"Stop, would you? Cut it. Everything doesn't mean something. Why can't it be that some things are completely random bullshit? Why does there have to be some kind of God inside everything? Can't it be that shit just happens for no good reason? Stop looking for answers in tea leaves. Stop. There isn't always a reason. Sometimes people die and there's no reason. Sometimes life is total bullshit. My life is completely shit."
"Leave me alone. Don't touch me."
Ghost in the machine
In the mailbox
Computer generated spam
There amid the randomization
Once you thought you wanted to write a screenplay. At least you tried. At least you had ambition, once. Do you remember how it felt? I didn't *think* so.
That you see before you delete and forward to another
No longer deny yourself your dreams
everything is different
Je'ne comprenez pas.
Dzez chem haskanum.
At various times in his life, he has had to speak all those languages and this one too: No lo so.
"Wait. I don't understand why you're doing this. Why is this happening?"
"I asked you to stop following me. Go away."
He: What did I do?
She: I realize it's hard for you to believe but sometimes things aren't about you.
He: But I thought...
She: Fuck off.
He: I thought we were in love.
She: So did I.
(Door slams. Car drives off, stage right. Stage lights dim. Night falls. Libya invades Morocco. The formula for Coca Cola is stolen by a twelve-year old British youth who posts it to the internet and is promptly arrested, convicted, and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Demonstrations ensue across the country and rapidly spread to North America, where every living person joins hands to form a human chain across the Atlantic ocean to protest the injustice of the system, the tides, and the thumb of "the man" who puts down all the uncivilized peoples of the world. After betting the company on a new design, Audi introduces a rear-wheel drive, six-door sedan called "The Whale" which flops in the European market but sells well in Africa where it is used by big game poachers as a gun platform to exterminate the last of the great apes, the big cats, the white rhinos and all the world's parrots. This saddens my daughter who will no longer speak to me because I have contributed to the termination of all life on earth through the promotion of the eradication of endangered species, not to mention the contribution to global warming due to greenhouse gas emissions of my new Audi, which has become the object of derision since my divorce from her mother, to whom I had previously gifted a high-end waffle iron as demonstration of my undying devotion. The mistake is obvious and illuminated separately by argon lasers. Then, all lights go down on stage. The last photons escape the theater. Air is evacuated and in the vacuum, all sound is eliminated. The audience is thrust into the darkness of space, light years from earth. Life as we know it, has ended.)
Scene two (in which is bought a new waffle iron as a 21st anniversary gift)
Me: Happy anniversary
You: You remembered
Me: Ta dah
You: It's so big
Me: Thank you. Aren't you going to open it?
You: What is it?
Me: Usually you find that out by opening it...
You: A waffle iron?
Me: And it's got a built in timer. And you make waffles on both sides. It flips.
You: A waffle iron?
Me: So you can have two going at once.
You: A waffle iron?
Me: Just like in the restaurants. You can crank out, like twenty an hour with this baby. Well, I think it depends on the mix. Might take longer for some.
You: A waffle iron?
Me: I thought you would like it.
You: What were you thinking?
Me: That you would like a waffle iron.
You: What made you think that?
Me: The time you said, "I wish I had a waffle iron so I could make you waffles."
You: I said that?
Me: Every time I say something about waffles.
You(crying): What made you think that?
Me: Because you said it and I was thinking you meant it.
You: Don't ever buy me anything again.
Me: Did I do something wrong?
You: Just go away.
Me: I can bring it back. Williams Sonoma takes back anything.
You: Go away.
Me: I'm sorry, I thought --
You: You didn't think. That's the problem. You never think.
(She exits, stage right. Lights go down. The waffle iron, having been made of non-depleted uranium, goes critical when the cover is dropped. The resulting neutron flux kills me and the audience, who upon reincarnation, accidentally obliterate the last double nucleus amoeba on earth when the infantile stomach acid in a volume of spit up mother's milk hits the rubberized mattress in the crib in which the baby was lain, to which I sang twenty years ago the following song: "Who's my little baby face? My baby face? My sweetie pie. You're my little baby head, I love you very much.")
Scene three (in which I speak to all of my dead relatives)
Me: Ah life. Have I told you that despite everything, I'm still happy to be living it? Very happy not to be dead yet. Once I'm dead, I'll be dead for a long time. But for now, ha ha, I'm living. Avast me hardies.
Scene four: (In which reminiscing is done)
When I was in my twenties my first daughter was born. It amazed me both how small she was, and how large she looked emerging from my wife, who suffered dearly giving birth.
Parenthood is the purvey of the young for a reason. It took a whole lot of energy to go through the birthing, and even more energy to learn to become parents. It wasn't easy for either of us, but then it isn't for anyone. Nobody really is taught to become a parent. It's inside the DNA and expresses itself in different ways in different people.
The most important thing I learned as a young father is this: somehow, through the miracle of humanity and everything sacred, despite how clumsy one has been through his entire life, one never, ever, drops his child. And what I mean to say is that a father holds his newborn as if he's just been handed a thin glass egg. If the child was a plate or a bowling ball, the father would eventually fumble and the plate would smash against the bathroom tile floor or the bowling ball would crush the unshod toes.
But holding the child, the hands are always sure, as if God himself has taken the helm and controls the arm muscles. The clumsy oaf becomes the star wide receiver on the football team. The doofus becomes the ballerina. The screw up becomes the captain of the debate team.
A father who has tripped over every fold in every rug, and every oddly scaled staircase, when cradling his child, holds himself erect as if held heavenward by steel beams.
A father never drops his child.
And I remember holding mine, surefooted for the first time in my spastic life, comfortably in one outstretched arm, her head cradled him my palm, her legs draped to either side of my forearm, while I danced around coffee table in the living room singing:
"You're my little baby head, my baby face, my sweetie pie. You're my pretty babyness. I love you very much."
This is happiness: nobody will ever die. The Sun will never go nova. The world will never end.
This is happiness: I am the master of the universe, my baby girl. My sweet pea.
This is sadness, of the-stuff-suicide-is-made-of variety:
"Are you just going to hang around? Go already. Kids, say goodbye to your father."
"You're killing us. Get it over with."
"I'll see you later. I'll be back soon."
Scene six: (In which life as we know it flickers out, and new flames appear.)
Him: Je suis tres desolee. Tres, tres. I have been unforgivable, but I still love you.
Actually, I've never been an entirely whole person. I'm thinking wholeness is a futile fabrication. I'm thinking life is what it is, and the best you can hope for at any point in time is to recognize when you're happy.
That's the key to happiness, you know - recognizing you're happy when you are. Otherwise, you just go through life remembering that you were happy at one point and everything else seems shattered and stained in comparison.
But my children still make me master of the universe. And there are still days I wake up knowing that nothing ever dies, and the world can be controlled by thoughts and good wishes, and magic, like love, really, actually, truly exists.
Which is why I'm watching for lights in the sky, for voices in the crowd, and for cold spots in the living room that indicate the presence of ghosts of those long past who seek recognition among the living, to verify and confirm we didn't love each other for nothing. It can't be taken back. There is a ghost in this machine who tells me
it was all worth something.
It all means something.
Scene last: (In which we reveal what we were really thinking.)
I write these things to keep myself sane. I write these things because they keep me from crying (in public). I write these things because I can't sleep, otherwise. I write things I don't understand until I reread them, and then I get it.
But I wouldn't write it if I didn't mean for you to read it. Just think - what if every single thing I ever wrote was for you, and you've never read even half of it and here it was, out there, ready. And people you don't even know read what I write and comment, but you never look. And I keep trying and waiting for you to say something and you never do. Year after year.
so another day goes by.