With the approach of yet another birthday, the celebration of which will be marked by my continued failure to have published a book, accompanied by a failure to have mended (or even, understood the destruction of) multiple fences, I find myself doing that thing I always do, that elaborate contortion of philosophy in which I determine that the problem is not in the actual day-to-day details or conditions of my reality, but, rather, in my assumptions and expectations for my reality. I want to have a happy birthday, dammit!
So, I have been trying to live a simpler life; the “simple” for which I have been reaching being the one meaning not complicated. Fail. Complexities and entanglements and obstructions continue to intrude upon my quest for peace and solitude. Still, I march (or crawl) onward in my Quixotic quest for reconciliation with the naive, unassuming, optimistic soul I was as a child.
With said journey in mind, this past week I determined to make the effort to indulge in “simple” joys and so headed out one evening to a local purveyor of frozen custard and Italian ices. The lines were long and slow-moving which occasioned the opportunity for me to people-watch. This is why I try not to go out. Inevitably my forays into the general public result in my obsessive attention to those elements most removed from the world in which I live in my head. You know, that world from which I formulate those expectations and assumptions which make me feel failed.
That world in my head is a time-warpy 1930’s and 40’s Algonquin-y Manhattan-y Bloomsbury-London-y 1970’s Warholian Violet-Quill 1910’s-20’s Downton Abbey-ish nether populated by people who speak with English accents, read voraciously, eat at a Schrafft’s luncheon counter, smoke elegantly, and find me endlessly fascinating, impossibly erudite, intellectually erotically irresistible and unpretentiously glamorous.
Then, I go out into impolite society. All I wanted was that simple life, to enjoy a nice frozen treat with a few loved ones. But there, in the long line next to me, a gaggle of teen boys who knew the clerk (that’s pronounced “clark” for we faux-Brits) and were planning to get some free or reduced price treats. Okay. There are worse things than speaking too loudly in a crowd of paying customers about your intention to thieve from the business-owner, putting at risk your co-conspirator’s position (I’d say “job” but I’m British today). Here’s the thing. While discussing said larceny, all three of the boys kept groping themselves.
Now, I am the first one to encourage enjoyment of one’s own genitals, and the penis is particularly responsive to manipulation during the teen years, so, have at it fellows. But, maybe, not while in line for custard? (I won’t go to all the ugly places that line could lead. You’re welcome.)
And, while I’m at it – why is it that practically jerking-off in public is now acceptable while smokers are pilloried and vilified? And DO NOT give me that whole “second-hand smoke” and “cancer” argument. It would only lead me to pontificate about second-hand sexual frustration and prostate and testicular maladies, so, don’t bother. Just give me a cigarette.
In any event – and back on-topic – as is so often the case with me and my people-watching, this long display of self-fondling of the crotch (I was in line, as were they, for almost twenty minutes – which, now that I think about it bodes well for the lover of the one boy in particular who quite literally NEVER removed his quite active hand from his junk) resulted in a stroll down memory lane and curiosity as to when and how pseudo-masturbation became acceptable public activity.
I harkened back to the halcyon days when I had friends of the variety who made me mix-CD’s – which wasn’t that long ago – and recalled that one such friend had made me a CD of songs meant to be both descriptive of his mindset and relevant to our friendship, and featured was the following gem by Mickey Avalon.
Hmm. And who has the most Twitter followers; sells out concerts in seconds, and cannot take a step or breath without paparazzi dogging him? Right.
I don’t know, perhaps it’s evolution that’s to blame and young men these days are just being cursed by genitals increasing in size and sensitivity which call for attention that cannot be denied. Well, I’m a public service kind of guy: here’s an instructional video with hints on how to grope and adjust yourself in less obvious ways. Again, you’re welcome.
In any event, this is all too confusing for me. And if “crotch-grabbing” is what I’m researching and writing about, then clearly my pursuit of the “simple life” has landed me in the wrong kind of “simple” – a little too simpleton. So, the organ I need to be tweaking and fondling is my brain, and with that in mind, I need to go read some E.M.Forster or Evelyn Waugh that I might re-locate more firmly in that imaginary world in my head. So, later friends. And may your day be crotch-grab free – unless, of course, it’s your crotch being fondled by someone you love, or, as is more likely the case with me – someone I remunerated a pretty penny, begged, or got drunk enough that they found me attractive.