Friday, October 30, 2015

This Is Not a Halloween Post

Sometimes I see a group of people at, say, a soccer game - perhaps the parents of the team - and marvel at the disparity in them.  So different economically, politically, socially yet all focused on one goal, or two or three.  It happens at the boys' school, too.  At a student council carnival the other day I witnessed little gangs of youths arranged in the damnedest ways, it was cute.  I see it at its most jarring on Facebook sometimes, I've laughed aloud at the notion of the seventeen people who "like" something I posted at the same party, mingling and baffled and flabbergasted that they all agree on things.

(This sounds like I am heading towards the theme of egalitarianism, or worse, peaceful coexistence... I'm not.)

The other day I wrote a piece called Metaphorically.  I got to thinking about how that all came to be, what different elements and characters and memories and ideas meshed to make those rows of words coalesce into one singularity.

It's a weird list that includes Andy Goldsworthy, the story of a sunset, the memory of a crippling blizzard, backyards, porches, loneliness, heartbreak, red leaves in wax paper, photosynthesis, puberty, my childhood friend JB, a girl named Kari, lightening and the deep and daunting conundrum of Faith.

Oh... and this...

On the back is this sketch which began the whole process.

I think that the word "Elements" so aptly titling Zack's work, added to the ruminations about the weather and the seasons that I have every year as Fall ends - or Spring begins, for that matter - mixed with the melancholy that is Time and the hope that is childhood fermented into a new realization for me.

Life is like that.  This was that and is now this other thing because this that was that and is now this.  I know that doesn't make sense, but coming to understanding never does.

That's all for today.  I just wanted to share the rest of the story of my last post.

Crap... there's more to this story.  Sorry.

When I was thinking the other day about writing about these colored pencil drawings Z did - well before they became entwined in the story above - I thought it might be fun to ask Zack to help me photoshop, if that's a verb, the images.

We started with this one, which, in sequence he made before the two above.  I use Picmonkey, most photo editing programs are way above my level of skill and it is simple and effective.  Here is his final edited piece.

Here's the original.

Yeah, weren't we all a little heavy-handed on our first encounter with an editing app - I know I was.  Hey, the image is much clearer in his and, the, uh color is nice and...

Thanks for stopping by.

Here's a TYDETHFTBS* (worst acronym ever) from Marci:


Nick just referenced Sisyphus in describing what it will/would be like when/if the Cubs win:
the Cubs winning is "like that mythical guy pushing the thing up the hill and actually making it."

Best sports metaphor ever.

That's my boy...

Dammit... there's more.

Yesterday Zack's anthropomorphic, and silly, stuffed bear decided to make a Baseball pennant that said "Go Mets!" which was promptly ripped to shreds before he could explain it was just a joke.  To atone for his transgressions (honestly, I thought it was a clever joke from a not-always-so-clever bear) he made a new one today.

Peace to you and yours.

*"...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat..."

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


And, just like that, autumn closes and winter wakes behind the trees.  It rained and blew all night, a hard rain blown in gusts against the dusty screens, streaking the windows and rattling the doors.  The wind chimes sang a crazy six-note melody along with the wind, tonally perfect against the wild rustling of the dry leaves in the maples.

This morning the rain still falls, there is a chill in the wet wind - a winter wind - and the leaves have left the trees, some still cling but are loosing their grip in the downpour.  The sky is gray, like steel, not with the tinge of blue or purple you see in Summer or Fall clouds, but the dark, low and ominous skies of snow and sleet.

It has been an inglorious fall.  The sometimes red and yellow that can paint the Midwest have been muted with umber and sienna, ochre and loam.  The woods are not ablaze this year, they are sepia.  Curiously, the maple leaves in the back yard - turned an uninspired yellow with veins of sad green -  have nearly all fallen face down showing their beige underbellies, ashamed of their lack of initiative this year.

Winter will come with its blacks and blues and searing whites.  Spring will follow bathed in an astonishing variety greens, and then summer heat and humidity will lay heavily, varnishing those greens and, as always, that varnish will wear off and the leaves will age into decay.

I love the seasons.  I love the cycle of renewal, growth, harvest, decay.  I love storms and blizzards, lightning and thunder.  The feel of August's blistering heat makes the biting chill of December somehow sweeter; the stinging wind and rain of March echoes the crunchy feel and taste of dusty, dry September.

I somehow need the wildness of weather just as I crave the wonder that is decay and rebirth.

Wildness and surety.

I have for as long as I can remember watched the sky, turned my head up to the stars, stopped for the sunsets, marveled at the rose.  I've stood on mountains and mounds, in rivers and oceans, in dry desert and fertile creek bed.  I have sat at this very table and watched the yard fill up with snow and at my childhood table doing the same.  I've laughed along with young boys, marveling at the rain in the front yard and sun in the back; I've jumped into and out of a wall of rain in a meadow as a young man holding hands with a pretty girl.

I've observed so much outside, been drawn into it all.  I've considered it, wondered at it, been mesmerized by it, but...


I think I know, now.  It is so difficult to explain or even define our feelings.  Words, though lovely, are sometimes so inadequate, impotent.

But... I could point to a driving thunderhead coming at me when I was thirteen - churning clouds and bright inner flashes and low, painful growls - and say that, that, is how I feel.  Mixed up, beautiful, frightening, inexhaustible, wild.

I could point to a sunrise and say that is Love.

A shovelful of Ohio soil, rich and loamy and alive is Home - the essence of family, place and time.

The moon rising over city streets as a little girl looks on is Wonder.

Tulips and crocuses poking through dirty snow is Hope.

The crazy blizzard wind, shifting direction and blinding, crystalline snow is Fear.

There is Despair in the long dead, decaying doe over on the fenceline.

So many of my emotions and feelings find antecedents, find definition, in the seasons and the weather and the forces all around us.

Stars are Faith.

Flaming red maples are Victory.

Fire is Desire.

The woods are Safety.

The wind is Grace.

Sunsets are Forever.


I write a lot of words here, I appreciate you reading them.

I try, sometimes, to write on the words I've capitalized above, to describe them to you - and you dear boys.  But they are enormous words, enormous thoughts, and my prose fails.  I apologize for that, but, the rain is Truth and it is pouring out side.

Peace to you all... and Peace is a floating feather.

That's all.  Take your feather and go...

Thursday, October 22, 2015


A boy was bullied yesterday.  I know, I know, a million or more boys - and girls - were bullied yesterday.  But yesterday it was one boy, a specific boy, a boy I know, a boy I like.

I went to pick him up for practice, his parents both work and the practices were bumped up to five recently to accommodate the earlier darkness.  His neighborhood is, well, not upscale.  There are no three-car garages, more likely there are late model cars on jacks or cinder blocks waiting for new rotors or brake pads.  There are no manicured yards or potted mums or sculpted yews.  It is a working-class area of small ranches and carports and little yards and big trees bumping up the sidewalks and staining them with mulberries and crab apples.

A boy was bullied yesterday.

I drove up and there he was, sitting in the dusty, brown grass, knees scrunched up to his chest which was racked with sobs.  Tears stained his dirty face, his usually clear blue eyes were red and his sleeve was wet with snot and tears.  He looked small and hurt and confused and oh, so very sad.

A boy was bullied yesterday.

I parked my truck in front of his house and surveyed the scene.  Four boys stood off in a yard next to his to my left and down the sidewalk to my right another boy, a bigger boy, an older boy, stood looking smug and, well, prickish.  I got out and walked up to my little friend.  I knelt down by him and asked him what was wrong.  A fusillade of anger and pain and hate and hurt was hurled my way.  If you've ever heard a ten year old boy try to speak through tears of injustice and hurt you'll know I didn't understand the details, but... I got the gist of it.

A boy was bullied yesterday.

I pieced together the story.  A football, a taunting older boy who wouldn't give it back, keep-away gone wrong.  When the bigger boy got the ball taken from him, in anger and spite, he threw this little boy's water bottle into the street where it broke and shattered and spilled and still lay in the gutter just behind me.  The water bottle had his last name written on it.  It was a nice big red plastic jug with a handle and a screw-on top with a flip-up sippy thing on it and he was proud of it.

A boy was bullied yesterday.

I went to get the bottle, hoping I might salvage it somehow.  He told me not to bother, that it was all "fucked up" now.  I gave him the f-word, he deserved it, he needed it.  The four boys came towards me, trying, I think, to offer the support they had not given before because the older boy still stood watching down a ways.  They all talked at once, hoping to collectively explain what had happened, how it had happened and why they'd let it happen.

I knew one of the boys, I'd coached him for a couple of years in baseball, and recognized the other three from the years I'd volunteered at the elementary school.  "There was nothing we could do, Mr. Peebles."  I asked him then why was this boy boy crying alone in his front yard as you watched on.  They told me they didn't want to get in trouble with "him."

A boy was bullied yesterday.

"Him" was slowly working his way towards the scene.  I looked at that older boy with a look that would have burned Satan.  Remember, I look like a hard-ass, long gray beard, I had a bandanna on my head, and I looked right into that boy.  And, he was scared.  He realized that here was someone who could bully him.

"Did you do that?" I asked pointing at the water jug.  He said he did and began to justify what he'd done, something about it being his ball and...

"Why?  Why would you damage someone's thing?  Why would you hurt someone like that?"  And then I said something I shouldn't have said, but I did anyway, "What the fuck is wrong with you?"

His lower lip began to quiver a little.  I wanted him to cry.  I wanted to break something important to him.  I wanted him to hurt.

I knew that was wrong so I drew in a deep breath, I got right down into his face and said, "You don't get to break people's things, son.  It's not something people do.  It's not something I'd do.  It's mean and stupid and that's not what men are."

I turned to my sons' teammate and said let's get going.  He said he didn't want to go and ran into his house and slammed the door.

A boy got bullied yesterday.

I stared down the older boy.  "You proud of yourself?" I asked him angrily.

"No, sir," he mumbled.  He knew he didn't have the one thing he needed, perhaps the one thing he never gets, perhaps the very thing he longs for at night when he cries himself to sleep - my respect, anyone's respect, self-respect.

"Caps," I said to the boy I'd coached using his nickname, "you're a good boy, I know that and you know that.  Your Mom and Dad know that.  Don't just stand by and do nothing.  I can't tell you to fight or stand up for others.  But, if that boy is your friend," I gestured to the slammed door, "at least sit with him when he is hurting.  At least do that..."

"I know Mr. Peebles, I'm sorry."

I considered trying to get my friend to go to practice, but I knew I couldn't.  He was embarrassed and mad and ashamed and... well, so was I.

A boy was bullied yesterday.  A sweet little boy who has trouble saying his r's.  A funny little boy with crazy blonde hair and yellow soccer shoes and a Star Wars watch and a vulnerable heart and a beautiful soul which was shattered like a drinking jug in a gutter by a boy who thinks that is alright.

So often we think of bullying in broad sweeping statements and treat it like a noun, a thing, a syndrome.  "Bully" is a verb, an action.  It is something that happens to someone.  It's happened to me, it's happened to most everyone I know.  It can only be addressed with action.

You may have noticed that, besides the names, I put a of lot details in this story.  We need those details, details make it personal, details make it hurt more, details make the inherent injustice of it all the more real, all the more hurtful.

October is National Bullying Awareness Month. I am not a guy to jump on causes, but maybe this is one that I can.

On the way to practice the boys were uncharacteristically quiet.  They didn't talk or argue or punch or complain.  It was a loud silence.  I could feel them thinking about it, taking in all that they'd seen and heard, looking out their respective windows and looking into their collective future, a future where there would be two boys, two men, two souls who knew what ugliness bullying can bring.

Talk to your kids about bullying.  Don't use broad, sweeping generalizations, though.  Be specific, use details, tell them the stories of your youth.

A boy was bullied yesterday and so were millions of others.

Change that, I beg of you.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


For the many of you (I considered few of you but I am trying to be positive) who have been following around here for the last several years, you know that I find Nick's misspelling quite amusing, and, well, a bit frustrating.  There is, in fact, a whole label devoted to it here.  In school this year there is a renewed focus on it with vocabulary and spelling tests.  I's are preceding their e's - except when... -y's are being changed to i's and ed's added, the sordid there/their/they're menage is clamoring to explain itself, that sort of thing.

Nick brought this home the other day:

I am sad to say, my days of picking fun at them are over.  I mean 100%.  And, honestly, I am hard pressed at spelling the bonus word, inferential, as well.  I also told Nick that in my fifty years of writing I have never used that word in a sentence, there's no doctorate certification on my wall.

I am glad for him, he studied hard and we've been working on them at home, and he deserves the score.  Also - and here's where I may go too far with this - it is all a good metaphor what is happening around here, where I write these words.  I look at this and see an ending, not of everything or anything dramaticky like that, but an end to one more part of childhood.  Not only is he not going to make as many spelling errors - a sign of mental maturation and personal growth - but I am going to stop seeing them as the piece of childhood I have always seen them as.

This forces me to look again at the boys, see them in the new light in which they shine.  To watch differently, perhaps more carefully, as they coalesce into the adolescents they will soon be.  It is easy to grasp the silliness and wonder and cuteness and color and cacophony of childhood.  It is, frankly, pretty easy to write about that all as well.  But now, as that layer begins to bury itself, a new layer of seriousness and work and purpose and understanding surfaces.  It is harder to write about.

But - to carry the miserable metaphor further - if they are willing to get the words right, understand the meanings, go deeper and further into themselves so, perhaps, must I...

Yeah... well, I hope you see my point.  Boys grow up.  It gets different.  And we must look at them anew from time to time and grow up alongside them.

But I'm not gonna do that right now.

Nope, I'm just gonna dive into the "take-home folder" (there's a label for that as well here) and see if I can find something silly.

Actually, on his test, Nick made a couple of drawings.  (On a side note, I asked him why - knowing that this would simply not have been acceptable when I was in fifth grade - he made them.  He said his teacher doesn't mind, "she knows I get bored with stuff I already know."  If only someone would have recognized that when I was his age I'd have not gotten into the trouble I did.  Thanks Mrs. C.)  I like this uh, sword-cross-stars-thingee, maybe there's a future in tattoo design for Nick:

I love the yin/yang effect and who doesn't love stars?

And there is this little guy crouching absurdly on his spelling test:

He plays for the "Backward C's"

How, you may ask, do I know he is crouching?  Well I found him on another bit of classwork standing up:

I'm pretty sure that's him, that signature tongue move is pretty unforgettable.

I found this one on a "Restating The Question Center" worksheet.

Here's the assignment:  "Below you will find a number of ridiculous questions.  Your job is to restate the question and answer in a complete sentence.  Your answer can be completely silly as long as you restate the question!"

He nailed it on number three:

It's funny, for sure, but, behind it is a truth I think many adults miss, don't forget the obvious rules.  I'll save that thought for another time.  Also, I'll save the notion that it might be fun to write a post using all the words on Nick's list... that'd be joyous, marvelous, adventurous and inferential (dammit, you're gonna have to learn that one too, Nick.)

Thanks for stopping by, I know you're busy.

From Marci's  "... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ..."

"Stabby weapons are best for me."

Know your tools, son, know your tools...

There one more thing I noticed on the worksheet.  I think it is a self-portrait:

It is either that, or this is my fifth grade student picture.  You know what?  That's pretty much what middle school felt like to me, exactly the look on that face.  It's funny how it all comes 'round.

God's Peace to you all.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Forever Moments

There are times in life when what comes into your mind is "I will remember this forever."

Sometimes it is just a second or two, just a vignette.  The wave curls, sparkling under a rising moon, and is so perfect, powerful and fleeting.  A gull sounds, the air is salt and kelp and so is the taste in your mouth.  The sand tickles your feet and the warmth of knowing wards off the ocean chill.

I will remember this forever.

It can be minutes, a short sequence of events that must be remembered in time, through space.  A girl is walking towards you, long brown hair held back with vintage silver barrettes.  She wears a woven wool serape with geometric shapes in muted burgundies, ochers and pale yellow.  Her boots are high and leather and worn.  As she approaches her smile and her almond eyes come into focus.  She looks into your soul and says, simply, "Hi," and moves on.  A minute later you turn and chase after her.

I will remember this forever.

It can be a couple weeks camped in the high forests of Arizona - the Milky Way so bright at night and the sky so blue at noon, both bordering on the surreal.  The quiet so deep it sometimes startles the frogs and insects so they stop altogether and listen themselves to it.  It is the flames of cairns reaching into the stars like happy pyres; it is white driftwood under Aspen and Birch and Pine along a wet meadow's edge; it is satellites slashing across the sky, yearning urgently to do it again.

I will remember this forever.

Sometimes, often, it is the symphony of a storm.  Low rumbles in the distance, lightning streaking over blue-gray clouds, ominous, low.  Then staccato cracks and the wall of rain coming at you, one side of a porch deluged, the other still dusty dry.  The wind cries and the rain-tears slap the screens and scatter into  a fine mist that blows over the aluminum chairs and wets the burnt tobacco on the butts in the ashtrays.  One final movement pushes the storm away, a sun peeks out to say goodbye and you turn around and see it, a rainbow as the gutters drip and the thunder fades.

I will remember this forever.

A child - or two -being born.  First steps and words and stumbles, stitches and dripping tears.  A fresh faced kitten playing into the future and the golden or calico shell of fur in your arms and one last, silent breath.  A wedding, a funeral; this dance, that song.  A perfect sea bass baked whole with a brown butter sauce, a can of beef stew warmed in a fire in a gloved hand watching that same fire in the woods of Kentucky.  Another year of loneliness, a second of connection.

I will remember this forever.

We spend a lifetime seeing and making and anticipating and recognizing these moments, we know the weight of their import, but...

How many of these forever moments have I forgotten?  That answer might make me weep.


One of the boy's soccer practices this year has been from seven to eight on Friday nights.  In the humid heat of late August it was nice to have it in the evening, but, as Fall begins its slide to Winter, the evening comes earlier and earlier each week and they practice in twilight.

Two Fridays ago, as I sat in the truck listening to music and watching the team, I also had my eye on the sky and I knew.  High, wispy cirrus floated above lower, cotton ball clouds against an azure blue.

I knew because the fields sit on a high spot circled by woods that drop off to the north and south and, importantly, to the west.  The sun had made long shadows on the pitch and, not ten minutes into practice, it began to blush low over the trees.

A sunset is not a picture perfect shutter click, it is a carousel of color that rides through time, certain, sure and eternal.  This one was, I knew, going to be a beautiful ride.

I was sitting in the cab facing north so I got out of the truck and went and leaned against the bed wall in a position so familiar it comforted me.  I watched the west as the clouds slowly kaleidoscoped - pink, orange, red - behind a sky slowly fading from sky blue to indigo and deep purple.  Along the edges of the field the oaks and sugar maples and honeysuckle and goldenrod caught and held on to the colors and shimmered as though gilded in the waning light.

As I watched I wondered how many sunsets I'd seen in a lifetime, easily thousands, and nearly every one was, perhaps not better, but different than the others.  My home growing up was on a high spot and the porch faced west and I'd seen the sun make its exit in every season and all kinds of weather by the time I was twelve or thirteen.  For some reason I had the sense that I'd seen one like this before, these colors and trees and clouds and I was struck by the notion that it is all just one sunset, really, and it is also the sunrise, because the sun is coming up and going down at some longitude at every moment of every...

Oh, right, practice.

The team is done and are collecting their balls and bottles and offcast sweatshirts.  I watch as Nick gets his stuff and Zack takes another shot at goal.  Nick tips his head back to drink from his water bottle and stops, mid-drink, and stares silently, wonderfully into that majestic western sky.  He shouts and Zack turns and looks up and is uncharacteristically still.  He walks over towards Nick as the other boys drift off towards the parking lot.

I head out to collect the boys and as I walk the maybe sixty yards I watch them.  Zack gets his water and they lay down on their backs, balls for pillows, and watch the sun's dance.  I walk slowly, they know I am coming.  We should be going but I don't yell for them to come along.  Time elongates and seems inconsequential.

I reach the boys and they say 'hey' but they know they don't have to point the sky out to me nor even tell me what they're doing, they understand I understand.  I sit behind them on the grass and dirt and chalk and know this is the best sunset I have ever witnessed, will ever witness, could ever have hoped to witness.

Two brothers, two sons, watching a perfect sunset as their dad watches them.

Zack breaks the silence.

"I will remember this forever."

 So will I, son, so will I.

I vow right there and then that I'd make sure he did.


I was going to write about football today.  I have a long and complicated history with the sport, it is a story I am just coming to understand, as happens when you grow older.

I'm glad I didn't.

This morning I went out through the garage to put a wool blanket that had been soaked in a rainstorm at a soccer game, now dry, back into my truck.  Off under the windows to the east I noticed the two Cornhole platforms I'd made so many years ago, the first year we lived in this house, well before the boys were born - back when I was still just noticing sunsets, not yet considering them.

I saw this and all these words were written:

For context here, this is what you are seeing, two platforms with holes cut out of them decorated with a sunburst pattern leaning one atop each other.  The sun is coming in at a steep angle through that window beside the yellow ladder.  The sun comes in and is reflecting off the back, which is also shellacked, of the top piece.  This brightly illuminates an offset edge of the sunburst below.

It was weird and striking and important.

Thanks for stopping by, you here today.  I am mad at Facebook and am taking a break from it.  Hopefully, Marci will post this on it for me.  The thing is, because I've been so inactive lately, Facebook is cross with me, too, and its petty algorithms won't share it with others.  If you think someone might like this, share it with them.  I appreciate it and, as always, peace to you.

Man, stories pile up on each other don't they.  There are, like, seventeen others I could knit into this one if I wanted.

Sixteen can wait.

Last Friday the coach had bumped up the practice to five and Zack was annoyed at this.  I couldn't really figure why.  He was stomping about and kid-cursing under his breath.  It was cute.

I finally asked him why he was so annoyed.

"I wanted to show Mom the sunset."

from my "... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ... "

"Seriously, I just want to be a normal pedestrian!" 


Friday, October 2, 2015

This Is Not a Device

(If you'd like to follow along as I read this piece click the SoundCloud player below)

Hey, boys... listen, well, it's pretty much just you and me now.  Here in the twenty-teens as I am currently writing, things are slowing down for me on this page.  There are a lot of reasons.

I don't have the promotional and marketing skills to further my readership, mostly because I don't want to give the twitter and tumbler and instagram and facebook all of my free time, which, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise, were absolutely essential to all this...

What's that?

Right, sorry, none of those are around anymore, are they?  Well, just think about whatever you have your face planted in on your device and...


No one does that anymore, you say.  Really?  Why?

Ah, because you found out in your twenties how empty and vapid it all seemed and the trend led more and more towards having better interpersonal relationships.  Well, that's nicely phrased but I don't understand exactly what you mean.

What's that Nick, it's " our whole generation got lonely and we decided it hurt too much."

I'm sorry for that, son.  I gotta admit I sorta saw it coming.  Back here, in this now, it all makes me lonely sometimes, too.  The false connectivity, the lack of courtesy, the short conversations, the endless abbreviated and misspelled words.  There are no handshakes and hugs in this fake cyberworld, there are no hands patted across the table, no side hugs walking down a street.  There are no sympathetic sighs or audible gasps of outrage, no bursting out of laughter at a clever unexpected joke, no heated arguments, no anger, no passion - just saccherine sweet emojis, and "lol"s and meaningless, empty abbreviations and shallow, unfinished thoughts.

Here's what I can't figure though boys.  It seems from where I am right now that there doesn't seem to be a hope in the world that any of this will change.  I see more and more people - good people, nice people, smart people - further entrenching themselves behind the safety of screens, wielding their phones like shields to keep others out but really making it so that they can't get out themselves.  Folks seem to, well, like this isolation, find false comfort in it.  I don't see it going away.

That's interesting, Zack.  "... I think we wanted to touch things again, hold them in our hands."

Yes, like letters stuffed with slick and shiny photographs.  Like an apple sliced in your palm and shared on the tip of a wet pocket knife.  Like a kitten or a tear-streaked child's face lifted in two hands, safe and comforted.  Like a baseball glove or work glove holding weathered balls or weary axes.  Like a little stuffed bear or a hopelessly worn pillow in the night.  Like the elbow of a friend through the crowded city streets or a hand for the first time on a bench in that park near the amphitheater.

You wanted to touch the vegetables and pull them from the earth, dirt dropping from them like water.  You wanted to climb the apple tree in an orchard buzzing with wasps and singing laughter in the wind.  The same wind you need to caress you as you look out on a mountain range, studded with pines with cold rock to your back and warm sun in your eyes.

You wanted to reach out and try to touch the stuff of dreams.  Never holding hope or lifting love, never feeling the embrace of honor or or the kiss of forgiveness but realizing that what is to be sensed are the hardworking verbs not the lofty nouns.

Yes, Nick, yes I can shut up.

Well, I don't get what changed it all.  It seems, now, so set in stone, so, frankly, destined-to-be.  The devices get better and better, more accepted and more ubiquitous year after year, I don't see what could stop them...

Cars?  Oh, not just cars, "self-driving-vehicles, SDVs, we call them floops."


Something to do with fleets and loops, alright.

So the floops changed everything.  For the price of a month's device support for the crazy-smart-phones and expensive gadgets that had entered the everyday lives of, well, everybody, you could call a floop and visit anybody anytime.

So, basically, you all just started seeing each other more?  Started hanging out and goofin' off and carryin' on and partyin' hearty and dancin' in the dark and drinkin' and...

... you didn't have to worry about getting home.  Yeah, I can see how that would be a game changer.

So, you just hang out with your friends and do stuff together and it's all 1950 again and everyone has a driver?  Oh, so, you still have phones and you still text and stuff, but mostly to just figure where to meet up, what to do, that sort of thing.  Sorta like a phone... in the fifties.

I'm finding this a little hard to believe, guys.

Oh, c'mon Zack!  Let me get this straight.  So more and more people started using the floops and meeting one another and spending far less time on their devices.  The vast infrastructure that had been so brazenly built for advertising and entertainment and social media and advertising, that had, by then, wifi-ed the whole world, was readapted by the commercial "loop fleets" rendering SDVs the safest vehicles in the history of journeying.  Right.  And it's important to note that they are "bitchin' fast."  Thanks, Nick.

But, and you're not making this up, the ad revenue dropped so drastically that new approaches and new campaigns and strategies have been adopted.  Things like quality and fair wages and honesty and loyalty began to influence buyers more than scantily glad models and false promises.  Alright, I can see that, but what's a "crafty?"

Now, stop!  There is no way I am gonna believe that regional craft breweries started opening up little bars and social clubs where people in a small geographic area -a neighborhood, a skyrise, a country village - could meet up and watch sports and have book clubs and sewing circles and folk-singing and pot-lucks.  The breweries made things from local produce, beer and ciders and wine and food and sold them in these local spots brought to them daily by "delivery floops."  There were computers at these places but after a while no one really used them except for research and the like and...

...and they were called "craftys?"  I'm done believing all this, guys.

But, I do hope you aren't lonely and that you hurt less, boys, and I do hope that you touch things that are warm and real and necessary.  I'd sure like to believe it boys.

Maybe I should...

I doubt you remember this, but early this fall we went on a walk around The Two and A Half Acre Woods and you, Nick, found a hairband and put it around your wrist and, just before you left the trail, you, Zack, picked up a twig and a golden leaf and a long flat piece of grass.

When we got home you added the hairband to the long rope of ones you've found over the past few years.

And, Zack, you came home with a vision of what you wanted to hold in your hand.  It doesn't matter that you ended up not using the grass and using the twine instead, in fact I like it better this way.

It is important to note that neither of these are devices, neither are hard and cold and sterile.

No, none of this is a device... unless it all is.

It was nice to see you boys, but, honestly is a little disconcerting so, maybe we should just both stay where we are... or not.  I'll see you again.

Oh, yes, hello to you as well, I didn't see you there.  Thanks for stopping by, as always, peace.