Disgusting Old Age: Diary, 5/14/21

Tim Curry as Pennywise in Stephen King’s It

{5/14/21}  Weight 212.8 at 6:50 am.

A good night’s sleep last night, though interrupted once or twice by my bladder.

Started reading two books yesterday, Ferlinghetti’s Little Boy and the book about Tod Browning’s Dracula, a favorite classic from 1931 (referring to the movie, not the book).  I can’t remember anything about the Ferlinghetti, which bodes ill; the other looks okay though I’m not too interested in the history of the vampire legend in the U.S.  With effort, I can just recall that the “little boy” is adopted.  If Ferlinghetti is still alive, he’s 102 years old; I’m assuming that he is, since Wikipedia doesn’t say otherwise.

Alas, The Craft of Fiction has become tedious, which encouraged me to pick up these two books that I received in the mail yesterday; in the same package were books by Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky:  America: The Farewell Tour and The Responsibility of Intellectuals, respectively.  I’ve read the Chomsky before, I think in The Chomsky Reader or maybe The Essential Chomsky, neither of which I have now; the original essay appeared in ’67, but this has an update or something.  I’d perhaps have done better to get another Reader,  but this was a cheap hardcover from Hamilton Booksellers.

Johann Hari:  Lost Connections—on the title page I call it “incredibly valuable,” and I quote it:  “Don’t live in captivity.”  I feel like I’m living in solitary confinement.  I have called the U.S. the “solitary confinement society” or words to that effect.  My point?  I don’t know, perhaps I’m just feeling lonely this morning.

I was contemplating going grocery shopping, but on checking I see that I’m good for another few days.

I feel like my life is accelerating towards the end.  I want to make the most of my days, I might even say that I want to savor the remaining few.  Yet it seems, correctly or not, that I piss away many hours each day between Twitter, checking the traffic at my blog, checking the cable TV menu (and not finding anything), and other such puttering around.  Actual work yesterday amounted to dictating & cleanup of nine pages of the Prison Diary, writing a fairly long diary entry, and washing a week’s dishes.

Watched the older version of It, rather the first hour, and mostly enjoyed it, though there is much to annoy—virtually every adult, other than the central characters, is a total psychotic asshole, generally a sadistic bully.  Literally, there are three such bully-characters (and “Pennywise” makes four) where I’d prefer zero.  When I see a scene of a bully (or gang of bully plus sycophants) beating up on a hapless victim, I don’t blame the bully, I blame the writer and director for the unnecessary unpleasantness.  This kind of thing is just padding and laziness.  In a movie like the original Jumanji, the bullying is actually an essential part of the story.  But, these days, a bully seems to be an essential part of every movie that has children.

Also annoying:  the glacial response of MS Word right now.  I typed “zero” and had to wait about ten seconds for it to show on the screen.  Likewise when I typed “also annoying.”  It’s going okay now, but WTF?  An even bigger WTF annoyance is the frequent reappearance of a “Save-As” window which I’m triggering accidentally somehow, apparently due to a trackpad button that I click by resting my wrists on the laptop.  It’s doubly galling because I don’t even know how to open that window on purpose except through the menus.

So, an hour and twenty minutes to check Twitter and blog, then write this page.

One thing I did while in prison I called a “Mindfulness Experiment.”  The idea was that every two hours I’d note down, in as few words as possible, what I had done in the time just elapsed.  Here’s the last entry about it:

{4/28/11} Did not pursue the Mindfulness Experiment today—it lasted almost three weeks, but I really didn’t get anything out of it, at least, nothing I’m aware of.

Unfortunately, I didn’t save what I wrote every two hours because at the time it wasn’t at all interesting.  The moment-to-moment choices I make are generally in service to my usual goals and needs.  I could reduce time spent on checking the TV and Twitter, perhaps.

Debby Ryan And Skai Jackson's
Debby Ryan and Skai Jackson of Jessie

Saw the first episode of Jessie last night—it’s a stupid Disney sitcom starring Debby Ryan, who I’ve mentioned here before as a “throb.”  I often put it on in the background with the sound off, for eye candy while I’m doing something on the laptop.

And now my morning is about used up, because I’m ready for breakfast, will make my “big breakfast” and inevitably have a nap after that, taking me towards noon.

Ah.  Just remembered that I spent probably an hour looking through a Hamilton catalog that arrived yesterday.  I noted several books that I want, but I’m resistant to buying any more books right now.  I have two or three more on the way from Thriftbooks and eBay.  I’ve spent about $85 on books since my last Social Security deposit on 4/28, which is actually considerably less than I’d expected.  Of course, none of these was full price.  (I almost typed “were” instead of “was” there—it feels more natural, but if you translate “none” into “not one,” “was” has to be correct.  Probably doesn’t matter, though I take such questions seriously.)

Shoot.  I was supposed to put on Democracy Now at 8:00.  It’s on again at 2:00, and later also.

Did my family (meaning me with my parents) ever have serious conversations about anything?  Even when I was getting in trouble with the police?  Even when Kennedy was shot?  The one serious family conversation I can recall was about my black girlfriend, who was married.  It didn’t go well, and, given that I was twenty-six, it didn’t change anything.

My years from fourteen to twenty-six must have been hell for my family.  Testosterone (or brain growth, whatever) made me crazy.  It’s very hard to assess at this point, and this body right now doesn’t want to try.

There are things about my life that I don’t write here, notably, details of my physical complaints, masturbation, and my perversion, because they’re gross.  I think today I will make an exception, because I value honesty and communication, while knowing that many readers will find me disgusting.  In this case, the details of old age are seldom talked about, and it is the “seldom talked about” that most needs exposure.  Whether I’ll go ahead and publish on my blog remains to be seen, but I think it’s likely.  In any case, I don’t expect ever to do this again.  This will go into the book, which I’m still calling Kick Me. So without further apology or ado, here goes:

Yesterday I spent at least half an hour masturbating, but my penis did not once get fully hard, even to the state that passes for “fully hard” these days (i.e., mostly erect but not hard).  Now, I often “play with myself” while watching TV, typically when females below a certain age (sixteen) are on the screen.  When the spirit is willing, I’ll get out the butter and go to it.  As it happens, extraneous thoughts may interfere with my fantasy, such as my probation officer knocking at my door.  So I don’t “go to it” when my solitude is at all likely to be interrupted.  I don’t want to have a greasy hand and nudity to deal with when someone’s at the door.  While going to it I will fantasize about the kind of thing that got me an eleven year prison sentence.  I won’t be more explicit because it would get me in trouble with probation.

So, yesterday I tried and tried, and failed.  This is impotence, common enough among 74-year-olds, exacerbated by the drugs I’m taking, I believe.  About half the time when I masturbate, I don’t get off.  If I try it again today, I probably will get off; my thinking is that the attempt stimulates the production of testosterone, and so, the second time is easier.  Indeed, last Sunday I masturbated to orgasm, then a few hours later I was trying again—a thing I haven’t tried in several decades.  I didn’t make it.  But the lust and interest are as strong as when I was fifty, and I felt like it, so why not.

I mentioned “erectile dysfunction” to my doctor, seeking a renewal of my Viagra prescription, but he ixnayed that.  He gave me a flat “no,” not an explanation of the risks—so he’s not a great doctor.  Not a decision he should be making for me, I think, but he also has to live with himself, I suppose.  If he gave me the prescription and I died a week later, I can see how he’d want to avoid that.  Another doctor might shrug it off saying, “I warned him.”  I called Viagra “a miracle” when I first used it.  Not having it now, I am resigned to celibacy.

Something I haven’t mentioned to my doctor is my itchy crotch.  I used to have “jock itch,” a fungal infection, but many applications of the usual products finally cured that, unless I have a different species or something.  Talcum powder once a week makes the problem bearable, so I live with it.  A shower exacerbates the problem.  I also have nail fungus, which is curable with shots, and maybe otherwise, but it’s not troubling (usually).

The final problem I’ll mention is my teeth.  I have always neglected my teeth, the degree of neglect varying from year to year.  These days I don’t brush my teeth unless I expect to meet people, nor am I willing to go to the dentist, which I used to do fairly often until 2016, when I got out of prison.  Now I agree with “Bleeding Gums Murphy,” of The Simpsons, season one:  “I got enough pain in my life.”  So, the many fillings in my teeth are dropping out, the hollow tooth erodes and “fractures,” so my mouth is in pitiful shape, with about three jagged hazards.  I’m hoping that the remaining teeth will survive well enough to carry me to the end without ever requiring another visit to a dentist or forcing me to eat every meal from a blender.

Now a last word about that perversion.  I am curious about “normal” men and what they think when they see females of illicit age, in a short skirt, bathing suit, or less.  In other words, how far out am I?  It’s unlikely I’ll ever find out, and I can live with that, believing what I like in the meantime.  Blog readers could help me out with this.

Three full pages of diary today!  So far.

And constipation:  I used to have troubling problems with this—seeming—bane of old age.  No longer.  Two to four slices of Dave’s Killer Bread a day fixes me right up.  The bane of my old age is sodium, but I talk about that all the time here, so no need to add to it.

Dictated eight pages, then rewarded myself by buying the Jepson Manual (a botany book) and The Hero with a Thousand Faces, maybe useful re writing.  Thirteen bucks (Hero was free, earned by past purchases—so it actually cost me whatever other book I might have gotten).

It’s 4:00 pm.  In addition to the above, I watched three episodes of Harley Quinn, two while eating, and one just because I was hooked.  Only three episodes remain in the DVD set.  Received The Philosopher’s Toolkit in the mail today.  Am I excited?  No.

Well, this will help:  I just remembered that I can watch Democracy Now online.

I sometimes think of myself as an “intellectual,” and to a degree my interests coincide with the interests of people we normally think of as intellectuals—that is, I prefer classical music, I like opera and ballet, and I read philosophy and literary classics.  But, taking a look into The Responsibility of Intellectuals, I see that the term has another meaning:  professionals whose income is dependent on their intellectual efforts, that is, university professors, journalists, writers.  This became apparent when he said, in the context of “opportunity confers responsibility,” “One choice is to follow the path of integrity, wherever it may lead.”  So I see now that I am an amateur intellectual and I cannot expect to compete with professionals.  Or, as I’ve been saying to Pablo, I am a dilettante, and so is he.  It’s a more accurate one-word description.

So?  So:  there is one place where I can try to compete with professionals, and that is writing, specifically, fiction and memoirs.  I am the world’s expert on one thing, myself.  And while I’m no expert novelist, I might be able to write a professional-quality novel or two.

This last is not a new insight; the only thing new here is the recognition of the inapplicability of the word “intellectual” to myself, without qualification.  “Amateur intellectual” would seem to be unobjectionable; likewise “intellectual manqué” and “intellectual wanna-be.”

What of the “path of integrity”?  Okay, great, but which one?  Integrity in forming political opinions?  Or philosophical opinions?  Or literary opinions?  Unless you’re getting paid the big bucks for your opinions, who has the time for integrity, that is, the time to do all the research and fact-checking that well-grounded opinion requires?  This is why we pay attention to those who are getting paid, such as Noam Chomsky, university professors, journalists.  I don’t have their education nor their opportunities.  I can’t pick up a phone and have an hour-long conversation with my pal the professional philosopher, or the Senator, etc., nor do I have the money or position to provide myself with hired hands to seek out relevant references and get a prepared, trustworthy summary thereof.  Enough.

Interesting:  I clicked on Word’s “Editor,” which I’ve never done before, and it found one “grammar error” in this document of 107 pages, an “error” which is not an error—it wanted a comma where I have a semicolon.  Ha!

Four full pages of diary today, and it’s only 6:00.  I’ve been awake for twelve hours.  I guess I can take the evening off.

Well, another half hour of Ferlinghetti’s Little Boy takes me to page 20, and now he’s running everything together into one monstrous sentence, it’s all free association and word play and fragments of memory, few characters, never a scene, never anything memorable, it’s inexcusable arrogance to produce such a book, and I’m done here.  I’ll give it to Pablo.

Just tried to post this review on Amazon and was told that I don’t meet their criteria to post a review.  Perhaps I haven’t spent $50 on qualifying merchandise there in the past twelve months; the decades I’ve been shopping there and the dozens of reviews I wrote before apparently don’t count for anything, or possibly…nope, my “smile” account and whatever other account I was using have both been deleted, or at least I get “page not found” when I try to go to my account page or whatever it is.

Amazon can go to hell.  I understand their desire for security, but there’s no call for dumping long-standing profiles and histories and whatever else is gone.

Watched the rest of It, pretty good 3 hr movie.  The kids were more inspiring than the adults. [The morning after: meh.]

Hemlock Club tomorrow at 9:00.

One last check of my blog reveals that I have acquired my 100th follower.  Yay!  It’s not unlikely, however, that I’ll lose my newest follower, since I went to her blog and, after reading her first post, basically told her to shape up.  It’s all too likely, however, that “she” is really a fake, given the slutty and immature behavior she describes.  Even worse if “she” is what she purports to be.  My response has been deleted.

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