Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sleepyhead, 5 toes, and a fever

The Butterfly Effect. It's a terrible movie and a worse sequel but a fascinating concept. Here's the story of how a sleepyhead, 5 toes, and a fever can change they way you view the world and your importance in it.

Last week was a rough one for my wife, Sally. She had to put down a beloved cat, Sugar Ray. she invited some friends and their kids over for pizza, partially in an effort to soothe the soul and just entertain. A household filled with women and young girls is becoming a more common occurrence than ever before. So we filled bellies full of pizza and the little girls played and screamed and ran around. The ladies talked and laughed and commiserated on loss. I must say that the loss of any beloved member of the family, human or animal, brings me back to my Dad. But more on that later...

For my part in the evening, I brought home the pizzas and tried to stay out of the way. It would be rude to hole up someplace and watch TV, but I have plenty of viewing interests that might also interest the kids. I put on one of Miyazaki's animated masterpieces called My Neighbor Totoro and the kids played on. One little girl wasn't feeling well. She had a fever and we'd given her some Tylenol around dinner time. So with that, she was the first to sit and watch. As the night wore on, my daughter Jubilee started to check-in with me as she got more and more tired. She'd come sit for a minute or two before barreling off into the wilds with the other girls. The shyest and youngest of them all, the one least likely to let go of her Mom for more than a minute, found her way next to me on the couch.

Next to me, is not entirely correct. The sleepyheaded little one melted into my arms on one side as Jubilee melted into the other. Now the four of us, we watched the movie together. Soon the eldest daughter and her friend found themselves engaged by the movie and parked themselves on the couch to watch. With the last burst of nervous energy, a tickle fight erupted between the 5 girls in myself resulting in screams at dangerous decibel levels, and hiccups caused from laughter.

As we sat on the couch in front of the TV gasping for breath, the two littlest ones sank back into their flanking positions. Surprisingly the eldest daughter, the rule follower and caretaker of her sisters when they're not at home, she snuck her foot under my hand. I thought nothing of it, we were all mashed together on the couch, but whenever I would readjust my sitting position her toes would wiggle themselves under my hand.

As the fever abated a bit, the middlest girl scooted in wanting to sit closer and get tickled more and be a part of this nest of people in the corner of the super-sectional. And for a brief moment there was a dog-pile of kids, one mine and 4 not, all sitting very close and watching Japanese animation. And for just a second everyone in this corner of the world was content.

At the time I thought not much of it, but those butterfly wings flapped that night. It occurred to me that these little girls, for whatever reasons they had and I doubt they understood it themselves, these girls needed me. I didn't do anything, I thought. I did nothing heroic or premeditated. I had opened my home and was simply available. When they needed a warm place to sit or a warm body close to sit by, I was a body.

And that is what started me thinking. Thinking about a lot of things. Thinking about how maybe sometimes love isn't an activity or something you have to work so hard at. Sometimes love is just about being there. Sometimes affection isn't a hug or a kiss or a present, it is sharing the warmth of your arms or the couch-cushion. Sometime feeling safe is every bit as important as a full belly or a warm bed.

It made me think that all these immeasurable qualities and skills are often the understated and undervalued domain of Daddy. A man who offers his strength without imposing it. A man who offers unconditional love, not because you're his kid but because you're a kid in his house. A man who offers safety without locking you in and them out. These are not the qualifications a Father, maybe not even a Dad, but to a little kid this man is Daddy.

And it wasn't possible to recognize it until I became a Daddy - or at least I think I am. But it also makes the little boy in me miss his own.

That night as they left for there own homes, I got hugs and squeezes from them. Not the kind you tell your kids to give uncles and aunties at Thanksgiving. The kind of hugs that last a little too long for polite company. The kind of hugs that let you know that you are appreciated. The kind of hugs that wake you up in the middle of the night in the middle of the week wondering... How come everybody doesn't want to feel that way?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Safe travels, buddy.

Here's my one big impossible thing to believe in today.

When we close our eyes for the last time in this world, we open them again in a magical place not too far away. For any of the good-hearted people in this world and their beloved pets, there is a way to this place. You already know how to get there... second star to the right, and straight on till morning. The tough part is finding that second star. When it's time you find it. Neverland.

It's a place where we can live free and young without worries or careYour birthday comes around once a week and it’s Christmas every day. Renewed for an eternity in the moment of greatest joy, strongest in the heart and the limbs. We'll awake again to find the spring in our step, the jump in our haunches, the speed of our claws, the glimmer of our scales, the wind beneath our wings. Where cats and dogs and birds can live in the freedom they longed most for in life and the safety they deserve in their second.

As a Lost Boy or Girl or Pet we'll play hard and court danger, but ultimately prevail. Surrounded by the bluest water, you're never more than a day between two places. It's an island pushed up to the surface by imagination, it has a lagoon with flamingos flying over it, a place with many more suns and moons than our world. Where time winds and unwinds like a toy clock, but never runs out.

From the peak of its only mountain you can see anything, everything, and things beyond belief. Where you can swim in a hidden cove with mermaids, or fly with fairies (and the help of a happy thought), travel silently across the land with indian guides, wear your favorite Halloween costume forever. In Neverland, our domestic animal friends travel proudly alongside lions and tigers and bears, but never behind. Where the couch-backs are high and comfy for feline friends to look down regally feeling invincible... because they are. Where every bone is meaty and never gets lost when buried. Where preening is a way of life.

This is the place where treasures untold lie underneath X's, and gopher holes are never empty, you never have to clean your room or put your toys away, where the breeze blows gently and the birds fly slowly, and there are plenty of sunbeams for everyone. This is the place where troubles melt like lemondrops and every adventure only lasts an afternoon.

The best perk is you could eat powdered donuts until you burst! But even better is that you'd never.

I'd say this is impossible, but how is it any less plausible than a judgmental Sky Beard that never calls or writes anymore? Where you spend foreverdays in sanitized fluff. A kingdom ultimately only open to a few and pets are not allowed. I'll take the hollowed out tree and an occasional pirate to outsmart, where kitties like Man Ray and Sugar Ray are waiting and'll never make me sneeze.

Although and perhaps it's not so hard to find at all... Just mail in three wrappers from Peter Pan Beauty Bar with Chlorophyll and 15 cents for the map.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ready, Set, Twirl!

  1. I was born breech, ass first, into this world, and that's how I'll go out.
  2. Some people think it's about the Race, others think it's the Finish, but if you revel in just showing up to the Start it makes going to work a lot easier.
  3. Living in a universe designed by little girls would be ideal because all it takes to "Feel Better" is hand lotion, glitter, a kiss, and a nap.
  4. Also, never overlook the transformative power of a twirl.
  5. I believe there are parts of me that consist of wax and paper. So it is possible I haven't really lost weight, only volume, due to wilting in this heat.
  6. The fruit is at the bottom because if it were on the top, that's all anybody would eat.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Thinking about Sugar...

  1. Anything in black and white expires too quickly.
  2. It doesn't matter how much you a love a thing, it will still be taken from you. What matters is that the universe knows how much that thing was loved, which give it weight and importance, and pays a little more respect with its passing.
  3. Calling the Human Resources representative "Sugar Tits" is ill-advised (and ill received), especially when she's a dude.
  4. In a time when so many people want to be American citizens but their only option is to be illegally here, I think it's time for people who don't want to fulfill their civic duty to get kicked out and make room.
  5. People's Pain has a higher profit margin than people's Joy, assuming that Joy is not Lust.
  6. Being a vampire is not a metaphor for anything. Pretending to be one is, however, the only way your average creepy guy gets chicks.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Half Past the Monkeys A$$, a Quarter to His...

  1. A stopped clock is right twice a day, a clock running slow is never right. (I'm sure there's wisdom in that somewhere.)
  2. Half-ass is still twice as good as the work of the no-ass man.
  3. Barista is the new title of Cuban generals under Castro.
  4. Evolution is not a theory, anymore, it is a fact. The Scientific Law of Evolution. Time to rewrite the science books (Texas I'm looking at you).
  5. One day in the far flung future, all epithets will be techno-centric.
  6. The value of currency is theoretically arbitrary until you're overdrawn on your checking account.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Because the Self-Righteous Make Me Angry... and Sad

  1. Ignorance makes the heart grow harder.
  2. Faith is often what's left when intelligence and self-reflection fail.
  3. What you believe and what I believe should never meet. (Especially on the field of battle - I got a dragon, you got a dude with a beard. He better be Merlin.)
  4. Hate is a response to hurt, but I can't for the life of me understand what hurt people in love have done to people who hate them for being of the same sex.
  5. The preferred sex of the person I love is so far down the list of how I define myself that is comes after "commuter" in a list that starts like this: nerd, father, husband, brother, son, human being, man, friend, writer, music lover, funny guy, business systems analyst, 80% bacon, diabetic, commuter, white...
  6. Every organized religion is as much about including those who believe as excluding those who don't.