As a child in the country, I slept with the radio on, preferring to mask the barks and howls and creaks of the Great Unknown with the comforting patter of overnight disc jockeys.
But now I have learned I have more to fear within than without, and I find I cannot dream of sleeping to a soundtrack other than that which surrounds me.
The ticking wall clock signifies the constant march of time, as outside, the slams and yells and windy moans testify of existence, shared yet separate. Sirens wail. And I experience life again before leaving it, ever so briefly.
There’s a difference between good conversation that involves humorous banter — or even deep spiritual truths — and oneupsmanship.
They’re about as similar as volleyball and that game that erupts at birthday parties when someone bats a balloon across the room and another person bats it back. In one, the point is to keep things going and involve everyone in the room (even the killjoy who shouts, “You’re going to break something!”). In the other, the goal is to hit some unreturnable shot to score a point.
In conversation, as in the party game, no one is impressed by the person who spikes the balloon.
Octuplet mom: my thoughts?
She’s had six pregnancies (like me) through in vitro (unlike me) where she was implanted with six embryos (unlike me) because she wouldn\’t kill them (like me). Four single births, twins the fifth time, and then two sets of twins and four singles.
She doesn\’t have the resources of, say, Angelina, so she’s criticized. Well, when you’re asking society to pay for your family, we get a say in the size. And I don’t like how she uses her mother as a slave nanny!
In the end, just love your babies and they\’ll be fine.
(Two-Minute Drill #4)
Hotels.com has a commercial — maybe you’ve seen it? The two shampoos commercial? High-larious.
“It’s working! It’s working! They got me! It’s working!”
I don’t know what it is about that commercial, but it reaches me on many levels.
And GEICO’s new line of commercial featuring “Kash”? I love it. I love the song, I love the character, I love how nonchalant they are about the absurdity.
“That? That’s just the money you could be saving by switching to GEICO!”
“T-tell me who’s watching!”
(Two-minute drill #3: on Romans 2:5-6)
It’s often said there are no guilty people in prison. Generally, if you ask people caught red-handed if they’re guilty, they’ll answer no: it’s someone else’s fault, or a setup, or the man is keeping them down. But these verses say that every sin stores up not just judgment and wrath, but also revelation.
And at Judgment Day, everyone will know exactly why things happened, as revealed by a perfect God. No denial, no excuses, just revelation and wrath — or mercy.
And all those who demand “why” from God will know, and be silenced.
I’m really irritated by “global warming.”
In the 70s, it was global cooling, an impending ice age. In the 90s, it was global warming, an impending tidal wave to kill us all.
Now it’s global climate change, because apparently “global warming” makes some places colder. I don’t know how true it is for you, but if I didn’t know spring followed winter, I’d think winter would never end! And summer? Sheesh, I’ve forgotten all about summer by now.
For once, can’t people stop hyping up crap to sell books and push agendas, and admit we’re not as smart as we think?
(Two-Minute Drill #2: on the humble toilet.)
Throughout the useful lifetime of a type of product, a considerable evolution takes place. The automobile started out humbly enough as a Model T, and was revised and renewed until reaching perfection in the form of my 2001 Jeep Cherokee.
But what of the toilet? How did it truly start, and where can it go in the future? Taller? Wider? Softer? Warmer? More water-efficient? Nuclear-powered?
Where are the innovators of tomorrow who will revolutionize the process of personal relief?
“What are you? All religious and s***?”
My favorite question. A compliment, really, in its purest form. The s*** is the kicker: it signals that the questioner realizes you’re more than a churchgoing charade, a moon orbiting your parents’ beliefs. It betrays that someone who was “all religious and s***” once worked on the asker — and the s*** went after their spiritual jugular.
When I’m asked this question, I glow inwardly, with the keen joy early Christians must’ve felt at seeing a fish painted on a wall…knowing that kin were there before.
After all, you can’t spell “Christ” without s***.
(Two-Minute Drill #1)
In football, a two-minute drill is a regular element in practice. The basic gist is for the offense to march down the field, from end zone to end zone, in two minutes.
But how much can I write in two uninterrupted minutes? Surprisingly little.
Without research or copying and pasting to make my work seem fluffier and more robust, all I’ve got is the meager stream of verbiage that flows from my frontal lobe.
Aaaand, pencils down, class.
My parents’ bathroom, where I’ve been bathing since the early ’80s, has a new light bulb. It’s one of those fancy numbers that doesn’t turn on all at once, to save the polar bears or somesuch.
Flip the switch, and suddenly I’m in a groggy, dusky shadowland, belonging neither to light nor dark. Sometimes I drop my toothbrush. Eventually the bulb warms, and slowly its light grows brighter and brighter, harsher and harsher, until everything around is too garishly revealed — like a game of Wheel of Fortune, with every puzzle ripped from your diary.
I’m learning to brush in the dark.
Every season has its own walk.
Spring is life, a barefoot romp, all pirouettes and ronds de jambe through chartreuse grass and soft, fresh mud.
Summer treads too lightly — sandals along a beach, tracks soon wiped clean by the trailing tide. Silent, calm, and consistent.
Autumn clomps: through leaves and sticks in hiking boots, loose gravel scattering, a hearty give-and-take with the earth.
But winter. Winter is a shuffling stagger, bent into a harsh gale, clinging to equilibrium. A prisoner’s gait, condemned, pained, proud. Craving contact. Each step could start the slip. Every stride presages the fall.
Someday (someday soon?) I’ll live somewhere temperate. But for now, I love how the drastic seasonal changes of upstate New York punctuate the passage of time. This is late October, and Monday I could tell, striding with a lean into a violent, almost icy wind. Change builds character. We are not spoiled.
Then again, maybe the weather drives us crazy too. Last Thursday night, it was barely 40 when a man in a T-shirt passed me on the sidewalk, licking a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone.
Not to worry, though; you’ll never catch me doing that.
I hate mint ice cream.
Originally published May 14, 2008.
There comes a moment in each sports season where I begin to let go of one team and move on to the next one. The Philadelphia Flyers ”” Bweinh! predictions to the contrary ”” are not going to win the Stanley Cup.
Yet I\’m not upset, really. I feel less ticked at their letdown, and am content to release these Flyers to the haze of history, and give my heart to another.
I have developed this coping mechanism over the last 97 Philadelphia professional sports seasons, each one ending without a championship. Perhaps the 98th ”” the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies ”” will not disappoint.
I hate 24/7 news coverage of anything.
There’s nothing new to say.
Nobody listens when they say it.
It doesn\’t make any sort of difference whatsoever.
All I know is that today the House passed legislation that will allow the government to further interfere in a credit market the government screwed up to begin with!
And after passing said legislation, the Democratic House leadership went on to publicly suckle the teats of Barack Obama.
Barack Obama couldn\’t find his backside with both hands and a Tom Tom. Obama has absolutely no qualifications to be President, and he knows it.
With the financial meltdown and $700B ridiculousness eating up the media\’s “Foam at the mouth about how wonderful Obama is” time, illegal immigrants aren\’t in the forefront of our collective psyche.
Illegals “do the jobs Americans won\’t,” like landscaping, housekeeping, bussing tables, and picking fruits and vegetables. Why won\’t Americans ”˜do\’ these jobs? They don\’t pay well enough and they\’re dangerous, so illegals do them for less than Americans are willing to.
Get rid of the aliens, and hotels/commercial farms will have to provide safer environments and higher wages for LEGAL immigrants to work.
A living wage without government interference!