Wrong Side of the Bed

Many years ago, the wrong side of the bed was clearly marked by the presence of a “pot de chambre,” that is a chamber pot. Upon awakening during the night, a careless move to the floor on the “wrong side” of the bed resulted in disaster. With the passage of time and the introduction of in-house plumbing, the chamber pot has been transformed into a planter, or a flea market novelty.

The pot may be gone, but the expression “wrong side of the bed” has endured as an explanation for annoying personal behaviors. Getting up on the “wrong side of the bed” is now considered to be the cause of grouchiness, moodiness, depression, and lethargy and a host of other regrettable feelings and behaviors, not the least of which is “feeling lousy”.

Perhaps there is a “right side” of the bed, which if located and used will ensure vigor, good will, affection and sex. The physical structure of most beds offers few cues as to the right or wrong side, let alone the good or the bad side. Beds with a headboard, and/or a wall behind the bed offer just three possible “right” sides. One might eliminate the foot of the bed as an escape route, and thereby enhance your chances of choosing the “right side” by 33 percent.

The prospect of having just two choices to select the “right” side might be too risky. One might move the bed to the center of the room and then have four sides to choose from, or at least three sides with a rotating ‘foot’. For the avid gambler, a circular bed would offer a limitless search for the “right side”.

It’s possible that the number of bed sides and their locations will not solve the demand for a splendid morning personality. We must hit the floor on the “right side” and the design of the bed offers no help.

The presence of a bed mate insures a forced choice of the “right side.” In a bed with a head board, foot and partner, the “right side” is most likely your own side. Whether such a choice ensures a personality change is a much more complex issue, and never under your direct control. Furthermore, the sleeper is never concerned about the side of the bed to get up on. Sleepers just get up after a night’s sleep. They could, if asked, describe their mood. It is the observer, that is, spouse, friend, or ‘other body’ who feels compelled to identify a cause for the sleeper’s mood state.

“Boy, I see that you got up on the wrong side of the bed today.”

With that pronouncement, the sleeper quickly surveys the bedside looking for the infamous “pot de chambre”. Not finding any, the newly awakened must assume total responsibility for the mood in the bedroom or immediately leap into the other side of the bed with the hope that there lies the “right side”, and acceptance.

Style for the Infantile

I’ve been thinking about layettes. For those of you who have never thought about layettes, I’ll describe them for you. A layette is the first fashion wardrobe given to a newborn child. It is usually a blanket, pillow case, booties, sweater, panties and assorted accessories. If handmade, the layette is crochet or knitted.

Boy babies are given blue layettes, and girl babies are clothed in pink. Sometimes, the infant is given a yellow layette. Yellow – why yellow? That is because the layette was purchased prior to the birth of the child, and prior to in utero sexing.

There has not been a change in layette fashion for a thousand years! It is now time for a change. I suggest the opening of a “Layette Boutique”
.
The fashions for layettes will be regal. A parent can buy yard of rich, black mink to wrap the baby. Hand-crafted, calf skin booties and jewelry of all sorts; gold earrings, precious stone necklaces, pearl head-bands. No more washed out blue or faded pink. The maternity doors of Bellevue Hospital open and a little prince or princess is presented to the world.

Another issue comes to mind, and that is the contrasting styles of death and dying as opposed to birth and living. Funerals are led by police motorcycles, follow by flower cars and shininy black limousines. Mourners are dressed in their finery. Who comes out of the hospital with a newborn? The father goes to the hospital and pays for his wife and child. The wife is weak, and woozy. She hasn’t been out of the hospital for days – her head is spinning. Father doesn’t know how, or who to hold first.

They drive home, alone, no fanfare – no public acclaim. When they arrive at home there is frequently a family gathering, but rather subdued – no grandeur, no cops, no politicians, no theatrics.
Why not blow the horns, ring the sirens, shoot the pistols. A child is born. A child wrapped in silk – magnificent Tahitian silk. Joy to the world. A child is born. Whose got the pampers?

Copyrights, 1980 Tom Golden.

“And That’s the Way it Is”

When the press, government officials and sorted other interested parties voice concern as to what Putin has ‘on President Donald Trump” the answer is as follows:
On the evening of November 8, 2013, Donald Trump spent the night with one or more prostitutes in a room at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Moscow. Donald and the prostitutes engaged in ‘nasty’ behavior including peeing on a bed in that room. The bed was one that had been used by President Obama and his wife Michelle. The FSB, the Russian secret service filmed the event.

“Good night and good luck”

Help! There’s a Murderer in My House

“I can’t stand you anymore,” my mother cried out. “I won’t stand for it.” Her eyes were full of tears.
“But you said I could go outside.” I pleaded.
“Stop it, stop it now!” she screamed. “Stop it or your father…” She was interrupted by the sound of the tea kettle. She ran into the kitchen.
What about my father? I had heard the threat before, many times. “Ouch, damn it, god-damn it.” she hollered.
I reached over for my jacket, just as my mother came back into the room. “That’s it! You’re really going to get it. You’re in for it now. Wait until your father comes home.”
I stopped listening to her threats, put my jacket down and went into my room. As I closed my door, I could still hear her ramblings of helplessness. “He’s gonna get it good. When his father hears…”
My mind was preoccupied with thoughts of my father. I was trying to recall his features, which proved to be difficult despite his having left home just five hours ago. My father, Sam, age thirty, almost five foot, eight inches tall, Caucasian, Jewish, and HOMICIDAL!
Could my father murder someone? Not just anyone – his own son!
The idea of my father being capable of murder was incredible, but my feelings of apprehension were undeniable.
My father’s daily behavior was the essence of non-violence. He was mild-mannered, almost meek. He spent most of time working, eating, and sleeping. I couldn’t recall being hit by my father, nor did I recall him sitting my brothers or sister.
At his assaultive best, he was heard to mumble – “You’d better listen to your mother”, or “Cut it out.”
Why was I so apprehensive? I could almost understand, “Beware, the Ides of March”, but what did “Wait till your father comes home” foretell?
Perhaps my fears of bodily injury were related to his muscles. I remember him carrying the washing machine on his back up two flights of stairs to our apartment. God, I was amazed! He put a large canvas belt around the machine and tied the belt around his chest.
With one heave, he had the machine off the lobby floor. When he reached our apartment, he wasn’t even sweating or puffing.
Now I remember, I remember him saying, “Don’t push me” or “You’d better watch out.” Some references to not making him mad, or “I’m warning you.” I recall him saying phrases that suggested pain, if not doom. With my mother threatening his punitive potential, and my father hinting at some sort of limits to his endurance I was left only with my fantasies. There were no hard facts to draw upon. I might get slapped, punched, kicked, choked, or KILLED.
The murderer in the house, was in my head – was I alone?
Did other children harbor similar fears of patricide?

An Aisle, is an Aisle, is an Aisle

Loving couples walk down the aisle, and exchange vows. The invited guests cheer and wish the couple the good luck.

I purchased a ticket to the New York Giant football game against the Cleveland Browns. As I approached the bleacher section Number 14, an attendant walked me down the aisle to seat 23B. I was seated in the midst of rabid Giant fans. The game was great, but my aisle mates made it a unique experience.

Aisle 6, contained the mustard that I needed for the salad dressing. But Aisle 6 was blocked due to a leak in the ceiling. There was a store clerk in the aisle replacing buckets. I asked her to get me a jar of Roland’s Extra Forte mustard. She brought the jar to me and I went to the check-out.

The Aisle seemed rather normal. Perhaps six or eight feet in width. Carpeted, and it ran the length of the chamber to the entrance doors. To the left and right of the aisle were leather upholstered seats. Perhaps several hundred seats. At first glance, one would think that the seats on the right or left of the aisle were available to any person. Not So! Absent any reserved notice, or do not trespass, the aisle represented hallowed ground. Not ground memorializing heroic acts of citizens. Not ground that symbolized good will, respect and fraternity. The aisle was inviolate. All persons entering the chamber, and walking down the aisle knew which side of the aisle was theirs, and not the other side.

Tom Golden, writers cramp, 2018

SMALL TALK – I LOVE IT

Small talk is seen as trivial, meaningless, and superficial. “I can’t stand small talk!” “Oh, all that small talk is driving me crazy!” Why do we engage in small talk? Because we are small people? No. Big people engage in small talk. Perhaps it is because we have small minds. I don’t believe so, since many small minds are known to talk BIG. The main reason for small talk must be the mouth size. Small talk is probably caused by a small mouth. BIG mouths are known to talk BIG. In fact, BIG talk is the hallmark of a BIG mouth, or is that a loud mouth? Have you ever heard loud mouths talk small talk? It might not be possible. Since small talk is bad, then BIG talk must be good. Remember the joyful hours we spend listening to BIG talk. BIG talk, out of BIG mouths, with small minds. Small talk is not at all trivial. Small talks allows us the time to become acquainted; small talk allows us to gracefully engage a stranger, or to painlessly tolerate the friend. Copyright, Thomas Golden, Writers Cramp, 1980

Up Against It

 

Just this evening, MSNBC commentator, Kacie DC, was interviewing Andrew Young, a past representative to the United Nations, and renowned civil rights leader. She asked him about the recent children’s march in Washington. He responded, but not completely since she had another question. After apologizing for her interruption, Kacie asked him about Martin Luther King, and John Lewis, and he was responding, but less than completely since Kacie was up against the clock. She apologized for the rush job, and he accepted the apology. Kacie was up against it. Up against what? Up against PNC Bank, AWAY luggage, Cisco, and two pharmacy commercials. Kacie was up against a loss in revenue – her loss of a job. Kacie was reflective of how our life is UP AGAINST IT. Up against money. Up against the power of capital. Up against the need to pay for everything we do, despite our desire to comfortably hear Andrew Young. MSNBC invited him to speak. He was asked to talk about rather important social issues. Mr. Young was politely given the old heave ho. Given the ‘hook’, to allow for the real stars of the show – banking, drugs, a touch of technology and a piece of travel equipment.

Tom Golden, March 2018.

Walking and Talking

I was turning onto my street to park my car, when I noticed a young woman crossing at the opposite corner. She was talking on her cell phone. After parking my car, I sat for several moments thinking about the woman and her talking on the cell phone. before cell phones, what did I do when I was walking? Besides looking where I was going, did I talk? Did I talk to myself? At times did I talk out loud? As a child if I ever saw a person that seemed to be talking to himself, I knew the person was crazy. Stay away from him! During the early days of the cell phone, it was not easy to tell if a person was talking out loud, into a hidden microphone, or nuts. Whether a hidden microphone or a visible cell phone, the isolate walker was talking.
 
I could not hear the walking talker since I was in my car. Often, I can hear the person talking on their cell phone. Cell phone talking is ubiquitous. There is someone talking on the cell phone in the grocery, coffee shop, elevator, dentist waiting room, airport lounge, and in the backrow at a burial ground, The talker has no interest in privacy. The cell phone talker could care less if you hear every spoken word. It may be, that the talker delights in having an audience. “Hey, look me over, lend me an ear…”.
 
But, back to pre-cell phone days. I know that I am always talking to myself whether I am walking, or stationary. I am talking to myself without any response. I am speaking to an audience of one – me. Boring, no. I am never bored when I am talking to myself. I have innumerable images, feelings, sensations and ideas. I could, if I had company express much of what I was saying to myself, but I don’t have the need. There are times when I would like to speak to another person, or that I must speak to someone else. But not always. For most of my waking hours, I am quite comfortable talking to myself, as in the following private conversations:
 
“I am hungry, and it’s almost noon. I think I’ll go to the bagel shop. No, I better get my hair cut, before the salon closes. What day is it? Is the salon open today? The place is always packed on Tuesday. Oh, the bagel shop is closed. The sign says on holiday until June 6. Damn it! Pizza, I’ll get a slice.”
 
OR……. “Harry is never going to pay what he owes me. I don’t give a shit. He’s tight for funds, as usual and I like him. I like his wife even more. She is stunning, and, well- I think I must go to see Mitchell. I have a pain in my right knee.”
 
OR…….” That fuckin president. I can’t stand him and the rest of the politicians- what the hell are they doing. Wow, that cab almost hit that dog.”
 
Most of the time, when I talk to myself, it is rather mundane. Most of my thoughts would not be of interest to anyone. The thoughts are not crude, or insightful, but rather commonplace, and allow me to get through the day, and night. Should I have thoughts that are particularly meaningful, I would tell a trusted family member or friend.
 
So, what more can I say about the walking and talking that is the marvel of the cell phone. I assume that if the cell phone talker was with their listener, the conversation would be like that on the cell phone. That may not be the case. With the technology of today, as in texting, email and cell phone one does not have the feedback of face to face communication. No angry stare, sneer, smile, twinkle, blush, nod, look aside, or even turn away.
 
Why the need to speak to someone from the moment of waking to sleep? Why are people so needy of constant verbal contact with another person? Was this always that case? Did we realize how deprived we were of immediate human contact? Has the invention of the portable cell phone allowed us to fulfill a constant need to affiliate? The need to be certain that we count – that we matter. The cell phone has eliminated the dreaded state of alone. Alone with our thoughts, feelings, and desires. Alone with me, with I, with life.
 
Tom Golden, May, 2018

Cottage Cheese and Chives

I reached for the container of Crowley’s Large Curd Cottage Cheese. That was to be my lunch. I opened the vegetable drawer and looked for the scallions. None. There were no scallions. Large curd cottage cheese requires diced scallions. A feeling of loss, yes, more than disappointment. A dash of salt, and crushed pepper would not do.

Chives! I could use chives. Not as pungent, but an excellent replacement for the scallions. I opened the cutlery drawer and took a pair of scissors. I immediately went to a garden patch in front of the house. In the early spring, we always had chives. They were perennial. I scanned the patch, and there was a bunch of fresh, vivid green chives.

Desire: a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen. Cottage cheese and chives….

Tom Golden, May 2018.

HELLO

The Vice President was focused upon the hockey game. The North Korean representative was seated just behind the Vice President. The scene was as cold as the ice.

I had no idea that my sister could skate. Not only was she skating, but on ice, and dancing to music. Michelle was taking dance lessons for several years. She hated going to class, but hating to go was no excuse for my Mother. Both Michelle and I would express our “hate”, “do I have to,” and “I have a headache” in a forlorn attempt to cancel the next piano, dance, or karate lesson. “You wanted to have the lessons, and we paid for them. At least finish the year”, she said. I was just three weeks into the karate school.

Michelle did a leap on the ice, and she landed into a full split. The audience went wild. Everyone cheered. Everyone except for my Father. My Father starred at the ice rink, with Michelle in a full split, and he showed no emotion. He just sat and starred straight ahead. His head held fast, as if in a neck brace. I turned to look at my Mother, and she seemed to only see her history, and not Michelle.

I forgot to mention, that when we arrived at the skating rink, our seats were reserved for parents of the contestants. In our row G7, sat my Father, my Stepmother, and me. Also in row G7 sat my Mother, and her husband, Bert. My Father sat in Seat 16, and my Mother sat in Seat 15 – just to the left of my Father. I sat in Seat 17, just to the right of my Father.

The exhibition ended and we all left. As with hello, no goodbye.

Tom Golden, February, 2018

 

Economics 101: Supply and Demand

The Veterans Administration is the second largest government employer. The first is the Department of Defense. The VA employees 377,805 persons. The Department of Defense employs about 1.3 million persons on active duty, and 800.000 on military reserve. As of 2014, there were approximately 21.8 million veterans. Veterans of what? War!  Or perhaps a Police Action, or some activity where people get injured. Regardless of the name, we have a very large VA to service a very active Department of Defense. The Department of Defense offers a constant supply of veterans to service the employment needs of the Veterans Administration. Now that is a classic example of a supply and demand economy.

Thomas Golden, March, 2018

 

 

Words Are Not So Easy

Grandson: Papa, I like democracy. Do you like democracy?
Grandpa: Of course I do.
Grandson: Is that like Democratic.
Grandpa: Why do you ask?
Grandson: My friend told me that Democratic was bad. He said Republican was good.
Grandpa: Well, son, democracy is really good. Democratic is not exactly the same.
Grandson:  But they sound almost the same. Grandpa, is it good to be right?
Grandpa:  Yes. I guess so. Why do you ask?
Grandson: My friend told me that the left is really very good, and the right is not.
Grandpa: Well words are not so easy.
Grandson: I know that I’m going to be democratic, and also I want to be right.
Grandpa: Sounds good son – just fine.
Grandson: I love you Grandpa.
Grandpa: I love you too

 

The Importance of Furniture

The President of North Korea, Kim Jong Un has a nuclear launch button on his desk. The President of the United States, Donald Trump says that everything is on the table.  Does that include a nuclear launch button? Whether it is a desk or a table, clearly a piece of furniture is central to issues of world survival.

If Kim Jong Un’s desk resembles mine in any fashion, Mr. Kim may not find the button so readily. As for the Donald, he claims to have “everything on the table.”  We have been told that a military attaché carries the nuclear controls in a case, close at hand to the President. Let’s assume that the case is placed on the table along with “everything” else. “Everything” else is a series of possible diplomatic agreements – nothing physical, as is a button.

Kim Jong Un has his button on a desk, and Donald has his control case on the table.  Aside from the clutter on Kim’s desk, in a showdown, the launch button may be reached, prior to Donald’s opening the launch control case and pressing the button. North Korea one, United States zero!!

“Kim, Kim he’s our man, if Kim can’t do it nobody can!”

Thomas Golden, Writer’s Cramp, 2018

Safety Box 617

The bank clerk she could not find the safety box sign in card that would allow me to sign in to Safety Box 617. She searched several times through the hundreds of cards, and still could not find my signature card.

“I know it is there,” I said. “ I have accessed the box just last month.”
“I don’t know what has happened, but I can’t find it”, she said.
I was certain that the card was there, and with some hesitancy, I requested that another bank person search the file. The clerk agreed.

Within minutes the bank manager arrived, and began another search. On his first attempt, he found the card. It was in the G file, but stuck to another card. I signed the card, and the officer allowed me entrance to the vault. He removed, Box 617, and brought me into the private viewing room, and he left the room.

The box was full of jewelry – some real, and other costume jewelry. The box was Suzanne’s history. The box was Suzanne’s stuff. I intended to collect the jewelry and send the pieces to my daughter Tania.

I had previously packed some pieces in small storage bags, and others of more value I wrapped in tissue paper. Earrings, pins, broaches, and rings were all packaged separately. As I unwrapped the real jewelry, I found a multiple stranded pearl necklace, with a gold clasp. I knew that piece. Suzanne had worn that necklace so many times. She wore the necklace when she was wearing a dress or gown that was quite revealing. The pearls rested on her chest, and she looked so lovely. Among the jewelry was another very long string of pearls, but not as ornate as the multiple stranded set of pearls with the gold clasp.

As I looked at the necklaces, and the bags of jewelry, I became overwhelmed with emotion. Tears in my eyes. My hands trembled. I touched the pieces, and brought the necklaces close to my face, and to my nose. Could I smell Suzanne? I thought I remembered her smell. I did remember her smell, and I could only think of Suzanne. Her skin, smell, smile – mostly her smile. I took some of the tissue to wipe my eyes. Box 617 held Suzanne – her person, and not my memories of her – but her. Many thoughts of our life together. Each one just fleetingly, and not complete, but each one joyful – so joyful. I was missing her, but the jewelry kept her in the room.

I had brought a cloth sack to use to take the jewelry back home with me. I placed the jewelry in the sack, and checked the box to be certain that nothing was left in the box. Prior to leaving the private room, I contacted the bank clerk to complete the visit. Upon leaving the vaulted room, the clerk would check the box for any content, and search the room in case something was left on the table, or floor. Everything check out, and I left the vault and signed out on the identity card.

When I arrived back at my apartment, I took all the jewelry out of the sack. As I searched thru the contents, I did not see the multiple stranded pearl necklace with the gold catch. I searched again, and several more times. Where was the necklace? I was becoming quite anxious, and I could not understand what had happened. I know I placed the necklace in the sack. I know the clerk and I searched Box 617, and the private room. We both were satisfied that nothing was left in the room. Where was the necklace? I actually panicked. I went to my car, and searched the car. Perhaps the necklace had fallen out of the sack. The car was clean. I know I saw the necklace – I held the necklace – I smelled the necklace.

I called the bank, and requested that the clerk who had checked me out to search the room again. Perhaps someone had been in the room after I left. The clerk told me that I was the last person to use the room, and that she would check the room. I should stay on the phone. Within minutes the clerk informed me that there was nothing in the room. I must say that I did think that perhaps the clerk or someone in the bank found the necklace, and had stolen it. The necklace was there – it was clearly there – in my hands.

My despair was all consuming. I left my apartment, and went back to the bank. At the bank, I spoke to the clerk who did the search. She suggested that we both check the room. We did. It was empty. I apologized for the need to search. I stood in the bank for several moments. I could not leave. Perhaps just one hour ago, I had the necklace in my hand in this bank. I know I held the necklace in the private room. How could I have lost the necklace? How could I have misplaced the necklace from the bank to my apartment? Nothing made any sense.

Standing in the lobby of the bank, I saw in one office the bank manager was seated at his desk. I needed to speak with someone about my plight. I needed to speak with someone about my loss, although I could not accept that I might have lost the necklace. I knocked on his door, and he asked me in. He immediately recognized that we had met at the vault. He asked me of my concern. I told him of the entire sequence of events, from the moment I entered the bank to search Box 617, and the lost necklace. In telling him, I did lose some control, and started to cry. He was silent at first, but then he asked me to tell about the necklace, and about Suzanne.

And I did. I told him about our chance meeting in 1963 in Toronto, Canada. I talked about France, family, the farm, animals, gardens, and Suzanne, and Suzanne. He listened and hardly spoke. I rambled on, but always where was that necklace. I told him of how that Box 617 awakened a lifetime of memories, and feelings. As I searched thru Box 617, I was once again with Suzanne. It was so strange, emotionally consuming, and yet so meaningful. I think that the jewelry and its placement on her body, her hands, and her ears all generated her presence.

At one point, the gentlemen, whose name I have forgotten, said that perhaps – just perhaps the necklace was not there. He suggested that perhaps I thought it was there, and it had to be there among her jewels, but in fact it was not. He said that my need for it to be there, and my memory of the necklace was all there was, and not the actual piece of jewelry. As he spoke, I was not upset, nor doubting his notion. In fact, I could believe that I was so emotionally involved in those moments in the private room, that I could have imagined the presence of the necklace. Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps I never did have the necklace in my hands. Perhaps I did not smell her skin. I had been with him for at least thirty minutes, and I thanked him for his time and concern.

I told him that what I felt in that room, and my search in Box 617, was a moment shared by many persons who search through other safety boxes. Other persons who are also reminded of their loved ones. Other persons who relive their soulful moments with departed loved ones. He suggested that was likely the case, and that I was fortunate to have had such joyful memories. I thanked him for the time and left the bank.

Upon my return to my apartment, I immediately telephoned my daughter  and asked her if she remembered the necklace. She said that she did, and she asked what had happened. I told her of the mornings search, and the loss. I asked her if I had ever given her the necklace, or did Suzanne give it to her. She remembered that during her college years, a pearl necklace was given to her, and that she could not find it. Tania believed that perhaps a roommate had stolen it, but nothing was ever done with that possibility. She did not believe it was that necklace, but another set of pearl strands. There was nothing more to say about that possibility.

I am writing this piece because Box 617 has become such a striking moment in my life and how the things of our past can prompt feelings that are never forgotten. Perhaps I did not see, nor hold the strands of pearls with the gold clasp. What I did see, and hold was Suzanne – her smile, her smell and a life of such excitement and love.

Tom Golden, March, 2015.