September of My Years

I guess Sinatra recordings make good titles for blog entries; I just went for several years without being able to listen to him at all (I am like that with a lot of artists, I have to take years at a time off from a lot of my favorite music), but lately I have been listening to Frank Sinatra. He put out his 1965 album September of My Years when he turned 50, no doubt inspired by a sudden influx of AARP junk mail. Thrust into the job market, as I've recently found myself, I just checked out of the library the most depressing book I previously had no idea existed: Getting the Job You Want After 50 for Dummies. If that sounds like a joke, look it up; it's an AARP publication, and the graphic design alone is enough to make one not get out of bed for a month. Maybe it will be helpful, though—I haven't started reading it yet. Instead I got caught up in the whole, which is better, “For Dummies” or “Idiot's Guide” series debate, which inspired me to speculate on starting my own book series, something like the “For Total Fucking Morons” series (and at least I'd hire a graphic designer that doesn't make you want to go straight for the hard liquor). But of course that inspiration was followed by remembering that NOW, any idea you have, no matter how specific, it has already been put into development by someone else— and these kinds of thoughts, spiraling downward, are enough to make me want to climb under the covers for a month with the hard liquor.

Fortunately I don't have any hard liquor (or a bed, for that matter) and fortunately I have this blog (or journal)! The thing I've learned about these things (blogs/journals) is that if I do the wise thing, like write something and put it aside, then go back to it a little later, I'll be struck by how pretentious and insufferable it is and throw it away. So what I've learned to do is check it for spelling and typos, of course, but then immediately publish it and NEVER GO BACK AND READ IT. You, the reader, then, can laugh with me or laugh at me (or not read it)—it's entirely up to you! One interesting (to me, and maybe only to me) thing I've been doing is going back to my old notebooks (some are way old, like starting when I was 12) and re-typing the journal entries and then posting them in the “Memoir” section of this website. I've made it a little confusing, deliberately, because I'm kind of queasy about this whole venture (because these journals are sometimes very boring, and sometimes extremely embarrassing). In the “Memoir” section I am chronologically recording the oldest journals, and then on another site (called “Notebook Journals”) I'm including more contemporary journals (where the writing is a little more mature, but the proximity a little more uncomfortable).

One interesting journal I just typed (not sure if I posted yet, but maybe, or soon) was an entry from when I was maybe 16 or 17 and a couple of friends and I went on an early morning bike ride downtown (really early, like 3 AM, so actually still nighttime). We did a lot of exploring, took pictures, etc. but then also witnessed what we thought was a drug deal, after which someone in a car followed us, either to harass us or scare us, or who knows. I don't remember if I wrote about this at the time, or just thought about it (and talked about it to my friends) but when we set out on our adventure that morning, we considered taking along a handgun “for protection” but decided against it. And later, when we found ourselves terrified and hiding from this person in the car, we considered what we would have done if we had had the gun. I remember thinking I might have shot at the person who was harassing us. As it turned out, the person just drove away, nothing came of it, and we never did find out if they were really a menace or just someone goofing around, and the whole “drug deal” thing was just our fabrication—but at that point I told myself “I should NEVER carry a gun.” Not bad advice to myself for a dumb kid (for whom many, many more dumb and much dumber episodes were to come).

As my initial inspiration for this journal entry today is the Autumnal Equinox, I want to share one more thing about the miracle of the seasons (my favorite thing about the Midwest is the nature of the seasons here, and thunderstorms). It has come to my attention that a lot of adults who should know better think the beginning of autumn is when the candy corn appears on the end caps at grocery stores (as if by magic). I realize that it's confusing; people start back to school (an event which SHOULD mark the beginning of fall) during the month of August, but that is just not consistent with actual seasonal changes. So for future reference I am including a quick and easy (as it corresponds with the months) guide to the seasons, at least as I see them in southern Wisconsin (depending on your particular location, your seasons may vary).

Early Winter – November

Winter – December, January, February, March

Late Winter – April

Spring – May

Summer – June, July, August, September

Autumn – October

Enjoy your last week of Summer, and Happy (short though it may be) Autumn!