Entries from April 2009 ↓

A Hippie Answer For Everything?


My son, Luke, 12, whom I worship, said he can’t go to the movies with me today because he has to mow the grass, pick up dog crap and wash the car.

I wrote him an email in which I said, “Try to feel love for all of life even as you mow the grass, pick up dog crap, and wash the car.”

His reply, “Do you have a hippie answer for everything?”

Life Is Good

Saw the now mass-produced slogan on a wheel cover, screwed to the back of a Jeep today, “Life Is Good.”  It sometimes feels insane to grab it and hold it the way I do, but it  is ultimately and finally the best lover, the truest friend, the steadiest company.  Life, those trees just ahead of me on the highway, those clouds, that blade of grass, they vibrate a universal energy that puts Exxon in the shade.  Sure Exxon makes enough profit to fight the war, but it can’t make even one blade of grass.  I vote for photosynthesis.

It has been that kind of day.  Good, good vibrations rock me out like I just might have found the best drug ever in deep breath and affirming oneness with the subatomic structure of gravel.  Yes, yes, yes!  I pound my dashboard and suck in another lung full, hoping nobody gawks at me at the red light or calls the law.  Even National Public Radio is failing to compare to the radio I pick up from those ducks crossing the road in front of me.  You go, you crazy ducks!

Ecstasy over the ordinary seems so unfashionable.  How could this be cool?  The man is driving a borrowed car, living with a friend, owes the IRS (Happy April 15, everybody) and his dentist and has about 150 copies of his latest book hocked.  This is not somebody we want our daughters to grow up to marry.  Yet, there he is shouting for joy because a sunbeam just cracked across a bank of clouds in the western sky.  Maybe he needs an anti-psychotic drug.  Oooh, there he goes again, taking another deep breath.

I love North Carolina

A dear friend, Susie Lentz, of High Point recently sent me one of those lists that lets you know you live in North Carolina.  If you take yourself too seriously, you can get offended by the stereotypes and gentle chiding found in this kind of reading.  But I take myself way too seriously, way beyond too seriously, so I see a little insanity in everything.

Here was my reply to Susie’s shared tomfoolery:

In the hills of North Carolina, yunz is a word.  It is second person plural.  The possessive of it is yunzes.  Example, “Is that yunzes truck out in the driveway?  What did yunz pay for it?”
The word “it” often requires an “h” in front of it.  As in, “Hit don’t matter.”  If hit really don’t matter, some of us might be heard to say, “Not airy a bit.”
In Eastern North Carolina, “r’s” have been eliminated except at the beginning of a word.  “They ain’t near as much water in the rivah as they used to be.”  The word “water” is also pronounced at least seven or eight different ways in North Carolina, one of which sounds a little like “wooder,” but not quite.  I honestly have no idea how to spell it.
Western and Eastern North Carolinians sound nothing alike, and it is amazing that we can communicate with each other at all.  Piedmont North Carolinians, especially those who have been to college, believe they have no accent at all, which just cracks me up.  In truth, they have beautiful accents. They just talk faster than the rest of us in hopes nobody will notice.

Making Ferrari Dream Come True

Caleb is one of Luke’s friends.  Luke is my incredibly cool 12-year-old son.  He knows a lot about rock bands, has just finished writing his first book, and plays a mean game of air soft.  But those are only a smidgen of the cool things about him.

Caleb is not Luke’s coolest friend.  Among Josh, Kane, Thoran, Devante, Blake, Daniel, and the rest of the gang, they all know who is the coolest of Luke’s friends, and there is only the slimmest chance that it might be Caleb.  I mean I guess, you know, it could be Caleb, because Caleb does play the guitar, and he is funny, like you know and stuff, and he stands around with this smile on his face like it really wouldn’t like matter if Luke’s dad thought he was like cool or whatever, because he knows, he is, well, you know he knows.

So, anyway, I’m like telling Caleb the other night it was nice of him to come over and thanking him and all like that, and so I say to him like, “I hope all your dreams come true.”  And he smiles and he says, “You, too.  I hope you get that Ferrari.”

It struck me.  Not the actual Ferrari, but the chance that I might dream of having a Ferrari.  How could he like get me so wrong?  Not that he isn’t cool and all, because obviously he is and all, but still, you know?  How could we go so wrong that our kids would think we dream of owning a Ferrari instead of cooking dinner for the world and turning gun into flower pots?  I’m pretty sure that Luke knows I don’t dream of owning or putting gas in a Ferrari.  Do Ferraris actually burn gas?  I don’t remember ever seeing one at a gas pump next to me and my 1995 Honda Civic, which is on loan from Luke’s brother, Pepper.  I haven’t actually owned a car in 19 years, but that’s mostly because I drove a company car for about ten of those years, then drove my mom’s old car until my niece needed it, and then Pepper moved to California so now I’m driving his old car which has 275,000 miles on it.

How many hungry children could we feed with the price of a Ferrari?  How many schools could we build in Afghanistan with the insurance premiums on a Ferrari? 

This piece was supposed to be about making dreams come true, because I realy do believe that is important, and I have been thinking about it all day long, and just now I got the chance to write about it, and so I guess this is one of my dreams come true, to write this piece.

Thank you for reading it.