People said that after all these years of writing and podcasting stories, I’d jumped the shark.
No, not me. I’d never just jump the shark.
I’d jump a hundred of them. A hundred live sharks, all jumped at once.
And I’m not going to jump them Fonzie-style. Boats and waterski jumps are so yesterday.
I’m going to freakin’ bungee jump the sharks.
My awesome plan involves lots of rigging of cables and pulleys and safety harnesses. I’ll write and podcast a perfect story, sail gracefully over all the sharks, and make a perfect landing.
Um, where does this bolt go?
I always set my alarm clock before I go to sleep, and I always set the alarm clock on my phone as a backup.
Even though I set two alarms every morning, I wake up before them. But I still set those alarms, just in case I sleep late and need them.
It’s like circus acrobats and trapeze artists who use nets. If they are good, they don’t need or even want the net, but they have it there anyway.
So, I set the alarms, go to bed, and I dream of being a circus acrobat.
Without a goddamned net.
I keep a recharging cord on my desk at work for my phone. I have another on my nightstand.
I keep a third one in my backpack so I have one with me all the time.
The cigarette lighter adapter came with a cord, too. So did the emergency recharging battery pack.
Pretty soon, I had hundreds of these cables. Too many cables to count. My cats were playing with these things, dragging them around. I can’t even eat spaghetti anymore because I end up biting into a cable.
Now if only I could remember where I left my phone.
My friend got married in an outdoor chapel this weekend.
Everyone was worried about the weather. Would it be too hot? Would it rain?
It turned out to be a nice sunny day.
The problem was, the seats faced West, and it was an evening ceremony. So by the time the bride and groom were exchanging rings, everybody was staring right into the fucking sun.
When the preacher asked if there were any objections, I stood up and filibustered the ceremony until the sun was down and we all could see.
The families were pissed, but the photographer thanked me.
It’s been over seventeen years since I showered with her, but I still remember every moment, every wet touch. Her nipples in my fingers, her tongue on my mouth, her hands around my back.
“When I was with you, I never came,” she told me years later. “But some things are better than that.”
She’d had trouble sleeping one night, and half-awake, we ground on each other for an hour on the sofa until we both fell asleep together.
But it wasn’t enough for her.
She dumped me, quit her job, and moved away.
I had the sofa professionally steam-cleaned.
The first time I shaved my head, I had to wrap a towel around my head so I could sleep. My bare scalp against the pillow felt cool, but it felt weird.
The cat who slept on my pillow with me found my head fascinating. She licked my scalp for a while until I wrapped my head with the towel.
Now, beside the shock of seeing myself in the mirror, it’s not a strange feeling at all. Even when I run my hand along the bumps and stubble.
People say it looks great, and you can hardly see the sixes.
Most mornings, I wake up early.
I start a cup of coffee, have some yogurt, and eat vitamin and fiber chews.
Then I get out my wireless headset so I can listen to my favorite podcasts.
At some point, Tinny jumps up on my shoulder and takes a nap. And I pet her.
I can type or text while my arm is around her. She doesn’t mind much.
The earlier, the better. More time to pet her. But at some point, I have to get up, shower, get dressed, and go to work.
She hates those goodbyes.
I do too.
A long time ago, when I was working support for a small public television station, I got a call from secretary in Marketing who said that her computer was frozen.
“Did you reboot the machine?” I asked.
“No,” she said. “It’s frozen. Frozen solid.”
I put down the phone and ran back to the Marketing Department.
Sure enough, the caterers for a fundraiser had dropped off ice and champagne, and the ice had spilled out on to the floor
The computer was encased in ice.
We left it outside to thaw, and salvaged what we could from the hard drive.
When I was little, my dad would drive us to my grandparents’ place in Chicago.
We’d visit for family things. Dinners out or dinners in.
Well, that, and to pick up the dry-cleaning. They owned a chain of dry-cleaning stores.
Sometimes, we’d borrow one of his employees to work as a maid.
They all looked so sick and weary.
Carbon tetrachloride cleaning solution. Nasty stuff.
My grandfather died from that stuff.
And dozens of his employees. Dozens.
You don’t tell your children about this kind of thing.
My other grandparents ran a grocer’s warehouse.
We just visited for free food.
When I feel down about things at work, I have to remind myself that things are much better here than anywhere else I’ve worked.
This isn’t the fucking public TV station, threatening to take muppets away from kids if you don’t pay up.
This isn’t the fucking news TV station, polluting the airwaves with sensationalist bullshit in between the commercials.
This isn’t the fucking webhosting company, treating broken freaks and geeks like slaves so they can host porn, jihad, and stolen music and movies.
“This is better,” I tell myself. “We are better than that.”
And, thankfully, I believe it.