Observations from a Stool - # 6

"If I had been into the middle ages man, I would had gone chasing after that grail or whatever it was that got them all hung up. So don`t come on cocky like you got all this figured out. This is a nervous little decade we are playing with here."

Richard Farina. (roughly quoted from memory) from his counterculture book -
"Been down so long looks like up to me"

My pinball buddy Dwight calls what happens after middle age “the back 9”. I call it the "plight of the back 9”, and since I don’t play golf like many people I know, I would categorize the back 9 as the time of day when the sun starts going down at the end of a beautiful autumn day. Ideally, that is what it should be, a cooling down period where things slow down gracefully as we head for the clubhouse while the sun sets. However, I am getting a different signal of late when I look at my 40 year old & up friends of late. I get the sense that for many of them “the back 9” sucks big time and is rather disparaging and that there is no comfy clubhouse on the horizon that will ever make the back 9 worth their efforts. The comfy clubhouse was gradualy dismantled in the night and sold to greedy  sharefolders while my 40 year old friends laboured for a future that was promised but that may never come. Regardless, they  continue to work, wait, rest and work some more and take the hits in hopes that they will see the clubhouse and that it will not be moved away from their reach in the later phases of life. Fawk !

Pinball is a way for many of us men to connect to the front 9 and hang out there for a while with our friends forgetting that we will ever need to leave. There can be no other psychological reason for hanging onto this silly marble game fixation that we all seem to share around here. Unless ofcourse you are into the economics of this pinball boom, which like all things will surely end in the years to come along with the demographics that supports it. I am not concerned about the money hungry screw heads that see pinball machines as a way of getting their “fuck you” money off those who just want to relive the front 9 because they can’t stand the fact that they are actually on the back 9 and that it sucks balls for them as such. Each man for himself really blows, and we often feel alone in our pain, but we are not. It is often more widespread that we are led to believe.

I can not speak for what women feel about the back 9 because I am not a female of the species, but I imagine that there are similarities in coming to terms with the day beginning to wind down. In many cases it leads to bitterness, impatience and anger at the useless passion that being alive too long seem to bring on when acceptance is not part of one`s abilities.

Enough already, I just want to say that I am feeling empathy for a lot of my friends lately because I am also feeling “le mal de vivire” on several occasions. A sense that most of the excitement of achieving goals has been met and now it is just a question of maintenance, much like the machines at the North Star.

All down the line....we`ll be watchin` out for trouble. Big Dave looking after
"the herd" at the North Star Machines à Piastres (3908 St.Laurent Blvd.)

And add to this ageing parents and raising children and/or teens and we have a double duty scenario at hand for many of us on the back 9, and in a way I can only hope and work towards just playing out the back 9 with others who share the same mindset and hopefully finish the course gracefully in a peaceful and quiet way, but again, I don’t play golf goddamn it, so I may get to the finish line screaming and swinging like some lunatic if I keep talking about what has been taken away (read: as stolen) from the generation which came after the boomers.

So I sit here at the North Star tonight watching people, and thank fate that I still find them interesting because otherwise I don’t think I would want to be around here. And as long as none of them talk to me tonight I think I will still find them interesting before leaving since they have let me just sit here and write and imagine anything I want while sipping a cocktail. I hope and sometimes pray that I always keep that sense of wonder about people when they walk by. It’s crazy, but how can you go through this period in history in North America without going crazy while knowing what we know. In fact, I think we are too stupid to know what we know, or else we would have this figured out and no one would need to be so overly greedy, angry and basically causing so much pain and suffering via carelessness.

Again, enough already. Pinball is great isn`t it ? A great way to forget that a new reality awaits and that no one knows what will happen except being aware of the inevitable outcome. What Kerouac called “the forlone rags of growing old” in most cases. It is happening to more and more of us in the what we so arrogantly have named the first world.

So in closing. (thank god) I await the visit of some good friends and family this upcoming month of July and want to spend quality time with them in this particular haven of a place on the Main, where time stops and people smile no matter what age group they are in. The demographic at the North Star varies nightly from the front nine all the way to the back 9 and I could not ask for more. This is my comfy clubhouse of late, and I await the ones who are still on the golf course to join me for a drink (the Death Save cocktail is actually wonderful and appropriate) in order to cool off in order to get back “out there” again with possibly renewed and positive gumption. What the hell else are we suppose to do when the alternative is to push up daisies.

"I must soon quit the scene...."
Benjamin Franklin in a letter to George Washington
March 5, 1780


Observation date : 2016-06-05