She was sick. We were both sick. Not the "Please kill me, I have the flu" kind of sick, just one of those colds that takes you down for the count. Which leaves you with a choice of the lesser of two inconveniences: NyQuil or DayQuil. NyQuil gets rid of all your symptoms in one shot, but it leaves you unconcious while it works. DayQuil lets you stay vaguely aware of your surroundings, so you can enjoy every glorious minute of the "sniffling, coughing, achy-head" symptoms it doesn't quite banish completely. We had opted for the middle ground - DayQuil during the day, NyQuil at night - but it left us hacking, snorkling, half-awake, and a in foul mood.

We huddled silently on the couch, under blankets, watching cable.

Pollyanna, with Haley Mills, came on and neither one of us changed the channel. We didn't give a damn and the remote was too far away. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. I'd seen the movie years before, but watching under the influence made for an entirely new experience. DayQuil Technicolor. Whee!

Spoiler alert! For those of you that haven't seen it, the movie 'Pollyanna' is so agressively cute and perky, lab rats have been known to swallow their own tongues by the point in the movie the titular main character explains about "The Glad Game". Pollyanna learned the glad game from her Dad, who used to point out to her when she felt sad, that at least she was better off than people who had to walk with crutches or some such tripe. Always look on the bright side of life, as it were. I played the glad game myself while watching it: "I'm glad I'm drugged up for this, because if I weren't I'd be beating myself in the head with baseball bat by now."

In any case, she uses this game to turn all the normal, grumpy people in her town into singing, dancing, lunatics. Then during the climax of the movie she falls from a tree and gets paralyzed from the waist down. The next we see of her she's being rolled around in a wheelchair.

Suddenly, my wife, who hadn't moved a muscle in over an hour, leaned forward and bellowed at the screen, "Not so perky anymore, are we? Try playing the glad game now, bitch!"

I laughed until I ran out of breath, tears streaming down my face. Then I coughed until I saw stars.

Hi everybody! I hope you are all doing good! I had to go to the emergency room on Monday because I fell off the monkey bars at school and landed on my face. They thought I might have had a broken nose but I don’t. It feels better now. I wrote this Tuesday night in my room at my dad’s house when we were listening to The Beatles. It’s called Now Look Up When Down. I hope you like it!

Now Look Up When Down

I lived in the sky
Soaring high
Painting a rainbow of Earth

Wings of love surround me
Clouds of Angels are upon me
Watching over the Earth

I now look up in my home around me
I see trees and the skies and my house

The wings and the clouds
Have left me years ago
I wore robes of beauty and silk
Now I wear blue jeans and shirts

My home on the stars
Is now a home on the ranch
It needs cleaning and caring
It has never ending jobs

I liked it in the sky
But here is just fine for now

I hope I get to see and meet a lot of you at this See you soon!

Okay, this is dad speaking. I don’t know what this poem/story is supposed to be about. Maybe it loses some if its appeal until you can see it in the scrawl of an eight-year-old kid. All I know is that I think I got something special in the works. I hope to God it never changes!

Good, thoughts go out to all friends, past, present and future….

A Poorly Written Tale of Woe With a Happy Ending

I was riding home from New York on the subway a few months ago with my friend Paul. I was feeling restless and bored, having listened through several CDs and read a single chapter in the book I had brought with me - apparently a mere placebo when used against the giant boredom. So I leafed through the magazines placed in the pocket in the back of the seat in front of me for my reading pleasure. Politics - flipped the page. News - flipped the page. Flipped the page. Flipped the page. Wait, turn back.

An ad for some sort of porcelain caps. Apparently they put them on your teeth so that even the cavity-ridden can have that "movie star smile." Of course, they featured a before and after picture - you know them, they show the terrified audience some pitiful specimen of a human being who had been rescued from the pits of ugliness and introduced into polite society through this miracle intervention. But here's what caught my eye: the before picture wasn't some specimen of poor grooming and despicable eating habits. She was actually quite beautiful, not in a magazine model sort of way, but as in that cute girl who sits up at the front of the classroom beautiful. She appeared to be laughing when they took the picture, so her two-dimensional image was quite eye catching. Then I looked at the "after" picture.

She was still beautiful I guess, and in a magazine model way. Her natural smile had been distorted into something fake and unreal, a smile that let you see the very veins in her gums. The corners of her mouth had been teased into what would barely pass for less than a grimace - I could almost see the invisible wires holding her in place, like some sort of bonsai tree. Of course, it was not just her teeth and smile that had been changed. Her hair had been let down; it streamed from her head to her shoulders instead of tied in a bun like it had been in the before picture - I'm guessing it is convenient to have hair that doesn't get in your face when you do things besides stare fixedly ahead with a permanently frozen grin. Her face was heavily made up, giving it a mask-like appearance. Apparently the makers of the ad figured no one would go halfway with something like this; if they did they would be back to change the rest. I've heard it's that way with breast implants. The first size is never big enough, the women who have it done always go back to give their breasts that baseball shaped form sported by all your favorite porno stars.

I closed the magazine, I got up and stretched. Then I went to get a hot dog from the food cart.

with smeared lipstick and my heart on my sleeve

Alright, I'm feeling pretty good nowadays. Not exactly self-actualized, because that's not easy to do right now, but I'm feeling unpressured and awash with semi-contentment on this night. So it's time to get some things out there and maybe say something of meaning. Here goes.

The other day I was talking to Eric and he had to go so I said, "later alligator," to which he replied, "after a while, crocodile." Two nights ago I was driving home from work at a quarter past nine. The sun was long gone but the light radiating off the street made it impossible to see any stars. The night sky was a perfectly black backdrop for the silhouetted trees. Today one lady thug smeared fire red lipstick on my blue shirt sleeve because she had made a mess of lipstick on her hands and all I had to offer was said shirt sleeve.

Do you realize how amazing these moments are? And everything in between? I do. Sometimes it really frightens me - all the things going on, the intricacies of a million events leading up to one sliver of time. I wonder what I might be missing, and I try all the time with everything I've got to feel the astounding beauty of right now. It's overwhelming and I love it. Sometimes I can't speak and I can't move and I fear that I might be paralyzed forever - trapped in the beauty of a moment. I know this might sound really far-fetched, but did you ever stare in wonderment at an amazing sunset? Just think of everything as an incomprehensibly amazing sunset. Have you ever looked into someone's eyes and seen them blink? - totally mesmerized by that blink. Have you ever looked into the fixed eyes of someone? - enthralled just by those eyes. Have you ever looked into someone's heart? Understanding that you don't know a damn thing about it, but it's there, amazing to infinity and beautiful beyond that.

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