Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Strike Three! Ball Four!

When I was a little bot, about eight or so, I guess, my mother became convinced I should play baseball. In truth, I was a bit chubby and could use the exercise and socialization and she was working long hours supporting us while my Dad was off back in the States gallivanting after the American Dream. So, one summer, she signed me up.

I have to hand it to her: she did her best, being of an immigrant mind-set and all, to assimilate us into that somewhat exclusionary society. She understood the value of laying low and blending in. And, though money was tight, she made sure I had my own bat, glove, ball and uniform, sized for my tubbiness, plus real, American-made baseball shoes with cleats and everything. I even got a brand-new baseball.

Now, I have to clarify that the last thing on Earth I wanted to do was play baseball. I didn't follow it, I didn't like it, in fact, I didn't like sports at all and hated gym because my tubby boy-boobs were the subject of much cruel teasing, plus I couldn't climb up that goddamn knotted rope no matter how hard I tried. I was excellent at trading baseball cards, as the were things of value and I had, I know now, some pretty heavy-duty negotiating skills even at that tender age. I had a stack of cards as long as my arm. Too bad I don't have them today, since I'm pretty sure they'd pay my mortgage for the next few months, at least. Anyway, baseball was probably the least desirable sport for a Canadian kid to play since field hockey was the summer sport and ice hockey was definitely preferable, status-wise.

I did like one sport very much - curling. It's a Scottish sport designed to bore the sh*t out of the uninitiated, but for those in the know, it's a high-speed sport of skill, physics, intuition, strategy, psychological pressure, tight team cooperation and gamesmanship. The object of the game is to position - oh, hell, I can't explain it: read this Wikipedia entry on curling instead, but, suffice it to say, there's nothing quite like it. As for summer sports, I loved badminton, and I was a team champ in college with a partner that hated my guts, but, boy, did we kill the competition. By the way, if you're thinking these are some kind of faggoty sports for wankers, note that they are BOTH Olympic sports, thank you very much.

So, I dutifully showed up for baseball practice, though I stalled and complained and attempted to use whatever childish influence I had. The other kids and even the coach looked at me and decided, this kid is a loser. He's fat, so he's gonna be slow. He doesn't know the rules. He's not blond. Crap, he even wears glasses (a definite sign of weakness in the nineteen hundred and sixties.) They stuck me in right field where I was likely, it seemed, to inflict the least amount of damage and be least likely, in the coach's mind, I'm guessing, to result in my receipt of a bloody nose and super-wedgie at the end of each game as a reward for my sportsmanship. Practice lasted about three weeks. At the end, I still had no clue what the rules where but I did know that I was to catch the ball only if it came right at me, otherwise, the centrefielder was to run out and cover me. So, I stood against the fence, reasoning that I was the bastion of last hope for balls lofted by wind or will.

The season began. I wasn't in the batting order for the first game. The team lost by some absurd score, like 36-1 or something like that. Remember that this was before the age of political correctness and losing was actually a bad thing. The coach talked of betrayal and failure, loss and shame. After the tear-streaked faces of my teammates were distributed to their station-wagon wielding parents (one kid, I remember, got a smack on the back of his head by his dad - nice!), I stayed behind and tugged on the coach's sleeve. I do believe I had interrupted a swig of paper-bagged Olde Jim.

"What, Four-Eyes?" he croaked.
"Um, put me in, coach. Next game. Put me in. They'll let me go to first. You'll see." I almost piped "Shane, come back Shane . . . ," but I didn't.
"Where's your mother, eh?" I remember he looked gargantuan in Yankee stripes.
"She takes the bus, sir. I'm to wait for her here," I replied.
"Well, sit in the dugout until she shows up." He stuffed his paper bag into his back pocket, picked up his duffel and wandered off to his old Plymouth. Cream-lime green, it was, without a shiny spot on it, weather dull by the long Alberta winters. My mother arrived about a half-hour later and we took the bus to the other side of town with promises of a box dinner from that new place, Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The next game, the coach actually did put me into the batting order. I was as surprised as anyone else. I'd never actually hit a ball. Ever. In practice or at any other time. This was because I could not keep my eyes open when I swung my Louisville Slugger, anticipating that the ball was going to bean me this time for sure and I didn't want to see it happen as feeling and hearing my head cracking open was sufficient, thank you very much. Oh, I forgot - this wasn't some pansy-ass T-ball team with softballs the size of watermelons. This was hardball, regulation, on a regulation-sized field with regulation-sized pain if the Cuban-made ball happened to get you in the ribs. We wore cups, thank goodness, thus, no eunuchs were produced that year, and the coached checked us individually to make sure we had 'em on. And every team seemed to have a savage pitching rotation - except mine.

In the batting rotation I went, lead-off, no less. What was the coach thinking? My own teammates shouted things like, "Hey, Poindexter, step into the plate so the ball hits ya!" and "Hey, Four-Eyes, don't cry!" Well, I wasn't crying. I was thinking. I thought that although this team beat us last week (the teams were so far apart that the selection was slim) they hadn't seen me bat. So, I decided to fuck with them.

I took my time walking to the plate. I furrowed my brow and squinted and pushed my lips into an arch of pure hatred. I stepped up to the plate, then stepped out, knocked my shiny shoes with my bat, a little too hard, since I smashed my ankle, but that revved me up even more. I stepped back in, and swung, hard, practicing my best Hank Aaron, Topps number 111. I peered with what must have been a most psychotic visage at the pitcher since he wound up and then stopped, looked over at the opposing team's coach, tilted his head in my direction and shrugged. The coach then waved his fielders out, further out, no, further. I never changed my face. The opposing team's coach gave the pitcher some kind of signal. The pitcher signaled the catcher. They stepped off, pitched four and walked me. Lead-off walk to first. I chugged to the bag, jiggling all the way, and gave the first baseman a look of pure disgust. He stepped back a foot and I aimed for second.

What I learned that day saved my milk-money from that point forward and rescued me from many potential schoolyard beatdowns. If you're at odds with your skills and there's no one on the team that wants to be associated with you because everyone will confer loserdom by association, then one has to apply one's remaining skills to survive, even if they don't seem to rationally apply. So, I perfected my "I'm a crazy motherf*cker, so don't f*ck with me" skills and managed to survive life at Oliver school and even made quite a few "cool" friends. Go figure.

In short, it seems to be quite true that nice guys finish last, but smart guys are willing to act the part, no matter how nutty, to survive. I was, after all, smarter than they were. I know this since no one ever called my bluff. I would have.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Dog Eat Dog Eat Ibuprofen

The hunt continues. If I hear one more time that I'm grossly overqualified for a position, I'm going to scream. Golly - seems that I have exactly the experience and qualifications you're looking for, Mr. Employer - what gives? My age? Oh, I'm in my thirties - 30-16 to be exact.

That's enough griping, even for me.

On the upside, my cute widdle doggie chewed everything that was on my desk, including a bottle of Ibuprofen, Rite Aid generic, of course. It was a bottle of 50 easy-to-swallow caplets and I think I consumed maybe ten since I bought it. so, that's 40 pills. 15 is enough to kill a St. Bernard, apparently. Lucky for me, I don't have a St. Bernard, just a 14 pound, over-energetic Pomeranian that looks more like a Spitz. Off to the vet I went, where she was lavaged, IV'ed and carbonized, a la Han Solo, I'm guessing. The vet also lavaged my wallet to the tune of five hundred bucks, but who can put a price on love? I came awfully close.

It seems the pup will make it, as of the latest report, though it's not certain since Ibuprofen destroys the kidneys, in all mammals, if taken in sufficient quantities. She consumed 10 times the quantity sufficient to do her in. Had I been at work, I'd be coming home to a sobbing child and a canine in the beginning stages of rigor.

The next time I'm feeling like it's all too much, I may very well happily chew the child-proof (but not dog-proof) cap of some unlikely OTC substance and have at it. At the moment, I'm feeling an unsure relief, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I've switched gears in my job hunt. I spent twenty years as an entrepreneur and top-management type and decided that it would be fitting to spend the rest of my working days on the other end of the food chain. Unh-uh. Nope. Wrong. Smashing heads and taking names seems to be in my blood and how could life be better than having an entire staff to blame for my misjudgements, especially through the clever guise of "empowerment." Yeah, that sounds pretty good to me.

So, tomorrow, I have a four-hour interview, consultation with an image specialist and publicist to re-enter the world of dogs eating dogs. F*ck 'em, I say, if they can't . . . no, strike that - just plain f*ck 'em. Grrrrr.

Downside? Seventy-hour weeks. Enough bullsh*t to cover 3000 acres of sub-prime farmland. Deception as strategy. No ethics whatsoever, just so that I can get the Ethics Manual done on time. No straight answers to arrow-straight questions. Upside? Money. Money is power. Oh, you thought knowledge was power? With money, I can buy knowledge and thus, benefit from the power attached, and I can go to Bombay or Beijing or Hanoi to get it, cheaply. I can say f*ck you and mean it. I can personal-train and face-lift my way to an impression of health and wellness that says to the world, "Not with me, buddy, and not today." So, if I have to be a Piggie, might as well be the Piggie-In-Chief. Sh*t, yeah.

Thank you for sponsoring what is either a tirade or a massively jubilant response to near-doggie demise. Your attention in this matter is appreciated.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Womyn's Intuition

When I was a child, my father chided me for being "too sensitive." He was an impulse-driven nutball, plowing his way through life and everyone in it. Thus, he said many things that would be considered definitely un-PC.

Call me crazy, but just call me.

So, I have had a strange relationship with the opposite sex my entire life. They seem surprised and the boys think I'm gay. Aha! But I'm not - and the girls like the fact that my feminine side suits their collective comfort zone quite fine. Sorry, guys! Caught ya napping!

The point being . . . I coulda scored a whole buncha fur in my day but I didn't. Why? Is it because I'm gay? No, I told you (*&*@)&* before that I'm not! Geez. No: it's because I thought then and still think that it's just not right to try to take a gob's squab away, get me? But still, girls make great friends. I can talk to girls for hours - guys? "How 'bout those Yankees?" Even gay guys are a bit of a disappointment. All that dick swingin' gets on my nerves.

Not bad for a geek.

So, in celebration of the set of balls womyn secretly carry around to use when their man-fodder ain't lookin', here's a link from the US Coast Guard about SPARS (similar to WAVES, ya dolt) or womyn in the CG in dubbleya dubbleya eye eye.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Woe Is Me

In a retort to myself, I have to say that I'm seriously thinking about life as a hermit on the rocky, windswept fjords of Norway. This is, in fact, more reality than I care to engage.

Ain't got no cigarettes, rooms to rent, fifty cents . . . no job, no money, no women, no song, no wine . . . goddamn it, I'm out of wine. But not, I'm sorry to say, out of whine.

So, I drone on, with my inside voice, or the voices inside me, rather, toting up the dismaying array of disaster scenarios that are available to those endowed with a vivid and creative imagination, as am I.

Yes, it's true that I could be eating lobster, those creatures which I gleefully describe as Coastal Roaches, at Arthur's St. Mortiz day after Tuesday, but could I guarantee it? No more than I could guarantee that the sun will rise a few hours hence. That doesn't mean it won't happen, either.

Yes, I do actually have a positive attitude, for all it's going to get me. My suits are pressed and my ties are colorful. My shoes are shined and so far, unconsumed by the resident canine. Does that mean I have a reason to live more than I have a reason to die? Ah, life is a compromise, I have been told, but I'm not sure this is what they meant.

I'm not being cryptic - hey, that has "crypt" in it: how morbid. One of my scenarios is that I simply give up, find a hooker, go to Las Vegas and drink myself to death. You know, there may be a story in that, maybe even a screenplay. I can see Ashton Kutscher or Adam Sandler in the lead with Uma Thurman or Liv Ullman (how Nordic these names are - best to remember to invite them to my hermitage) as the hooker with a heart of gold - wait: in this age of maximum bling, we'd better upgrade that to platinum, which is, by the way, a cold and very hard metal. Sounds about right.

Smile for the camera, in that inane and blissfully frightened way we all do when we sense the alpha pack members are sniffing our collective privates. We are all slaves to reality, forced back into it if we lose our way with pharmacological wonderment and the yadda-yadda of PhD's angling for their next boat payment.

Big fish, small pond versus small fish, big pond. Heck, who wants to be a fish?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Day At The Lake

Still. Here. "Can mom come?" I dunno, but that's not my department. I resisted a stupid comment. "Sure, Shel. Did she ask you?", I lightly queried. "She said it was her idea in the first place." Okay. Um. What earthly difference does that make? Parent-mode engaging . . . "Why not? But we were supposed to go at ten and now it's almost eleven." "Oh, 'kay - I'll tell her to hurry up." she responded brightly.

I brewed some coffee. In truth, I was feeling a bit dizzy. I woke up early, did some work and fell asleep for a few more hours, but it wasn't enough. I sat out on the deck and started to doze in the brash sunlight. Dawn marched out about a half-hour later bearing cooking utensils. Through hooded eyes I could see that the grill has been started and was smoking grandly. "Hey - I thought Shel wanted you to go with us." I mentioned. "Yes, that is correct. Obviously, she can't go hungry." Okay. Um. I thought I had that covered. "Yeah, so, what are you doing?" "Making turkey burgers. And roast potatoes. Are you ready, got all your stuff packed?" Stuff? I was wearing my stuff. "All I need is my car keys. How long do you think you'll be?" "I believe that we may be able to leave at noon. Is the cooler cleaned out?" She had used the cooler two weeks prior to go to the same lake with my sister-in-law, Lynette. It had been left in the kitchen for a week and when I opened it, it was filled with rotting fruit and water. "Well, if you didn't clean it out, it still has rotten fruit in it, I guess." "Clean it out? Why should I do that? Why don't you take care of that and hurry up because we have to go."

So subtle, yet so effective. Making me wait, changing plans, adding tasks that extend the time-line well beyond the given estimate, co-opting the event, having me do tasks that aren't my responsibility, things she promised to do and trying to make me feel guilty for not doing them and then, not doing them fast enough. Nice, very nice.

So, now it's one o'clock. Any attempt to move things along yields a flip comment and the minutes tick by. From the outside, I know I may look like the poor-planning, inconsiderate, impatient lout, but that's because . . . well, just because, okay?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Oh, Boy: You've Got To Be Kidding.

Okay, so here's the story. I got a job with Super Duper Mini Corp, a wholly-owned business of Super Duper Mega Giant Corp, a company with a long legacy arising from involvement of paper production, internationally speaking.

Now, the guy that hired me is one heck of a salesman. Big, booming voice, gregarious character - totally old-school. I was charmed. The pay was $20K less than a competing bid from another Mega Super Duper Pharma Corp for more work, less responsibility and no title other than "operator."

Let me say that I walked in with my eyes open. I discussed this extensively with my very smart and practical girlfriend and she helped me sort through the operation of my internal Ouija Board until I decided to go with these presumably fine folks in Eastern NJ. She wisely didn't express her opinion except to help me feedback on my own thoughts, mind you, so she bears no blame whatsoever. Damn.

My plan was to hold out until the last possible second and give Mega Super Duper Pharma Corp a shot for three days so that they could evaluate me and me them. The pay, as I mentioned before, was much better and the political safety of the work was much greater. It was also an "in" the the pharma market in which I already had a toe-hold through a previous gig. The one huge drawback was the travel distance - smack dab in the middle of New Jersey, about an hour and a half from me without traffic. Might have been bearable considering that it was on the second shift.

The manager of the East Jersey job pressured me to start ASAP. I was worried about losing that gig, so I cancelled with the Pharma Corp. Ooops.

I started, toute de suite, under the false impression that I might have a little status based on my sterling background in workflows, packaging for high-end products and high-end retouching work. After all, I made Mel Karmazin look good! Well, I was wrong.

The factor I truly despise in any work environment is politics. Hate it, hate it, hate it. There's enough to do without having to fend off bullies right off the bat. In this particular situation, there is a closely-knit group of cronies, and that is the word, who didn't want new staff because it would dilute their overtime.

I was jibed for being a spy, for being a little slow (in the head), for being the New Guy Forever and for being the Quiet Man, which was a movie with John Wayne if I recollect this correctly. Okay, a joke's a joke, but as a professional, recognized on three or four continents, that kinda hurts. Okay - I know I came in as a heavyweight - not my fault, I didn't hire me. I also know my shit and it was clear to me that these people simply did not. They guessed. At everything.

I did the right thing. I kept my big trap shut, watched and waited. I was treated to silence and exclusion all of the time. One day, the crew was bantering that it would be great to have some iced coffee and who should go for the coffee run? I said, "Hey, I'll go. I'm not even here yet and it's on me!" I went through the staff and, one by one, they declined. WTF?

Okay - so these were pod people. I tried to humanize myself by mentioning personal things. Silence, as if I had never uttered a word. I had been moved to the night shift - contrary to my hiring agreement - with no information ever available as to when that would end. The production supervisor dunned me for taking two breaks since I got there when I should have only taking one per shift. Is that legal, I thought? Wait a minute - why allow me to walk into that trap in the first place. Either the manager was willfully negligent or incompetent by not making policy clear where the industry standard is two ten-minute breaks and forty-five minutes for lunch. Here, they neither paid for breaks or lunch and looking back into my acceptance letter, the manager was quite incorrect. Anyway, WTF?

Prior to that, I was dunned for being two minutes, three minutes and one minute late punching in (which I had never had to do in my life, by the way) on three separate dates. "We have a no tolerance policy for lateness," I was told most sternly, so much so that I felt that I had been caught with my hand in the till, "and if it happens again, you will be suspended pending review." "When you say 'again', do you mean this month, three months, over what period?" "Ever. If you are ever late again during your employment, you will be suspended." "Um, okay." These people are unhinged, better not rock their tiny little boat. I signed a paper that acknowledged the error of my ways and we were done.

By this time, I was getting the sneaking suspicion that these folks were seriously dysfunctional. I started to see the massive cracks between what was real and what the Boss had as information. The production managers controlled the shop force and there was an implicit deal to maintain the status quot - that is, eliminate new hires, keep the OT up and the ops would keep being nice to the production managers by not slowing down the work. My aha moment began to turn into a nightmare.

Mind you, I could have been making more money with no stress, or less bullshit stress, anyway, and I didn't have to have my balls squeezed (a med exam was required to be hired - why? the heaviest thing I was going to lift was a mouse.) to get it. Now, I had to figure out how to keep my job. I did what made sense to me - worked hard, was diplomatic and cheery, and said nearly nothing for eight hours a day. It was fantastically monastic.

My trainer clearly hated me. The chill was so strong that my daily greeting's reply from him produced frost on my glasses. I was the submissive dog in this alpha pack, but they were determined to oust me. Or, was I being paranoid?

Turns out I was dead on. In mid-June, the HR person showed up and had a talk with me about derogatory language. I listen and agreed that the workplace was no place for off-color language, exclusion-ism or sexism, or for discriminatory behavior of any kind. I mentioned that when I owned my own business, we took great pains to provide a professional workplace for our people and such behavior was noted and censured. So, I understood that what she was talking about was more or less common sense. She repeated herself in another way and I agreed again. Then, she pointed out that I had been overheard making derogatory remarks against Latin people. My immediate reaction was to joke, "You mean ancient Romans?" Like so many horrid bureaucrats, there is only The Way, e.g., I was only following orders, mein Herr. Therefore, she was not amused. Didn't even bother to intake what I had said. I could have said "Looks like rain." Wouldn't have mattered.

She went on to point out that the policy forbids this. I said, "What policy is that?" She looked at me like I was insane. "You can't make remarks like that to your co-workers, and, by the way, it was confirmed." Okay, hold on now. I made a remark that was derogatory against Spanish people? Lady, what are you talking about. I don't SPEAK at work and no one SPEAKS to me. How do I handle this? I'm a new hire. It's clear that they've already been untruthful to me about when I would be working and with whom. Now I'm slurring my co-workers? I'd have to be insane.

Which I am not. I may be clever, or funny, but I don't poke a bear in the ribs and ask him if he wants a piece of me because I already know what his order is - Man Tare Tare. So, I say, as obliquely and diplomatically as possible, "I'm sure I would never say anything derogatory against anyone. I have a spotless work history and countless recommendations. Perhaps the crew was bantering as they do whilst excluding me and may have mis-heard or are attributing this to me out of context. When did this happen? What was the nature of the supposed conversation? Who overheard this? What was said? What words exactly were used? These questions are valid and reasonable, don't you think?" I could see the steam blowing cartoon-like from her ears. "Look, it was confirmed, okay? Now let's talk about something else." Very, very strange and, by the way, very juvenile and unprofessional.

What I would have done, at least to show my due diligence as an employer, is have the accusing employee make a formal grievance in writing, specifically indicating exactly what was said. I would ask the accused person to respond, in writing, and then I would bring both together and give them a good fucking talking too. As employees, they would have cost me time and money to acquire and any strife is bad for the company in terms of production. If it's untrue, I would want to know what the employee's motivation was for making a false or misleading accusation. No one is without the possibility of agenda in such situations, and it needs to be looked at. Further, the complaining employee, in my experience in hiring, firing and managed hundreds of people over twenty years, is usually the problem. It means that they lack the interpersonal skills to play well with others and rather than try to mediate their dislike of their co-worker, they cry to mama. An employee like that is a diva and will never not be a problem because they require management resources to maintain.

I signed nothing, I was given nothing written to review or acknowledge, there were no specifics. There was no warning, or discipline. The air was never cleared. In short, it was mismanaged.

In the meantime, there was constant talk of how terrible the company is and how the money sucked (it was about average for the area, actually, with good benefits with plenty of overtime for the "old boy" network ensconced within, how the managers never got "written up" and how there was no training or support. Okay, everybody gripes, but big alarm bells went off in my head here. It's so terrible that you've been here on average ten years? Makes no sense. You're trying to tell me something, aren't you. Naw, I'm being paranoid, right? Wrong.

Now, let's take a brief foray into speech in general. There's hurtful speech, that is, language that makes a person feel reasonably threatened for their safety or well-being and then there's speech that the person doesn't like. There's plenty of speech I don't like. Hate speech. Off-color racial or religious jokes make me uncomfortable. But I don't feel threatened. If I did, by case law, it would not be reasonable fear. But, who thinks along those lines? Mostly no one. We employ common sense. Now, add to that some facts.

My ex is from Central America. My daughter is bi-racial, as a product of that marriage. Never, in my fifteen years with her had I ever been anything but an advocate for the understanding of how race should be viewed, namely, that it shouldn't. Why - because my daughter is half me and half my wife - any other position would mean that I'm a racist against my own daughter. My lovely, sweet, innocent daughter, who loves her dad very much, I might add. Further, I am of Jewish background. Half of my ancestors on my father's side were GASSED TO DEATH because they were of "inferior race" as arbitrarily determined by a bunch of old-boy bureaucrats. My parents ran away from Poland just in the nick of time since, although my mother was a Catholic, she would have been shot on the spot for collaborating with a Jew. So, I'd be just about the least likely candidate for hate speech. I mean, boy oh boy, really, come on.

Nevertheless, the same said person accused me yet again. And this time, they fired me for it. No warning, No due process, no substantiation. Nothing. It's one thing to fire someone. Employment is at-will unless there's a contract (which is why unions are clearly necessary, but that's another topic.) But to accuse, not show the basic courtesy that would otherwise be demanded by the U.S. Constitution to provide a venue to confront the accuser and make a defence, but done so unprofessionally as to not even document what was said, or whether I acknowledged it? Oh, boy (and this is the offending word, by the way, without context) am I ever surprised. Oh, boy, was it humid today. Oh, boy, you've got to be kidding.

My girlfriend (the Rock of New Jersey) has said that things happen for a reason. Sometimes, it seems too obvious to mention but, in this case, I get it. I really get it.

Sacred Heart of Jesus,
have mercy on us.
St. Jude, worker of miracles,
pray for us.
St. Jude, help of the hopeless,
pray for us.

—Novena to St. Jude

Saturday, July 7, 2007

It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp

The water is murky in this land of longing and desire. Very murky. Very, very murky. Very, very, very - okay, that's enough.

Let the merging begin!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Privately Yours, For The World To See

It's amazing the complex web of emotions and thoughts I've had today. About you and about us.

I'm still flattened by it all - the scope of what is and what could be and what may not be.

When I look at you, deep in thought, I see strength and goodness and someone who is determined to survive to live, really live but not in desperation. I also sense doubt and worry, fear and concern. I'm determined to be there for you in the way you need and want.

I'm not sure that I've ever felt like this before. It feels dangerous and exhilarating that I chance a broken heart. Somewhere in my soul, I know that it would be worth it. I can't deny this no matter how hard I try and I have tried. My hope is that we are unlike Tristan and Isolde, doomed to have missed the making.

You commit in place of witness. You love and scarcely hate. Truth bolsters you where cleverness is artifice to be waved away - seen for a momentary amusement. You conquer without a bellow and ride without breaking the horse. Your sins are your own even when they are of another. Your glow is the twilight and the dawn all at once and never at all. Your core is love and life together borne by the energy of an invincible star never to end as anonymous dust.

That's all I can bear at the moment. Here it issued from my silent lips, these words are my proxy - I love you.