Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fright Sprite

I’m not exactly sure why I have an almost Biblical vengeance against Halloween.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love a good old scary movie by a roaring fire on an autumn eve as well as anyone. 

Perhaps it’s because every year its presence invades our consciousness around Labor Day, seeping in like a malevolent fog, and lingers through November, when all the smiling jack-o-lanterns have decomposed into frowning faces more ghoulish than my own.

Perhaps it’s because Halloween is a holiday dedicated to celebrating a sinister accumulation of dark and terrifying unknowns that makes it so fearsome.

Perhaps it is because four years ago on that very day Dennis was diagnosed with cancer.  Yes, I think that’s it.

Nevertheless, the occasion does have a bright side.  When I asked Necie what she wanted to be this year, she suggested being a hippie.  Last year we were twin witches.  She asked if I knew what a hippie was.  I replied of course I did.  It is a condition singular to every woman post menopause.  She just looked perplexed.

So I explained that long, long ago in a decade far away, hippies inhabited the earth wearing flowers, long skirts, sandals and tee shirts with peace signs on the front. 

Necie’s face lit up as she listened.  And then she asked if she could go to my clothes closet for a costume.  The little darling.  I guess I should be glad she didn’t ask for a flapper dress and lessons in learning the “Black Bottom.”

Then Necie asked what I was planning to be for Halloween.  I said I was considering a sociopathic exoskeleton because I’m seriously into decadent nobility.  Again, she just looked perplexed.  Nothing like a little verbal propofol to stifle further questions.  It worked for both of us.

Dennis has been considering being a scarecrow.  He’s got the clothes and the figure.  Lately he’s been singing, “If I Only Had A Brain.”  Now this is ironic, because he had just had a brain MRI at the Huntsman on Saturday.  We spent the weekend waiting for the results and trying not to think thoughts.  Only one of us succeeded. 

On Monday we received the welcome news that he indeed has a brain, AND that brain is NORMAL.  No evidence of metastasis.  We celebrated by defying the laws of gravity…and propriety. 

I heard of an elementary school principal who claimed Halloween sends the wrong message to children.  So she cancelled it.  Huzzah!  I ratify that! 

And I will go and do likewise.  I’m canceling Halloween too, right after I consume all the chocolate I planned to distribute.  This works for me.

I’ve been investigating other calendar events to take the place of Halloween.  And last week was National Bosses’ Day.  OK.  I can do that one.  But not one person wished me Happy Bosses’ Day.  I was so mad, I fired the world.  I cancelled the whole week.  I am now in the process of founding an entirely new reason to celebrate…National No More Night Sweats Month.  I figure it will not only make every grandma more tolerable, but it will also reduce global warming.  Both will be beneficial for the eco-system.

A while ago, Brodi decided to “de-Brodify” her computer.  She was suffering from www fatigue.  Very interesting.  Apparently, there are actual physical ailments associated with over-use of one’s amazing inventions.  For instance, there’s “tech eye,” and “pc elbow.” 
Can you believe it?

I find that intriguing.  Now I don’t use my technology that much, but there have been occasions when I have threatened to disembowel my computer. Had one just now. And lately I have noticed I have developed my own set of peculiar adversarial syndromes.  I have “android ear,” “ipad paranoia,” “allergic techno aversion,” “aggravated granny jiggle,” and “snuggler’s flab.”  I’m not sure pitching my computer into the Grand Canyon would help.  But it’s tempting.

I love autumn.  Enough leaves have fallen to kick through on our daily walks.  The days are golden, bright and sunny. 

There are definitely more things to celebrate than fear. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Against All Odds

Last week Dennis and I took a road trip to beautiful downtown Cedar City for SUU’s fall lineup of plays.  We went with old and dear friends.  Jeff and Barb Booth are very comfortable to travel with, partly because we have made this annual pilgrimage to indulge our fetish for drama every year since medical school. We four have passed through every phase of life together, from sideburns to mullets, new babies to grandchildren, internship to practice. Shared time and experiences tend to mellow people through the years, and seasoned friendships take on the relaxed contentment of cozy slippers.  We have arrived at that golden point of our lives where we have stopped denying bowel realities and laugh uproariously at the preposterously embarrassing bodily emissions of the aged.   

The two plays we attended were “Dial M For Murder,” and “The Winter’s Tale,” by Shakespeare.  The first is a tale of suspense, dramatized to challenge one’s sphincter control.  This could have been dicey because much of the audience was composed of seniors from a tour bus, wearing name tags.  Seeing this production motivated me to do a lot of scrapbooking just so I could keep a pair of Samaria scissors handy.  Dennis gave me a wide berth when he noticed me sorting through old photographs.

The second play centers on a king, whose tyranny wrongs his queen and destroys a cherished friendship.  Both plots involve mischief, murder mayhem, and jealous husbands who, except for the mercy of a humane playwright, could have caused the death of their wives.  Hmmmm.  The concepts were compelling. Husbands who murder their wives.  Hmmmmm.  Oh, the power of the theater!  And the power of suggestion on a weak mind.  I kept a close eye on Dennis as I trimmed our pictures with the scissors from my sewing basket.  (OK, I don’t really have a sewing basket, but it serves to produce tension.) 

Finally, I nonchalantly asked him, “Do you think you have any jealousy issues?  I mean, do you ever have suspicions about…me?”  He just gave me that “look.”  I had recently visited my dermatologist, Dr. Igor, who had assaulted me with an evil vial of smokin’ liquid primordial ooze and a cattle prod.  I looked like I had done fifteen rounds with a blow torch whose cauterizing quotient could have stemmed the flow of Niagra Falls…and lost.  Dennis pointed me to the nearest mirror and said gently, “You’re safe!”  I was reassured, sort of, but a little disappointed.  Did his lack of jealousy stem from default?  Hmmmmm.  So I decided to put down my scissors and begin investigating the possibilities of body dismorphia.

From Cedar City, we headed for scenic drives through Escalante, Torrey and Bryce Canyon. We went on numerous hikes (mostly consisting of easy walks on level terra firma), and ate like starving carnivores.  When we returned to our room, I noticed that the diamond was missing from my wedding ring.  I nearly hurled the fatted mastadon I had just consumed.  I became dizzy and disoriented, which is my behavior of choice in any crisis. We searched the premises in vain. Dennis was meticulous.  I was uttering profanities. To make matters worse, I wasn’t even sure when I’d lost it. It could have been at Bryce.  It might have happened when Margot stabbed Lesgot. It could have fallen into the last spoonful of mashed potato inadvertently left on my plate.

 I was sick.  I slept sad.  In fact, I didn’t sleep.  I just lay there and cursed obscenities into my pillow.

The odds against finding that little gem were enormous.  But Dennis awoke the next morning with a smile and a plan. That’s his behavior of choice in any crisis. We would carefully remove our luggage, and then search every inch of the room until we found it.  I was OK with that idea, because my plan was to “Thelma and Louise” ourselves over the Grand Canyon. 

After all our luggage was loaded in the car, we knelt on the floor. As we lifted my final duffle bag, the diamond rolled between us.  Whoa! We were all amazed.  Whoda thunk it.  The odds of that happening seemed definitely not in our favor.  The odds were wrong.

There are those who claim that numbers don’t lie.  Digital calculations are immutable.  But I think they can be deceitful and misleading to the point of pernicious perjury.  After recovering the missing diamond, I have decided to ignore any odds not in our favor.  I will respond only to positive numbers.  I will reset my mathematical compass daily to the sweet spot of the affirmative.  And should there be those foolish enough to offer anything contradictory, the last thing they will see as they skid under the bus is the flash of my diamond ring.