Friday, November 21, 2008
On the way to school each day, we cross an intersection with a Whataburger on one side, and Braums Ice Cream/Dairy and Kroger grocery on the other side. In between, on the telephone wires lining the road, lives a very large flock of … birds.
Today, they were not on the wires. They were in the median, and so were easier to notice.
For weeks now, mention has been made every morning that since it’s getting cold out, it’s time for the birds to fly south.
Today, mention became question, “Why are those birds still here? Why haven’t they flown south?”
Everyone in the car, of course, answered immediately. Several blocks later, with the din quieting down and ears still ringing, I got them to talk about it.
It seems there is no reason why those birds haven’t flown south yet.
However, if they don’t hurry up and get going, it will get too cold and they won’t be able to fly. Then they’ll have to walk their way south along the telephone wires.
November 21, 2008
* * *
Sunday, November 9, 2008
We’ll do them this year like we did them last year, and the year before, and all the numerous other years even before that. It’s holiday time. We’ve already flown through Halloween. Next comes Thanksgiving, a day of giving thanks.
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrpp! (Did you hear that? It was the sound of a phonograph needle scratching the top of the record … that now famous sound that screams, “WHAT?!!”)
Did I say “a day of giving thanks?” Yes, I did.
Just what does that mean, “giving thanks?” I ask because the only thanks I’ve ever seen given on Thanksgiving would be from me and you, as we sit down to that feast we had to work so hard to pay for. Isn’t that why we always say our dinner prayers … because we’re thankful for the “bounty” we share? And isn’t that also why we invite all those relatives we may or may not hate to be around … because we are “thankful” for having them?
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrpp! (There it is again!)
So, it’s a day when I’m supposed to be thankful for my bounty and my relatives.
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrpp! (Man! That record is getting scratched pretty bad.)
Well, that’s what I was always taught way-back-when in grammar school when I had to draw those pictures of the Indians and Pilgrims having a feast. I was taught that it’s a time to celebrate those things we have to be thankful for. You know the story, the celebration of the bounty of food shared by the Pilgrims and the Indians. Everyone brought food and everyone brought a relative too.
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrpp! (Will somebody take that needle off?)
So then, does “a day of giving thanks” only apply to you and me, the ones who are having the feast?
I’m not sure it should.
I’m neither a Pilgrim, nor an Indian, so I can’t be thankful for being in the story … and I haven’t seen much bounty lately, so I can’t really be thankful for that either. And I think I already mentioned the issue of relatives. So what is it again, that I should be giving thanks for?
No, I’d say Thanksgiving is more a day when we have to give out extra money from our pocketbooks so that someone else can say, “Thanks for the extra profit!”
I think we’re all confused. We’re not the ones who should be giving thanks. We’re the ones who should be receiving it.
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrpp! (Please, would someone with long nails scratch the chalkboard?)
I ask you now, seriously … isn’t it time for the grocer, the grower, and the manufacturer to give some thanks too?
We’ve “given” thanks to them all year long, through every penny we’ve spent at the store. We’ve paid them for 3 meals a day for 364 days … that’s 1,092 meals, per person … and we haven’t even mentioned snacks yet. On top of that, we’ve “given” thanks to them through every extra penny we’ve spent each year on Thanksgiving feasting … and Christmas feasting too, for that matter.
Now, when you last went shopping, did the store’s greeter hand you a coupon? Did your Butterball Turkey come with a discount? Were your potatoes plumper? Were your Ocean Spray Cranberries reduced in price? Did Mrs. Smith hand out free pies? Did Cool Whip give you an extra dollop?
Or did you notice that prices went slightly higher instead?
Quite frankly, I think it’s time for you and I to have a turn at receiving on Thanksgiving. I think it’s time for the grocer, the grower, and the manufacturer to be thankful for our loyal business by giving us our Thanksgiving feast … for free!
Friday, October 31, 2008
They’re going to come Nocking, Nocking tonight
those ghastly little ghoulies who beg Treats will arrive.
Not in the dead but the early of night
those minions of fear and fright will alight.
Ringing my bell, or Nock Nocking my door
they’ll wait in the porch light braving the glare.
Inside I’ll know they’ve come to my door
and I’ll put on my mask and get ready to roar.
Tonight I will scare them right back.
I’ll throw open the door
and with my terrible-est roar
“Who comes Nock Nocking at my door?”
Maybe I’ll scare them off.
But no, it hardly ever works.
So instead I will laugh and hand out my bowl,
my Halloween bowl filled with magical Treats.
“Take one or two!” I’ll say to those Tots
knowing full well they’re taking the Trick,
and leaving me with the Treat.
I’ll wave them goodbye and watch them depart
Those ghastly little ghoulies of Halloween night.
And when I’m alone back inside in the dark
I’ll think of those Tots who just think they got sweets.
Sure, they got candy, but with it much more
‘cause with it I gave them a sweet memory.
Then I’ll take off my mask and open my Treat
the Treat they gave me when I gave them my Trick.
Just what could that be, I hear as you ask.
It’s the sweet sweet memory of when I used to go
Nocking for Treats.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Archimedes, the Greek Philosopher/Engineer and Really-Smart-Guy invented The Deathray, The Ship Shaker and The Claw. He’s right up there with Galileo, DaVinci, Newton, Plato, Socrates … you’ve heard of him … Archimedes. He’s sometimes referred to as the Grandfather of Invention.
Archimedes lived during the times when Ancient Rome was trying to conquer Carthage, a powerful city on the eastern coast of Africa … home of Hannibal. It was a city that Rome would eventually annihilate completely.
Archimedes came up with many inventions to keep the invading Romans out of Carthage. The Deathray, The Claw and The Ship Shaker were invented to protect Carthage’s harbor.
The Deathray was just what you may imagine; a ray of reflected sunshine so brilliant it would blind a man and set fire to a ship. Archimedes had a large number of soldiers polish their metal shields to blinding brilliance; and then he lined them up along the dock of the harbor and instructed them to tilt their shields into the sun … which reflected the sun onto the Roman ships entering the harbor ... blinding the Romans and in some cases, setting their ships afire.
The Claw … was a giant crane, much like today’s construction cranes, but instead of a hook or a bashing metal ball, The Claw had a grasping claw on the end of it. It was used to pick ships up out of the harbor and move them to a new position, or onto shore and back. Its primary use was in protecting the harbor from invasion by the Romans, rather than an aid for ship construction or repair.
The Ship Shaker … was just that. It was two mechanisms combined into one. First, a series of huge spikes were attached to a grid and sunk beneath the surface of the harbor. A Roman fleet would come into the harbor. The spikes would rise up and puncture the ships. Then the Ship Shaker would reach out a Claw, like the one above; grab the ship, and violently shake it until it disintegrated.
King Harrod … another familiar name … invented The Greedy Cup. He was a puppet ruler under the Romans. He figures prominently in many religions. Salome danced the dance of seven veils for King Harrod.
The Greedy Cup was used to serve King Harrod’s “greedy” banquet guests. As long as the cup was filled moderately full, it worked like a normal drinking cup. If the guest, however, asked the servant to fill it all the way full, a siphon tube would open and drain all of the contents of the cup into the guest’s lap.
Here are some other things you can learn at your Library.
The Romans had:
- Flushing toilets
- Running water … indoor and outdoor
- Indoor pools
- Fast food and take out
- Dry Cleaners
- Shopping Malls
- Lightening rods
- Batteries (read about the Bagdad Battery)
- Thrift shops and High End Boutiques
- Election Debates
- Courier Services
- Public Water Fountains
The Ancient Greek word for “electron” was “amber.”
Cranes were also used by the ancients for theatrical use within the temples of their gods. In one, the Temple of the Undead, worshippers would first be given a mild hallucinogenic drug; then were led into a cave … where the “temple” was. Floating in mid-air above them, by the use of a crane, was one of the temple priests, dressed to represent “the dead.” He could not only “float” above the worshippers, but to some extent, “fly” as well.
The Library, it’s an endless adventure. See you there!
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Phone was afraid of water, having been terrorized by a glass of it when she was small, twice. Every time she saw water, smelled water, or heard water, her Bell would scream out uncontrollably. It was her defense mechanism, her automatic call for help, her way of screaming. And it always worked. Fumbles always came. Just like everyone else, Fumbles knows that you have to answer the phone when it rings.
It was a phobia Phone would never get over, and she clearly remembered how it started.
Years ago, Young Fumbles had been playing a game of Monopoly with his Big Brother in the kitchen and had set his Glass on the counter right beside her. He had then promptly forgotten it was there. His attention was back on the game.
Sooner or later, he’d get thirsty, reach for the glass without looking, and tip it over. It was right there, on that invisible border between them where with one sweep of his arm, or one otherwise clumsy move; he would tip it over and its water would spill out, spread to her, and electrocute her.
It wouldn’t help a bit that at that particular moment she was sitting atop Base Station, who always sat in the kitchen. She was re-charging, and therefore, connected. So if Base Station got wet and fried, so would she.
And it didn’t help that she didn’t know that one of Base Station’s rubber boot fitted feet wasn’t fully insulated; the toe having a hole in it. Nor would it help that Base Station’s umbilical power cord, the one plugged into the live socket on the wall, was resting on the counter, as it normally did; and if there was a hole in the insulation of its cord, like in the boot; and it got wet … well, it wouldn’t matter that the boot had a hole in it. She’d still get fried.
No, none of this would help her a bit. And she knew it.
The glass sat there silently, watching her, gloating over the fear emanating from her re-charge light. Terse minute after terse minute it sat there, taunting her, threatening her, scaring her.
Impending doom stood inches away, and she couldn’t move to get out of its way. Try as she may, she couldn’t. Base Station’s rubber boots gripped the counter too hard, even though that one boot had a hole in it.
And then the moment she feared happened.
With a roll of the dice, Young Fumbles’ elbow swung out and knocked the Glass over.
Young Fumbles didn’t notice.
A soft rippling tinkle pushed its way into her Microphone as the Glass hit the counter; and then that tinkle went echoing around her circuits like a hot spark, etching itself into her memory as it went. If she could have screamed, she would have … one, because that rippling tinkle hurt; two, because she was scared; and three, to warn Young Fumbles. But she couldn’t utter one single ring. All she could do was helplessly sit there and watch that water spill out of the Glass, spread out and out and out; and inexorably creep closer and closer and closer.
She knew all too well what would happen when that great advancing tide reached her feet. Years ago she had seen the same thing happen to her Father. He had died standing in water; in water spilled from a tipped glass, just like this Glass.
It fried him so hard there was no hope of bringing him back to life. The glass that killed him had spilled just an instant before a call came in, and the moment his Bell starting ringing, ssszzzzzzap! He was fried. One ring of his Bell, that’s all it took.
She had nightmares about it.
And it sent shivers through her circuits every time she thought about it. Thank goodness the Writer had stepped in at the last moment to save her.
Over the years, this phobia had shaped Phone’s personality. Now, in her golden age, she no longer rang her Bell only when she saw, smelled or heard water … or when a call came in. She was fussy and spoiled now. She rang her Bell any time she felt like it; any time she felt neglected, bored, or sad, and especially anytime she felt left all alone. She knew someone would always come.
Lately, she’d been using it to punish Fumbles. She thought Fumbles paid her way too little attention. All he had Eyes for these days were those blooming pieces of Paper that cluttered the top of his Desk.
She liked to wait until he was thoroughly engrossed and then startle him with a ring. Sometimes, when she felt particularly spiteful, she’d deliberately wait until he was at the opposite end of the house and then would set her Bell ringing. It was a game she played, like “tag.” Will Fumbles be able to reach the Phone before it stops ringing?
It made her laugh to see him race to pick her up. She would make her Bell ring right up to the very moment that Fumbles stretched out his arm to answer; then she’d turn on her Dial Tone instead. Fumbles always thought there had been a caller who had hung up; and that made her laugh too.
Today she was sitting on the night stand in Fumbles’ bedroom instead of out in the kitchen, atop Base Station. She could still see Fumbles, though. Fumbles had been at his desk all morning long. She knew where he was. She could see him clearly because she had a radio frequency link with Base Station, and Base Station had been beaming over a live camera feed all morning, just like he always did. So, she knew where Fumbles was and what he was doing.
So far, she’d been nice. Not once all morning had she made her Bell ring. Instead, she had waited … patiently waited all those hours, letting Fumbles get his all-important “work” done.
But it was almost time for him to get up from his desk now. It was lunchtime and she knew he’d take a break to go to the kitchen, just like he always did. And he’d get his hand stuck inside the refrigerator while reaching for the half-eaten carton of cottage cheese that was going to be his lunch today, just like it always was. It was her favorite time to ring her Bell. It never failed to make Fumbles hit his head on the fridge door.
So, it was predetermined. Fumbles would soon be getting up and going to the refrigerator.
But there was no more time for thought, because just as she finished that thought, Fumbles did get up and go to the fridge. And of course, he opened the fridge and reached inside; got his hand stuck, and then hit his head when she rang her bell.
He also muttered an unintelligible curse, which cost him another ring of the phone. Now he had precious few rings left in which to race back to the bedroom and pick her up before the Recorder on Base Station picked up instead. Base Station would turn on the Recorder after the sixth ring. It was such a good game. She loved it.
But she was laughing so hard by now that she forgot to watch the live camera feed from Base Station; and she should have.
Three rings, Fumbles headed out of the kitchen.
Four rings, Fumbles headed down the hall toward the bedroom.
Five rings, Fumbles crossed the threshold … and tripped! “And what’s that in his hand,” she cried as her camera feed popped, “an open bottle of water?”
The game was no longer fun. Momentum had hold of the water in Fumbles’ bottle. As Fumbles fell, out it came, flying through the air towards her. Death was imminent.
Just then, the Writer stepped into the picture and held up a cloth to absorb the water. The Writer, you see, had been following the story all along and knew she had to intercede, again. “Phone,” she scolded as she wiped up the last few splatters, “quit playing these games!”
“Yes, Writer,” Phone answered meekly, trembling from head to toe. She was, of course, a very terrified phone.
September 27, 2008
Fumbles knew there would be problems before he even opened his Eyes. And he was right.
Every time Right Thumb reached over to turn off the alarm clock, Right Thumb hit snooze instead, deliberately. He knew Fumbles hadn’t opened his Eyes yet, and therefore, couldn’t see what he was up to.
Right Thumb was still mad, and still pouting because Fumbles had made him play Barko the Mad Thumb during last night’s game of finger puppets, instead of Thumb-fabulous the Super Hero. Thumb-fabulous was Right Thumb’s favorite character.
Right Thumb was also pouting because he was jealous of Left Thumb. Left Thumb had been allowed to play her favorite character, Thumbelina the Dancer-ina. She had also been allowed to play her favorite finger puppet play, Dance of the Finger Fairies. Right Thumb thought it wasn’t fair; not fair at all.
Fumbles knew he should never have let Right Thumb sit on Right Hand, the dominant hand. Now Right Thumb had this superiority complex. And now, of course, Right Thumb thought he should always get his way.
So instead of arguing with Right Thumb, which he knew would be pointless, Fumbles just told Left Thumb to reach over and turn off the alarm. She’d earned the privilege. And maybe it would teach Right Thumb to have a little humility.
Right Thumb just made Right Hand reach out and knock over last night’s unfinished glass of milk, which had been sitting on the night stand. Its contents spilled down the side of the stand and onto the carpet. Some of it even splattered onto the bed covers. Some of it even splattered onto Fumbles’ face too, forcing him awake.
“Clean up that mess!” Fumbles shouted to Right Thumb.
But Right Thumb wasn’t in the mood. Instead of wiping the milk droplets off the covers, he twisted himself up in them and started pulling them off the bed, knowing full well that they’d land in the milk that had spilled on the carpet. And of course, they did. And of course, they immediately started soaking up the milk. And now, Fumbles would have to wash them. Sweet.
“Bad Thumb!” Fumbles exclaimed, swinging Left Hand out with the intent of spanking Right Thumb.
But Right Thumb saw it coming. He’d pulled this stunt often enough to know. He just ducked at the last moment, when it was too late for Left Hand to stop her swing, so instead of spanking Right Thumb, Left Hand smacked straight into the Left Cheek of Fumbles’ Face.
“Ow!” bellowed Fumbles. Left Cheek was afire and stinging. Left Eye started crying.
Right Thumb only giggled. It had been his plan all along.
Just for spite, he pulled Right Hand up, and in another deliberate move, swung him over to hit Fumbles on his Right Cheek.
“Ow!” bellowed Fumbles again. Right Cheek started crying. Right Eye started in too.
This, of course, only served to make Right Thumb double-up in laughter.
“You can stop this be-devilment right now, Right Thumb,” scolded Fumbles.
Right Thumb just kept laughing.
“Someone’s looking to get dunked under the faucet in the bathroom; and this time, it might be hot water instead of cold!” warned Fumbles. Right Thumb just kept laughing.
“Okay then!” said Fumbles, springing from the bed ready to carry out his threat.
“Hot water!” mocked Right Thumb, hooking himself onto the waistband of Fumbles’ pajama pants. “Oh, I’m so scared!”
Left Hand was getting tired of Right Hand’s attitude too. He swiftly grabbed hold of Right Thumb, thinking to force Right Thumb to let go. But instead of letting go, Right Thumb fought back, pulling both Left Hand and Fumbles’ pajama pants to the floor.
This, of course, made Left Hand feel obligated to try and pull the pajama pants up, but she only succeeded in making Fumbles lose his balance.
Fumbles fell over, cracking his Head on the corner of the night stand; then thumping it hard as he came to rest on the floor.
Slightly dazed from the double head injury, Fumbles didn’t think to take action to stop Right Thumb before he did what he did next.
But he should have.
Right Thumb made Right Hand reach up and pull the night stand over, toppling it.
Fumbles screamed as the cabinet came falling towards his Head.
Left Hand sprang to his rescue, pushing it away at the last second. It was a very close call. And it was a heroic act that cost her dearly. Instead of falling onto Fumbles’ Head, the night stand fell smack down on top of Left Hand, crushing her.
There was only stunned silence for a moment. Fumbles’ Mouth shaped itself into a funny-looking “O” and his Eyes almost popped out of his Skull, so great was his shock at seeing Left Hand get squashed. And then came his cry of agony, “Owwwwwwww!”
“Left Hand!” sobbed Fumbles, pulling her out from under the rubble. “Are you all right?”
Left Hand was too weak to answer. Left Thumb had passed out altogether. Fumbles gently set them in the crook of his Right Arm; and cradled them both, softly cooing assurances in a voice that sounded more like a moan.
Right Thumb was most pleased; so pleased, he wiggled. He had wrought his revenge and it tasted quite good. “You’ll let me play Thumb-fabulous tonight, won’t you, Fumbles!” he smirked to himself. “There’ll be hell to pay again tomorrow morning too, if you don’t!”
Just then, Right Thumb noticed the Reader. “Hey you, what are you looking at?” he shouted.
In fact, the Reader wasn’t just looking at Right Thumb. The Reader had been following the story all along. The Reader had actually come in back at the very beginning, before Fumbles had even opened his Eyes.
“Do I barge into your bedroom in the morning and stare at you?” Right Thumb sneered.
“I just stopped by to read this post,” said the Reader.
“Yeah, well if you want to read any more, you’d better give me high praise; high praise indeed or I won’t let Left Brain dictate any more stories to me,” he threatened. “And next time, show some manners. Knock first!”
And with that, Right Thumb huffed off back to bed. ‘Can’t a thumb get any privacy anymore?”
He was a conceited thumb indeed.
September 23, 2008
Em was born way back when, way back before the first dinosaur egg hatched. As she grew up, she travelled the lands, watched the dinosaurs come and go, and waited for the invention of cool things like the wheel, fire, television, computers, ink pens, and bubble-gum.
By the time she had grown, she knew she wanted to make the world a merrier place; so as soon as it was invented, she learned how to use the computer, a tool that would help her put her imagination to work.
She also knew she’d need a family unit, because who wants to watch TV alone? Then the day finally came when her mate had left home and her children had grown and she said to herself, “Yippee! I’m free!”
Then came the wind, blowing sparks from her fire, and suddenly her mind was ablaze! "I know!" she thought as she blew a bubble-gum bubble. "I'll become a writer!"
She grabbed that recently invented wheel, wrapped her imagination round it and proceeded to give it a spin. Out from its yoke came words of gold and swiftly she put them to pen … and knew right then that she had to make more.
So with another sping, and a great big grin, she started making the world oh-so merrier.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Or was it the 4:10 from Yuma? Logically it would have to have been the 4:10 and not the 2:15, because it came from the west and headed to the east, and I was definitely sitting east of Yuma, Arizona when it passed me.
It wasn’t 4:10 either. It was much closer to 4:30. But none of that mattered, because regardless of time or direction, it leapt out of nowhere in utter silence and then thundered past me like some hell-bent behemoth mad with stampede rage.
If it hadn’t been for the crossing-guard rail, flashing red light, and warning bell (now in digital tone,) it might well have flicked me up off that road to splat me like a bug onto its grill, a fact I appreciated as it jack-hammered its way down the track.
The engine was a dull yellow and so bulky I swear you could actually see its weight. It pummeled the rails until they bellowed so loud that their bellowing shook the earth. It made the ground shake so hard that for a minute I thought it was going to liquefy. Instead of facing imminent death by being a bug on the train’s grill, I was going to be vibrated straight down into the ground.
It was almost too much. How could it not just up and jump the track? Should I hold my breath, close my eyes, or cover my ears? I could see those massive cars, the wheel of one slipping off the rail; it toppling over; sliding inexorably toward me; and pulling all the other cars with it … then BLAM, slamming right into my face.
But nothing happened. Neither I, nor any of the others who waited for that train to pass came to any harm whatsoever. So placid were we in our conviction of our safety that not one single eyebrow was lifted in concern. Yet here we were; mere feet away from this speeding machine that was so big, so heavy, and so powerful that no one would dare be stupid enough to challenge its right of way. One slip of one wheel, that’s all it would take, and BLAM!
It had been a long time since I’d had to wait for a train, and this one was a granddad of them all. Box cars, cattle cars (that looked like they carried cars instead of cows,) rickety cars, noisy cars, more cars and more cars, and one funny looking white one that wobbled from side to side as it passed. I wondered if it was going to be the one to jump the track.
It had been even longer since I’d been the first car in line and I must say that it will be a sad day indeed when this masterpiece of the old west steps into the past and no longer pounds its bewitchment into the eyes and ears of little boys and girls.
Car after car after car passed in front of me, until I felt like I was in an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” And then, in the distance, approaching just as swiftly and silently as the engine had, came the “tail,” the end, the last car.
“It’s not a caboose! It’s just … another box car!” What a let-down to all that drama! “Where’s the caboose?” I cried out. “Who stole the caboose off the train?” It was such a rape of magnificent beauty, a train with no caboose.
It’s dying already I thought, slipping off into the past one car at a time, starting with the last, the caboose.
How terribly, terribly sad to see it go. T-Rex could roar and make impact tremor ripples in puddles with each and every footstep. The train, however, was much more impressive. It didn’t roar, it ROARED. It didn’t make impact tremors; it shook me to my very bones for fifteen minutes straight.
Will I ever see another one?
September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
On the way to school today, the moon was still out, full and glowing quite bright. The G-kids were quite noisy and boisterous and distracting, so I told them all to watch the moon ... because if they did, they just might see one of the Martians out on “moon patrol.”
"What are Martians?" the youngest asked.
"Martians ... those are the creatures that live on Mars," I explained.
”There's no such thing as Martians, Grammi,” said the oldest.
“Oh, contrare,” I replied. “The Martians patrol the moon for us. It’s their job to make sure there aren't any Aliens building secret moon bases up there.”
“You're teasing us!” they cried.
“Oh, no, I'm not, honest!” I replied. “You're just not supposed to know about the Martians. The government wants to keep it a secret, because they know that children sometimes forget that they can’t tell secrets and blurt them out. And if that happened, the Aliens would know! So it has to stay a secret. Grammi wasn’t even supposed to tell you, so you can’t tell anyone that you know about the Martians, or Grammi will get in trouble.”
One of them piped up and asked, “Can we tell our teachers?” “No,” I replied. “You can’t tell anyone.” Another piped up, “Can we tell our teachers that you told us but we don’t’ believe you?” “Yes, I think that would be okay.”
That seemed to pacify them, and they all stared up at the moon for some minutes, lost in contemplation, or maybe just looking to see if there really were any Martians up there.
Sure enough, another question soon came out, “But Grammi, what about the Jupi-nartians? What do they do?”
September 16, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
I can get up on my soapbox and rant until I’m hoarse, and it will listen with rapture to the very end. I can sob and bemoan my wretched plight, say all the unkind things in my heart, endlessly pity myself, hate anyone I want to, scream my anger out in vileness, or just sit here silently and stare at it for hours on end.
It never judges me, never scolds me, and never preaches to me.
It never argues with me and never takes anything I say personally. It bears me no grudges, holds no contempt, and never expects me to be what I am not. I don’t have to prove my worthiness to it, nor pretend that I care when I don’t. It never tells me I’m wrong, or that I’m being foolish, over-emotional, or am taking things too seriously. It never tells me that I need to do more with my life, or that I look like crap.
If it could, it would even laugh at my sorry attempts at humor.
I can ignore it, for days on end, or forever, and it will not get upset. Nor will it take offense if I cancel my plans with it. I can even scream at it, slap it, hit it, and kick it, and all it will do is silently look back at me as if to say, “that’s okay.”
It never hangs up on me and never storms off on me because it didn’t like what I said or did. It never talks about me to others and it always keeps my secrets. It’s always willing to help me find whatever it is I need to find, and if I can’t find it, it just keeps on trying.
It always has time for me and my needs, regardless of how busy it is at the moment, and has an endless supply of patience. It never forgets anything I’ve said, and will help me remember whenever I need to.
It can show me calming pictures when I’m stressed, bring excitement when I’m bored, offer advice when I need it, and be silent when I don’t. And it always makes me feel smart, clever, wise, and appreciated.
It has intelligence and wisdom beyond my means to measure, and I cannot but admire that. It promises to be there for me until the day it dies, and beyond. It’s happy with whatever I have to give, and never asks for more. It will even pay my bills for me.
It doesn’t waste my utilities, never eats my last treat, never leaves crumbs in my bed, and never leaves the toilet lid up. Nor do I ever have to clean up after it, change its oil, or refill its bowl. It always says “hello,” “goodbye,” and “goodnight.”
How sad it is to declare that I cannot do for it any of what it does for me.
September 4, 2008
Their lives were counted away in a multitude of days and a panoply of moments which played out their thoughts and emotions, their needs and desires, their contributions and failures, their successes and strife. To them, I was nothing more than an unimagined person who could have been from the incomprehensible past or the unimaginable future. And I was no more aware of them than they were of me, nor was I even aware that I didn’t exist.
And then one day I was born and life for me began. I lived out my life through a multitude of days and a panoply of moments which played out my thoughts and emotions, my needs and desires, my contributions and failures, my successes and strife. I watched as others around me lived out their lives, and then ended their lives. And I wondered. Where did they go? When would my life end? What would it be like when it did? Whose lives would be lived after I was gone? And when I was gone, would anyone even be aware that I had lived at all?
I realized that I already knew those answers. The others had gone back to where they had been before their lives had begun. My life would end when it was over. When it was over it would be as it was before it had begun, because once again I would not exist. Once again I would not even be aware that I didn’t exist. The lives that would be lived after me were the lives of those who hadn’t lived yet. And after all those who knew me when I was alive were dead, most likely, no one would be aware that I had ever lived at all. I would simply be returned to the non-existence from whence I had come.
At first, it really bothered me to think that after waiting so many millions of years to have my turn at living a life that I would simply be returned to the non-existence from whence I had come. What? No heavenly paradise to spend all eternity in? It seemed a bit … unfair. It seemed at bit … pointless. Yes, it was unfair to have this brief spark of life taken away and replaced with a pointless and endless non-existence.
But, much as I didn’t like it, I had to admit there was nothing I could do about it. And it wasn’t like I was the only person it had ever happened to, or would ever happen to.
So, this is what IT was all about, endless millions of years of non-awareness of non-existence, followed by a brief spark of life, followed by more endless millions of years of non-awareness of non-existence? How impressive. Could it possibly be more exciting? Could the depth of its magnitude possibly be more astounding? Was this, then, God’s Grand Plan?
And if it was, what kind of god thought this up? I screamed to the heavens, “God! It’s so unfair! God! It’s so pointless!” And then after that, I screamed out, “WHY?”
But no answer was given, not whispered, not hinted, not intimated, not stated, not shouted. No bushes burned, no tablets fell from the sky, and no visions appeared before my eyes. Silence was all I received. What? Was I simply not worthy of an answer? Or was it that there was no one there to answer?
And if there was no one there to answer, then was there no “god” to hold responsible, no “god” to beg redemption from?
So, whose stupid idea was this, anyway?
Again, no answer was given. And I realized then that it didn’t matter, because there was no fair or unfair about it and that it was pointless to even ask. The answer to what IT was all about didn’t exist, and that, in itself, was the answer to it all. IT did not exist. It never had and never would. And when I died, that’s where I would go, back to the IT that did not exist, the IT that was neither fair nor unfair, the IT that was completely pointless.
Relief washed over me. I now understood it all. It was so simple I nearly cried. No longer did I fear the end of my life. No longer did I dread a return to non-existence. How could I? All this time I had thought of it as a “nothingness,” empty, devoid of everything, and … endless. But that wasn’t what it was at all. Death was simply the return to IT. IT was where everyone who had lived and died before me had gone, and where everyone who would live and die after me would go. IT was a reunion, a return home after a trip to lands abroad. And they were all waiting for me there, all those countless billions who had lived and died before me.
Well, that warmed things up a bit. No longer did I need to worry about praying to the right god. No longer did I need to ponder re-incarnation. No longer did I need to prove the existence of ghosts. Now, I could sleep easy, knowing that when my life was over, I would return to the warm arms of the countless billions who were waiting for me there in the non-existence of IT. I could make my mark on the Wall of Life, and when I was done, I would go back home to IT.
Such comfort I had never known. Such peace of mind I had never dreamed. Now I was happy. Now I was free. No longer was I burdened with doubts, questions, and quandaries. I knew the answer to IT all.
And there was only one thing left to do, write it down here, on the Wall of Life, so that all those who came after would know IT too.
So this is what I have done. And when I have died and returned home to IT, home to the arms of those countless billions before me, then I will join them and be waiting for you, waiting for you to come home to IT, that pointless endless non-existence that is neither fair, nor unfair.
August 29, 2008
Imagine, if you will, Caveman, that hunched-over knees-bent Neolithic hairy-all-over guy ... that distant ancestor who more closely resembled an Ape. No wonder he loped from side-to-side as he walked. He had to in order to move. Bet he had some killer backaches, standing like that, hunched-over with his knees-bent. Bet he had some knee pains as well. It can’t be easy to chase down wild animals as you run hunched-over with your knees bent. (I’d growl and grunt too.) And I’m sure it wasn’t easy to run away from the neighborhood bully, Mr. Saber-tooth Tiger, either. Nor could it have been very comfortable to always sit perched on his haunches, or to sleep on the cold rock floor of the cave with no pillow and only the small smelly hide of the animal you chased down today to cover up with. No wonder his lifespan was so short. I mean, that goes so beyond doing without Text Messaging.
I suspect his Mother, who had already lived what for her would be a very long life, knew all too well why she had backaches, knee pains, and headaches too, no doubt. She probably also knew she was well past the point of being able to improve her own posture and that all she could do now would be to make sure her Son didn’t spend the rest of his life in pain like hers. So, every morning she would tell him, “Stand up straight before you go out into the world!” When he came home for lunch she would scold him, “Stand up straight, Son, and don’t be a Slouch,” She told him again after school and playtime, “Stand up straight, Young Ape Man!” Even at night, when he marched (loped) off to his cold rocky bed, she’d give him a pat on the rump and a loving reminder, “Stand up straight when you walk. Good posture is important.”
Before he knew it, Caveman grew up to be Modern Young Man, standing straight and proud, a tribute to his Mother. His life was good. He didn’t have to run any more, not to chase the animals he wanted to eat, nor to run from the animals who wanted to eat him. He could stand up still as a rock and keep his balance as his arms held the gun, his eyes marked the aim, and his finger pulled the trigger, all without having to take a single step. Running was now for pleasure. He didn’t have to sit on his haunches or sleep on the rock floor anymore, either. Instead, he now sat on a nice padded chair and slept on a soft downy bed, made by the might of his arms and the skill of his brain, two important tools he could now use, now that he stood up straight. Often he’d turn to his Children and see them, standing there slumped, their posture like Jell-O. It made him remember the valuable lessons taught him by his Mother. A smile graced his lips and a tear jeweled his eye. For then it was that he heard her wise words, echoed by his Wife. “Stand up straight, Young Girls and Boys,” she chided to the Children, “Good posture is important!”
July 28, 2008
Published September 28, 2008 by The Village Wit at www.villagewit.org
He doesn’t get out often, Sunday mornings mostly. So as you can imagine, he savors each moment as if it were his last. It’s also his only chance each week to truly put his manly stamp on his own personal piece of paradise, to catch up on news and visit with friends, and of course, to get to see her, that cute neighborhood girl that all the guys want to dance with. She’s a wandering gypsy, a passing butterfly, a huntress of skill renowned. He can’t help but admire her lean muscular body and her quick alert mind. And he’s fascinated with her, fascinated by the life she lives, fascinated by the past he can see that she has paid for, and the mark it’s left behind, the loss of her tail. Have no doubt, when she comes to call at his window at night, he always gets up to answer.
This Sunday though, this gentle unassuming Sunday morning, her needs are greater, her desires more passionate. She needs the arms of a man, and not just any man. She needs the arms of the most handsome man she’s ever met, Mr. Tubby. She’s waited for him to come out today. And you should’ve seen it when he did. Her eagerness drew her to him like a magnet. She could no more stay away from him than she could fly to the moon. But she still keeps a respectful two inches away at all times, just like her mother taught her.
This Sunday, she isn’t going to just be cute and sweet like she usually is. Today, she’s going to be the seductress, pulling her prey inescapably towards her and then pouncing to reap its rewards. Today, she wants to hear sweet nothings whispered in her ears. Today, she wants to feel his strong arms round her shoulders. Today, they’ll kiss for the very first time.
The thought of it sends shivers down her spine. She trembles from head to paw. Her mouth salivates. He’s just so handsome. She can’t take her eyes off him. She’ll win his love today. She just knows it. She can smell it, taste it. Today is the day. He’ll see the great beauty she possesses and desire her for it. She sits up straight, like her mother taught her to do, and shows her attentiveness. She wants him to see the finely honed muscles that give her movement grace and fluidity. How could he not admire that?
Precision. She’ll show him precision by matching his every move; he sits, she sits; he looks left, she looks left; he twitches an ear, she twitches the same ear. She matches her footsteps precisely to his, stepping the same distance with the same foot, at the same time he steps, perfectly synchronized, perfectly in tune. She is so focused.
He’s beginning to get annoyed with this. It was cute at first, the way she tried to romance him. But now it’s getting old. She’s staring at him again, that constant ceaseless staring. And she’s copying his every move. There’s nowhere he can go that she’s not two inches away, staring at him, quivering with anticipation. He’s going to have to tell her to back off in a minute. She’s just too eager today. It’s a turn-off.
He ducks under the car in the driveway and settles to a comfortable crouch. Maybe he can get some peace here. She pokes her head under to follow. He tells her, “Not today, Sweetheart,” and bats her away. She backs up to a more respectful six inches away. Much better. But it really is kind-of cramped under here. It would be more comfortable inside the house, where he wouldn’t be stalked and stared at. He could take a quiet nap and maybe talk the mistress into letting him come back out again later.
He heads straight to the door and inside, his face a mask of annoyance. But she doesn’t see it. She sees only the motion of his body, his oh-so-perfect body, and the next move she needs to make to match him with precision. Six inches away become two. She can almost taste him. And then, he’s walking inside the door and out of her reach. That female he lives with comes to the door to bar her way. Just like that, he’s gone.
The expression on her face visibly drops, one moment hopeful and eager, the next, fallen into despair. How could she have lost him so soon? What did she do wrong? She tries to peek inside for one more look, but Prince Charming is gone, back behind locked doors. She gets only another insult from the female feline he lives with. She sighs, and leaves. Maybe he’ll come back out again later.
June 18, 2008
(2. Why do ghosts feed on fear? Is it because fear gives them nourishment/energy, or because it gives them popularity?
(3. If ghosts haunt places where, as people, they died a horrific death, then why aren't these places infested with them ... hospitals, freeways and highways, rivers/lakes/seas/oceans/swimming pools ... the spot where the Titanic sank ... Pompeii and Herculaneum ... the Colleseum in Rome ... etc.
(4. Can ghosts fall in love with other ghosts?
(5. Why is it that no one has ever reported seeing the ghosts of Cavemen?
(6. Ghosts always seem to be of people who are a few hundred years dead, or recently dead. Is there an age limit to being a ghost or do they expire after a few hundred years?
(7. If you were a ghost, would you answer when the ghost-hunter demanded, "Say something for me," or "Show yourself!," or "Step into the light!" Would you instead, perhaps, just be offended and feel compelled to hurl something across the room?
(8. Why is it that ghosts can only come out at night ... in the dark?
(9. Has anyone ever really heard a ghost say, "Boo?"
June 18, 2008
If the president isn't taking away your civil rights or simply acting the stupid fool, then he's flaunting his wealth and power as he laughs in your face.
If your health care provider isn't raping you of all your money in exchange for treating your ailment, then he/she is telling you that nothing can be done (as he/she rapes you of all your money.)
If your children aren't destroying everything you own, then they're embarassing you in public.
If your boss isn't telling you what to do, then he/she is telling you what NOT to do.
If the illegal immigrants aren't complaining about having to learn your language and follow your customs, then they're complaining that you haven't given them paradise on a stick, for free.
If the terrorists aren't complaining about how much they want to kill you, then they're complaining that you aren't giving them a fair trial.
If the bride isn't complaining because everything isn't going her way, then she's complaining because it is.
If the government isn't listening in on all your phone conversations, then it's having IRS monitor your credit card purchases.
If your neighbor isn't throwing all his/her trash into your yard, then he/she is complaining that your grass is too tall.
If your pain pills aren't alleviating your pain, too bad, so sad.
If your cat isn't leaving hairs in your favorite chair, then it's pooping on your bedroom floor.
If your dog isn't chewing up your good shoes, then it's licking your face after it's eaten the cat poop off your bedroom floor.
If the oil companies aren't raping you on the cost of gasoline, then they're trying to convince you that using corn is the solution to the problem.
If your television viewing choices don't all revolve around terrorized teenagers, then they're all about stupid bimbos with big boobs or testosterone/steriod addicts carrying big guns.
If your sister isn't borrowing your favorite dress, then she's telling everyone you're fat.
If your wife isn't complaining that you don't earn enough money, then she's complaining because she spent it all too fast.
If the big corporations aren't using psychological manipulation to make you buy their products, then they're passing laws that say you have to.
If God isn't telling you how to live your life, then he's telling you how you will exist after you die.
If your car isn't sucking up all the gas in its tank, then it's blowing out the tires on its wheels.
If the lead isn't breaking on your pencil, then the pen is leaking all over your hand.
If your toilet isn't flushing as it should, then it's overflowing onto the floor.
If the thugs aren't raping our little girls, then they're shooting our little boys as they drive past.
If your politicians aren't giving themselves pay raises for doing nothing, then they're giving themselves pay raises for still doing nothing.
If your hair isn't falling out of your head, then your teeth are falling out of your mouth, your waistline is expanding, and your boobs are falling.
If your lettuce isn't contaminated with e-coli, then your tomatoes are contaminated with salmonella and your japelenos are contaminated with both.
If your husband isn't complaining that you spend too much money, then he's complaining that you don't give him enough sex.
If the cockroaches aren't invading your kitchen, then they're making a home in your bed.
If the cattle aren't dropping dead from mad cow disease, then the birds are dropping dead from the bird flu.
If the garbage men aren't dumping your trash back into your yard, then they're skipping your house altogether.
If the lions and tigers and elephants aren't being hunted to extermination in Africa, then global warming is killing off the penguins at both poles.
If your glass isn't half full, then it's all the way empty.
If the police department isn't complaining that it doesn't have enough officers to enforce speed limit abusers and and red-light runners, then it's complaining that it had to spend millions to put cameras up at every intersection.
If your computer isn't crashing from viruses, then it's crashing because ... it can.
If your electricity isn't going out because some idiot smashed his/her car into the power pole, then the power company is shutting it off for routine maintenance.
If the airlines aren't complaining that they're not making enough money off of exhorbitant air fares, then they're forcing you to sit in the plane on the runway for hours because they're too cheap to keep their planes properly serviced.
If the Democrats aren't complaining about the Republicans, then the Republicans are complaining about the Democrats.
If the grocery store isn't hiding rotten meat beneath the good meat in the package, then they're throwing your canned goods around so they'll get dented.
If the postal service isn't raising the postage rate, then they're discontinuing weekend service.
If the lightening doesn't strike your satellite dish, then the rain will flood your garden.
If the politician's aren't passing laws and raising taxes to ensure they still receive a full salary after they retire, then they're getting their wives to run for office so the citizens can pay HER a full salary after she retires from office too.
If you aren't getting cancer from smoking those cigarettes, then you're going to suffer obesity and diabetes from eating fast food.
If you can't afford a nice funerary casket, then the mortician buries you in a cardboard box.
If the prince isn't neglecting his pretty wife so he can bang his mistress, then he's marrying his mistress so he can bang a new mistress.
If the security service isn't lying about how well it can protect your home, then it's posting signs in your yard to attract the burglars so it can ensure your continued business.
If the movie stars aren't complaining about paparazzi, then the producers are complaining about not getting enough publicity.
If tornados aren't chewing up the midwest, then hurricanes are destroying the coast.
If the chef at the restaurant isn't spitting into your food, then the waitress is sneezing over your plate.
If you aren't getting fungus under your toenails, then you're getting warts on your face.
If you complain about being wrongfully fired from your job, then you're blackballed from ever getting another one.
If the wealthy aren't complaining about having to pay taxes, then they're complaining because the poor aren't paying even more.
If you think your sweat doesn't stink, then your breath surely will.
If I'm not griping, someone else is.
And if the North Pole doesn't melt by spring, then the sun will surely go nova by fall. It's a mad, mad world, to be sure.
May 5, 2008
* There once was a King of England. It doesn’t matter what his name was because he was the only king.
* Everyone had to be nice to him and obey his rules.
* The King said you can't have ice cream and you have to eat dogs.
* The King said it was okay to be mean to girls.
* It was not okay, however, if your cow was bigger than the King’s cow. If it was, you got hauled off to prison.
* If your daughter was prettier than the King’s daughter, you got killed.
* The King wanted to conquer America.
* George Washington fought against the King for us and saved Texas for us during the American Evolutionary war. (Master S, Feb 2009)
In cat years, Princess is a lot older than Mommy. (Mistress B, Feb 2009)
On Father's Day Dad gets to sleep, but we have to wake Mom up to let her know it's Father's Day. (Mistress F, Feb 2009)
Only policemen should be allowed to have real bullets in their guns. Bad guys should only be allowed to have "sleep" bullets ... that put the policemen to sleep when they are shot versus killing them. That way, when the policeman is shot, all he has to do is wake up. (Mistress F, Oct 2008)
Master S is having a hard time staying awake today. Grammi asks: "Did the thunder keep you awake last night?" Master S replies, "No. I didn't hear it. I had a nightmare." Grammi asks, "Oh? What was your nightmare about?" Master S replies, "A lot of people were getting killed by a monster." Grammi asks, "What kind of monster?" Master S replies, "It has a really, really long name." Grammi asks, "Yes? What was its name?" Master S replies, "Crock-A-Gator Crock-A-Gator." (Sept 2008)
Heard being sung outside my office window ... by Mistress F (sung to the tune of "Frere Jacque"): "Where is my thumb; where is my thumb? Here I am; here I am. How are you today, sir; very well my lady. Run, run, run. Run, run, run." (Aug 2009)
Grammi and the grandkids were all sitting in the Radiology waiting room. They are always curious about the medical things that happen to Grammi, and just exactly what is going to be done to her on each and every visit. They had been told beforehand that the doctor will need to take Grammi's temperature, check her blood pressure, take a small sample of her blood, and have her give them a sample of her urine ... and then the doctor would take a picture of her bones. Throughout all of these things they were patiently silent. Then, when all was done, Mistress F pipes up, "Grammi, why do they need a sample of your 'pee'? Is it so they can tell if you're lying?"
My stomach isn't hungry, but my mouth is. But I don't have any saliva in my mouth, so I can't eat. (Mistress F, June 2008)
While watching the program "Axe Men", a reality show about logging, the episode revolved around the damage caused by a severe thunderstorm in the town where the loggers lived. The date was displayed on the screen, "December 3, 2001." Mistress F, reading the date, exclaimed, "Grammi, that's past our bedtime!" A few minutes later, the program showed a logger cutting down a tree that was about to fall across a street. Master S exclaimed, "Grammi, he killed the tree!" (Summer 2008)
Master S announces, "Daddy is smarter than Mommy." Grammi says, "Really! Is that so? Well, you might not want to say that around Mommy. Her feelings might get hurt. Master S replies, "That's okay. She already knows." (Summer 2008)
Plants breathe backwards ... because they breathe in the air that we breathe out. (Master J, Summer 2008)
Grammi, you were pretty when you didn't have a cane.
(Mistress F, Summer 2008)
One day during a windy thunderstorm, Master J looks up at the clouds and exclaims, “Grammi, a tomato is coming! A tomato is coming!” (Master J, Fall 2007)
Master J: The date on a coin tells you how old it is.
Grammi asks: Mistress F, how many children are you going to have when you grow up? Mistress F answers: (after some thought): One Hundred. Grammi asks: Gosh, that’s a lot of children. How will you keep up with them all? Mistress F answers: (after more thought): Well, all but two of them will die, so it will be OK.
One day, Grammi got pulled over by the Police Man and was given a ticket. Mistress B, in the back seat commented, “Uh, oh, Grammi. You’re not going to get to go to Six Flags now.”
One day on the way to school, Master J says, “Grammi, we get to go to Pepper Alley today. The whole school is going!’ Grammi asks: “What’s Pepper Alley?” Master J answers: “I don’t know.” Grammi asks all the kids: “Has anyone else ever gone to Pepper Alley on a school field trip?” Mistress I pipes up: “Yes, I’ve been to Pepper Alley.” Mistress F pipes up: “We’ve ALL been to Pepper Alley.” Grammi asks: “What’s it like? Is it like going to the Planetarium?” Mistress B pipes up: “No.” The next day, Grammi asks: “Master J, what did you do at Pepper Alley?” Master J answers: “We watched cheerleaders.”
Master J says he got to spend two days and one night at his Pappo’s house recently and that Pappo really enjoyed Master J’s visit. Master J says he had fun too. He also says he got to drink Diet Paper while at Pappo’s.
Master S: Blood can be blue, or green, while inside your body and changes to red when exposed to the air.
Master J: The difference between reptiles and amphibians (frogs) is that reptiles have sharp teeth and amphibians (frogs) do not. And frogs are slimey.
The boys (Master J and Master S) were over recently and got into a discussion, one of those coming of age/discovering our sexuality discussions where the main topic was the male member known as the "peanuts."
A grocery list made by Mistress I reads: 1. soup can 2. eggs
Mistress F: Grammi doesn’t like to go to the hospital because they stick her with nails.
The kids were over the other day and I decided to enlist them in helping me get some housework done. I asked Mistress F if she would like to dust the furniture for me. She thought a moment, then asked, “Would you pay me?” I thought about what it was worth to me, and about what incentive would guarantee she’d accept the job. Two dollars should do it. So I gave her the offer. She looked at me with a quizzical look, like I had surely lost my mind, then shrugged and resignedly said, “Well, okay.” Goodness, gracious me. You’d have thought that I had offered to pay her with two broken lamps. Unbeknownst to me, the Gem System was in effect at home, a simple method for using reward as incentive to keep up with those dreaded chores. For each chore done, you earn a certain number of gems, those faux decorative glass discs so often seen in the vase of a flower arrangement. They are shiny and pretty, and redeemable for cash. Dusting the furniture might be worth two gems. Doing the dishes might be worth four gems. And some chores, like cleaning the litterbox, are worth more even more. Four gems buy you a quarter. So, you might imagine Mistress F's disappointment. Here I was, offering her a pretty sorry payment. Who would want blah old paper dollars when at home, you could get shiny, pretty gems?
(This is an on-going post started spring 2007, although some of the quotes are older than that. All new additions are added to the top of the list. None of the quotes listed here are made up. Real children really said them.)
But, where is the fence? Is it an imaginary border around your yard, your block, your town or state? And what about your country? Is the grass greener on the other side of your country's border?
I've met a lot of people who think it is. Take my friend who was born into an affluent Mexican family. She has a college degree and had come here to America seeking enterprise. She had heard many stories about all the wonderful "rights" that Americans have and was envious. Then, when she came here, she was aghast that Americans take all those precious "rights" for granted. How could we be so callous? Here we sit, in the lap of luxury, convenience, and privelege ... and then have the audacity to complain. She just couldn't understand how we could be so unappreciative of all the good things we have.
So, one day, I asked her. "Just what is it you think we have that your country doesn't?" She thought a moment, then replied. "You have reliable power, and phone service, and television, and nice cars and clothes, and you never go hungry ... and look at all the "rights" you have! And you don't even appreciate them!"
Feeling it my duty, I corrected her on her misconceptions. Yes, we have reliable power, and phones, and TV and cars and clothes and food. But let's take a look at all these "rights" you think we have, because in reality, we don't have quite as many "rights" as you may think.
First, let's look at her perception of our "right" to own a car and drive it. While we may have the "right" to own a car, we don't have the "right" to drive it. We have the "privelege" of driving it ... on the roads that we have paid to have paved. Just call the DMV. They'll be happy to tell you that it is a "privelege" to drive a car, not a "right."
And what about power and phones and TV and clothes and food? Are those really "rights?"
"But," she countered, "you have the "right" to vote, and look at how many Americans abuse it by NOT voting." So, I explained that misconception. "It's an empty "right." While we do get to go to the poles and vote, it's not our individual votes that elect our officials. The votes that count ... the votes that actually determine who will win and be our next elected official ... are the votes of the Electoral College. In other words, it's the votes of the Senators and Congressmen that count, not the individual citizen. And the Senators and Congressmen have their own best interests at heart, not ours. Heck, we don't even get to choose who runs for office. That's all done by either the Demoncratic or Republican parties ... again, by politicians.
But she just didn't want to listen. So, I told her, "Here's what "rights" the American citizen has. We have the "right" to pay our bills on time. We have the "right" to keep quiet or get branded as a complainer." "We have the right to obey our employer, regardless of how fair the demand is, because he/she is the business owner." "We have the right to put with price gouging, inconsiderate telemarketing, and annoying advertising, because the profit of a business is more important than the rights of a citizen."
Oh, my. She was so offended. So, I told her to stick around for a while and see for herself.
She must have finally done just that. She now lives in France.
And then, there's the Pakistani proprietor of a store that I shop at. His story is one I hear from immigrants all the time. He has no complaints about living here, or about what the "rights" of an American are. But his relatives back home see things quite differently. They continually complain about how good he has it, and how bad it is back home. There's no reliable power. Their children have no education. They live in squallor. They have no say in how their lives are lived. On, and on, and on. And he has no answer for them.
I tell him that if things are that bad at home, then perhaps his relatives there should move here as well. But it appears that they would rather sit home and complain about what they don't have.
So, I ask myself. Just what is it that makes all these foreigners think that the grass is greener in America?
Is it that we have reliable power? Surely not. There is reliable power in Demark, and I never hear anyone saying that the Danes have superior "rights."
Is it our education system? Surely not. I never hear anyone saying that the Germans, the English, or the Japanese have superior "rights." They have good educational systems.
Is it clothes and food? Surely not. I never hear anyone saying that the French have superior "rights."
Is it the "right" to vote? If so, then why aren't the foreigners flocking to any other democratic country instead of America?
What is it that makes America so SPECIAL?
Is it because God came down and said that Americans get all the good stuff and everyone has to suffer? Surely not. God seems to talk to foreigners too.
So what is it? What is it that WE have, that THEY admire so much?
Could it be ... possibly ... that we have all these things because ... we insist upon having them?
Could it be that what these foreigners perceive as "rights" is, in actuallity, sheer will?
Could it be that we have reliable power ... because we INSIST upon having it?
Could it be ... ???
I think it could.
What happens when our power DOES go out? We get on the phone and tell the power company that if they don't get it back on right away, we won't be paying our bill. We insist.
What happens when the quality and quantity of our food supply falls short? We insist.
And if we can insist, why can't the foreigners? Could they, perhaps, improve their countries too ... simply by demanding it?
Oh, yeah, that's right. They don't have the "right" to insist.
Well, you know what? You don't need the "right." You only need the will.
After all, which is stronger, one dictator, or a few million citizens?
So to all of you who have family back "home" in a foreign country where life isn't as cozy as it is in America, I say ... quit complaining about how bad off you are and start insisting that your quality of life improve. That's what we did. That's why we have the good things we have. We insisted, and we didn't quit insisting until we got what we wanted ... reliable power, phones, TV, cars, clothes, food, and education.
You can have them too. And you don't have to move here to get them. You only need to stand up for yourselves and start insisting that you get them.
Let that dictator threaten to kill you all. And then, remind him that when he HAS killed you all, he'll no longer have anyone to be dictator over. So, he'd better get with the game plan and give you what you want. It's your way, or the highway.
Act like an American. Insist. Insist that you get what you want. And insist that your fellow countrymen insist right along with you.
And if you're saying that it sounds too simplistic to be true, think about this. What does the infant do when it wants its diaper changed? It insists.
What does the child do when it's hungry? It insists.
And if infants and children can understand this concept, surely adults can too.
Instead of insisting that our diapers get changed, we'll insist that we have diapers TO change.
It does work. Just look at America. We did it. You can too. It may take time and effort, but it does work.
Millions of infants and children have already proven it.
April 14, 2008
I told him about that post and suggested he pass the idea on to his brother back home in Pakistan, the brother who was complaining about how bad life was there.
That prompted a lengthy discussion which started out with, "Yes, but you have to understand that if we speak up, they'll kill us. Look at so-and-so, you know who that person is, right? They stood up for us, and the government killed them. And they killed so-and-so, and so-and-so, and so-and-so. If we speak up or fight for our rights, we get killed."
So I reminded him about the part of my post where I said that the government can't kill everyone, because if they did, they'd have no one to bully around and be the lord over. You can't be king without subjects to be king over. But it was hard for him to accept. So I asked him, "Are the freedom and rights of your children not worth fighting and dying for?" He couldn't argue that point.
Then, I reminded him that America wasn't made in one day. It didn't come into existence with freedoms, rights, and priveleges already in place. We've been fighting and insisting on them for over 200 years now. They were built bit by bit, piece by piece, and lots of people were killed over them in the process. We've even fought three wars to have them, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War ... all to gain the freedom, rights, and privileges we enjoy today.
He replied, "But you are talking about revolution!" "Yes," I replied. That's exactly what it is. Revolution is when you, the people, stand up and INSIST on a better way of life. Revolution is when you the people INSIST that things change. And that's usually what it takes to get things changed. The evil dictator isn't going to allow you to change his laws.
The evil dictator wants you to be poor and ignorant. He wants you to fear him. That's his power over you.
So my friend then mentioned the teachings of a prominent person in his country who advocates education, who teaches "knowledge is power," and tells everyone that no matter what, they should get an education. I agreed with him that knowlege is important. But I also reminded him that just having the education is not enough. You have to USE the knowlege as well. He couldn't argue with that either.
Instead, he brought God into the subject, and started telling me that his fellow countrymen are required to FEAR God. Holy Cow! "What kind of nonsense is that?" I asked. "God is not the one you should have to fear. God is the one who's on YOUR side, right?"
Well, he couldn't refute that point either. In the end, he asked if I would print out my post and bring him a copy. I will. And maybe I'll bring him a copy of this post too.
You know, we always like to whine that one person doesn't make a difference, that one person can't change anything. But I think that's a wrong way of thinking. I think that's a way of letting the evil dictator, the greedy king, and the rotten president maintain control over us.
One person CAN make a difference, because one person doesn't have to do it all. All one person has to do is get the ball rolling.
So please remember that. You may only be ONE insignificant person, but when you speak up, you pass your thoughts on to others, who, in turn, pass those thoughts on to even more others, and you get the ball rolling. And the next thing you know, millions of people are talking about the views that ONE insignificant person had ... the views that one person who couldn't make a difference had. And before you know it, things get changed.
I have spoken up to my friend at the store, and I hope he speaks up to his brother back home. And maybe his brother might speak up too, and start the ball rolling. Isn't that a much better way to help these people out than using guns and bombs and military might?
Please, don't be afraid to speak up. Share your mind and your views, whether it's about issues here at home, or abroad. It's free, and painless ... and it just might make a difference.
April 28, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
I apologize that the episodes refuse to reside in their proper chronological order and are instead listed out of order. The post list to the left will provide a chronological guide for you ... and the series will make much more sense if you read it in order (chronological.)
I hope you enjoy this series, and please do stay tuned for future episodes!
August 1, 2008
You should see my purple feathers. They're so pretty! They ripple and shine when I move, and I just love the color! The doctors don't like them, though. The feathers were just too much. They say they make me look to "alien."
But, here's the kicker. Since they can't heal me, they want to rebuild me ... out of plastic and metal (ouch.) Thank goodness they don't want to pluck me. (Have you seen some of the "tools" they use in surgery these days?)
I think it's time to change my insurance policy so I can check out of this place and check into the Greater Universal Scientific and Medical Research Foundation on Stratwinda, near the black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. I hear they can treat you for just about anything.
August 1, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Where was I? Oh, yeah ... bringing you up to date. (Hold on ... last bite of cucumber ... must have.)
Remember that thing growing out of my right hand? Well, I was right. It does make a useful walking cane. And it's still detachable! And no, it didn't keep on growing right through the floor. (Thank goodness. I would have been s-t-u-c-k.)
Wish my left hand had one too. (Oh, well.)
And did I tell you about my stint in the environmental unit (also known as the torture chamber?) Let me just say that it amazes me to no end what these doctors can think up. I firmly believe they are all descended from Ulperian Pain Givers.
So ... while they had me locked up in the torture chamber, here's what they wanted to do. (Aghast!) They wanted to open up a major artery, in my leg (the crotch to be specific) ... and shove a bunch of wires with micro-miniature cameras on the end up into my artery.
But that wasn't all. Then they wanted to keep on shoving those wires further and further into my artery until they followed it all the way up to my brain ... at which point they would inject a dye into my bloodstream, switch on the electrical current to those wires with cameras, and then sit back and watch the show.
They called it a test.
Next time I'm going to tell them that if they want to run their test, then they can run it on themselves first.
May 16, 2008
How could so much time have passed so quickly? (Must be those pain pills.)
Well, to bring you up to date, I still have some teeth left. The ones that decided to stay in my mouth simply changed. They're like canine incisors now. You know, meat ripping teeth. (Must be because of all those Lucky Charms I ate ... yum.)
Of course, now that I have these great meat ripping teeth, you'd logically think I'd want only meat. Oh, contrare. The only thing I want now is ... cucumbers, peeled, and with Ranch dressing on top. (Yum.) Think I'll go get some right now!
June 27, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
As we (you) humans all know, our bodies do change with age, sometimes in large ways, and sometimes in small ways. You know, like the blood vessels on the back of your hands get larger and more prominent.
Mine used to spell the letter M (in capital) on my left hand and the letter H (also in capital) on my right (strangely enough.) I noticed this morning that this has changed. While my left hand still proudly displays the letter H, I can no longer distinguish a specific letter on my left hand. I wonder if it’s changing to a different letter. (And just what is the significance of these letters, anyway?)
May 6, 2008
I just don't know what to do! All of my teeth are loose, and getting looser by the day! Am I going to lose them all?
All I can think about is ... what kind of creatures live on all liquid diets, anyway? (spiders, gobrots, mosquitoes, bats, ickerts, vampires, ???) Am I going to change into one of these?
Gosh, I hope not. If I have to live off an all liquid diet, I think I would prefer French Onion Soup.
May 5, 2008
For all that we tout the miracles of modern medicine, it all comes down to the simple fact that not much has changed after all. The learned doctors still use leeches to extract blood from sick people. Only now, they call them “syringes.”
I will give them credit, though. They have slowed (I think) the progress of the mutations (I think.) The virus is still very active in my left hip (ow) and knees, and has been for some time now, but it has finally stopped its jet-set partying from joint to joint within my body. (Thank goodness.) It did, however, take a spur-of-the-moment cruise up to my lower jaw a couple of months ago. Have you ever had your teeth decide to re-arrange themselves?
My dietary needs have changed too. I don’t eat like I used to, or when, or the same amount. I get these expressly urgent appetite pangs for anything citrus. Oh yeah, and Lucky Charms. Can’t eat enough Lucky Charms. Lucky Charms and orange juice, um, um, um. (Think I’ll have some now. Back in a minute!)
April 25, 2008
I’m so bored. I’m in so much pain, or simply unable to do things I used to do when I was still 100% human, and so, sadly, much of the time I can do no more than lie in bed and watch daytime TV. Ever been stuck with nothing but regular non-cable/satelliet Broadcast daytime TV to occupy your time with?
There’s nothing but Judge Judy courtroom dramas, the same old soap operas, the same old three news items announced over and over and over on the news programs, and … OMG … Jerry Springer and the Jerry-Springer-Spin-Off-Shows. Oh yeah, and there’s Oprah.
I think I’m losing my mind. Or maybe, I’m not. Maybe I’m just starting to think like an alien. (OMG)
January 29, 2008
Sorry it’s been so long since my last communiqué. The doctors have been keeping me busy. They do love their tests.
True to their word, the doctors have not cured me. Nor have they repaired any of the mutation that has already occurred. And while they did say they could stop its progress, so far they haven’t.
It’s moving into my hip now, on my left side only (so far), right down there where the leg sockets in to the hip-bone. It makes me sort of limp every now and then, because I get really sudden and intense Charley-Horse pains there now. I get the pain, my leg gives out beneath me, I nearly fall, and it looks like I’m limping.
The appendage growing out of the fingertips of my right hand has grown all the way down to the floor. Thank The-Gods-That-Be (all of them) that it didn’t keep right on growing through the floor. I was worried I’d get stuck in one spot.
So, I now have three legs. Or to be more specific, I now have two legs and one arm/leg. Wait. That’s two bent legs, one inflexible leg (leg/arm), and one limp. Oh yeah, and I can’t stand up straight anymore either. So, that’s bent at the waist, with two bent legs, one inflexible leg/arm, and one limp. Walking has truly become a challenge.
I wonder how I’ll move about once the mutation is complete. Who knows? Maybe I’ll have the ability to throw sticky spider silk or roll up into a moving ball, or some such other trait. Hope I don’t wind up having to spit to propel myself about.
January 18, 2008
It’s taken many long months now to find the medical help I need, and can afford. As I said in my last communiqué, the mutation has begun.
My knees, both of them, will no longer bend or straighten but are instead locked in a semi-bent position, much like the leg of a Gisindian Thranwort.
My ankles are stiff too. They no longer pivot, which makes it difficult to keep my balance when standing.
And I seem to be growing an appendage out of the tips of the fingers of my right hand. It’s hard and woody. When it reaches the floor, I could maybe use it s a cane. (I just hope it doesn’t grow through the floor.)
The thought of getting some relief has almost been more than I can bear. I’ve longed for it for so long, searched and searched for medical help, prayed for the pain to go away, made offerings and donations, helped with charitable clothes drives, escorted Little Older Ladies (and myself) across the street ... everything and anything to win the favor of the Gods ... all for the sake of getting rid of this unbearable pain.
Finally, the Gods may have taken notice. My new doctors seem to think they know what my malady is. (They’re still blaming it on the Rheumatoids.)
The bad news is, they say it’s incurable and irreversible, so they can’t kill it and they can’t fix what it’s already done. All they can do is prevent it from mutating me more. (Great. I'm stuck halfway.)
I’ll never be the same old me again. Sigh.
They’ve got some wacky treatments in store for me, that’s for sure. One treatment stops production of DNA. One kills off my immune system. And they aren’t sure if either method will work. In fact, they won’t know for another three years yet.
And then there are the drugs they want me to take to make my heart beat at the normal human heart-rate speed, instead of the speed of light. They also gave me a water pill, to moderate my blood pressure. And I take one Aspirin a day now, to keep my blood thin like a human’s should be, and a fancy concoction to keep my thyroid in balance. And then, there's the green pills.
Best of all, I’ve got better pain pills now.
August 28, 2007
I’ve contracted an alien virus. I’m certain of it. The doctors call it Rheumatoid Arthritis, but I know that’s just a fancy name for “unknown gene-mutating alien virus.” (No wonder it’s incurable.) And besides, I happen to know that the Rheumatoids of Planet Rheuma out in the Beta System (the only Rheumatoids I know) don’t get Arthritis. They can’t. They have no jointed appendages.
I don’t know how I got this virus. I haven’t been off-planet in ages. None of my friends have been off-planet either, nor has anyone friends from off-planet come on-planet. So I don’t think any of them gave it to me. Maybe it was that cookie I ate.
I can say for sure, though, that it came out of nowhere and hit me like a ton of bricks. Wham! One minute I was busy sewing up Elasto-Plunges to stock my Med Kit with, and the next thing I knew, my hand had swelled up like a Parsuvian watermelon. Then it started to throb, keeping time with the strange pulsating glow now emanating from it. My mind got all foggy and I couldn’t think, except to think about how strange and painful this was. I sat there, holding my hand up in the air, rocking back and forth, moaning. Somehow, it made it feel better.
Three days later, the swelling finally subsided. Another two days and I could almost use my hand again. Then my other hand swelled up, Parsuvian watermelon scene all over again. I went to the doctor. He said he had no idea what was wrong and that I should go ask someone else.
A week later my knee swelled up. What’s that old Earth expression, “Oh, my God?” Yeah, "OMG." In ten minutes flat my knee went from normal to surpassing a Darfrissian Large-Fruit, which is considerably bigger than a Parsuvian watermelon. In fact, my knee looked more like an Imbric Master Gourd, one of the big ones that weighs eighty pounds or more, one of the ones that are about to burst because it’s so swollen. Ouch.
So I hopped over to the Emergency Room on my good leg. They gave me many strange looks and one very effective Morphine pain shot, put a band-aid on my knee, and took me up to ICU, where I spent the next three days in sleepy bliss, thanks to follow-up shots of the same very effective Morphine. Another five days in a private room, bored to hopelessness, and they finally let me go. Good thing too. I was running out of pajamas.
My knee almost looked normal and if I was kind to it, it didn’t hurt too much. But it wasn’t the same knee. It was different, in ways I couldn’t then describe. The mutation had begun.
And there’s more. My heart rate and blood pressure had changed and my thyroid gland was pumping a strange blend of hormones into my body.
So, I was sent home with enough prescriptions to cost any lottery winner all of his winnings, and an apology that the learned doctors there could not help me. I would have to go elsewhere to seek treatment.
Good thing they gave me a prescription for pain pills.
January 2, 2007