Musin’s and Thinkin’s – January 2012

Musin’s and Thinkin’s – January 2012

Jack Pendarvis
Facebook icon Share via Facebook Twitter icon Share via Twitter

So you are on your deathbed! There is no need to make a big thing about it. We have all been on our deathbeds from time to time. As always, the important thing is to have fun.

A cheery display of bright flowers is a must for today’s busy deathbed occupant on the go.

Have you ever heard about “the language of flowers”? Every flower has a specific meaning, be it a fresh, dewy jonquil, the insouciant snapdragon, or the lowly daisy. A red rose represents some nutty thing, while a white rose means something else entirely. At least that’s what someone told me, but I don’t believe it. It doesn’t make any sense! The last thing you need right now is a maniac filling your head with crazy ideas. Or is that exactly what you need? It might make for a refreshing change of pace on an otherwise gloomy afternoon on your deathbed.

After all, our hypothetical maniac is just trying to feed his family like everyone else. How can we presume to judge him, with his fixed grin and wildly flashing eyes? Are you too good to hang out with a gibbering fiend? Well, pardon me, your ladyship. True, his manner of dress and habits may strike us as odd. Perhaps when he drops a pencil he prefers—rather than bending over—to pick it up with his prehensile toes. So what? We all have our foibles.

In fact, one might just say that our foibles define us. Should an alien race of “little green men” visit the Earth shortly after the upcoming apocalypse, they would scientifically poke through our old videotapes and come to the conclusion “These guys sure did have a lot of foibles! But, in a way, it’s what made them so lovable.” Indeed, what would humans be without our foibles? I think we would be plants or statues.

Consider Genghis Khan. He did a lot of things that are no longer “politically correct” according to our uptight new society, such as killing everybody. And yet when Mr. Khan came home to his tent after a hard day of work, he was embarrassed to take his socks off, even in front of his own wife, because there was something weird about his toenails.

Suddenly the ruthless leader is humanized! And it’s all thanks to foibles.

You know, there are some people around today who could learn a thing or two from jolly old Genghis Khan. Once I was at an all-male quilting bee, and I saw a man wearing flip-flops. His toes were plainly visible, and their nails were peculiarly thick, with something that looked like white dust coming out of them. I do not know the name of the disease afflicting this unfortunate gentleman. But I do know one thing: Put something over your feet when you go out in public. Be like Genghis Khan! That was eleven years ago and I still have his toes in my mind.

But sometimes “the shoe is on the other foot,” as the popular saying would have it. Recently, I was at a party where a young woman in a nice blue dress removed her velveteen slippers in order to traipse pixie-like across the lawn. That seemed OK to me! Maybe she was expressing her foible of being an otherworldly vision of loveliness.

The alert reader may claim to detect the slightest whiff of hypocrisy. After all, if I am so in love with foibles, why can’t the guy with the disgraceful toes be allowed the foible of perversely flaunting them?

A more pertinent question might be “Do all foibles have something to do with toes?”

The answer is yes.

Here’s a good activity: Make a foible checklist. Does your foible have toes in it?

That is the only item on the checklist.

A quantity of my own foibles may have emerged in my comments to the unshod young woman at the party, examples of genial sloganeering such as “Hubba hubba!” and “Hot-cha-cha!” and “Get a load of this hot number over here!” and “Hey, baby, my wife doesn’t understand me” and “Where are you going?” And the sound of me throwing up gin. Such is the unpredictable nature of foibles.

More Reads

Musin’s and Thinkin’s – November/December 2011

Jack Pendarvis

What the Swedes Read: Elfriede Jelinek

Daniel Handler

Real Life Rock Top Ten – Nov/Dec 2011

Greil Marcus