On missing the clambake…..

March 25, 2013

because you’re diggin’ clams….

It didn’t really begin to grab my attention that much until it had been going on for twenty or thirty years, and right under my nose at that! Fact of the matter is, It’s probably been going on since the beginning of time, but I can only lay claim to the very brief perspective experienced over the course of a half century or so.

“The squeaky wheel gets the grease” kind of sums it up, but of course even that piece of folk wisdom had to wait for the advent of wheels and grease to garner any attention from the old bastards sitting around on park benches and the like solving the world’s problems. Regardless, I have no doubt curmudgeons and carpers down through the ages have come to the realization at some point in their comparatively deprived existences that folks of little or no talent, intelligence, or character have been making out like bandits simply by making noise. My epiphany occurred last Tuesday sometime after lunch.

I feel compelled to explain why I didn’t notice sooner. I come from an incredibly long line of reticent New Englanders, some of them cutting bait around Massachusetts Bay and the Gulf of Maine before the Pilgrims had cut teeth. Surely the people in the sterns of their boats found out about impending landfall several days after the people in the bows, simply because secular communication was some sort of a sin back then, I suppose. You’d think our gene pool would have eliminated or at least toned down that sort of thing over the last four hundred years, but such tempering has been unenthusiastic, to say the least. Except in South Boston, where they just won’t shut up.

Please understand, my family is a very loving line, but those lacking innate ESP and an ice pick could look right at it and never see it. Take holidays, for example. People would travel from the four points of the compass to gather at my parents’ home and spend time in the same room together, perhaps for the first time in decades. It could really be intense, but if you blinked you most likely missed it. Once the initial Grand and appropriately noisy Entrance had been made, everybody retreated to their personal space zones to thumb through catalogues or stare out the windows. We loved being together, really, but we knew that, so why yammer on about it?

My wife comes from a large family where get-togethers sound like a chicken house at feeding time. That’s been a good influence on me, actually. I still may not verbalize much sometimes, but I write incessantly, almost as if I had learned to type in South Boston.

Anyway, I don’t come from an overtly communicative bloodline, unless one understands the subtle nuances of a rattled newspaper and three or four elementary variations of “Mmmph…”

Thus, while I was aware of the goings on in the world, it has only been recently that I have put it all together and figured out how to not only collect my slice of the pie but to snag someone else’s as well, and have them thank me for my trouble to boot.

First of all, I have to figure out a handful of ways in which I am negatively unique, no mean trick for one who was encouraged to spend a lifetime identifying and talking up the bells and whistles. If one is to stand out and gain attention, though, which is of course key to building interest, one must make noise, …. metaphorically speaking, …..sort of. Who gives a toot about puny peeps from the right rear wheel when the left front sounds like a train wreck trying not to happen?

The difficult part is that this can’t work on an individual basis. It takes a group effort. That’s why Republicans are notoriously underrepresented among such populations. While they have exquisitely honed skills when it comes to activities like incorporation, most are pathetically inept when it comes to starting a riot or holding a sit-in. I suppose that’s perfectly understandable, however, if you ask yourself just what the hell a CEO might hope to accomplish by camping out on the allotted parking space in front of the custodian’s trailer.

I’m no Republican, but I do have that New Englandy “Bubble Wrap Approach to Social Interaction” about me. If I can get around that tendency (I have no intention of changing, you have to realize) and gather enough similarly unique individuals to create an annoyance of some sort, Fat City should be right around the corner.

I’ve been working on a strategy, but so far haven’t come up with any viable plans. I’m a bit shocked, actually, at just how many things that we have already incorporated into our culture as being unique enough to warrant special attention! Like toxic particles in the air, you don’t see them, but man, are they ever there!

I first thought I might be able to make a play on my white hair and bad knee, but AARP and a half dozen other groups already have that corner sewed up. That chicken’s been picked clean and there isn’t much I could get out of that one. I’m of Caucasian heritage, as well; my ancestors were a bunch of pickle faced Puritan Prostestants, and their ancestors were largely the Anglo Saxons and Normans who thought up the whole Occupy shtick in the first place, now that I think of it, by setting up shop in England almost a thousand years ago, so there’s no meat there, either.

One would think that having a Liberal Arts, Bachelor’s Degree would help, but it’s more of a liability than an asset for those who have their sights set on directly benefiting from any recognition of unique characteristics that can in turn be rationalized as meeting the basic criteria for, if not free lunch, then at least free snacks. A Bachelor of Arts in Head Scratching may have helped hundreds of thousands of advocates and facilitators earn their keep by leading legitimate sheep to Fort Knox, but I’m retired and I really don’t want to work even that small amount. I just want to park my sweet ass by the head of the cornucopia and start making up for lost time.

I’m just a little annoyed that it took fifty years of employment before I figured it all out.

Talk about missing the boat…..


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