Sunday, December 4, 2016

December Ramble

Submitted for your approval: a December ramble. Another holiday season is upon us all. And I know full well that there are still twenty-four hours in a day and three hundred and sixty-five days in a year. Those certifiable facts of life haven’t changed since the day I was born and some time before that. But, really, it seems like only yesterday that it was Christmastime here in the Bronx, and that my steadfast mailman was delivering the mail in his summer garb—postal shorts, plastic safari hat, and sans a jacket—on Christmas Eve. The temperature was in the seventies that day, and summer’s annual plants hadn’t yet been done in by a frost. That’s seventy degrees Fahrenheit, by the way. In the early 1970s in St. John’s grammar school, I recall being introduced to the metric system and its system of weights and measures. We nine and ten year olds were instructed that our United States would soon be joining the rest of the world and would be jettisoning its quarts, pounds, and miles. Although I have purchased a liter of soda pop in the ensuing forty years, I still wouldn’t walk a mile for a Camel, and this morning’s temperature—according to my AOL page—was thirty-something Fahrenheit.

Time, in scientific reality, may not be accelerating, but in every other reality it is. And what a difference a year makes. It was inconceivable a Christmas ago that a tweet-obsessed, peculiarly haired, uber-wealthy businessman could win a major party’s presidential nomination, let alone the White House. But such is the strange, new world that we call home. All bets are off for 2017 and beyond.

With the holidays, a new and very different kind of president in the offing, and a bout of the runs this first week in December, also came a life lesson. It’s actually an ideal meme and the byproduct of me being inadvertently poisoned by long-expired bacon. The poisoner, I suspect, was a well-intentioned oldster, one who fervently believes that bacon—as long as its package hasn’t been opened—can last forever. Conversely, she feels that a fresh vegetable, like broccoli for instance, must be cooked immediately because it will go bad toot sweet if left for a day or two in the refrigerator. The life lesson and meme material that unexpectedly came to me is this: It’s okay to have the runs while sitting on a toilet. Indeed, as somebody who has suffered from both the runs and serious constipation—from an awful prescribed pain narcotic—I’d take the former anytime. It is after all forward movement. And that’s what life is all about, isn’t it? Forward movement, even when it’s accelerating, as it is now, into some bizarre and unknown next chapter. Nevertheless, I don’t suspect my mailman will be wearing his plastic safari hat this Christmas Eve.

(Photos from the personal collection of Nicholas Nigro)

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