Tag Archives: self-reflection

Upon Further Reflection…

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My 60th Birthday Self Portrait

Time dictates lots of things.  I am not now even the ghost of what I was back then.  I look more like Santa Claus than my father or my grandfathers ever did.  You may notice that, even with glasses on, I have to squint in order to see who I really am.

It is normal to do a bit of self-examination after a milestone birthday.  But I never claimed to be normal.  In fact, I doubt after the results of the recent election that you could say I was anything like the common man at all.

I was raised a Christian in a Midwest Methodist Church from a small Iowa farm town.  But I have since become something of an agnostic or atheist… not because I don’t believe in God, but because I don’t believe anyone can tell me who God is or how he wants me to be other than me.  But I am also not at the center of the universe the way most religious people believe.  I believe that all people are born good and have to work at being bad by making self-centered choices and making excuses to themselves for behaving in ways that they know are wrong.  God doesn’t forgive my sins because he doesn’t have to.  I am tolerant of all people and most things about them.  To sum up this paragraph, I am nothing like the dedicated Christians I know and grew up among.  The actions of the new, in-coming government and dominant political party convince me that intolerance, self-interest, and rationalizations are the norm.

mickeynose

Sometimes my nose gets really red and my hair bozos out for no particular reason.

I deal with the problems of life by making jokes and forging ahead with carefully considered plans in spite of the doubts others express about my abilities, my choices, and my sanity.  I prefer to do something rather than to sit idly by and do nothing.  Yet, I never do anything without agonizing over the plan before I take that step.  And like the recent election, things usually go wrong.  I have failed at far more things in my life than I have succeeded at.

I am told I think too much.  I hear constantly that I make things too complicated.  People say I should do practically everything in a different way… usually their way.  But I inherited a bit of stubbornness from my square-headed German ancestors.  In fact, I inherited Beyer-stubborn from my Grandma Beyer.  In all the time I knew her, I never saw her change her mind about anything… ever.  She was a Republican who thought all Republicans were like President Eisenhower, even Ronald Reagan…  but not Barry Goldwater.  Someone convinced her that Goldwater was a radical.  That was almost as bad as being a Democrat.  I, however, have strayed from the Beyer-stubborn tradition enough to change my mind once in a while, though only after carefully considering the facts on both sides of the question.  Nixon changed me from a Republican like Grandma into a Democrat.  Fortunately, Grandma Beyer loved me too much to disown me.

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In my retirement, I have gotten even more artistical than I was before.  This is a picture of me with my fictional child Valerie.

So how do I summarize this mirror-staring exercise now that I have passed the 500-word goal?  Probably by stating that I do have a vague idea of who I am.  But I promise to keep looking in the mirror anyway.  One never knows what he will see in the map of his soul that he wears on his face.

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Filed under autobiography, birthdays, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, humor, Paffooney, self portrait, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Weirdie Poetry

Mr. R RabbitThe Man Who Had Bird Knees

I once knew a man…

Who had knees…

That bent backwards, like a bird’s…

And this man…

Could only walk…

Like a limping, lame old duck.

The children all laughed…

And pointed at him…

When he passed them in the park…

And it made him smile…

And laugh to himself…

That his handicap made them happy.

Every single night…

He oiled his weary knees…

And tried to fight the pain…

And every single day…

He used his silly legs…

To do the Chicken Dance for kids.

And then there came a day…

When the bird legs came no more…

To be noticed by kids at the park…

And the parents all learned…

That the poor man had died…

And the whole world brought him flowers.

The next day in Heaven…

St. Peter saw a man…

Whose knees bent backwards like a bird’s…

And all of Heaven laughed…

As he did the Chicken Dance…

While angels clapped in Heaven.

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The thing I find to be most witlessly true about both poetry and life is that things can be funny, and make you laugh, and at the same time make you cry on the inside.  Humor is hard to write because it can be both happy and sad at the same exact moment.  How do you define that quality?  The bitter-sweet nature of nature?  That’s saying it in a way that is both contradictory and odd.  It can give you a wry smile at the same moment it both confounds and confuses you.  So better just to shrug your shoulders and tell yourself you know it when you see it… and this either is or isn’t it.  Sorry if I made you think too hard, cause I know that sometimes thinking hurts.

Mickey at the Wishing Well of Souls

I found a country well, and I thought I had a quarter,

But I fished in pockets hard, and found nothing for the warter,

And since I had to warp a line to make the poem rhyme,

I figured I would just look in, because I had the time.

I looked into the warty water which sat there still and deep,

And could not see the bottom, and I began to weep.

The water was clear and dark and black,

And the only thing I saw… was Mickey looking back.

And nothing of the wishing well, its magic could I see,

For only there just staring back, the secret thing was me.

Kops

I apologize for inflicting poetry on you when you probably came here looking for goofy stuff to laugh at.  But my poetry is just like all my word-mangling and picture-crayoning.  It tends to be goofy and weird and walking a tightrope over a shark tank between chuckle-inducing and tear-jerking.  You probably can’t even tell which is the poetry and which are the burbled brain-farts of commentary that pad this thing out to five hundred words.  Four hundred and ninety six, actually.

mANDY

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Filed under humor, Paffooney, poetry

Humor Me (Humor? Me?)

I am wondering now if it is appropriate to call what I do in my writing and my cartooning humor.  I tell stories.  As a school teacher in both junior high and high school, I told stories in class and made kids laugh.  (Okay, I admit, kids that age mixed with hormones, experiments with sex and alcohol, and under-developed frontal lobes in their brains will laugh at practically anything.  I know a teacher who crosses her eyes when talking to kids about their mistakes, and she has them rolling on the floor with giggle-fits.  This is now my fourth longest parenthetic expression, also known as an aside.  They would probably laugh about that.)  But is it fair to call that humor?

Mark Twain

I write stories filled with feel-good crap.  I’m as likely to make you cry as I am to make you laugh.  (At least, that is my intention.  You may laugh at things I intend to make the reader sad, and be sad or nauseated by the things I think are funny.)  How does that fit with the definition of humor on the internet?  I get a big kick out of some humor blogs I found on WordPress.   http://https://irtfyblog.wordpress.com/  I Refuse to Follow Your Blog is a master complainer.  He disses and crabs and totally kicks butt about a number of things.  (Though I must admit I used his list of un-funny humor blogs to follow a few more that give me chuckles… What can I say?  I’m a contrarian at times.  How can you teach seventh graders and not be?)  http://https://buffalotompeabodyblog.wordpress.com/  Buffalo Tom Peabody not only rocks my rib-cage with his wonderful photo-shopped self-cat-portraits, he makes a really guffaw-inducing set of videos on YouTube.  http://http://bensbitterblog.com/  Ben’s Bitter Blog is blithely bitter and better at bitter than any bitter blogger blogging bitterly that I have ever found.  Ben blogs bitter better than other bitter bloggers who blog with bitter butter… (All right!  I know.  Alliteration by itself isn’t funny.  It took me tons of tempestuous years teaching to learn that.)  http://http://dougdoeslife.com/  Doug Does Life  does a blog with a monkey that you have to see to believe.  They all make me laugh and they all seem to know better than I how to do the humor shtick.  So how dare I call what I write humor?

After the Charlie Hebdo incident, (which you may have noticed has seriously bruised my cartoony little heart)  I have to take humor and comedy in a whole new, more serious light.  Ralph Bakshi, a master cartoonist whom I adore, says that if your cartoons don’t piss somebody off and make some enemies, then you’re doing it wrong, and you have to stop calling yourself a cartoonist.  He says you are just an illustrator… in my case a children’s illustrator.  Do I need to be insulted by that?  Am I not a humorist?  Am I not funny?  I will tag this lunatic post as humor even though it’s not funny… well, not funny funny… just funny odd.  Will I get in trouble with the cartoon gods for doing it?  (Wait a minute… cartoon gods?  Are they gonna zap me with a cartoon fun-bolt or hit me in the face with a pie or something?  If they send terrorists, it may elevate my status.)  So I am asking a whole lot of questions and not answering them myself like usual.  After all, who decides if this is humor?  Not I.

Mickeynose

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Filed under humor, Paffooney, philosophy