More Jury Woes; Squirt Helps Mooner (Part 3)

So. Before I attempt to finish telling you about my jury duty dealie I want to discuss this thing that happened to me this afternoon. I was over to Dr. Sam I. Am-Johnson’s house babysitting Squirt for a few hours and working with her on her English.

Dixie is teaching her to talk using this system that teaches multiple languages at the same time. When immersed into a pool of five human, three barnyard animal, four plant and the basic spoor languages, a student learns to sink, or swim, quickly. Since the Squirt seems to have grasped the basic ideology of verbal communication and has not drown in her teacher’s word pool, Dixie wanted me to work with her on speaking English exclusively.

Me, I think that the best way to learn the nuance of any language is through its pop music. To help Squirt catch on to English, we watched HBO on TV. HBO is running and re-running this special called the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Now I want to be the first to say that the name is way too long, but the show was appropriately named. The list of acts performing read like a who’s who from popular music.

I won’t go into all of it because that isn’t the subject of this bloggie posting, but I must tell you about this deja-vu dealie that happened to me. Simon and Garfunkel walked out on stage and started singing, and I flashed to this time I lived with my buddy Lloyd up to Lubbock. It was 1968 and the summer after the big tornado ripped through Lubbock and lay waste to big patches of town.

Lloyd, who wants to be called Curtis now- his actual first name, had a nifty new stereo and all of the Simon and Garfunkel records. I could hear the music from his room through two closed doors as I lay in my bed at night.

When S&G sang, “Hello Darkness my old friend,” on the HBO special, my mind flashed to that summer and tears welled in my eyes by the bucket full. I didn’t actually cry, like boo-hoo, but I silently cried through the rest of their set in the same fashion I do when I hear Andrea Bocelli sing Time To Say Goodbye.

When the Italian tenor sings that song, I cry over the loss of my father and Dr. Sam I. Am’s mother, Marie- the two people I most miss from my life. I think of them often and wish I had spent more time with them before they died. The tears and dense sense of loss hits me two notes into that song and those emotions crescendo with the music and then fade just as quickly with the song’s finish. It wasn’t that way in the early aftermath of their deaths as I would be morose for days at a time. Now I go from OK to bucket-of-tears-and-emotions and back to OK in the time it takes to sing a song.

I don’t get morose anymore, in part because my remembrances are as much the joy of my memories as the deep losses. When the song ends, I always take a deep breath and feel as if I was visited by those two favored spirits. I have learned to embrace these emotion-filled happenstances when before I dreaded them.

For shit sakes I’m tearing up now.

Anyway, as for the tears shed today for Bridge Over Troubled Water and the other S&G hits, I can only guess at the root cause for my emotions and tell you that I fear I am spending too much time looking back at my life with regrets. Or maybe guilts. In my entire life I have never intentionally tried to harm anybody, except when they fully deserved it, but I have caused considerable harm none the less. Sometimes I hurt people when my intentions are to bring them joy.

I have these moments more and more often now and Dr. Sam I. Am tells me that it is a sign of my impending maturity. “When you truly accept the responsibility for your actions, which can only happen after you realize the impact those actions had on others, you can then actually feel the pain that you have caused. Once you can actually feel the other’s pain, that experience Mooner, is the hard evidence of growth.” A Pause, and, “Maturity will come when you can manage to discontinue hurting by accident.”

She looked right into my eyes and said, “You have left quite a swath of destruction in your path Mooner, but always in an almost childlike innocence. You are the most responsible man I have ever met and I think you are making remarkable progress. But you remain mostly clueless.”

Then she finished with a kiss to my cheek and said, “Did I tell you I have increased my hourly rate to $175.00 per hour?”

Maybe that exchange can help you understand my love/hate relationship with my psycho therapy.

Squirt has that sixth sense that good dogs have and felt whatever it was that bothered me as Paul and Art sang. She jumped into my lap with her front paws on my chest as I sat in front of Sammy’s big TV. She looked right into my teary hazel eyes with her little brown ones, and she teared-up as well. Then she snuggled onto my chest, pushed her head under my chin and nuzzled my neck.

Silently the two of us soaked the front of my shirt as the music played. Her itty bitty puppy breath was like a salve on my neck as we listened to the sounds of my youth.

As quickly as this moment began, it ended when the next act took the stage. Aretha Franklin is a special lady but for whatever reason her finger doesn’t grip the trigger to my emotions. I took a deep breath, kissed Squirt on the top of her adorable head and told her, “OK you little shitbird, tell me what you want for dinner using only the English language.”

She backed up to where she was sitting in my lap, cocked her head sideways and thought. She brought her now dry eyes to mine and said, “I do like lechuga e your homegrown tomatoes, Monsieur Mooner. Me gusta roasted goat as well.”

“Good job Squirt! That’s only three languages and all are homo sapiens,” I praised.

Which reminds me of something else. I have finally found someone who loves their homegrown tomatoes with the same lustiness as do I. Her name is Renee Studebaker and she is the garden writer for the Austin American Statesman. You can read about her at www.statesman.com/go/reneesroots where you can see what she writes about the local gardening scene.

However, since there was not a single reference to either sea salt or Carta Blanca beer in any of Renee’s writings, it is obvious that her obsession remains second tier to the lunacy that is me. At one time I was on the group that got the newspaper to start focusing on local gardening issues rather than reprinting stuff from Atlanta’s paper. But that is very old news and a bigger story than this space allows.

OK, where did we leave off with the jury dealie? I think I was daydreaming this debate over whom I would choose to have sex with, if I was forced to choose between the Sarah Palin lookalike or the actual Sarah Palin. The Judge awakened me with his question of, “What did you just say Mister Johnson?” to which I replied, “I said don’t fight over me girls, there’s plenty Mooner to go around.”

The entire courtroom found this funny and now people started turning their phones on and snapping pictures of the festivities for Facebook and Twitter.

“Oh for the sake of Mother Justice Mooner, do you even know how to behave yourself?”

I figured this might have been one of those rhetorical dealies so I just sat there wondering if I was spending the night with my rosy red ass in his jail.

“Answer me Mooner. Are you always so inappropriate?”

“Must be, your Honor. According to US News and World Report, the most inappropriate in the entire world. They did a poll and I won. Got the certificate to prove it.” It hangs in a place of honor out to Mooners Compost Plant right next to my Environmental Excellence Award- another story I might tell you guys, just not here.

“Alright Mooner, you come up here and sit in the witness chair so I can keep an eye on you.”

I told him, “Wow Billy, this will be just like when we were back to grade school.”

“That’s right Mooner. Except that Mrs. Browningwell didn’t have the power to put you on death row and I do. Now sit still and do not open your mouth until I ask you a question.”

His Honor turned the festivities back into the hands of the lawyers and I did fine for what seemed like an hour, until I looked at my watch. “Holy shit, it’s 2:30. I must be starved.”

“Mooner, that’s it. I am remanding you into custody. Bailiff, find a cozy cell and pitch Mister Johnson’s rosy red ass right on in it.”

“But look at the time, Billy,” I admonished him, “You are starving these poor people to death.”

And this would be where I had one of those “A-ha!” moments that Oprah Winfrey talks about so much. But I have hit the bloggie word count wall one more once with this jury story.

Look and listen because I am going to impart some real wisdom to you guys. As soon as you get a chance, perform the following sequence of events:

  1. Pop the top on a frosty cold bottle of Carta Blanca beer and take a slug.
  2. Cut two 3/8ths-inch thick slabs of the best tomato you can find; season it with sea salt and black pepper, both coarsely ground; cut those into quarters and arrange them on a small, chilled plate.
  3. While still in the kitchen, eat one of the little quarter-slices slowly enjoying the many flavors that burst into your mouth at first, and then savor the flavor of the skin as you chew on those skeletal remains.
  4. Take another slug of your beer, again savored, then head to whatever room houses your music system.
  5. Decide who you miss in your life the most- living or dead, and play the music you most associate with that person.
  6. Cry, feel sorry for your loss and then grateful for what you did have when that person was still around.
  7. Cancel your next psycho therapy session and send me a check for 10% of whatever your therapist charges for a visit.

I am told that the act of paying for therapy is a large determinant of that therapy’s success. If you won’t pay me, at least make a comment to display your appreciation and enhance your therapy.

Bon appetit!

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