When you go poking around in the past: Got no future just dead stars for dead eyes

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Life. Life is full of loneliness, misery, suffering and unhappiness. This is how Woody Allen opens up his film Annie Hall, and this is my opening too.  He is right after all.  His character’s neurotic and mistrusting approach to life cost him Annie Hall, the love of his life, or maybe not, maybe he had better and greater loves, it was after all only an hour and a half long movie. There’s a lot we don’t get to see off screen. What we do see is pretty sweet.  One of my favorite scenes was when he and Annie were in the bookstore and he suggests to Annie to buy some books “with the word death in the title”, you know, “instead of that cat book”. “That’s pretty serious stuff”. Yes Annie. This is serious stuff…
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Today I drove down the street where I grew up. I moved away over 15 years ago and until this day much has remained the same. Occasionally, once every couple of years, or whenever I would get the chance, I’ll bike through the old neighborhood, even though I live so far away from there now.  Still the same ol’ street. Heck, even Google street view from this past summer showed that everything was pretty much exactly the same.

elisabeth

WELL… the house next to mine, the one that I have been telling stories about my entire life, the backdrop to most of my childhood stories: GONE. Bulldozed.  In its place: a hideous atrocity, an affront to architecture: a bland rectangular pile of bricks so out of place that I had to take a minute to reorient myself and realize that yes, I was on the right street! I wonder what happened. I wonder what happened to the woman who lived there. I wonder what happened to “Susan”…
It’s not really about the stupid house. Who cares about a damned house, it’s just a house. It’s more about something that was such a sure thing all these years suddenly disappearing. But you know, things were probably not as rosy as I remembered them being. When you’re a kid growing up, you usually have fond memories about where you grew up. Then, years later you return only to find out that your house is in a neighborhood colorfully referred to as the Rat’s Nest, and that “great big” backyard you used to play in was just a narrow alley by the train tracks, and that sweet lady who lived across the hall who had all those men over all the time was just a prostitute.
Alfredo told Salvatore just that in Cinema Paradiso: “Living here day by day, you think it’s the center of the world. You believe nothing will ever change. Then you leave: a year, two years. When you come back, everything’s changed. The thread’s broken. What you came to find isn’t there. What was yours is gone.” 
When you go poking around in the past, you (fill in the blank) …
 

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The other day I discovered that a friend of mine passed away. He was the very first person that I ever met online… this was back in 1997, when I got my first computer. We met in an Aerosmith newsgroup. We quickly became friends and started trading pictures, bootlegs, posters, and anything and everything Aerosmith-related. I can’t remember just when he and I lost touch, but it was just the other day when I turned on ICQ, which I only did because I was out having dinner with friends and it came up in conversation, that his name showed up, at the top of my list and I thought “Shit, what ever happened to him?”…
A Google search provided the answer. His obituary said he passed away in 2008. How can so many years have gone by since I spoke to the guy? Its’ crazy how quickly time passes and how many people you were close with just slip away, just like that. The whole thing still seems so surreal to me.
When you go poking around in the past, you (fill in the blank)…
 
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Honesty has all but disappeared in our society. It’s amazing to me to what lengths one will go to in order to sugar coat the truth. It’s even more amazing to me that some people prefer to have their truth sugar coated. That’s fine for most, but not for me.
There is of course a difference between honesty and deliberate cruelty. Deliberate derogatory comments passed off as acts of honesty are especially heinous. Such acts come from a much deeper and darker place, a place which I will never understand.
“Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable! It is the one unforgivable thing in my opinion!”
A Streetcar Named Desire 1
Things may not necessarily be that bad, and most of us will never go mad the way Blanche Dubois did at the hands of Stanley Kowalski, but it may feel like you’re getting close to that point sometimes. In this world of bullies, hot-heads, miscreants, loligaggers and New England School marms, it can be quite a challenge to keep your cool while keeping said ilk at bay.
When you go poking around in the past, you (fill in the blank) …
… you find that life is not all that serious. Yes, it’s ok to feel that you’ll live forever. It’s just a matter of finding the balance between that and understanding that you won’t, so plan ahead.. somewhat. Don’t go all James Dean on yourself and live fast and die young.
Play that record loud sometimes and forget that you’re bothering the neighbors.
Don’t stop doing what you wanna do just because it’s the middle of the week and you have to get up early for work. You kill yourself for your job, you’re entitled to go in while your mind is elsewhere now and then. Hell, call in sick if you feel guilty about it, what do you want me to tell you? Just fucking chill out if that’s what you want.
In this crazy world of ours who knows what’s wrong or right anymore. You do right and it doesn’t work out for you; you see others do what you were taught was wrong and they’re awarded the Pulitzer prize. You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. What’s important is that you remember where you come from: that place is behind you, and where you are going is BETTER.
 Just remember that it’s OK to drift away now and then, but when it comes time to gear up and step up, you have to make sure that you’re ready, because with all that you have to face head-on, there is no way around it: When it comes down to it, this world is filled with loneliness, misery, suffering and unhappiness, so buy all those books with the word “death” in the title, because it’s better to down a pill that is hard to swallow than one that has been coated in sugar; sugar will do you to no good! Sugar will lead you to obesity and diabetes, and then you will wish that you had listened to reason. Reason told you to buy those books. SO buy those books with the word “death” in the title… instead of that cat book.
-This Is Orson Welles.