One of the obvious problems with growing older is the tendency to begin using phrases you always detested when young: “back in the day,” and it’s equivalents maddened you in your youth and are now a common element of your vernacular.
Worse still is the knowledge that the days which you seem to lovingly recall weren’t all that good as you lived them, rendered less so, you then believed, by your parents’ endless references to the good old days, when you knew that days were fixed periods, an astronomical phenomenon, and there was nothing the least bit good or bad about them.
But you stop and take solace that the grimaces of your grandchildren’s faces when you use the expression will one day, soon enough, be given over to their use.
I have to stop and wonder if there is a parent alive who hasn’t gently pulled on the toes of achild too young to object and recited “this little piggy.” And of course most children giggle but not for the reason the parents suspect or hope, but at the sight of a large person turning into a somewhat ridiculous child. If they could comprehend just what was said in that always slightly squeaky voice parents adopted for the verse, they would point out that they got strained peas and peaches and such, and that no good pig, or toe for that matter, ever ate roast beef, for they prefer a much sloppier meal.
You can go home again despite what the author said but home won’t be home anymore so perhaps the author was right. It used to be a little used beltway strangling the already small downtown, a sunken dream of some city planner with myopia. Now they have filled that in and lined it with apartments; here an array of identical, stacked boxes, the blocks of an eight-year-old architect who has discovered order, and there uneven stacks sitting askew fashioned by the less nimble hands of a three-year-old architect perhaps, but all bearing the same name Now Leasing, which I suppose would be an interesting name if this small city wanted to change from the name it has had forever and a day.
No child, no youth wants to imagine the moment of his or her conception. Now, that is the moment of personhood in some places, a moment when two cells become one and is a life of its own, but it isn’t the convergence of sperm and ovum we avoid, but the act leading to it. When you are an adoptee and only later in life discover your now dead birthparents that moment, that scene is a small void in your life among larger voids you want to, but cannot ever, seem to fill, so it is left to your imagination of time, place, circumstances and ultimately action, but you ensure that scene ends moments before conception.
I wasn’t born a woman, I cannot bear a child, I cannot carry a fetus nine months I cannot feel the morning sickness, I cannot nurse a child once born, I cannot cease to be who I am because I had a child, I cannot be raped and made pregnant, I cannot be subject incest making me pregnant, I cannot go through the pains of labor, I cannot have an emergency c-section, But as a man I can sit in judgment on women I can try and control their bodies, I can try and eliminate their choices, I can do all of those things but I refuse for I was born of a woman, and I honor her right to choose what is best for her as I reserve the right to choose what is best for me.
When a petulant child acts out badly, a parent will send the child to a corner, to his room, for a “time out” the duration of which depends on the child’s offense and demeanor.
What are we to do when the child has no parents, answers to no one, even his adult children, where can we, the observers go, what can we do except cringe in horror knowing this child had the keys to unleash a nuclear holocaust, other than pray that his until now silent playmates awaken and put him in a playpen until, if ever, he grows up.
When I was a child . . . God, how many times have you heard something prefaced by those ever frightening words, not scary themselves but what painful story they promised.
When I was a child we had a milkman who brought the glass bottles twice a week, took the empties and envelope with his payment from the shelf built in the wall just for deliveries.
We also had an egg man who’d leave a dozen eggs in a little metal basket on the same shelf. He had a great mustache, almost walrus-like, and he may have been an eggman but he was defnitely not a walrus, goo goo gajoob.
Lie back, I said to her, just stare up that way stare into the sky without any clear focus. Do you see him now, the hunter with his bow outstretched, the belt cinched about his waist locked in his eternal search for the prey that would free him from his nightly quest. And there, I pointed can you see the great bear gamboling with her child or there a goddess reclining on her heavenly throne. Now she said, that’s not it at all, not even close, look over there, don’t you see a small child crying out for her mother, and there, two lovers locked in an eternal embrace, their lips barely touching, hips pressed together reclining as one, and there, clear as day a cat lying curled as though sleeping in the warmth of a hearth.