Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Well this is sort of complicated, and way too long. Tough. Skip it if you want to wallow in your ignorance. Turned out to be a study in futility. This blog however has been about a very few things -- mostly about emotion, and its communication. So the following would be a case study in the failure, and hopelessness, of communication, clouded as it must be by emotion.

C, who will have appeared in these pages in earlier years in fleeting references, found me somehow on facebook, and sent me a touch or a squeeze or whatever the jargon. He did so under an alias, in the persona of a dog. Okay, humor -- but I don't know anyone by that name, so I pretty much ignored the missive.

Here then, below, is a subsequent series of contacts. C, bear in mind, was my good friend in 10th grade. He was my intellectual match, although he was numbers and I was words. Then he got into alcohol, and later drugs, and I moved to Oz and we had some contact in the 80s and early 90s, and then I withdrew from all social contact and had some adventures and some tragedies, and it's been over 15 years since I've heard from C. In any case I had noticed, even in the 80s, that he was not of the same caliber that he had been. The edge was noticeably less sharp. Most wouldn't notice it. But I did, and sadly do still. Drugs will do that.


Maggi Top --
First - a belated happy birthday.

Second - I just remember Ms. R being the Speech Coach but Forensic Club sounds so much better. [a reference to a facebook birthday wish]
Third - does cheese also get snarkier with age? [I had said in fb that, like cheese, I improve with age.]
Fourth - I have to believe you know who this is so have I fallen out of your good graces?
Fifth - how about friending me - or at least messaging me back. my fragile ego so depends on this.

Jack H --
I do not know a Maggi Top. I would normally take you for a sophisticated Viagra spam. However, your plaintive whinings prompted me to deduce that you are an actual person, some vague shadow from my past. The name will come to me, no doubt, some time. Until then you will wait patiently. [I still hadn't bothered to think about who this was. Incurious you say?]

Maggi Top --
Patience is a skill I have developed. But I must say, I have provided you with numerous and unique clues and since you cannot figure me out I wonder if this is the [full name deleted] I remember from HHS. Let's see: blonde hair, one time bassoon player, founding member of the PDN, resident of O then S St in [name deleted], maniacal green bug driver (as opposed to black velvet ones) - remember racing around the Hollywood Hills playing car tag? - ex-husband of S, father of N, builder of southern hemisphere structures, [..., ..., ...] - how are M and M? (that front page story about [...] was as dramatic as those [...] were hilarious) - and dubious wit. The real Jack H would have figured me out in a heartbeat - this Jack H seems to be a spug. "Death is a songbird ...." Oh - and you wouldn't know Maggi and Top - they are my two dogs and I did not have dogs back then. Come on, my friend - try just a little harder. And I am insulted that you would term someone with such sophisticated recollections as a vague shadow. NOW EXACTLY HOW MANY PEOPLE DO YOU KNOW WHO COULD PRODUCE SUCH MEMORIES? I would say probably one. But I would be happy to reveal myself if you tire of this sport.

Oh ya - and if it were not for you, I would not know my wife - she even threw you out of a party once.

Jack H --
too long. edit it down and I'll read it. [Hilarious. Of course I knew who it was. One of my few friends.]

Maggi Top --
My how disingenuous of you! I'd be more than happy to help you out - which way did you come in? Anyway, here we go:

Patience ... sport.


Jack H --
Yeah, I get it. Yer a dog. Har. And a cat too. Meow. [His fb icon was a cat.]

Maggi Top --
And if you are Calvin then where is Hobbes? The more things are different, the more they stay the same. Roar.

Jack H --
We'll avoid the obvious pussy allusions. Please?

Maggi Top --
Hmmm ... I suggest it would be more appropriate for you to use "illusions." BTW, I wish you would address me by my given name, Jack.

Jack H --
I thought I knew who this was, but then you mentioned a wife, and that dude was totally gay. Closeted, but really feminine. A real game player, in complete denial. Not that there's anything wrong with it. [This is where it went south. My fault.]

Maggi Top --
I can see from your reply that you have been exploring alternate sexualities. I am sorry that I am not gay - and I am truly honored that you would try to hit on me - but I doubt I would fall for someone as surly as you.

D says that someone as sharp as you should be able to figure me out given all the set of unique identifiers I have supplied (don't get your panties in a bunch, Mr. Secretive - I did not share the info) but I had to suggest that perhaps you have simply become addlepated in your golden years. [And he is correct. I didn't like it at all, having details of the past, however innocuous, discussed. This was fb messaging, which I googled and found was private ... but it made me uneasy.]

Or perhaps you do know who I am and are simply being coy - or continuing the struggle for control that we enjoyed oh so long ago.

I can't quite figure you out - but then, that pleases you, doesn't it? [No, I don't think so. I had thought we were on the same page. I can miss it too, sometimes. He was being sincere -- sort of leaden-footed, but sincere.]


Jack H --
Dear Maggi --

This is indeed a puzzler. An epicene (presumably heterosexually) married man with gender issues, self-identified as a female, hopefully neutered dog, with a pussycat as an icon, obsessed with injecting "alternate sexualities" into conversations, who says of himself "I am sorry that I am not gay...", with deep projection issues and a thinly masked craving to be desirable.... Nope, I don't think I'd ever have associated with anyone like that. The years can do a lot of damage however, so perhaps some overwhelming cascade of traumas has perverted someone in my past into the self-invalidating caricature I am confronted with.

This "D" person, if not a psychotic delusion, is correct: I have you figure doubt. [Yeah, it's me who has the communication problem. I was still thinking he got it, and was as sharp as he had once been. No insult meant. But someone who knows or knew me should have gotten it. We communicate best by looking past the words. Note to self.]

Maggi Top --
I'm glad you have me figured doubt.

More than ever before, I now understand that a steady diet of FOX News and Tea Party mailings can take a reasonable mind with conservative Christian values such as yours and warp it into a mere tool as manifested by your most recent posting. [Had he found FP? It's sort of become an Obama-bashing site. Sorry for that. I just gotta say something, though, right?]

Not to pry but I was wondering if you made it to D.C. last weekend to rejoice with your fellow homophobic teabaggers to rejoice in St. Martin Luther Beck's "I Have a Delusion" campaign speech?

I doubt that you and K and - your other brother's name momentarily escapes me - were allowed to keep pets in your childhood but you should consider it now. Animals make us human and besides: think of all the repressed issues you could handle if you got a male dog and slept with your best friend every night.

I'm just saying ....

As far as your doubt that you would have ever associated with anyone like me, I would have the say the recollections I have so far provided - and there are many more - would tend to make that statement wishful thinking at best.

In retrospect, my being the smarter one must have always caused you great self-loathing - and still does. I regret that.

I think that D would enjoy being termed a "delusion." I'm not sure what the implications of your friending delusions are however.

BTW, I understand your comfort level has been exceeded by my various profile pictures so I have put up one (with you in mind - hence the warning) of my male dog. [He had removed the cat picture and replaced it with a dog in an enclosure, with a sign reading "Keep out of the dog." Cute.]

Kisses and Shit,


Jack H --
Yep, figureddd oubt. Having dribbled out the last sludgey gob of your wayward libido, you turn to politics. We shall pass over both, as nobility is silent in the face of shame. [Good line. I just didn't want to do the politics thing.] Funny though how your advice for happiness focuses on sleeping with your best male friend.

But ... no, still no bells. It's just this gay thing of yours. I knew guys who'd joke about it, but to make it the center of your life as you have ... I avoided characters like that. You know, low. Not that there's anything wrong with it. Lord. Who would name their male dog Maggi? And then call himself that? Or Top. Really? Top? Really? Not Bottom, or Catcher, or the Holland Tunnel, or the Receptive Anus? I mean, dogs reflect the nature of their owners.

I appreciate the stab at philosophy, but, uh, "animals make us human"? To correct you would be cruel. I'll leave it for you to ponder. [My implication was that being a parent is better. I didn't actually say it, because it's hitting below the belt. But not saying it isn't any better. I'd apologize, but ... well, I just won't. Next he calls me hypocritical. This must be what he meant. He's right.]

Maggi Top --
I tire of your hypocracy. You slander gays yet your texts riff on your homophobia in spite of your hastily added qualifiers. Your words speak loud and clear while you just mumble. You take your marching orders from others and free thought has passed from your mind. You deflect political commentary because your positions cannot stand scrutiny. You are no longer the person I once knew and considered a friend and that is sad.
[I take it here that he really is mad. This seems to be a genuine attempt to get at me.]

Moreover, this feigned ignorance does not serve you well and only indicates a mind that has been allowed to fester and rot in solitude for too long, Facebook be damned. "Who would name their male dog Maggi?" etc. Calling that droll would be to give it undeserved praise. [It must be that I hurt him. I was just being silly. Sorry.]

BTW, I don't want you to think that homosexuality is something I spend undue attention on - I most certainly don't - but it just seems that your pitiable bag of topics is running low these days and so I allowed myself to be sucked in (there - that comment should provide fodder for some shoddy humor).

I do not know what has happened to you, Jack, but it is significantly unpleasant. I contacted you with a desire to reconnect but a view of your wall postings shows you ultimately no longer able to engage in a concept apparently alien to you - reciprocal friendship. And while my cryptic behavior may be justly called juvenile, if you represent the alternative, I think I will just continue on my way. [He is sincere and honest here. My bad.]

As far as pets are concerned, well even though you will never know it, the loss is entirely yours. [Years ago, I liked animals, and he didn't. Now I've outgrown the need of them. They exist to teach us how to be tender, and how to prepare for grief.]

I can only hope that N took after his mother because the alternative is just too harrowing.

I sincerely wish you the best, Jack, but this thread has just become too tedious.

"Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game."

Farewell - no one is worth working this hard for to merely have a friend request accepted - not even "nobility" such as yourself.

C T [full name deleted]

BTW, it was not my intention for a friendly outreach to take this turn. Everything for you is attempt to control and dominate - has your ego truly remained this weak? I even made attempts to locate you in the past like when you lived above the OSH on S St. but to no avail as you crave privacy as part of this mystique you cultivate. It is now difficult for me to believe how transparently embittered you have become but so be it. I await either your silence or your caustic reply as there really is no other option for you, is there? C [Again, he is honest and sincere. When I pasted all this in, I had thought he was the problem.]

Jack H --
Oh, C. Good lord. Take a pill. You don't get it? Just a little shift in perspective, and you'd smile instead of take offense. Who talks that way? "...nobility is silent in the face of shame." Yes, it is good. Worthy of me. But the perspective you appear to think I'm coming from escapes me. [And it did.]

It was news to me that you'd married A. [Whose name appears on the dog's fb page as its mother.] Congrats, belatedly. You appear in her fb picture, so I don't suppose it was a struggle to pierce the mystery of who Maggi Top, MT, was. I'd thought you were in on the joke.

As for the stern statements in your most recent communiques, I take them as the product of misunderstanding. Forgive my clumsiness. I find that particular character quite amusing, but not everyone appreciates him, and it's clearly been too many years for you to remember the precise nature of my malfunction. [And I'm being honest and sincere.]

On the other hand, don't be such an uptight asshole.

N is a phenomenon. Five and a half years in the military, combat in Iraq, back for several years now. I used to save his voicemails, for obvious, dark and rather sad reasons. But he came back unharmed. My hero. See? Dogs are great. But I recommend sons.

I don't know how to friend people. I get emails sometimes via FB that tell me people have communicated, and there's a button to press, but so much of it is a scam, and I ignore most of it. Enough crap in the world, eh?

If you really want a discussion on politics, bend over sweetheart. I'll do you hard. That goes for the gay thing too. Didn't you see Seinfeld? [All right, I still think it's funny -- juvenile, but that's the context I thought I was in.]


Maggi Top --
Oh Jack ... I was at lunch on a visit to Denver, surfing the wifi, when I read your last installment and A said "what the fuck is wrong with you two children anyway?" I had to pause for reflection - she is entirely too sensible sometimes ....

Our thread was becoming onerous and repetitive anyway and I had limited options in terminating it: it was either just let myself sheepishly out the door or make a scene and slam it on the way out. I've never been a fan of option one, esp. around you.

My ultimate motivation in using my dog's names was so my students would not find me and be able to follow my inane ramblings but now I rather enjoy posting and responding from the dog's point of view - much like you enjoy your own sometimes unappreciated persona. I only speak as a human - albeit one with a potentially stern persona - in private messages so I can maintain my FB illusion. You seem to carry on regardless. [Yes, I do seem to have done that.] And that seems to have backed us both into a corner. [Indeed. It's not that I'm insensitive. I am, but that's not it. It's that the people who value me have to understand my limits, and remind me of them. Gently, please.]

BTW, that picture of A and another man? That's not me! That's Rudi Protrudi, lead singer of the Fuzztones, a group she is particularly infatuated with! But ummmm thanks anyway? [Whatever. After 15 years, it could be him, and I knew Maggi was him anyway, so, uh, there.]

In my latter years I am far from uptight (although I may still be an asshole) and have settled into a rather pedestrian existence living in a home in [city name] with two dogs, two cats, an aquarium and a good woman (although you told me long ago that she was not worth it but I fortunately didn't listen to you).

I agree that children (daughters are useful too) are a good thing but you reproduced in your 20s while we would be reproducing in our 40s and that introduces all kind of complications. So the pets became our obvious surrogates.

I totally respect N given what you told me - he most obviously did not grow up to be like you!

Politics? I am totally apolitical and am proud/ashamed to have never voted in my life. The "gay thing?" I spend no time contemplating it which is why the thread started to bore me and with A's prodding, I started thinking about exit strategies. [Well, she owes me nothing, and is looking out for him. Good for her. But she apparently has a foul mouth.]

Forgive me if my particular clumsiness became overly personal but you undoubtedly are as thick-skinned as ever so I was not particularly worried. BTW I have never watched an episode of Seinfeld in my life - my absurdist humor is more attracted to Monty Python and Firesign Theatre. The concept of a "show about nothing" is far too deep for me.

"I don't know how to friend people." Why should anything ahve changed? Buwahahahahaha!

Welcome back, Jack.


Jack H --
Of course you are lying about the supposed Fuzztone guy. Although I did meet a guy at an improv place named C Forest or Forester who was so much your double that I went up to him and assumed it was you. Probably six years ago. Nevertheless, you lie. [I don't know when to stop. I admit it. I thought it was the old C, you know, from 10th grade.]

A is right of course, except it was you who got all bitchy and heavy. You misread my intent and meaning entirely. It is all your fault. [Humor.] To imagine that I would bring attitude to a situation like this is a puzzlement to me. You will please note that you started with a game. That I continued it and riffed on the rules can hardly be a surprise. "Guess who *I* am!" "I can't, it's too hard, but I'm amazing." This was hard for you to see? Meanwhile, I am amazing. [A rhetorical device -- intellectual posing followed by an absurdist twist.]

Pets are to children as masturbation is to sex. Adopt. [A comment destined I now see to be offensive.]

You appear to have remembered an inconsequential or throw-away comment from me re A. I remember her as a person of quality. How a putz like you ended up with her I cannot fathom. What a world. [My ego at work, excused as humor.]

My wonderful amazing son is exactly like me in every way. If I ever see you I will scratch your eyes out. [I'm on a roll.]

Re politics, you have no right to an opinion. You will notice how skillfully I castrated you in this regard. And you're gay. [Rimshot.]

It is doubtful that I'm back. [Because it's so very very hard.]

Communication like this is clearly inadequate, given how thoroughly you misread my tone. [Well, he did.] I'm tired of misunderstandings. [No matter whose fault.] And of pettiness and self-absorption. [Ambiguous.] If I may wax existential. I've had a strange life, and I started out strange, so I do what I can to avoid drama. Who loves, is hostage to fate. Having spoken of being human, you will understand my meaning. [Mysterious. I'm sort of an asshole.]

So, be gentle and patient with your bride, fierce in your love for her, and enjoy every pleasure that is not a vice. [Good line. You may use it. I thought I was being sincere. In context it doesn't work.]

Go in peace. [Go in peace.]


Maggi Top --
My memory is fantastic and my words are true so I believe the only appropriate response is "whatever."

Jack H --
I'm posting this thread on one of my blogs -- names and identifying details omitted. The blog deals, primarily, with the futility of communication. I draw a vague inference, given your political references, that you may have found it. Well, I have to write something, every once in a while. No matter.


Indeed. No matter. That's where we leave it. I understand that a cold reading of my, uh, threads can misunderstand, savagely, my tone. But this guy knew me, my absurdist humor and my jokey personas. I suppose even then he didn't quite get it. But it's on me.

Sorry, C. This is how I really am. I don't mean to be this way. Someone jokingly ... half-jokingly called me a mad genius. Both have a cost. All that humor, what works and what doesn't, is deflection and misdirection. Here I am, don't see me. I've said it every way I know how. About isolation, and futility, and being buried alive. We dig our own graves.

So. No matter.

Oh. This just in:

Maggi Top --
Just one more wrong inference [about finding FP] but I agree that this communication has been futile so I have withdrawn the friend request and am terminating this thread. What entertained us in our youth has grown tired now and if this is all there is, then I will simply block you and be done with it. That saddens me but I believe the term you used is "a man of action."

It is your world Jack and we are all just in it.







bob k. mando said...

I am totally apolitical

i can't speak to the rest of what he wrote but this is clearly a bald faced lie. otherwise, he wouldn't have flown so off the handle, accusing you of consorting with those dastardly right wing loonies.

even if meant, as so much of yours was, as a 'joke' the standard knee jerk leftist reactionisms are telling. it certainly doesn't appear as though he meant it as an inversion of his true opinions.

as hard as it may be, it may be best that it ended here. should he find FP, he'd likely have an embolism. a life spent in the bowels of the education establishment seems to have rotted his mind.

i would have to say though, that i certainly wouldn't have known how to take so much of what you wrote. all non-text clues being stripped out by inadequate prose...

anyways, in honor of your demonstrating such ineffable superiority over us all, have a rap song:

Jack H said...

I deign to allow this comment through because of the final honesty, about how superior I am. Self evident of course, but we must let the little people have their piping voices.

Jack H said...

C really should have known how to take it. He's known me since 1974. One of the disturbing things here is that it shows how little we are really understood.