In Which I am Turned into a Newt, but I Get Better


It has been awhile. Honestly, I haven’t been lazy. Writing is work, just different work from say teaching, which my wife does. That work involves imbuing 100+ sixth graders a day in the intricacies of lunar phases and plant reproduction and refereeing the inherent drama that is the life of so many 13 year olds in close proximity. Or the stuff Jose, the guy who fixes my sprinkler system when massive tree roots or an errant tree root saw slice open the pipe, does. Out in the heat of summer, which in south Florid lasts for roughly two hundred and ten straight days. He’s my hero.

I have started another article for this BLOG approximately three point seven times over the last month. They were mostly amazing observations about the effects of depression medications on personality; the utter lack of anger and annoyance that said medication combined with an auto-immune disease and that magic moment of realizing one will turn fifty in a couple of weeks has wrought in my life; my fascination with coming down with a cold, an honest-to-God illness that doesn’t require google or WebMD to figure out; and finally a brief but sad rumination on my rapidly thinning hair. Each one represented a false start, an idea that felt good, a spark of insight and nascent brilliance, only to flame out in a whimper of ash and smoke. I decided to write on none of these. You’re welcome.

Instead I am resting, keeping one eye on to cats who have been mostly banished from the bedroom to keep them away from a kitten we received from its rescuer, who saved it from a driving thunderstorm, a kitten who may or may not have feline AIDS, the kitten now shut up for the moment in the bathroom with a pillow adding more protection before the door, to keep at bay the other cats who have a somewhat negative opinion of adding to the number of felines in our home. I’m pretty sure the other male cat in the house wants to eat it, the way his eyes light up in mischief and focus laser-like on the meowing coming from the other side of the door.

Our home has company at the moment, friends of our eldest son, and I am waiting for the moment in which I can dash into the kitchen and make up a mixture of distilled water and some powder sold over the counter in the pharmacy that when squirted into one nostril of my nose and then drained out of the other nostril of my nose brings some relief from this already painful allergy season. But I will not expose company to such an event. I possess a modicum of propriety even a fortnight from fifty. Further evidence: I have never, in fact, gone outside to retrieve the paper forgetting to wear clothes, though I fear that day may come. I have at least one less sharp in the signature of the melody that is my life. Just today I went shopping for food to whip up a nice dinner for my wife for Mother’s Day and was told to pick up some extra cash. I wrote that down so I wouldn’t forget. I told my wife that I wrote it down. We laughed. I looked at the list half a dozen times at the food store. And forgot to get cash back when I checked out. Still I can quote “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” from memory, so there’s that.

One of the gifts of slowing down and actively reducing stress in one’s life (since according to WebMD and a host of other believable sources stress can trigger lupus which thankfully has been much less active in my life of late) is that I notice things. I listen. I laugh more. I sing 1960’s hits from “The Grass Roots” and “The Guess Who” and even “Dusty Springfield.” Shoot, I might even start a jigsaw puzzle. I said “might.” Wouldn’t want to be wild and crazy at the same time this early in the game.

Let’s say that you do not suffer from depression and occasional paralyzing anxiety. Let’s say that your body does not randomly attack itself laying you out flat on your back, joints aching, head splitting, leaving you ready to vomit at a moments notice or some other random auto-immune symptoms of your choice. OK?

Well, slowing down, investing in the things that bring you joy, in relationships, in “wasting” time, in laughter, in singing out “I only want to be with you!” at the top of your lungs, in noticing the amazingly delicate beauty of the world in which we live and breathe and blow our noses, these are all things you could and should yearn for. They matter. You will live longer and love deeper if you do.

Trust me.


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