I seem to have aged several decades in the last two years. I’ve always felt I was a fairly healthy person, a bit overweight but not excessively so, a pretty good athlete in my youth, a low-handicap golfer for most of my life. But these last two years have demonstrated just how fickle health can be. I now hobble around like an old fellow who, any day now, might need a walker or cane. My legs refuse to heal from a bout of psoriasis and a radiation wound the bandages of which I change daily. And purple splotches that appear on my arms like belladonna blossoms, then recede like autumn leaves. I’d always associated such marks as signs of very advanced age and near-death illness. And now I recognize it in me. Damn! And I keep seeing the Green Ripper in my rearview mirror . . . and he’s catching up.
I need to lighten the mood here. If there are such things as daddylonglegs, aren’t there also mommylonglegs, and kiddylonglegs, and even mommy-in-lawlonglegs? Yes, and here's a whole village of them.
“You’ll never be alone with me.” Love that ambiguity: it can mean you’ll always have me to keep you company, or under no circumstances will you ever find yourself alone with me—two considerably different meanings.
Those damned borrowers. Almost a month ago I lost a Black Hills gold ring. It was on a ring holder on my desk, and then, suddenly, it wasn’t there. I must have knocked over the holder (a wooden hand with middle finger extended) and the ring unnoticed somehow got tangled up in papers on my desk, papers that I then threw away. My wife Rosalie and I searched everywhere. Took everything off my desk, looked in every chair cushion, went through trash and old papers, looked in places a ring couldn’t possibly have been but looked anyway. No ring. So I accepted the loss, but grudgingly. I had bought it in a South Dakota pawnshop for $60 and later found out it was worth nearly $500, a man’s wedding band, the top half with gold leaves on a black background. And it was beautiful. And now it was gone, gone to those damned borrowers who dwell in everyone’s houses, gone with all those single socks, gone with padlock keys, gold pens, important papers. Gone. Then today I pulled a piece of Scotch tape from the tape holder, and lo and behold, under the roll was a gold ring. I felt like Smeagol, washing my hands, murmuring, “Ah, my precious.”