Saturday, January 17, 2004


Today I took a break from lifting and running so as not to shock my muscles. They have that goodly stressed feeling. They need a chance to recover. I also made a point, after lunching on a tuna sandwich, to go to the local independent burger joint and order a cheeseburger, vanilla shake, and french fries. I almost ordered the turkey burger, because of the BSE cases among American cattle, but then I thought that it might be fun to have two diagnoses at once. I got halfway through the vanilla shake, my stomach complaining, before I remembered that I am allergic to milk (and hence ice cream)! But I ate the whole burger and some of the fries.

I just finished making a completely poorly-shot and poorly-edited DVD of my son's 4th birthday. Incredibly bad camera work and production values. But I wanted to make one, never having made one before. I will send copies to the family.

I told a buddy of mine about the ALS allegation and made the usual joke that this explains why I am such a poor shot at basketball. He made me laugh, and feel good, when he wrote back:

"You may have never had the wherewithal to hit a jump shot on a consisent basis but from what I've seen you do have the internal fortitude to make the best of any situation."

My buddy is a pretty good shot. I loved playing basketball. I have a good memory of feeding him the pass at the perfect instant just as he charged into the lane, and he scored the winning point. It was great timing. It's a priceless memory.

I loved playing basketball. I was a terrible shot but I was very quick, and my reflexes were so good, that I prided myself on playing excellent defense. In a typical game, I would take the best player for the other team and make it my mission to make sure he never scored. Not always possible, but quite often I could make him a non-factor in the game just by making sure he was never fed the ball. My intent, and I believe my impact, was to cover him so closely and with such a threat to steal the pass, that the pass went somewhere else. Pat pat pat. That's the sound of me patting myself on the back.

Thinking about the good things in the past, or the good future things I want to do with the people I love, is not easy. It makes me start to lose my grip. I have tried to begin a practice of avoiding thinking about it. If I focus on today, I am OK. Because I have a large capacity for contentment, and quite frankly, on any given day I can feel good. I have felt good today. It's the good feeling you get when you have been ignoring your workouts for too long and you start getting regular exercise again. I feel better.

Just don't think about tomorrow, or yesterday.

Wait, writing that line above made me remember something I wrote a long time ago. Listen, I need to fess up to you, especially my guy friends. I am (avert your eyes) ... um, a ... uh ... OK let's just admit it a poet. ("Aww fer criminy! Aww sheesh! Why'd he have to go and say dat? I thought he was a right guy!!")

And here is something kind of apropos that I wrote waaaaay back in 1996, before I was married. When I was all alone. Single:


this piece of lettuce is wrinkly and pale

will my flesh be like that
as it drifts from my skeleton
deep in the ocean where the plane went down?

I discovered some new wrinkles here
I am not charmed by mortality and by making
the best of what you've got

may I please have the best of everything and forever now
seeing as my writing will not live after me
as my deeds will not live after me
and very few people know me or care?

the suffering of others does not scale my suffering
though it does comfort me to think of diseases I don't have yet
or know about having yet
and dictators don't torture me

just don't think about tomorrow, that's all
that's the main evil
and don't think of yesterday
or now


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