It’s just after 4:20, twenty minutes after I finally surrendered to the forces of insomnia. I have been awake, more or less, for hours. Thrashing about in bed, I would first throw off the blanket because I was too hot, then draw it back around me when I felt too cold. This went on for three hours before I finally gave up. During that stretch, I either fell asleep long enough to have either an odd dream or I had a bizarre hallucination.

I found myself in a large hotel suite, unpacking my suitcase, when my assigned roommate arrived. Marcie, an association executive I have known ever since I moved to the Dallas area around 1990 (but who I have not seen or even thought about since before I moved to Arkansas), said she wanted to take a quick shower before the two of us were to drive someplace two hours west of Fort Worth for a conference. The next thing I knew, Marcie was sitting in a monstrous tub—more like a pool—with two other people I did not know. And, then, I was in the tub with the three of them (by this time, the “tub” was the size of a backyard pool), feeling incredibly awkward. Needless to say, I have never seen Marcie nude, but she was nude in the pool in my “dream.” She was very tan and taut.  As were the other two people. I was nude, but not tan and taut. And then I was either too  hot or too cold. My thrashing about with the covers interrupted the experience.


The coffee maker is programmed to turn on at 5:00. This morning, and on several other recent mornings, I had to start the thing manually because I was up early. While I waited for it to be ready to start my morning ritual, I glanced around the kitchen. The dishes in the sink reminded me that I had run the dishwasher before dinner yesterday. I was too lazy to put them away last night. So, this morning, I need to put the clean dishes away and begin refilling the dishwasher with last night’s dinner dishes. And today’s breakfast dishes, if I choose to have a breakfast involving dishes. I might, instead, just peel a mandarin and call it breakfast. Or have piece of Jewish rye toast, using a paper towel as my plate. I have to shower this morning, though after my time in the tub/pool with Marcie, I should be clean.


Sometimes, when I have even a single obligation on my calendar, I allow that one intrusion to derail my day. I need several obligation-free days to permit me to slog through matters that, for some reason, get side-tracked by the calendar. An obvious solution is to create to-do lists instead of calendar my to-do items; it’s obvious, but also unfathomable that I have to resort to such psychological tricks to overcome mental roadblocks of my own construction. I sometimes need a keeper. My wife so seldom asked me to do things for her that I jumped at the chance when she did. That was her way of exercising control over my activities. I sorely miss being lovingly managed in that way.


I tried to buy a treadmill, online, yesterday (or was it the day before?). Too late. They already were sold out. I am convinced I would use one, if it were conveniently located right  here in my house. After recovering some of my long-lost stamina, I probably would begin venturing out to tackle hills again. I used to walk a lot and I loved it. After walking at a rapid clip for a mile, the adrenalin rush was so strong that I felt compelled to keep going. I had to overcome lethargy for that first mile, but after that I felt like I could walk forever. But I’m older now. I’m always older now than I was then, no matter when now and then were.


Thrasher. That’s the name of one of the small-batch seasonal beers a friend gave me. It’s a black lager, a German style Schwarzbier. I’m a fan of seasonal and small-batch craft brews. I tend consume them in “one and done” mode, which is far better for a person than drinking flavored water style beers that are better at quenching thirst (in quantity) than satisfying cravings for flavor. A friend of mine is well on his way to becoming a Cicerone, though I suspect he already possesses the requisite knowledge and discerning taste to achieve the title. As much as I appreciate beer, I will never have sufficient qualities and capabilities for that designation. Much like the difference between gourmet and gourmand, my appreciation for beer is more like the fan than the performer.


The world would be a better place, I think, if every culture would willingly embrace the concept of mid-career or mid-life “mandatory volunteerism.” In my view, the oxymoronic term should not be limited to the conservative suggestion that recipients of public assistance should be required to “volunteer” their time to qualify for benefits. Instead, it should apply to everyone.  At a certain middle age or stage in one’s career or profession or point in life, everyone would be expected to devote a year or two (or more) to some form of public service. So, for example, a 43-year-old architect reaching the pinnacle of her career would be expected to take a specified period of time off from the profession to do public service. It could be like the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps; something like that. Service in another country or in our own. A mandatory break in the madness of getting ahead could do individuals and communities enormous good. Regardless of whether a person is a physician or a bartender, a corporate executive or an auto mechanic, a required break involving doing volunteer work unrelated to one’s job would both expand horizons and benefit the world at large. I wonder whether anyone besides me would get behind the idea?


I need more coffee and the soothing aroma of patchouli incense; except I have run out of patchouli, so I’ll go for copal.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Thrasher

  1. I did as asked. Spectacular song, indeed, David. It’s mythic in image and idea. Superb lyrics set upon a beautiful tune bed.

  2. David Legan says:

    John, please open YouTube RIGHT NOW and listen to the song Thrasher by Neil Young. Done solo, with only his 12 string Martin, it is my favorite of all of his songs. Seems appropriate.

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