Symptoms of Symptoms 3 — Shocking

laughing older woman

“Ah well, perhaps one has to be very old before one learns how to be amused rather than shocked.” ~ Pearl S. Buck

I once met a woman who disclosed to me, “I send modest sums of money to my cyber lover.”

He was several decades her junior.

I did a quick intake of breath, tilted my head and arched a brow at her. She mirrored my gaze back.

“Yes, I am a ‘Sugar Mama’. For thousands of years, men have been ‘Sugar Daddies’ to younger women. No one but the most devoted feminists noticed.”

“Shouldn’t you give your money to your children? Or grandchildren?” I asked.

“Yes. And when I do send them money, it is sometimes listlessly acknowledged.” Sometimes not,” she sighed and rattled the ice in her drink.

“Well, I question the morality of it. I think you are a fool,” I decreed. “He is using you. And probably other foolish women.”

She leaned back and belly-laughed until her face flushed like a teenage girl’s.

“My conscience is clear on the matter. Besides, there is an elation in paying for the old sins of others. I know who I am: an immoral clown. A euphoric fool.”






The King was in his counting-house, Counting out his money
art ~ George Harrap, c. 1910

I once knew a man


Whose mission

Was to save money.

If a household staple was reduced in price,

He would purchase

Extravagant amounts,

Only to store it all

In his cellar.


His wife was forbidden

To spend beyond a given amount

After he angonizingly researched

What she wished to buy.

The time she wanted new eye-glasses,

He accused her of being vain.


He lived in a world of lack.


Was this a symptom of his thriftiness

Or of his fear?

Did he exist at the edge of annihilation?


The man died.


Within weeks of his death,

His merry widow

Brought me a hand-crafted

Many-prismed chandelier.

“I got it for you because I could,”

She declared with laughter in her voice.

It is displayed from the beam

Like a sacred relic.


I have heard —

Behind every action

There is essentially

One of two motivations:

Fear or



shadowy me ss boulet
Art ~ Susan Seddon Boulet


 Some people are surrounded by an aura of protection,

Like embodiment of the law of compensation.

In some circles it is called sight or anointing.


Be careful how you regard them.


These benign and loving characters

Trail in their wake

Cosmic judgement of either disaster or blessing.


It is only fair to let you know

While there is still time.


Art ~ Michael Parkes

I once knew a man

Who disassociated

From the private purported flaws

He encountered in others.

He considered this

An avenue to serene existence.

Was this a symptom of soundness?

Or his fear of Life-chaos?



I once knew a woman who traveled

To a country on the other side of the globe.

It was one outcome of

Having spent every holiday for the last eighteen years

Apart from her sons.

Was it a symptom of woe-aloneness?

Or was this celebration of

Her ubiquitous Life-non-aloneness-wherever?


I once knew a young man

Who wept on the neck of his of-age lover.

Some would mock his symptoms of neediness.

She knew it indicated potency

And savvy to embrace Life-Mystery.

rest susan seddon boulet
Art ~ Susan Seddon Boulet