Every Which Way

I thought I had been fighting for the
environmental health of the world but
I had no idea how insidious the des-
truction of the planet was by simple
chemicals that are destroying us every
day in every way of every month of
every year of our life — chemicals which
now are in our DNA and we are concerned
about external things like hybrids vs. hy-
brid plugins vs. electric vehicles, which,
still are good things to be concerned
about when each and every day I see SUV
after SUV after SUV traveling fast up
and down the highway. We want to have
it our way as we move every which way
but loose because we aren’t loose of the
global warming noose hanging us up
every which way but loose.

She Doesn’t Claim To Know

She doesn’t claim to know everything
contained in the US Constitution

even though she has read it several
times and, probably, should read it

again soon given the political events
of the day, but she believes she still

knows more about it than the Temp-
orary Occupant of the White House

who, undoubtedly, hasn’t read it at all
as evidenced each day by his tweets

which are more in line with the thinking
and actions of King George III, Putin,

Kim Jong Un, Erdogan, the Crown Prince
of Saudi Arabia, Heckle and Jeckle,

Darth Vader and Ming the Merciless. She
wonders to herself, Where is Flash

Gordon when you need him most?

A Rusty Bucket and a Theory

On the seventy-fifth anniversary of his birth
he had a medical procedure, passed the test
with flying colors and, because of his age,
won’t ever have to have that procedure

again. The physician said he graduated from
Colonoscopy U. In an unrelated health issue,
he’s been moaning and groaning about failing
eyesight in one eye. He has experienced some

tragedies over the years, but he has survived,
in fact, thrived and is still trail jogging, albeit
more slowly and with the assistance of his
beloved hiking sticks. He has a theory that

if time in the womb and the first five years go
really well with lots of love and hugs, a kid
can endure just about anything life throws at
him or her. On the same day, a kid celebrates

his sixteenth birthday by going to school and
shooting five fellow students and himself. The
senior citizen wonders how the kid’s first five
years went. Then he gives thanks for all those

hugs and all those kisses and all those sincere
declarations of love he experienced. He hasn’t
done any research on his early-childhood theory
and it might not hold water any better than a

rusty, old bucket, but he figures it can’t hurt and
he gives thanks for all the hugs, kisses and sincere
declarations of love his own kids got. They have
gone through some tough stuff, but they, too, have

survived and thrived and, as for the grandkids?
Ditto. Knock on wood, he thinks. He says a prayer
of gratitude on the anniversary of his birth and then
he prays for all those kids at that high school and

then he prays for sensible gun regulation and that
legislators will wake up, hear the screams and smell
the gun powder.

Slip Sliding Away

He’s afraid he has missed out on a lot of life
and love offered right before his eyes but to
which he was blind because he was staring
at a past that was gone and only lived in his
dreams and in the sentimentality of times
during the day and in the evening when his
mind would wander away to that which was
but no longer is here to stay. He thinks he
wasn’t present in that day and now he isn’t
present today. He wonders where he is as
it all starts to slip away.

And So It Goes and Goes and Goes Until It is Found Mildewing in the Basement

He checked the list of authors
of the journal in which he had
published three or four articles
over the years and he, as the
years pass by more quickly
than ever, wished to see his
name again in black and white
listed among those distinguish-
ed authors. What he hadn’t
counted on was a change in
name for the journal. Oops.
Names in the journal by the
former name have been re-
legated to anonymity, utter
obscurity with seemingly
no way to prove one’s place
in literary history except the
weather-worn copies with
his byline mildewing in his
basement. And then he re-
called that four other journ-
als in which he had articles
published had gone the way
of all flesh, also. Then he asked
himself, “Where the heck are
those copies?”

A Stage In Later Life

He received a photo from a
scholarship luncheon via e-

mail of him, his wife and the
recipient of a college scholar-

ship in his late wife’s name.
He sent a note back to the

sender of the photo, some-
one he knew. He asked if

the photo could be photo-
shopped to give him hair,

eliminate the bags under
his eyes and remove the

turkey neck. He added a
smiley emoji. It has been

said that in the resurrect-
ion, everyone comes back

as beautiful thirty-five-year-
olds. See, he thought to

himself, hope springs eternal.
Then in a moment of further

rumination, he wondered if
there wasn’t a stage in later

life called “This Guy Is Totally
Delusional.”

How Did That Go?

In two hours Daylight Savings time
it will be 11:00 a.m., on the 11th hour
of the 11th day of the 11th month of
the year one hundred and one years
ago that the armistice was signed
ending what up until then had been
the bloodiest war in history and coined
the “war to end all wars,” and how did
that resolution go?

The Physician’s Bedside Manner

The patient sat with a soft tissue wadded up and placed
between his closed left eye and his glasses after having
given himself a drop in the eye at the instruction of his
new ophthalmologist the old ophthalmologist having been

late to the party in discovering the glaucoma. In an hour
the man would put a different drop in the eye having learn-
ed from the physician’s assistant that he had been putting
in the drops in too close proximity something he didn’t

learn from the highly regarded new ophthalmologist who
had been in too big a hurry hurrying on to the next patient
to give the proper instructions on how to do the drops. And
then the ophthalmologist told the patient that the respons-

ibility for success or failure in curtailing the progress of the
disease had to do with how well the patient applies the drops
to the eye. The patient thought to himself that if the disease’s
progress is stopped in its tracks the physician would gladly

take credit for the success but if the progress is not slowed
or stopped and blindness ensues, the responsibility is com-
pletely in the hands (literally) of the patient. The patient want-
ed to say to the physician, “Why don’t you just take us out

back and shoot us now so you wouldn’t have to bother to
blame us later?” but he thought better of the idea and
just sat there as the ophthalmologist rose, gave the patient
a very firm handshake and made a quick getaway.

He Was Really Respected

He was really respected and, actually, quite beloved in his community
and he carried himself well at all times with a quick wit and finely
honed sense of humor but never an intrusive personality, which is
something pretty hard to pull off but which seemed to come naturally

to him but what nobody knew was the unbelievably painful childhood
he had as an immigrant kid who was orphaned at age thirteen and
tossed from foster home to foster home, endured the depression,
went on the bum riding the rail from one coast to the other east to

west and back again and then, years later, it all went south for him.
His health failed and his business failed and failure screamed in his
ears as fate catching up with what was only right for the orphaned
kid and what else could he expect from such a life and his son said,

“Oh, dad, where are you when I need you so much?” And his dad,
then out of pain, perhaps for the first time in his hard life, was beyond
hearing his son’s cry and his son, having faced his own hardships and
personal demons, over time understood and just felt a profound sadness.