Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Fountain of Idiocy

A few years ago, I was reading a riveting article about the rise of the diabetic polar bear population in the New York Times on a park bench.  It was a long op-ed piece describing the battles he and his team have in teaching these bears to monitor their blood sugar and how, although they were making major strides, the Alaskan government was going to stop matching their 401Ks.  This piece of writing was so riveting that for eight and a half minutes I didn’t even notice that I was sitting on someone’s three year old child.  He left that park that day in an ambulance and I’m not even sure what happened to him and I don’t even care.  To be honest, I was more appalled that none of the people working at the park had the decency to approach me and tell me that I was suffocating a small child and perhaps crushing a handful of his ribs.  I decided to sue the park and eventually won an undisclosed amount in an out of court settlement for my mental anguish.  Now every time I have to sit down to read, I look once, sometimes even twice before sitting down.  It’s a burden I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Did any of this happen?  No, of course not.  Why?  Because I function in everyday life like I’m not a prematurely born gorilla smoking heroin laced cigarettes.

The reason I bring this obviously overblown, hypothetical story up is because every once in a while a story hits the news that makes me absolutely loathe human beings.  A few days ago, a video hit YouTube…here’s the link:

 Ok, we see people texting and walking all the time.  Sometimes, we even see these people bump into someone or miss a step.  However, it takes a real helmet-needing, amoeba-brained individual to fall into a giant fountain.  Even so, this part doesn’t even make me upset.  The idiot population has been on a steady rise since, well, forever.  The problem now is that our judicial system backs the nitwits.  This woman is actually suing the mall because nobody came to help her.  In my opinion, if someone really want to help her they would throw her down a flight of stairs and hope that it knocked her brain stem back into place.  That sounds harsh, but what kind of a person would try and use their own moronic actions into a highly profitable situation? 

The woman in question is named Cathy Cruz Marrero and wait for this….she WORKS AT THE MALL!  She wouldn’t say what store she works in, but my guess would be that she puts the frosting on the Cinnabons with an extremely dull knife…because god forbid she had something sharp in her hands.  Think very carefully about the place you go to work every day.  I used to work at a college with a pond in the middle of the campus and, although illegal, I would text as I drove into the campus.  Guess how many times I drove into the pond?  Point being is that I could have probably driven into that place blindfolded, recited how the entire plot of the series “Oz” worked out and fought off a swarm of locusts without driving into the pond.  There is no excuse for this woman’s total embrace of idiocy.

In an interview she claimed she was texting her church group friend about her husband’s birthday.  This woman has a husband.  My guess is that he spends his days making rubber-band balls and bouncing them off of her head at night.  If they have a kid I’ll put money down that he or she dies falling off of a cliff while looking through binoculars.  She wants the parties responsible to be held accountable, but I already think they have.  Cathy Cruz Marrero is held responsible for it,  and the entire internet community has punished her by enjoying a thoroughly pleasant, bellyaching laugh at her expense.  Even more so, she is trying to turn this into some sort of “Texting and Walking” PSA to turn this into a positive.

The only positive that is coming out of her wasting our judicial system’s time and suing the mall is that we will get to see this raisin-brain fall into a fountain on our televisions for a few more weeks. 

My advice:  If you do something stupid, laugh at yourself

 

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In Defense of Snooki

One of my hobbies is listening in on people’s conversations and judging their intelligence based on their subject matter and formation of opinions.  More often than not it leads me to believe that nobody talks about anything of worth anymore.  As a matter of fact, we are specifically told to not discuss things such as politics or religion in public.  This is a far cry from the days when intellectuals went TO public places to discuss politics and religion in order to make change.  Then again I think we would all rather talk about Miley Cyrus smoking pot than how the new health care propositions might change our lives.  In any event, during one of these conversations last Sunday I heard this exchange after a promo for the new season of “Jersey Shore”:

Guy 1 :  “Who’s that little fat girl with all the makeup?”

Guy 2:  “Which one?”
Guy 1: “I don’t know…the one who got punched.”

Guy 2: “Oh, Snooki.”

Guy 1: “I hope she dies in a brush fire.”

First of all, who the hell other than Bambi’s mom dies in a brush fire? 

Second of all, these were two deadbeats wearing Mike Vick jerseys.  The same Mike Vick who was stupid enough to try and steal a watch from an airport screener, later hide pot inside a water bottle trying to get it onto an airplane, then lent his Mercedes to two of his friends who were selling pot out of it and arrested, soon after had to settle with women out of court for allegedly purposely giving them genital herpes and to top it all off he snubbed a Capitol Hill awards ceremony where he was supposed to accept an award for his work with kids.  That’s not a typo:  Mike Vick snubbed an invitation from Capitol Hill, twice, yes, TWICE and later sent his mom to pick up the award.  Oh, and then there’s the deliberate canine mass murder operation he was orchestrating out of his backyard. 

It would seem to me that if some tinsel-brained guidette who enjoys to dance and tanning deserves to die in a brushfire than the quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles deserves to be castrated, dipped in sulfuric acid and then forced to listen to 30 seconds of Chelsea Handler’s comedy routine.  I’m not saying anyone should have to listen to Chelsea Handler’s comedy, just pushing across the point that in the grand scheme of people we should universally shaking our fists at, Snooki falls somewhere between Michael Cera and whoever created “The Upper Decker.” 

(Sidenote:  Michael Cera can’t act.  At this point in time, Leslie Neilson has more comedic range than this kid.  How many times can we repackage the same awkward, gangly, mumbling virgin?  Michael Cera, you’re nervous and weird…we get it.)

There are a few things that really seem to chafe the inside of people’s buttons when it comes to Snooki and the whole “Jersey Shore” series in general, and understandably so.  However, I believe the venom directed in this direction is terribly misguided and overblown.

First of all, Snooki is NOT Italian.  The little gnome was born in Chile, then adopted and raised by Italian Americans.  Italian-Americans are constantly berating the show and its cast for inappropriately casting a shadow over their heritage and lifestyle.  These same people, however, will talk about “The Sopranos”, “The Godfather” and “Goodfellas” as though they are scripture.  That’s an entirely different conversation altogether, but a contradiction of the belief system is definitely in place.   If anyone should be bearing the burden of this moron representing their race, it should be the people of Chile.  They should open re-open that mine and coax Snooki into it with a red bull and vodka and put the lid on it.

Secondly, she isn’t from New Jersey, she’s from Staten Island.  Listen, she actually does represent the Jersey Shore-loving nitwit crowd extremely well.  Bronzed skin, two foot tall hair, dressed to undress, etc….but the hatred thrown towards New Jersey because of the show is a bit unfair.  Only two of the cast members are actually from the glorious Garden State:  Sammi and The Situation.  If you are wondering how I know so much about this, it’s because I have no girlfriend and a very bare essential social life.  Also, for those so quick to take a jab at the realism of the New Jersey-guido stereotype just remember that there’s a flannel wearing pickup driver spitting tobacco in Nebraska, an open-shirted Cuban wearing pinky rings in Miami, a Hooters waitress who can’t read with dreams of becoming an actress in Los Angeles and a shirtless, drunk being arrested for domestic assault in Alabama all ready to play their part as well.  

People are very quick to claim that it is shows like these that are ruining America, as if television isn’t actually an extremely vivid representation of what we really are.  Currently on our airwaves we have reality shows featuring: a Playboy playmate who married a flame-out ex-football player, the woman who married Russell Simmons, a professional wrestler’s daughter, a certain KISS bassist, and a celebuetant who made herself famous by going to parties and making a porno.  This list doesn’t even include the genital rash of shows that revolve around dating marrying D-list celebrities or eating gorilla genitals to win a million dollars.  Do you know there is a show out there right now called “Bridalplasty?”  It’s about women competing to get plastic surgery for their wedding day.  In one episode the women were trying to complete a puzzle in order to win the “golden syringe” that would be injecting botox into their gluttonous skulls.  This is a snapshot of American life: public fawning over and vicarious living through shallow people who are desperately trying to extend their fifteen minutes of fame in order to achieve the outward appearance of a happy, fulfilling, successful lifestyle while spending so much time looking on we fail to achieve their own version of the American dream.  (I’ve re-read that sentence twelve times and it will make no sense to anyone, but it’s staying in there.)

The cast is stupid and the show is nonsensical, points I won’t refute.  On the other hand I would rather watch an hour of these idiots getting drunk and fighting each other than watch twenty seconds of Ellen Degeneres dance around with her audience to the newest Ludacris song. 

Actually, I think we would all be better off reading a book.


I’m A Biter

From Chapter: I’m a Biter

 My first suicide attempt took place when I was eight years old.  I’m pretty sure I was eight, but very well could have been anywhere from the ages of seven to ten.  There are certain sections of your life that you just so happen to group together because you basically were the same person and did the same things during that age.  During the ages of two to six you concentrate on controlling your bladder while your pants are on and you start to develop a sense of when its not OK to cry and hit people.  For me, the same thing could be said of my eighteen to twenty-one age phase and I must admit I had much less success during that period.  When I was in that seven to ten year old age span my summers days were spent at the town swimming pool.  My mom, a teacher who also had her days off, would either drop me off or stay with me at the pool from around 10 am to 3pm, normally buying me an ice pop here or there and watching me perfect my belly flops off of the diving board.  At an early age there was absolutely no promise that I would participate in any portion of the Summer Olympics.  I swam like a three legged dog and jumped off of the diving board like I had the aerial control of a penny.

     I knew I sucked at anything in the pool other than relieving myself, so I normally stuck myself over near the basketball courts and the stickball area.  Surprisingly, as a young kid I was a good athlete.  While all of the other kids were busy growing and getting used to their longer limbs and gangly running styles, I had become accustomed to my tiny frame and would utilize to its fullest potential.  In Little League I was the leadoff hitter and starting second baseman for back to back undefeated championship teams and I attended basketball camps for three weeks out of the summer and managed to hold my own against the “inner city” youths.  Things were going well for me, but if I knew that I would end up to be the size of a baby hibiscus tree I would have spent more time in the classroom and less trying to be an athlete.

            My major problem with sports, video games, and general human interactions at that time was my temper.  I’m not sure whether it was an early Napoleon Complex or simply a short circuited brain wiring issue, but whatever it was, it caused a good amount of strife in my life.  Getting through gym class without taking a swing at someone or playing video games without throwing a juice glass were everyday struggles for me.  This was a time before alcohol was introduced to me and its probably a good thing.  Had I grown up in Ireland and been allowed to consume bourbon at that age, I probably would have a lengthy criminal record. 

            My parents must have known about this sort of behavior very early on.  I was moved into two different pre-school classes because of oral attack incidents.  Pretty much, if I had a problem with you, I saw no way out of it other than to bite any part of you I could get my teeth on.  I drew blood both times and the word ‘tetanus shot’ was thrown around in my household quite a bit.  The worst part is, I showed very little remorse after any of these assaults.  In all honesty, as a preschool teacher I would have made a hard push to introduce tiny tazer guns into the classroom if there were twenty more kids like me in the room.  One of my biggest fears is having an army of little, teethy humans munching at feet and legs as I scream for help and try to beat them off with coloring books and letter shaped balloons. 

            My first incident happened on Day 2 of preschool.  I guess during Day One we were going through orientation and there wasn’t much time for me to find a dispute and tear a chunk out of someone.  On Day 2, however, they released us into the indoor play area and apparently I headed over to the blocks.  Now, most of what follows is an eyewitness account from my preschool teacher at the time.  These are “alleged” incidents and if a judge were to ask me I would have to plead the fifth because I could not argue for or against them.  For all I know, this was a giant conspiracy to have me removed from her classroom and start the giant, rolling, downhill snowball that became my life. 

            According to the “source” about ten minutes into the play session, a group of 5 or 6 of us were playing with the foam/plastic building blocks and building a fort.  These are toys that no longer exist today, and probably for good reason.  They had very sharp corners and were shaped like actual bricks.  When one was thrown at a child you could hear an audible “clunk” and said child would drop and cry for ten to fifteen minutes.  So this cohesive, block building team eventually evaporates and it becomes a close range dodgeball game.  By the time the teacher gets her head around to see what is happening myself and another boy, who we will call “Thief” from here on out, are arguing over a brick.  I suppose that she was taught to walk over to the situation calmly to settle the dispute, but if she had any idea that she was dealing with a tenacious, cannibalistic four year old I’m sure she would have quickened her pace.  By the time she had gotten over to us I was latched on this child’s upper shoulder and I wasn’t letting go.  In my defense, he stole that brick from me and this was my problem solving technique.

            Apparently biting gets you removed from a classroom.  As a matter of fact, I think biting might be one of the few things that can get you kicked out of someplace no matter how old you are or where you are.  I don’t quite remember how they broke the news to me, but I’m pretty sure I still had the brick in my hand and flesh in my teeth.  So it was on to classroom number two which was basically a Romper Room.  The thinking must have been that if I couldn’t control myself in a normal classroom perhaps I would be better suited in a less civilized environment with the rest of the little lunatics.  The plan backfired.

            Back in the 80s I feel like things were a little less stringent as far as child safety was concerned.  Even at four years old I remember thinking to myself, “Jesus Christ this place is out of control.”  Post-biting, I was placed in what must have been an environment for children who weren’t quite ready for pre-school but were much too rambunctious to have at home for a full day.  We got picked up at 11am so the day was basically three hours long and in my opinion that was about two hours and thirty minutes overboard.  It was a giant gymnasium with what appeared to be no rules.  There were little peddle vehicles and tricycles flying around at high speeds.  Basketballs, waffle balls, tennis balls, soccer balls, giant bouncing balls and tiny rubber balls bouncing everywhere.  The girls were occupying themselves with patty cakes and hula hoops, occasionally being tripped or smashed in the face with an errant object.  For a tiny, biting anarchist I felt right at home and looked to settle in immediately.

            At age four, you don’t really go up to someone and introduce yourself.  You pretty much both look at an object, find it as a common denominator and entertain yourselves for however long you both can pay attention.  Normally this kind of an interaction ends in a fight, or just one party losing interest and walking away without an explanation.  Things come full circle in about eighteen years when you begin having relationships with the opposite sex.  The scary thing about creating a ten minute friendship over an object is that eventually there will be some dissension over how that object should be shared.  It took me approximately eleven seconds for me to decide that I wanted a peddling machine.

            The peddling machine I settled on was one of those yellow topped, orange bodied vehicles that had two sets of peddles but only one steering wheel.  There was another child already driving the one I decided to hop into.  I don’t think we really talked much as we took a lap around the gymnasium, we more or less were just watching the mayhem around us unfold as the “teachers” sat on the stage to make sure nobody lit the place on fire or brandished a small sword.  It was somewhere around lap two that I must have decided peddling really sucked and I needed to drive.  My way of telling the driver that I wanted to switch positions was to quit my peddling job and make a grab at the steering wheel.  Again, when you are older and someone decides to vehemently reach for something you have with a crazed look, unless it is your child you will more or less give it up.  This brave, oblivious child though fought back control of the wheel and demanded that I step out of his vehicle.  Like an angry cab driver telling me to get out and walk, he grabbed the wheel with both hands and put a cease to our ten minute friendship.  The only way to get his hands off of that wheel was to chomp at his little fingers….and so I did, tearing at his tiny digits like terikyaki wings.

            For a short while, life was fantastic.  I was driving my own little cart and could not believe my good fortune.  I started to believe that with biting, I could take control of anything I wanted.   Perhaps when Santa visited this year I would bite him and take his sack of toys,  This didn’t last very long once the stage monitors got wind of what happened and without even knowing my name they ousted me out of the cart and called my mother to pick me up.


I’m An Adult

I Shop at Pier One

You know how I know I’m adult.  Look over there.  That’s my microwave.   Do you notice anything about it?  It has the right time on it…isn’t that such an adult thing to do?  When I was at your place I couldn’t help but notice that you still had those infantile, green, blinking lights that just read all zeros.  That’s dangerous dude.  See, I live by myself and if I were to fall down in my kitchen and suffered a spine injury, I wouldn’t be able to crawl to my cell phone, my TV or even read the clock that I have in the living room.  And what if I wasn’t wearing my watch?  That’s right, I would be able to look at the microwave and know how long I’ve been lying there in a puddle of my own blood and broken bones.  If no help came I would know exactly when I would have to start eating my own hands.  You, on the other hand, would be stuck just guessing about how long you’ve been lying there, looking at those stupid zeros and you would probably would start eating your hands too soon.  Then not only would you be would be paralyzed, you would have no hands too.  I would have a much better wheelchair than you because I could still use my hands…I’d look like much more of an adult after getting out of the hospital.

Hey, come over here and look at my closet.  I have all of my clothes separated by shirts, pants and jackets.  Oh, and look down towards the ground.  That’s called a shoe rack and it helps organize all of my very professional looking shoes.  When I was still a kid I would sometimes have to look all over my room looking for a missing shoe.  At my last job I once showed up with two different shoes on…isn’t that just ridiculous.  I give PowerPoint presentations now in board rooms, there’s no way I can do that now.  Do you give presentations at your non-executive job?  Probably not.  You’re lucky though, it must be nice to not worry about where your shoes are all the time.  Really, it’s not all bad being an adult.  Just the other day a guy on the subway in New York City, or as its otherwise known, “The Big Apple”, said to me “Hey, nice shoes.”  I looked down and there was gum all over them.  But the great thing was that I came home and knew exactly where another pair was for work the next day.  I had to give a really big presentation so I really needed nice, matching shoes on.

Oh, you notice some of my wall pieces, huh?  Yea, I think they add a lot of character to the place.  I got most of them at Pier One.  There was a time in my life when I went to Ikea, but now I don’t go to places like that.  What kind of a place sells furniture and food…how tacky is that?  Do you still have that dresser from Ikea, with the broken drawer?  In a few years I might be able to give you my dresser because I read in a magazine the other day that you should really change your furniture up every 2 or 3 years because it helps your positive psyche.  Don’t worry, it’s  really complicated, man. Speaking of, I’ve been reading a lot of New Wave literature about soy based foods, positive thinking and contraction isometric exercising.  Do you still work out with dumbbells?  Dude, you can really hurt yourself like that, it’s all in that magazine on that accent table.  Oh, I’m sorry, the end table over there.  I didn’t want you to think that I was talking about a table that talked with an accent, because that’s what I thought at first a few years back before I really knew about furniture like I do now.

You should join my co-ed kickball team sometime, it’s a blast!  It’s a really good way to just get together and blow off some steam after work.  With all the pressures of life these days it’s nice to reach back to my childhood and get some clean R&R afterhours.  Sometimes we even head out to the local bar afterwards and indulge in some half price appetizers and imported beers.  Those domestics are so low brow and they give me the worst chest pains the next day…that’s when you know you’re getting old right?  Haha, hilarious.

 Remember when we were kids and you wanted to be a big time movie writer?  Are you still following that old pipe dream? That was probably the biggest part of growing up for me, well, other than cutting out caffeine.  My girlfriend and I had a really long talk at the local bistro about life, it was great.  I know she’s not the best looking girl, but she’s a really good cook and her credit score is flawless.  It was tiring having a different girl every night and even though my girlfriend now doesn’t really like me touching her, at least we always have things to talk about.  Anyways, so we were talking about how silly I was to think that at 28 I could still try and chase down these childhood dreams.  At some point it’s important to realize that working a 9-5 and renting a one bedroom apartment isn’t really so bad.   

 Right?   Oh, I almost forgot to show you my “Wipe Your Paws” doormat…


Limbo

 

 

 

 

 A small part of a short story I wrote back in college…..

I have no recollection on how I got here or where I was.  The old creaking, naked twin bed mattress I was lying on would certainly affect my mobility for the rest of the day.  I knew this before even sitting upright.  Then came the pain.  It began in the front of my head and soon struck like a lightning bolt into the back and sides of my neck.  Groaning, I picked myself up slowly, using the wall to guide my ailing body into a seated position. One window with plain white blinds, a bookcase, a rotary telephone and a bright blinking light….Jesus, that bright blinking light.  It was coming through the blinds, but permeated throughout the room.  It filled the room, came from the walls and infiltrated every angle the room I had in my vision.  Swinging my feet, off of the bed and onto the floor sent a blistering pain into the balls and heels of my feet.

And there was the glass.  A pile of shattered glass lying almost strategically, at the side of this mysterious bed.  I began plucking it out of my feet, and wiping the blood with my now relegated-to-painting college t-shirt.  Through the pain in my head, neck and now feet, my thought process began to try and unravel the mystery of where I was and how I got here.  It seemed quite familiar, but was very bare, almost like my buddy Tully’s frat house, although I didn’t ever remember him showing me this room.  Perhaps somewhere in between the copious amounts and whiskey we had been consuming combined with my ever growing yearning for cheap narcotics, I had somehow forgotten this hollow area of the house.  I swiped the glass aside carefully, making sure not to add yet another set of puncture wounds to my arms and legs and headed towards the window for a clue.

Nothing but that blinking red light was blaring into the window.  It was impossible to see six inches out of the window without that blinding red light, blazing through my corneas and into what felt like the deepest vicinities of my skull.  Quickly, I shut the blinds, looked away and closed my eyes.  Seeing spots, I stumbled a bit and put my right foot directly back into the glass lying next to the bed.  Now writhing in pain, I sat back down and recollected myself.  This had happened before, many a time.  Shit, just last week I woke up in the girl’s dormitory with my pants, wallet and phone nowhere to be found thanks to a overzealous night at McFadden’s pub.  Apparently, I stumbled down some stairs after ignoring the icy conditions and fractured my wrist.  A little glass in the foot was not of perennial concern, but nonetheless a bit offsetting.   When I found out who put it there, revenge would be swift and sweet.

Ok, time to go downstairs and find out where the hell I actually am.  But upon leaving I couldn’t help noticing the selection of books placed very neatly in the bookcase, the only other piece of furniture in the room.  They were children’s books, some of which were my absolute favorite growing up as a kid.  Thumbing through them, I couldn’t help but feel bad for Tully.  We had always clowned on him for being dumb, not being able to read, pronouncing words wrong and so forth.  However, flipping through some of these books, I couldn’t help but wonder what he was still doing at school.  I grabbed “Whorton Says a Who” and carried it towards the door for two reasons: 1) It was my favorite book as a child and 2) this issue would be a cornicopio of humorous materials as we all had our afternoon beers.

I couldn’t help chuckling as I opened the door and thought about Tully sneaking up to his secret infantile library to read through some Dr. Seuss.  My good mood was short lived.  I stared down the hallway before me, lit by nothing but a side lamp.  The red light,  was even brighter in this hallway and without any windows visible, this was seemingly impossible.  Down the hallway, standing at the top of some wooden stairs, was a silhouette of a Labrador mix.  It looked like Mac.

Mac was my childhood dog.  When he was nine years old he was diagnosed with a malignant tumor behind his right eye.  Within a month he was blind one eye and obviously in excruciating pain.  The tumor was spreading towards the back of his brain and was beginning to cause slight hemorraghing, giving him headaches beyond what is humanly comprehensible.  My parents rescued Mac the side of a highway intersection when I was one.  At first, they had decided to take him home, contact the ASPCA and then have him professionally placed into what would hopefully be a loving home.  I napped with Mac that first night on our couch as my parents worked the phone and my dog and I spent every moment of my childhood together after that day.  When the veterinarian told me he was having headaches, I refused to let him go.  When he went blind in both eyes, I led him around and handfed him every day.  When he cried incessantly because of the pain in his head, I tried to pet him, placed cold rags on his eyes and sang lullabies to try and make his hurt go away.  Then one day, when I came home from school and my parents had told me that keeping him alive was cruel and they had euthanized him….killed him by sticking a syringe into the main artery in his right leg and sent death shooting through his extremities into his heart.  I never got to say goodbye.

I had dreams about Mac a lot, so now this was starting to make a little bit of sense…I was asleep.  So being asleep I decided to smash my right arm into the mirror to the right of me.  No feeling.

 


Digging the Dead

“The world’s most respected biological scientists and neuro-specialists have finally come to the conclusion that the human’s brain functionality does not end in unison with the human body’s last breath.  One eight of the human brain is designated to continually process and respond to smell, touch, sight and feel even after breath, heartbeat and pulse cease to exist.  The word ‘death’ as we know it no longer exists.” 

–          CNN  News – August 23 – 2024

 

My father and I wiped the mud off of our feet as we entered our home, well after two in the morning.  My mother, cooking mitts and apron still on, rushed us at the door and grasped my grandfather with as loving of a touch I had ever seen her give anyone or anything.

“Tom, can you please grab the pot roast out of the oven and set up the table,” she said through a steady flow of heaving breaths and a steady flow tears. 

The amount of emotion pouring out of my mother scared me to the point that I would presently acquiesce myself to any request of hers.  After all, I had just spent three hours at the Hargrave Cemetery digging through six and a half feet of dirt, mud and bones to retrieve my grandfather’s apparently still somewhat alive corpse in order to bring it home.  The word corpse, according to the news, was no longer acceptable, however, and the thought of being taboo made me feel bad.  I took off my shoes, limped towards the kitchen and began to set up my newly extended family a set of plates and silverware. 

I heard my mother, through intermittent sobs, telling my grandfather how much she missed him, as she stroked his lifeless head.  Meanwhile, my father grabbed a set of his smaller clothes and began to clothe the man we had just dug up.  In doing so, he had to remove many of the maggots, beetles and other creatures that had found their way into my grandfather’s many unprotected orifices over the past two years.  At this point the smell of dying flesh and organs had started to make its way to the kitchen and I was fighting off bouts of dry heaves as I prepared our places for dinner.  I had always hated pot roast and this amplified my disgust to the umpteenth degree.

That dinner, as I remember, was as uncomfortable of a meal as I could have possibly mentally rendered.   My mother couldn’t take her eyes off of my grandfather, who had a glass of Jameson placed in front him.  On the other hand, I was finding it hard to place my eyes on this lifeless, decrepit, rotting body sitting across from me.  At 11, I still wasn’t sure what had occurred in the world of science but I had long understood the meaning of life and death.  The way things happened was so fast that nobody had properly taken the time to explain to me exactly what happened over the last 48 hours.  One minute I was preparing for basketball tryouts, and the next I was part of cemetery looting with the rest of the desperate, gravedigging families looking for their loved ones.  God, I wish all I had to worry about now was making the basketball team. 

The announcement came over the P.A. at school two days ago.  We were all sent home and never told why, nor did we care.  I remember on my way home Billy Cedeno fought Jimmy Breiden and Billy’s nose was bleeding pretty bad.  All of the kids left with Jimmy as he triumphantly walked back home, high fiving his friends and showing our classmates his knuckles.  I walked home with Billy because we had always been in the same classes and he was crying pretty bad so I carried his backpack for him and told him that none of the girls had been there to see the fight.  When we approached his home, I thought he might be in trouble for ruining his new Polo shirt.  Instead, his mother was sitting at the front door, shaking with excitement.  She brushed me aside, hugged Billy and said, “We are going to get to see your father again.”   They hugged and Billy’s nose blood smeared all over her cardigan without consequence.

They went inside and I stood there holding his bookbag in my hands, perplexed.  It was only a few months ago that my father sat me down and explained to me that Billy was going to be very sad for a few months.  Dad explained that his father had passed away and perhaps I should try and be very nice to him in the meantime while he was coming to grips with this tragedy.   How could he and his mother possibly visit his father?  I thought about this all the way to the top of my block and suddenly the reality of day became imminently clear through the blitz of cop sirens, beeping and people hugging and sobbing.

I was handed a shovel when I arrived at my door.  This was nothing new, because I had always been given some kind of a chore whenever I came home from school.  In all honesty, I was happy to  grab a shovel as opposed to a dust pan, lawnmower, cleaning product, hedge trimmer or a list for the grocery store.  My exuberance, however,  was cut short when my mother told me that my grandfather was coming home and I needed the shovel as part of this confusing mission.   It isn’t as if I had ever hated him, but as a child the smell of whiskey and cheap cologne had always driven me away from him and to our basement, where I would pretend to be asleep or playing with toys a few years too immature for me. He used to tell me about his war stories, always focusing on the most graphic and sexual parts, in between bouts of laughter and cigarette puffs.  As a child this was off-putting.  Now, for the next 5 hours my father and I would be retrieving him from what I understood to be his “eternal” resting place.  

So here I am, watching Jeopardy with my physically resurrected grandfather, who sits with a dead smirk on his face and a hand on the side of his favorite chair.  All I can think about is how I wish we had spent tonight digging up my childhood dog instead….maybe tomorrow.