” Women don’t age as gracefully as men.” , said Ruth.
” You’ve aged well.”
” No, I haven’t. I’m fat,
my skin looks like an elephant’s and
I’m about as attractive as wet cardboard box.”
“Men still pine for you.”
“What men? Sal? He’d pine for an orangutan.
Viagra has drained all the blood from his brain.”
If nothing else Ruth is ruthlessly honest.
In our family we only had one dog name.
At one time, our grandparents and us both had dogs named Homer.
It’s very efficient.
You only have to give one command.
And call one name.
The dogs don’t care.
As long as you feed them, love them and don’t make them wear the same outfits.
It was Ruth’s idea.
Why waste energy having to remember more than one dog name?
Keep it simple, stupid.
Charlie was a mobster.
He stopped by on his way to the city.
Next morning he took his girlfriend, Ginger, antiquing.
They returned with a crystal punch bowl.
“It’s so beautiful…stunning craftsmanship!” my mother said, thirty times.
“Enough”, said Charlie, “If you like it that much, it’s yours.”
Now we owed him.
Why did Ruth have keep lavishing the stupid punch bowl with praise?
It wasn’t even that nice.
Now he’s going to be back when he needs something and someone’s going to have to do it.
Literally ripped from the neurons, where it has lived for years.
It’s still just fiction.
Yes, some of it may be based on something.
But, like most memories, it has been rebuilt, embellished and things have been changed.
Your, too, are not free of invention.
As Ruth is fond of saying, “It’s all an illusion.”
It’s all a fiction, which is written by your perception of what’s going on around you.
This, in turn, is influenced by your automatic thinking (default neural pathways).
Unless, of course, you live in a war zone, in which case you’re probably being forced to live someone else’s interpretation of events.
And that could be a dark narrative.
But Ruth doesn’t live in a war zone. She’s fortunate.
Plenty of suitors.
Whom she delighted in tormenting.
And putting to work.
Ed invented his own math, and she said “Rake leaves and pull dandelions.”
Sal, who she called “Salad”, was instructed to paint the mud room.
George, the abstract painter, fixed the roof just outside her bedroom.
She laughed and abruptly closed the blinds.
In Homer’s Odyssey, Penelope was Odysseus’ wife.
When he was off having adventures and taking forever to get home, she had many suitors ready to take his place.
She never gave up hope and remained faithful.
And she also came up with various clever schemes to delay the suitors.
In this story, we meet Ruth.
She’s a bit playfully sadistic and we don’t yet know what became of her Odysseus.