She didn't answer me, though. She was in a cock-eyed position way the hell over the other side of the bed. She was about a thousand miles away. "C'mon, answer me," I said. "One thing I like a lot, or one thing I just like?"
"You like a lot."
"All right," I said. But the trouble was, I couldn't concentrate...
Holden's sister, Phoebe, challenges him. She wants him to name one good thing in his life. One thing that makes him happy. And he can't really do it. It takes him almost two pages before he answers her.
I understand where Holden is coming from. It's difficult to concentrate on something positive when you're overwhelmed. It's like the old saying, "You can't see the forest through the trees." There's too many trees in my way, blocking my view. I can't see the big picture, whatever that big picture is supposed to be.
However, Phoebe's little challenge is a good one. There's always something good to focus on. It's just a matter of redirecting your thoughts. Instead of bills or car problems or housework or schoolwork, I need to think of one thing that I like. A lot.
Last night, I went to a poetry reading at the university. The poet is a friend of mine, someone I was in graduate school with. He's a great writer, and a fantastic reader. There were so many people at the reading that the university had to bring in more chairs, open up the next room, and change the sound system to accommodate everybody.
Jonathan read poetry for almost an hour. And told stories. And talked about his love for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. And read poetry with a violinist. It was a fine evening, and Jonathan was gracious and charming. I was surrounded by people who love poetry and music. I felt at home, peaceful.
That is the one thing I like a lot this week. Which reminds me of a story.
Once upon a time, a lumberjack named Donovan lived on the shores of a large, green sea. Donovan loved walking along the beach, picking up driftwood and stones thrown up on the sand by the waves. He loved the water, the smell of salt in the air, the otters that swam in the beds of brown kelp. The green sea brought him happiness and joy. It was his one thing.
One summer, a drought took hold of the land. Day by day, Donovan watched the green sea shrink and dry up. The otters moved away. The sand baked into clay. The kelp beds dried to brittle tinder. Donovan lost his one thing.
He sat in his cottage on the beach, sharpening his lumberjack ax, praying all day and all night for rain.
One afternoon, Donovan offered up one last prayer, "Dear God, if You send us some rain, You can take anything away from me. Anything. Just give me my beautiful green sea back."
At that moment, it started to rain, and it rained for forty days and forty nights. The green sea returned and returned and returned. By the time the rain stopped, the sea was three times as big as before.
Donovan sat on the beach, watching the waves. Suddenly, a wolf came out of the woods behind him. The wolf was desperately hungry because the rain had driven away all the other creatures of the forest. When the wolf saw Donovan, it sprang on him.
Donovan remembered his promise to God, and he didn't fight back. He let the wolf eat his right foot, both of his thumbs, and his left testicle.
When the wolf was full, Donovan said to it, "I promised God, if He gave me back my beautiful green sea, He could take anything away from me. He gave me back my one thing that makes me happy, so I gladly offer myself up to you."
"That's funny," the wolf replied, licking his lips. "God told me that if I came down here to the beach, I would find a true friend."
"Then," Donovan said, "why did you eat my right foot, my thumbs, and my left testicle?"
"Well," said the wolf, "I didn't want to be hungry when I met my true friend."
Moral of the story: wolves are pretty damn stupid.
And Saint Marty lived happily ever after.
|Cover your testicles if you see this guy|