In Memoriam

I opposed the war at its inception. And, over the past five years, my opposition has grown, as I’ve found myself increasingly dismayed by the folly of our foreign policy, by our wholesale ignorance of Middle Eastern, colonial, and military histories.

But, during that same time, through running CrossFit, I’ve also had the chance to develop real friendships with active-duty soldiers, with Navy SEALs, Airforce pilots and front-line Marines.

I am embarrassed to say how few soldiers I knew prior to that. And I am embarrassed to say that, until recently, I don’t think I really understood what it meant to oppose the war yet support our troops.

As Thomas Campbell observed in the first World War, it is the patriot’s blood that seeds Freedom’s tree. Happy Memorial Day.

Susurrus

I’m a talker. So it should be little surprise that, even while sleeping, I continue to jabber away.

According to Jess, however, my intelligible words are few and far between. Deep asleep one night this week, for example, I apparently slapped my chest twice, thrust my arm into the air, and shouted, “halfway!” But, even then, a few minutes later, another chest slap and arm thrust was followed by “spreak!”, a phrase for which I have no real explanation.

More frequently, it seems, I just mumble.

“Hapatapapatapa…,” I’ll say.

Recently, Jess has taken to playing along.

“Oh, really, hapatapapata?” she’ll ask, to which I invariably respond, “mmmhmmmm.”

While I’m not much of a somnolent conversationalist – my entire set of answers limited to shades of “mmmhmmm” – I’m apparently still relatively expressive. I have a contented “mmmhmmm”, for example, and another when I’m annoyed to have her bothering me mid-oration.

It’s apparently a family trait, as my grandmother used to drive herself to tears of laughter through similar nonsensical exchanges with my mother, when my mother was a girl. And whenever I share a room with my brother David, he keeps me up through the night with buzz-saw snoring punctuated with long, mumbled chains of semi-words.

Which makes me think I’m probably less than a joy myself. Still, as Jess continues her long-held traditions of both stealing all the covers, and kicking me, hard, while asleep, I’m calling it even on calling it a night.

Look Both Ways

I am, it turns out, obsessed with lazy eyes. I hadn’t realized as much, until Jess pointed out the frequency and gleefulness with which I observe them – from celebrities (god bless you, Paris Hilton) to passersby on the street.

But any time I observe ailments in others, I can’t help but worry I possess the same myself. A close-talker with halitosis invariably leaves me cupping my mouth and nose to test my own breath.

So the wall-eye obsession is a double-edged sword. Sure, I find unexpected joy in Tina Fey’s outward-swinging eyeballs. But, at the same time, they leave me scheming methods for candid self-portraits, where I might catch such previously undiagnosed strabismus in myself.

Note to Self: Don’t Be a Pussy

“Quit? You know, once I was thinking of quitting when I was diagnosed with brain, lung and testicular cancer all at the same time. But with the love and support of my friends and family, I got back on the bike and won the Tour de France five times in a row. But I’m sure you have a good reason to quit.”
– Lance Armstrong, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

Dear Mom,

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From childhood right through today, I couldn’t have done it without your ‘gentle’ encouragement.

Happy Mother’s Day, and all of my love,

xxx

joshua