Saturday, December 24, 2016

Sea Change

Interesting phrase, sea change, also rendered as seachange, sea-change and Sea Change. Credited to Shakespeare who used it in The Tempest to describe changes wrought by the sea on a drowned man. Nowadays it's usually used to describe a dramatic change in this, that or the other but it can also refer to a gradual change that eventually produces unexpected results somewhat different than those originally intended. Life's like that, methinks, sayeth the Crank, clearly (hopefully) temporarily deranged by the Shakespeare reference.

I've deployed it for two reasons. Firstly (which ain't Shakespearean but sounds like it) I've never had occasion to use the phrase/word before but I've been waiting for a chance just because it's cool, well, at least I think so. Forgive me, gentlereaders and (eventual) grandstickies and great-grandstickies, if your reaction to the previous statement is one of dubiety (another word, recently discovered, that I've been itching to use and that means exactly what you think it does). I'll stop now.

The other reason is that henceforth from now most of my weekly columns will be addressed directly to my (eventual) grandstickies and great-grandstickies, although I will continue to be putenem out there for the general public. Also, I will continue to speak directly to my gentlereaders and to give voice to my muse, as well as some other individuals that live in my head, via my wildly entertaining and world famous asides.

[Clarification: The previous paragraph has nothing to do with general August Public, the little-known Revolutionary war hero and favorite son of the tiny English hamlet of Putenem-upon-Ditch, his boyhood home before his family emigrated to the American colonies in search of liberty and um, debt relief.]

Now, in light of the fact that three recent columns have been directly addressed to my (eventual) grandstickies and great-grandstickies, one could make a plausible argument this may not qualify as a sea-change. And, after all, the Stickies are mentioned early on in the Read This First Please introduction tab on my website where they, as well as my daughter and son-in-law, are credited as the inspiration for this blog.

[Policy Update: I have decided that it's not pretentious to use the word one rather than the word you occasionally and going forward I'll be using them both. Which one gets chosen will depend on which one sounds or feels right, rather than which one is technically correct. This is a general policy, that sound and feel trumps technically correct, for all of my feeble scribbles. Also, although I am King Crank, and if this country should ever come to its senses I will be the King of America, I will continue to be I, never we, for I am a benevolent tyrant.]

However, seachange works because I confess that the primary reason I've generated a weekly column for almost a year and a half in spite of occasionally not feeling the least bit motivated, and in spite of the fact that the income generated by my efforts is laughable, was the hope that I might break through the babble of billions of bloggers, go viral, make a deal (honey, get the Donald on the phone), and quit my day job.

Still is.


It's also true that when I finish the rare column that I'm (well, more or less anyway) happy with I am a very happy camper. It's also true that I enjoy writing enough to keep on with it despite the fact it hasn't yet provided the key to happiness, earned success (1). It's also true that even if I were to drop dead one day soon I would do so content that I had made the effort to pass along some observations and hard learned lessons, however limited in scope and utility, to my beloved Stickies. Even the ones that aren't here yet.


Since I'm technically 63 years old (though just 39 in all the ways that count) and since my sell by date (statistically speaking) is less than 20 years away, and could be tomorrow...

...I shall soldier on (another cool phrase I've always wanted to use) and I've decided that going forward, my column will primarily be a weekly letter to the (eventual) Stickies, that is, the existing Stickies future, mature selves, and their yet to be conceived children --my (eventual) grandstickies, and great-grandstickies. I shall write each column as if it's a letter to be placed in a virtual vault of some sort that will not permit a given column to be read, by them, until 20 years after I've published it to the web.

Pretending to write to/for someone(s) that will not see my shtuff until 20 years from now provides a framework and perspective that I find appealing. Gentlereaders are, of course, are encouraged to not only eavesdrop in the interim but also to share my correspondence with whoever they think might find it interesting.

Finally, some shtuff (there will be more in future columns) about your friendly neighborhood cranks policies and procedures. If you've been here before and/or if you come back. you may have or will notice a general absence of what used to be called profanity. Nowadays, particularly on the web, it's frequently not called anything, it's just how people talk.

I consciously choose to use it sparingly in my writing (more frequently in real life) for two reasons. First, George Carlin was wrong, words are not just words. Context -- who you're trying to communicate with and what you're trying to communicate -- is vitally important. (WARNING:
Run on sentence ahead.) I use the word shtuff (shit + stuff) rather than shit when I'm writing to be (in a lame fashion) funny, to be unique, to try and make a point without offending certain people (but I'm prepared to be offensive if I think it's necessary), and to give the word stuff more power.

Second, when words are just words, powerful words become lame words, beautiful words become ugly words. A delicious salad of words is reduced to the worst salad you ever had in a hospital cafeteria. Like what passes for art in many circles in these strange times, shocking rules, until it doesn't, because once there's nothing left to rebel against, everything is just, well, shit.

Have an OK Day

(1) The Secret of Happiness