End of Summer Clearance

Mighty Toy Cannon is clearing out inventory to make room for Back-To-School sales. All partially-completed or ill-conceived blog posts must go!

I routinely send myself e-mail messages containing ideas, notes and links that I intended to transform into coherent blog posts. Some are little more than cryptic subject lines, such as: "City Hurts Brain." Can't remember what that was about.

And then there's this snippet, which I must have written on my birthday:

"Despite an outward air of youthful sprightliness, and discounting the elan with which I embrace modern ways, I’m getting old."

I never got further than that, though on the same theme, I once started a post about that famous poem regarding old ladies with colorful hats. You know the one I'm talking about. It has inspired millions of women of a certain age to don gaudy red chapeaux and purple pantsuits, gather together in roving bands and terrorize outlet malls and natural history museums.

The official organization of these anarchists is the Red Hat Society, which has its own branded Visa Card, an online shop selling red and purple accoutrements, and Facebook and Twitter accounts both. Here is the original poem, written by Jenny Joseph in 1961:

WARNING

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens ...

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.


After spotting a platoon of Red Hats (no relationship to the Blue Helmets) enjoying a cool jazz performance in the lobby of the PCPA a few months ago, I was inspired to write a parody--a version for old men, as if written by Charles Bukowski.

I decided not to publish it for several reasons:

(1) It was fundamentally mean-spirited and snotty. I have no cause to poke fun at women who have chosen to embrace life and sisterhood;

(2) It was too easy. The original poem is a barrel full of fish and I felt like I was handed a loaded AR-15;

(3) It has nothing to do with life and arts in Portland, Culture Shock's putative theme; and,

(4) It was more profane than funny, and I worry about the delicate sensibilities of our readership.

What's that you say? You want me to post it anyway?

I really think it should just be forgotten. Please, let it go.

I know, I know. But really, let's move on.

Okay, okay. But I warned you.

WARNING

When I am an old man I shall wear sweatpants
With a baseball cap that says, “Blow Me”
And I shall spend my pension on gin and beef jerky
And shoes with Velcro, and say we've no money for nothin’.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm drunk
And gobble up beer nuts in bars and throw up in alleys

And rub my crotch in public places
And make no apologies for the recklessness of my youth.
I shall go out in my jockey shorts in the rain
And piss on the flowers in other people's gardens . . .

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and my nose has turned purple.

Happy?

12 comments:

Miss Laura said...

How is it possible that you haven't received one comment on this so far? You had me at the lead, and I'm so ticked I didn't think of it first.

And, pray tell me, were you really concerned that it didn't fit the putative theme of the blog? I gave up on that bad boy eons ago. Obviously. Though I really must get back to it or completely blow my credibility.

Please stay full of piss and vinegar and don't drain it all on the stinkin' flowers.

MightyToyCannon said...

I referred to the putative theme of the blog on the assumption that my erstwhile colleagues roll their eyes and ask, "Where's he going this time?" when they see a new post. Also, I just wanted an excuse to use the word.
"Putative" makes me think of something out of biology ("And now the grub is entering the putative phase") or a perjorative ("She was flouncing around acting all putative.").

Miss Laura said...

Why is it that women always flounce, anyway?

From dictionary.com:

pu-ta-tive
–adjective
commonly regarded as such; reputed; supposed: the putative boss of the mob.

I'm guessing you're trying to send a cryptic message about Little Tony. You sure he doesn't have family in Naples?

MightyToyCannon said...

"Puta" in Portuguese, Spanish, and Filipino translates as "whore" or "bitch," pardon my French.

Hence, pasta "alla puttanesca" = in the style of a prostitute in literal translation.

As for "flounce," I will accept sashay, strut, prance, caper or swagger as alternatives. I am reluctant to use "tittup," which has essentially the same meaning. Look it up.

Bob said...

When I am REALLY old I shall stop blogging.

And eat pasta alla puttanesca every day.

Miss Laura said...

I think Bob's referring to his old girlfriend, Putta Outta Nesca.

I'm so glad we're adding to the depth and vitality of the local cultural scene.

GeorgeTaylor said...

If you have any ideas of rubbing your crotch or pissing in other people's gardens next Wednesday, then our lunch date is off.

MightyToyCannon said...

George, I'll try to behave myself.

Stephen said...

Very happy. Thank you... I needed that.

Stephen said...

When I am old I shall wear unappropriate young hipster cloths & listen to my music really loud.
I shall tell strangers to shut their traps.
I will spend needless hours reading blogs & leaving comments. When I am old I shall drink whiskey in the middle of the day & smoke a bowl.
When I am old I will be unrepentent in my grouchiness.

Maybe I should paractice a little bit now?
Oh, I forgot. I turned old yesterday.
When suddenly I started working "blue".

David said...

I love this thread! Thanks to you all!

(Isn't it a strange life in which I come home and turn on the computer so I can hear from my friends, most of whom I've never met? Who among us imagined, even five years ago, that we'd be here?)

What was done said...

Getting old is only in our mind.
Age never prevented people from doing things:
http://www.whatwasdone.com/