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The International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Comment

Life and Nothing But
Dean Borok

My girlfriend, The Magpie, gave me a queen size piece of her mind (what there is of it) on the way out the door. "You’re never going to get a job with all the vituperative invective you spew on the Internet, you chump!"

She was letting me know how she felt about a choice little morsel I wrote concerning Yankees press coverage, where I questioned the constant need of boring, tedious New Yorkers for upbeat puff articles that reinforce their need to quote-unquote "feel good about themselves".

Well, as Steve Martin used to exclaim before he lapsed into senility, "Excuuuse meeee!" The fact of the matter is, if you’re performing you don’t need any scumbag sportswriters to buttress your self-esteem. In point of fact, if things are not going that great, which they aren’t for most people, a feelgood moment is not the ticket. Sometimes a hard dose of reality is the more appropriate prescription.

I am no Cassandra, although nobody listens to me anyway. On the other hand, I am no Mary Poppins either. Basically, I am calling them as I see them, and my record is no worse than these pineapplehead Major League umpires, some of whom are deserving of a white cane, thick eyeglasses and a seeing eye dog. They are calling foul balls that are landing fair, baserunners out when they are safe and caught fly balls that took a bounce. Why should I be held to a higher standard?

Magpie is pissed off because I dared to impugn the honor of New Yorkers. She has been living here her whole life, and she thinks that these dinks are normal. What can you say about people who are so phony that you can immediately discount nearly everything that comes out of their mouths as a lie; who lie when the truth would do just as well, just to keep in practice; whose every breath is horse manure?

I don’t mean to insult everybody, just all the outer boroughs, all the suburbs and 99% of Manhattan. The rest are OK. Hey, I’m no genius. I could be calling things wrong, like the baseball umpire. I can only call what I see! Me, I don’t have to lie. I can drive you insane and send you running out of the room, screaming, just by telling you the straight truth. I already got too much on my plate. My uncle once advised me, "Write down the story of your life". Yeah, right! If I wrote with both hands simultaneously 24 hours a day I still couldn’t get all of it out. The public will just have to settle for choice little select morsels that I regurgitate from my mind.

Magpie wants me to be successful so that I can bring in reams of cash, so she can go out for lunch and cocktails, buy more junk and go on vacation, and I want it too. Unfortunately, things are a bit slow lately, so I mostly find myself sucking nips of rum from a pint bottle and playing the harmonica on a park bench. No shame there. A lot of bigger guys than I am are more-or-less doing the same thing (unless they are like Madoff and R. Allen Stanford, who were a year ago proclaiming "It’s good to be the king", but are now in prison getting into fistfights with auto thieves), except they don’t have the comfort of a harmonica to keep them warm.

Things will pick up. Maybe. Obama is crowing that the $800 billion stimulus package has saved or created 650,000 jobs. I’m not complaining. It’s keeping me afloat, temporarily. I might even get some temporary work for decent money next week if my stars are aligned right. Just in case, I am practicing Christmas music on the harmonica so I can play on the street during the holidays. Who knows?

In the meantime, I don’t regret anything I ever published on the Internet. Sure, a lot of it might offend people as intemperate. No doubt, the authorities in communist China are not letting anything of mine get through to their readers. I have always been anathema to both communists and Republicans (and Democrats). If this was 50 years ago I would be in jail, no doubt about it.

But the Internet is what you make of it. If you are a conformist type of twit you will find a large enough audience of likeminded boring drips, just like in physical reality. I, on the other hand, have always been an animal and I am still one in cyberspace. Nothing has changed, only now it has become magnified.

My concept of reality is what I am actually seeing. But like third base umpire Tim McClellan I am not seeing what whole picture, only what my rather stunted ability is permitting me to see. Sorry! Take it for what it is worth. If you think you can get a better point of view somewhere else, you are free to delete me and go there. No hard feelings.

Four hundred years ago Shakespeare wrote, "To thine own self be true", and that’s what I am trying to do. If you are true to thine own self, you have no need of dumb, stupid little articles that make you feel good about yourself. I have done a lot of bad things, but they always been an organic result of my circumstances and my personal nature, and I don’t feel ashamed of any of them (well, maybe a couple of them). Je ne regrette rien.

Like Shakespeare, my uncle, Saul Bellow, will be remembered hundreds of years hence, and he had the genius to include me in some of his writings, which turned out to be good for him because I have turned out to be the most interesting of his relations. This is one of the reasons that I have decided to leave behind an unvarnished history of myself and my motivations. Someday in the far future, in the 25th century, artists and writers will refer to my uncle’s stories to get a clear picture of what Americans were like in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and I want to be included. No, I want to be entertaining! If I have to go out on a limb to be remembered as a true twenty-first animal, then I’m glad for the opportunity.
© Dean Borok Nov 2dn 2009

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