Friday, October 2, 2009

Drag Queens and Compound Interest

The natural effluxion of time has as we all know many repercussions, some of which - like aging for example- are not altogether enviable. On the other hand, the business of adding interest to the principal in order to earn interest on the interest is considered (by the lender or investor at least) to be a very favourable result. This fetching proposition illustrates, however, that time must be more than a vacuum if it is to produce desirable outcomes. It further captures the need to reinvest in what one already has, rather than merely allowing one’s resources to exhaust themselves. And finally, the corollary of the latter principle is that for every gain there is an off-setting deprivation. In plain terms, the summary of these generalizations is as follows: a) don’t just sit there, do something; b) take care of yourself; and, c) don’t be a pig about it all.

Speaking of pigs, I recently received in the mail an unusual pictorial invitation to a party to be held at a bar (one of those "alternative" places) in the centre of the City on Hallowe’en. Apparently the main attraction is a chap whom I had met many years ago in my considerably younger (and might I say, prettier) days. While I didn’t immediately recall his name (and because his appearance was somewhat modified by having been transformed into a look-alike for Marie Antoinette and Marilyn Monroe, among others), it eventually came back to me. Not surprisingly I think, the picture of this former acquaintance of mine in these highly transformed images gave me pause. Because our association went back so far (approximately 33 years) to a time when gainful employment was for me at least but a prospect, and the commitment to having a good time was of paramount importance, it made me stop to think what it was that had motivated this quiet and likeable chap to become a drag queen. Certainly I recall that he had more than a passing interest in hair (I believe he even had his own salon at one time, and he may still have, as far as that goes), but I think you’ll agree that even for the most outrageous it is more than an inductive leap to become a drag queen. The entire project smells of deliberation. As such, the affair only compounded my interest. On the scale of one to ten, I venture to say that drag queens don’t normally rank high on the employment scale (whether for profit or otherwise - money really can’t be the issue after all). And yet, the whole business is so unusual and idiosyncratic as to command at the very least some attention, particularly when I have no reason to believe or suspect that the candidate is suffering from any obvious ailment which might have hurled him unwittingly into this extraordinary vernacular. And I hardly think the result is random, you know, the way some people end up being a bus driver instead of anything else, almost by accident.

Since I appear to be on a bit of a trip down memory lane, I might take the opportunity at this juncture to mention another fellow whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Provincetown, Cape Cod many years ago as well. This fellow and I, as it turns out, have managed to keep in constant communication over the years. His primary occupation is as a journalist with a respected institution in Washington, DC; but when we first met at one of those nefarious clubs on the narrow cobblestone streets of historic Massachusetts, the supplementary to his every attendance was a pre-arranged interview with the "stars" of the show we had just watched. These interviews had all the trappings of journalism, sitting in the now empty hall at a small table with drink stains on it, the stage lights extinguished and the overhead lights bearing down, mercilessly highlighting the make-up of the actor disrobed of his outlandish costume. Yet for all its pathetic and drained atmosphere, the encounter was dripping with intrigue and excitement, no less so because it accentuated what in most books would have been of small consequence. Surely it must be part of the attraction of such an experience that frippery and serious-mindedness converge.

Anyway, I digress. The point is that some people, by the singularity of their decisions in life, remind us that we must build upon ourselves, that - no matter what direction we take - the effort to grow and develop is wherein lies the return. While time will not of itself provide the substance to our lives, it nonetheless slowly but certainly diminishes the possibility if we choose not to employ it to our advantage. It’s as simple as adding interest to the principal.

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