Human Rem(a)inders

ball of femur

And now it’s MIDNIGHT on Halloween! Click here for real human bones. This little man in the picture lives – well where else? – under my bed. I bought him when I was working as a massage therapist. He’s actually what they call a ‘disarticulated skeleton’ which means his parts come all separate and you get the fun of studying them and holding them in your hand.  When I get to doubting that there’s a plan in this here universe I take this guy out and study him. Look at the perfect ball that is the rounded part of his thighbone up top here! Yesterday in exercise class, a woman protested the 100th leg lift. “I have a great big titanium ROD in my leg! Have mercy!” she said.

Well God didn’t use no titanium. God used calcium carbonate for the bones of the babies S/HE made. They’re lightweight, affordable, and come in nice designer shades of cream and ivory, and THEN S/he went and installed these amazing little blood-production factories in ‘em. So don’t talk to me about the power of Evil. Anyone can kick a thing down but only love and attention to detail can make it!


“It’s Full of… LESBIANS”: On Judging Not Lest We Be Judged

I have felt so ecstatically happy since Election Day that I look back at the column I wrote the week before and can’t believe how sorrowful it seems. In fact so very different in tone it is from the way I have been feeling for these last two weeks I couldn’t bring myself to post it here at the top where it says ‘This Week’s Column’ so let me copy it below where it will live forever as a post and not disappear and be replaced as the column is each week. It’s not that much fun but it had God in it and also my wonderful old friend and fellow blogger Milton. Here it is:

lesbI once bumped into an acquaintance who asked me what college my daughter was hoping to attend the following year and so I told her. “Oh, I would never my daughter go there!” she exclaimed with delicate horror. “It’s full of lesbians!”

It’s funny but I felt a wave of kindness toward her and so went and put my hand on her arm: “You must know that isn’t true, Sarah.” (I will call her Sarah.) And even if there are lesbians here and there in colleges, they’re our daughters first aren’t they? Our own young people?”

I was calm in those days.

I was less calm last week after my conversation with the Postal clerk I will call John. I was sending something to one of our honorary sons, a young man we have long loved and a brand-new homeowner. I asked him if the letter would get there fast; I was worried because it held important documents.

He read aloud the name of the city and shook his head. “Tough area,” he said unsmilingly.

“What do you mean?”

“Full of minorities” he answered with lowered voice.

“HE’S A MINORITY HIMSELF JOHN,” I said with a voice not at all lowered. I embarrassed him – made an awkward moment – but for the first time in my life as a careful and courteous female I didn’t care.

And so a silence hung between us until our transaction was complete and I had thanked him and turned away.

But ever since I’ve been wondering: What is wrong with us all? An hour earlier, in another place of business, a man passing the time of day there said to the shop owner and me, “Barack Obama was handed through college, same as that WIFE!” For some reason tears sprang to my eyes and maybe the shop-owner saw them because self-proclaimed McCain man though he is, he led me aside, and put a hand on my shoulder.

“Don’t listen to him; he’s not himself today” he murmured, thus showing kindness to us both.

And later he told me that he too is troubled by the high feeling we have seen in this political season now just ended.

I think of something I just read by Milton Brasher Cunningham, songwriter, ordained minister, student of history and professional chef. He writes a blog called Don’t Eat Alone where he cites the Biblical verse “Be Ye Kind One to Another” as the idea he most needs to keep in mind.

“I would love to say I have mastered the art of kindness and moved on, but it is not so,” he writes.

His favorite station was having its fundraiser one day and so he turned the dial to hear something other than the appeals for money and landed on the local talk radio station. “I felt as though I had crossed into a parallel universe. That they presented a view farther to the right of NPR for me was not a surprise; the level of volume and vitriol was, however. These are guys who command huge audiences across the country, or at least that’s my perception. How can anger that severe be so popular?”

That is his question. Mine is, What can we do about this?

Milton says we can remember this: that “regardless of our political preferences, our fundamental allegiances are to God and to one another. “Not to country. Not to party. Not to ideology…. Not to class or race or even religion. “To God,” he repeats “and to one another.” And that’s a truth I mean to remember from this day forward.


Uggs & Gloves, Or Why Didn’t You Call Us Part II

About three months back something sort of freaky started happening to an area of my body, and it finally occurred to me I’d better get myself in to the Quickie-Care section of my hospital, one of the best in the world as they all seem to claim these days and who knows but this one is pretty great and famous and without naming it let’s just say JOHN WAYNE came here to die, OK?

Now I don’t care how famous the doctors are in places like this, the frontline people who see you first are Just Plain Folks and the Just Plain Folks person who saw me last Friday tried that nasty trick of weighing me first. “No-no-no-no-no,” I quickly said. “No need to WEIGH me, what, in these moon boots which I need several family members to help me get out of?” (Because what can I say I’m one of those meager older skinny-but-with-some-cellulite gals who is just freezing cold all the time and so wears Uggs and gloves right up until the first of June.

I had my Uggs on and no one was getting them off of me.

She shrugged. She didn’t care if I got weighed or not. She was just nice, just a nice, easy-going young woman whose first language was Spanish. So I told her there was something wrong with my tongue, and OK yes it’s my tongue, and when I said this, her eyes widened in horror.

“Why you wait so long to come in? Not to scare you or no thing but your THUNG? You could have Cancer of the Thung! Not to scare you or no thing.”

“Ha ha!” said I. “C’mon, it’s just funny. I don’t have tongue cancer!”

“How you know this?” she demanded.

“I looked the problem up on the Internet.”

“The Internet?! The Internet don’t know shit!” she spat and if that didn’t stop me cold. Because maybe I have Cancer of the Thung and maybe I don’t but if the Internet REALLY don’t know shit we’re all screwed because in my book at least The Internet in general and Wikipedia in particular have replaced God, the cops, the FDA, the Norton Anthology of British Verse, the OED and the Encyclo-friggin’-pedia Britannica as the highest authority. Wikipedia is entirely Internet- based and gets contributed to by more Just Plain Folks who write in with niggling corrections until by consensus a species of truth is agreed upon so hey: THE INTERNET you can hang your hat on!

Anyway…. I did get to see the Nurse Practitioner after all this and she and I entertained ourselves hugely for a good six or seven minutes with pictures of all the things that can go wrong with the human tongue which we got from – where else? – the Internet.

I realize there’s more to be said about my little affliction and I’ll say it when it’s cleared up but I’ll stop using my poor sick tongue altogether; I’ll seal my mouth up with Plaster of Paris before I stop believing in the Internet.

What’s your vote I wonder? Touch the “comment” link at the top of this post and tell me, please tell me that you believe too. And do it right away if you can, OK? Just in case our friend the Internet DOES know shit and decides it might simply subtract itself from our lives – like Tinkerbell can do whenever she feels like it, like GOD can do on a day when he’s sick to death of us – if we don’t all just start clapping really hard right now to show it that we believe!!