A eulogy fit for a pauper

I don’t normally keep abreast of the daily obituary report, but it seems Facebook serves that function quite well. Why is it people feel indebted and darkly obligated to remark on the deaths of famous people in the form of some trite 3-cent wisdom which surmise a stranger’s life? Whatever.

Tom Bosley.
He seemed like a nice guy and he was Mr. C. As in the Fonz, heeeeeeeeeeey!
Happy Days was a rite of passage for me back in the 70s or 80s or whenever the hell it aired. My mom loved to watch it with us and narrate in detail how true to life it was for a coming of age high schooler in the 1950’s.

Well apparently Mr. C kicked the bucket.

And thus, let the Facebook ridicule begin.
Mm, actually, I can’t do that.
This is a somber occasion.
The wonderful Tom Bosley is dead.
How can I make light of Facebook on this tragic day?
Mr. C seemed like the last of the “good guys” in showbiz cause most of them now see to be fucking vain self-obsessed dim-witted cretins who make lots of money off the pocketbooks of equally dim-witted American public that can’t even find itself on a map.

No, I want to focus on the Facebook wall post.


I suppose. A rich life. Sounds promising, doesn’t it?
To have a rich life…is to have a long life?
A life with many friends and lovers and jail sentences?
Lots of money and possessions?
Man, a rich life is so arbitrary. Who the hell knows what a rich life is. Because there is no such thing as a rich life. We define our own life’s richness. By our pursuits and their attainments, or lack thereof.

I thought of my own life.
If I died right now, struck down by this Southern California lightning (actually, there is none; this is a mild rainstorm, but it sounded good), what would I leave?

A rich life?
I doubt many people would think so because the concept of a rich life is the byproduct of fierce cultural indoctrination. My life, rich? LOL.

If anything, I probably have led a poor life.
Have you led a poor life?
I wonder if I can slip into my eulogy the line, “David —-. He led a poor life!”
What would the audience think.
The mourners? All those folks who don’t give a flying fuck about me but want to wear black suits and eat free food. What would they say?

He had a poor life!

And indeed, I do.
Scarce is the word which sums up my life.
Scarce goods, scarce company, scarce joy. My life oozes scarcity, it is for wont.
I’m a pauper in this stage play of life.
I’m a hobo on this wavering journey from birth to death and I strangle all my belongings in this simple and tattered soul. I drive a simple vessel. I seek to impress no one and I eat the simple fruits of life at every meal.

I live a poor life.
My soul does not glitter. There are no dazzling displays of ostentation spilling out my heart. A poor life.

My soul in tatters.
Dampened down by the vagaries of incessant life. Never prone to shine.
I sink into the murky existential poverty and eschew the pomp.

David…he led such a poor life.

Jealousy and booze, not in that order

I am the biggest fan of evo psych.
And if you can get beyond that preposterous statement, I’m also an aficionado of HBD even though many of its tenets thoroughly banish me to the wash with all my dim-witted brethren. That’s cool though. I have always believed there is an inherent, biologically-based element in our physical assemblage which predisposes us to a confined range of behaviors and cognitions.

So yeah, I’m a big fan of this evo psych/HBD-sphere I find myself circling or orbiting, whichever metaphor fits.
Despite my tendency to humor most evo psych schools of cultural interpretation, I’m a bit unorthodox in that I doubt many of the ideological motifs that most HBDers take for granted. I presume much of our behavior is rooted in hereditary and biological evolution, but I think many ostensible behaviors, upon close scrutiny, might not hold up as many of these people wish.

Evo psych, while supplying a very powerful tool by which to view our present behaviors in an evolutionary context, tends to be propped to obsessive levels of dogmatic acceptance by many of its proponents. Strangely, most evo psych is essentially unverified and unverifiable. Much of it is theoretical interpretation and extrapolation of present behaviors within the realm of evolution and top experts exert their reputation by issuing the most random and unrestrained suppositions which many in the audience nod to while muttering “oh yeah, why of course…”

Evo psych is like a Lit class of biological antiquity.
I was an English Lit major and I loved reading old stories, poems, and plays from the perspective of calculated examination and interpretation. We’d sit in the class, 20 or 30 of us, each spewing our own interpretation of a piece, each equally valid but different, and in the end, there was only more confusion and still no clear interpretation. That’s how I see evo psych. It’s all interpretation and detective work and how can we honestly be sure that the female hypergamous drive is evolutionarily driven at all. Maybe it is a modern tendency of Post-Industrial culture. Perhaps hypergamy is the female response to excessive idleness and luxury. Females, having seen their former role of housemaid lifted, responded with childish impetuousness. All presuppositions are equally valid and though the majority may side with or against certain theories, the bottom line is that all theories carry substrance.

In the past couple of days I’ve read a couple of evo psych-tinged presumptions which left me slightly unfulfilled; they seem logical, but upon closer examination, leave me scratching my head. Unconvinced.

The first was a link over on Mangan’s which cited an article by Satoshi Kanazawa who writes a blog for Psychology Today titled “The Scientific Fundamentalist.” In his post, Kanazawa, writes about solid data illustrating the fact that intelligent people (as measured by IQ) tend to drink more than their less intelligent counterparts. He writes, “… more intelligent children, both in the United Kingdom and the United States, grow up to consume alcohol more frequently and in greater quantities than less intelligent children. Controlling for a large number of demographic variables, such as sex, race, ethnicity, religion, marital status, number of children, education, earnings, depression, satisfaction with life, frequency of socialization with friends, number of recent sex partners, childhood social class, mother’s education, and father’s education, more intelligent children grow up to drink more alcohol in the UK and the US.”

Despite a humorous jab at Al Gore, Kanazawa retreats into a state of inflexible scientific fixation as he attributes the heavier drinking among intelligent people to a phenomena he calls evolutionary novelty. He fills in some background info detailing the history of “intentional” alcohol consumption in humans which dates back 7,000-10,000 years, and thus, cannot be considered evolutionarily ingrained in our primal nature. So it’s a novelty because we’ve not adapted to drinking, and since it’s an evolutionary novelty and the most intelligent are the most likely to embrace evolutionary novelty, heavy drinkers are embracing evolutionary novelty because they are more intelligent. To paraphrase. I wondered…in this context of evolutionary fine-tuning and purging, will man, in 1,000 years, be able to drink a case of Budweiser and not show the slightest effect?

Based on my anecdotal knowledge, I wouldn’t dispute the essence of Kanazawa’s thesis. Intelligent people do drink more, but can we lay the blame at the feet of evo psych?
I cannot, especially based on the principle of evolutionary novelty.

Intelligent people do drink more but it’s owing to a multitude of social and cultural factors that are transparently shielded by the principle theory asserted by Kanazawa here. There are so many factors at play which dictate why an intelligent person is more likely to love drinking that it’s difficult to know where to begin. Evolutionary novelty is a vague, elusive notion. It seems applicable to almost any situation. If we jumped off bridges, evolutionary novelty would be on our side and as they scrape our innards off the rocks below, we can gloat in our transcendence of this novelty. We haven’t grown wings and I doubt evolutionary novelty will do such a favor for us even if every man, woman and child jumped off a bridge in the years to come. I’ll tell you what would happen…human extinction. Evolutionary novelty would spell the death of the human race if we all embarked on a lemming rush over the cliff. Using evolutionary novelty as a reason for heavy drinking milks a sense of derivative logic here…connecting too many dots to create a jumbled morass we can call a logical map. No, there is a deeper societal factor at play which steers the typical psyche of an intelligent modern person to drink more; drinking is a function of many traits which are character-driven cohorts of intelligence, and more importantly, sobriety is an antagonistic factor which correlates directly with many sub-intellgient traits. I think there is an intriguing function to explore here in the intelligence->alcohol consumption dichotomy, but I would hardly expect it to transgress into the evo psych territory.

And today, on everyone’s fave, Citizen Renegade, a great post called “The Forager/Farmer Thesis Is Wrong” in which Chateau apparently launches the opening salvo of a fledging feud between himself and Robin Hanson of Overcoming Bias. I will not detail the substance of the post, which essentially takes Hanson to task for asserting that our ancient hunter-gatherer ancestors represented the Yin “liberal” facet of humanity whereas the relatively modern farmer/agriculturalist represents the Yang “conservative” aspect of mankind. An intriguing argument in itself and I suspect this is just the beginning of an entertaining ping pong match of HBD paddles.

But no, I’m taking Chateau to task for a rote truism he lobbed out in his post.
I’ve heard it repeated, a blindly accepted observation from HBD evo psych types.
He diverted onto the subject of jealousy.
He wrote, “If we were built for polyamory as Ryan claims, or free love promiscuity as Hanson says, then jealousy would not have evolved to the extent it did (among Euro-descended people at least) to become a powerfully ingrained emotional hindbrain response to infidelity or suspicions of cheating.”

Once again, I hark back to the alcohol.
Jealousy as an “ingrained emotional hindbrain?”

Jealousy as an impetus of the mating game?

I don’t see the connection nor the extension of logic.
Jealousy indeed pervades many levels of social life; yet, many jealousies are not socio-sexual at all.
Jealousy is a blade of the ego and it bucks against unfairness and externally imposed obscurity. Jealousy is a social manufacture of the higher brain. Jealousy is hardly instinctive; rather, it’s pathological.

If you were to extend it back far enough into our evolutionary antiquity, is jealousy really such a formidable adaption?
How can personal fixation be considered an adaption when you live in a primitive, pre-societal world in which females are yours for the taking? Under such conditions of free-wheeling aggressively procured pussy, isn’t fixation on one specimen counterproductive to your mating rampage? Jealousy, in this context, is counterproductive to procreation. Jealousy is a social and psychological byproduct of modern human emotional attachment, and in this respect, probably a much newer evolutionary player than even the fermentation of alcohol, and thus, is not truly an evolutionary item. A primitive forebear who forsakes mating because of an obsessive pursuit of a targeted female (one of many) will succumb to the mating dance over generations.

Jealousy is not a hind brain or evolutionary item.
It did nothing to emancipate male urges, and in fact, it has only done the opposite.

The light and the dark

I’m not entirely proud to admit here that in the past couple of years I have become a blatant hair salon whore.
I had my hair “done” by the same girl for well over 10 years. Her salon was far from my house and driving there every fourth Saturday was an agonizing 30 minute trip and on top of that, I paid her about $18 for essentially a non-haircut. This:

I keep my hair relatively short and I don’t do anything remotely challenging to the average hairstylist. Still, it took me years to finally realize my money was more important than routine and that my hair style, particularly, was the type that required minimal workmanship. So I just stopped going to that girl (I didn’t call or warn her…even though she cut my hair monthly for 10 years, we weren’t very close). I began hitting up the neighborhood barber shops in a desperate search for the perfect cut. I found this one dude, older guy, who did a pretty good job but I started getting free hair cuts shortly thereafter by a friend who basically mowed my top down with a #3 or #4 clipper every so often and I was happy enough with the results that I saw no problem subjecting myself to her untrained hands. Recently, I began making the rounds again because things happened and you know…I could no longer count on a regular trim from her. I started whoring up on the local barber shop circuit once again and in the past 3 or 4 months I’ve taking my coiffing needs to a barber shop which I discovered about 10-15 minutes away. It’s one of those Eastside salons that specializes in that baldy, skinhead cut you see on urban kids. On the surface, it looks like the simplest haircut someone could possibly ask for. All it is, really, is just a “scalp-doo,” isn’t it? There is apparent artistry or finesse. Buzz that shit off. Voila, you have a haircut!

This was precisely my thinking the first time I visited this place one Sunday morning. There was one guy ahead of me and I could have sworn he had just had his hair cut. He was a baldy and his scalp was covered with a very thin layer of buzzed hair and it seemed clean and shaped. I assumed he was waiting for the guy who who was currently getting his haircut. When the girl was done with him, I expected the two guys to leave together and it would finally be my turn (I was in a hurry that morning). Instead, he stood up and sat in the empty barber chair. He and the girl chattered in Spanish for a few minutes and she began taking come clippers to his freakin’ bald head. Well, I reassured myself, this would not take long.
Surely it couldn’t, the guy had nothing to cut.

I was in for a rude shock, because 25 minutes later the girl was still agonizing over his bald head. I could see no appreciable difference in his hair (or lack thereof) after she had spent that amount of time fussing over his head. None at all. It was short, damnit. How much more work is it possible to perform on a guy who is sporting no hair already?

She finally finished him off with an overstated flourish and he paid her…I imagined this was the easiest dollar she ever earned and maybe she just stretched it out to make him think he was getting his money’s worth. After she cut my hair, I was pleased with the result even though I was not the typical Barrio Baldy dude, but whatever, she still did a great job on my non-hairdo. Enough for me to go back, which I did, and have done since. And each time, the majority of the customers are baldy dudes who came to be fussed over so their fuzz can find an ethereal trimmed state. It’s baffling. I didn’t understand this at all. These guys weren’t getting haircuts, they were getting scalp treatments. In any case, I’ve gone back because I like how the girls cut my hair short and even. Even though it actually involves hair unlike what she contends with when it comes to the rest of the customer base.

This morning I got my new haircut (see above) and for the first time, a dude was my barber.

He was a quiet Latino fellow sporting a youthful urban look and he oozed that cool, neo-gangsta vibe, definitely youthful, and when I needed to speak to him I was overly conscious of my own voice which I have never been able to stand.

It reminded me of a buddy I used to have when I was in my early 20s. His name was Joe and I met him at work, which is the only way I ever would have met him because we were not likely to hang out in the same social circles. Funny thing is, Joe and I began hanging out. We became tight friends despite the fact we came from two different worlds. Joe lived in Northwestern Pasadena which is as close as you’ll get to that exciting and deadly inner city feel as you can in the suburbs. There you’ll find gangs, prostitutes, drugs…people don’t realize just how bad parts of Pasadena can be being that their only exposure to the city is the annual whitewashed snobfest, the boring-ASS Rose Parade. A dark, dangerous Pasadena lurks behind that parade, and my friend Joe lived there. He was part of a group of scary Mexican guys, mostly borderline gangsters. Joe once pissed someone off while he was chilling with these guys and some guy ran out of his house with a gun and started spraying bullets at Joe’s car as he fled. One of Joe’s friends caught a bullet in the bicep but luckily everyone else escaped unscathed. Later he showed me the car which had several gouged holes scattered on one side. Another one of his “social circle” robbed a liquor store in Pasadena once and began to flee. The store owner grabbed a baseball bat and chased him down, and after a short altercation, he wrested the bat from the owner and turned it on him, beating him to death with it.

This was the group Joe hung out with and like a fool I used to hang with them occasionally as well. But I always felt like an absurd outsider and relating to anyone in that group was nearly impossible for me but I foolded myself that it could be done. I persisted. His friends talked in the deep, slow, ghetto-ish Latino accent which I can’t really describe…it’s just not normal English that most Americans are used to. It’s not a typical Spanish accent…it’s just different. It’s not Hollywood either. So anytime I opened up my mouth and let escape my proper English enunciations and racing voice which tended to climb a few octaves, I felt like a major fool. I was humored but never respected or even considered part of the group. My cred was that I was Joe’s friend but I never managed to slip my foot in that door. These dudes had lives outside on the dark streets that I was not a part of. I hung out with Joe and his homies and it was the most alienating experience because I lacked the attitude, the demeanor, the coolness, the hardness; I thoroughly lacked it all, man. I might have thought I was down, that I was cool, but the whole facade was firmly planted into an embarrassing context anytime I hung out with these guys. Around some other respectable and law-abiding friends, I might have seemed hard, but that was the “big fish in the small pond” dynamic. I’m not hard.

As I got my hair cut today, I was reminded of these days. Of the disconnect I felt when I involved myself in the shadowy, underground circles of society. I didn’t know where I belonged, but I positively did not belong there.

Sometimes I’m still not sure I know where I belong.

Mutual dislike

Look, it doesn’t matter that much.
I don’t care.

But still, I would like to know…
Why do you dislike me?

I mean, seriously. I don’t care. I have no desire to be your friend or your acquaintance or even your damned Facebook hollow buddy.
I don’t care about you.
But it sorta bothers me.
It gets my goat.

In a strange and disconnected and meatless manner.
It is frustrating, this irritation. This disembodied annoyance.
Because I can’t understand it. I can’t hang a good reason on it. I’m all about reason, logic and the cause/effect symbiosis.
So I can’t figure you out. Why do you dislike me so?

What have I ever done or said?
How could you automatically dislike me with such lack of discernment?
From the moment we met, I got that vibe.
I knew you did not like me. I won’t say “hate” because that’s different.
Hate is born of concrete self-defined motives and actually is backed up by a sense of logic, however skewed it may be.
Instinctive dislike is different because it seems based on a diffused mistaken characterization of me.

Why and how can you not like me so easily when you haven’t given me a chance to salvage my reputation (with you)?

It’s not often I meet people whom give me this sense. There have only been a few.
And assuming that of the people I meet who I suspect do no like me immediately, I misread 60% for various reasons: bad day on their part, hypersensitivity on mine, a day of unnatural and pathological paranoia on my part, misplaced disgust on their part…still, I suspect, there are at least a handful who genuinely dislike me in an unthinking, genuine immediate manner.

How can this happen?
It doesn’t bother me. I don’t need to be friends with the entire world.
In fact, fuck the world. And fuck people.
I’m the biggest misanthrope ever, and I announce it daily here.

I actively eschew the plastic culture of “friendship” but still, I can’t help but wonder how I can be disliked so easily and effortlessly.

I seek to be appraised neutrally by all strangers. This is how I feel. I want people, upon meeting me, to have no opinion. I don’t want to be liked or disliked. I just want to be.

I do realize the hypocrisy.
How can I righteously ask why you dislike me when in fact I proclaim not to care? What good does it do me to examine your motives when in fact I have no need for you?
I have no use for this knowledge.

So assuming I were to receive honest feedback, what purpose would it serve? If I found out you disliked me because my hairstyle or shoes sucked, then what? Would I get a haircut or go to the shoe store? Why would I care, if I didn’t care. This feedback loop would be disingenuous on my part.

I am not walking the walk if I persist in being sickeningly inquisitive about your motives.
So I’ll tell myself I don’t care why you dislike me.
But I know you do and it bothers the fuck outta me. I don’t want to face this.

It’s the hunger for retribution, like thirst in the desert.

I am bothered and I want to make you pay a price.
Now…I want to piss you off and give you a real reason for feeling like you do about me.

In fact, I now would like to make you hate me.
My curiosity turns to antagonism and vehemence.
I seek such knowledge because my ego is bruised and now it seeks vindication.
I can accept your dislike yet I seek to offend back. I strive to pertrub.

The other hypocrisy.
Despite my puzzlement at the ease with which you dislike me, I do it as well.

Don’t we all…aren’t we all capable of this?
Instinctual dislike?
It happens to me.

I have met people I seriously do not like at first glance.
It’s instinctual. To such a degree that I wonder if there is not a physiological basis.
In our evolutionary march, there must be a hardwired notion of what we socially and physically revile within certain physiognomies…that some exist whose presence repels us must be due to antithetical genetic traits.

In fact, I was thinking of a chick who fits both categories.
If you are automatically disliked by a stranger, chances are you dislike them for equally groundless reasons. The physiological basis underlying your dislike of a person is ingrained and founded upon a common force with dictates that the other person will share an equally instinctive dislike of you. If you don’t like a person the moment you meet, chances are they will feel the same way about you.

I ask because I recently met a woman sorta casually who I instantly disliked. Not because she was ugly (I meet ugly women all the time), not because she was shrill (ditto). No, this was owing to some deep-rooted shit that I can’t recognize. She is Jewish and fits all such stereotypes wonderfully. I’m not an anti-Semite. In fact I have no strong opinion about Jews. But this woman strikes me as the archetypal JAP (short on the “P”) and seems a fitting example to incite such hatreds. Egotistically repulsive, shrill, whiny…she is the package set of everything I dislike. And the funny thing is, I know she dislikes the hell outta me. I walk into a room and she turns the other way, she leans her face on the hand separating us. She neglects me in her eye-contact sweep of the table during a meeting…it’s obvious. This is a serious case of not-so-thinly-veiled mutual dislike. We are prime non-mating material and our dispositions reflect it.

Still, I want to know….why doesn’t she like me?
I think I’m great.

An umbrella is best purchased when the sun is shining

I had an aphoristic moment before 8 a.m. today.

A moment of fortune-cookied insight.
A slip of paper might have said this, and might not have.
Actually, I like to think the wisdom conveyed by my thoughts outweighs any trite greasy Chinese fast-food borne wisdom.

It started out when I recalled that I threw out an umbrella the other day.
It was not a bad umbrella but it had outlived its usefulness. The umbrella tarp was becoming unhinged and torn from from the spindles and this resulted in little or no tension which sucks when the wind kicks up. The start of the rainy season is not yet upon us, although it did rain last week and I was forced to unleash my sad umbrella only to realize that unless I forced myself to throw it in the trash, I would continue using it for the duration of the rainy season. Sometimes the only way to prod myself to action is to throw crap out. Out with the old. Just do it! So I threw that umbrella into the garbage pail and I noticed that today’s morning sky was gray and it seemed any day might turn rainy, unannounced; after all it is Autumn. I thought I should go buy an umbrella while the sun is out. While there is not a mad rush to buy umbrellas because the rain is falling and people need protection.

And these words flew through my mind, but luckily I nabbed them before they escaped for good:

An umbrella is best purchased when the sun is shining.
Insightful, no?

Think about it.
I sure did.
I thought about it a lot, but still, I lack a thorough expostulation which might conclusively spell out the aphorism’s philosophy or stern admonition.

An umbrella is best purchased when the sun is shining.

On the surface, this, I thought….

On the most superficial level, buying an umbrella when it is sunny allows for a thoughtful and scrupulous examination of all pertinent circumstances.

On the next level, buying an umbrella when it is sunny allows you to make wiser decisions. The umbrella you choose is closely mated to your heart’s yearnings., It best reflects that which you emit and which you attract.

Observing the anti-, the contrary: what about buying an umbrella when it is raining?

In such a situation,you buy the umbrella because you need it.
Desire is inconsequential.
The umbrella becomes a cold utility and its materialistic manner essentially dictates your needs. You do not define an umbrella as an umbrella. You define it as an action, as a self-protective fulfillment, you define it not by what it can do but what you need it to do.

Thus trapped, buying an umbrella when it is sunny applied to your life.

(Aim and Desire) to make all grand decisions when you have a moment’s clarity by which to consider and plot them.
Think and anticipate before the clouds of ill-fortune roll in.
Anticipate and plan when the serenity of space and time cushion your reality.

Think of everything twice if you have time. Live your life a such that you have time. Don’t do things “on the go.” Space the increments of existence out and use the clock wisely.

An umbrella is best purchased when the sun is shining.

Do not be a slave to the umbrella.
Be the master of the weather.