Monday, December 04, 2006

No Hell So Awful As A Self-Inflicted One


Downstairs in my kitchen I have a fake snake in a fake crystal punch bowl full of water. The punch bowl, recently washed, had held a vat of champagne punch, a deceptive concoction that tastes like heaven itself. Most punch falls under the nasty concoction category -- the kind of gross ice-cream laden crap that gets trotted out for weddings and whatnot, that nobody wants to drink until that one wily relative spikes it with so much alcohol that taste is beside the pont. Not so with this ambrosia -- you drink and drink and never think anything is happening, so much so that the hangover is demonic. Alas, no hell so awful as a self-inflicted one! My snake's directions tell me that if I set it in water for 96 hours, it will grow to 600 times its size. Mr. Fake Snake has the markings of a coral snake, a beautiful and deadly creature. Coral snakes don't have a rattle to scare you; they don't smell like rotting flesh to warn you. Mr. Fake Snake is even worse -- there's not any movement except for its slow water absorbtion. Like a corpse, he will move when you don't expect it.

I once read years ago that you're young when you expect surprises to be good ones, old when you expect them to be bad. Sad to say, I transitioned into old, there was some turning that I can't pinpoint, some moment when I became full of dread rather than hope. I trace the seed of this feeling back to my deep hatred of new year's eve. By the time December rolls around, I feel comfortable in the old year, I have reconciled my mind to it. I do not want a new year! I do not want to write a different date on checks, do not want to leave what I have grown to love or at least just be friends with to use the expression that men all over the world despise -- Let's just be friends, or I value our friendship too much to ruin it with a romance. But so it goes. The year and the surprises keep coming, whether I like it or not. Even though I greet them with a face that resembles the famous picture of J.D. Salinger (his I just want to be left alone shot after Franny and Zooey fame), I have to say that many of them are good. If not, I have a snake downstairs to ward off any harm. He lives in a punch bowl, and he grows every day, so much so that there won't be room for anything else, and I will take him out and see what uses I can find for him. People are always telling me I need a pet.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"Do you know what I was smiling at? You wrote down that you were a writer by profession. It sounded to me like the loveliest euphemism I had ever heard. When was writing ever your profession? It's never been anything but your religion." J.D. Salinger

Cocktail Hour

Drinking music suggestion: The Best of Leadbelly

Benedictions and Maledictions

Happy Monday to all! If you missed yesterday's post, check out my dear friend Hank's YouTube appearance under this section on Sunday.

15 comments:

Dave Dixon said...

Sorry I missed yesterday's post. I always thought of Hank(RIP)as an incomparable mix of Meat Loaf and Burl Ives.

Blog Enquirer said...

Salinger wanted to be left alone with Joyce Maynard. They both knew how to pick pets.

This is your life said...

It amazes me that someone Hank described as a "girl genius" in high school says that she didn't even attend the prom. The strange, snakey world of Mineral Wells.

longly said...

I remember having--right around the time that _Reservoir Dogs_ came out--a Halloween party out at my house in the country and Hank showed up with black jacket, black slacks, sunglasses, skinny black tie, and bloody white dress shirt. "Which reservoir dog are you?" I asked him. (After all, at a certain point in time showing a preference from Mr. Blond vs. Mr. Pink was much like choosing your favorite Beatle withe choice indicating some inherent personality type.) Hank said, "All of them."

Hank B., RIP

JR's Thumbprints said...

I don't know Michelle, if I had written anything remotely close to "Franny and Zooey" I'd want to be left alone too. As for the punch, I'm all for killing the sweetness with a half-gallon of alcohol. Oh, and yes, get a real pet--how about a rat?

paul said...

Cajun Q, any snake gimme the willies even fakes
O Mighty Isis whats in the bag?
outside snowflakes
twilrlin
roundnround
colddayafternoon
warminside
Shazammmmmmm
R2 C2 staywarm Foxy De-Lady

Laura said...

Snakes, even fake one, no way. As far as looking toward the future, Don't worry about it too much until your old enough to wonder if you'll even make it another year.

Anonymous said...

I like the post - Creepy. I love the Hank video. What a twangy tune. I've always admired that style of guitar he is playing in the video. (The kind with the steel beneath the strings and on the outside of the guitar. I can't recall the name right now, Steel?) I'm always picking them up at guitar shops and messing around with them. I always wonder tales of sorrow they possess, and with a little practice, could I possible coax those tales to life. I liked Hanks jam because of the neck movement; the song went from twangy high notes to low bass notes. I could almost imagine him playing that song on an old dusty porch on a rocking chair. Thanks for the the link. Be sure to put Mr. Fake Snake away when the carolers come over, no need to scare anyone to death this holiday season. Who am I kidding? Put a Santa hat on that thing and some Mistletoe above his head.

Oh yeah, I've always found New Years Eve to be very depressing. Something very sad about leaving another year in the past.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see that somebody else carries a fear of a new year. Remember the Y2K scare, when everybody was afraid of New's Year Day? At that time, I was comfortable in knowing that, possible Apocalypse aside, at least I wasn't the only one.

John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle, another lovely view and post as always. New Year's is good for one thing, and that is champagne. A toast to you and a bubbly Bravo!

Josh said...

Hey.. you're my teacher! =)

In class you mentioned before that you have been added to Wikipedia, so I decided to check it and it gave me a link to this blog..

P.S. The picture of you taking a bubble bath was a little more than I needed to see =P

The Walking Man said...

Take the snake and put it on your door frame and add colored lights and call it a christmas decoration.

For the first time in over 4 decades of writing dates on paper, checks, prison entrance forms, mental institutions and MCCC and other things this year 2006 was a banner year, from day one to day now I have yet to write 2005 and then have to make a mess of that box by making the 5 look like a 6; although that is easier than making a 9 look like a 2.

Self made hells, self inflicted sorrow over anything is a pointless exercise in masochism. If the hangover is hell then you are a masochist, if the chick(or vice versa) "just wants to be friends" and you stick around then you are a masochist. Live through it, do it again and call it hell and you are an addict which is a bird of a different color.

And just because I said to you that you truly are entering middle age with your last birthday, didn't mean you were old or even close to old. You have almost another thirty years before you qualify for the seniors discount at Bob Evens reseraunts.

Is the self inflicted hell from having pre-printed thousands of forms in January with 2006 on them that you now discovered will never even come close to being used, unless your students or whomever tries to make the 6 look like a 7? "Oh the dead forestry that went into those forms!"

Your friend, Hank, (not to change subjects but I was done with that one) on the youtube...I didn't put the headphones on and listen, still haven't, because I didn't want to hear his voice or words, but I loved the way he looked like he was doing something that he loved to do and in that nothing more can be asked for. If you don't believe me then just ask the snake...Did growing to 600 times your size please you? You know it will say "Yes, very much, but I think these flashing christmas lights detract from my natural beauty"

Peace

Anonymous said...

I don't think Joyce wanted to be left alone too long with J.D.

I love the quote - I always love your quotes, and especially today's.

I know what you mean about the New Year . . . the older I get I tend to think of another year's ending in terms of the things I didn't do - never got to do, etc. I feel pressure to get it all done within the frame of the next year . . . and it all repeats itself.

An empty slate, clean canvas, fresh start . . . it can all be too much pressure.

But, nevertheless, I enter with some quiet and cautious optimism.
I reflect a little, do a Rune spread, do some writing, and vow that I will read A Course In Miracles - cover to cover - within the next 365 days.

BTW I had a dream that two geckos grew in a bottle . . . they were fat little lizards because the bottle also housed crickets - they're favorite dish. I didn't know if I felt sadder for the crickets and their bottled up, trapped and doomed little futures, or if I felt happier for the geckos having their needs met so effortlessly with such abundance at their tongue tips. DREAMS?????

Joyce Maynard said...

"Long after Salinger sent me away, I continued to believe his standards and expectations were the best ones."

Anonymous said...

I don't fear the new year... actually it doesn't really register with me except for the fact that all the stores are closed. I guess I'm weird but things like that just dont matter... it's just another day.