Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I really enjoyed the movie "Stranger Than Fiction." I liked the concept of a fictional character becoming self aware. I don't think I'd like to find out that I am actually a fictional character in someone else's (extremely boring) story. But this morning I had one of those moments that make me stop and question reality. It was almost too weird to call coincidence.

I was stopped at a red light at a busy intersection. It's one of those lights that give you time to look around because you sit there for several minutes. The song on the radio was "Superman" by Five For Fighting. Just as they sang following verse, I noticed a red balloon flying up into the sky about a block away.

I’m only a man
In a funny red sheet
I’m only a man
Looking for a dream

I thought it a rather appropriate image for the lyrics. Then I thought but it would be more appropriate if they were playing "99 Red Balloons" (or "99 Luft Balloons" for you purists). "Superman" wrapped up and I heard:

You and I in a little toy shop
Buy a bag of balloons
With the money we've got
Set them free at the break of dawn
'Til one by one, they were gone
Back at base, bugs in the software
Flash the message
"Something's out there"
Floating in the summer sky
99 red balloons go by

I looked for a logical explanation. Maybe I heard the DJ say they were going to play that song. But he hadn't. In fact, I turned to the radio station just as the previous song started. I decided not to question it.

The balloon flew out of sight, the light turned green, and I drove on, tapping the steering wheel in time to the song. It was my moment of Zen.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A day late and a dollar short

I called my dad yesterday for Father's Day and I sent a card. So I didn't completely forget Father's Day, but I didn't write anything about it.

I've been so focused on losing my mom that it took yesterday to make me focus on my dad for a bit and to remind me my significant other lost his dad last year. This is our first Father's Day without him.

We honored our dads the best way we could -- by sitting in front of the TV for hours watching the US Open. I'm sure that's what my dad was doing, anyway. If I'd made the 16-hour drive to spend the day with him, we would have grilled steaks in the backyard and sat in his air-conditioned living room watching Tiger Woods struggle to end the day at one under par, along with Rocco Mediate. I'm not much for watching golf, but it seemed like the right thing to do yesterday (and it was actually kind of exciting).

The picture above shows my mom and dad as new parents back in 1961. That's my oldest brother, Jim, in Mom's arms. The picture was taken at my grandparents house just after Jim's baptism. My parents look happy and just a little scared. They went on to have three more kids, so it must not have been the worst thing they ever experienced. But then Jim was never the problem child.

Nope, I'm not going to say who was. (But it wasn't me.)