Thursday, March 06, 2008

A profitless conversation...

Not entirely enthralled by life...
Where did I go wrong?

One of my old Ozark friends who has become far more successful than I in managing her practical affairs and the work of other people read my Ozark Photoblog recently, and she responded with this message:
I enjoyed your travelogue and forwarded a link to my sister in Salem. What did your children think? It must have been very different from their daily lives.

You did have the same expression on your face most of the time that I have in all my pictures. I think it is a combination of the face getting older and the attitude changing to one of not always being totally entralled with life. I'm thinking of seeing a plastic surgon about the physical thing, but I can't figure out what to do about the attitude. I did get a kitten. Maybe a dog or horse would help.
My friend is merely joking about the plastic surgery, for she looks fine, but she's right about my looks, as revealed by the above photo (which also incidently reveals two central reasons for my rapid aging), so perhaps I'm the one who needs to go under the knife. Anyway, I replied:
I'm glad that you liked my photoblog even if it was abbreviated . . . or maybe that helped in the enjoyment? I had intended a magnum opus but ran out of early morning darkness.

My kids loved the Ozarks. Sa-Rah announced that she wants to be a hillbilly, and En-Uk also wants to live there. It was very different than their daily urban lives, but they love nature and animals and want to live among them. We'll see...

Not totally enthralled with life? Well, I do feel enslaved by work's circumstances, so I'm in thrall to that degree. Money, lots of it, would help to free me, but I don't want to do what one has to do to earn that amount.

I left the Ozarks with high expectations and have learned to temper my enthusiasm about the future, so that's probably what you saw in my face. Besides, there's less of a future left as I get older. Actually, I'm rather happier than I deserve to be, given some of my youthful misbehavior. Perhaps the Lord is storing up the consequences of my sins for His Day of Wrath.

At least I don't have His job. Your own sounds a bit like what God has to do -- you know, keep people in line, motivate them to do better, kill them off if they've gone too far...
My friend focused on the essential point:
It seems we both got different parts of the ultimate life. I have money, but no family or personal life. You have the great family and meaningful studies, but not so much money. Why can't we have it all????
No family? She exaggerates, for she has three grown boys . . . though she is off on her own now. No personal life? I think that she's being coy, for she recently alluded to a vacation drive with a certain "disreputable scientist" -- and I don't think that she meant Hwang Woo-Suk. Nevertheless, I took her words at face value:
I agree with your sentiment -- why can't we have it all?!

And I have a solution, at least for one of us. I can't give you my family, but you could give me your money. Then, I would have it all and be completely fulfilled.

You could obtain the moral satisfaction of contributing to the happiness of a fellow human being.

What say you?
My friend was nearly persuaded:
Well, I must admit it is a good idea, but not original. It seems to have been popularized by southern TV preachers and perfected by my children and brother. I did consider it for a few minutes, though.

The starving children in Bhutan won out. And an airline.
Bhutan? What about my own starving children? They're always complaining that they're hungry. Don't friends have a moral obligation to help friends first? I sensed, however, that the moment had passed, and I bowed out gracefully:
I make no claims to originality. Most good ideas are borrowed anyway. At least you gave it a few minutes' consideration, more than such a suggestion would ordinarily receive . . . or warrant.

Enjoy the airline that you bought.
One would think that if she could afford to purchase an airline, then she could probably send some money my way. But I have my pride, and I shan't beg.

At least, I won't beg her. Not again, anyway. But if you, dear reader, wish to contribute to my existential happiness through a significant financial contribution, feel free to express your generosity anytime.

The sooner, the better.

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At 9:08 AM, Blogger jeanie oliver said...

Bear with me-this comment is long-winded!
This is almost eerie. I read your comment somewhere(I'm getting "bogged" down in my memory of what you blogged or replied to comments or Uncle Cran e-mailed me)that people said you looked like your dad. Uncle Cran told a story about Bradley being called Chuck Conners. I thought to myself, "Well, so many pics of Conners were taken with his Lucas McCain persona. The Rifleman rarely smiled. Neither does Jeff in his pics" blogged about Larkin and the poem you used had an adjective--"soppy-stern"
I immediately thought to myself-this is a great way to describe Jeff's face in his pics. I
I would, of course, have never said anything to you like that until today's blog!!! NO one who writes like you do could be disenthralled with life; however, you will find, that corralling children through the Ozarks can make you look like either a famous western actor or soppy-stern!!!
Did this make sense? If not disregard my loquaciousness!

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Well, what you say must make sense because I finally understand what Larkin meant by "soppy-stern."

I guess that he was a pretty good poet after all.

As for resembling my father, I'm reminded of a remark by Marx in his 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, something to the effect that the second time around is always a farce...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Normally I don't take the route of showing appreciation for good writing on someones "comments section." I always fear complimentary stuff might lead to sloppiness but since JeanieO did so: oh hold on.

She does not say "good writing Jeff" she types "NO one who writes like you do..." I guess I can live with that.

By the way. Advise her she puts up an enjoyably good blog herself.


At 11:11 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, I s'pect she'll notice your acute remarks.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:10 AM, Blogger jeanie oliver said...

Well,JK, "I guess that I can live with that"! Enjoyably, a word that I would consider a compliment! Now I'm under the onus of lack of "slop" in my future comments or blogging.Have you read my blog or are you commenting on my comments?

At 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope JeaniO,

You've just begun yours. Jeff might be excused from time to time. He has a tendency.

However, since you announced your intention to begin "blogging" I've been looking in. Your writing is worthy and I am glad you bought your camera.

I have noticed your "eclectecness", is that a word? Puppies, jonquils, sons (I think) daughters-in-law.

I consider what I have been looking at and reading-worthy. If you are somehow kin to Jeff I would not claim it. He turned a phrase and I almost... well I returned to yours. Thank you for giving me an "out" to compliment.

I worry that I give a "sloppy-stern" hathor adjudicated dinner friend too much. Rather than give a compliment to Jeff's writing, I'd rather look at jonguils in snow.

One thing, you did a "blue" text "on black" that I found difficult to read, but I consider you will find your blogging "voice." My nose rubbed against my viewscreen. It is winter tonight, the humidity dry. Snow is falling and promises to tomorrow. Static against one's nose, less than pleasant.

I mentioned that you allowed no "anonymous comments." I will not be commenting upon your blog, however I expect you will soon find your voice, your "blogging voice", it's a different voice.

But I have, and expect to enjoy your forthcomings. Jonquils in the snow. Iditarod puppies. A green steel roof and an absence of cars in the lot.


At 8:24 PM, Blogger Al-Ozarka said...

Okay...okay. I've waited long enough...I can't hold off any longer.

Jeff...I suspect you're disappointed someone hasn't addressed this issue yet, but....

What was with the hat?:)

I didn't even know we had similar pates until you did your photoblog thingy!

At 10:30 PM, Blogger jeanie oliver said...

JK, and whomever else,
I just didn't know that I didn't allow anonymous comments on my blog!! I plead my novitiate as a blogger, and I'll learn how to allow anonymity. I, however, think that I enjoy more commenting back and forth through Jeff's blog because it gives this frozen solitude a sense of conversation and I admit,wackiness, at times. I have a feeling that if Jeff and all his commentors ever get together in person twould be a conversation in a whole new language!!

At 10:30 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Well, Daddio, I wear that cap for three very important reasons: to protect my head from cold, from heat, and from ridicule.

Of course, people now make fun of the cap...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:24 PM, Blogger Al-Ozarka said...

You know....I have an enormous capped head!

But it's strictly weatherizing.

I'm proud of my dome! Besides...the only person I care about impressing is Joy...and she is at least somewhat impressed...sometimes.

At 8:34 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Daddio, we are both fortunate men, blessed with more-than-sufficient testosterone...

Jeffery Hodges

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