270. Grateful Migratory Striations

Where to begin?  Whew, take a week off and the shucking pile just gets higher, blogoysters. I have work to do but also a sacred duty to fulfill for my three dedicated (or is it dessicated?) followers. So, though my suitcase remains packed still and laundry is unwashed, billing is yet another pile, emails await responses, voice mails too… I slog on and blog on with Tales of Brave Ulysses pouring out of my generic office speakers as acid reflux threatens my lower esophagus. I will shuck on, searching for the teal blue pearl of blog lore. Keep on shucking, bruthas and sistas. Somewhere in the pile of life’s oysters is that one micro-treasure waiting for you to find her. Pearls, I think, are female. Don’t you agree? Of course you do.  Men don’t wear pearls. Yet the hideous oyster that births the pearl is at best a-sexual. I mean, there does not seem to be any jiggification possible between crustaceous shellfish. It’s just too crusty to even think about. Someone school me here. Where is a marine biologist when you need one?

Stuff goes a-wandering or gets lost, which is not a bad thing all the time. Good stories come from such migrations, I think. I mean, take Ulysses for example. Come on, if he hadn’t run off to the city of Troy, why would we name a dismal U.S. president for him in the 19th century? His Greek name was Odysseus, and certainly all my erudite blogafficinados know an odyssey when they see one. It’s a Honda mini van and a long intrepid journey with no guarantee of safe return. And the adjective odacyious has no definition in Dictionary. com, but fear not: If you repeat foolishness long enough, it becomes doctrine. Just trust me and keep on shuckin’.

Anyway, I was thinking about such things recently and about my old friend Mark Craver. We went to Hayfield High School together and were supposed to graduate in 1974 because our senior rings said that on them. Both of ours were aquamarine stones because our birthdays were hours apart. Anyway, (my second anyway in this paragraph if you don’t count the one in this parenthetical offset (… and why are you counting? Huh?)), I graduated a year early and went off on an intrepid journey, aka odyssey, to Merry Old England to see my former girlfriend in the pre-internet and pre-personal computers era. (See, I didn’t know that she was my former girlfriend until I got there and saw the proverbial writing on the wall.) I’m not saying that we could have broken up 4o years later on her Facebook wall, but most likely it would have gone down like that…

Image result for high school class ring pictures

“I’m like not as into you as like you’re into me, and I have like a line of cute boys at my door, so like we’re so done like mold on burnt toast. Unfriend. PFA. Persona non grata.”

So in 1973 I flew the big aeroplane to Heathrow Airport outside of London and took a couple of buses and taxis to Bury St. Edmunds to be near my former honey bee over the holidays. I was as welcome as the flu in the church nursery. Awkward does not quite cover it. In any event as I settled into the Dickensian Angel Hotel, I washed my hands over an old sink and went to bed, leaving my high school ring on the bathroom shelf. I never saw it again. But shed no tears, my friend.

About 25 years later a letter from England arrived at my alma mater. It was the late 1990’s as I recall. My buddy Mark was teaching English at our shared alma mater, and that almost matters. The principal read this letter regarding a 1974 Hayfield High School ring with an aquamarine stone. This savvy guy recalled that Mark had graduated in 1974, so he called Craver in.

“Hey, didn’t you graduate in ’74?”

“Sure, so did about 600 other folks.”

“Well this guy says the ring has the initials BFS carved in the band.”

“Oh, that’s Burrito Special’s ring. His middle name is Frank.”

“Okay, well, we got that cleared up.”

“You want me to call Burrito?”

“Actually, the guy in England doesn’t seem interested in reuniting the ring with the rightful owner. He just wants to know where it originated, I think. You know those Limeys.”

“Well, okay. I guess we’ll just keep the ironic wrapper and the Boinking Brit can have the candy bar.”

“Um, oh yeah, I forgot that you were a poet.”

So later that year or the next I was told this story from my majestic friend. We had a good chuckle, and that’s what matters. More than some silly ring, I heard my friend’s voice ring in my ear again. I did not know then that I’d lose Mark in just a few years. Now the chuckle is all that’s left of the story we chuckled over, as I exit my bedroom and whisper “Love you, Crave” to the dark room, it’s  a hollow consolation to look at his books and the bookmark with his life dates beneath a whale.  He loved Moby Dick, folks. “Argh, the white whale blows thar off the bow!!”

“Our souls are like those orphans whose unwedded mothers die in bearing them: the secret of our paternity lies in their grave, and we must there to learn it.”
Herman Melville, Moby Dick
Crave identified with that leviathan and the mad whaler captain, with the rough and barbarous places where life is often lived. He was Ishmael and I pray that God’s promise for Ishmael extends to my Burly friend who, when I think deeply about it, was/is the teal blue pearl of the greatest value.
Image result for pictures of a psychedelic echo

 

 

 

Advertisements

269. Tucson

Don’t hate me yet. It’s 75 and the sapphire blue sky has just a sampling of wispy white powder doughnut clouds that serve as contrast behind the chiseled Catalina Mountains. It’s so still that I can hear the little finches fiddling in the palm tree behind me as I sunbathe/read in my daughter’s back yard. The little patch of grass is a hot tub without the water and I am loving it. Let me just say, sitting at this computer just steps away from the glorious sunshine is an act of supreme discipline, my bloggy wogs. It’s not easy being the Big Burrito, but someone has to do it. You may not realize it, but this post is truly an act of agape love. Bathe in it with me for a while.

Amazing what unpolluted sleep can do to one’s nervous system. Body parts I did not know I had have started talking to me again. Little neck and back muscles I’d lost touch with since the summer have resurfaced happily. Once the sleep tank is full, well, life becomes balanced again. Waking up with the sunrise is simply a joyous natural act not drudgery because I know the day ahead is a jewel waiting to be admired.

Image result for psychedelic pictures

And dreams!! The first night my dreams were so wildly funny that I was certain I had laughed all night long and kicked and danced. Something very deep in my being bubbled up to the edges of my consciousness like champagne. And it was good. Maybe hallucinogenic as well. I was wearing my Jimi Hendrix tee shirt after all.

On Sunday we went to the local zoo. My two year old granddaughter got  a camel ride for one of her birthday presents. Of course we chanted, “What day is it?  Mikemikemike.  Hump day.” These camels did not speak English, apparently. Still, it was a lovely day. Leah also fed the giraffes carrots and got to see the baby elephant. My favorites, the tortoises, were out in the sun eating squash and grass. Their slowski motions brought to my mind the old 16 rpm vinyl records, which made me feel like a walking anachronism in this high speed age. Revolutions per minute? You can’t be serious. Yes, my poor jacked up human babies, there were four speeds on turntables back in the day– 16, 33, 45 and 78 rpms. The little 45’s had a song on each side. The 33 rpm lp’s were long playing with 5 to 10 songs on each side. 78’s were before my time though I handled many of them. They zipped around on the turntable at more than twice the speed of 33’s. I realize that I sound like a skipping record as I drone on docent-like at the vinyl record museum of recorded sound, but just nod along and smile at the old geezer as he geezes.

Image result for giant tortoise pictures

Simple things seem delicious on vacation.  Grocery shopping at home is tedious at best; here it is a glorious ride through the local Sprouts store.  Service matters to these folks. They will walk you to the item you request without any editorializing or snarky attitudes along the way. Even though the rice I was looking for was right under the large sign that said “RICE”, my grocery lady guide simply smiled as she gave her parade wave to the rice section, as if I were a winner on a game show. “You’ve won a bag of long grain rice!”  I appreciate these little things once my mind slows down to notice them. The problem, of course, is that we mostly live our lives at superhighway speeds that require the obliteration of details and subtleties for the sake of speed. Slow down, Nation, like the kind Tucsonans who move at 33 rpms.  There is only one interstate highway here– Route 10 that runs East to West. It’s the only 78 rpm around. The rest of the traffic seems very manageable due to a simple grid road system. Though I cannot find a bag of rice at the grocery store, I know where I am geographically… behind a shopping cart at 16 rpms, digging the desert sun and the prehistoric vibes etched into the sun drunk landscape.

Yesterday we ventured out to the Tohono Chul Botanical Park. It was enchanting to wander along pea gravel paths among mesquite and saguaro and agave. A huge olive tree hung above the entrance to the gift shop, suspiciously void of low hanging olives. My wife wanted one of the ripe ones, but being a flat footed old guy, I had to pass on by. All sorts of birds chirped and tweeted and trilled. Water sounded holy in the desert brilliance. Several fountains and pools were incorporated along the meandering way. Many ramadas covered in saguaro ribs offered respite from the sun. Butterflies floated along magically. Each breath felt like God was in it.

Desert dwellers are spiritual people. They cannot help but think of God. As I read about the Tohono O’odham tribe, I was fascinated with their mobile culture, how they followed their meager food sources. The huge saguaro cactus fruit was a staple for them. They made wine out of the reddish/purple fruit. I don’t recall any bloodshed or weaponry, land disputes or raiding parties. Being subsistence gatherers, they had nothing to steal, only spirits. The temporary ramadas reminded me of the Jewish tradition of building a temporary structure outside during Passover, not because they are needed but to remember their own desert experience thousands of years ago.

Image result for saguaro ramada pictures

Maybe that is what I love most about the desert:  the absence of distractions. Life seems stripped down in front of you, no pretension or layers of status. Your clothes and cars don’t matter much in the blazing sun.  A good wide brimmed hat and practical shoes do matter. So does water. And sunscreen.

Okay, I can’t stand it any more, more. I must get back to the rays and gentle air that rolls down from the ridges beyond Tucson. I gave you a literate summer breeze to inhale and hold deeply. If you wake up laughing slowly, you’ll know it worked, Amigos. Now you can hate me.

Image result for tucson mountain ridges pictures

 

268. Microwave Reconciliation

Before one can reconcile, it’s helpful to know what the state of conciliation is. Dictionary.com tells us the following:

verb (used with object), conciliated, conciliating.

1. to overcome the distrust or hostility of; placate; win over:

to conciliate an angry competitor.
2. to win or gain (goodwill, regard, or favor).
3. to make compatible; reconcile.
So re-conciling is about regaining a certain peace or understanding after some break or hostility has occurred to shift the original state of being. That state of being is essentially a relationship with another human being. Often the word reconcile is used to describe the painful process of trying to knit estranged spouses back together. The pastor or counselor functions as a seamstress or tailor, a surgeon even, looking for common viable threads that can be reattached. You can’t just sew any old fabric over a ripped relationship and expect good to come of it.
The phrase microwave reconciliation came up in Sunday School discussion today. It’s an oxymoron, which is not a cleaning product or an opiate painkiller. Oxymorons are phrases that contradict themselves, like giant shrimp or silent scream. They are challenging word couplings that stop the reader for a moment, stunning him/her. “Say what?”  In its Greek origins apparently oxy + moron means “sharp dullness”. You are getting the picture by now, my witty blog nationals.  For I know in your dullness that you remain vigilantly sharp as a bowling ball.
The point of this post is to deconstruct microwave reconciliation. It’s as senseless as microwave justice or microwave faith or microwave love. You cannot speed cook abstract concepts like you do a mug of water or a hot dog. Even attempting to do so will destroy them. Imagine telling your mother, “Hey Mom, I don’t have time for a deeply satisfying home cooked meal. Just zap a piece of toxic pizza for me, will you?”
To make any sense at all, we need a concrete example to follow. Let’s say a father and son have drifted apart as the boy moved through middle school, let’s say ages 12-14. It’s common for these to be turbulent years. The old primary school conciliations wither away as the boy is influenced more and more by his peers and cool adults who don’t have so many rules or speak so many “no’s”.  Disrespect and contempt arise when the father and son try to negotiate new territory with the old patterns of behavior. The boy is breathing in freedom while Dad is still trying to exercise control. And drop a mom/wife in the mix who tries to carry the mail back and forth between these two men whom she loves. Everyone in the family sees and hears the tearing of the father/son fabric, though they simultaneously contrive to hide the tear from the outside world. You can accessorize a ripped butt seam by wearing a sweater around your waist or standing all the time so your suit jacket covers the rip. But adapting to the tear does not mend it.
Really stubborn folks ignore and deny the problem. They say it’s a phase, it’s normal. Silence screams otherwise. Those giant shrimp boil over on the stove. The growing distance suffocates the participants. Teeth grind themselves as unspoken anger erodes even bones. Ripppppppppp.
There comes a tipping point in the ripping. Perhaps it’s a scuffle or a bit of property destruction. Maybe an explosion of rage that neither party fully remembers. And they wind up in front of a therapeutic type.
“I don’t want to be here”, says the boy.
“We can’t keep doing the same thing and get to different results, son.”
“Then stop pestering me all the time, Dad.”
“If you would stay on point, I would not have to be at you all the time. Do you think I like it?”
“God! As soon as you come home, you start on me– what did I do at school? Where am I with my conditioning?  Did I get on the starting five yet?”
“I just want you to reach your potential. My parents didn’t push me hard enough. I could have been a better student and athlete if they had.”
“I’m not you, Dad. I don’t like all the pressure and these lectures. They just piss me off.”
“I don’t want you to settle for less than your best.”
“I’ll be the judge of my best, Dad. It’s my life not a do over of yours.”
“Okay, what do you want me to do?”
“Nothing. Just leave me alone.”
And the two men sulk briefly, unreconciled. (Which is not much of a word, just prefixes and a suffix… but then, the state of unreconcilia is mostly wrapper and no candy bar when you think about it.)
Then the tailor pulls a thread. “How about this: Dad, just limit your checks to non performance inquiries, you know, like how are you feeling today? Don’t ask performance-based questions about sports or school or conditioning.”
Dad, “That’s gonna be hard. I’ve been his coach for years, and I know I can help him with his game.”
“Yeah, but he has other coaches now. He needs you to be just a dad.”
“Alright. I will do that. Son, my folks never told me that they loved me. I love you. I’m proud of you. I want the world to know your best, which is pretty awesome.”
“Thanks, Dad. I love you too. I don’t want to have to earn it.”
“Okay, let’s do it.”
Microwave?  No. It will take time like a slow baking casserole. All the good juices have to coalesce and gel into something that is deliciously new, something beyond the mere ingredients.
“Mom, this is awesome. May I have some more?”
 “Zapped over pizza tastes like desperation, Mom.”
“So you’re a poet now?”
“Yeah, listen to this… Anger grows in hopeless soil, producing a crop of bitterness, only harvested by vengeful reapers on frozen afternoons.”
“Okay, let’s, uh, let’s work for rhythm, Honey.”
“So it sucks?”
“No, it needs to bake longer.”

267. So Long, been good to know you, Eric

Lots of soft hearted, wet eyed folks gathered at King Street Church this past Saturday to say good bye to one of our favorite persons. It dawned on me at church the next day that Eric never preached a sermon or won a theological argument with anyone, but he won over many hearts for Jesus with his unbridled joy. Who plays “Joy to the World” at a funeral?  Eric.

I was asked to speak about Eric. I made the following comments during a celebration of his life.

Eric was a pure gift of love…

from a loving Father to a loving family. He blessed our community.

He was like a shared golden retriever who canoodled his head under your hand.

Before you knew it you were petting him and feeling better.

Eric had that giving spirit and knew where he was loved.

He tenderly blessed us all.

 

That blessed gift returned to the Giver last Saturday

Leaving us bereft:  stuck between breathing deep sighs of sadness

Or not breathing at all.

All good things come at a great cost.

The great pain and deep sadness we all feel today

Are measures of that big hearted guy, we knew as the Sexy Cowboy.

Yeah Buddy!!

 

You know, in Texas they have an expression for fake cowboys–

They say, “He’s all hat and no cattle.”

Well Eric was all HEART and no cattle.

I think he was afraid of cows.

 

Humor me for a moment and close your eyes:

Picture Eric sitting next to you with his crooked grin

With that bird swoop thing he did with his head,

 his bright eyes peering at you through his Harry Potter glasses.

 

Take a long look and smile back at him

And hold to God’s promise that we will meet again

In glorified bodies

Minus the pain,

minus the ills of this world.

 

Give thanks for what Eric’s life was… a loving gift.

 

Take your last hug and exhale.

Eric has a poker game to play with Evie

And everyone knows that she cheats at cards.

 

Well, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, pardner.

And this is the hard part:  it’s time to say farewell.

 

God bless you and So long, Sexy Cowboy.

Like the God who made you, You are unforgettable.

I did not realize how important Eric was until he was no more. In the eyes of the world he was in the margins, out on the periphery. However, I believe in God’s eyes he danced at the epicenter of what we call love.

Image result for blackbird in a loaf of bread picture

An odd image kept coming to me when I thought of Eric’s death. I saw a black bird pecking his way out of a loaf of bread.  It had been baked into the dough, I suppose. I knew the black bird was Eric and the bread was God’s word, the  Bread of life. I knew this was a resurrection and not an entombment. Surely, Eric brought God’s word to life for those who knew him. In Isaiah 55 verse 12 Isaiah gives this supernatural vision:

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;

the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,

and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I will remember the Sexy Cowboy riding off into the sunset. There’s a party in them thar hills. Eric will save you a table near the dance floor.

 

 

 

266. Eric

 

My buddy Dave and I met in Honduras on a mission trip 12 years ago. We clicked. He never had a brother and I had one too many. When we got back home, my family socialized regularly with him and Vickie and his son from his first marriage, Eric. Eric was very special. He was short and skinny but he had a big personality. He liked monster trucks and cowboy boots, cowboy hats, big belt buckles, and country music. His self given nickname was “Sexy Cowboy”. And he obviously had an innocent yearning thing for my youngest daughter Jessica.

Dave and Vickie were exceptionally gracious with us. They invited us to their family functions and on vacations as well. They came along on a Bahamas cruise with us a few years back.  We got to know Dave’s dad Don before he died, and his mother Evie, for many years before she died. Evie was a trip all by herself. Always in a hurry and easily bored. She took trips often and would bolt out of parties as soon as she grew bored. She died last year after failing to turn her car off when she parked it in her home’s garage. Awful, true, but that’s how Evie rolled. Over curbs and up off ramps on the interstate. She was uncontainable.

But Eric was the mascot, the buddy. He loved dogs and would write us innocent emails asking how we were and how our dog Johnnie was. On visits to the local winery he would dance by himself or with a gaggle of women. He’d duck his head in an avian circle when he talked. He often laughed out loud like a happy bird. Sometimes he just made happy noises and sang to himself. You could not help but like him and feel safe around Eric. He had no guile as he snuggled into your armpit or hugged with his little hands and arms.

His health was fragile over the last years of his life. He had trouble with losing his hair and problems with his skin. His step mother Vickie was a nurse who cared for him diligently. Dave and Vick took him to dinner every Friday night at the local Mexican restaurant, Montezuma’s. He was the focal point of attention there. On Saturday mornings they would go for breakfast at another local greasy spoon. The waitresses loved Eric and flirted back and forth with him.

He wore Harry Potter glasses on his spunky nose. He never stuck that nose into anyone else’s business. He was just innocent, sweet, and loving.

A couple of years ago he began losing weight. At first it seemed connected with mood or choice. However, after a while it became clear that something serious was wrong with his intestines. Lyme’s was looked at along with many other illnesses. He became lethargic and seemed depressed. Eventually Crohn’s Disease was diagnosed. Eric weighed about 80 pounds and looked like an Auschwitz survivor. Thankfully, though, he began to put on weight with  his new medications. He was soon up to 100 pounds and his old, singing happy self. His “guns” were back and he’d proudly show off his biceps while laughing at the attention.

Last week we heard that he was in the local hospital due to a loss of blood pressure. We assumed he’d be transferred to a larger hospital and things would  be taken care of. What no one knew is that he had suffered a heart attack and kidney failure at 27 years of age. His blood pressure was so low and he was dehydrated. Yet his body could not process the fluids that were pumped into him to save his life. He was attached to just about every medical device you can imagine– intubated, restrained, sedated,  catheterized, and weighted down. His body swelled with unpassed fluids.

On the way to see him Saturday morning, a large black and gray hearse pulled out in front of us like a bad omen. At the CCU we weren’t really ready for the matrix of tubes and pumps and electronics that he was the center of. Sweet, simple Eric crisscrossed with wires and tubes and hoses. My heart sank into my shoes and all I could do was try not to walk on it as it beat out tears into a puddle on the tile floor. I wept and continue to weep for Dave and Vickie and Eric’s other loved ones. He, no doubt, is smiling and singing in heaven with his grandparents. He and Evie were thick as thieves on this side. I’m not sure how it works in heaven. On  the way home that same stinking hearse pulled out again at the same intersection. We noted it as an eerie coincidence and nothing more.

I think my wife suggested that  Jess sing for Eric since he was her biggest fan when he was conscious. We did not know it would be his last song. Later that day I recalled that Jess had fought for life in this same hospital 24 years ago as my wife and I heard a song on the radio that fileted our aching hearts when she was just born. It was Garth Brooks’ Unanswered Prayers. I don’t know why I remember such things. I guess I store them in similar places in my brain.

Jess scanned her inventory of songs on her phone and  came up with Laura’s Song. I’d heard it a thousand times on the local Christian radio. Till that moment it was just another song out of context. Only Jess was composed as the lyrics spilled over Eric like a sacred benediction.

“Blessings”

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguiseWe pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguiseWhen friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Some moments freeze due to trauma and some due to ecstasy. That moment was a bit of each. Eric died later that day around 6 p.m. The Sexy Cowboy had left the building. He was loved.

 

 

 

265. Low octane blood sugar

Ever get that deflated state of mind and body when you haven’t eaten lunch and it’s 4 o’clock?  Your heart is thumping and your mind is jacked up about sumpthing or other and you wonder if you have a fever or a touch of mania. You feel Snoopid. Deep breathing and lots of water get drained off. You know better than to use caffeine.  Hooo baby! Bodily warning signals are going off all around, but you manage to postpone sitting down and eating. Finally you inhale a bowl of left over pasta with chicken and mushrooms without tasting a thing. A quart of water washes it down. Eyes closed as CNN anchors prattle on between commercials. “What these jihadists seem to want most is…” Mute. Darkness helps dissolve the inner staccato buzzing of flies playing soccer in a jar that is your brain. In an impossibly insective yet Hispanic falsetto, “Gooooooal!” My flies seem to be Guatemalan.

As late nutrition gets caught up with my blood sugar deficit, I wait. I recall pumping gas at the old Exxon station back in the early ’70s when leaded (yes, leaded) gas was 29 cents per gallon. Cars would hiss and clip clop into the station just off the D.C. beltway on mere fumes. “Ping-ping” went the sensor bell. “Filler up!” the customers would bark at us. Self serve was not common then. We’d get busy checking the fluids and washing the front and back windshields. Service was expected and sometimes demanded. Funny thing is that as gas prices increased, service disappeared. It became something only for the elite or was legislated to remain in New Jersey. Go figure:  the more a commodity costs, the less delivery service you get with it, unless you live in Jersey. So, the hangrier a person gets, the lower his/her expectations drop for service associated with meeting that need… thus no gas attendants and no wait staff in general. Remember when folks actually made careers out of selling clothing? Now it’s mostly point and shoot, self service unless you are at a high end haberdashery.

Let me consider this paradox. If true, then I should expect service at the most expensive restaurants to decline and eventually disappear. Thankfully that has not happened. Can you imagine make-your-own lobster bars and steak houses? And would you tip yourself for excellent self service? “My man, the calamari was superb!” “I know, Sir, for I am you.”

 Oh, that’s a cafeteria or a buffet. Doink!

So we are back to food and brain activity. I don’t really know much about either, just that the absence of the first leads to the absence of the second.

I did not plan it this way, but I was involved in an afternoon court case recently as a witness. Naturally I was anxious since attorneys tend to ask innocent sounding introductory questions that lead to bloody machete slaughter of little lambs a little later. In my case the thing to be slaughtered was my credibility for the presiding judge, no jury. As the afternoon wore on and my breakfast wore out, I began to sing to myself, “I’m all about the judge, ’bout the judge, no jury. I’m all about the judge, ’bout the judge, no jury…” I tried not to sway and smile like Stevie Wonder in the witness box. But let’s be honest: Stevie can testify.

 I wish I could have seen the thought bubbles above the other folks’ heads.

“Did I let the dog out at lunch?”

“This medication really constipates me.”

“Boom! That woman is a bitch!”

“Why did I run for judge? It’s more like sludge.”

“My spanx are cutting off my circulation and my bladder signals.”

“This guy seems to be singing that bass song to himself… ‘I’m all about the bass, ’bout the bass, no treble.'”

Well, there is really no reliable way to prove what others are thinking if they are thinking at all. The other attorney, for instance, introduced herself by saying, “I tend to ramble on, so if you don’t understand one of my questions, just ask me to repeat it.” Now that is thin competition, if you ask me. She was the equivalent of the other brand that loses to Bounty Tough Towelettes every time. Not the quicker picker upper, i.e., useless.

Uh, I mean, she’d be an okay vice president, I suppose, as long as the president is very healthy and well guarded. Just think Joe Biden in a skirt.

So, a hangry mind cycles on the questions being asked and evaluates each one over and over, as if chewing on words were as fulfilling as chewing on venison jerky. Not so, my bloggoiters. If you don’t feed your brain in a timely manner, it goes spanky on you, and I’m not sure that’s a word, but if it is, then it means something negative and shady.

The hearing ended in real time but continued in my sugar depleted brain. I recalled again and again what the smart attorney asked. I evaluated my performance over and over. I needed to get out of the cycle. I was obsessing like an OCD client worried about a shark attack in Nebraska. Unlikely. It was just my unquelled mind. I needed some fuel and time to process it.

Fortunately for the me and the world I found leftover pasta with chicken and mushrooms in the fridge. Bingo. Direct hit on Hangry’s Hanger without a hangover. I can see how tempting it might be for lawyers to drink their lunches and dinners. That rocket fuel of alcohol goes right to the brain without much delay. And the good times roll as surely as Mustang Sally without a subpoena. But no, I don’t go there, friends. Alcohol works like Ambien for me. I’ve been called a Two Beer Queer because I get sleepy after two good beers. And I am not ashamed of this label. In fact, I embrace my low tolerance for all forms of alcohol and LGBT causes. That is to say, I embrace the LGBT community and have a high tolerance for, no, I uh, have a strong endorsement for them. I just need a nap. However, if nominated for vice president, I will serve.