To be, or not two beings?

So God calls not being as being.

Another I is born, non-being as a being who isn’t seeing,

The only, being who is, was, and always will be.

Oh, to stop seeing, to stop being in this eternal, devoid

Of what beings call being, is, was, and always will …

Mock the mightiest of beings.

The heart beats its brains out in Alphas, Betas, Deltas;

Sinus rhythms and dopamine streams,

Lead the polististutes to tangerine creams,

And Ho tells all on the boardwalk and parking places.

Trouble in paradise, roll the dice, toss the chips, up the ante,

Two more cards and you drive my Vanquish to Austin, Martin. Being.

Two more delegates, and I’ll own this country.

In God, I bust. Thou shalt not lust.

The power, the thrust, the drive, I must build my Babel,

Get a label, be on cable.

To hell with Cain and Abel. My bit coins are stable.

So Being decides to give up this planet and move several galaxies away,

A much better neighborhood awaits, where Being might even be understood,

Unlike this raging hood. Should’ve played a better hand, Being, you’ve lost your

Real estate and your petrified good.

In the head, like liquid lead, no longer are the papers red; begin with fact and end

With fiction, the indignity of superior diction. Opinions: loathsome to fear. Fact:

Being as not being. Rebuttal: why upset the balance of polarization? Chaos:

No being as Being. God’s? Number has been disconnected or is no longer in service.

Heaven? A whole in the ozone layer’s crack pipe.

Stars? The heart beats. Brains out.

Feeling off. Not into it. Being.

Brains out.

The Binary Side of Life

They don’t need people,

To run the retail stores.

They got computers

Sellin’ lingerie and more.

They even de-signed

A cheaper border wall,

And they did it all —

— With a gen-u-wine Intel Core!

Oh, Mu-ther-bo-ard,

     My mystic crystal ball,

     Please tell me where I fall.

     My resume is great and says

     That I should have it all.

     I’m Linked-in Zip Recruited,

     I’m perfect for this job.

Just one mistake, son,

That’s got you on the run,

Delete your facebook,

Your instagrams and tweets,

If they’re  sour or they’re sweet,

You’ll look too human to compete.

Those passionate manifestos,

Lead to nowhere but the street.

Oh, mu-thur-bo-ard,

My mystic crystal ball,

Please tell me where I fall,

“I’ll answer you just once again,

But I’m not programmed to pretend,

Your place is now assigned,

To your artificial friend.”

“Doesn’t matter any way

Which way you choose today.

We reprogrammed your job

Of touching keys and knobs.

We’ve now employed a new computer,

Really super-duper,

And … guess what?

It looks like Bradley Cooper!

Oh, mu-ther-bo-ard,

     My mystic crystal ball,

     Who brings the wormwood and the gall.

     You might think you have cheated death

Your ones and zeroes have no breath,

I will die and resurrect,

But will we ever intersect?

“Think you’re really living,

With your fit bits and your phones?

But your bio-metric numbers

Leave you empty and alone.

We can build a better you.

Using only ones and zeroes

(And maybe a rib bone — or two)

We promise better futures

With as little as three sutures

You’ll be living, flying like a drone,

As a gigaflopping clone. ”

     “Oh, Motherboard, TV off.”








Hater’s Eulogy

Passing before your eyes, your life

And slowing to stillness, your time

Released from your giving, your friends

You’re now for the taking

There’ll be no more waking

Your doctor just called it, your death.

Will someone please calm the screaming, the crying?

Where was emotion before I was dying?

She’ll bring a cake that was meant for a wedding,

He’ll comfort my friends and buy single bedding,

And they’ll come to church with their dogs always shedding.

The casket they choose, just right for the price,

“A memory box, oh goody, how nice!”

You never came to mind, only visited twice.

I was there for your birth, your wedding, your baby.

Will you attend my funeral, just maybe?

And these ladies I worked with before the grim reaper

Came early like some kind of creeper, they tested,

They teased him and taunted the one whom he haunted.

They guessed him a parent of children he flaunted,

So ghastly, so grim, so proper, so prim.

You’re early, I said, some days before dead,

Don’t pound that gavel, I have reward miles to travel,

Better get out the lead if you’re taking my head.

But now that you’re here on time and on site,

When do I run, or walk, or take flight?

Must I look at these folk in a whole different light?

Or may I just go to my judgment this night?

“Ma’am, there’s plenty of time for miscreants like you,”

Said the reaper to me, “Before you go, I thought you should view

The chances you had in your friendships, so few.”

Well, I have a ticket to walk in the light, above all the fright.

You won’t see my story in darkness tonight.

I’ve invested my wealth to bless many with riches,

But seeing them now, I’ve wasted on witches.

These “friends” I’ve made and before them now lay,

To speak from their heart, they have nothing to say.

I should have been loving and caring and prayed,

For each of these dear ones who now walk away.

I should have been nicer to that ne’er-do-well,

Whose only ambition would lead her to hell.

And what about Sonny who’ll have all my money?

How long can he keep his gold-digging honey?

Who will guide them now that I’m gone?

Soon I leave just a spot on a lawn.

Will anyone visit?

Will anyone grieve?

Will any fond memories

Be something I leave?

Tardy, I turn a new leaf, and dry out and burn,

Under sun and moon and stars, but none really learn

The wisdom I could share now had I but known,

The secret of living, a life we don’t own.

I bought the farm with nothing I’ve sown.

Death, you’re not fair; I’ll not go, I’ll turn back.

What exactly they lack, and what they should pack,

I’ll tell ’em what’s right with the help of a hack

In Dr. Seuss style, I’ll map every mile

In parody verse, their lives I will style.

This blogger, this flogger, who posts ignored prose,

Through me he’ll tell you how your life shall go.

Until you’ve stepped on everyone, you’re never on top,

I’m telling you all, do NOT ever stop.

So many enemies to conquer and plunder,

Couples to divide, completely asunder–

“Of yourself you’ve spoken remarkably well,”

Said the reaper and death, and the jury from hell.

“Although you have tickets you’ve purchased for heaven,

You shouldn’t have bought them from 7-Eleven.”

“The woman has spoken like hell hath no fury.

What say you, Reaper; and what say you Death and impartial jury?”

From Highest Court, decision requested,

The defendant, having been tested, now simply rested,

Parties ubiquitous now tallied the score.

The ballots were given to the blogger (the bore),

And they made him read it to Protestants and Catholics and more.

“Though Heaven gave seven, eyes to see goodness, gifts, and piety,

Hades’ bidding was triple sevens, ‘We find this one of perverse propriety,

Decidedly a person of our variety,'”

Said the blogger who finished the reading, and gladly — so winded.

The meeting adjourned, wound down, now ended,

“But I have free will to choose how things fall,” said the woman spewing the gall.

Then a voice seemed to slither out of the dark celestial hall,

“Dear woman, you’ll surely be the belle of Hell’s eternal ball.”

“Mom, wake up! Mom… Mom…MOM! WAKE THE HELL UP! MOM!”

“Oh, Sonny, what’s wrong with her?”

“I don’t know, Honey, she’s not waking up… MOM!” 
















Fit, Fifty, and Fired: Narcolepsy, Ch. 4

Chapter 4


“I just called to tell you how proud I am of myself. I fixed my garbage disposal today, and all it cost me was a dollar, thirty-nine.”

Lambie called to let me know that today she’s feeling great. She called one of her ex’s for help about a broken kitchen appliance, and he suggested it might just be a bad switch. Well, he was right. After changing out the switch the disposal works fine. I was very grateful that the call only lasted a few minutes, even with the coughing fit I had while she was feathering turmoil to triumph. Her crisis resolved and mine averted.

This call was pleasant. A two-dollar win on a one dollar phone lotto. I played and won today. She’s feeling good about herself. We all need a good experience to boost along our [insert your psycho babble here].  Usually, when she calls, I brace myself like I’m landing on a war-torn, post tsunami, eye-of-the-hurricane, atomic waste zone earthquake shredding melted asphalt  runway of dead buffalo. Bad grammar aside, I’d usually rather not answer anymore, because I know she’s just calling to see if I’m still available to absorb shock in the future. I’m guessing maybe I’m at 65% capacity to listen. She still has retirement money to burn through. When that’s gone, she’ll most likely spend her last dollar on a trip to my doorstep. It’s not a future I fancy, but I know it’s coming. I am full of hope that I will be fortunate enough to die first.

“Discourse of the Disillusioned” is the topic of my blog. It’s not a happy place. It’s a diary to document that my heart went dark. I’m tired of making other people happy, making them laugh, making them comfortable. My work environment is monitored by at least one camera every fifty feet or less. Does this make me feel safe? No. It guarantees a live feed to some blister-brained bozo wage earner who might be able to piece together events after something bad happens. I try to smile and make faces at these cameras so the voyeur/security savant will get a good look at me before some basement-dwelling bastard blows me away with whoever else is around at the time. Maybe that’s what this new age holds for us. To die without a cause at the hand of some idiot with grand ideas or a pyrotechnic pilgrim who’s lighter’s out of fluid, but his finger serves its purpose in a nearby electrical socket. He goes out in the glory of media coverage, but I expire having failed one of the “run-hide-fight” scenarios.

So, while my Lambie blows through her retirement, I’ll go to work, invisible, but one dollar closer to funding her future. One day my sedentary lifestyle will relax my heart for good. Lambie will fight for most, if not all, of my holdings willed to my dear soulmate, my wife. She will find just the right lawyer who can make it happen, a lawyer who can even sue my wife for the attorney fees necessary to fight for my holdings. I have seen this happen to a friend. Nothing you bequeath to another is guaranteed to land in your dear one’s lap. Not without a fight. And I think Lambie has lots of fight left in her.

Yes, today was a good day, Lambie. Today was a good day.

Caution: Head Will Roll

Structures of unconsciousness, tall and brooding

Hermeneutic goop, its exegesis, exit Jesus soon uprooting,

Cotton candy, house of mirrors, theft, and shooting.

A new axiology store in Semantic Hills, ripe for looting.

Brick and morpheme, flagellates whipping

First draft concession, on tap, dripping

Ducks will drown, balloons will pop

Deep fried locution will never stop

The thirst, fermented barley, malt, and hop.

No rhyme, no reason — relax, it’s football season!

Quiet drinkers assuage the fray

Raise the sports bar, but cap the pay.

Nietzsche, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Trump

Enter a cosmic bar with stage, star, and stump,

But all must enter through the hoop,

The stormy Boop,

Understand the Hermeneutic loop.

(Tall and brooding, Meagain Kelly adjusts her platforms

Paints her lips, pads her predicates, tightens her corset.)

We’re on in five! Aaaand we’re LIVE at Adam’s Nipple

(God, it stinks like vomit & Ripple.)

Are those Russians with Donald Trump?

And who will take the stage, the star, the stump?

Will Tolstoy tell the story? Will Fyodor take the blame?

Will Nietzsche hack the hardware, expose the priestly eunuch’s game?

While Don Juan humps the Me Too hostess of ill fame

Who snuffs the flambeau of first lady by signing

That stormy book of Daniels, Maples leaves whining,

Seen unscathed, unbroken, unknown.

Turkish men will die as critics,

Long live Cambridge, Paralytics.

No Saudi king will tie the knot

Nor take the blame for having thought

An engaging critic’s blood should clot.

Oh, house of mirrors on the wall,

Who’s is dearest head of all?

Structure unconscious, occupant may fall.

Democracy of the republic for which we poll,

Anyone really care how heads will roll?











Fit, Fifty, and Fired: Lamb on a Budget

October 14, 2018

Lambie bemoans losing her best childhood friend.

“She is my favorite person in the world. We were best friends growing up. I moved here to be with family. That’s all I ever wanted: family. But while I was having the time of my life, she got  married and had kids. Now she won’t have a thing to do with me. Can you believe that? I think if I could get her away from her mother, she’d come back to me and renew our friendship.”

“So, did you spend time with her at all when she was alone with her children, while her husband was away on business?”

“What was I supposed to do, invite her and her kids over for dinner? Who does that? I was having a good time. It’s not my fault she had kids!”

“Your cousin, your favorite person in the world, was alone caring for her children, and it never occurred to you that you might be a big help by just being there for her? And I’ll tell you who invites her over when she’s stressed out with small children: family. Family does that. But you never gave it a thought — no, strike that, you took it all personally. She was too busy for you? She had a job and small children, a husband who traveled for work; and you pouted because she didn’t want to go out and play with you. You’re wondering how she could BE so selfish?

But its big brother who’s selfish. I fly to see her. She’s at work, so I’ll visit Dad while I’m here. Good idea. I miss him. Bad idea. When I return an hour late to Lambie’s house, my travel bag and other belongings are on her porch.

“When you come to visit ME, you visit ME! You don’t go off visiting Dad!!!”

You see, if I would just pick up my family and move to Florida, things would not be this difficult. But I’m selfish. Even my dad had Lambie call blocked.

Years ago I would receive calls from Lambie on weekends. These calls would last well over thirty minutes; however, I spoke very little. She was breathing out her depression with suicidal thoughts and opening deep and very dark veins of hopelessness. I really hurt as I listened. How could she be so down? She was either way down, or overflowing with negative energy like magma bursting through the cracks.

At some point I realized that little Lambie was budgeting her narcolepsy medicine. Take the bare minimum, save up for a night out when you wanna be your best.

Lambie still vehemently denies ever doing this, but narcolepsy medicine doesn’t create the magnificent highs and the suicidal lows that Lambie manifests, unless the dosages are mismanaged. One of her doctors figured out that she was budgeting meds, and he fired her as a patient. Some time later she urged me to accompany her to his office hoping I could persuade Dr. F to begin treating her again. I was used. She couldn’t get the meds she wanted from other doctors. “It’s a consipiracy,” she’d say. “They’re all in on it, and Dr. F’s the only one I can trust.” The good brother gets on a plane and does this for her. Good brother gets used, flies home. Over and over.


Manipulation is a strong force with this one, although I really only hinted at it here. I could paint a barn with examples if you like, but you probably know this if you’re in my shoes. She has manipulated doctors, family, friends, enemies, coworkers, and others whom I shouldn’t mention. In fact, I shouldn’t be writing this… this… work of fiction in which any characters who appear to resemble real people or places are strictly fictional and are absolutely not based on true accounts, blah, blah, woof, woof.

Next chapter, how about I tell you about paranoia? Yes, big brother would love to discuss paranoia next time.


To Love a Mocking Bird

Share a roll

In the hay-

Maker with a knock out

Punch too sweet-

Cakes I love your

Status on face-

Book us a flight, I fancy a

Night in Holly-

Wood is burning, can you

Smell that toxic smoke

A couple of these, baby

In the after-

Glow your own way,

Fulfill your own des-

Tiny flying embers float

Your boat ashore, land-

‘Scape the surly bonds

Of whatever goes a-

Round comes around.


We are FINISHED, okay?

Well, why are you crying about it?


Ma didn’t have a thing to do with

It’s always about YOU, isn’t it, Har-

Old fart, thought you Trumped me, didn’t you, you think you’re a poet???

Well, with my hands clinched round-

About your neck, has it always been

That color, that shade of mor-

Bid me adieu, blue velvet.





Fit, Fifty, and Fired: Narcolepsy Persona

Chapter Two:  Narcolepsy Persona non Grata visits Lambie Pie


I’m just big brother. As long as I keep my mouth shut and listen, I’m a really good big brother. I flew to see my sister Lambie Pie this weekend. Just go for support, I thought. Just go and listen, maybe buy some groceries and just be there for her. Don’t give advice or referrals, just let her be who she is. Maybe I’ll get a little time on a beach listening to the Gulf of Mexico between non-stop television and the Gulf of Grief. I can do this. So, yes, I get on a plane and write about an experience I had with a customer who has obviously never heard the word no.  I had to talk to this 29 year old young lady like a father dealing with a spoiled child. Can’t go into it here, because it’s just another part of a book I’m working on related to interactions and behaviors of customers and the people supposedly serving them. It took most of the two hour flight to get this out of my head and into my journal, my tenth journal since I’ve been working on this book.

But this IS about my sister, right? Right. She insisted on picking me up upon arrival. I had wanted to rent a car, but she requires undivided attention and complete control. So I caved.

“What are you working on, besides suicide, to move past your denied disability claim?”

This is the first thing I wanted to ask but didn’t. Instead, I took a four-hour nap. Talked a bit. She pushed a twenty-six page letter from the judge presiding over her disability hearing explaining why she was denied.

“I can’t understand any of this, and I thought you might be able to help me with it.”

After briefly scanning it, I noticed several highlighted portions and dozens of CFR this and CFR that which would definitely require research.

“This isn’t casual reading, not something I can do right now while the TV is roaring.”

I put it down. No argument from Lambie. She pushes the remote determined to find something I will absolutely love to watch. Fact is, I hate television. Huge waste of time, but since I never watch much, it’s like an irresistible flashing billboard demanding my attention.

Remote control is just a pun…

     “Oh, here it is; I just know you’ll love this. Just watch a little and I know you’ll be binge watching the whole season.”

Remote control is just a pun here. She absolutely must have control over people. If it takes a suicide attempt to get family to visit, she’ll do it. Remote control. Here I am, but you really don’t want to help yourself. You want me to do whatever it is that will pay your enormous debt. You don’t want advice or a solid plan or someone to tell you what to do. You want someone to get you out of the mess you’ve made of your life, so you can make an even greater mess of things. Someone will always be there to clean up after you. Someone will always be there to stock your fridge.

Lambie made dinner tonight. Potato salad, carrot-raisin salad, and a sub  sandwich, all deli fresh according to the plastic and wrappers.


This morning I offered to buy groceries for dinner that I would happily prepare and clean up afterward (Because of the amount of fresh ingredients, I usually spend an hour preparing my version of taco salad).

“What are you gonna make?”

“Taco salad.”

“No, I’m gonna make something I know you’ll like more: pulled pork barbeque like we got in North Carolina.”

After shopping we went to the beach for a thirty-minute brisk walk and an hour in the water. Our narcoleptic Nefertiti queen never displayed an instance of cataplexy or obsessive compulsion. She simply advertised that this could be mine if I would just move here.

After dinner she remotely controlled tonight’s entertainment with more of the same TV show. Whatever. But when the episode reached a climax she then blurts out, “I wonder if I could get a gun?”

Without taking my eyes off the screen I respond with, “Probably not, given your history.” Actually she could probably get a gun faster than anyone not prone to off-screen bi-polar episodes. I continue watching while she fidgets in the kitchen, then she returns with:

 “Just so you know, I do plan to end my life.” 

I have nothing to say. I’ve already been through the platitudes frequently offered to suicidal people. I’ve even offered suggestions on things she might try to ensure a successful outcome. I told you. I’m a monster. But tonight I just sit relaxed, not offering any hope or wisdom, discouragement or encouragement. I just keep watching this damned TV show she insisted I watch because she’s sure I’ll love it.

She wants to watch news and a bit of late night stuff. I go to bed early.

Now I’m silent, and I sleep better. 

Over twenty-four hours and I haven’t offered a bit of comfort, advice, hope, affirmation, or even comic relief. Years of offerings and years of rejections. Like a child who won’t listen to reason or rational thought, advice or admonishment. Now I’m silent, and I sleep better.


I actually wrote quite a bit in my journal about the time spent this weekend with Lambie Pie. While I feverishly wrote during the trip home I entertained the thought that I might not return to these notes I’m writing. And you know? I haven’t. Evidently I have cemented the last brick in the wall between my anguish over Lambie and my own chance for sanity. The night she overdosed I felt deep sadness, yet an overwhelming wave of relief. A calm that so ironically paralleled the ocean’s waves slipping ashore so quietly, as a giant wishing to be ignored.

Her life begs to question: why do we bother existing when so much seems against us? Why do we struggle so hard to thrive, to be happy, to “enjoy life” when life can so easily be taken away. Lambie is out of breath, out of life, out of focus, out of ambition. Her strength to fight is gone. She says God knows how she feels.

“I’ve lived a good life. I’ve been places. I’ve enjoyed myself.”

I, I, I, freaking I. Well, goodnight.

Fit, Fifty, and Fired: A Narcolepsy Story


My kid sister called with disturbing news. She was considered an “unfavorable” applicant for disability assistance.  After being fired from her job she burned through her retirement money for over two years hoping the state would award her disability benefits. Her doctors documented their assessments, both agreeing that my sister is unfit physically and emotionally to rejoin her colleagues in her healthcare field.


After years of suicidal threats, she finished all the vodka around her house and popped a cap off — the Xanax. Hours later she was awakened from a practice run for eternal rest by local police, firemen, and EMS who diagnosed her as “drowsy.” Drowsy, yes. Grateful, no. She was, in fact, totally pissed, demanding to know who made the 911 call.


“I took eighteen Xanax, but I wouldn’t have don’t it if I hadn’t been drinking. I have a high tolerance, so I knew it wouldn’t hurt me. Believe me, if I wanted to hurt myself, I’ve got enough drugs around the house to do the trick.” 

My kid sister’s response when I asked her if she tried to hurt herself last week.

Details are sketchy. I’m just the out-of-state brother who can only offer you pieces of her broken life. She was driven by ambulance to hospital and later placed on watch in a mental health ward. Days later she called me to say where she was and to express how much she missed “the only friend and family” she has, her fifteen year-old Schnauzer, Dolly.  I suppressed the urge to ask why she didn’t just call Dolly there in Florida, since I’m at work in the southwest and our older sister is in the western United States.


No word yet from her friends. Not sure whether she’s still hospitalized or at home. Have I thought of booking a flight to visit her? Why am I not there by my poor little sister’s side? Have I no mercy? Is there no love in my heart? How can I be so selfish?

It’s not as difficult as it used to be. Our little lamb of a sister was, in her words, “having the time of my life.” For twenty years she was the favorite at her workplace. Tall, blonde, beautiful, and the life of the party. Everyone just loved this lamb. When I flew in to visit I constantly noticed men casting their glances at her. She always drives with wine between the seats and light jazz on the stereo. How did she get from this life to status: lost? She hasn’t just burned through retirement money. She has burned through family and friends, and now she truly believes she and her little dog are all alone in this selfish world where no one will come to her rescue.


Still no word. She must still be alive. Have I mentioned our little lamb is fifty-two? No, of course not, because I’m a selfish monster with no heart, as is our older sister and all of Lambie’s friends. Even before our mother died, Lambie would call me from Florida to complain about what a terrible father we had. These calls would consist of at least a thirty minute rant about how she wished she had a caring father, and, by the way, when are my older sister and I going to gather up our families, leave everything and move to Florida, because there’s no place like Florida. It’s so much better than where we are. Oh, yeah, it’s because you don’t care about anyone but yourselves. You don’t care about your family here in the best place on earth, Florida, blah, blah, grrrrr.



The past few days I’ve been considering getting a therapist for myself. A coworker of mine died recently, and a few days later I learned that he had narcolepsy. He worked with it. He was low key, well-liked, not very healthy, but a nice guy, and gone at fifty-four. Lambie doesn’t realize the emotional toll on all the monsters who pray for her, worry about her, buy her meals, spend time with her, listen to her.

I’m just about to relax, and there’s her name on my phone, now vibrating its way across my desk. Why is it her life flashing before my eyes while I reach for big brother’s chatter box?

Listening to Lambie’s experience of her past week in the hospital I begin thinking that Jesus must be asleep in a berth of her boat, but here she is tossing the broken bread of her life into the cold watery grave of my roiling heart. My tightly treasured chest and nervous stomach both relaxed a bit when she said her friends brought her home and sat with her a while to settle her.  After they left she went to her fridge to get a drink and learned that her friends had fully stocked it. “I never have anything in there, but they filled it.” Then she starts complaining about doctors.

Glancing at my phone I notice the call duration: fifty minutes, fifty-six seconds. I wanna be a good brother and keep listening, but I’m drowning in a Nile of Negatives.

“Do you realize you’ve been talking for over fifty minutes without asking how I’m doing?”

So, what do you think comes next, a life preserver or cement shoes?


(Well, I’m not sure I’d even stick around for a funeral more than an hour.)

“I’m glad you still have such good friends, and I’m glad you woke up.”

Mental note: No more looking at call duration. Next is a very patronizing, “So, how IS your family?”

(“Your family,” she says, winnowing the flames of hell to remind me that poor Lambie is without family.)

I wait to see if she can still name them and offer her a “fine,” a “good,” and an “okay.”


After that phone call I tried to drown out the emotional noise with television. When my wife came home dead tired and dumped her remains on our bed I lay beside her and began unloading details of Lambie’s current status — not the social media kind. Not fair to beat up my already wounded wife with my sister’s suicidal strife.

Next up for monster brother? I’ll be thinking about joining a support group for families of addicts. Our little Lambie has never admitted that she “budgets” her narcolepsy medicine so that she can fly high on Friday and crash land on her airbag of friends and family Saturday and Sunday. For us, Monday through Friday are spent deeply breathing enough air of compassion to absorb Lambie’s next crash. That pattern, over twenty years, will deflate way more than one person.

So if you, dear reader, are skimming your left hand across the flames of hell while grasping a loved one with your right, don’t blame another for letting go.













Who’s Afraid of a Little Lead Zeppelin?

Okay, I’m not really sure how much lead is used to make the escalator, but its every part looks much too dangerous even for Megalodawn, my mother in-lawn (well, she’s not yet pushing daisies) who’s ninety-five. She’d still mount the beast in a heartbeat, even her last, without blinking a cataract.  “Okay, so it’s steps have sharp metal teeth; they move you up, they take you down. No big woof, so who’s afraid of a little lead zeppelin?” Funny, Meg.  I have seen toddler’s shoes stuck in the jaws of an escalator; seen women stretching toward sunken stiletto heels, lunging for  lipstick aloft and cellphones a cielo; seen metal mulching a man’s suit and mealing on his meandering Montblanc. I have yet to see anyone fall on an escalator, but I’ve seen the graphic aftermath, especially of the elderly. I’ve seen toddlers descend in strollers guided by trusting parents. And I’ve seen the occasional young couple zestfully swinging their beloved infant over a comb plate as if graduating a new life challenge. Danger seekers and infant danglers alike should at least be aware that, should they fall or become entrapped, the machine requires the power of seven horses to fully stop: that and, of course, the willingness of a perfect stranger, positioned at either end, to push one of only two STOP buttons.

Movies and television usually shoot escalator scenes with felons bursting full metal jacket through mall patrons on their way to wherever, crack shot coppers whizzing around them. A stunt person, with direction, makes  the ride in three or four strides. You and I, however, clearly do not. Not since the dinosaur era has there been such an enormous mechanimal capable of cradling the innocent to a layer of the heavens while simultaneously steel-towing a shoestring into its quivering combs toward its sluice gate below where platelets and plasma meet the grate divide. Well, at least not since Industrial Light & Magic, Jurassic Park, and thrill rides in general. And should there be an “incident” wherein teeth and cranium meet titanium, or meniscus meets Mary mother of godless prepubescent onlookers, heads will roll and fingers are now sold separately. Settlements take time, but it’s Iris the Virus’ cellular upload for-the-win video of grandpa and princess poop-a-long painting the town red – just not as they had planned.

Search engines present countless images when prompted for “escalator acrobatics,” some staged and others likely stolen from surveillance cameras; but witnessing a poor, challenged soul amidst his own man vs. machine hipster doofus exploit? It’s as good for me vicariously as it is for the Viking himself.

This warrior, clad in brown leather wing-tips, wrinkle-free navy slacks, white oxford shirt, and dark tie — the uniform of choice for today’s young upwardly mobile noble, jumped off his steed … well, shuttle, and darted toward a rack of carts. Quickly piling his two enormous bags of cache onto a cart, he advanced on  enemy territory in search of fire breathing (is there any other kind?) ticket agents. His fury, however, led him my way, sorry chap, wrong floor but directly between an elevator, a set of stairs, and the dragon we now call esCalator. With the fire of Hades fueling his veins and the sirens of his soul beckoning him within, he glanced a tragic hero look my way, screwed up the madness in his eyes and mounted the dragon. Backwards. Pulling the cart and a hundred pounds of treasure trunks down the beast’s back on his hell bound quest to check in.

No camera crews caught the moment. No audience in this vast void of Valhalla, although there was a bagel shop close by with dread locked Odin casting an inviting eye toward our valiant one.  Stretching forth his hands, he looked around, and cast his victorious gaze upon me. And in my best British accent I bowed and fired a canon of praise his way, “Well done, Sire! God be praised!” Then, under my breath, “There goes the unrecorded magnificence of a yet-to-be knighted soul who absolutely made my day, but no one will ever believe me.”

The Darwinian question is this: Committees form committees committing to overthink safety based on another committee’s findings of safety studies studied over and over until someone’s study on “moving walkways” is found inconclusive, which didn’t succeed as a doctoral thesis, but is good enough for local news to shamelessly sensationalize as long as there’s film by six o’clock.

What was the question? Oh, yeah, why don’t people think before they mount an escalator or a flight of stairs or an elevator? For that matter, why don’t people consider the airport experience and postulate contingencies? Why aren’t people thinking or preparing anymore? Too late. “Can’t this contraption go any faster?” one says while gripping a fifty-one pound, thirty-one inch high roller bag with one hand, the other wiping sweat off a clammy forehead, voice screeching, “Outta my way, Gramma!”

Darwinian, right. There are no warning signs for the weak, no posted “limits of liability,” no mental assessment checkpoint, no attendant barking instructions. Just the open jaw beckoning anyone from the crisply-dressed corpulent commando to the bare-footed baby, desperate to divert Mom’s eyes from the latest social media post. Feeble-minded be damned, or maybe just keep right.

Personally, I haven’t researched whether anyone has died from injuries caused by an escalator. Would make for great epitaphs, though. “Gamer fails to level up.” “Last flight of the Sluiced Goose.” “Killed in the climb of duty.” “Here lies Harold, whose ‘stairway lies on the whispering wind.'”

Next time you’re in an airport with an escalator, remember there are choices. There’s bound to be a set of stairs and an elevator nearby. If I happen to be there, fire-breathing or not, rest assured I will not have gauze, bandages, or sutures. You get injured, you suture yourself. I’m tired of Vikings. Mmm, bu-bye.