Category Archives: human behavior

relationships; society; sociology

The Horror of Armie Hammer.

My parathyroids were having a fit.

A cascade of alarming symptoms had followed me since September beginning with the second of two kidney stones, roiling its way south to exit, followed by uncontrollable OCD, crushing anxiety and, per the secondary results of the CT scan nearly culminating in that most reviled of all diagnostics, the colonoscopy. BUT!

The second of two 24 hour urine captures told that tale. Calcium levels were the kicker. Not to be outdone by actual medical professionals, I pored over the interwebs until, honing in, I’d settled on the glands in my throat. Seems at least one of them was throwing out hormone like gangbusters; and, who knew? My endocrinologist, a Peruvian with a penchant for the latest peer reviewed papers, called me from two hours outside Lima to discuss the whole thing.

At such a juncture, one needs diversion.

The Bachelor season wouldn’t commence for another, unendurable week, and the guy who’d played boyfriend on the flat screen of my fantasy was AWOL again; so, if succour was the craving of the hour the most available (and, delectable) appeared to be an Oscar nom’d film, Call Me By Your Name. Unaware of its actual theme, I was drawn in by what had always turned my head: ineffably. pretty. boys.

And, this was a twofer: the most heavily promoted ingenue, Tim-O-Tay Chalamet – and, one Armand Douglas Hammer.

The story played out as a heady, Indy-European hybrid, flavoured with English subtitles whenever our Elio preferred les Francais and steeped in languid, sun swathed Italian countryside. We followed the young musician and his scholarly Oliver, as they stepped out their bee dance toward coupling, predictably enough; yet, what carried this old girl was the sight, sound, even perceptible scent of perfectly lovely men.

But, reverberating in the back of my refractive lens was the distant undertow of what used to be termed the society page story – on Hammer. As I watched his godlike, Aryan body travel across the frame, I noted a distinctive impetus that seemed almost borne of compulsion. Unlike his convincingly thoughtful counterpart, Chalamet, he didn’t muse to move; Hammer, as Oliver, almost vaulted forward, suddenly, as a cat might pounce.

Could the nature of the man have informed the character he portrayed? Even when the two were in rapt embrace, I was never warmed toward Oliver by any notion of authentic sentiment. He seemed rather to be calculating, to the end, loosely referencing discretion as some sort of caveat for deliberate restraint. At times, he toyed with lovesick Elio, even taunting, then cold. While performing therapeutic foot massage, he appeared to be inflicting authentic pain. In their final scene, departing by train toward a life of alleged responsibility he was ever in his head, as if always having known the end from its beginning.

Is this not the mark of the predator?

I decided that both, as actors, were effortless, immersed in their story. But, what of Hammer, in his?

Born into a family dynasty marked by both industrial megafortune and some alarming, dark demons, “Armie” appeared to have it all – beauty; physique; intellect; and, sexual magnetism. But, too much evidence had mounted, far more often than he would in occasional infidelity, and of a kind which made even a rebel startle; multiple women were testifying to relentless, physical brutality.

In my recent, protracted attempt at relationship I’d become accustomed to giving latitude where likely undeserved, forgiveness where none could otherwise be found. But, my brain stretched, on this one; what, or who, had poisoned the mind of this young man toward an established pattern of relational violence? Was it genetic weakness, true affliction? Or, had he grown to expect absolute dominance over all, both those haplessly appearing in his path as well as selected prey?

I’d sought mindless entertainment, of the evening. I tried valiantly to submit to escape. But, reality encroached – and, won. This wasn’t just a movie about two gay guys falling in love; this was a study in the strength of suspension of disbelief. And, regarding any ability to relax into a story played by actors, even viewing it twice I’d failed. All I could see, or feel, were the raw edges of biting teeth and the tearing flesh of penetrating assault.

Current reports indicate Hammer is financially destitute, in debt, foundering in a menial job as timeshare concierge. The shadows cast by his persistent past still follow him, a true diagnosis for the disease haunting him elusive.

In a matter of days, I will likely reach the point of definitive diagnosis, for my own: Hyperparathyroidism. Four tiny glands, set in the hyoid bone hammock of the human throat, and capable – with the advent of just one, benign lesion – of wreaking havoc over the entire physiological constitution, at its most pathological achieving psychosis.

Maybe Armie Hammer could use a pursuant blood test, of his own. Whence the darkest deeds of man, anyway? The heart may be deceitful, desperately wicked; but, perhaps the source of all bad human behavior can at last be found, couched in the tantrum of one, small handful of rogue cells.

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  • Please find “HOUSE OF HAMMER” on Amazon Prime or Discovery+

Copyright 1/24/23 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, who has consumed four double chocolate chip cookies in cocoa flour and whose story it is. No copying, pasting, editing, transcribing, or translating permitted; sharing by blog link, exclusively, and that not via RSS. Thank you for visiting, and remembering, and subscribing.

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He Said, She Said.

He said God didn’t interact in the lives of humans.

She was sure that God did, though she wasn’t clear on exactly how, or when, or what God was doing.

He was a Democrat, but didn’t vote. She was a registered Independent, voting whenever she could choose a viable candidate.

He believed in abortion as part of a woman’s right to choose, and had encouraged women he knew to have them in the past.

She was fervently pro-life, and considered the right to choose a foil for the right to abort.

He had chosen vasectomy as his means of birth control. She’d used the sympto-thermal method, which had included periodic abstinence.

She loved to walk outdoors, but her profession kept her inside 90% of the time. When he wasn’t cooking, he was outside.

He loved dogs, cats, and birds. Her cat allergy was prohibitive and, though she’d always wanted a dog, both her neighborhood and property were not amenable.

He was built of short, bulk muscle, and preferred large motor activities like weight lifting, sailing, and heavy land maintenance. Hers was a small motor gift, expressed on musical instruments and utilizing the tools of visual art.

He was open ended, preferring to go with the flow. She needed closure, almost obsessively so, not resting until achieved.

He enjoyed hip hop and other contemporary music styles. She would choose country over hip hop, every time, but preferred everything from the classical masterworks to ballads to blues.

He was a medical professional. She was a creative and educator.

Her love expressions were gifting, problem solving, and verbal encouragement. While his love language included gifting his was almost exclusively physical release, and she could count on one hand after six years the number of times he complimented her even if strangers lavished praise.

He liked the house cool to cold, often complaining of feeling hot. She had a bit of Reynaud’s, and required a warm indoor environment to keep her fingers fully functioning.

He was a recreational alcohol and drug user, and self medicated regularly. She took prescriptions to treat migraines, one of them with a history of altering mood.

He was an introvert. She was an ambivert.

He regarded talking as a one sided means to vent. She preferred productive conversation and active dialogue.

He enjoyed reading about history and the care of animals. She preferred reading about the current states of society, health, and the cosmos.

He addressed multiple tasks as they came to mind. She made lists, and crossed off tasks as they were completed.

He preferred keeping his personal life details private. Her imagination led her to question the veracity of his disclosures.

He was fiercely in need of making all decisions on his own, including those which she believed were her exclusive domain. She was the most independent woman she knew.

He preferred to live within a small sphere of his own influence, rarely seeking answers. She was constantly curious, attracted to the speculative universe of unexplored possibility.

He resisted all forms of perceived control. She perceived his resistance as a stubborn need for absolute power.

His behavioral standards were focused on self comfort and sustenance. Hers were built around self protection and preservation.

His, from early childhood; hers, from every aspect of her social realm, theirs was a trauma bond.

He said. She said.

In spite of everything and against overwhelming odds, they had found themselves unable to break free of that which had kept them intersecting in each other’s lives.

To call this a relationship was to stretch the limits of human definition. Only God could name it.

He said God wouldn’t. She was still waiting.

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Copyright 1/21/23 Ruth Ann Scanzillo . All rights those of the author, whose personal story it is and whose name appears above this line. No copying, in whole, or part, or by translation. Sharing by blog link exclusively, and not via RSS feed. Thank you for valuing the rights of original material.

littlebarefeetblog.com

The Recipe Card.

CHAPTER 50.

His was a gourmet’s gift. The slurries, alone, always subtley balanced. The rubs, same. You never wanted for naming a dominant spice; rather, the synergy.

And, he loved the prospect of a new “dish.” Let the plan gel, and then heartily get to it.

Yet, the scenario this time was different. A certain clarity pervaded the usually hazy atmosphere. The house had been cleaned, recently, reorganized too. No longer the customary chaos usually accompanying his binges when she rang the doorbell, unannounced, on a night he’d learned to expect her to be otherwise occupied giving private music lessons.

She’d lost count how many times over the years there’d been, oh, two bowls instead of one, an odd wine glass, fried chicken all but gone in the skillet. Then there was the bright yellow stethoscope draped hastily over the livingroom chair, as if somebody other than she had entered via the rarely used front door.

No; this time, the pizza stone nearly empty of more slices than even a fat man could consume, the large, antique China salad bowl oddly cleaned of its contents but, what was this?

A recipe card. For “Linguini Salad”.

Sitting alone, on the opposite counter. Handwritten, in rather large, round, legible script and clean, as if just penned that very day. Not a speck of cooking grease, not a corner turned, fresh as morning. And she, with her annoying visual memory, immediately identifying the writing as unrecognizable.

It had come from his ex-wife, he slurred. Oh; really. All those thirty odd years ago, still untouched by so much as a drop of oil.

And, calling for artichokes and “Paul Newman’s Own” dressing, the latter underscored with proud emphasis.

Why a natural chef would choose a salad recipe from the ex-wife which called for pasta and bottled dressing, to accompany a mammoth flatbread homemade pizza. Why, indeed.

Moving through the livingroom to the bathroom ( in search of the stash of Ivermectin ) and, re-emerging sooner than he was ready, she caught him stuffing something under the sofa cushion and then, spying her, deftly acting to smooth its surface.

Ah. What had we here, then. Black Nike workout pants, far too narrow for his overdeveloped calves. They were his, were they. Would he put them on, to see if they fit? No; he would not. Nor would he tell her how he’d spent the afternoon. He owed her nothing. In nearly six years of endless forgiveness for countless infractions, she had earned no explanations of any kind.

Two degrees of separation, and swift resolution: No; the ex-wife had never used Paul Newman’s Own dressing. On anything.

(Sorry, Paul.)

They say the secret is always in the sauce.

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Thus endeth the lesson.

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Copyright 1/18/23 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. No copying, in whole, part, or by translation, permitted; sharing by blog link, exclusively, and not via RSS. Thank you for being honorable in a sea of filth.

littlebarefeetblog.com