Happy Memorial Day. Yes, we understand that today we are not celebrating National Barbecue Day (although that was an excellent meme). Here’s a little picture from 1945 that makes me, if I may, happy: Grandpa Ace slouched over the wheel after arresting Lt. General Karl Gerlach of Luftwaffe. When my grandmother saw this article in the Stars and Stripes, her only observation was that Grandpa looked more like a prisoner than the General did. That’s pretty much the best part of the story, which you’d understand if you’d met Grandma. Which I did, on thousands of occasions. Happy Memorial Day, Grandpa. I hope you’re enjoying some truly heavenly barbecue.
a season’s fruit, two seasons, three—
large solace from a little tree;
but now the grief comes to a head,
my tree is gone, my tree is dead.
Behold the poem delivered by my seven year-old (inaudibly, despite the microphone three centimeters from her lips) at today’s Montessori matricidal celebration. I think she wanted to leave people with the impression that these qualities might be ascribed to me, without fully committing. On her way out the door this morning, she reminded me to “wear something nice” to the party, a sad indictment of the raggedy show I usually put on. But not as sad as the fact that what I actually wore had been scavenged from the dirty laundry hamper just thirty minutes earlier. I don’t think she noticed. On the other hand, I’m probably just being “optimistic.”
I thought I’d bust out this fancy pedometer today. Sister Erin sent it to me I don’t know how long ago, and I stuck it in the shoebox labeled “sports” in my closet. That’s where I keep quidditch, golfing, and cricket (a.k.a. Heinous Things Invented by British Satan). Spent this past year writing a book and gaining 30 pounds. Yeah, 30. T-H-I-R-T-Y. I’m sure the two are unrelated. Anyway, who cares. So this morning I remembered this pedometer.
At some point circa 1998 I was in the middle of a routine check-up (getting, not giving) and I suggested that walking was a viable form of exercise. My doctor stopped criticizing her mother long enough to snort like a brachycephalic. She was like, “Walking? Walking??? Don’t make me laugh. There are 80 year olds dragging their oxygen tanks up and down the hallways of every hospital in America. They’re taking little breaks from chemo so they can get their walking in. That’s not exercise. A dead person can do that.” And I was like, “WOW, you really don’t like walking, do you?” That lady scared the h*ll out of me, actually.
I’ve seen this guy’s face everywhere today. I should say, I’ve seen pictures of his face, because his actual face is behind bars somewhere in Texarkana. He’s the guy who took 41% of the vote at yesterday’s Democratic primary in West Virginia. For this bit of political chicanery, he’s apparently entitled to molest a state delegate of his very own. Let me recharacterize this in case it’s unclear: a certain Keith Judd, who is in a federal penitentiary possibly for the crime of wearing a dead ferret in lieu of a ponytail, challenged President Obama in West Virginia and did quite well.
I am just astounded by this, and not because the good people in West Virginia are stupid. No, not at all. It’s because I’m so stupid, not to mention unambitious. I can imagine that after a decade or so of incarceration, I’d probably have wrested control of the library cart away from someone smaller and weaker than myself. But that would be the extent of it. I would not be pitting myself against the leader of the free world. For me, the library cart. For Keith, the Oval Office. What is wrong with this picture?!?
It reminds me of this time back in Brooklyn, when they busted a ring of Russian criminals who had masterminded an incredibly complex scheme that involved stealing a quarter of a billion dollars. And as they were shoving these guys into squad cars, it was evident that they barely spoke English. The thing that ran through my mind over and over again was “Holy crap, I can’t even balance my checkbook. I don’t even know where my checkbook is.” No, not for me the emigration to a foreign land with strange customs and an unknown tongue, where I would soon control the black market and use a toilet made out of a diamond. For me, the library cart!
I rarely underestimate my stupidity, and neither should you.
Exhibit A: Unretouched photograph of the snake that was just inches away from my exposed and quite succulent ankle, as well as its identical twin (made out of a stick).
I hate to be a whiner about this* but it’s my opinion that the possibility of encountering live snakes whilst accompanying a class of third-graders on their field trip should be FULLY disclosed in advance. Although this would have the effect of reducing the pool of parents willing to chaperone their child’s class from “almost none” to “exactly zero,” it would still be more sporting. You might argue that when I volunteered to go to a place called “Birds of Prey,” I relinquished certain rights. I dispute that, and will see you in court, sir.
I’m not going to lie about it: Sundays are the hardest day of the week. Here’s a little tip for anyone attempting to fargle up their co-religionists’ sabbath: cause that their church meetings should begin at one o’clock in the afternoon, and last in duration until four o’clock, at which point any chance of a decent family meal has been snuffed out like a fatuous candle in the wind. Yes, ensure that their ecclesiastical obligations start late enough in the day so that there is not quite enough time to do anything as a family either before hand or afterward. Make sure there are enough hours between sunrise and Sacrament Meeting so that the edict “No Wii Before Church” turns into an untenable, bottomless nightmare.
On top of that, the lesson for my Sunbeams was entitled I Am Thankful For My Hands. This reminds me of an absolutely nonpareil story involving my mother, but one that shall remain for another day. In any case, I decided to show my motley crew of three year old boys a ten-minute clip from Doctor Dolittle, because who more than he did “good things” with his hands? I dare you to think of a single person. I paid Callie a quarter to find the DVD, which I crammed into the side of the laptop on loan to me from my brother Daniel. It was only then that I realized my fatal error: the laptop has a tray-loading mechanism which I (witlessly) bypassed. Yeah. I just shoved the DVD into a crack in the side of my brother’s computer. Packed it right in there. To make it really clear, there was a crack in the side of the computer, into which I forced a DVD. And strangely enough, the computer didn’t work after this. It CERTAINLY didn’t play the DVD.
Anyway, I could go on, but what’s the point? I have marginally redeemed the day by putting together the title page for Dad’s 70th birthday album. To wit:
This is one of those things where, if you don’t know why it’s so thrilling, then I can’t explain it to you (and also you’re broken). I planted these wee tuberous things four years ago, sat back, and waited for the promised explosion of gorgeous, fragrant ground cover. I got yanked around for three years. Little pips would poke out of the dirt and die immediately, probably from horror at waking up in Idaho. But this year, they decided put on a show. I am overjoyed.
Incredible facts about this plant that must be true because I found them on the Internet:
And last but not least, from German mythology:
Although I am fundamentally opposed to goddesses who are humble virgins <snort> mama’s cooking tonight!!
I spent the entire morning in William’s class where I was privileged to witness, and hardly for the first time, my son in the above posture of hopelessness. Yes, he has descended into the Slough of Despond. To be clear, he descended there about 72 hours after he was born and has enjoyed flailing about ever since. He actually brightens the place up–the other inhabitants like him a lot, and will be sorry when he leaves. Which, pray God, will be sometime in the next calendar year. If he could just pull out for a few years before he sinks into the Morass of Puberty, which comes right before the Quagmire of So-called Adulthood, which precedes the Bog of I Can’t Believe You Sold Me This Crock of Merde, which ushers in the Swamp of What the H*ll Did I Do With My Life, I would be so grateful. Isn’t that all any mother could ask?