Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hold Some of My Calls

Sorry I can’t come to the phone right now. I’m busy looking for some good news. If you are calling about the deportation of four-year olds press one, about civilian bombing press 2, parched crops press 3, gang mayhem press 4, voter-suppression press 5.

The morning paper is replete with killings, corruption, kidnappings and man-made cataclysms. The Internet agrees. Cable News can’t get enough of the latest disaster. The array of prize-winning mini-series are varieties of villainy. We traffic in treachery, carnage and apocalyptic dystopia. The mirror is cracked. The game is rigged.  We are a failed experiment.

No news might be all I could hope for. But no news requires a sensory deprivation tank. Or a life watching 1940 films on T.C.M. Let me check the obits; maybe some bad guy died.

On my Big Rock candy mountain the bull dogs all have rubber teeth and hens lay soft-boiled eggs. Is that a Good-Humor truck I’m hearing or somebody’s cell phone? I don’t know any drug dealers, molesters or double-agent urban guerrillas.  I’ve never met a religious zealot. I only associate with humanists. I hope never to go to lunch with a suicide bomber nor be sitting next to a drone target.

Good news is not to be found in the macro yet it abounds in the micro. There’s a hummingbird nest in our parking garage. Local streets are lined in yellow ribbon with gold medallion trees. The library book I thought was overdue was, in fact, renewable. Peaches from 3 days ago have finally ripened. One of these weeks the honeydew I bought last month might also be edible.

Two birthdays have happened in recent weeks.  Barbara is a lovable, rare, uncensored nose-in-book with still un-cut pages. Even her blurts are adorable. Ralph is the guy I call when I have nothing to say and he has nothing to say and together we talk for 40 minutes about the nothing that is everything while artfully choreographing our steps to avoid the topic we don’t dare mention.

How is it possible for individuals to be so noble, generous, even-tempered and forgiving yet so scheming, vengeful and vitriolic as an aggregate? It seems there is a beast within us ready to spring if the tribe gives it legitimacy.

Wait…here’s something on page AA2 that could be a ray of hope for our species. The Pentagon (of all places) has developed a prosthetic brain-enhancer which can stimulate cognition and retrieval. Anything for Parkinson patients to by-pass damaged areas and bridge gaps in neural circuitry is all for the good but I’m not so sure about lost memories. Given our record up to now we might be better off forgetting.  

Still, your call is very important to me. If you have any good news please leave your message after the beep; otherwise leave it before the beep.


  1. The good news is that they say optimism is a mood. I can't always influence that on demand but at a minimum stop reading the paper. It's depressing.

    That said, major tragedies go unnoticed and easily dismissed and yet the small things in my life, the bumps in the journey, seem to be the end of the world. If I could be drawn to minimize my own tribulations in life that would be helpful. The alternative is disproportionate reaction. It’s all quite unnecessary when I can partake in the pleasures at a dog park.

    My good news note we found a stray dog a home today. We found him Thursday, a Treeing Walker Hound, very sweet dog but doesn’t fit our lifestyle to keep and a lady very pleased with his disposition was happy to foster and possibly adopt. A dog found a home. That is optimistic.