Monday, February 14, 2011

Allow me to reintroduce myself -A little P.A. 101

Let’s review – shall we?  P.A. Cooley 101
It’s been a while I know I know so allow me to REINTRODUCE MYSELF…
Hello, my name is P.A. Cooley. I am 47 years old. I stand at 5’7 and three quarters of an inch. (I often lie and say I am 5’8”.)   I weigh 210 pounds. I am not lying about that. I am a chunky guy without question.  I don’t have a problem with my size. I am a self-proclaimed Pin Up Cub, but I highly doubt anyone has a picture of me taped on the inside door of their locker. I have successfully deluded myself into thinking other men and maybe some women like looking at partially clad photographs of me and my body. I actually think I am attractive, BUT I might just have a Narcissistic personality disorder. I am figuring it out currently.

 Not only have I become an unorthodox cyber centerfold model but I am also trying to redefine myself as a writer after identifying myself as an actor for the last 37 years of my life. I’ve been thinking “humorist” may be my correct title. Writer seems so lofty. The only thing I have published is this blog. I have a long way to go and I appreciate you taking the time to read this. ( I especially appreciate it if you already know me and don’t require this tutorial.)

I haven’t completely abstained from being on stage. Occasionally  I still enjoy acting and performing,  but I have let go of the “dream” that keeps actor’s going. I am talking about Oscar worthy, Tony award winning success. I am also speaking of the dream when an actor no longer has to live with seven other people and eat cornflakes for breakfast. Currently  I live alone in a moldy in-law with an embittered angry ghost who sometimes makes his presence known. (Oh yes- I “sense” dead people.)   When he was alive he was my landlord. My current landlord is the quiet, melancholy executor of his estate. The executor isn’t bitter or angry, but he does seem unhappy. I am not sure why. I don’t think he’s too thrilled to be the executor of my landlord’s estate.
I am dating someone -although “dating” seems to not have the gravity of the relationship I have developed. I am engaged to be engaged... His name is Orlando and he is very nice to me. It is my sincere hope to grow old with him. I call him the Lando Bear. We met on a website where Gay men who identify themselves with all things Ursine meet.  Currently we live 3 hours by car apart from each other. I don’t own a car so it takes me significantly longer to visit him by train and bus. I am pretty much over the commute, but willing to endure it to spend time with him. He’s cute.  We have seen each other almost every weekend for two years.  He makes up for it by visiting me down here more than I go up to see him.
I live in the exciting and expensive city of San Francisco and he lives in a town in the High Desert of North State California.  It’s called “the High Desert” even though it has beautiful pines and snow capped mountains everywhere, but much of the year it’s as hot as the Sahara. Well…it feels that way to me.  Nine months out of the year when I walk around outdoors up there I feel like a 3 ton Dragon is sitting on my chest spraying fire all around me.

Orlando and I are in the process of trying to find a way to live together so I can get out of the haunted moldy in law and he can move away from the dragon. After much discussion we decided together he would move down to expensive and exciting San Francisco with me.  He is a sensible sort and knew he couldn’t do it without finding a job first.  That was almost a year ago.  Instead of dreaming of making it big in show biz, I NOW dream about finding a nice affordable 2 bedroom bungalow in Berkeley  with enough room for a friendly Golden  Labradoodle  named Sarah, and the Lando Bear and myself. Sarah doesn’t really exist yet, but if you could read my mind you could see she’s a great dog! Lately I have been dreaming of a fat very old Silver Grey Tiger tabby named Hairrison too.  My dreams of fame and fortune have been traded in for something more attainable…and quite possibly better!

I work five days a week with the elderly and find it very rewarding. These men and women are extremely frail and sick. Ten years ago they would call where I worked a Nursing Home. Times have changed and the tainted industry needed a new twist so now they are all called Skilled Nursing Facilities now. Regardless of the moniker, there’s a lot of hospice work associated with where I work so it’s kind of “God’s waiting room” no matter what you call it.  I also market the facility which also allows for a great deal of creativity and varied routines. Like most jobs it has its up days and down days, but even the down days reveal something to me about life and love and the purpose of humanity, so I often feel more enlightened on the down days than I did on the up days. Every day I deal with mortality and aging and more importantly family dynamics.  I see pain and fear in people’s eyes but I also see hope and -on a great day- joy. I live for those days.

  My compulsion to ease people of their pain has for better or worse spilled over to my co-workers too. I worry about my boss and my morbidly obese co-worker who are both so good to me, but can’t seem to be good to them-selves. I guess that is my lot in life. My Dad used to tell me when I was young that he thought I was going to be a psychiatrist. I always knew when he was sad and would crawl up on his lap and hold his face in my hands and ask, “What’s the matter Daddy?”  (Don’t worry…I stopped doing that when I turned 17).  I feel I actually have the ability to make people feel better about them-selves. I can cheer them on and give them the incentive they need to make their own dreams come true.  My methods may not appear gentle or loving to most, but I honestly don’t think you can move forward in your life until you can look pain directly in the eye and give it hell. Most troubled people would rather not look at pain in their live and I can’t really blame them. Yet dealing with reality will help you in the long run because well…it’s reality. Reality is the hand you were dealt.  Avoiding it could seriously keep you from realizing your dreams or potential.  I am not a licensed therapist. I am empathetic and intelligent.  I am trying to figure out my place in the world just like you are.

Lately I have been doing something fun on Facebook which has grown to something interesting.   On my status I asked people if I could help them by dispensing advice. I called it Ask-A-Cub. (Those of you who told me 47 is too old to be identified as a Cub –get with the program. I addressed this in my first blog for cryin out loud! ) I also tried to make it funny which many of my Facebook cronies had fun with- being quite amusing in their own right. Then something truly gratifying happened. I got some serious questions sent privately to me in my Facebook Inbox.  “Why can’t I find a date in San Francisco?”, “Am I crazy just because I believe in God?”  and “ How will I know if I will be a good Father?”  At first I was overwhelmed.  I got questions out of my realm of experience, but I knew I could take a page out of Dear Abby’s column and refer them to people more qualified than I to answer their query. I love connecting and helping. It’s almost as good as a sold out house standing ovation…almost.

I can’t help everyone and I can’t even get them to go in the right direction for help. Sometimes it makes no sense to try and get someone to see the truth. Sometimes the chemicals in your brain really fuck with your reality and no amount of medicine or talk therapy can alleviate your pain because you weren’t wired to accept things they way they are. Those people are diagnosable.  I can’t help those people. I hate that. I hate that a lot.
Ask A Cub is here for you. How can I help?