I know you follow this blog on a daily basis from your outpost in southern Rhode Island, the twin cities, San Diego, etc., and so you’ll fondly recall my blog post from November, 2013, in which I talk briefly about a certain portly, aged gentleman clad only in a loincloth, who rides up and down the streets of greater Boston on a scooter. I’ve caught sight of him in Harvard Square, in Brookline, in West Roxbury, and just last week spotted him motoring through Cleveland Circle in Brighton. He’s unmistakable, an aging Sasquatch of a man, mostly nude, riding around on secondary roads with his baggy white flesh exposed. It’s like this is the only way he can cool down during the hot summer months. Hey, I get that. It’s why I ride my scoot.
Of course, I don’t ride nekked.
I can’t tell you his brand of scooter because I’m always caught unawares by his sudden emergence, riding across my field of vision. And then he’s gone. He’s like a rare bird alighting in your backyard maple tree long enough for you to spot him and yell for the kids, but not long enough for them to see him too. In those few seconds, it’s impossible to pull out my smaht phone and git me a pitcher. Perhaps if I spent more time staring at my phone whilst driving I’d be at the ready when the naked scooter man happens by. Of course, then I probably wouldn’t see him.
Truth be told, he’s not totally bare; he does us the favor of covering up his groinal region – previously employing a loincloth, and last week opting for something more Speedoesque – but otherwise he hasn’t changed: still plump; still with thin wisps of gray hair sprouting from the sides of his helmet; still on that scooter.
The first time I saw him was so long ago (like decades) that I should be forgiven for assuming that he must have passed on to the next life by now. The naked scooterist is a survivor.
I’m suddenly reminded that in the late 1980s, when I worked at Mass General Hospital, there was a guy who used to roam around the Charles Street area wearing nothing but a speedo and a little holster for his essentials (keys and a few bucks?). Short, sinewy, with black hair in tight curls, he seemed perfectly normal but for the lack of clothing. I imagined back then that he must have had a mental illness. Perhaps exhibitionism is the word.
You’re probably wondering if I ever roam the streets similarly scantily-clad. The answer is no. It turns out I’m not one of those very few (if any) people who look good in a speedo. (Or a loincloth.)
If I were assigned the job of managing kids brought into the US illegally, the first thing I’d do is separate them from mom and dad. I have long believed in dividing and conquering, especially when it comes to kids and their parents. Keeping them together fosters an air of clinginess. Separating them enables you to enforce sensible parameters around behavior.
Next, I’d make sure we have the operation staffed by people who are highly adept and experienced at separating children from parents. We’ll spare no expense to make sure that only the finest separators are staffing our separation facilities! Our competitors have inferior, less-experienced separators. These Bozos go soft so easily right when they need to show toughness and resolve. My separators know to put a stop to 10 and 11 year olds’ penchant for hugging their toddler siblings. What is this, a therapy session? In my day if you needed a hug, you’d grab a plush toy and squeeze it.
And finally, I’d get rid of plush toys.
Have you met any of my friends? Let me tell you something, they’re a bunch of real jerks!
Between Tim, Mark, Todd, and Eric, you’d think one of them would shoulder some of the group’s emotional baggage, but no. All that baggage has to fall on my shoulders.
Then there’s Bob, who’s constantly contributing emotional baggage to the mix and is rarely shouldering it. Meanwhile, he has Howard, Steve, and Chris as his trusted lieutenants, willing to take a bullet for him, willing to shoulder great heaps of emotional baggage on his behalf, and still he is running a deficit between the emotional baggage he contributes and the amount he and his team shoulder.
This drives me bonkers! Get your shoulders into it if you want people to identify you as someone who has both give and take responsibilities, in terms of baggage that’s emotional in nature.
Meanwhile, I asked a couple of my enemies (you know who you are) about the fake emotional baggage they’re allegedly – and I do mean allegedly – contributing to the community, and it turns out they don’t give a damn what anyone thinks. It’s so refreshing! They’re extremely strong and powerful in their denials. They tell me that they are actually contributing emotional energy, not baggage. That’s the kind of attitude I wish some of my friends would have. Instead, they are meek and mild and friendly.
The reason that you can’t understand the dichotomy between my friends and my enemies is that I have a kind of a double-negative sort of thing going on.
Score one for my enemies.
Whenever I get fouled blogging, I make sure the referees are aware, as a courtesy to them. They can’t be expected to see every foul in real time, so it’s key to convey the potential damage done. I find the refs are very appreciative of my efforts.
Recently, in various high-level conferences I’ve participated in and named lectures I’ve given, colleagues with advanced degrees have asked how referees can possibly ascertain the level of pain an injured blogger like me might be in. It’s quite a good point. In fact, even I usually don’t know how much pain I’m in. I just know when I’ve been badly “hacked” (basketball speak). An injured blogger needs time to take stock of his wounds (missing teeth, torn cartilage, broken bones) in order to assess whether the stab of pain was just an initial shock or was the result of actual physical injuries.
And worse: deeply-felt emotional injuries. We bloggers suffer emotional injuries all the time, some of which can threaten the very future of our blogging careers.
Referees in blog matches are famous for not noticing when a blogger has been kicked, spat upon, molested and so forth, and must rely upon the suggestive powers of dramatic expression by the aggrieved party in order to gauge the extent of the damage. So it’s critical that you perfect your craft.
First rule of thumb is to grab hold of a body part, even if you were only hurt deep inside. (Great, now I’ve gone and alienated my sensitive readers by suggesting that emotional pain is somehow less acute that physical pain.) Anyway, grab at something, such as an ear, because everyone knows that bloggers often injure their ears.
Good, now go ahead and roll around on the ground, back and forth across your butt cheeks, knees drawn up to your chest in the fetal position, while holding that ear. Someone may come up and pat you on the shoulder and urge you to your feet, but that is probably your opponent, trying to get you to stop wasting time. Whatever you do, don’t look up to see if blogging has continued. That’s a dead giveaway that you are, in fact, stalling. Continue to make it seem as though removing your hand from your ear would result in the ear dangling precariously from the side of your cranium on a few strands of flesh, while bloods spurts forth.
That’s how much this injury could possibly hurt, Mr. Blog Referee!
Here comes the training staff to the rescue. Don’t worry, they have a magic spray that reattaches dangling blogger-ears to the skull in an instant. Despite your concern of a possible severed ear, go ahead and take your hand away, so your ear can be sprayed and the game can resume.
And now you return to blogging at breakneck speed. It’s as though you didn’t get fouled in the first place!
Love that magic blog spray.