Capers, Barges, and Bobby Duvall

At my advanced age, there are a few things I know with complete certainty:

  1. If a menu item features capers, I will order it, regardless of what the capers are sitting on,
  2. Robert Duvall is a god among men and should be recognized and worshipped as such,
  3. Liver, Anchovies and Sardines are the real Axis of Evil,
  4. Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine is wicked cool and we should be friends, and
  5. Nothing motivates me like an imminent deadline.
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Tom Morello. Is he ever not being awesome??

There are people who can set tasks for themselves and plow through them, ticking off lines on their To Do list methodically and efficiently…and then there are the rest of us, who need to be inspired, whether it’s by a muse or a deadline.

I’m not feeling very inspired by either, which is why, given some months to write my thesis, I’m currently staring out the windows wondering (A) if I can swim to the other side of the body of water I live on, and (B) if I will get hit by a ship while attempting to do the same. [Author’s Note: I think I can do it, and if anyone wants to be a witness and place bets on the same, feel free; I only want a small cut of the winnings.]

Dusk…a lovely time to get hit by a barge full of corn.

Which is not to say that I’m a procrastinator. I am constantly working, but generally on stuff for other people, which I tend to turn around very quickly. But when it’s a project for myself, it’s almost as if there’s simply not enough of a challenge in just needing to do something – I have to ratchet up the odds until it feels almost impossible that I can actually accomplish the task at hand, and only then will I get it done!


I think this is a manifestation of the adrenaline junkie syndrome I share with the Snarky Assbadger and many of our cousins, although it manifests in very different ways in each of us. I like to pack and move at a moment’s notice, for instance (most famously from Manhattan to Southeast Asia with a month’s notice, and from California to the East Coast in a total of two weeks), and find it hard to get worked up about something that is months out in the future.

The Snarky Assbadger likes to move, too, but also has a way of making everyday activities into odysseys: for instance, he was never content to just ride his bike down to the corner to pick up food like a normal person; he had to ride across the Brooklyn Bridge and up the FDR, at rush hour, in pouring rain, during a papal visit, to get a potato knish from the Vinegar Factory before looping through Central Park to the West Side for a Zabar’s chocolate croissant, and cycling back to Brooklyn. His current hobbies? Melting steel, molding glass, and basically anything that involves power tools. No surprises there, right?

One of our cousins was such an active child that, according to his mom, his crib had to be replaced multiple times because he would jump from the side railings onto the mattress, rappel down the outside of it, and shake the crib apart at the seams every few month. He also ripped the head off his teddy bear (not on purpose, but just by involving the bear in his daily adventures), and then proceeded to carry the head around in the crook of his elbow like a football, referring to it lovingly as “Head Teddy.” No surprise that, now, he rock climbs, skis, road bikes, and rides Ducatis, in addition to doing the work of about fifteen people.

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This is Head Teddy 2. Notice that Teddy 2’s neck has been reinforced, in an effort to avoid the fate of Teddy 1, whose body was accidentally thrown out following its unfortunate separation from his head.

Obviously, this is not the kind of adrenaline junkie stuff I’m interested in, and compared to those two, I’m about as interesting as a throw pillow. But there is definitely some inherent need to feel a challenge before I get actively engaged in anything….which brings us right back around to my current problem: I need to get my thesis done. Why? Because what if Robert Duvall decides to visit? Obviously he would want, and deserve, my full attention.

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And he can have it. Every minute of every day.

And speaking of Robert Duvall (aren’t we always?), this is difficult for me to even write because I am so afraid to jinx it….but in a few short weeks, I am going to be IN THE SAME BUILDING AS THE MAN HIMSELF!  Aaaaccckkk!

Duvall-induced gravity-defiance.

I know!  It’s beyond exciting and you are crazed with envy. Here’s how it happened: last week, my friend Luigi forwarded a little nugget of info to me, and I forwarded it to The Man Whose Schedule Dictates What I Can And Cannot Do (his official title), and…it’s happening. And for those of you who are new to this party, let me just tell you that, for me, this will be a theophany. (Unclear on who, what, or why? Read this: The Divinity of Duvall) And there’s a good chance I will swoon and drop dead from excitement…or, at the very least, be blinded by his radiance.

burning bush.png

I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, I’m going to take a practice swim, and edit a friend’s article, and go to the grocery store, and put some notes together for a speech….and oh yeh, work on my thesis.

Or maybe not!











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