Passport to Living

Daily Prompt: A classic question, revisited: what are the five items you must have on a deserted island?

Foolish me, to think anything I possess would be of value to me on a desert island. Tarzan had no need for his father’s suit or photos of his parents holding him in a loving embrace. Would I want to bring photos, or would the images of loved ones be more vivid without a flat, static, reproduction of them? My mind would conjure the scents and feel of them, but the paper would wither and fade. Perhaps I would be called to use it in the fire, desperate. I would burn whatever was handy, and realize once the darkness closed in again that I was more utterly alone.

Would I bring a favorite book, to escape my own mind’s delusions? Would I read and remember the comfort of my childhood bedroom and laugh at the irony of man’s imagination, being sucked up into the belly of a whale. Surely, surrounded by marine life, I would come to see them personified. Would I have a need for such imaginings? Without the trappings of civilization, wouldn’t I notice the life all around me, rather than trampling and ignoring it? Uninterrupted by the sights of cars and buildings, the threat of unnatural violence would fade. I would see life.

Would I wish I had brought some medicine, some fishing line, a few vials of fresh water?How long would these items help me to survive? The castaway learns to survive and eventually perishes, just like the rest of us will do who are surrounded by objects of need and longing. Our desires keep us in the past or longing for the future, but not in the here and now.  So, nah, I wouldn’t bring anything. Everything I can use is already there.

Daily Prompt: Five Items

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Beloved Author, 101, Dies in Avalanche

Daily Prompt: Six of One, Half Dozen of Another

“Beloved Author, 101, Dies in Avalanche”

It’s more of a news title than the actual story. Here’s an excerpt from the article, which will of course be printed in the New York Times:

“The beloved children’s author amused many generations with her frolicking prose and insightful wit. Her works are still enjoyed to this day by all ages who grew up reading her bestsellers, “One Small World” and “How To Survive School, The Woods and Your Parents.” She guided readers to see the humor in everyday situations and inspired a movement among young people to be active outdoors and treasure nature. Befitting her active lifestyle, the author died on tour in Austria while attempting to outrun an avalanche on a monoski. The video can be seen of the amazing event at the Guinness World Records site. It is believed she had a medical event which led to the avalanche catching up with her, as she was a fast alpiner. At 101, she broke several world records for mountaineering. Her son is the retired founder of Global Solar, the well-known expedition company providing global adventures in hybrid land/amphibian cycling vehicles. At the site, he commented, “My mom had a wonderful, full life. She left this world exactly the way she would have wanted to.”

Honestly, it could happen.

Not Cool Rolling Stone: A Teacher’s Response

(Note: If I I had the opportunity to convey a message to the world, it would be about social responsibility of the media, in the wake of countless shootings and violence.)

Rolling Stone Senior Editor Christian Hoard needs to go back to class, and get some class.

The picture used for the cover of the July 17, 2013 Rolling Stone Magazine was an unashamed bit of poor marketing. It showed the best side of a young man who terrorized Boston, and points well beyond. I’m not one for censorship, at all. The use of the alluring photo of the alleged bomber was a questionable choice, however.  I feel for everyone affected by the bombing, which is everyone, but particularly those still in rehabilitation and mourning, who have to endure Rolling Stone’s miscalculation. Sergeant Sean Murphy, a Massachusetts State Police tactical photographer, must have felt the same and released the not-so-glamorous photo of the alleged bomber we have now. It’s quite a contrast to the Rolling Stone cover.

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Wishes

Be careful what you wish for, oh so true
What if good fortune came to you
with missed chance to build anew
and lessons learned out of view

What would you do with better times
Sit back relax, enjoy some wine
Lose your drive, it’ll be just fine
Line it up and count what’s mine

With this wish would you be satisfied
or look at others and still wonder why
they have riches piled high
and you have so little, or so you cry

Like a child in a toy store
You want and pout and beg for more
Yet the hole will deepen as you ignore
Life’s blessings already at your door

No one said it would be easy to do
When funds are low and friends seem few
But you have heard it a time or two
Real happiness is up to you.

Life’s a struggle there is no doubt
It’s a lonely run when you’re without
So get to work, enjoy the drought
In the end, health and happiness is what it’s all about

A rich man I once knew
died in his sleep, he was old it’s true
On that day, all the riches mattered few
except for richness of family and comfort too

What will you have when your time is up
Will you look back and say that was more than enough
We all come in the same way and go out too
What happens ‘between is up to you.

Freaky Friday: A Girl Who Was Me

Daily Prompt: Freaky Friday

If I could trade places with anyone, it would be me at 22-years-old. I would like her to see me now, and I would like to remember.

Remember my body, my hair, my face. I would like to look in the mirror and laugh at what I did not always know was beautiful. I would tell my reflection I was the most gorgeous thing I’d ever seen. I would style my hair super big and poofy, just because I could, or pull it back in a slick, long ponytail. I would reach back with my flexible arms and enjoy the feel of it low on my back.

I would go for a run, and I would amaze myself. Then I would stay out all night dancing with my friends and I would look good with my moves which are so right on a 22-year-old’s body. I would bask in the attention I received from boys my age, thank them and politely tell them I’m not that kind of girl if they tried to get too close. I would find the nice guy who wasn’t drinking too much and ask him if he wanted to go for a walk by the waterfront. We would talk about our lives and what we hoped to achieve and I would say I’m going to take life as it comes. I enjoy traveling and want to have adventures while I’m young. I don’t care about money or my past. I want to surround myself by people who care about me and leave the rest behind. He would walk me home and nervously ask me for my phone number.

When I arrived at my apartment, my friends would ask me all about it and I would savor every second, living with my best girlfriends. I would tell them they are beautiful and I would listen to all of their hopes and dreams. I would not care if they ate my peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon or their fingers, or if they left dishes in the sink. I would be a silly girl and I would enjoy the evening. They would think I was crazy in love, but I would be crazy happy just to be near them. I would not be thinking too much about the boy by the waterfront because 22-years-old is much too young to care about that, until I found someone who really deserved me.

Before I went to bed I’d write myself a letter. I’d tell myself to enjoy every second and not let life’s cares bring me down. Don’t get too excited either, just take it easy. Be kind to others even when they fail you, because they are human and it has nothing to do with you. You are wonderful and amazing. You are right where you need to be.

I would call my Dad and say hi. He’d be up because he was like that, he wouldn’t even notice the time. He’d ask me about my night out and reminisce about his own nights out, when he was young. He would be young, only 57. I would have to hang up then.

At this point, I’d realize all I have to be blessed with in my life, all the struggles and joys which transformed my body and my mind. I’d be ready to go back. When I returned to my older self I’d find a note, written in purple ink. It’d say we have done amazingly. What a beautiful son and house. I can’t believe this is our life. I never would have imagined some of the friends that stuck with us, or the ones that didn’t, that’s hard to take. We had our hearts broken sometimes. Did we go to Ireland on our honeymoon? I’m glad you divorced him. He was cute but, you can do better. And did we really do all that schooling, and do that for work? Our boy is so amazing, he gives me hope for my future, I can’t wait to hold him again. You must be so happy. We have more than I ever dreamed of.

And that’s it. I would be compelled to embrace life with confidence and assurance that it’s all good because someday I will be 20 years older and that lady would tell this woman to enjoy.

I Can’t Buy 55

“Are you at least 55?” she automated.

“What?” I think, I stutter. Maybe it was out loud, I don’t know. I have never been asked if I’m in my fifties. Until just a few years ago I was asked for my identification to enter bars. I am 42-years-old. Before I allow myself to be offended, I allow my senses to register the flat tone with which she delivered the offending question, the blank stare. The setting, The Dollar Store. We are buying a $1 dollar toy, my 7-year-old son and I.

“What?” I implore, my senses stunned, now recovering. I focus my gaze on her face, searching. Is it an automatic question at the Yankee Dollar Store? Do I appear older than I am? For a second I realize she looks older than she should for a young girl, the years of a hard life reveal her future. I am detective, seeking information, some bit of rational thought to lessen the blow of this devastating question.

“Are you at least 55 years old?” she repeats. My pride hastily answers for me, “No.” With that information she is able to proceed and turn her attention back to the mechanics of completing the sale. I would say she turned her eyes away from me, but it would be more apt to say they just fell away, eased back into their listless stare.

“Wait,” I command. “Is that for a discount?”

She glances in my direction, a barely perceptible confirmation that yes, she is offering me a senior discount, and I can see I’ve caused her great discomfort to look back at me. She was thinking about her own life troubles, her job at Yankee Dollar, how many minutes until her next cigarette break. She does not perceive me or my youthful vigor, she is unseeing.

“I should have said I am…at least 55-years-old,” I offer, cheerfully. The confusion on her face tells me this is not a joke she gets. There is a half-question on her face, the semblance of confusion in her now inwardly turned eyes. It does not take much to make a turtle hide in its shell. I release her from this state by explaining I need to shop with an older friend to get the discount. I crack a smile, she completes the sale.

I realize I would have just sold my pride for a discount on a dollar item. Oh well, next time.

I wish you luck

Oh to what blessed winds do I owe my current fortune spins?

Luck be not an easy friend who bestows only kindness therein

She provides equal chances at mirth and merry

as she does at toiling drudge and contrary

if you only choose to count bad as much as good

then you will have ample chances to declare the mood

Good luck or bad luck, whichever it will be, it is luck just the same

Random happenings in the plan, a helpless victim, or fortunes remain