Monday, September 19, 2011

Poetry in Motion Sickness

The rainbow has inspired many a poet.  Coleridge called it "That gracious thing, made up of tears and light."  Thoreau said, "The true harvest of my life is intangible - a little star dust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched," while HungryBear9562 rhapsodized, "Whoa, that’s a full rainbow, all the way. Double rainbow, oh my god! It’s a double rainbow all the way."

But while it's all well and good to savor the honeyed words of those yearning scribes whose souls have been touched by Calliope, the question remains: what do the kind of fellows who give free investing advice on Saturday morning Christian radio programs think of these Skittle-hued wonders?  Thankfully, one such man has stepped forward to share his epodic insights.

According to Jeff Carter's Townhall bio, "Jeffrey Carter is an independent speculator. He has been trading since 1988. His blog site, Points and Figures was named by Minyanville as one of The 20 Most Influential Blogs in Financial Media."  We can also deduce that Mr. Carter's byline, which simply calls him Jeff Carter, thinks his bio, which insists on referring to him as Jeffrey, has a big stick up its ass, and we can imagine that in certain situations -- such as when Jeff(rey) is in an airport men's room, and a loud argument breaks out between the two -- it could make things uncomfortable for travelers occupying the adjacent stalls.

Anyway, on with the lyricism, as only an independent speculator can provide:
The Color of Rain
When it rains, what color do you see? Do you see dank, dark grimy raindrops. Or, is your spirit electrified when you look out your window and a lightning bolt pierces the sky? Perhaps you run away from those lightning bolts. 
Perhaps you sprint toward the lightning bolts while wearing a hubcap on your head, waving a fireplace poker in one hand and barbecue tongs in the other, and screaming random insults at the storm in Cockney rhyming slang.
Do you enjoy looking out your window with curiosity at the gathering storm? Dark clouds rolling at you like a wagon train.
Whenever I see a cloud shaped like Ward Bond, I know it's time to clean the gutters.
 Anticipation builds. From experience you know full well that the earth, and your dwelling are going to get pounded by little drops of water that sound like millions of bullets falling on your roof.
Unless you're in Arizona and it's New Years Eve, in which case those are millions of bullets falling on your roof.
The occasional burst of thunder might shock you. Or, it might be a distant call to something else.
The thunder might be cold-calling you about discount auto insurance.
At the end, if you are lucky, your rainstorm will turn into yellows, blues, reds, and greens.
Assuming the rain inspired the right kind of mushrooms to sprout.
A rainbow. If you grew up around enough Irishmen, you know that there is a pot of gold somewhere at the bottom of it.
And a whiskey bottle.  If you grew up around enough Catholics, as I did, you know that there's an Irishman somewhere at the bottom of it.
Yesterday, I devoured a book. It is titled, The Color of Rain. It’s the tragic and in the end, uplifting, story of Mike and Gina Spehn. Like a tragic thriller, it’s really three separate intertwined stories in one. You should pick it up and read it. I guarantee that it will make you think. It might even change your life and help you find your own personal rainbow.
I realize this trend toward the privatization is all the rage, but I don't think even the Libertarians have quite figured out how to prevent moochers and free-riders from accessing our personal rainbows.
I am fortunate to be able to appear on their radio show every Saturday morning. Mike and Gina allow me seven minutes to talk about finance and topics of the day.
This week's topic:  Is it best to sell the pot of gold you steal from leprechauns through an online auction house such as eBay, or store it in a safety deposit box as a hedge against a collapse in currency value?
After high school, Mike and I didn’t see each other as much. It’s not rare to see your high school friends disburse. It’s actually pretty odd to see them hang together.
Less odd to see them hang separately, especially in Texas.
Over the next twenty years, I would see Mike every now and then. We would check in with each other.
Mostly they'd use Foursquare, and for several weeks in August Jeff was the Mayor of Mike.
 One night in 2003, I got a phone call. The voice said, “Mike Spehn’s wife died.”
“Ugh.” I said, “Car accident.”
“No.” Pause. “Cancer.”
“Really? Wow.” 
This is why I don't use the Express Check In with my friends.  Sure, it's convenient, but you miss the little details, such as, oh, one of you has cancer.  Still, I give Jeff credit for his allusion to John Donne's Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, "Now this bell tolling softly for another, says to me, Thou must die.  Ugh."
When I attended the wake, I didn’t realize that there were a number of compelling mini dramas playing out all at the same time. Tragic, funny, death, birth.
Perhaps Jeff would have been better prepared for Mankind's complex, often contradictory relationship to life and death if he'd watched the "Chuckles Bites the Dust" episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

You know what?  Forget that.  Bringing up a sitcom at a time like this just coarsens and diminishes the whole experience.  I apologize.
 All the stuff that makes us human and is a part of life is in this book. Mike and his father. Gina, her grief and her past. Mike and Gina. Mike and his grief. A community of faith, and the loss of two members. The Brady Bunch, minus the housekeeper as Gina says! 
The untimely death of Alice would explain all the grief.  And perhaps suggest that "Sam the Butcher," was more of an alias than a job description.
This book is not just about them, it’s about each of us and how we relate to the world and each other. Like the roots of an Aspen tree, we are connected to our past and our future. 
Looks like somebody took that fiction writing seminar at the Learning Annex, "From Timber Metaphors to Bears Gettin' Busy: Learning to Write the Scooter Libby Way."
The book does a great job of telling heart wrenching individual stories. But the book isn’t simply a couple of intertwined stories that play like a Hollywood drama. There is much more in it for you.
Especially if you hollow the book out and hide your stash of dried mushrooms in it.
 At the end of the day, the pages will speak to you. The ink will intermingle itself into your consciousness.
At this point you should probably reduce your fungi dosage, unless under the care of a qualified Yaqui shaman.
You won’t have to dig deep within yourself to find the message the book wants you to know.
It's pretty shallow, as messages go.
The story of Gina and Mike’s struggles and eventual rebirth will read similarly to everyone. 
At least until the ink gets into your brain, at which point the experience often becomes more varied and individual.  Some readers will envision colors, some will look in the mirror and see their face melt and morph into an image of Ann B. Davis -- not the murdered maid from The Brady Bunch, but the sexually frustrated secretary from Love That Bob! -- while still others will change the way they think about love and family, but won't be able to urinate without the sense that they're being watched by a moose on a unicycle.

10 comments:

R. Porrofatto said...

I'm not a professional speculator, so it was tough to get my high school friends to disburse, especially when it came time to chip in for the sangria & spliff parties, without which the rain was colorless and wet.

We always get these uplifting stories of God bringing the Brady Bunches together but never The Color of Pain, or How God Killed Our Spouses With Horrible Cancer, The Bastard

James Briggs Stratton "Doghouse" Riley said...

Y'know what would have made that story even more heartwarming, if such a thing can be imagined? If Cancer Wife had a name.

Sheesh, that thing was about as convincing as reciprocal book blurbs from Dean Koontz and Anne Rice.

heydave said...

If it were possible to glean information from a book by osmosis (much like we used to joke about in college when we'd pass out on our textbooks) I'm betting it could happen with the hidden intricacies of this tome.

That, and it'd be useful for hitting yourself in the head after wasting cash dollars on it.

Carl said...

Whenever I see a cloud shaped like Ward Bond, I know it's time to clean the gutters.

I really fuckign hate you.

(BTW, Robert Horton would have been funnier)

Brian Schlosser said...

So, the full title seems like it should be "The Color of Rain: How the Convenient Deaths of Our Spouses Let Us Get a Radio Show and Book Deal!"

Truly an uplifting tome for our times...

Also, protip: if the rain outside has a color other than "clear", seek shelter in basement as there has likely been either a Plague Jar opened by an Angel and/or nuclear attack.

Carl said...

Tragic, funny, death, birth.

Was this a wake or an episode of Ben Casey?

Carl said...

Dog, Cancer Wife was the Gina Spehn mentioned earlier.

Brian Schlosser said...

Carl, no, I'm pretty sure Gina Spehn is the SECOND wife, the Carol Brady to Mike's... uh... Mike.

They both lost spouses, then married, got a radio show and wrote a book about colored rain.

Scott said...

Yep, Gina is the current wife (and co-host of the radio show/co-author of the book). And even though I am not a Colored Girl, after reading Jeff(rey)'s column, I am Considering Suicide, because frankly, the Rainbow is Enuf.

Anntichrist S. Coulter said...

"I am Considering Suicide" --- is that the sequel to "I am Curious Yellow"?

'Cause if so, then the Yellow has something to answer for, after portraying itself as the "cheerful" color all of these years...