Monday, December 24, 2007

2007: This Was The Year That Was

"Oh man," I said to the Baron, "this year is really kicking my ass!"

And in many respects, it did. Poverty! Toil! Pain! Desperation! Rejection! Now, I'd add a qualifier along the lines of "relatively speaking" to the Poverty, Toil, Pain, and Desperation, the Rejection thing stands. Man! What was that? Crazy.

Somebody once said that looking back, you don't remember the periods of your life when you were happy, but only the hard times. But I think that somebody was wrong. At least in my case.

I have a clear recollection of sending out all those resumes and not hearing anything back, or going on those interviews only to hear, "Sorry," but I wouldn't say that's what I remember.

I remember seeing 300 with the New York boys of Leather. I remember sitting poolside with the members of my SM-Spirituality Discussion Group. I remember the great time I had doing my workshop on flogging and whipping at CLAW. I remember the sweet delight of JPZapper and DogToppers great July dungeon party. I remember Each And Every inning of Each And Every game of this golden season of playing softball with the Ball Breakers. I remember days at the beach and smoking cigars on the porch of Starbucks in Doylestown. I remember working at a steel mill. I remember how being unemployed gave me lots of time to devote to the gym, and how round about August I had the body I've always wanted. For a month or so. And damn! If I knew in advance that I could only do one SM scene the whole year, then I think I would have picked marching Man of Discipline out into the woods, stringing him up between two trees, and whipping him to my heart's content.

So here's the wrap up.

Best Movie Yeah, I loved 300. And I had a great time with Hairspray, but I think the honors for the best movie that I saw all year wouldhave to go to the only movie I saw without the benefit of freshly baked cookies, Into The Wild. I think I want the DVD.

Best TV Heroes! Heroes Heroes Heroes! See that guy hanging on every episode? The one who calls Tuesday "H-Day Minus Six"? That would be me. Ever'buddy on my softball team was wild about Buffy, but that never did a lot for me. But Save The Cheerleader, Save The World pushes all of my buttons.

Best Book Check it out. C.S. Lewis' The Four Loves, brought into my life by none other than 'bastian.

Low Point (For All Of Us) 2007 did for us homos what Bill Clinton's second term did for heterosexuals. There I was, greeted on the porch of Starbucks in Doylestown by a table full of my straight guy buddies with the inquiry, "So... Uh... Foot tapping?" Sheesh! Things I thought I'd never have to explain and elaborate on, huh?

High Point (For All Of Us) Although there are certainly more than a few unfulfilled promises there, was I the only one who breathed a sigh of relief when the Democrats took control of both houses of Congress and installed Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker? I just felt a little bit like, "Oh cool. I don't have to emigrate to Canada after all."

Low Point (For Me Personally) Remember hot tub guy? Yeah, him. What a dick. And I'm not talking anatomically. And the moment in which I realized that all the time, energy, and attention I had invested in that drug-addled bozo was for nought was not one I'd like to recall.

High Point (For Me Personally) When the demented and psychologically unbalanced Board of Directors of my Previous Place of emPloyment gave me the boot--uhhh... in the six months I was there I brought in over $400,000--I responded with grace and dignity. Which really knocked them on their sorry asses. I didn't know I had it in me! One of my finest moments.

The Journey And The Destination! San Diego! Palm Springs! Alpha! Dinner with Roadkill! The inside of an Alexander House! All those great Richard Neutra buildings! The Barracks! The Best Mexican Food Ever! Kumquats right off the tree! What a great trip that was.

Best Wardrobe Acquisition For a change, no cows had to die for me to look good! The prize goes to my chocolate brown Puma warm-up suit. Look for me to be featuring it down at MAL. In a sea of black leather, there I'll be. As I'm fond of telling myself, at this point in my life, I have nothing to prove to anyone, least of all myself.

Best Unforeseen Development Hands down, me in the orange apron.

Music! I was a little disappointed by Lucinda Williams' West. But I sure liked the latest offering from the Dixie Chicks. But I think the music that had the greatest impact on me this year was the 300 soundtrack.

"He's the Creative Type." The presentation I did on SM as a Spiritual Journey for MAsT was wonderful, but I think the creative output that gave me the most pleasure this year was keeping warm last winter by writing the Great (Gay) American (Erotic) (Werewolf) Novel(la). And I'm pleased to report that a sequel is taking shape in my head.

Favorite News Item Of The Year I was home with my father. He always has the television on, and in the morning, it's often set to CNN. That morning, the junior senator from Illinois held a rally on the steps of the old state house in Springfield to announce his candidacy. And the speech he gave was some of the best political oratory I've ever heard. Not saying that I'm a Barak guy. But overall, the Democratic field is just pretty darn amazing. Particularly stacked up against the Republicans. And the serious Democratic nominee could be either a woman or an african-american. That day, to my mind was the start of Oh no way. In San Francisco, a tiger kills one man and mauls two others. And they think the tiger was probably stalking around the City By The Bay for several hours. A tiger! I bet that neither of the two guys who got mauled while they were eating at a restaurant thought, "Gosh! I hope I don't get mauled by a tiger today!" when they left the house that morning. That is just plain amazing.

The more astute longtime readers might recall my favorite news story that I would look forward to every winter. It always happened at least once, always running along the same lines: kids throwing snowballs at cars, some guy who's carrying gets out of his car and shoots a kid. Amongst the casualties of global warming is kids throwing snowballs at cars and thus getting shot for that. But a man-eating tiger running around San Francisco sure makes the loss of that easier.

Y'know, in years past, putting together Best and Worst lists has been pretty easy. But this year hasn't been so much characterized by significant events. Rather, it's been the whole journey. With only a few exceptions, each individual day was pretty much like any other, cleaved as they were almost down the middle by the Time Before Ho(t)me(n) Depot and the Time After Ho(t)me(n) Depot. Either I was moping about the house getting my resume rejected or I was rushing home from Ho(t)me(n) Depot to report to all of you about how I tricked a hot boy into saying "So I need to grease up my hole real good" and similar shenanigans. (Today at Ho(t)me(n) Depot, there seemed to be this rash of guys with movie star good looks. It was weird. So a guy wearing a sweatshirt identifying him as an employee of Shelby & Sons Plumbing Contractors came in buying some PVC, and he looked a hell of a lot more like a guy who would play a plumber in a movie than he did an actual real life plumber. And that kept happening! All day long today was like Ho(t)me(n) Depot 90210! Anyway.)

So I think that the key aspect of this posting might be more along the lines of 2007: What I Learned.

This year, I attained Middle Age. I became a Middle Aged Man.

Most notably, I can't change down the baseline with my previous speed. I am now faced with the challenge of developing a Nice Quick Trot.

But so much more.

O pity the young! There you are, late 20's, early 30's, climbing the ladder of success, rung by rung, hand over hand. All the lights turn green, all the doors open as you appraoch. Naturally, you assume that this is because you're you. Sweet, wonderful, talented, charmbing, vigorous you! But no, it's just the happenstance of your year of birth. Fortune won't always be smiling at you. At a certain point, she'll turn her attention to one of those many fresh-faced, bright-eyed young'n's coming up behind you. Although it feels like Supreme Injustice worthy of shaking your fists at the Heavens, it's not really. It's just the way of things.

It is to be hoped that you made the best of things while you had the chance, but probably not. What's the point of being young if you don't squander your gifts?

Cormac McCarthy offers that every man has two important tasks facing him: find work he enjoys and someone he likes to live with. And I would add to that that many of us get distracted from these two important tasks with all those green lights and opening doors. (I sure did.) But mercifully, my episode of shaking my fists at the Heavens at the unfairness of it all was brief. Lasting maybe a couple of days. A week at most.

But pretty quickly I came to a realization: this is my life.

It's that simple.

The alarm rings, you get out of bed, and you head out to do what you gotta do. I take care of business. I pay cash. I do my best. And in every situation, I do my best to be kind. Friendship, relaxing with a good cigar, owning a dog, sweat, the turn of the seasons, some thought that's new to me, trying to grasp the import of some dream as it vanishes on waking... Finding joy in these small things.

Oh. And one more. Writing and being read. Here on SingleTails. When I was about eleven I set out to write a novel. And managed to get about thirty pages out. The effort was derailed when I gave the unfinished manuscript to my sister to read (Never let anybody read it until it's done) and she laughed because I had confused the name of one of my characters, Arthur, with the word Author. (Great artists are never understood by their big sisters! O that I had known that then!) And I think that all things considered, 2007 hasn't been a bad year for SingleTails.

So all the best to all of you for 2008. No idea what the New Year's Resolution is going to be yet. And, of course, as recent history has proven to me, no idea what the next twelve months hold in store. But you can read all about it here.

All my love,


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