453. Fireflies on the longest day of the year

Summer solstice at StonehengeToday is the longest day of the year, folks. June 21, the meteorological start of summer is on us. More sunlight than any other day compels us to move, smile, dance, sing, and enjoy the free bonus light. Logic tells us that it is also the shortest night of the year, which seems odd because these tender summer nights go on forever. These nights don’t seem short when they are filled with the wonder of swooping bats, and fabulous cloud patterns, velvety shadows and the sparking of glow worms, aka, lampyridae, aka, photinus pyralis.

Image result for fireflies picturesWe are excited at my house because tonight is granddaughter Leah’s first meeting with the ephemeral lightning bugs that flit and blink across our back yard and the wide farm fields that rise to the western horizon behind our back decks. Large maple and evergreen trees we planted thirty five years ago stand as bushy black inkblot guards around our yard, cutouts against a midnight blue sky filled by twinkling stars and sparking fireflies. It’s a glorious sight that makes one think God has a very whimsical nature at times. How cool is it that little black insects can turn a humid summer evening into a pointillistic masterpiece? Pretty darn cool, I think, and His canvas is the globe we live upon. Sometimes when the psychic dots connect like this, it takes my breath away… I expire with an exhale and then inspire with a deeply satisfying inhalation. Try it at home, my fellow art lovers. Feel the joy saturate your toes and fingertips until you can taste joy in the mustard on your baloney sandwich.

Image result for glow worm toy picturesFunny connection is that when my granddaughter was born, I held her on my chest for long quiet hours as she simply breathed in and out in sweet baby breaths. I called her my little glow worm, and naturally sang the old Johnny Mercer song covered by the Mills Brothers “Glow Little Glow Worm” to her, never imagining any future applications. Way back in the archives, I’m sure there is a four year old post on those precious moments.

Shine little glow-worm, glimmer,
Shine little glow-worm, glimmer,
Lead us lest too far we wander
Love’s sweet voice is calling yonder
Shine little glow-worm, glimmer,
Hey, there don’t get dimmer,
Light the path below, above
And lead us on to love!

Image result for girl on grandma's lap pictures'So here we are with an excited four year old sitting on lovely grandma’s loving lap, waiting for the sky to darken. Leah has been given parental dispensation to stay up later than usual to hunt lightning bugs. Grandma has a clear acrylic storage container at the ready for capturing live fireflies. Leah is so excited she can hardly sit still. She scans the clouds for wild animals. “There’s a shark. And that’s a dolphin right above it.  Wonka, see?” I saw and watched the sun’s last glare fade.

Image result for clouds at sunset summer images

Grace joined us. “Leah was so excited after her bath. She complied in a finger snap.” She snapped her fingers as she said this. “Got in her jammies, brushed teeth, and couldn’t wait to come out and catch fireflies. We didn’t have them in Tucson.”

Image result for little girl dancing in yard pictures

Leah pranced and swirled dervishly in the darkening back yard. Grace recalled her firefly memories. “Do you remember the time I was Leah’s age, maybe 5 years old? Kayla Messinger spent the night here. We slept on that white pull out couch, remember, when you guys had those white curtains in the living room? We caught a bunch of fireflies and were watching them in the dark. After everyone else went to sleep, we thought it would be cool to let them out to fly around the living room. So we did and it was magical as they flew around and landed on the lamps and curtains. Then it hit us this wasn’t such a good idea. So, quiet as mice, we went around recapturing all the loose fireflies. I think we got them all, but we had to stand on the top of the couch to get the ones on the curtain rod. Funny how life repeats the little pleasures… and treasures.”  Sigh.

Image result for fireflies picturesI smiled recalling the innocence of her childhood which was being relived in front of us by Leah. Time felt like a thick rope that ran from our living room through Grace and me and connected to Leah.Related image

“There goes one. Did you see it?”

“Where?”

“Over there, under the cherry tree. Here. Take your container.”

Related imageIt was on. The light was fading and the fluttering glowworms were blinking on and off all around the yard. Even better they filled the air over the cornfield behind our yard with low level lime light. Such whimsical beauty!  My breath paused as Leah captured her first firefly.

“I’ll let her go in a couple of days”, she said. After collecting four or five, she named them– “This one is Hannah. That one is Eliza. This other one is Heady. Annnnnd that one issss, uhhhmmm, Jasmine.”

“Okay, let’s say good night to the fireflies you didn’t catch.”

“Good night.”

and from way over the hills comes the Mills Brothers’ silky tones….Image result for mills brothers pictures

Glow, little glow-worm, glow and glimmer,

Swim through the sea of night, little swimmer,

Thou aer-o-nau-tic-al boll weevil,

Il-lu-mi-nate yon woods primeval;

See how the shadows deep and darken,

You and your chick should get to sparkin’,

I got a gal that I love so,

Glow little glow-worm glow.

452. Old School

Image result for old chambersburg high school building photosFolks toss that term around freely, Old School. What exactly does it mean?  Depends on when and where you were born, I think. “I’m old school” uttered by someone from the Midwest in his 80’s might mean “I beat my kids when I was parenting… and they are all the better for it.”

Image result for parris island drill sergeant picturesWhen an old Marine says it about his Paris Island boot camp, he means that he and his fellow Marines were  physically assaulted by drill sergeants who took pride  in being as evil as they could dream of behaving. “I’m old school Marine Corps. No women, no gays, no mercy. No problem. When the DI knocked our teeth out, we’d say, ‘Thank you, sir’ through a gurgle of blood.”

Image result for high school students at recess pictures from 1960'sOld teachers talk at retirement banquets of the days before the consolidated school districts when kids played handball with their teachers over the lunch hour break, when the nearby kids walked home for lunch with their stay-at-home moms. “Kids were good then. They had respect. Said the pledge and prayed every morning.”

Implied in these nostalgic vignettes is the superiority of the Old School to the modern or New School approach to anything moral or social. You don’t hear folks claim to be Old School when it comes to technology.

Rotary Dial Telephone Rectangle Magnet

Gramps. “I love dial up.”

Grankid. “You mean you still use dial up for your computer, Pops? That’s annoyingly slow.”

Gramps. “No, I mean dial up as in rotary phone.”

Grandkid. “What the fig is a rotary phone, Gramps?”

Image result for party line imagesI lived through the Old School. I’m here to tell you that it was not better  Take the infamous party phone line for example. I don’t know how it worked exactly, but back in the day you shared a hard wired phone line with various neighbors in order to save money. (Privacy was and is still expensive, my bloggidos.) You would have to pick up the land line phone cradle to see if anyone was already engaged in a conversation,  yep, back in the Old School. Sort of like today’s public toilets– you have to physically inspect the stall before you drop your privacy and engage. It was slower and less secure, as you can imagine. Only an audible click announced someone joining the party line… which could lead to cheap entertainment or fun stories… or a beating.

Image result for stupid drunk driving imagesOld School, as I recall, allowed spousal and child abuse to quietly go onward as a family matter or a tradition. It was none of the neighbors’ business if a kid was bruised or a wife had to hide for days as a black eye healed. A solidly naive Old Schooler could say that such stuff did not happen back in the golden years of the 40’s, 50’s or 60’s because it was not reported. Heck, it wasn’t even a crime then. This is circular logic. Similar to saying that kids did not smoke cigarettes because that was illegal. Or there weren’t as many DUI’s before breathalyzers and the harsh drunk driving rules since MADD came along.  Absurd. Not keeping statistics is not the same as having no statistics to keep. That’s a triple negative, if you are  wondering why it’s hard to decode in one reading.

Related imageI recall that drunk driving and alcoholism in general were the source of jokes back in the Old School. There was the one about the drunk guy who thought he put his Olds 98 in reverse down at the Huntington Crab House; he dropped it into drive, but since he was looking behind himself, he accelerated across the sidewalk and through a plate glass window, finally stopping at the table he had just exited after two pitchers of beer and a pair of back fin crab cakes. Seems he forgot to leave a tip. He ponied up a couple of bucks and put it in reverse all the way home with a ketchup dispenser stuck on his hood ornament.

Image result for pictures of parents abusing childrenWe were aware of other kids whose parents beat them, not just a corrective slap or paddling, but a full body, bruising beat down.  Gary King and Duane Beattie come to mind, but so do lots of other kids. Eric Emker’s screams flew out of his open windows in the summer when his military father knuckle punched him for opening up the house to us neighborhood boys and making baloney sandwiches for each of us. There were lots more stories from the Old School, not so pretty or inspiring nostalgia. Hey, it was not our family’s business now was it? No cops were called. No name was given. Domestic violence had not been coined yet. Abuse was euphemistically called discipline back in the Old School.

Kevin Morris Sr. mugshotThen there was Mr. Reynoldo the pedophile who lived on the sharp hill of the Parkway with his invalid mother. He molested boys whenever he could. Everyone in the neighborhood knew it. We boys talked among ourselves and to our parents. The parental advice was, “Don’t go around that man.” We ignored such passive consent to evil. On snowy nights we would pound his house with snowballs from the undeveloped hillside across from his den of sodomy. On Halloween it was eggs. He’d come lurching out in a rage and we’d laugh the nervous laugh of adolescent vigilantes as we ran like foxes across the cedar spotted field behind us. He only caught the slow footed and slow witted boys.Image result for snowball attack on a house images

Ah, the Old School. Same as the New School, Fool.

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution

Take a bow for the new revolution

Smile and grin at the change all around

Pick up my guitar and play

Just like yesterday

Then I’ll get on my knees and pray

We don’t get fooled again

Don’t get fooled again

No, no!Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!Meet the new boss

Same as the old boss

Related image

So be true to your school now

Just like you would to your girl or guy

Be true to your school now

And let your colors fly

Be true to your school

Rah rah rah be true to your school

451. Wreck Ya, Vick

Image result for elder sean connery last crusade picturesIt’s time again to check up on The Intrepid World Traveler, Joelini Aspercremey. Initialized and read backwards, his label spells out T.W.I.T., but there is a strong chance that I am projecting again, i.e., I am the twit. He is a regular character in my blog due to the fact that he is a regular feature in my daily coffee shop ritual. Just like Catholics dip their fingers in holy water and bless themselves upon entering church, so too do I salute Joel reverently each morning at the Java Point, where desperate lives intersect with chaos theory. It’s every man for himself in the effort to avoid that universal evil effort commonly known as WORK.

Image result for adam and eve in garden with apple picturesAs the faithful among us know, WORK was a curse given to mankind due to the premature harvesting of one special apple. We were forever condemned thereafter to orchard working and redundancy, tree by tree, row by row, like migrant fruit pickers on Groundhog Day. Endless repetition, repeating endlessly for eternity or a long time, whichever comes first. Imagine if you can, E.L.O.’s Evil Woman song on a loop for ever….Image result for elo images

You made a fool of me, but them broken dreams have got to end.

Hey woman, you got the blues, cos’ you ain’t got no one else to use.
There’s an open road that leads nowhere, so just make some miles
between here and there.
There’s a hole in my head where the rain comes in,
You took my apple and played to win,
Ha Ha woman it’s a crying shame,
But you ain’t got no one else to blame.

[Bad grammar, bad poetry, just bad. Blame Dems. (D.J. Trump, POTUS)]
Related imageAnd the entire time instead of rolling a boulder uphill like Sisyphus we are condemned to pluck Gala, Granny Smith, Red Delicious and York apples by the tonnage. That’s work, my friends. Thank you, Eve.  Eeeeeevil Woman.
Image result for random imageryMy intro is intentionally random today because Joel had the audacity to comment on the appropriateness and restrained quality of my last post. He even moved his crisp summer straw hat off the chair opposite him for me to sit down. I will not tolerate such obsequiousness, plus I just wanted to use that word. The root word, “sequins” refers to shiny circles used on feminine articles of clothing to accentuate female features and to create a state of alluring shimmeriness, implying divinity. Thus, by derivation, obsequiousness is the state or quality of not being that way, i.e., servile.
Image result for public baths in iceland picturesI knew he was on his way to Reykjavik, Iceland soon for another bucket list adventure. No river boat excursions this year since he is still recovering from his Blue Danube hostage experience last year in the Czech Republic. Instead, Joelini plans to take hot baths with as many Reykjavikians as he can during the summer solstice celebration while eating dried codfish sandwiches.  It’s a Nordic thing.
Related imageThe Nords were a well dressed people from the North who founded Nordstrom’s after Global Chilling killed off the Vikings in the sixth century A.D. when the oceans froze solid for fifty years. It was during this time that the Nords literally walked across the frozen waves to what is now Iceland. Because of the geological equivalent of irritable bowel syndrome, Iceland remained unfrozen during this little Ice Age. Legend says that the Norse gods Thor and Woden battled hotly below the surface of Iceland. Thus it only made sense for the Nords to migrate there to thaw.  What they thaw along the thea became their thagas and legends.
Image result for sweaty viking picturesRaw power and bold courage still attract world travelers to the capital of Iceland. The raw thermal power fuels the Icelandic economy without any pollution beyond chalky steam. Courage drips down Icelanders boldly like baseball size beads of sweat. They don’t use deodorant; instead they take pages of dark, existential philosophy and wipe their armpits out with such discouragement twice daily. It is this sort of psychic hygiene that prevents them from invading Norway or Russia.
Image result for the most interesting man in the world picturesThis is where Joelini comes in, I suppose. Like Jared Kushner, Joelini is multi-talented in law, real estate, college and bank management, coffee shop story telling, and unorthodox self defense. He is a universal solution in search of problems worthy of his skill set. If not the most interesting man in the world, he at least has the highest interest rates.  He can’t  talk openly about it, but I believe Joelini is working with the Icelandic government on all of the above issues.
Just one story should seal the deal, and trust me, Joelini knows stuff, way more than this tale.  In a bankers conference a week ago in Charleston, S.C., he and his fellow bank lords were breakfasting at an expensive strip of real estate in the historic section of Charleston. I believe Joelini had eggs benedict and two strips of bacon with fresh fruit and a five grain bagel. Nearby a local thief was busy robbing the Gucci store of an armload of expensive accessories.
Image result for thief running with merchandise picturesAs Joelini retold the story, “I heard the store owner yell ‘THIEF” and saw the young man sprinting toward us like a gazelle. I was standing next to a high-backed armchair, envying my banker friend’s french toast with whipped cream and raspberries. I saw the thief sprinting toward us as he looked over his shoulder to spy on the short, fat shop owner’s progress. I went into action immediately. I was  in the Army Reserve as you recall during Nam. I kicked the armchair out as the thief passed by us a mere three feet away. He tripped and fell face down onto his stolen articles, trapping his hands beneath his stomach. I jumped onto his back and held his neck immobile as I directed Big Vick, who describes himself as ‘a biscuit shy of 300 pounds’, to sit on the thief’s legs. Together we made a Hell of a Swat team.”Image result for tag team wrestlers pictures
“In one minute the local police showed up and smiled admiringly at our precision take down techniques.”
All of us gasped. “Such raw power and bold courage, Joelini. What happened next?”
“The chief of police, Gunnar Gustafson, stepped forward with a copy of Sartre’s Nausea; tore out page 163 and wiped down Vick and then me. He gave us each an aluminum badge with the words Wreck Ya, Vick on them and pronounced us honorary Icelanders. It was the pinnacle of my life’s work. The owner of the Gucci store kissed us on the cheeks as I heard Tom Petty singing on the harbor breeze…
“you wreck me, baby
You break me in two
But you move me, honey
Yes you do”
“Wow”, we all gasped. “How very tenuous and yet tantalizingly tedious.”

450. Ahhhcupuncture

Image result for spinal imagesAs long time readers of Burritospecial already know, I’ve had back problems sporadically since 2003 when I ripped a muscle in my lower left back. That pain led me to pass out later the same night of the injury, which led to my head bouncing off the tile bathroom floor, which led to a seizure, which led to an ER visit in the middle of the night. Which led to an EEG and medication to prevent further seizures. As a result of all these facts, I retired early from teaching English and started a counseling practice in 2004. Off and on over the past 13 years I’ve had some brief periods of back pain that laid me up for a week or ten days per episode. Resting, heat, and ibuprofen usually took care of the flare ups.

Image result for lumbar spine imagesBack in December I was jogging on the treadmill in the mornings and going for brisk walks in the neighborhood. I felt good, foolishly good. One December day I was scrubbing the bathtub while leaning over and the next day I decided to scrub the grout on the tile floor. Tweak! Something went way wrong. A flare of pain shot across my lumbar (low back) region. It felt like a sharp knife slid in between my vertebrae, L4 and L5 to be surgically precise. Aye ya yie!! This was different from the old muscle rip. Heat, ibuprofen, Tylenol, and rest over time did not help much. This was different, as I was to learn painfully over the next five months.

Image result for severe pain faces imagesRiding a bike or lying flat did not provoke pain. Dancing, sitting, leaning, or bending over did. Why?  My disk was bulging onto my sciatic nerve. Eventually I reported to my primary care physician. Thanks to our genius managed care system, he had to go through the insurance company’s protocol. Physical therapy was first. That had helped with my original injury, but this one was different. The muscle based exercises only seemed to make my disk pain flare up. After three unproductive sessions I returned to my pcp. Time for an x-ray and vicodin. Okay, the vicodin did take some of the sting out of the $278 copay for my x-ray.  Then a referral to the Pain Management Clinic followed.

Image result for man in a hot tub picturesMore vicodin and an MRI, $2500 worth of MRI. I crawled through a few weeks until my first cortisone shot was scheduled. By that time I was going to the fitness center daily for hot tub soaks and pool walks. They helped but did not last. The cortisone shot lasted four days and then the pain came back. I was scheduled for my next cortisone shot a week after the first one; however, I had also fortuitously scheduled an acupuncture appointment for the Wednesday of the same week, a day before my second shot. Well, I drove the ninety minutes to Hershey Medical Center and met my Chinese doctor. She listened to my tale of pain and woe, and then stuck me with 15 needles in my neck and back and left leg.  That needlepoint was followed by an electromagnetic heat lamp treatment for 30 minutes. After that half hour she returned and plucked the needles out.Image result for acupuncture needles in back pictures

“Stand up now. What’s your pain level?”

“Uh, zero.”

“Good, good. Now do the hula.”

“You mean the hula hoop hula?”

“Yes, yes. Good. Bend over. Good, good.”Image result for hula hoop pictures

“You got pain?”

“No. None at all.”

“Good, good. Now this needle hurt.” She probed the exterior of my right wrist with a needle, sticking it in and wiggling until I gave a guttural noise of pain.

“Good, good. It hurt more?”

“Yes, yes!!”

“Do hula.”Image result for hula hoop pictures

I complied and felt an electric storm pass down my back, across my butt muscles, my thighs, knees and ankles. Boom!!

Dr. Xu pulled the needle out and told me that all my muscles had just released from their formerly rigid positions. I believed her. I hulaed again and hallelujahed. I felt like I’d been on a stage participating in a magic show. It was magical. Nearly six months of a grinding, fatiguing pain that shot down my low back and exited in my left sole was gone like an old Neil Young song.

“I’ve seen the needle and the damage done

A little part of it in everyone

But every junkie’s like a settin’ sun”

Well, I was not a junkie and the song references a different sort of needle, but it still hit me down in a deep wormhole in my amygdala.

Image result for neil young junkie pictures (And you thought you’d seen it all. “The colors on the street– red, white and blue. People shufflin’ their feet; people sleepin’ in their shoes. But there’s a warning sign on the road ahead, there’s a lot of people sayin’ we’d be better off dead.  Don’t feel like Satan but I am to them. So I try to forget it any way I can….keep on rockin’ in the free world. That Donald, he’s a hand puller.)

“Okay, you come next week. I do one more treatment.”

Now if you think Trump and Neil are an ironic match, chew on this irony: the one treatment my insurance does not cover at all is acupuncture. So Dr. Xu was a happy $100 out of pocket expense. I’m thinking the total cost of traditional Western medicine’s approach ran around $5,000 for nothing. That, my friend, is not a good value for the consumer.Image result for pictures of money on a scale

I was not expecting a follow up to the magic, but I agreed to keep coming, quietly wondering where I’d be if I’d begun with her chi and meridians. If I understood her correctly, my chi was constipated by the injury I had suffered 14 years ago. The meridian highway was closed by the muscles in my back and hips clinching tightly. The recent tweaking of my disk was the result of an uneven torque on either side of my spinal column. This made sense to me. I pictured the Leaning Tower of Pisa as my spine, though I know it leans due to soft foundational soil. The end result is the same, however.Image result for leaning tower of pisa pictures

So, the takeaway lesson? If you cannot find your answer in the West, look East, my bloguerons. And if you can’t debate an honest health care policy, sneak it in around midnight before the summer recess. In either case be sure to smile while you stick it to them.

Bullfighter fighting for life after being gored four times in first ever tournament

449. Meanderings among far things

Image result for old books picturesI don’t recall all the stories I’ve written in the previous 447 posts.  It’s challenging enough to write out the next one, let alone having some grasp on the previous 400,000 plus words and their various combinations. Bits and pieces of the past do connect, though, and I continue to entertain them or re-entertain, as the case may be.

Image result for telegraph road and kings highway intersection fairfax county virginia picturesI was thinking of the disparate things we found as kids in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. in the 1960’s, where our childhood fiefdom was defined by the convergence of S. Kings Highway and Telegraph Road and the steep hillside above Berkshire Drive. Maybe I was just obeying gravity’s pull, but 90 per cent of my childhood evolved there on the various sloping streets and yards, open play areas and random woods of Virginia Hills.

Related imageEarly on we boys found birds or baby squirrels that had fallen out of their nests. Of course we’d bring these creatures home and beg our parents to allow us to adopt them. That never worked, as I recall. They objected on perfectly rational grounds that we could not understand… rabies, wild animals, diseases or parasites, or the basic unsustainability of it all. Then we became proficient in finding and capturing rusty lizards, skinks, and little ring necked snakes. Turtles and frogs were regular shopping items as well. At one time or another we had aquariums filled with fish and terrariums stuffed with other animals– hamsters and other little rodents were favorites for a while. I think my conservative Catholic parents hoped that we’d learn how animals reproduced by watching our captured animals and spare them the “birds and bees” lesson. Nope. Human sexuality is a bit more complicated than one cartoon filmstrip in junior high health class or the mating of animals behind glass.

Image result for south kings highway 1960's fairfax county virginiaIt was a safe time, at least we thought it was safe, if you discount the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War and the Vietnam War. Kids would leave in the morning light of a summer day and not be seen till lunch or dinner, and from then not until dark. Nothing nefarious about the arrangement; it was a win-win for kids and parents, if not for creatures of the streams and woods. We’d wander deep into the woods or walk alongside Kings Highway collecting returnable soda bottles worth a whopping 2 cents each at the 7-11 store over a mile away. Most of the time two boys could easily collect 10 or more bottles on the way to the store, thus earning each boy 10 cents for a pack of gum or a candy bar. On hot days we’d drink from the creeks along the way, thus ensuring our intestines immunity from bacteria for life. Imagine that offer today: “Hey, kid, would you like to walk two miles on a hot summer day and drink polluted water for a pack of Juicy Fruit?” We all know the answer to that one. Today’s snowflake kids would simply dissolve in such scenarios.Image result for 1960's soda bottle pictures

In hindsight I realize that we picked up many invisible items as well as the dirty soda bottles. When we took our adventures and explored those few square miles of Fairfax County, Virginia, we gained a certain knowledge of and mastery over the environment. We knew where the lizards lived, sure, but we also knew where certain fragrant trees and vines like wisteria grew. I remember digging up dogwoods and pine seedlings to transplant back to my parents’ yard. Like the baby birds and rodents, they did not acclimate too well. The forest floor was dark and damp with lots of dead leaves to fertilize saplings. By contrast the barren red clay of our sun-baked yard was like a quarter acre concrete parking lot where vegetation withered up and died.Image result for dead tree in yard picture

As very little, yardlocked kids we’d walk between cool damp sheets on our mothers’ clotheslines. That was my first taste of air conditioning. After digging in the clay with various silverware utensils, we might sprawl on the grass and watch an airplane drone overhead, far away, bringing focus to our cloud gazing eyes. Of course, honey suckle vines and rose of Sharon bushes called to us, as well as the ultra feminine mimosa blossoms that wafted on airy Asian branches, like something between butterflies and peacock eyelashes. Unfurling roses invited our noodling noses to visit.  All things sweet and perfumey went immediately to memory…and bonded deeply; so deeply that 55 years later it remains fresh in my mind.Image result for honeysuckle imagesI had no watch, really, no watch until I graduated college. (I lost that one, which was a gift from my parents, on the night before I got married, when Bruce and Sam took me out to get me drunk but only managed to get themselves totally stupefied. I last saw them on Broad Street extended or was it Izzat’s?  The difference is merely academic. I went home relatively sober.)  Time mattered very little in the endless days of childhood. Light and heat and wetness mattered more. Telling time is greater than reading the numerals on a clock, by the way. Following the path of the sun across your home terrain is a much greater skill than following a clock’s hand point to a number. Feeling the humid summer air shift to cool and dry meant it was time to sprint home ahead of a gully washing thunderstorm, for instance.Image result for thunderstorm pictures

Smells do linger across decades, whether it’s the unforgettable odor of a decaying copperhead or the earthy smell of moist taupe clay that turns blue black against your new shovel’s blade. They stick and transfer to permanent memory as if a tattoo gun were exploding against your cerebral cortex… never forget me– sassafras root, leaf mould, snapping turtle mud, possum stink.  I have not. I can not.

Image result for beautiful casserole imagesAll these seemingly disconnected random inputs congeal into a psychic childhood casserole, gently drizzled with honey, dusted with ground cinnamon, and flaked with sliced almonds. It makes no sense until it explodes in one’s unconscious mind decades later pure and simple. Delicious.

 

448. Paperback Writer

Image result for paperback writer imagesOkay, the Beatles song is playing and I’m between tasks wondering what to do with my life, at least the next ten minutes or so. I like writing. Not sure why. I am far more faithful to blogging than billing for my business, which says a lot, I think. Some folks lose themselves in a novel for hours. Others swim for two hours in a movie. We all have a thing. I write. It’s therapeutic. I enjoy my own company most of the time and the slightly psychedelic fishing trips I some times take on the banks of the Cyber River.

Image result for wacky facesWhen my future son-in-law suggested that I try to monetize my blog rants, I paused; took it simultaneously as a compliment and a mad statement. “Maybe you could make YouTube videos of your routine when you come home blathering madly and comically. I’m sure folks would watch it, like a cult following kind of thing.” Uh, I like the little privacy I have, and I don’t trust myself to be consistently appropriate. Like the other night over dinner, my daughter asked what I’d like for dessert. I said, “How about an Oxy 80?” due to severe back pain. When my 4 year old granddaughter asked, “Mommy, what’s a Oxy 80?” I got the “I’m so disappointed and annoyed and don’t know what to do with you” look from Grace. “Leah, it’s one of Granpa’s made up words, like Bambooomba.” That word got me uninvited to her next three birthday parties.

“Granpa needs a filter, Honey.”

Image result for fishing imagesHmmm where to fish?  Fiction or non fiction or some mashup combo? What sort of fish am I looking for? That would be my imagined audience. Am I writing for folks who know me, or for strangers? Is my message slightly hostile, sarcastic, facetious, inspirational, cautionary, etc.?  How heavy should my gear be– tone, vocabulary, rhetorical tricks, figurative language, imagery, etc?  What should I use for bait?  You know, the lead in, the teaser paragraph, the set up, the pacing that keeps a reader snapping at the purple worm of suggestions?  Then there is the wrap up, the gotcha, the laugh line,  the smack down. Hopefully that last paragraph nets the fish I sought to snag. Sometimes, okay often, it is an un-nettable non sequitur’s non sequitur, like an eel that slips right through the mental mesh.

MRI ClaustrophobiaSo here is a random grouping of oddities in my week. On Tuesday at 7:00 am I got my MRI at the hospital. It was pretty empty at 6:30 when I arrived. After 25 minutes in the tube listening to classic rock that I did not like, to drown out the jack hammer noise of the super magnet, I felt like I was walking through a Star Wars corridor in an out of body experience.

Sweeeeeeeeeeet emoooooooootion            (In an MRI tube)
Tra tra tra tra, uhuruhuruhur tra tra tra tra
Sweeeeeeeeeeet emoooooooootion             (In an MRI tube)
Tra tra tra tra, uhuruhuruhur tra tra tra tra
Image result for steven tyler screaming images
You talk about things that nobody cares         Ting ting ting ting ting
You’re wearing out things that nobody wears     Tra tra tra tra tra
You’re calling my name but I gotta make clear    Ting ting ting ting ting
I can’t say baby where I’ll be in a year            Tra tra tra tra tra ta trup
When some sweet hog mama with a face like a gent  Boom, boom, boom
Said my get up and go must’ve got up and went          Spit, spit, spit
Well I got good news, she’s a real good liar                  Boom, boom, boom
‘Cause the backstage boogie set your pants on fire    Bodaboppbop bop, bodyabop 
Image result for dazed facesWhich collection of noise was worse? I guess it was a tie. Other forgettable songs played, one about blood, in a hospital play list? C’mon. I wandered back to my locker and could not get it open… then I realized that I had the key in my hand. Truly disoriented. Anyway on my way out the empty hallways,
Related imageI heard a voice call out  “Burrito”. I was at the intersection of two long empty hallways, but I could see the chapel ahead and daylight pouring through the double doors next to it. “Yes, God?” I was ready to genuflect like a good Catholic school boy in the confessional when I turned around to see Bill, a nurse friend from church men’s group. Relieved, sort of, I chatted with him for several spine tingling moments. Whew! that was close.
Image result for psychedelic spirals out of a man's head imageOnward I drove–> home rather than directly to work, in an attempt to get out of my out of body experience. Strange how a little Vicodin slows you down a step. The day was a bit backwards and mixed up. I went to my endoscopy doctor later for an intake type meeting. They gave me a form that had all the same questions on it that had been asked of me on the phone chat. The receptionist gave me the same list of questions to answer on a different sheet of paper. I gave it back to her completed. An assistant lady took my pulse and blood pressure and asked me some of the same questions. She left me  in room 4, assuring me that my nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant would be right in.  After 40 minutes of solitary confinement I told the receptionist to reschedule me.
“We’re so sorry.”
“Me too.”  Not really. I can wait another ten years for a colonoscopy.
Back to the office in a rush to make my 2 pm appointment, hungry for missing lunch.  I heard an unexpected clatter on the steps. I knew it could not be my very fit and trim 2pm guy. And I as correct. It was next week’s 2pm arriving a bit disoriented a week early but right on time. We chatted and I explained the situation to her. Unfortunately, my fit 2pm guy was a day late for his appointment so I had time for bad tacos at Checkos.
But it all worked out. For the good or bad, things work out. And that is my whimpy hook end that even a minnow could spin off of.  Things work out.

 

 

447. The Playlist

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With my daughter’s wedding approaching this fall, I find myself operating an open musical file where I store wedding songs that fit a certain theme or mood. I love music and I love my daughter, so naturally the two go together in my unjustified, marginless mind. I realize that as the father of the bride I have a very limited say in what goes on the play list. However, be that as it may, regrettably, furthermore and here to… I’d like to make some suggestions. Perhaps my future son-in-law will lobby for my classic choices. He does have exquisite taste in music and women.  Maybe my choices will fit your next wedding if not mine.

Image result for van morrison imagesAt my middle daughter’s wedding years back I chose “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?” for the traditional father/daughter dance.  Of course it was the Van Morrison version. Van and I go way back, all the way to high school, meaning that I listened to his songs when I was in high school not that we attended together. It was memorable obviously since I just shared that memory with you. “There’s a love that’s divine, and it’s yours and it’s mine, like the sun. At the end of the day we should give thanks and pray to the One.” Nice, tender, spiritual, Irish.Image result for Irish coastline sunset pictures

Now keep in mind that there will be ballroom dancing at this wedding, so we need dance music. Cha-cha’s, foxtrots, swings, tangos, rumbas, large group dances, etc. The challenge is immense. However, I am going on blog record with song recommendations for each dance style. My service is free to you, though you might pay thousands to a wedding planner for the same advice.

Image result for carlos santana imagesSo let’s get this party started, okay?  Cha-cha requires a 1-2 cha-cha-cha, 3-4 cha-cha-cha rhythm. Immediately my mind goes to Santana‘s collected works. You can rest assured that if Santana plays it, you can cha-cha to it.  Smooth is a good choice, and a nice opening statement/invitation to the smoothies who want to show off their skills.

“And if you said this life ain’t good enough

I would give my world to lift you up

I could change my life to better suit your mood

Because you’re so smooth”

That’s a nice opener that could even be inserted for a second go round later in the evening, when folks are fully lubricated and stretched.

Related imageWhich brings me to the penultimate foxtrot. Hmmm. “Come and Go With Me” by the Dell Vikings suits the purpose well.

“Well, I love, love you, darlin’

Come and go with me

Come go with me

Way beyond the sea

I need you, darlin’

So come go with me“.    Check this link and bop, bop, foxtrot around your living room with your loved one.  https://youtu.be/P1eU_lDQaVM

It’s a nice boom boom shuga shuga beat that bops one back into the soft souled fifties. Simple, sweet, naive, and wholesome.  It was a 45 rpm in 1956. The B side, according to Wikipedia, was titled, “Don’t Go Near The Water”. So now you know. Like a split personality that record:  A. Come To the Sea with Me, B. Go Away. A great primer for the

realities of marriage.Related image

Let’s see, swing. So many choices. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a tie between “In The Mood” and “String Of Pearls”, both by Glenn Miller’s Orchestra. Say no more. Just run them back to back and hand out frozen linen napkins to catch the jubilant sweat.Image result for glenn miller orchestra picturesCertainly, we can keep on a swing kick with Kansas City and most any upbeat Elvis song, but I’m crafting the openers here. The big boom of the big band. Fabulous. Fabulous, ladies and gentlemen, don’t you dare sit down cuz we’re just getting started.

Now somewhere in this delightful celebration I want to have a dance that recognizes marriage veterans. The ideal song, I think, is another swing, “Still the One”, by Orleans. The lyrics are simple but sweet.

“We’ve been together since way back when

Sometimes I never want to see you again

But I want you to know, after all these years

You’re still the one I want whisperin’ in my ear

You’re still the one — I want to talk to in bed

Still the one — that turns my head

We’re still having fun, and you’re still the one”

When the music stops, we’ll see which couple has been married the longest. I’m betting that my bride and I will be the last ones standing, huffing and puffing, true, but still hugging at 38 years of matrimony.

Image result for Leonard Cohen images.

Now listen carefully, my little Mango. I have an unusual suggestion for a tango. Leonard Cohen‘s “Dance Me To The End Of Love”. Great song. Starts like some Greek Jewish festival song. It was featured in the Al Pacino movie “Scent of a Woman”.  Okay, so even a blind guy can tango. Now that’s what I’m talking about… 4 minutes 38 seconds of lurid passion.

Image result for al pacino scent of a woman tango scene still images

Whew, I was getting carried away with my imagination there.  Are you ready to RUMBA? Oh yeah.  Let’s go with “Stand By Me”, by Ben E. King.  So appropriate for a wedding.

“If the sky that we look upon

Should tumble and fall

Or the mountains should crumble to the sea

I won’t cry, I won’t cry

No, I won’t shed a tear

Just as long as you stand

Stand by me”.

Oh, cue it up, Mista Dee Jay. Image result for ben e king images

Group numbers?  I know the ones I won’t approve… The Electric Slide. The Cupid Shuffle. Cha Cha Slide. Cotton Eye Joe. YMCA. Boot Scootin’ Boogie. The Loco Motion. So, how about a mash up of The Stroll, Shout, and The Hustle? It would be familiar yet challenging to mix the three styles later in the evening. But by then, who cares?

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Roll out the barrel. Have a barrel of fun. Do a vertical Irish jig, but God help us, no polkas.

Just before the cops show up, we’d have to hear the Stones blast “Brown Sugar“. We can all hum that on the way to the holding cell. The newlyweds will exit one direction in a limo as their parents are escorted to central booking. Oh, the humanity!

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445. Con Text Clues

Related imageThe texts were disjointed like our conversations tend to be also. Two or three subjects woven together in such a way that it’s impossible to quickly sort out which is what. If our conversations were electric wires, we would have burned our house down long ago.Image result for pictures of household wiring

“This is the white for positive, right?”

“And the black means negative, I think.”

“So what’s with the green one?”

“Uh, a ground wire. Yeah, green/ ground. They sort of sound alike.”

“Okay, so why do we have this red one? Does that rhyme with dead one? I don’t think electricians wire houses by rules of poetry.”

“Uhhhmmm, you got me, Cher.”

“I know. That’s the problem, Sonny. I got you, babe.”

Image result for pictures of memes facesDespite years of dysfunctional parries and repostes, I replied to my bride’s texted questions about my back’s current condition and perhaps dancing later, depending on the metastatic status of my sciatica. I replied honestly and affectionately, and then added a note about our daughter going home early to care for our sickly grandson. I thought she’d want to know about Max’s condition since she loves that little boy more than her next breath.

Well, it just goes to show you not to think for others or try to read another’s mind. It’s comparable to trying to fly your neighbor’s helicopter, which will only ensure that yours and his helicopter will both crash and burn most horribly.Image result for pictures of helicopter crashes

She flipped the script from one expected outcome—dance practice, to another—her ladies group. (I like how those dashes work visually. Yes? Can I get a million cyber Amen likes?)

“Should I go to the ladies group?” she texted me. Well, I’m thinking she’s asking if she should stay home with Max. Then a separate text came under that one. “It’s up to you. I don’t see any point in aggravating your back more. If you think the exercise will help, we should go.”

Okay, which part of the text should I reply to?  It was not clear to me what she wanted to know. I tried to insert my reply between the two parts so it was clear I was replying to the ladies group part. “No, Grace did not want to disrupt” I replied.Image result for pictures of memes confusion

A minute later she called me. “I’m confused. What are you telling me? Should I go to the ladies group or dance practice? I need to tell them which.”

“So, once again I answered a question you did not ask.”

“Yep. You do this all the time”, she added. “You should blog about this.”

“Wait a minute, you are endorsing me to blog? Authorizing me?”

“Yes, as long as you make me look good.”Image result for pictures of woman made up highfashion

“My bride, you always look good…. and that’s a good line.”

“Don’t use it. Don’t put that in.”

“So, you just want me to put in the parts that make you look good?”

“Yep.”

“Alright. You got it, baby.” (I had parts of my anatomy crossed when I said this. Don’t you bust me out either. Okay? Double pinky swear, my blog blood brothers and sisters.)

“So what are we doing tonight?”

“Not dancing.”Image result for swing dancers pictures

“That’s probably best. You can stay home and help Grace if she needs any help.”

“Yep.  That’s what I was thinking.” (Which is completely not what I was thinking. I pictured myself on the recliner drinking a cold beer as my legs short circuited and finally submitted to the lightning storms that erupt across my nether nervous system as my glazed eyes tracked CNN’s latest disturbing trends in the news… “Wolf Blitzer here. Today President Trump ordered troops to New York and Hollywood to arrest comedian Stephen Colbert and actor Alec Baldwin for irritating his humorless heart and hurting his infantile presidential feelings. His recently fired Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, reported a major, major diaper change is in order. Apparently Mr. Trump was not vaccinated for hyper lying/ verbal diarrhea B.S. as a child.”)Image result for pictures of man staring at television

When I did get home grandgirl Leah was in bed “reading” a chapter book to her stuffed black dog. By this time, however, 9 month old Max had crawled up and fallen out of his crib, in a face plant. He was sleeping but on crisis coma watch. This was not the outcome I’d anticipated, which goes to show that expectations often boomerang on the expecter.

“You know, Grace, Child Protective Services is gonna love you. Max chokes; Leah falls into the brick hearth; now Max face plants on the hardwood floor. Yep, foster care.” Actually she and Stu are very good, attentive parents. Just young kids get into stuff that hurts. I walked into an airborne golf ball as a six year old kid. Six stitches above my right eye.Image result for pictures of golf ball in flight

I settled next to Leah on her bed. She opened her chapter book and put her finger on page 32 very officiously. With great verve and panache she invented a story of a girl whose little brother fell out of his crib. He had to go in the ambulance to the hospital after his head splattered on the floor. I gasped at all the appropriate points, which reassured her of her oratory. “And then what happened?” I gasped like someone on the news.Related image

“Hannah grew up into a real person. The end.”

“That’s it? All that drama and then she just ages out of an exciting childhood? Man, that’s so disappointing!”

“Granpa, kids grow up one day. That’s how we get adults.”

“Oh, who knew?”

“Everyone knows that, Granpa”, she replied with the same officiousness.Image result for cartoons of spunky little girl reading a book

“I remember when your mommy was a kid. She was doing gymnastics on her bunk bed and fell onto the floor. I took her to the Emergency Room while Auntie Erin went to dance practice.”

“Just  like Max!”

“Yep, it’s hereditary.”

“What does her red it tarry mean, Granpa?”Image result for red balloons pictures

“It means you do what your parents did when they were kids.”

“Oh, why is it red?”

“Uh, because her blue it tarry means you don’t do what your parents did.”

“That’s you, Granpa. You are Blue it tarry.”Image result for blue balloons pictures

“I think you are right, Leah Bird.”

“Granpa, I am not a bird. I’m a person.”

“Oh, my. I can’t wait to text you.”

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444. Superheroes for one hundred, please

Spider-man — Stock Photo #8814805Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Pity the hollow man or woman who has no hero; that’s a helpless state of being. We can all point to the craven men and women who were once something special. They are easy to find on the nightly news. The mighty, the popular, the beautiful, the rich and famous… and shallow.  When adversity sands their veneer off, you have only swollen pressed board sawdust and glue staring back at you. It’s smarter to select your hero from a large body of solid work not just one rocket flare hit song. A bright star and a dimmer galaxy.

So I am getting to my point. I have a new hero in my life. Two years ago I did not know he existed. My lovely bride and I danced with his parents in our ballroom dance class and club. We got on well and spent time together after class and in between the club dances. We did not know they had a single son, a very single son. Somehow the two moms conspired to each show her child to the other. Ours was 26 year old Jessica, my iris apple youngest daughter whom I have written about in earlier posts. Theirs was 30 year old Zach, the tender hearted techie punflower.

Image result for halloween masked ball imagesThey met at Zach’s parents’ Halloween party. As fate or parental contrivance would have it, Jess needed a little help with her microphone and amp. Lo and behold, Zach stopped cooking the tenderloin and stepped up to the technology gauntlet, reeking of competence. “Boom, boom, boom”, as Van Morrison sang, “and when you walk across the room, you make my heart go boom, boom, boom.” I love that line.  She sounded so lovely and fun on that special night, and I believe Zach was smitten like a little kitten.

Image result for matchstick ingiting picturesThe amore match was struck slowly along the gritty striker plate of mundanity. PSSSsshhhhh. All that was needed was a bit of dry kindling, some paper opportunities, a twig of conversation, wood chips on fluttering eyelashes, and some sappy squaw wood dates. And that’s what came along slowly but methodically. Focused attention like sunlight through a magnifying glass… and a fire was born. One night at the Army Barracks dinner/auction/dance in Carlisle, Zach’s folks could not make it but did not want their tickets to go to waste. Shazzam, Zach rolled in dramatically at the last moment and sat with Jess. And danced with Jess. And drove Jess home below the winter star field. The deal was sealed with epoxy.Starry Night SkyWell, from that point on inseparable is not too strong a word to describe their bond. I dubbed them the cuddlefish as they cuddled nightly on our sectional couch. Zach showed up for dinner, and soon we did not remember a time that he was not eating with us. Which proves the validity of the signs at Sea World when they tell you not to feed the cuddlefish.Image result for cuttlefish pictures

This alone is enough for hero status in my book of heroes. He was/is the man God sent to care for my precious daughter, who had been tryingly lonely for three long years.  Zach gets her. Enjoys her. Adores her. But wait! There’s more. It was Zach who saved me from computer death last week. He saved and transferred my files from the old demolished computer onto a sleek new one he purchased on my behalf. He cued up Microsoft Office as well, and hand delivered the laptop to me in my dining room.

Image result for llama picturesNow I did offer incentives via texts. I offered him my daughter’s hand in marriage again plus a llama if he could save my old files. If he could not, no llama. He did salvage 97% of the files, but since you cannot exactly give someone 97% of a llama, lamentably, I had to renege on the llama offer. I’m not gonna give a good man a three legged llama or a llama that needs dental work. Nope, not even a surrealist Dali Llama painting without a frame. That is not who I am.Image result for dalai lama pictures C’mon, I know you heard that coming. Unspeakable puns are fair game in Burritoland.

So Zach is an avid Burritospecial reader. I cannot in good conscience hold that against him. Recently he did a megasearch for all my blogs that mentioned Jess like a devoted basset hound.  He read them all. See what I mean? You have to love him even if you don’t want to. In a similar way that I assess how others react to Jess, I feel if someone does not like Zach, I’m immediately suspicious of their hollowness. When sterling beauty and profound integrity are right in front of you, why would you go for rhinestones and spray painted silver bling? Uh, because you, sir, are hollow.So there we have it. Patient, nearly geriatric love that is joining in holy matrimony this fall.  Somewhere in my associative neural pathways I am reminded of the story of a landed English gentleman who lost his only child in World War I. He grieved deeply and then began collecting Old Masters oil paintings from all over the world. He had quite a renowned collection by the time of his death. He left instructions in his will that all the collection should be auctioned off. Quite a lot of buzz surrounded the auction. Collectors from Japan and Australia, Canada and Russia, Belgium and France all came to bid on the precious pieces.

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There was one strange command at the start of the auction. A portrait of the dead man’s dead son was to be auctioned first. The portrait was done un-remarkably by an unremarkable local English artist, far below the greatness of the remaining masters. Yet that was the old man’s will. No one bid at first. At the point of awkward embarrassment the old man’s personal assistant bid a few pounds without competition and gathered in the painting. He had known and loved the son and the old man in his years of faithful service. He had a place in his heart for both of them. The rest of the crowd were glad to be done with the unremarkable portrait and anxious to get on with the high value items. That’s when the auctioneer read a second statement to the crowd. “Whoever bought the portrait of my beloved son gets the rest of the collection. Period. The auction is over.”

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Yeah, it’s like that. Zach wants my beloved daughter for all the right reasons. Whatever treasure I possess goes along with her, except for the llama, as detailed in paragraph seven.

443. My Kingdom Come

My readers know that I am not mechanically inclined or physically gifted. These are givens in Burritospecial Land. Sometimes, however, even I amaze myself with just incredible achievements of self-inflicted stupidity.

Image result for brown brick hearth picturesThirteen years ago I occupied my first counseling office in an old building that had once been a corner pharmacy back in the day. The local church bought it, rehabbed it, and then rented office space to various helpers– a doctor, a psychologist, a group of counselors and a massage therapist or two, and a disturbed end times prepper gunsmith with black teeth. When I took occupancy in July 2004, I immediately painted the four walls and put up a nice wallpaper border of maps and sailing ships, a manly bid to navigation, as if mine were the captain’s office on a mid-sized 19th century frigate.

Image result for sailing ship wallpaper bordersI kept tweaking the decor as I found inspiration. Since it had no windows and felt a bit claustrophobic, I installed some old wood framed windows over a piece of woodsy fabric, creating the illusion of an outside woodland landscape. But that was not enough for Renovatin’ Renoir. I continued to hang pictures and reconfigure the feng shui of the office. I stumbled across a pile of extra bricks the church had not used in its last renovation project– big, over-sized brown Presbyterian bricks. I asked management if I could use them for a fake hearth in my office right below my four fake windows. Ron gave me the go ahead, and I began wheeling them in to my office ten at a time on my old wheely office chair. Very heavy.

Bricks, Stacked, Stack, Pile, ArchitectureHere’s the stupid part:  since I had just painted the wall a lovely golden wheat color, I did not want to mar its matte finish with brick edges and dust. So I drystacked the bricks about a half inch out from the wall, thus depriving them of a solid buttress on one side. The higher the stack, the wobblier it became, but no matter. I had a vision with a mantle of 1 x 6″ pine that would act as a magical cap ballast when completed. Once my hearth was around 36″ high, I added the mantle and the illusion of security and solidity. It did not wobble, though I did wonder about all that weight in one spot. The piece de resistance was a shattered mirror that reflected hundreds of face shards back to the its troubled viewers.

In any event life went on and I received glowing feedback about my decorative genius.

“Oh my!  How nice. It’s like a portal to another place.”

“Cozy. So cozy. What about a fire in it?”

“Is that a real window?”

Image result for brick dust from collapsed building imagesEven my most dull witted readers know where this is going, right? It was a Saturday morning appointment, as I recall. My client was facing the hearth wall and my back was to it. I had put a pot or a candle on the mantle that morning, upsetting the fragile final balance. As we sat down to begin our session, a faint vibration rolled across the wooden floor beneath our cushing butts and created a rumbling, tumbling Presbyterian brown brick avalanche. I saw my client’s mouth and eyes jack open as the bricks crashed across the floor, tumbling toward the back of my armchair. I did not flinch since I knew exactly what was happening. He said, “That can’t be good.” And it wasn’t… as the cloud of brick dust settled around knee level and lower. We continued on with hardly a smirk on either face.

Eventually I rebuilt the pile of bricks along the wall with less enthusiasm but more buttress. For the next three years the faux hearth anchored that far wall. Ron told me to just leave it up when I moved in 2007. I was immensely grateful.

Image result for overloaded bookshelf picturesOh, movement, urgency, shuffling. These things are opportunities for disaster in my world. Which brings us to yesterday at 10:36 a. m. I was chatting politely on my cell phone with a client while facing my desk, upon which my Lenovo laptop lay wide open, playing Accujazz and beaming mindless Facebook info toward my glazed eyes. Three and a half feet above, a shelf I’d installed a while back was overloaded with books I’d recently stacked on it after my daughter began working in the extra, previously known as the storage, room. When I piled the books up, I felt sure that I had anchored that shelf with good long screws into the 16″ OC studs. Well, even the dullest of the dull witted see where this is going, right?

Image result for a computer buried in books picturesSomewhere the fragile balance that had been in effect for two months broke loose. In slow motion, as all trauma victims can attest, I saw 60 pounds of hard and paper back books spill onto me and the floor around me. Miraculously they parted like water and didn’t break or upend a thing. With my one free hand I managed to stop the shelf from also falling outward toward me in my wheely chair. That hand motion managed to redirect the shelf straight down onto my pile of files to the left and the end of my laptop to the right. Crash, boom, karumpfchh! It was really something just short of the Johnstown Library’s Nonfiction Section Flood.

My phone client didn’t even notice the commotion as she was knee deep in two crying toddlers keening for her attention. On my side I remained calm as my daughter came flying around the corner expecting to find my lifeless body beneath a mountain of debris. She stopped in awe of my zen calm. “Dad, I thought you had fallen and hurt yourself, and here you are just chattering on the phone like nothing happened.”Image result for the most interesting man in the world meme

“Yes, remarkable. The thing is, this was not my first rodeo nor will it be my last. I can’t very well preach centeredness and mindfulness while freaking out about an office accident.” The next day I’d learn my computer was ruined. $600 later I’d be back in business with another story to tell about how My Kingdom Came Down Upon Me.

Image result for painting of a man inside a computer