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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Say It Slower, Would Ya?

What’s with everything changing all the time? I need more stagnancy in my life, people! Roads are detoured, U.S. currency looks different from day to day, my pants are inexplicably shrunken in the wash…

Could we all just sit still for a moment?!

Remember when nothing seemed to change? When green was your favorite color, when summer lasted forever and you knew things for a certainty because they always had been that way?

The older I get – and the more I think about things – the more convinced I become that knowledge is relative, that nothing can be known for sure, and that few things under the control of humans can be “known”.

For example, when I was little, gambling was wrong. Everyone “knew” this. I specifically remember a movie, some movie, where the police came in, raiding a poker game. I had wanted to know why they couldn’t play cards, and my parents explained to me that playing for/with money was wrong, that it was illegal, and that people who gambled were criminals. My father continued on with a speech on organized crime, prohibition, and the Kennedys, but I had already stopped listening.

But gambling illegal? Not true anymore! Gambling is okay now, have you heard? The lottery’s on the TV. There are by-the-hour daycares in casinos. Vegas is actively promoting itself as a family destination. There’s water parks and shows and buffets and hookers. Something for everyone!

Full disclosure here: I’ve only been to Vegas once. Got dreadfully lost in an unfortunate I’ll-Be-Over-Here-While-You’re-In-The-Bathroom Fiasco that netted me two hours of 3:00 a.m. fear, two marriage proposals I suspect were not sincere, one lewd proposition that I suspect was, and a stern yelling-at from the people I was eventually reunited with. I do have to say, though, through all the trauma, that I was really surprised at how many people were in the casinos with strollers and small children, even at 3:00 in the morning. Ding! Ding! Ding! Daddy, can I have another roll of quarters for the slots?

What does that mean, when something that used to be wrong is now right?

On the other hand, it used to be okay to smoke. In theaters. And airplanes. And hospitals. And courthouses. And bars! Wasn’t too long ago, either. Kind of miss that, as beer and cigarettes are truly the Fred and Ginger of the night-out dance, but that’s okay, too. Because of the smoking ban, it’s no longer necessary to wash everything that had anything to do with the smoky night before.

What’s my point? That what is okay changes from year to year, from place to place. Some changes, like fashion, are within our control – grown women with bows in their hair? Crocs? Zubaz? As we say in Minnesota, well, that's interesting.

Other changes, like the profane/highly entertaining cell phone conversations one sometimes overhears on the bus, are more nebulous. When did people become okay with airing their dirty laundry in public?

And I guess that’s the nature of change, isn’t it? One minute you know exactly what you’re doing, and the next minute, despite your high school education, you can’t remember the old name for Myanmar or what used to stand on that corner before they tore it down to make way for the condos.

Change. You just can’t keep up.


Draea Lael (Rose) said...

The biggest change that just grinds my gears? Apathy and lack of responsibility and respect in the schools. That scares me as a teacher, parent and future retired person. I thought things were wacky in society a decade ago...I am almost terrified of what it will be in another. When did it become ok for MOST kids to blow off schoolwork, threaten or cuss teachers, or for middle schoolers to cheerfully discuss the sex party they went to over the weekend...shudder.

The Jules said...

I'm all for a dynamic status quo me.

a Broad said...

I can only say Amen to all that .
I am offended by the loud cell phone conversations that are signs ( to me) of someone being so sure that their life is so interesting that we all need to hear it ..
I don't understand Crocs or the people who wear them, therefore I ignore them... babies wear them here, that is fine, they are babies.. with baby fashion sense.
I am soooo happy that they don't smoke in movie theatres... and airplanes.. cough cough .. nausea .. etc.
About Las Vegas... we went there a lot. First of all, I lived in LA and went with friends and hung out with Pretty people on weekends, but then when we lived in NY, we went for birthday weekends etc.
I always won .. how cool is that ? so I have nothing against staying in an over the top luxurious hotel room and eating really good food and winning money. But that might just be me :)
Myanmar ... hmmm... without googling, I will guess ... Siam ? lol... I have enough trouble remembering the name of the last town I lived in..sigh ..
Change or memory loss ?

a Broad said...

OK I was wrong.. Thailand used to be Siam...

Douglas said...

So, how's that effort at quitting smoking coming? Seems to me that you announced that some time ago. Give up giving up yet?

Life is change, my dear. From the diaper stage in infancy to the diaper stage in old age, change is inevitable. And only appreciated at those two stages in your life.

Quit picking on Vegas, I like that place. Well, not as much anymore since they've made it virtually impossible to stagger drunkenly from casino to casino on the strip. And you can't get a decent steak and egg breakfast for $1.49 anymore.

Never mind, go ahead and pick on it.

Burma is the name Myanmar once had. Lou Alcinder is now Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Muhammad Ali was once Cassius Clay and we used to live in a free country.

Fred Miller said...

Stagnancy has defined my life. My name was once Fred. It still is Fred. I work from home, so I regularly spend up to five days in the same clothes night and day. On the other hand, I have a new hole in my right sock. Hope I don't have to buy new ones.

Sarah said...

One more good change: nobody wears panty hose anymore. Amen to that!

Anonymous said...

Pearly Girly...

Without change - we'd still be getting up at sunrise to kill our breakfast before riding the mule to work.

It's a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Talking of gambling, I was just saying last night "I can't believe people WATCH POKER ON TV!" I mean have we really come to that? Watching people play cards on TV? I thought, growing up in the UK, that televising darts matches was a hilariously terrible idea, at least until the Italians started televising topless darts and snaring giant teen boy audiences. Two things that should never feature together: Naked boobs and pointy darts.

You're right though, things do change and the line is blurred between wrong and right. Like most of the world says you can legally drink and buy a beer at 18 and some even 16, yet in the States it's 21. So a 19 year old getting busted for drinking is wrong because of location only.

Yes, it all comes down to beer.

K A B L O O E Y said...

I'd be fine with change if I just got to pick what remained the same and what got scheduled for revision.

Nail on head about fact that time is speeding up exponentially as I age. A year used to take f o r e v e r to finish itself up when I was in grade school, but now they pass in a blink.


Joanna Jenkins said...

OMG-- YOur Las Vegas bathroom experience-- So sorry about that one

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Pearl! Thank you for this - "One minute you know exactly what you’re doing, and the next minute..." This encapsulates my current life experiences perfectly. What was I saying? Indigo

Casey Freeland said...

I think it's mostly just our perception, the size of our world. When we're young our world is small and therefore constant. Everything our parents say is automatically true, we trust teachers and doctors completely. Our neighborhood is the size of the universe. And we've only been alive for a handful of years.

Now, I'm 42 years old, not 10, so things have changed a lot in my life by comparison. My world is huge. Driving 10 hours for work is not a big deal. Communicating with folks from Austrailia, Malaysia, India, Canada, England, etc. every single day is common.

My two youngest kids... they've spent their 8 and 10 years in this house. Their world is relatively constant and unchanging and has been their entire lives.

Lucky kids.

Great post. Thanks.


mapstew said...

It was one of you guys (fellow bloggers) who one told me "Change is the only Constant"!

Watching poker on TV? We used to have Irish Dancing on the RADIO!! :¬)


Katherine Thomas said...

Thanks for voicing that! You should send it to press. I used to laugh at 'old' people who were set in their ways and wouldn't get a cell phone or use the internet, or wouldn't stop wearing their 60's clothes. But I'm starting to realize that they just got tired of all the change, and figured they didn't need it!