Saturday, November 25, 2006

And the blind will see

I spent a couple of weeks recently as a pedestrian after my Mini's clutch failed catastrophically. The weather was thankfully ideal for walking - that crisp, sunny, energizing fall weather, the sort that makes you want to jump into a pile of leaves. In the middle of just such an afternoon, I was walking down a street that winds through a neighborhood of large, elegant homes, on my way to pick up my car at long last. There, in the middle of the sidewalk, sat a pair of glasses. No one in sight, just the glasses laying there, as yet unscathed. I started to walk past, thinking there would be no way for me to find the owner, so what would I do with them if I picked them up? But I couldn't help but think that someone would need these, and perhaps I could do something to help their owner see clearly again! I bent down and scooped up the spectacles, and tucked them into my bag, still wondering just what I could do that would offer even the remotest hope of reunion. About two minutes later, a gardener driving a golf cart turned out from one of the driveways. As he paused to let me past, I asked him if the glasses were his. At his enthusiastic and surprised, "Yes!", I handed the glasses over and continued on my way.

We often despair of making a difference in the world. We long to change the world, to see miracles happen. Sometimes I wonder if we miss the miracles, and our chances to make them happen, by stepping over and around the little things left on the sidewalk. We want to do big things, to see big miracles - so we skip over the trifles. Or else we worry that any thing we can do is but a drop in the bucket, we have no faith that our efforts will change anything at all - and leave the insignificant bits behind. I'm not Christ, healing the blind man along the road, but in this one thing not overlooked on the sidewalk, I could abet a small miracle. What were the odds of my ever finding the owner of the glasses? Small to none. Yet someone sees more clearly because I was willing to take on - in faith - the negligible burden of picking up the glasses.

Friday, November 17, 2006

One Liners

Crash Kid is the master of the one liners.

"Did I say that out loud? I'm sorry, when I'm stressed, sometimes my sub-text becomes text."

"Who are you, and what have you done with my mother?"

And of course, "Neat." Which can be inflected to mean anything from "awesome" to "and tell me again why I should care?"

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Kid'll Eat the Middle of an Oreo First

...and save the chocolate cookie outside for last!" So goes the jingle from MY childhood. I must admit, I never liked the chocolate cookie part of an Oreo much, and if left to my own devices would eat the white stuff in the middle and leave the chocolate cookie outside for someone else entirely. With four brothers, finding someone to consume my chocolate remains, licked clean or not, was rarely a problem.

The other day Barnacle Boy appeared with an impish grin and a plate of white discs -- guess what he saves for last! Those creamy white insides. This must say something about our respective psychologies, if only I could figure out what.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Barnacle Boy and Crash Kid had guests to dinner the other night. The Boy was using his napkin to flick his buddy. "Stop flicking Game Guy!" "I'm not flicking him, the napkin is!" "The napkin has no self-determination, you decide for the napkin." I shot back. Crash enters the fray, "Self-determination is a key human right." Now the conversation has moved to what it means to be human (and how this does not apply to napkins). From my perspective this is a win: Barnacle Boy is no longer flicking the napkin at Game Guy. We are however, making Grown Girl, our other guest, nervous. She put the brakes on with, "Whoa, long word alert. Too many long words are making me nervous!"

Barnacle Boy tells her solemnly that she must suffer from hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, a long word for the fear of long words. It rolls off his tongue, but none of the rest of us can manage it, particularly not when laughing so hard! We decided that while Grown Girl is certainly a hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobic, the Boy is on track to be a hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophile I don't know if Grown Girl will ever come back to eat with us again, even if we are having tacos.

According to Wikipedia, Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is not a real phobia. The word doesn't appear in the Oxford English dictionary, nor in the DSM. Nonetheless, this site offers hope for sufferers.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Shimmering Chimeras

Barnacle Boy, true to form, wanted to hold onto me tonight. "I never said how long I wanted to hold you, I'll never let you go, Mom!" I pointed out to him that I was always holding onto him, that some of his cells were still in me. Fetal microchimerism, the decades long, post-partum persistence of fetal cells in the mother is a relatively recent discovery. My own little barnacle was quick to pick up on the principle. He wanted to know where I kept his cells - in the uterus? "No, all over my body, even in my blood." The lights went on. "Oh, I'm always in your heart! Literally! Your blood goes right through your heart, with me...." A short pause was followed with, "and so you were always in Grammy's heart, too. Even when she's dead, you're still in her heart." I suspect he meant it literally, he's a pretty pragmatic guy, but I read it more affectively, on this of all days, All Saints Day - to hear that I remain always in my mother's heart, unto to death and beyond.