Sunday, November 3, 2013

Salute Your Inner Odd Couple

Aha, the neighbors are at it again, arguing, reaching the point where they will begin calling one another names, perhaps throwing things.  The thrown things will not necessarily be at the combatants, rather the things will be broken or tossed with enough disdain to convey how little the tosser cares for the broken vase or bowl.

They have reached the stage of tortured verb tenses.  "You should--"  "You ought--"  "If you had any sense at all--"  "What reason could you possibly have--"

This is an important stage, one that might get them somewhere, listen to one another.  They are talking--well, shouting and posturing--about sense and reason.

There.  One of them has used yet another potent word.  "By what logic do you--"

So now, we have sense, reason, and logic, major constituents of conversation, right?

These are not your next door neighbors at 411 East Sola Street, nor the ones behind them, who do not argue so far as you can tell, although they on occasion have parties where one or more of the guests becomes loud and boorish.

The neighbors of which you speak are your own inner odd couple, the fussy Felix Unger, and the rumpled Oscar Madison, names taken from Doc Simon's grand play because they suit your overall vision of the Q and A running within your psyche 24/7.

These two may well turn out to be your rational nature and your emotional one, although under the circumstances of a balanced self-examination, this may be too simplistic, too reductionist a drawing of the lines.

The topic for debate comes out like a hastily scrawled note of the sort you'd leave on the windshield of a car blocking the driveway, in which one of you--probably the emotional nature guy--says, "You make a big show of favoring rational decisions, but take a good look at the things you grabbed onto for the most emotional reasons?  Where is logic and crafted decision-making in all this?"

There are a few moments of drawing lists.  You have a good supply of note pads and notebooks on hand, one or two of which actually have a laundry list of things noted from a previous argument about rational versus emotional.

The list begins with what you chose as a career, including the things of interest to you at the time of your choice.  There was being a restaurateur.  There was being an early thought to be an aeronautical engineer, another yet of a journalist, and still another of a used book store such as the ones you used to haunt in Hollywood from your early teens through your twenties.  

With the possible exception of being an aeronautical engineer, the others, including most recently journalism, have the highest probability of financial failure.  If you were to apply logic to the choice of becoming an aeronautical engineer, you'd have to factor in serious gaps in your ability to master advanced mathematics, to say nothing of your relative inability to fathom the mysteries of structural analysis.  Your interest in aeronautical engineering came from your industrious preoccupation for drawing aircraft with unusual appearances and for your ability to design and fold paper airplanes of such capabilities that you were able to sell them for a penny a pop (bring your own paper).

Thus all your career-related choices have origins in the fires of passion, to the point where there were times when you thought you had a version of tinnitus, that ringing in the ears that once plagued a composer you admire to the point where he wrote a strong quartette aound the sound, because of the constant sound of sizzle in your ears.

There were at the least whimsical if not emotional choices in your elections of things to do while and until you were able to earn a living from doing what you most wished to do.

In most of these cases, good editor that you are, you have gone back to construct elaborate rationales--not, mind you, defenses--for the choices you've made, thus the circuitry is complete and you can now explain from either side of the argument why you care and how.

 This set of circumstances has with little doubt exerted an influence in the ways you make other choices, including friends, preferences in books, preferences in music, preferences in the things you enjoy eating, your tastes in coffee, and the way you dress and comport yourself.

All this has added considerable precedent to your understanding that matters of the heart, if they are indeed from the heart, originate there and should suffice to remain in that state.

But you can't help it at times; you're driven to ask why it sounds like a sizzle within you?

And the answer always comes down to the point you like best.  Because you can't help it with any logic, and because even when you do try to apply logic to it, the result is the sound of the sizzle growing louder.

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