Few Good Menses
the one beginning on a July afternoon that's ninety-five degrees
in the shade of some airport control tower somewhere in the coolly
vegetated outskirts of the city, the asphalt streets of which have
turned, overnight, into an enormous pizza oven that wants to turn
you into crust; and you're "riding the hump" of the backseat of
a crowded, aging Mercedes with no air-conditioning, while your prospective
father-in-law drives in circles trying to find that bed-and-breakfast
in the mountains he read about in a six-year-old issue of "Country
Living" while sitting in his dentist's chair and waiting for the
root-canal Valium to take effect; and your prospective mother-in-law
is talking about her family history which, apparently, goes back
to Leif Ericson and his establishment of the first European colony
in North America in pre-Columbian, Medieval times; and as she turns
toward you, smiling, you follow her eyes which suddenly widen as
the smile droops at the edges of her mouth like the leaves of an
unwatered houseplant; and you look down at your new, hundred-dollar
white Italian slacks, representing the entirety of your clothing
budget for the next four months, and see the crotch bathed now in
a shade of red not seen much in Milan since the Communists lost
control of the national government.
Curse of the Bambino
conceived by the god of musical-comedy as a comment on what baseball
was doing to the country, this hex lasted for most of the Twentieth
Century until, in the 1990s, it was finally circumvented by a team
of clever, Harvard sports medicine men who convinced the Red Sox
owners that by deciding to build a new stadium on uncursed, fenway
ground they would complete a triangulation of events in the baseball
heavens that would send the jinx, via Toronto, back to New York
on the sagging arm of a certain Texas right-hander who, reportedly,
has been to the rodeo before.
and Rejected -- A Musical-Tragedy With a Happy Ending
hours spent in as polite a fidgetiness as humanly possible, promising
yourself that next time at the beginning of cold and flu season
you'll sit at least thirty rows back and well beyond the range of
all the tenor and mezzo spitting, as you wait for what seems like
ages for the coming of the Messiah of Handel to finally -- Hallelujah!
-- rise up in chorus.
Curse of the Non-Starving Class (or, Good Judgment Versus a Sense
of Self Not Nearly Strong Enough to Walk on Water)
I have it," Harold said to his long-suffering, though well-checkbooked
wife. "Good judgment is so ephemeral, so hard to commodify, we should
give our children something else. If we start at an early age we
could provide them with something that will last well beyond our
fragile tether to this humble world we call 'the place in the city,
the place in the country, the grove land in Florida, the yacht,
polo ponies, stocks and bonds and real estate investments.' We can
give them a sense of ourselves so strong that it will, like the
steel girders of our new tower in midtown, build a house of self
inside which our progeny will live for generations."
the gods looked down and smiled. "The lure of self-possession --"
said the god of duck boots and fly fishing, "one shimmer and they
can't tell food from a Freeport jig."
said the god of Cajun cooking shows, "even if it hasn't got no own-eee-own,
dey still will love the tender bite."
yeahhhh," said the god of love me tender. "True love, like gluttony,
is wanting to be your food. Thank you very much."
me see if I understand this," said the god of hesitation, self-doubt,
attempts at discernment and other ungodly behavior.
please!" interrupted the god of easy, good looks. "Take your love
of introspection and put it where the god of moons don't shine."
Bethany said, as the god squabble quickly stopped, all looking down
again at the entertainment below. "A ready-made, house of self --
what a brilliant idea. What a thing to give a child. I salute you,
and I'm sure our children and grandchildren will one day do the