Sunday Morning! “The Red-Headed Pilgrim” by Kevin Maloney

Rufus F.

Rufus is a likeable curmudgeon. He has a PhD in History, sang for a decade in a punk band, and recently moved to NYC after nearly two decades in Canada. He wrote the book "The Paris Bureau" from Dio Press (2021).

Related Post Roulette

18 Responses

  1. Michael Cain says:

    I never know if I cheated myself in my 20s or not.

    I was in college learning computers, then graduate school learning some specialized applied math (arguing about existence proofs, not existence), then at Bell Labs inventing solutions to test, measurement, and forecasting problems (we can debate the creativity of that versus art, I suppose), got married, bought a house, all culminating with the birth of my first child on my 30th birthday. The first half I couldn’t afford bars very often, dingy or otherwise. The second half I was busy.

    Had lunch yesterday with my kids. We’re all on the same page that now is the time to find a memory care facility for my wife/their mother to live.Report

  2. Saul Degraw says:

    Oh right, I am finally old enough that people my age are writing their midlife crisis novels.

    I suspect that the whole concept of “youth culture” and being “in your 20s” is still a relatively recent enough invention that it is a bit startling. A lot of the Beats were young and in their 20s but they still had children at the time and/or married very young. Neal Cassady first married at 19 and had a teenage bride. These days, no one bats an eye, if someone does not engaged until their late 30s or early 40s for the first time. If you live in certain bougie-boho circles, no one bats an eye if you decide not to have kids or decide to have kids in what would have previously been very late in life. On Friday I went out to dinner, and there was a woman at a table close by with two young girls, probably about 6 and 8 years old, maybe 5 and 7. The woman looked like she could be anywhere between early 50s to early 60s. The oldest girl called her mommy. Previously, if you saw a woman at that age with two young children, you would assume it was grandma. I know a bunch of women between 40-50 who decided to become “single mothers by choice” via IVF.

    Additionally, I look at my cohort and I see people all over the map. Lots of people with children, lots of people without children but otherwise hitting those “adult milestones” but also quite a few people who seem strangely stuck in their 20s despite the fact that we are now in our late 30s and early 40s at youngest. There is someone I knew from college who decided to pursue her Ph.D. in her late 30s/early 40s and she still feels very stuck in her mid-20s in many ways that can sometimes be hard for me to articulate. There is something about having dependents (especially children in your household) which at least should be a grounding against the not-a-care-in-the-world 20s actions.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      The concept of enjoying your twenties really didn’t make much sense before the early Baby Boomers were born. Besides the greater amount of social conservatism before the 1960s, you also had the fact that people really didn’t have the money for the most part to enjoy their twenties. The big post war boom gave people, at least in the developed democracies, the money to do fun things in their twenties. Air travel also helped. Much easier for Americans and Canadians to bum around Europe when it is a few hour flight away rather than a week or two long ride on a ship.Report

      • Rufus F. in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Yeah, I feel like before the boomers, people spent their twenties doing crazy things like crossing the prairies and founding townships.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Rufus F. says:

          Or just working on the farm, factory, or something. I mean some people did enjoy their twenties in kind of a modern style since the late 19th century at least but they were a minority of people.Report

        • Michael Cain in reply to Rufus F. says:

          The Lost Generation. Flappers and whatever the male counterpart was. Zoot suits. Beats. Most everyone scrolls over a huge amount of American urban history.

          I attribute this to the same reflex that keeps teenagers from thinking about the idea that Mom was up on the kitchen counter while Dad planted them.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I mean, I wouldn’t say it’s a midlife crisis novel mainly because it’s very funny. Most novels I think of as midlife crisis novels are from people without the self-awareness to be very funny about themselves. Which is a shame because most of us spend years of our lives doing ridiculous things.Report

  3. Saul Degraw says:

    I watched the Banshees of Inisherin last night and did not think it completely gelled.

    The acting, dialogue, cinematography, and over all look of the movie were amazing. However, once you see one Martin McDonagh play or movie you kind of get his schtick and he does not deviate it from his ticks that much. Statements which would be hyperbole in the hands of everyone else become literal and actual in his world. All the time. I also think the movie’s central plot as a metaphor for tensions among the Irish on religious grounds was kind of obvious and strained.*

    *For those who don’t know, Brenden Gleason and Colin Farrell live on a small and imaginary Irish island in 1923 during the Civil War. They were best of friends until Gleason’s character decided he no longer wants to talk with Farrell’s character ever again for one day and cuts off the relationship.Report

    • InMD in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I watched it on Friday and generally agree. I actually thought it would have been better jettisoning the civil war aspect and being more of a meditation on aging and the passage of phases in our lives. I also thought it didn’t really earn its lack of closure ending.

      But yea, beautiful movie with great acting. I thought the confession scene was hilarious.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Yeah, I sort of suspected that would be the case.

      We watched the Menu, which our foodie/cooking school friends thought was very funny. I enjoyed it in parts but found it pretty scattered. They have a central theme and then a bunch of scenes that don’t quite make sense in terms of that central theme. Not as bad as some movies I’ve seen, but it felt like it would have made a clever half-hour short.Report

      • InMD in reply to Rufus F. says:

        I watched that one last weekend. It was fine but really felt like it was a streaming service b movie quality script and concept, just with A list production and actors. Didn’t get the hubbub for something that while well done was pretty derivative with nothing remotely new to say.Report

    • Slade the Leveller in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Among other things.Report

  4. LeeEsq says:

    Like my brother said, the concept of enjoying your twenties is really recent. It really didn’t make any sense until the 1960s. I don’t even thing this was entirely about social conservatism and the lack of effective contraceptive. Like I mentioned above, it is also about money and air travel among other things. Before the 1960s, few people had money or time to enjoy their twenties.

    Did I enjoy my twenties? That’s hard to explain. I spent the first half of it in my junior and senior years of college and law school. The second half was spent working as a lawyer. I travelled a bit and had fun but I don’t think it was the type of fun twenties that media depicts where you have casual sex, go out and party, and don’t necessarily focus on work or serious relationships to your mid to late 20s. Besides not having the real desire for that type of twenties, I didn’t have the abilities, skills, or temperament for that type of twenties. I wanted to do serious work and build a professional career rather than go from job to job. I wasn’t really a night life or get drunk/stoned type person. I do miss not getting a girlfriend during that time but it was generally a good time.Report

  5. LeeEsq says:

    I am growing increasingly frustrated at the amount of reboots, sequels, and spin-offs based on existing media property. There is apparently a reboot of Night Court on TV right now. HBO Mask has an animated series about Vilma, from Scobby Doo but Shaggy is replaced by a Black guy with a similar personality called Norbelle and Scooby is absent. Fred and Daphne are still there. We have Willow TV Where are the new ideas and new shows? I yearn for novelty.Report

  6. Slade the Leveller says:

    Currently reading All Hack by Dmitry Samarov. Samarov is an artist who drove a cab in Boston and Chicago for a living, and this book is a collection of the blog essays he wrote while during his driving career.

    He’s a great writer, but I think it’s most interesting from an educated working class point of view. Nowadays, you don’t see much crossover between the 2. Having worked a blue collar job for about a decade after finishing my M.A., I found his viewpoint regarding his fares quite interesting.Report