Doctor Spock. She couldn’t go to her mother for advice. My grandmother hadn’t talked to her since my mother’s divorce. So my mother fumbled around and did the best she could figure out.
Sometimes this entailed taking me to work with her. When she was working at the concession counter at the drive-in movie theater going with her was very cool. I would sit at a picnic table on a concrete slab by the projection booth, right next to a blaring metal loud speaker and float into the movies while my mom’s teen co-workers inundated me with sugar-y soda, popcorn and ice cream.
It was in that state that I first saw “Godzilla”. A warm California night, the sea breeze and eucalyptus scenting the air and sixty feet of city munching reptile destroying everything adults hold dear. Perhaps my still holding love affair with Japanese jidai-geki movies has more to do with remembering a mother’s love than it does my fondness for giant lizards and men in rubber suits. I wouldn’t know. I’m more Adlerian than Freudian.
I liked monster movies. So did my mother but she worried so her next big plan to keep me from being deprived was a subscription to The Children’s Book Club.
This was some weird thing, probably from an ad in “Teen Mom’s Weekly”. For fifty nine cents a copy your child, meaning me, got a hard cover classic of children’s literature.
They were cheaply printed things. Thing I remember most were the super ragged edges of the pages. But I liked the books. I liked the stories in them. Classics is a pretty broad term. There were Hardy Boys stories, strange science fiction and “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland”. I really liked that book at age 7. I liked the pictures and I liked the horrible things that happened to the little girl.
At that stage of my life torturing little girls was a major part of my entertainment. Not real torture but stuff like dropping snails down their backs, stealing the heads from their dolls. Typical stuff. The one girl who thought it was cool and fought back instead of shrieking and threatening to tell on me became a life long friend.
So I liked that all the animals yelled at Alice, picked on her and tormented her. It kept my interest up.
I read that book and re-read it then got on with surfing, torturing little girls etc. In high school someone gave me a copy of Martin Gardener’s “The Annotated Alice”. I don’t remember who. It took me a long time before I started reading it. When I did start to get into it I was enthralled. It started my trek into Lewis Carroll fandom.
I recently got a copy of Jenny Woolf’s new book, “The Mystery of Lewis Carroll”. It’s a bit dry but it attempts to debunk some of the more bizarre suppositions about Charles Dodgson like that he was actually Jack the Ripper. It also attempts to tackle the issue of his being a pedophile. That has always driven me crazy. I’ve read some persuasive arguments for it being so and I’ve tried to accept that he was a pedophile who never actually improperly touched or harmed a child.
That goes against my knowledge of pedophiles. When I took my training to help abused kids part of it was attending group therapy sessions and listening to child abusers. I think the plan was to get us trainees to have some compassion and empathy for the offensive offenders.
It didn’t have any such effect. I have been alone with thrill killers, reputed Mafia hitmen, drug addicts, prostitutes and movie stars. At some level I’ve always felt a bond of humanity. Sometimes it was tenuous and difficult but it was always still there.
Prior to my meeting the child abusers the group I felt most distant from were the hard core crack addicts. They were so lizard brained that any cloudy memory they had of being human was only called on to try and manipulate.
Child abusers, the ultimate victimizers, didn’t have even that. To me they were an alien insect race that would be best served with a claw hammer and a room draped in plastic.
They have no control over their actions. They must abuse. So sordid and ingrained is their delusion that they speak often and in agreement that children are sexual seducers who lure them into the abusers horrific attacks and fantasies.
The thing is that they were all like this, all out of control. Even chemical and physical castration has not deterred child molesters from attacking children.
No matter how convincing the arguments it was hard, nearly impossible for me to put Dodgson in this category, this misshapen lump. I could not even accept that he was a pedophile who had somehow managed to NOT harm children.
Ms Woolf’s book tries to address this issue while presenting an image of Carroll full and deep. She uses a few newly discovered letters, gets some interesting interpretations of available data from MD’s and such and uses a unique and solid bit of hard evidence.
She uses forensic accounting. Recently discovered are the complete bank records for Dodgson. From the first penny he spent till the decimation of his estate at his death. Financial records.
It seems odd. But so did bringing down Al Capone’s empire based on his financial records. It paints a picture of Carroll and Dodgson that I am much more in agreement with that any other previous. Meaning it jibes most closely to my own perceptions of a major part of my pantheontology.
Woolf’s writing style is a bit dry and prosaic but her observations are keen, her conclusions are only pedantic when strongly supported by evidence. It makes a good read and provides at least for the fans, which I am, a nice amount of dream time considering Dodgson/Carroll. My only complaint is that a bit too many words are spent rejecting some of the more inane conclusions about Dodgson.
I went for my stress tests on Wednesday. Interesting stuff. They made the mistake of leaving me alone in a room too long. I found a remarkable plastic model of a heart. It was dumped behind some boxes in a cupboard. I coveted it and considered stealing it. I didn’t. Not because of any high handed moral arguments or out of fear but because it occurred to me that it might only appear to be discarded and might be of service to some other poor slob stuck in my kind of hell.
The stress tests themselves were not all that difficult. The first one was on a treadmill. I was out fitted with all the ekg terminals and an x-ray machine was pointed at my chest.
It was hard getting my pulse over 100. Not that I’m that fit but because the treadmill didn’t offer up enough resistance and I was ordered to not bend over too much to accelerate so that the x-rays would hit the right spot.
After that we went to the stair masters. Due to my chemotherapy history they eschewed x-rays. Didn’t want to blast me with too much radiation in case I turned into a super hero I bet. So this time I climbed the unending staircase and was monitored by electrodes and sound waves. I could see the sonogram as I worked out. It was so incredibly cool looking at my heart beat. In motion I was trying to control it and make it do interesting things. That got me yelled at.
Don’t have all the results yet but what there is is good. My heart has healed. There are abnormalities but they have to be looked for rather than appearing as distorted lines and squibbles.
My vitals are all good. they doubled my blood pressure meds. Rah. My BP was 120 over 60, but they decided they want it even lower! Part of this is due to the congestive heart failure I had with the Lyrica. Then my BP was hovering around 190 over 80 due to all the fluid in my chest compressing everything. Getting my standard BP even lower will enable me to endure a real congestive heart attack (that’s what killed my grandmother when she was 98 . . .) They said I was on an extremely minmal dosage anyway and this would still have me below average.
Now I just wait for the rest of the results and the fitness and fury.
Just wanted to mention my puppy. She’s continued to be wonderful. She’s crazy and calm by turns. When I’m feeling more under the weather than usual she’s protective. When I’m feeling better she’s bossy and obnoxious, demanding her way. She’s my friend.
She’s been on a diet. She hates it. But we went to the pet store yesterday and she has lost nearly TWO POUNDS! Bringing her weight down to 71! Only six more pounds to go till she is her ideal weight!
She could care less about ideal weight. She’d rather have ice cream at all of her meals.