Afters All
By R. D. Flavin


what do you do with your pragmatic passions
with your classically neurotic style
how do you deal with your vague self-comprehensions
what do you do when you lie
From “How Do You Speak to an Angel” by Reed/Fonfara, 1980.

     The Red Sox won, Lou Reed died, Halloween was damp and chilly, and Israel bombed a Syrian military base on the same day it was announced the Assad regime had completed the baby-step phase of its promise to destroy their chemical weapons and ability to produce more.  And, McDonald's raised their prices on old Dollar-Menu items and introduced new ones.  The good news is the Boston Police arrested ten exhuberants without killing anyone, tributes for Uncle Lou have been widespread and no emo-cides have been reported, Samhain's spirits will be back again next year, and it's great that Israeli fighter pilots are getting more flight-time.  So, just desserts and afters all as we celebrate or mourn as is our wont will.  Of course, the best value is saccharine-rich apathy.  If ya' can afford it...

     Events unfold with constitutional irregularity and we clean up as best we can.  I doubt the Fenway finale will affect Affleck when he portrays a weary Batman in the upcoming Man of Steel sequel, it must have weighed without affront for Bowie to release four new songs the same week as losing his old glam-bud, the One Season is almost upon us, and Syria has until mid-2014 to destroy the sarin gas they've declared.  Football and Burger King are options for some, but not all.  We ponder the First Rule of Undeclared Syrian Chemical Weapons Fight Club with tasteless aplomb and hope Colin Powell doesn't offer any advice.  The Afterlife serves afters for Eternity and I'm betting Uncle Lou won't be having any yellow cake.

     Reward follows accomplishment on a wicked grading curve.  It often takes more than finishing one's beets to get pudding or a wrinkled apple, though less wastes its gain.  Dessert as entitlement shouldn't be left to the States, especially as some folks are justly thankful for anything to eat.  That many families are losing a monthly average of thirty-six bucks in food stamp assistance because a sacrifice was needed for ...something to do with the “recession” is sad and mean politics as usual.  Debate continues he-said/she-said style with Democrats claiming they had to compromise and Republicans whetting their fiscal appetite to take more from the needy and the disenfranchised.  Feces plops downhill, the plight of the poor has always been Social Darwinism in 3D, and the apparent solution is for the hungry and uninsured to get a job in Congress or at a state or local government level.  The Man has always offered jobs, yet because everyone applies to be a guard, it means there's lots of openings to be a prisoner.  What do you call a Buddhist beggar in the streets?  An invasive interloper depriving Christians of their God-granted right to suffer at the whims of tyrants and fools!  Or, another afternoon in the Playground of Good and Evil.

     We see action and reaction, stimulus and response, and oppression and rebellion everywhere.   Class Warfare donned a Cowboy Caste costume to go trick-or-treating and didn't scare anyone.  This is America and the Rich do not fear the Poor.  Pitchfork wavers are ineffectual (per the Capitalist plan) and by not feeding the downtrodden makes them less likely to storm the castle.  We thin the herd by diluting the gruel and it appears our daily fast-food meat is built with water, air, connective-tissues, chopped blood vessels, and other mystery parts, and though this has been the cost-cutting goal all along, I pause and ask “Where's the beef?”  And the real chicken, pork, and fish?  Can the 1% actually be dining on all the choice cuts (i.e., authentic and unprocessed meat)?  What aren't we being told?  The latest livestock slaughter data suggests we're killing more cows than ever, but the beef sure as heck ain't making it to the value-menu.  I'm not saying it's aliens, but folks in Texas seem to blame everything else on the Mexicans...

     Habits are indulgent and unavoidable to all but the finest of self-tortured ascetics.  A drink or recreational drug after a hard day, a dessert after a meal, and smoking a cigarette after sex with one's self are all habits reserved for the Have's, as the Have-Nots ...well, it's self-explanatory.  With simplistic deprecation, the habituals are called creatures and finger-pointing seems to be the most common method of identification.  Dear Uncle Lou launched a career with “Heroin” and shooting up onstage, but he ceased that caustic custom (and many others) and seemingly exited stage right clean and sober.  Debating the distinction between use and abuse can be a frustrating pastime recently made more complicated when Martha Stewart claimed to be able to roll better joints than anyone else.  Some live to eat, while others eat to live, and until the Most Interesting Man in the World announces what he wants on his Tombstone pizza the bar is open to setting.

     Yesterday, some closing words were shared by avant-garde musician, Laurie Anderson, about Uncle Lou's passing.  As Reed's wife of five years (and his lover for ten before that), she wrote a deathbed scene which saddened and delighted: “Lou was a tai chi master and spent his last days here being happy and dazzled by the beauty and power and softness of nature.  He died on Sunday morning looking at the trees and doing the famous 21 form of tai chi with just his musician hands moving through the air.”  I'm reminded of a different deathbed 50 years ago this November twenty-second, when Laura Huxley injected her dying husband, Aldous, with LSD and read aloud parts of Tim Leary's unpublished translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead while the rest of the country mourned JFK.  Some rage against the inevitable, yet we credit those that can have fun right up until the very end.  Most lack a choice and merely die...

     We shouldn't have to suffer “A dinner that begins with a soup and runs through a fish course, an entrée, a sorbet, a roast, salad, cheese and dessert” before it's time for afters.  Vomitoriums are for elitists.  Some simple fare followed by whatever tasty afters are available seems appropriate.  Just desserts are fine if you've got a lawyer or the fix is in.  For the rest, it's afters all around and maybe a beverage or three.  Then, it's bedtime and tomorrow's task to do it all again.

Picking pi with 23 skidoo,

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