You may laugh but its true

My friend Ben was asked to write a small description of himself for the company blog. Here is the entry:

I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Hungarian refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row. I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes.

I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru. Using only a spatula and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by Man United, I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I’m bored, I build large suspension bridges in my garden. I enjoy urban hang gliding.

On Wednesdays, after work, I repair electrical appliances free of charge. I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear.

I don’t perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and have won the lottery.

Last summer I toured Eastern Europe with a travelling centrifugal-force demonstration. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.

I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening.

I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations for MI5. I sleep once a week; when I do, I sleep standing up.

While on vacation in America, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down.

I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a blender and a toaster oven. I breed prize-winning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.

Is this man a comedy genius or what?


"Bend and Break"

I bend and break
But not yet fully snap

Like a twig in winter
Buried under the weight of snow
I feel suffocated
Yet visibly trampled upon

I should be lost now
At my end
Yet I keep returning to this point of origin
The One place that holds all my pain
The only place that can bear the weight of it

All the certainties of my life have been bent
Out of shape
Out of true
Out of sense

I hang on grimly
A palm tree
Standing bravely against the raging typhoon

Am I to be another victim too?
Part of the jigsaw thrown in frustration on the ground?

I feel like I am running alongside this life of mine
The life that feels like a spectator sport
But its not a competition I feel I am winning
More like I’m carrying an injury that slows me down

How will all these broken places mend?
How can they?
How could they?
How would I know if I want them to?


I have tried to erase Christmas from my memory as it was the worst 2 weeks of my life. Short of a death in the family, I have experienced all kinds of trauma you can imagine and the associated circumstances and emotions they bring.

I have no idea what to do, to feel, or what happens next. Apparently God does, but although I may agree and give mental ascent to that concept, it does not feel that way in my heart and I range from burning rage to deepest grief in equal measure.

Henri Nouwen talked about “the dark night of the soul”. I have had a few times like that in my life and this seems to be another, but in a way that is beyond my ability to comprehend.

New Years Eve was enjoyable if only for great food and the company of good friends. It was an oasis of grace and peace in the desert of uncertainty that I seem to be trekking through at this time.

So, to Andy, Heidi, Simeon, Kat, Zoe and Kathy…..thank you.

Two simple words that do not pay adequate tribute to your love and friendship.