Life … Make it count for something

Like it or not, we have a limited run at this game called life. We exist to communicate, propagate, and terminate. Our existence has ended by age, by blade, by bullet, by bacteria and by boredom. We’ve gone out in style, in sleaze, in disgrace, with remorse, with extreme prejudice, and with dignity.
This isn’t a game. We don’t dance through life. We don’t bounce through life. We don’t bowl through our existence.
Whether our life is spent in the grill of an unforgiving sun, or the shade of endless darkness, we sup at the tit of an earth goddess until we can hold our own spoon.
Whatever our origin or colour our fears, dreams and hopes are shared equally in our collective heart.

One of the most important days of my life.

Bright sunlight and a bad breakfast were two elements of one of the most important days of my life.

A day with equal parts fear, anticipation and confused pride was about to begin.
Emily was already at Hospital Number Three in Changsha. Changsha is Hunan’s capital and Hospital Number Three is an appropriately modern hospital, at least by Chinese standards. Emily’s operation was scheduled for nine o’clock that morning. Any surgery is worrying, but this was a Chinese hospital, my wife and our child. Tense would hardly describe my emotions. Emily would deliver the baby by caesarian, due to her age and the estimated size of the baby. Hospital policy forbade me from being in the room during the operation. So I waited outside with our friend Nancy, our school accountant. Tense would hardly describe my emotions. A doctor came out about nine-thirty and I almost jumped out of my skin.
When he proceeded to lean against the door of the operating room and light up a cigarette I almost throttled the insensitive bastard. Walking, sitting and nervously jumping at every noise occupied the better part of the eternity that was the next quarter hour. Then a nurse came out.
“It’s a boy,” she said.
“No, a girl,” I replied.
“Boy,” she insisted.

We had been told it was going to be a girl a few months before and we were quite happy with that. We had chosen to name her after my father’s mother and had taken to calling the baby Catherine. Dutifully following the nurse down a couple of flights of stairs, and towards a small room I stood and watched as she prepared warm water for the baby’s first bath. The blanket was removed and Catherine was revealed to be “a boy!?!”
I was shocked, proud, and no more delighted by being Daddy to a boy, but I was mightily confused.
Our little boy, born at 9:48 Beijing time on 29/03/2004, weighing 3.9 kg, and measuring 58 cm was here and being cleaned and polished. He had all his toes, and fingers, brown eyes and pointed ears. My pride was somewhat checked by the fact that I now had to come up with a name.
The months of preparation gave way to the concern for Emily’s recovery and the baby’s health. Anticipation gave way to joy and responsibility, as a new child became part of our lives. Confused pride remains.

Oh yes, the boy’s name is Wyatt Alexis.


Bullies Sunday, June 14, 2009

I was just reading Clifford Meth’s blog. Clifford Lawrence Meth (February 22, 1961) is an American writer and editor best known for his dark fiction.
Mr. Meth always has something to say about something, and it’s often relevant

This time he was writing about his son’s issues with bullies.
This is why is was relevant to me .
We’ve all met them. The little snots,the big jackasses and the more malicious cretins whose bullying is becoming the way to shut down comment or open, honest discussion.
We’ve dealt with them,been harassed by them, and may have even been them.
As a parent and as a teacher, I’ve tried to be aware of bullies, and to deal with them as effectively as possible. I would think I’ve failed as often as I’ve succeeded.

How do you deal with them when it’s your child being picked on.
Easy answer might be to sort it out yourself, as some parents and teachers have tried to do. Then of course, you’ve supplanted one bully with another.

My son Wyatt is five. The other bullies are five, or six perhaps.
We were at a birthday party for Wyatt’s classmates. It started as a play-fight. Things you see in schoolyards and school hallways everyday. The kids would throw their punches and let go with kicks, no one was hit,but the energy behind the actions started to escalate.
Watching it from a distance was not pleasant, but I made myself wait to see how Wyatt could deal with it. Wyatt didn’t punch or kick, just waved his hands at the others and then they moved in. I half stood and then the moment passed.
There were a few more incidents, but nothing came of them.
I’ve certainly seen the end results of more malicious incidents at school.
For me to step in as a parent or a teacher is to make the bullied more of a target, I can only hope that the few times I pulled a really nasty little snot away, or consoled a victim,that I’ve done some good.

I’ll leave you with this short bit of dialogue from one of my favorite films
‘The Ghost and the Darkness’ written by William Goldman
(this is actually from the original screenplay and Redbeard became Remington -played by Michael Douglas- in the movie)

In my town, when I was little,
there was a brute, a bully who
terrorized the place.
But he was not the problem. He
had a brother who was worse than
he. But the brother was not the
One or the other of them was
usually in jail. The problem came
when they were both free together.
The two became different from
either alone.
Alone they were only brutes.
Together they became lethal,
together they killed.

What happened to them?

I got big.
(They move on)
(Used completely without permission,but with no realistic hope of profit)

Happy birthday to friends from my childhood

An achievement
Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2011 on

Turning eighty. It’s been done before, but it seems special when the individual, or individuals in this case, represented youth and vitality for a generation. Never mind that one of them wore a rug … he was still cool. He still is cool.
Yeah, I’m writing about the SHAT and Mr. Spock.
William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy turn 80 this year.
Hokey Smokes, Bullwinkle! Can that be true?
There’s a part of me that wants to write ‘Phasers on maudlin’ as if to distance myself from this, but that would be to diminish what was a vital ingredient of my youth.
I was six or seven when I watched my first Star Trek episode(Wolf in the Fold) and other than the few visual clues that helped me peg the episode a few years later, I didn’t remember much. Later I was hooked. I never wore ears, or a uniform but it was a big part of growing up.
I was always a Kirk fan, but no denying the Spock mystique, or the fact that Nimoy aged more gracefully than his erstwhile commanding officer.
When Star Trek the Motion Picture came out it was a month or so after my first plane ride, and I felt I could identify with Kirk boarding the (The definite article was still in use on Trek then.) Enterprise. That is my badge of geekdom.
Star Trek 2: the Wrath of Khan, brought us to the reality that these guys were aging. The next few movies seemed to be living in denial of that reality.
To see what Shatner and Nimoy have done away from Trek has been gratifying to fans of the actors and performers.
Wishing both men healthy and happy birthdays, and many more to come.
Our son Wyatt turns seven this month. Wyatt is our effort to boldly go into the future . We hope we do it with as much dignity and purpose as these two gentlemen have come to embody.