Monday, May 23, 2022

A Selfish Little Prick

 I was pretty useless yesterday.  I got up very late and didn't move until just before noon.  Then, in the midday sun, I decided I needed to get my aerobic self going.  I took myself to a shaded park and shuffled around the Pars course doing various stretching exercises along the way.  The afternoon was cloudy, so the temperature was still fairly manageable.  I decided I would shuffle up and down an overpass hill.  

After that, I was feeling a bit better.  

So I went home and took a nap. 

I played with my DJI Mojo (or some such name), the little auto-sensing gimbal that I bought many, many months ago when I had some ideas about making videos.  Back then, I made one test run with it after watching hours worth of tutorials.  

I've forgotten everything in the intervening months.  

I had to start over from the beginning--the DJI quick tutorial.  And I had the basics down again, or so I thought.  There are only five buttons, but each serves many purposes.  Touch this button once, touch it twice, hold for three seconds, touch it three times quickly. . . .  

I actually managed it all for a moment.  Later, though, I couldn't remember everything.  

I had gotten it out because I was telling the famous German auteur about it.  She is making a documentary on her iPhone, she said, so I thought to help her out. I made a demo video to send her showing her the benefits.  

"Goddamn," I thought, "look at you."

What I meant was I wasn't disgusted by my visage.  Nope, not for an old cripple.  

But I had shot the day in the ass, and it was time to go to my mother's house for dinner.  I asked her to make salmon patties for me.  It is one of the things she does well.  I was beat and didn't feel like making another meal, so this was good for me.  I grabbed a beer and 3/4s of a bottle of Vouvray and headed out the door.  

When I got there, she was in her old recliner, the one I spent months in after getting run over, watching t.v.  Her hearing must be going because it was really loud.  

"Let's go outside and get acquainted before we eat," I said. She laughed at that.  I poured beer and went into the garage where we sit every afternoon with the doors open to the world.  After the air conditioned house, though, the air seemed terribly tropical, heavy and sticky.  No matter.  We acclimated rapidly.  I sat down, lit a cheroot and we began to chat.  

After we had consumed the beer and had gotten acquainted with one another once again, we went inside to eat.  She had made a salad, sort of.  It was a prepackaged one to which she added cut tomatoes.  

"You know, this salad would be much better with some garlic or onion." 

"Yes," she said. I guessed she wasn't into making dinner, really. 

Then we dished up the rice and patties.  I took the first bite.  

"What kind of salmon did you make this with?"

It tasted awful.

She told me it was "organic."  

"Organic?  What do you mean?  They didn't use any antibiotics or pesticides on it?  WTF?  What kind of salmon was it?"

"It was organic pink salmon."

"Mom!  We've had this conversation before."

O.K.  I guess I was a dick.  I criticized the meal.  But why?  Why did she buy pink salmon?  Because she is a hillbilly from the depression, because of price.  "Good enough" is the hillbilly way.  Whatever.  


After dinner we were drinking the wine and just talking.  At some point in the conversation, she said, "Nobody takes care of me."


"Who takes care of me?"

"Alright.  O.K."

She has an iMac and an Mac Air computer, an Apple tablet, an Amazon tablet, an iPhone, a scanner, a printer, all of which I bought her.  I pay for her phone and part of her internet.  I moved in with her twice to take care of her when she broke first her left and then her right shoulder.  I send her emails every morning, call her every day, and go sit with her every early afternoon.  I cook meals. I take her to therapy. 

"Nobody takes care of me."


I was feeling miffed.  Perhaps it was because I was a dick about dinner.  

On my way out the door, I told her thanks, it was nice. 

"It's good to have someone to eat dinner with," she said.  

"Someone?  Yea.  O.K."  


All of her friends tell her how lucky she is, what a good son I am.  I have to wonder for a minute, who do I do it for, me or her?  Maybe my acts are not as selfless as I like to think.  Maybe I think I deserve something.  

At home, I reflected.  Isn't that the way, though. Isn't that what disappoints us most in life?  Don't we all think, "I deserve more than this"?  

It is a wrong way to think.  It is a wrong way to live.  And it is certainly a bad motivation.  

Karma became a bit clearer to me.  Live, said the Buddha, with an open heart.  Most of the time we live as if we are making a business deal.  Too much, we are negotiating.  

"I'll do the things it takes to release me from existence.  I'll take the appropriate steps to enter the gates of heaven."


I am nowhere near enlightenment.  I am, I realize, a selfish little prick.  Or can be.  That selfish little prick lives in me.  I hate it.  

I guess that is why people meditate.  I guess that's why they pray.  Meditation and prayer and self-revelation.  All the studies show that they are good for you.  But to do it for that reason. . . well, if you do, you are just a selfish little prick, aren't you?  

I poured a drink and sat out on the deck.  I took my DJI Gizmo and iPhone and tried to practice a little more.  All I could remember how to do was turn it on.  I tried to get it to track me, but I was at a total loss.  When I played it back, the resulting video seemed funny to me, sort of like the one of Robert DeNiro recording himself while trying to figure out how to use his iPhone.  He posted his (or maybe his son did), so I posted mine.  

"Follow me. . . follow me," I kept saying.  

It seemed an apropos confession for a selfish little prick.  

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