Tim Conway

My father died in the same condition comedian Tom Conway is currently in. His daughter doesn’t expect him to last much longer. As a child, my parents, older brother and I laughed uproariously at his performances on The Carol Burnett Show. It was a time when comedy was still clean and free of attacks on others. The last gasp of innocence in America. Carol is still good and decent, as evidenced by her new Netflix series about children, similar to the 60’s show Kids Say the Darnedest Things.

I was once interviewed on the radio by Tom Conway, Jr. so I feel an odd connection to his father, though I never met him.

So another light is going out, and that’s what it is in a world filled with dimmer bulbs. A soldier friend of mine once shared a photo on Tim Conway’s Facebook page of himself holding an 8×10 signed by him. He actually re-shared it saying, “Here’s one of our fighting men with a signed photo of me he’s not trying to sell on eBay.” (Or something to that effect.) He went on to say some nice things about veterans in general. The man was old school in that way, too. The current crop in Hollywood, at least most of them, are either conspicuously silent or outright critical of the military. I suppose they think that’s more hip.

Here’s more about Mr. Conway’s life right now.

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2018/08/27/carol-burnett-star-tim-conway-is-battling-dementia-and-is-almost-entirely-unresponsive-report-says.html

And one of his most famous skits –

Dirge Without Music

I am not resigned to the shutting away
of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been,
time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.  Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go;
but I am not resigned.
Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.
The answers quick and keen,
the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone.  They are gone to feed the roses.
Elegant and curled
Is the blossom.  Fragrant is the blossom.
I know.  But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes
than all the roses in the world.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know.  But I do not approve.  And I am not resigned.
– Edna  St. Vincent Millay

 

An Introduction to Karma

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My parents loved going to the movies. It was like their church. They particularly enjoyed horror movies. This love of voluntarily terrifying oneself was passed along to my brother and I because we were taken to most of those movies as children. I suppose it would be called a “parenting fail” these days, but we loved it. There was nothing better than sitting on swings in the playground at the foot of a forty-foot drive-in theatre screen, stuffing our faces with hot dogs, popcorn and Milk Duds, and watching Dracula get a wooden stake pounded into his chest. Man, what a rush! We were too young to know or care about the effects such viewing had on our prepubescent minds. We would get the Heebie-Jeebie’s back home when we had to walk through the hall to go to the bathroom, but that was about it, until one night.

In an amazing feat of poor judgment, my father decided my brother, at thirteen years old, was ready to see the granddaddy of all horror films, The Exorcist.

the-exorcist

I wanted to go but I was only ten. It would be three years before I was worldly enough to see possessed children vomiting into the mouths of priests. My brother left the house that night eager and rosy-cheeked, and returned gaunt and pale. I asked him how the movie was but he just walked by me silently. My mom asked my dad what was wrong with him. He said, “Ah, don’t worry about it. Kids are resilient.”

After a week or so, he had returned to normal and started talking again. Our parents went to a party and left us alone. We decided to play hide-and-seek. He went upstairs to count and I hid behind our enormous Magnavox television set. And not just behind the TV, but behind thick curtains behind the TV. Of course, the TV was on. It was always on.

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In the days before flat screens, TV’s were monstrous things with pressboard panels at the back riddled with ventilation holes heat belched out of like dragon’s breath. Well, it turned out to be the best hiding place I had ever chosen because my brother couldn’t find me for at least an hour. He actually looked behind the TV but didn’t find me because he didn’t look behind the curtain behind the TV, and because I was such a waif of a child (his nickname for me then was “Pale and Frail”) and I was making myself flat like an Egyptian hieroglyph behind the curtain.

After an hour or so, exasperated, he finally decided to pull back the curtain. When he saw me, I was a sweaty wreck, badly dehydrated and on the verge of heat exhaustion. The excitement of being discovered made me laugh. It seemed perfectly innocent to me, but to him, still reeling psychologically from The Exorcist, I looked and sounded like a small, demented demon. To my surprise, he screamed. But it wasn’t just any scream, it was one of those primal screams only accessible when the mind is pushed to some heretofore unexplored extremity. He turned and ran, still screaming.

Now, the right thing to do would have been to go to him and reassure him that I was still his little brother – but where’s the fun in that? Every mean thing he had ever said or done to me (and there were plenty) rushed through my mind.

“An opportunity like this might never come again,” I thought. “We’ll see who the pale and frail one is!”

I chased him around the house screaming maniacally and scratching his back until he locked himself in the bathroom and begged me to leave him alone.

Don’t let anyone ever tell you revenge doesn’t feel good. It was awesome. For the rest of the week, I glared at him until he asked our parents to make me stop. I was heady with my newfound sense of power. However, I was about to be introduced to another kind of power – karma.

A few days later, in yet another astounding demonstration of irresponsibility, my parents decided it would be a good idea to let both of us watch The Legend of Lizzie Borden starring Elizabeth Montgomery.

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Though already quite the horror aficionado for a ten-year old, I found this movie particularly disturbing, for two reasons – she looked remarkably like my mother, and I was used to watching Elizabeth Montgomery play the sweet and perky Samantha in the TV show Bewitched.

I lay in bed that night wide awake, unable to stop hearing a song in the movie, sung eerily by children –

Lizzie Borden took an axe,
gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
she gave her father forty-one.

Man, oh man. Sleep was completely out of the question. I was afraid to blink. I lay there for hours until exhaustion finally overtook me. I awoke in the middle of the night staring at the wall. I rolled over to get more comfortable and momentarily opened my eyes. When I closed my eyes again, I realized I had just seen the silhouette of a woman standing by my bed, the edges of her hair and nightgown illuminated by pale moonlight from the window.

“Holy Mother of God,” I thought, “Lizzie Borden is in my room.”

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I was too scared to open my eyes again. I hadn’t looked at her long enough to see her hands but I was certain an axe dripping with blood was in one of them, an axe she was about to give me forty-two whacks with. I turned to the wall again, hoping she might leave if she thought I was sleeping. She didn’t. I could hear her breathing. I let out one of those screams only dogs can hear and pulled my blanket over my head because, as every child knows, a blanket can withstand any attack.

“Ah, who am I kidding?” I thought, “It’s a blanket! It can’t stop an axe!” My mind raced, “I’m a goner! And still so young! How did she get out of the TV? I wonder if she got my parents yet. Oh, just whack me already and get it over with, Lizzie! Whack away! Why are you just standing there? God, if you care about me at all, make her leave!”

I started reciting every prayer I knew – “getting right with God” as they say – when a hand touched my shoulder. I screamed. Then Lizzie screamed! I screamed again. She screamed again, too. I started to scream a third time, then thought, “Wait a minute. Why is Lizzie screaming? Axe murderesses don’t scream!”

I reached for the light on my bedside table and pulled the chain. It was my mom. Seems my dear mumsy had chosen that night, of all nights, to stand by her little boy’s bed and watch him sleep. It should have been a tender moment, but it was the longest, most horrifying minute of my life, before or since.

Once her heartrate slowed down and I realized I wasn’t going to be chopped up, we both had a good laugh about it. My dad did, too, as I slept between them in their bed that night, and the next night, and for the next two weeks.

The Last Days

This idiot’s expression is incredible when he finds out starving an infant to death is punishable by life in prison without parole. Too many people, especially men, think their children are their property, not separate lives independent of them. Too many people call themselves Christians without having any idea what it means, too. Unfortunately, these two morons have two other kids who will now be raised in foster homes. What is it with all the stories about child murders, child abandonment, etc., these days? Maybe it’s time to start requiring a license for having a child the same way licenses are required to catch fish and drive cars. Or are fish and cars more important than babies? Sorry for the rant. This is just another of the dozens of things I don’t get about human beings.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/christian-couple-baby-girl-starvation-dead-michigan-seth-welch-tatiana-fusari-mary-a8482311.html

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I wish that was all the bad news in America today, but there was also this:

South Carolina Mother Arrested for Homicide After Leaving Newborn in Trash Bag on Car Floor

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/08/07/south-carolina-mother-arrested-charged-with-homicide-after-leaving-newborn-in-trash-bag-on-car-floor.html

And this:

Man Arrested at Extremist Muslim New Mexico Compound Was Training Kids to Commit School Shootings

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/08/08/man-arrested-at-extremist-muslim-new-mexico-compound-was-training-kids-to-commit-school-shootings-documents.html

And this:

Mother of Dead Fetus Found in American Airlines Bathroom Arrested

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/mother-dead-fetus-found-american-143326928.html

And this:

Police Locate Mother of Baby Found Dead in New York River

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/police-believe-located-mother-baby-found-dead-york-100106574–abc-news-topstories.html

Then there was the little boy yesterday who overdosed on meth because his father was too strung out to get out of bed when he said he was hungry, so the kid ate his entire stash thinking it was cereal. Yep. Cereal. He died horribly a few hours later, and I’d be willing to bet the dad regretted losing the meth as much or more as losing his son. Here’s the boy and the waste of skin he called “dad.” In better times, that kid might be at a park or zoo today with parents who laughed with him. He’s laying on a cold, steel gurney at the morgue instead because this piece of dog crap (not to insult any actual dog craps) was too lazy even to keep his drugs out of reach.

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I’m sorry to bring everybody down. I usually try to keep things light. But we’re all used to this crap anyway, right? Today is just a little bit worse than most days in America. Adults have never been able to get along, but the ignorance of some people is even more appalling when it affects the lives of children who didn’t ask to be born and got ripped off in the cosmic lottery by ending up with monstrous parents. 

I’ve never been a big believer in the “end times” because people have always been brutal, because we probably just hear more about it now that everyone has a camera in their pocket, and because we have such easy access to news, which is all bad by nature. But it’s still hard not to take these words from the bible seriously –

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”

– 2 Timothy 3:1-5