Almost everybody has them; people with whom you are connected through no choice of your own. People you would not spend five minutes with unless compelled by some imagined or real ethical obligation. Sometimes it is a mother-in-law, sometimes it is an evil cousin, sometimes it is a neighbor, all variations on an endless theme.
My personal challenge is Beldar.
He lives on a cozy little planet reserved for people just like him, a well padded wallet keeps him insulated from the rabble. He smiles a lot. He is always laughing, at his own witticisms. He has a past full to the brim with extremely important people like lawyers and podiatrists and someone who was related to Leanord Cohen. There is no evidence of those esteemed colleagues in his life today.
He had an affair with a woman over two decades younger than himself during his midlife crises. Being a college teacher, he waited until she graduated to pursue the relationship. Propriety was respected, professional sanctions avoided. His betrayal was unexpectedly discovered by his wife, who was his childhood sweetheart and the mother of his three grown sons. He became a free man.
Having a comfortable income and a future pension fatter than most double incomes, he snagged that ambitious young love and married her. They had two children of their own. Now he is retired and "young at heart". He assures us that he is not like those other "old farts"; you know the ones, with wives old enough to be their wives and children who are pushing baby carriages of their own. Not a real man among them it seems.
Beldar loves to talk. Beldar loves to boast.
Beldar finds the poor depressing and the unemployed to have bad attitudes. Upon comfortable retirement, he moved away from the city that employed him all his life. It was hit hard by an economic downturn that resulted in massive layoffs and unemployment.
"The malls were full of all those depressed unemployed people, it was no fun I tell you," he told us.
"All the best restaurants closed," he said, "we had to leave."
Beldar now lives in a good neighborhood, in a wealthier city, in another country; and his new kids go to a superior school and they all live on the good ship lollipop. All the good people do. Beldar will tell you.
Who cares, Beldar, who cares?
It is a small world Beldar, a very small world.
It is your world too Beldar.
And he was in my house this morning.
And he sat at my dining room table and drank my coffee and never shut up.
Beldar has gone home.
Goodbye Beldar, goodbye.
Stay home, Beldar.
|RECIPES :: Cast
In The Grass
Beside the Easy Chair
Original Sin by P.D. James
I do what I can, when I can; that is not very much or very often.
MacDonalds and thou...
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