Forever in Debt to Your Priceless Advice
Unasked-for advice, little vampires full of raging love, and harried hawks
I am not going to mansplain mansplaining to you, but men have been mansplaining to both men and women since ancient times. The first known named person in the written record is a Sumerian accountant named Kushim, who wasn’t terribly accurate or good at their job. I assure you, this is because of another nameless man who kept annoying the shit out of Kushim by saying stuff like, “Ya know, you really ought to hold your stylus the way I do. You’ll save yourself a lot of calluses.”
And I hope that Kushim took a freshly baked cuneiform tablet and hurled it at that man’s balls. As someone on the internet, perhaps you have made the mistake of asking a question. Or not even asking a question, but saying anything. “I washed my car today.” or “I took my dog to the park.” It was then that you learned that you did this wrong. You’ve been doing it wrong your entire life, because That Guy arrived to say, “hey, I’m gonna do you a favor, and tell you how wrong you are. Free of charged. Thank me later.”
Now, I confess that as a human male, I have been That Guy.
And I am terribly sorry. I mean it. I thought I was being helpful! I was raised to think that I could reinvent civilization if it collapsed tomorrow, just by applying logic. I mean, how hard could it be? I’m a pretty smart guy. People keep giving me jobs. They might know my dad, but so what? I must know a thing or two.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, even from experience, this is how many men—including myself—blunder through life. Armchair Monday-morning quarterbacks all, dispensing advice nobody asked for, comforted by the knowledge that they’d never make the same mistake you did, as they are blessed with 20/20 hindsight. And we’re all on the internet.
So, when one of us appears in your comment section, I apologize. We know not what we do. We’re that oblivious. Really.
And if you’re wondering where today’s title come from, it’s in the chorus of Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box.” Which made me think of this:
Some advice we could all use comes from Nick Cave, who answers letters, and is always wonderful.
“A little smart vampire full of raging love, amazed by the world – that will be you, my young friend, the earth shaking at your feet.”
That’s from his latest. I think I shared something he wrote last week, too. But so what? He’s good.
I finished The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt and loved it. I have the movie to watch, next. John C. Reilly plays Eli, and … he’s mentioned in the book’s Acknowledgements. The book was published in 2011, and the movie premiered in 2018, so I have to guess that Reilly knows DeWitt and jockeyed for the role. I’m not sure he can channel the proper indignant rage, but I look forward to seeing what he does with it.
Now I’m finally reading 1177: The Year Civilization Collapsed, by Eric H. Cline, about the crumbling of late Bronze Age civilizations. It’s good so far. I also completed Paperbacks from Hell, the history of horror mass-market paperbacks by Grady Hendrix, which makes me want to read some of them. I need to hunt down some of these fetid gems, like The Cipher by Kathe Koja. Valancourt Press has reprinted some of them. I have many of their reprints of Michael McDowell’s books—he is the screenwriter of Beetlejuice, and the author of the incredible semi-Southern Gothic horror novel The Elementals.
We’ve been watching some of the Oscar nominated films, and I will write about them soon. None have knocked my socks off, but I liked TÁR, Triangle of Sadness and The Fabelmans a lot. I may get high and watch the new Avatar. Then again, I might get high and not watch it. Life’s short enough…
On one of my morning hikes at Timber Creek—how I love that it sounds similar to Tinker Creek, where Annie Dillard held her famous pilgrimage—I saw a red-shouldered hawk get mobbed and harassed by crows. It was a wonderful morning, and I will share my crap phone video with you. I pan away for a second or two, but I get back in time to watch the hawk try to run a crow off, so it’s worth a few seconds of your time.
This Sunday, I’ll be writing about one of my Pine Barrens adventures. I helped blaze a new trail by an abandoned cranberry bog; I finally got to climb Apple Pie Hill fire tower; and I returned to the sand pits with the Subaru gang, and had fun with them and a gang of dirt bikers big enough to have their own Mad Max movie.
“That Guy” can have many meanings, but right now it will only mean men who are endless fonts of unasked-for advice.
I don’t know who’s my favorite from the video -- the crows for being total brats (but bold & fun); the hawk for being stoic about it all until finally she snaps & takes care of bizness; or the humans for appreciating it all. 😁
Thanks again for mentioning Tides of History a while back. I absolutely love it.