- 18 jan 2002 -

We have a rule in our little family here.  Ask For What You Need.  It's a good rule, and if you can manage to keep it in the front part of your brain while the normal friction of life takes place, well, things can go a little more smoothly.  When knowledge of The Rule is common, and its existence is a given, life is good.  

There can be a downside, however.  After The Rule has been in effect for a while, the nature of the playing field changes slightly and a path is worn for the introduction of the sideways inverse of AFWYN, which is, If You Don't Ask For It Don't Expect It To Just Come Falling Down Into Your Waiting Arms From The Blue Blue Sky.  While on the surface it appears to say basically the same thing, it is an edgier version.  Sometimes, when activities become strenuous or schedules become tight, a whiff of impending bloody mayhem wafts gently in the breeze and there is a palpable sense that something is about to snap.  This is a key moment.  A weak man can cave under the pressure of being expected to read a woman's mind ("Well if you don't know, I'm not going to tell you") and, collapsing under the weight of Unmet Unspoken Expectations, he will reflexively run to the aid of his spouse.  Huge mistake.  A man of character would see this as the key moment that unlocks the door to honest communication, and while he may see his wife's hairy eyeball shooting lightning bolts at his testicles, he chooses the right path and continues to mind his own business.

Technically speaking, I'm still not in trouble at this point because everybody involved knows the ease with which one can invoke the AFWYN Rule.  Ask for help and ye shall receive it, right?  I know my wife is capable of asking me to help with her annual slash and burn campaign to clean out the garage, and yet, hearing no request, I found myself unencumbered by ladder, broom, and gloves.  I was not stuffing old clothes into boxes and bags for donation to a charity.  I didn't sweep, I didn't stack, I didn't organize.

As I am a busy person myself, I tended to the responsibilities incumbent upon me as a writer and a photographer and toiled away on my own little projects, keeping an ear out for any plea or other sound that may have come wafting in gently on the breeze.  Having heard none, I stand before you today a guilt-free man.  We enjoyed a nice dinner that night, reveled in our accomplishments, and relaxed.

And then she showed me a little black book she found while cleaning out the garage.

It had been a long time since I'd seen that little black book.  And to be honest here, it wasn't really a Little Black Book per se.  It was just my date book from 1981.  There were no personal comments on individual females, no rating system or code for their capabilities, skills, inclinations, virtuosities, dexterousness, proficiencies, experience, genius, endowments, knacks, limberness, tendencies, fetishes, talents, or habits.  It was simply a reference book.

You know I'm telling the truth, right?

Now, in 1981 I was 24 and what one might call unfettered.  It was another time.  Practically another world.  Another universe.  A magic universe, sure, a beautiful era of glorious freedom and joy, but still, you know, another time.  So when I let my fingers do the walking last night through the address & phone number section my knuckles buckled when they came to some of the female names, but that is only because of my gift for memory, and a man cannot be blamed, thought poorly of, or criminally prosecuted in the State of California for having a good memory.

There is a sweetness to a man's past, and when an artifact from it is exhumed he can't help but be curious about what it might say about where he came from, about how much he has changed, and how much he hasn't.

You know I'm telling the truth, right?

And because I trust my wife so much, and because she is not the jealous type, I know that when she, all by herself in the garage, discovered the book there among my effects she didn't leaf through it furtively or feverishly, but simply set it aside with the knowledge that I would use it merely as a touchstone in my occasional forays into fond and serene remembrance.  Like all guys do.

You know I'm telling the truth, right?

My mind is clean, you see.  It isn't cluttered with things stored away in the off chance that someday they may need to be resurrected.  I don't need any help sweeping it out.  I can sit here and leaf through my little book, flip the pages and see name after name after name after name after name after name after name after name after name after name after name after name, and it's all just so much dust.

The past is gone.  Gone beyond Beyond.


wwwaaaaaaaaaaaahhh !!!




  today's music:

"Names And Addresses" -- Junior Brown -- GUIT WITH IT


today's wisdom:

"I am slow to learn and slow to forget that which I have learned. My mind is like a piece of steel - very hard to scratch anything on it, and almost impossible after you get it there to rub it out."

- Abraham Lincoln

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