The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor

............................................ ............................................ A blog devoted to the ramblings of a small town, middle aged college professor as he experiences life and all its strange variances.

Friday, July 30, 2004

It is times like these that I begin to feel more aware of the mix of our gutteral, animal nature and our emotions. When life is at a fairly even keel, it is easy to view our emotions as distinct from our nature, but when times are very troubled, it is all too aparent that our physical, animal self and our emotional complex are intimately intertwined.

As I continually try to be a strong rock of support for my family during these horrendous times, I can feel the stress hormones course rapidly through my arteries and veins making my physical self prepared for the imminent hardships that is part of life at these times.

Being an honest, hard-working man, means I must help support my family emotionally, physically, and in all other ways during this time of hardship. However, I need support as well. But I cannot falter in supplying the needs of my family, so I find my solace and support in other ways.

The most honest, and stable, and supportive friend I can count on when I must be of strong resolve and support for my family is not even a person. It is my dog. She allows me to vent my pain, and my saddness, and yet does not become fearful or lose faith. She is still devoted to me. In many ways she is the reason I can be so strong for my family.

Another vital tool I have in my aresenal to try to cope with the horrors that befall my family currently is my trusty cadre of briar pipes. The harsh, thick smoke is a true nourishment to my mind and spirit. The hearty pipe tobacco smoke saturates my mind and body and can dissipate and dimish the raging stress hormones to more tolerable levels.

Without my pipes and my dog, I do not think I could survive the stress. And without surviving the stress, I could not help my family by being a rock of support for them. Therefore, my dog and my pipes are keeping my family together during this time.

Plus a few stiff drinks at bed to help me sleep.


Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I am feeling extremely bitter.

It seems as if I am on a continual course of disaster in life. I work and strive to make life as contented and happy as possible for those I love. I try to be a good, decent person who tries to help others and society. Like is the opening of the Apostle's Creed, "I believe in God..." Yet, there is a never ending stream of horror and pain that befalls my family and my life. Catastrophic illness in two members of my family, horrible developments for my wife's research, copiously enormous surges of stress hormones continually course through my body allowing me no peace. I try to hold it together.... "it" meaning I try to support my family in these times of horror...... "it also meaning I try to keep myself from literally going off the deep end..... "it" meaning I try to continue to work at my job..... ". Life has no color or flavor at the moment other than that of black, wretched, decay and doom.

I have become simply a robot. I no longer look at much around me, for most of the time all I can see is hurt and worry. I no longer listen to music or the radio even though it may be on, for all I hear is the pain and the suffering. I no longer smell or taste food, but instead simply shovel it into my gullet to provide calories. There are no spices, no care-free feelings, no casual contentment in life anymore. Every moment of the 24 hours of each day is stress.

I am truly sad, and am beginning to lose the ability to even imagine hope for me or my family.


All I can say most of the time these days is... "Why the hell do I try to do anything?" Perhaps I have had the wrong ideas my whole damn life. Perhaps I should simply leave family and friends behind and live in a commune or a monestary or an insane asylum. Perhaps I should just pickle my mind continually in a vat of gin or whiskey. Perhaps I should....


Monday, July 26, 2004

Life is a bit more stable at the moment. Currently no horrors are destroying my family. I am utterly spent and drained. Now comes the task of trying to (using my analogy of being the mealy paste of a squashed bug) scrape my corporal body back into something resembling a form and figuring out how to carry on again.

I am angry yet relieved, tired yet wanting to do "something", thinking about getting royally sloshed but not wanting the hangover or recoverly time, and wanting to buy a new pipe.

Life is a mystery and a challenge.


Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Things are still very nebulous on the home front. The illnesses and emergencies of my family continue to ebb and flow, but persist. There is not much homeostasis at the moment, nor is there much to say. My mind feels like a hard drive that has been erased. I have no energy or focus. It feels as if it will take unattainable activity to find my own mental center again.

While I still feel like an insect that has been ground into a pulpy paste on the sidewalk, I can celebrate a new milestone.....

I have had 7000+ visitors now.

I am pleased to continue to grow, but I am also sad that my pace is quite slow. The "Grumpy 'Old' Man" for instance has been staying at a similar growth rate with me, but now he has clearly jumped ahead.... he is in the 8000+ range right now. I wish I knew his secret.

Oh well, perhaps it is my destiny to fail and to spend the remainder of my life dealing with continual crisis. In this way, perhaps I will lose my own identity and my own value and become simply a robot.... not thinking, or deciding, or reasoning..... just responding.


Monday, July 19, 2004

Life is often very hard.

During the past week, several members of my family have become seriously ill and many of them have required hospitalization. I am physically, mentally, and especially emotionally spent.

An analogy.... in this case LIFE is represented by a large, muscular, burly fellow who is wearing heavy, "clod-hopper" style work boots. I, on the other hand, am a despised insect akin to Kafka's "The Metamorphosis".

The way LIFE is treating me is much like that burly fellow stomping on my insect body and grinding me to an unrecognizable pulp under his heel.


Monday, July 12, 2004

If life is to be lived to its fullest, how do we do so? With the very few, very short number of decades each of us has to accomplish and experience life, what are the ways to maximize our time on this Earth? To me, the following seem essential:

Love of family
Spending time with family
Being able to work with your hands
Conducting Research
Making a comfortable home for the family
My pipes

I shall be taking a research related trip later this week. I think today I shall explore the Internet and see what may be fun to visit in the evenings in the city I shall be presenting my research findings.


Tuesday, July 06, 2004


I am not sure where to begin, but I can sense today is not going to be one of my favorites. I have feelings of dread and have a gloomy disposition. I truly despise days that feel like this.

I know in my mind that death is inevitable, and I of course know that the old adage "a coward dies a thousand deaths, a hero dies but once" is true... for I live the coward's life. But I live in dread about the deaths of each and every person that I love. Be it my wife or kids or siblings or elderly parents or other relatives and friends.

The adage above is true for I know I have spent many long hours out of my life experiencing the fear, the sorrow, the pain, and the agony of thinking about the impending death of people I love. It is a waste of time in that we could better spend the time experincing each other, but it is difficult to keep my mind from those fears. Many days I *can* and *do* ignore these worries, and do not give them a thought.... but sometimes I fail and do not keep those thoughts out of my psyche and mind.

To end the post for today... do you ever think about the fact that when we are born, we have the first half of our lives to learn to love and care for those around us, and then eventually we spend a good share of the latter parts of our lives watching and seeing those we have learned to love and cherish die? It is torture.


Friday, July 02, 2004

[sheepish grin]

I have a bit of rough feeling in my head this morning due to indulgence in a damn good time with my elderly father-in-law yesterday. It was a glourious time of talk (both serious and foolish), friendship, pipes, and of course libations.

I think I shall sit here for a half hour or so and drink 5-6 strong mugs of coffee to energize my spirit to overtake the feelings in my somewhat ramshackled mind... and then get to work on 1) grading the final exams, 2) cleaning my office, 3) organizing my laboratory, and 4) planning work items for the holiday weekend.


Thursday, July 01, 2004

This is the end of the summer session here at the U and I am feeling restless as hell and jumpier than a junebug. I have only my final examination to give and I damn well do not want to sit there for three hours as the kids take their comprehensive final exam. Usually I am more than content to read or write or work on some other project while I proctor an exam, but today I am not sure if I can handle sitting for that length of time. I feel frenetic, I emote energy, I juxtapose jumpiness, I revel in restlessness. What to do?

Years ago, prior to the demonization of tobacco.... even now beloved pipe tobacco, I used to smoke my pipe while I proctored exams. Unfortunately that is no longer allowed. In the summer session such as this, I would sometimes even have a few drinks before proctoring the final so as to not feel so restless. However, drinking without a pipe is akin to a slice of pizza without crust (yes, I know some of the rabid "Atkin's Diet Groupies" will tell me there is such a thing as a crustless (doughless) pizza.... but I simply consider it utter insanity)..... meaning the drinking has very little value or meaning without the pipe, so unfortunately that is not an option.

What to do? Any suggestions?