We all know that, in life, nothing matters. Except those things that define you other than the way you wish to be defined. The errant definitions stick to you like God’s cruel bramble. Pull them from one spot on your hiking shirt and they tumble to the sleeve where they cling ever more tenaciously, summoning the mistook glares of those you’d prefer were drooling over you with salivary manifestations of admiration.

Instead, they damn you with their eyes.

But it’s not you they damn, it’s an idea.

It feels like you, though, to you.

And to them.

Soon, it becomes you, you become IT. And the real you is lost standing there, a hint in the back of the mind of the you false notions have caused you to become.

I am not cruel. Practical jokes, however, are cruel and, for that matter, not all that practical, except as a way of making another the fool. A wink and some whimsy, however, are lovely things, tall notions for the sweetly gullible, debunked before cruelty dawns.

My Edinburgh friend, John Fleming (we became friends in the best of ways, he reviewed me favorably), wrote about me today in his perhaps popular blog. “Perhaps popular” smacks of passive aggression, I know, something I accused him of carrying in his emotional quiver. But I didn’t say I was devoid of the thing, ’cause I’m not.

We now know two things I am not.

Devoid and cruel.

To me, proper ballyhoo — of the cunning stunt variety or any other — does not call attention to its strings. That’s why it felt like passivity of aggression when John mentioned in his tribute that I, myself, had called his attention to the reported state of affairs.

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I would have thought he would understand, as a partner for the moment in the selling of me, that the proper context is “everybody knows,” not “Andrew J. Lederer writes to tell me that… ”

Of course, everybody does NOT know. But everybody will then THINK that everybody else knows and THIS, mein friends, is ballyhoo.

A sunning cant.

Hmm. I just thought of another thing I maybe am not.

Grateful.

I am, however, a whimsy winker, not a whimsy wanker.

Four things I am not, and counting.

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