Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Half-Assedy Of Hope

I saw the results, and I said No. I wanted to stand, march, be in the company of those who were living this horror with me. This waking-up-in-the-night and this nausea and dread. To say No. No. No. No. No. It was important to be on record as saying No.

I've had second thoughts. Actually, just one tiny second thought. I saw a video once: an ex-convict was ministering to the incarcerated. He approached a man in the front row and brandished his fist. The man grabbed it. The minister pushed. The man pushed back. Hard. They were equals. Then the minister gave in, utterly. He let his fist subside. The man immediately quit pushing, and was astonished that he had. "This is your choice," the minister said. "You can push back, and that is what you want to do. But it's not your only option."

I'm not advocating surrender.  What I see is that people are persuadable. But they are never persuadable when presented with a fist. When we assure half the country that they're idiots and we alone hold the keys to the truth, half the country will push against our fist. We do the same thing. We're all dancing lewdly to the disco-beat of our own righteousness. It feels good, but we will never get where we want to be if we continue on this path. And where we want to be is too important to be sacrificed to our vanity.

I first thought about this when Obama spent so much time with the president-elect in the White House. It could have been a short visit. Lord knows, an awkward one, with the president in the same room with the man who pushed the birther lie about him for years and years. But President Obama is a wise and cool man. He has things he'd like to see accomplished. And scolding or snubbing the incoming president was not going to see them done. I like to imagine he was sympathetic. There's no reason to suspect otherwise: this is a man who puts himself in other people's shoes. Trump is in way over his head, and--at least right now--he knows it. He needs help, and I like to think Obama gave it to him. He laid out the complexities of the job, he sympathized, and he offered advice. First thing Trump said after that encounter was that he was looking forward to consulting with Obama in the future.

We know this guy.  If Obama had been at all condescending, he wouldn't have said that.

I like to think Obama gently let him in on some difficulties with abolishing the Affordable Care Act, with tearing up world treaties, with governing by dictat. I like to think he might even have suggested that there was more to this global-warming thing than a hoax by the Chinese, and that he might have a place in history if he led us in the right direction, and that he was in a unique position to do it. Trump might like a place in history.

Next thing I read is that Bernie Sanders offered his full support if Trump actually wanted to take on Wall Street. My friends on the left were outraged. Bernie had sorely disappointed them. Why? Because you must show your fist to the enemy! Then your enemy can push back. Now we're all pushing, and we get nowhere.

Except all Bernie said was he would support Trump if he wanted to take on Wall Street. What? Are we those people? Are we the ones who would obstruct Trump even if he manages to do something right, just to make sure he fails? I would like to imagine that Trump would be interested in collaborating with Bernie. He campaigned on similar issues. It would show him to be nobody's puppet. He might be in a rare position to get something accomplished, particularly if he gets credit for it. I suspect he'd like that.

Listen. Trump might have some blank spots on his slate right now. He hasn't thought that deeply about anything. He seems persuadable, at least a little. He's already demonstrated that by backing away from some of his campaign promises. Instead of supporting this, some on the left are hooting about it and reminding his supporters that they're chumps. He needs help, and right now he knows it. But he's also prickly. Tell him he's a moron, and he's not going to respond well.

If you subscribe to the Clicker Method of animal training, you always reward the behavior you want--even feints in its direction. And you fail to reward the behavior you don't want. That doesn't mean you punish the animal. Sometimes it means you just don't give it the attention it craves. It works for people, too. Your elderly mom calls every night to complain about everything? You don't tell her it can't be that bad. You don't tell her to perk up. You give her nothing, just let your voice trail off. Then when she says something more upbeat, you get all enthusiastic. Within a matter of days you've retrained your mom.

We are at an unusual intersection here. I don't have much hope. I deplore everything Trump claimed to stand for--but I'm not sure he was that invested in any of it. He was doing a reality show with himself as the star. He was giving the people what they craved. Yes, we must stand up for tolerance. Yes, we must stand up for civil rights, and our fellow citizens, and we must stand up for our beleaguered planet, every time we can. Yes, we must fight the evil ones among us who are encouraged by this man's mindless bluster.  Things don't look good, and we will have many opportunities to resist, to make our stand. But if, on any issue--say, he wants to replace Obamacare with single-payer--this guy gets a notion he wants to be a hero, I intend to let him.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Rach Of Ages

Sergei Rachmaninoff was a big old romantic Russian composer and virtuoso with a flawless memory who could comfortably reach a twelfth on the piano, or palm a medicine-ball, which is deeply unfair. I mean, anyone could play as well as he could if they had freaky fingers, monumental talent, and practiced all day long for fifty years. I've been playing a piece of his recently. It's called Elegie, so it's about death. It's maudlin as hell, but it works. Rachmaninoff carefully attached his opening notes to our heartstrings and then yanked on them all the way through. A lot of people never even hear the ending because their heads are in the oven. It's sad, is what I'm saying. No one mourns more extravagantly than a Russian.

Russians are very interested in death. In fact, there's a big argument now about where Sergei Rachmaninoff himself should be decomposing. He is currently interred in Valhalla, which is just outside New York City, but there are those who believe he should be rotting in the homeland instead. They're willing to hoist him up and make it happen, too.

The Russian Culture Minister, Vladimir Medinsky, stated with confidence that Rachmaninoff had dreamed of being buried in Russia, although there's no way of knowing if that was one of his good dreams. And it is true that the composer missed his home country terribly, but if he'd wanted to be buried in Russia he could have just hung around in 1917 and let the Bolsheviks do him in. Then it would just have been a matter of digging him up and relocating him when and if he became fashionable again.

That's what happened to the Romanovs. They weren't even all that reliably dead for a while, and mostly unaccounted for, but eventually a lot of their bits were rounded up and given a proper burial. Basically, any dead Russian of prominence can expect to be periodically exhumed and relocated according to the whim of whoever is currently in charge of writing history. If you're a valuable Russian commodity of the 20th century, at a minimum, you can expect to trot the globe for a while, and then try to grab a spot six feet under and hold on, but there will be no guarantees.

I'm not 100% sure it ever makes sense to be proud of where you came from. It's not as though it's an accomplishment. Still, Russians can justify their allegiance as much as anybody. Theirs is a rich and storied culture. They don't write little novels. They don't compose little pieces. They might have been exiled in life, but that doesn't mean they'll stay that way.

As formerly living valuable Russians, they must be ready to continue to serve the state, but the state wants to curate their corpses: they don't want just anybody. The Siberian tundra is spackled with deceased citizens of strong character who didn't start out there, and those are likely to stay put. But there is a strong conviction that any retrievable portions of approved illustrious dead Russians should be gathered up and bronzed, stuck in a glass box, refabricated as nipple jewelry for the President, shoved underground again for the greater glory of the motherland, or pulverized and shot out over Ukraine to inspire the troops. Resting in peace is for sissies. Westerners.

As an American, I have the leisure to expect my own carcass to stay put, but I don't care. I do not give one hoot about where my remains end up. I certainly do not believe I should be carried back to Old Virginny, the place where I was born. If anyone asks, my preference  would be to be recycled as vulture poop, and the vulture can drop her load anywhere she wants.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Macedonians Are Coming! The Macedonians Are Coming!

Maybe you saw it. The week before the election, a news story went viral. "FBI AGENT SUSPECTED IN HILLARY EMAIL LEAKS FOUND DEAD IN APPARENT MURDER-SUICIDE," it read. The story was from the Denver Guardian, which does not exist; the newsroom address is that of a tree in a parking lot; the accompanying photo was of a 2010 house fire; and, in short, the entire thing was grade-A star-spangled horseshit from start to finish, which did not prevent it from being stretched from one side of the internet to the other and back again.

I figured somebody had to be behind this plague. I imagined boiler-room operations under the direction of the Republican National Committee or MoveOn, busily churning out lies that people eat right up because they really piss them off, and it feels good. Yaaas. It makes them feel outraged, and righteous, and aroused. Ooh baby, baby!

Yup, it's porn. There's something for everybody: Hillary caught peeing on the grave of a Benghazi victim during midnight Satanic ritual. Hillary entertaining at private Wall Street gathering in blackface and a bunny costume. Trump inciting violence at rallies. Oh wait, that one's true.

When you see all this stuff being shared so promiscuously, you have to wonder: where is this coming from? And now we know: Macedonia.


Macedonia? Well bless my soul. Better yet, rock it in the bosom of Abraham. Enterprising kids in Macedonia with mad graphics skills are pasting these things up out of stock footage and thin air and the open-source bullshit commons, and flinging them onto the internet, where the ad money piles up with each view. Yes, most of them were targeted to Trump voters. The kids don't care one way or another, except that those are the ones that really sell, because the liberal elites are more likely to check their sources before they share, I guess.

So, Macedonians! The Abysinnians are all Dude, and here I am slaving away in these call centers, and the Phoenicians can't even with this. Where the hell is Macedonia?

In fact, when is Macedonia?

Honestly, I had no idea. Last I heard of Macedonians, the apostle Paul was telling them that Jesus was the Messiah, and to spread the word. Maybe they told the Galatians, first, and second, some more Galatians. So spreading the word, any word, seems to be a national Macedonian pastime of long standing.

Anyway, my bad. I was never all that good at geography. You put me in the room with a bunch of piss-pants kids who know all the rivers in the world, and I'll, well--I'll challenge them to a spelling bee.  So I don't know where Macedonia is. Or, I do, because I just looked it up, but in another couple days I won't again.

I'll just go back to imagining that a bunch of goatherds with too much time on their hands put brush to papyrus and wrote stuff so compelling and prescient that it baffled a gullible society and brought down an empire two thousand years later. It makes as much sense as anything else.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Moon: A Primer

There was a Supermoon last Monday--so they say. There are all sorts of moons out there. Every time we get a full moon, which I've noticed is happening with regularity these days, it comes with its own name, pedigree, and warning label. Be sure to look at the rare and mysterious Malware Moon tonight! It will be rising in the east at 6:25pm, in apoplexy with Mars and Jupiter in its bilious phase, and we won't see that again for 1,425 years! So you trot outside to give it appropriate tribute, but it still looks about the same.

I grew up hearing about the Harvest Moon and the Blue Moon and the Paper Moon, but there are a lot more choices available now, thanks to the need for Content on the social media. And many of your standard moons are also known by more than one name. Here in western Oregon, for example, the Harvest Moon is also known as the Last Moon Before Next July.

A lot of the names were just sensible. They weren't named for any powers residing in the moon itself, but things that were liable to be going on when they showed up, in a natural order. So, in Indian lore, there's a Wolf Moon and a Snow Moon and a Worm Moon (it's a big deal when the worms show up), and also a Buck and a Beaver moon, which should be separated by a few months if we know what's good for us.

The Blue Moon we keep hearing about things happening once in? That ain't much. We have more full moons than we have months because of the obstinate refusal of the moon's revolution around us to coincide neatly with our revolution around the sun, and so every so often we have what appears to be an extra in the calendar, even though it's more of a calendar issue than a lunar issue. They're not that rare. Every two or three years we're going to get a blue moon, and then all those things that don't happen very often can go off all at once.

The supermoon from here
Supermoons are another kind of moon. That's when the full moon looks bigger because it's at or near its perigree, the point at which it is closest to us. This will affect tides and other things. For instance, it is contended that fishing is particularly bad when the moon is at its perigee. It is unknown whether the moon's looming proximity makes fish less peckish or more suspicious.

Astrologists are very opinionated about the moon. They base their interpretations on a single overriding principle: everything is always about us. For instance, they say the phase of the moon when we are born has a tremendous effect on us throughout life. (I hope it was waning when I was born, or even a little thundewy.)

There's also a Black Moon, which, according to Wiccan lore, is the second of two new moons that appear in one calendar month. There's good magic to be had then, due to the fact that you can't even see a new moon most of the time, which makes it already sneaky, and when you get two in one month, you're really not expecting the second one, so you can get away with all kinds of stuff. This is not the same thing the astrologers refer to as the Black Moon. They're talking about the full moon at its furthest point from Earth ("perimenopause"). Their other name for it is "Lilith." The rest of the time it just goes by "Petunia."

The moon is full everywhere on Earth on the same day, but fortunately half of us are asleep at the time. If all the women of the world got their periods and were awake at the same time, things would be run a lot different around here, Bucko.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


I don't know, guys, I don't know.

The good and beautiful people of my good and beautiful city are walking around like survivors in a blast zone. Strangers embrace. The detonation has happened and now the concussion and devastation will ripple on for a long time. I find I'm not interested in food. That's never good.

We can all see each other now. The really, really bad people are lit up like flares. They're celebrating in their white robes and waving their Confederate flags and terrorizing their fellow citizens in the street. Their unwitting partners--almost half the country--are not really bad people, probably. They're just full of shit.

I don't mean that in the normal disparaging way. I mean that a systematic propaganda apparatus has been cranking away for decades now, and its architects have concocted a poisonous stew of lies and distractions, and seasoned it with honey, and people have tipped their heads back and allowed the funnel to be placed in their mouths, and all that shit got pumped in. A party devoted only to increasing the wealth of the wealthy was rebranded as the champion of the middle class. A good, smart, hard-working woman was recast as a devil. Sound science became fantasy. Demonstrable falsehoods were propagated with glee. But folks on the left as well as the right sucked on that funnel and accepted the particular load of shit that was curated just for them. Truth is the first victim, but there are so many more. When you've been pumped full of shit, you actually begin to believe certain of your compatriots threaten you, when clearly those people have much more to fear from you.

Muslim citizens do not like to be mischaracterized as terrorists, nor Hispanics as criminals, and so too, Trump voters are outraged to be called racists and xenophobes. That's not who they are! That stuff is peripheral. They had other concerns. And you know what? They're probably telling the truth.

But the ability to filter out and discard as irrelevant the flagrant racism metastasizing all around them, and the demagogue at its epicenter, the Igniter-In-Chief, does not speak well of their capacity for empathy. To them I say: these are the people you have cast your lot with. To discount them is to reveal yourselves to be comfortably cocooned and unwilling to take a step outside your own experience and imagine someone else's: your neighbor now afraid to wear her head-scarf to the grocery store. The gay man now second-guessing his usual route home in the dark. The Latina betrayed by her own facial features and subject to derision and terror. The black man assumed to be a gangster, and subject to execution. This is what's happening in America today. We marginalize and dehumanize people who frighten us. Every single time we generalize about people, we're wrong. We're wrong, and we're lazy, and we're also less safe, if that is the point of the exercise. We are all far, far less safe now.

So what do we do? Deliberately, we do not have all the options embraced by some of our political foes: most of us are not armed. That's not the way we roll. One thing we do is band together for peace. We keep our eyes and ears open, and when any of us is under attack, we stand with that person. Literally. Physically. We stand together and we give each other strength. And we reject violence.

And we mobilize. There is so much to defend: our civil rights, our health care, our environment, our standing in the world. Everything we've ever cared about is under attack. Everything that actually does make America great is to be dismantled. It has not escaped us that international terrorists will take this opportunity to goad our new president, an insecure, easily-bruised, childish bully, into the all-out holy war they have yearned for. They've got their man, now. As bad as that is, we don't need an external enemy if we're rotting from within.

And with all that, there are even worse things.  We are many years too late to undo the damage we've already done to our planet. But we must keep things from getting worse. We have to at least try. We are out of time to waste. And we can't do it by pulling out the rest of the fossil fuel and burning it up. We have an international climate change agreement signed now--baby steps, far from adequate--but even at that, our new president wants to rip it up and drill, baby, drill. He wants to shovel ever more coal into the boiler of a runaway train. He is a simple, uninformed man: he thinks he's creating jobs. He wants to give us full employment--as grave diggers. When we're done we can all jump in.

We can't let him. We need to stand, march, and holler. We need to fill the streets with our good and beautiful selves and hold each other up. Someone talked about building a wall. We need to be that wall.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Spoils

We're Americans. We came, we conquered, we pushed into the endless West by the sweat of our brow and the fire of our rifles, and even though we ran out of endlessness long ago, we still believe we can bootstrap ourselves into our own individual clean water and roads and schools and self-defense, all 320 million of us. 'S long as we don't get sick or nothin'. No socialism for us!

But oh, capitalism. Why do we love it so, and so uncritically? It's the engine of prosperity, that's the dogma--the idea that the means of production are in private hands, that profit accrues to the victors, that everyone comes out better, that we go on growing forever and together. If only there were any evidence that it's true, and not that a whole lot of people are doing the work and a tiny fraction is accumulating the profits, and that it's not possible to grow forever! Something doesn't add up.

Used to be people did for themselves and traded for what they could, and mostly people were on the same level. Maybe not for the last few hundred years, but for a million more before that. And they managed to thrive. What's happening, now that having far more than one needs has been elevated to a virtue?

Ask my friend Julie. Julie Zickefoose is a naturalist, exquisitely educated in the splendor of this, our first and last planet. She is observant enough to behold the whole fabric, to know what will come undone when the threads are pulled. She knows what sustains us. But she has to pay for that intimacy. Because, more than those of us who allow advertising to instruct us what we should crave, she experiences every day the thumping joy of natural abundance, our true wealth. And with it, the freight of sorrow that comes with knowing what we've lost, and have yet to lose.

She's counting her losses now. She's got eighty natural Ohio acres she calls a "sanctuary," because it's the losses all around it that define it. And just down the road, she is watching a wooded wonder come crashing down, tree by tree, and she knows every creature that depends on it, bird to bat to bobcat. She'll be the one who remembers where the newt pond used to be. She is watching a tapestry being degraded to burlap. Because someone was willing to part with it for a dab of cash to put an oil well in there. Soon the birdsong will be crushed under a constant roar, and a flaming stack will steal the dark from the night.

She and many of her neighbors have not signed away their mineral rights, but a patchwork of natural poverty is blooming all around her, scored by a drumbeat of machinery. When the patches overwhelm the original fabric, the threads can't hold it together.

Lord pity the people who have the misfortune of living on top of something like the Marcellus Shale. When coal is to be mined, or copper, or diamonds, or shale oil, everything that stands between capitalism's victors and their money is called "overburden." That would include your forests, your carbon sinks, your newt ponds, your topsoil, your water, your last planet's own means of production. And all of us: we're overburden too. Coal miners are nothing if not expendable, but so is everyone else who counts on the genius of the living world to sustain us, even if we don't know it. We are to be tossed aside as the money is siphoned to the top and we will be left with less than we started with. Much less.

It's not a coincidence that extraction piracy is so often inflicted on indigenous peoples. In some parts of the world, they are sitting on the last unmolested acres, so they must be subdued. In America, the First Nations were allotted the unloved bits, the pieces with no obvious value to the conquerers, and now that it turns out there's black gold in them there barren hills, why, it's time for them to knuckle under again. In North Dakota, the Standing Rock Sioux are holding their ground against the capitalists. The oil comes from elsewhere, but the pipeline is to be routed in a way that threatens their sacred sites and their water. Life, in other words. Lest these concerns seem quaint and primitive, know this: the pipeline route has already been changed to accommodate the needs of the good white people of Bismarck.

Only a false economy considers the profit of a few to be a fair swap for a devastated, discarded landscape and a ruined atmosphere. The balance sheets are off. The costs have been hidden.

The Standing Rock Sioux understand what is sacred on this last planet, and they're standing against its destruction. Who will stand with them?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

This Is A Pubic Service Announcement

It's the day after the election. I don't know what happened yesterday, because I load up my blog posts on Mondays. For all I know, the country is currently on fire, or frozen over. It might be all pitchforks and police dogs and heads on pikes out there. Hurt feelings for sure. Many of us have edited our friendships. We're lacerated and abraded and things are going to have to scab over but good before any healing can begin. We're all packing now. Half of us guns, half suitcases.

I'm not lazy. I have a chunk of blog posts already written, but I don't have anything ready to publish that is likely to make sense on this day. I can't think of a thing, because I'm too busy trying not to think of things like pitchforks and people packing, and so, for the first time since I started Murrmurrs nearly eight years ago, I am loading up an old blog post. It's from 2012. It is not relevant to anything in the news at all. I am picking this one because it is one of the top three most-viewed posts I've ever put out, and there are a billion comments on it, and all of them are funny too, and you know? I think we could all use a break. Click on this:

It's about underwear.

I promise there will be fresh stuff on Saturday, y'all. Peace be with you.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

And It's High Time, Too

It's 2016, the Baby Boomers have been in charge for decades, we're in a perpetual state of war, pot's still illegal, and I'm as surprised as anybody. We didn't have the tightest grip on our principles when we were young but those two items--legal pot and no more war--sure seemed solid at the time.

Recreational pot is now legal in a few backwaters such as my own state of Oregon, though. When I was young, I visualized legal pot as being just like regular pot only not illegal. That is, you'd come by it because you knew a guy, or knew a guy who knew a guy, and you'd buy a big bag of it and roll your own. Or you'd have plants in your garden. I didn't quite imagine going into a store and picking something off the shelf.

And if I did, and I squinted hard into the future, I suppose I would have imagined a store that looked like an old-time apothecary, with its shelves of gleaming labeled jars and a middle-aged fellow in muttonchops and a cap sweeping dust off the wide-plank floors, only with the Twinkie aisle of a Seven-Eleven running right down the middle.

My own history with pot began with giggles and ended with Whoa Nelly Just Bring Me Back And I'll Never Do This Again. (More than once.) We passed little joints around, we got comfortably high. Then I went to England for my junior year and there the kids rolled joints the size of canoes and passed them around with both hands. Different style, same result. I returned to the U.S. in 1973 and something horticultural had happened in my absence. The same size toke I'd taken two years earlier now sent me to the edge of a precipice. The ground I stood on was "my life until now" and the ravine was "and here is insanity." Hang on and hope the cliff doesn't crumble.

I'm not interested in pot anymore, but Dave and I decided to visit a pot store just to see how it was set up, and also because sometimes Dave and I would both prefer he was in a different mood than the one he's in. The place we picked out (there's one next to every Starbucks) actually says "Apothecary" on it, and sure enough there are shelves of little glass jars, but that was just their front room, and the jars held their homemade essential oils. It seemed wholesome as hell. Right up until Dave disappeared behind an ominously locked door. If you wanted to buy some pot, you had to be escorted to the inner sanctum, and you had to show your I.D. I didn't have my I.D. on me, so Dave went in alone.

Well. The locked door. I know what's behind the locked door. That's where the lady in the lascivious vintage '50s dress was reclining on the davenport with a crazed, and nonetheless come-hither, look, deep in the throes of reefer madness. Maybe she was for sale too. I frowned at the door until Dave came back out, which was more promptly than he would have if the reefer-madness lady had been available.

They're real sophisticated about pot now. They've been hybridizing the stuff for decades and now they differentiate it by which little letters it has in it. You have your high-THC pot and your high-CBD pot. Used to be someone would hand you some and say it was all right or it was really good stuff, man and you kind of took  his word for it--that was about it for quality assurance. Now they have head pot and body pot. They have pot for karaoke night and pot for an hour of hula-hoops. They have pot for lower back pain and cancer pot and hangnail pot. Give the Budmaster a list of things you want adjusted ("spider bite, fibromyalgia, gloom") and he'll look thoughtful and select a particular product. They've got it dialed in. They'll sell you raw, rolled, edible. Brownies, cookies, chocolates. One variety for in-law visits, one for Walking Dead marathons. For the budget-minded, the Mailman Special (floor sweepings). You name it.

"Chocolates," Dave said.

"If you haven't had any pot for thirty years, I recommend taking just a half dose for starters and see how it goes," the good woman at the register said, selling him two doses.

He went home and took a half dose. Then he ate the rest of it, because chocolate. Got a thoughtful look to him. Slept all night. Take that, F.D.A.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Mmm. Donut.

I used to think donuts were the perfect food. Donuts never let me down. Every single donut was a triumph. Even old donuts were fine. Mom used to pick up powdered donuts in a box at the store whenever a rare run of good behavior on my part coincided with her own cravings. I still remember how the powdered sugar felt cool on the lips. Later, in high school, a bunch of us used to make a donut run in Sue Martin's Barracuda when we were skipping out of the Literary Magazine period. (The literary magazine staff was assumed to be mature, and lightly supervised.) I had gone over to jelly donuts. Still basically a powdered sugar donut, with a bonus.

Moved on to Glazed in college, when I'd pick up a single donut at Mr. Donut for my lunch, because it was cheap and satisfying and it had not yet occurred to me that good nutrition might ever come in handy or not involve donuts. It took years to shift to a different diet, but eventually I was able to break the donut habit with a smooth transition to pizza and beer. By the time I got my postal job, I wasn't buying donuts anymore at all.

No, I ate donuts only when they were free. And that happened all the time. Someone was always retiring, or leaving the station or coming into the station, or having a birthday, or winning the baseball pool; or we employees had somehow inadvertently done something arbitrarily laudable that the boss rewarded with donuts. Donuts were postal currency.

Not only that, but every eight weeks I gave blood at the Red Cross on Tuesdays, because that was the day they served Krispy Kremes. Until the day they didn't. Someone in the Red Cross hierarchy decided that Krispy Kremes were likely to provoke a flu epidemic, which might be a legally actionable event, because flu sufferers were known to want to give blood and then paw through all the identical donuts looking for the right one. Tongs, people! Have the grizzled old volunteer dude shuffle over with a box of donuts and tongs! No. Donuts were gone. I developed blood donation difficulties soon after.

So now it has been literally years since I've had a donut, even though I really, really like donuts, and there's a spectacular donut shop around the corner. I try not to eat wheat, and somewhere under the sugar and grease there's wheat, probably.

Until today, when our lovely neighbor Kate came by with a buttermilk donut for each of us. Ohhhhhhh. Donut. "I love you," I said to my donut. "I'll never leave you," my donut said to me. Now we are one. Now I use the pronoun "we."

We're thinking about going for a walk later today, my donut and I. We're not sure. But we might.

We might take a nap.