It is a time when we need a hero to step forward. We lost one when Senator John McCain .headed off to Valhalla this week. I didn’t agree with practically any of his political positions. But the man stood up for what’s right and what’s wrong. He took stances routinely that went against some of the worst drivers of Republican actions. He prevented them from doing a lot of worse evils. My Republican friends in Iowa disparaged McCain just as Trump did as a RINO (Republican In Name Only). But he stood up for us with the thumb down gesture when the evil Republican Oligarchs were voting to take away the gains in health care that we made under Obama.
It is a time when we need a hero to step forward. Of course, we are always in need of heroes. There is so much in our little lives that depends on the strong among us to shield us from the darkness that fills the universe. And heroes come in many forms. There was a time when I needed a hero to step forward and deliver me from evil in the Emergency Room in Pearsall Texas. I was there because I was suffering from a severe lack of potassium in my bloodstream. You don’t realize how important balanced potassium in the bloodstream is until you don’t have it. The shakes, the pain, the fog interfering with my cognitive functioning would all have overwhelmed me permanently if the banana doctor had not run a potassium-rich IV directly into a vein in my arm and then proscribed bananas and apples in my diet when he let me go home without an expensive hospital stay. I never learned his name, hence the epithet of “banana doctor”, but he was a hero to me when I needed one.
I think the real point here is, though, that we are forever needing heroes to step up. More than once, as a school teacher, it was me who was called on to step up and do the hero job. Talking on the phone late on a Saturday night to a suffering, suicidal teen, getting between two middle school girls and a leering stranger on a field trip in San Antonio, facing down a berserk child with real metal ninja throwing stars in a school hallway and getting him to run away rather than pursuing his target… gawd, looking back, I should’ve been scared out of my wits. Don’t tell my mother that those things really happened.
And maybe that is the only place we should really be looking for heroes, inside ourselves. Believe me, there is no Superman or Wolverine in the real world outside of the one in your own heart. And that one will step up and answer the call if you sincerely need him… or her. Take it from a guy once known in high school as “Superchicken”. Now there’s an inspiring superhero name!
After driving for 45 minutes today, I discovered that I had earned only $4.16. And this after having the air conditioning give out once, having the engine overheat twice, and having to change which direction I searched for building number 210 three times before I found the guy’s second-floor apartment and delivered his 40 chicken nuggets and two large orders of McDonald’s fries. Normally when it takes that long to deliver food over more than 10 miles of city driving you make more for the effort. But they don’t start paying you until you pick up the food, and from home to Ronald’s place in Irving, Texas was easily eight of the ten miles.
Really scary story, huh?
But that’s what Uber driving is like. It is benign sort of slavery where you use your own car and gas money, your own car insurance to protect you from Texas Bubbas in Chevy pickups, and your own wits to survive and deliver hot food in the punishing Texas summer heat.
The worst experience I got from this summer’s food delivery came at the hands of a fellow school teacher. I had to deliver faculty lunch to an elementary school in the last week of summer school classes. It was a large lunch with two bags of burgers and a tray loaded with drinks in flimsy cardboard cups. It was a short drive from the restaurant to the school. But when I got there, it was a school with many entrances and kids playing on two different sides of the building. I went to the door I thought the Uber navigator was directing me to. I knocked. When I got no answer, I called the lady who ordered everything. I told her I was at the west door. She told me that I had to find the main door on the south side of the building. So I managed to juggle the two sacks and the easily spillable drinks to three different doors on the south side, all locked. I called again and was told I must have the wrong building, so I went to the school building across the street and found an office building with only kindergarten and daycare kids present. I called again.
“How can you mess it up so badly? Our food will be cold and we have no time left to eat it. And you are at the wrong building! None of the other Uber drivers had this much trouble.”
So, after having been called an idiot, I quickly found a playground guardian to ask and was directed to the proper door on the NORTH side of the building. I apologized and delivered the food. She made complaints to Uber and told them that my behavior was unprofessional and the food was late. So my job as an Uber driver was briefly in jeopardy. I called the Uber driver masters and offered to refund my four-dollar fee to the customer to make amends. They told me they appreciated the sentiment, but they NEVER give the money back. So I went home grumbling, dripping gallons of sweat, four dollars richer and an hour’s worth of misery wiser.
I hope you appreciate that I waited four weeks to write this horror story. It was the only way I could write it without profanity or bad words.
For the last week and a half, I have been visiting my parents in Iowa. That came to an end on Monday with a fourteen-hour drive back to the Dallas suburbs. That should have been a normal enough thing. I have made that trip two ways over a hundred times in the years I have been living in Texas while still having family in Iowa.
A mere car trip like that shouldn’t have had a major impact on my writing, this blog and my novel in progress neither one.
But, unfortunately, demons of a darker day had to have their say. The computer that I have used to write six published novels and all of the blog posts I have written since 2013 died from battery depletion in the trunk of my car. Of course, my pessimistic nature had made me purchase a backup laptop some time ago. But it didn’t have Microsoft Office on it, nor any other word processor. I also didn’t remember dozens of passwords for necessary writer websites, and email, and bank accounts, and on and on and on. Needless to say, I have begun to write recently changed passwords down on paper somewhere secret. …And will very likely forget promptly where I hid them.
So yesterday was wasted getting my entire life back up and running on the computer and online. If you have been searching for my daily blog posts the last few days and finding that your search was fruitless, this is the reason why. Of course, not all fruit is good for you. You should probably be getting fresher fruits and vegetables from better sources than the internet. Although there are plenty of old Mickian blog posts out there now that have totally fermented and become somewhat unfortunately fragrant over time, today’s post is proof that I am still hopelessly addicted to writing and still not quite dead.
So, now that I am back up and running, expect more Mickian rants and colored pencil Paffoonies. I have lost time to make up for.
The Rowan Public Library has a storm sewer drain near the parking area on the west side of the building. How do you prevent cars from parking on top of it and risking significant damage to two different things? The librarian’s solution? Make a rock garden around it so that only extremely stupid people would still consider parking there. And what better summer activity than to invite kids and senior citizens to come in and paint the rocks for decoration’s sake.
The goofy spotted frog and the Star Wars rebel flying goose are the rocks that I chose to paint. You can see that I had more fun than I did artistic epiphanies. But that is the thing about art. Bob Ross says that it can bring good things to your heart. And it does even more so when you share it with kids and other people.
So I had a relatively good time just painting rocks for fun and cracking simple, stupid jokes to make little kids laugh.
Mom had fun painting flowers and smiling suns on a rock next to her good friend Annie and Annie’s great grandson. You see them in this picture taken by the little boy’s grandmother.
And my daughter really got invested in the zen experience of putting paint on rocks. She took the longest of anybody to finish her second rock. And, of course, her little dragon-obsessed creation was easily the best one of the day.
Superman has his Fortress of Solitude. Batman has his Batcave. Every Superhero needs a place of his own to reflect on the trials and struggles of the never-ending battle for truth and justice and the American way. I achieved another dawn today, waking up at sunrise on Grandpa Aldrich’s farm place. It is for me a place of safety and quietude where I can rest and regenerate, plan, plot, and create the story of my life.
It is a place far older than me, a family farm that has been in the family for more than 100 years. It connects me to the past and the people who’ve come before me, not only the family I have known and loved, but those who came before them that were gone before I was born.
It is possible that it is unwise to reveal my secret lair and my connections to such an important place. Will my enemies take advantage of the fact? No, probably not. Most of my enemies are ignorant people who do not read, and so, will never uncover this secret I have now shared with you.