Just Bill and the Mister

November 8, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — bknister @ 12:01 pm

Bill wasn’t wrong yesterday when he said I was old.  I’m well into what novelist Bruce Wagner calls the third trimester of life.  Nor was Bill wrong to suggest I often prefer his company to that of people.  Very possibly, the two facts are related.  My advanced age could in part account for why, more and more often, I favor the society of dogs. 

But even if getting old explains my new social-networking preference, stop and think how things stand these days.  A huge TV audience watches nightly as men in cages try to turn each other into protoplasmic pulp; a radio talk-show host fervently hopes the new American president will fail; angry protesters strap on guns for town meetings, plus a millionaire sports celebrity amuses himself by running a dog-fighting “club.”   Old or young, you learn such things and think something’s wrong, or you don’t.

But consider this as well: if aggression, opportunism, incivility and the rest of it form the taproot of human nature, why do you feel so good when someone treats you well?  Why is it pleasurable to be generous, and what accounts for how you always know when kindness is withheld from you?  

Bill understands all this, and acts accordingly.  Believe me, he does.  Why, then, is it that so many of us don’t?  But when he says I know him as well as he knows me, that’s debatable.  After all, Bill has the gift of canine scent perception.  What his nose knows must be amazing. 

In fact, one of the names we considered for our joint venture was EmailPmail. 

Like you, several times a day I read my messages.  And part of the obligation I assumed the morning Bill came out of the woods is to provide him with opportunities to read his.  This he does four times a day, on our walks.  He keeps current with breaking news through careful, detailed analyses of the mail left on trees, leafy foliage and flowers, fire hydrants, lampposts.  Reading and posting as he goes, Bill manages the torrent of data being updated 24-7 by mostly unnamed sources.    

But back to MOK (My Own Kind).   He commented yesterday on nighttime cable talk shows.  Lots of unnamed sources figure there, too, right?  What with my frequent bouts of Tourette Syndrome during visits to these programs, I’m sure Bill would prefer me to stick to Law and Order reruns.  So would my wife. 

And the same sludge figures during the day, on Talk Radio.  Thousands of truckers in semis and haulaways are barreling down the Interstate all over the country, listening and nodding in agreement with the sludge, joined by how many sales reps, shoppers, tradesmen and CEOs? 

But as with cable, I can and do snap it off.  Life, though, that’s a whole different bag.  True, with a solid ceiling fixture, a stout piece of rope and a kitchen chair, you can snap life off as well.  Snapping it back on, though, there’s the rub.  

No, here in Michigan, or down in Florida where we spend the winter, there’s LIFE, blinking night and day like some biometric cursor.  And just when the cursor seems to have blinked uneventfully long enough to again restore hope in things human, blooey!

That’s going to be our beat, Bill’s and mine.  Between walks, meals and drinks, we will do our best to cast a cold eye on life and death.  And what we find will be what you get.


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