by S.J. White
I was stuck for a subject for this blog until I realised that its purpose was for ‘writers to help writers’. Then I remembered a few weeks ago that one of my poet friends e-mailed me in a panic. He had a problem and wanted my advice.
I should mention at this point that we both share an incurable disease, a disease on which I have somewhat of a reputation for being an expert. As best as scientists can determine, we have an over-abundance of throw-back genes from the time when homo sapiens were hunters and gatherers. The major symptom is that we are unable to control our urges to frequent flea markets, thrift stores, and yard sales where we are helpless to avoid wasting money on totally useless things.
While this form of addiction does not wreak the damage on families, that say, alcoholism or opium eating might, nevertheless wives take less than an enthusiastic view of it, probably on account of its waste of money, the outright stupidity of it and the fact that it tends to clutter up the house, hence my poet friend’s dilemma.
The previous Saturday morning he had had an attack while at a garage sale and bought a second guitar (he already had one). He managed to secrete it away to the trunk of the car while his wife was infatuated with a table of lace doilies and even managed to spirit it down to his den when he got home. The guitar now rested behind the chesterfield.
The problem he came to me with was: how on earth was he going to explain the new guitar to his wife?
A further complication was that he only had one guitar to start with. Had he have had, say, 17 or 23 or 57, one more wouldn’t have been noticed.
He confided to me one ploy that he had used on occasion which was to keep whatever he had bought for a lengthy time before announcing it. His wife, he said, reacted less unpleasantly to something that he might have bought say, in 1937 than she did if he had purchased it at 10 o’clock that morning. But he really wanted to fool around with his new guitar, and did I have some way of getting around the waiting period?
Of course I did and I suggested to him what I like to call my ‘Alzheimer ploy’. I realized that when we get older, both men and women, after we have experienced numerous ‘Senior Moments’ can’t help but suspect that we might be developing Alzheimer’s. When those moments are issues of memory, without exception we prefer to pretend we remember. It is simpler, less awkward, and less injurious to the ego than getting into any prolonged discussion about it. So I advised him to bring his guitars out into the open and when his wife broached the subject of the new one, to say “Oh, I’ve had it for years. Don’t you remember when I got from old Fred So & So?” Best to use dead people here it avoids potential for any further attempts at confirmation. Then, personally, I also contrive a fictional account around how the transaction took place just to give the whole affair an authenticity and finish off any rough edges.
I haven’t heard from him since but I presume it worked since the other day, he sent me a picture of five more guitars resting against the front of his chesterfield.
How very nice it is to have a forum in which writers can help writers.
Stan White has published three books of poetry and numerous chapbooks. His poems have been published in the usual literary journals and anthologies. He is retired and lives with his wife in Brantford, Ont.