and so that was back to the future day
when the Cubs lost the pennant
and although I don’t have a flying Pinto
we can go careening past Pluto
to find new horizons
and so that was back to the future day
So, a Catholic Priest, an Imam, and a Rabbi walk into a bar. The Priest orders a glass of red wine and blesses it. The Rabbi orders a glass of Manischewitz Concord Grape Wine and drinks it. The Imam has a Diet Pepsi. The Mormon waitress condemns them all.
A man with a monkey on one shoulder and a parrot on the other rides a horse into a bar. The bartender says, “Get those filthy fucking animals out of here or I’m calling the cops!”
So a Buddhist monk walks up to a hot dog stand and says, “make me one with everything.” And the hot dog guy says, “Aren’t you supposed to be a vegetarian?”
I was just telling someone about how for your birthday one year we went to the Field Museum to see the Darwin exhibit, when we were standing in front of a collection of the species of carnivorous plants and I said, “well, that kind of blows the concept of vegetarianism to hell.”
The other guy in the exhibit laughed.
I marvel at how light a quarter century feels; It was around that long ago we went walking around your old high school while you felt nostalgic for four years earlier. Then we got even more very drunk; God, do you remember that breakfast? We had all slept for forty five minutes and were still reeking of booze when we threw on suits and had breakfast with your family. Wulf didn’t take off his sunglasses the entire time. Then we went and got your ass married to that lunatic. I mean, she was a beautiful lunatic, and I was making the exact same mistake with Persephone, after all. I’ve told you about how I proposed to her, didn’t I? So, we were at her sister’s wedding which was at the Park Ridge Country Club, and Persi was the Maid of Honor. We were like, twenty at the time. So, the wedding was in the morning but the reception wasn’t going to start for hours so nearly everyone left to get lunch or whatever and the wedding party went to go take pictures. I had nothing to do but sit at the bar all afternoon. By the time the cocktail party started at four, I was loaded. By the time dinner started at six English was pretty much a second language. By the time the speeches at finished and dancing started I was proposing to Persephone. I don’t remember much else about the night.
Do you remember how we used to drink? Neither can I.
Right now the shuffle brought up ‘Ring of Fire’ as covered by Wall of Voodoo. It’s pretty cool, actually. Julia is binge watching a terrible show called ‘Reign’ so I threw on headphones and I’m listening to music and writing to you. We are relishing quiet adult time while little dude sleeps. He just turned four a few weeks ago and we had a big party for him at our house. There are elements of the castle here in our house. We have an (inoperable) fireplace with built-in bookshelves alongside it in the living room. Julia has painted the rooms in vivid colors and they are filled with books and toys and musical instruments and our art on the walls. We have a corner lot with a big yard. I’m six minutes away from work. Mom and Dad are good; Tony calls them Nana and Coco.
Toilet training has been kind of emotionally brutal. I am taking a Zen approach but it can be exhausting. We’ve tried it all and are kind of stuck in a good cop bad cop cycle with him and I don’t think it’s good but it’s the dynamic we keep reverting to and I can’t help but be good cop. But then its all over and we are in bed singing to him. There’s a lullabye I’ve been singing to him since he was probably two years old and now he demands I sing it to him every night and it’s the highlight of my
day life; first I sing it by myself, then Julia and Little Tony sing it with me. We end up doing it three times at least before you do Mama’s songs. It’s to the tune of Silent Night and I came up with the words over time. He calls it ‘Sweet Little Boy’.
Sweet little boy
Dear little boy
I love you
You’re my joy
I love you more than all words could say
More every night and every day
I love you so much
Oh, I love you so much
I know it’s doggerel but it’s also the best thing I’ve ever written because it’s the first song my son ever learned to sing.
I know that there will be a day when I won’t be singing him to sleep anymore and it makes me indescribably sad.
It’s the next day and I’ve gotten home from work for a little bit before I have to go back out and they’re out and I’m listening to Bjork’s ‘Army of Me’ and writing to you. Here’s the thing about having a kid; I’m doing more real writing than I ever did when I was single. That’s part of the reason I haven’t been blogging very regularly; I’ve written over 20,000 words of a novel this year as well as producing some of the best paintings I’ve yet done while working full time at the Clown Factory and I am still a fully present dad who doesn’t miss dinner or night night. And the Clown Factory is just going smashing, with a kind of Imperials vs the Rebellion vibe giving things an extra spice to my days. Plus I had a meeting last night for the little theater company I’m helping start up; I’m directing ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ this winter.
It’s the evening. I got home late but not too late to sing him down to sleep, so hooray for that and Captain Spaulding. Julia is still watching this terrible show. It’s like if the CW did the War of the Roses. I have to tell you brother, I never have known a woman quite like her and that is why we work. We bring out good things in each other. And even though she usually has awesome taste this show is so terrible I’m putting on my headphones and ‘We Love You’ by the Stones is on my shuffle; it’s such a great psychedelic tune and has a certain distinction because John Lennon and Paul McCartney sing on the chorus and Lennon’s voice is very clear at the end of the song as he seems to knock over a glass. I don’t understand why it never seems to get played anywhere.
I’ve read several excellent books lately. If you’re in the mood for some light magical realism I really enjoyed ‘The Ocean at the End of the Lane’ by Neil Gaiman. My friend Wendy has gotten me reading memoirs and I discovered I love Elizabeth Gilbert’s writing; ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ is a deeper piece of writing than you would think. The problem is that the film is a story of a pretty white lady taking an extended vacation and falling in love with a hot older man which completely misses the point of the book; it is her writing which is relevant, not the narrative. ‘The Way of the Samurai’ by Yamamoto Tsunetomo, ‘The Glass Bead Game’ by Hesse, and ‘Brave New World’ are all books that somehow evaded me until this last year but are now nestled into the Core. Speaking of, did you guys see ‘Inside Out’ yet? Little dude loved it almost as much as me and Mama did. Pixar consistently makes not only some of the best family films but some of the best films of all time.
I’m sorry my reply to your email was so brief. I didn’t know what else to say and have been thinking about you since I sent it and I’m hoping they figure it all out. The hospital sucks except for how they perform miracles of science there. Hopefully they’ll have you out by Monday. I just wanted to give you a little something to read. Get some rest and give my love to those around you and yourself.
Statistics are generally meaningless, so I’ll try to state this without too many numbers. According to CDC estimates that over 99,000 Americans have died by gunshot since Newtown.The combined US combat deaths in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and all the other conflicts since 1945 are less than the gun deaths in the US since December of 2012.
The reason I don’t have guns in my house is because I am not afraid. I am not weak. I do not tremble in the night. I walk the streets I choose to. I do not worry and fret.
But last night Little Tony slept in our bed between us. Dark lullabies haunted my dreams. This afternoon his mama took him to the movies while I was at work and I was filled with dreadful disquiet until he burst through the door crying, “Papa! I’m home!” Tonight he is sleeping in our bed again.
Now it is the morning. I posted this unfinished last night by mistake.
It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, I have so much to say but I just don’t know how much of it is useful.
The thing is that it is possible to have effective gun control that doesn’t completely disarm everyone; the problem is that it requires us to have an adult conversation. That means that we have to stop letting Ted Nugent and other crazy assholes dominate our discourse. I cannot chalk up the pointless murders of ten people to ‘stuff happens‘. We are a creative and free people who have been to the Goddamned Moon. We can figure this out.
I remain hopeful because I must.
in the judgement of the superior moment
self satisfied shameless schadenfreude
masquerading as delighted joy
small victories flushing
happiness out of reach
caught by tides of swelling desires
the mundane pull of gravity
and the mass of ego
victory begins with
its so much better
to talk than to yell and curse
he resigned singing
your pagan birthday
be your own surprise
the scravenging rats
tore at the dry bones, desperate
*And yes, scravenging is a perfectly cromulent word.