This Much I Know is True: My Last Day of 2013

images-3On this last day of 2013 I am weary of new year’s resolutions – you know those promises we make to ourselves that have a shelf-life of twenty minutes – sixty if I’m lucky. I awoke this morning considering the flexibility of certainty – the same type of certainty that has always been ascribed to death and taxes.

What follows are the few things that have proven true – for me in 2013.

What I know:

I know that I expect decency in ostensibly educated people and am sorely disappointed when  decency becomes a foreign country these individuals are afraid to visit. And one would think that after a few years of this forehead-slapping frustration I would know better but…

I know that truth is an illusive landscape that when strung together with imaginative prose can provide cascades of honesty regarding the human condition. I’m sure it’s called good fiction and until I am told differently I’ll go with that.

I know that memory can be resistant to logic. A sweltering  heat can rise from this terrain erasing any tragedy in the offing. Reality is the thief; the mugger in the dark, “hand over your memories and no one gets hurt.”

I know that as tragedy strikes good friends, I am left  in awe of the strength that can reside in the human heart. A heart so rent with grief that one fears for the possessor of this roughed-up organ. But no, it is as if internal forces dedicated to battle appear overnight  to slay grief in its cradle.   

I know I will never sing as well as I’d like to. I have a lovely, talented friend from high school who possesses a beautiful, forceful voice. She has sung her way around the world and now for reasons (she believes) stronger than her voice she says she will not sing again. This makes me sad. I am one who has had many dreams of opening my mouth and having some beautiful, if not tuneful, music exit.  I used to like the idea of karaoke  but I’m afraid of being seen as part of the legion of the sad, unfulfilled and lonely lip-synchers  moaning about lost loves, chances, and continence.

I know that youth is what sticks even when we go unrecognized at our reunions.

I know that a good memory can be a serious design flaw

I know now that some song lyrics mean different things depending on the amount wine ingested. 

I know that some songs only make sense after three glasses of wine which is too bad when two glasses is all one can tolerate.

I know there are drinks (famous writers/drinkers of hard liquor have told me) one can order by fingers –  like ordering two fingers of desire to open one’s emotional house, a brief and tragic three dimensional cut-a-way: here I am at my desk, that’s me tossing and turning in my stone sleep, there I am turned away from prying eyes – my face unrecognizable – even by those who love me. Wine is my vehicle of choice as I search under the weight of desire?

I know that living in the past can be an addiction; the monkey on one’s back that pushes us beyond mirrors and reality; that cruel beast that wraps his hand around the slender stem of that third glass of moscato – too sweet to do any good.

And lastly –

I know too that, even as it seems our souls are sewn from the same cloth, they are held together with a mere thread of memories; a heartbreaking slight-of-hand that can bind us to decency or doom.

Have a wonderfully truthful 2014

True That: 2012 – Year in Review

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I predict: It will be our behavior, not our shining possessions, that will define us when that “revolution” comes and all that we love has been consigned to the heap of the archaic. What will future beings think (for surely they will want to know how life was lived in 2012) about us – Hawaii and the lower 48? Alaska has already defined itself for all time.  Will our behavior be dissected by state? Bisected by regional boundaries? Investigated via intellect? Separated by GPA and SAT scores?  For now it is certain that the 47%  and the infamous 53% will both have their day of judgment – a gift to the future – like the fruitcake you opened on the 25th of last month as you smiled, thinking  about its 50 year half-life that will allow for re-gifting – God willing.

Today, January 6, 2013, I sit at a table overlooking southern Florida’s Newfound Harbor Channel – beautiful and strong in its ability to lull me into believing the Florida Keys will escape the upcoming harsh judgment by virtue of its natural beauty. But this is pre-coffee illusion. By the time I finish my first cup I know (from the 12/29/12 headlines of the local Keynoter weekly and the Associated Press) the entire state of Florida will rank high as a potential headliner for the list titled, Thonged Throngs of Thieves and Throwbacks. It is a list that will make future forensic anthropologists scratch their heads in total wonder at how the species as a whole managed to survive.

So I ask you to imagine yourself far into the future, sitting before a wall-screen picking/clicking through the emotional and physical detritus that will forever be associated with the Sunshine State.

True:  From the files of Private companies are people too!

Only in Florida could a lifeguard be fired for doing the job they were hired to do – saving a life. The lifeguard apparently crossed the boundary – into privately protected beach waters to save a drowning man. The private protection company claimed the lifeguard put them at risk. There is now one more unemployed lifeguard in a state with  8,436 miles of coastline. I include  all tidal and marsh areas because (when faced with too much water) there are those in Florida who would certainly not have the presence of mind to simply stand up.

True: From the files of  what part of SOCIAL MEDIA don’t you understand?

And yes, Facebook is available in Florida.  A mother and daughter were sentenced to two months in the pokey for contributing to the delinquency of their dogs. It appears they used their dogs to kill their farm-raised pig in the backyard – and facebooked the entire event. There’s the old ‘pig-in-poke’ analogy here somewhere but I fear for the dogs – seriously.

Called for jury duty, a Sarasota county man received the old swift kick off the panel after sending the defendant a Facebook friend request.  The judge in the case was further ticked off by the ex-juror’s bragging on FB about his courthouse prowess. The judge, in an effort to help the ex-juror make new friends, sentenced him to three days in jail.

There was the Manatee County schoolteacher who said an  eight-year-old student of hers was the missing evolutionary link  between orangutans and humans. Not sure where she had this epiphany but she did herself no favor by posting it on facebook. She got a verbal warning for this. This is an adult with a few missing links herself. I’m not sure she should be teaching – anywhere in the universe.

And, speaking of teachers, a high school teacher had to explain why she put the cone-shaped dog collar (her cone of shame) on students to, I guess, teach them a lesson – a lesson she shared on FB.  All I can say here is this woman was apparently teaching at the wrong high school. There is no way in hell she would have gotten close to any student with that thing – not in the high school I attended nor in the high school at which I taught for 22 years.  This hurts me – on so many levels.

True: From the stupid files: (teachers get equal time here too)

And somewhere in a city (in Florida) far, far away, a teacher hired a hit-man to kill another teacher he suspected of spreading rumors about him.  This is Florida for heaven’s sake – how bad could those rumors have been? Every teacher who has spent more than five minutes in a faculty room needs to check for their name on Craig’s list “hit man for hire” column.

And then there’s the doting dad who showed up at kindergarten to retrieve the contents left in his son’s backpack. 1. One bag of marijuana – check. 2. One scale for measuring item 1. – check.  Ahh, those father and son homework bonding experiences. – I would think the boy would get to the weights and measures unit in fourth grade math but…

This from the 18-year-old dope smoker who was charged with DUI and possession three times in  three weeks. The last two times were consecutive days!  Apparently she had been staring at the sun far too long.

Don’t look now, but there is a Flagler county man whose eyesight apparently failed him as he shot his girlfriend in the leg – said she started looking like a wild hog to him.  There is no date attached to this story so I’m not sure if it was close to some holiday that would have called for a big meal.

True: from the files of drunk riding

An intoxicated man thought it would be fun to lead the police on a half-hour chase – he on a horse and the police on – it doesn’t say. But, I’m sure, his capture came down to just who had the most horse-power.

Then there was the 52-year-old woman whose photographs of her riding a manatee got her arrested.  Not sure what the issue is here.  Was she arrested for simply riding a friendly manatee or for being 52 years old?

True: From the files of, nail everything down a Floridian is in the house!   

One woman said thieves stole her Thanksgiving turkey from the garage freezer! Should they have stolen the turkey from the oven?

A Lakeland man was charged with stealing two swan eggs from their nest and cooked them. Over easy or scrambled? Didn’t say. Penalty? I vote digit removal  – seriously!

One man had 500 canaries stolen from his home. Begs the question – what the hell does one do with 500 canaries anyway? Freedom’s just another word for….

And then there’s the person who stole 150,000 baby clams.  Good thing they were babies – otherwise the person would be fairly easy to spot.

If you need further proof that thieves in Florida will steal anything, a woman arrived home to find someone had stolen her driveway – all 300 square feet of brick pavers! What did she expect? They weren’t nailed down.

True:  From the file of – Homeless & crazy (like a fox)!  

And here’s proof that Florida judges take theft seriously. A judge in Ocala sentenced a homeless man to 180 days in jail and fined him $500 for stealing $2 worth of candy. One less homeless man – for 180 days he’s got four squares, air conditioning, a proper toilet and medical attention. There’s a crime here but the homeless guy didn’t commit it.

True:  From the files of “Does anyone know the number for 911?”

A man repeatedly called 911 asking the female operator for sex

True: From the storage wars file

A man won an auction for the contents of a Pensacola storage unit only to find he was the new owner of dozens of jars of preserved human brains, hearts, lungs and other organs that had been collected by the previous owner – a former medial examiner. I’m hoping there was a brain there he could use.

True: from the gator files

A Florida airboat captain was showing a mid-west family around the Everglades. When he showed them how to feed the alligators a 9 foot gator lunged then bit the guide’s hand off.  Authorities later charged the captain (Hook) with illegal feeding of the alligators.

True: from the too much sun files

A man, looking to repay a debt of $400 took a taxi into town to the bank – robbed the bank then took the taxi back to his apartment.  When the police caught up with him, he had changed into women’s clothes.  A man in pantyhose can’t be arrested – can he?

True: from the revenge is (crunchy) if not sweet files

A man, having just won a cockroach eating contest, dropped dead when the body parts of the dozens of roaches he had eaten blocked his air passages. I’m sure it was written that this man must not burden the future with any genetic exchanges.

True: From the this is Florida and none of the above should be a surprise file

The sunshine state’s Governor Rick Scott, in an effort to promote a meningitis hot-line, gave the media the number of a phone-sex business. Big oops here!  (I’m wondering  if Minnie’s Mobile Sex Hotline is not misplaced  in the Gov’s cell phone contacts  – hmmm?)

I leave you with the words of Ben Franklin – In the new  year  may you  “Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better [hu] man.

Happy 2013  🙂