Monday, November 7, 2011

"Because I'm in no condition to receive bad news."

Inside every elderly person is a juvenile delinquent crying out to be set free.  The dreaming creature inside this mortal coil is a spirit filled with an amount of experience, sometimes called wisdom, wishing to have the vitality of younger foolish days, hoping to find a balance of the two.  Alas, it is not to be.  It is a rare moment when Goethe can engage in pure philosophy, yet still have the power of thrust to engage in a three-way.  (If you smoke after a three-way, do you call a cig-alert?)

Older people are like out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  Tiny midgets of mirth trapped in barely walking corpses of curve.  But in true English tradition, we Carry On, Regardless.  The youngins laugh.  Pathetic geezers.  Quite clueless.  Logan's Run.  "Your hand crystal has changed colour."  This is why people over 40 don't commit mass suicide.  And why I don't own a cellphone.

But first, your local weather...

Cloddy.  Partially cloddy.  Obscured by Clods.  Clods in way.  Can you see me now?  Highs tonight...hopefully.  Otherwise, more of the same with a chance of something.  Early morning stuff, but that should change later.  And now a word from our sponsor:
Bongos (when one bongo is not enough).

When you're young and stupid enough to think you're an actor, playing OLD seems a lark.  Twentysomethings love to pretend to be sixty.  Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten in Citizen Kane.  Peter Sellers in The Smallest Show on Earth or better yet, in The Battle of the Sexes.  I played a fat old man of the cloth in Abelard and Heloise in college (pictured).  People said, "Oh look, they got an older adult to play with these college students."  Should I be flattered or seriously depressed?  Probably both.  Actually, at the time on stage, I was more concerned with the silver goblets we were drinking from.  The tech crew had painted them with a silver spray and the paint floated ominously in the water we were drinking.  Anyway, all of this could have been avoided if the phone company had given me a job.

I haven't bored you yet with this story?  Prepare to look in the Medusa's eye and be taken for granite.

When I was looking for work in the late Sixties, I thought my radio voice would work well as an operator for the telephone company.  I went for an interview and test somewhere in the hellhole of the San Gabriel Valley.  It took all day.  I was the only male applying for the job amongst a small group of women.  Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE women and was happy to be in their company.  I'm a suffragette.  I read Mary Wollstonecraft and Germaine Greer.  More likely than the woman who was doing the interviews.  In the skill tests, I scored higher than the group.  Zowie!  This is in the bag . But then came the FINAL SOLUTION, the psychological profile.  Some faceless female asked me about my previous job.  That job was (if you've noted in a previous entry. POP QUIZ!) working for the Los Angeles Times soliciting new subscriptions.  I was really good at it.

But I failed to realize that honesty is NOT the best policy when trying to get a job with a monolithic company like Pacific Telephone or Bell or whatever it was, post coffee cans and string.

Like a patient talking to his shrink (which I have never done, so this is a hypothetical Romantic device I am using simply for a lyrical/symbolic ironic metaphor, shaded in satirical symbolism), I confide to Ilsa, the She-Wolf of the S.S., that I FELT GUILTY calling people at home and convincing them that they should subscribe to the daily paper.  Big mistake.  Red lights went on.

The creature looked down at me and said, "It's my job to feel whether or not there is a fit with the applicant and the company, and in YOUR CASE, I feel there is no fit."  So even though I scored higher than her fellow Amazons, I was out because of an ethical consideration note on invading one's privacy.  She even sarcastically said, "Well, you're not out anything...except spending your entire day here."

Would Gloria Allred have taken this as a sexual discrimination case?  Probably not.  This was still the Sixties and SOME women still had issues.

So, despite my cynicism, I still like women more than men.  But whoever you were Madam...things probably changed for you.  If they were good, well terrific.  But if they went bad, consider the small details.  Every turn, even the tiniest, makes a difference.

Trust me.  I've given this a lot of thought.  I used to put baby powder in my hair to look older (helps you buy beer when you're under age).

No one asks for ID now (only if I need help with the oxygen tank to the car).