Monday, January 23, 2012


We all have them things in our make-up which limit us, hold us back, just plain get in the way of our becoming better, more successful people.

Now as artists we are given to introspection. It’s the inner workings of our lives which give us the inspiration to create out of the air the art which we hope will become undying, immortal or at least pay the rent.

But if we are tangled in our own little web of handicaps how in the world will all of that introspection help?

It won’t.

Oh that’s painful, but it is true, you can stare at your own navel until you get eye strain and nothing much is going to happen except the ophthalmologist is going to get a new Audi.

I have one, no silly not a navel although I do have one of those, I have a stumbling block which try as I might and truth be told I don’t try very hard, I just cannot overcome.

I don’t like phones. There I’ve said it and in this wireless age, with Facebook and Twitter, the newest Iphone and the android system, I might as well admit that I don’t like bunnies or chocolate.

But that doesn’t change the problem, I just don’t like phones. I never have and since they became small and mobile they have become even worse.

Used to be with a little effort you could hide from them. You could go to church or a nice cheery funeral and not hear that shriek when the bell went off. And that dear friends is another thing, why is it that the people who carry these annoying things have to have the William Tell Overture or the theme from 2001 a Space Odyssey as a ring tone?

And just who decided that it was a ring tone? The bleating and clattering of a mobile phone in a restaurant or store is not a ring tone, it’s a nail in the ear.

I have threatened for years to have my own phone use the line from silence of the Lambs and have Hannibal Lecter say, “Hello Clarice,” every time I get a call. The Long Suffering won’t hear of it and since she is the one who makes ninety percent of the calls I get I guess she does have veto power.

But what could be so important that it needs to be done while in line at the check out at Wally World? I am no great fan of shopping at Wally World and will admit that anything to soften the pain of doing it is a welcome surprise, but why a phone?

My Quacker thinks I have one of those phones which sings and dances like Fred Astaire. I have a phone which makes phone calls. It doesn’t text, surf the Internet, or make the beds. That’s all I need to do with it make phone calls. But the Croaker thinks it has all of the bells and whistles and suggest that I program it to go off like an alarm clock every three hours so I won’t forget that I am a diabetic and have to eat.

Coupla problems with that, I couldn’t program it if it had that feature and it doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not technophobe. I like computers and gadgets. I can program a DVD player with one hand tied behind me. But I can’t even store a number in my phone. The Long Suffering had to set up my speed dial and so far it has one setting, hers.

There was a time when telephone skill was necessary to conduct business. If you didn’t have a number then you were out of luck, but now, with the Internet, I can email anyone I need to talk with and not get my own feathers ruffled by having to talk to someone on the phone.

That’s the other problem, if I wanted to talk to someone I’d go find them and talk. I never found the need to talk to a disembodied voice for hours on end about things of no consequence when I could be doing something. Now I am sure that there are times when a phone comes in handy. Like maybe if you are being attacked by the Shropshire Slasher and need the police, except you’d be dead by the time they could get there and with all of the snooping software they have now some nasty little paparazzi will have a scanner and beat the patrol car there and take pictures of your nude and bleeding body for the cover of the National Prespirer and you’ll become an Internet sensation the one time when you cannot enjoy it and that isn’t very fair now is it?

So here I sit with no desire to talk on the phone and a world full of compulsive dialers. (Except there are no dials any more so are you really a dialer or should it be a digitizer? Or maybe you are a keyboard wizard?)

But the truth is even though I hate the phone I have to come to terms with it if I want to promote my art. I still cringe every time I hear the thing ring. (Fortunately half of the time I’ve somehow turned the ringer off so I don’t hear it ring, but just delays the agony so it’s best to man up and face it head on, fingers at the ready and find out who out there is dialing for dollars.)

I struggle with this phobia every day; the only positive thing about it is I am aware of it. I know that left to my own devices I would not have a phone and would not answer it if I had one. What I really need is a machine which makes calls but doesn’t take them.

But then that’s like not answering, isn’t it, just not polite and very destructive to my own business.

What’s your trap? What do you avoid with a purple passion? Do you know it when you see it? Have you given any thought to it or you doing the ostrich thingy? You do know that when you hide your head in the sand that means another body part is sticking straight up? Not your best side and a pretty horrifying picture. Imagine a room full of ostriches all with their heads in the sand and their not heads sticking straight up…no, wait that’s Congress, better not fasten on that image.

Find out what is holding you back and make it your business to come up with a real solution, don’t just hold hearings, but do something. It will free you and the next time the phone rings you can laugh, cause you know there is a big, fat old ostrich with his head in the sand.

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