Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Great Jicama Slaw

I have grown up in fear of the ramifications of being the last one in.

The last of the rice has been eaten. I sit there at the table, looking mournfully at my now empty plate before slowly turning to focus on the jar that once held rice in my dry pantry that is also painfully empty and then I focus on the recycling bin where the once proud plastic bag that carried the youthful, freshly-harvest rice home now resides. I am pleasantly full of rice and yet I yearn for more and more and more. I stand with a determination that I usually reserve for pasta and I walk confidently with a confidence that I usually reserve for bread and I drive to the store with a focus that I usually reserve for driving as driving unfocused can be very dangerous and I buy some more rice because that is what I want to buy. Any questions?

Living without perspective is quite dizzying and with a fair number of scary moments where I just about lose my balance or bump into objects I thought were considerably closer to the horizon but, aside from that, it is totally awesome! Take that perspective!

The purchasing of socks brings me a joy that is mainly indescribable and that is probably good after I spent a lot of time in my formative years writing short pieces of creative non-fiction about buying belts.

After attempting to live rurally and not concern myself with worldly possessions I've given in to my natural tendencies and decided to go to town.

At points in my life I've wanted to burn fat like crazy but I'm already doing too many other activities like crazy and people are starting to talk...those are actual people talking, right?

There is nothing I like eating better than peanut butter and raspberry jam on perfectly toasted bread. The only thing I insist on is  randomly sliced bread with a wide variety of thickness and shapes as I just don't like uniformity in bread slices, and I hope I never give in to the pressure put on us by the bread companies to conform.

Moving forward, I would like to experience as many things in my life as indirectly as possible.

If given the choice between living satirically, rhetorically or allegorically, I would hesitate to choose without first consulting learned citizens throughout my community: doctors, religious figures, professors of philosophy, and sanitation workers, as well as finally going out and spending the $10 to get a much-needed massage as I'd like to be relaxed as possible when I finally make my choice.

Much of the time I like being organized and planning ahead, but then there are those days when I wake up with a twinkle in my eye and, after a quick visit to the drop-in clinic to have my eye checked out, I like doing things on a whim and overemphasizing the "wh" in whim to each passerby I encounter.

I am getting quite bored of being so opaque and after months of practice I am aiming for transparence but would gladly settle on the occasional bout of translucence. Too much transparency and I'll be missing the halcyon days of opaqueness gone by.

I, for one, am very glad that my prized and uncounted collection of jelly beans aren't any closer to becoming sentient, counting themselves, and demanding reparations.

People have been praising me recently for being so charmingly inept, but I know at some point the jig will be up and I'll either have to find another way to be charming or to just settle on plain old ineptitude just like my cousin.

If there is a way to be energetically lazy then I plan to eventually roll off the couch and drag my bag of bones out of the house to very slowly find it. For those that don't know me well, there is no actual bag of bones, as I have switched over to using solely boxes earlier this year.

I have just spent the afternoon pouring salt into my wound and I must be doing it wrong as it is pretty okay compared to most other salt-pouring-related activities.

I am eating a great jicama slaw right now. In other news, I have now finished my slaw and am ready for the fish tacos. If you stick around, I'll continue to keep you apprised of all of my other eating experiences as well as they happen.

Little children are just so cute and adorable and amazing...kind of makes me sick after a while. Maybe I should stop spinning around at some point as I am told that I am supposed to not only be a role model, but I should also be teaching these kids.

My eyes drip tears when I cry and my nose drips liquid when I am sick, but nothing makes my mouth water like the smell of chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven and nothing, and I mean nothing, makes my ears water ever.

Black and white stripes of paper are carefully cut by sharp scissors and then arranged, delicately, in a mesmerizing, overlapping pattern. Next perfect circles in all of the colours of the rainbow are created, followed by a bountiful of hearts in assorted sizes and shades of red. Outside the window, the world is happening  - people fall in and out of love and back in again only with his brother this time; dogs chase cats who chase mice who only wish to live; many of the most important ideas remain comprehendible to but a small group of elite monks living far away in the mountains of  a mostly unpronounceable country; atoms crash into each other at dizzyingly high speeds and then do it again and again because that is what atoms do after they sign the contract even if they don't read the fine print; and I just wake up every morning, cut my sideburns that continue to invade the domain of my beard and I find my seat by the window, turn out the lights and then cut pieces of construction paper with my prized pair of scissors.

Just once I'd love to wake up completely surrounded by pigs.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Next Day in My Life

It is a beautiful morning with an incredible sunrise. I am at the beach and I am observing a sunrise which seems odd as I am never at the beach early enough to view the rising of the sun. It isn't totally unusual for me to be at the beach in the morning in and of itself, aside from the fact that I wake here which is a change of pace for me as I usually go out of my way to sleep and wake up in in my own bed or at least in my bedroom as sometimes I playfully roll around and off the bed and enjoy the coziness of the rug. I yawn a few times and look around from my vantage point on the exposed sand and sit up. It takes me a few minutes to get used to my surroundings and my mind is full of millions of thoughts and questions including "Why am I waking up on the beach?", "How did I get here?" and "How concerned should I be about not having any immediate idea at the answers to those fairly basic questions?" After some fairly rushed deliberations I settle on "Not sure", "Unknown" and "Quite" as my three answers and I briefly contemplate looking around for applause from the studio audience and for a monetary prize for getting the questions correct. After a moment of being proud of my creativity at such an early hour of the day, I start to panic slightly, which is evidence that the appointments with the therapist are paying off as I used to jump immediately and quite scarily into full panic mode at the drop of a hat and in numerous other situations that extended well past the accidental falling of headware.

Full panic mode is not all it's cracked up to be except that it often allowed me to don some of my shirts that clashed with every pair of pants I owned and have it somehow fit the occasion. No extreme anxiety at the moment, just slight nervousness and a bit of cold sweating - how and why am I on the beach and why am I not at home wearing my comfy slippers that I purchased for the express purpose of making my feet warm. I had tried to think of a number of other reasons to justify the purchase of the slippers as I believe that I should have a minimum of 5 reasons for buying anything. I determined this years ago when I felt a large amount of buyer's remorse when I spent at least $300 too much on blubber and could only think of art as the sole initial reason for the expenditure with food for my as-yet-unacquired-baby-sea-otter as the second. I remember the day I purchased that I'll-thought-through blubber as I had just spent hours forcing myself to paint only pictures of forests of tree trunks knowing how painful those images were for me to paint. It is true, I hate the idea of old-growth forests being chopped down but I also have a nervous twitch when I paint those sort of pictures which usually ends up with accidentally scratching myself around my face and neck.

I decide to calm down by standing and stretching and giving the appearance of fitting in. I've seen so many movies where someone has lost their memory and they almost always get it all back in a series of awesomely filmed, dramatic flashbacks and I am excited all of a sudden as I can't wait for my flashbacks to begin. I look at the seagull in front of me and can almost imagine him speaking to me and helping guide me through the events, but he just gives me the strong impression that he either doesn't speak English or just can't be bothered to get involved with a strange human at this point in his life as he has way too many of his own issues to deal with including finding a meal for his high-maintenance wife that does not involve worms or insects as she has had enough of those to last a lifetime and trying to think up the best way to advertise his new accounting firm that he started with his two best friends considering that most of his potential clients were not socially media-savvy. "I don't need the bird's help!" I said to myself aloud and quite loudly as well, startling my feathered companion so much that he squawked and flew off which was exactly how I thought our friendship would end when I first laid eyes on him five minutes ago except that I wasn't quite sure which of us would be doing the squawking and fleeing as I am well aware of my avian and scaredy-cat tendencies. As I felt a twinge of guilt at lashing out at my only friend on this foreign beach, it hit me that using the term friend is probably a bit too early in the developing relationship and that we were only mere acquaintances and that is how it often is with birds for at least the first few social activities.

All of a sudden it hit me - I  remember that I awoke shortly after midnight and got dressed and that, at some point, I was in the forest.

I love the forest. The trees that rise so high almost showing off, the bushes that are either more satisfied with a "rounder" appearance than the trees or are doing a fairly good job of not appearing to care, the stumps which act both as a reminder to all trees of what could happen to them if they get a little too full of themselves and as a more appropriately-sized companion for the bushes, and the wildlife which is either cute, wanting to detach my nose from my face, or falling somewhere between those two extremes. I often don't know why I am in the forest, but I have tried to stop focussing on the question "why" so often as the answers are long and convoluted and eating up much valuable eating time. No, I choose to allow my body, mind and feet to select the activities and the site for those activities and if they want me to be in the forest, then in the forest I will be even if there is a game on that evening or it looks like rain.

That reminds me of that amazing 5-hour excursion to the forest I took last summer with my friends Dave and Steve as well as my imaginary friend Beth who seems to accompany me to lots of places especially when her other imaginary friends are busy. It is actually quite confusing that my imaginary friend has other imaginary friends and then me, who is quite real. Can you imagine how I feel as the only real person at the sushi restaurant, that is also imaginary? I've tried broaching the topic with Beth, but she pretends that she can't hear me, which is a typical ploy by imaginary beings - the whole "I can't hear you, because I don't actually have functional ears" thing - it is boringly predictable after a while - it does make sense on some level, but that doesn't make it any less annoying. How I love Beth and when the laws are more permissive, I may ask for her hand in marriage as long as she doesn't claim that her hands are too imaginary thus making the offer moot.

So we were in the forest, walking the trails, trying to be one with nature and getting quite close. The best estimation Steve came up with was somewhere between 1.25 and 1.5. And then the rains came and we were forced to either retreat quickly to our modern homes with central heating and slightly-redundant wall-to-wall carpeting or to tough it out proving to ours moms that we could survive in the woods. For some odd reason all three of our moms really want to toughen us up and they even got together and spent three successive Thursday evenings eating praline, drinking peppermint tea out of mugs that were intended for coffee and devising a set of tasks for their sons to make us real men as they were admittedly fairly stuck on having real men as sons for reasons that they were debating going to see someone about. Beth does not have a mom, because I haven't gotten around to mentally creating that for her yet and believe you me, she is getting quite impatient as she really wants to call her mom, once she has one, to ask for her apple pie crust recipe so she can stop using store-bought crusts that are lackluster at best. I keep telling her that my schedule is quite full and it takes more effort and mental-wherewithal to create a fictitious mom than it seems, but in reality I just can't be bothered.

Spending a day in the forest with no supplies aside from allowing Dave to wear glasses was step one in our mother's plans. It was all fine and good until the torrential downpour began, soaking us from head to toe in minutes. Initially it was sort of like a cool shower and was slightly refreshing. I compared it to drinking a glass of cool water after a hard workout, except that I hadn't just worked out and instead of drinking the cool water and having it refresh me, the water was being continuously dumped on me with force instead. After the initial period of joy had worn off, we started to panic - Dave was trying to get directions from a bunch of not-so-helpful squirrels; Steve, for some reason, began to tear off his shirt and replace it with a haphazardly bunched together pile of leaves and me, I made noises with my lips that usually made babies giggle, only there were no babies present so they went largely unappreciated. We spent the rest of the day huddled together, under a small canopy of large, low-hanging branches, sharing stories of love and computer software nightmares and the more powerful love that often came out of those computer software nightmares until the nightmares got worse and no amount of love could cheer us up. We shared those stories all the time, being in the forest in the rain was quite secondary. Finally, the rains cleared and we strode out of the forest, the four of us, three back to our moms and one of us, Beth, decided to go catch a movie.

I closed my eyes and tried imagining the previous evening to determine how I got to the beach. I knew I'd remember as long as I really focused and since I figured there had to be a reason I was on the beach and that that reason may, in fact, be time-sensitive, I got right to it. I remembered that I woke up in bed with a start, preemptively ending an amazing dream where I was some sort of representative speaker for the humans and I was attempting to meet with a selection of specifically-chosen marine life who were very hard to schedule meetings with as they have very busy schedules what with the holidays just around the corner. I urgently wanted to meet with them to investigate the options for a shared currency and a human-marine life exchange program where a bunch of underprivileged youths and at-risk marine life can trade places for a three-month period in order to gain more employability and transferable skills and just when I was about to storm into the head shark's office to demand some face time, I woke up.

I don't recall hurriedly getting dressed, but based on my outfit, I not only didn't avoid any clashes with colours and patterns but I seemed to go out of my way to clash as much as possible with the only limitations being my limited wardrobe and the current abilities of my eyes. I noticed my quite regular-looking socks and surmised that my socks with pompoms, that I can only guess were left at my place as some sort of subliminal message by the cleaning lady who cleans the last Wednesday of each month, were at the dry-cleaners. I can only guess that I dressed in a hurry, with the lights off, and with my eyes closed, which was becoming more and more commonplace with men of my age and socio-economic status, and then I left the house in a rush after locking the door, quickly dusting the window sills and arranging the dried decorative flowers just so and then making a beeline for the forest. I had wished in this attempt of mine to piece together the events that I didn't choose to take an unnecessarily meandering beeline for the forest as I just wanted to get there already and this bee of mine was taking his sweet time and stopping off at every single flower along the way almost as if he was either searching for his long lost friend whom he had heard rumours was hanging out at local pollen salons or he doing some really smart comparison shopping looking for the best price for antique wall hangings.

As I'm standing there on the beach remembering the details of the early morning, I open my eyes as an image hits me not unlike a ton of bricks, but not at all like that as well. I distinctly remember brushing my teeth before I left the house and remarking "my teeth are so white, so white my teeth are, how I love you my white teeth" right before commenting "but you'd think that being so perfect and white that you would either have earned me a higher social standing, some sort of government grant for an enamel-inspired set of monolithic sculptures or at a minimum a date with that cute dental hygienist who just moved in next door and is always wearing her hair up showing off that slender and deeply tanned neckline of hers that shows off both her beauty and her lack of respect for the power of the sun even in the early spring, but no, you are just so selfishly interested in maintaining your own gleaming whiteness leaving the rest of us in your wake and making us so jealous that I can't even make eye contact with you anymore not like before ,and no, I don't need you to remind me that you don't have eyes-  I know that now!" before falling in love with their whiteness all over again. If I didn't know better I would think that I had never been in the forest and that instead it was my excuse that I was giving myself to avoid revealing the depths of a transgression or something, but there was no mistaking the scent of pine and I had given up using pine fresheners as a cheap replacement for deodorant the previous week.

So, I was in the forest and aside from the fact that it was pitch dark and I couldn't see where I was going or what sort of object I was conversing with - it was a fence - I had a great time. I have had so many great times in the dark, especially that one time when my friends invited me to a blindfolded dinner party they were having in their basement last winter. I came over, was blindfolded and then I thought I heard snickering, the sound of a number of shoes on the steps leading upstairs and the door closing followed by sounds that were eerily similar to celebratory high-fives only to have them cut off by a van starting and driving off. I sat there in the basement, awaiting the dinner, for hours, with the anticipation building to a point where I just couldn't take it any longer and I decided to take a nap only to realize that they had tied me to the chair, as a prank, or maybe so I wouldn't get any ideas and either remove the blindfold or sneak a peak at the surprise dinner that I still couldn't wait to try. What an elaborately planned evening of fun, I remember thinking before I accidentally nodded off only to be woken the next day by one of my friends who was shocked that I hadn't "gone home already" and "got the hint" and "my share of the dinner came to $24.75 but that they would be okay with $24".

I loved the smell of the forest and once my eyes got used to the light, I quite enjoyed being with the trees because, as my mom always said, "trees never judge except for cedars. Stay away from cedars with your secrets, they are like sieves." My mom always had an issue involving cedars almost definitely dating back to when her father left her mother with a cedar and continuing when a cedar was responsible for her failing math back in grade 9. I stood at the start of a trail. As a child I had always been consumed with the names of trails and what they could mean and I sometimes felt that the names were part of a large government conspiracy of which I wanted to be the intrepid young whippersnapper who unearthed the plot by the government. I had narrowed the potential details of the plot down to three possibilities: the systematic elimination of all lower case letters, the banning of all dental floss or the staging of a sham election where the people would fall in love with this amazing candidate only to have it revealed at the inauguration that we were all on the moon the entire time and while we were all engrossed in the amazing lead-up to the election with the well-placed and timed ads and well-constructed campaigns, we were all air-lifted to the moon as part of a government plan to rezone the land our houses are on just for laughs and giggles. It was a fairly bizarre plot for a 12-year old boy to come up with and that made me quite proud, as I was that 12-year old boy - if it had been someone else's idea, I would have been fairly jealous and concerned especially because it was in my head and how would the other 12 year old boy with ideas eerily similar to my own, get his ideas in my head. 

I stood there, in the moonlight and looked at the trail map and thought about the names of the trails and what they could possibly indicate or mean.

There was one called Inspiration Trail and I imagined the first people walking on it and being so inspired by the surroundings and leaving the trail to not only return to their loved ones oozing with inspiration and going on to lead infinitely more productive and happy lives, but also using the experience of being on the trail as their main motivation for everything else in their lives. I just hope that they were that inspired, because if they weren't then I have a huge problem with the naming of the trail unless they were meaning it to be somewhat sarcastic and the person who fielded the new name of the trail on the phone didn't quite hear or understand the quotation marks around the word inspiration that would have made the sarcasm more obvious to the reader. Maybe it is extremely un-inspirational and those that go on it literally feel inspiration being sucked out of them, so much so, that many people don't even finish the trail and set up camp and just stay and over time a nice little community of similar-minded, not-so-easily-inspired-by-fairly-commonplace-trails people would work together growing crops, raising farm animals and living off the pretty regular land. I briefly consider how my life would potentially change if I went down that "road" and I decide against it as either way I have plans for the weekend that would almost definitely have to be changed if I came back overly inspired or not at all. My guidance counsellor once warned me that I was easily susceptible to groups of very warm people who lived off the land after only setting off to walk on a trail and be inspired. It seemed like a very random thing for me and my parents to be worried about and I generally forgot about it until this moment. I'd have to remember to mail her a card with a cute kitten on it as she always had a thing for cute kittens - on her sweaters, on photographs on her walls and even in the hairstyle she used for much of the time I was in school.

Next to that trail was a hike to Dog Lake. Most likely a popular destination for dog-owners when accompanied by their dogs or by people without dogs who own leashes as a first step in a 12-step process towards owning a dog and they just want to try out the experience of owning a dog by frequenting places that dog-owners and dogs may go. The next step is buying a bag of dog food and pouring it into a dog dish and seeing how that makes you feel on a spiritual level - it is said that if you can't make yourself buy and dish out the food then you most likely will not be able to care for an actual dog unless you can somehow train it to shop and serve itself its own food or train it to at least feed you so things will seem equal in the area of food distribution. It is also possible that the lake is at least partially dog-shaped based on the appearance of dogs in this specific area at the time the first explorers came upon this lake. The explorers may have been paying homage to the great dogs of the day in the hope that the dog gods would look kindly upon them and not have them spayed or neutered or to at least use some anesthetic if it was absolutely necessary. I can only imagine a group of proud dogs convening on this lake for council sessions that usually were accompanied by a wonderful spread, exotic dog dancers and a fortune teller as dogs in that day and age went bonkers for having their fortunes told. Some say that the ancestors of current dogs still haunt the lake not that they are interested in creeping people out, but mostly because they were told to sit and no one ever told them to stop which would drive anyone crazy.

Or I could walk down the Endless Loop. In many ways, I would describe my teenage years as walking down an endless loop and that was partially due to my feeling stuck in a rut and also the endless loop of staircases my parents installed in our house after accidentally ingesting a strong batch of horse tranquilizer after seeing a particularly riveting documentary on M.S, Escher. It took me hours to figure out how to get from my room to the kitchen and I swear to this day that there was no back door any longer as the steps that used to lead to the back door now went a totally new and quite exciting direction, as long I wasn't in a rush to go anywhere that day. I also ran around and around and around a 400 metre track for a girlfriend trying to get back in her good books after I unknowingly insulted her - how was I supposed to know that her uncle left his wife, her favourite aunt, when he fell in love with a librarian who was also due to inherit a massive fortune because her father was the richest glue manufacturer in the local area. I mean who could predict that exact set of events?

My girlfriend had me run and run because she found it mesmerizing and also because she staunchly didn't believe in dog houses. Seriously - she did not believe in a dog house as a physical or mental construct. When I asked her where did she think dogs lived, she said that she preferred to think of dogs as beautiful and mystical vagabonds who could call any place that they chose to lay as their home. It was just one example of what I both loved and found perplexing about her with the perplexing side eventually winning out when she decided to spend the month of July chasing butterflies with cheap chopsticks. I just couldn't convince myself to walk down the Endless Loop because it seemed like a fairly large time commitment and I had promised myself not to make any large time commitments no matter how tempting because I wanted to walk down a slightly-less-than-endlessly-long path that would take slightly-less than an endless amount of time, but also had the same amount of endless pleasure attached to it. I was quite high maintenance when it came to choosing where to walk in general and that led to my taking a few steps in one direction followed by a turn of a seemingly-random degree and then a few steps in a different direction and so on and so on. Some professors from the local university once graphed my walking on a time/distance graph and the results helped them figure out the secret of the mating patterns of koalas. Somehow I didn't benefit financially at all from that study, although I did get a free pass to the koala exhibit at the zoo. However, I was barred from entrance during mating season as they hypothesized that my walking might lead to several miscarriages.

The final trail that caught my eye was one called Wildberry Trail which got me quite excited as I am a sucker for wildberries which is interesting only in that I am also a sucker for almost everything else that is wild: feral pigs, wild hair, out-of-control neighbours who yell and scream and need police attention every other Friday evening, wantonly scooped Vanilla-flavoured Greek yogurt, and of course, wild applications of lipstick that cause others to feign concern. But wildberries were my favourite! I especially loved that they taste good and also that they don't criticize me and jump on my every mistake and make me sit in the corner while they pop all of my balloons that were also doubling as my friends. I had always been under the belief that we didn't pop our friends or balloons that were doubling as our friends because I had once mistook my friends shrieking and recoiling from the long, pointy needle I was lurking suspiciously around with as a desire to be popped with a needle that I carried around for those specific situations that almost never came up and I was quite excited.

I would have walked down this trail but it was pitch black and at least a few hours until sunrise and I would have no idea whether I was staying on the path or veering towards something poisonous or something sharp or even something resembling my roommate-lawyer. I have randomly bumped into him in the dark on many occasions and have had the chance, the fortune to touch him, to caress the nape of his neck, to briefly lick some part of his leg in a dark, dark room and wonder why I hadn't studied to be a lawyer. I often walk around in the dark simulating licking an ice cream for reasons that I will carry to my grave. I have also requested that my grave be within 250 steps of an upscale ice cream parlour and that the burial occur on a hot day so that everyone walks to the ice cream parlour licking as they go and that the proceeds of the sales go towards improving the lives of chickens as I have always wanted to select an animal at random and to donate money that is not mine towards improving their lives. It is both the most and the least that I can do as I will be buried at the time.

I remember distinctly leaving the woods quite unceremoniously, and infinitely disappointed, as I was expecting at least a small ceremony, and walking straight towards the beach. The sun was now slowly starting to light up the sky and for some reason I needed to be on the beach when the sun came up. And here I was, sitting on a log on the beach. "Always sitting," I think to myself mostly to make conversation and to enjoy a brief respite from the silence that almost engulfs me. Not the most comfortable spot ever, but with all the expected tranquility and postcard-like scenery I expected. "Tranquility is very under-rated" I murmur knowingly, although I'm not sure if it has been rated much at all - thankfully no one is around to refute me...this time. Later on I plan to make a list and post it online, rating it low so that this all makes sense in retrospect. If I could somehow make a living doing it, I would alternate days between murmuring knowingly for show and rating things online also for show. I smile at this thought - always talking about doing things for show, but never having the guts to follow through.

I would love to sit in the most comfortable spot ever, at least for a moment - seems like I owe myself that. But I wonder if that spot would be so comfortable and famous for being so comfortable that it would eventually be either worn out making it less comfortable or inspire others to create new spots in its likeness that would also be comfortable, maybe not quite as comfortable but so close that it would be really really hard to judge and would lead to much debate and discussion at local coffee shops over mugs of scalding coffee. I once bought a series of mugs, drew a wide variety of comical faces on them, filled them with scalding liquid and provided all of the voice work for a really moving version of the hit Broadway show Hair only this time performed by inanimate coffee cups sitting motionless on my kitchen table. I believed that the show was "out-of-this-world funny" and "a show that should not be missed as long as you didn't mind the occasional splash of scalding liquid and if you did, just show up near the end of the first act as the liquid would have cooled down considerably by then" and "quite possibly the best coffee-cup-filled-with-liquid rendition of the hit Broadway show Hair that has been produced in someone's kitchen in this area of town in the past year". I had briefly considered taking the show on the road until somehow the mugs all got smashed to bits when they suggested holding out for more money unless either their dressing rooms were always stocked with chilled European spring water, they received a higher percentage of the gate and their names be printed on all posters and promotional materials in a minimum of 32 point font and I countered by smashing them with a hammer that I always kept on hand for inevitable moments just like this. I did regret what I did the next morning when I had nowhere to pour all of my scalding hot liquid and I felt a lot of remorse and even briefly thought about travelling down to the store in the mall where I had purchased those mugs and asking the sales lady to smash me, but I remembered that the last time I did that she threatened to call my mom. What did she think, that I was 13? I was 14.

It is early on a summer morning well before the heat of the day, and I am mostly alone aside from a few dog-walkers and joggers. These particular dog-walkers seem really boisterous and enthusiastic almost like this is their calling in life - to walk dogs. I am pleased for them and for their dogs as it seems to be win-win, but I remind myself that things are rarely as they seem and behind closed doors the walkers may be sadistic taskmasters only serving average dog food when they are fully aware that the dogs prefer deluxe and insisting that they clean their rooms before getting a treat when everyone is quite aware that their ability to keep their rooms clean is severely hampered by not having hands. Or the dogs may be just putting on a show while in public and at home they may be loud-barking, couch-tearing, and overly-selfish-to-the-point-where-at-least-some-of-the-humans-are-both-jealous-and-rendered-to-tears. Regardless, I don't wish to own a dog - I'm scared of them what with their loud barking, their sharp teeth and the unshakable feeling that I would be a mere stepping stone owner-wise for them and that they would always be on the lookout for an upgrade to someone taller.

Compared to the dog-walkers, the joggers never seem that happy. Aside from the exercise, which is obviously good for you, they just seem to be in a lot of discomfort. Each step they take is met with a grimace or look of boredom almost as if others should take pity on them. I would be first in line to take pity on them, but I feel like my figurative pity jar is all empty as I just spent a lot of time talking to people waiting in line at the passport office. What a sad, sorry bunch of people all suspiciously wanting passports almost as if receiving a passport would pick them up and make them instantly less pitiable. All of a sudden it hits me - while I am not in the mood to show pity for the joggers, I could plan to jog tomorrow with a look of extreme pleasure and happiness on my face and a vibrancy in my body almost as if I had been recently plugged in and charged. Yes, people may wonder what is wrong with that sort of insane looking jogger who was either really pleased before he started running and is having the pleasure slowly drawn out of him by the running or the jogging is actually giving him pleasure, which would be even more confusing to all.

Maybe the jogging is some sort of cord that is plugging me in and sending me electricity not completely like that time when I actually tried to receive electricity through a cord which was both totally dangerous and ultimately quite fruitless as the power company refused to send me any electricity in the mail when it didn't work at home after I wrapped a cord around my torso, plugged it in and waited to either feel brighter, hot or just charged up. They claimed, when I asked for them to mail it to me, that I "had obvious gaps in my understanding of how electricity really works" and "could I please refraining from calling, emailing or standing outside their windows and yelling while flipping through a series of placards adorned with well-illustrated and quite graphic messages" and "they could offer me a yearly calender" which I gladly accepted and came away from the whole experience feeling like I had "won". I wave to one jogger in particular, initially chosen totally randomly, but with the intent to make it look quite the opposite. I wanted him to think that I had chosen him, of all the joggers on the beach that morning, to be the one that I went out of my way to cheer for, to send a message of courage and of empowerment, to make him question what my motives really were before realizing that I was an example of all that was right with humanity and that we had a deeper connection than either of us realized at the moment and that he should also watch where he is going so he doesn't bump into anything which I am fortunately able to relay quite quickly with a series of rapid hand motions thus saving the day.

I move to sit on the sand and enjoy the coolness of it on my bare feet. I had just removed my shoes and socks in an attempt to feel the sand directly on my feet, and it had worked splendidly. I ran my fingers through the sand the same way I used to run my fingers through my girlfriend's hair - smoothly at first, until I got to the ends which were snarled with tangles and knots. It was quite hard to mimic the entanglement my fingers felt in that situation with the sand that was much easier to move through. I'm glad my old girlfriend wasn't here on the beach with me witnessing my joy at the ease of finger movement in comparison as it surely would have led to some discomfort on her part followed by her launching into a long lecture on my not being sensitive enough to her feelings, especially those that were related to her easily-tangled hair, which she usually presented in her unique, slam-poetry-esque sort of fashion that was riveting, hurtful and so effective that she met her future husband, who was not only far more sensitive than I was as he lost both of his parents to tangled hair as a youth, but, ironically, he was also a sand erosion specialist who was raised never to run his fingers through anything sand-like. I learned from the experience to never date anyone again who was so adept at slam poetry that they may meet someone more suitable for them as a result of being so adept at slam poetry. It was a small lesson and quite a random one that almost definitely would never come up again, but it was a lesson and I learned it.

As I played with the sand I remembered that on multiple occasions in my past I have thought about being a grain of sand and what my life would be like. First off, I'd have to get used to being really small. Now, I am not the tallest person in the first place, but going from being slightly-less-than-average to ridiculously tiny would at least need a period of adjustment. I also figured that it would be hard to get used to the feeling that I didn't amount to anything and that no one would miss me if I was gone, not because I wouldn't be one special grain of sand, but because there would be millions and millions of other grains that would be so much like me physically, and that they could probably learn my role and whatever differences there were in personality or abilities could be gotten used to by the other grains. But, I imagined my day as a little piece of sand - waking up on the beach with millions of my friends and family all nestled together, feeling a bit dry and badly in needed of some ointment, but even if one of us magically procured some of it, we have no hands or feet and it would be more of a tease, a point of frustration to have it there, so close and us unable to apply it. I'd look around and notice that some of my friends were gone - probably washed out to sea and, although I'd miss them, with the size of my brain being severely reduced in size and scope, I probably wouldn't miss them for long and even if I did I probably wouldn't totally comprehend where they had gone and what this sea thing really was as I would lack the perspective to see past my little spot on the beach.

I used to imagine that I would be the one grain of sand who understood the world and had been given special powers and knowledge for a reason - I was the grain that would free us all and lead us towards a brave new existence. All other grains would see me as the chosen grain, the grain who would helps us all out of a long period of darkness and feeling stuck on a beach or in a playground or occasionally in an unfinished backyard because the topsoil hadn't been delivered yet and they were closed for the weekend, the grain who could actually talk, which was no small accomplishment in and of itself and shouldn't get downplayed -  I'm just mentioning that as I'm sure some wouldn't feel that it was worth mentioning - but I ask, can any other grains talk? Exactly. Anyways, the dream usually ended with me high on a hill filling the other grains with motivation to overthrown the human savages and turn the beaches into prisons while also turning our focus towards new methods of storing data, preserving food and refereeing tennis matches. We had some random goals, but we didn't mind. We believed we could accomplish anything, so they may as well be random things. The dream usually left me feeling alone and quite confused and with a desire to rent a large blowing tool from the local hardware store and go to the beach and just blow the sand around for a while before dropping to my knees weeping and trying to hold them all.

There is a light breeze in the air that feels more of fall or spring, and I look up, shivering, sort of mentally begging the sun's heat to kick in any time now. Nothing happens. I have had a long-standing, mostly imagined, adversarial relationship with the weather. Now that I think of it I also have a long-standing, mostly imagined, adversarial relationship with my dentist and I wonder if there is any connection between my dentist and the lack of heat right now. Probably not, but I make a mental note to put aside some time for some detailed research on the topic. I chose September.

A set of ducks swim by in a nearly perfect V shape, but not quite. One duck must either be a little sick or in need of reassigning to a different, slower group, almost like a development team until he gets his stuff together. I mean if you are aiming to create a V, then anything less is fairly disappointing - for the other ducks I mean  - it's not like I really care. I come from a long line of people who actually prefer misshaped Vs and we often spent at least part of our winter holiday season in the shape of something sort of resembling a V to the amusement of all present.

Male ducks are so stunningly beautiful. I'm sure female ducks have a hard time thinking about anything else with these ultra-distracting, super-hot male ducks just swimming around them. Not sure what else they have to think about aside from eating and possibly what route to take through the reeds today. I wonder if I should be concerned with how much I am drawn to the male ducks I see. I settled on "probably" and then decide to forget about it just like I have done with some of my other strange attractions including, but not limited to, maple syrup containers mostly for their ability to hold and contain syrup that just wants to drip; sample highlighters, but not actual for sale highlighters, just the ones that everyone can pick up, hold in their warm hands and try out for a brief moment before having to leave; loose change and, of course, sideways glances, partially blocked by the throngs of people at the function, across a dim smoky room that makes me cough and recoil due to the overpowering aroma of the smoke and, as I turn to dash out of the room I look back, sideways of course, and catch her eye and melt to the ground, inside my mind of course. Those female ducks seem like pretty cool customers and I envy them as much as a human male, on the beach first thing in the morning without his shoes and socks on can envy a bird of any sorts, which I realize is quite a lot. I say goodbye to the ducks and wonder if I will ever see these particular ducks again. I feel sad that I probably won't unless I happen to go to the right restaurant on the correct night someday.

I still have this nagging feeling that I wish I knew why I was so compelled to come to the beach today and then....I see her and I remember everything. Today was the day and even if I had wanted to somehow restrain myself, which I didn't, a huge smile broke out on my face. I saw her from a distance as she walked towards me and my first thought was "wow" and my second thought hadn't even formed yet when I started trying to list and catalog and even rank my thoughts in order from best to worst as they were forming which is really really hard to do, so I stopped. "Enjoy the moment" the piece of paper in my pocket said. I had finally settled on that message to myself yesterday morning when I decided that I may feel overwhelmed and need a message to settle myself down and help focus me and I decided that who better to send this message but my sister Lola but she just wouldn't return my calls for much of the afternoon and when she finally did she decided against it as she didn't want to get involved in a conversation that was at least 85% with myself. Finally, I had decided that I would send the message to myself and had originally thought of opening with a joke to lighten the mood or a complex math question to help awaken the brain or a combination of the two and had settled on something so cliched that it made me wish I had chosen a joke or a math question.

And then she was in front of me, holding her sandals over her shoulder and dressed in a very cute summer outfit that looked infinitely better on her and I was glad that I had decided not to buy it for myself and wear it for out meeting as she may have taken it the wrong way. I looked at her and as I was about to speak she said "I thought you wouldn't come."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

An Evening With Jeff

I once was a pedestrian who got struck by a bus. It was totally my fault as my mind was preoccupied thinking about my old friend Jeff who I had not seen in ages. He had always had that effect on me. Luckily for me the bus had been parked at the time and when I say I was hit by the bus it was actually more like I repeatedly jumped into the stationary bus and lay on the ground near its front tire squealing like a pig just hoping a passerby would take pity on me and take me home to nurse me back to health which had always been a fantasy of mine.

Jeff and I had always been best buddies, even when he used to sadistically deflate my balloons and draw colourful pictures of amazing landscapes on my sister. The pictures were incredible, but it took hours to scrub her clean - I still remember the crying as if it were yesterday and that is mostly because I recorded it and was just listening to it yesterday. We grew up next door to each other, attended the same school and joined the same clubs. He was like a brother to me and I was more like a cousin to him - a close cousin, which was fairly similar in reality to a brother, but just not quite the same.

To say that we both loved sports would be entirely accurate. To say that we both loved ancient Greece was entirely not. Jeff was the star quarterback and I was his always-on-queue backup who rarely got to play a snap. I suggested that I should be the receiver so that he had someone to pass to, but he was too busy blowing kisses and signing autographs with imaginary fans that I more properly referred to as blackberry bushes. We would run together and he was always so hyper competitive and usually hid my shoes as well as ripping my socks to threads (which I claimed was excessive and unnecessary) beforehand thus guaranteeing a victory.

I was on my way to his apartment now. I couldn't believe how much time had passed since I last had seen him. The picture I have in my head is of the back of his head as he walked slowly away the final time we saw each other. He was walking so slowly that the image is actually more of a slow-motion video that goes on for at least 10 minutes and I have a really hard time imagining it all in one sitting without taking multiple breaks that involve at least one face washing and a cream puff from the local bakery. He used to have quite the spectacular head of hair and I mentally prepared myself for the inevitability that it will either be as amazing as I remember it thus producing an audible gasp or two from me or it will be even better as he may have invested an understandably large amount of time and money into improving upon the perfection that was his head of hair.

"Don't forget the Mexican spices" Jeff had reminded me on the phone before I left my house in a tone that came across as quite menacing which was a result of his still recovering from elective tooth implants. He had told me he was having larger and sharper incisors put in exclusively so he could increase the frequency and level of enjoyment of his wild boar intake. I was pretty sure he was leading me on as he had led me on relentlessly and continuously from November 4th, 2006 to January 11th, 2007 which was easier to grow accustomed to than if he had taken breaks or mixed things up either due to misplaced pity or actual pity (I wouldn't have been picky) as, if nothing else, it was quite predictable and comforting to an extant as well.

We were making tacos. We were always in a state of making tacos. Either planning to create them, actually cooking them, or laying, belts loosened, on the floor (when he was between couches) dreaming of the next tacos in the near future. I once opened up to him about a dream I had where I was somehow unable to move from my chair at the kitchen table and he arrived on his golden steed, bursting into the kitchen, observing my motionless body and then creating the most delicious tacos imaginable only to eat them all himself. All I received was a kiss above each eyebrow and exposure to a wonderful and dusty cloud of cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper and what I surmised was fennel, a surprise guest to the party, before preceding to hack and cough as he road away thus ending the dream. I loved tacos and I loved that they brought me closer to Jeff, even if the love was atypical to say the least.

After dinner he told me about the crazy adventures of his rock band "15 years Without Parole" and how things were looking up and up and occasionally down just as everyone's necks were quite sore but then up again after a prescribed rest period of looking at, and gaining a new appreciation for, floor tiles. They had a moderate hit that was played on stations in town called "We Are Going To Rob The Bank On 3rd and Brown on Monday the 21st at Precisely 2 pm Dressed As African Gorillas Escaped From a Local Wildlife Enclosure and We Will Be Parking Our Getaway Car Around the Corner Near the Ice Cream Parlour That Makes Those Sundaes That Were Featured In the Lifestyle Section of The Weekend Paper". The ridiculously cumbersome title and chorus were counter-balanced by a very catchy hook and uniquely modern cord progressions as well as absolutely beautiful harmonies during the bridge.

The song had been meant as a read-between-the-lines subtle satire poking fun at those who were trying to enforce limits on the length of popular song titles, but, unfortunately, the rest of the band members (and the law enforcement officers) took the title and lyrics quite literally and they were now actually spending 15 years without parole in jail which, due to their lack of liberal arts education, meant that the irony was also lost on them along with their freedom to create more harmonious and modern rock music for the locals to enjoy. Jeff felt badly, to a point, that they were all in prison and that he was free and that was mostly as a result of his initially not feeling badly and gallivanting around town like nothing had happened and receiving some fairly harsh criticism from the media. He probably felt worse about the negative attention and less about his band mates, but he was willing to spread it around.

It was my turn to share. I told Jeff about how I had hit rock bottom a few years ago and that it all started when I went to Chicago once and I just did not feel safe. I had intended on taking a soul-searching journey where I travelled the world to find myself as well as any other cliches linking travel and personal improvement that I could incorporate into the trip on a limited budget. I left my home one day and ventured forth, excited by the journey ahead and stubbornly refusing to even peer behind me to see what a trip that way could bring. I dreamed of visiting India, the Far East, and the old country (I wasn't totally sure which country it was as I come from a long line of mumblers).

I only got as far as Chicago, which for some would be quite impressive, but for me it was only a short 30 minute bus ride on an air-conditioned express bus with plenty of comfortable seating, as I live just 30 minutes outside of Chicago and go there quite often. This time, the mean streets of the big city, which had previously fallen somewhere between nice and ambivalent towards me, were pretty mean which I guess was their prerogative. I felt viciously attacked, almost as if I were a dirty stained shirt being tossed around and around and around and then having the laundry machine specifically choose not to wash me citing ethical reasons almost as if that made it okay or right. I stumbled around town looking for love, for acceptance, for a really good slice of pizza (which I found plenty of) and after weeks or months (I lost track due to my disorientated state - I later found out that I had either been there for one day or not at all, it is quite unclear) I decided to return home because I was fairly certain that I missed it as that was probably what I was supposed to feel. Turns out I was just a bit gassy.

Jeff rose and gave me the most awkward combination of a pat on the back and a hug that I had ever received which was quite impressive as he had announced that that was what he would be aiming for as he walked towards me and he completely nailed it. We hadn't seen each other in so long, but our friendship was still as strong as it ever had been and I told him how much I appreciated that he was always there for me even when I was unable to find him for years. We took turns expressing our parting words and I left and ventured into the frosty night. Jeff was a good friend and he wasn't pushy at all - he could actually stand to be slightly pushier as a person as I think, what with his good looks, disarming falsetto and charm to spare. He could get away with it.

As I walked through the night back to my place I imagined that I was the lone person walking my way and I was being met by a veritable army of invisible, expressionless drones walking towards me. I had to force my way through them and I felt as if I were Noah parting the sea except that I had to actually part it myself, which made me a tad bit jealous. These drones pushed against me as if to convert me to their cause, their fight, their direction of movement and I fought against this as much as I could without drawing attention to myself as all anyone else would see was a guy walking by himself making overly dramatic and concerned hand and arm gestures. I've always disliked pushy people, especially those that were invisible, showed no emotion and were products of my vivid imagination. I was quite annoyingly precise to what kind of pushy people I disliked and was thinking of pitching that to Jeff as an idea for another mind-numbingly long song title that I knew he was partial to once I got home.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Blister: A Poem of Love

This poem was created based on 5 words I received using a random word generator online. The word generator gave me lift, aroma, submarine, holiday and blister. After lots of thought, and wanting to explore the realm of poetry, I came up with this (I could have done without blister...)

"Lift me" she said when she wanted to dance elegantly by candle light.
"Lift me" he said when he was struggling and needed a hand so badly.
"Lift me" she said when she longed to be held and caressed just so.
"Lift me" he said when his spirits were low and only her smile could help.

The aroma of the soup they had made filled them with hope and warmth.
The aroma of the crackling fire filled them with happy memories of the past.
The aroma of the brewing coffee filled them with energy as the clock turned midnight.
The aroma of the perfume and cologne filled them with love and playfulness.

She lovingly and softly sang "Yellow Submarine" to wake him on a lazy Sunday morning.
He layered meats, cheeses and veggies for her constructing her favourite submarine sandwich.
She laughed and celebrated as she won the game of battleships when she sunk his final submarine.
He often pretended that he was a submarine stealthily invading her waters when they watched TV.

While on holiday, they youthfully swam and played in the ocean as if they were dolphins.
While on holiday, they ate juicy and sweet exotic fruit with reckless abandon.
While on holiday, they slept till noon enjoying the cool breeze of the wind on their faces.
While on holiday, they grew closer and even more in love as if under a spell.

She rubs ointment on his blister while reciting romantic poetry to complete the mood.
He sings "Blister in the Sun" at the top of his lungs which always makes her so happy.
She runs and runs after him for hours; never wanting to stop even when a blister forms.
He tells her stories about their future together, a love for all time, hoping their blister will never pop.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Crazed Look of Indifference

He would read beautiful lyrical poems of love to her as she lay in the hammock in the backyard until she finally drifted off to sleep at which time he'd resume writing hate-filled tirades to the editor of the local newspaper. 

She bought him a great new dress shirt that she thought not only matched his eyes but also had such a dizzying and epilepsy-inducing set of patterns that it rendered any coincidental eye-matching mostly moot.

He threw her a frisbee on the beach that was meant to not only give her a chance to show off her transcendent athleticism for all present but also to cryptically remind her that it was time to reapply sun screen. 

She had been finishing his sentences for the past few weeks and he was growing tired of it so he started randomly changing the tempo and cadence of his speech to throw her off and distract her.

He awoke with strands of her long, tantalizing hair in his mouth and he was immediately consumed with thoughts of digestive concerns.

She cheered continuously at all of his tennis matches with a fervor and passion that both inspired and disturbed him on many levels.

He was enjoying getting up early on weekend mornings and making her elaborate breakfasts, which she appreciated, but his confounding choice to only serve purposely under-cooked eggs even after she took time out of her busy day to give him step-by-step help was annoying to stay the least.

She surprised him at work with a big hug and kiss that was greatly appreciated considering what a stressful week it had been and he melted into her arms once his heart rate returned back to normal which took an understandably long period of time considering the blood-curdling screams and streams of fake blood that accompanied her surprise.

He bought her a massive ball of red yarn so that she could knit herself some leg warmers and also to demonstrate to her that he could no longer tell when she was being facetious.

She held his hand tightly while walking down the street at night mostly to feel protected but also as a rudimentary means for testing his calcium intake.

He found himself gazing at her back instead of focusing on the term papers he was supposed to be marking and he longed to caress her slender back as well as wishing that he could be shrunk down to a size where sliding on it was also an option.

She moved her pawn and announced "checkmate" with a finality that befitted the dramatic seriousness of the moment and also came across as both demeaning and empathetic at the same time which is a really challenging combination of which she hoped he was at least slightly in awe of.

He was spending far too long on his hair this morning and was at risk for being late to work until she appeared in the bathroom doorway with a crazed look of indifference on her face while brandishing their electric hair trimmer which helped him immediately focus a great deal and make his morning class on time.

She was applying a bandage with the delicate care she was known for to a cut on his elbow, when she was overwhelmed with a strong, sudden desire to cover a life-sized clay statue of him with bandages and then submit it to the art gallery as part of her show on the decay of classic sensibilities. 

He stared at the near-empty refrigerator much like a small, adorable puppy would stare at an empty bowl and very much like the small, adorable puppy that he so wanted for his birthday and she kept saying no for no reason aside from gesturing towards the near-empty refrigerator that just did not make any sense to him at all.

She was enjoying helping him complete a crossword puzzle trying to strike a balance between loving valuable assistance and condescending intellectual dominance at the same time as not forgetting the roast in the oven.

He was proud of himself for remembering to wash the floor as she'd repeatedly asked and he couldn't wait to see the look on her face when she first came home from an exhausting day at work and right before she inexplicably decides that now is a perfect time for actual mudslinging.

She blows lightly at his forehead and enjoys watching his remaining baby hairs dance rhythmically and chuckles to herself over what she could accomplish if she had a significantly greater lung capacity as was often her dream growing up.

He was generously helping her into her ski boots all the while trying not to look too alarmed at the irony as he was the only one who was going skiing today and because she was usually the one who looked alarmed and he didn't want to take that from her.

She was joyfully skipping through the open field of long grass and wild flowers while he playfully chased after her attempting to avoid any of the myriad of objects that he was highly allergic too that she always insensitively accused him of being far too sensitive about. 

They fed each other spoons full of homemade soup because they finally both agreed that actions do in fact speak a whole lot louder than words.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Mother and Son

He loves his mother.

He had an image from his childhood in his head of her chasing him up and over hills in the park near their house. In his mind, he can almost hear her laughing with fall leaves colourfully highlighting the world around him. They run together, tossing and tumbling as if they were leaves themselves. He was 8 and felt so warm inside.

She loves her son.

He calls her on the phone in the evening. He would call more often, but he is so busy. At least he sounds very content. She misses him so much. He reassures her that all is okay, that he'll be home soon, that he is happy. She wants to tell him about her fears, her concerns, her health, but she says nothing. Each word he speaks is like a drop of water, hydrating her as she wanders aimlessly through the desert. Goodbyes are said, he promises to call again soon and she holds the phone to her heart looking around the house that had once felt so alive and was now a shell of its former self.

He loves his mother.

Her life had not been easy. The youngest of five daughters, raised by a gruff and preoccupied father and a loving, yet strict mother during the depression. They were poor and always hungry and her childhood was devoid of fun. She fell in love at a young age and never looked back. She had always wanted a child and when he arrived she literally felt as if she was flying.

She loves her son.

They were at the pharmacy. She was buying some medicine for him. He was sick. She remembers the panic she felt, the racing of her heart, the dampness of her sweat, the furrowing of her brow, the coldness of his hand. She tried to summon up the strength to fight off the feelings of doom - "he needs me to be strong". And she was. And he got better, but she often remembered being in the pharmacy late at night, in moments of weakness, just wishing and praying it would all be okay.

He loves his mother.

She had spent years cleaning hotel rooms and never complained once. Early mornings, late evenings, missed holidays, she worked so that he could have everything he would ever desire. She would come home from another long day looked utterly exhausted wanting nothing but to soak her feet and lay her head down, yet she always found the energy to be there for him.

She loves her son.

He was tall, lean, athletic. He had a way with words and an ease about him that drew in others. He would sit around the table, at holiday time, surrounded by aunts and uncles and cousins and be able to keep the company engrossed in his mix of uniquely, bewildering stories. While the family enjoyed the traditional homemade sausages that he had spent the afternoon preparing, she would watch him with awe and amazement in what a wonderful man he had become.

He loves his mother.

Somewhere a song is playing - he can't quite remember it's name. She is in the kitchen making something, anything - the aroma captures him while he works on his homework at the table. He smiles and enters the kitchen to hug his mother as if the only thing that could make it all okay was this single hug. She sang a few words of the song and he felt a tear drop on his hair as they stood there together, being warmed by the oven; a perfect moment in time.

She loves her son.

He looked back and waved. She tried to smile, but was overwhelmed by the moment. The bus was leaving and taking her baby far away. She wished he was young again; her adorable son bouncing off to kindergarten, that he still needed his mommy as only a little boy could. The sounds of the bus leaving the station saddened her and she bit her lip to keep from crying. He waved once more and turned around to find a seat as the bus headed down the long, straight road away from this place. She stood there feeling so utterly alone.

He loves his mother.

The proudest moment of her life, she told him, was when he graduated from university. She had succeeded as a mother. His adolescence had been dotted with bumps and bruises - she felt each of them as if she were a boxer in the ring. She dreamed of a future graduation, even when that dream became fuzzy and distorted at times, and never let go. He knew how much it mattered to her and he had always wanted to give her this moment. It drove him forward.

She loves her son.

The water is running in the video. A bath is being drawn. Her image enters the screen caring a crying, naked baby. It is him. He is but one year old. He hates baths. She gently caresses his arms and legs, soothing him. He loves the soapy bubbles and he giggles and splashes hesitantly at first and then more and more playfully once used to the bath. Shampoo stings his eyes and he cries and grows red. There is loving laughter in the background.

They love each other.

From the first moment she laid eyes on him, her life changed. Much of his first moments of life were spent in her arms. He always felt so cared for, so adored, so blessed. She held his hand, tied his shoes, packed his lunch. And yet, she needed him as much as he needed her. He gave her life; made her laugh as no one else ever could and gave her a purpose that no man or job or anything else ever did. She was always there for him; he had such a deep respect for her -  a previously meek and mild, single mother in a big city dominated by men who grew into the toughest person he knew. Their lives were forever intertwined, like two individual pieces of wicker in a woven basket, twirling around and around each other, supporting and making each other stronger - it was impossible to tell where one ended and the other began.

Mother loves; son loves.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

If I Was in Charge of Science

I'd love to see scientists come up with a half-bush/half-of-a-different-bush hybrid. We'd then be able to enjoy all of the luscious green foliage of a really wonderful bush combined with a totally equally cool but radically different bush just for those who enjoy the juxtaposition of different bushes and for those who are bored in this singular-bush world in which we live.

Could someone take a break from saving the environment to invent a machine where I can put two food items in and out pops a delectable cross of the two? I know what you are thinking - why don't you just put two pieces of food in your mouth at the same time and chew? To which I reply, I don't tell you how to eat your food so please don't tell me how to eat mine (unless you have a recipe for some great marinade). Do you happen to have a pickle and banana and are not interested in eating them together because you aren't crazy or pregnant (I am NOT saying that pregnant women are crazy, just that they have interesting food combinations that appeal to them, their wide range and unpredictable nature of their emotions and...I have no idea how to finish that sentence) but you do want to eat them and satisfy not only your sense of taste but as many other senses as well without cramming both in your mouth as a big bite of banana and pickle is not what you are in the mood for. So, in my mind, you'd throw the two items in, you'd press a few buttons and out would pop a piece of food never before seen by humans - it would have the appearance of a banana, the aroma of a banana but with the crunchy, garlicky, dilly, juiciness of a wonderful pickle. You could also make a pickle that you could slice into your breakfast cereal bowl as it would only look like a pickle but taste like a perfectly ripened banana. I'm sure it would take some getting used to - the juxtaposition of the conflicting smell and taste, but over time the combinations would be seemingly endless and as I continue to think about this I am questioning if this is an invention worth pursuing after all. 

It would be great if somehow someone took all of the fish in the sea and gave them large, comically-sized ears. This would have no practical purpose aside from making most people a whole lot happier and driving up aquarium ticket sales around the world. Plus it would provide that one fish who had always dreamed of being an ear, nose and throat specialist to not get burned out on just working on noses and throats. If we can help that one fish fulfill his dream of working on other fishes' ears then we must.

Those technology whiz kids should build a computer that can not only solve every possible mathematical question that humans can pose but find a way to either eliminate the need for all math or make the equations sexier. I'm not sure what impact the two extremes of sexier math or no math would have, but I think we should take that brave step (or series of steps I'm honestly not sure how much walking is involved) towards the future.

Figure out a way to get those slugs to do things just a little bit faster and harder and, while you are at it, I would suggest renaming them as the current name is just not helping. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe a name that would get them all angry and pissed off would also help them rid their reputation for being sluggish. I suggest Steve. Then, once we have these Steve's working harder and faster, I say we put them to work improving our country's infrastructure as well as building some new statues and monuments - maybe a pyramid or two?

Please continue developing and expanding the field of animal magnetism. It would be so useful (and awesome!) to have lots of magnetic animals to aid us in our beachcombing efforts (I mean, I was walking the dog already, may as well put him to use), using house pets to help pick up those annoyingly easily spilled iron filings (why do I keep so many iron filings around the house in the first place is a conversation for another day) and when trying to attract the opposite gender who happen to be wearing clothes that produce a magnetic field which will almost definitely be a fashion trend in the future.

It is high time that we had a cat-dog. I'm actually shocked that we don't have one of these potentially, domesticated super animals that could provide me the sloppy companionship and panting friendship of a dog with the endless purring and lap dominating of a cat. I imagine this cat-dog would get a bit annoying what with the endless whining and barking and shedding and hair balls...why did I think this was such a good idea in the first place?

And while we are on the subject of hybrids, I'd love to have all of the bloodthirsty ferociousness of a shark combined with the fluffy adorableness of a little bunny rabbit and then slowly and surely amass an army of these overly cute lethal assassins who would be fully ready to swim or hop at my command.

I was reading about a driverless car idea that is being worked on. What a great idea! Those people who think up those ideas are so smart! But I do see some issues that will need to be ironed out. For example, it could lead to a whole series of driverless cars cutting each other off and driving dangerously. My question is how will they argue? Lots of beeps and honks and flashing of high beams, I guess. Is that an actual language for cars? Could they differentiate between happy honks and beeps and angry ones? Maybe that sort of subtlety will be lost on all cars or on only certain cars creating a divide amongst them. As much as I want to lay in the backseat eating popcorn and letting my car do all the driving, I don't want to see the cars fall into castes or cliques unnecessarily. I also can see that pretty soon after the cars are in charge of the driving the cars they may start developing an attitude or even expecting a tip. And then, invariably, they will start texting on their phones while driving and cops will pull them over and struggle with how to ticket a car for an infraction. But that will seem easy by comparison when the cop cars themselves start operating sans driver and then we will have driverless chases, cop cars stopping for coffee and doughnuts and then being frustrated at being unable to consume them as they have no mouths and then putting them under the hood by instinct rendering themselves undriveable leading to more coffee and doughnut time and putting on some extra weight around the middle. I can imagine police cars arresting offending civilian cars and feeling conflicted because, in the end, they are all cars. But again, smart guys, great idea! Keep 'em coming!

I also think it would be great if scientists could invent a spray that would act as a sunscreen, bug repellent, mate attractor, flu shot all-the-while providing a refreshing pine scent giving me the allure of cleanliness.

And why hasn't someone invented a serum that not only compelled the ingestor to tell the truth but also also to tell one amazingly convoluted, yet compelling in both its detail and implausibility, lie each hour on the hour. This would be great for entertainment sake, would make the truth that much more satisfying in comparison and would help all of us set our timepieces.

I'd love for one of you scientists to come up with a laser that we could shoot at each other or at ourselves if we were able to set up a series of reflecting panels that would give us skills that we didn't already have. Note #1: I will only be interested in using said lasers if the probability of incineration was zero. Note #2: I still fully expect the lasers to make the cool science fiction-y sound effects that we are used to from the movies, but still, just to be clear, not able to kill me or burn me, unless the skill I learned was really fabulous thus counter-acting the burns. Note #3: They should still look like the futuristic ones we see on our screens but, once again (sorry if this is redundant), without the ability to harm me in any way unless the skill I want to learn involves a little bit of harming (not quite sure what kind of skill that would be). I just feel really strongly about not being hurt.

How about some sort of sensor I could stick in my tea that would let me know when I can sip without scalding my tongue and causing me, in the short term, to lose all sensations in my mouth and, in the long term, never approach a cup of tea with the same youthful enthusiasm and carefree approach towards liquids again.

Spray on towels! You cannot tell me that is a bad idea! At the beach just coming out of the water shivering? BOOM! Spray on towel! Just took a super relaxing bath and realize the towel rod is empty? KABLAMMO! Spray on towel! Looking to win that game of towel monsters by simply outnumbering your son and daughter and smothering them with a sneak attack? POW! Spray on towel! All alone because you alienated everyone you know as you keep spraying on towels? KONG! Spray on towel and keep spraying until your tears have stopped and you have enough towels to both keep you warm, thus saving on heating bills, and have enough towel-friends for a good game of twister.

I certainly hope someone is working on a contraption that can help me so I don't have to touch so much stuff in my daily life. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a germaphobe, I just want to focus on my other senses for a while and my fingers are a little tired too.

Here is one for you - a pill that enables the ingestor to very quickly gain a lot of weight in one or more isolated areas on their body - like the right thigh or the ears or an internal organ. The newly enlarged body part would also increase it's value or usage or ability to do whatever it does proportionally to its new size. Imagine how awesome it would be to have a huge kidney that really filtered things and became the envy of the other internal organs that usually make it feel so small or really large left foot that would be perfect for kicking down doors, stomping out forest fires and making scary sets of differently-sized foot prints for leaving on the beach and un-dried sections of concrete to suggest the existence of a local monster to freak out the locals or really large teeth just so I could have the world's largest smile, because, in the end, that is the only thing that matters.

And while we are on the subject of pills, how about one that would help me remember every detail about everything that ever happened to me and even add in cool information about the activity that I didn't know in the first place. Like there was that time years ago when my friends and I went out for pizza. It was so long ago that I barely remember what we talked about, what we were wearing and what we did afterwards. I take one simple, easily digestible pill with minimal side effects and then all of a sudden I remember everything! And I mean everything - clothes, our order, EVERYTHING that everyone said as well as also being given intriguing historical information about the restaurant, pizza, shady business deals of the owner and being informed that our waitress was also studying to be a dental hygienist at night school and was only working at the pizza restaurant to help pay the bills and as a favour to her sister who was married to the owner as he had a few people call in sick. With just one little pill you'd have so much detail it would make your head spin and you'd also know exactly why it was spinning, how long it was spinning for and how fast. Now, you may wonder why anyone would want to take this - aren't we all enjoying our blissful existence full of partial memories and vaguely remembered conversations and always wondering if you know that face from somewhere? Sure, but wouldn't it be cool to be a literal walking encyclopedia with a perfect memory who knows everything about everything even the painful things you've buried deep deep down and would love to forget?...on second thought, this doesn't sound that great after all. Sounds like you'd be an annoying know-it-all with no friends and an addiction to pills.

I, for one, would love to have some air conditioned clothes. I could then have a cool, breezy look about me all the time which I can only imagine will lead towards a small group of like-minded citizens to follow my lead. We will be the cool, breezy people who never have to endure the embarrassment and discomfort of sweat stains, or damp underwear, or stinky socks. We will be those happy, airy folks who always look fresh and smell like lilacs or roses. We will be those envied people who are always comfortably dry and happy and it will only cost us hundreds and hundreds of dollars and our souls.

Someone needs to drop everything they are doing and make me some pet food that doesn't look and smell and taste so appetizing! It's not my fault - I am often weak and hungry and I just get down on all fours and devour the food like the animal that I am. I am not proud of it, but I am also not ashamed. I am who I am and that is someone with zero impulse-control especially when around delicious, mushy, scrumptious pet food. Do I need to be eating it? No! I should be consuming the "people food" that is in the fridge. So, get on it and stop making it so great. And while they are it, I think that it is high time that someone makes some pet food that can give my pets the ability to dance. I really want to have dancing pets. And also ones that smell better and don't whine so much.

I'd appreciate if one of you smart guys could perfect the vacuum. Now don't get me wrong, the vacuum in its current state is satisfactory and fine. But let's face it- it's boring and never quite gets the rug or carpet or house pet totally dirt and dust free and for those of us who want that, vacuums are hugely disappointing and a constant source of frustration along the lines of taps that leak, shoe laces that come untied and education for education's sake. What I would like in my new-fangled dream vacuum is to have a multi-level portable machine where each level satisfies something deep inside of me. Allow me to explain. Level 1: a throwback of sorts to the current state of household vacuums. I would never use this level to clean with - instead I would only flip to it occasionally when I want to remember the past in all of it's not-quite-totally-clean glory. Level 2: this level would be the most used - a super-strong suction for those of us who are stuck in our current regularly, vacuumed world. All dust and dirt would be instantly sucked up and any small items the family wants to keep would need to be kept out of the vicinity of the suction tube as it would be that powerful. I imagine that once freed of dust and dirt in the household overall happiness would skyrocket thus having a huge impact on the worldwide sale of tissues outside of cold and flu season. Level 3: not sure how often or under what circumstances this level will be used, but in level 3, all small to medium pieces of furniture, pets, items on counters or shelves within 10 metres would all be suck into the large tube. Glasses, earrings, paintings on the wall, prized collection of pelts all gone. I'm sure that someone will come up with a use for this newfound power and that we wouldn't live in fear of accidentally turning the dial to this level, and I'm sure someone will call into radio shows bemoaning the invent of this level in the first place while the host will counter that the coffee table was probably a garish eyesore and your long-haired cat mostly just shed and whined anyways up until the moment they got sucked away. Level 4: a level that would need the utmost caution before being used and, I would surmise, a signed consent form and an agreement not to sue the company in case of accident. This level would be used when someone wants to just start over - you would only need to open your front door, lean back and press the button and seconds later, empty house. This could also be used to empty the pool, literally; to get a choice of any parking spot you want by clearing the block; to actually vacuum up your enemies after decades of having to be metaphorical. Based on this power, glue companies would have to up their game as people would need some way of guaranteeing their prized possessions couldn't be sucked out the window by their neighbours. Philosophers of the future will contemplate the existence of a level 5, a level that doesn't currently exist but which all vacuums aspire to reach. Level 5 would be the level where we can only hypothesize what existence would be like - as the vacuum achieves perfection, would we also, in turn reach a higher plain of existence and knowledge or would be constantly at risk of being sucked into oblivion.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Opinions?!?! I've Got Opinions!

I have lots and lots of opinions - not sure why, but I am trying not to question myself as there is a queue. And, I guess the word has gotten around that I have some thoughts and feelings and ideas about a wide variety of things and what has started happening recently is that people are often stopping me in the street or while shopping and are asking me my opinion on things. I am happy to share. This is the first in a series of my opinions on a variety of topics that I have been asked about recently. I hope you find this educational, instructive and definitive, and if you do not, then please consider lowering your standards.

Here is my take on...

...superfoods: So, I have been told that there are these foods that are labelled "super" as they are really good for you. I don't have a problem with that per se, except that it seems like a very exclusive group, or club that is really hard to join and I just happen to have a thing against those kind of clubs. You know the ones I'm talking about - those ones where if you don't have the right clothes, or car or annoying accent, you can't get in. And now some genius thought up one for foods?!?!? Sounds unnecessarily elitist to me - who did those foods (or the more human members of its fan club) have to pay off to get in? And if it was the foods themselves doing the paying off, then "how" is my next question. By now, we all know the members of this clique: the "unblemished" blueberries, the "incandescent" kale, "accented" acai berries, the "bedazzling" broccoli, the "king kong"quinoa. If I was one of those previously-thought-highly-of foods that didn't receive an invite, I'd be fairly annoyed. "Like what is so wrong with me?" I'd think "Just yesterday we were all pals in the garden or the grocery store and now today you are walking around like you own the place. And another thing, how and when did you start walking?!?!" I just don't know if creating a manufactured divide amongst foods is the way to go - anyone remember the caste system? Another thought is once you are a member of this club, can you leave? Are you always super? Do they get time off to just be a regular veggie and visit the relatives? If not, it is more of a prison and less of a club. I want to come out right now and say that I am staunchly against imprisoning food! There is no way that is a good use of my tax dollars. The "super" part also seems to be wildly misleading. It makes it sound, to someone like me who goes out of his way to be as literal and easily misled as possible, that the foods are not only good for me but that they also have powers. I would love for my food to have powers, although it may make me contemplate eating them for their nutritional value or only using them for their powers. And when I say "using", I don't want it to sound like I would be a malevolent master and the food my lowly slave - do I look like I could be that evil and have a slave? Don't answer that! That day, last week, when you saw me I didn't have any beauty time in the morning - doesn't mean I am pro-food-slavery. Also, I may be "way out there" and considered a little "off" and "one to keep an eye on" (only when you aren't in the middle of a two-eye activity - I don't mind you watching, just don't get hurt. Safety first!) but I am way above being an evil master or even a good master to some food. I'm not that weird. Or I guess I should say not that weird anymore. Thank you Doctor Evans and the wonderful Nurse Peters!

...gravel: In one sense gravel is just a field of small rocks and if that is how you see them that is all well and good. Honestly, I don't know how you can sleep at night. Uh huh? Oh really? You put your pillow over there and your alarm clock too? Well, now I know - thanks for sharing! With those images in my head, I don't think I'll be sleeping much for a few nights now. Back to the gravel. Don't you see that if seen very close up gravel is essentially the same as a bunch of big, scary rocks seen from quite a distance? And, if that doesn't freak you out, the next time you walk by a field of gravel, I challenge you to get down on your knees or, better yet, get off your high horse (word to the wise: that ridiculously large horse you prance around on looks out of place and makes you appear aristocratic and hard to approach. If those were your goals all along, kudos to you) lay down and get yourself a bit dirty and what will you observe? Those tiny, completely-innocent looking pieces of gravel look like big old, grown-up rocks and boulders from your new perspective. Either way you look at it, don't underestimate these pebbles we are "using" to cheaply cover our elementary school playgrounds with- they are not just small, less powerful and intimidating rocks (I mean they are that, just not only that). I believe they hold within them the ability to be so much more and if we sit back and relax and incessantly sip our iced tea as our elected officials insist (all-the-while denying us enough requisite sugar to make the drink at all palatable - I don't know about you, but I voted for those officials as I believed they would be a whole lot more liberal in the dispensing of sweeteners) then those pieces of gravel may have the last laugh (or one of the last laughs if I happen to be in a particularly laughing mood that day). It also bothers me that no one holds gravel in high regard or has even attempted to hold it in high regard or any level of regard. It is the least we can do and sometimes it is important to do our least except when there is a potential for free kittens or when there is a potential gas leak and then we should always do our most or at least appear to do our most before fleeing the scene. During elementary school, many a day was spent running up and down the school gravel field kicking balls (or having a series of balls kicked at me repeatedly of which I only partially deserved) both real and imaginary. So much of my youth was spent on or in the vicinity of gravel and though I stood there on many occasions breathing through my mouth (I had yet to learn to nose breath), inhaling in copious amounts of dust and then sneezing and wheezing for hours afterwards, I never blamed the gravel or the men and women from the gravel manufacturing plant or those who made the decision that a grass field was either too aesthetically pleasing or too expensive, no, I blamed my cousin from Philadelphia. What a piece of work that guy is - let me tell you! I'm pretty sure he hates gravel as well.

...glossy photographs: I need to set the record straight, I'm not against glossy photographs at all. I am just not a big fan because, as an already glossily-foreheaded person, glossy photographs just accentuate my already way-too-shiny features making me look more surreal than I can handle. And I have quite the surreal threshold in the first place. I can see how a matte finish is helpful for some of you with a "cloudy" complexion who are looking to appear more exciting in photo albums your descendants may be forced to look at when visiting their grandparents, but for those of us who have no problem with sheen, gloss just seems redundant and quite wasteful and I, for one, am thinking of the little children at home all alone while their parents are slaving away working overtime at the glossy photo paper finishing plant just so little Bobby and Susie can have sturgeon caviar on their blinis or the newest video game where a team of Navy Seals slaughter surprisingly sentient killer whales who are determined to enslave all of our sturgeon and put a moratorium on all blini and other pancake production thus driving up worldwide production of waffles and french toast just after they purchased all breakfast diners. I am sorry if I think it is more important for those kids to have parental supervision so they can't eat all of the frosting or at least spread out the consumption of the frosting over a week or just spread it out on some cake to at least reduce the sheer amount of frosting in any one sitting. I just think allowing too much frosting isn't sending the right message to the youth of today, just like too much gloss is sending the wrong message to whom or whatever beings find remnants of our photographs sometime in the far future. The great-grandchildren of our great-grandchildren will hope that the alien oppressors, who are pretty nice considering they are in the world-taking-over-enslaving-great-grandchildren racket, are impressed with the pictures they find and don't just toss them into the proverbial fire or any actual fire as I often do if I happen to have extra photos stuffed in my pocket when I happen to walk past a dwindling fire that needs something, anything, to keep going. True story: I often stuff my pockets with paper and photographs in an ill-advised, poorly-thought-through attempt at cheap insulation - instead of making me warmer, it makes me just wish I had purchased both the discounted high-powered shredder and the matching leg-warmer/sweater combo that I turned down as I really wanted to impress my friend who is quite against sweaters for reasons that are either beyond me or ones I haven't quite got to yet on this long highway called life.

...reigns of terror: Now don't get me wrong, I hate terror. Actually, that's not strong enough, I abhor terror in all of its forms. Even the word terror makes it sound scary  -good job whomever named it, but bad job whomever came up with the concept and then sold it to the highest bidder. Reigns, on the other hand, aren't all that bad. There can be good reigns, but for some reason they are usually associated with things we don't like: terror, fear, overt politeness. As far as established reigns go, reigns of terror are definitely in my bottom 5 and have next to no chance of moving up unless some of the other slightly more popular reigns take a turn for the worse and drop in popularity (I'm looking at you reigns of maniacal iron workers, bacterial growth, and sweet pickles and their bastardized cousin, relish). One reign that is good are reigns of rain as that is good for the crops. I try to always consider the crops and the farmers who reap them. Although, reign implies that it goes on for a long time and that it is both unwanted and forced on us. I don't love rain, but it is okay. However, if all of a sudden rain took a turn to the darkside and went on for a very long time, stayed when it was no longer wanted and forced itself on us even when we were screaming and crying for enough then I would have to contemplate changing my opinion of it. I'm directly implying that rain would have to be aware of its own reign and I have no evidence that that is at all possible, but I'm not ruling it out either. I have learned the hard way not to rule things out (I actually threw away all of my rulers and straight edges in hopes to avoid this). Anyways, reigns of terror really suck - they make life much less enjoyable (unless you are in charge, but then you have no real friends) and they make it very hard to keep dentist appointments and trips to the florist.Taking a historical perspective, reigns of terror started out on a relatively good note. They were initially very useful in keeping otherwise peaceful, well-behaved agrarian societies from causing too many problems, which they were prone to do - must have been the way they looked at everyone sideways. The reigns of terror came in and they helped create great monuments and other important civic structures by tearing the ridiculously lazy townsfolk away from their kilns, hearths and doll shops and putting them to work with the only known con being lots and lots of sweat and the occasional owie. Now, this was all well and good until reigns of terror were taken over by some really not so great people who took all of the amazingly great things about them and added in all of the killing and the blood. They claimed they were putting the capital T in terror and that before the terror should have really had quotation marks around it, which was quite a novel suggestion as it was at least two centuries before that really caught on as a way of speaking sarcastically. Once lives were lost, reigns of terror lost any chance at being remembered fondly or remembered at all, what with the death and all  -aside from the really amazing clothes and sense of style the rulers had. I'm not sure why there is often a direct correlation between megalomania and power and a knack for choosing the correct scarf/sweater combination. Imagine if they had had better childhoods and were hugged more often - they could have been the leaders of the fashion world and been loved and adored by men and women and been the life of the biggest parties in Paris, Milan, Tokyo and New York. But no, they got just a little too carried away with power and trying to crush everyone. "We didn't want to crush you when we were kids, we only wanted to win the soccer game and take the pretty girl to the dance" we'd say to them if we had a chance  -talk about being misunderstood and having them get a tad bit too angry at a fairly easy to solve communication issue. Luckily, they are fewer and far between these days since we are all so civil and mature compared to our ancestors. They were so uncivil and so grayish brown in the photos that have survived. I'm not saying being grayish brown would make you less refined, but it wouldn't help. But, they aren't all gone - there still are some really really bad dudes in power today subjecting their people to horrors and I wouldn't wish reigns of terror upon anyone except for my second cousin, twice removed. He knows what he's done.

...contemporary dance: I guess it was just a matter of time before we had to either phase out or close the door on the era of ancient dance which gave me the energy to get through some tough days growing up. I may understand this natural progression but I just can't say that I am huge fan of this wave of popularity about all things contemporary, especially dance. I may be alone in remembering the glory days of dance gone by, ones that those ultra-modernist culturally snooty elite that we all see around town these days with a scarily, rapidly increasing frequency would like us to conveniently forget. I made a promise to my great aunts-in-law (or to one of my great aunts-in-law as there is a good chance one had a previous engagement as I left the invites to the very last minute. It just slipped my mind as many activities with my great aunts-in-law do- that is the way it is with planning events involving relatively obscure relations) to curtail the amount of information I conveniently forget as it was growing to proportions that could have been troublesome if my troublesome category wasn't full at the moment with a three month wait list. All items/people/objects/metaphysical constructs that appeared to my receptionist (an alphabetical rotation of stuffed animals with size occasional trumping name based completely on the stuffed animals proximity to me which is, in turn, based completely on my dexterity of the moment which is, in turn, based on a random number generator I accidently stumbled upon when I accidently stumbled on my way to the dry pantry for some late-night crackers. My family has quite a intricate history with random numbers that is equal parts incredulous, annoying and demanding-an-amazing-soundtrack-opening-up-multiple-options-for-off-off-broadway-production-if/when-my-obviously-empty-threats-of-an-endless-stream-of-emails-containing-cryptic-codes-of-numbers-that-are-in-fact-generated-randomly-from-a-great-website-I-stumble-upon-from-time-to-time-usually-when-hungry-with-a-hunger-that-only-crackers-stored-dryly-can-come-close-to-satisfying (they do)). But some of you may wonder "what is your issue with contemporary dancing really, or are you just enjoying a few moments in the spotlight?" To which I answer (after hours practicing in said spotlight which drove up my electricity bill to previously unforeseen heights that make me briefly question if a limelight would have been more cost-effective) it is highly possible that my "issue" (to use your word, and I am trying as often as I can to use other people's words when talking instead of my previous practice of using their numbers which almost always caused them to raise a red flag which was a problem at first because no one had one, but that was quickly solved as it had given me a great idea for birthday presents and allowed me to clear the spare bedroom of all of those extra red flags I was keeping on hand "just in case") with contemporary dates back to my youth when my father, a contemporary dancer's contemporary dancer, was shunned and isolated by a clique of popular, mean contemporary dancers - they wouldn't even give him the time of day! And while it is true that neither them nor he really understood what that meant, it hurt him as did many other abstract expressions when used verbally by dancers and other artists towards him. I was too young at the time to do anything about it, but I remember him coming home, dejected and spending hours gracefully and beautifully moving about the house to somber, yet uplifting music usually featuring the piano, and feeling his pain and anguish and I remember vowing to bring down contemporary dance from the outside as I have always avoided being inside on sunny days.