My stepfather had surgery today. He lost his voice because of his cancer and the surgery was performed to repair a paralyzed vocal cord. A lot of people have wondered why he'd go through it, but if he got his voice back, he'd get a big part of his life back. It would make working easier. It would make talking on the phone easier. It would make yelling, "What a bunch of bums!" at the TV set a lot easier while watching the Browns play every Sunday.
After waiting more than two hours, my mom, my sister and me were called into a small room to meet with the surgeon, Dr. Michael B.
Dr. Michael B. is in his mid- to late-forties. A little over six foot, athletically built with strawberry blonde hair, springing out here and there from underneath his scrubs cap. We were seated and he was standing in front of us, legs crossed at the ankles, freckled arms folded across his chest as he explained the details of the surgery while leaning back on the corner of a desk. He was happy with the way things went.
I could tell by the way his blue eyes sparkled when he'd break into a beautiful smile.
I was there for support, but I was also there to make sure all the questions that needed to be asked were asked.
"Dr. B? I think I might need a voice examination. It feels funny in my neck right here. Do you think it feels funny? Here, feel. Over this way, under my hair. You don't feel anything funny? Oh, I mean the other side..."
I wrote in my notebook: Set up an appointment for a voice examination with Dr. Michael B.
He finished up telling us everything that would have to be done over the next few weeks and my mom, my sister and me left to find my stepdad's room. We were walking down a narrow hallway and I said, "Wow, he is adorable. And smart. Yeeee-ikes!"
My sister scolded me, "Blue Girl! What's wrong with you?!"
"What? I'm thinking of my single friends!" I was a little embarrassed that she had scolded me and that I had been talking about him in front of my mother, when she piped up...
"He's got the cutest butt."
"Well, he does. Didn't you see it? He is something."
My sister said, "If it looked that good in scrubs, can you imagine what he'd look like in jeans?!"
"You two lay off! I'm the one with the pending appointment. Says so right here in my notebook."
In an election campaign notable for its surprises, Sarah Palin, the Republican vice- presidential candidate, may be about to spring a new one — the wedding of her pregnant teenage daughter to her ice-hockey-playing fiancé before the November 4 election.
Inside John McCain’s campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. “It would be fantastic,” said a McCain insider. “You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week.”
On a more serious note, it’s really interesting to see the extent to which McCain’s strategists seem to believe that his victory depends on ongoing variations on the “suspend the campaign” theme. First it was the hurricane, then the financial “crisis”, and now they’re ginning up some Britney Spears-style media spectacle to divert attention from their increasingly gruesome candidate. Why, it’s almost like they want to divert attention away from McCain!
Finally, for all the comic relief their crazy asses have provided, I truly feel sorry for the Palins. I feel sorry for Sarah Palin, who is obviously nothing more to the McCain camp than a piece of meat to toss to the GOP’s wingnut base. She got them on board, and now it’s obvious that McCain doesn’t give a damn that she’s becoming a national laughing-stock. I also feel sorry for Bristol Palin. Both the McCain camp and her mother should have given a LOT more thought to what Palin’s candidacy would mean for this young woman, since it was more or less inevitable that news of her pregnancy would get out. I may not share the Republican’s newfound belief that teen pregnancy is fantastic, but I’m not in favor of public humiliation either.
The whole thing has been a cruel farce, and speaks volumes not only about John McCain’s judgement, but about his character…or lack thereof.
Yep. If it wasn't all so fantastic, it would be rather...sad.
For the last few weeks I've wanted to get an Obama/Biden sign for our yard. And all I've done about it is think...Hmmm, I'd like to get an Obama/Biden sign for our yard.
We live in what I think is a conservative neighborhood. But, back in 2004, I went to a Kerry rally and came home with lawn signs. When I got home, I got one out of the trunk. Looked left, looked right and tip-toed to the front yard to shove it in the grass and then run back in the house.
I planted the sign in the center of the yard and when I turned to run, there were my old German neighbors in the driveway!
"Vat ah you doing?!"
"Ah! Eh, um, well, you know, putting a lawn sign in."
"Dat eez goot! You don staht vars ven you don huv to! Vee also suppuht Keddy!"
"Oh! Goot, goot, goot!"
That night I got a voicemail from the neighbor on the other side of us. She was whispering urgently into the phone. "Blue Girl. We saw your yard sign. Just wanted to let you know, we're with you 100%. We don't get this country anymore. Just wanted to let you know. Go Kerry. Bye."
Now, I wouldn't care what anyone thought of us putting an Obama/Biden sign in the yard. Especially the person I followed out of the neighborhood a few days ago with a Bush/Cheney bumper sticker on their back window with a NoBama sticker above it.
This afternoon The Skimmer and I walked outside and there one was!
I have no idea how it got there. But, thank you, whoever you are.
Jennifer put up a sweet clip from Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid and remarked that she figured Paul Newman would've stayed that age forever.
I sort of know what she means and have been thinking about it all morning. Actually, I was thinking a lot about it last month, reading Vanity Fair.
Paul Newman was 83 years old. 39 years older than me. But, he always felt like my contemporary. And I have no idea why. I think of other actors. Someone like Cary Grant is someone I cannot even really relate to. To me, he lived in a black and white world. Like a museum piece from another time and place. Someone like Sean Connery, who is five years younger than Paul Newman was, seems like my great grandfather.
But, Paul Newman was different.
The Skimmer and I were discussing it over Cheerios this morning. He thinks it was because Paul Newman was young at heart.
I agree. And it came out through that twinkle in his eye when he smiled.
Why am I so wordy on top of being ishy-squishy and wishy washy?
And what does Trismegistus mean?
Poets must instinctively know words like that. Because they are intellectuals.
I'm not a poet. Or an intellectual. And to prove it, here's a scene from our blue house yesterday.
I was lying on the floor, reading the NYTs Book Review, legs crossed and resting up on the couch cushion beneath the reading light. The Skimmer was in the kitchen, cleaning up after our spaghetti dinner. (I'll bet you poets and intellectuals never eat spaghetti.)
I said to The Skimmer, "Ok. Ok. Oh, here we go. I'll never be an intellectual. Wanna know why?"
"Because you say things like 'wanna'?"
"Ok, get this. Ready? I'm reading David Gates' review of Philip Roth's new book and listen to this part....Ready? 'He doesn't use these antiquated devices ironically. And those occasional descents into boilerplace prose? It's no Barthelme-like feat of postmodernist ventriloquism that leads him to use such a phrase as 'the turbulent decade of the 1960s.'"
And then I read the passage again to him in a British accent, and continued, "What in the heck is a Barthelme-like feat of postmodernist ventriloquism?"
The Skimmer shook his head, "I dunno."
"You said 'dunno.' Also, pop quiz! Explain postmodernism to me."
"There was this period called Modernism and Postmodernism is what came after it."
I started laughing and said, "Pass!"
As I finished up the review, The Skimmer was finishing up in the kitchen and he said, "We've got lots of extra spaghetti. What should I put it in?"
He laughed, "Thank you."
We can be sort of simple sometimes. But, very instructive. And we make each other laugh. I guess there's a sort of poetry in that.
Soon after returning to the Bronx from World War II, I went to the Stadium to see a football game. The home team, called the New York Yankees, was inept but all through the game a stout woman sitting alone several rows away was loudly cheering her heart out.
Watching her, I thought about the emptiness of some lives that could only be filled with devotion to a team of professional losers. I was overcome with emotion over such pathos until someone told me that the woman was...
Do you believe the universe talks to you? Such an ishy-squishy thought, but sometimes, when I'm paying attention, I think it does. I don't believe in anything 100%, but I do believe in most things to a degree.
Which means I'm not only ishy-squishy but also wishy-washy.
My mom and I were talking on the phone the other night and I was telling her how much Blue Kid loves the show Ghost Hunters. She asked me, "Do you believe in ghosts?"
"I don't know. Yeah, sort of. I'd like to."
Surprised and sounding a little frightened, she said, "Why?!"
"Because there are people I would like to haunt one day!"
"Well, I never thought about it like that!"
The universe was talking to me like crazy yesterday. And it was coming from all different directions. And it seemed to be telling me the truth. And it felt very uncomfortable, almost like it was haunting me and it put me in a grumpy mood. I thought about all the pretty stories I could make up and tell myself so those voices would disappear, but I decided not to wish them all away. I decided to let them talk and to listen to what they had to say.
I fell asleep early last night. Which means I woke up a few hours later, wide awake.
I checked my email and had a message from a friend. She wrote about this, that and the other and ended her message writing about the post she had just put up. Seemed as though she was encouraging me to read it. So, I clicked over.
It was an excerpt from Margaret Atwood’s 1983 collection Good Bones and Simple Murders. The title of Lucy's post was "Let Us Now Praise Stupid Women." And it began:
No stories! No stories!
Imagine a world without stories!
But that’s exactly what you would have,
if all the women were wise.
I looked at the clock. It was four minutes before midnight and it seemed the universe was getting one last shot at me.
The excerpt Lucy posted spoke of wise women and foolish women. And even though hours earlier I had sworn off telling anymore pretty stories, I was still most drawn to the story of the Foolish Virgins:
The Foolish Virgins, on the other hand,
let their lamps go out;
and when the bridegroom turns up
and rings the doorbell,
they are asleep in bed,
and he has to climb in through the window:
and people scream and fall over things,
and identities get mistaken,
and there’s a chase scene, and breakage,
and much satisfactory uproar:
none of which would have happened
if these girls hadn’t been
several bricks short of a load.
I turned out the light, laughing to myself that no matter what I do or think I'll do, I'll probably always be several bricks short of a load.
And if what the universe is telling me is any indication, ishy-squishy and wishy-washy to boot.
Jeezus, Marty, I was standing right there just waiting for the crossing signal to turn so I could get to the movie house on the other side. And bam, this long lick of a flame screamed as loud as if you dropped a load of steel i-beams at my feet. God almighty it was loud. That’s all I saw and heard. The white-yellow blast and the sound of a .45 caliber and its echo. I know that sound, it’s like nothin’ else, a real roarin’ explosion. After that you could’ve heard a pin drop. Oh man, it must of been a long few seconds before it registered, someone took cold blooded aim at some poor slob and popped ‘em right there on the boulevard.
You know me, I don't show stuff, Mr. Ice Water, right? Anyway, I gathered my wits and I took a good look at the crowd around me, I guess partly to see if what I saw was real. It was. The crowd was in a weird kind of silence, a few sobs and lots of heavy breathing. But down on the asphalt, in the crosswalk was this guy, bleeding from his gut and he wasn’t moving. I mean at the range that gun was fired it’s amazing the dead guy wasn’t sawed in half. To tell you the truth, I never seen someone get plugged like that. If I was religious, with that gun's roar, I would have said the world had ended...