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No Regrets Journal A Very Short Story By Clayton Medeiros May 2013


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No Regrets is a journal of poetry, prose and images about the twists and turns in the human condition, the search for love, meaning and community.

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Clayton Medeiros, editor is a poet and collage artist.

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Neil McKay (Johnny Trash) is the Webmaster.

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Submissions are by invitation of the editor. ! !

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claymedeiros@aol.com

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http://issuu.com/claymedeiros/docs

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http://www.facebook.com/NoRegretsJournal

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A Man, His Dog and His Diet ! Clayton Medeiros

First Things First After a recent birthday celebration with the dog, I determined to change my life. I will now eat only T bone steaks and drink beer. Why T bone steaks you might ask? Because I plan to feed the dog the bones. We plan to do everything together including eating. The dog and I will walk together, ride in the car together and sleep in the same bed. Where we live will not make all that much difference, but I tend to prefer dry to damp air and less rather than more winter. Seeing the horizon regularly is also a good thing. Too many hills and trees spoil the view unless, of course, you live on top of the hill with few if any trees between you and the horizon. As best I can recall, this approach would limit city living except in a very tall building plus the dog needs a yard or a very large grass covered balcony. Since there is not enough money for extensive travel in the style to which the dog and I are completely indifferent to getting used to, we will travel the world via beer labels. I will identify the beers made in different communities beginning with the one where the dog and I live on the East Coast. I will then buy beer from each community heading west. There may be some shipping charges if the beer is not locally available. Given the potential shipping charges, the home community should undoubtedly be one with a store that carries a wide selection of local, regional, state, national, international and, possibly in the future, intergalactic beers. A community with such a store may have higher living expenses. Nonetheless, given the potential for exorbitant shipping charges, the savings for such a location could be substantial. A room in the house—remember we need a yard—will include a map of the world large enough to paste beer labels on. The dog and I will sit in this room on a regular basis as we chart and discuss our progress across the county and around the world. The initial town chosen for residence should probably include one or more, but at least one, brewery in order to get the map labeling process off to a robust start. If it turns out


there is more than one brewery in our new home town, the first beer will come from the brewery with the most attractive label. This will not require a committee of esteemed judges or advertising executives. The dog and I will make the decision on our own. Subsequent labels will only be judged on location not aesthetics. Appropriate Attire Given the flow and flux as well as the sturm and drang of contemporary fashion, attire is a critical issue. The well attired world traveler must meet sartorial as well as comfort needs. This applies to the dog as well as to me. The dog has an excellent collar made of some reasonably attractive, but unknown substance. Given the brown color of the dog, green has been the preferred color for collars since a rambunctious, exceedingly chewy puppy hood. Based on several long walks and intensive, yet pleasant, communications, the dog has decided that a new collar with appropriate color accompany each entry into a new country. There had been some wavering on this now final approach during the always civil, but deeply philosophical dialogue on this crucial point. The color will be chosen based on the flag of the country we are in. With appropriate dog couture decisions made, we agreed that my clothes should be similarly colored. Each country will have its unique climate which may necessitate wardrobe changes, varying fabrics and layers. The dog and I believe that all of these requirements can be met with an array of shorts, T shirts, sweat pants, sweat shirts, socks, sandals--with and without socks-- water proof walking shoes for tropical and rain forest environments and snow boots. Languages The dog only speaks dog, but our research indicates that with some nuance here and there, dog is universally spoken. Given the pace of travel, I will not be able to learn all of the languages of the areas to be traversed. We will accumulate as many phrase books and cultural guides as possible out of due consideration for the values of the people in each country. Love There will be no love interests! The dog and I are putting love aside. We plan to focus on adventure. When I was a child, etc. etc. etc. On the other hand, the dog and I deeply respect one another which should make for a most excellent adventurous relationship. Passion only leads to trials, tribulations, conflicts, commitments, confessions and general overall complexity. With a world whirling tour looming on the horizon, passion and attachments to my fellow human beings must be limited. Although people can be cute and do have a role in securing the future for humanity and canine hood,


meaningful relationships with the human tribe, depending on the head lines of a particular day, may or may not be a cause worthy of pursuit. Many a noble cause, many a noble adventure, many a trek of noble proportions has been waylaid by the wayward wiles of love, requited or otherwise. The dog and I suspect that true love probably takes far more time than we can muster given the adventure that we are about to embark on. Pure and simple, there is no time for love. During times when the dog and I need a dose of love, we can turn to Shakespeareʼs plays and sonnets as the occasion may demand and, as unlikely as it may be, if Shakespeare does not offer the appropriate bon mot, given the knowledge that we will gain in our travels, we can generate some bon mots of our own to meet the needs of a particular occasion. When to Start a Journey Journeys are best begun at or near sunrise. A new day, a new beginning, fresh morning air, the light of dawn, brighten the mind and energize the body which should be in tip top shape for any journey. Since the dog and I have narrowed our diet to beer and t bone steaks, a hearty, protein filled breakfast is not a problem. Steak does not quite have the sizzle of bacon, but bacon does not have any bones for the dogʼs breakfast. Just so we are clear, the dogʼs bowl is almost always filled with water not beer. Since the dog needs a lot of liquids to prevent urinary tract infections, the beer consumption might be so great as to potentially inhibit the refined senses required for attentiveness to the twists and turns of travel. Religion Now, this is a difficult subject with a history that stretches so far back in time that there is no time recorded by the hand of man, woman or dog paw. I am a spiritual man. The dog thinks so anyway. It is always good to have support in these things that could raise questions about oneʼs ethics, integrity and overall propriety. This is especially important for relationships that include long trips, particularly trips around the world. I have not known what to make of gods or God. I sense a connection to what is around me in the world and in nature. I have something in common with both the ant and the star, at a minimum, persistence and a certain light heartedness. Aside from that, there are too many holy books in the world for me to fully fathom. It is very hard to know what is and is not important to attend to. The New Testament finally brought together 300 years after Christʼ crucifixion left out the words of Thomas and Peter and Mary among others. It is all way too complicated for me with issues that cannot be put together and definitively put to bed between this moment and the start of our journey and, it is essential to have the journey begin in a


timely fashion. The dog is itchy to get started. Please note that she does not have any fleas and the travel itch is one that can only be scratched by getting on with it. On this religious stuff, confusion aside, I will accept the blessings of one and all. I do not accept the berating of any one about the fact that I do not follow their particular brand of faith or go to their church or other related center of worship. There are too many truths in the world for me to grasp them all. So long as hateful things are not involved, I will joyfully participate in any ritual or celebration. The dog supports this approach and her ancestors have spent their share of time around the various altars of humankind. Philosophy The dog and I are basically Kantians at heart “Do unto others etc, etc, as if it would be universal law etc, etc.” Pretty good stuff in my experience so far and the dog agrees. I suspect that this very basic belief will hold us in good stead in our travels. Much like the world of bibles, the world of philosophy is ever so complicated with Plato and those before and after him never mind the never ending problems of translation from Greek and Latin and the lack of definitive texts. Add to this the array of philosophers in the diversity of world cultures and, as in the biblical case, there is just too much to be resolved. The trip must take precedence. Kant keeps it simple. Music My musical preferences, shared by the dog, run to jazz, country, blues and basic rock n roll. This mix should serve us well while we are in the United States. The trip should be an opportunity to expand our musical horizons. The approach to this expansion may require some study to find out what the music of each new country is before acquiring the beer. What is the most effective way to explore music as you travel? The narrow minded approach would be to simply carry with you all of the music that you liked so that, at any time, the right and satisfying music would be available. Music could be organized by country names since countries are noted for different kinds of music: ! ! ! ! ! !

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Polish Polkas Argentinian Tangos Brazilian Sambas United States Rock n Roll Cuban Rumbas Austrian Waltzes

You get the idea. But, of course, within each of these big country categories there are many variations—rumba guaguanco, rumba yambu and rumba colombia for one example. Regions within countries have their very own take on the music. Regional


beer makers might be offended if we were to play music from a region that they absolutely despised even if the music was similar and shared the same roots and many of the same traditions. People are picky. Specific towns, tribes, villages and localities will undoubtedly have their preferences. Choices, choices, choices simply abound like they do in life itself: ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

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What jammies to wear to bed? Should I go to bed? What is the ideal bed time? What sheets should be on the bed? Should the sheets match the jammies? What pillow is best, hard, soft, thick, thin, long, short? How long before bedtime should a snack be eaten? What are the best bed time snacks?

I like bed time stories. Unfortunately, the dog does not like to read bed time stories. But the dog does like bed time stories. She just adamantly refuses to read them. However, she will help to pick them out. There appears to be no logic or taxonomy to apply to this music travel conundrum. It is probably best to be flexible and open to possibilities. Local music that the dog and I agree is neat will be the first priority. This will be followed by regional music which will be followed by national music. If all of the music sounds like a bunch of New York City garbage collectors at five in the morning, we will simply play what we damn well please and leave the locals none the wiser. Well, the dog and me are on our way. ! ! ! !


No Regrets Journal - May 2013