Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Dearest, the Measure by Which I Miss You

Suppose the good people of Gilligan's Island were never rescued.

They either did or they didn't. Get rescued, I mean. Maybe they did. After The Professor hailed a passing commercial ship they all returned to San Diego or wherever. La Jolla for the Howells. L.A. for Ginger. Wine country for Mary Ann. Maybe the Skipper dropped dead five minutes after landing, he was so excited. The Professor went on to publish several books and noted peer-reviewed articles on the subject of higher primate behavior in small groups; their assumption of roles based upon family models, partial group degenderization, shared power, currency, and many other issues. Gilligan, of course, took over as drummer for The Beatles.


There are two basic kinds of "I will do this."

First let's go with the "I will do this" that one person might say to anotherwhile directly confronting them at a very short distance with a powerful weapon. Perhaps a gun to the head. And then there's the other kind, like when your spouse offers to clear the table after an elaborate meal.


So getting back to the sit-com about those stranded together by the shipwreck of the Minnow...

What if they were never rescued and they all grew old with only one another on that forsaken island? Frail each and prone to illness or injury. Or possibly both. What's the best thing that could happen?

A pirate Physical Therapist crash-lands onto the island with a plane-load of contraband scooters, wheelchairs, walkers, canes and such? Really. In the sand? Oh, that's rich. As in not.

Rhymes with rich...


I propose that there should be a measure by which we calculate the level of discomfort you feel when your beloved is away. Like "For-Each-Day-Your Love is Away" as if it were an assignable value. Hold on a moment... maybe this is a very bad idea. Some things, many things, perhaps even all the minutest of all sub-atomic fields (the very foundations of reality,) are all ultimately nonassignable in values that may tend to run off towards either Infinity or Zero as a denominator.

But I do feel a discomfort. A sense of someone or something being presently missing. It's spectral. Another facet of Death. A temporary death that will soon be over, but Death nonetheless.

My dear spouse, off to a distant state for a business weekend, often says that they experience this phenomenon on just a level of feeling. As if they could sense some change in things on a super-string (or at least what they used to call "super-string,") level of fluctuation.

"Something just shifted," they'll say as they stop dead in their tracks, holding up a "hush" finger. I hear only the counterpoint in my head. And then the feral lovebirds nesting up in the palms. One of the dogs has sat to scratch at its neck. The collar jingles. Then we resume the walk.


The New Kitten Who Carries a License to Kill.


The Eighteen-pound Siamese Sumo Wrestler.

The kitten will hide among the chairs and houseplants then pounce upon one of the bigger cats like a hungry lioness taking down a stumbling water-buffalo.


For a while he just stood attentively and respectively, honorably quiet. But as the game wound down and the outcome became obvious he began trying to banter with the players.

"I used to play quite a bit," he said. "I've got a pretty good memory. Like that book you have there. I know all those games. They're good. Actually, Botvinnik has always been one of my favorite players. So rock-solid."

"You know all these games?" one of the players asked this shaggy-looking older guy with a scruffy ponytail. The player stroked through the pages of an old paperback containing Botvinnik's 100 Best Games.

"Well, I know all 1,197 catalogued Botvinnik games, including those," the messy man said. There was a moment of looks all around. Then the banter resumed, with the newcomer doing most of it. The one player was setting up the pieces on the board, arranging them in a position from the Botvinnik gamebook.

"I love Keres too," he said. "He unfortunately loses the game, probably with that move. Botvinnik never lets the White kingside into play."

"Yes, sure, but then... what game is it?" the other player pressed.

"Oh, it's from the 1941 USSR Championship. That's just after Keres as White castles queenside on his 8th move."

The two seated players began to set up the table for a fresh game when one of them said "I can't believe you remembered that. When did you learn chess?"

"My father taught me when I was a little boy," he replied.

"Was he a professional gamer?" one asked?

"No, he was a drama professor. But really good at chess. He was really good," the man said before going up to the counter when they called him for his coffee.


So you are staunchly conservative. You believe that private enterprise always provides superior products and services. You are quite a bit more than disdainful of government programs such as AHCCCS and Medicare. As a matter of admitted fact you fully support the expected attrition from AHCCCS registration by childless adults in the forthcoming months. After all, this may just be what those dumbass lazy slackers need: a good kick in their collective fat ass to finally get them pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps, eh? Weekly dialysis be damned.

You are the sort of guy who thinks that doctors are over-educated bullshit-artists. Nurses however are pretentiously under-educated amoral slackers who never answer the call light right when you need more ice and your drink has gotten just a shade too inappropriately less cool.

You are unreceptive to the fact that the policies you advocate really boil down to one thing, and one thing only, for me and my ilk: You make hospital nursing, already a difficult job, even more difficult.



The dogz and I were out on our morning stroll. Cloudy and nice. A wisp of a breeze. They stopped to inspect some moist grass. It was all still wet from last night's light rains. A woman of shall I say retirement age was setting out her bins.

She called over cheerfully "You got your pooper-scooper?" as more of an exclamation than an inquiry. Or an accusation.

I pulled a plastic bag out of my pocket and waved a friendly wave. "I always carry three," I explain earnestly, "One for each dog and an extra one just in case the need strikes."

She stood there momentarily as if I had just reminded her of something that she needed to do, then turned. "Oh. Well have a good morning then!" she said as she went back to her clean and fashionable condo.

"You also!" I offered as the gurlz and I continued.


I guess I'm the same way at work. The moment I see bullshit I call it. If nobody helps out then I bury it myself, usually in about a baker's dozen truckloads (with Union drivers) of metric tons of return-addressed bullshit. Because I'm ironic as all hell.


The hospital was having half-hour-long mandatory inservices about response to hazardous materials. They taught us how to set up a little cubical 8'x8'x8' tent made of plastic piping and tarps. They showed us a HAZMAT suit that we needed to know how to wear in case we were the ones who had to decontaminate people.

I was explaining this to The Young Person Above Them All as I drove them to school. The radio had just voiced the term "hazmat" and I sensed that an explanation would be helpful. It was. They hadn't been previously familiarized with the word.

It was a community hospital that served an area of homes, schools, and workplaces of over a hundred thousand people. Train tracks rolled right by hospital property.

"So," I asked as the presentation wound down, "If a train car tips over and spills hazardous materials all over the neighborhood, how many HAZMAT suits do we have?"

The instructors whispered among one another.

"Five," one of them replied.

"Actually six if you include this one," said another instructor, indicating the one all of us had been using during the try-on demonstrations.

"The fire department may have more that can be put to use," the first instructor said, but the third teacher, the guy who actually was from the fire department, was shaking his head "no."

"Any other questions?" asked the lead instructor before we all trundled away.

"You see," I said to The Young One Above All Others, "That's bullshit" and they commented approvingly.

"One of the things about me, TYOAAO, is that I guess I'm too sensitive to bullshit. On the one hand, that's a good thing because I can figure out what's really bullshit and then I can do something about it."

"But before you can do anything about a problem you have to be able to see it," TYOAAO said.

"You have it," I replied, and added "The problem is that there's so much of it. There's bullshit everywhere, almost."

We rode along to the school.

"Not here, though," I concluded. "Not with just us."

"Just us," they replied and then immediately they sprung back with "Justice."

"You have it again!" I said.

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