Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    They just call her Gert. No one knows for sure, but all the street bandits, hookers and junkies just call her Gert. Might have been Mary, Sue or Cindy in the day, but that day’s long spent. Now Gert just spends her days making the rounds scoping out her trash cans, dumpsters and drink can pickups. Gert gets by.

Long lost in the decades is some old high school yearbook that might of shown a glossy of a smiling prom queen or gyrating cheerleader that might of looked familiar. Hard to say now. Maybe, long lost in some damp basement is buried a wedding album, undisturbed under boxes of rotting clothes. A flowing gown cascading off the shoulder’s of an innocent bride with over rouged cheeks, Gert?…..maybe. A husband’s plot, tucked away in a vine covered corner of a wasted cemetery…….maybe. A daughter who tries not to dwell on a bewildered and time lost mother that no longer knows her……maybe this is Gert, or Mary or Cindy. Doesn’t matter, Gert gets by.

She makes her rounds. Old stained pillow from the trash can on 44th…..broken cell phone in the alley off Hinds street…..faded ball cap, half a pack of stale dinner rolls and a stalk of limp celery in the dumpster behind Dell’s CafĂ©. A good start for the day.

She heads to the park over at South Bend and finds her favorite bench. If someone is sharing the bench, she just sits down and starts talking to herself until they get up and move on. Once the bench is hers, she piles her assets next to her leaving no room for anybody else. She takes out the stale pack of rolls and starts crumbling up the bread and tossing it out on the sidewalk for the sky rats that start to descend and cluster around her ankles. She talks and scolds them while making up names for the birds. Soon she takes her nap while her little friends stand guard.

Gert slowly walks down the middle of the sidewalk that runs along Dumont. She stops ever so often to pick through a trash bin pulling out cans and unfinished lunches. The food is always fresh long Dumont.

The sun is now setting behind the Madison Building. Gert collects discarded newspapers on her way to the 22ave subway entrance. There were snow flurries off and on all day and the newspaper would add insulation under her coat tonight. She carefully maneuvers the stairwell down to the subway platform and then walks a short distance until she reaches the restrooms. She drags her treasures into a stall with her and then a few minutes later, she pulls them all out again. She washes quickly at the sink being ever watchful for strange intruders that might walk in. She now leaves the restrooms and walks about two more blocks down the platform until she reaches her night bench. As the 302 rushes by, she organizes her assets safely next to her and then sits down and relaxes.

Gert watches the people hurry back and fourth. Listens to all the languages….so many languages. She takes out the newspapers and stuffs them inside her coat. She looks for a moment at some of the pictures under the headlines but she no longer has her glasses so it doesn’t matter anyway. Most like Reagan was still president.

It’s getting late now. Her head starts to sag and nod and finally she drifts into a guarded sleep. A short distance down the platform, a young man calls out to a woman, “Mary!” For a brief flicker of a moment, lost in her sleep world….Gert smiles.

Friday, October 28, 2011


   I was looking in my Bible the other day for paradoxes and when I opened it up I noticed on the first page this statement;

'All rights reserved. No part may be reproduced in any manner without permission in writing from the Publisher.'

Do they mean God or some schmuck in the legal department of this printing company? Who do these people pay the royalties to? Oh crap!!….that’s another paradox!
We live in a world of swarming, irritating, stinging paradoxes.
One of many definitions is:…..A supposition that if one of two simultaneous assumptions leads to a contradiction, the other assumption is also disproved and leads to paradoxical consequences. This one almost made my brain bleed.
Marriage is full of paradoxes like she will always assume I’m wrong and I will always assume that she knows I’m always right. My head is starting to thump now. Anyway, we are surrounded by paradoxes everyday. Many of them you will find on this blog site in regards to intellect and moronism.
Also, politics is like a massive Petri dish squirming with paradoxes when it comes to legislation and bureaucracies……the left hand investigating what the right hand is doing.
The one paradox that sticks out in my mind from when I was young was what my Mom used to tell me…….”Don't go near the water till you have learned how to swim.”

Monday, October 24, 2011

Being Naked

We all will agree that being naked can be fun. I spent most of my toddler years running around the back yard in my skin playsuit and then my adult years running around looking for reasons to.
We all react different to nature’s freedom and I guess it’s “to each his own.” Being naked at a college frat party is different than being naked at your doctor’s office. Over-exposed on a nude beach in Jamaica just ain’t the same thing as being bare-ass in the changing room at Wal-Mart.
Our hairy ancestors thought nothing of the condition and it took the Ice-age to finally get us to put on a bison overcoat. (For creationist….see Genesis) Clothing evolved beyond necessity to become a statement. Status as a nobleman or ladyship or just well to do merchants. Clothes became our hallmark of success.
It was not until the “hippie” revolution that naked came into vogue once again. Stoned post-pubescent kids with nude painted bodies, dancing around in a smoke hazed nirvana protesting the war in Nam and the “man” in general. Skin good….uniform bad!
Well, like all things in life, time marches on. Your courting rituals required abundant nudiosity which eventually ended in marriage with routine schedules of disrobing about three times a week. More years pass and soon you find out that nudity is regulated by strict laws…..the first law being lewd and lascivious acts and the second is Isaac Newton's law of gravity. Your body now transforms to a different state of matter in that no matter what you do, you can’t stop the avalanche of skin and flab.
Now, at my age, being in the all together as nature first presented us, solicits me with more pity than revulsion. If I forget to get dress when I take out the trash early in the morning, I get comments like “poor old guy” from my neighbors or maybe “see Ralph, you want to look like him in a few years?” Wifey runs out with my bathrobe and escorts me back to my recliner.
At this twilight stage of my life, I do have one solitary advantage……I can once again run around in the back yard in my skin playsuit and nobody cares…….six foot privacy fence helps.

The Sparrow Story

“It’s cold.”

“I know. Move closer to the window, it’s warmer there.”

“The season’s never gotten this cold so early before.”

“I know. Are you warmer now?”

“Some," she said. He stood there close to her, blocking the chilly wind. It had been a sad nesting season with the lost of all three of their fledglings. Sad for their loss and sadder still for the emptiness she now felt. “Are you feeling stronger today?” his mate asked.

“Yes. Much stronger,” he lied. He was in his fourth season…..too old to survive another winter much less a strenuous migration. “Do you feel the warmth from the window yet?”

“Oh yes, much better now,” she answered. “There is so much light inside and I can see them moving and hear their sounds.”

He shuttered for a moment and then worked his wings to fluff the insulation of his chest down. He was getting weaker. “You must fly now. South to the warm waters,” he said. She kept silent and continued to look into the window. “Soon the snow will be here and then it will be too late. You must fly now.”

“I will stay with you. You have always been my protector and I won’t leave without you.”

“It is my time and you still have another nesting season ahead of you.” He knew she would have no problem finding a mate next spring and then maybe a chance of healthy fledglings. “Go!” At that, he flew off and after awhile, he settled on the limb of a barren oak and perched there for the rest of the day. He did not want to fly back and make sure she was gone, he was too tired.

Three days later, the first snow fell. It was a light snow and the sounds of excited children could be heard throughout the neighborhood. It was overcast and the windy chill was a harbinger of still more snow to come. By evening, all were sheltered warm in their homes awaiting the next snowfall.

With the last of his strength, he had found their abandoned nest and collapsed in the familiar comfort of what they had built together. His heart was beating slowly now and the cold was no longer a discomfort. He thought of his mate and the two wondrous seasons they had together….most of their lifetime. In his last moments he felt a gentle commotion. He opened his eyes and saw her in the nest.

“I’ve spent days looking for you. I still want to stay with you.”

“Why?” he quietly asked.

“We have spent most of our life together. It is only right that we finish it together.” She knelt down beside him and gently laid her head on his back.

The snow came later that night and left a frigid blanket that covered everything. Under the snow were two dead sparrows. Both of no real importance to the world. But even in their last moments, these simple creatures knew and experienced what many simply call instinct……the loyalty of love.



There was nothing but cold silence within the house except for the thick noise of the rain. The old man sat in his den lost in the dark. Impatiently he waited. The power had gone off in the house nearly an hour ago and he was becoming agitated at being held prisoner in this blind void. The rain storm was intense and no doubt some fool must of skidded into a power pole, taking their life as well as his power.

“Blasted power company,” he swore. It was two a.m. and he was afraid the power trucks would not make it out to this rural area so late at night and he would be entombed in the dark house. The old house reeked of past generations with it’s musty drapes and moldy carpets and now, confined in blindness, his other senses were now peaked and seemingly the stale odors were now more pronounced. “Blast it,” he muttered.

The old man and his blind brother had shared the house their entire lives. The death of his sightless sibling had left him with little remorse. The constant racket of the blind man’s cane on the old wooden floors had been nerve racking for over forty years. His death had rewarded the old man with a peaceful reprieve from the confounded noise of the cane and shuffling feet. It was with measured pity, that he had refused to give his gasping brother his heart medicine. A desperate moment which resulted in the coronary death of the vital organ and new found peace for the survivor. He had not killed his brother, but merely observed the spastic passing of the unfortunate man.

“Blast it to hell. Where are those damn candles and matches?” He got out of his chair and began to feel his way around the room. Lost in the darkness came a faint cadence.


“What was that?” he whispered to himself.


There it was again! He thought to himself. The wind? Maybe a tree branch outside his window?


“Blast it!” He peered outside the window into darkness.


He desperately looked around the dark room in vain and listened.


“Who’s there?” he gasped! “I know you’re there. Speak up!”....silence. Nothing. The quiet lasted for several stressful minutes. “Hump,” he grunted to himself at being so foolish. “Old house just sounding the death of it’s timbers. Rotting foundation most likely,” he continued to talk to himself in an effort to shore up his nerves. “Where’s that blasted power company?”


“Damn it all…..who are you?” he shouted. Then a cold veil slid over his soul. “William? Is that you? No…wait…what am I saying?? You’re dead! Blast, am I taking flight of all senses?” he muttered.


“Stop it! You’re dead, but I can still hear your cane! Blast it man, you’re dead, leave me in peace…….PLEASE!!!…..I’M SORRY!!!!!!” The old man bumped into a lamp table and then remembered this was where he kept the old Colt 45. You don‘t understand……I had to do it!…….“PLEASE FORGIVE ME WILLIAM!……PLEASE!!!!!

Hank had bolted the mounting struts to the power pole while Pete gyrated the crane from the ground controls and lowered the new transformer in place. “You still have to lower that mounting ring about another inch Hank,” Pete yelled up from the ground over the noise of the rain. Hank was thirty feet up in the lift basket and trying to do several maneuvers at once.

“Don’t know if it’ll move any more, but I’ll try” Hank called down. He took his utility hammer and once again attempted to lower the steel ring that was wrapped around the pole. “Nope, that’s all she’ll budge.”

“Okay, tighten everything up and let’s get the crap out of here fore we drown!” From the dark surroundings came a muffled “BANG!”

“What was that?” called Pete from the ground. Hank looked around and only saw an old Victorian house about thirty yards away.

“Don’t know. Most likely more thunder, and that’s my cue to get the hell down and pack it up.”

“Sounds more than good to me. How bout giving that mounting ring one more shot just to make sure.”

“Okay, but just a waste of time. Been hammering on it for over thirty minutes.”