Cyncism: Nature or Nurture?

**Warning the following post may contain material not suitable for those who do not understand the nature of the beast!

‘Do you swear to tell the truth the whole truth so help you and your spiritual advisor?’


‘Place your right hand on the Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and repeat after me…’

So often the topic of homosexuality falls into the following realm:

‘Hey, do ya’ think them gays came out that way or do ya’ think it’s the way their Momma dressed ’em?’

Really, is that what it all boils down to?  Is it really that simple?  And, for that matter, does it really matter?

Having been born and raised in New Hampshire and having lived down in the heartland of the south, there is only really one question that should matter.

Northerners are true blue assholes.  Southerners tend like offer you a Mint Julip, shake your hand with pride on their faces and as you turn to make your way back home…the knife is placed ever so gently in your back.

I am cynical, sadistic, masochistic, sarcastic and socially unruly.  And, that my friends is solely due to environmental lack of control.

My grandfather, long since not among the living, had been the devil’s Jack of all trades, master to none.

He was an Irish beat cop from Boston.  His police profile making him look like one of Hitler’s youth.  Joe, I suppose never should have parent-ed, but he did and he did with an iron fist.

However, not to completely harpoon his image…there had been a softer side.   He enjoyed photography.  After all, it hadn’t been too long ago, say, 1960, where he had been promoted to Inspector of Fatal Accidents.  Training ensued.  A camera, a bag, a badge and a darkroom followed.  And, with little fanfare, JoePoe had become something of an amateur photographer.

I believe it was 1977, give or take.  The only reason I’m semi certain of the date?  Someone important had died…Elvis!  Devastated about the man’s passing and concerned about taking pills and using the toilet at the same time…life became somewhat lacking in grace.

The following Christmas we were due to head down to Waltham, Mass.  Home of nothing important, dirty and ugly and housing my grandparents.

Sitting ’round the dinner table: Winston’s smoking the air, Coors’ light filling the gullet and homemade Kahlua indulging the women folk, the scene was similar to the Walton’s on Crack.

As the under cooked still kickn’ Pot Roast and the over cooked watered down stewed yams made their way towards my young self, a burst of energy shot through dear ole Joe.

‘Wait, they haven’t seen the new pictures yet!  I’m really mastering the black and white theme.  Pulling in the linear sides and really making the most of the subject matter!’

Well, when a drunk Irish Cop totting a .45 magnum and a Polaroid tells you to stop?  You stop!

The following photo gallery have been taken from the archives of JoePoe:

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Not sure what I received that Christmas.  My father always got the same thing, a ten pound fruitcake and a pack of Garcia Vega cigars, which he did not smoke.

I do know that yams, Pot Roast and Ruth met only one more time after that…and that was ten years ago at my partner’s family Thanksgiving get together.  It had been my coming out to the O’Shaughnessy debut.

I cried, sobbed and shared my familiar story with my new In-Law family.  And, then I smiled and stated the following:

‘Not sure about that nature and/or nurture thing.  I guess I just am what I am…that is along with the 13 inch buck knife my grandfather left me in his will!’

Tough love?  Tough shit!
Tough love? Tough shit!

Vertigo Value


ride through life as though it were stolen
ride through life as though it were stolen


“Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire. The reality of your own nature should determine the speed. If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion. Then, when you’re no longer thinking ahead, each footstep isn’t just a means to an end but a unique event in itself….To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountains which sustain life, not the top.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values