Wednesday, March 23, 2011

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The Trouble I Seen

The following was originally posted on February 19, 2009.


Fall on Tears - Love Spit Love
King of Pain (live) - Alanis Morrissette

Random things I've recently witnessed and can't shake:

A spider was spinning its web between two of my office chairs the other morning during a meeting. A co-worker bent down, pulled the spider up by its thread, and dangled it for everyone to see. Then he took that spider, placed it in a corner, and let it crawl away. I would have just stepped on it. My choice would likely have gone unchallenged, and no one would have been too upset with me. Just a damn spider, after all. But my co-worker's actions inspired us all to pause and consider what he'd just done. Mercy is a quiet but powerful force.

A bulldozer spent the weekend leveling an area across the street from us. It would scoop up dirt, drive up the hill, and dump it onto a mud pile. Several times it scooped up some plastic tarp that had been laid out. At one point, the dozer dumped out the dirt, but the tarp wouldn't come off. It had just barely wrapped itself around one of the teeth, and most of it was dangling on the earth pile. The dozer's driver was shaking that blade up and down, back and forth, but the tarp wouldn't come off. At some point, I expected him to step down and pull it off with his hands, but he never did. He just kept jostling that blade for several minutes. Finally, he backed up and then drove the blade right into the dirt mount with speed that suggested tremendous frustration. When he backed up a second time, the tarp was gone, buried underneath the pile. Even with our biggest and strongest technologies, we still get caught up on tiny distractions.

A squirrel failed to properly latch on during what looked to be a routine tree-to-tree jump outside our house. It fell some 30 feet, thudding onto our back yard. It stopped for only a second, perhaps to catch its breath or make sure all its body parts were in tact, before running like hell back up the same tree out of which it had just fallen. Even squirrels must believe the devil you know is better than the devil you don't.

At the casino last week, I entered the restroom to attend to personal matters only to open a stall door and see a large pile of pudding-esque shit on the tiles two feet before the toilet. As my eyes scrolled up to the toilet, I saw that the guilty party had removed his underwear and simply dropped that soiled item into the water. Some elderly man must have held on a few seconds too long, perhaps for one extra spin on the slots, and failed to make it in time. He chose to go commando rather than try and find some other way out of that bathroom with any of his dignity in tact. Acceptable loss. Collateral damage unavoidable.

On our drive home, on the side of Alabama Highway 27, a mangy dog gave one last try at standing up. It had been hit, and fairly recently. Although there was no blood, the back half of its body had clearly been crushed by the impact. None of us had a way of putting it down, and it would never have made it to a vet, so we kept driving. I looked back to see the tan, short-haired dog -- must've been part Boxer, maybe part Lab -- merely lay down on its side and put its face down onto the cold gravel. I kept staring back at him until we went over a hill, but he never moved again. Watching a creature suffer prior to an inevitable death is always more agonizing than seeing it already dead, even if we have no control over either situation and exist only to serve as a witness. Yet, if given the choice, we would always want to be with our loved ones in their final moments.

Driving the four blocks from home to work and going slowly over a speed hump, I passed a Barbie doll, completely undressed, sprawled out on the curbside, inches from the road. Her hair was tangled and wild. One of her shoes had fallen into the road. Otherwise no clothes were around. The life of a homicide detective must be like placing your heart in battery acid.

"Fall on Tears," one of my favorite songs from the '90s, is from Trysome Eatone. Alanis' version of "King of Pain," which is certainly not as good as the original but not at all bad, is from her MTV Unplugged album. Both can be found on iTunes or Amazon.com's mp3 site.

4 comments:

Bob said...

Nice piece of writing, my friend.

Aryl W said...

I agree with Bob. The visuals your short concise sentences evoke are amazing. I found the site a month or so ago for the songs, but stayed for the writing. Excellent work. I aspire to pretend I write as well as you do.

John said...

Was that Barbie possibly actually a Brat, and was she in front of my house? The horror...

And I echo the above sentiments. Nice slice of life observations you offer here.

Anonymous said...

But nothing beats the minotaur you unearthed.