441. Mesmerorials

 

 

[my apologies to blog only connections. I sometimes have great difficulty posting to facebook and have to reconfigure my postings to publish there.]

Image result for rainy spring day photosIt smells like spring again, fertile wet soil and pollen dust colliding into rare swirling perfumes. A rabbit has a nest under my back deck, which is driving my grand-dog Kermit insane as she sniffs through the deck boards and digs around the outer edges. She is  determined to rout and ravage that rascally rabbit. Meanwhile Momma rabbit has a buffet of lettuce and asparagus mere hops away from her babies. She is no fool, but I might have to shoot her later. I am not running a bunny hostel after all. No Hugh Hefner here. I have no interest and no license for raising wildlife in my back yard.  Facts is facts, Ma’am. Life is both sweet and harsh. The check out time is .22 magnum o’clock, Bunny girl.

Image result for two ducks on a pond picturesA pair of ducks also like to drop in on our little fish pond for an evening bath. Kermit the pool guard keeps limited hours, however. The pond is usually closed these days. “I’ll see your pair of ducks and raze you three rabbits”, she would say if she could talk. She is an elegant coon hound/ doberman mix who lopes like a deer across the yard, chasing anything on the ground. The only time I’ve heard her bark was when she was locked in mortal battle with a ground hog under the arbor vitae. I put a bullet through the groundhog and that was that. Sweet and harsh, so it was.

Image result for paintings of foreverSomething gets in me on cloudy spring days, melancholy or some other vague mood with no name. I don’t write on glorious sunny days. No. Instead I’ll plant flowers or cut the grass. Maybe go for a bike ride. But on these pewter gray haze days my mind wanders down emotional bunny trails, across memory lanes, around curious cul de sacs seeking deeper introversion… Meaning or at least equilibrium.

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I’m not good at most things that people pursue– money, organization, athletics, power, status, career advancement, big houses and fancy cars. But God did bless me with proficiency in language. I can speak, joke, teach, write, counsel, sing, or banter fairly well. And I’m glad for that, even though I would have traded anything to have been a great ball player in any sport when I was a sulky kid in uniforms that fit bigger boys. I see old pictures of myself and just wish I could tell that freckled kid to be patient, “Your day will come. It all works out wonderfully.”  But he can’t hear me through the yellow film covering the old Kodak snapshot. I suppose I would not l listen to my 75 year old self today if he suddenly whispered to me across the years between us. ‘Life is lived through the windshield and understood through the rear view mirror’, someone else said. Oddly or not, I am driving into my elder days and seeing my life in the rear view mirror as a dream, still unfolding in themes and mysteries. Thank  God I did not find my meaning and voice in money or sex or athletic prowess since they fail and eventually fade away. They are not the destination but merely glamorous bill boards hogging up the landscape along the lonely highway to meaning.Image result for paintings of remorse by dali

I know I should finish my billing, especially since my future son-in-law Zach dutifully fine tuned my computer yesterday. I’m sleep walking, though, dreamily pondering life, the parts and the whole of it. You know heal means whole, and so to be healthy is to be whole.

Old English hælan “cure; save; make whole, sound and well,” from Proto-Germanic *hailjan (cf. Old Saxon helian, Old Norse heila, Old Frisian hela, Dutch helen, German heilen, Gothic ga-hailjan “to heal, cure”), literally “to make whole”. 

This stuff fascinates me, my friends. Like mythology, language is random, illogical and eccentric. So naturally I am all in. Heck, my mother’s name was Helen, and I never fit all that together until this minute. On some level to be with one’s mother is to be whole and healed. She is literally where you came from, pal.  I see it in my grand daughter when she cuddles into her mom’s lap, as if returning to the womb. The parts cease their separate isolation when they are rejoined in the whole. Ultimately the whole for believers is a place of health and saving and wholeness known as heaven, where we will crawl on God’s lap again. Call it what you will.Image result for child on God's lap paintings

 

Yesterday I sat at a memorial service for a friend. Chris Little. Pastor. Husband. Father, Quite a man in my estimation. I posted about him last year when he died. It remains my all time high post for visits. And that’s as it should be. He deserved so much because he gave so much, dying in his newly tilled garden last April. Chris tilled a much larger garden, however:  his congregation of twenty years.  What did he plant? The Fruits of the Holy Spirit, according to Paul the Apostle in his Letter to the Galatians: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience),kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Over and over and over he planted, trusting in God to harvest the outcomes of such rich roots, seeds and bulbs. I knew him for only a few years, but I saw deep into the hull works of his character. How long do you have to sail in a worthy ship to know and trust it in harsh weather? Not so long.Rev. Christopher T. Little

The Harvest… will continue to trickle in to church and in to love and in to family and in to heaven. Wave after wave polishing jagged human stones till they are smooth gems fit for a celestial crown. My wish for you, Chris, is contained in Dylan’s old young song.Image result for polished stones by seashore pictures

“Forever Young”

May God bless and keep you always

May your wishes all come true

May you always do for others

And let others do for you

May you build a ladder to the stars

And climb on every rung

May you stay forever young

Forever young, forever young

May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous

May you grow up to be true

May you always know the truth

And see the lights surrounding you

May you always be courageous

Stand upright and be strong

May you stay forever young

Forever young, forever young

May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy

May your feet always be swift

May you have a strong foundation

When the winds of changes shift

May your heart always be joyful

And may your song always be sung

May you stay forever young

Forever young, forever young

May you stay forever young.

 

I just want to check every box, my friend.  Till then.

Image result for paintings of glory by dali

412. Unfriended Progenously

 

You have likely been unfriended before in the FB world, right?  It happens. You get busy with your own self absorption and fail to pour into one of your face book friends’ self absorption.  Maybe you don’t even realize that your 608 FB friend count is now 607. However, when it’s your own flesh and blood daughter, well, it’s pretty noticeable, and devastating. Yes, bloglings, my daughter unfriended me, and if you hang around I will tell you how in excruciating and humiliating detail.

By post 412 you must know that I am a joker, gadfly, comic, teaser, bear poker, a smoker, and a midnight toker. Okay, I’m getting carried away with Steve Miller’s song cycling in my hamster wheel of memorized songs. Wherever that hamster wheel stops, there’s a song to be sung. OOh, oooh, Sunshine Daydream by the Dead comes up on my shuffle. I’ll be right back. You don’t buy coffee; you merely rent it.

Anyway about a year ago, yes almost exactly at this time of pre-holidays, my lovely lawyer daughter sent out a FB post about employers being liable for their party goer guests if they served alcohol and their guests got in some smash up later. Liability is a big scary word to legalists. Now it was very well written and professional as a gold plated fountain pen. However, I failed to distinguish her professional FB account from her personal account when I  responded foolishly, thinking “She’ll get a laugh out of this response.”

I replied to her warning. It was a Friday as I recall… the last Friday for my already blemished dignity.

“Dear Ms. MCHammer,

I read your article with much interest. Now, I am self employed and work on the second floor of my building, up a flight of 15 steps. My legal question for you is this:  If I have a holiday party and get myself drunk, and then if I should fall down my stairs and injure myself, can I then sue myself? Can I be both plaintiff and respondent? How would that work? ”

My real name was attached.

Never hit send, bloggidos, unless you have thoroughly checked out your global liability. Of course, I hit send and chuckled about the anticipated funny response. My daughter is a funny girl, by the way. Oh, but it was not a funny reply I got.

Monday morning she was called in to her boss’s office. The company CEO was on the phone. They asked what the FB message was all about…. “And who, pray tell, is this guy?”

Horrified, she read the message for the first time under their glare, imagining the end of her brief career in law. “Uh, he’s my dad.” Gulp. Shamefully she looked down at her cute suede mauve shoes. They were comfortable and would be kind to her feet as security escorted her off the campus, she thought. Later on, these shoes would give her steps bouncy energy as she walked from interview to interview, hopelessly trying to escape this professional disaster.

Stunned, the two bosses waited for the other one to say something. Finally the big boss said, “It must have been hard for you in high school.”

She laughed out all the nervous energy that had been building up in her organs like steam.

“You have nooooo idea!”

It is a little known scientific fact that many people laugh spontaneously prior to their own executions. Apparently it helps them relax and die peacefully. It’s an autonomic reaction just before one voids his or her bowels.

“Jack, what do you want to do with the message?”

“I don’t know, Jim.” Pause. Smirk. ” Just leave it up. Hell, it is pretty funny. It’ll show we have a sense of humor here at Litigation Nation.”

My daughter sighed a deep sigh of relief. “Oh, thank you. I’m sorry. It will not happen again. I promise….”

“We know because you are going to unfriend him. Block him from any attachment to this company. Disenfranchise this clown. Cut him off….”

“Yes, sir. I will. I was adopted, by the way. We are nothing alike. I’ll bring in my birth certificate and take a DNA swab if you like.”

“That won’t be necessary.”

Later that day I got the upset word from my daughter. Man oh man!!  Have you ever felt like your body is melting away? My feet melted, then my legs, as my stomach dropped to a pig farm in China where, coincidentally, pig stomachs were being harvested on that very day.  Shame, like ice cold formaldehyde pumped through my vascular system, embalming me in that moment, naked in my sin, on display for all to mock in the Norwegian wedge of Antarctica. I felt like I’d killed her dog, which is the best dog ever. It hurt in a hollowed out way, not sharp local pain but all consuming galactic pain that burst out into deep space. I hate to hurt others, but hurting my daughter felt like instant lung cancer. Breathing suddenly hurt, as if shards of glass were in every breath.

Image result for arabian desert pictures

I was exiled. Sent into the desert of social media to wander aimlessly till the end of my useless, shame filled life. Only ghosts and specters, slivers of shattered humanity inhabit that wasteland. Unplugged and unfriended, they hide by day and watch distant fires by night, knowing they may never approach. Modern day millennial lepers. I’m the guy on the left in the picture below.

Never lose hope, my one-humped blog camels. Forgiveness may show up one day like rain in that arid wasteland you are wandering through. It did for me. As I painted my daughter’s house this past month, she asked me how she could ever thank me. I saw an opening and took a shot. “Refriend me on Facebook. That’s all I want. It’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

“That’s all? You know I’m resigning from Litigation Nation in two days, right?”

“Yes, I know. Please reinstate me. I will not be improper ever again.”

“Deal, Daddio.”

Suddenly my leper chrysalis fell away and a forgiven butterfly slipped out to float away on a breeze of mercy, never to fart in the wind again.

 

 

379.Unglued

Unbelievable. My second vinyl fake wood floor is letting go of the subfloor again, and I am getting perturbed, which is a combination of per(fume) and turb(ulent), i.e., turbulent smelling, in the Australian dialect, “Crikey Mate, don’t maaahke may explaaain.” I am mystified yet again why flooring adhesive that is universally accepted by other subfloors and composite vinyl floor products refused to bond in my office hallway. It’s not in vitro fertilization here. It’s basically just a big peanut butter sandwich on the floor… but the peanut butter is mysteriously disintegrating. What?>>>??

I imagine the chipper sales guy at the big flooring store is going to have to get tough and throw down on this one. He was quite accommodating on the first floor failure, a regular Guy Smiley. “Hey, it happens now and then. Chet probably didn’t let the glue set up long enough. We all make mistakes. Sorry about the inconvenience.” I’m thinking that this time it won’t go as gently and he will have to blame the customer for crimes against plywood substrates or something just as ludicrous. He’ll probably send out his fixer dude, like the Mafia does, to clean up messes with a lot of bleach.

“Hi, Lawrenc Proctor, from CSI… ” chews audibly on spearmint gum, “Customer Service Intervention. Friends call me Larrrrry. Enemies don’t call.  Heh, heh. After  a cursorory inspection, I can see clearly that your building has excess moisture and/or vapors that seep into our very reliable products. Bottom line is this: the failure of the adhesive to bond is exclusively on your side of the equation, my man. See, my company has paid two unrelated guys to install quality flooring twice already. We can’t go three.” Demonstrates with fingers next to a menacing face.

Continues, “Makes me wonder if we don’t have Munchausen’s vinyl floor syndrome. Ever hear of it? Only known cure is full exposure to the light of truth.”

“I’m aware of Munchausen’s Disorder and Munchausen’s by proxy. Both involve the  factitious presentation of illness in order to gain unjustified attention from high status medical personnel. What on earth does that have to do with your flooring not sticking twice?”

“I think you do know what’s up, Doc. I am a doctor too, in a manner of speaking. Floor doctor.  Flooring people are drawn to my aura like moths to flame.  But the flame is hot, let me tell you.”

Whipping around dramatically with a finger in my face, “Did you spray a silicone product on your floor prior to the first installation. You installed the subfloor, right?”

“No! I mean, Yes! I did install the subfloor, but your own installer actually complimented my subflooring installation. I know in my spleen that’s not the problem. No, I did not spray anything on it. Besides, why would I sabotage my own floor for which I paid your imbecilic company $800?”

“Simple: Attention. You work alone all day. I’m sure it gets hard and lonely at times, huh Buddy? You’d like to hang out with the big dogs, right?  Maybe write your own blog. I get it… but there are healthier ways to relate to flooring professionals. You could go to the annual conference in Rochester, just for starters.”

“I can’t believe this. Don’t start patronizing me, Larry. You are welcome to inspect my subfloor after you remove your second sucky vinyl floor application. Munchausen’s!! Unbelievable!”

“Lemme tell you why that’s not going to happen. I believe you know that the silicone would have been absorbed in the first layer of vinyl and left a residue that polluted the seal of the second. You are good, Mr. Burrito. Crazy good, leaving no evidence except the faint scent of WD40, which I detected as soon as I reached the top step here. Ahh, yes, the almost perfect flooring deception. You nearly pulled it off.”

“I’m willing to grant that one of us is insane, but I’m not surrendering to that label just yet, okay? Ever hear of Lawsuit Syndrome? It happens when a jerk contractor  defrauds his customer and tries to slink away from contractual obligations and product warrantees. It’s only known cure is expensive litigation in court.”

“Now, let’s not get testy here, sir. No need to get upset. I’m sure our regional manager can help you reach resolution to your problem. He’s in our Harrisburg office, next to the state hospital, and I ‘m sure he’d be glad to meet you up there or at the coffee shop of the hospital, just off Second Street and Chestnut.”

“No. You are not going to pawn me off onto someone else who lies better than you do. What is he? A floor surgeon or a floor psychiatrist? Here’s what’s gonna happen:  You are going to replace my floor and get it right or else refund my money and I’ll have a competent floor installer do the job. Or we can do this in court over an expensive lawsuit with court costs that you will pay. This is not my first rodeo with a bad business dude.”

“Are you threatening me? You need to know that I have a permit to carry and discharge a 50,000 volt Tazer. If I were you, I’d stop resisting.”

“Okay, that’s it! I’m calling the police. And I need to warn you that I am carrying idiot spray, also known as bug and hornet foaming pesticide. I can accurately shoot a disabling jet stream within a two inch target radius from 22 feet, Larry. Draw!!”

Before the crackles and zaps of Larry Tazer even began to sputter, I had hit him with a liquid ounce of Spectracide Wasp and Hornet spray at the bridge of his nose. Predictably he began to gasp and cry that he was blinded and could not breathe. I grabbed him by his ear and he begged for mercy. “Take me to the hospital, man, for the love of God!”

I told him to take a message back to his boss– “Larry Proctor does not sleep with the fishes… yet. Don’t send fools to do a wise guy’s work.”

Baron Burrito von Munchausen

 

 

360. 1461 [Days]

In case you were wondering, the title is not a phone number I found; it’s 4 years of days plus one day for leap year. That’s how long I’ve been at this blog business. Averaging 90 posts per year or one every 4 days. Whoa! If this wound up on paper, I could be sued for wasting trees and contributing to global warming. I could also be charged for corrupting miners, except I have never written for or about miners– coal, gold, salt, silver, copper, nada. Internet loitering is not a crime yet. But I plead guilty, my honorable blognoids. I have loitered in cyberland and wasted over a thousand hours in the passionate pursuit of purposelessness.  Yet, never has posting felt like forced duty at the gym or reluctant treadmill time. No, I find it therapeutic to blather into the blogisphere as my life sputters by.

It feels like I’ve been at this a lot longer, but my trusty WordPress stats confirm it– four years. Over 300,000 words easily since most of my posts come in around 1,000 words, my self imposed limit. Along  the way I learned how to import pictures that I scammed off the internet. What a difference that made. I’m a fairly visual guy and love finding images that seem to connect with my eccentric words. Some folks go about with metal detectors and find metallic treasures in fields and stream beds. I go about with my image detectors, my eyes, in search of connective visual tissue. But for me a tiny 8 watt bulb lights up when I find a picture that adds energy to my impoverished, eccentric words, caged in horizontal lines.

Centric means to be in the center or central. Ec & centric means to be off center or outside the circle of centeredness, often taken to mean ‘unconventional and slightly strange’. Outside the box, over the top, in one’s own orbit, marching to the beat of a different drum, etc. Yeah, no argument from me. Looking at my body of work, or is it play?, I’d have to conclude that it constitutes a strange stream of consciousness that sometimes flows uphill, backwards, nowhere, and everywhere; spiraling inward and outward across the limits of time and space. I have written about penguins, vodka, birds, flowers, dogs, gila monsters, coyotes, hitchhiking, God, prison, health, age, youth, music, art, innocence and experience, coffee nation, immigration, politics, love, faith, forgiveness, death, plumbing and the list goes on and on. Why?  Many reasons. I like language. I enjoy writing. I like to entertain, maybe even educate, folks

When I worked as a construction laborer in the early 70’s, I felt there was more to life than shoveling dirt and gravel all day long. I remember reading The Brothers Karamazov that dark winter and feeling deep intellectual and spiritual pings on my soul’s sonar. The messages were not acutely articulated. It was more like whales barking across the ocean. That was the same year I took my trip to England and Scotland, ’73-74, without a plan. I simply followed magnetic fields that drew me elsewhere. At the time I attributed my spontaneity to freedom and nonconformity. Looking back I give God credit for protecting me from my own arrogant stupidity.

Later on I went to college because my closest friends were going. I fell in love with learning and with my future wife, who had odd concepts like goals and structure and discipline. Whew!! I am still amazed and grateful that we continue to travel life’s path together. And still those sonar pings keep hitting my soul, telling me to be elsewhere, beyond this moment that I usually enjoy. Not alone necessarily but elsewhere. I guess it’s the same old wanderlust that led me away from safety and routine in the first place, deep into wooded acres and far across forbidden perimeter roads. Hearing my mother say, “Don’t….” often led to a desire to inhabit the prohibition, unsupervised by adults.

The Gravel Pit was fenced off from our ball field and elementary school yard. Of course older boys had created openings for us to pass through. When The Pit was operating, we’d sit on the surrounding banks and watch the big machines load dump trucks with orange sand and bank run gravel. Duly impressed by the diesel smoke, the loud thuds of a load, and the rumble in the earth as overloaded trucks ground gears across dusty roads. We’d ride out bikes across hillocks of hard clay and jump gullies eroded by years of heavy rains. Days had no numbers then, no end was imaginable beyond one setting sun. Watches and calendars were for adults to worry with. We pursued lizards and turtles and snakes, squirrels and possums, along with the secrets of becoming a young man. After the last employee left the Gravel Pit, we’d inch down like forest creatures and explore their vehicles and sit in backhoes and bull dozers. We were  in awe of the raw power they possessed. Yes, we trespassed but did not vandalize. It was more like going to a museum or an amusement park. We displayed boyish reverence for these enormous clanking monsters.

 They were huge and powerful, and we weren’t… yet.

Richard Cooper had a Suzuki 90 cc motorcycle that he’d ride like a bat out of hell up Dorset Drive and across the school grounds, down into the Gravel  Pit. No helmet. No license. No tags. It was the 60’s, man. I was often on the back of the overloaded machine, hanging on for dear life or any life at all. I have a vivid memory of chasing down a ground hog that was too far from its hole. I caught it under a basket and had no idea what to do next, so I let it go. The outcome did not matter so much. The wild chase, the breathless hunt, the exultant thrill were all that counted. We weren’t huge and powerful, yet.

At nearly 60 years of age I can roughly calculate how many more days I am likely to experience in this life. 7305 if I live to see 80. I’ve never calculated my expiration date before, but I can’t say that any more. So, happy anniversary to me, Burrito Man. Live big but practice humility. It’s easier to carry than shame.

 

350. Wizardry

funny drunk people, dumpaday (37)Here we are, just you and me, blog drunks. Truly, though this same message is out there for anyone to read, it’s just the two of us at the space bar now, Joe. The lights are low. Pandora plays the old classics softly behind the screen.  “Bartender, set up another post for me and my friend. Make mine a double.”

Why do you come back?  I ask you, why? Surely there are better things to do with your time than hang out with an old rambling dude self-named for a Mexican lunch special.  If I were you, I would not hang out with me. Can’t stay away, huh? Have you no self respect? The guy behind the cyber screen is troubled. Remember the Wizard of Oz? He was just a lost illusionist. He was the same guy in the carnival wagon in Kansas before the tornado hit. You knew that, right?  A good man but a bad wizard. I’ll appropriate that description. I’m a bad, bad wizard, Joe.

If Harry Potter called me out to a wizard magic dust off, I’d lose. Snap!  No question. But if that little jerk knows what’s good for him, he won’t or I’ll skewer him syllabically. Oh, but misery loves company, eh my drunken friend. What’s that? I’m miserable? No, I was sitting here with you, dude, nursing your pouty pout. You came to me. I did not come to you. Oh yeah. You logged in to my synapses not vice versa.

This muddling reminds me of a lady who came to see me because her coworkers told her I could help her. She had a short fuse; hated people; broke into panic without any warning; and was generally an endearing but totally frustrating smartass. From the first session she let me know that she did not like me and that I sucked.

“Is that all you can say, ‘How do you feel about that?’ C’mon. That’s pretty lame.”

“Yeah,  so it seems. You are really angry.”

“Oh, ya think?!! Nice, blame me because you can. And I’m paying you for this. Thanks.”

“Wait a second. You called me, remember? I didn’t call you and plant issues in your brain.”

“I just called to get my coworkers off my back. They told me how wonderful you were. Wrong.”

Laughing, “Definitely wrong. I suck.”

“Okay, laugh it up, you smug bastard.”

“I can’t help it. You keep  punching at who you think I am. I am amazed at the difference between your image of me and who I think I am.”

“Oh, sure. I know how therapy works: you get me to believe I have deep problems that need sixty sessions to fix, and then I have to come back week after week. Meanwhile you can’t see me cuz you’re on a cruise in the Mediterranean.”

“Actually it’s up to you to reschedule, which I’m thinking you’re not going to do. And I cruise the Caribbean.”

With utter contempt, “You’d like that, wouldn’t you? If I never rescheduled. But I’m not gonna give you the satisfaction.”

“So what do you want to do?”

“I don’t want to, but I’ll be back in two weeks, same time, same day. You’re not getting rid of me that easy.”

“I’m not trying to get rid of you.”

And so it went. Tina would crack a bit and then defend the crack.

“Damn you! I told you stuff last week that I should never have shared. I haven’t told anyone that crap in 40 years. And now you have the control. I hate you.”

“You know as well as I do that I can’t do anything with your confidential information. It is toxic, for sure. How about leaving it here with me. Think of me as a toxic waste dump.”

Laughing, “That won’t be too hard.”

Laughing back, “I gave you a beach ball to hit. I thought you would.”

“See, there you go again being the smartest guy in the room.”

“Uh, unless you have a gender swap secret, I am the only guy in the room.”

Guffawing, “Okay, no. I mean I am not a dude, which leaves you. God, I don’t know how your wife puts up with you.”

“I don’t either. She is a saint.”

“Don’t agree with me when I slam you. That takes all the fun out of it.”

“I’m just rollin’ with the punches.”

Slowly this very angry oyster opened and flushed out her septic secrets. One day she told me she was pissed off at me.

“Well, that’s not news. You’ve been busting my butt since we met.”

“You took away my sarcasm. I used to be really good at it, but I can’t pull it off anymore since you told me it was passive aggressive back biting anger. God! You take all the fun out of life.”

“I am a party pooper, loser, pathetic guy in a sweater.”

“That’s all true, but… uh, I’m only gonna say this once… (sotto voce) you are good at this.”

“I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you.”

“I’m not gonna say it again.”

“I thought I heard you say I was good at this. Is that right?”

“Yes, smartass.”

“I prefer intelligent donkey.”

“You would”, chuckling.

We worked faithfully and Tina got better. The super-guarded angry woman began taking risks, telling folks no, and making herself vulnerable. She revisited old guilt inducing memories and reconfigured responsibilities. Some bad folks had hurt her and convinced her adolescent self that it was her fault, always her fault.

Somewhere along the therapy journey she found herself, the part she loved and did not blame. That was a glorious day. Eventually this dark, angry female funnel cloud came in smiling and weeping tears of joy.

“I can’t believe how happy I am. I never would have believed it was possible. I pushed back the curtains at home. I don’t care if some pervert looks in my house. No one is going to steal my joy again.”

“That’s awesome. I am very happy for you.”

Then in her inimitable fork tongued way, “You really are good at this, but I’m still praying for your poor wife. I don’t know how she puts up with you.”

“I don’t either.”

Image result for woman walking into the sunset picture

 

345. Robbing Reality

Rawcuss Thursday to you, Blogwallowers. As you know by heart, Thursdays begin with Coffee Nation Summit, and today was no exception, nor was it particularly exceptional.  Joel was busily typing a business e-mail as the scavenging coffee crows began to roost around him like fresh roadkill. Me first. Some discussion ensued about his eulogy, which I told him earlier I had cut and pasted to personalize it for his funeral.

Groggily, “I thought you said obituary.”

“Certainly not, my august friend. Well, December friend now. I don’t pretend to know the cause or time of death. That work belongs to the crooning coroner around the corner. The newspaper will publish your obit at no charge under a picture your family will provide. They have little choice. However, I prudently wrote your eulogy before it was needed. (silky soft salesman voice) Think of it as a reverse mortgage plan that frees you to enjoy life now on your terms, knowing that an essential final need has been taken care of, so that your loved ones don’t have to face that awkward question: ‘Whazzznext?”

“Do I have to pay you now?” he inquired with hesitance in his voice.

“Of course. I don’t want to trouble your bereaved survivors with pecuniary matters when you can relieve them of that burden by paying me now.”

“Hmmmph.” Joel knew this game of verbal dodge ball was over. There was only one of him and twenty six of me, and my team had the balls.

“Well I suppose, um, I could, uh… well, look who’s here!”

Rob joined us in his sleepwalking fugue state of new fatherhood, a defenseless uncaffeinated putty puppy. He vainly attempted to make sanity chicken salad out of insane chicken poop. We weren’t havin’ none of it, nosirree!!

Steve needed to do real business with Joel and proceeded to spell his name, “Steve with a V dot com.”

Rob, “Why do some folks spell Steven with ph? What’s with that?”

“At one thyme that was how Jewish Stevens distinguished themselves from Christian Stephens. They made a Vulcan V like Spock did. It was sign language for ‘I’m Jewish Steve.'”

“Really? I never knew that.”

“You still don’t. I am encouraging you to google it and find out for yourself, Rob. Man up.”

“Oh man, why not just trust you? Wait, that’s stupid, but I don’t have time to research it. You make things hard on no thinking Thursdays.”

“It’s tough love, Rob. You’ll need to tone up as your baby boy grows. Consider this DAD CAMP for wusses.”

Next Doug shared family drama with the group as well as several well timed puns. “Joel, estate planning is a dying business.”

Steve gave us a glimpse at managing elderly parents and his obsession with Christmas lights. He’s the kind of guy who will find the bad bulb and replace it, no matter the time or cost. He and Doug shared esoteric bits of insider information on Christmas light repair [and changing diapers. “You never fan the naked baby or it will pee on you.”]

“They’re $3.98 for 150 feet at Lowe’s, for God’s sake. Just buy a new string.”

Doug continued the Christmas light repair lecture as sleep deprived Rob fought for consciousness. “You’re killin’ me. Just go to Lowe’s and get a set!!”

“See when the bulb filament burns out, there’s this connecting wire that burns out with it and then runs the current around the burned out bulb, so that the other bulbs glow just a little brighter since 110 watts are being divided by fewer bulbs. And this will go on until a tipping point where nothing will light up no matter what.”

“Christmas light Armageddon.”

“Go to Lowe’s and get two sets!! I’ll buy them. For the love of the Baby Jesus in the Manger, Stop with the lights stories!!”

“Look, Rob. You don’t have to be cranky with us. We didn’t get jiggy with your wife forty one weeks ago. That was you, Buddy. Look at me and mind meld along!”

I placed two empty 12 ounce coffee cups with white lids over my eyes like Mr. Magoo spectacles. “Listen, Blister Butt. And repeat after me,

For we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute
Candles in the window
Carols at the spinet…. Everybody sing it…”

“That’s not doing it for me, Supreme Commander. I need real eye contact.”

I moved the cups down to bouncing breast level and gave him the next verse,

” Yes, we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute
It hasn’t snowed a single flurry
But Santa, dear, we’re in a hurry”

“That is truly disturbing. Why not put that in the blog?”

“Okay.”

“I never read it. Why don’t you put me in it and then I’ll read that post, but you have to tell the truth.”

“Done.”

“I used to read it and then I’d feel like I wasted good productive time, so I’d rush off to do something I could feel good about, something with purpose to assuage my guilt.”

“Hey, I take that as high praise. You see, I am providing a much needed service that propels others to lead more upright, productive lives. After wandering in the black hole of Burritospecial, sojourners rush headlong toward sanity and meaning. They go out and lead lives of consequence. It’s just reverse psychology, Rob. The more unglued I am, the more you want to get your poop in a pile and glue yourself into top shape. You feel angrily invigorated to conquer your deficiencies.”

“That is truly brilliant.”

“Yup, like Christmas lights at Steve’s with a V. Or Doug with a potent pun.”

“No, no, no. I need a latte to go for my wife. I’ll see you next week, fully slept up and caffeinated.”

“Good, one day, my son, you will be a real man. And always remember,

  1. don’t fan the baby.”
  2. V is for Jewish Steve.
  3. We all need a little Christmas.”

“Got it.”

 

 

336. Ululational Eulogies

I was about to exit The Coffee Nation Summit this morning and enter the cold drizzle outside when Joel walked in, dressed in his goose hunting hat and matching trench coat, as if he had just come from a goose blind or a secret agent convention. I squelched my urge to honk, thinking he would not get the connection so suddenly, or else he might just be packing a goose gun under the trench coat and fire, claiming later that it was all just a big honking misunderstanding. Being an attorney he could easily weasel his way out of all responsibility– legal, moral, intellectual and financial. All this in just a flash as the shabby green door closed behind him, trapping us in a verbal twilight zone.

I turned around, sat down, and began to psychologically fleece him once again. Big weekend coming up with the community tuba-thon on Saturday, he shared. Then he had a financial presentation to give somewhere else to tomorrow’s leaders.

“Oh, so you are over booked?”

“Not exactly. It’s just that I may be pressed for time between the two events since they are twenty miles apart.”

“Here’s where I can help you out. I could be your stunt double. At which event would you like me to fake being you?  The money talk to teens or the tuba-thon? Damages to the former will not show up for a decade, whereas my tuba playing will immediately insult the sensitivities of that audience.” Followed by an amazing full blown cheek tuba rendition of When the Saints Come Marching In.  Bump bump bump bump, (breath) bump bump bump bump, (breath) bump bump bump bump bump bump bump bump…  “I want to be in that number, when those saints come marchin’ in. Everybody, Oh when the Saints…”

“That’s the only song you know, isn’t it?  I think I’d better handle the sousaphone duties, thank you. You probably could confuse the teens for an hour. Isn’t that what therapy is after all– an hour of confusion that requires the patient to come back in a week to unravel the conundrum you raveled the week before?”

“That’s harsh. I would never say something like that about you, Joel.”

“How do you manage to keep a straight face when you lie like that?”

“It’s a skill you learn in the first year of law school.”

“Now, now. Let’s not start in against my people.”

“Okay, I think we should pursue a serious topic. Your funeral.”

“I’ve never given it a thought.”

“I knew it! You of all people, who plan estates and fleece wealthy donors out of money for the college, you have not made your own funeral arrangements?  I’m shocked, and I don’t shock easily. No, strike that last comment. I am tazed, not shocked, tazed, mind you, and roiling in the electric current of social trespass…”

“You know I do sometimes question your mental health.”

“And I you, Brutus.”

“No, not Shakespeare, et tu, Brutu. Please don’t ruin all cultural refuges for me.”

“Ruin?  I am merely carmelizing your experiences like fine chefs do at the shi-shi restaurants you frequent.”

“You mean your are carbonizing my neural filaments, burning up my mother board. Burning the petite filet.”

“Okay, seriously. I have been asked by a friend of mine to deliver his eulogy if he precedes me in death.”

“And you would do that for ME?”

“Certainly, Joel. For a fee.”

“Will you say nice things? I don’t want you to make a scene and upset people who may still believe in my dignity.”

“What do you care?  You’ll be dead and in… well, I don’t want to judge you. You’ll be wherever it is you deserve to be for all the underhanded and deceitful things you’ve done in this life and any positives you may have accidentally done along Life’s Highway.”

“But you don’t know me all that well. I mean, I’m afraid you have a small sample size.”

“Oh, Brutus, not you. I know that you have always had a thing for low hanging fruit.”

“That’s true.”

“And you gave up bowling after winning a trophy in sixth grade for high set score.”

“Yes, but I just told you that ten minutes ago. How will you make it sound sincere.”

“Joel, let me work the magic. I’ll just take out my friend Sam’s name and put yours in. No one will notice.”

“You don’t think so?”

“No. Uh, for example… Joel and I worked construction jobs together in the summers. He was twice the manly man that I was. He loved BB King and classic rock. We went to many a concert together and once got mooned by a carload of kids after an Emerson, Lake and Palmer concert on the Capital Beltway. Turns out that it was my little brother and his crew turning the wrong cheek just in time for a Maryland State Trooper to catch a glimpse.”

“No one will believe you. That is not my experience. I can’t condone such utter….”

“Don’t worry. I’ll mention what a horn toad you were at the gym, and ….”

“No, there will be an uprising to protect my good name. I would not be surprised if some of my church friends did not chase you out of the pulpit with rakes and  hoes and badminton racquets for the heretic you are.”

“That’s the beauty of the whole thing. I will be your ululating eulogist scape goat. Don’t you see? All those folks who simply came for the meal will be so uncomfortable with my indignities that they will rush the altar and chase me away, totally forgetting what a sleazebag you were. It’s brilliant. They will be half a mile down the road, out of breath, covered in sweat before they realize that I was only speaking the truth.”

“How much?”

“Ten percent or a $1,000, whichever is higher.”

“Done.”