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Posts Tagged ‘Geriatric’

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Three aging gentlemen and the youthful HRM

One of the more significant problems that arise upon reaching my age (78+) is that I often soon forget whatever I may have been recently up to. Like now — I am sitting writing this in a nondescript Starbucks somewhere in Folsom, not too far from the prison made famous by Jonny Cash. It is raining outside. A few hours ago, I met with my oncologist. He declared me still in remission from cancer in my neck that I had been treated for about a year ago. Hooray for me. I cannot remember what else I have done since my return to the Great Valley a few days ago. Perhaps, I napped a lot. I recall that about a day or so ago, I had a late lunch-early dinner at Subway with HRM a 13-year-old pre-adolescent young man. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: How are things going with you?
HRM: Good.
Me: Anything interesting happen in school recently?
HRM: Everything.

And so on — the conversational rhythms of the emerging adolescent.

One evening, we went for dinner at a nearby Ethiopian restaurant. It was enjoyable, especially accompanied by honey wine. That night, I had a dream so loaded with Jungian overtones that to attempt to describe it could lead to madness. I struggled, eventually successfully, to wake myself up but could not get back to sleep again for fear the dream would return.

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apollonio_ulysses1435

I think here I should interrupt my usual narrative and share with you (well to be honest, impose upon you) my recent musings about traveling.

My approach to traveling is somewhat like my approach to life; it is not arriving at your destination that is important but what happened along the way. I call it Pookieism.

For example, assume that I depart from San Francisco intending to travel to, say Rome to visit the Vatican and see the Sistine Chapel. If that is what I efficiently did and returned home equally efficiently, I for one would be unsatisfied indeed.

If on the other hand I were to depart on that same voyage and along the way be diverted by circumstances outside of my control or through my stupidity and thereby facing perhaps danger, or passion, beauty or tedium and return home without ever getting to see Michelangelo’s frescos (the chapel would probably be closed anyway, for repairs or for some obscure holiday), I would consider my trip a success.

I guess, one could consider Pookieism something like Buddhism, but from somewhat the opposite viewpoint. Where Buddhism urges one to withdraw from the unreality of perception, Pookieism suggests you revel in it.

When I look back into my life, anytime I single-mindedly pursued a goal and overcame many obstacles to achieve it, I almost always came away dissatisfied, became depressed and soon decided to spend my time doing something else. On the other hand, whenever I was diverted from my path or failed in achieving my goal or found myself hopelessly lost, I often was overjoyed. Why, because there was so much experience, so much pathos, and so much joy. And, oh the stories…

Yes, of course, there were things that to this day I wish never happened and if I could I would want not to have occurred, but they did and the exquisite if odious memories of the experience accompany’s me like tattoos on the skins of generation Xers.

For those males of a certain age, some of you may recall that time when you were a kid and in your imagination played the announcer of your life. “The great slugger stands at the plate. Here comes the pitch. He swings. He misses….” Or, “Here is the world-famous runner running through the woods. Will he break the record? Oh no! He trips. He falls. Will he be able to get up, finish the race and break the record? Stay tuned.”

Well, I still do that.

“Here is the aging hero walking along the side of the road recalling past loves, triumphs, and failures. Out of the corner of his eye, he spies a small yellow flower, stops and contemplates its beauty for a moment and then walks on, crosses the street, the freshly painted striping glowing so whitely in the sun it hurts his eyes. Suddenly he remembers he forgot to buy that bottle of milk. Should he return to the store or proceed on toward home? He stands there at the edge of the road, like the brave Ulysses on the beach contemplating whether to return home to the aging but loyal Penelope or spend another night in the arms of the beautiful Calypso?”

Speaking of Ulysses, Homer’s account is not quite how it happened.

One night the short, bandy-legged, scraggly bearded young man named Ulysses, who lived in a subdivision on a small island in the Adriatic, left the home on a cul-de-sac he shared with his wife, young son, various hangers-on, and a pack of dogs, telling everyone he was going to the store to buy a carton of milk, or an amphora of wine or new sandals or whatever. Now twenty years later he stood on the corner of the block down from his old home, broke, hungry and older. He contemplated the excuses he would tell his wife for his long absence. He concocted stories about ships and strange wars, jealous gods, wooden horses, one-eyed monsters and to cover up the long periods of time he spent living with a succession of comely young women, he fell back on the tried and true excuse of philandering husbands of the time, bewitchment.

On the other hand, the also aging but still zaftig and supposedly loyal Penelope wanted no part of the smelly midget bastard’s return. She had happily spent the past 20 years screwing the Theban pool boy and every young stud in town. The assholes return would only mean she would have to give up the good life and return to working on that goddamn loom. Besides, she needed an excuse of her own to explain why for the last 20 years the same old piece of cloth hung on that machine with no further work done on it since he left. She told all her boyfriends that she would choose one of them to settle down with when she finished weaving the cloth. They were so stupefied with the thought of getting into her toga whenever she lifted its hem for them they forgot all about the status of that rotting rag.

She believed however that she would need something better to convince the crafty asshole of her unbelievable 20 years of fidelity. She decided to elaborate on the story and planned to tell her returning husband if unfortunately, he should ever return, that she weaved at the loom all day and every night she tore out what she had done during the day. If the simple and unbelievable story had worked on her lovers why wouldn’t this expanded version work on that scheming lying bastard Ulysses?

Nevertheless, she still was surprised when the testosterone-poisoned dwarf suddenly and unexpectedly showed up at her door and started killing all of her boyfriends and the Theban pool boy as well.

Sadly, Penelope was forced back to working all day at the goddamn loom and at night diddling herself while the drunken scumbag lay snoring among his dogs after buggering some prepubescent boy-chick.

As Holden Caulfield would say, “Crummy.”

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Dunes at Sandy Neck Beach, West Barnstable

Dunes at Sandy Neck Beach, West Barnstable (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This was one of those remarkably beautiful mornings. So as I sat in the cafe sipping my café latte and gazing at the yellow sand beach and the stippled water reflecting the almost empty blue sky, of course, my thoughts wandered off to ruminating on death and dying.

This is not such an odd juxtaposition at my age, especially when recently I began to wonder if my preference for drifting through life requires some adjustment when faced with the inevitable decline of my physical and mental faculties over the next decade or so.

On the other hand, as I so well know, the end may occur while simply standing on the sidewalk looking forward to the future. Or, as the Great Dane mused whether “..to take arms against a sea of trouble..” is really worth it.

This led me to think about my grandfather who bore the same name as I. People called him, “Big Joe,” “Old Joe,” “Pepino” or just “Joe” as the situation required.

I often think about him because I believe, the great dark shadow cast by him stunted the growth of all members of the Petrillo family caught in its gloom.

Big Joe approached life as something to be beaten into shape with his fists or accepted with neither emotion nor regret. When he was a young man he killed another man for calling him a guinea. Convicted of manslaughter, he served about a year in jail. After his release, he fought his way to head one of the first and certainly the largest construction companies in the US owned by an Italian immigrant at that time. When during the Great Depression caused him to lose everything he did not complain and eventually went back to working as a common laborer.

In his nineties, he lived in a nursing home. There, he developed the obsession that were he to lie down on his bed he would surely die. So, every night he sat upright in his chair facing the door to his room ready to fight death to the death so to speak. No, there was no going silently into “that dark night” for old Joe. He was prepared to beat death into submission were the caped skeleton so foolish as to walk through that door and into his room.

One night when he was about 85 years old and working at night directing traffic in the parking lot of one of his son’s restaurants on Cape Cod, he called me on the phone. He said he might be arrested and thrown in jail (not for the first time in his life). When I inquired as to what it was that made him think this, he told me that evening he directed an automobile with two young men and their dates into a parking space. The young man driving ignored him and parked instead closer to the entrance to the restaurant and got out. Grandpa (as I called him) went up to the driver to remonstrate with him and ask him to move his car into the space where he had directed him to go.

The young man responded by saying, “Get out of the way old man,” and pushed “Big Joe” aside.

Shortly thereafter the ambulance took the young man to the hospital suffering a broken nose, the loss of a few teeth, a couple of broken ribs and various contusions and abrasions as they say in the legal trade. I  later learned that the young man remained in the hospital for two weeks.

“Don’t worry grandpa,” I laughed, “If you are arrested, I will take the case, put you on the stand and ask you one question, ‘How old are you, Mr. Petrillo.’ Besides, I suspect the young man will be too embarrassed to press charges.” I was right, he did not.

Anyway, one night midway through his 98th year, a kind-hearted nurse, after giving him his medicine watched him doze off. Believing that he must, at his age, be uncomfortable sleeping upright in a chair, she lifted him up  into his bed. They found him dead the next morning.

That is the way it is with old man death, he may not be strong enough to wrestle you into your grave but close your eye for a moment…

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Last afternoon of the Geriatric Knights in which the Knights Get Down to Business (Cont.).

The virile member, to please women, must have at most a length of the breadth of twelve fingers, or three handbreadths, and at least six fingers, or a hand and a half breadth.

There are men with members of twelve fingers, or three hand-breadths; others of ten fingers, or two and a half hands. And others measure eight fingers, or two hands. A man whose member is of less dimensions cannot please women.
The Perfumed Garden, Richard Burton, trans.

Giufa Comes Home.

So, Giufa, fortified with the “Blue Pill,” a “Gold Pill”, Density’s magic Chinese “Black Pill” and a testosterone shot, felt he was more than ready for the celebration of the festival of coitus.

So, that day he reserved one of the “Love Temples” located off of the pool room at the Kennel Club and took Selma with him into the room to assist him with the rites.

They began with the customary removal of clothing and proceeded to the ritual of the “Fondling and Kissing of the Nipples”. This was then followed by the ceremonial “pee-pee” by each of them. The shower service followed with the formal “Soaping and Washing of the Genitals.” Thereafter they entered upon the “Altar of the Bed” and proceeded to the “Laying Out of the Condom on the Nightstand” ceremony. Then following completion of the liturgical foreplay, they performed THE SACRED SHTUP that ended with Giufa shouting “Oh God” as proscribed in the literature.

After the completion of the ritual during which they attempted to exchange bodily fluids in every orifice they could imagine and after a brief period of rest, they commenced to perform the rituals in reverse, to unwind, so to speak, the completed ceremony; first the shower, then the pee-pee, the final “Fondling and Kissing of the Nipples” and the donning of the clothing. At last there was the obligatory wait while she put on her make-up.

They left the quiet of the temple and emerged into the raucous noise of the pool room. Density and Harvey looked up from their game of pool with several of the “Ladies-in waiting” smiled and nodded to Giufa.

Giufa now sanctified, threw back his shoulders, smiled, nodded and passed out from the Kennel Club and into the sunlight, eager to begin his quest.

Next issue, “Harvey gets his wish”.

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Last Afternoon of the Geriatric Knights in which the Knights Get Down to Business (Cont.).
“The impossibility of performing the coitus, owing to the absence of stiffness in the member, is also due to other causes. It will happen, for instance, that a man with his verge in erection will find it getting flaccid just when he is on the point of introducing it between the thighs of the woman. He thinks this is impotence, while it is simply the result, may be, of an exaggerated respect for the woman, may be of a misplaced bashfulness, may be because one has observed something disagreeable, or on account of an unpleasant odor; finally, owing to a feeling of jealousy, inspired by the reflection that the woman is no longer a virgin, and has served the pleasures of other men.”
The Perfumed Garden, Richard Burton Trans.
Giufa Finds his Groove again.
Now on that last afternoon of their fellowship before departing on their individual quests,  several of the Knights were gathered at the Oval Table eager for one final shtup in celebration. Although the Knights were not particularly inclined to be religious they were committed to perform their duties religiously, for as the old Arab wrote so long ago,”Do you not know that women’s religion is in their vulvas?”
Spy’s girlfriend, the Princess Oy arrived. She is being played by Joan Chen. (I know, I know what I said about Asian woman celebrities unwillingness to appear in a production like this, but then again, I warned you to never trust the storyteller.) This cheered Spy up a lot. After a drink or two they, made their round of the table saying their farewells to anyone within range of an air-kiss. They left, probably to have dinner somewhere then off for some trolling to find a Waiting Lady willing to join them for the night. Tomorrow morning Spy will disappear into the Indonesian jungle for three months or so as a knight-errant  assuring safe forests for the Resource Lords. Will he stumble across the Magic Vulva in those benighted wilds. The remaining Knights thought not.
A short while after Spy’s departure Density and Harvey announced that they were going to explore the other rooms to see if they could find the Waiting Lady of their afternoon’s desire.
“What are you looking for” inquired Giufa.
“I’m looking for a woman who can rapid fire her ass like a Brazilian dick milker”, responded Density. “I may however have to wait until I get to the Philippines to find one of those. Meanwhile, I just saw the greatest screamer and squirter in Pattaya go into the other room, Maybe I can get her together with Harvey”.
And so they went off leaving Giufa alone at the Oval Table like the cheese in the nursery rhyme. Well not alone exactly, Selma was busily applying hand and ample butt to his physical rehabilitation.
The previous evening Giufa contemplated the next day’s celebration anxiously, he did not want to fail at this important event. So, he consulted the writings of the Old Arab for help.
The Old Arab suggested, “The virile member, rubbed with ass’s milk, will become uncommonly strong and vigorous. ” But  he was sure that asses milk not something one would typically find in a Thai supermarket. He would have to send away for it and that would take too long.
Further on he came across  the suggestion that one should, ” wash the member in water until it becomes red, and enters into erection. Then take a piece of soft leather, upon which spread hot pitch, and envelop the member with it. It will not be long before the member raises its head, trembling with passion. The leather is to be left on until the pitch grows cold, and the member is again in a state of repose. This operation, several times repeated, will have the effect of making the member strong and thick.”
 This however, while tempting, was a bit much for him to contemplate besides where could he find some hot pitch at this time of night. So instead he took out a pill given to him by Density supposedly obtained from China that promised to work like magic. Giufa suspected that  the pill contained the ground up remains of some endangered species thought to induce super-human virility by sympathetic magic. But he was desperate. He also took out a big blue pill that has become the drug of choice for men everywhere today and the source of untold wealth for the company that owns its patent.
These he placed, carefully on his nightstand like sacramental offerings to be consumed tomorrow before departing for the Kennel Club. He then went to sleep and dreamed of two men with the same first name, Abou, who had consumed sacred foods before embarking on their labor:
“The member of Abou el Heïloukh has remained erect 
For thirty days without a break, because he did eat onions. 
Abou el Heïdja has deflowered in one night 
Once eighty virgins, and he did not eat or drink between, 
Because he’d surfeited himself first with chick-peas, 
And had drunk camel’s milk with honey mixed. “
“Maybe onions and honey” he thought as he dreamed, “I have them around here somewhere.”
To be continued as, “Giufa Comes Home.”

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He who boils asparagus and then fries them in fat, and then pours upon them the yolks of eggs with pounded condiments, and eats every day of this dish, will grow very strong for the coitus, and find in it a stimulant for his amorous desires.
The Perfumed Garden, Richard Burton, Trans.
Fabula Interruptus
Now I know that in my most recent issue I promised to continue with the Last Afternoon of the Geriatric Knights in which the Knights Get Down to Business, but as any reader of fiction knows, you can never trust the storyteller.
I thought it would be a good idea to break in here now, because I was worried that the reader may see the individual Knights as mere shadow figures around which to build a tale. While that may be true, I thought it would help the narrative if we put a little flesh onto their bones, so to speak.
Not a back story, for that would be irrelevant even to the Knights themselves. Instead I thought it would be helpful to the reader for me to provide an insight into the essence, if you will, of each Knights character.
We will begin (as we usually seem to do) with Jerome, who prefers to be known as Horace, because he is the least interesting and because of that also the most compelling of the Knights. The reason for this apparent conundrum is  that  to some people Jerome, who prefers to be known as Horace, seems to have no soul. As a result, of all the Knights of the Round Table (upon which our tales are very loosely based) he seems most like Galahad, the most boring and soulless Knight at Camelot. What Galahad did have going for him however is that he gave off a strange light that really freaked everyone out. Consequently no one wanted much to do with him and so compared to the other of King Arthur’s Knights we know next to nothing about him.
Now our Jerome, who prefers to be known as Horace, lacks the freaky light. In fact, for him it is sort of the opposite. Instead of giving out light he appears to be where light goes to die and so he is easily the most fascinating of the Geriatric Knights because he can be all things and nothing depending on the storyteller’s mood.
Density on the other hand is certainly the strongest and most knowledgable about practical things. But beneath that tough seeming hard-nosed, sagacious exterior beats the heart of an incurable romantic and he knows it and it worries him.He knows sooner or later he is going to fuck up. In this he  most resembles  Lancelot du Lac, the peerless and dread Knight of the Round Table, dauntless in war and strategy and prudent in all things except for his need to dick half the women in England.  When he finally got around to playing hide the salami with the King’s wife, Guinevere, the shit hit the fan.
Our Harvey on the other hand, is not romantic at all. True, he is optimistic and a good companion. In that he is a lot like Sir Gawain, ever optimistic and always running off to somewhere or other for a good time. But, Gawain was a constant screw-up. Not our Harvey though. Harvey is more cautious. For an example of that feature, one has to turn to another set of tales about a brotherhood, the Merrie Men of Robin Hood. There we find that old Friar Tuck bears a similar cautious trait to our Harvey. If one reads the tales closely, one realizes that Tuck never completely bought into the bullshit of Robin of Locksley. Sure, if there was good food, tasty wine and a roll in the hay now and then, he was happy to join in the fun, just as long as it did not get him into too much trouble.
Now Spy, he most reminds me of Parsifal, who no matter how badly he fucks-up always comes out smelling like he just fell into a vat of the world’s most expensive perfume. You can be assured that, among all the Knights, he will be the one to stumble across the Magic Vulva and probably not recognize it. But, not to worry, like Parsifal he undoubtedly will end up chosen to guard it, either that or in charge of renting it out.
Giufa is the opposite of Parsifal, he is the eternal Kingfish. No matter what high hopes he begins with, it will turn to shit in the end and he will be lucky if he escapes with his limbs intact. In this he most resembles Merlin minus the magic and the dress (He kept the funny hat though). As I am sure you recall, no matter what Merlin starts, it all falls to pieces in the end. Take the Sword in the Stone, it begins pretty well but everyone soon ends up dead at the Battle of Camiann and the Sword gets tossed into a lake like a crushed beer can. Merlin even ends up imprisoned in a block of ice or something, deep under some mountain somewhere, his magic gone along with all his money, taken by his girlfriend who runs off with it so that she can fuck her brains out with Mordred and his Golden Armor.
Now this may all sound pretty squalid and depressing but that is not so. Like Camelot, the story of the Geriatric Knights is a tale of hope in the face of the inevitable.
When we were  young with our peers about us, we dreamed and hoped for that which we had not yet experienced. Now in our old age we dream and hope for one last chance at  that which we will soon no longer have.
Symmetry is a beautiful thing.

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“[A praiseworthy] man is liked and appreciated by women; this is because the woman loves the man only for the sake of coition. His member should, therefore, be of ample dimensions and length. Such a man ought to be broad in the chest, and heavy in the crupper; he should know how to regulate his emission, and be ready as to erection; his member should reach to the end of the canal of the female, and completely fill the same in all its parts. Such a one will be well beloved by women…”
The Perfumed Garden,
Richard Burton, trans.

The Last Afternoon of the Knights.

Now it has always been, whether with the Fellowship of the Ring, The Knights of Camelot or the Mystic Knights of the Sea, that periodically the membership moves on to other things for a while. These voyages are sometimes referred to as quests. We really do not know for sure what they are looking for and for this reason the object of the search is often called the “Grail.” Now no-one knows what the hell a “Grail” is. Perhaps more ink has been spilled on explaining what it may be than anything save that which has been spilled on explaining “God.” I believe, however, that what men have explored the by-ways, and roads of the world and braved its oceans deserts and frigid wastes in search for is “The Magic Vulva.” As the poet said:

“The person who dreams of having seen the vulva of a woman will know that if he is in trouble God will free him of it; if he is in a perplexity he will soon get out of it; and lastly if he is in poverty he will soon become wealthy, because…[it] will mean the deliverance from evil. By analogy, if he wants a thing he will get it: if he has debts, they will be paid.”

So like the gathering of other brotherhoods prior to departing on their quests whether in “The Shire,” at “The Round Table” or in the “Lodge Hall,” the Geriatric Knights assembled at the Oval Table in the back room of “The Kennel Club” for a final get together before going their separate ways.

Jerome, who prefers to be called Horace, was not with them this evening. He had departed a few days before for the mountains and valleys of Nepal to find himself. This prompted one of the other Knights to comment, “He’s been groping himself for as long as I have known him. If he hasn’t found it by now he’s not going to find it on any mountain.”

He has been replaced this evening, by a Knight from south of Thailand beyond Indonesia who found himself that night at the Oval Table in the Kennel Club just like that other besotted Knight from the South who stumbled into Camelot and found himself seated at the Round Table diddling Guenivire. For that reason, we shall call him, Lance, played or course by the aged Robert Goulet.

Tomorrow, Spy will be leaving for the vermin infested jungles of Borneo for three months. He appeared subdued. He drank Coca-cola, not his usual gin and tonic and ignored the various ladies in waiting who tried to cheer him up by rubbing his crotch.

On the day after that, Harvey leaves to return to America to resume his life as “Sword for Hire” and Density travels to the Philippines in his ongoing quest for “the Perfect Yoni.”

“it has the splendid whiteness of a forehead,
In its dimensions it is like the moon,
The fire that radiates from it is like the sun’s,
And seems to burn the member which approaches;
Unless first moistened with saliva the member cannot enter,
The odor it emits is full of charms.”

A few days later, Giufa also will depart in his never ending search for redemption.

But those are other days and other nights, tonight at the Oval Table, the Ladies in Waiting were waiting.

Lance offers Miley-maliwan 100 baht to take off her bra and toss it on the table to get the festivities rolling.

Miley, now an experienced Lady in Waiting, removes her well padded bra without a hitch, revealing the breasts of an underdeveloped 11 year old underneath. In perfect English alliteration she announces to all at the table “I have tiny tits.”

The Knights heartily agreed with her observation.

Giufa, however, pointed out, “As the old Arab observed, ‘Don’t be too eager for round-breasted women’.”

Miley smiled at this comment, revealing a pair of canines larger then her ta-tas.

“Perhaps she is a vampire,” suggested Harvey soto voce.

At which point Selma mentioned, “Carmine said, ‘She may have tiny tits but she has a good heart’.”

“Let’s then drink to tiny tits and good hearts,” proposed Spy.

And everyone drank a toast to Miley’s tits and heart, which pleased her a lot.

… “Last Afternoon of the Knights” to be continued, ” In which the Knights Get Down to Business…”

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