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What it takes to finally smile

What it takes to finally smile

frown

I never smiled until I was five years old. My parents tried everything to get that grin going. They tickled me, made funny faces and silly sounds, hired a clown. But I sat there stone faced.

When I was five our house caught fire. It was the middle of the night. My family and I escaped with nothing but the PJs on our bodies. We stood on the sidewalk across the street and watched the inferno engulf our home. The fire department came and did their best, but after a few hours there was nothing left.

My mom got all excited because she noticed I was smiling.

It was true. I was smiling. I felt both ends of my mouth stretched out in places they’d never been before. It felt like my tongue was cupping a glob of sugar.

I joined hands with my sister, mom, and dad, as we giddily danced in a circle around our dog Pesky, who was leaping high in the air. We spontaneously sang, “Woo-di-doh-doh-doh-do!”

I noticed stares from the fire department members, and a few of our neighbors. But it didn’t stop our spectacular response, or my smile.

That night we slept in a Howard Johnson motel. Actually everyone was asleep but me. I was looking up at the curious dark shapes on the ceiling that were moving ever so slowly. They emanated a slight jingling. I imagined they were trying to tell me something, but of course I didn’t know what.

Pesky woke to their sounds. He looked up and watched their movements too. He jumped onto the bed and barked at the shapes. That’s when they stopped and my family woke up. I kept what I experienced a secret. These kind of things gain in personal value when you don’t share them.

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A general example of my day

A general example of my day

I don’t have a schedule. I wake up in the morning. I lay there for a while. I don’t have a job, so there’s no getting up and going to work so I can make a meeting. I don’t have close friends, so there’s no venturing out to make a breakfast or lunch appointment so I can talk about what’s going on in my life.

Eventually I’ll get up out of bed to use the bathroom. After that I find myself cascading to the kitchen for food since hunger is surfacing in me. I’ll chew the food and swallow. Things feel better. Then I sometimes go back to lay in bed. Or I might go outside and stand in my backyard. Laying down and standing are similar experiences for me. There’s not much movement. It’s not tiring. And I don’t have to make decisions or think if I’m doing it right.

Sometimes I’ll walk around the block. This makes me feel I accomplished something. Later on if I happen to find myself in a situation where I’m with someone else, which I never do, I can tell them what I did and they could respond by saying, “Really?” Or, “I should get out and walk more.”

William Henry Harrison deathbed

At some point during the day I take a time travel trip. It’s never planned. Suddenly I get a feeling to go somewhere in time, I step into the time machine, I punch in the coordinates, and then press the Go button. And then there I am. I did this today when I went to April 4th, 1841 and the White House in Washington, D.C. The President, William Henry Harrison was on his deathbed. He’d only been President for a month. His doctors were applying leeches to his chest in a final attempt to keep him alive. Harrison had enough, pulled off the leeches, sat up and said, “Life is a struggle to stave off death, but death waits peacefully, mouth open for its inescapable meal.” President Harrison fell back into the bed and died.

I returned to my time machine and came home. I sat down on my living room floor. I have a sofa, but I always sit on the floor. The sofa makes me sleepy. The floor is firmer and makes me feel alert.

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Sometimes things suck

Sometimes things suck

salami

I was recently lounging at home, eating salami. I really like salami. I can eat three to four packages and not feel full. It’s as if each piece of salami creates space in my stomach for more salami. I was two packages in when I lost my taste for salami. I was stupefied. What was happening? It was akin to being out and about during the day and suddenly the Sun disappears.

My dog Rexy picked up on the aberration and started barking at me like a squirrel had walked into the room. I called my doctor, Sheldon Dentenner, but he wasn’t available to see me until till Thursday. I paced my living room like a madman. Then it clicked that I needed a Bazooka Joe gum fix. I went into the kitchen’s pantry and opened the jar that contained unwrapped Bazooka Joe’s. I shoved a handful in my mouth and began chewing. But I wasn’t getting that brain sugar spike that sends me into candy euphoria. I spit out the wad onto the floor and my dog Rexy attacked it as if it was an accumulation of all cats.

I went outside and ran around my backyard in circles. I got dizzy and passed out. I woke up to Rexy licking my face. Rexy said, “What’s happened to you?” I said that it must be some kind of dark night of the soul. Rexy suggested we take the time machine to visit Lord Krishna. Which we did, and there we were in 3275 BC, Dwaraka, India. Avatar Lord Krishna was sitting in his garden in full levitating lotus, playing with a hand held game where you try and get the small metal balls into the holes.

Lord Krishna got one of those looks where you suddenly realize something smells bad. He looked up at me and said, “Oh. What is it now?” I told him everything I’ve told you. Lord Krishna said, “And?” I said that I was hoping he could fix it. Lord Krishna said, “No,” and went back to his game. So I got down on the ground and did full prostrations, declaring a lifetime of fidelity and devotion in exchange for his boon. Lord Krishna ignored me, suddenly declaring, “I got all the balls in the holes!”

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I have the habit of being late

I have the habit of being late

I have the habit of being late. Usually by five minutes. I tell myself it’s okay because, “What is time? It’s a construct to help people maneuver within the abstract.” However, others don’t see it that way and claim I am rude. I’m not bothered because like Euripides said, “Thus we are a vast collection of opinion machinery, diverse as the follicles on the tail end of the Deity.”

Joan of Arc

Occasionally my lateness also extends to time travel. For instance there was the moment I took my time machine back to May 30, 1431, Rouen, France, to save Joan of Arc. I arrived five minutes after she was burnt at the stake. No one claimed that I had shown bad manners. I scooped up her ashes and put them in a plastic bag so I could sell them later on eBay. You wouldn’t believe the market for post execution memorabilia. (To show I’m not heartless, I re-configured the time coordinates, got back to the same location ten minutes earlier, rescued Joan, brought her back to the current time, hired her as my assistant, she facilitated the sale of her ashes, and I gave her a 10% commission!)

A further example is when I went back in time to see the birth of the Big Bang. I wanted to take a picture so I could sell it to Chalmer’s Science Digest. But I was five minutes late again. Instantly I was swept along by the rapid propulsion of the mighty momentum of particles of light, energy, and matter, like a stick in the rapids. I clung to the raft of my time machine, fearing the force would tear me to pieces. For once I felt that perhaps being late is a personal detriment. But it turns out the Big Bang was only five and a quarter minutes long. The rapids quickly quelled into the docility of everything and settled into its place, like a placid lake. I time traveled back to the current time, wrote about my adventures in explicit detail, and won the Nobel Prize for Physics!

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Strange places I’ve woken up

Strange places I’ve woken up

sleep walker

I’m a sleep walker. I get up in the middle of the night and wander about my house. Sometimes I manage to make it outside and fumble around the neighborhood. Once a neighbor said she saw me at night out her window, riding a deer around her backyard.

A handful of times I slept walked into my time-machine and visited places in the past and future. This happened recently when I woke up in a small plane flying over water. I managed my way around crates to the cockpit, surprising the pilot Charles Lindbergh, who it turns out was on his famous 1927 flight over the Atlantic Ocean. He said he was so tired that he didn’t care how I’d gotten on board, and asked me to take over the controls while he napped. I was able to do it due to my many, many hours spent playing Atari’s Stars Wars: Fight for Naboo.

Another incident when I time-slept-traveled was when I woke up in a field in the middle of the day. There were no discernible signs that would give me a clue as to when and where I was. I waited for hours, thinking maybe a troop of British soldiers on American soil during the Revolutionary War would happen by. Or maybe a comet heading directly to Earth and ending the dinosaurs reign. I’m a curious sort, and can sit around for days waiting to find an answer. Eventually it began to rain and I got inside my time-machine and sat down on the floor to wait it out. It has a roof, and a door that closes. I fell asleep and I figured I got up and reset the dials, because I woke up this time in the woods, again not knowing when and where. A deer walked by, followed not long after by a racoon. I waited for a couple of hours, but by now, hunger overcame curiosity and I traveled back home.