Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Big Lie

When I posted The Town Square, the essay about how I deal with depression, I had no idea how you would receive it. The perception of my blog, for the most part, is that of a profane guy who bounces off the walls of his padded office. As it turned out, that post received the most comments of anything I’ve written for this particular blog.

I was heartened, to say the least, because that piece came straight from my heart. And so does this one, culled from both personal experience and working with drug addicts.

* * * * *

The Big Lie

Toddlerhood. Littlehood. Childhood. The early years, the best few years of life. The time when everything is brand-new and wonderful and fascinating. Like discovering toes. And mom’s favorite knick-knacks. Laughing at dad’s funny faces. Laughing at dad’s regular face. Just laughing because it feels good. The time when everything is an adventure. Discovering grass and flowers. Bugs, both alive and dead, and trees. Stepping in dog poo for the very first time. Sun and rain and snow. Especially snow. The time for singing silly songs with nonsense words and playing silly games without any rules. Running and jumping and climbing, but mostly running. A sandbox with a pail and a shovel. Sand everywhere, in hair and ears and clothes and between fat toes.

It is a time to be proud. Learning to tie shoes. Making breakfast in bed for mommy, and even though she doesn’t eat much, she loves it and cries. Building a birdhouse for the robins with dad, and hanging it on just the right branch. It is a time of wonder. Waiting for Santa and the Easter bunny because of course they are real. Wearing beautiful costumes, and mommy’s high heels, and getting lipstick everywhere except on the lips. Dressing up like a cowboy or a pirate or a baseball player. Listening to incredible stories either read from books or told from memory.

Most of all, it is a time of love. Feeling mommy’s warmth and breath and heartbeat when she holds you in her arms. Laughing and squealing when daddy tickles your tummy and gives you piggyback rides. Knowing, when mommy and daddy say, “I love you,” that it is true. Doubt does not exist, but trust does because there is no one else to trust, and innocence does, because there is no one to take it away.

Except for the toddlerhoods and littlehoods where there is little or no love at all. The childhoods where life is full of doubt and there truly is no one to trust. Innocence, the most precious gift to the young, ripped away forever in an instant. The sins and the faults and the angers and the hatreds and the lies and the addictions and the sicknesses and the selfishnesses and the perversions of the parents or the protectors become those of the child. Automatically, by association, by merely existing. Trust and innocence, stolen by words. By fists. By touching where a child knows he or she should never be touched. By neglect and abandonment, both physical and mental. By sick and perverted punishments for simple childhood infractions and mistakes.

And therein lay the seeds of depression and worthlessness and unlovableness and shame. Especially shame, the belief in my soul that I am truly bad and evil, that the simple act of being a child, of being born, of being alive, of being me, is the cause and the reason for fists and filthy names and molestings and abandonments and punishments. The early years, the best years of life, are gone forever because of The Big Lie, “I am a bad child and I deserve it.”

So sad, so pitiful, so heartbreaking because it is all so wrong. A child should never, ever have a sick soul. A child is never, ever the reason for abuse. A child is always, always a victim. Always a victim.

But the child doesn’t believe it.

And as the child grows physically, the teenaged child doesn’t believe it.

And as the teenaged child grows physically, the adult child doesn’t believe it.

And as the adult child grows older, the adult child still doesn’t believe it.

Emotional growth stopped, it came to a shrieking halt, the moment the child believed, “I am bad, and I deserve it.” The Big Lie.

So we walk around in adult bodies with the emotions of a child. We doubt everything, especially ourselves, and we trust nobody, especially ourselves. We cannot give or receive love. We feel empty because we are empty. We feel pain, though, and we feel despair, and we think about suicide. We self-medicate with alcohol and drugs and food and sex and shopping and gambling and a dozen other addictions to hide the pain, to push it away, to stop it for a just little while. But it doesn’t work, it never did, and it never will.

The pain doesn’t stop until we start to un-believe the lie. Until we truly believe, with our mind and our heart and our spirit, our soul, that “I am good, and I deserved none of it.” Only then can emotional growth start again and healing begin.

I know because I have been there. And I have returned. I haven’t regained my innocence because that is impossible. But I have regained my childishness, and I revel in it.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Humor Quickie

Normally, Martha sheds her work shoes as soon as she gets home from, er, work. Last night, she didn't. She was hurrying around the kitchen on clunky one-inch heels, and this is what it sounded like, heels against tile:

Clunk, clunk clunk, clunk, turn, clunk clunk clunk, turn back, clunk clunk clunk, clunk, clunk clunk . . .

"You sound like one of those Spanish dancers," I told her. "What's the name of that dance? I can't remember offhand."

"The Flamingo?" she said.

"Flamenco!" I cried triumphantly. And then I started to laugh. And she started to laugh. The Flamingo, for cripes sake.

I think, for St. Valentine's Day, I'll sign her up for Flamingo dance lessons. Who knows—maybe they'll teach her the tangle and the sambo too.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Bibliophiliac and His Kindle

On December 21, 2008 in a post titled Inspector Gadget: Goodbye Gutenberg, I said this about’s e-reader, the Kindle:

Call me a crusty old curmudgeon—go ahead—but there is no fucking way I will ever give up real books for an e-reader called the "Kindle.”

I considered a somewhat stronger-worded opinion, but I guess my venom wasn’t flowing quite properly that day.

One year to the day later, December 21, 2009, Martha and the U.P.S. guy gave me this for Christmas:

I have kept it a secret because I am ashamed to tell all my bibliophiliac friends that I own one. And that Mr. No Fucking Way is using it every day. Not by choice, thank goodness, but by necessity: during the past year, my eyesight has gone from good to less than good to just plain lousy.

The model I received is the Kindle 2 shown in the photo—the upgrade from the original, but not the larger DX. Martha paid $259 US for it, no shipping or sales tax, plus another $30 for a nice fleece-lined cover to protect it.


1. With six preset font sizes, the largest being about 18-point, it is working well for me. That, of course, was the reason for the gift.

2. I like the smaller, featherweight size, and it fits easily in Martha’s purse.

3. After a month, it still works.

I started reading Stephen King’s Under the Dome on November 15, struggled through 488 pages, and finally put it down. When I purchased the Kindle version a couple days ago, I’m back up to speed in a story I’m really enjoying.


1. No matter what anyone says, reading on a Kindle is nothing like reading a real book with real paper and real ink. The Kindle's black print is crisp against a gray background, but it just ain’t the same.

2. Amazon is fibbing about the number of e-books available, at least at this point in time. Most of the current books by popular authors are downloadable, but oldies and classics are not. Faulkner? Forget it. Palin and Patterson? You bet. The same holds true for genre fiction, much of which tends toward trilogies and long series. I have been frustrated several times to find that books 1 and 3 of a trilogy are available, or 2 and 3, but not all three.

3.The Kindle does not use page numbers. Rather, it uses “locations” to tell the reader the percentage of the book read so far. The reason, Amazon claims, is the font sizes: the location of a certain page is different at 10-point than it is at 18-point.

4. Because of number 3, the Kindle is useless for quoting page numbers in a research paper or even a blurb in a book review. If I said, “The following quote is from location 2,784,” you would all think I’m nuts. And good luck to teachers.

5. While there are different font sizes, there is only one generic font for ALL books. A Kindle book is not the same as a printed book: it is digitally converted into a generic format with NO copy-editing. The amount of typos is horrendous.

6. Also unlike a book, there is no easy way to flip backward to a list of characters or maps. Luckily for me, I remember the three pages of characters at the beginning of Under the Dome or else I’d be in trouble.

7. The “Next Page” buttons are noisy, and skipping ahead two pages instead of one happens frequently, making it necessary to use the “Previous Page” button, which is only on the left side of the device. I’m not left handed.

8. The Kindle will only accept Amazon-formatted files (.prc), so downloading files from free sites that use .mp3 or some other format is not possible.

There is no sense in beating a dead horse to death; e-books, in my opinion, do not hold a kandle to the real thing. Unless you have a compelling reason to buy a Kindle, Sony’s Nook, or the Apple iPad, I would wait until the technology and choice of books improve. Drastically improve.

If you have specific questions or curiosities, ask them in the comments section. I will reply within a day or two.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The S.O.B. and Summer

I remember the first time I went into the hospital for breathing problems and the manila folder lying on the tray table beside me. Manila folders are the lifeblood of a hospital, and this one accompanied me from the emergency room. Snoop Brother that I am, I just had to look in it to see what was going on with MY lifeblood. Handwritten on the folder’s tab was simply this: “S.O.B.”

“Boy, these people are good—less than three hours and they already have me diagnosed as a sonofabitch!” I thought, wondering what kind of regimen they have for S.O.B.-ness.

Wrong. S.O.B. is a medical acronym for “shortness of breath.”

So what’s the point of this story? There isn’t one; I just happen to like it. And to own up to the fact that I really am a sonofabitch for teasing you with these photos from Tui’s garden last summer. Tui is the lady who lives in North Cowpat, Ontario, but with her Scottish ancestry, a garden is much more than a dead geranium in a hanging basket on the patio.

(click photo)

(click photo)

Check out her spectacular slideshow, Garden in Early June, while I give my dead geranium some water. There's always hope that my black thumb will turn green.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

P.S., The Town Square

When I posted The Town Square, I had no idea what to expect. Even though millions of people suffer from Depression to one degree or another—from occasional “blues” to the chronic mental illness of major (or clinical) Depression—it is a touchy subject.

Why? Because many people do not know the difference between periodic bouts of the blues and a serious illness that causes countless suicides if it is not treated with drugs and/or therapy. Because many people view it as a personal weakness, a personal choice. Because many people think it can be cured by "just getting over it."

Back in December, my long-time friend Kim Ayres wrote about his own struggle with Depression in The blog post I’ve been avoiding. Among the sixty-one comments was this one:

I found your post depressing to read because I have lived with Depression for 17 years, not mine, but the Depression of my eldest son. I find it totally impossible to understand and I feel very cross with him and others who say they suffer it. His Depression has caused so much grief in our family that I cannot help but hate that part of him, whilst loving the real person. I'm sorry but to me it's a totally selfish disease and I am of the 'snap out of it and give everyone else a break' camp. There are so many people in the world today who deserve to be Depressed and aren't that it must surely be self indulgent for those who have everything going for them insist on burdening the rest of them with their 'poor little me' outbursts. Get a life, you have one, take your pills and get over it. That's my opinion. I know it's not what you want to hear, but I took the trouble to read your post and these were my thoughts afterwards.
Blessings on your recovery, XXXX

I am not going to say a word and influence your comments—which both Kim and I are anxious to hear.

[Thank you all for your comments on The Town Square—I truly appreciated them. The comment from Kim's blog is used with his permission.]

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Town Square

The Town Square

When I am depressed, I walk. I stroll slowly around the town square in my mind, peering into the empty storefronts of my past, hoping I might find some memories I left behind. Memories not for brooding, and certainly not for reliving, but as clues to understanding why, exactly, I am depressed.

I look into the oldest shop, Childhood, first. I see some of my old favorite toys lying abandoned in the thick dust, especially The Monk: the small stuffed monkey I slept with for years and years, its body furless from endless petting and full of stitches from Mom’s repairs. I am petting my old friend right now as I write this because, in my mind, I can. And all these years later, he still gives me comfort.

I have come for memory clues, and they are here. My father, a liar and a cheat and a drunk, telling his drunken cheating lies. The verbal fighting and the physical abuse late into the night. My Mom’s anger and hurt. Her sad attempts at making us appear to be a normal family, when in fact we were neither normal nor a family. I feel these memories, too. The nearly constant fear while waiting, waiting, waiting for the next explosion that always came and tore me into emotional pieces.

Lying near The Monk I see an old baby rattle, and I wonder: Was I afraid even then?

I peer through the window of School and I can smell chalkboard dust, fresh pencil shavings, and the starch in Sister’s habit. It is truly amazing, how I can actually smell smells in my mind, even though the classroom is long gone. Sister is faceless, but her words are as sharp as if she'd just spoken them: HELL and eternal damnation for my sins. How God writes them in my book of life and how, on Judgment Day, I will have to give an accounting of myself. I feel these memories, too. The terrible dread, the trembling in my stomach, and a fear even worse than the fear of home.

I have come for clues and I have gotten them. I back away from the grimy storefronts because I have no more use for them. They are dangerous places. Should I tarry too long I will find myself not living in the past, but dying in the past.

There is an idyll in the town square of my mind, a quiet place with big beautiful trees and a gazebo where I can think and put the puzzle pieces together. Sometimes the puzzles are easy, the cause and effect self-evident. Once I know the cause, I am able to work on change.

But this one, this depression puzzle, is much more difficult. Depression, I have come to know, is fear. Deeply ingrained fear. Toxic fear. Fear of other people, fear to trust what they say and do, fear to trust what I say and do. It is always there, the fear, hiding just below the surface waiting to pounce on me. To attack me with sudden panic, an experience so intense and terrifying that I cannot put it into words. In one burst of panic, always sudden and without warning, my mind questions every thing I have ever done or said, every decision I have ever made, and tells me they were all wrong. My mind, in a few milliseconds, makes me question the very existence and value of me. Add shame to the fear.

My mind. My mind is me, it is my soul. It is my heart and my spirit. It is who I am. It is the only part of me that will live after I die (if in fact there is such a thing). The rest of me is all machinery, a body full of support systems for my soul.

So I am left to sit here on my park bench and ponder the question, is it nature or nurture? Was I born depressed, or has a life of fear caused it? Maybe it isn’t an “or” question at all, but an “and” question—a mixture of both. All I can say for sure is that I did not choose it willingly. I do not revel in it. I cannot “just get over it”, or “snap out of it”, or worst of all, “pick myself up by my bootstraps and get on with it”.

The best I can do is what I have been doing for thirty-five years: I weather the storms on my park bench, telling myself that I am a good person, a helpful person, a loving person, and then I move on with my life by strolling around the town square, ignoring the rotting, dirt-encrusted storefronts . . .

[This post is dedicated to all who suffer from major depression and/or panic disorder, whether diagnosed or not. My one hope is that it will help someone, anyone, even just one.]

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Review: Let the Great World Spin

Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann

Random House, Trade Paper, 2009
ISBN 978-0812973990
400 pages

2009 National Book Award Winner

In August 1974, Frenchman Philippe Petit walked, danced, jumped up, and laid down on a tightrope strung between the top floors of the World Trade Center. In a city where bizarre is the norm and rarely noticed, Petit’s hour-long stunt enthralled the hundreds of onlookers 110 stories below him. Emotions ran high: some wanted him to fall, others chewed their fingernails with worry, while the majority cheered for him when he finally walked into the unfinished South Tower and the waiting arms of the frustrated police.

With this true event as the backdrop, McCann turns his focus on the stories of fictional characters. He immerses us in the lives of an itinerant Irish monk who works with street people; two Bronx prostitutes; a young artist couple; a criminal court judge; a grief group of five women who lost sons in Vietnam; a Guatemalan murse; and the Irishman's brother.

What is special about these people? Nothing. And that is part of McCann’s genius. He tells the stories of real-life people living life in episodic chapters, gradually weaving a pattern of connections that all hinge on Philippe Petit.

During the first half of the book, McCann uses third-person narration; the reader learns about the characters through description and dialog. His real genius, however, comes through in the second half when he switches to point of view. Suddenly the characters are talking to us, revealing their emotions, their self-doubts, their regrets—and none of it is very pretty. There is tragedy and sadness in abundance, but the book manages to end on a hopeful note.

I have read several reviews of this book, and I think they all give away too much about its ending and its “meaning.” I won’t do that, preferring that you experience the book the same way I did—without preconceived notions or downright gasbaggery.

What I found most amazing about McCann was his ability to believably assume the voice of a Black hooker (Tillie), a Park Avenue matron who mourns her son (Claire), and a city judge who’s lost his idealism for expediency (Solomon)— all with equal aplomb.

I loved this book, and if I came away with anything from it, it is this: we all live on a tightrope.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Career Daze

While I attempt to write a book review or two, here is another one of my old scribblings to keep you busy.

* * * * *

Career Daze

I will be sixty in a couple of weeks and I am still asking myself the question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” I have completely pissed away a whole half-century pondering, mulling, contemplating, deliberating, ruminating, and musing, so it’s starting to look like an answer any time soon is somewhat dim.

I know a few things I won’t be, though. Fireman is out because I have trouble handling the garden hose and I’m afraid of heights. So is brain surgeon because I tend to misplace things:

“Uh, has anyone seen this guy’s brain lying around here somewhere? I could swear I had it just a minute ago, right there on that nice shiny tray. Someone go check my locker. While you’re at it, look in my lunch sack and see if I have any more cookies.”

I’m no rocket scientist. I cannot be an astronaut because my legs are too long, and in any event, I get claustrophobic when I fly. I would be the first astronaut in history to climb out of my spaceship and float my way home.

“Houston to Space Cadet Charlie: Where the hell do you think you’re going, buster?”

“Space Cadet Charlie to Houston: Home. I oughta be there in about twelve years, so cancel my subscription to Nudist Quarterly and tell Martha not to wait up for me.”

Since I cannot be any of the good stuff, that only leaves telemarketing. Yeah, right. I’d last about four minutes in a boiler room because (1) I couldn’t sell bibles to a convention of missionaries, (2) I hate fucking telephones, and (3) I have a filthy mouth.

Maybe I’ll take one of those aptitude test to find out if there’s an occupation I’m suited for—and one that I might actually like.


Question: Would you rather scrape barnacles off the side of an aircraft carrier or live in a monastery?

Answer: Are you kidding? I would love to do both of those things! How about barnacle-scraping for a day job and monking around at night?

Question: Complete the progression: ABCDE_.

Answer: 16

Question: If train A leaves Hoboken at 35 miles per hour and train B leaves Toledo at 4:15 a.m., where will they meet?

Answer: Head-on.

According to the scoring sheet, I qualify for two jobs: Telemarketer and village idiot. Great. I’d last about four minutes in a boiler room, and the line is waaaaay too long for the idiot job.

Maybe if I review some of my dislikes I can eliminate a few things I don’t want to be when I grow up.

1. I hate shrink-wrap. It takes me at least two hours to get a CD out of the package, by which time I am so flustered I throw it in the trash. Scratch music store clerk:

“Hey, mister, you got the new CD by The Ball of String and Rubber Band?”

“Does it come shrink-wrapped?”


“Then it’s out back in the trash.”

2. I hate grown women who giggle. Especially the three-hundred-pounders who think they’re still budding eighth-grade debutantes with a little “baby fat.” Scratch Walmart clerk, diet consultant, and bra fitter.

3. I hate telephones. Screw telemarketing.

You know, I’m starting to get a bit discouraged. Fifty years of this crap and I’m no further along in choosing a career than I was when I started. Maybe I should take a headache pill, lie down, and take a nap. Or maybe I should ponder, mull, contemplate, deliberate, ruminate, and muse for a couple more years. By that time, I’ll be eligible to draw Social Security.

ADDENDUM, 1/12/10: I began drawing Social Secuirty last June.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Shall We Dance?

In his latest post, Being Joseph Fahey, Jimmy B. writes about Fahey's fiddle playing and how it softened the hardest of hearts of everyone who heard it (my words, not Jimmy's).

That touching post inspired this one: my love for Gaelic music, both played and sung. It lifts me up when I am down, it stirs my pride for my Irish ancestors, and the memories freely flow, both the good and the not so good.

Because of my last post, I have chosen the upbeat over the melancholy. It is an older piece of tape featuring the Corrs (three sisters and their brother), and the incredible Chieftains—who Martha and I saw from the second row of a revolving stage.

There are three songs on this video—it is typical of the Chieftains to segue from one piece to another—and it is best listened to in loud mode.

So, Queen Savannah, may I ask you to dance?

Friday, January 08, 2010

As the Soup Thickens

I hate downer posts, and I avoid them like the plague. But I don’t have the plague, either bubonic or locusts. I do have emphysema, though, a disease of the lungs that is neither reversible nor curable.

Right now, there are three things keeping me alive:

1. Oxygen 24/7.
2. Prednisone, a nasty corticosteroid that keeps the airway passages open.
3. Determination, stubbornness, and perseverance.

So far, so good. I’ve beaten several longevity milestones because of (1) my relative youth for the disease, (2) my general good health physically (except for my prostate, which pisses me off), (3) no chest colds or influenza, and (4) my refusal to leave Martha on her own. I just KNOW she’ll forget to pay the fucking property taxes on December 30 and end up living at the bingo hall.

Yesterday, however, a new fly committed hara-kiri in my soup—if I could have seen it, that is.

It started slowly, just a mild blurriness when I read very small print. “Dirty eyeglasses,” I thought, and I’d clean them with my dirty shirttail. The blurriness spread to larger small print, and I used my Sherlock Holmes-quality magnifying glass to read. But like the 1958 Steve McQueen movie The Blob, the blur expanded to all close-up print and, finally, mid-range—meaning this computer screen. Time to see the Doc.

After almost two hours of tests, including photographs, I’ve developed glaucoma.

And both the Doc and I instantly knew the cause: the prednisone, the nasty drug that keeps my airways open.

The solution? We don’t know yet. In the meantime, I’m taking an eye drop drug called Xalatan to reduce the “intraocular pressure,” which is double what it should be. Week after next, I’ll be seeing both Dr. Lung and Dr. Eyeball to see what or what not I can see.

*SHORT WHINE* Man, anything but my eyes. Reading and writing are my two main things, and while I can still do them, I’m s-l-o-w and I get killer headaches in the process. In the immortal words of Wandering Coyote on 10/09/09, “Jesus - what a mess! *END OF SHORT WHINE*

Well I’m not giving up, blog friends, but for a while, I’ll miss some of your posts (some of which are too small to read right now). I just don’t want y’all to think I’m ignoring you.

I’ve left commenting on, but PLEASE, no sympathy or mushy stuff.

[Note to Kim Ayres: I’ll email you my address so you can send me a “I’m Sorry You’re Dead” greeting card when the time is appropriate.]

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

P.S. - We Love You

In August 2009, I pointed you to a beautiful piece written by my female blogger friend, Kim, about the death of her mother, Marcie. Titled No More Waiting, many of you read it and shared a tear right along with me.

In a post published on New Year's Eve, Kim tells us about the rest of her year.

With the death of her mother she was cut off from that side of the family—a shunning not unusual for an adoptee like Kim. Fired from a job she loved. She got sick, ended up in the hospital for two weeks, and diagnosed with Type II diabetes that now requires insulin. No health insurance because of no job. Two young children she is raising on her own, plus a drug addicted adult son who is a master manipulator.

A year like that might very well cause some people to throw in the towel and jump off the nearest bridge. But not Kim. Depressed, certainly. But she is a survivor, a woman who has a heart larger than her problems, and she has started a depression and suicide prevention website:

According to Kim, this is the mission of P.S.—We Love You:

We are dedicated to loving and supporting people who suffer from depression, self abuse or have suicidal thoughts. We are all committed to providing information and support, love and understanding and hopefully inspiration for anyone who is struggling with any of these issues.

I support this endeavor 1,000%, and I'll be adding the logo to my sidebar. If there is anything to steal around here, please take it.

The going won't be easy, and Kim knows it. But if she saves just ONE person out of hundreds, her efforts will be priceless.

I almost forgot. Kim wants each of us to have one of these for 2010 (I'm going to take two when she isn't looking):

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Clean Undies

Someone mentioned clean underwear the other day, and that reminded me of this piece I wrote about my sister.

* * * * *

Cathy used to be a graceful thing until her medical emergency a few years ago. I was nowhere around, so she managed to make a fool of herself all by herself in the time-honored Callahan tradition of . . . falling down. (I could tell you about the time Dad fell off the ladder whilst putting Christmas lights on the house and how hard I laughed when he landed in Mom’s favorite bushes, but I won’t.)

Cathy was sitting in the balcony of a theater for a recital, which went extraordinarily well until it was time to get up and leave. Like me, she is fairly steady when sitting in a chair, but walking is another matter altogether. Stairs are especially tricky for us, and she missed the step that didn’t have the half-watt light bulb to show her the way. Rather than testing for the next step with her toe, she fell down instead. Since she was sober (unlike Dad when he took his flyer off the ladder), she broke her leg in three places. No laughing matter, that, because she was laid up for several months in a hospital bed at home. I felt really sorry for her, but I felt three times as sorry for my niece, Abby.


“Hand me another bottle of those pain pills will you, Abby?”

“Gee Mom, you just had a bottleful an hour ago.”

“I don’t give a shit, my leg hurts.”

“ ‘My leg hurts, my leg hurts.’ Is THAT all you can talk about?”

“Listen here, missy, just wait until it happens to you. You’re half-a-Callahan, you know, and we have a time-honored family tradition of falling down. Your Uncle Chuck falls down all the time, so your turn is coming. Now help me get my panties over this damn cast.”

Yeeew, you want me to TOUCH your panties? Why do you even need panties when you’re stuck here in bed?”

“Because when I fall out of bed and the ambulance gets here, I want to make sure I’m wearing clean underwear. Mom always worried about that when I was a kid, you know.”


“Hello, Mrs. Callahan? This is the hospital calling about your daughter, Cathy. It appears she tripped over absolutely nothing on the sidewalk, did a forward roll, and ended up under the number 6 bus.”

“Oh dear Lord. Was her underwear clean?”

“Yes, it was spotless—”

“And her socks, were they clean too? Please tell me the truth.”

“The one we could find was very nice. Now, about her condition—”

“Hang onto that thought, Doctor; I’m on my way down with some fresh socks and underthings. We can talk about it then.”

Despite her injury at the recital, I can’t help thinking that my little sister still leads a charmed life. Sure, it was a terrible thing to happen, but she could have taken a Dad-like flyer right off the balcony into the orchestra pit. Or worse, into the expensive seats with only a cheap-seat ticket.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Martha's Resolution for 2010

(Click for larger)

Martha's ONE resolution for 2010:

"THIS is the year I'm gonna get caught up at work!"

[Actually, this is a photo of Kevin Musgrove's desk, a non-bureaucrat awash in a sea of bureaucratism in the library system of "Helminthdale", England]

[No it isn't, I lied. It's a photo I ripped off from Kim (the one with the breasts). More about Kim in my next post]