April 10, 2021
April 7, 2021
- Please take a seat in the waiting room
- No that's the Covid waiting room. The normal waiting room is on the right.
- I just passed 50, so things like this are to be expected.
A young girl’s voice- Can you take a selfie of me?
Doctor-That is something I am not comfortable doing here
Doctor- Did you vomit? No response.
- Did you throw up? No response
- Did the food that you ate come back out your mouth?
Doctor 2-- The x-ray was clear. That's just swelling. You can take advil or tylenol for the pain
Doctor 3 - ".....and a broken heart"
Nurse 1 - He was a 42 year old pharmacist. We had to intubate him after 6 hours. Then he died. That fast.
- I guess he waited too long to come in
Nurse 2- We have to take more of your blood.
X-ray technician - What is your last name? Can you spell that?
- What is your birthday?
Nurse 1- More of them are young people now.
Doctor 4. -Did the pain happen when you were walking the dog?
April 3, 2021
Synesthesia is where information, meant to stimulate one of your senses (for example hearing music), involuntarily stimulates another sense ( like visuals or smell.)
When one says "listen to my song", a synesthete may actually see the colour blue in addition to hearing the blues.
March 27, 2021
Before my blood was even cold, there was a time when time itself seemed endless. Not that I respected this abundance; far from it, I tested my limits, pushed the boundaries, coloured outside the lines, and actively sought ways to be more self destructive.
When did this aging out begin?
Was it the night that so gradually became morning when I had “lost” my virginity? Hours of talking and touching, until that moment when reserves finally dissolved, and when we moved to that next level, it was over in a matter of seconds.
Was it the day I moved out of my parent’s house, saying goodbye to my childhood, moving into a room in a dark, furnished rooming house, filled with antiques and young actors and a man down the hallway who yelled at all hours, trying to silence the voices in his head?
Was it the thirty days later when I moved back home for a month, until I could find my own apartment? Was it the night when walking home after picking up some late night Chinese Fast Food, I was assaulted and the blood, formerly running in the veins in my head, was now running down my nose from my eye, my chin from my nose, my chin to my shirt and the sidewalk. Head wounds always seem so dramatic.
Was it the first night I went home with the girl who is now the woman I have lived with for so many years? Or the night I betrayed our trust, or the night I betrayed our trust or the night I betrayed.....
Was it the first forgiveness or the last? Was it the day John Lennon died, or the night my father died, or my eldest brother or my mother? Or all the many friends who have gone from this one world to the next? How every morning I hesitate for a brief moment before plugging into the internetherworld, because I just sense today might be another one of “those days”?
Was it the day in my thirties when looking in the mirror, I did not recognize myself for the first time? How many times since that day, another 30 years of not recognizing the new face, the one that ever so gradually changes?
How many chins can a man have until it becomes one too many? How much wattle before the chin itself disappears? How the hair, once his pride and joy, slowly recedes, now thinner, losing its colour, going flat, like a gin tonic left over from the previous night. No fizz, no flavour, just watered down ice that has melted, and the diluted drink becomes one with room temp. The soggy lime has lost its sharpness, and is losing its form, the tang a memory, the bitter notes are all that is left.
Was it the day he married or the day his daughter was born, or any of her moments and milestones- first foods, first steps, first words, first day of school, first time she swam, or read, or called him, a little drunk, wanting a ride home, or the high school graduation or university graduation, or the day she first moved out, and moved back, and moved out, and moved back....
Was it his first job, or first raise, or the first time he quit, or called in sick, or all the days, work days, careers, congratulations, the dark days, the dark years, the dogs, the dark dogs, the dark dogs of depression, his first heart attack, the day he turned 30, 40, 50, 60, tick tick tick..... tick.
Was it his first band, or first band breakup, or second band, or second band breakup, or third band, or second band reunion, or second band breakup, or the many years of not playing music, or the first time he played the Big rooms or the last time?
Or was it the morning, this morning, as he sat and drank coffee and thought about aging, only to realize he is still here. While many are gone, he remains, and he is still in love and still with the love of his life, and still able to experience more days with his growing daughter, and the little dog who remains, when all the others died.
How aging out is a long process, and who knows if the glass is half full or half empty? It is still a glass. And he is damned lucky. So much lucky.
March 22, 2021
Somebody changed the clocks while we were wrestling with our nerves all night.
It happened so fast it was almost like it didn’t happen at all.
We were waiting for direction, reluctant to change what we thought we already knew.
They said we would have to wipe the slate clean to allow room for a creative solution.
Please try to understand.
The old ways don’t work anymore because they just don’t sit right.
Holding it together has never been easy, especially when you’ve been up all night
You wake sleep deprived because your mind will not shut up.
You obsess over bad decisions, bad hair, bad skin, why even bad is more bad than usual.
Who has the script, you hear someone say?
Clearly we have all forgotten our lines.
Do you hold the baton with menacing abandon as you apply the rouge?
Is there something about the other night that is still haunting you?
Outside, the sky is nothing like you thought it would be.
Everywhere we see faces melting as the rain pools on slouched shoulders,
Buttons fly off frayed sweaters, and all the zippers break at the same time,
split from the bottom up.
You were barely able to pull it when it snagged on something tender.
You hear your inside voices unspooling.
You are fooling no one.
Your shaking hands know better as you raise the hot spoon cautiously to your hungry lips.
We are drowning in acronyms. No one speaks in complete sentences.
WTF! FYI- I feel like going AWOL. LOL.
Does anything make any sense anymore?
Can you explain why a foreign alphabet is floating in this suspicious broth?
Did you perceive a bitter note on the finish?
Did something sharp catch in your throat as you tried to swallow?
Does your stomach conjure a mess of emotions that slowly is creeping up your esophagus, hell bent on escape?
Meanwhile on the tip of your nose, a saline drop slowly gathers steam.
It is growing heavy with the weight of having to hold your nose, while your struggle for air.
The suspense is killing us here.....
Finally, it crashes into the soup, just as your spoon dips in for another mouthful.
The audience shifts in their seats. Have they lost the plot here?
Do we have to go back to the beginning just to find our own voices?
No one understands what they are seeing tonight,
but allow me to speak for the crowd,
“They are anxiously waiting for the action to resume”
Any casual observer can see
They just want it all to be over.
The drugs have had their intended effect, calming the restless nature of the narrative.
No one even remembers why they are here,
or where they were going before it all began,
The random confusion makes perfect sense to the actors rehearsing their bows.
In the cover of darkness, the audience has ghosted the play, exiting before the actor utters the line that everyone had been waiting to hear....
March 10, 2021
Something in the air
February 20, 2021
Red digital numbers glow in the darkened room.
They say 1:11.
I have only been sleeping for 2 hours. It's like the wash cycle is over, and I must wake to witness the rinse cycle.
In the world of numbers, 1:11 is a sign of special Angels.
Angels are never singular, but always many.
They want you to relax and lighten up.
They whisper we are near watching over you.
You don't have to take on the burden of knowing everything.
Let life unfold, one wrinkle at a time.
Signs of three numbers are signs that the Angels are trying to get your attention. They literally want you to wake up. A spiritual awakening beckons. The appearance of three numbers is energy amplified.
1 is a symbol of wholeness. Solitary, singular, and basic. It is the beginning, the middle, and it is the end.
1:11 is a sign that you are about to begin anew.
We are born alone and we may die alone, but in the middle, the now, we are social beings. We need others, and when we need, we must thank "thems" that brought us to the party.
I fall back asleep, and awaken again. It is now 5:55. 555 is another Angel. 5 signals change, opportunities and risk. It could be a new job, a new relationship, or a new location. But we cannot move forward in fear. We have to let go of fear to listen, advance and progress.
We have gone through a very dark time, and there may be much more darkness before we get to the dawn.
Where do we go? How do we get there? The fears we hold close, they are clouding our vision, keeping us in a fog of our own making. Negative thought patterns weave a mesh, that becomes a net. This is not a safety net. This is a net that restricts our movements forward.
When I sit to write, I try to open my mind, and follow where the thoughts lead me. I wrote a note the other day to myself, concerned with numbers, counting, repetitions, and obsessive behaviours. I have been doing morning exercises and stretching for the past few months. I find if I even miss a day, the places in my body that hold the stress rebel. And the progress of a few months, can be erased in a few days. The pain in my lower back goes into spasms. My sleep is interrupted. I feel lost. Communications are frustrated, movements are frozen. Literally most of North America is frozen.
We are shut in by the pandemic, we are not allowed to go beyond the bubble. And we are all going a little crazy. So we look for signs. Signs to tell us where to go, how to get there.
But now more than ever, we must breathe.
Move beyond the crap we are drowning in.
But how we ask.
We need to reach out to others, become the angels we want them to be.
Somebody has to start this. Somebody has to make the first move.
Will it be you?
Will it be me?
January 31, 2021
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be. We yearn for a time that is past and gone. Perhaps, it never was. If you are confused now, just wait. We ask that you keep up, and just get with the program. As a teacher once scolded me and some friends who were trying to change the course of simulated history, "don't ruin it for all the other kids."
Which brings us to the heart of the matter-dislocation, dislocation, dislocation. Dislocation occurs when a bone slips out of a joint. That is a physical definition. But what of the mental dislocation when time itself is out of joint?
As a young man, I was consumed with Philip K. Dick and his worlds of shifting realities. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean someone isn't out to get you.
But paranoias were simpler then. The paranoia virus had not yet mutated, into our "modern" variants and conspiracy theories, and alternate realities. Dick's writing, fueled on amphetamines and poverty, presented a world of nebbish characters, who would slowly find out that the world they thought they knew, was not in fact the real world at all. Little by little, the world would start to degrade, the ground would begin to melt, and chaos, as funny as he depicted it, would begin to swallow these characters whole. While his characters were not consciously unreliable narrators, they began to doubt the reality of their own experiences. They began to lose trust in their cognitive ability to discern what was real and what was not.
Or in the words of David Bowie, "Where the fuck did Monday go?"
As we enter year two of the pandemic Covideodrome 19, remember the dangers of early adopting technology. Witness James Woods in the Cronenberg movie Videodrome.
Now that's got to hurt.
Billy Pilgrim has become unstuck in time. We are told that becoming unstuck is analogous to living from moment to moment. Only the moments are not chronological. Logic is thrown out the window with the baby and the bathwater. To the man on the street who looks up, and says in disgust, "More babies, more bathwater."
Come on, a nice hot bath will sort you out. Except after a year of soaking, your skin is so porous, you can barely keep your soft gooey center from filling the tub.
Next week, we get Groundhog Day. Will Punxsutawney Phil, the world's oldest rodent, see his shadow, and there will be seven more years of pandemic? Are there more Punx named Phil than there were Lassies? The Old Farmer's Almanac instructs us in how the groundhog fit into this ancient festival. Historically, a groundhog wasn’t the animal of choice: a bear brought the forecast to the people of France and England, while those in Germany looked to a badger for a sign. Perhaps a honey badger would be a better mascot for 2021.
Speaking of honey badger, doesn't that sound like a comfort food of the week? An unfortunate side effect of all this staying inside is Instagram food photography.
Too many food selfies that look like someone got sick, and now it's boiling.
HONEY BADGER (Wuhan Style) (recipe not available at this time)
Please note: Badger is not easy to find at your local supermarket. There are butchers who specialize in game. And finding a badger, and covering them in honey is a game not to be taken lightly. Personal Protective Equipment is necessary. I dare say, you may want to vaccinate before even attempting it.
January 3, 2021
In television and movies, quicksand was everywhere. It was a common danger in those days, what I call my Wonder Bread years, between 5 and 15. We knew nothing about cholesterol, or alcohol, or almost anything at all. But we knew the perils of quicksand.
There was a strange show called The Wild, Wild West with patriot Robert Conrad. It was all about his wild adventures in ...you guessed it...the Wild Wild West. To make matters worse, his name was West. Jim West. I don't remember Jim West drinking any damn martinis, like a suave Englishman of similar bent. He was quite the macho dandy, with guns that slid out his sleeve. I actually don't remember too much about the show, except it was a weird mashup of a Western, Fantasy and Science Fiction, perhaps a precursor to Westworld.
There were about 100 or more episodes, and it ran from 1965-1969 before falling victim to the efforts by Network TV to reduce violence on television. Considering that every night, we were watching burning children and other atrocities live from Vietnam, assassinations of President Kennedy, his assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, Martin Luther King and the President's brother, reducing violence was somewhat ironic.
At some point, I guess that I lost my fear of quicksand. Don't misunderstand me, I'm still terrified of drowning in quicksand. But even though I live in the Tea Swamp, it is the houses that are sinking, not any young scantily clad vixens.
While it is a known fact that quicksand loves vixens, like dogs love kleenex, I also don't run into many vixens these days. But that doesn't mean they don't exist. Somewhere, vixens are still being lured into quicksand, while my dreams are more like how "they" are turning hotels into apartments, or how I forgot my pants on the way to work.
January 2, 2021
In 2020, I wrote 19 posts.
The most read was The Stages of Pandemic Grief. We can see that the numbers have fallen off in the last two months; our team of analysts have yet to discover the reasons for this. I once remarked that shit happens - for a reason. My wife corrected me. Shit happens, she said, and then we search for reasons. Sometimes there is no reason, sometimes the answer is that there is no answer. Choices are only chance, luck, fate, a lottery ticket forgotten in the jacket you are buried in.
One thing for certain, we are stuck on shuffle, the random elements are ruling the roost. Someone left a cake out in the rain. We don't think that we can take it, but we find out that indeed we can take it. We have no choice but to take it and pretend we like it.
Men don't need reasons to make lists up. It is programmed in the suicidal genes, the X chromosome. When I was a young boy, I made up all kinds of lists. I made up lists of all the countries in the world. I wrote these down on graph paper, the forerunner of the spreadsheet.
I wrote the names of all the capitals, and then all the leaders from A-Z. Then I would stage wars with these countries, rolling a pair of dice to determine the fate of Trinidad or French Congo. Perhaps these dice games were not so far off from the way the real leaders played out their games of chance.
I progressed from graph paper to Strat-O-Matic Baseball. Every team, every player, and every season new cards arrived. Nerds like me would replay entire seasons, compiling our own stats in the Strat -O-Matic world.
My favourite team was the San Francisco Giants, with Willie Mays, Bobby Bonds ( father of disputed Home Run King*- Barry Bonds), Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey, Chris Speier, Tito Fuentes and so many more. Even the lousy players had their own cards.
Kansas City Royals had a guy named Freddie Patek. Now all you Royals fans, don't assume I am calling Freddie a lousy player. Nothing can be further from the truth. The numbers don't lie.
I have no idea why my brain dredged old Freddie up. Perhaps nostalgia for guys named Freddie. My dad was named Freddie. I had a teen friend named Fred, who moved away to Louisiana. In those days, when friends moved away, you wrote them letters. Now I don't even remember his last name, and yet I remember Freddie Patek.