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Honest fish

Monday 3/1/21

* I don't know sometimes if I should divvy up the entries because there is always so much that is new to say.

* Saturday I walked three miles. Today I walked five. Yesterday I walked thirteen and ran 2600 stairs. Yesterday marked 1715 days, or 245 weeks, without any alcohol.

* I came up with two new op-ed ideas. One pertains to reading aloud and St. Patrick's Day, so that provides me with two St. Patrick's Day ideas. Either will also work in future years. The other idea actually pertained to this journal. The value of a journal.

* Early photo of Carlton Fisk I'd never seen until today in which he looks like Tom Brady. Note the glove--it's that make of catcher's mitt that went out at the end of the 1960s. The ovular kind, without the folds and breaks. The sections. This is why guys used to catch with two hands, to stop the ball from popping out. You could be a one-handed receiver with the new mitts.

* Fatigue has set into me. The hell, the blackballing, the joylessness, the lack of hope. Then there is all that I have done for work in the first two months of this year. I would have to count, but I believe I have written fifteen short stories. Plus the op-eds, the features. I wrote an entire book. Then the blogs. And most of what I write--and I know this probably sounds impossible to believe--takes the form of letters to these people. I'd also have to count to be exact, but I have published somewhere around ten pieces thus far in 2021. Imagine if I didn't have an entire industry against me? What it look like then? What's the reach? What's the recognition? What's the bank account? What's the volume of work out there?

* I watched 1954's Witness to Murder, directed by Roy Rowland, with Barbara Stanwyck and George Sanders. It's similar to Hitchcock's Rear Window, which came out the same year, in that someone witnesses a murder and then is not immediately believed. Not a very good film, in large part because of its sexism. Barbara Stanwyck is treated like an absolute idiot. A child idiot. I wonder what she thought as they were making the picture. Or as she read the script. Why she'd want to do it, too. The movie is watchable. George Sanders is the ultimate urbane heel, though here he's also a Nazi and has this Peter Sellers type moment where he breaks into Nazi chanting, this diseased, random canticle in the middle of the film. Ray Davies references him in "Celluloid Heroes." In the last five minutes Claude Akins shows up, and in the last two minutes, we get Burt Mustin. They're two of my favorites. Two years prior Mustin had that important part in the beginning of Nicholas Ray's The Lusty Men, and he's unbilled in this movie. Akins strikes me as what Lon Chaney, Jr. could have been as a character actor, if he kept himself in better shape and had more range.

* I watched some of the Bruins v. Rangers game and also the Bucks and Clippers game. There's no mid-range shooting in the current NBA. Everyone can shoot the three. In its predictability, basketball is becoming a might baseball-ish, if that makes sense. The Bruins sought a remedy for their recent struggles, and that remedy was coming out and hitting everything that moves. It's a good way to get yourself started. And jump-start a team.

* I had a nightmare about Molly. We were together in Detroit. On some trip. Back together. We were making our way to California, where her parents lived, as part of this relationship reboot. I think I have a better understanding of anyone of why Brutus, Cassius, and Judas are in Satan's mouth in Dante's Inferno. There is an evil to betrayal, after the the courting and coaxing of trust, that is beyond other human evils. Context always matters. Context mattering is different than a concept of relativity, because there are still absolutes. Relativism precludes absolutes. Which itself is an absolute. And a fundamental contradiction. But the context always matters with an absolute. Not in terms of dictating right or wrong, but in the pain of the other party. The extent of the damage. The amount of life sliced open, poisoned, set on fire, cut away. In this dream we were at this parental house, and the parents did not wish to see me, because of lies that had been told. And Molly took out this tiny pillow from her bag, and I was meant to sleep on it, and it said something like Molly and Colin forever. In the dream I was going along with this. I don't know why. I know a person I've known for twenty-five years. They're the least dependable person I know. I don't know many people I think of as dependable at all. The people I think of as the most dependable tend to be people I've never met in person. I know them, but from afar--we didn't hang out over the course of years. For instance, i would say Kimball, Pratt, Wickett, Aaron, are very dependable. If I needed something, and I asked them, they would do it. Quickly. But this person I know for all of this time, knows as much as anyone about my situation. We're the same age. I've been there for them whatever I have going on, as if I had nothing ever going on and existed but to wait on their call and help. If I ask them to do anything, they won't. They'll lie to me all the time. If I had a life, and friends, I would have stopped knowing this person at all many years ago. They'll make some big promise, and they'll lie about that. When I'm really counting on them. When I'm in a bad, bad, desperate and dangerous situation. A life and death situation, sometimes. And they'll say to me, "Well, how come you don't get upset when so and so doesn't do what they said they'd do," and they'll name someone much more on the peripheries. And I am upset by that. We talk about words and actions. And there's the old saw, "you're only as good as your word." So who is any good right now? But let's say you don't like that saw. Then we talk about actions. "Actions count more than words." I don't buy that, because of what words mean to me and can mean--words are action in letter-form. Our actions are so often lacking. Or nonexistent. So what then? When there is no value in the word, and next-to-no-effort in the action, what are we? We are what we are right now. Anyway, this person cannot understand, and will never understand, the role of context. But I've also known them for twenty-five years and never seen them grow, and they live a very simple, sheltered life outside of reality, in a way. As I said, we're the same age, but it's like talking to someone who is eighty-five, and who shut it down a long time ago, and lives with their spouse and their aged cat. No idea what is going on in the world, no idea how people are now, how they think, or don't, how they talk. Is that life? Is that living? Then I grow every day. In every way that I can. Mentally, morally, artistically, physically, spiritually. There's no basis for any relationship, maybe even if the constant bad treatment wasn't in place. But I just have so little.

* Rare is the person who behaves in the most decent way, the most caring way, the right way, because that is the decent, caring, right thing to do. With that being the determining and motivating factor. Above all. I have learned that people will usually be as decent to you as is required by what they need from you. Take the person like the person discussed above. If you put him out into the world, and he was alone, didn't have the same routine of family to return to each day, that person would act towards me in a completely different way. A much kinder. But they motivation would be because they needed something from me. They couldn't be all alone. That was too hard. Take the parent who is older. Maybe they have given up on life. Maybe they are consumed with rage. They have no motivation to be decent, because they do not care about having the contact and connection, when they can just as easily storm off, or slam down the phone, and sit in the house in their rage. They don't require that relationship, and that relationship is irrelevant to what really drives their life. So they're not going to do the right thing, because it is the right thing. They can take it, or they can leave it. The truly good person is someone who behaves the right way, even when they could take it or leave it. But that's not how most people are. Everything, sadly, is about leverage. "I have this, so I can treat you as I damn well please. You have less, you have the greater need." If you are in that latter category, there is a subservient aspect,, while at the same time, the other person knows you are the better person, and resents you in part, ironically, because they treat you in a way you would not treat them--no matter what. When they act as they do to you, what can you do? You can cite and detail the nature of their behavior, but what will they do? Cut you out. They don't need you. You'd like to think they need you because of what you offer, which other people do not, and certainly not in the very limited way of their stock relationships, which are not about growth and people constantly fostering new meaning and insight in each other's lives; but that's not how people look at things. As a result, you, the better person, are always over a barrel. What can you say? What can you do? Point out the truth, over time, after a long time of the bad behavior, and you'll be summarily dismissed, and met with wild, frantic, defensive rage. And that person is gone for five weeks, five months, five years. Until you do something. Which causes you to play a role in making yourself a victim. But you're so alone, so what do you do? Just go everything alone? Is that doable? Survivable? And for how long? It's dehumanizing. Such people dehumanize you. And if you don't agree with them that they are wonderful, and they love you so much, you get their anger and hate once more. You get the back turned to you. So it's like you have to pretend to be an utter moron just to appease them so you can know them so that you have someone. The solution? Not to be the good person. Not to be the better, smarter person who grows. To be an idiot. To not think about your behavior and who you are. To not grow. To get your small group of people--spouse, kids--so you can be a person who also turns your back on other people. Who has leverage. Who has no self-awareness. Who has no expectations of character or decency. I think a person like that is also alone, but it's a different kind of alone. It's more subtle. it does greater damage, but that damage takes the form of rendering them a person who can behave as they do towards you. They don't blame themselves for that. They blame you. They put you in an impossible position. They don't see it, but they wouldn't hear it either, no matter it's presented to them, no matter if they knew that they play a real role in killing you.

* I sat by the harbor on early Sunday afternoon. My thoughts and me. Nothing else. There was no one out. It was not cold. I never just see someone sitting and being. Rarely do I see someone sitting and not staring into a device. I know they're not looking up the meaning of the word "effluvia." Checking a line of Burns. Downloading Billie Holiday music. Is there any self-reflection? Does anyone partake of that? I don't mean yoga. I mean you, on your own, with just your thoughts, and being present in them. Five Red-breasted Mergansers swam by. They're by no means rare birds, but I don't see them often in the harbor. They looked like they were having an easy, exploratory swim, with the occasional dive for fish. Low-stakes dives. Just to keep the fish honest.

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