a mere morsel. And that would be for every bite. LOL

15: Sleeping would be out. H

I don’t think the guy who wants this written understands why Sci Fi guys don’t try to invent giants. LOL

 So I send it to my friend who is an Expert on Human Physiology – and he sends me this neat note:

BTW:  Great synopsis on all the issues facing a two-mile tall person.  Someone did something similar (the engineering side) on the Godzilla movie and why a creature that size would be impossible (if I can find that article, I’ll send it along – maybe it was on the transformers movie).  Anyway, fun thought experiments.

One of my colleagues here had a special semester-long seminar called the Physiology of Super Heroes.  The students had to pick a super hero in the Marvel Universe and then try to come up with plausible physiological reasons (and outcomes) of their super powers.  I had three students take the course and they loved it.  It seems that they got to use their imagination in ways that our normal ‘sceintific’ approach to science doesn’t allow….

That led me to write this note back to him:

Hey Tim,

Great note back. I sent it to you, because I thought it would be a neat topic for your “Cool Science” seminars. For example, I think (not sure but it is one of the things I thought about) that if our 2 mile friend lay down to sleep, he would actually “drown” in the thick air at the surface. And another thought was his cellular heat , even standing still , would make him hotter than any fever. LOL

  When I first read your note, I thought it said : “the psychology of Super Heroes.”   (wasn’t wearing my glasses. LOL) And that intrigued me too! I mean, if you have some super power that makes you super…well, you would have to develop some kind of mind set that would allow your ego to take a back seat. Or , maybe that is why they all have alter ego’s, because how would normal people react to you? I mean for crying out loud, look how we treat celebrities. Can you imagine how many people would bother Superman? LOL  Or hate him?

 On your side of the fence, what would the genetic make up be? If it could be passed on, even if only the normal way, women would have to take a lottery ticket , and get in line to have sex with a Super Hero, hoping their kid would get those genes, and life would “drive” them to it. LOL People would “hate” super heroes for having something they don’t. Look at how we treat different folks who don’t have super powers , or just don’t look like us.

  In fact, just thinking about it – I can see why Super Powered people would become Evil, or at least, anti social. Most of the good ones, would be hermits! I think, that over time, they would become the same type personalities as the Old Greek Gods: Pyschopaths, with rampant paranoia about what the other super powered people are doing. LOL

  And then my friend sent me this response:

Now these are great blog thoughts!  I like the idea of the ‘psychology of super heroes’ for all the issues you mention.  You know, part of the premise of the X-Men comic books is the angst and alienation that so many teen-agers feel and that comes out in how America (as a whole) treats those Super Heroes.  In fact, the fear of the good super heroes by the general population plays a large role in many of the story arcs (in fact, there’s one where Congress mandates that all Super Heroes are registered with the government so they can control them)…

Fun stuff…

Tim

 

There you go, a conversation started by a job offer, making a few folks go off on a great explore , or tangent to the price one would pay to have super powers! LOL  And because of my friend Tim, we have a Blog today. Thanks Tim!

 

 

into the night…sleepy , it goes….by Kevin Hughes

into the night

sleepy it goes

dreams dragging in the dirt

it left of its own accord

tailing the remnant of things so wanted

that they couldn’t let go

into the night

sleepy it goes

little dollops of hope dribbling off slowly

a rainbow , half formed, skitters afoot

a smile, not made, nor formed, not shown

is carelessly thrown

still

into the night

sleepy it goes

what was once the ground of solid love

safe and supporting

travelled and worn

lays all asunder, strown , and torn

as if when it was brittle

it was born

into the night it

sleepy it goes

maybe once it was a soul

or had one

know one knows

only that like, dreams

and hope, and young love

into the night

sleepy

it goes.

Anniversary/ Birthday two days apart, so it all blurred into one long wonderful weekend… September, 2014 has to be the most insightful, provocative, meaningful month of my Golden Years…so far.

Thanks for all the wonderful birthday and anniversary wishes. I appreciate them all. 63 years old, with the body of a 62 year old. 34 years of marriage, without the heat of passion, but the fiery glow of companionship rages on. A weekend of just time with folks I love, who care, and a day all to my own specifications. It was…in a single word: delightful. I am loved, I get to love, and there were many comfortable moments, and even some quiet moments of reflection…with some real reflection. I am grateful for it all.

September, this September in particular, has been fascinating to me. Almost like I am an outside observer in my own life. Watching meaning, understanding, and discovery unfold almost every single day. I saw myself as I am, without anger or malice , discovering in the process that I like me just the way I am. I am finally in a position to let go of things, people, and events, that I thought would never leave me, or at least leave me with a suffering whole in my persona. That didn’t happen. If folks don’t want to be in my life, I have made it much easier for them to exit. LOL Both from memory, and from real life.

You know what? Looking back at all the things I could have done, or according to other people : “Should have done!”  I almost forgot about all the things I have done. Not in a braggadocio way, but simply acknowledging this fact: I lived. I lived my life. My way, mostly. So what if I screwed up? I succeeded because of those screw ups. So what if I lost a girlfriend or lover along the way, it taught me how to love – and to forgive. I learned that sometimes fights aren’t worth fighting for. I learned , at other times, that sometimes hurt makes you grow. I learned that most of the folks who told me how to live my life, perhaps, should have spent that time on their lives. I listened to me, and messed up. I listened to me and moved up. I could have done better in some areas, and did way better in others. In short, I lived, learned, and loved…and am still growing. Wow. I learned that I can’t make people happy, but they can be happy to be around me. I learned that I am not the reason your life sucks, no matter who you are, or how hard you try and convince me.

If I did something to hurt you , in any way, and I apologized, its over for me now. I can’t undo a single thing I did. You know what? Nobody can. Nobody ever has. The best anyone can do, is get up, learn from it, move on, and try not to repeat the mistake. I dropped a lot of baggage in my life by doing the ShawShank parole hearing speech in my own head: “That boy is long gone. He died years ago. I wish I could have talked to him, with what I know now, but I can’t. If you think you are judging that boy, and not this man, you can all go to hell.”

Yes. That has been my September. And you can all go to Heaven!

Talent, is simply talent. Yet Stand Up Comedy, in a lot of ways, does not get much respect from other Artists…so, let me defend it a bit…LOL

What performing art uses no music, no lyrics, no standard set list, no script, no hours of practice, no hours of teaching, no techniques, no lighting, and no side players?

One.

Straight Stand Up. A one person monologist. That person can’t fall back on years of tradition, or use a bad set to rehears chords or lyrics, or blame the: Producer, Choreographer, Writer, Director, Conductor, or the other members of the ensemble. When  he/she sucks, one, and only one person is held accountable. It is why they say Comics Die- because it hurts.

If you are an Actor, or a Singer, or a Painter, or a Dancer, or a Classical Pianist, Or a Musician: you can spend hours practicing, rehearsing, redubbing…you can do this alone. A comic can’t. He or She has to be on stage to work out the timing, pace, punchlines. All a Comic can improve alone in front of a mirror, is – maybe- diction and facial expressions. But those would appear wooden on stage, or hollow, for it wouldn’t fit the pace of LIVE audiences. Laughter is natural, not forced, and it shapes the timing of the comic on stage, in real time.

If you have a good song, good lyrics, good melody, good musicians, and a nice voice, it is almost impossible to die on stage.  A comic, with everything in her favor, can still bomb. No one knows why. One night, the audience is on your side, and takes a journey into your world, the next night, same act, same material, and well, some little nuance in your delivery, or lack of confidence, or forced laughter, and they turn on you, and Hecklers become a pack, trying to tear at your comedy hamstrings. You don’t often see that at a musical concert, they might not even like your style of music, but can still tell you are a talented Artist. Same with Dance. Same with Painting. All of you connect with your audience, as does the Comic. Most of you don’t have to count on it to be able to finish the show.

You can’t practice a joke at home, like you can a line from a script. There is no director to ask you to “try it like this.” There is no coach, or teacher to go: ” Maybe if you go up one note, or change the style, Or if you speed up the bridge.” All of that has to be done by trial and error, on stage. One of the challenges Famous Comics have, is exactly that…they can’t afford to bomb, and yet, they can’t get a real honest reaction to their jokes, because their fans will (sometimes) literally laugh at anything they say. Each comic is unique, even when their subject matter may be the same: Political Satire, Observational, Prop Act, etc…but, it is the force of their personality and world view that makes their Art. You can write an Oscar Acceptance Speech for an Actress or Actor, because they can read the lines, and be whomever you want them to be. A comic, a good comic, is who he , or she IS. A speech writers dream for the Oscars, because they know who the comic is, and not who she is playing in that role.

I support all my Artist friends, and all of them are on their own journey- there is, however, no National School of Comedy, or Academy of Comedy, or National Comedy Company. You won’t see us at the Lincoln Center, at least not as a Performing Art, but as a Show to gather ratings. We can play Carnegie Hall, but as a Comic, not an Artist. Of all the “Professional Artists” , the numbers of full time Comedians, feeding their family off of their income- is the smallest. In fact, I do believe, the starving artist …is a hallmark of a beginning comic, as it is for most beginning professionals.

We are alone, with just our speaking voice, our thoughts, and our world view. A one man play, or one woman, with no rules, no script, and no music. Yet, most of us can hold an audience for forty five minutes to an hour– with only our words, and a conversation with the audience. Tough work, and worthy of being included in the effort it takes in any of the other Performing Arts, to succeed.

We are your brother’s and sisters. WE are not better, or worse than you, we are just different…and that makes all the difference.

As the Blog dies down, and slowly fades into the night sometime in November….and as Today is my 34th Wedding Anniversary….well, here are some thoughts…

Today is a happy day for me, for there is no way, 34 years ago, I could have predicted how much my Kathy would bring to my life, how much she would mean to me, and how much better off our family is because of her. Oh sure, I wasn’t the perfect husband, and we , like most couples, had to fight through ups and down on our way to now; but the overall trend has been one of constant growth, respect, teamwork, and love. Both of us have raised Forgiveness, to an Art form. LOL Both of us have lost a bit of our youthful luster, and our figures and hair, have made their own decisions. LOL  It has been a happy journey. Now, near the journey’s end, well, we are stewing in a sauce of contentment. Our days are mostly comfortable days, companionship, laughter, and kindness are the norm. I wish all couples a journey like ours. It may not be perfect, but it suits us to a T.

I watched a very intelligent man, explain a concept I have bumped up against myself; Big Data. I grew up in the era of Big Ideas, as did this renowned scientist- and like him, simple was the guiding principle- elegant the goal: for a theory, equation, idea, or , song. Now, complexity rules. Both because of the Big Data available, and the refinement of how to mine Big Data. One of us, as an individual, might be smart enough to take on one thing we didn’t like about Google, Microsoft, Apple, FACEBOOK, or the like, but those folks have fifty smart people working on every single idea. They also have more data on you, then you have on them. Unless you drop out, completely, well, your phone can reconstruct your life for the time you had it on you! LOL Big Data Indeed.

Information is King, and it is a cluttered Kingdom indeed. I shall decrease that clutter, by taking my blog offline. The new era needs to be fueled by the younger souls…if Big Data has left them one to develop on their own. I shall go to the garden of my Golden Years, still learning, still loving, still curious…but quietly. LOL Kevin

re: Kindness , a Marriage Minute article by Kevin Hughes. When is the last time YOU were kind to your special someone?

MARRIAGE MINUTE Got a minute? Kindness: By Kevin Hughes

A very elegantly dressed woman sat next to her very dapper man. The couple was easily well into their 80s. I was seated a few tables away — and the reason I noticed them, at first, was her elegant style of dress; and his dapper outfit. It isn’t often nowadays when you see a woman with a lace neck scarf, pill box hat with veil, and silk evening gloves. Nor do you see a man like hers; with the silk bow tie (hand-tied), vest, with pocket watch and chain. Pure class. Although it was their dress and mannerisms that first drew me; it was the following conversation that snared me. The dapper man spoke: “Darling, I have decided to get myself a cup of tea. Would you appreciate one for yourself?” The elegant woman responded : “Splendid. I believe a cup of tea would be just the right thing. How delightful of you to ask.” The dapper man replied: “No darling, the delight is all mine in being able to serve such a beautiful and kind woman. Knowing that in serving you, my needs have been met.” The elegant woman smiled. After listening to this brief exchange, two thoughts crossed my mind; first, who in the world speaks like that? Second, it did not sound stilted, or practiced, even though the language is flowery — the tone of the entire conversation was thoughtful, kind, and sincere. Their language was as elegant as their dress.
When the dapper looking man returned with the tea for his elegant lady; I approached their table. “Excuse me for interrupting. Allow me to introduce myself; I am Kevin Hughes, a comedian on board the ship. I do relationship humor, and I have to admit listening to your little conversation intrigues me. I have never heard a couple be so kind to each other with words.” The elegant woman reached across the table and with her gloved hand squeezed the hand of the dapper man. They both smiled. “Should you tell him darling? Or would you rather then I tell him the story?” “I believe it would be much wiser for you to tell the story. First of all, there will be no embellishments; and you, after all, are the one who initiated the change in my behavior.” (Again, I was stunned by the use of language. There was no artifice — this was real talk. As strange as it sounded to my ear, there was no doubt of the sincerity and lack of artifice in their conversation.) “Okay. Thank you for allowing me to speak first Harold; I shall tell the young man our story.” The elegant woman then turned slightly in her chair so that she could look directly at me. She smiled, crossed her hands in her lap, and then began to speak: “On our 40th wedding anniversary — the children threw quite a shindig for us at a local restaurant. While I was getting ready, Harold (and she looked over at him and smiled) was being finicky. “Hurry up. We are going to be late. All the kids are probably already there. Your hair looks fine just the way it is. We should have left already.” At this, Harold looked a little sheepish. She softened the blow with a smile though; and continued to speak: “I did not like the tone of his voice. We drove to the restaurant in quiet. Not the peaceful quiet of a long-term couple enjoying the silence. It was the quiet of two people who are just trying to avoid a confrontation. It was uncomfortable. When we got to the restaurant — early I might add — everyone was there. There were several short speeches before dinner, and Harold was busy entertaining everybody and making sure they were taken care of; everybody but me, that is. When evening drew to a close, and we piled into our car after hugging our children goodbye. It was a very cold, uncomfortable silence, on the long drive home. Harold noticed — but did not mention anything. When we arrived home, I marched straight upstairs — closing the bedroom door behind me. Harold knew that was not a good sign. He knocked lightly on the door, opened it, and asked politely: “May I come in?” “Certainly”. I replied. I sat in front of my makeup mirror, Harold came over and sat on the edge of the bed — so that he could look at me. “What have I done?” He asked. “Harold, you have spoiled my 40th wedding anniversary — it should have been our wedding anniversary. In part, it is my fault, I should have spoken to you years ago — when you first became unkind.” “What do you mean, unkind?” he said to me. He was startled by my accusation of being unkind — you could tell it was a surprise to him. “I mean exactly that. Unkind. Over the last several years you have become less kind to me. Less polite. You’re always in a hurry — very rarely do you consider my efforts, my comfort, or show any concern for how I might feel. I will not tolerate it. Tonight was our night, honey — you made it yours. You made sure everyone else was seated, and aware of your pride — but you did not make anyone aware of your bride. I will not accept this. You are much better man than that Harold, or I would not have married you. I want you to be kind to me again.” From that moment on; he was kind to her.
In our lengthy conversation that followed the story she told me; I discovered a few things. Kindness, turns out to be one of the necessary ingredients for a long-term relationship. If not the key ingredient. Harold had always been kind to her since they first got married; then, he started to slip occasionally — eventually ending up being unkind. She was a strong enough woman to point out to her man, that being unkind to her, was unacceptable. She told him point blank; “I will not tolerate being treated unkindly.” Harold was smart enough to realize she wasn’t kidding. She told me that Harold begged for forgiveness that evening. The following morning he awoke cheerful, polite, and kind. At first, he exaggerated his kindness with overly flowery language. That would make her chuckle. Then he said: “It became a habit. Just like brushing your teeth, or shaving, or going for a walk every morning. I didn’t even notice it after a while. I just got in the habit of using very proper, formal, language. I would say things like: “Good morning my darling. I hope that you slept well, and your dreams were filled with interesting thoughts and desirable outcomes.” She would laugh. There is another secret besides kindness revealed in that last sentence… “she would laugh.” That laugh reveals that they both have a sense of humor. Kind humor — not at someone’s expense, rather, at someone’s expanse! We will leave that alone for right now; let it simmer in the back your brain — the idea that humor can be kind and uplifting. Humor is part of a longer-term relationship and we will talk about it in a future article. They both told me that when they first started using exaggerated kindness, it felt a little uncomfortable, a little stilted. These use to laugh a lot at their flowery language. They would try to out do each other; making up sentences that sounded like they came from an 1880s romance novel; and not from a modern couple living in the year 2000. I asked her what her favorite sentence was — could she even remember one that stood out? “Oh yes Kevin. I remember clearly this one: “It is time for you to wake darling. The sun cannot hold itself back anymore. It is creeping up for a better view of your smiling face. The clouds have all tried to crowd in; to get a glimpse of your face, but the wind will have nothing of it — and is busily blowing away the clouds so the sun is shining directly on your perfect porcelain skin.” They both laughed heartily at this — and she told me that Harold managed to get that entire sentence out- with a straight face. I had to laugh too. Harold and his lovely bride Eva — taught me a lot that evening. How underrated kindness really is in a relationship. How language can reflect what you are feeling inside. You can also hide how you feel; she chose not to hide her feelings, telling Harold ; exactly how she felt. I wonder how many of us are astute enough to know what we need from our partner? I wonder how many of us are strong enough to to specifically asked for that need to be filled. It must be very difficult to ask for a hug when you need one — especially if your partner is unaware that you need a hug ! I wonder how many feelings are hurt — just because one partner, or the other, never asked. She did not really ask Harold to be kind — she told him to be kind. She knew what she needed from Harold. She told him directly and without anger or malice. Because there was neither anger nor malice in her language or demeanor — simply an honest desire to be treated respectfully and kindly — Harold responded (pardon the pun) kindly. And that is another lesson — people who care, can confront each other and disagree, without being disagreeable. Because she was kind enough to allow Harold to maintain his dignity when he was being corrected; Harold became kind enough, to be the kind of person she wanted him to be. I learned many lessons from that elderly couple — whom I only noticed because they were well-dressed, well spoken, and well mannered. How often in today’s world do you find that combination of character traits? I guess the best way to end this article would be the way they said goodnight to me: “Kevin, we wish sweet dreams of people you love, doing things that make them grow. We hope that when you rise in the morning your outlook will be brighter than the sun. We hope that the day brings you the joy that you have brought us with your conversation. With that we bid you good evening and a pleasant nights sleep. Be kind to yourself.”

Interview with an Alien. By Kevin Hughes ( What a press conference might look like with a real Alien from another Planet.)

“Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, distinguished visitors, and honored guests. We welcome all of you, and the thousands of media outlets covering this Historic Occasion, the first interview -ever- with someone not from our Planet. As you know, it was just nine days ago when the Advance Team from the Planet Poorfelllowio  (our pronunciation of it anyway) arrived on Earth. Having met with all the leaders of every country via some extraordinarily advanced technical wizardry – one of their Team, Zxlyllophenepreper, has agreed to answer questions you may have. Mr. Zxlyllophenepreper- the floor is yours!”

“Ahem. Thank you, kind sir, for your offer of the floor, I shall treasure it always. For your convenience, I shall leave it here, in place, until the proceedings are over.”

The crowd was aghast, the Alien was going to take the floor?!  Was this the first Intergalactic faux pas?

“That was a joke. I will not take the floor with me.”

The relief amongst the gathered throng was palpable. The laughter was as much out of relief, as for the joke itself.

“For the remainder of the interview, I would be greatly honored if you would just call me: “Bob.”  It would make it much easier on you than to call me by my name, which your kind host tried so hard to pronounce correctly. Bob, in our language, has become rather a hip name. We have no similar word in our language, and already, half the team has named their…again language has provided a gulf to big to confront, but it would be safe to say: Bob, will be the name of a lot of pets, plants, and children in the near future. So, please, call me: Bob.”

“Okay, BOB.” Everyone laughed. As an unknown voice yelled out of the throng.

“Bob, have you eaten at McDonald’s yet?”

The Alien Smiled.

“No. I haven’t. On my planet we eat meat.”

Stunned silence.

“That was another joke.”

This time, the laughter was real.

“Bob, I know this sounds slightly intrusive, and I don’t wish to offend you, but do you have sex on your planet?”

The Alien actually laughed out loud.

“Of course. On what other planet would we have it? We just found your people’s existence nine days ago. That would be a little quick for sex. Don’t you think? Maybe we should date a while? Get to know each other first?”

Another stunned silence.

“That wasn’t a joke, by the way. One really shouldn’t just jump into bed with the first Alien they see. ” Said Bob.

The audience laughed until they couldn’t breath. The Alien smiled.

“Do you have Television on your Planet?”

“Oh, no.  We are an educated race. We live our lives everyday, there is no reason to watch pretend reality.”

“Do you have pornography on your planet?”

Bob looked pensive,and for a second, it looked like he was going to ignore the question.

“No. We do not have porn. In fact, you may be the only race we have ever encountered that has what you call porn. We think it is because you watch to much TV , and live such sheltered lives, that you make sex partners into objects. We have people studying this already…and I must be honest, we aren’t sure how much to tell you about how we feel about this subject. ”

” Do you have murders?”

This time, Bob paused for a long, long, long, time, and a tear leaked out from under his eyes (Yes, a single tear, but multiple eyes. You have to see it to believe it.) When he spoke again, his voice trembled:

“No. We don’t. ”

“Why not? Are you some kind of liberal peace freaks?”

At that, several of the more liberal reporters started to shout at the right wing bigotry…until, Bob held up his hand:

“Please. Please stop right now. Even your bickering is almost enough to cause me to phase shift away. I am sorry, you don’t have the words again, but on our world, any non peaceful intent, whether physical, emotional, or social, would immediately cause us to phase shift away. There would be no one there to become…what is the word you have? Angry…yes, that is it, Angry. You must be very angry, and very weak to want to take the life force from someone. Like your porn, the rest of the known races, have no equivalent for this behavior. Murder…well, no we don’t murder anyone- ever. ”

“What about War?”

“What is with you people? Is violence all you care about?”

Bob stood unashamedly as more tears poured down his face. Even some of the reporters started to realize, Bob, was truly Alien to us.

“No! We care about God too! Some of us are Christians and dedicated to peace. Have you any Religion on your planet?”

At this, the Muslims, Catholics, Mormon’s, Jews, Buddhists, Mormons, Protestants of all kinds, and some fringe fundamentalists – broke out into several spats.

Bob called once again for quiet, and got it.

“We have no religions. I think your behavior just now showed why we don’t. ”

“So, you don’t have the Bible? You haven’t accepted Christ? How will you be saved?”

“Well, for one thing, we don’t die, we can be killed by accident, but we don’t die…and even were one of us to die…the life force can be absorbed by those who know how. It is hard to explain, and we have only been on your planet for nine of your days, but each of  our beings is – for your purposes, eternal. Not only eternal, but in fact, each of us carries all moments of our life as a single now. It is one of the things we hope to eventually share with your people.  I mean , after all, you gave us the Big Mac. We should give you something of equal value.”

Everyone laughed at this, and it took some of the sting out of what Bob had just said.

“How long are you going to stay on Earth?”

Bob smiled.

“As long as it takes.”

“WTF?”

 

 

 

Passages…six decades into my life, and the pattern starts over again…LOL The changes from year one thru ten, are equalled by the changes of 60 thru 70.

I think it was Gail Sheehey, who wrote a book called: Passages – way back in the early 70′s.  I didn’t agree with her then, even though I knew there were two big passages for females: Menarche, and Menopause. For men, well ejaculation…and balding. LOL

Now, however, I realize she was on the right path- each decade of life is in and of itself, a separate block of life. You get three decades in prime time, if you are lucky, you get two more decades of life to chill out, and that first decade of headlong rush into puberty.  Adding up to the proverbial three score and ten. Seven decades…and decade one and seven seem to be about equal mentally, and unfortunately, equal in the amount of physical changes in your body. Two, four, six , and eight, and ten years of age, are lightyears apart for most of us, and so is: sixty, sixty-two, sixty-four, sixty-six, sixty eight, and seventy! My friend Ed told me about this bookend theory of decades, but it took me until this year to appreciate how on the mark he was. You go down almost as fast as you went up!

The thing I want to focus on though, is this: Those first ten years of your life, you are learning, you are playing most of the time, and you barely care about the world outside your family, and are barely aware of most of those in your family too. LOL At sixty, the same thing happens. If you stop working, you start to play again, you start to hang out with just a few friends, you could care less about the rest of the world, bills, appointments, clothes, and a whole litany of other things. Your world becomes smaller in some ways, and big enough to fill your days in another. It is like being a kid again. You do what you want, when you want, you take many naps, and run full speed into the night. LOL  You don’t read newspapers, except for the funnies, you experiment with stuff to see if you can do it, or not. You only hang out with people you like, and you spend a whole day busy, but at the end of that day, for the life of you, you can’t remember doing anything of import, just a long, delicious day, filled with fun, and alone time, and play time, and some food and drink. Yep.

After age sixty, if you don’t have to work just to stay alive, or to pay for a place to live, each day becomes a Summer Vacation day of your youth. If you are working, I hope it is for either your passion for what you like doing, or because you get a sense of community for it. If you are working just to pay for stuff, I know what a grind that is, and wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Kathy and I live off of my Social Security, a small stipend, and her Minimum wage job, and we live well. No houses, one car, paid for, and a budget that lets us have the occasional day out. We don’t travel much, because we have been to forty eight states, forty nine countries, all the provinces of Canada, and all the States of Mexico, weekend trips are enough for us.

Because Kathy works, just that little bit gives us some wiggle room. For me, it provides the long Summer Vacation like days. I can’t believe the difference in my outlook on life, since turning sixty three- when I compare it to the Kevin who thought he had to become: Super at Sixty! I was 58 when I began that journey to be my definition of Super at Sixty. Now, at 63, I have left that Kevin way back in my past. He makes me smile. That Kevin needed validation, an excuse for not living life to the fullest, which, by the way, he thought was to be busy working, creating, being productive, and participating. Oh, the ways of the blissfully ignorant. Being alive, doesn’t need proof, validation, or activity for others to note. Nope. Sitting on a park bench, reading for your own pleasure (not a title to impress those who may sit next to you and ask: “What are you reading?” Kierkergaard ! LOL)  setting your book – or Kindle- down to watch a squirrel, or listening to see if you can tell what kind of bird it is, by listening to its song, and that funny smile you get , when you find the bird, and it IS the one you had in mind. Or, if you just suddenly lose yourself to a memory of another bench, with your younger self, and a partner…you can smell her, feel her skin, hear her laugh, and the joyfree feeling of an unlimited future in front of you. You can see the both of you, and hear the laughter and see the smiles, and giggles- but, the words are gone. Only the gist remains, like the haunting moment at the end of a beautiful song, where the music has stopped, but not its effects.

Maybe minutes go by, maybe hours, who knows? Who cares? For a few moments, you were ten again, or sixteen, or twenty three, or thirty seven, or forty nine…and what bubbles up, comes unbidden, with only strong emotions and no judgement to slur the feelings. A breakup with a loved one, becomes bitter sweet, and accepted. A kind word gets remembered, and you thank them- again. A softness of a quiet head on your shoulder, providing warmth, love, contentment, and safety…keeps the words from forming that would break the spell. Until a squirrel, a squeal , or a chirp, or even the dip of your own head, brings you back to the now. You get up from the bench, and you walk…still smiling. Your Mother’s voice doesn’t call you home, but if you really wanted to, you could hear her as you got to see what is for supper.

Summertime, in the Winter of life. Oh yeah Ms. Sheehey, there are passages!