A new day dawns. It leaves me wondering. Who am I today? Who will I be tomorrow?
The opportunity to have any sort of control over who and what I am is coming to a close. I don’t really know how much longer I have before pain and illness dissolve me into nothingness. But death is not the end of existence. I may be forgotten totally by the day after next Thursday, but my existence will still have become a permanent fact. Yes, I am one of those dopey-derfy-think-too-much types known as an existentialist.
I am feeling ill again. Any time that happens may be the last time. But that doesn’t worry me.
The important thing is that the dance continues. It doesn’t matter who the dancers are, or who supplies the music.
We can be clowns if we choose to be.
We can safely be fools if we really can’t help it.
An awful lot of awful things go into who and what we are. Those things make us full of awe. They make us awesome. Aw, shucks. What an awful thing to say.
But what is all this stuff and nonsense really about today?
It’s just Mickey being Mickey… Mickey for another day.
It’s not really poetry. It certainly isn’t wisdom. It’s a little bit funny, and only mildly depressing… for a change.
It’s just Mickey being Mickey. And a partially Paffooney gallery.
This picture of my two sons was drawn in 1981, almost fifteen years before the oldest boy was born. How did I know that I would have two boys before I ever met or even heard of my wife? How did I get it right that the older boy would be almost exactly four years older than the younger one? Pure coincidence, if your cherished religious beliefs allow you to believe in that. Personally I think that the dream that inspired this picture was proof of the ability of a dreamer to dream outside the boundaries of physical time. After all, time is merely a measure of matter traveling through space, is it not? If you nullify the effects of distance, all time becomes one time. You know, timey-wimey stuff.
Amazingly, this photo was taken fifteen years ago. From left to right, ages 3, 6, and 10. The Princess, Henry, and Dorin (though not their real names, their fictional names.)
Hard to believe it is now 18, 21, and 25.
Where does time go?
When did I get so old?
In 1965, the year I recently rewrote my Christmas list for, I was nine.
The world was all black and white back then. At least, that’s what all the photos taken with the old Browning box camera showed.
My mother and father were married in January of 1956. My parents were both children during World War II.
My maternal grandfather, Grandpa Aldrich, was born in 1911. The farm he lived his whole life on was established in Wright County Iowa in the 1880s.
A lot of good water has flowed under the metaphorical bridge in my 64 years of life. But where has it gone? To shores far away? Or is it still there even if the river has dried up?
Time, by its very nature, is a mystery and quite unknowable. And who is to say that all time is not one time? And all things are therefore one thing. Would my Great-Great Grandpa recognize me, and know me by name? I’ll have to ask him when I see him.
(WordPress should not have given me all these new features to wear out if they really didn’t want me to play with them. Aren’t you doing the same thing with yours?)
We descendants of Germans all understand something you all probably don’t know, and might have a hard time actually accepting. Germans and German Americans like to simply call things what they are… but we do it with remarkably silly words so you don’t take things as seriously as you probably should.
Seriously… Pumpernickel bread looks an awful lot like a cow pie. Don’t know what a cow pie is? That’s because you don’t speak Iowegian. Remember that post? A cow eats grass, digests it for a while, bakes it in the secret methane chambers embedded secretly within every living cow, and then the old garbage shoot plops out the cow pie. Flies love to eat it. The grass grows fiercely after absorbing what the flies and maggots leave behind. Yeah, that.
The bread originated in Germany where, as I have so graciously pointed out to you, they call things simply what it is. Pumpern in German means to break wind. Nickel is a variant of Nicholas or Nick, which is the name der Teufel, err…the Devil often goes by. So the bread is called, in its simplest translation, “Devil’s fart bread”. Isn’t that rich? And it tastes good too.
But what’s the point of praising pumpernickel? Well, it brings to mind in Mickey’s mangled mish-mash of a mind an old Daffy Duck cartoon.
Yes, the tale of the Scarlet Pumpernickel has been playing out in Monkey Town where the Great Orange Buffoon in charge of it all is busy making Nixon noises.
“Yes, my lord, there is an investigation into the Russian connection between your henchmen and Vladimir Putin,” said Director Comey.
“Hmmm… Fake News! Very Sad!” moaned the Buffoon. “Comey, I appreciate you smearing Clinton and all you did to help the greatest most historic election ever… but you’re fired!”
“Aha!” says Comey, revealing himself to be the infamous hero, the Scarlet Pumpernickel “…now I have you, my lord! But, wait! Fired, you say? Um, you do have the authority to fire me, don’t you.”
“Now, clear out your desk, loser!”
“Ah, but this action makes you look guilty, my lord. Perhaps the sting of my sword of justice will prick you in the behind yet!”
“Sessions! Defeat this loser for me! Very sad, sick man!”
“Me thinks you have not heard the last of the Scarlet Pumpernickel!” cried Comey as he leaped out the tower window into the chasm with a river at the bottom far below.
What happens in the next episode of the saga of the hero named after devil fart bread? Only time will tell.
Interesting way to introduce my latest Monkey President cartoon attempt to depict Trump… no? You do realize he’s a German American too?
Oh, yes. It is almost complete… but for the final edit. It will hopefully be published very soon. It is filled with essays written for my blog, Catch a Falling Star. And, hopefully, I have chosen only the good ones.
But the book is not a stand-alone. It is a sequel to Laughing Blue, published earlier this year. I actually hope to reach 20 books published by early in 2021. Of course, it still requires that I don’t die too soon from the pandemic, or from any of my other problems that the Covid problem could interfere with getting medical treatment for.
Both of these books are essay collections, but the majority of the stories and explanations and comedy in each are based on my thirty-one years of experience as a Texas public school teacher, my nearly forty year association with nudists (though I can’t honestly claim to be one). my silly attempts at writing seriously bad poetry, my belief in flying saucers, and nearly ten years of being a wacky wizard. How’s that for a sentence that violates every run-on-sentence rule I ever taught any young writer?
Book number 18 is still pretty new too.
Anyway, now that you know, I better get started on that final edit. A writer has to keep his promises to himself. And maybe to the rest of you too.
I like to think of myself as a good person. In fact, having been a successful public school teacher, I basically feel that calling myself a hero is not the same sort of toxic narcissism that Prexydental Trumpalump displays when he thinks of himself that way.
I need to get it through my thick head that everyone sees themselves that way, and that it is universally untrue. We let too much badness go unopposed. We are hard-hearted too often towards our fellow men and women… and children… and animals… and the planet as a whole.
We see others who are different than ourselves as “others” and exclude them from our groups, some of us going so far as to villainize others just because their skin is green, or because they know what “Blogwopping” means and we don’t. And what we villainize, or demonize, or verminize, we feel righteous in harming, even exterminating.
So, what’s the point I am making? Am I such a loathsome creature that the only way I can make the world a better place is to curl up and die? Of course not. That’s the darkness talking me back into grave ideas and depressed thinking. I need to spread a little of that old Norman Vincent Peale peanut-butter on the slice of toast that is my world. Yes, a little bit of positive thinking can re-butter your toast for the better in order to prepare you to battle the battles that must be fought and won.
A true warrior is not the guy doing the most killing on the battlefield. And he is not the one who dies for his country either. Both may have their place in a war, but neither is the one who wins it. A true warrior is the one who endures to the end. The last man standing. The one who rules the battlefield at the end of the day.
So, what do I mean with all this warrior nonsense? I mean, my Great Grandma Hinckley was a true warrior, because she steadfastly led her family through five generations of it, and made more generations possible.
You say the world is dying of climate change? My Grandma was a relentless garden-keeper, helping us to survive with garden-fresh sweet corn, sweet peas, pumpkins, squash, and carrots from her garden. And she planted a multitude of flowers every year to keep the bees happy and a everything they pollinated growing.
You say we may succumb to pandemics and plagues? Grandma Hinckley was a maker of chicken soup, a mender of wills and willpower in the downhearted… church-goer, psalm-singer, user of Vick’s Vapo-Rub, Dr. Scholl’s inserts, Werther’s Original Butterscotch and Hard Candies, and if worse came to worse… Castor Oil!
And for political problems… government corruption and such? Well, maybe you can’t still vote for FDR or Eisenhower… but you damn sure better vote.
Yes, my Great Grandma Hinckley was a true warrior.
And so, I am ready for the fights to come. I will be a warrior like her. I will be a problem-solver, and I will endure. Because that’s just what you do, no matter the odds against you. I learned it from her. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one with a warrior for a grandma, or mother, or father, or sister, brother, wife, or son… even daughter. We stand a chance if we will only stand together. And we do it for love.
Rowan, Iowa… Not the place I was born, but the place where I got to be a stupid kid, and have the lessons of the good and god-fearing life hammered into my head hard enough to make a dent and make it stay with me for more than half a century. I got to go to grade school there. I learned to read there, especially in Miss Mennenga’s third and fourth grade class. Especially in that old copy of Treasure Island with the N.C, Wyeth illustrations in it, the one Grandma Aldrich kept in the upstairs closet in their farm house. I got to see my first naked girl there. I learned a lot of things about sex from my friends there, and none of them were true. I played 4-H softball there, and made a game-saving catch in center field… in the same game where my cousin Bob hit the game-winning home run. But those were things kids did everywhere. It didn’t make me special. There was no real magic in it.
Being a farm-kid’s kid taught me the importance of doing your chores, every day and on time. If you didn’t do them, animals could get sick, animals could die, crops could be spoiled, the chickens could get angry and petulant and peck your hands when you tried to get the eggs. Cows could get grumpy and kick the milk bucket. Cats could vow revenge if you didn’t direct a spray or two at their little faces as they lined up to watch you milk the cows. And you never knew for sure what a vengeful cat might do to you later, as cats were evil. They might jump on the keyboard during your piano recital. They might knock the turkey stuffing bowl off the top of the dryer when Mom and Grandma and several aunts were cooking Thanksgiving Dinner. And I know old black Midnight did that on purpose because he got to snatch some off the floor before it could be reached by angry aunts with brooms and dustpans. And all of it was your fault if it all led back to not doing your chores, and not doing them exactly right.
But, even though we learned responsibility and work ethic from our chores, that was not the real home-town magic either. I wasn’t technically a real farm kid. Sure, I picked up the eggs in the chicken house at Grandpa and Grandma Aldrich’s farm more than once. And I did, in fact, help with milking machines and even milking cows by hand and squirting cats in the faces at Uncle Donny’s farm. I walked beans, going up and down the rows to pull and chop weeds out of the bean fields at Uncle Larry’s farm. I drove a tractor at Great Uncle Alvin’s farm. But I didn’t have to do any of those things every single day. My mother and my father both grew up on farms. But we lived in town. So, my work ethic was probably worth only a quarter of what the work ethic of any of my friends in school was truly worth. I was a bum kid by comparison. Gary G. and Kevin K, both real farm kids and older than me, explained this to me one day behind the gymnasium with specific examples and fists.
Being a farm kid helped to forge my character. But that was really all about working hard, and nothing really to do with magic.
I truly believe the real magic to be found in Rowan, Iowa, my home town, was the fact that it was boring. It was a sleepy little town, that never had any real event… well, except maybe for a couple of monster blizzards in the 60’s and 70’s, and the Bicentennial parade and tractor pull on Main Street in 1976, and a couple of costume contests in the 1960’s held in the Fire Station where I had really worked hard on the costumes, a scarecrow one year, and an ogre the next, where I almost won a prize. But nothing that changed history or made Rowan the center of everything.
And therein lies the magic. I had to look at everything closely to find the things and strategies that would take me to the great things and places where I wanted to end up. I learned to wish upon a star from Disney movies. I learned about beauty of body and soul from the girls that I grew up with, most of them related. And I invented fantastical stories with the vivid imagination I discovered lurking in my own stupid head. I embarrassed Alicia Stewart by telling everyone that I could prove she was a Martian princess, kidnapped and brought to Earth by space pirates that only I knew how to defeat. And I learned to say funny things and make people laugh… but in ways that didn’t get me sent to the principal’s office in school. Yes, it was the magic of my own imagination. And boring Iowa farm towns made more people with magic in them than just me. John Wayne was one. Johnny Carson was one also. And have you heard of Elijah Wood? Or the painter Grant Wood? Or the actress Cloris Leachman?
Yep. We were such stuff as dreams were made on in small towns in Iowa. And that is real magic.
There is considerable evidence that I am not a totally normal human being, or as Danny Murphy used to say “A normal human bean”. Danny is, by the way, a character in several of my novels, including Snow Babies and When the Captain Came Calling. He did the complete Circle Streak (running around the entire high school campus buck naked in a huge and chilly circle) more than once. And he was based entirely on one of my high school classmates and friends. That bird-walk about streaking is an example of the kind of quirks I am guilty of when I am being totally not-normal. I am now entirely off topic and must pull it back to defend myself by saying, “Nobody else is a totally normal human bean either!”
Among my many quirks and oddities is my love of baseball and slavish dedication to the St. Louis Cardinals baseball club. My favorite World Series memories are from 1934, 22 years before I was born. Dizzy Dean was a 30-game winner pitching for the Cardinals. Joe “Ducky” Medwick was their star hitter, and in the 6th inning he hit a triple and slid hard into the third baseman with his cleats up (a trick learned from former Detroit Tiger Ty Cobb) and the Tiger fans lost their cool in a big way (they were behind 9-0 at the time in the deciding 7th game). They began throwing things at Joe as he tried to play left field. He nearly missed an easy fly ball because somebody threw an orange and almost hit his glove. It is the only time in baseball history that a baseball commissioner had to eject a player from a World Series game for his own protection. (Needless to say, I love to hate the Tigers.)
I also love all the other ten times the Cardinals have won the Series, and I am proud of the eight times they nearly won besides.
Another of my odd quirks is a love of nudity in spite of my skin condition that prevents me from comfortably being a nudist. I first encountered nudism in a clothing-optional apartment complex where my girlfriend’s sister lived in Austin. I went from being shocked almost to apoplexy, to my girlfriend’s overwhelming amusement, to rejecting a chance to try nudism in the late 80’s, to actually spending a day at a Texas nudist park in 2017, and really enjoying the experience. My children are mortified.
And this quirk affects my fiction. I have some characters in a few of my stories based specifically on nudists I have known. I also wrote an entire novel, A Field Guide to Fauns, about a boy learning to live with his father and step-mother in a residential nudist park. Additionally, I have irrationally tried to use the word “penis” in every novel I have written. I only failed to do so when some editors insisted on its removal. So, I believe I may be 12 for 16 on that score.
But this particular quirk, no matter how totally embarrassing my children find it, is not a sexual perversion. I don’t write porn. And, as a survival matter after being sexually assaulted as a child, my nudity fixation has helped me to accept that I am not evil and unworthy when I am naked. My attacker had me convinced otherwise for more than twenty years.
I am also an aficionado of science fiction, classical music, and a faith that tells me rabbits make better people than people do.
My books are divided, for the most part, into Cantos instead of Chapters. This is because of my love for Classical Music and my dedication to the weird notion that novels should be more like epic poetry. Not necessarily written in verse, though if I ever get to write Music in the Forest, that one is written as poetry.
But paragraphs need to be written as purely poetically as perfect white pearls are poetically pearly.
But as poetry, my tendency towards comedy rather than drama or tragedy, leads me to write purple paisley prose (like all this p-word nonsense) which makes my paragraphs more Scherzo than Nocturne, Sonata, or Symphony.
While researching alien invasions for the novel Catch a Falling Star, the story of when aliens from deep space tried to invade Iowa, I came across internet information that ignited another quirky passion of mine, studying conspiracy theories. And it isn’t all just a plot to embarrass my children in front of people we know in real life. Although that is a definite side benefit. But conspiracies are an excellent source material for making humor. Comedy gold. Knowing who people like Alex Jones, David Icke, and Jesse Ventura are, gives me not only easily ridiculed personalities to make fun of, but also windows into thinking habits that may or may not turn up some real anomalies in the world of science and so-called historical fact. For instance, I can credibly argue that there is more to the Roswell Crash story than the government is willing to tell us about, and Lee Harvey Oswald did not kill JFK by himself, if at all.
And besides, my boyhood friend Robert was part of my small-town gang when we fought off the alien invasion in the 60’s, and he told me on Facebook that he remembered when that happened. Good old Bobby. He really likes beer and alcohol.
And I could go on like this for an entire book’s worth of silly jabber. But this post has to end for today. This blog, after all, isn’t the only quirky and crazy thing I have to attend to.
Am I literally able to fortell the future? Of course not. But as an overly-sensitive artistical type one could argue that there is evidence in my art and writings that my reality now was at least partially embedded in my consciousness many years ago.
And truthfully, looking at the truth of things based on empirical evidence is what this point-of-view post is all about. We cannot always rely on the traditional concepts of good and evil as they have been taught to us. Sometimes you have to look at how the evidence stacks up properly, and just plain intuit a new way of seeing the whole picture. Yes, this is a portrait of a fifteen-year-old former student of mine. And she was definitely evil and difficult to deal with. But she went into nursing after high school. She works in the ER where her decisive ways and ferocious insistence on having things work out in her favor because that’s the way the established rules say it must be done turn into positive qualities that are probably saving lives in a Texas hospital as we speak. It is all in how you perceive the truth of a situation and then apply it.
Comedy, of course, depends greatly on rearranging your point of view. If you are going to make a joke about something, you have to re-mix and un-match the details in ways that still make a sort of sense to the reader or the hearer of the joke. I have taught at schools like Dudwhittler’s. If you are a teacher, you recognize that that school bus carries not only that which is funny, but also that which is very true. The teacher driving the bus is a tin man who easily rusts and cries too much, thus rusting further, but you can see he has earned his heart, even if he has to drive the bus on top of teaching so he will have enough money to buy food.
But probably the most anticipated thing from a new perspective that you were expecting since reading the title is a new perspective on the Coronavirus shut-down and economic depression. That alternative take is simply this… the pandemic, though extremely hard and painful, is a good thing that happened at the right time.
I am willing to say this, even though the way the virus has been mishandled in this country is going to very likely be the death of me, because there are benefits that we simply don’t recognize without a thorough punch to the gut and another to loose teeth.
It is a good thing because it will make it harder for Herr Fuhrer Pumpkinhead to win the next election, and he will probably take a number of corrupt Republicans down to the bottom of the sea with him.
It is a good thing because it is proving to us that we can survive on less and still make our way out of the bad situation.
It is a good thing because kids get extra time off from school, and probably also the chance to spend more time with the people who really teach them things we need them to know… like parents, grandparents on Zoom, teachers who don’t fear distance-learning technology, and trolls on the internet (Yes, I know that last one is risky and mainly learning the hard way, but it is also true from before the virus hit).
It is a good thing because the air is cleaner. And we have proven that we can make radical adjustments when it is a matter of life and death. And the environmental crisis is actually a matter of life and death.
So, now I’ve had my twisted say about my pretzel-minded perspective. And so you can now trash it, or possibly learn to like pretzels.
Ironically, after a week of posting about black humor and how fast the Coronavirus is going to kill me, I received the SunshineBlogger Award. You know what “ironically” means, right? It’s when a humorist makes a joke about you by throwing a flatiron at your head.
But an award like this comes with a price. So, here are the rules;
Thank the blogger who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.
So, now that I have answered rules #1 and #4, let me begin answering questions about Mickey to fulfill #2.
One; In a situation where you must initiate small talk, what’s your go-to topic?
I have more than 3o years experience in public school classrooms teaching every grade level from 6th through 12th. So, when I am in need of a small-talk topic, I naturally pull out the subject of what it is like to be a nudist, or how to be a clown, or what it takes to make a good joke for a comic strip (including a willingness to draw comic characters on napkins to illustrate the point.) I know you probably think at this point that you must have missed a transition in my answer somewhere. But every teacher knows you have to stand metaphorically naked in front of a group of 30+ kids six times a day for 50 minutes a shot. And if you can’t put on an entertaining show for the denizens of the classroom monkey house, they will eat you. And if you can get them to laugh about what they are learning, they will actually remember it.
Two; If there are 25 hours in a day, what would you do with the extra hour?
I would work hard to change it back to a twenty-four-hour day. After all, adding an hour to 365 days a year, 366 on leap year, would massively screw up the calendar and throw the seasons completely out of kilter. Who knows what environmental impacts such an astronomical change would have?
Three; Would you prefer to commute to work/school by flying carpet, pumpkin carriage, or ventilated glass coffin carried by coffin dancers?
Flying carpet! Are you kidding me? Of the three, that one is the most versatile and magical choice. You could go practically anywhere at any time. A pumpkin carriage is restricted to roads, and it turns into a pumpkin at midnight. Besides, you couldn’t use it the second day because the mice that pulled it would eat it during the night. And coffin dancers? That fellow Murphy the professional coffin dancer has one leg longer than the other. You would get bounced and bruised the whole way. And the glass might break. And a flying carpet often means there’s a geni flying around somewhere near. Could I ever use two more wishes!
Four; How many hours of sleep do you need each night to feel rested?
How can I possibly answer this? A human being normally needs about eight hours of sleep. A teacher only gets five hours maximum, because of grading papers, worrying about the next day’s bomb threats and/or pep rallies, and the possibility that cheerleaders will want to shave your head or throw pies at you to motivate your classes. Once the teacher becomes a parent, then only three hours if you are lucky. And once retired, arthritis pains keep you awake. Rested? What’s that?
Five; What’s the best food to eat when stressed? (Don’t tell me I’m the only stress eater here…)
Mmmm! Pie!!! Unfortunately, also diabetic. Hmmm… green beans?
Six; If you must immigrate to another country, where would you go?
The Merry Old Land of Oz. I would have no problem with wetting a couple of witches with cold water, and you can make yourself ruler there with a few lies and balloon tricks.
Seven; What kind of songs do you listen to at the end of a frustrating day?
Classical music. I would never joke about Debussy, Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart.
Eight; What’s the best dish you’ve made recently? Mind sharing your recipe with me?
Goofy Gumbo is made with 8 beef hot dogs cut into numerous nickel-sized pieces, fried on both sides, mixed in a bowl with hash browns, red and green peppers, and a can of chili with no beans. Microwave for six minutes. Serves a family of five, or two teenage boys… not both at the same time or there will be portion fights and poop jokes.
Nine; My mom wants to learn more English by watching more TV shows. She enjoyed Grey’s Anatomy and The Handmaid’s Tale, and likes “deep” stories with diverse casts. What TV show would you recommend my mom? (Totally not asking because I don’t watch enough TV.)
Forget about TV. Go to Netflix. Find Scooby Doo; Mystery Incorporated. Try hard not to die laughing.
Ten; What’s your favourite fairy tale, and why?
I prefer any or all of the Fractured Fairy Tales from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, the 60’s cartoon show. I like them because they always end with a moral to the story that is always punny.
Eleven; On a scale of cotton candy to razor blade dripping with your enemy’s blood, are you more wholesome or edgy?
I am almost precisely in the middle. I would rate myself at the clown in face paint that you don’t quite know if it’s funny or scary holding a lollipop in the right hand, but the left behind the back, potentially holding a chainsaw. The edginess is in my subtext.
I will have to add the list of eleven bloggers later, since most of the best ones I know don’t really like doing blogging awards. I need to get some permissions first, and I have to check my calendar to determne if I know what day I am dying from Covid 19.
So, if I can find eleven willing victims, here are the questions I will ask them;
Have you ever written a humorous post that doesn’t involve jokes about sex, poop, Donald Trump, or your tax accountant?
What is the strangest blog topic you have ever written an entire essay about?
Do you like kids? And if so, do you like them to be sweet… or do you have an alternative recipe? (Keep in mind I use a lot of metaphors and am probably not a cannibal.)
As a writer, do you like to use… long pauses? Sentence fragments? Or do you eschew writing like people actually talk, like using long, drawn-out, and adjectivelly over-filled run-on sentences that seem to go on and on as if the writer doesn’t have any idea where the brakes are?
What book has had the most influence over your writing? And was it a fiction book? Non-fiction book? Instructional manual about writing?
Briefly describe the person you can blame most vehemently for turning you into a writer. This counts as a question doesn’t it?
If you had to accurately describe your writing style with a single color, what color would it be, and why?
What writer, living or not, would be the be the best choice to write your life story? J.K. Rowling, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe, Dr. Suess, or somebody even better?
If you were imprisoned by Nazis at the South Pole, what penguin-related escape plot would you plan first?
Which, in your view, is the stupidest question Mickey has asked so far?
Who is your favorite comedian? (Discounting Mickey, of course, because he can’t retaliate anyway, and nobody actually reads his books or his blog.)
Things are not what they seem. Life throws curve balls across the plate ninety percent of the time. Fastballs are rare. And fastballs you can hit are even rarer. But if Life is pitching, who is the batter? Does it change the metaphor and who you are rooting for if the batter is Death?
If you think this means that I am planning on dying because of the Coronavirus pandemic, well, you would be right. Of course, I am always planning for death with every dark thing that bounces down the hopscotch squares of the immediate future. That’s what it means to be a pessimist. No matter what bad thing we are talking about, it will not take ME by surprise. And if I think everything is going to kill me, sooner or later I have to be right… though, hopefully, much later.
I keep seeing things that aren’t there. Childlike faces keep looking at me from the top of the stairs, but when I focus my attention there, they disappear. And I know there are no children in the house anymore since my youngest is now legally an adult. And the chimpanzee that peeked at me from behind the couch in the family room was definitely not there. I swear, it looked exactly like Roddy McDowell from the Planet of the Apes movies, whom I know for a fact to be deceased. So, obviously, it has to be Roddy McDowell’s monkey-ghost. I believe I may have mentioned before that there is a ghost dog in our house. I often catch glimpses of its tail rounding the corner ahead of me when my own dog is definitely behind me. And I am sure I shared the facts before that Parkinson’s sufferers often see partial visions of people and faces (and apparently dogs) that aren’t really there, and that my father suffers from Parkinson’s Disease. So, obviously it is my father and not me that is seeing these things… He’s just using my eyeballs to do it with.
But… and this is absolutely true even if it starts with a butt… the best way to deal with scary possibilities is to laugh at them. Jokes, satire, mockery, and ludicrous hilarity expressed in big words are the proper things to use against the fearful things you cannot change. So, this essay is nothing but a can of mixed nutz. Nutzy nuts. And fortunately, peanut allergies are one incurable and possibly fatal disease I don’t have. One of the few.