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Friday, October 19, 2007

My dreamboat hauls in an empty catch

At the weekends, bloggers can be more honest and intimate, or maybe just silly, because there are so few of us.

I am given to understand that it is very important to engender self esteem in children, both boys and girls. Fostering their ambitions with the acknowledgment of genuine achievement, is a good path to tread. Where I come from 'false modesty' is the norm, a cultural blip. Ambition must be veiled and disguised unless you want to walk around with a neon arrow that reads 'big head,' for everyone to see. Now that I am old, I can see the middle road between the two, a much more comfortable path.


I find it hard to believe that it is a commonly held belief that women, generally, lack this basic building block, or that their cement crumbles or that the bricks don’t fit together neatly. I, on the other hand, have oodles of the stuff, more than enough for my own purposes and certainly loads to share. It is because of this abundance that I feel it my bounden duty to pass some of it along.

Shall I tell you a little secret? I little dark ambition that I once clung to, like the wreck of the Hesperus?[Ref *]

Well, as you know, intermittently, I like to play with clay. It is great therapy, very physical. However I never make much progress or improve because I don't practice for long enough. Something or other will come crashing in on the great plan, so the great plan is shelved for another indefinite period of time.

Way back in time, my days of volunteer work had been suspended due to an overdose of duties closer to home. I had no income and no time within which to earn it. I knew that I was shrinking. I needed to ‘think big’ as we Americans say. I decided that everyone would learn to love Goldfish and their emblem, Goldfish Crackers. They would become associated with autism all over the world. Little fishies swimming free in the vast ocean of possibilities, rather than trapped in that stagnant little puzzle piece that all the grown up autistic people dislike. Everyone would accept autism as an ‘is.’ Peace, love and understanding would rule the world. Sharks would all be white and choose the vegetarian option. Killer whales would seek out krill and the lion would lie down with the lamb…….

I am a creature of habit, and inspired by my very favourite Goldfish crackers, I began to decorate my pots with fishies. Now we happen to live quite close to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

One day whilst my children were busy vandalizing their merchandise in the shop, I happened to notice some terribly expensive wibbly wobbly pots for sale. So I thought to myself, as one sometimes does, 'my wibbly wobbly pots, are every bit as wibbly wobbly as theirs, and my fish are friendlier.' It was then that I happened upon an ambition, another brilliant plan. I would make my wibbly wobbly pots with their happy little fish and give them to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for them to sell. Any money that people were willing to part with, fools, would go straight into a Charitable foundation to support autistic people. Bingo! I had solved so many birds with one fish.

Of course, it never came to anything. I am nothing if not na├»ve and deluded. Brain lint. Many people benefit from day dreams, and I'm one of them. As a child my career ambition was Christmas tree climber and star shiner. This is probably a better career choice than the previous one, chimney sweep. It utilized the same skill set, but a step cleaner. Today I’m far more comfortable with realism and cynicism. It’s just one of those comfy little pipe dreams, mental meanderings that bring solace and calm to the often trouble minds of some parents, probably only one or two though.

post script - I did take a first preliminary step and contacted Pepperidge Farm about the matter. A feeble attempt to raise awareness.

I can't quote them directly, but the message I received by return could be roughly summarized as 'how much do you wish to donate to Pepperidge Farm Madam?'

That was enough evidence to convince me that I lacked any powers of persuasion, had no ability to communicate effectively and that my feet of clay had turned into cement.

[* Ref]

It was the schooner Hesperus,
That sailed the wintery sea;
And the skipper had taken his little daughter,
To bear him company.

Blue were her eyes as the fairy flax,
Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
That ope in the month of May.

The Skipper he stood beside the helm,
His pipe was in his mouth,
And he watched how the veering flaw did blow
The smoke now West, now South.

Then up and spake an old Sailor,
Had sailed the Spanish Main,
"I pray thee, put into yonder port,
for I fear a hurricane.

"Last night the moon had a golden ring,
And to-night no moon we see!"
The skipper, he blew whiff from his pipe,
And a scornful laugh laughed he.

Colder and louder blew the wind,
A gale from the Northeast,
The snow fell hissing in the brine,
And the billows frothed like yeast.

Down came the storm, and smote amain
The vessel in its strength;
She shuddered and paused, like a frighted steed,
Then leaped her cable's length.

"Come hither! come hither! my little daughter,
And do not tremble so;
For I can weather the roughest gale
That ever wind did blow."

He wrapped her warm in his seaman's coat
Against the stinging blast;
He cut a rope from a broken spar,
And bound her to the mast.

"O father! I hear the church bells ring,
Oh, say, what may it be?"
"Tis a fog-bell on a rock bound coast!" --
And he steered for the open sea.

"O father! I hear the sound of guns;
Oh, say, what may it be?"
Some ship in distress, that cannot live
In such an angry sea!"

"O father! I see a gleaming light.
Oh say, what may it be?"
But the father answered never a word,
A frozen corpse was he.

Lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark,
With his face turned to the skies,
The lantern gleamed through the gleaming snow
On his fixed and glassy eyes.

Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed
That saved she might be;
And she thought of Christ, who stilled the wave,
On the Lake of Galilee.

And fast through the midnight dark and drear,
Through the whistling sleet and snow,
Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept
Tow'rds the reef of Norman's Woe.

And ever the fitful gusts between
A sound came from the land;
It was the sound of the trampling surf,
On the rocks and hard sea-sand.

The breakers were right beneath her bows,
She drifted a dreary wreck,
And a whooping billow swept the crew
Like icicles from her deck.

She struck where the white and fleecy waves
Looked soft as carded wool,
But the cruel rocks, they gored her side
Like the horns of an angry bull.

Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice,
With the masts went by the board;
Like a vessel of glass, she stove and sank,
Ho! ho! the breakers roared!

At daybreak, on the bleak sea-beach,
A fisherman stood aghast,
To see the form of a maiden fair,
Lashed close to a drifting mast.

The salt sea was frozen on her breast,
The salt tears in her eyes;
And he saw her hair, like the brown sea-weed,
On the billows fall and rise.

Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,
In the midnight and the snow!
Christ save us all from a death like this,
On the reef of Norman's Woe!

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

More grumpiness over "here" on "alien - because I say so!"

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