Jeremiah's School of Levitation
Friday, October 27, 2006
Daddy and the Train
When I was introduced to my team the first week I joined the Big Giant Software Giant, our manager told me "Okay, give us a short history of yourself, and, tell us a shocking story about yourself."
My gulp was audible. I do not like public speaking. I can feel every syllable of every word I say when I speak to an audience, and it is like I'm throwing up those words. And, they don't come out of my mouth and disappear. They curl back into my ears and sit there, buzzing, mocking me, echoing in my head. I sweat and stammer. I want to yell out to the crowd "Quit looking at me! Why are you looking at me? And, you're listening to me too! How dare you! Can't you see I'm dying up here?"
On top of that, 20 people awaiting you to tell them a dang IMPROMPTU story, which you know also has to be funny, yet clean, and fairly coherant, is more pressure than having to explain to your boss why you missed a critical deadline three weeks in a row. There's this singeing, anticipatory silence as forty eyes (80, if you count the glasses) and zillions of (overactive) brain cells await your enlightening words which will lift them from the drudgery of the moment and send them sailing on the winds of glee, with a memory of a delightful story that they can recall and still grin about as they sit on a freeway later.
Pressure! Hissssssss! I almost just got up and sprinted out of the room, trailing my notebook and pencils, my badge, and my shoes and socks.
Instead, I remembered the words of the goddess Nike who said: "Just do it...we ain't got all day. And, besides, you look ridiculous just sitting there shivering." (That's the original quote--the shoe company edited it. I bet you didn't know that...).
So, I did it. This is the story I told:
Well, the most shocking thing I've ever done, that I can say in public, is that I jumped off a train. Yes, a moving train.
See, it was my oldest son's 6th birthday, and he loved trains, so we decided we'd take a trip to a neighboring city, and back, on an Amtrak. We invited a couple of other kids and their parents and we all boarded with a smile. All went well on the trip to the neighboring city, which was about 40 miles away. However, as we arrived and pulled into the train station, my son got out a bag of peanuts and tried to open it himself.
Well, he opened it alright. All the way. Peanuts went everywhere. But, I just shrugged (okay, I winced a little bit...okay, I put my hands over my eyes too...okay, yeah, I MIGHT have said a couple of things under my breath too) and told everyone in the party to get off the train and that I'd clean up the peanuts and meet them in the station.
Dutiful Dad set to cleaning then, and feeling pretty glad, actually, to have a few minutes of time to myself, even if it was on my knees with my hands under a train seat. As I put the last peanut in one of our trash bags, though, my mood took a sudden dive.
The train was starting to move.
I at first couldn't believe it, but, that disbelief only lasted a second because the train REALLY WAS MOVING.
I quickly found a ticket-taker and I told him that I needed to get off here and that he needed to stop the train. He looked at me like I said "So, this is the train to Hawaii, right?" Well, actually, I think he was looking at me strangely, with a hint of amused incredulity, because I told him to stop the train and let me off.
"Sir," he said, "this train will stop when it gets to its destination." This destination was the next city--40 more miles away.
So, I had to sit down and think. I might add here that no one in my party had cell phones. This wasn't unusual. This was before the general public realized that not having a cell phone when you left the house was akin to not having pants when you left the house.
I said to myself, "Okay, self, here are your options: Face your wife's wrath by inexplicably staying on the train until the next city, thereby leaving your son's birthday party and leaving them wondering what the heck happened to you, and you probably will spend the rest of the day reconnecting with them. Or, jump off the dang train."
The decision took a split second to make.
I went between the cars and opened the door there and looked out at the ground. It truthfully didn't look like we were going that fast. I could see every rock in the graveled yard as we passed them. My addled brain said "Now, if we were going fast, those rocks would be blurry. So, we're going slow." I'm not sure where that logic came from, and how that was supposed to apply, but I don't suggest using it very often to judge safe speed.
Anyway, I figured we were going about 20 miles an hour. My brain said "See! That's SLOW!"
Without another thought, I jumped.
I don't know much about physics, but here's something I learned, or rather, something I forgot that I learned back in grade school: If the train is going 20 MPH, then, so am I. The ground, however, is going ZERO MPH. Therefore, leaping from a train going 20 MPH is like firing myself at that speed, directly onto the ground, which isn't moving. Top human running speed is around 20 MPH. So, jumping from the train onto gravel is the same as me running on a sidewalk as fast as I possibly can, and then, when I reach top speed, suddenly launching myself into a dive to the ground. And, I won't even be going 20 MPH if I do that since I can't run at top human speed, unless, maybe, it's last call.
The conclusion is: I'm going to get really hurt. And, I did. When I hit the ground, I rolled uncontrollably for about five seconds. I spun, flipped, cartwheeled, and bounced before coming to rest about two feet from the train wheels. I could smell the oil on the wheels, and see them turning. They were not blurred, so they were turning slowly, but, I don't think that would have made any difference if I'd ended up under them.
So, anyway, I stood up and assessed the damage. The fact that I could stand up was a good sign. However, I was a mess. My jeans and shirt were torn. I was bleeding in about twenty different places. My knees hurt. My fingers, of all things, hurt. And, my back hurt. Otherwise, I was fine.
I sprinted back to the station, which was just a couple of blocks away, and entered the lobby. Now, my wife had no idea what had just transpired, so you can imagine her shock when I walked in looking like I'd just fought a lion. The last time she saw me, I was clean and smiling.
Just as I walked in, the guy in the ticket booth ran toward me and started yelling at me. Apparently, HE knew what happened because the conductor had radioed the station because, I'm sure, some passenger witnessed the whole thing (and didn't tape it--darn!).
So, there I was, tattered, hurting, and getting yelled at. And, I thought this was the BEST choice to make.
Anyway, on each following day, the pain just got worse and worse. I was so sore that I hurt if someone even THOUGHT about me, much less touched me. It was a week before I felt somewhat normal again. And, I got no sympathy for my pain, deservedly so. My wife said that she would have been mad if I had continued on the train, but would not have expected me to JUMP off the train. In fact, the fact that I did jump off the train made her so mad that she wanted to push me in front of a train for being so stupid.
And, that's my shocking story.
(People laughed continually throughout it, so I guess I did incite some glee. Though, now, they look at me funny when I walk past them. I think they worry about me now.)
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Misty Watercolored Memories
What that meant was that, each week, I could publish drunken, rambling, old-man-waving-a-cane diatribes of my choice, on a subject of my choice, without much fear of being edited since my editors were themselves drunken, rambling guys who were often not in a state to drive, much less edit. I did, somewhat, have to fear public repercussion from members of the local music scene, should I write something scathing, which I, of course, did frequently. My in-your-face-ness got me some scorn, but it also got me some measure of fame that, in turn, got me free drinks and adoring ladies sidling up to me at the bar, which, at age 24, are pretty much the only things I required to stay alive (well, at age 41, I can't say that I don't require the same things, but now I just don't get them...).
I did it all, now that I think on it, for no other reason than the fact that being a butthead got you more attention than being a flowerhead. Hell, I don't even know what a "flowerhead" is. I got a chance to be a grumpy critic, a curmudgeonous socialite, and a psuedo-thoughtful wordsmith, with the world as my subject matter. Everything, except myself, was a potential target.
I am reminded of this because, just yesterday, I was listening to a Depeche Mode song, "Leave In Silence," and I chuckled. Not because of the song, but because of how I floridly described the song back in my music reviewer days as "displaced, clinical, dark funk" that left you "shivering in your groove." Jeez, I loved myself. I went on to remember how I described The Sundays lead singer as having a voice that "was like having an ice cube rubbed all over you" and how I said that A Tribe Called Quest was "a little Afrocentric" with rapper Q-tip being able to "drop the temperature in a room by 10 degrees everytime he raps." I was in a full-on guffaw at myself at that point.
I then decided to pull out some of the old copies of myself and read, and wince, at my bold, alterna-literary equivalents of throwing paint against a wall and calling it genius. I did a whole column tracking the etymology of the word "fuck" (which is interesting, and which I ended by saying that "I read one quote that said it is a word that 'should not be used in polite company.' That doesn't mean that you should watch what you say. It just means that you should avoid polite company.").
I wrote a column trashing my girlfriend's ferret, which turned out to be one of the dumbest things I've ever done. It wasn't until voluminous apologies and kisses on the ferret that I was forgiven for that one--I nearly got my wish of having the ferret move out, except, she would have gone with it.
I wrote an article about a local guitarist who liked raga, except, since I never heard of raga and didn't quite hear the pronounciation right, and because Google didn't exist then, so how the heck was I going to research anything, I referred to as "araga" the whole article. His friends laughed at me the whole week (I blush to this day).
I was all over the place, and, by the time I left the paper, I had about 15,000 people glad to see me go so that they could stop entertaining thoughts of killing me (my likeness was actually burned in effigy at one local concert), and I had about the same number of people wishing me well.
My only point here is that I see that I've posted 112 times on the School of Levitation, and I will post at least 112 more and then will stop one day and then will come back and read the postings.
I wonder if I'll do the wincing I did when I read my old printed postings in the local alternative rag. I wonder if I'll go "500 words on Denise Richards! Man, that must have been a good martini." Or will I say, "Now why did I have to mention going to the toilet, of all things?" and, "I misspelled something every post!"
Don't know. But, if nothing else, just like reading my old ambitious, idealistic, grandstanding, pseudo-thoughtful self, I think I'll laugh and sprout goosebumps of embarassment at the same time. And, I'll probably realize, with some odd pride, that after all these years, I really haven't changed at all.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Blog Catchup Day
I'm driving to work, still sitting in traffic, even though I'm now taking this new, low-stress, country road route which, apparently, got leaked to the New York Times and is now the preferred route for all the people I used to spend time with on the freeway. In fact, I thought I recognized a driver or two, sitting next to me, grinning over the steam of their coffee cups. Or, at least that's what my strained mind was telling me I was seeing. Anyway, I'm thinking of the Friday poetry word, which was a phrase, which was "left behind" and I came up with a thought that bubbled from my discomfort at idling away my years on the road to a corporate job. I'd love to be strolling these country roads instead of polluting them. So, in light of that phrase, I was reminded of an old friend who had long dreads, but managed to get himself a job at a corporation, where he worked for years, accomplishing all sorts of boardroom-laudable goals. But, one day, he confided in me, saying:
"You know, Jeremiah. I feel like, everyday, all I do is walk around juggling a dozen glass balls. Juggle, juggle, juggle. And I scar up my heart with the stress of keeping all those glass balls airborne. Well, you know what? One of these days, I'm going to stop juggling, turn my back on those glass balls, and walk away, with the sound of a dozen glass balls smashing on the floor behind me."
I loved that imagery (he was an expressive soul--he inspired me to speak more "astrally" when I was around him, if for no other reason than to see if I could keep our conversation intelligently, yet georgeously, abstract), and I never forgot it. However, it wasn't until I saw the Friday word that his own words came back to me.
What really made my heart swell, though, was that I remembered that a couple of years after our conversation about the glass balls, I called on him at his job. He was no longer there. He'd resigned, they said. I smiled, as I imagined his desk now empty, except for dozens of twinkling shards of glass scattered all around his space.
Saturday, Oct. 21 1:39 pm
Had lunch with the family and friends at a great Vietnamese place downtown. I had the "anchovery soup," which was only slightly anchovery, and ancho-very good. As I walked back to my car, though, I walked a couple of blocks through an alley and, for the entire time, I was assaulted by the flat, ammonia odor of urine. I couldn't escape it. I didn't want to hold my breath because my evil imagination, which loves to screw with me, said that I would then be holding urine breath. And, however, I didn't want to breathe because my evil nose, which seems to get more sensitive the worse an odor is, kept me in full realization that I was breathing up a good dose of urine. I just walked on through, finally emerging into the fresh air of car exhaust, and I wondered--how are we going to get that smell out of the alleys? Should we douse the place with bleach early one Sunday morning, and rinse it? Should we release some sort of urine-eating bacteria in there (of course, if we did, I suspect there is enough urine in that alley to make the bacteria grow to the size of cats)? Ugh. I'm going to stop thinking about that now.
Monday, Oct. 23 5:25 am
I read that US envoy Alberto Fernandez retracted his comments to Al-Jazeera where he'd said: "undoubtedly there was arrogance and stupidity from the United States" when you look at the US policy in Iraq. He now says that he "misspoke" and that those comments don't represent his views. Ha. Yeah, I often call someone an "arrogant bastard" when I really meant to say "Good morning!" I can imagine trying to weasel out of shooting the finger at a fellow motorist by saying "Oh, I'm sorry. I meant to just show you my real cool wedding ring! I always misshoot my fingers. Darn me!"
No, I think he spoke his mind, but retracted only because he got a call from someone in the department who basically told him something like:
"Oh, Alberto. It is so terrible how you misspoke on US policy and how you were so terribly misunderstood and mistranslated, isn't it? I think the world just didn't understand, is all. Maybe you can explain this unfortunate mistake to the world? Yeah? So, how long have you been with the department? Really? And, I bet it's been real good for your family, huh? Yeah. Well, I hope we can continue to provide you with the best! Okay. Goodbye now!"
Yep. More like that.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Kids These Days
Now, let me say that she was a charming lady, intelligent, and quite good-looking and when I could get a word in, she did listen, so it wasn't anywhere near absolute hell talking to her. But, there needs to be some down time in conversation, time to think about what there is to actually contribute, and, also, one needs to not feel like one is throwing a brick wall in front of someone's full-momentum story just to say "Um, I need to go to the bathroom." However, I didn't know how to break away from her to give my ears and brain some rest. If I started to back away, she'd follow me. If I looked away, she spoke louder, or tapped me. I wondered if I just bolted out of the door, would she dive at my feet and tackle me?
Anyway, the down time came when the party MC asked all the kids, as they ate (oh, no) pizza, to each tell a CLEAN joke. Now, I know that kids are inherently funny, but I didn't realize that they actually had jokes sitting around in their heads, just waiting to come out if you ask them. I was very impressed with some of the jokes and, frankly, I realized that I couldn't even think of a clean one of my own, meaning that the squeaky kid in me has gone and now, the only joke I can think of involves a monkey, a bar, a cue ball, and a part of its anatomy. So, anyway, here's to kids and their clean funny jokes. I repeat some of them here:
How do you get a tissue to dance?
You put a little boogie in it!
A cow goes.
A cow goes who?
You silly. A cow goes "moo"!
Why did the baseball players start spinning around?
To get ready for the whirl series!
and, my favorite:
A lady walks into a pet store and says to the pet store guy: "I would like a puppy for my daughter."
The pet store guy frowns and says, "Lady, we don't do trade-ins."
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Another Little Pizza My Heart, Now Baby
See, we ordered a pizza for delivery this weekend, a large, and I grumbled like a bad stomach. I, of course, made some reference to the pizza cartel, and how I was wondering if I could just make monthly payments on the pizza to help the impact to my budget. And, as usual, no one was paying attention to me.
So, finally, the knock came and I did the long-legged lurch to the door. You know, the one that kids do when you tell them they have to come in now, and they scrunch up their faces and start walking all straight-legged, stomping and leaning, their stride making them look like their knees have suddenly frozen up and they whine and whimper and say "Aw, do I hafta??" (I do that when my wife tells me to come away from the liquor cabinet, actually.)
Anyway, I open the door, my frown on tight, and the pizza guy is there, smiling, holding the rare and exhalted pizza, his limo humming behind him.
I didn't return the grin. I just reached for my wallet.
And, at that moment, I thought I heard angels.
"Oh, sir, no need to pay."
"Huh?" I said.
"This one's on us! See, every now then, we give our regular customers a free pizza. This time, your number came up! No charge!"
"Huh?" I said. I felt my heart, to make sure I was still alive and that this wasn't some scene from Sixth Sense and the pizza guy suddenly wasn't going to sprout fangs and tell me something like "I deliver to this GRAVEYARD every night! You must be new here!"
Nope, he just handed me the pizza, which was actually hot and real. I opened the lid and no snake jumped out and no one said anything about Pranks and Practical Jokes. This was really happening.
"All yours, sir!" said the pizza guy. "On us!" He lifted on his toes and grinned. "Yep. Free!"
"Dude," I said. "Sorry about the blog." I knew he wouldn't get it, and he didn't, but I had to say it, to appease the gods.
"The what?" he said.
"Nothing." Then, I realized why he wasn't leaving, and why his grin was so wide.
I finally did get my wallet, and pulled out a five spot for the guy.
"Thanks!" he said, and he sprinted off. And, actually, his car wasn't a limo at all, but an old Toyota Celica that normal, nice people drive. Hmm. Must've been the light...
So, there you go. I get in a huff about something, and I'm proven goofy, in a most humbling way. I'd like to think that pizza joints everywhere were whispering about my blog the day after I'd ranted and that the cartel decided that "we're going to have to show that Jeremiah fella that we're just trying to make a living. We gotta put some love, and free pepperoni, in his heart. Yeah!"
But, it probably didn't go that way, but it did end up nicely. So, though I don't take back what I said about the pizza mafia, I do have to say, "alright, well, maybe there's a bright side. Fine."
One other thing, though, I thought was funny. Since this pizza joint does this free pizza thing regularly, I bet the delivery folks get an especially good tip when they deliver the free pizza. So, I bet up at the pizza joint, this causes some, um, "healthy competition" to be the one who gets to deliver the free pizza. In fact, I think the competition is pretty brutal and vindictive because, just as the driver was pulling away from my house, his car exploded.
Friday, October 13, 2006
I remember when I was but a child, my little brother, we'll call him "Jezadiah," asked me what I'd do if I had three wishes. Well, being a kid and not, from what I could remember, ever knowing that there was a number higher than a million, I quickly said "A million dollars."
I had to think about the other stuff for a second. I finally said, "And a hundred dogs, and a million pounds of candy."
Then, I asked him. "What would you wish for?"
He looked at me and said, "A million dollars, the fastest car in the world. And.." he paused for a second, "three more wishes!"
I could only nod and grin. I think it was the first time I thought that maybe my little brother might, might, MIGHT be a little, little, LITTLE bit cool.
Turns out, he was a whole lot of cool, and smart, and funny. I someday hope I'll be cool enough to be his opening act!
One of my wishes now would be that everyone had a bro like Jez.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Northwest October Daze
8:06 AM--Freeway! A friend of mine drew me up a way to commute to the Big Giant Software Giant that would most definitely take my stop start freeway stress and crumple it up and re-de-un-crumple it into a handful of silver lace butterflies that would flutter about my consciousness and I had visions of college parties where I "took something" and, sometime later, I was standing on a beach, shivering, and wondering if possibly I'd dreamed up my entire life up to this point. No, this new route was to carry me over winding rivers, verdant hooded hiways, through the shadow of state parks, and, most importantly, nowhere near the back of the Freeway Beast. Un-freaking-fortunately, I missed a crucial turnoff and, as a result, ended up on the back of the beast. One thing I did notice, though, as I lurched through the dewey commute--the fog descending upon (or rising from?) the freeway looked like the hem of angels' gowns, me a creepy crawly that had invaded the misty debutante dance of wispy beings and all my mortal eyes could focus on was the gentle wave of filigree tracers left by the slow dancers of the morning. I suddenly wanted to just go to sleep.
12:31 PM--Lunch at my desk. I have been gnawing on the same smoked chicken from the local Complete Foods Market since Monday. I have devoured both legs, a good bit of thigh, and am now working on the breast. It has been a strange relationship, me and this smoked chicken. I've needed to douse its meat with salt to get more than a burnt match taste out of it, and, in the nether reaches of its bones, I've encountered uncooked meat, which, on a chicken, spells Fun On the Toilet. I'll spare the details, except to say that maybe next week, when I visit the Wholesome Eats Market, I'm going to get the Completely Cooked Chicken from the section that actually had a lot of people buying from it, and I'm going to end my short, but torrid, affair with the toilet.9:14 PM--The Gym. I'm lifting, admiring myself in the all-mirrored walls of the gym, sweat beading in my gray-speckled hair, and I realize that I have no idea why I'm doing this. I'm am far past the age where I can turn anyone's head that wouldn't turn unless I either physically reached out and turned their head, or, if they turned their head because I had something hanging out of a hole in my own head that should not have anything hanging out of it that isn't part of a piercing. Sure, I need to stay healthy, but I could do that with brisk goofy walking along the river, or with a strict fiber diet, or by spending a few minutes a day thinking about Rachel Ray. But, I pump on because if I don't, I go to the complete other extreme and think of myself as Jabba the Hut, before he dieted to look like the slim specimen that appeared in Star Wars (oh no, another Star Wars reference--is my geek showing?). So, now I look buff in a tank top as I buy milk and bacon at the local A&P and I can hold the hand basket with only one finger. And, if I wanted to, I could hoist a case of water on my shoulder and not even grunt loud enough for you to hear. And, really, when will I ever need to bench press something? "Honey, can you lie down and push this jar containing a lifetime supply of peanut butter over your head and then open it for me?" Not likely. But, I pump on.
Monday, October 09, 2006
What my days need is some ubiquitous "Blog This!" button just floating around that, when inspired, I could push and, subsequently, whatever action I was performing at that time, or whatever thought fired past on a blue streak of light would get instantly uploaded to my blog, my poor neglected, big-eyed blog, my poor canvas-bag-wearing, trembling hand reaching out muttering "Guv-nah!" blog.(Speaking of blue streaks of light, remember that show "Fridays" which actually starred many future major players of "Seinfeld", like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Michael Richards, and Larry David, and Brad Hall, who ended up marrying Julia Louis-Dreyfus? Well, remember that guy who always took too many pharmaceuticals and ended up hallucinating and always saw mercurial flashes of light heading directly for his head, which made him duck violently? Then, he'd stand back up and ask whoever was standing near if they saw that flash of light and, of course they didn't because they were riding on a much lower cloud than he was and he'd consent to that fact and say "Yeah, I guess not. You would have seen THAT!")
So, because no one has invented a "Blog This!" button that I can plug into my life, then I have to imagine that one exists, so, today, I pretended I had one and, at random moments, I pushed it. Here are the results.
8:06 AM--The Park and Ride Mass Transit Station. It looks like I've missed the bus to work, which is roughly in the Dagoba System. I've missed it because every single clock I own has a different time on it, which assures that I'll always show up at a time when I shouldn't have. My car clock is 4 or 5 minutes fast. The clock on my stove actually seems to fluctuate between being fast and slow, probably due to the fact that it has had its share of burned meat fumes that I've subjected it to and is now effectively senile and crazed. Every now and then, it remembers the days of minutes actually being 60 seconds and not 5 seconds, a malfunction caused by the result of fumes I created when I experimented with what happens to a banana at 400 degrees. And, I can't find my watch. I lost it in the living room three months ago and, though I sometimes think I'm hearing it tick, I also sometimes hear the sound of squirrels in the walls, so, those sounds I take as just reminders that I need to refill my drink. My cell phone clock is usually right whenever I remember to charge it, which wasn't today. So, I have to actually drive to work again, and contemplate absolutely nothing because I'm going to be in traffic, moving at a speed that requires that I keep tapping the accelerator, and then suddenly hitting the brake at intervals just slightly shorter than the speed of thought. By the time I'm at work, my brain's so gnawed up, that I can't even remember where I sit.
11:34 PM--I check my email and realize that, over the last week, I've been the successful victim of a massive porn email spam invasion. And, in a way, it is deviously brilliant. I have spam filters to catch the usual porn language, but these evil spam rats have taken it one step further. They now populate their emails with "alternate" spellings of porn talk. So, I have a filter that will trash any email that contains the word "anal", for instance, which isn't a word that anyone I want to talk to uses in emails to me, even if it is part of the word "analyze" because no one I regularly correspond with has the time, or the brain cells left, to analyze anything more complicated than what's on tap. However, the porn scholars still get "anal" past my filters because they use spellings such as "aanal", "a-nal", etc. The possible combinations for every possible porn word boggles my hhead, and I realized that I was actually thinking of devising a filter to catch a majority of them, and I was scrunching up my face while doing so, which would have made for an interesting conversation had my wife asked me what I was so involved in thinking about.
"Well," I'd say, deliriously, "I was wondering--just how many ways are there to spell 'anal'?" Years of marriage will be called into doubt at that point.
What puzzles me, to the point of anger, is WHY are they trying to beat the porn filters? If I don't want to read any email with the words "loose cuties" in it, why the heck do they think that if they just spell it "lloose cu-tees" would I suddenly say "Hey! Now we're talkin'! I gotta see some movies about 'lloose cu-tees'. Woo weee! Finally, someone who gets my fetish!" Jeez.
Boy, this is getting long, isn't it? Maybe I've found a way to keep my blog up to date. Or, if nothing else, I've found a way to get you to help me devise a filter for "anal." I gotta go.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
And I Quote, Part 7
Things I actually said as an adult that I'd never have thought I'd ever say until I said them:
"You don't even care about my diarrhea, do you?"
To an American woman: "When you read that British newspaper, do you read it in a British accent?"
"Yeah, I love you. What time is it?"
"I must have fallen asleep next to the toilet."
"Do you mind if I do some Spanish on you?"
"Ear wax doesn't taste very good."
Monday, October 02, 2006
Mediocrity. Long being used to not being much. That’s a sneaky thing, not wanting more, but wanting more. Wanting to be something unique, but not accomplishing anything unique. Getting praise without being praiseworthy. Mediocrity. Forgetting the smallest things, remembering great things, but repeating them for different audiences so that you can sound like you know a lot, but should those different audiences ever decide to converse among each other, they’ll find that you have an uncanny sense of repeating yourself with grandeur, and offering nothing new except an amazing ability to go into reruns.
Mediocrity. Seeing the potential, then avoiding it out of fear that someone might criticize. Watching people falter all around you, silently calling them on it, or, if they are large enough in the public eye, making broad, sweeping jokes at their expense and then, in the quiet of your bathroom shower, you reflect on the fact that you never even took the stage to even know what it was like to get booed off.
Mediocrity. Telling the world how good you are, grinning and exploding onto the scene, then riding their first impression until you can’t remember what they liked about you in the first place, so you lose your place, and then you are firing wildly, betraying the cool that you introduced yourself with.
You know a few chords on the guitar, you’ve read all the Hemingway novels, but none of Jane Austen’s. You can wax on the life of Virginia Woolf, but can’t remember which Bronte sister wrote which book. You have traveled just enough to say you’ve traveled, but nowhere near enough to say you have been a traveler, yet you think you are.
Music! Ah, do you make a big deal about how you love Ben Harper and Jack Johnson, and when someone asks you what you think of Bob Dylan and Woodie Guthrie, you stammer, trying to remember something other than “Serve Somebody” from Dylan and trying to remember anything from Guthrie.
Ah, sweet mediocrity. The Iraq war sucks! Bush is a moron! Oh, the order of sucession in the United States presidency? Um, let me Google that!
But, hey, the nearest three liquor stores are firmly etched in memory.
Oh my. I have been a bad blogger. No posts, no replies to comments. Nuthin. Quick, let me sacrifice a pencil to the blog gods (snap!) (ouch, a piece of pencil just dun went up my nose--what are the odds? that's what I get for sacrificing an innocent pencil and, did I just commit an act of heresy by suggesting that there is actually some dietic entity that holds blogs in the palm of its sweaty, cosmic hand and watches over us all, making sure that we blog daily or, if not, slink about in the shadows, feeling guilty that we've not been plugging up our hole in the blog dam, or damn blog, whatever mood you happen to be in that day? And, what penance must I pay for suddenly launching into a steam of consciousness rant, and, no I didn't mean to say "steam of consciousness" but I misstyped and took a look at that and figured, hey, "steam of consciousness" actually makes sense and it also conjures up a nice image of me hunched over my laptop, curls of white unfolding from my scalp and forming words in the sky, or, more likely, just a big question mark in the sky, which, apparently, brings us right back to gods.)
The flag football team I'm coaching won this weekend. They are the most spirited group of 8 and 9-year olds that I've ever seen, at least without sugar being involved. I am swelling with pride--no wait, that's the Whopper Jr. I ate yesterday--no, wait, yeah, that IS pride! These little men hustle and dart and I think I was smiling the whole game because my lips and cheeks were sore all day long yesterday. And, they call me Coach! The parents call me Coach! For plenty of men, this has already happened, but for me, I have to admit, I haven't coached anything before this year, and now, people are calling me "coach" when they address me, and a little tune starts playing in my head and it's so catchy that I just stand there and nod to it, and smile and sprain my lips again. I like being called "coach." I think I'm going to call myself Coach. "Hey, Coach, let's scratch ourselves now!" or "Man, Coach, you sure can coach, Coach!" Also, I now have official license to boldly, and uabashedly yell out such coachisms as "Way to go!" "Take Off!" "That's how ya do it!" "Hustle up!" and, my all-time favorite, "You boys left it on the field today!"
Alright. Enough of me. I just thought I'd write a postcard from my head. Having a great time in here! The weather's fine, but just a little steamy, Coach.