Ten Minute Drill

Everything, pretty much, is possible.  We can see this from the seemingly impossible things people do– on musical instruments, with their bodies, the things they create.  As my father’s blasé uncle said when his nephews took him to the zoo and excitedly showed him a giraffe:  “who needs it?”

Everything in life is pretty much impossible.   Look how hard it is to do the simplest things for so many people.  You will die unless you lose 50 pounds, live a life of pharmaceutical limbo until you do.   “So?” you say, “I’m going to die anyway.”  True dat.  As much reason not to do the thing as to do it, particularly if it’s a difficult thing.

This, for example.

Hard to tell, in many things, whether we are entering the fifth inning of a scoreless game, or the bottom of the ninth, down by three runs, with two outs and two strikes, the umpire crooked as the local politician.  The driver of that bus, we assume he is not insane, will not come up on the sidewalk amid screams and mow us all down.  Once in a while the bus driver is insane, plows into a crowd somewhere because he just can’t take it any more, for reasons others will be left guessing at once he blows his brains out after the massacre.

Today ten minutes seems like an eternity, forcing words out the way boys in the Boy Scout Handbook sometimes did not let nature take its course, causing them to worry and turn to scout-masters or priests who would ease their concerns about this worrisome behavior.   Sometimes this easing of concerns would scar them for life, but that’s just another example of the sardonic turn of mind instilled in me young by my father, who had it instilled in him with a whip across the face.

Let’s imagine he was only actually whipped once or twice a day.  Does that explain the whole story?   Can the whole story be explained, even summarily, in the 1:30 left on the game clock?  I think not, typing faster and faster, look, suddenly toward the end it all speeds up, goddamn it, if only there was time to reset the clock, get a few of those minutes back, gather my thoughts, rewrite a few lines, start again.  The stories we could tell each other, he thought wanly as the clock, relentless as this hourglass of a life here, ticks down 13…10… and before I can say time…. time!


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