Monday, December 17, 2012


Lately, life teaches me that absolutes are far from absolute (well... besides death and taxes, pesky physics, math, etc). Life in general is so fuzzy, in motion — the present made up of moments stacked liked train cars. The tracks lead away from the past, meander to the future.

I can't determine if we're the tracks, or the train.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Toy Run LC Valley Ride

Courage Always Wins

I have a little motto going: courage always wins.
It's about looking fear in the eye, not blinking.

Not knowing the outcome — not needing to.
I own the last word; it belongs to me.
Fear can't leave unanswered questions;
all the smudges on whichever lens I view the world.

Dared in that instant. Tried it. Wrote it. Said it.
Walked in/out. Asked. Answered boldly. Fought for it.


Success. Failure. Living.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

More Daring

Sitting in a Starbucks, writing this before my battery fails. I've been learning about vulnerability, and wanting more of it in my life. There's a really great book out called Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown.
In a nutshell, it's about: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead. It's been an eye opener. Thanks to @LisaDJenkins for recommending the book. I wholeheartedly recommend it, too.

As a single-again-single person, I'm struggling to reconcile where I went earlier in 2012. I felt truly seen for the first time ever, by eyes wanting to see the whole me. It was unexpected, and nurtured me as a newly divorced guy. I took to the reality like a thirsty man takes to water in the desert. It tasted so sweet, and I felt renewed. I valued it greatly, perhaps too much so. And now that gaze, her gaze, has shifted sharply away from me. We weren't in the same place, so it ended. Tragically, we can't even speak.

Something rare was shared in that place. Cherished by me. It's easy to go back to my safe place, one where disengaging from people, feeling defensive, and doubtful of them feels more "correct," but couldn't be more wrong. To hide and withhold again. Getting back to that realness — to total transparency — seems impossible, but if I'm to learn anything from the book, vulnerability is still the goal, and it's not a bad thing. It's still about having the courage to be yourself with whoever you're with. Friends, family, strangers, new relationships, and all the rest.

Can I truly be myself ever again with someone? I'll never know unless I decide vulnerability is worth it in the end.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Slow Burn

This piece appeared first in TOSKA MAGAZINE
October 19, 2012 / Nonfiction, Volume One | Issue Two 

by Christopher Ripley

Smokey spring air nipped at my nose, ripened with curious stink. Not far, an old man chewed on a thick cigar. He sat perched on the rear bumper of his car. I headed his way.

My neighborhood consisted of old men and their silver haired brides. They glided about Ninth Avenue in giant spit-shined cars named Lincoln, Chrysler, and Chevrolet. Not many kids around so we talked some, the old men and I.

Mr. Banks wore red suspenders drooped over a white T-shirt, the straps each holding up their halves of faded blue trousers. Pounds clung to his belly like years, giving him roundness. The retired fireman lived with his wife, two sons, and a daughter in a modest home. His house was four doors down the street from mine.

I asked him if he was ever a fireman. I knew.

“Long time ago,” he said. The old man breathed deep like a prized steer. Air roiled through his nostrils. He grumbled, raising the cigar to his lips for a pull, stared back with grim etched in his face, then exhaled into the wind. He’d eaten smoke for a living, before. My lungs were spared.

“Is that what you want kid? Be a fireman?” He lifted an eyebrow and took another hit on the cigar. His face was massive, with a large nose underneath a pair of intense eyes. Day-old stubble, grayed and grizzled, sprouted up on leathery cheeks and down his neck. He reminded me of John Wayne.

“A fireman like you someday,” I told him.

His chest rumbled like a train engine, his smoked-filled lungs caught unprepared for laughter. Labored coughs followed. He gathered himself after a few booming hacks.

“Not for everyone, kid.”

Mr. Banks’ yard and house drank in the morning sunlight, angling in from the Southeast around and below a canopy of tall, leafy oak trees. His open garage door looked like the entrance to a cave. I knew the fire helmet was inside, hidden like a rare treasure in the shadows. 

I meant what I had said. As a five-year-old boy, all I could think about was growing up to be a fireman. Five Little Firemen, a Little Golden Book by Margaret Wise Brown, was my favorite. Mom read me the story so often the cardboard cover was lost somewhere in my youth. Friends and I put out fires in the neighborhood like real firemen, dispatched by imaginations. Alarms, sirens, three and four big wheel serpentines rolled down the sidewalk over and over again. We saved Ninth Avenue from the flames several times every afternoon. And we’d return to the station house after a tough job, battered and fatigued, backing into our spots all in a row against my garage door.

Like real firemen, we’d gather buckets and soap and scrub the smudges and memories of the last fire from our minds and our fire trucks. We retold the close calls, heroic actions, and lives saved. In the middle of washing, or drying, or just getting started, the imaginary alarm would go off – like always. Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding, one of us would shout. We’d speed off again to save the neighborhood. Like real firemen.

Mr. Banks’ cigar had burned down to a small nub in his hand, to not much of anything. He syphoned precious sips from it like they might be his last, pinching it by the scruff between his middle finger and thumb. He held it like a man; not the way women held cigarettes. A quick tap sent ash cascading to the driveway with a hushed plop. Exposed, the red hot tip blazed a short path to his flesh, closer and closer still. The end reminded me of live coals beneath the flames of a campfire. And I was afraid the fireman might get burned.

He didn’t care, knew what he was doing.

I shoved my hands in my pockets, stared at my feet, and the silence overtook us. An old man and a boy struggling to communicate. Though we tried, our words sloshed like water from buckets. He seemed uninterested with me, wanted to return to whatever old men did to fill their days.

Anxious, I asked about the helmet. “Can I see it?” pointing to the shadows over his shoulder.

“The fire helmet?” he knew why I was there. “A closer look, sure. I don’t let kids put it on, because it’s heavy, and dirty, and I’d hate to send you home with any scrapes or bruises.” He tossed a quick look back towards my house. Such a gentle old man.

He took a knee and stabbed out what was left of the cigar against the driveway pavement, a small sacrifice for my prize, his eventual return to peace. Getting to his feet wasn’t easy. He managed, though, and turned for the one-car garage.

The gnarled husk smoldered at my feet. Sputtering smoke wafted, but rather unceremoniously. I wanted to inspect it, kick it, maybe even pick it up.

“Don’t touch that,” he said, reading my mind. “You’ll get burned.” He vanished behind the car into the shadows.

I couldn’t see Mr. Banks, but I could hear his hulking breaths. Clutter of all sorts stirred from slumber. The crack of a falling broomstick hit the floor. A heavy box scraped over polished concrete. Pails clanked against a wooden bench. Plastic containers rattled, some with nuts, others with screws. He grumbled at all the dusty ghosts with contempt. A lifetime’s worth of squared-away junk, but junk nevertheless. No sooner he emerged again, trophy in hand, blowing on the large brim in the back and thumbing the insignia on the front. He regarded it for a moment, reflecting.

“Don’t put it on,” he said, “just hold it.”

The fire helmet was charcoal black, dusty and big. Heavy like a gallon of milk. I measured everything against the weight of milk. I was mesmerized by his fire helmet; heroes wore fire helmets. It was like Superman’s cape, or the Lone Ranger’s mask.

I asked him if he was ever the chief.


I told him chiefs wore white helmets.

He told me that was right.

I asked him why.

“Because they’re the smartest,” he said, tapping his head as he said it.

His words made sense to me, because I watched ‘Emergency,’ and wanted to be a fireman like Johnny Gage and Roy Desoto on TV. And like my friend the retired fireman who lived four doors down the street from me.

He faded, would spend less time out front under his oak trees talking to kids like me. The cigar smoke remained, though, ever present and tinged with memory. He was still there. I knew. Talks about firemen would come to mind, him and his dusty fire helmet. He simply vanished into the fabric of our neighborhood, gone from the forefront of awareness, somewhere in a smoke-filled haze over Ninth Avenue.

The old man battled dementia. A slow burn. It consumes like fire, absorbs whole, grows by destruction, and digests whatever needed for fuel. Fuel like a life. A reputation. A legacy of helping people escape the heat. But himself unable to escape the flames within.

Those standing with him stood too close, witnessed dementia’s final act played out. They would burn with the husband, father, neighbor, and fireman. They would burn with Mr. Banks. He took his own life, but not before killing his wife and maiming two of his adult children.

The revelation was heavy, freakish, happening where the dusty fire helmet hung in the garage. I felt burned, too.

Idaho native Christopher Ripley got a journalism degree in 1992 from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ. His work has appeared in Creative Nonfiction #42 and #44, Format: micro essay. Check out his blog at

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Weather Guy

Weather guy forecasts what's ahead
A prediction wrapped in a promise

A possibility in front of you
A truth conceived, a plan made

You believe he's right, or wrong
A forecast is not a promise after all

What if he's wrong? It's possible.
Sometimes, weather guy is wrong

He's often wrong, in fact
He's often not exactly right, you know

You trust weather guy, you plan
His intention not to mislead

Hard to predict, weather
Love, even harder

A swelling heart and buckets of sunshine
for several days, weather guy says

But you can only see rain

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Reinventing Self

Clichés like these come to mind when people start talking about riding motorcycles.

  • The wind in my face
  • The open road
  • Freedom
  • Tiny gas fill-ups

All those apply to me, too, more even; but the reinvention of self is really the coolest thing so far about riding. There's this grown-man-kid-inside-of-me grinning ear to ear behind the helmet, loving every second of the experience. Hot, cold, rain, wind, my senses are alive. And that's not a bad thing at all.

When people learn I bought a motorcycle the reaction is usually something like: "Really?" Not the exciting "really?" but the one where people are slightly befuddled. Like I got my nipples pierced, or joined a cult. All I did was buy a motorcycle, but to them the purchase was unexpected for a guy like me, or something out of character.

"You can't!" my older sister said. "I won't let you." She flat out told me I couldn't get a motorcycle. Carrie, a senior insurance adjuster, works claims and has seen photographs, "horrible photographs" from motorcycle accidents.  "People lose limbs!" I asked her if she's seen bad car accidents, and if I should avoid driving cars too. "It's different!"

Is it? She cares about me. That's what I hear.

Mom supports my decision but I can tell it kind of bugs her. A strained smile creases her face when I talk about riding, the proverbial "that's nice, dear" in her voice.  Mom sat with me in the ICU after my stroke. Motorcycle enthusiasm runs counter to a mother's instinct, experience. Okay, so she's not a fan either.

Dad jokes, kids, ribs me. He wasn't thrilled either, at first. But he's a hard one to gauge. The man has a natural aversion to passions outside of work, and fund-raising for the local college (successful at both, actually). But nothing really stirs his soul, like fishing, or traveling, or creating stuff. He has an RV and he camps in it with his bride/cook a handful of nights in the summer. Dad just wants a pile of paperbacks and a pack of cheap cigarillos, and to enjoy both while sitting in the forest some place close to work. He's a work hard, hardly play type of guy. So my motorcycle is something he probably doesn't "get" or understand the need for.

My kids think it's cool, my son especially. His friends ride in a dirt patch by our house and he's dying to try it. Motorcycling is something we can do together, I've concluded. Bonding with my kids matters to me as much as anything else. My oldest daughter is okay with it, too. Her boyfriend rides super cross after all. My middle daughter asks questions all the time, and can't wait to go for a ride when I'm legally able to provide such amusement park thrills.  It's funny, my daughters' friends' reaction to the news was like, "You're dad?!? He got a motorcycle?!?"

He did. And he feels reinvented. He feels reimagined in a profound way. And he'll wrap up this blog post in the third person. He's not just one thing, or a couple of boring things. He's many things, vibrant and not boring at all.

Friday, November 9, 2012


I should be driving 95 today.
We'd planned. But the plan didn't survive.

She drove 95 one day. Back in May. 
We got past six minutes. This was real.

A June Friday, I drove 95 to meet her. 
Our weekend in the middle.
Sunday, same weekend, I drove home on 95, 
had a damn stroke.

95, 55, I-84 and 93, a Gem State of miles between us. 
We Facetimed in the ICU,
me tubed up, drugged up, looking like hell.

Being apart was hell.

She tore up 95 soon after,
needing to see for herself how I was.
Fine. I was fine. We were fine. 
We hung hard.

No time in July, a recovery too.
I wasn't up for a drive on 95.
So I flew in July, right over 95.
She drove me on I-84 right to her door.

August, long and hot.
95 was quiet. 
A month of doubt.
I could tell she wanted out.

September. Let's shrink space, I said. 
Right now. 
Spontaneous drive on 95 south
meets I-84 east in Boise. 

Just a night, but damn if we didn't click. 
It returned. Feeling this again.

September remained sweet. I drove 95 again. 
We hosted a Julia Child party.
"Life is the proper binge," don't ever forget.

I drove 95 home, the last time.
The last either of us would drive 95 for this.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Way This Ends

Paraphrased, love is patient, kind, a mind fuck. That's all.

Love looks simple. Treading water in the Sea of Love looks easy. We dive headfirst into the idea of love. We leap in with cinderblocks tied to our ankles — those concrete things we think we know about the world, what we want, what we know about people. Things like decency, fairness, honesty, vulnerability. We jump in as fools and try to keep our heads above water. Love swallows us, pulls us under. We drown. We sink alone to the cold, dark bottom.

Is this the way love feels? Is this the way this ends?

The Sea of Love rejects us, too, heaving our lifeless corpses back onto the beach. We're spit out again like a bad taste. Tossed back, rather mercifully. You feel dead. But how can that be when every nerve wretches, aches?

And there, transformed into something unrecognizable, soaked and caked in sandy grit, we shiver our way out of the fog. Long breaths punctuate the pain. But only for a while. Our breath grows quiet with everything else. The rhythm of self reasserts itself. We scour the surf for pieces of ourselves. We stub our toes on the very cinderblocks that took us to the bottom of the watery hell: our expectations and ideas. Like shoes, we lace them back onto our feet.  The chains are hard to tie, but we manage to make the necessary knots. We're dumb and determined, you see. They're our expectations, our ideas. We claim them. Own them. We find our feet and leave, horrified.

Forever changed, so it goes.

The beach behind us only a few yards, the awful experience fresh in our hearts and minds, we can't wait to try again. So we look back, hopeful.

Monday, November 5, 2012


We talked about October, the future, sized up the challenges, the distance

We found focus, planned for little, diminished our expectations

In a familiar place, we watched the rivers lean into each other

We leaned, too, with entangled fingers, hands, the warmth of our knees touching, fall sunlight dancing on our faces

The waters merged in front of us, one snaking from southern plains the other clear water from the mountains close by

Miles in common and little else, the rivers collide rather peacefully, embracing the other just the way it came

A cold, cloudy swirling, to be sure, but two souls finding a way, to float away, leaning downstream together

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Satellite Sierra

Satellite Sierra ... you fly, it's true
High above still, around, away, and back again
You come and you go

My eye fixates, my breath taken
You dance in magnificence

Large from a distance,
you are bright like a star in the dark
Daytime drags, I've lost you again

Are you bigger than my arms?
I dream you're within reach, believe it

Can I wrap you? I need to try.
I need to wrap. I want too much

You come and you go

Monday, October 29, 2012

Plastic Pools and Dating

Ahhhh.. the dating pool. Not really a pool here. More like one of those kiddie pools you see on sale at the store when it's 110º out, and your kids' eyes well up with hopes and dreams of splashing about, and they are small enough to actually enjoy it. So you fork over the $13 bucks at Walmart and take it home, pick a spot on the lawn (soon dead), fill that sucker up and let the fun times begin.

Two hours pass — from purchase to playtime — the hose doing its best to keep on task. To fill, slowly, gallon by gallon. The kids wait and wait and wait in the in their bathing suits, and they're out in the baking sun. You passed on sunscreen, what with the new pool and all. Why put sunscreen on your kids when it's coming right off with the first big splash. Lord, it's hot out today.

"We're hot! When can we get in, daddy?"

"Be patient! It's almost ready. Don't you know that waiting for things is the best part?"

"Why isn't it going faster, daddy?"

"Because! It's just not! It's going as fast as it can!"

The waterline rises, millimeter by millimeter. Painful to look at, really. You wonder how much bigger your water bill will be because of this stupid pool. This pathetic, plastic, fake pool.

The waiting ends. The thrill returns.

"Okay, kids, get in. I'm grabbing the camera. This is gonna be so much fun!!" You leave them and they are indeed giddy. That mental picture levitates you into the house. You're a good parent; your kids are happy. Fun awaits.

You bound back outside again, they stand there shivering like cartoon skeletons, their little bones rattling, and their lips quivering in a state of pre-shock.

"Get in there, you little brats!"

"It's too cold, daddy!"

"The hell it is!! Get your sorry butts in that pool!" And then tears. Despair. Crying.

"I hate you, daddy!"

Fatherhood is punctuated by long heavy sighs.

If you read this far, there is a parallel in this story. Something about expectations and reality.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Heart Phones

Before, my phone beeped like a soft kiss, a nibble; an embrace from another time zone. Now, just a beep. I miss the kiss.

What do future relationships look like? Not too far back our smart phones evolved, grew beyond their pixels, chips, buttons, and data plan coverage maps. Mobile device morphed into the primary conduit for ongoing emotional exchange, especially so when romance is involved — especially more pronounced when long distance romance is in play.

Is it unreasonable to assume that the smart phone we carry in our pocket is also a heart phone, one we carry into the deepest pockets of who we are as lovers, friends, spouses?

Does romantic relationship require physical presence to thrive? Does proximity play a huge factor in whether a romantic relationship lasts? Does it matter anymore?

People who enjoy ongoing physical closeness break up all the time. They had every advantage to succeed. You hear of LDRs (long distance relationships) lasting. But they're the exception. The rule says the deck is stacked against those who choose to love each other from a distance.

Found the following LDR statistics at

Total percentage of U.S. marriages that are considered long distance relationships2.9%
Average amount of time for long distance relationship to break up if it’s not going to work4.5 months
Total percentage of long distance relationships that fail when changes aren’t planned for70%
Total amount of couple who claim they’re in a long distance relationship14 million
Total percentage of marriages in U.S. that start as a long distance relationship10%
Total percentage of college relationships that are long distance32.5%
Total percent of long distance relationships that break-up40%
Total percentage of engaged couples that have been in a long distance relationship75%
Total amount of marriages that are long distance relationships3.75 million
The following shows both the average (median) response and the range of 95% of LDRs from a sample of over 200
Average distance couple in LDR lived from each other125 miles
Average times couple visited each other per month1.5
Average amount of time in between phone calls2.7 days
Average amount of letters written to each other per month3
Average amount of time expected to be separated before LDR couple can move closer together14 months

(Disclaimer: I'm not an expert, and don't pretend to be.)

Of course, draw your own conclusions. But it seems LDRs are close to the average for more conventional relationships, in that half or near half of LDRs fail too (40% according to this survey).

Actually, LDRs seem to do better. Can that be right? Must research more....

Debating the pros and cons of LDRs isn't why I'm writing today. It's my phone; it's dead, lays there like a black corpse on the table — a previously vivacious device gone strangely silent after almost a year of phrenetic vibrating, ringing, beeping, battery draining long conversations, hot topics, cool texts, and all the rest. Good good nights and good good mornings. It was all good, babe; now gone.

The heart was ripped out of my smart phone (perhaps as the device was meant to be). And it's taking this new reality better than me. It only looks dead, and still functions. Whereas I'm barely functioning and feel like I'm absolutely dying.

Thursday, October 25, 2012



It's like waking from a dream, a sweet one.
Hard to grasp, hold, process.

Powerful themes. Players loving. Boldly.
Colliding worlds, moving words,
emotions tossed about.

Control, out of reach, abandoned.
It swept me away, like a leaf on a beautiful current.

Too good, too sweet, too much, too hard.
And I was doomed from the start.
For it was only a dream.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Riding The Waves

Honda NC700X

When you're new to motorcycling you quickly learn the art of not crashing said motorcycle. Also, clutch shifting, hand/foot braking, off-the-leash-dog avoidance, bugs, balance, and iced-nipple realization that your pathetic, freshly pulled-from-the-closet attire repels weather like a high quality fishnet stocking.

Unless you're riding like a drunk lumberjack, fellow riders can't tell you're noob sauce on two wheels.  So they wave at you, because they believe you're one of them, and because you're a picture of calm.

Road etiquette figures in somewhere down the road, but for the beginner "don't wreck" is foremost on the brain.

First Wave

I wasn't ready when the other rider waved. His left hand slid off the handlebar fluidly, relaxed. And I left him hanging, like a douchebag. He was coming down Southway as I was headed up. I nodded in reflex, upwardly, but only slightly. Shit, maybe it was enough.

My helmet has a pretty healthy beak, so I'm hoping it caught wind and shot up like a hand. Meh. I blew  it. Just let it go, I say. He was me once. Perhaps we'll lay eyes on each other again, on some secluded stretch of road, our sweet rides glistening in the sunshine, and we'll get it right. At least I will, dammit.

Second Nod

Shortly after the failure on Southway I humped up on a hog by Albertson's on 11th Avenue. Shit, Chris, just breathe. He can't hear my spirited, cutesy Jap bike, a Honda NC700x, over his thundering American muscle. Hell, I could barely hear myself think inside the helmet. He sees me, eyeballing me through one of his side mirrors. I nod again, like an idiot. He figures I'm headed to Starbucks. His doo-rag covered head shakes dismissively. Laughing at me, I figure. He guns the throttle a few quick blasts.


The red light lingered. I felt small, alone. My fragile motorcycle psyche was on the ropes — beat down, listless — courtesy of Harley-Davidson, the King of the Ring. And it's not just the hog. This guy looked like a bad ass, too. Faded plaid shirt under some faded leather vest, with a million miles on each. The back of the biker's vest displayed a hideous moniker of social belonging, "Satan's Farts," or some other damned thing. Sons of Anarchy came to mind, though I've never seen it.

Finally green. I happily rolled into the busiest intersection in town. Like it was nothing. The devil and I parted ways, him a choosing a day long kicking of ass on the road, and me puttering off to Starbucks.

Charmed by three

Free wi-fi and a few Americano's bolstered my confidence to get back out there. I had to get home at any rate. I took the long way 'round back to my house (link to Ewan McGregor's and Charley Boorman's round the world motorcycle documentary), out towards Lindsey Creek Road.

The other rider approached on a BMW street bike, newish and sleek.

Oh, it's on, dude. His hand came off as mine did, two peace signs pointed down, the proper 45º angle to the road. Exhilarating!

"Damn right," I recalled, just after. It felt great.

Smiling the whole time, I curved up Lindsey Creek Road to the eastern edge of the Orchards, and dropped down to Tammany Road in front of the Roundup Grounds. Now heading down Tammany Creek, I enjoyed some more curves behind the Lewiston Orchards and off towards Hells Gate State Park and the Snake River. Almost home.

Good ride.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Random things I learn from my dog, Fletch. Part III: Take a Walk

Take a walk, friend. Change it up. Move your paws, nose the ground. Run it 'round and 'round, like a Hoover vacuum, over and over and back again. Secrets dangle from the blades of grass, like shimmering drops of morning dew. Stop. Sniff out the stories. Draw in the odiferous. Write your own story in the prickly green. Share it. Life is not a journey to somewhere else. Wag instead in the wideness of now.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hard Knocks

Knock-knock-knock on the door. Fast knocks. Hard knocks. I'm busy, dammit. Was busy. Knock-knock-knock, heavier, faster. Coming. I'm coming, little shit. Eyes press against the narrow glass next to the door, framed by little hands, like the inside of my house some kind of show, or worse a circus. I see him. He sees me. Busted. He slides out of view, waits.

I open the door. I know how it goes. His little eyes rise up to meet mine, hopeful. "Can Owen play?"

"Owen isn't here," I tell him,"at his mom's house this week."

"Oh. Okay." He's sad because Owen can't play, isn't here.

"He'll be home Sunday, though, okay?" I reassure him.

"Yeah, alright." Sunday is still several days away. He doesn't understand where Owen is. At his mom's? Where's that? What's a Sunday? Owen isn't there, that's all he heard. He turns for his bike, peddles out of the driveway. He'll be back tomorrow.

My return to peace is brief. Knock-knock-knock on the door. Shit. Ding-dong-ding-dong-ding-dong. The hell! I head for the door again. Dammit. The eyes again, watching me watch them again. The eyes hide again.

I open the door, preparing my speech. It's the first boy's little brother, shirtless like their dad. I refer to their dad as "Gun Show," wonder if their dad owns a single shirt.

"Is Owen here?" the boy asks.

"No, Owen's at his mom's house, be back Sunday."

The boy stands there wincing, pinching himself.  I ask him if he needs to pee.

"No," he says, defiant. He lifts his bike and rides off fast, shirtless. Balanced, too, with one hand gripping the handlebars and the other gripping his crotch just as tight. I'm somewhat in awe, and certain that I'd be unable to do the same under similar circumstances. He'll be back tomorrow.

Knock-knock, Owen isn't here. Knock-knock, Owen's not home. He's at his mom's house this week. Be back Sunday. They are young; Owen's friends don't understand. They just want to play. They don't know about divorce. Their parents are normal; Owen's parents are not. Each knock a reminder of why Owen isn't here.

Knock-knock. Heavy knocks. Hard knocks.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Rashful Reminder

A rashful reminder remains from my stroke. The drug that saved my life (the me inside of me), tPA (tissue plasminogen activator, fancy for heavy duty clot-buster), didn't take the first time. They shot it into my arm and they missed; the drug stayed there, though, festered under the skin and soggy like spilled milk under a newspaper. The trauma team eventually found purchase in a vein with another dose, though, sparing my brain. The bruising was hideous.

Now the rash, itchy. Irritating. And I'm thankful, really. It feels good to feel good, afterward. I'm reminded of that every day now, thanks to a little blight on my arm that itches in fits. My nails rake over it, and I go back in time with each scratch. The experience altered my perspective. Life changed in an instant on June 10, 2012.

A stroke occurs when blood flow gets cut off to a part of the brain. Blood clots are often the cause. Read about strokes here.

I don't even know what to say about the stroke itself. I fear my story can be told only so many times before it dries up and fades forever. I was lucky. Many stroke victims are not.

Though I don't know my story yet, or how it should be told, at least there's this...


  1. Get your blood pressure checked today. Do it now. Know what it is, where it should be and how life impacts it. It matters. You should know why it matters.
  2. Watch what goes in your mouth. Diet plays a huge part in all of this.
  3. Get active. I'm not a fitness freak, but my philosophy is to do just a little bit more than you're doing. Ease into any major changes. However, it's vital to buy into the idea that a healthy change will be good for your health.
  4. Know the signs of a stroke, for you or someone you love.
    1. SUDDEN numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg - especially on one side of the body.
    2. SUDDEN confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
    3. SUDDEN trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
    4. SUDDEN trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
    5. SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause.
      Call 9-1-1 immediately if you have any of these symptoms. DON'T HESITATE!


Life is fragile — your life and the lives of people you love and care about. You only think you have time to say the things you want to say, or feel the things you want to feel, before something happens to erase all that time you treat like a blank check.

Say it today. Feel it today. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Random stuff I learn from my dog, Fletch. Part II: Marking

Dogs pee on things. A lot. And they like peeing on things, a lot. Fresh patches of grass and wall to wall carpeting present perfect places to piss. Add to that: street corners, bushes, pathways, sidewalks, fire hydrants, trees, park benches, swingsets, car tires, mailboxes, flagpoles, and flowers. Nothing on the ground is safe from a raised leg and urine to spare.

It's much more than just a birthright. They're programmed to mark territory, claim it as their own. It's a greeting, statement, or a warning.

People say dogs can't speak; well, I disagree. They use their bladders to talk and their noses to hear.

I suppose Fletch really thinks the world is his to piss all over. He certainly acts like it, and marks accordingly. He's just doing what comes naturally to him.

Peeing on everything is not something I should try to emulate, literally. But the model intrigues me. Treat the world a little bit like it's yours. Let others know you're there, that you exist, and that you care. Tell the world that you're present, that you're around, that you've left your mark.

"Occupy the space you occupy." — Adrienne Rich

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Random stuff I learn from my dog, Fletch. Part I: Kids

This is Fletch, my yellow lab.
Like all divorces, mine was hard on the family, especially my kids. We spent Christmas Eve together, then they were gone. Gone like Christmas. Nobody was ready for it, certainly not me. 

Fletch picked a spot at the top of the stairs, overlooking the front door and entryway. He waited for days, head lowered, ears peeled. It was everything a picture of vigilance. Cars passed by the house, sending his head up off the floor. He'd strain to hear the slam of car doors, small voices, and footsteps hitting the porch. But the cars just went by.

They went by, went on, to other homes, where other dogs reunited their human families. Deflated, his head drooped to the floor, again and again, beleaguered, and punctuated with sighs. Up and down. Up and down. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.

A car stopped one day and he stood, ramrod straight like a Marine. Car doors slammed, small feet approached, sending the tip of Fletch's tail whipping with controlled anticipation. The front door flew open and his family had returned.

They came home, eventually, and they were fine. Fletch's heart was never in question; who could say where his mind was? I missed them too, worried of course. My kids were away from home, settling into a new one. Adjusting. But he doesn't wait by the door anymore, the times they leave. He knows. We both know. The kids will be fine. 

The sting of divorce still strums angry chords in this new song, the one I write with my kids. But we are singing, growing. 

Friday, June 15, 2012


I shot for average growing up and that’s what I got.  School was no cake walk, but it wasn’t hard or anything.  Learning bored me.  Homework?  What’s that?  I got a lot of D’s on my progress reports, which sent my parents into the stratosphere over and over again.  They threatened me within an inch of my life over and over, and I would rally across the finish line, and hold my hands up in victory for average, for a fucking C.  Below average grades were never acceptable; average grades kept me out of trouble.

Fast forward and rewind through life: I’m an average guy (not above average, but I’ll be damned if I’m below average).  I live in an average house, on an average street, with average neighbors, in an average town.  Our lawns each share an average green hue in the summer, as though we planned it that way.  We have average cars with average car payments.  My family is average with 2.5 kids (actually three whole kids... but statistically still average).  I had an average marriage that morphed into an average divorce.  My income is average and I’m grateful for it.  Middle class suits my magnetic attraction to mediocre.

When I’m out of town I eat at average restaurants.  Chili’s, Red Robin, Outback, Red Lobster, Applebee’s, or Olive Garden.  It’s extraordinary fare for the average man.  It’s like a convention of average people dining together in groups, engaged in all the good habits of the herd, where safety is found in numbers.

I buy coffee at Starbucks with other coffee house wannabes.  I’m not into the fancy coffee based beverages, mainly because it’s a language I can’t understand and never cared to learn.  Give it to me black, safe, sometimes with a little half and half.  Nothing says average like a little half and half.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Like bikinis, baseball stats show a lot but not everything

“There’s no crying in baseball,” Tom Hank’s “Jimmy Dugan” laments in the baseball movie A League of Their Own (1992).  There’s no crying in baseball, it’s true.  And no clocks.  Time doesn’t exist in baseball.  Only moments.  

Moments where anything happens and often does, recorded in the form of numbers and letters and abbreviations on a dance card called a scoresheet.  Short, cryptic croppings like: F9, HBB, 6-4-3, K, 1B8, HR, E6, BB, 2B9, RBI, S8, PH.  And many more, each a captured result, or moment, those moments which depart with a pitch and arrive at some other place in the universe, nobody knowing for sure where.  Like jumping through hyperspace without a star chart, all you know is you’re still in space, or still watching a baseball game.  But the destination arrives pitch after pitch, batter after batter, out after out, and if not for the scoresheet we’d never remember exactly how.  

You see, it’s all about the statistic, the stat.  The game boiled down to results: a strike, a hit, an out, a run, an error, a substitution, an RBI.  All sports have stats.  But stats lose a certain mystique when gathered within the rigid realm of clocks counting down to 00:00.

“Statistics are to baseball what a flaky crust is to Mom’s apple pie.” – Harry Reasoner

The scorebook’s origin goes back to 1845, when the game was still taking shape.  Journalist Henry Chadwick (1824-1908), an English immigrant with a fondness for cricket, is credited with writing baseball’s first rulebook and devising the box score, a formula still used in newspapers today.  Though, a committee determined that Civil War General Abner Doubleday invented baseball, Chadwick is regarded as the game’s father, and most influential visionary.  Some debate remains on that point.

Visitors vs. Home, a whole page for each.  The grid works down for each starter, usually nine, and across for each inning, again usually nine.  There’s a section for pitchers.  Nine batters will face nine defenders for nine innings, three outs at a time.  No more is needed to determine a winner, though five innings at least or it’s tossed (erased from the very fabric of time itself).  A number is assigned one through nine for each defensive player, starting with: 1-pitcher, 2-catcher, 3-first base, 4-second base, 5-third base, 6-shortstop, 7-left field, 8-center field, and finally 9-right field.  The date, time, umpires, pitch counts, temperature, and anything else factually related gets penciled in, deemed crucial and necessary (another ingredient to the recipe).  

A finished scoresheet is similar to an elegant score of music.  Hidden in plain sight, a whole language of movement and meaning scratched in crooked characters and symbols, each telling another piece of the story, a story that unfolds to the trained eye.  The main difference: a score of music can be examined by a conductor and surveyed bar by bar, where he or she hears it breathe on the page, and can measure its tempo, and gauge its very mood, and suffer the agony, and glow in the rapture.  

A baseball scoresheet can show mood, agony, and rapture, but certainly not with very much feeling or drama.  In one game, for example, it’s obvious which team scored a lot, thanks to timely hitting, extra base hits, and a few throwing errors from the opposing team.  Or, in another case, pitching dominated batters inning after inning, until middle relievers––replacements––threw it all away in the 7th and 8th. 

The scoresheet’s humble beginnings of pulp and microscopic fibers from wood and grasses are indistinguishable from other types of paper.  It’s probably not even special by paper standards, as paper all by itself is pretty standard.  However, once a template gets inked across the surface something magical happens.  

A contradiction is born.  

For a game where time doesn’t exist, the scoresheet becomes an elaborate time piece––a most peculiar device with a first pitch “on-switch,” and a final out “off-switch”––to be used at some time in the future, at some ballpark, in some dugout, by an old lady in the stands, or in a press box like the one at Lewis Clark State College’s Harris Field, where official stats are gathered and stored in perpetuity.  

Once pressed into service and deemed official by the baseball powers, the scoresheet is now a time capsule, uniquely bound to a specific span of hours and circumstances.  And finally a time machine, able to go backwards to a place in the past, whenever necessary.  An hour ago, or a century, and all points in between, a reserve of facts, history, and knowledge.  Stats.  

“Baseball ought never be hurried.  It is the only unhurried institution we have left, which is one reason, I think, we love it.”  --James Kilpatrick

So then, how long is the life span of a baseball game?  An hour?  Two hours?  Three hours, or more?  No one knows for sure.  That’s because the tempo of the game is set by the recording of outs.  No hard and fast rules exist regarding how long outs are supposed to take.  Fast, slow, kind of quick, kind of slow, a reasonable amount of time?  Again, there are no shot-clocks, halftimes, quarters or timeouts.  

The outs decide their own pace.  Some are fast, like popping out to right field after swinging on the first pitch (goes as F9 in the book).  Other outs take longer.  Further, they are never automatic.  For example, one at-bat could progress over 12 or 13 pitches.  It might end with a strike out, or pop up, or ground out.  Then again, maybe that same hitter finally watches ball four cross the plate (BB in the statbook).  He walks.  The whole at bat took the better part of 10 minutes, and in the end the batter reaches on a walk.  He wasn’t out; he was safe.  Try again.

Thankfully, outs come quickly at times too.  Alone or in pairs, double plays happen frequently (2 outs), and triple plays (3 outs, pretty rare) are known to exist in the game.  
The next batter slaps a grounder to the second baseman, who flips to the shortstop covering second base for the force out, (that guy who just walked, the one who displayed incredible patience and a good eye, the one who hogged all of our precious time––he’s out now, thankfully), then the shortstop rifles the ball over to first base (4-6-3 DP... 2 outs).  The spectacle took seconds by comparison.  

Fast, slow, the scoresheet doesn’t mind either way, whether it be leisurely like a Sunday afternoon or frantic like a Monday morning.  Record the hits, record the runs, record the outs, record the stats.  It’s not tempo, for a better word than tempo must exist as it applies to baseball, but I’m hard pressed to think of one now.  Pace?  Cadence?  Speed?  None of those words seem to work either.  It’s just outs––they take however damn long they take.

“The game isn’t over until it’s over.” --Baseball great Yogi Berra
You can’t have stats without playing a little baseball, so thank God for broadcasters and baseball writers, who give our humble stats some color and a story to tell.  

It’s a beautiful game.   

“PLAY BALL!” the home plate umpire yells.  Greetings exchange between the lead-off hitter and masked catcher.  They each give a nod to the umpire.  

One guy carries a bat.  The other guy is covered in armor.  “The tools of ignorance” the catcher’s gear is called.  It’s not even a fair fight.  His friends are out there too, not dressed like the catcher, not like a gladiator, but nonetheless foreboding in their greater numbers.  They eyeball the batter, as though he’d wandered into the wrong dark alley.

The batter fidgets and scrapes at the dirt with his cleats, digging in.  He waves the bat, menacing them, teasing them, taunting them.  He means business, wants them to know it.  

Time capsule: ON.  Called strike, ball 1, ball 2, and a foul ball makes strike two.  The pitcher throws gas, nips the outside corner.  The batter can only watch, he’s too late.  He looks at strike 3 as it crosses the plate.  That’s a “K” in most books, circled.  If scored by hand it’s a backwards K.  

“He was caught looking, called out for excessive window shopping.” –The late, great Detroit Tiger announcer Ernie Harwell.

Batter up.  In the chalk-lined box he stands, a hand held up, time to anchor his cleats, find some ruts, and scratch his nuts.  He waves the bat, too, steely eyed and stone-faced.  Meanwhile, the pitcher and catcher roll through signs.  Silent conspirators, they speak in finger wags and head nods before every pitch.  The batter is left to guess what pitch comes next.  

Crouched behind the plate the catcher flashes an index finger straight down.  Fast ball.  The pitcher shakes him off.  Insubordination!  The catcher glares at the pitcher back through his mask, thrusting two fingers down sharply.  Curve ball.  The pitcher approves, nods to the catcher.  Consensus.

The batter expects a fast ball, but gladly sits on the big, hanging curve ball.  He waits, swings with some heft, sends a towering fly ball to deep left.  The pitcher’s head jerks around to watch the ball’s majestic flight.  Groans from the grandstand, it fades from sight.  

The left fielder is determined, knows his home field well, looks over his shoulder, races to the warning track.  Course plotted; variables known.  Back-back-back he goes, a collision of leather, flesh, and particle board awaits at the wall.  His hat leaps from his head, makes a jump for it ahead of the carnage.
Crash!  The left fielder yields to the fence awkwardly.  Gasps from the grandstand, then silence. Dust erupts from the dirt.  Flailing, the left fielder is dazed, perhaps hurt.  He is well-coached, though, knows exactly what to do.  His glove shoots up for out number two.  He caught it!  Is he sore?

The stat: fly out to left field––“F7”––and no more.   

Next batter.  More scraping.  More scheming.  More scratching.  Strike 1 (called), strike 2, ball 1, ball 2, ball 3, now the count is full.  Here’s the pitch . . .  the batter tinks a dribbler towards the third baseman.  The infielder charges and snatches the ball barehanded off the grass and fires it across the diamond to first just a step ahead of the runner.  

That was close.  Too close.  “5-3” goes in the book and the side is retired.  

Scalding temper launches the visiting team’s coach out of the dugout like a cannon shot.  Shouting.  Rage.  The umpire shows his back and waltzes out to right field, beyond giving a good goddamn.  The coach rounds on the umpire, infuriated now, jaws at him like he’s the lousiest piece of crap umpire the game of baseball ever did see.  The umpire folds his arms, takes it.  Then gives some. 

They go at it for a bit.  Just jawin’ and growlin’ and spittin’ at each other like kodiak bears fighting over a rotten fish.  Expletives.  Warnings.  This goes on for quite some time, but then the coach retreats.

Three up and three down to start the Visitor’s 1st.  Quite the half inning to watch in person, or listen to on the radio.  The scoresheet saw it this way: [K.. F7.. 5-3..  0 runs 0 hits 0 errors].  That’s it.  

Now the home team comes to bat.  Moore leads off and draws a walk (BB), and next to bat is Bridges, who hits into a double play (6-4-3).  “Two for the price of one.”  Ernie Harwell again.  Eccles deposits a line drive down the right field line and reaches second base with a stand up double (2B9).  Gaylord steps in and launches the third pitch over the center field wall. (HR.. RBI2.. both runs earned).  Miller reaches on an error by the second baseman, when a relatively easy ball scoots through the wickets (E4).  Shaw grounds the fourth pitch, another chance for the second baseman, who flips the ball to the shortstop waiting on the bag for a fielder’s choice force out (FC46).  

Scoresheet: [BB.. 6-4-3.. 2B9.. HR2.. E4.. FC46.. 2 runs 2 hits 1 error 1 runner left on base].  Inning one is in the books.  It’s 2-0, home team with the lead and eight more innings to go, or 48 more outs (if you’re keeping score at home).

"They both (bikinis & statistics) show a lot, but not everything." – Toby Harrah

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Cloudless blue sky, illuminating, divine
She washes over me like a cool summer breeze.

Lazily, like pools of ocean blue and calm sea
Her eyes sparkle in fits, flutter in currents.

Her breaths linger like wet kisses against my skin
Shoreline caressed, she tells me I’m alive. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A divorced man's death in Pleasantville

Things are fine until they're not. For gods sake don't disrupt. Routines set like cheap glue. The pieces fit. They fit until they don't. Deviations disrupt. Divorces disrupt. The cracks creep in. Cracks conspire. Pleasantville might crumble. Don't disrupt.

Apparently the neighbors bore my divorce well. They're not speaking to me either. Neither are they waving. The waving has altogether stopped, as though deliberate and planned in secret. For gods sake don't wave.

Before, as neighbors, we were the masters of the waving. We loved waving, from our cars, yards, porches, from the ends of dog leashes, and living room windows. But especially from our cars. Easy waves those waves were.  

One diligent hand on the wheel, the other hand shot up, eager, to meet a neighbor's offering like a high five between teammates, but with 50 feet of buffer between palms. Throw in head nods for extra credit; smiles for even more.

Happily we waved, glad to see each other we waved, after long days of herding cattle, teaching, healing, litigating, law enforcing, selling car parts, and/or mothering.  We well-wished the ones who left, and welcomed their return back home again with enthusiasm. On it went with the waves. Like clockwork, the waves. In waves, the waves. 

Until the waves stopped. No more waves. Just awkward offerings to empty spaces. Something died and sent the waves into hiding. Hands remain planted in front pockets like bodies buried among gravestones. Their hands don't rise to meet my hands anymore. They mourn now. No more waves.

A death, you see. The demise of a marriage, you see. My own. And other deaths, the deaths of their relationships to her — a fellow neighbor — who left in a moving truck on a cold afternoon in December.

A death in Pleasantville, so it goes.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Social Medicine

Mr. Davison yelled “action” through a hospital mask.  Dr. Beck formed a fist.  He restrained the urge to throw it through Mr. Davison’s mask, which was dainty and made Mr. Davison look like a woman.  Some loose teeth seemed like nothing at all to the doctor.  Davison stood near the operating room door and waved a free hand, gesturing the doctor to move it along already.  A few loose teeth, Beck muttered, reaching for the scalpel.  He turned to the patient.

“Is everyone ready?” he said, looking around the room with its dark walls and cold floors.  His team nodded.  “Is the live feed ready?  How many are online?”

“We’re rolling, Doc,” Mr. Davison’s mask fluttered when he spoke, and hung limp over his face like a loose Kleenex, under Black rimmed glasses, thick and iconic.  “Over a thousand people online and tuned in,” Davison said.  The soon-to-be dad surveyed monitors, pecked at his keyboards, and clicked his mouses from inside a fortress of gadgets.

“Fantastic,” Beck said, to no one really.  He regarded the nerd across the room standing behind a command center by the operating room door.  Unaware of his hands again, he clenched a fist around the shaft of the scalpel.  The pop of knuckles brought his attention back.

The patient, Mrs. Davison, was anxious.  She shifted her gaze between the doctor, her husband, and camera one — giving most of the sparkle in her eye to camera one.  

The C-section was elective.  I’m not putting up with unknowns, she’d said.  Her nails were done Friday and her hair done early Saturday morning before the webcast, before going under the knife.  

She looked stunning.  Beck had always considered her attractive, physically, though she put a lot of unnecessary effort into her looks.  Her body bore the pregnancy well.  It was a shame, he thought, to cut this woman open, not when all her parts were good to go.

Still in the womb, Arlee Davison was famous before she was even born.  She was a Facebook baby.  Comments flooded in under the her mother’s status update, which read: “Vrooom! Vrooom! Friends: please join us as we welcome Arlee Davison into our lives.  Birth is scheduled for 11:00 AM Saturday.  Don’t be late!”  173 people liked it.  Voyeuers friended Mrs. Davison just to watch.  Flattered, she accepted the requests on the spot.  

Dr. Beck was dismayed by the openness of it all, the utter lack of tact.  Mrs. Davison said she didn’t want to miss anything, that this was her moment.  She was the lead actress in her own little corner of the Internet, on her own reality TV show.  She’d feasted on the attention heaved upon her during pregnancy, which was almost over now.  This was her big finish.  

Beck thought that people generally gave the Davison’s whatever they wanted.  They were well-educated, well-liked, and well connected.  They asked; they got.  It was a creed.  Downstairs in legal, heads spun how this whole production was even possible.  But there it was.  

Medicine meets social media.  A new kind of social medicine was the future, and it was now.

“Are you ready, honey?” Mrs. Davison whispered for her husband.  Mr. Davison sat pouting on a stool, consumed.  He was irked by the surgical lighting.  

“This is shit,” he said.  “It’s too harsh.”  His skill was suspended in the spotlight — exposed under the glare like his wife’s protuberant belly.  As a filmmaker he was clueless, an amateur.  But technology made him an expert, much like blogs made writers out of housewives.  

Davison was ordered to stay out of the way, but his presence took over the place.  Beck was pissed.  That morning after he spotted the Davison’s abandoned minivan blocking the emergency room entrance.  The tailgate door was flung open and the hazard lights flashed like an ambulance.  Beck stomped toward the entrance.  Davison sprinted out to get more gear.  

“Dr. Beck, good timing,” he said.  “Hey, would you grab those two laptop bags, the big black duffle bag, and that red backpack in the back seat?  You know where they’re going, right?”  Davison slapped the doctor’s back.  Beck’s ire simmered beneath a cool facade.  Should he hold out a hand for a tip?

“You shouldn’t park here.”

“Shit, I know it now.”  Davison jerked a thumb over his shoulder, “they’re giving me crap about it inside.” 

Beck waived his finger around at the air, at the walls, the doors, and ceiling.  “NO PARKING; the signs.  See?”  What the hell was the point?  He wrestled the gear out of the minivan and waited for Davison to pull away.  Davison sped off for the parking lot.  Beck plopped the bags down on the walkway as soon as the minivan lurched out of sight.  The muffled clunk of gear hitting pavement creased a rare smile on the doctor’s stony face.  He went inside almost cheerful.

His good mood wouldn’t last, though, souring again before the procedure, where he and Davison got along like cold war diplomats, each adamant about how things would go.  Davison stalked the physician around the room asking about camera angles, where could he stand, why was the Internet so slow, could he ask Beck questions during the procedure, how long would it take, where did Beck go to medical school.  

Beck cut him off, “Just stay the hell out of my way, Mr. Davison, it’s an operating room for Chrissake.” 

Beck, the medical staff, Mrs. Davison, and over a thousand Facebook friends online waited for “the director” now, his head buried in the glow of a laptop screen.  

“Honey? We’re ready over here,” Ms. Davison said.  She waited.  They all waited.  “He can get so focused sometimes.”  She loved the man, obtuse as he was.  His firstborn child was poised to enter the world on a blood red tide, and Davison was locked in the embrace of the shiny blue masthead on Facebook, watching the live feed.  

“This goddamn light is killing the mood,” Mr. Davison groaned, he was absorbed.  “Where’s the magic?”  He said it felt like a fucking tire store in here, and that all of them looked like glorified mechanics in scrubs.  

Beck had had it.  He wanted to take a tire iron to Davison’s shiny toys, and when he was through with them, go smack some rubber-gloved sense into the father-to-be, the little shit.  

“You’re killing my patience, Mr. Davison.”

“Beck, you’re lucky we picked you for the catch,” Davison said.  “Just do your part and watch all the fertile Facebook mothers line up for prenatal care.”  

“You’re done, Davison.”  

Here was a man suffering from acute unawareness.  No oaths would be broken, not in Beck’s mind, even if he took to beating the shit out of the man.  The hospital and state medical board might see differently, sure.  He would plead temporary insanity and hope for the best.  

Beck removed his hospital mask and cap and walked right into the camera shot, filling the frame with the sky blue tint of his surgical scrub.  “You missed something here today, tragically,” Beck said.  

The surgeon hung a right hook squarely into Mr. Davison’s jaw, framed behind the dainty hospital mask.  Davison hit the floor hard, his nerd glasses skidding across the black tile.  Viewers could only guess what had happened because it happened off screen.

Beck walked out the door — cool and confident, without a care in the whole damn world.  The medical team scrambled out after him. 

Chat windows opened in rapid succession.  Mrs. Davison waited there alone, lit-up by the surgical lights and prepped for her C-section, a single camera trained on her sour face, and still the star of her own little reality TV show streaming live on Facebook.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Turn it up

Some days you wake up and just want your life to change.  Not a big change.  Well, sort of big.  But the kind of change that you can feel in your core.  A fundamental shift in direction, palpable and certain.  Something gained and birthed out of a mother named hope.  Something labored for and not just handed to you on a plate and suitable for anyone.  A purpose tailored for your skill-set.  A reason to live your life with increased volume, bass, and treble.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Here and now

We got here fast, you and I, wherever this happens to be.  Accidents happen but this one makes me happy.  We share something real or imagined, a past in common, a future in question, a moment in the now.

Can I walk by your side for a while?  Can I drink my fill of you and be refreshed?  I have nothing to offer in return.  I am poor you see.  And you do see.  I wander my own path, lost, hungry, propelled by a declining spirit.  

I don’t know what I’ve found in your smile, your words, your care.  I’m just glad I found it.