The Quest

Like many, I awoke this morning and began pondering the eternal questions, like, is my head getting smaller?

I wasn’t being facetious. My new Tilley hat had arrived. When I put it on, I discovered it was much larger than my other hat. I confirmed the other was a seven and a half, so the two hats were the same size.* Ergo, my head must be shrinking.

Walking about with my oversized hat on, I entertained the other questions that often plague modern humans.

1. Am I gaining weight or are my pants shrinking?

2. Are my pants getting longer, or am I getting shorter?

3. Is it possible for me to be both gaining weight and getting shorter?

4. Can my pant legs be getting longer while my pants waist is shrinking?

5. If something really had 1/4 the fat of the regular stuff, can I really eat four times as much?

6. How much beer can a beer drinker drink if a beer drinker only drank beer?

These are serious questions. The one about my shrinking head especially worries me. I can see myself as a man walking around without a head. People would probably soon start head-shaming me, shouting, “Hey, there’s little head,” whenever I pass.

There’s family precedence. My mother, who was much taller than me when I was a child, now seems to be about the size of a garden gnome. She appears to be shrinking more in every dimension every time that I see her. I figure that soon, we’ll be able to hear her, but not see her, unless she stands at the right angle and in the right light. It’s like, “Okay, I see her shadow. Let me just trace that back to her.”

Alas, like others, I found no easy answers to these questions. That’s probably why they plague us.

The quest goes on.

*Editing note: Yes, I know that not all sizes are equal sizes during the modern industrial age. Most people must try on several sets of garments or shoes of the same size before finding one that fits right. Hence, there was one shortcoming to the Tilley replacement hat process: it’s predicated on the idea that all of their hats are the same size.

Snow Blame

head feels like lead

you’re stuck in bed

blame it on the snow

blame it on the snow

 

you’re feeling low

and have nowhere to go

blame it on the snow

blame it on the snow

 

life is passing you by

counting days until you die

blame it on the snow

blame it on the snow

 

stuffing your face

with cheese and cake

blame it on the snow

blame it on the snow

 

can’t get to work

pet’s acting like a jerk

blame it on the snow

blame it on the snow

 

nothing’s on tv

not live or on the stream

blame it on the snow 

blame it on the snow

 

can’t find a mate

being alone is your fate

blame it on the snow

blame it on the snow

 

you can’t tell a lie

you ate too much pie

blame it on the snow

blame it on the snow

 

it’s a day without sun

now you’ve got the runs

blame it on the snow

blame it on the snow

blame it on the snow

 

A Baseball Dream

I began as a middle-aged man, probably in my thirties, in the dream. Somehow, I was asked to come to high school to play baseball.

Several points from reality should be noted: our high school didn’t have a baseball team. I didn’t play for our baseball team.

But in this dream, I said, “Sure,” and went off to play this game. A brief tryout, conducted by my high school football, track, and wrestling coaches, was conducted: “Can you pitch?” I threw some fastballs; they were satisfied.

It was a loose “old-timers vs. young players” game. I was part of the old-timers. Teams were formed: I’ll pick him, I’ll take him. I was selected and was riding the bench until I was asked to pitch in relief in the middle of the game. None of us knew how that would go, but I pitched well, striking out several. Then I batted, and hit a triple. Very cool. By the game’s end, I was considered an unexpected hero.

Back home (after a dream team leap), I was asked to play in a second game. I agreed. Time details were provided.

Now, I was worried. Anxiety levels jumped because, hey, there were expectations. Then I started overthinking things and confusing myself about what time I was supposed to be there.

All sorts of things next happened. I was getting dressed, but paused to pee. When I did, there was a commotion out in the house. Hearing it, I peed on the bathroom wall. It was like, oh, no, but then I threw on a robe to go see what was going on.

My Mom and her boyfriend and their friends had returned from a trip. She and he were their current ages.

They’d arrived home early and unexpected. After briefly greeting me, they went into a chaotic conversation about flights, schedules, and tickets. You’d think that they were planning the trip instead of just finishing it. By the way, Mom asked, did you call your Dad? He was supposed to have surgery. I hadn’t heard anything about that.

Amidst this, I scrambled to dress. They’d given me a uniform. I put that on but now I couldn’t find my glove, bat, and ball. The first two were located with help from my Mom’s boyfriend, but then I couldn’t locate the ball. At last, a cat was spotted batting it around and chasing it.

I retrieved the ball, a mold-covered lime orb that had no resemblance to a baseball or softball. What the hell, that wasn’t important, I decided, and I was running late. Scramble, scramble.

I headed for the field. Along the way, I met my wife. She was going to the game. But first, we were being assembled in a classroom. Some of my friends from this period in my life were there. Weird. The teacher (an old high school English teacher of mine who didn’t remember me) was going around, passing out reading material that we were to read aloud. Each of us were given excerpts from different classic pieces of literature.

Then, though, I protested that I had to go. Telling them that I’d see them at the game, I rushed away. Now I’m in this huge U.S. Air Force facility, passing displays about AF history, technology, and traditions. I’m with some of my military peers. We agree, boy, has this stuff changed.

As I pass through the AF facility, I’m trying to understand where we are. It seems like an air base, mall, museum, and flying ship at the same time. I have a deep, sneaking suspicion that those impressions were all true, that we were somewhere high in the atmosphere.

There wasn’t time to consider it more than that, because, oh! Time! Baseball game. I wasn’t sure what time I was supposed to be there, but now I believed that I was definitely late. Rushing to the field where we were supposed to play, I discover that no one else from my team has already, not even the coach. Holy shit, where is everyone? What’s happening? Am I in the wrong time, place, and date?

Some young players show up. My tensions eases. The coach still hasn’t shown. What the hell, we’re supposed to play soon.

He finally shows, and apologizes for being late, but there was a family thing. I talk to him, and end up counseling him on how difficult families can be. Then he tells me that I’m going to be the starting pitcher. Can I handle that?

Sure, I can, I answer, but I’m enormously doubtful. I remind myself that I was successful before. But that was different, it was unexpected, and now, given the chance, I was overthinking it all, and that would probably skew my performance. I needed to relax and not worry, I told myself.

As I take the mound to warm up, the dream ends.

The Rock

“Follow me.” She took the movers into the backyard. It’d been a last minute decision but was appropriate.

A foot taller than her, they followed her out into the immaculate backyard. Winter had drained its color and autumn had jerked the leaves from the trees but a sense of comfort embraced her as she wrapped her sweater around her shoulders, glanced up at the milky sun, and limped across the grass.

A innocuous rock about a foot high and a foot wide rested in one corner in sunshine by a patch of dirt. She pointed at it. “This rock. I want this rock to go, too.”

The movers, without exchanging looks, said, “Yes, ma’am.” The three encircled the rock and studied it. She said, “I’ll leave you to it.”

Turning, she strode back into the house, casting eyes over the cottage. She and her husband had bought it twenty-one years before, ten years after they’d retired, coming up here for a more relaxed life. Then came the cat, a tiny tabby mewing on her porch as rain poured outside. The husband had died later that year. The cat, though, had lasted for twenty-one. The rock had been the cat’s favorite sitting place in the back. Sunshine always found the rock, and Pebble, named for her petite size, always found the rock.

She could leave the house – had to, really, because small as it was, it was too much for her  now – but she wouldn’t leave the rock. The cat was gone, but she’d always have the rock. And who knows? Maybe in the new place, she’d put the rock on the tiny balcony and perhaps find a new feline companion.

Or maybe it’d find her, as Pebble had.

It would be nice to have another rock in her life.

NOTE: Someone posted a photo of a mover carrying a large, unpretentious rock into an apartment. Others wondered why someone was moving a rock into an apartment.

So did I.

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