This past weekend, my daughter’s school held a fundraiser. You bought a ticket and it got you appetizers and free drinks.
I arrived late, found a group of friends, and grabbed a beer. We were standing in a tight circle discussing who used the death of Osama Bin Laden as a tool to have sex.
My friend said, describing his wife, “I had her clothes off even before Obama’s news conference was over.”
I looked over at his wife who was laughing with another group of people. I thought about inviting her over some day to listen to my squawk box, when I was shoved from behind. I stepped on someone’s foot and then caught my balance.
My friend Bob had fallen into me on his way to get another drink. He was looser than a bowl of soup.
“In ma way,” was all he said as he stumbled toward the bar.
Now, I’m no saint but I tend to curb my drinking at one or two beers at school functions. Bob got his drink, and made his wobbly way out to the back patio of the restaurant, where he collapsed on a table.
Gasps, wet clothing and shattered glasses.
Ten minutes later we had him propped up in the passenger seat of his car, and his teary-eyed wife was behind the wheel, embarrassed and ready to drive him home.
The next day at school pickup, I saw Bob. He didn’t apologize for his actions outright, but played with the issue.
“Hey man,” he said. “Did I traumatize you last night?”
The conversation was careful and strained.
Fast forward a few days and I’m neck deep in silver. I’m not quite sure how I got here but I’m having the worst trading day of my career, this after a 20 day win streak. I call down to Judy and she comes up to my office, our new daughter in her arms.
“Look, I can’t take this. If I don’t get the fuck out of here,” I said, “I’m gonna blow up my entire account. My eyeballs are bleeding and I need to get air.”
She wasn’t choking back tears, but she was visibly unnerved. She sat down and started watching my positions.
I drove to town. When I got there, I sat in my car for a minute, feeling blasted. I noticed my sneakers. The same exact color and model that I wore 14 years ago when I drove myself, alone, around the country for a couple of months. For whatever reason, maybe because I was alone for so long, I got really attached to the few things I brought with me on that trip. I joked when I returned home that I was going to have my sneakers bronzed.
I didn’t, but I buy a new pair every time one wears out.
My iPod broke months ago and I refuse to fix it. It’s the second one I’ve gone through in 4 years. I don’t like the idea of planned obsolescence in dishwashers and refrigerators and I don’t like it in my electronics either. So I’m back to CDs. On my passenger seat was a mess of them. Most of the albums were from the early or late 90s. Pavement. The Pixies. Fugazi. The Flaming Lips. Talk Talk. For the first time ever, I realized they were nostalgic. Some of them were nearly 20 years old.
Same shoes, same music. Am I stuck?
I sat there listening to the song that was playing, “New Grass.” Grass. I thought about all the little yellow placards that dot my neighborhood indicating that people have applied pesticides to their yards, most of them trying to rid themselves of ticks. Problem is, most of these people spray, and then a day or two later their lawn guys come with leaf blowers to clean shit up. Think about all that toxic shit just blowing around.
It makes me worry about my kid’s lungs.
Two weeks ago, my daughter, only three weeks old, had surgery. Her ovary had herniated. We felt it under her skin, a misplaced marble. The doctors said this was very rare. Something that was supposed to close in the 20th week of pregnancy, did not. I wonder if there’s any relation to the pesticides. There’s no history of hernia in our families.
The surgeon is wearing a shamrock-dotted surgical cap. He looks ridiculous. He has entered the waiting room where I have been trying to meditate. Trying to keep calm. Waiting for my daughter to be done with surgery. To wake up. He begins to talk. I tell him to wait for Judy, she has gone for a walk.
For a few minutes, we are silent. It’s excruciating. He tells me he’s going to Africa for the next few weeks with a ministry to perform surgeries on kids who wouldn’t otherwise have access to a surgeon. It sounds nice, but I couldn’t give a shit.
Judy returns. Our daughter is fine. Not one, but two hernias. Two cuts.
I feel like I did well. It’s not easy to watch your kid put under. Especially when that kid is only three weeks old. But here I am, two weeks later and staring at my shoes and Judy is staring at my mistakes.
Perspective is fleeting. Gonna go get a coffee. Tell people things are good.
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