Department Of As The Isolation Lengthens The Thoughts Deepen
These times of uncertainty are also times of having more time – perhaps, too much time – to ponder the great existential questions of our age. All issues, from the profound to the mundane, may come to mind in the blink of an eye…or the punch of a car radio button.
Dateline: Wednesday, late a.m., driving home from the grocery store. “Those nachos were really hard on my stomach,” moans a voice in a radio ad, which segues into the familiar Pepto-Bismol commercial jingle. I listen to a chorus of pleasant voices warble the praises of a product which, they assure me, will sooth just about whatever ails a person’s digestive tract, and I wonder about the singers of such jingles. I assume they do commercials and voice-overs as a way to supplement their income – from what I gather, the life of most professional vocalists is fraught with uncertainty, and they take whatever gigs pay the bills. Still, I wonder if the young (I’m assuming) man with the lovely tenor voice ever imagined, during all those years in the practice rooms as he was training his “ear,” learning to sight read and honing other skills in pursuit of his BFA in Vocal Performance, that he would one day be in a recording studio to practice holding just the right amount of vibrato on the end syllable of, “diarrhea-aaaaaaaah“ ? 
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Department Of Screaming At People Who Can’t Hear Me
Chapter 375 In A Never-Ending Series
David ___ and Dominique ___ have a couple of things in common: they both live in New York, they’re both gay, and they’re both HIV-positive. But David is in his 60s and has been living with the disease since moving to New York in the ‘80s. Dominique, on the other hand, is only in his early 30s…this episode features a very special conversation between David and Dominique about the similarities and differences in their experiences living with HIV.
Dominique, as part of his job working for a gay men’s health crisis type organization, advises people on safe sex practices. In the last third of the interview Dominique talked with David about contracting HIV and the medications he, like David, now must take, for life. Dominique had been HIV negative, but when he entered into what he thought was a mutually monogamous relationship, he stopped using safe sex practices. David asked Dominique if he is embarrassed about having HIV; Dominique vehemently denied that, and claimed he doesn’t regret anything. Dominique also said that when people find out about his HIV status change, some have asked him if, looking back, would he change things – what would he do different (ly)?
“I wouldn’t change *anything.* I made a conscious decision to be in love. If I had to change one thing I will say I wish I were in a relationship with someone who was more honest….but, like, people were saying…”don’t you wished you had ‘wrapped it up,’ and I know this (the question David had asked him, about embarrassment) is not a safe sex question, but no I probably wouldn’t have used a condom because I was in a trusting relationship, we were getting tested, right? So, I wouldn’t change anything…”
I know what I am *supposed *to think when, someone says something like that. Moiself is supposed to think, Oh how honest how brave how heroic/noble.
Instead, I blurted out, to the pavement and the crows perched in the trees, what I honestly and absolutely do think:
“What an idiot!”
What a shallow, non-introspective idiot.
It’s the same thing I say – usually to moiself – when I encounter similar declarations from any individual (via personal conversation with a friend or family member or colleague, or reading an interview with or bio about a notable person) who declares that, looking back on their life, they wouldn’t change a thing.
This kind of no-regrets/I-wouldn’t-change-anything assertion (read: humble-brag) is usually/immediately followed by the explanation/justification about how the ups and downs of life, the good the bad and the ugly, have all contributed to their whole persona and/or where they are today….
Now, I don’t disagree with the we-are-everything-that-we-have-done-have-had-done-to-us sentiment. Rather, I take *strong* issue with the idea that *no regrets* is a positive, even admirable, quality for a human being to have, or strive for.
In my opinion, if you have no regrets, you simply have not paid attention. If you have no regrets, you probably have little empathy. What is the point of self-reflection if you learn nothing from that which, you realize, was a regrettable action on your part?
Can we truly learn from our mistakes if we don’t admit or identify what was a mistake? And yes, the question of changing one’s actions (“Looking back, what would you do differently?”) can be viewed as moot, since the opportunity to do so has, so far, only presented itself in science fiction movies and novels. Still, I mistrust a person who says that, knowing what they know now, they would do everything the same. I think a person who confidently makes such a declaration hasn’t *really* thought the question through… or if they have and still hold that absolutist conclusion, they are shallow and/or callous.
Because our mistakes don’t just hurt our own selves.
The young man (YM) whose drunk driving killed my friend’s son (and another passenger in YM’s truck) served a jail sentence for “gross vehicular manslaughter.” I sincerely hope that he put his time in jail to good use; even more sincerely, I hope he never expresses any variation of how, if given the proverbial time travel opportunity, he “wouldn’t change a thing” because now he is more thoughtful and/or learned some bit life lessons, or now he knows from *personal experience* why people should never drink and drive…. There are *so* many other ways YM could have learned those lessons than by causing the death of his friends and the enduring agony of their loved ones.
So, to any of us who have ever (probably in haste and somewhat thoughtlessly) boasted said that we “…have no regrets/ would do everything over again,” moiself asks,
You would never take back words said or actions done in anger or haste – words and deeds that didn’t instigate international armed conflict but nevertheless caused someone acute or ongoing pain? You would never admit to wishing you’d spent more time getting to know certain people (the shy or nerdy or otherwise “uncool” kid at school or work, or your aging relatives), instead of spending so much time and energy on people (the “popular” gang at school, the influential go-getters at work) whom, if you met ’em today, you wouldn’t give ’em directions to the outhouse?
Yeah, it’s your body and you don’t regret any of those cigarettes,  Ms. Marching Bravely To The Grave…but it’s never *just* your body, honey. It’s your friends and family and colleagues who also suffer, physically as well as mentally and emotionally, as they watch you slowly suffocate to death; it’s your colleagues who must pick up the slack at work; it’s the health care system you burden….
Just to be clear, by regrets I’m talking honest self-assessment here, and not in any way encouraging shame-obsessed wallowing (which, in the opinions of both moiself and the American Psychological Association – jolly good of them to agree with me, don’t you think? – usually benefits no one).
Moiself has learned from the “regrets” examples of others, when they have shared what they’ve regretted. I can think of more than one occasion where I have stopped moiself from doing/saying similar hurtful things or rephrased my thoughts or changed my course of action, because of someone else’s admission of regret for having done something similar. And yes of course, I’ve learned from my own mistakes, but so many of them… well, there were other ways I could have learned those lessons, other ways which did not involve being unkind to other folks.
I don’t think that people should regret *everything* (that they either knew at the time or that turned out to be a bad move on their part). I do hold that those who’ve convinced themselves that they regret *nothing* are demonstrating that they have learned nothing about what it means to walk through this world as a sentient being. To any and all No-regrets folk, please: Do the world a favor: find a sci-fi time travel machine and go back and work on yourself.
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Department of The Corona Virus Playlist
The Honky-Tonk Country Music Edition
There are more sub-genres of Country Music than there are hook extender panels on Dolly Parton’s brassieres’ straps. Honky-Tonk, a term whose etymology is disputed, generally refers to the kind of music which emerged from early 1900s piano bars which provided country music – often referred to (by the music industry) – as hillbilly music – to entertain their patrons. As per Wikipedia:
Originally, [honky tonk music] featured the guitar, fiddle, string bass, and steel guitar. The vocals were originally rough and nasal, as exemplified by the singer-songwriters Floyd Tillman and Hank Williams, but later developed a clear and sharp sound, such as that of George Jones and Faron Young. Lyrics tended to focus on working-class life, with frequently tragic themes of lost love, adultery, loneliness, alcoholism, and self-pity.
Moiself has listed some of those exemplars of honky-tonk song titles which are IMHO, applicable to our social-isolating, transmission–paranoid, COVID-19 times, and which, in small groupings, imply a related story.
I’ve Been Out A-walkin’
I’ll Give You Something To Drink About
If Drinking Don’t Kill Me
God’s Gonna Get ‘cha
Your Cheating Heart
Hell Stays Open All Night Long
All My Friends Are Gonna Be Strangers
Blue Side Of Lonesome
We Live In Two Different Worlds
Bridge Washed Out
Don’t Let Me Cross Over
I Love You So Much It Hurts
Nothing Can Stop My Loving You
Drivin’ Nails in My Coffin
We Must Have Been Out Of Our Minds
We’re Gonna Hold On
There’s The Door
How Can You Refuse Him Now
When The Grass Grows Over Me
Be Careful Of Stones You Throw
Alone And Forsaken
I Love You So Much It Hurts
I Just Don’t Like This Kind Of Livin’
I’ve Just Told Mama Goodbye
Take These Chains From My Heart
The Angel Of Death
The Old Log Train
Wealth Won’t Save Your Soul
You’re Barkin’ Up The Wrong Tree Now
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Pun For The Day
Puns about German sausages are the wurst.
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Department of Epicurean Excursion Evolution 
And here’s what I made for ours, one day this week.
Featuring this week’s Theme Day (Thirsty Thursday – soup) and recipe:
* Celeriac soup (escorted by garbanzo bean salad, horseradish beets, Chinese broccoli mushroom stir-fry.)
☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
Recipe Rating Refresher 
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May you truly not have a reason to regret the majority of your regrets;
May time spent reading this blog *not* be one of your regrets;
May jingles about intestinal distress remedies never intrude upon your deep thoughts;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 I wonder how that credit appears on a professional vocalist’s resumé?
 A declaration from one (there have been so many) of my relatives who died from smoking-related or caused disease. This particular one had arranged with a doctor she used to work for to insure that nothing related to cancer/smoking would go on her death certificate (she was too proud for what to her would have been an admission, that, as a former nurse, she “should have known better”) .
* Abject Failure: I’ll make a canned wieners & SpaghettiOs gelatin mold before I make this recipe again.
* Tolerable: if you have the proper…attitude.
* Yep: why, sure, I’d share this with my cat.
* Now you’re talkin’: Abby the support Avocado ® approves.
* Yummers: So good, it merits The Purple Tortilla Chip Of Exclamation ® !