Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Proper Form of Address

I've got this friend, let's call him Bob. The first thing you might notice about him is his height, or lack thereof. He's not a midget or anything but still pretty damn short, Michael J Fox short: about 5'4", and not particularly strapping at that.

Personally, Bob is a real pleasant sort on the whole- sometimes quiet, sometimes more outgoing, but most always courteous to other folks, and with an often lively sense of humor. So people generally like Bob, and consider him a pretty good guy.

The thing is, once folks get to know him a bit, he often becomes "Bobby"- which he often feels is some sort of deference to his height. He's usually gracious about it, but inwardly feels like he's being labeled.. Now this form of address, depending on the addressee(and their particular issues)may or may not be a commentary on his lack of height and/or physical stature--and even if so, may or may not be intended condescendingly. Sometimes people are just being nice. (Fancy that!)

Also, it's pretty common in the Sports or Entertainment fields. Being Bobby or Sammy there gives you just a little more headline-grabbing razmatazz to your monicker. But they do do that to you if you're short, male or female, whether they mean anything by it or not.

Being a reasonably intelligent, thoughtful sort, Bob knows this, as far as people's possible intentions, and tries to take it all in stride. But you still see him wince when someone calls him Bobby. Someone has reminded him, intentionally or not, that he's a little guy.

Bob hates this state of affairs, but doesn't necessarily want to be Hulk Hogan. He'd be fine just being 5'9" or 5'10", and of average build. Actually he's fine being 5'4" and of wiry(but muscular, if he works at it)build, so long as people don't give him a ration of shit about it..What he really hates, then, is not his size--his feet reach the ground-- but people's attitudes and prejudices about people his size.

Fortunately there are enough people who are cool to him, to whom he's just good-old-Bob, their friend who could be any height. And he's able to avoid the ones who aren't.

Actually I've noticed that most folks, irrespective of height, prefer the slightly more formal form of their names: the women I know as Patty usually refer to themselves as Pat, and most Mike's prefer Michael(one example, though for a completely different reason, is a composer I know of named Michael Hunt).

And there's a friend I grew up with, whom we called Danny, not a short guy, so it wasn't any kind of commentary there. He had all the height I(oops I mean my friend Bob)would want. With him I think it was more that the 'ny' after his name signified immaturity, something you call someone who's still in short pants. So phone messages are always from DAN, and with a certain don't -call-me-Danny solemnity to them..

I think many of us just want to be 5'9" or so in that regard, just sorta coast along the norm, unscathed by the slings and arrows of deviance on either side of it. . Your name, like your dog's, is something you're gonna be expected to answer to, so it'd be nice if it were something you're comfortable with--and something a little bit consistent with how you see yourself.

So I try to take the cue from how they introduce themselves, as far as how to address people. One exception to this though, is a guy I knew in college , J____ Weiner(pronounced Winer), who wanted everyone to call him "Mongo", after the brutish character in Blazing Saddles who coldcocked the horse with one punch. He'd refer to himself as "Mongo" in third person caveman-speak: 'Mongo hungry', etc. And you could tell he was just dying for everyone to follow suit and call him Mongo.

Well, like it says in the Good Book, he who exalts himself shall be humbled . Nobody ever called him Mongo, but one guy did call him "weenie".

So life goes on. Funny thing about Bob, though. If he were 6'4" instead of 5'4" he'd probably wish people called him Bobby. Some would, upon request, but many more would defer to his height and call him Bob, or maybe even Robert. Boy, you just can't win for losing, can you?!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Perchance to Dream

Considering that roughly one-third of our lives are spent in the sleep state, it would figure that we'd have quite a bit of dream experience logged in as well as waking happenings. 33% of our total existence. Like, wow...

Dreams are, of course, our psyche's cinema(indeed, often coming off much like Scandinavian Theatre), with ourself as not only author but also director and all the actors. Things that subtly get stuck in the carpet as far as our conscious awareness of them seem to find themselves into the rem cycle nightly shows.

Do we actually go anywhere? Well, at least figuratively. Hell, who knows? I'm asleep for chrissake...

Sometimes the dreams I have are completely abstract(certainly abstruse)and follow a logic which seems sound while I'm there but completely evaporates once I open my eyes. The closest I can explain is one where I had a feeling of happy/sadness akin to a major/minor chord with some other kinda alteration and was experiencing both the feeling and the chord. A sunny/rainy day. And I'm still not totally nailing what was happening in the dream. But it was a quality of emotion..

And sometimes they're kind of abstract, somewhat explicable but still goofy. Like one I had about driving a car in 3/4 time. A little mind-bending, eh?

It's been awhile since I had a real doozy, but I used to have some total Cecil B DeMille productions in my nightlife. As a kid I once had a dream I had a disorder called "funk" wherein my eyes would blur and I'd levitate. And another where my Dad was 20 feet tall and had to live out in the street because he couldn't get in the house.

And they stayed weird for a long time. Here are a few from College daze:

1)I'm having dinner at Ralph Nader's house. Dinner is cooking and he's giving a lecture, using a blackboard. 'We must view reality without bias', he says. On the blackboard he draws a 9-point star, and within it, "solves" various philosophical problems, much like a Geometry proof.
The phone rings. I pick it up and answer, "hello?" "What's for dinner", the voice asks. "Isoscoles macaroni", I reply- thinking that a rather witty retort.

2)I'm walking along in the Belgian countryside. It's a beautiful sunny day. I run into a dog, who tells me he can fly and offers me a ride. Hanging onto one of his paws as he flies us through Belgium, I ask him what it's like to be a dog. " Ehh, there's some dumb shits, but.." is his reply, in kind of a Brooklyn accent. Soon thereafter I have him let me down, and continue on my way. A beautiful sunny day in Belgium(never been there!).

Well there are more, but those are two of my favorites. For a time I tried writing them down, but they just got too involved, too episodic, too weird!

The unconscious, in this setting, is a Pandora's Box best opened a crack at a time, and when "it" is ready to open. Otherwise you'd feel like you were getting all the channels on a TV at the same time(and with today's cable & satellite service, that's a pretty good number of channels..)

But dreams, if taken in one's own personal symbolism, can definitely help one figure things out. Or at least see what the problem is. I once had a dream I was portrayed by a professional actor. He just went through my paces, interacted with the people I'd interact with, did my stuff for the day. Strangely enough it was someone with no resemblance to me, physical or otherwise: Timothy Hutton. Go figure.

Some days that'd sure be nice. To just hire someone to be you for the day, put up with all the shit you'd put up with- for a reasonable fee of course. But that's a whole 'nuther blog..

Me n' Boobs

I must've been 12 or 13 at the time. Standing outside the clubhouse of an establishment our family used to belong to(swimming/dining type place) with a couple other boys, also 12 or 13.

From the swimming pool emerges a girl maybe 14. Medium-built, sorta average looks. Wearing a 2-piece bathing suit. She has huge boobs, at least a size too big for the top she's wearing. They jostle heavily, spongily, from within their cotton 'encasement' as she heads toward the clubhouse. Three sets of eyes follow their every movement as they pass us on the way in.

One boy made a sort of negative comment about her hypertrophic mammae: 'some people have gland problems or something', but I myself was awed. I thought she was a fucking Goddess...

40 years later it hasn't gotten any better. I remember a similar sighting only a couple years ago, in a Hardee's. Again, sorta medium-built, average-looking. This time maybe 17 or 18, blonde frizzy hair, clad in bluejeans and a danskin top w/ no bra. Her boobs were humongous. They hung all the way to her navel or thereabouts, great swinging orbs dangling from this otherwise slender young girl's body. When I finally got up to the counter to order food, I had to get a paper bag to breathe into...

Well not really, but it makes a better story that way..

The girl was real though. And so were her kazooms, I'd figure(not a fan of silicone, at least the big fakey-looking things). Of course there've been others along the way. Some merely viewed, a few actually experienced, but all unwitting--and, I'm sure, equally unwilling with my luck-- registrants in Rog's Big Boob Hall of Fame.(Actually, as a former bank employee I did come up with the BBiB award--which stood for 'Best Boobs in Banking' , but never informed any of the winners of their standing..)

Now before you brand me as a total breast-obsessed asshole here, let it be said that I do appreciate a great many more things about women : a good sense of humor, kindness, sensitivity, nice legs, and a decent caboose among them. And I have had crushes on a few skinny gals. So a great rack is not a hard-and-fast requirement here.

Still, I do have a terrible weakness for large bazooms--especially on an otherwise petite woman. If this is combined with a clever wit, a basic kindness of temperament, and a face at least pleasant to look at, I'm pretty much done in. Call off the dogs, the search is over!

Might even need a paper bag to breathe into for a minute..