“He Had a Gunshot Womb.”

It’s been nearly thirty months since it was declared “Mission Accomplished,” and over two thousand American soldiers have died in Iraq. Accurate numbers on the deaths of American civilians and American wounded are not forthcoming, nor are numbers for Iraqis, whether they be soldier or civilian, dead or injured. 

Today, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has left the press blue-balled again regarding indictments, but it’s clear he’s looking into the “Niger Yellowcake” memo—the one that many US Senators and Representatives claim made them decide, almost unanimously, to give the president war powers. 

Today, my baby sister, whose first word I still remember, whose diaper bag I carried, and who has gotten me as drunk—if not more so—than a bunch of twenty-and-thirty-something bar veterans in New York City, woke up in the deserts of Kuwait, fixing vehicles that are scheduled to drive through hostile anti-American towns without sufficient armor. 

Today, some young man who was born and raised under a brutal regime is going to wake up in a town surrounded by barbed wire, with no running water, being pulled out of his car by his liberators, who will wave guns at him and demand that he do things in a tongue he doesn’t understand. 

Today, some patriotic kid from a Jesus-fearing state in the middle of his country will find himself in a strange village halfway across the world from his mother, deciding whether or not to shoot the person in the car before him, with no way of knowing if it’s someone minding his own business, or someone who’s going to kill or maim him with plastic explosives hidden in the trunk.  

Today, I attended a candlelight vigil, along with one hundred and fifty other Bloomingtonians, honoring all we’ve lost since March of 2003 and earlier. 

War blows. 

So, all my regular readers (both of you), I need you to do me a favor and pray to whatever gods or goddesses you speak to, or meditate if you are your own God or Goddess, for some sanity. 

I’m feeling sad, as if you couldn’t tell. 

“Our People Are Just Ponds in the Game.”

When Odin, the All-Father of the Aesir, Slayer of Giants, Ruler of Asgard, who drinks mead from the skulls of fallen foes, hung on the World Tree for nine days, who kept him alive?

A squirrel.

When you buy a bird feeder that is absolutely, positively, guaranteed for life, double your money back, to feed birds and birds alone, who ends up eating all of the seeds?

A squirrel.

When I was in college, thinking of the simplest way to describe Robin Goodfellow, the Puck, maker of the most foul mischief in all the fairy realms, who did I think of?

A squirrel.

And when I left my house this morning, strolling to my car, with the sun shining on a fine Monday, who leapt out of the rain gutter and tried to kill me?

A squirrel.

I’ve never trusted those little bastards, they’re up to something; tormenting dogs and teasing my cats through closed windows; stealing food from parkgoers’ hands; watching us with their beady little eyes; tapping into powerlines with their black paws and chirping at each other in their secretive, rodent language; hiding in their bases of operations within in the facades of trees; collecting acorns for reasons we may never know; and today’s failed assassination attempt has revealed to me that they’re finally making their move.

“Her Voice Sounded Just Like Mime.”

Times change. Once, the boys and girls in school with their hair dyed black, or a neon shade of something unnatural; with faces that looked like they fell down a flight of steps with a tackle box; black corsets; Beetlejuice-striped socks; fishnet gloves; and white face-paint and heavy black eyeshadow were the dreary outcasts of midsized Western and Midwestern high schools. 

Now they’re the cheerful, self-effacing popular kids who rule the schools with Invader Zim merchandise and holier-than-thou pierced noses looking down at you. 

Recently, the teenage daughter of an old mentor of mine in Nebraska accused some of these monarchs of being fakes who buy their clothes from “Goth in a Can.” 

Which brings me to my point: she picked up that extremely clever phrase from my twenty-one-year-old cousin, in New Jersey, whom she has never met.  

Once, on a mallrat day in Central New Jersey (where being a mallrat is the official youth pastime) my cousin described the clothing and merchandizing franchise, Hot Topic, as “Goth in a Can.” I laughed my ass off, and used it whenever I could; which meant that I told my wife. She, in turn, said it to the teenage daughter in Nebraska in an effort to calm her popularity angst. 

And, thus, language travels. How fascinating. I’ve also been tracking the use of the word “Fucktard,” which I picked up from my Canadian friend, babybaby, and recently heard it being used by my wife’s friend, Thora, to describe some fucktard. 

So I’m intrigued. 

Mostly, I’m joyful today, but angry and pained at the slow progress of the book I’m editing, where the author, who I don’t think has ever had sex manages to write, “Her libido was in lust with him,” and, “He just gave in to this telegenic strumpet and tried to enjoy her having her way with him.” He also describes copulation, as well as both the male and female tools for such activities, as IT. Real mature. The worst, though, is how he manages to remove any eroticism from the act itself, in passages such as (warning, the following is not intended for the young, the weak of heart, or the weak of stomach): “He was drawn like a magnet to her voluptuously exposed vagina, which he consequently penetrated with the zeal of a teenager.” 

Gag. 

“For Dinner They Had Wine and Crap Cakes.”

I’ve left most of the friendships I’ve cultivated in faraway lands, including one that had just started six months before I came here, and had the potential to be really incredible. Many of the departed friends seem to have forgotten about me, but others have kept in touch, and still other friendships have flourished. 

I live and sleep with the best (and sexiest) friend I’ve ever had. 

Her friends are, likewise, some of the coolest people I’ve met (a bit odd, at times, but aren’t we all?). Her Hometown Friend and I have formed a pretty good bond of comic books and silliness. I adore my coworkers, the Radio Guy and the Buff Hippie. 

I’ve been having meals and firepit chats with many of these new people, and having an incredible amount of fun with them. With my new life, I am happier than I’ve ever been; but I can’t seem to shake this weird disconnect from them. I can’t explain it.  

I don’t necessarily miss the fun and games of New York. But I miss the people I played with. E-mail isn’t the same. 

I seem to remember feeling this way in New York, before the fun and games. Maybe it’s just an adjustment period. I’m asking the runes, since their advice told me a lost (turns out she was sick) friend would show back up. They say “Mannaz,” in reverse, which I guess, is “Zannam.” That means I won’t find the clearing of my “blockage” from outside of myself; and to “Strive to live the ordinary life in a nonordinary way.” 

Sounds good to me. Feeling sad, but full of hope, which brings joy with it.