Sunday, September 30, 2012

Xmas 2012

Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
Dead Flowers
Roses On Your Grave
            When I was younger I used to read the obituaries in the newspaper and wonder, upon reading about someone who died at twice my age, whether they realized, at my age, that they would be living, that comparable day, with more time behind them than what was left in front of them. That changed when my mother died.
            My mother was the last of her generation to die; her family, friends, husbands and lovers had all circled the drain and left without her. She was buried next to her younger sister in a small cemetery somewhere in the boondocks of New Jersey. The funeral was poignant, sad, insightful and a little bizarre; you had to be there.
After a cruise through her small town haunts she was “laid to rest”; a phrase that I have still not figured out. I mean what else are you going to do when you’re deceased and buried; call the gang over for pizza and beer?
            After being dropped into that final fissure, a few moments of silence and privacy were granted her children; and I stood trying to read, with furtive glances, my siblings countenances. I wondered if they had come to the same conclusion that I had: we’re next. We are now the older generation; we have had the children, they will have children and we will, sooner or later, follow the family tradition of decrepitude and death. Sobering to recall, but, that was when I realized that, from that point on; I’d have more days behind me than in front.
            Obituaries look different to a person who consistently sees their age category amongst the dearly and recently departed: “how come he died so young or was he very old? Is the body still warm or is it very cold?” Sometimes I wake up in the night and perceive the abyss and I am saddened beyond comfort.
            Oh, I know that Lord willin’ and if the creek don’t rise that I’ve still got some decades ahead and good ones too; I have a healthy strong body and an alert and inquisitive mind, knock on wood. Come any given morning, I’m good to go; I’ve got plans and goals, but there’s not enough hours in the days or days in the week to get all the things that I want accomplished accomplished. Therein lies the rub. Every moment is precious and becomes more precious as time goes by and I want to do everything at once and as my bucket list gets longer and longer, I know that there’s only one thing for Christmas that I truly need: money. Yep money; lots and lots of money. I don’t want pie in the sky when I die; I want it now. Greenbacks. Bucks. Dough. Geedis. Bread. Moolah. I want coin. I want juice. I want some long green. I’m not the greedy; I’m the needy! I want my cake and I want to eat it too. Y’erd?
            I know, I should have thought about that years ago, but, I didn’t. I didn’t because I was busy growing into the person that I’ve become. Going through good times.  bad times, low times and high times; cramming as much of a life as I could into the seconds of my life as I lived it. Scheming schemes that didn’t work. Hatching plans that didn’t fly. Loving the right people, places and things and fucking up. Loving the wrong people, places and things and moving on. Taking advice, advantage and adventure down strange and wonderful life-paths; blowing every cent that I ever laid my hands on, with no regrets. And, I’m not about to slow down; especially if I can get Santa to bring me a five pound box of Benjamins.
            I know, I know, “money can’t buy happiness”; which is also a phrase that never settled well with me. Whoever said that obviously didn’t know where to shop! I want more than I can spend and I promise that I will spend it freely. I deserve it because there’s no one out there offering me… immortality.
With immortality I could work, save and spend forever; AND, I would always have time to repeat the cycle: work, save and spend ad infinitum. I swear I could go on everlastingly if but allowed.
            I feel like a character in The New Wizard of Oz, traveling with Dorothy, the guys and that little dog too. I’m going to see The Wizard for some life extension; I already have the heart, brain and courage. Listen: that’s me singing:
I would be an avid reader,
converse with royal leaders
 without formality.
I would climb every mountain
and I’d drink from public fountains
 for some immortality”.
“I would serve my lovers potions,
I’d even swim the oceans;
Shun immorality.
I would visit every nation,
I could learn to speak Croatian
With some immortality.”
You get my drift? Sure, but what are the chances? About as likely as mining chocolate on Mars. Wait! That’s still a possibility, right? Yeah, immortality would take a Wizard. Oh, I forgot: “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” I’m screwed ain’t I?
So, after reviewing my situation, it turns out that I have to resign myself to having to leave this world that I have come to love; at some point. And as for having money; well, I guess poverty must also run in my family. A patron, sponsor, benefactor…. Better known as fat chance. The lottery, racetrack, casino… I’m a lousy gambler. Inheritance?  When my father died he left me his hat and a bag of pennies. When Mom died all she left me was alone. I guess my epitaph will be “He wanted to; he REALLY wanted to. He tried; he REALLY tried.”

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
Festivus For The Rest Of Us
Happy December. This month is rife with religious holidays. First and foremost, you’ve got Christmas; and, in America, it’s a really big whoop because it is traditionally the largest capitalistic moneymaker ever invented or imagined. It’s when symbiotically everybody makes money because everyone is spending money. Be that as it may, we also have (although not nearly as lucrative or as ludicrous):  Eid al-Adha for one (look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls); also Bodhi Day, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, Solstice and the big one: TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it.) TEOTWAWKI is supposed to happen on December twenty first; believe it or don’t.
For all our candles, trees, dreidels, gifts, good wishes and presents, with TEOTWAWKI, guess who won’t be living here anymore come New Year’s Eve? And, those of us who have seen the movie ‘2012’ know that, resistance is futile and our precious lives have all been for naught.  All of a sudden it will be December and we’ll think: “wasn’t something else gonna happen this month? Oh yeah, the friggin’ planet’s gonna  explode like a poodle in a microwave!”  We’ll crank up the old PC and have Netflix send us over a copy of the $megagazillion$ movie that predicts our demise this year and it’ll scare the pants off ourselves again, we’ll get an ulcer, stay awake nights for the month of December  and count down from one to twenty-one. Because, you know, it just might happen, eh? All those things that we did and all those things that we didn’t do will haunt our fitful dreams like the Night Of The Living Dead; our regrets will sit like Hitchcock’s Birds  waiting to get a piece of Tippi Hedrin. Think Jack Nicholson in The Shining: (“Heeeer’s Johnny!!) Think Freddy Krueger.
What was it that you forgot to do? Really work for peace on Earth, good will toward men? Who was it that you put off telling how much you care? Too late now; you’re hanging crepe instead of mistletoe. Christmas cards are a waste of time and stamps. Better put up your tree early, it might be the only thing left standing in your shell of a home. Bend over, put your head between your knees and kiss your sweet patooty good-bye. Lights out; nobody home.
On a site called they list the 28 Inconvenient Truths about “TEOTWAWKI”  (amazingly, spell-check doesn’t challenge that as a word), number one is: “Not everyone will survive. Ouch”
Or not. Just kidding! It’s all a big cosmic joke of a hoax! December is going to come and go and the President will fix the economy, women’s rights will be secured and we’ll all have all the healthcare we can possibly want. The planet will not be warming, our coast will stop eroding, your gay BFF will get married, stop smoking and switch to a plant based diet. We won’t have to fear crime, inadequate education or bad hair. Everything will be alright. We’ll stop killing eachother, our food sources will not be genetically engineered and love will stay. That’s as sure as a bear being Catholic and the Pope s**tting in the woods.
The truth is that the end as we know it is already here and it was heralded by the reincarnation of George Carlin in the body of an orangutan appearing as the messiah.  It began with the appearance of granite countertops, brassieres straps becoming a fashion statement and handheld electronic devices being ‘smarter’ than the humans  attached to them. It had its birth in the stalling of our evolution via such arcane practices as prejudice, sexism, ageism, racism, self destruction and homophobia. It arrived with the baggage that you can’t rid yourself of. Too late, Sparky, we’re gone pecans now. You had your chance to change the world and what did you come up with? A hallmark card that apologizes for you being an asshole? (yes, there is one!)  . Halfhearted recycling?
Armageddon was impelled like a tide driven ship by our cruelty to the animal population, the tendency to settle our differences with violence and to blame someone else when something goes awry that we shoulda saw coming. It was encouraged by our total lack of respect for the planet that we live on. Now that we see 12/21/12 coming, is it time to petition the lord with prayer? Good luck on that one.
It’s a fine mess we’ve gotten ourselves into; Welcome to Dystopia. So, what do we do now?
Well, here’s how it goes for me: 6:50 AM the cat wakes up and charges through the house, waking up the dogs. 7:00AM Girlfriend rises and lets the dogs out, starts the coffee and her ablutions. I, traditionally beg for “Ten more minutes” sleep. 7:30/8:00 we’re on the porch or back in bed reading newspapers, drinking coffee, eating cookies and commiserating. I make the day’s lunch and fruit smoothies and we’re on our way to the park with the dogs and then off to work. Six days a week. On the seventh day we don’t usually get past the commiserating part until much later.
We work, we play and immerse ourselves in our lives. We’re planning trips, movies and get-togethers with friends. I have music, art and literature in my life. Above all, I have love and romance.
So, if you think that something as silly as the world ending is going to disrupt my sleep, my coffee, my job, my life, my loves and drinking beer at Liuzza’s At The Track in the evening; you’re crazier than I am. I’m going to treat TEOTWAWKI like I do every other unsubstantiated catastrophic life-threatening misfortune. I’m going to ignore it.