Jeremiah's School of Levitation
Friday, May 26, 2006
Poetry Friday Again!
So, here's me doing "cave." One poem (actually, it was a song I was writing) and one tale.
If It Looks Like A Cave
She says that I remind her
of a dark and empty space.
She says that I remind her
of a cave.
She says my soul
has bottomless pits.
And that navigating me without light
can get you lost,
surrounded by greasy walls
and the sound of bat wings
and the smell of stomach gas
and old, unresolved bones.
She says that I remind her
of something hidden away.
She says that I remind her
of a cave.
She says her words
must echo in my head;
must tumble in the crags
of my hard misunderstanding
of my sudden drops
and of my cold, imperfect corners.
She says that I remind her
of a particular no-place.
She says that I remind her
of a cave.
She says that I have primitive creatures
drawn inside my skull
and that I have blind white fish
that I mistake for thoughts.
And that black bears sleep in my daytimes
and wake up in my dreams.
But, when she looks into the cave
of my eyes,
I notice her introspection.
And I wonder if
she might really be thinking
her own reflection.
"All the way up there?" I said. The sun was uncurling from the clouds above us and I felt the sting of sweat rising on my scalp.
"All the way up there," said Iris. "Surely you can climb a little hill."
I nodded and wiped my brow. "That's not a little hill."
We were at the bottom of a steep incline, a trail that wrapped around a hill, a hill so steep that I could have leaned against it. On one side of the trail was just the tropical foliage, obscenely green, peppered with sturdy ginger, Christmas red hibiscus, and graceful birds of paradise, all leading down to the village. On the other side of the trail was the wall of the hill, shooting nearly straight up.
"How the hell did they get that church up there?" I said.
At the top of this hill, maybe about 1000 feet from where we stood, was this small chapel, as white as sugar, glowing in the sun, glistening slightly in the fresh rainfall. We were on the island of Martinique, on our honeymoon, basking in the wet heat of the Caribbean, and in the wet heat of each other, of our possibilities, of the hot moments of anticipation and innocence that I knew were going to fade like drying sweat over the years and that I'd better eat her now like a buffet of sweet meats, spurting fruit, and golden wine before the meal ends and before I look at her one day and cry for the lost passion.
"God put it there," she said. "My mother used to say that when you see an impossible church, something so ornate and towering, with so many angles and wonders, that it looked no man could have fashioned it, or, if like this one, it's just in a place that seems like a hard place to put it, then you just have to figure that God put it there."
"He climbed this hill? I thought he was an old man."
She frowned at me, and then smiled. Years later, she would just frown.
"Mark," she said, "that's not funny."
"Why, I wonder, is God never funny to anyone," I said.
"Come on," she said. She kissed me. I felt my desire for her rise like a swell in the ocean. I wanted her right there, but she turned away fast from my reach. She started walking up the hill. I watched her butt moving underneath her khaki shorts, and I let my eyes crawl up and down her full frame, her thick, strong body. Her wrestling flesh. I remembered, two years ago, while we were dating, telling my buddy Frank that I'd met this new girl, named Iris, and that she had a strong body, cut from a slab of marble. "She makes you want to wrestle with her," I said.
"Mark!" she said, yanking me from my daydream of her.
"Coming!" I said. I adjusted my leather shoulder bag. She made me hold everything, the necklaces and two dresses we bought in the market, her two "extra" shoes, and our money. She got to hold the camera.
"I suppose if God could do it...," I said as I moved toward her.
I jogged to her side and we walked together. I reached to her hand and wrapped mine around it. She gripped me like a man's handshake.
At the first curve of the hill, I noticed the candles.
"Look at that," I said, feeling my breath coming a little harder now. I stopped and pointed to the hillside next to us.
Nestled in the hill's black rock walls was a tiny cave carved into the hillside, at about eye level, about a foot deep. And, inside that tiny cave sat a thin candle, burning, wax crying down its side.
"Whoa," said Iris. I looked at her. The sun was bringing her brown face to a glow.
"That's a lot of work to do to make a place to put a candle," I said. "Oh, I know. God did it."
She ignored me and pulled her little digital camera out of her pocket and snapped a photo. I walked over to the candle and posed. She smiled and took another photo. I bent over the candle and pretended to blow it out.
"Mark!" she said, giggling. Years later, she'd curse at me for doing that.
We kept walking. The sun had now blown the clouds to chunks of fluff.
We hadn't gone too far before we saw another little cave, and in it, another candle, burning.
"Whoa," Iris said again.
"It just rained," I said. "These candles are still lit and it just rained. Weird."
I felt a strange tingle in my lower back. I walked up to the little cave. I could hear Iris exhaling, a little irritated. But, I wasn't going to play with this candle. I wanted to see something.
I got up to the little cave and I looked into it. On its floor was a puddle of water. I put my finger in it.
"Mark! What are you doing?"
I shook my head. "It's wet in here," I said, turning to her. "Puddle wet."
I walked back to her. "Weird."
"You're scaring me," she said.
We kept walking. And we kept marvelling, because, now, nearly every ten feet, there was a cave in the hillside wall, and in each cave, there were burning candles. Some caves had several candles in them, others just had one. And, the candles ranged in size, from stout and wide, to tall and thin, like little groups of people hovered at a covered bus stop.
As we kept up the hill, our legs straining at the incline, the hillside wall lowered, until, when we reached the top, our chests heaving, my neck wet with sweat, there was no hillside, just the church, graceful and simple and white in the sunlight. We both stood straight, and, I realized it was the first time I had straightened my back since we started climbing up this hill.
We puffed air for a while before Iris walked to the church. The big, rough wooden door was shut tight, but a window was open. She peered in.
"Mark," she said. "Come look."
I ambled over and put my hand on her back. I kissed some of the salty sweat from the side of her neck. I pushed her ponytail aside and kissed her at the base of her hairline.
"Mark! We're at the church!"
"I thought God was all about love," I said.
"Mark!" She poked me.
I smiled and looked inside the church. It was quiet, warm, smelling of fresh wood and something wet. The pews were curved, ergodynamic arcs of simple beauty, made of rosewood and lined up perfectly, facing the alter, which was bathed in the light of minor key stained glass, an image of Jesus praying in the mosiac pattern of the glass.
The place was shadowy, peaceful, like a cave of worship.
"Take a photo," I said.
She was quiet for a second, and she stepped back.
"No," she said. "I think I'll just take a picture in my memory."
I put my hand on her head, pressed down, and said "Click!"
She smiled. I think a tear tried to come out of her light green eyes.
I kissed her and walked around the church. The grounds were perfectly manicured, tiny red flowers ringing the walls of the church and graceful coconut trees. The view from the lawn was spectacular. I could see the carpet of the greenblue Caribbean stretching past the jungly landscape. I could see the city below us, looking like tumbled blocks and beaver teeth rising from the green.
I looked back to the church, and I noticed something. On the ground, underneath a bush, there sat one of those fat candles, lying on its side. I went over and picked it up. I looked up. There was a window, in the steeple. I saw a jutting wooden pane. The window looked open, the inside black. The candle must have fallen. I almost called out to Iris, but, instead, I put the candle in my bag.
I walked back to Iris. She was looking into the church window again.
I watched her for a while. I was glad she was here, that she was alive. It's strange how small she seemed in that space of air we were in, so small next to that church, so small next to the backdrop of the Caribbean, so small. And yet, she was the biggest thing in my life. Huge. People are so tiny, and the earth is so giant, and yet, it's the people who are bigger. Iris was bigger than the Earth, and smaller than any of the trees that surrounded us. Amazing, I thought.
"Okay," she said to herself, turning around. She saw me and flinched. "Oh, you were right there all the time?"
"Long enough," I said.
She rolled her eyes and came to me. "Let's go," she said. "Have some beer."
"Ah yes, the bar. That's my house of worship," I said.
She locked her arm in mine and we walked down, grimmacing in the sunlight. We were silent, listening to the trees exhaling the wind.
Halfway down, I stopped her.
"Hold on," I said.
She looked at me with a squint.
I reached into my bag and pulled out the candle.
"Where'd you get that?"
"At the church," I said, as I walked toward one of the tiny caves.
"What are you going to do?"
I stayed silent as I walked to a cave, which already had three skinny candles in glass holders standing within. I tilted my candle so that its wick kissed one of the other candles. When a flame sprang alive from it, I set it down easy in next to the others.
I walked back, looking at Iris the whole time. She had a curious look on her face.
"That's for us," I said. "That's our forever candle."
"Mark," she said, her breath catching. "That's beautiful, that's so beautiful." She sniffled a bit and looked in my eyes.
"I love you," she said, and she kissed me.
She looked at the candle again and shook her head. "But," she said, "it's going to burn down, melt away," she said. "That's the sad part. Who's going to maintain it? I'm sure people come up here to put fresh candles in there all the time. What about this one?"
I thought for a second.
"Maybe God will take care of it," I said.
She frowned and hit my shoulder. "Mark."
She's frowning now, I thought, but years later, when she remembers this, she'll smile, I bet.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Poetry Word and Blabbing Too
Do a special cave-inspired post on Friday and let's all see what we all come up with. Good luck.
Yeah. And, for the adventurous, curious, or "loving to hear a guy flounder all over himself" types out there, I include today also an audio post. Do with it what you will.
See you later. And, for those who do hear the post, let me add that I can't sing either, in case you couldn't figure that out! And, yes, I know I got the lyrics wrong to that song. This was an edit-free post, so, that's what happens. Plus, it's freaking one AM here in the Great Northwest. I can't be editing stuff at this hour--I'll probably just make it worse! Then you'll be sorry!
Monday, May 22, 2006
Jeremiah 8002, Egg 1
Yesterday, my youngest son's baseball coach surprised us and stopped by to give my son a nice, well-worn glove. My son's last glove developed a split in the palm, but he wouldn't part with it (that was something of a pun, wasn't it?). I had bought him a new one, but my son said it was too stiff and he wouldn't use it. So coach, very slyly, decided to just dig him out a broken-in, but still intact one, and deliver it personally. This way, Coach seems like a concerned authority figure (which he really is) and, at the same time, takes care of one his star players, making sure he's fully ready for tomorrow's big game, which, if we win, we clinch the division title and second seed in the playoffs. So, my son loves the glove, of course, because Coach gave it to him personally, and I am happy for Coach's visit, so we're all grinning. Coach brought his son, who is also quite a player himself, so I thought I'd make his son happy by showing him the Egg Trick.
We have a chicken, as I may have mentioned at some point in the past, and there conveniently was an egg lying in her nest. I retrieved it and presented it to the coach's son and I said, in true circus sideshow huckster style: "Son, have you ever seen the Egg Trick?"
He shook his head.
"Well!" I said. "Looks like you're in for a treat." These were to turn out to be the stupidest words I'd uttered that day.
The Egg Trick is simple. You take an egg, and squeeze it between your hands as hard as you can. Now, before you go rush to try it, let me say that the success of the trick is completely dependent upon WHERE you squeeze the egg.
You squeeze the egg on the long sides, and it explodes into a shower of yolk and slime. The trick bombs.
But, try placing one pointed end in one palm and the other slightly less pointed end in the opposite palm (well, these aren't "pointed" ends per se, but rather the most sharply rounded of the egg sides, or what you'd probably call the "top and the bottom" of the egg--as they sit in the egg carton) and then pushing your palms together, squeezing the egg as hard as you can. You can exert as much pressure as you want--the egg will not break. I'm not lying here. Someone showed me that and I figured I was about to fall for the oldest bar trick ever. But, I tried it anyway and, guess what? I have yet to break a single egg, no matter how hard I squeezed.
(I'll pause here for you to go try it. It really works.)
So, anyway, I showed the coach's son this trick, and Coach watched with some measure of amazement as the egg did not break. Now, in showing this to Coach, I decided I'd press as hard as I could on the egg, I suppose just to impress Coach with my manliness. I pressed so hard that my shoulders began to shake. I pressed so hard that my hands started to vibrate. I pressed so hard that I sprouted a toothy "Wallace and Grommit" grimmace on my face. And, apparently, I pressed so hard that, somewhere in between my shoulder blades, a muscle hit a low "C" and sounded out with an ominous twang, which was accompanied by no pain. At first.
After the whole amazement of the trick passed for Coach and his son, we went on talking about other things. As we talked, I could feel a heaviness spread through my upper back and my neck. In five minutes, it felt like I was carrying a concrete slab on my back. I was in some serious pain!
After Coach left, I let my eyes go to tears. Oh crap, I thought. I hurt myself squeezing a freaking EGG! My shoulders and neck were eating me up from the inside out. I had visions of Doan's Pills dancing in my head. Folks, I was dying!
I went through the whole night wincing at every move I made. I talked to a friend of mine and he said that I probably pinched a nerve, seeing that the move I made was one of the most compromising situations I could put my back in. My wife grinned at the fact that, just the other day, I was proclaiming that, due to my renewed vigor and prowess in the gym, I'm stronger now than I was in college and, now, here I am hunching and lurching around like Igor because squeezing an egg popped a nerve in my back!
So, apparently, something DOES break when you squeeze the egg. And, apparently, I HAVE fallen for a very old bar trick. I hope that either you passed on your chance to try the Egg Trick, or that you don't exercise, thereby, weakening yourself to be unable to withstand the attack of an egg.
I think I'll go crack an egg both as revenge and just to restore some semblance of respect. Or, maybe this is just poetic justice for all those scrambled eggs I've thoughtlessly eaten over the years.
Okay, fine. Sorry, egg. You win this one...
Friday, May 19, 2006
It's All Yellow Inside the Grain
We were there at the yellow tractor crossing sign and we had just finished having our first argument of the day. She got out and stormed into the tall grains of wheat and I stayed in the car, pulled out a cigarette and just let it smoke up the car for a while because that's what she always said she hated. I watched her as she walked to the grain, then walked into it and I thought random things about Farmer Joe coming out with his crooked shotgun and shooting at her, telling her to git off'n his propitty or else he'd feed her to his dawg, who was probably named Yeller like in the old movie. And, I remembered the line from the movie, where the dog, Old Yeller, was called Buscuit Eater and that offended the little boy, but I remembered thinking that "Biscuit Eater" was a cool name and that, someday, I'd use that name to great effect. That someday never came, though. The only somedays that came for me were the days like this, where I sat on the edge of my future, peering into foggy mornings, smelling like smoke and alcohol, and watching some girl of mine weave away from me, drift into indecision, speak quickly and curtly, and even throw something. All this I'd see even if the girl was asleep next to me. I had the power, I should say, of seeing into the dark future, even when the present was bright.
We lived in a place that could only be described as being old and decaying away. Our walls were yellow like the inside of the grains she was walking in. Someone once said that my place looked like the inside of a mustard jar. I hated that. The inside of a mustard jar. Some girl said that. She was writing a poem and she said that my place inspired her to say that. It wasn't my line. I'd say inside of a shell of grain, but she'd say inside of a mustard jar. I disagreed because, see, you can wipe the side of the mustard jar and see out of it. Inside a shell, though, you're trapped.
I watched my girl go to some part of the grains and then, she sat down. It was as if she disappeared. The strange yellow sun blared in the sky. It was just 6 am, the cool night peeling off the ground rapidly, in strips, rising to become steam. The day was going to be warm again. The stretch of gray highway in front of me curved up and down, slightly, on its journey to the lemon skin horizon.
I looked back to where she had sat down. Sat down in amber waves of grain. I grinned at myself. I felt like reciting the whole song, "America the Beautiful", as some sort of poignant reminder that I was lost in the whole illusion of America, dwarfed like a dwarf by purple mountains majesty, stinking of the rot of the neglected fruited plain, and, of course, my latest girl now submerged in amber waves of grain.
I threw the cigarette out in the road, cut off the car, tossed the keys on the floor, and got out. I looked to the spot where she'd sat down and there was no sign of her. It was like she disappeared alright. The grain seemed to dance, acting like it had nothing to do with any of this. "I don't see no girl," the waves said. "I'm only dancing. Dancing in the sun-rain."
"Nora!" I yelled. "Nora! Stand up! I can't see you!"
Nothing came back. Nothing but the crackle of dancing grain.
"Goddamn," I said.
I laced up my hiking boots and trudged into the grain. I bet Farmer Joe was loving this. He could git two a' us tres'pass'rs at once, put us both on God's doorstep and let the Almighty decide which way we went. Walkin' around in my grain.
The sun was settling on my neck and I smelled my skin. I didn't take a shower that morning at the motel. Nora did, but I didn't. I had the feeling that she wanted to wash off our lovemaking from the night before. I didn't want to wash it off myself though. I wanted to remember that we had something we could cling to. I wanted to remember that we could be a couple. If, nothing else, we could be a couple of comingled sweat beads. She didn't want that, though. She wanted to wash me off, scrub and soap, douse herself with burning water, strip a layer off her skin, her old layer of skin, all the old nights, the old boyfriend, the old feelings, into just the yellow grime you can wash down the drain.
"Nora!" I said as I kept walking toward the spot where she disappeared. "There's about a million different kinds of spiders that live in grain! You better get out of there!"
I stopped and looked toward the back of the field. I could see a large, gray house. Farmer Joe's place, I figured. I bet he's already let the dogs go. Three big yellow dogs would be here any time now, baring stained fangs, ready to chomp us to the bone, strands of our flesh left to fertilize the grain. Someone somewhere, months later, would eat a piece of bread and that one bite would have been the bite nourished by the flesh from my neck.
"Right here," she said. Her voice sounded like it was coming from the inside of a stomach ache.
I was just ten feet from her. I still couldn't see her. I followed her voice and, suddenly, there she was. Her straw hair was blowing out of tune with the grain. She kept her thin, browning face straight ahead. She was beautiful in the morning sun, fresh like nothing had yet happened to her.
"Come on," I said. "Let's go."
"Sit here for a second," she said.
"Come on, girl. Farmer Joe is going to shoot us and feed us to his dogs."
"Nothing would eat you," she said.
I wanted to yell at her, but, see that was my problem.
"Just sit down," she said. "Sit down and cool off."
"Jesus," I said.
I turned and walked back toward the car. I kept my head down and my fists clenched. That also was my problem, something in my head told me. Because my head was down, I didn't quite see where I was going, and when I lifted my head up again, I saw that I'd walked nearly parallel to the car and now I was somewhere in the middle of the grain, and nowhere nearer the car. I looked back to where Nora was. The whole expanse looked exactly the same. I couldn't tell where she was at all. I just couldn't tell.
"Sometimes you gotta understand. Sometimes you gotta meet me halfway," she had said last night, I remember, right before we made love. It was the saddest love we'd ever made in our eight months of making love.
"Goddammit," I said.
And, I sat down, disappearing into the grain. There was no sound of dogs, no sound of gunshots, only the sound of yellow grain, hissing and snappling, whisking against my skin. All around me yellow and yellow, yellow sun, yellow grain, yellow-eyed sloth weighting down my face. Inside the grain, it's just yellow. Aged wallpaper and sepia photographs of dead people. Stalled thoughts and cigarette stains on teeth. Empty mustard jars and spoiled food in the fridge. Skies before rain and, somewhere, somewhere in the corner, a golden glitter of something trying to shine.
I didn't know what it was about her I was supposed to understand. But, I thought that maybe I understand what it's like to need to sit inside the grain. It was like home. Just like home.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
A Middle Age Moment
"Hey Frank, guess what? I charged 6 bucks an hour to park yesterday, and I got a full lot!"
"That's nothing, Joe. I charged 6.50 an hour, AND, if they wanted to be confident that I wouldn't tow them anyway to make space for another car, I charged them 10 bucks an hour for insurance!"
"Whoa, Frank. You got me there! Alright! Let's go eat overpriced food at a frou frou downtown deli now!"
(High Fives all around).
So,anyway, the bus is a much better option. So, yesterday, that's what I did. I came out of work at the end of the day, waited for the bus in the glorious white sunshine we had yesterday, filtering through the trees in starburst patterns, and I got on the bus, and even got a seat, and it was NOT next to somebody clipping their nails or eating their acne (these are actual things that I've heard folks had to deal with on the bus). I called my mom and talked to her as the bus hit the freeway and, after that, I took out my notebook and read some of my writing while the cute blonde girl across from me stared at me so hard that I almost put my notebook up to cover my face, to deflect some of those stare rays, and to hide my face as I cursed at her for deciding to wait until AFTER I got married to stare at me like that .
I got to my bus stop, got off, headed home, did some air guitar to the Fountains of Wayne tune on my iPod, thought about my son's baseball game that evening, got home, said hello to everyone, got my son ready for the game, climbed into our van and started it up. We couldn't find my son's batting gloves and my wife asked if they were in the white car. I told her probably not.
And, then she uttered the words: "By the way, where IS the white car?"
I sat up straight in the seat. "Holy SHIT!"
"No," she said.
"Yeah." I said. The white car was, of course, still downtown WHERE I PARKED IT THIS MORNING WHEN I FREAKING DROVE TO WORK!!
I couldn't believe it. I had completely forgotten I drove to work, and, the real pitiful thing was, I was just going on forgetting it. If my wife hadn't mentioned it, I wonder if I would have just kept on with my day, dottering around, drooling on myself, peeing in my pants, and finally falling asleep in my rocker before, sometime around 3 in the morning, I woke up startled from a dream about leaving my car parked downtown and then, realized, that it wasn't all a dream; I actually AM in the early stages of dementia.
So, after some "discussion", we decided I should stay for the game, because I was the official scorer (there, that's a perfect job for someone who can't remember that they dragged a 2,000 pound hunk of metal downtown just a few hours ago--being responsible for a baseball score--I'm surprised that I didn't have our team winning 317 to "pi"), and that we would all go downtown with Daddy and drop him off at the hospital and say goodbye. No. We should all go get the car with Daddy and get in a few laughs at his expense.
So, now, of course, I'm beginning to think that all the stuff that I thought someone stole or that I thought fell out of my pocket unnoticed, is actually just sitting in a perfectly sensible place, exactly where I put it. So, maybe I should look for my "lost" pen in my desk drawer, or look for my "lost" baseball mitt in the shed, or look for my "lost" mind inside of my wife's mind. Well, actually, maybe my brain is best kept with her because, knowing me, if some parking lot attendant said that I'd have to hand over my brain for the parking fee, I'd do it. Come to think of it, that's likely what I did yesterday...
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Today, Just A Poem
It aches like all my awkward summers,
these blasts of heat, these times of sun
raking warm shadows across the lawn
and turning the lake into a space-blue tapestry
laced with diamond twinkles
and the sun drawing teethy smiles and childish laughs
from the girls in rainbow bikinis
lounging on the bone-white boats,
looking at heaven
and not thinking about me at all.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
I've Avoided Talking About Boogers for Too Long Now
(the search keywords, by the way, were "eating boogers" and, no I won't answer any questions about that and no, it won't be in my meme):
Picking your nose and eating it is one of the best ways to stay healthy, according to a top Austrian doctor.
Innsbruck-based lung specialist Prof Dr Friedrich Bischinger said people who pick their noses with their fingers were healthy, happier and probably better in tune with their bodies.
He says society should adopt a new approach to nose-picking and encourage children to take it up.
Dr Bischinger said: "With the finger you can get to places you just can't reach with a handkerchief, keeping your nose far cleaner.
"And eating the dry remains of what you pull out is a great way of strengthening the body's immune system.
"Medically it makes great sense and is a perfectly natural thing to do. In terms of the immune system the nose is a filter in which a great deal of bacteria are collected, and when this mixture arrives in the intestines it works just like a medicine.
"Modern medicine is constantly trying to do the same thing through far more complicated methods, people who pick their nose and eat it get a natural boost to their immune system for free."
He pointed out that children happily pick their noses, yet by the time they have become adults they have stopped under pressure from a society that has branded it disgusting and anti social.
He said: "I would recommend a new approach where children are encouraged to pick their nose. It is a completely natural response and medically a good idea as well."
And he pointed out that if anyone was really worried about what their neighbour was thinking, they could still enjoy picking their nose in private if they still wanted to get the benefits it offered.
Okay, there you go. Now, three things:
1) Okay, now some of us surely had a little taste of our noses, have we not? Okay, sure, I'll let you slide if you admit that you were just a kid and, well, kids will put anything in their mouth that fits, even if they have to break it first.
So, yeah, when Jeremiah was a little KID, he can remember tasting a few things that probably would cause instant projectile vomiting if they were mentioned, so, in light of that, I'll keep it PG-rated and just say this: grasshoppers taste better than ticks, frosted dog food is really no better than regular dry dog food, earwax does NOT taste like candle wax, and well, boogers are kind of like chicken--chicken skin, that is. So, the question to you is, "When did you last?" Don't worry, you don't have to answer, and, no, no one saw it. Especially if you were in your car because, we all know, car windows make you invisible.
2) What sort of doctor would advocate eating boogers? Even if the quack thought that chewing on dried snot was a good thing, why would he risk WORLDWIDE ridicule by saying it?
What would you think of your doctor if, after a routine exam, he glanced around and then leaned toward you and whispered "Say, you ever eat your boogers? You should try it. It's good for you. In fact..." The doc then digs around in his own nose, frowns, then yanks his finger out with a little crown jewel sitting on the tip, and he sucks it up into his mouth and chews and grins. "Yeah," he says. "Now that hit the spot."
I bet that you will calmly walk out and schedule your next checkup for sometime next year WITH ANOTHER FREAKIN' DOCTOR IN AN OFFICE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN!!
Then again, it's like that famous quote: "Two out of three dentists recommend sugarless gum for their patients who chew gum." I mean, TWO OUT OF THREE? What did one out of three say? "Oh man. Sugarless schmugarless. Not only should you chew sugared gum, but you should keep packs of sugar in your pocket to dip the gum in to RE-SWEETEN it when it goes dry. Yeah, boy!" Or, maybe just eat sugared boogers.
3) Assuming that, at least, you DO pick your nose, what do you do with the boogers? Men, I've noticed, smear them on the walls over the urinals in the bathroom. Nice. Other folks just flick them into the air to land wherever, or remain aloft in the wind to maybe relocate in a prettier, sexier, more intelligent nose. Handkerchiefs are another option, though I've always been grossed out by handkerchiefs. How could you carry around those things? To me, it would be like clipping your toenails and then gathering up the clippings and putting them in a locket.
Well, I'm not really asking anyone to tell me what they do with their boogers. I'm just wondering. That would be too much information, unless, that is, you're putting them somewhere where I might sit or something.
Okay, anyway, my point is, that I was thinking of creating a travelling troupe of misfit, arcane performance artists and I think I've now found the perfect name: The Sugared Boogers. Your perfect pick for an evening of entertainment.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Two "What the Hecks?"
First, my Novelty Purchase of the Week. I present to you bacon Band-Aids (well, they're not the TRADEMARKED Band-Aids, but just like we can say "Kleenex" to mean any "facial tissue," and "Q-Tips" to mean any "cotton swab" and "Haliburton" to mean any "leeching, underhanded corporate entity taking full advantage of favoritism due to connections to wealthy and powerful society and government figures" we can say "Band-Aid" to mean any "adhesive strip"). I didn't even get these from a gag store, but right from a local supermarket that otherwise sells very unfunny health items such as Preparation H.
I suppose bacon Band-Aids harks back to the days when our great-great grandmothers used to treat the young-uns' minor scrapes and cuts by laying a slab of bacon over the wound, providing much the same relief as did laying a sirloin over a blackened eye. Major lacerations or puncture wounds must have called for more advanced topical remedies, like whole turkeys.
And, of course, the "free" toy inside was a tiny plastic pig; a simple, but poignant reminder of the true source of bacon's healing powers.
You can, however, get these bacon strips at gag stores, as I found out later. I would still recommend getting Preparation H-type medication from the regular store, though. Even less funny than Preparation H is garlic and cayenne-laced gag Preparation H.
Second, what the heck are those Blogger sites where the entries are just gibberish, just composed of random phrases run together that make no sense, and that go on down the page for many scrollings of the scroller (Okay--I just heard someone say: "Why, that would be YOUR blog, Jeremiah!" Ha ha--very funny. It is to laugh. Ha ha Hell). But, really. I've stumbled upon such sites as With the Disease Are, which is a perfect example of these types of blogs.
Now, that title is somewhat clever, but there's nothing going on in that prose except what my college philosophy professer used to sound like to me on a Monday morning. Are these a big joke? Are these some kind of bots that are pulling random phrases from all over the web and making blog entries out of them? What's the purpose? Are these coded instructions for some heinous act? Or, is this some experiment akin to the monkeys in a room with a typewriter where, eventually, all of these random phrases will gel into something that wins the Pulitzer Prize? Don't know, but there are a lot of them. Anybody know what they are?
Friday, May 12, 2006
The Dance of the Knuckles
Stayed alive, the knuckle did, through all the fighting and all the falling and all the things that happen to knuckles like getting scraped on the top when you reach out of a drawer too fast which usually happens when you weren't even supposed to be in that drawer in the first place, fishing around, looking under her underwear for something hidden and secret, maybe a diary that talks about the lusty affair that you suspected all along, or maybe a roll of twenties, kept there just in case she had to make a great escape to some place illicit and damning and, well, fun like rolling in flowers and taking silky warm baths in hot water. Fun like that. Yeah. But you found nothing, until, just below the pile of the black panties, the ones you don't get to see too much anymore, you gripped a piece of paper, a small piece, folded nicely, almost meticulously. Your fingers can tell that. Fingers are wonderful. They have the sensitivity of the finest radar, the greatest most delicate sensitivity. You can close your eyes and run your fingertip along the corner of a desk, and you can tell how heavy it might be, how well built it might be, the texture, the temperature, how clean it is, all of that, with just a touch. And, fingers upon a beautiful, smooth face, and sliding down cheeks wet with tears, pulling those cheeks closer, then touching full lips, curled to catch the tears, to lead them to the tongue where they will be swallowed, to flow again someday. One day, you once said to yourself, she must have a stomach full of tears. Tears in her bloodstream. Tears in her tears, even.
But, you heard her coming, or you thought you did, and you pulled your hand away from the drawer and you scraped it. Damn! you said. But, it wasn't her coming at all. It was just her going to another room, downstairs. No threat at all. You smile and then you reach back in the drawer. You grab the note. And you pull it out and your heart starts to shimmy like a wobbly wheel on the freeway. Now, you say, you'll find it all out.
Boy, that note sure was well folded. Almost like origami. You think, somewhere in your mind, that you'll never be able to fold it back so nicely.
So what? This news, this coming revelation of her secret life, was going to be a bigger thing than folding a note back.
So, you unfold the note. Your breath does a little jig in your throat. Your lungs stop for a second.
You close your eyes. You take a breath. You open your eyes. You read the note.
"Knucklehead," it says. "Stay out of my drawer."
Now, suddenly, folding that note back perfectly does indeed become such the biggest thing.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
No ripping it apart in the middle when I realized that the dimensions were all wrong, no smashed body parts--mine or an innocent passerby's, no boards mistakenly cut too short, no boards split in two by wayward hammering, no creative, multi-syllabic uses of the f-word, and no "why did you do it THAT way?" from my wife when I was finished. It was a pretty boring sight for the neighbors, who are used to seeing me come outside with boards and tools and putting on an almost vaudevillian display of carpentry mishaps and pratfalls that even Charlie Chaplin would have envied.
Nope. I aced this project. The gawking crowd went away disappointed. No car wreck today folks. You can move along. And, please properly dispose of your drink and popcorn containers. Thanks for coming. I'll be putting in some rocks next week, so you might want to come for that show. Maybe I'll hurt my back lifting a bag of rocks or something. I'll surprise you.
So, yeah, the remarkable thing about my garden bed endeaver, and the most satisfying thing, was putting in the dirt. Yep. See, I've potted a squillion plants before, and dug in the yard until I had dirt in my ears, but I'd never put in such a large amount of potting soil in one place at one time than I did with this bed. We needed 27.5 cubic feet of soil to fill the bed and I got to dump every cubic inch of it into the bed myself. Glorious. That smell is transcendant.
Have you ever submerged your senses into a huge pile of pure, composted, dark, moist potting soil before? Man. That smell is like the smell of life beginning, emerging from the nuance of breakdown, the blocks of past life reduced to their nutrients, reduced to the very element that nourished their life, and all so concentrated and dense with earthen energy. It is practically begging for something to feed. It's alive itself, like electricity is alive, waiting, buzzing, humming, anticipating something to get plugged into it so it can energize it, make it glow. That's what this soil was saying. "You put a seed anywhere near me, and it's not only going to grow, it's going to burst to the sun, fat and strong on my home cooking. You listen close enough and you might hear that plant moaning as its roots nestle into my dirt."
The texture is spongy and giving, and with each twist of it in my palms, it releases this sweet, ancient, flat, and heavy earth smell that instantly calms me. I want to lie down in it (now, THAT would have given the neighbors a show). I want to put it in a bag and bring it to work and set it on my desk and, when I'm feeling stressed, I want to open that bag, stick my hand in it, and knead that fresh black dirt and let the aroma and texture make me forget what I was stressed about. I want a garden bed in my office now, just full of fresh dirt, and maybe a few hundred worms to keep things smelling like upturned garden. Before I went to bed that night, I went out and looked at the dirt, just stared at it. When my wife put in her veggie starts the next day, I couldn't tell if the garden bed was beautiful because of the varied arcs, lines, and shades of green (and metallic maroon) of the plants, or if it was beautiful because the dark dirt accented the plants so perfectly, like big eyes are beautiful when they're subltely accented by dark eyeliner.
I've always figured I was born to dig in the dirt and, though I've not made a career of it (though, I could make many analogies to dirt digging that would APPLY to my career), I could certainly spend a lot of time doing it. I've heard of people who eat dirt to get some nutrients. One show featured a guy who'd just spoon dirt into a bowl and eat it, like cereal (dirt with milk, and bananas--now there's an image). I won't go that far. Unless I was on Fear Factor and winning 50 grand counted on me eating dirt with worms (pass the salt!). But, as we know, smelling is a form of eating, so, in that case, just smelling it deeply is meal enough for me. And, now I'm hungry.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
In Heavy Pod-tation
By the way, that #25 song is me! Not yet available in your local stores, though (and probably never will be). It may get posted here one day...
What's on yo' 'pod?
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
My Other House
See you soon. And, always remember, don't eat anything off the floor, no matter how good it looks.
Monday, May 08, 2006
On Time and Wealth (and fuzzy Math)
By the way, I heard that a dip in Microsoft's stock dropped Microsoft's wealth by 32 billion dollars. That's huge. It's an amount of money that, according to PajamasMedia, is "enough to buy Starbucks, with plenty left over to treat everyone in China to a tall cafe Americano."
As a result, King Gates' personal wealth fell 3 billion dollars. But, don't cry for him, Argentina: he's still worth 47 BILLION DOLLARS. So, you can put away those donations to the Gates family you were scrambling to make.
Say, for some fun, let's do some watery Jeremiah math! A generation, which can be defined many ways, but which I decide to define as the age difference between parents and children, which I also decide to assume, is roughly 25 years. So, one generation is 25 years. 20 generations is then 500 years. Figuring that each generation of the Gates family will consist of 2 kids, that is 1000 years worth of generation-years. If each year, each kid spends 20 million dollars then, as a family, they will have spent 20 thousand million dollars over the course of 1000 generation-years. That comes out to 20 billion dollars.
So, because Bill Most High already has 47 billion dollars to call his own, then that means that not one of the 2 kids of each generation needs to do a goddammned lick of work, or earn a penny in their entire priviledged lives, and they can still have a 20 million dollar bank account refreshed each Jan. 1 for 25 of their generational years. Wow. So, really, we could double our figures, either add more kids or more generations, and still there's 7 billion dollars just floating around. And that's AFTER his net worth went down 3 billion.
Okay, now I've made myself sick. I hate math.
So, anyway, we got to talking about wealth, and I realized something. I realized that what I love about wealth is not the fact that if I was wealthy, I could do any damn thing I wanted. No. What I love about the thought of being wealthy is that I DON'T HAVE TO DO A DAMN THING! I could sit around all day and watch my pet jellyfish swim, or I could draw comics, write, read, and make music. And, in between all that action, I'd sleep, maybe take a walk and purposely take streets I've never taken just so I can get lost and can listen to my iPod longer. What a life.
Surely, you say, you'd get so bored that you would strike up conversations with the guy trimming the tree next door, even pull up a chair to him and offer to hold the cord on his power tools for him (which, in some circles, might be considered lewd). And, I agree. There are some people who would get bored. But, I don't get bored. As long as something's moving in front of me, or I have something to read, I'm not bored. And, if I need a change of lounging scenery, I'll just go to the beach and then commence to doing nothing again.
Some people believe in reincarnation, and some of those believe that we begin our human journey as spiritual infants but, each successive return to this life heaps more and more life and spiritual experience upon our souls, thereby making us spiritually wiser. After being reincarnated a few times, we are finally fully mature spiritual beings, or "old souls" and that maturity is reflected in the human life we perpetuate. Old souls are generally people who just want to sit down. Conversely, spiritual infants, though more active, are vehemently naive. So, with that in mind, I often wonder which end of the reincarnational scale I'm on. Would I sit on my riches because I've seen it all already, and just want to sit down now, or would I be idle and just enjoy being idle because I am the spiritual equivalent of a newborn snail? I certainly don't have the "gotta gettit anyway I can gettit" attitude, so I'm not in the middle of my reincarnational cycle, which is where I'm guessing all the Bill Gates and corporate-world rat-racers are. I'm on one of those extreme ends, I'm sure.
But, I don't know. If I was rich, I'd sit around watching my jellyfish and ponder on all that. Right after my nap, that is.
Friday, May 05, 2006
Poetry Friday, Part III
And, here's what my brain said to say about that...
"You can't send a package to Pluto, silly," said Millicent.
Roman kept his head up straight as he wrapped another long, noisy strand of scotch tape around the bundle of brown construction paper that he'd crumpled over the present he had for the Plutonians. The present was a baseball, signed, of course, by Roman Rushmore, famous Earth baseball player, someday.
"I'm not sending it. They're coming to get it," said Roman, over the stripping, harsh sound of tape pulling off its roller.
Millicent turned 11 yesterday and was officially believing in nothing. She made that proclaimation at her birthday party at the lake park. She made the proclaimation to her skinny mother who was already bulging at the middle with the third Rushmore little person, a boy, who they'd name Larson. Millicent said that she was declaring the Tooth Fairy D.O.A., Santa Claus a joke, the Easter Bunny a figment of her parents' imagination, and the Sugar Sprite, the little imp that took away all the Halloween candy, a big fat lie just made up so that her parents could take away all the Halloween candy, except for a handful. Millicent Rushmore was, as far as she could see, free of fantasy and ready to go forth unto the world of car crashes and tidal waves. She was all grown up, she said.
"That was my wish, you know," she said later on her birthday night, snuggled in between her parents, getting the birthday bedtime treatment. "When I blew out my candles, my wish was to finally be all grown up."
Her father had nodded and said, "Well, grown up isn't an age, little angel. Grown up is a place."
"Well, I'm at that place," said Millicent.
Her father had only chuckled and rubbed her dirty blonde hair, the same hair that, just 5 years later, would be green and orange, with glitter.
So, now, the grown up Millicent had to bring a horse-load of sense into her 6 year-old brother's head. Her little brother was wrapping a present to Pluto. He'd wrapped a present for her birthday. The present was a necklace from the silver shop, which mom had actually bought because Roman really didn't have any money at all. He'd wrapped the chain in a grocery store bag, but not a normal grocery store bag, but one from one of the fancy grocery stores where mom shopped. That store gave out white bags, and the carry-out people begged you to let them carry out your groceries. The package he made for her looked like something he'd pulled out of the trash, minus the smell of wet rats. This package to Pluto looked just about the same, but it smelled much better.
"And, what did you put on it? Why does it smell like that?" said Millicent.
"I put mommy's smelling sauce on it," said Roman.
"Smelling. Sauce." He finished his last rotation of tape around the present. "Okay. Done!"
"Smelling sauce? Her perfume?" said Millicent. "You put her perfume on it? You are in such big trouble!"
Roman held his package out at the length of his short arms, and he smiled at it. "Nice!" he said. They were in the living room the high windows streaming sunlight through the blinds and painting pale yellow bands of daylight across their foreheads.
"I'm telling Mom," said Millicent.
"She won't do nothing," said Roman. "She loves me."
Millicent rolled her eyes. "There's no such thing as aliens. You are wasting your stupid time. And, what would aliens want with your stupid baseball. They don't even have baseball on Pluto. They don't have nothing on Pluto."
Roman pulled his package under his arm. "No, they don't have baseball. I'm going to invent it for them."
Millicent reached out suddenly, to try to grab the package. Roman swerved and dodged her. "No!" he said.
Millicent snatched again, and Roman dodged again. She gave up and walked away. "You're dumb," she said. "The dumbest little kid in the world." And, she walked down the hall to her room.
Roman looked at his package. He thought of his sister, how she was acting so different now, but, how she didn't look any different. She still wore the same berets in her hair, she still walked on her toes, she still sneezed and made a sound like a toy, and she still couldn't snatch anything from him. She wasn't so grown up.
He looked up at the high windows, at the sunbeam shafts stabbing through the still air in their living room, the pieces of stuff floating in the light. He'd once asked his father what those things were that floated in the sunlight that came through the window, those twisty little things that you just couldn't catch, and his father just called them "pieces of stuff."
But, he knew what they were. They were the aliens. And, he realized that aliens probably had birthdays, just like his big sister. And, they needed packages.
"Happy Birthday, Pluto," he said. He went outside and put his package under a tree, a tree that he believed was going to be the place where the Pluto People would come. All the little pieces of stuff will pile up into one big Pluto Person and they'd take the package.
Millicent watched him from her bedroom window, watched him place the package so gently into the shadow of the bush next to the house. She watched him step back and look at the package. She watched him look to the sky and say something, and then point to the package under the tree. Then, he disappeared around the side of the house, skipping in the sunlight.
"Stupid boy," she said. "Believes in aliens."
The next day, a Saturday, a cloudy day so gray that the roses in the garden began to look drained of color, Roman woke up and ran past the breakfast table. Millicent was already at the table, eating a bowl of frosted flakes. Roman went outside and checked under the bush. The package was gone. He ran back in and stopped right in front of Millicent.
"It's gone! It's gone! The aliens took it! I told you!"
Millicent shrugged her shoulders. "Yeah, right."
"Come look! Come look!" he said.
"You're going to wake up mom and dad," she said.
She got up and went outside with him. The package was definitely gone.
"Probably rolled away," she said, and went back in.
She sighed and walked down the hall to her room. She looked behind her to see if Roman had followed. He hadn't.
She crawled under her bed, the smell of her mother's perfume grabbing her. She pulled Roman's package to Pluto from under a pile of her dirty clothes. She smelled it and smiled a little.
Roman's not old enough to not believe, she thought to herself. He's just not old enough to not believe.
She felt herself wanting to cry. So, for just a small time, she went ahead and cried.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Hide and Go Seek
In the morning, the sky is low and gray. The street is empty. It seems like life has ceased right in the middle of the night and the frozen scene you see now is exactly how things were in the dark. A car goes by, a lonely rush of air, the occupant still wet from their shower, barreling to the office, mindless, in the momentum of some radio talk show guy’s voice. The talk show guys get us when we’re hypnotized by the white stripes in the road. Not fair. We’re really not paying attention. Our minds are set on trying to unravel the grind and the road, and trying to be comfortable with the fact that we’re doing the same thing again, puttering from shell to shell, car to office. What is this doing to us? Oops, there’s that thought again. Quick, turn up the radio, sip the coffee, look at the soul next to you. Keep driving.
Think of the things you’ll say today, of the obstacles that will keep you thinking that you just may be mired in mud, and think of the big huge triumphs that you will have to make in order to win you over and make you think that tomorrow would be worth the drive in. You've got to find some room for yourself in the place where you work, the place where you work. Who’s place is this anyway? What random turn of life put you here? Where in your history did you ask to come down this road? You know, don't you, but you may not want to tell, because it might not be the winning answer. What did you really want to do? What are you hiding?
Now, there’s a question you can use for some office entertainment. Just walk up to your coworker and, in a solemn but accusative voice, ask them “What are you hiding?”
Think how much that will disrupt their day. Sure, they’ll seem to write you off, look at you strangely, or laugh and say something witty, or, depending upon their rank in contrast to yours, may get angry, defensive, or be humbled and fearful. Whatever their reaction to you, their inner reaction will all be the same: my God, what do they know? And, what am I hiding? You know this will be their inner reaction because, that would be the same reaction you’d have. Because, silly, you are hiding something. Everybody is. Some people have no idea what they’re hiding anymore, like someone who put something away to hide it from themselves, a bag of candy or a revealing photo, and have not only forgotten where it is, they’ve forgotten that they even hid it.
Other people have a very clear idea of what they’re hiding. So clear that when asked what they’re hiding, they instantly know, and, when you leave the room, they check their desks, or their lives, to see if what they hid is still there and if it had somehow been disturbed. Moved just an inch. What are you hiding? Some people are hiding small things, like a button from a deceased relative’s favorite coat, one that they’d plucked from the body as it lay in the funeral home. Others are hiding their real lives. Some are hiding affairs, both realized and fantasized. Some are hiding money. Some are hiding their past, others are hiding their intentions. Some people are hiding a recipe and others are hiding a novel.
What are you hiding?
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Gearing Up for Mother's Day
Top 7 things my Mom Used to Say
7. Use your head for more than a hat.
6. You're getting on my nerves.
She would say this whenever I was starting to annoy her, which was on a daily basis. This somewhat common saying sticks in my head because I remember thinking that, somehow, her nerves were strewn through the carpet and that I had found one of them and was standing right on it.
5. I'm going to go see a man about a horse.
She would say this everytime I asked her where she was going and she didn't want me to know where she was going. I still use that one.
4. What are you doing in there, counting hair?
What she would say if I took a long time in the bathroom. It never failed to solicit an "AW, Mom!" from me.
3. Oh no, I better slow down. There go The Boys.
She would say this whenever she was driving and she saw the cops.
2. Look at that. He needs to be on a BIKE.
She would say that whenever she saw an overweight person on a motorcycle. That still echoes in my head.
1. Okay, jar the floor!
She would say this to wake me up on every school morning if I was still in bed when she woke up. Up until about 10 years ago, I thought she had been saying "Okay, jolly flo!", which is what her Southern accent made "jar the floor" sound like. Back then, I never bothered to ask her what the heck she was saying because I figured "jolly flo" was just something that people used to say back in The Olden Days. In honor of that precious misunderstanding of mine, I've given the name "Jolly Flo" to all my beloved Apple computer products, including my iPod, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.
Damn, do I love my mother.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Here were our choices (click it for a larger graphic, for those who really care):
And the winner was.....Quarter Number 2 (I got it wrong in an earlier post--misread the site--needed more caffiene). I personally liked Number 2 because Number 1 seemed too stately, too formal, too much like something all official and somewhat unnatural with the salmon clearly out of its element and sitting next to a bunch of apples, which it would only probably be seen sitting next to if the salmon was on a dinner plate, which isn't how we want to think of salmon, at least not as a state symbol. Number 2 seemed much more natural, but, sadly,it has no apples. And, we need to push the apples here because we grow way too many and, by the way, if you ever visit Washington state, please, PLEASE take a case of apples back with you, if you have a shred of mercy in your soul. We are loaded with apples. We've got them stacked up to the sky, as Quarter 1 artistically implies.
Number 3 was right out. I liked the depiction of an orca (aka, killer whale, but, shhh, don't call them killer whales around here--not PC), which represents the authentic artistic style of Northwestern Native American tribes, but I think that folks from some other states won't get it and may be seriously creeped out by it. I think we pushed it with that Seahawk logo, so we should go easy on you for the quarter.
Of course, my rapidly deteriorating mind came up with The Dumb Question of the Day when I first saw these designs (I actually really did ask myself this question):
"Okay, I see what they want to put on the back of the quarter, but, what are they going to put on the front?"
(Pause to reflect on the sound of my brain flushing...)
Duh. Oh yeah.
I recovered quickly and realized that, with George "The only President named George that we can be proud of" Washington on the front, and the symbols of Washington STATE on the back, our state will have, in one swoop, taken over the entire quarter dollar for ourselves. The Great Northwest Revolution has begun, folks. Coffee for everyone! And, all you can eat apples.
Monday, May 01, 2006
For example, when a cashier asks me "So, did you find everything alright today?", I need someone to teach me that saying "Well, actually, I didn't find any peace, great riches, or eternal bliss. What aisle are they on?" is profoundly goofy and that I really need to stop.
Or, when I want change for a 20 and they say "What kind of bills would you like?", and the goofy me rears up and says "Oh, I'll take about ten 20's," I need someone beside me to gently lay their hand on my shoulder, and then pinch it.
Well, at least I don't say "Working hard, or hardly working?" But, I fear that I'm just another dead brain cell or two away from that. I need help. I'm reaching out.
Anyway, humans. Yeah, I'm usually generally happy with folks, but, I also notice that though most people around here are happy with folks too, they don't generally like speaking to folks. I don't know if it's a safety thing, a big city thing, a "man, that Jeremiah looks/smells/walks funny" thing, or what, but the friendly line gets a little blurred when you actually cross it and say something. But, okay, I'm with that. I ain't mad at cha! We'll just keep on grinnin at each other! Grin Grin! Have a nice day!
But, the other day, I had two, count 'em, TWO people actually SAY something to me, both of which were out of the blue, pleasant, and exhilarating in their own way.
First, at the gym, there I was, pumping on the stationary bike, sweat dripping, huffing, my eyes locked on the little LED heart rate readout on the display screen. Next to me was an attractive young lady, also on a bike. I wasn't paying much attention to her because you're not supposed to, so I just pumped away. Finally, I noticed she was done. She got off her bike, wiped it down, then she tugged on my shirt. My heart rate shot up as I stopped to look at her and she said, "Hey, I just want to say that your hard workout on the bike inspired me to work harder to keep up! Thanks!" I said something goofy like "Aha, my evil plan worked!" and that was it.
Man, I thought. Two things: First, a girl in a gym talked to me! Over the past 25 years I've worked out, this has happened about NEVER times. Yes!
Second, she offered me a compliment, and some useful words, and a feel good sheepskin warmie. In other words, we had an encounter that superseded a discussion about our weather, which is the most boring weather in the nation. We have 266 cloudy days a year and it rains a lot, but the rain just kind of sits in the air with nothing to do--no giant splooshes on the windshield, no howling wind, no blasts of thunder or lashes of lightning, no yellow sky, no rippling curtains of dark raindrops--nothing. Our weather does nothing. Talking about the weather here is like comparing the cotton balls that you pull out of asprin bottles ("Hey Joe, look at my cotton ball--you ever see anything like this? What's your cotton ball look like?")--why are you wasting your time?!
Anyway, it was a wonderful thing, and just the thing that injects a little humanity into the day (or night, as it were), to know, you know, that someone is speaking TO you, not AT you.
The other encounter happened in another normal place, but in a situation where I'm often not bothered, except by my wife. That situation was me with my iPod on, jamming hard. I was walking through the grocery store and a cashier, who apparently didn't know how goofy I was going to be to him later, stopped me and asked me what I was listening to.
Now, NO ONE has ever asked me what I was jamming to, or, in other words, "What's making you smile like that?" No one usually invades people's pod worlds, which is good, but, wow, how cool is it for someone to invade your pod world with a question about what's making you so happy?
So, I tell him I'm listening to Keane, which I thought would be enough. No way. This was Talk To Jeremiah Day. He then said. "Oh, cool. Keane is great. If you like Keane, you should try some Ben Folds."
Gasp, I said. "Okay, I will." And he walked off.
Man. He saw I was happy, and he tried, just out of the blue, to make me even happier! I guess I found what aisle happiness was on!
Anyway, after those two encounters, which happened within an hour of each other, I was whistling a tune for the whole human race and I celebrated by not watching CNN for a whole day.
Thanks Gym Lady and Grocery Store Man. You get a diploma from the School of Levitation!