The Thing About Ghosts

Last night while cooking myself a delicious egg and potato dinner, the ghost of Nathaniel Hawthorne stopped by my kitchen.

He said, “I’m the ghost of Nathaniel Hawthorne.”

I think it’s interesting that ghosts identify themselves in that way. It sounds apologetic. “Um, I’m sorry, I hope you don’t mind, but I’m a ghost…”

I said, “Hi, the currently living Brooks Palmer.”

He started laughing. It broke the ice.

Hawthorne said, “I’ve been reading your blogs. I like the humor. It’s good concise story-telling.”

I said thanks.

Hawthorne continued with, “When I was living and writing, we didn’t have computers or TV. We had long stretches of un-designated time between meals. I think that’s why my novels had long, what could be seen as perhaps sometimes meaningless passages. It was like I was married to my thoughts, emotions and moral equivocations, and knew them in great detail. Thus, they would fill the pages of my novels as the Salton Sea attempts to fill the presumed emptiness of the Death Valley.”

My head was starting to hurt. I was being reminded of trying but not being able to manage or survive reading Hawthorn’s moral tale of “The Scarlett Letter” in Junior High. It was required reading for English Lit. I had to copy off Jimmy Harper’s test to maintain my C+ average.

Hawthorne said, “I’m sorry, I feel that I am intruding. I’m going to excuse myself and move on into the night.” I nodded and he left.

That’s the great thing about ghosts. They know what you’re feeling. It saves you from having to lie or pretend.

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