Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Writing Grunt

My wife Marie says that, when I write, I grunt. The first time she mentioned it, we were sitting in our Airstream, in the picturesque beauty of a Washington State Park, enjoying the quietescence and each other’s company, at our spendid and unusual oak parquet dining table, when apparently, I shattered her concentration, and she burst out laughing.

“Whut”? I spoke, as her sides split, and she fell across the divan. “You grunt when you write honey, it’s like “............and then she went into this little grunting sound, nay, more of a routine, to show me my grunt.

Being a forgiveness nut myself, and not one who would be defensive at such a time, I just made a little remark like, “Oh yeah, sorry, I guess I’m really getting into it over here, sorry”. But then, minutes later, after suddenly being made aware of this malady, I caught myself doing it, right at the crescendo of some sentence with a wallop, and I knew she was totally correct. I do grunt when I write.

Woeful little tick, don’cha think? Ya sit down with a guy for a bit of peace and quiet, maybe read a bit of The New Yorker, or The Atlantic, sip some Chardonnay, but then you see him get out his legal pad, and a pen, and you realize, oh goody, I see I am about to experience, yet again, “the grunt”.

When my Dad, Bob Seaberg, was alive, bless his soul, he had a bunch of little habits that drove me nuts, not the least of which was scooping the remaining food on his plate onto his fork with his middle finger, his hand and finger assuming the basic “fuck you” posture as he prepared to eat his final peas. I am certain I chastised the poor man time and again about it, but alas, my concern never took.

Honey, I fear I am doomed to be a grunter, when I write. When you caught me at it tonight, I thought, Jesus, there I go again.

These days, when I look into the mirror, especially when I have those 40’s style glasses on, I see my Dad looking right back at me. And my grunting is probably here to stay. But I am never gonna flip anybody off, knowingly or otherwise, at the dining table.

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