Rock Accountant

Good old God

My family hated John F. Kennedy because he was Catholic. My father was Catholic too, but I never knew that until I went through his one drawer after he died and found his beads and Bible. He never mentioned it.
My mother was Irish. She hauled me to our Methodist church in my wool suit every Sunday to sweat and itch. I believed in this God hard. He got credit for every lucky thing that happened to me. I never blamed Him for anything.
I knelt beside my bed every night next to my mother and recited:
“Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I shall die before I wake,
I pray the Lord, my soul, to take. Amen.”
Done with that poetry, I proceeded to remind him of who to bless. “God bless Mummy and Daddy,” followed by a careful laundry list of family members. I always included the dog of the moment, which needed it as they lasted not very long. The Devil liked running them over with cars, I guess.
Praying, like Santa and the Easter Bunny, reluctantly lost their substantiality by high school. However, petitioning the Lord for shit lasted till college. God and I worked my teen years hard. I solicited His intervention on every pimple. And on the hearts of every girl on whom I got a crush.
I don’t ask Him for anything anymore. I think it is vaguely unseemly. I have too much. It wouldn’t even surprise me if He came sniffing around to get something off of me.

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Satchels of Silence

Men carry silence
in satchels
filled with oaths and betrayals
weaved loosely
into malice and murder.
All we are certain of
is that we have forgotten


PUBLISHED: November 29, 2016
FILED UNDER: Unnoticed in Clever Worlds

PUBLISHED: March 18, 2019
FILED UNDER: Unnoticed in Clever Worlds

Indoor plumbing

Growing up, our family had one bathtub. You made the stream of water hotter or colder by turning the two spigots with your toes on the opposite end. I got too big for it fast, so half of me got wet but not clean, and the rest of me I sponged. Sitting in dirty water used to be the American way.
My first shower happened in our neighborhood municipal swimming pool. The experience would have been more pleasing if not for the panic of being naked in front of other boys. Boys in my age bracket did not grow up narcissistic. We hid our genitalia like one-eyed pirates burying treasure chests on distant island beaches.
In high school, I was a year-round athlete, so I showered after practice every day. It was the first time in my life I was frequently clean. I wasn’t tempted by homosexuality because it did not exist back then.
In our hot summers, we had the garden hose, which was to us a toy. Showering in cold water prepares boys for pain and non-specific sorrows. And you can keep your pants on. Always a plus.
My family never graduated to an indoor shower. They went to their graves half dirty.
I was an inventive kid, one of our best and brightest in the neighborhood. One day, late in my high school years, I dragged our long hose through the basement window and hung it over the indoor piping affording myself year-round ice-cold indoor showers. Presto, Ivy League!
In this time of sticky virus, our bad feelings will be finally washed away. We have gotten grimy over the past years, divided in half as we are by our bathwater. Of this, I have no uncertainty. And remember, I invented indoor plumbing.

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