Yep, someone’s sneaking up on you. Or some thing is just about to get you. It’s really inevitable that stuff is about to happen and make you the punchline of the universe’s joke. That’s how it works. In fact, in a plus-perfect moment of synchronicity, despite my having written this post several days ago in preparation for posting on the 8th of September, I had a brain hiccup and completely forgot to press Publish on the appropriate day. So here I am giving you a two-fer in recompense. Pardon my pratfall!The nice thing is that we’re all generally in line for the same sort of treatment, so when such craziness happens, the embarrassment of it all is rarely going to linger for long; soon enough, something silly will happen to somebody else in the room and the pangs of self-consciousness will be turned to sympathy for his or her plight, the mortification of being the center of derisive attentions muted by seeing them passed right along to another poor dupe. That is also how it works.I’m not saying that I enjoy being the buffoon of the moment, mind. In the space of the last few days I managed to both fall off a shallow curb (only a near-miss, as I was able to convert the tripping into an awkward but deep curtsy to the people nearby) and trip forward up a step onto a hardwood floor, whose grain will soon be emblazoned on my knee in a variety of flamboyant purple colors by tomorrow, all while injuring nothing more seriously than my scant supply of dignity. And I’m not proud of this lack of grace, merely cognizant that it’s not limited strictly to me and the joke that remains in strangers’ minds has a lot more to do with the hilarity of the situation than it does with remembering what unknown fool performed the ignominious stunt that so brightened their day.I’d love to think it possible to overcome and avoid all future Incidents of ridiculous stupidity and clumsiness simply because, once experienced and noted, they can be put to rest, but that is decidedly not how it works. So what I need to overcome and avoid is letting it get to me. I am bound by history, odds and my very nature to slip, fall, make egregious errors and squeeze a minimum of ten smaller mistakes into every day I’m alive, but nothing says I have to be defined exclusively by my failures and flops. Every once in a while I can work to turn such things to entertaining advantage. Who knows, if I pay attention, I might even see the little disaster coming and be able to duck in time to miss it and let it hit someone else for a change.
Little Beasties’ Escapade
Raccoon, Armadillo and Possum set sail
In a galvanized bucket, the teeth of a gale,
On the reservoir lake in the midst of the night,
Under cloud-obscured stars and without the moon’s light,
For they were on a mission requiring the dark,
At imperative speed, wildly searching the spark
Of a glimmer ashore on the lake’s farther side,
Where they’d scramble the banks and find somewhere to hide–
And what was their mission, to act like scared squirrels?
Escaping, of course, from the amorous girls
Of the possum, raccoon and ‘dillo persuasions.
I’d like to twine my limbs among
great roots beneath an oak,
eternally embracing there
—but not before I croak.
I want my grave within a grove
of alders, at the least,
so plant me deeply in the trees
Cheer up; it could Happen to You
The shrinking shrubbery betrays the end-of-season, last of days,
that comes—enfin!—to suck and drub the lushness out from every shrub,
to make it sere and small and sharp, and leafless, stringy as a harp;
to drag the desiccation on until all fruitful life is gone,
and while it’s shrinking, to remind me salad days are left behind me;
Roland Stone Gathers Moss
Roland was a rascal
Roland was a scamp
Roland gave his children
A trip to summer camp
The neighbors thought it generous
But never did they guess
He moved away and left the kids
No forwarding address
The kids were smarter than he thought
And found him anyhow;
They gave him a nice funeral, though:
The joke’s on Roland now.