Writers jot things down over the years. Memories. Tall tales. Drama. Comedy. Then, if they’re lucky, they collect them into one volume. This is my collection of collected things that are, uhm, collected together.


Most of the short stories in Dark Reflection were published here and there. I love black humor. You’ll find a lot of that.


Then there are the profiles. People I knew, people I loved, how they lived, how they died. We laughed, we cried, and I lived on, as I will until I don’t. It’s not tragic; it’s just life, and every one of us dances to its melody.


And finally there are the essays, like the one below, snippets from a life lived wondering, ‘How in the hell did I get myself into this?’ How indeed.

Large Format Trade Paperback

Kindle ebook

Also for iPad, Nook, and

Sony Reader

iPad Format

(through iBooks Store - no link)

from Dark Reflection

Home

Back

 

How Boring!

I’m A Boor!



We’ve met many nice people since we moved to the Central Coast. Recently, we had dinner with just such a couple, Bubbie and Nimrod Leatherbritches. (As you guessed, not their real names.) Now Bubbie is a delight to be around, but Nimrod is one of those people who knows everything about everything, and at the same time seems to comprehend nothing about anything. He can tell you when, where, and how something was invented, but can say nothing interesting about it. For Nimrod, conversation is an alien idea. He enjoys delivering monologues that leave everyone else out of the conversation. He is a boor.

After we arrived home from dinner, I mentioned in passing to Jackie, “Boy, I’m sure glad I’m nothing like Nimrod! What a boring guy!”

Silence.

Hm.

“Jackie, I’m nothing like Nimrod, right? I mean, I don’t ever just run on and on about something, do I?”

Jackie changed the subject. “Oh, look, the paint in the bedroom is off-white!”

“There’s no such thing as ‘off-white,’” I replied. “There are merely gradations of color.” After ten minutes lecturing Jackie about color, I realized I’d been diverted.

“Tell me the truth, now,” I told her, “am I ever boring? Do I just take over conversations and not let other people talk?”

“Listen! Is that a critter on the roof?”

“Jackie, you’re avoiding the question.”

“It could be just one of the neighbor’s cats.”

“Jackie!”

“What was it you said about ‘off-white’ again?”

Well, okay, she missed it, so I repeated...

“Jackie, answer the damn question!”

“What was the question?”

Around midnight the question occurred to me again, so in the safety of the darkness of our bedroom I asked Jackie yet again if I was ever boring like Nimrod Leatherbritches.

“Well, sweetie,” she said. “Not everyone wants to know about Hector of Troy.” Now Troy was one of my favorite subjects, in particular the short shrift given to Hector, who was by far the best character, warrior, and man in the whole epic. Why, if I had a nickel for every time I argued for Hector and against Achilles...

“Particularly if you’ve never actually read the Iliad,” Jackie concluded.

“Well, I read the Comics Illustrated version when I was a kid,” I replied defensively. “I’ve seen the 1956 Robert Wise movie, and the 2004 Brad Pitt movie. I even saw that really awful cable movie.”

“And not everyone is interested in how the Roman army fought, or even heard of the Battle of Canae.”

“Yes, true, dear, but all the more reason I should—”

“Sometimes people just like to talk about simple things, like the weather.”

“Well, yes, of course—”

“Without having you tell them how it works, with highs up here, and lows down there, and cold air and hot air coming together, mostly hot air...”

Around one in the morning, after more kind but truthful comments coming from my loving wife, I began to question if I were a boor.

I realized, at the tender age of 57 (just reached in February), yes, I am a boor, and boring. I began to review every conversation I ever had. There was that time I was telling my former boss (at that time he wasn’t former) how grass grew, from the bottom up, and he fell over. I now realize he’d fallen asleep.

I recalled all of the stories I’d told the people working for me at Warner Hollywood Studios and how they seemed to enjoy them, nodding and forming what appeared to be smiles. Now I realized they weren’t smiling at all — their mouths had fallen open.

I remembered Vietnam and how my buddies would like to take me along on combat missions because, as one pal said, my conversation could numb anything. At the time I didn’t really understand that.

I remembered telling a college history professor on the first day of class that his understanding of the American Civil War was misguided and spent the rest of the hour lecturing him on the subject. I hadn’t even bought my class textbook yet.

And so, to my abject horror I realized I’d been a complete boor my entire life. How had I come to be such an equus posterior? (Look it up.)

“Jackie,” I said the next morning before we got out of bed, “people must hate me.”

“Oh, look, the paint in the bedroom is off-white!”

My heart sank.

“Just kidding,” she said. “People don’t hate you.”

“They don’t?”

“You’re not nearly as bad as Nimrod Leatherbritches, and he has friends.”

“He does?”

“He has you, doesn’t he?”