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Sunday, September 25, 2016

How Grampy Saved Christmas

Ah, my first vacation in years! What a thrill! What a delight! Anxiously, I board the flight, shoving other passengers out of my way, shoving people off the airstair, shoving children into the overhead storage, just shoving shoving shoving.
But all of this changes when I take my seat and meet the guy sitting next to me. He immediately launches into some boring story, a story about murder, deceit, sabotage, and betrayal, a story of the risks one is willing to take to make it to the top, a story that shows that with hope, faith, and guts, even one ordinary man can change the world of small-town politics... forever.
“Boy, that’s pretty wild!” I say, and then I instantly fall asleep, because face it… when you’re running on no sleep, well… you go to sleep eventually. Right? AM I RIGHT?! And how are all these thoughts coming out of my head when I’m clearly asleep? I mean, I just said that I fell asleep. But did I really fall asleep? Or am I bluffing? Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I am bluffing! I’ve always been a good bluffer, especially at sleeping. In fact, it looks like I’m sleeping, but I’m not. I’m just sick of this yahoo next to me blabbing on about some terribly dull story, so I shut my eyes. But I am actually very tired, so after about 30 seconds, I really do fall asleep.
I wake up sometime later (not sometime before). The sky is black outside the window, the lights on the wing flashing intermittently. A little… too intermittently. Something is wrong. No, it’s not. I don’t know what got into me there.
My neighbor to the left of me, the one who was blabbing on about something or other earlier, is fast asleep, his tongue lolling out of his mouth (LOL!). Just then, the flight attendant walks up. “Peanuts?” she asks. “Oh boy, peanuts!” I reply, and this means that I want some, so she dumps a bag of peanuts on my lap. “By the way,” I ask her, since I have really been wondering. “Where is this plane going?”
“DOWN!” she yells, and then pulls a detonator out of her pocket. I can tell it’s a detonator. I’ve owned a few.
“I knew it!” I cry, pointing at her with my crooked finger. By this point, many of the other passengers have awoken from their slumbers, and they are mumbling in a worried manner. “I knew it! I knew it all along! I knew you were a terrorist! From the moment you pulled out that detonator! I knew it!”
My neighbor to the left of me marvels at my deductions.
“Well,” says the flight attendant. “You may have guessed correctly this time, but that doesn’t matter anymore! You’re all going to die!”
Many passengers scream. There are a variety of screams. Some high, some low. Some fast, some slow. Some guy screaming who has no idea what’s going on, demanding to know why the beverage service is late and if he could get some V8. Another lady screaming at her 6-year-old who keeps complaining because his iPod died and he wants to play Pokeyman Crush Saga or Flappy Crush or some such ridiculous vidiot game on her phone. The flight attendant screaming as she’s waving the detonator up in the air, with a crazed look in her eyes. I’ve had enough of this madness.
I pull out my ear-buds and crank up Destiny’s Child, then settle back and relax. They’re my favorite band. My neighbor to the left of me nudges me. “Hey, we shoulda booked first class,” he says, and then we have a good laugh. Well, mostly just him because I’ve got Destiny’s Child on full blast, so I don’t really hear him. But I think that’s what he may have said. Or something along those lines. He may have said something completely different. But we both laugh, me a little bit, him a whole lot, tears streaming down his cheeks. Eventually, others join in the laughter too, including the flight attendant, who did NOT DIE. Then the pilots come and join in, and everybody holds hands, and sings “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” and a more heartwarming and inspiring scene I have never known, in all my days.
“And that’s how your old grampy saved Christmas,” I say, shutting the book, a large tome of thousands of gilded pages and a mysterious seal of a snake on the cover.
“Wow Grampy, that was a really great story! Can we read it again?” my grandson Billy says, his eyes gleaming like only a child’s eyes gleam.
“Maybe tomorrow kid,” I reply, in my thick raspy Ukrainian accent. “Now be at peace.”
At this point, I pull his blanket up to his chin, then reach up and shut his eyelids for him, since he’s not able to do it himself, having a very rare form of eyelid paralysis.

The End

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION (to be discussed as a loving family unit):

1) Why does Grampy feel the need to share his incredible true story with Billy? Who does Billy even think he is anyway, taking up Grampy's valuable time?
2) Describe the influence that Destiny's Child has had on the modern-day libertarian movement.
3) Name 3 events that occur in the story that are critical to understanding the psychological motivation of the passenger who demands his V8.
4) Does anybody still drink V8? Why did anybody ever drink V8 in the first place? Explain.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


I am sitting here feeling a little inspired. Inspired... with air, that is. Because isn't that really what inspiration is? Taking in oxygen? Well I'm inspired. Every second of every day, I'm being inspired. I'm sitting here on my couch. Every 2-3 minutes, I feel something crawling on me, and I look down, and there it is. A little itty bitty ant, lurking around on my skin. So I smash him in a fit of rage, and then repeat the process in a couple minutes, as some other little ant decides to go traipsing around on me. We've sprayed inside and outside for bugs. I've vacuumed up hordes of them in our bathroom. I've drowned them with RAID and HOT SHOT and all those fun things. They just don't know when to stop. What are they doing? What are they looking for? What is on my skin that they want, whether I'm sitting on the couch enjoying the tubeflix, or laying in my bed peacefully asleep? What do you want, little ants? Is it food you desire? Would you like me to put a little food bowl outside next to Juno's bowl? I will even label it "ANTS" so you know which one to eat out of. I'll put all the tasty things in there you love. The beef jerky. The jelly bellies. It can be all yours. We don't have to keep fighting like this. Or do you enjoy the fighting? Do you enjoy being vacuumed up? Do you enjoy being doused in chemicals that fry your nervous systems? Do you enjoy being smashed by my fist? Do you enjoy being washed down the shower drain? Do you feel somehow victorious in death, like some sort of ant martyrs, perishing in the valiant cause of ant jihad? Is that what this is? Have you declared ant jihad against my family? Do you serve Ant Allah? I just smashed another one. This one was on my ankle. That's a pretty popular place to go, I've noticed.

School is a delight these days. Genetics seems to be giving me the most problems, as I recently did poorly on an exam. College is weird. Everyone looks at me like they want to hurt me. But I look forward to going each day. I don't look forward to working. I have never looked forward to going to work at this job. In the beginning, I thought the day would come sometime... sometime... the day when I would enjoy working, would look forward to another day of interacting with injured and sick old people and getting them to exercise to help them heal from their maladies. But the day has never come. There is one exception, and that is when, very occasionally, I know I am going to be scheduled and working with patients who I have already worked with and who I don't stress out about having to lift their dead body weight out of their bed due to severe muscle weakness and/or obesity. But a day where I don't have any idea who I'm going to be working with, just a plethora of old people, several of which may be very grumpy, several of which may require significant assistance to get them to move, and probably resulting in my own strained back muscles... these are days I do not enjoy. Some people I've talked to have disapproved of my decision to go back to school. And I don't blame them. I'm giving up (well, working PRN) a pretty stable income, a job that probably has a lot of opportunity if I had any desire to get better and make more money. But I'm not happy. Is that an important thing to have in a job? Or is it just about stability and making money? I don't know. I want to be happy working. I want to look forward to going to work. I want to not hate Sundays anymore (they are hated by the simple reason that I dread going into work the next day). Most of all, I want to do something I'm passionate about. I think everyone does, probably. And there's a whole host of reasons why they don't, many of which are probably pretty logical.

Beau and I hiked out by Leeds the other day. What a beautiful area. We searched high and low for the Babylon Arch, which was supposed to be out in the desert wilderness somewhere, but we failed. Also, we saw a sign indicating that HISTORIC BABYLON was directly to the south of us. Can you believe that? This whole time, we thought Babylon was somewhere in Iraq. Nope. It's right here in Washington County. We didn't go see it though. We were too tired after fruitlessly hunting for the Arch of Babylon. Someday, we will go to Historic Babylon and join in the wickedness and debauchery.