Chicago Culture Vulture

devouring theatre, film, and food

How to Kill Your Dog

The first girl to have a crush on me is married now – to a woman she met in the army.

Maybe we knew we were both gay. And we found each other in some cosmic way. Like a Cosmic Brownie, a little hockey puck of sugar and chocolate that kids craved so they dug pennies and nickels out of couch cushions and laundry rooms when their parents wouldn’t give them an allowance.

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My parents didn’t. I made calendars and charts of all the chores I’d done, and presented my business plan to them:

“As you can see, I vacuumed the living room daily, cleaned my room, washed dishes each morning, and even – scrubbed the toilet. Combined, this makes a compelling case that I should receive $5 weekly for my services to the family.”

Needless to say, my plan was always rejected. My help around the house was somehow just a part of being in this family, an admission fee to this theme park that lacked rides, cotton candy, and  costumed characters.

Of course, my parents were justified in their suspicion of my commitment to these household activities. Our Pomeranian Samantha, who met an untimely demise at the wheel of a four-door compact on a residential road, was testament to that. While I wasn’t directly responsible for her death, in  a cosmic way I was. Though I suspect in a cosmic way we could all be put on trial for crimes and convicted and sentenced to death – juries would have a rather easy job if we could connect an individual to a crime in a Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon sort of way.

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“Your honor, the defendant ate brunch about once a month at a restaurant that served eggs from a farm where the high school sweetheart of my client’s niece’s third-grade band teacher lived – a third-grade band teacher my client’s niece was particularly fond of, despite the fact that she wrote a purchase order for a trombone from Salem, Kentucky where their lived a horse that ate hay from a company run by a businessman that jumped out a 34th floor building.”

The jury has reached a verdict: Guilty!

This cosmic reasoning would certainly make any and all episodes and incarnations of Law & Order less compelling, which would mean New York actors would find less work. Which would mean there’d be more baristas, which means Starbucks could pay baristas less, so Starbucks could become more profitable and have more locations and bring caffeinated heaven to the edges of the rural United States, which might fuel one particular stay-at-home dad to pen a great American novel – not the great American novel – but one of them, that defies the genre, and flies off the shelves and hits the top of the NYT bestseller list and inspires a handful of people to quit their jobs and join the PeaceCorps and a handful of other people to quit their jobs and start a PeaceCorps-like organization dedicated to the exact same thing as the PeaceCorps just made by a different group of people, which help dozens, maybe hundreds of little kids get clean water,

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and helps one girl in particular take a bath the day a cute boy catches her eye, and gives her the confidence to say hello, to which he replies hi. In another blink, they’re married, another, they’ve a family of 4, and that boy grows up to lead a revolution in his village, and that village impacts his country, and that country changes  the world, and that changed world is the hometown of a new crop of artists, philosophers, economists, dreamers, businesspeople, and dreamer-businesspeople that imagine and execute things we today could only dream of – and when we do dream them, we think they are nightmares. For truly groundbreaking ideas are already around us, we’re just frightened of them since they just hurt too much to believe and take too much energy to grab – they are an angry bull we know is there, but we’re not brave enough to tame.

So we don’t live in a courtroom where the cosmic is justified, because we’re not smart enough to connect the dots – for better or for worse, for good or evil (if that binary even makes sense any more or ever did). We’re too focused on the immediate, the moment in front of us, to realize the great world wide web – no, not that one – that we live in that connects us to each other. To those around us, but also to those before us, those in the ground, and those in the air. And if we were able to see that – to take those 1,000 foot steps back from our Pumpkin Spice Latte, from our high school sweetheart, from our immediate, from our now, we’d see how it all works and we we’d lose fear of the bull.

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We’d see how the bull is connected and tamable – we don’t need to ride it, we need only bring it a flower – an idea that is a nightmare because it’s scary and we know deep down it’s real and true – and the bull rubs his horn against the flower and puts it in its mouth and walks beside us, to wherever our imagination will now take us. When we imagine, we see the world as it truly is, from 1,000 steps above, and when we confront our nightmares, we help others begin to see that greatness, too.

The first girl to have a crush on me is married now – to a woman she met in the army. We played together in my backyard with a dog whose poop I never cleaned up so my parents gave her away to a woman who always left her front door open.

I’m not wise enough to see how this is all connected or how it all matters, but I’m just dumb enough to think it might.

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This entry was posted on January 8, 2014 by in Uncategorized.
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