Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Not So Bad Really

None of this was in the brochure they give you, but I guess it’s true what they say, you really can get used to anything, like how wherever you look, just on the fringes of your vision, everything goes all fuzzy like, and it's really only real the moment you reach for it or something, otherwise, it's just like a projection or something, and I mean, other than that, it looks pretty much like my old place, except, you can’t find anything good on tv, only Nora Ephron movies and Disney cartoons, and even watching boxing is pointless, because at the end of the game, both guys win and all they do is hug each other, and you can’t get really hot charif on your falafel, no matter how much you put, it’s just never that hot, and even though I threw myself on a grenade to save a bunch of the guys in my unit, the girls around here are never that impressed, so I haven’t gotten laid since I’ve been here, but at least the beer’s cold, and like I say, when it comes down to it, I guess you really can get used to anything.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


“It’s the speckled white ones that send you into the next world” says the candy lady with the pretty blue eyes. You hold the little wood box in your hand. It’s made to look like a miniture orange crate, and it’s full of different colored jellybeans.

“What do the purple ones do?”

“That’s a mystery” she says, “I’m only allowed to tell you about the white speckled ones".

You take your candy home, and the first one you taste is like a trip to New Mexico; small octagons appear on your ceiling in vibrant shades of silver, yellow and white, and you go through them. There’s a vague taste of blue corn tortillas to this one, you think.

Back at your kitchen table, you choose the next one; its surface looks like liquid opal, and you think to yourself, how could the plain white speckled one be more special than this? Tentatively, you taste it, and you’re sitting in a movie theater in Pittsburgh, Pa., and it’s 1943. There’s smoke swirling around your head, and Micky Rooney is just about to lay one on Judy Garland, when you feel a Jujyfruit hit the back of your head. You turn around, and see your microwave flashing at you.

Now you're convinced you have no choice, and you pick up the white speckled one, and pop it into your mouth. When the neighbors complain about the stink, the super breaks down your door, and when they find you on the kitchen floor, you’re still smiling, with a chunk of meteor sticking out of your forehead.

Grandma's Chair

When Daddy died, Grandma moved in. Since she had a hunched back, she couldn’t sleep in a bed like normal people. Instead, she sat in our old easy chair in the corner, so that she wouldn’t be in the way. As Mom and everyone grieved, she sat. She sat through summer, when we had a blackout, and the air conditioning stopped working and it was 100 degrees in our apartment, and she sat through fall when we had company over for the first time since the funeral.

One day Grandma said, "I feel like this chair is swallowing me", as little by little she became smaller and smaller.

When I asked Mom, she explained, “it’s just her scoliosis; she used to be much taller, but that’s what happens. You just shrink. Plus, she doesn’t eat much.”

One day, when we were doing spring-cleaning, Mom handed me a broom and told me to go sweep the living room. When I got over to the corner where Grandma’s chair was, she wasn’t there.

“Where’s Grandma?” I asked. Mom came into the room, with her yellow gloves, carrying her bucket and sponge, and wiped a stray hair out of her face with the back of her wrist. “I don’t know,” she said, “she must have gone home or something.”

I sat down in Grandma’s chair. It was much cushier than I’d remembered it. I leaned on the handle of the broom and cried. She never even said goodbye.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tragedy affords us the illusion that we’re being ultra honest with ourselves; someone close dies, and immediately, we transform into some sort of hybrid between a philosopher, super hero, and  poet.  We compose virtual tomes of universal and undeniable truth.  We even seek to martyr  ourselves on the altar of understanding and compassion.  But we’re assholes, aware as we are of all the inherent glory in it.  


Last night my brother in law died. When we went to the apartment he’d been staying in, we found his wallet, cellphone, keys, slippers, clothes, and a half crushed, half smoked pack of Marlboro 100s. It was in truth, the Marlboros that were the saddest thing to find: something so personal, and so disposable: a half smoked pack, from a half lived life.