March 16, 2013
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Years ago I started planting fruit trees in the back yard. I planted five different kinds of apple trees, a cherry and a pear. The next year, I planted five different kinds of apple trees, a cherry and a pear because the deer had eaten the first batch down to the nubs. I bought wire fencing and made cages around each new tree.
Have you ever thrown something out, like a Rembrandt etching or an old Tiffany lamp, only to find out later that it was worth tens of thousands of dollars? Neither have I. Yet every time I watch “Antiques Roadshow” or “Pawn Stars,” I hear that someone found this Stradivarius violin in the trash, or that a neighbor had given them George Washington’s sword.
I don't know what my parents were thinking, sticking me with a weird name like Jim. Why couldn’t they have named me something cool, like Hal 2000 or Bandersnatch or Sasquatch or a thousand other cool names that the parents who really care about their kids would have come up with? Maybe something like Hashtag, Kingsolomon, Espn, Yoga or Burger.
“I can’t believe the government is invading my privacy! We might as well be living in Russia!” said the guy in aisle 3 into his cellphone. I don’t know if the NSA could hear him, but everyone else in the Shop and Go Away could. And he’s worried about his privacy?
In some countries, greeting friends with a kiss is the common custom. France, Italy, Greece and Hollywood come to mind. Not full-on, passionate kissing, but a quick buss on the cheek. First on one side, then the other. Men, women, it doesn’t matter. In some countries you have to do each cheek twice or you'll deeply insult someone, and before you know it there’s a whole Hatfield-and-McCoy thing happening because you ignored a thousand-year-old custom.
The phone hadn’t rung all day, which was a blessing because we’d been catching up on a thousand and one things around the house. For us, spring cleaning involves some heavy lifting — and that’s just the dust bunnies. As a reward, we’d decided to treat ourselves to dinner out. Sue went upstairs to clean up and the moment I heard her turn on the shower, the phone rang. Dorothy the Computer from our prescription-by-mail company was on the line.
My wife and I forgot to have children. We are so busy going to movies, plays and concerts, buying nice things for the house, taking long vacations without looking at a school calendar, reading all the latest best-sellers and going to restaurants with nice white tablecloths that it simply slipped our minds.
We have a big garden. A huge garden. I only wish that it was outside the house. And in a few weeks, when it is warmer, it will be, but right now there are bedding trays of tiny plants and seed catalogs in almost every room covering every flat surface. It looks like a vegetarian hoarder exploded in our kitchen. Since it’s like this every spring, you’d think I’d get used to it, but I’m still not.
“I got an email today,” Mel told me. “Chardonnay and Jackson are splitting up. They only got married four months ago. It’s so sad. I played guitar at their wedding.” “And you think that’s why they’re splitting up?”
Pop quiz: How often do you use algebra, trigonometry and calculus as an adult? Most of us would say “never”! The folks who do use advanced math would say that without it, you wouldn’t have cellphones and Wi-Fi and TV and weather satellites and GPS and Google and nuclear power and a gazillion other things that make modern life worth living. And for a change, both camps would be right.
We have a big garden. A huge garden. I only wish that it was outside the house. And in a few weeks, when it is warmer, it will be, but right now there are bedding trays of tiny plants and seed catalogs in almost every room covering every flat surface. It looks like a vegetarian hoarder exploded in our kitchen. Since it's like this every spring, you'd think I'd get used to it, but I'm still not. I told Sue that they have this new thing called outdoor gardening, which only got me a withering look and a smack with a Johnny's seed catalog upside the head.
I was at a doctor’s office in a small town recently and overheard one patient in the waiting room talking to another.
I know there are couples who enjoy cooking together and make it look like a well-rehearsed ballet. They savor the aroma of their secret recipe for wild salmon over lemon couscous, stir each other's soups and sample each other's sauces. Their skills are complementary -- one cuts and cleans, while the other sautes and bastes. These couples can't wait to be in the kitchen together.
I’m so excited. There’s a baby on the way! I can't tell you how long I've waited for this -- years and years and years, ever since the wedding. Not my wedding, silly: Will and Kate's.