Thursday, February 19, 2009


Happy Valentine’s Day, Dear Ones.

What a season for celebration. It’s the bicentennial anniversary of the birth of the Great Emancipator, Mr. Lincoln, and the Great Evolver, Mr. Darwin. And how best to celebrate a bicentennial than to kill the fatted bicen!

And if that weren’t enough holiday glut, we just saw Punxatani Phil, the official ground hog weather prognosticator, who forecast six more weeks of winter. WooHoo!

And who could forget the International Year of Astronomy. I’m not sure if there is some official revelry protocol to note the occasion that could rival the collision of orbiting space thingees that contributed greatly to our cosmic junk stock pile, which will continue to orbit the earth upon a trail of radioactive debris until it decides to flame out in an atmospheric Big Bang, and plunge to earth at astronomical velocity causing cataclysmic demolition and KILLING US ALL!!! Did I mention it is also the Year of the Paranoid?

But in our house, we are anticipating the arrival of Mardi Gras – that erratic and paganistic orgy of self-indulgence, unrestrained conspicuous consumption and regal hubristic bloat that is inserted so tightly between Christmas and Easter as if it were an atomic wedgie.

Mind you, we are not planning a parade of the usual bizarre assortment of genetically mutated characters. (For us, that would be just another routine day.) But Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday,” and coincidentally, Dennis’ weight has mushroomed to a colossal 127 pounds over the past week (Sound the trumpets!) I mean, the guy’s got heft. He has an appetite like a lumberjack…a very little lumberjack. So, we salute Mardi Tuesday, Mardi Wednesday, Mardi Thursday…well, you get the idea.

I know that Lent is also fast approaching, but we’re just not that into self-denial or penitence. We are somewhat selective about what calendar events we observe. It’s all about convenience and feelin’ good.

However, Valentine’s Day we pulled out all the stops in a renewal of romance. First of all, we went for our routine 5:00 a.m. “walk of the voyeurs.” Because of the snow and extreme cold, we donned so many layers, we resembled woolly mammoths engaged in some prehistoric stroll of the mastadons. But the air was so clean and crisp and un-particulated that we felt safe to breathe deeply…and there is nothing as endearingly pleasant as oxygenating one’s blood cells with someone you really like.

Later on in the day, Dennis took me to a Jazz game. Well, actually, it was a Jr. Jazz game…of 8-year olds…where dribbling is optional, but only if the ball handler really wants to interrupt his spring to the basket by releasing custody of the ball at regulated intervals. Our grandson, Josh, was laudably disciplined, and only averaged a dozen steps per dribble. We cheered him with wild abandon. The final score was 20-8 for our team. The opponents kept having trouble with turnovers, because when they dribbled, our guys stole the ball. I think the NBA is just a mite too regimented on the traveling calls.

And, of course, in the evening, we turned up the romance-o’-meter by watching 4 marathon hours of Bull Riders Only. Bones, Sir Patrick, VooDoo Child, Troubadour, and Chicken on a Chain are bovine rock stars on the tour. Now, I’m not exactly a groupie for these particular athletes, but they are two tons or rank, murderous horns and hide, and 8 seconds on their backs is an eternity. I’ve always thought in my next life, I plan to join the PBR. Dennis always says that for once the bull would be full of me. Hmmm.

Over the years, you learn what works and what doesn’t work, Cupidly speaking. It’s a little like choosing between Lincoln and Darwin in one’s approach to romance. For instance, if Dennis brought me flowers, candy, perfume, or jewelry on Valentine’s Day, I would suspect him of deep-seated guilt, put him on the witness stand, and interrogate him relentlessly, until he confessed to crimes and misdemeanors he didn’t even commit. (I know how to waterboard.) Those are gifts one gives his wife on ordinary days, nothing days, regular, undistinguished days not high-lighted on the calendar by the media blitz of the greeting card cartel.

In Darwinian terms, there is a sub-species category known as “homo-patheticus.” It requires more than opposing thumbs and standing upright to be an enlightened romantic in the noblest tradition. Sometimes it only takes seven pounds and a lot of bull.

Some of our most splendid jubilation is reserved for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was recently diagnosed with pancreas cancer, and underwent surgery to resect the tumor. She expects to be back to work by the end of the month.

We rejoice in her victory. If each man’s grief is my own, it stands to reason that so is each man’s triumph.

When we look back at our circumstances of a year ago, we delight in the sudden flashes of insight that have so changed our lives and provide opportunity to appreciate extra flesh, rampaging bovines, and the art of the heart.

Much love to all,

The Clot

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