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my thoughts run
faster than you can fly
and snaring you by
is easier when
it catches the hem
of the robe
that covers me with peace;
dancing alone feeds
in a dream
i found myself covered
with the knowledge
that a thousand soldiers
from the envy of a king
could no more
conquer themselves than
find a path running
to the open doors
of your eyes
running, flying, snaring;
covered, fled, conquered;
exhausted methods failed
now are free to pursue
I coiled a hair and
blew a wish
but i can’t
If you asked me about Richie today, I’d say to you “3455”. If you asked me about him tomorrow, I’d say “3456”. That’s how many days it’s been since the accident. Add a few more days to that count to figure out how long since I last heard his voice.
A great memory and a head for numbers are often my advantage over others. In this case, it’s a liability. After a tragedy, people often remark it’s impossible to quantify the loss they feel.
I can quantify my loss. And I can do it in terms of days and hours.
Do you remember the time we played football on my elementary school field?
Do you remember thinking it was going to be a simple throwing/catching session, but I tackled you because I had to touch you before the desire collapsed my lungs?
Do you remember the start of the evening on which I’d propose?
Do you remember wanting to throw up when you saw me, my nervousness radiating like a social disease?
Do you remember taking me -- to have and to hold, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, til death do us part?
The new color Palms with the expandable port. Makes my Palm V outdated. I should get one. You don’t need a new one. Mine can’t do half of what that can do. You don’t need another one. Need has nothing to do with it. Didn’t you just pass three homeless people? You want a new Palm? I wonder if they all know each other. Let each other know which corner they’re taking post at that day. Maybe it’s assigned. He’s been at the same corner for a while now. What do they think about all day? I couldn’t do it.
Hurricane Lili departed, and because of me, thousands of people and millions of dollars were saved. How? Just like Isidore earlier this year, when the storms escalated in strength, I cheered. Not because I wanted people to suffer. I have nothing against Central America in the case of Isidore, or the southern states in the case of Lili (except Lousiana, but that’s another story). I wanted to see a Category 5 because I love watching God manifest His power. Of course when I publicly cheered for great destruction, God reduced the storms’ strength. God shows mercy where I would not.
Similar to my affecting the outcomes of storms, I can also affect the outcomes of sporting events. Over the past fifteen years, of the hundreds of games I’ve watched either on television or in person, I’ve seen exactly six victories. I remember each of the six victories was watched with a crowd of other people, so their presence somehow collectively negated my curse. But if it’s a close game and I’m rooting for the same team you are – you should ask me to leave. My wife doesn’t believe in curses, but she asks me to leave when we watch sports.
Upon hearing of my ability to change the weather and the outcome of sporting events, you might call me arrogant. You might tell me the universe does not revolve around me, that God does not change history to suit one individual’s desires. But aren’t all forms of prayer simply pleas for God to change the outcome of events in your favor? And what if He’s not really changing the entire course of history just for you.
Maybe the beauty of knowing God is this: that He makes you feel special -- as if the universe really
revolve around you.
To anyone wishing you could remember everything, I tell you that you don’t want that. What you want is the ability to remember only certain things: your ATM password, your phone number and address, your e-mail login, important anniversaries and birthdays, etc. But not everything, no.
My memory is at the same time extraordinary and maddening, talented advantage and frightening disability. I owe every modest success I’ve ever attained to it; I blame every psychological complex on it. I am both proud of it for what it does for me, and regretful of it for what it does to me.
Because I truly do remember just about everything that happens to me. And while recalling the time you and your father went fishing for Perch beneath that bridge spanning the Bay – remembering the way he helped you string a hook, and how he switched poles with you whenever he got a bite – while that’s worthwhile, you still don’t want it all.
Not every one of your old gym locker combinations. Not every detail of every embarrassing moment you’ve ever had. Not every sour word, hurtful word, hateful word. It does not feel any less embarrassing, sour, hurtful, or hateful later.
I remember one night as clearly as if they had captured the moment on DVD: the 5th and 6th grade award ceremony at Mann Elementary. Being an overachiever and goody-goody, I was always a teacher’s pet from kindergarten on. My 6th grade teacher took a particular liking to me – probably because by February, I had basically finished the rest of the year’s work and spent the spring helping him teach the rest of the class. I won fifteen awards that night.
. By the tenth award, more out of embarrassment than hubris, I was clapping for myself like an idiot.
The fact that I was clapping for myself wasn’t so bad. The fact that I did it loudly every time was. Add to that my raising my fist a few times, and you have a complete idiot. On the way back to my seat after pocketing my fifteenth award, I grinned at the audience maybe a second too long and audaciously. I settled into my seat and overheard my friend Karma’s mother whisper to Karma (they were behind me over my left shoulder), “Who does that arrogant little jerk think he is?”
Trust me – it feels no less embarrassing now.
Two months ago, in 100 words I tried to settle the Lucas vs Tolkien argument. I gave the edge to Lucas on the basis of one scene. Granted the scene of Yoda with a light-saber is the single greatest scene to ever be captured on film. But I’ve watched my
DVD countless times since August, and it continues to stir, move and excite me. When I think of
, I only want to view the action scenes, and ignore the rest of it.
Hence, I admit my error:
Next question: Liv or Natalie?
1. A boy and a girl live in the same town. Boy loves girl. Girl likes boy, sort of. Girl’s relatives aren’t keen on Orientals joining the family. Exactly how far apart are the boy and the girl?
2. Girl moves away to college. Boy is not expecting to hear from girl again. Girl calls boy on first night in new city. Does the girl really like the boy after all?
3. Boy and girl are on and off for three years. Boy decides to propose. What are the chances the girl says yes? (Hint: they live happily ever after)
There is a cult in Boston called the Church of Christ. One day when I was in college, two of their members approached me and struck up a conversation. I feigned interest (I don’t know why). They asked for my number. I didn’t want to give them my number, but in haste to give them a fake one, I gave them my roommate’s line. I then told my roommate to lie when they called.
The irony is I broke one of the Ten Commandments and asked another Christian to break the same Commandment in order to keep my faith pure.
Three very short, random
Knocking me unconscious.
Who’s that knocking?
Who’s that girl?
Girl, interrupted --
You’re not an interruption.
You’re not the one for me,
The one I believe in.
Give me something to believe in.
Give me a break.
Breaking my spirit
Spirit of peace,
Peaceful resolution –
Revolution, resolution, revelation.
Poverty sucks – positively so
Great First Line From a Story I Can’t Finish:
I once stole a half-empty asthma inhaler off the body of a homeless man sleeping near Times Square.
Twenty Seconds of Consciousness:
they’re not going to believe you that you really hear me all day that it really sounds like this in your head all day not stopping just me talking and arguing i don’t care if they believe it then why write it because i want to i don’t answer to you don’t you no i don’t they’ll just think you’re crazy or exaggerating or crazily exaggerating you friggin’ weirdo you who could stand this all day you barely can don’t i know it listen just stop right now because
no one will believe it
I think what drew me to the original He-Man cartoon was He-Man’s strength. Here I am, all of 5’6”, barely able to benchpress my own weight, much less take matters into my own hands. And there he was with the power to lift castles to save others. That type of strength used to fight evil is also what drew me to G.I. Joe. I admire heroism and power, wondering what it is in people that allow them to become heroes, and whether that inner strength is also in me.
Now, what drew me to The Transformers were the badass
Movies everyone cries at, but I didn’t:
The Joy Luck Club (the ending meeting between sisters or the baby’s death – Amy Tan is overrated)
City of Angels (when Meg dies – good riddance)
Titanic (when Jack dies – I wish Rose died, too)
Forrest Gump (Forrest Gump at Jenny’s grave – speaking of overrated, no one is more overrated than Tom Hanks)
Actual movies I cried at, that most people don’t:
Transformers the Movie (when Optimus Prime dies)
Fellowship of the Rings (whenever Frodo tears up)
Spiderman (when Peter Parker cries on graduation day)
The Iron Giant (when the iron giant sacrifices himself)
The cliché is that “(fill in a sport) is a game of inches.” An inch from the foul pole here. An inch from the left sideline there. An inch inside the three-point line over here. An inch from a glove-save over there. (Aside: For the record, only football, baseball, basketball, soccer, and hockey are sports. Golf, figure skating, tennis, et al are NOT.) The thing to note is that these near successes or tragedies in sports are all the more exciting because they mimic the nearness of successes and/or tragedies we encounter in real life only sans the personal cost.
My brother has a mean independent streak. I don’t use “mean” in the positive sense of “intimidating” or “powerful” as in “That’s one mean Ferrari.” I also don’t use it in the negative sense of “cruel” or “hurtful”. I think his independent streak is “mean” in the mixed sense that it’s powerful when focused to cause action, but unintentionally hurtful because it excludes everyone around him.
On one kindergarten occasion, he decided to walk home alone instead of waiting for my mother. An hour later, we found him lost and confused. In inches, how close was he to real harm?
My mother -- blessed with the ability to recall anything we’ve ever done or said if it helps her yell at us more effectively -- references the kindergarten incident whenever she argues with my brother. In her maternal desire to protect her children, she reverts to the only strategy she and mothers of the animal kingdom are familiar – drawing the offspring closer. Mean independence conflicts with this strategy head-on.
Once we recovered my wandering brother, my mother alternately yelled at and comforted him. The boundary between foul and fair is a mile-wide compared to the inches between love and rage.
a time existed when
a heart like mine
enforced like granite
could not be split
by the hammers
of a thousand
a time existed when
a soul like mine
the reach of accidental pain
could not be touched
by the slipping fingers
of genuine interest
grasping at last straws
a time existed when
a love like mine
could not be purely viewed
by eyes unused to receiving
feelings tempered by caution
those times have passed
and i have a soft spot for you
and it’s the size
of all eternity
One of my college roommates makes fun of a Christian poster I hung in my dormroom. It depicted a muscled Jesus pushing himself off the ground. On His back was a cross with a label on it that read “sins of the world.” The bottom had the words “The Lord’s Gym,” and the kicker was the phrase across the top of the poster in big red letters: “Benchpress this.”
What I liked about the poster other than its religious implications and design was the belief that sin is this heavy weight that presses us ever closer to a grinning Hell.
blind rage the man in the corvette behind you honking his horn because it took you a millisecond before accelerating at the light turning green uncontrolled fury the woman in line ahead of you scrabbling for change in the express checkout ignorant of your hurry Bruce becoming the Hulk feeling it rise from the pit of your stomach before concentrating as a red-seeing peachpit where your stomach kisses your lungs emerging visibly by forcing itself through the flashing of your eyes and the spewing of venom and bile from a throat incapable of containing the flow of this rawness
I really don’t want to do anything creative. I should do what I’ve seen some of the other entrants do. Just count from one to a hundred to take up the day’s word quota. Or I can write about how the process of writing a hundred words is something I don’t want to do right now. Or I can write about writing a hundred words. The sort of meta-writing that is more inane laziness than creativity. But I kinda did that already – the second day I wrote a hundred words, actually. August 2nd. Or I can just write this.
Halloween approaches – a holiday I despised as a child. See, growing up we didn’t have enough money to frivolously purchase something used only one day a year. Amidst a classroom full of children dressed as princesses and vampires and demons, I wished only for a costume to disguise my embarrassment. And for a day, I envied my classmates – their fancy masks, their makeup, their costumes, and for many a minute, their lives -- their families that were wealthy enough to spend frivolously. But if longing for a better life is envy, maybe I don’t understand what’s so cardinally sinful.
My pastor once made an interesting point – that sinful desires are corruptions of feelings once pure. When God says He is a jealous God, it’s not evil; the corruption of jealousy -- envy -- is. Similarly, lust is the corruption of love.
I love controlling others. I believe that I’d control them with the intent of bringing about positive outcomes. It instead corrupts to lust for power -- the power to make other people obey me, their wills conforming to my own.
Lord help us if others’ wills ever conform to my own – would be sin conforming to sin.
Soft Batch chocolate chip cookies Red Vine licorice whips McDonald’s french fries washed down with a McDonald’s chocolate milkshake Brach’s caramel squares Starbucks vanilla frappucinos Little Caesar’s Crazy Bread Cadbury cream eggs milk chocolate coins sweethearts grilled salmon with a touch of lemon flat Sprite Kraft macaroni and cheese Philly cheesesteak Chili’s Chicken Crispers boneless buffalo wings from Alston Sports Depot Almond Joys Kit Kat peanut butter sandwich on toasted Home Pride wheat bread my mother’s spring rolls my wife’s Turkey Pot Pie the day after Thanksgiving Pizza Hut personal pan pepperoni
hugs and kisses from my daughter Angie
Am I greedy?
(1) I work approximately 60 hours a week, and only travel three or four times a month. Yet I long for a job that allows me to work at home so I can spend more time with my family.
(2) I get paid more than most my age, but wish I had unlimited funds with which to shower my family with random gifts.
(3) I already have the perfect family (perfect wife and perfect daughter). And yet, I can’t wait for my son Zachary to be born in February.
Am I greedy? I guess I am.
There’s not a sin I struggle with more than vanity (also called “pride”). Arrogance is believing your attributes/talents are better than those of people around you. But what’s wrong with feeling proud of skills God has given you? When I’m proud of my intelligence, memory, or sense of humor (you can argue these aren’t that great anyway), what’s the sin in smiling inside at gifts He has given?
Is it that so often people leave out the “He has given me” part and believe it was all them? If that’s true, shouldn’t this be the sin of bad memory?
I really didn’t think I’d be able to do one, much less two. But three? Not on my life.
Ninety-two days. Nine thousand two hundred words.
I wrote papers in college that were many times that length. But to make each of the hundred words stand alone, to make each of them meaningful – well, that’s a whole different effort.
And it’s an effort that I don’t believe I can continue for another month, another thirty days, another three thousand words.
Tomorrow I might feel differently. I guess we’ll see December 1 if I succeeded in extending my effort.
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