Matador in a Santa Suit

A few days ago, my lawn mower stopped working – right in the middle of performing a cool pivot on the back forty. I burned up the motor – again. (I did that last summer too.) I prefer an electric mower, so it’s just as cheap to buy a new one, but two in as many years is ridiculous, right? Enraged and a tad depressed, especially since I still had grass to mow, I went inside for a much needed beverage. Upon opening the cupboard door, a glass jumped out at me, and tumbling down to the counter below, broke several other items. One of those was an irreplaceable sconce cover along with two collector’s glasses. Color me personally offended.

I decided a nice relaxing shower was what I needed. Nothing like washing away yard sweat to improve one’s attitude, but in mid-lather, I managed to bump into a hand mirror, and of course it broke into a million tiny pieces right there in the tub. A nice relaxing shower indeed. So, with nothing more than a towel to cover my shame, I went in pursuit of a bowl in which to place the broken pieces. I stubbed my little toe at full stride, but there is still one more mishap to come. The bowl slipped from my hands onto the stack of plates below – killing the top two and the felonious bowl as well.

Why didn’t I just put the broken glass in the waste basket two feet away? Why are glasses flying out of cupboards? What causes a motor to burn up so quickly? And why am I allowed to continue living life without adult supervision? I obviously need a chaperone!

Is this what it’s come to? Have I become the bull in my own china closet? I guess I’m now that guy who gets sucked up in the tornado or falls out of the plane; catches the fly ball with his teeth; builds his house of stilts on Mud Mountain. I am the living, breathing spiritual child of Wrong Way Corrigan, Wile E. Coyote, and Daffy Duck all rolled into one. I am a menace and a plague to my belongings; a matador in a Santa suit. In one hour, in the middle of broad daylight, in the body of a full-grown heretofore adult, I managed to inflict more damage and mayhem than I would have ever thought was possible.

These are all just “things” though, and can easily be replaced, but the level of decimation to my soul is incalculable. For all I know, I may never fully recover. Just the act of explaining myself is painful and spiritually debilitating, so I still prefer to keep several paces between me and everything else. I just wish there was a philosophical way to look at this, you know? Some way to put it all in perspective and find balance in the world once again; some kind of redeeming lesson to learn; a homily, perhaps, or a fable of some kind. There’s not.

On a warm day in middle May of 2014, a man happened upon… No, stumbled upon a pure path to destruction and unleashed awesome havoc on unsuspecting household goods. It was brutal, and bloody, in its own way, but finally it appears to have subsided. And I’d love to rationalize that this was a valuable learning experience, if nothing else, but what could I possibly learn from any of it? The new mower will arrive in a day or two – everything else has been trashed. Fortunately, no one has cut their feet in the shower yet, and the old lawn mower has been stacked on top of last years model in the garage – still mocking me from afar.

And the moral to this story? There is no moral, and no point in trying to make me feel better either, but it has occurred to me that I should probably be glad it happened. How better to understand the insanity and pure ignominy of life than to have it crash and burn all around me? Besides, I’m in good company – at one time or another, we’re all matadors in Santa suits. I guess it’s just a question of how much bull we can stand.
Voices From Forever by Randall Keller Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller Available on Amazon.

Need To Know

“I want to know. I need to know!”

And I wanted to agree, but I couldn’t. Even though I understood. It’s just that I’ve heard so many paranormal investigators utter those exact same words in the exact same manner – like a recording; like clones. Of course, this raises the question – “Exactly what is it you want to know?” And here’s where scenarios individualize, because we all want to know about different things. About the transition to the other side, perhaps, or what awaits us when we arrive. Some of us want nothing less than verifiable proof that the afterlife exists. Still others want to know if God is real, and if they’re being honest – the devil.

There are all kinds of things paranormal folks want to know because there are all kinds of things everyone wants to know. It’s normal, and we are all different in our enunciation of that normality. We are curious beings to say the least, and If any one of us thought we could discover even an insignificantly tiny truth about the afterlife, we’d be all over it. Paranormal people are just a little more driven by the prospect; just a little more intense about it; a little more… Well, the word “obsessed” does come to mind, but that can be a valuable state given the proper perspective. Wanting to know about something is good, but taking that next step to find the answer is great.

Unfortunately, the actual quote has a second sentence – “I need to know!” That’s when I abandon ship, because I do not need to know. I need to know what day of the week it is, I suppose, and where I live; what year this is; who are my parents. I really need to know where a bathroom is sometimes, and birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays, but all of these could be forever removed from the realm of my cognitive thought and life would continue relatively unfazed. I guess I don’t really need to know them after all, and I don’t need to know one single thing about the paranormal. Wanting is not needing.

In fact, the more I investigate, the more I think that if we really did know something; if we actually had some answers, we’d probably be unable to understand them. We may not even be capable of spotting truth when we see it. For all we know, everything is already out in the open and right in front of us – just waiting for us to catch up. When that great day finally arrives; when we finally catch up, it wouldn’t surprise me if all we’re able to rouse is fear. We’re already excellent at that. Are we evolved enough to actually grapple with eternal truths?

I don’t think we are, and so, I don’t have a need to know anything. I’m perfectly content to accept my spot on the evolutionary ladder, and try to make sense of the world around me to the best of my severely limited and questionable ability. The paranormal is a large part of life for me, and I’ll make every effort to assimilate what I see, hear and feel into my flawed understanding. I’ll try to make whatever sense of things I can, and accept that it may be beyond me. I’ll espouse some simplistic theories; force strong opinions instead of facts I don’t have; that no one does. I’ll have much to say, no doubt, and every once in awhile I may inadvertently confuse someone into thinking I know what I’m talking about. Which I don’t, of course.

But don’t you think we put too much on our own shoulders sometimes? Seeking the answers to paranormal questions is a crusade, of sorts, and it’s not a race. We’ll probably spend our whole lives trying to discover one accurate thing about it, and more than likely we’ll fail. I suppose here is where I valiantly promise to keep trying anyway. I’ll mean it too, but It won’t consume my life. No obsession. I’ll take what I’m given and be grateful for sure, because I really “want to know.” I just don’t need to.
Voices From Forever by Randall Keller Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller Available on Amazon.

May 65th

The month of May has always been my favorite – primarily because of the weather, but also because I was born in May. This year I’ll reach the noteworthy milestone of turning 65, and so far, I don’t feel any different. In some cultures the count begins at conception, so I’m already there by those standards, but either way, by definition, I am now officially old.

When I was very young, this event seemed about as insurmountable as landing on the moon. The average male life expectancy was only 68, so reaching 65 would make me downright ancient. I might be confined to a wheelchair, suffer dementia, or surrender to the vapors. Thankfully, things have changed – people don’t get the vapors any more, and obviously we’ve been to the moon a few times.

In fact, according to what I’ve read, there have been more advancements during my lifetime than in any other period of history. When I was young, we didn’t even know what the word computer meant. There were no cigarettes with filters, automatic transmissions, non-stick cookware, radial tires, or watches you didn’t have to wind. We had 6-cent coke machines, penny candy, rotary telephones, push mowers, home milk delivery, and there was no such thing as The Grammys. We thought everyone from Great Britain sounded like Winston Churchill. We watched Gandhi in newsreels at 15-cent double features. There were reasonable Republicans, way too many petticoats, corner grocers, and everyone went to church.

So I figured if I made it to 65 there’d be a party, and then I’d probably be led away somewhere to die. Life would be over, or I’d opt to sit slowly rocking on someone else’s back porch comparing sunsets, smoking my pipe, and whittling until the end came. And now, none of that is going to happen. I can’t say I’m sorry either, since mentally, I feel about 40, and I’ve still got shit to do, dammit! Being this old is a whole lot less of a drag than I ever would have imagined.

But having officially reached old age also means I’ve got regular bellyaching to do, and much to the chagrin of others, I don’t give a hoot. The things that bother me the most seem to have finally achieved some sort of boiling point and I haven’t an ounce of patience for anything contrary. For instance, I don’t recommend you rub my nose in right-wing politics anymore – I’ve had enough of that selfish, short-sighted garbage, and I’m likely to go off on your tediously immature sense of morality and that self-righteous pomposity you pretend represents well considered thought. (See! I told you.) Likewise, I’m sick to death of thinly cloaked racism and homophobic fear mongering, and honestly have to fight the urge to punch people sometimes. That’s not good, of course, but the nonsense has been building up for so long that I’ve embraced the intransigence of old age as a surprising and comforting character flaw.

But life is a process with many bottom lines, and milestones aside, I still have goals that don’t involve a medical diagnosis. There are the obvious family hopes and desires – that goes without saying, but I also want to learn how to take great photographs, understand quantum physics, bake outstanding sourdough, visit London, and a thousand other things – so I’m just not ready to pack it all in yet. This is only my 65th May, and that doesn’t seem like a lot, does it?

Let’s face it. We’re all going to get old, and I’m pretty sure it’s downhill from here. So, if I had one piece of advice to offer, it would be to make the most of it while you can, but buy a rocking chair. Learn to whittle. It might come in handy any day now.
Voices From Forever by Randall Keller Available on Amazon
There Is No Silence by Randall Keller Available on Amazon.