Does this Make Me Appliance-Sexual?

My dishwasher has been having a little problem with the part that extends up and shoots water towards the top rack.  Once it’s done its business, it doesn’t go back down.

This is, one assumes, because someone put something with potting soil on it in the dishwasher (and since I’ve been neglecting the dishwashing duties of late…) and there’s grit keeping it from going back down.

So, I have this brilliant idea…

Yes, let’s just right up front acknowledge that I’m using “brilliant” to mean that there’s a 50/50 chance that I’ve done something so monumentally stupid that you’ll have to read it twice to take in that I’ve done it at all.

I’ll just pour regular dish soap all over it in an effort to clean it up.

So, there I am, leaning into the dishwasher, coaxing the tube upwards, spreading the slick goo all over it, running my hand up and down the shaft, and it’s got me thinking that, for all practical purposes, I just gave my dishwasher one hell of a handjob.

The shaft goes up and down no problem now, but I know running the dishwasher is going to result in bubbles everywhere.  I think I’ll leave a note asking the Butcher to run it before he goes to bed.

Because, I’m nice like that.

All My Immediate Family

About the time you’re flipping to the other line on your phone to say "Well, Dad says to tell you that he doesn’t know for sure what time they’ll be here" only to hear the recalcitrant brother say, "Well, you tell Dad…" you come to realize that, not only are they all truly coming here on Friday, they appear to be fixing for a fight.

My plan is to change my name to Uncle B. and pretend I am someone who doesn’t know them, but was just unfortunately abandoned along the side of the interstate by my cruel family who had grown tired of my Korean war stories and taken in by The Butcher, out of kindness.

This War Erases the Difference Between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day

I hate seeing comparisons between this war and Vietnam, in part because I don’t believe any good comes from treating suffering like a competition, and in part because it grosses me out when people start talking about how it would be nothing in that war to lose as many soldiers as we’ve lost in this whole war in a month.

Of course, what’s lacking in that analysis is how many soldiers are living through catastrophic injuries that would have been deadly thirty five years ago.  This is what I mean when I say that this war erases the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day.  We act like it’s some great testament to how well we make war that we’re making more living veterans, when, in part, it’s just a testament to how well we patch them up.

Well, then, I refuse to buy into that.  I refuse to say that this day is for the dead and that day is for the living.  Because it’s not as if two days is one too many to think carefully about what we’re asking the men and women of the armed services to do.

I do believe that it’s unpatriotic to not support our troops.  We elect this government–we’re, in the end, responsible for what it does.  We owe it to the people who have to implement our will to support them as they do that.

But, I think it’s clear that we, for too long, have believed that supporting our troops means unquestioning cheerleading of the things they’re doing, when really, supporting our troops means demanding accountability from the people in charge of deciding what our military should be doing.

I know there’s this tendency to look at the price we’re paying–thousands dead, thousands more wounded–and to feel the enormity of that cost… well, I can understand why some folks become committed to the idea that we’re doing The Right Thing.  If we’re not, how do we justify what we’re putting our families, friends, and neighbors through?

But it’s important to realize how dangerous that is, to unquestioningly believe that we’re doing the right thing.  When the price is so high–rows and rows of stones or lines of teary-eyed old men who still can’t talk about what happened to them–we should be weighing that cost against the worth of our assets every day.

It just pisses me off so much that we’re so careless with these lives.  Yes, sometimes war is the only way.  I know that.  But it should always be a last resort.  We should go to war infrequently and, when we do, we should go to win, with enough troops and resources and a game plan in place that is also open to revision if it’s not meeting our needs.

We don’t have that.

Here’s what I’d like to happen.  In honor of our troops, living and dead, vote the motherfuckers out.  Republican or Democrat, who gives a shit?  If they’re in there now, bring them home.

It’s clear to me that, though we don’t agree on what the proper course of this country should be, there’s an overwhelming sense on every side of every aisle that we’re not on it.

We’re spinning our wheels.  While our wheels spin, our troops are fighting a war they cannot win and thus their wheels spin, and in the meantime, for show, we’re presented with a fake fight between the two political parties, to maintain the illusion that they’re doing something, when really they’re just spinning their wheels.  The only difference is that their wheel-spinning comes at the cost of our lives, our constitutional rights, and our civil liberties.

Folks, they aren’t going to suddenly wake up tomorrow and start doing right.

If there’s going to be a change, we have to do it.  We can start by relieving incumbent politicians of their jobs.

Belated Birthday Surprise

My friend, M., who I have known since the fourth grade, but haven’t spoken to in a year, called me last night.  She’s an actor in Chicago.  One of my favorite things about visiting her has always been going to see her in these funky plays.  Once she was in an all-female cast of Everyman, which was most memorable because God stood on a catwalk above the stage and threw flaming tissues down onto the sinners.  And once she was in a play where a man inexplicably dropped his pants and began to read from the Bible, much to the delight of the audience.

Anyway, all this is to say that she’s been in theater, real theater, almost half her life.  And so when I told her about my little adventure into theater-making, I felt a little like I was one of Ben or Jerry’s friends telling them I’d bought myself a little ice cream churn.

Still, she was really cool about it and excited for me and it made me even more excited.

Here’s the deal.  I’ve often thought "Gosh, I’d love to be a real writer" but when it comes down to plugging away at a screen with no one to look at what I’ve written but me and whoever I can guilt into it, I just lose enthusiasm for the work.

That’s what I love about blogging–you throw out some ideas, you get some feedback, you come at those ideas from a slightly different way next time, you get more feedback.  Writing in this setting isn’t about a finished, set, product, but about circulating ideas and clarifying what you think.  I love to blog because, when I write, I know you, whoever you are, will read it.

And this is what I’m totally loving about this whole playwriting process.  There are deadlines and you must meet them and we get together and we go over what we have and how it’s going to fit together and someone says "What if we tried this piece, but from this perspective?" and it doesn’t feel like a criticism of what I’ve done–like what I’ve done isn’t good enough–but it feels much more like the blogging process–you throw out some ideas, you get some feedback, you come at those ideas from a slightly different way next time.

It’s pretty incredible.


Following My Heart Home

So, I was over at the Playwright’s working on the Faith & Doubt play, which is coming together so quickly I about can’t believe it (which reminds me that I’m still waiting to hear from some of you about whether I can immortalize you).  It’s just amazing. 

Afterwards, we went on a… shall we say field trip?  We went on a little field trip on behalf on one of the people present.  I’ve been there before.  I’ve just never taken anyone with me.  I wasn’t sure how it’d go.

It went really well.  I pulled her right over and pulled the other girl in the room over with us, even though I’d intended for her to stay behind.

Here’s a couple of things that were weird or really cool.  One is that, even though we sat facing, when we’d notice the same thing, it’d be on both our same sides.  So, like if I noticed something on my right side, she also felt it on her right side, even though it would have seemed like she should have felt it on her left side.  Another is that at the end, in order to ground before breaking out of the circle, I put her hand in dirt, mine in water, and I could just feel this massive amount of energy drain off.

Ha, we might be dangerous if we ever got up to something other than sightseeing.

Anyway, I got home and was just famished.  I ate and ate and am still hungry except I feel like I might throw up.

But, damn, it was amazing.