Tag Archives: obvious

Kids Ask The Darndest Questions

My nephew is always asking the silliest questions when I go over my sister’s house.  He really is a good kid and smarter than his years, but sometimes he comes out of left field with the things he questions. 

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Last month, he was asking anything and everything about space travel. “How much gasoline to they have to put in the tank of the rocket if they are to reach all the way to Mars?  Do they have gas stations there so they can fill up to come home?  Do they put Premium in, or can they get away with the cheaper stuff?”  He even went so far as to ask if they use a credit card to pay for it, because, “that’s alot of cash to be carrying around”!

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This past weekend, he was the honored guest at my sister’s, it was a birthday party for Peter. I met them at the bowling alley to help set up the decorations and set the tables for Peter and his friends.  We had a theme for his 10th birthday, although I’m not quite sure what it really was, all I knew was that I HAD TO  BRING a bag of playing cards, a bag of unpopped popcorn, a bag of popped popcorn and a bag of ping pong balls.  We also had a variety of the more traditionally-themed party fare – ballooms, pin the tail on the donkey and a pinata.

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After bowling two games, it was time to blow out the birthday boy’s candles and open gifts, but before we began, Peter decided to entertain his guests with a magic show.  He came prepared, too; a top hat, a wand, a stuffed bunny, and his girlfriend, Emily was his assistant.  After doing the ring separation and the guess which card  tricks, his pal Jimmy started bum-dum-bumming a drumroll and with a light of a firecracker and a poof, Peter jumped up onto the table and said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I bet all of you that this bag”, pointing to a brown paper bag that looked heavy, “weighs more than these other bags (while pointing to the four plastic bags of items I brought over).  Do I have any takers?” he added.

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Jimmy jumped up, raising his hand and yelled out, “I bet you a dollar”!  Then a couple of other boys and sweet Emily chimmed in “Yeah, me too”!  Meanwhile, I was thinking that Peter hadn’t shown anyone what was in the brown bag, but it was his trick so I just shut up and watched.

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Having all ‘takers’ now spoken , Peter then took the bag of playing cards and gave it to Jimmy to hold in his right hand.  He then put the brown bag in Jimmy’s left hand, which Jimmy immediately lowered and it became obvious that the brown bag was heavier than the playing cards.  Peter then placed each of the other bags in Jimmy’s right hand, one at a time and each time, the brown bag obviously weighed more.  As the finale, Peter put all four bags in Jimmy’s right hand to weigh against the one brown bag.  You know what happened?  Yes, all four bags were lighter than the one, solitary brown bag.

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“What’s in there?” someone blurted out.  “Yeah, we wanna know” said the rest of the children, with that, Jimmy started to tell the story of when he asked me how much the HUMAN BRAIN weighed.  Everyone got quiet, and a few of the girls were squirming in their seats thinking that a human brain was in the brown paper bag, when Peter ripped open the bag and ALL HIS MARBLES SPILLED ONTO THE FLOOR with a loud crash, one even rolled down the lane and tapped a bowling pin and knocked it over!

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Peter smiled as he snatched the eight bucks from his friends and said, “Let us eat cake!”

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-dld Feb. 3, 2011-

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T10 – Plot Thickens, Thursday: A bag of marbles

Facing The Demons That Lurk Up The Ladder, Step One

Climbing into the darkness. 
That’s how it always starts. 
I don’t know where I was beforehand,
 and I don’t know why I am pursuing that space above. 
My climb up always starts with ease and determination in step.
Right, left, right, left, right until I am left at the top rung. 
I hesitate.
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That’s what I do when I’m uncertain of what to do next,
 of whether or not I should continue my march up. 
All I am sure of is the darkness, it is everywhere. 
Even when I’m not looking, I sense the chill
 and heaviness presses on my lungs. 
The chill that envelopes and squeezes. 
I don’t like the feelings I have here. 
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I hesitate with trepidation, for myself and for what will become of me
 when I step beyond that which I am able to see. 
Progress can only be made when movement is forward,
 or to that place of unknowns in the dark. 
Progress can only be made when progression is achieved
over doing nothing,
but hesitate. 
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It is a more complex entity, that space. 
It presents more to chew on. 
If you are hungry enough, you will forge your self, your feet, your mark. 
Moving on is not scarey, but entering a room,
 when before, I was only climbing up to an unknown, unseen space.
It is unexpected, and foreign and presents it’s own set of things to understand. 
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I have gotten this far, yes, so I suck up all strengths that I once had 
and climb into that room. .

I stand alone,
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as though a spotlight highlights my entry. 
Can it be sensed that I am filled with apprehension? 
Can it be that obvious?
 The light points out the fact that I am sweating. 
 The light shows that I am ill-at-ease.
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I go no further and stand alone in a room filled with fear.
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My fear to climb.
 Not a fear of darkness.
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I am afraid to better myself, to go up,
 to grow.
I am afraid of success, afraid
to succeed at being anything that is different than how I am now,
 a mediocre bystander in the dark
 in a room filled with my fears.
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-dld january last, 2011, and there will never be another
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ThinkingTen – On Location, Mondays: In a room filled with fear.

They Don’t Make Rain Like They Used To

We all knew what was coming next, all of us apparently, except for me. It all started when Jeremy S. bought a flute at a yard sale. After taking to playing it rather well, he thought it would be a gas if the rest of us in the Tuesday night AA meeting each bought an instrument in and we could play as an orchestra, during the last ten minutes of our gatherings.

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Mickey D. grabbed an old trumpet from the garage, dusted it off, polished it so it looked new, but when he placed his soft lips around the mouthpiece, the very first, single, solitary note that came out sounded as though something was leaking from a pipe, rather than the smooth, wallowing sound we all expected. “Clearly, he needs to practice”, I thought.

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Marlena L. also purchased a violin from a yard sale. It was a small, student’s model, but she knew she needed to tune-up her abilities, for it had been more than 30 years since she played in her high school’s band and she didn’t want to slip-up, because she knew how a violin could sound like fingernails scratching a blackboard if the wrong strings were played. Slowly, but surely, each of the thirteen of us took up an instrument and we thought that we could use the ten minutes each week to practice for a recital we could perform at the Holiday Party we have every December.

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I was getting rather good at playing the autoharp that had been leaning on my wall the past twenty, or so, years, as I practiced solo, without ridicule or being disturbed after I got home from work everyday. And it seems that everyone else had been doing the same, for each week when we played together as a group, we sounded better than the week before, although we still sounded like a bunch of musical misfits.

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After rehearsing for nine weeks, we were getting close to that December 20th date to debut our motley crew. Yes, we were a gang of wanna-be’s, but no one was hiding the fact that we really weren’t musicians and took it all in stride. We all went along for this ride, but this is where the story goes awry.

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With less than one week left, we had decided to gather at Marcus B.’s the Saturday before the party. Marcus told us that he had enough room, but lacked the seating and asked us each to bring a chair. After arriving, I popped the latch and walked around to the trunk of my car to pull out the folding chair, when it began to rain. This was no ordinary rain… it poured! Rain that pelted sleet as though it came from someone’s slingshot! And I was it’s target. I was barraged so fiercely and hard, I was struck down, face in the dirt, one arm holding the leg of the chair, the other cradling my autoharp.

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When I came to, I was inside Marcus’s living room, soaking wet and sore on my left arm, all the way to my index finger. No one told me how badly it looked. No one told me that I appeared differently, and until we began to play Greensleeves, I hadn’t noticed that something was very wrong, or so I thought. Greensleeves was a song that had a solo part I played, so when it was time for the refrain, I just froze… but the autoharp played itself. “What the…?”, I asked while watching my finger direct the strings to be strum. It was dumbfounding, but there it was, right in front of my eyes, I became nervous and stood up, all the while, the music played on!

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Nothing was obvious to me, not at this point, and because I had been unconscious, I have no recollection of anything happening, but it seems that I was now a conductor of electricity or something similar. Marlena L. said to me, “You were out like Sonny Liston in the ring, but things began to move around the room, it was eerie but also very magical. You were like a devil playing, things were thrown about the room, instruments were chasing people. We didn’t know what to make of it! Rather than get you to the hospital, we thought we could have a little fun with you first.  Hon, are you feeling okay?”

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That night, I shrugged it off and made like I was, but I knew something had changed inside of me. Needless-to-say, I came here to the Mayo Clinic after our Holiday Bash. They say that I was stuck by lightning and a surge of energy wreaked havoc on my nervous system. That much they know for sure, what they don’t know is how to fix it. Two hours ago, I made a phone call asking for a cab, I’m going home. I decided to use this “power” to my advantage. Since I’ve been here for six weeks, I decided soon after getting here, that I wished to change my job and after about seven phone interviews, I finally got the call – I will be the next Conductor for the Boston Philharmonic, I start tomorrow.

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-dld January 15, 2011-

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T10 prompts: We all knew what was coming next – in the garage – single, soft, slip – something leaking – the trunk of the car, above Canvas Image

My Passions Have Been Released

“What else should I be?”, the giant billboard near the off-ramp of Route 80 stated, as I almost veered onto the grass shoulder. I would not have looked at it twice, nor even thought about the question, if not for the imposing image of me. “Wow!”, I thought, “is it that obvious? Do the trees, and clouds, and even the gods see that I need to change? I mean, what is lacking that I once had? Does it offend someone… Everyone, that I no longer posses what it takes to be The Best?”

I couldn’t drive past that billboard. It taunted me. It made me feel shame… it made me feel as though I am not and should not be worthy of such self-made accolades and attention. Days passed into weeks. I gradually became so unnerved and paranoid, always looking over my shoulder. I was considering therapy or some other kind of program which caters to people with similar dysfunctions.

Finally, after a good night’s sleep, I found that I wasn’t as obsessed with finding answers to the questions that pounded my brain. Not until I saw that a new billboard had been erected off the exit ramp I’d been taking to avoid that other one. Now my inadequacies were challenged with this new sign, “Do no harm, but do it”.

Still unsure of what that meant, I decided to call the Clinic afterall, and set up an appointment. You see, I am Vertically Disabled. People like me, and there are plenty to be found if you look closely at the way tasks are first started, have issues with tending to most anything from a front-on, take it step by step approach, putting everything in their proper place for easy retrieval. This isn’t me. I spread out papers and bills on the table, all over the floor and I make lists of things to do. I know where things are, but you may not trust my placement, thinking it is illogical and flighty.

My stay at the Clinic did me some good, for I no longer see life passing by on the horizon. It encompasses too long an endless track to get caught up following, going nowhere. I learned how to file my piles. I learned how to tackle my tasks and chores and Life in an orderly and timely fashion. I was the best. I was darned good at procratinating and making piles of things to do tomorrow. I no longer live that way, for I found that if I do what needs to done, NOW, I actually have more time and energy to spend doing the things that I want to do. Things that I love.

-dld october 19, 2010
for T10, prompt: What else should I be?