Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Friday, January 1, 2016

Randomly Rambling into 2016

Took a walk this morning. So, what's new about that, you ask? Nothing in particular, I suppose, except I've missed doing much ambling about since-mid-December. That was when I got kissed by some sort of virus. I was suddenly tired with a scratchy throat that eventually became something like sandpaper had been used and thus left it sore. My body was all achy and racked with pain and I turned into a NiteQuil addict through the Christmas Season.

I know I wasn't alone, a lot of people were sick lately. I hate it so and haven't succumbed to many illnesses in the last few years. It visited me as Christmas approached and was as insistent on sticking about as Scrooge's Three Spirits. It didn't nag me about my past, present or future deeds, though, it just nagged like a scold battering me with a prickly broom.

The upshot of this downside was I lost my walks and my exercise. I had no energy for working out and the gremlin of germs especially kept me imprisoned  after the mild weather and pleasant temperatures turned damp and despondently drear, with drizzle and wind. I avoided walking out of fear of rekindling the fires of fever and flu.

Unfortunately, my ailing didn't stop me nibbling away at all the tempting treats of the season, thus the results are that I gained back some of the weight I worked so hard last year to dispense with since I was doing nothing to burn off what I shoveled in.

But I took a walk yesterday morning and again today; the last walk of 2015 and the first of 2016. I felt these jaunts. Both days I had not traipsed afar when my hips and legs tightened and stiffened,
and soon my feet apparently gained about 100 pounds each. Still I pressed on my five miles yesterday, although probably, perhaps, maybe a bit over three today. Tomorrow I will walk some before church and on Monday, Lord willing, I will resume my regimen of walk and workout and normal diet. We will do yeoman battle against the new inroads of blubber about my coast lines.

It was cheering to see, having not ventured to Brandywine State Park for some time, that the new bridge is in place over Rocky Run. The old bridge was closed about two years ago and a new one had been promised for Spring 2015. Well, technically the weather did seem a bit spring like up until today. (That is the old bridge to the left and the new on the right.)

I recorded and am watching in bits and pieces a movie that popped up on Showtime yesterday. It is called, "Boulevard" and is one of the last films made by Robin Williams. It is dealing with a successful, if in-a-rut, banker struggling with his sexual makeup. One day leaving work he picks up a young male prostitute. I know this movie will end badly, but I'll see it through anyway. My daughter is always commenting on how many sad movies I watch.

I had never heard of this film before, I just started watching it because I could catch it at the beginning and I didn't feel like putting up with commercials on the regular channels. I ended up pressing record because I do like watching Neil Caputo's news show in late afternoon, one of the very few I view.  The movie, though, intrigued me because it seems like Robin Williams began portraying a number of depressing characters in the second half of his film career, and doing them very convincingly. Given his own demise, it is not surprising, is it? I had told my wife long before Robin hung himself that I thought he was a very unhappy man. I have some upfront and personal experience dealing with depression and I thought I recognized it him despite the zany, hyperkinetic persona he wore most of the time.

The thought struck me first on watching him on some talk show. He came on in his usual mile-a-
minute joke persona and he constantly flew off on impersonations and wild scrambles of words during the interview, but in the fleeting seconds between such flights he dissolved, if only briefly, into what I would call his natural face. That is the face we have when we allow our features to just totally relax. We don't smile or frown or mug or do anything consciously with our countenance. On the left is what I believe is my natural face.

A bit skull-like, I guess with my eyes showing the unevenness caused by the Graves' Disease I once suffered, but nothing consciously done. I just allowed my features to relax into their natural, nearly 75 year-old state.

Now, it is difficult to find a natural face of a celebrity. There are many images available of Robin
Williams, but almost all are taken when the man was conscious of his expression. They are during performances, appearances, posed, scenes in a film, but pretty much with the man's knowledge he is being photographed.

This one on the right may be as close as we can get to his natural face. It appears to have been snapped as he moved away from a backdrop for an event, like the red carpet at an awards show. A moment ago he was probably posing and even doing one of his shticks for an interview, but here he moves away and his face becomes downcast. The eyes are distant, off somewhere and somewhat sad; his mouth has curved into the near frown he always seemed to have in his last years. When you look at photos of him smiling he appears to be struggling to do so, his lips compressed and still slightly down.

Living with depression is not living a life; it's dwelling in a constant nightmare. His story is very sad. Sometimes I wonder if a few of the later movies he choose to do were a hidden cry for help.

That may seem a bit out there to some, but you never know. Believe me, people who suffer from depression, bipolar and related such problems are very good sometimes in hiding their problems in plain sight. You have to become attuned to subtleties and other behaviors sometimes to realize someone is in dire need of help.  Big issues may be reveling themselves in small gestures.

1 comment:

Ron said...

A very thoughtful and insightful post Lar. I saw Robin William's last movie "Boulevard" a few weeks. It is sad. Coincidentally, it was filmed in the same area in Los Angeles where Pat and I will be visiting the week after next. The one where you're taking me to the airport. I will meet Pat at the airport (Philly International).
You are right about depression. I think all of us at one time or another has been at those Gates of Darkness and Despair. Fortunately for me I have Bill and Pat (and you) to keep my mind off of going There but believe me, I fear if I was alone I would probably be in danger of slipping into depression.
I'm with you on the exercise and indulging during the holidays. I restarted my regiment of lifting weights and walking. I have gained ten pounds in the wrong place and I intend to lose it. I don't feel comfortable with that extra poundage plus it's not healthy to have that belly fat around your organs.
Back to Robin Williams and depression again. I too noticed that beneath his frenetic facade there was a deep sadness. So very sad.