Saturday, April 28, 2012

Indecent Exposure

It's a rare occasion when I feel the need to admit that I'm wrong.  (Most who truly know me would say that it's an even more rare {rarer?} occasion when I actually do so, and especially in any kind of public forum.)  It's not that I don't find myself being wrong or being in the wrong on a regular enough basis in my life; but since my last marriage ended, the requirement (and perhaps the ability) of admitting to mistaken notions or even more misguided behavior has somewhat withered through a lack of use. Having such survival skills atrophy during a marriage can be fatal, and even now might prove to be dangerous, a fact I'm afraid I may yet come to discover.

I'm sure that many are beginning to wonder what could possibly be the heinous nature of my sin, and why I should feel this apparently overwhelming need for confession.  Have no fear that I will make you wait any longer however, for the moment of truth is in fact upon me.  Here it is:  I admitted both to the writing of this blog and likewise to my efforts for the Toledo Free Press to some of my co-workers.

"What, that's it?" some of you may now be saying. "Jeez, what a let down.  What's the big deal about that anyway?"  Others however, perhaps writers themselves; or at least older and wiser in nature of things must now instead be saying, "Oh my God what's wrong with you? Have you no sense at all, let alone a decent sense of shame?" The former question is one to which many learned doctors have lent their talents, in a long and largely unsuccessfully quest for an answer, so don't expect to get any insight here from me.  The answer to the latter is proving equally problematic however, in spite of the fact that I am more than familiar with the concept.  (Those of the Jewish faith may have cornered much of the market on guilt, but for shame one really needs to turn to those of us raised Catholic.)  For while I always thought I met reasonable requirements in this area, recent actions must call that assumption into serious question.

Now one of my literary heroes Robert Heinlein, was quoted as saying:  “Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.” But that's easier for Mr. Heinlein than some of the rest of us.  Not only were his talents and writing abilities far beyond those of most of us mere mortals, but he has the additional advantage of having achieved room temperature back in the late 80's.  Because of his talent and the fame (along with what I would assume would have been a healthy amount of money), I'm sure that he was far less likely to succumb to embarrassment over his own dirty little habit, even while carrying it out. Being now in the position of taking a permanent 'dirt nap', he is I'm sure less concerned with the vagaries of celebrity, chagrin over the way he earned his money, and the problems involved with ignoring those pesky autograph seekers.

Also of course, he doesn't have to go back into the office next week and face people who by then may well have made the fatal mistake of reading some of his literary version of natural fertilizer.  He will never have to survive the guilt of having wasted some part of their finite time on this Earth (time they'll never get back) in joining even temporarily, with the rather twisted following that he might have gathered over the years.  Worse still, he will not be worrying that in doing so, they may perhaps have gained a greater insight into the shallow nature of the intellect and trivial nature of the soul that produces this malodorous tripe.  He will not have to face up to the fact that having thus plumbed the depths of a personality that's usually found wanting in fathomage by comparison to the local kiddy pool, they must now attempt to cover (at least as best they can) the obvious disdain in which they must now hold this mostly disreputable scribbler in an attempt to maintain some semblance of good order and discipline in the office. 

Having now exposed a soul best left to hide in the shadows however, there will inevitably be changes ahead.  You know what I'm talking about.  Sidelong looks filled with equal parts of pity and disgust, reluctant handshakes with oft-averted eyes, and of course the whispered conversations just out of earshot (accompanied by the sadly shaking heads) that must inevitably follow.  No blame of course can be attached to such behavior on their parts, since what these co-workers have been presented with is little more than a form of Indecent Exposure.  They didn't necessarily ask for the experience they were subjected to.  They were innocently minding their own business when confronted by something that no reasonable person can hope to be prepared for.

You know, come to think of it, perhaps I should be accepting responsibility for what I've put all of the rest of you who have been following "Just Blowing Smoke" for some time now (and apparently in ever-increasing numbers).  The fifth anniversary of the creation of this blog on this venue is fast approaching, and there are times when feelings of guilt for the damage that I might have caused to a faceless and mostly blameless audience over that period is all but overwhelming.  To be honest with you, I have from time to time seriously considered giving up this horribly perverted exhibitionist behavior in the name of common decency.  Having done it for as long as I have often makes it difficult to face myself in the mirror in the morning (which may in some way account for the beard).

Please note that I do not in this self-flagellation, count the efforts that I pen for the Toledo Free Press.  Nor is the inestimable Editor-in-Chief of that esteemed publication in any way responsible for the often stinking offal that makes its way onto these pages.  Not only have I desperately attempted to write to a higher standard in gratitude for his confidence (at least as much as I can), but his guiding influence and strict ethical code would no doubt prevent much of what passes for composition on these pages from ever seeing the light of day.

While I am more than willing to tender my most sincere apologies for all that I have put you through, I unfortunately find that I have neither the strength of character, nor of will, to abandon these disgusting practices that have become so much a part of my life.  Overwhelmed by my own twisted desires and the demented sense of satisfaction that I gain from continuing this personal perversion, I suspect myself likely to continue for some time.  (Besides, I don't want to add to the national unemployment figures by throwing the JBS staff  out into the street.)

I fear however that in spite of the increasing temperatures here in Kansas City, this most recent breech of office etiquette (and perhaps even 'below the line behavior') may force me to don the trench floppy hat that have long served as a uniform for those committing similarly depraved acts.  If after all, I'm going to reveal my disgusting nature through this form of Intellectual Indecent Exposure, I might as well look the part.     

Hey, I wonder if I've still got that old Army helmet liner around somewhere.  There might at least be something kind of retro-cool to looking like the title character from the 1971 Jethro Tull classic that I used to perform in my youth ... 


Roland Hansen said...

Mi Amigo, Tim,
There is right and there is wrong.
There is right and there is left.
Are you sure you are wrong?

Timothy W Higgins said...

Wow Roland, this sounds suspiciously like political commentary by a Conservative, and that can't be what you meant. Since I am well aware that you know the difference between right and left, and right and wrong; I suspect that there is deeper meaning here. Being a rather shallow person however, the only meaning 'deeper' has to me is a description of how high I usually pile it.

As for whether I'm sure I'm wrong, my studies in history have taught me that the only thing I am sure of is that I am never entirely sure. There are always new facts and perspectives coming to light that must be factored in.