It's a bizarre set of circumstances leading to this that I won't go into here, except to say that I found myself in a small conference room watching a videotape of a Bill Moyers segment I wouldn't have even known existed if it hadn't been brought to me at work.
Moyers was interviewing an expert on psychology and terrorism, a man who was so old he had a receding lifeline. He had been to Hiroshima after that bombing and had spoken to people there and had also written about the subway attacks in Japan some years ago.
Somewhere in the conversation, which was fascinating by the way, they were talking about religion as a motivator for violence ("Apocalyptic Terrorism," the man chillingly called it) as well as how nostalgia for something that never was can sometimes lead to fundamentalism. Moyers said his wife had read an interesting quote in a magazine somewhere. I don't know the source of it. If you do, e-mail me and I'll post it here. But this was the quote:
Think about that one, just for a little bit, if you wouldn't mind indulging me.
(small note, 11 a.m.: A very smart reader named Shannon from Utah just sent me this: "The quote, with the author's name, Lama Sabachthani, can be found here: www.orgsites.com/ca/buddhism/ ")
So. This was, as I'd predicted, the Week of the Crazy Work Schedule. I'm actually writing this at about 9 p.m. on a Tuesday night, at work.
Yesterday, I worked 4 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The gap between these two work days felt like three or four days' time, so that by the time I got here today, I felt like I'd missed something.
Maybe it was because the lack of sleep caused a sort of mini-fugue. Sunday night, I tried to got to bed early like a good boy, but my body wasn't having it.
"Sleep?" my body said. "But Band of Brothers is on! And cartoons! And you need to start keeping track of your store sales with some sort of Excel spreadsheet you haven't figured out how to do yet! And are those dirty dishes I see? And laundry? Hey, you haven't even brushed your teeth yet! And you gotta update your site. Well...? Get to it!"
I tried to lie there, tried to go to bed at 8:30 p.m. on a Sunday, and the sleep mechanism didn't work. Three hours of tossing and turning. I finally got up, disgusted with myself that I couldn't even enjoy my new mattress properly. I made some nachos and drank a Dos Equis, something I never do, but I figured the beer couldn't hurt my chances at sleep.
Back to bed. Suddenly realized that hearing the hyper-speed dialogue of Gilmore Girls while snacking on the nachos only accelerated my brain.
1:00 a.m. My brain keeps yelling at me.
"Two hours of sleep! You're only going to get two hours of sleep!"
By about 2 a.m., I finally managed to fall asleep. Then at 3:15 a.m., my alarm clock sounded.
I stirred. Wait. It's still dark. Whatthefuck is --
Teeth brushed. Clothes worn. Cat fed.
I drove down a dark, glistening street devoid of almost all life. It was like being alone in the world, knowing the secrets of that hour and keeping them, selfishly.
I got to work and immediatley made coffee. It slapped me awake and by 6 a.m., I was rocking. By noon, my brain felt like it was swimming in a stew of its own juices. I went home. But still couldn't sleep.
So I stayed up. By the evening, I was loopy, the bones in my legs beginning to ache in protest. My eyes were puffy and bloodshot, something they haven't been since my LASIK surgery.
I went to sleep at 1 a.m. and it felt complete and total. A shut-down.
Last night, I watched Letterman. I'm not going to critique the show, because other people have already done that, but I will say that I was proud to be watching and I got very emotional seeing Dan Rather cry and watching David Letterman struggle, showing a humanity we've always suspected he had, but had never seen outright.
If there's something we need to be, right now, it's humanistic. I don't mean pacifistic or weak. I mean human. In our flaws, desires and pain, we can be human to each other.
The struggle David had made me think about other comedians and entertainers this week. They're all trying to figure out when it's okay to be funny again. David was funny, poignantly, at moments last night. He can't help it. He's a funny person.
I thought long and hard about Monday's entry before I posted it. I consulted a friend of mine who made it clear to me she was offended by what I wrote, but that she would not discourage me from posting it for others. When I did, post it, I got lots of positive comments.
You never know. I can't ever tell how people will react to what I say here.
In that context, I'm going to take a gamble here and share something. A few friends I've shared it with, well we've all laughed, and I'm not exactly sure why.
I think it's because... well, because it's cheesy. And that even with the best intentions, some people just have really questionable PhotoShop skills. Maybe this is in bad taste, to make fun of this, but every time I see it, I can't stop laughing, and maybe there's something very human and tragic about that, but damn. You tell me. And no offense to the person who mailed it to me: They're not at all to blame.
Here's the link because I don't want to upset a bunch of people by jamming it in your face here.
One side note: My friend at work said, upon seeing it, said "Wow, how is it that an eagle is crying a human tear?"
There's another one that had pictures of the Twin Towers, pre-attack, with big red hearts all over it. Man. I'm not even gonna post that here because even I have a gag reflex.
Put the mouse down, Anonymous PhotoShop Memorializer. I'm begging you.
Historic Moments in Fast Food History Pt. 1: The first Arby's employee steps off the assembly line.