Thursday, May 12, 2016

Tidying Up

Ah, yes!  T. S. Eliot was right:  April IS the cruelest month!  And I know why – it’s tax time!  In the middle of a month that is a veritable orgy of abundance, the Tax Man cometh. 

Taxes make life very untidy.  My financial profile is disheveled, like a ballot laden with a horde of hanging chads…and every chad is hanging in a different direction. My accounts are in disarray, as if they were the hairballs that had just been disgorged by a deranged cat bent on offing himself with an overdose of Ipecac. 

When my investment adviser was showing me the numbers on my tax return, it was obvious some governmental subversive gone rogue had kicked my assets into a higher tax bracket. I was stupefied. I was wracked by jagged breaths. I broke into a high-pitched lament, a primal whine, and began emitting various unintelligible, wordless growls. Oh, the convulsions!  Oh, the paroxysms of desperation!  Oh, the tendency to hyperbolize! 

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m no miser.  I fully expect to pay my fair share to Uncle Sam. But it was with great mandibular activity on my wad of gum that I refrained, in the name of karmic justice, from flinging a tantrum, conjuring a plague of pustules and imposing the likeness of Mick Jagger’s lips on every inefficient politician responsible for tariff terrorism. Really?  The amount levied by the IRS has the same quantity of numerical digits as my accountant’s cell number! I laid in a sump of self pity.

What’s going on in Washington? It’s hostile territory. Has someone who is genetically challenged and teetering on the surreal edge of normalcy, made a Faustian deal to test the limits of human endurance…not to mention hapless widows?  I always thought there was specific neuronal wiring that distinguished us from other animals.  After April, obviously, I was wrong. Of course, I read somewhere that hemorrhoids have a higher favorability rating than Congress. So, apparently, do root canals. Go figure.  Hemorrhoids can be surgically removed.  That explains a lot.  Washington is not exactly saturated with a population of aspiring candidates for intellectual glory. Every time certain politicians open their mouths, they subtract from the sum total of human knowledge. Talk about a checklist of depravity. Perhaps that explains the current state of the Presidential election – a mind-numbing drop in this country’s collective IQ to a single digit.

Thank goodness April is also saturated with lilacs.  Lilacs are concentrated blossoms with a singular fragrance, comprising the sublime whole.  They are truly more than the sum of their parts. There is never anything wrong with life that can’t be fixed with what is right with lilacs.

Lilacs bloom in inhospitable geography.  Lilacs are a glorious lavender…or white or a soft blush.  They leave one with a sort of divine befuddlement…how could something so incandescently lovely, bloom in tax season?  Smelling the perfume of lilacs is singular, like reading Psalms to ward off fear. 

There’s something permanent about lilacs, although their blooming season lasts only two weeks.  It’s amazing that a blossom so fragile can serve as anchor to the soul…like poetry or scriptures. 

I once said that lilacs have honorable subtlety.  They are a symbol of the deep perfection of life, as well as reminders of anniversaries that give one a sense of self. I never miss an opportunity to denude some unsuspecting neighbor’s lilac bush of its precious blooms.  When life becomes revolting and coarse (witness the messy electoral process currently assaulting this country, laced with vitriol and vulgarisms), lilacs bring a brief refinement, a distinct grace, a sweet respite from all that is fetid in the political arena, or any arena, for that matter. Now, I don’t embezzle any other flowers.  I have my ethics, after all. That’s not evidence of integrity on my part.  Merely the lack of energy to transgress with the same zeal and energy of my youth. However, if theft of lilacs were a felony, I would plead guilty as charged. It always gives me the most disturbing sense of satisfaction to breathe in the intoxicating perfume of contraband lilacs. But I would not be convicted by a jury of my peers.  That’s mostly because my peers don’t have the zeal or energy to judge.  I’d get a full pardon.

My task at present, however, is to tidy up in May the mess that was made in April.

 There is a book called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marre Kondo.  Apparently, the premise is: Power comes to those whose chads are all in a row.

Ok.  I’ll buy that.  It’s caused me to rethink my whole life. 

So I’ve decided to (metaphorically speaking) impose order on my personal chaos, knit up my unraveled sleeve, be aglow with cleanliness, pledge to become chipperer, and smite dead the fearsome dread of THE UNTIDY that creates scabby growths on my mind, binds the bowels and results in emotional constipation.  I will NOT join the ranks of the comically useless, or worse…the beguilingly incompetent, simply because I flung a tantrum of the untidy, and caused chaos in the universe!

I will be the Attilla the Hun of ordered, analytical reason, the Mother Theresa of the methodical, the matriarch of meditation, the gladiator of the shipshape…structured, logical, systemized…corpulently punctilious…

I’m going to change my life. 


But…uh…where do I begin?

I think that was a rhetorical question. (Note to self: look up “rhetorical.”) 

Carpe cerebral:  seize the brain.  The physical and the mental do not have the same texture.   Before one can put the physical in order, one must put the mind in order. Actually, in spite of being naturally platinum, I am clandestinely erudite. And, beneath the fa├žade of conventional behavior, I am an organization freak.  I throb to the rhythm of structured logic.

If I am to tidy up any stratum of my life, I must first start with my mind. Forget the corporeal. But before I can decide what is in disarray within the confines of said mind, I must begin with what is in order.

Is there anything lovely in the structure of my mind that I could place before a tribunal of tidy people that could be for the well-being and elevation of mankind?  (I always like to begin with lofty goals.  Woman is vain, after all. Besides, what is the purpose of any intelligence, if not to serve others, and make them succulent with inspiration?  Then I will at least have the satisfaction of having done my duty.) I refuse to be a casualty of insipid vapidness. (Note #2 to self:  look up “vapidness.”)

Ah, but I digress.

Some of the order in my mind is not necessarily symmetrical.  But the following is what has managed to emerge from the clutter and chaos of confronting the worst that is imaginable…and possibly extracting the best.

*Being joyful is a state of mind, not circumstance.

*You’re never aware of personal strength, until being strong is your only option.

*The prime of life can be at any time of life.

*Being hugged by a six-foot young man you once walked the floors with when he was a colicky baby is a singular joy.

*While one can have multiple aka’s in one’s lifetime, (e.g. mother, grandmother, widow, matriarch, etc.) one must never forget the importance of being a woman.

*LOVE is the best medicine.

*Expecting children and grandchildren to fill every empty space in life is unrealistic, and places unfair pressure on all parties.

*Rock ‘n Roll is still the finest music around.

*If someone is invited to grow old with someone, one would be wise to give the matter one’s most serious consideration.

*Optics are tricky. Dawn is a matter of intuition, not necessarily visual perception.  Light can be perceived before it is actually seen.

*It is impossible to be angry when one is laughing.

*Broken wings heal, and one can eventually resume flight.

*True friends know each other by heart.

I suppose tidiness is a matter of simple economics.  Life gets messy.  You go through trials.  You learn from the experience. You keep moving forward. 

Ok. Bottom line: yes, life is often untidy, like an unmade bed, and all we need to do is make crisp hospital corners.

Got it. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

It's Just a Matter of Time

Grief alters everything.

For the past few years, I have been living a well-structured life of order and discipline.  La dolce vita.  I’ve been slavishly compelled in keeping everything tidy.  No ragged edges or hanging threads.  Meticulous synchronization. My ducks are all in a row.

I’ve maintained strict jurisdiction over the basic components of every aspect of my existence. 

Its very precision has allowed me power over obstacles and emotions with fluid control.  I denounce disruption or intrusion.  I’m closed and cloistered, as I dance the dance of the seven veils. 

No jolts.  No surprises.  Nothing to mar its perfect symmetry.

I have custody of the empire.  I have dominion over all I survey.  And best of all, I am the alpha Yoda to my tribe of little Yetis. 

I have even declined making New Year’s Resolutions of late, because I wanted to change the world, not me.  The world is witless.  Sometimes the planet seems feeble-minded and predatory, and this whole satellite could use a serious frontal lobotomy.

All this has created a state of grace…an exquisite, impeccable life.

 A masterpiece.

And what could possibly be wrong with that?

Apparently, everything.

It seems, unbeknownst to me, I’ve been suffering from twin surges of pride and delusional myopia. 

This was a somewhat stark and rather unwelcome revelation.  Is it possible perfection is not all it’s cracked up to be?

Where did I go wrong? How did this happen?  Did some of my ducks break rank?

Okay.  So.  A while ago, I began seeing someone.  I know.  I know.  This flies in the face of all my decrees and proclamations I disgorged with vigor, that this ain’t EVER happenin’!  I would NEVER accept invitations from the well-meaning, but chronically confused.

With grim resolve, I determined to remain feloniously solitary.

But with the passage of time, a curious thing happened.  I began to calcify.

So one day, I suspended my habitual reticence.  In this case, the exception was justified.  After all, Michael and I have been friends all our lives.  We were even participants in each other’s weddings.  When his wife passed away, it was only natural that we would gravitate toward each other.

It might have been chance, or karmic distribution, but as time went by, I discovered life could have even more meaning when raised to the power of two.  I also discovered it was ultimately more satisfying to be centered than self-centered.  Who knew?      

Not sure just how this whole thing evolved.  After all, I had established my universe on such admirable traits as being logical, sensible, dependable, responsible, respectable, reasonable, and level-headed.  But sometimes this becomes the refuge for the weak.  What good is it to build a dream residence if it’s nobody’s home?  Living in solitary confinement guarded by a phalanx of Tibetan Warrior Monks humming Gregorian chants might not be as exciting as it sounds.

But then came Michael.

Apparently, fortresses of cinderblock don’t count for jack in his mind.

At first, I politely uh-huhed his invitations.  But then they began to take on a certain appeal.  He preferred watching sunsets in Zion, and going on early-morning bike rides that tested my endurance and made the back of my legs feel twangy, to murmuring mantras in the lotus position. He has an aversion to too much intellectual inbreeding.

As a lawyer, he has taught me words like “scintilla” and “tort.”  I try to work them into every-day conversation, like, “Wow! Take a look at those torts!” (Hey, I’m working on it.) He also explained the concept of “quid pro quo.”  If I understand correctly, it simply means that if he gets the movie tickets, I get the popcorn. It’s all so easy, it’s a wonder I never went to law school.

He can make a contract that is legally binding and as tight Scarlet O’Hara’s corset, and then turn around and belt out the old novelty caveman song, “Allie Oop.”

Michael is articulate and fluent in French.  Recently he wrote, “Que tes revec soit doux.”  Loosely translated, it means, “Darlin’, you have spinach lodged between your teeth.”

Most important, he was Dennis’ boyhood friend, and mourns his loss as I do.

I, on the other hand, have had a rather confounding change in attitude and latitude.  I’ve been seriously contemplating removing the sewing machine from the oven so I can bake cookies.  Yeah, right.  Like that’s ever going to happen!

But I do find myself wanting to pluck, shave or wax all rogue facial hair, and firm up the protective arm flab that’s marbled with juicy fat and serves as a playground where the Mbuti Pygmies of the Congo can frolic.  I want to become smothered in muscle. I no longer hang out in long, winter woollies. I’m trying to soften my architecture.  I may be multi-chinned and Buddha-esque circumferentially, but he doesn’t seem to notice, much less care. 

Michael carpet-bombed my well-ordered citadel, and persuaded me to follow the life I never planned. 

Sometimes we all need rescuing from the predicament of the “perfect” life.  It helps to be fearless, but it’s not a prerequisite.  Maybe change isn’t always for the worst.  I’ve learned nothing works out according to plan, but it always works out.

A relationship is a living entity.

I don’t know what will eventually happen, but perhaps for the first time in a long time, I see alternate possibilities.  Maybe my myopic vision has distortions, after all.  But I’m ready to take a chance.  It’s an adrenaline rush. 

Who knows?  Maybe it’s just a matter of time.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Pustules and Politics

Autumn is a verb.  It has a rhythm all its own.  It’s that calendar season when leaves cover the ground, and doctors’ appointments cover the day-planner.

After an interlude of several years, I figured it was time to hie me to the dermatologist.  Makes sense.  The skin is the largest organ of the body, and mine has been getting larger and folding in on itself of late.  And I wanted every fold, pleat, crease, and wrinkle parted and excavated for anything the least bit suspicious, asymmetrical, discolored, or resembling last year’s Halloween candy.

 I don’t know why doctors’ appointments fill me with dread.  I would actually prefer sliding on razor 

As personable as I’d heard this dermatologist is, I entered the office with ragged breath and emitting sulphuric belches.  Waiting is nerve wracking. 

When she came into the exam room, I saw that she was officious, professional, and diminutive.  I liked the diminutive part best.  Just how much pain could a petite, middle-age woman inflict anyway?
Apparently, quite a lot.  Geez, that woman was packin’ heat!

She asked about my particular areas of concern.  And like an idiot, I told her!

She examined the targeted areas with hands that seemed to know more about my anatomy and the lay of the land than I did.  I had nothing on but a loin cloth and the radio. I felt like the landing point of a kamikaze suicide mission. She parted the Red Sea, and explored every gully and ravine in the terrain with a GPS, sonar, and a gloved hand. 

When she was satisfied that she had “left no Joan unturned,” she headed for her artillery.

Talk about “Carpe Blow Torch!”  She seized flame throwers and Roman candles as she began plotting out strategic assault sites that would have made Atilla the Hun jealous.  She was a thermonuclear Jedi Master.  Ripley looked like a wimp. 

Then, nostrils flaring, she cranked up the wattage, as she genuflected at the foot of a full-length portrait of the god Vulcan.

It was Jihad on the bod!

I was panting and whimpering, wishing I could have had an oxen ring piercing my nose instead.  I would rather have eaten my weight in rubberized French fries.  I was muttering vulgarisms so potent, they subtracted from the sum total of human knowledge. It was scorched earth warfare that left me screeching all “Hindenberg-like,” “OH, THE HUMANITY!!!” 

Just as I was ready to “rage quit,” it was all over.  She blew the smoke from the double barrel of her oozie, which was engraved “The Blister Whisperer,” and returned it to her holster.  Then she carved another notch in her belt, and swaggered up to the bar for a shot of the “hair of the dog that bit me.”
My face was frozen into a kabuki mask, white and stark, and speckled with spittle.

Finally, I was able to unclench my jaws, bloodied but not bowed, and survey the carnage.  I watched a globular cluster of pustules appear where there were once only liver spots.  They were runny and slippery, like egg whites.  I had been transformed into an ambulatory placenta, viscous and gelatinous, so large it had its own zip code.  I was a mass of ooze draped over hamburger.

My wounds were so tender, I told everyone not to touch me. But no one seemed to want to.  Most people didn’t even want to get near me.

As a humanitarian gesture, I’ve been wearing my haz-mat burqa.  It’s my small cubicle of personal privacy, and protects children and small animals from being traumatized.  I also binge-guzzle 
recreational dirty coke to replace my precious bodily fluids.

Luckily, it’s October, the month of Halloween, and my grandkids think I intentionally look like a gargoyle in drag and wearing a fright wig.  I don’t know what I’ll do when it’s November.

I don’t regret my ordeal, but given the choice between a few minutes with Dr. Rambo and listening to three hours of political debates, well, I’d really have to think that one through.  Both leave me gasping for air and ready to perform in the all-male Japanese theater. 

Actually, the more I think about it, the pustules will eventually heal.  End of discussion.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Prodigal Blond

When one is naturally platinum, AND a mental nomad, one is not always aware that time is passing.  Of course, a feeble mind is better than none, I suppose.  It’s September.  I’m perplexed, and wondering where the summer went.  I can account for each day of it, but not the whole of it.

The grandchildren are all back in school.  So far there have been few problems that can’t be explained  by aggravated puberty.  

It seems so quiet.

School started earlier than usual this year.  The annual ritual of delivering children on the first day sun-browned and solar-bleached to their classrooms never seems to get easier, especially for grandmas whose hearts are collateral damage to the education system.  I guess I’ll always be reluctant to share custody.  I’m a veteran by-stander to hard moments.

Because school started earlier, so did autumn, proving that fall is not regulated by the calendar.  I love the harvest season, even though it forces me to adjust my circadian rhythm from vacation standard time.

Our family took a road trip to Washington state in July. Talk about malfeasance in grandparenthood! But it seemed like a good idea at the time. Being cocooned in an enclosed container traveling at 80 m.p.h. down a freeway with pre-pubescent adolescents for extended periods of time makes me wonder just why we don’t eat our young.  It actually affects the lungs, like a suck of immense force and duration. But any grandparent who braves such an adventure and survives, learns a lot.  It’s predatory knowledge.  I’ve become a living proverb.  Learn from me.

So the following is my essay on “Things I Learned This Summer.”
1.      Facial Coding.  I learned very quickly that when the kids begin to look bored, it is only a matter of minutes before they are fighting like Philistines.  Now, I’m not averse to the shedding of a little blood now and then, but not in my new Lexus. 
2.     Possible Solutions to Sibling Carnage:
a.      Hurl empty threats that have lain fallow since our last family trip, without the remotest possibility of exacting consequences. My personal and most impotent favorite:  NON-SURGICAL LOBOTOMIES FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY!  However, as every grandparent knows, empty threats are the prized conduit of faux authority. 
b.     Point out that the aforementioned culprits have all just bartered away their birthrights-their dreams of an inheritance…peat moss!  (Note to self:  Skyrocket the eyebrows while issuing threat.)
c.     Appeal to the better angels of their nature by reminding them we are a “forever family” and then bleating vulgarisms at decibels greater than their tantrums.  The cosmos completely absolves any matriarch who mutters harsh language on family excursions.
d.     Blow vuvuzelas till my eyeballs are bulging, veined and cavernous, hoping the annoyance
threshold sends them insane, and they are forced to seek silence in compliance.
(FYI:  My new favorite word:  “persevere.”)

Speaking of facial coding, we have all learned from experience that when Beckham goes red, then white, then blue in rapid succession, he is not being patriotic, he’s nauseous.  So we pull over, grab the emergency emisis bucket and pray the projectile actually hits the intended basin.
I also learned a lot about music.  It has been said that music calms the savage beast.  I say, it depends on the music. 

After extensive periods of time listening to the current hits, I am now very well acquainted with Pink, One Direction, Imagine Dragons, Katy Perry, and Lady Antebellum. I like today’s artists.  But a steady diet of “We’re never, ever, ever, ever, ever getting back together,” can actually produce polyps.  Really.  Hippocrates declared that fact an immutable law of anatomy hundreds of years ago. He was a grandparent at the time.

So, knowing that music can be therapeutic in treating mental illness, enhance mood and calm agitation, I suggested some old-fashioned rock ‘n roll, maybe even something mellow like Simon and Garfunkel or James Taylor, or Barry Manilow, or how about The Beatles.  The ensuing protests were louder than a Donald Trump rant.  The kids were making exaggerated gagging gestures in hunched bundles, and putting garlic around the windows of the car to ward off evil.  They feared a protracted discussion of “the good old days,” and the accompanying stroll down memory lane. Then they’d text comatose emojis to the cousin sitting next to them and sarcastically remark that they were “feelin’ groovy.” There seemed to be something going unsaid here.

 I tried my own facial coding, but a smirk looks absurd in the adult species.

  We all worked to establish token distance. 

I had the distinct impression they could look at my face and calculate the half-life of plutonium simply by counting the wrinkles and dividing by my bra size.  They looked at me like I was primal woman squinting at extinction.  I’m sure they were expecting death rigors at any moment.

It was the classic clash of generations.  I could barely refrain from shrieking…”Back in the day…”  Job has nothing up on a grandma on a roadtrip! 

Learning absolutely nothing from Washington, and in a state of moronic optimism, I took the gang to Cedar City for the annual Shakespeare Festival. My biggest challenge was convincing my tribe that 
Shakespeare and I were not classmates.

We had seats on the front row, and I prayed the grandkids wouldn’t pick any orifice on their faces, belch the National Anthem with their hands cupped over their armpits while making simulated flatulent noises, and make me fear my internal organs would drop to my shoes… or do anything to cause me to wish for a retroactive contraceptive pill. 

Astonishingly, they did not do anything that was socially unacceptable, or couldn’t be explained away by an undeveloped frontal cortex.

It was all good.

And now it’s fall.  The offspring have returned to class, and I, the eternal platinum prodigal, am singing, “I 
am the eye of the tiger, and you’re gonna hear me roooaaaarrrrrr.”  It enhances my mood, calms my agitation, and helps me keep from missing the younger generation too much.

Friday, July 17, 2015

When Bad Brains Happen to Good People

Recently, I received a catalog from “The Vermont Country Store.”  Its products are an excursion in nostalgia, and include everything from Old Spice soap-on-a-rope to Midnight In Paris perfume.  Ah, the memories of the olfactory. 

Coincidentally, I had just been watching a rerun of the original “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die,” and was craving a Kress hot dog with relish. 

It was then that I noticed the headlines of the Tribune proclaiming the news:  Dracula was dead!  Christopher Lee, the actor who portrayed the iconic figure of fear, was 93 at the time of his passing.  (I thought he was much older.)   Oh, that face, that fiend, those fangs…gone!

Lee had been knighted by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace, and became “Sir” Christopher Lee.  But titles be danged.  He will always be “Count” Dracula to me.

As the intricate iconic creature conjured from the stuff of nightmares by Bram Stoker, the guy transformed coagulating blood clots into full course meals, extracted from the jugulars of willowy but stupid blond women.  (He liked stupid brunettes, too.) 

This vampire would materialize from the misty woods all spooky, incandescent, aerodynamic, and morph from biped to bat in the twinkling of an eye, catapulting me into oxygen debt.  His was a strange and palpable menace that unnerved me to the core.  After seeing “Horror of Dracula,” I kept telling myself that this was preposterous , fictional nonsense, but I could never quite shake the feeling I was being watched.  (I, too, am blond, stupid and endowed with fully-engorged corpuscles.)  I draped my windows with garlic left over from dinner to push down my unease, and I filled my emergency first-aid kit with sharpened steak knives.  (It was the closest thing to actual stakes I could find.)

And there was never any comic relief in these Hammer movies.  Dracula was no Uncle Fester.  He was a graduate emeritus from the School of the Disembodied. He was impulse without conscience.  
His eyes were hollow with shadows underneath.  He’d pull back his Mick Jagger lips and unsheathe incisors searching for high volume capillaries for his nocturnal banquet.  (He was on a totally liquid diet.) His pointy fangs were self-correcting devices concealed behind a pasty mouth, capable of puncturing a carotid artery with the surgical skill of Nurse Ratchet.  The singular incriminating evidence of his presence were two puncture wounds on the victim’s neck that only Dr. Van Helsing knew were not mosquito bites, but the sinister ravages of a fiend bent on binge sucking from the jugulars of the vacuously dull-witted.

This is all prelude to the ultimate question. With Dracula down for the count comes this simple dilemma:  Now, what have I to fear?  It’s certainly not fear itself.  Maybe I should go for delusional paranoia. That covers a multitude of possibilities for dread and is also vocabularily impressive. Of course, the up-coming presidential elections are enough to strike fear even in the stout-hearted.  What a conundrum.  Surely we’re not  expected to live life undaunted, without a single daunt.  We must have something to be afraid of.

 I suppose we all have moments when hiding under the covers is the only solution to a bad case of “The Creeps.”  I have times when I wish I had a purely ornamental African war mask to hide behind.  Then I get a glimpse of myself first thing in the morning and realize…I do. 

I no longer fret about alien abduction.  That’s sooo last year.  That phobia has since been replaced by something more sinister, more ominous:  my personal suspicion that our brains have become weakened by too much intellectual inbreeding from today’s technology.  Like The Brain That Wouldn’t Die. Now there’s a reason for trepidation.  It has turned us into a nation of feeble minds, spongey cortexes, where we only communicate in abbrs. and smiley faces.  :)

In fact, I read recently that goldfish have a longer attention span than most people:  Goldfish – 9 seconds;  Humans – 8. Wow! Bested by a set of gills and a pucker.   I had rather hoped mankind was a little higher up on the evolutionary scale.  I stand corrected.

Species evolve according to what they’re good at.  I have always wanted to evolve into a powerful mind, one with an attention span that might expand to 10 seconds…and even beyond.  I don’t need the intellectual huskiness to break cinder blocks.  But I would like to bend spoons with my mind.  And I don’t want to rely on technology to do it.

I want to generate wildly complicated concepts like abstract reasoning, humor, logic, deduction and imagination, concentration, and mental engineering.  I want to be the anti-Donald Trump. 
I’d like to deliver a sermon like the Gettysburg Address or Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.  Sadly, the closest I can get to Dr. King’s address is “I.  HAVE.  INSOMNIA.”    Doesn’t have the same ring.

It seems the brain actually needs to have sleep to have a dream.  Hmmmm.  I always considered sleep an expendable commodity.  Whenever  I had too much to do, I would simply go to bed later and get up earlier.  I would out-run the sun.  What could possibly go wrong?

Apparently everything.

Insufficient sleep has side effects.  I can bear witness.  I suffer from wheezing levers and my steam engine is out of steam.  I pant before I exert.  Not good.

I just learned that bodies NEED sleep.  When we sleep, our brain goes into housekeeping mode, and cerebrospinal fluid mops away metabolic wastes that have accumulated during the day. 
It appears  I have been hoarding  metabolic wastes over the years.  My head is full of mental clutter; dust bunnies of the brain.  I have a slovenly cranium.

Lack of sleep causes us to be unable to concentrate, grumpy (oh, yeah!) accident prone, clumsy, forgetful…and I can’t remember what else. 

Toxic waste products collect in the brain (aka “brain poop”) and this results in brain shrinkage.  Seriously, brain shrinkage???  (Although I must admit I often get lost in small thoughts…teeny, weeny microscopic thoughts.)

The brain areas where cells are lost are the ones that regulate decision-making, emotions, alertness, learning, attention, recall, memory, and…I lost my train of thought. 

This condition is known as BAD BRAINS IN GOOD PEOPLE.

I suffer from this affliction.  I waddle through my day with the heavy inertia of the sleep deprived, like I’ve been non-surgically lobotomized.  I can’t seem to decide if I should stage my own intervention and commit myself to an institution for the criminally geriatric, or write a book of memoirs based on the decomposition of brain cells called “50 Shades of Gray…Matter.”

Insomnia cannibalizes the brain. So does technology.  Therefore, after 8 seconds of monumental concentration, I’ve come up with a plan.  I have decided to get more sleep. And then I’m going to buy a goldfish to gauge any improvement in mental acuity, and try to elevate my intellect to a level of inspired befuddlement.  I’ll become a GEYSER OF JOYFUL ERUDITION!

I will up my torque ratio, whatever that is, and smother my brain in muscle.  I’m tired of midgety synapses.  No more brain flab.  I’ll immerse myself in sleep, until I’m neurologically ripped.  I will wither the world’s phrenologists with awe, and live out my life in tranquil cognition.

I will reverse the ravages of Bad Brains In Good People Syndrome, and when I’m done, I will bend not just spoons, but all the steak knives I’ve been hoarding in my storage supply for emergency vampire invasions.

But I must admit I would like to return to a simpler time, to the days of yore when Kress, not Costco, supplied all our nutritional needs, real men smelled like Old Spice and women like Midnight in Paris, “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die” was playing at the Bijou, there were no computers, and the only thing we had to fear was…Dracula himself.