Friday, July 22, 2005

You shall not grow old….

His name was Mitch Hedberg, and I’ve been following news about him since, well, since his death. I first happened upon his bit whilst downloading random MPGs from Kazaa a few years ago. It was one of his standup acts performed on the David Letterman show. With his hair covering his eyes which were also hidden from view by rose-colored sunglasses, Mitch delivered one after another short jokes and observations that I found hilarious. Some of my favorite:

“You know that Pepperidge Farm bread, that stuff is fancy. That stuff is wrapped twice. You open it, and it still ain't open. That's why I don't buy it, I don't need another step between me and toast.”

“Dogs are always in the pushup position.”

"I don't have a microwave but I do have a clock that occasionally
cooks shit."

Mitch, it seems, had some bad demons. He not only did drugs, but he did a lot of them. This abuse is likely what contributed to his untimely death just before his first HBO special at the age of 37 this past March. I, too, am 37 this year, so I find myself examining this man’s life along with my own. He shall not grow old as I shall grow old, and now we wonder about the real man and the things that drove him. What is it that drives me or what turmoil exists in each of us that no one might ever know about until we are gone from here?

Jupiter, like most of the planets, is a tempestuous place. Scientists say that red spot is actually a gigantic storm wherein many earths could fit, yet from afar we hardly think of it at all, or of any of the storms going on in the gulf or in the next county ... or in the next person. We, too, are made of storms. We are two things: mountains and storms. The mountains stand up to the storms, but the storms never stop trying to take down the mountains. In Mitch’s case, maybe the storm got big enough and the mountain was worn enough and it finally capitulated. We should know that there is one who is over both and that the storms will never stop coming. However, the mountain’s roots will run deep and the storm need not destroy, but instead shape the mountain and give it character.

God bless Mitch. Rest in peace….

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Goodbye Sneaky and Sticky

I found out today that two living things in my care died: Sneaky and Sticky. My daughter wanted a snake, but at the pet store, a couple of weeks ago, I talked her into getting a frog. Boy, I should’ve asked some questions. Frogs need a lot of care. We fed it bugs about every other night and it was moist in its jar, but it still died. I had read the sheet and got “the basics” and planned on getting an aquarium for it, but apparently, I was supposed to also be “dusting” it with vitamins and calcium. It also requires a daily spray of fresh water which I had been doing, but not in several days. I don’t know. It just makes me feel terrible – like I’ve displeased God or something by having these little creatures die. When my daughter woke up I told her about it. I said, “I guess we didn’t take good care of him.” She said, “no, he just didn’t have that tank.” She had been giving him bugs too. I then told her that we needed to release Sneaky – a Salamander that had wondered into my office this week. I got it Tuesday and we took it home in a plastic cup. This was just over a day later, but the thing died. We went out to release it this morning and there he was – stiff and shriveled up. She picked him up and tossed him into the front yard saying, “well, if he’s fake-dead he needs to stop.”

You know, how I do fret over this and that. Just look at how she handled it. No big deal. She is my sage. There I was upset about Sticky, the frog, and Sneaky, the salamander, dying. There’s a lake behind my house and maybe 1000 frogs and salamanders die back there each day, yet I don’t think about that. True, I should make my best effort to care and provide for things given me, but why fret over it when they perish?

I’ve suffered several tragedies in my life in recent years and even recently. It’s time to toss them out into the front yard and say, “well, if they’re fake-dead they need to stop.” And walk away. My daughter simply wasn’t going to deal with a salamander who was either truly dead or faking it. The next time something doesn’t work out for me I’m simply going to say, “well, if it’s fake-dead, it needs to stop” and let it go. The Bible tells us to be like children. I think if more of us were like that the world would be a much happier place….