Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pig Pen



Was it Oprah who said, "Depression is rage turned inward." Or was she just the person who slapped a trademark on the expression and made 40 billion dollars in twenty minutes? I don't remember, but its a good description. I'm pissed at everything right now.

I'll start big.

It makes me crazy that all this apocalyptic weather is taking place all over the planet and its all our fault, and we can't stop ourselves. Even if we’re Ed Begley, Jr., we're still fucking it up just by being here. As humans, we are the Pig Pen character from Charley Brown. Only instead of, or rather in addition to, stink waves wafting from our comb overs, we also have a fog of noxious nerve gas curling merrily from our footsteps. We're are, individually, pollution cannons, and collectively, the death star.

It seems all the oceans are now made primarily of discarded plastic, which we then eat.

Sickened by the effects of swimming in and digesting of, a used bottle of Nair, we consume unprecedented numbers of pharmaceuticals in the form of anti-depressants, birth control pills, and cholesterol medication, which we then urinate back into the ocean, so we can better eat it in the form of expensive mollusks who no longer have erectile dysfunction, or zits.

I hate it that pretty soon there is going to be one psychotic polar bear sitting on an ice cube in the middle of Bermuda, probably in my own lifetime.

I hate it that we are totally wasting another good president. Poor fucking Obama. Is that the worst job ever? I'm sorry, man. That's our fault too. We were so not ready for your kind of presidency. We handed you this teetering house of Schlitz cans, built so skillfully over decades of hard, hard drinking and we just knocked you into it and said, "Go", say some nice things and make us feel better about the clear surplus of douche-baggery and the deficit of resources for humanity. And you showed up, all sparkly, with that poetry and verve and we just wanted it so badly, the eloquence, the clear reasoning. It was like a salve to our poor brush cut souls, feet blistered by cowboy boots, our faces shot into by friends. It was awful back then. I feel terrible about how we've fucked Obama. I'm so, so, sorry buddy.

I hate it that from a birds-eye view it seems like four old guys went in and hacked all the zeros off our bank accounts and had them direct-deposited into their own. How did that happen? I've had economics explained to me so eloquently by NPR, but even after Planet Money enlightenment I'm still asking, Yeah, but how did that happen?

And then the earthquakes buried in a hundred feet of water, followed by shooting and looting and unmanned drones.

It's like the Earth is a giant Etch-a-sketch, and its just trying to shake enough to wipe itself clean. A massive fire here, a huge wave maybe, a little famine, a corpse in the well-water, some radiation, the deaths of millions. Wave good-bye to the nice people, she smiles.

So I've been feeling a little depressed lately. Somewhat doomed. Though mostly I've been having a jolly time of it. I surround myself with nice people and good food, and noise canceling headphones, which I can't say enough kind words about. I try to breath through the brutal things like they are contractions; a temporary agony through which something marvelous will be born. Sometimes I just sweat while crying into my window fan.

I'm not negative; I'm just completely overwhelmed. I took my kids to the zoo where some of the coolest animals I'll never see again, were represented geographically by a tiny red dot, the size of a hypodermic prick, on a far away continent. I look into their weird nocturnal eyes. I see you, little fella, I see you there. I wave good-bye.

I don’t know what else to do but ask quietly, and with respect:
Be more gentle, friends, be small. Contain thy tempest.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fizz for Thought



Louis wakes up every morning and the first thing he asks is, "Can I watch a movie on your iPhone?" To which I might reply, "and good morning to you, sweet Lou." Then he'll remember that there are other good things on earth, like BREAKFAST! and we're off to the races.

Lou loves to play almost anything, and if you entice him, he'll go anywhere or do anything with you, but if he's not entertained, either by his sister or his parents, or anyone else who'll have him, he'll revert back to screens, which is what we first world mothers call them now.

Combine this passion with his absolute loyalty to sweet foods, and we have the potential for some serious mushroom growing. We, as his parents, do our ever lovin' best to keep the boy moving both physically and neurologically, but it's a negotiation - sometimes we end up with the entire western territory for five dollars, and sometimes we get a vacation condo with a moldy shower stall and bed bugs - you just never know with boys.

So today, after shutting him down from watching a third movie or Avatar episode or whatever, he turns to me and asks if he can have a ginger ale. He already knows he can't have a ginger ale. He can have soda at grown up parties, but that's about it, maybe a couple sips of mine if he's being a sweetheart. But he's asking me for ginger ale after shape-shifting into the form of the sofa for more that two hours. So, instead of again saying, "No Lou, no soda." I take his hands in mine and sit next to him on our bench.

Looking him the eyes I say, "Here's my worry about you, Lou. I worry that you are watching too much TV and eating a bunch of crap and that you'll turn into a lazy fat person if you do that for too long. You're thin and energetic now, but these habits will turn on you without warning, and then suddenly you're a sad, lethargic, dull person."

He's looking me right in the eyes and I can feel his attention, he's hearing me, I'm really doing great. I ride the wave and continue, "You need to find things that are of interest to you when you're on your own, other than screens. There's drawing and reading, listening to music, dancing, fort building, coloring, toys..."

I've still got him. He's considering these things. I am the greatest parent on earth! My feet are not touching the ground.  "And furthermore Lou, we all love hanging out with you, so join in, be with us." He's nodding, "Ok, mama, I will." He feels so loved, I'm feeling so open and radiant.

Then he pauses and says, "Mom, I do have one question."

"Ask it, babes."

"One word, yes or no, can I have a ginger ale?"