The Old Man and Me

After relatively lighter fare – including an embroidered but basically true account of a failed assassination attempt by one of the blankets – the spouse is back in his role as the modern Weeping Prophet with a fine but despairing piece on the state of the world as of 12/28/08.

If you look at the last week of his blog, even though it consists of a low-for-him 3 posts, it in particular pretty much sums up life with the Red State Son. Sometimes – often, in fact – he makes me laugh until my face hurts. Here, his blog audience definitely misses out. Anyone who reads DP’s stuff knows how funny he is. To my everlasting gratitude, he’s not like those movie trailers where the 3 funniest lines are wrapped up in 30 seconds and you have to yawn through the other 89 and a half minutes. It’s rare for a day to go by where he doesn’t say something that absolutely slays me, and, since the audience of me and the kids tends to be appreciative, at times the riffs go on for a solid 10 minutes.

I think the bigger thrill for me is that we both know I appreciate his humor as much if not more than just about anyone he’s ever known. DP has a corny side and a crude side that aren’t really my cup of tea, but he has one of the greatest senses of the absurd of anyone on the planet, and I apparently have one of the greatest appreciations of same. I’m glad he’s not one-note in his comedy, just like he’s not one-note in anything else. Like me, his sensibility is an insane accumulation of found objects, and I find his mix endlessly fascinating. Lord knows we haven’t been perfect parents, but our kids have grown up in a hell of a rich cultural and intellectual environment. Crazy and chaotic at times, no doubt, but plenty of fodder for their own artistry (and, no doubt, therapy sessions).

Spouse’s middle post, about Smarm King Ray Combs, points to his storied past. I never heard of Ray Combs before I met my husband – or of Christopher Hitchens, Michael O’Donoghue, Noam Chomsky, and a whole bunch of other people. Mr. P has a good memory and loves a good story, a trait obvious and necessary for any good writer. What possibly sets him apart is that he’s incredibly verbal. My husband talks about 3 times as much as he writes, so all that stuff you read over on his site has been run through its paces out loud about 25 times by the time you get to it. Should he expire, I’ll be able to deliver a reasonably accurate biography. If nothing else, it will be long.

I used to mind the spouse’s loquacity and penchant for reliving his past ad infinitum, but that’s when I thought that marriage was about…something different than it is. Talking everything through is part of who DP is. He will point out that I’m no slouch on the verbal front, but he knows he talks A Lot. Most of the time, I like it. And, after all, I like to sleep a lot and he puts up with that.

Today’s post represents a big part of life with the man, and, given that this was an election year, it was a much bigger part over the course of 2008. Folks, it was a rough year on the Michigan front. When we met, DP wouldn’t touch politics having gotten so depressed over the Gulf War that he swore off the subject for years. I am at least partly (and I think pretty heavily) responsible for encouraging him to get back into the fray; he was so good at breaking down any current world situation into digestible pieces, I hated to see him devoting all of his talents to appreciations of the Beverly Hillbillies and the Monkees. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that but….look, I don’t really need to say more, do I?) So I have myself to blame more than anyone else for the inevitable sturm, drang, angst, malaise, and all other matter of unpleasantness that results from keeping an eye on the world. DP dives into a mess of stinking entrails on a daily basis. What can you say to the kind of questions he raises? Anything sounds pat.

So I just hold tight to the rope; he always finds his way back to me and whatever solidity and solace I can offer. Dawn Powell, the great great writer who the spouse introduced me to, ends her great great book The Locusts Have No King with this quote: “In a world of destruction one must hold fast to whatever fragments of love are left, for sometimes a mosaic can be more beautiful than an unbroken pattern.”

And the nice thing is, we have so much more than fragments. Or at least, we have really Big fragments.
Happy New Year, Old Man. Let’s keep doing this for a couple more decades. OK by you?

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