Sunday, August 16, 2009

Suffocating Dragons

Earlier today, we were swimming in the pool. The day was hot enough for it; a hazy, Sunburn Sunday, the kind where the question on lips isn't "are we going?", it's "is it too early? Should we wait just a little longer and not seem desperate and slothful?"

As I was paddling across the pool, I noticed a dragonfly bobbing in the water. It was floating there- wings outstretched, waterlogged, and entirely still. It was sad to me, seeing this. Dragonflies have always seemed amazing to me, like whip-fast helicopters buzzing through the heat, a sure sign of summer.

I knew I shouldn't leave it there, if not out of some sense of dutiful respect of nature, then at least so someone wouldn't swallow the thing while enjoying their swim. I plucked it by the wing, still surprisingly stiff, and brought it to the edge of the pool. I looked at it a while, admiring its tiger stripes, its hologram-green eyes that shifted shades in the light as I swayed left, right. It may have been dead, the neck appearing broken, but it still had a kind of authority to it. A regal design.

I left for a while, swimming around in the sun, doing what it is you do in a pool. But after a bit I came back to look at the dragonfly, and that's when I noticed something. Only because I was looking so close, I saw that it was breathing. Just barely, but sure enough the abdomen was rising, falling. Rising, falling. This was something it hadn't been doing before, I knew that for sure. Just by laying there, somehow, it had come back from The Pull.

For a while I bobbed in the water, watching this thing. As I stared it went from barely breathing to fully breathing. Then the end of the tail began to manipulate. Up, down. After a minute of that, the wings began to twitch faintly, then rhythmically, until they were trying to fly, trying to gain momentum and get away. The head, still sitting on what might be a broken neck, was moving. Trying.

I grabbed my camera and took a few photos of it. This was a comeback, and it felt important. This was a living, a struggle, a drowning turned into a waking. It was sadness and incredibility, on a tiny scale.

When I'd gotten the shot I got out of the pool and put the camera on a table, out of the way, then got back into the water. I went back to him, back to see the progress, to see what was moving now. Would it be the eyes? Would his legs be feeling around, trying to get a grip, trying to lift him off the ground and ready him for take-off? But when I looked at him, I knew. Nothing was moving. Not anymore. There were no twitches and no try-spirals. There was no partitioned abdomen expanding and contracting to let in air. There was nothing. Just a dead dragonfly. In the minute I'd been away he had given in to the water and the broken neck and the curing sun. I thought of the saying "A watched pot never boils," and I wondered if it applied to resurrections.

A little while later, I checked on him one more time. His body was dry from the heat, his massive eyes gone from hologram-green to cloudy gray-black. He was an ant treasure, a photograph, and nothing else.

The day could take him now. It was time for lunch.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Wet Subway Map

A little while ago, I Twittered this:

I wish my Wikipedia page read, "Widely recognized as having invented the 'flatbread pizza of condoms.'"

Sometimes, I feel I should explain my thought process. I think my mind might work differently than some other people's. Maybe not, but for the interest of science, this is a breakdown of how it happened:

Last night, Natalia made cupcakes for a girl at work. For home she made a pan with one big, thin cupcake in it. At roughly 2 pm today I was standing over this pan with a fork. As I'm something of a food vacuum, I ate a pretty good amount before stopping myself. That's when I thought:

1) Natalia will get home tonight, see the damage, and say something like "Jesus! Hungry?"

2) I'll have to explain myself.

3) I'll say, "Come on, it's a really thin cake, how much did I really eat? If you think about it, that's only about one cupcake's worth."

4) Then I'll say, "It's kind of like the flatbread pizza of cupcakes."

5) That's when I think: the flatbread pizza of anything is pretty funny. Like, what would the flatbread pizza of condoms be?

I should interject here. This particular moment, this synapse firing, may be the true illustrative moment. I literally can't explain why this was the example I jumped to.

6) Realizing how great the flatbread pizza of condoms is as an abstract thought, and not being able to immediately picture what it could possibly be, I realize I would love to invent it.

7) Then I think, I wouldn't actually like to invent it. I'd like to HAVE invented it. Be famous for inventing it.

8) I think: that's it. That's what my Wikipedia page should say, for anyone who comes across it to read.

9) Then I imagine people pointing me out across party crowds, saying, "See that guy? He invented the flatbread pizza of condoms." The other person says, "Oh, wow. (pause) What exactly is the flatbread pizza of condoms?" and the first says, "I'm not really sure, but," and rubs their fingers together to mean "there's a lot of money in it, though."

10) Then I think how great it is to be famous for outlandish, peripheral concepts. Like how in the movie "Inner Space" the Cowboy character is said to have made a fortune introducing Velcro to Asia, or something like that, and it makes him seem like a real person, because he's just colorful enough to have done something like that and, really, someone had to have done it.

This was not exaggerated and happened in the span of, I'd like to say, less than six seconds.

As I said, I think my gift of sorts is a unique mind. Maybe not, but I'm aware of all the what-the-fucks I've gotten over the years. I'm also aware that this happens even with the industrial-strength filter I slid over my mouth years and years ago. From a very young age I realized that much of what crosses my mind is not for the public, so that often what I say has gone through three or four edits before being let out. I believe that I define my friendships that way, by how few revisions I need to do. I think I get all my friends by saying all this shit and they not only stick around, but occasionally laugh or say yeah. It also says a lot about my closeness to my family, because despite my frequent tries at removing them I have more filters up around them than most other people, even co-workers.

My saying all this is very borderline for me. Already I've resisted deleting it all more than once, and the reason for that is I have an uneasy relationship with the word and concept of "imagination". It's an inherently silly idea, one that more often than not is used to write off the amazingly random, untainted minds of children. It's easier to look at a kid's drawing and say "you have some imagination!" than to give an honest reaction. That, also, speaks a lot about my relationship with my family, because that's exactly how I've always felt around them. I've always been the weird one there, the one who reads weird things, the one who listens to and wears and likes and draws weird things. My mother has read two books in her life to my knowledge: The Davinci Code and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. My father, also two books- both autobiographies by Chuck Yeager. Chuck Yeager was the first airplane pilot to break the sound barrier. Two books. He read two books written by that guy, because one doesn't cover it. So every story I ever wrote and handed to them as a kid was met with "What is this?" or "You misspelled a few things". When pressed for feedback, they would almost invariably say "It was...interesting." Which, I believe, is code for "Can we FORCE him to like baseball?"

The other problem with what I'm doing is it's much too close to people who say, "Don't mind me, I'm crazy!" as if that's so interesting of them. Like kids in high school who would try SO hard to be weird, and freaky, and the more they said it the more you knew they were secretly the most normal person on Earth. Like Steve once said, the Korn kids who think a t-shirt that says "I do what the voices tell me" is the HEIGHT of comedy. White bread nothings. Ready to anticlimax into the world, flatline through life and be laid to rest in a coffin with a "Beer me" bumper sticker.

I don't know where this goes from here. Don't mind me, I'm crazy.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Footprints in the Sand, Version 2

So I asked God.

I said, “God?”
And he said, “Come on, what?! What now?!”
So I said, “When I look back on the proverbial beach of my life
And see my most difficult and trying times,
Symbolically represented by medical waste
And crusty condoms washed ashore,
And the occasional homeless man
Having terrible sex with beached sea-life,
Why in those times is there only one set of footprints?
Did you abandon me in my times of need?”
And God looked at me with his all knowing eyes, and said,
“You dare question God?! Fuck you! Die now!”
And exploded me.
But many years later,
By the glory of our Lord Satan and all the power he commands,
I was resurrected.
And so I hunted God down,
Surprised him when he least expected it,
And slit his mighty throat.
Then I fought his angels like ninjas.