Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Goodbye Letter

Dad died bloated and babbling about giant spiders on the hospital walls. Nobody deserves such an exit, Mother, which is likely why he ordered the “Do not resuscitate” clause; why drag out the final scene? Someone once said: “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus!” It was a chorus of angels in Dad’s case. At one point during his last week, he forced himself (the pain was that of fire on his skin) to roll over and face Uncle Bob.

“Bob, when I get outta here, we’ve got to find jobs.” He was back in the 1960s, stuck in a schoolboy reverie induced by morphine drip and toxins that his liver could no longer fight.

“Of course, Wayne, of course.” 

Bob had the disheveled gaze of one who watches his own blood perish, when he knows that goodbye is a forever deal, that time is in fact not on our side, that we all have to leave one day, destination unknown. 

I watched Dad daily as he met his demise by force of cancer and failure of liver.The two afflictions teamed up on him. We never knew which one led the race, and it didn’t matter. He knew that his vices would bring him here. He almost welcomed it. In quieter
moments down through the years, moments of deep introspection, his life spread out like an impossible landscape. He’d stumbled awkwardly on his seventy year journey and he was just as baffled as any of us, Mother. He’d taken others down during his race. He’d 
cheated, he’d lied, he’d conned and connived. He did it his way; you knew all that. But in equal measure, in attempt to balance his own scales, he’d stop in his tracks to lend a hand to a fellow runner. He led many around him to a victory lap of their own. He was a school teacher and a life teacher. He was a martyr and a money lender. He was a man who’d earned a lengthy eulogy. He was my dad; I’d shared his triumphs, his hell and his horrors more than anyone. I’d tasted his knuckles, endured his spite. In better moments I’d see his softer side; the English Major explaining a good book...the Artist explaining the importance of light and shadow...the Dad bringing groceries, ordering pizza and doting on his grandchildren. 

I returned to his world often and sat with him in the smoke and dust and solitude that only a forlorn but full-hearted madman could know.

On a December evening, an evening he knew was coming, he received the call from his doctor. The tests were in. It was bad. It was final: 

“Try to enjoy your Christmas. Get together with family. Call me after the holidays.”

“Sure, Doc.” 

I cast a vote to the heavens for any man who has to tell another that his hour‘s up. God bless the doctors of the world!

The English teacher, the magic man, the madman, Mr. B., Einstein, Mr. Bean, my Dad, at a loss for further action, pulled out pen and paper and said a staggered goodbye:

"I must go back to that place. I must revisit that place so vivid in my memory. It is not sufficient that I simply recall those events; I must give them form and substance; I must make them real again! They have too much significance to put them aside and merely dismiss them as...Yes, I must go back. (switches to second person) As he allowed his thoughts to continue in this vein, he realized that he had been quietly crying. A deep sadness and longing settled over him and he knew that those tears, born of such echoes, memories, were a reminder of just how deeply he felt in this matter. (back to first person)  I was a child of the war, born in 1940, son of…and…. Why am I writing this? It’s not born of any need to give…to my existence, nor is it meant to…Simply put, I feel I must put into words and…a simple accounting…more of my childhood later? Many things and events have…to shape me. None have…me more than the account I feel compelled to relate in the pages to come. It is a simple story, told with a soft, patient voice, uninterrupted by anything other than the quiet scratching of my pencil as I…And what of these words? I shall be pleased if nothing shall come of them other than someday, someone will chance upon them and see that they were penned by…who once breathed and …just as they and that…held very deep meaning for him…they will exhale and blow away the dust and perhaps say: “This was a noble man who loved and cared and…died.”

      With that, he shook the hand of time, a good sport, and walked willfully toward his end, the ambulance ushering him onward before he could write another word. In my own solitude during the days following his death, I filled in the missing words in his goodbye as best I could. Standing over his memory, I promised him I’d find that place he had to return to. Had it been a place too awful for words? Was it a place of perfect love that finally betrayed him when he turned his back,  perhaps a discovery of a child’s wandering…a stumbled upon horror, or perhaps an inflicted wound from a cruel hand. I may never know, though I vowed to him I’d search.

During more acrid moments I thought his illness to be a fitting end to the story. 

His was often a tale of terror. You knew that more than anyone, Mother. We were free to move on now. Or were we?

He howled one morning as the nurse tried to shift him; blood was pooling beneath his skin on his backside.

“Don’t get too excited, Dad. Try to stay positive!”  I scolded myself immediately for my shabby pep talk; it was nickel and 
dime advice tossed out in haste, a reaction to suffering I’d 
never before seen.

“Don’t go getting all religious on me now Jay!” In a rare moment he was lucid; he was himself. I began to think he may just pull through:

“Oh, I’ll come over there and give you some religion alright!” 
I flew from my chair. I was my father’s son. The old prick couldn’t fight back this time, Mother. Should I have popped him one for the whole family?

Uncle Bob shot me a look and I recoiled, but he understood his big-headed brother all too well, and our silent exchange affirmed it.

Dad softened quickly. He knew it was almost time to cross the great divide. He was out of breath. He focused on me with fading strength. His eyes scanned across seventy long years and laid those years before me: I am sorry. I knew in that moment that someone had once said sorry to him too, for good reason, though I doubt he’d ever accepted the amends. I knew that he had often been what he had been against his own better judgment, and that his many magic moments in life had been true and real, even the ones exercised by sheer force of will against inner, instinctual opposition. The right thing isn’t always the most comfortable thing for any of us. If it was, the whole world would be far more right than it is. 

Goodbye, you crazy old man. Hope you made it to the finish line.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Kojak, the rat and me

The car came out of nowhere, just like the television shows. I knew it was them, I could see the high beams of the dull blue Crown Vic steering toward the wall before I saw the driver. 
Cars just don’t drive at walls. The car pinned me against two
buildings that had no alley exit. Boss stepped out of his bust machine.

 Time for my trusty traveling companion to go, my portable glass pipe. I’d just filled it too, with the finest greens. Up, up and away. I’ll miss you friend; sorry for the sudden flight. You’ll just end up in some prison of your own, surrounded by souvenirs of other arrests, never to see a flame again. You’ll only add days, weeks or months to my sentence and dollars to my fine. No cop is getting his mitts on you! Goodbye, kamikaze warrior. Drop, little bomb, on the fair city; leave your oily stain on the asphalt carpet of sin!

Kapowww! Klink, klink, klink. 

Kojak perked up and scanned the parameter with an eagle’s eyes: 

 “You hear that?”

“No sir, Mr. Officer, Sir. What was it?” 

Was it a bomb? Of course I heard it! A pack of tomcats three blocks away probably dove for cover! A deaf man just got a shiver up his spine somewhere! That sucker was locked and loaded!

“It was like a….like a little explosion or something!” Kojak pointed a firm finger at me and shot his eyes deep into mine: 

“What the hell’s goin‘ on?”

He looked like you in that moment, Mother. I couldn’t help but laugh. Oh, the world you sent me into! I was only trying to spread my little wings and down, down I dropped from your foolish nest. 

“Stay down there!” you spat; a bitter bird; a beast without instinct, a razor clawed hawk who killed her own. 

The world can be menacing with wings that won’t fly. I learned quickly that comfort for the mind was better than rations for the stomach as I trudged mean streets, simple shelter being the order of each new day. You’re only hungry if you know that you’re hungry. Tapping off the dictates of the inner workings is an easy feat and oddly enough, even easier than finding food in the jungle. There’s a pill for every ill. 

Kojak fired back my laughter and drew too close for comfort.

“Don’t make me go down your pants, Jay.”

“Wow; you’re really getting to know me well! I gotta change my game!”

I dug into my nether regions and pulled out my bountiful harvest. 
I slapped my bag into his hands; (Oh, Mother, you dirty bird, stop already!) ten grams of red-haired Mexican marijuana. Kojak opened his prize and studied it well. He compared the sample with those locked in recent memory; other alleys, busted doors and screeching halts. He gave the weed a whiff and drifted a moment into the starless sky.

Landsdowne Crescent, three nights ago! Same Mexi batch! I thought I’d stopped that shipment at the source!

He pulled out a yellow pad and handed me my punishment; a day with Judge Perkins. Actually it was the fourth time we’d meet. Kojak offered to speak more highly of me at my hearing if only I’d reveal what I refused reveal about my suppliers.

The city is full of eyes and full of mouths; more mouths than eyes. Who was the hungry rat this time? Did my enemies, now numbering four for certain, think that a cash prize and a purple heart awaited them on the other side of honor? Did they not know that Crime Stoppers doesn’t pay, despite the glitzy adds: a crime fighting fist holding a fat bank wad? 

Every kid in the city convened at the Joy Land arcade. The 
rows of glowing, tired machines standing like battered soldiers in 
the dark, musty hall formed the landscape for late night courtship. 
Pinball bells, chaotic flashing lights and digitally copied kicks, 
punches and gunfire were the sounds of teenage love. Boys 
conquered video warriors to win the girls, who watched from a 
determined distance, deciding who they’d allow to conquer them 
on a quest for sweet adolescent flesh. The girls, save for the odd 
tomboy gamer who couldn’t care a lick about clumsy mating 
rituals,were oblivious to the sights and sounds and the mysterious 
draw to fight fake enemies, but they followed the boys, always 
waiting for some deeper meaning to reveal itself among the 
Donkey Kong crew
It’s just like boys, Mother, as I’m sure you know, to miss the 
point, flexing muscles in artificial moonlight, a primal display for 
their conquest, for bored rolling female eyes. The folly was 
obvious,like the sudden, sterile florescent lights blazing through 
the dark arcade, announcing closing time and revealing every ugly 
corner in the place…exposing the bitter truth. In many ways man 
has never evolved beyond the hunt. Flowers? Talk? A walk in 
the park? GruntIt’s also just like boys to see a shiny ad boasting 
a fist full of cash and call the cops for no other reason than 
to elevate their own game. 
You too can be a Hero, Son!
I’d left a bad taste in many mouths during my brief stint at high 
school. When there are no rules, a young man invents his own; 
young man crowns himself king of his own island, however small 
that island may be. Girls held precious few uses for me: trophies 
to show and polish in secret places. I thought all the guys were 
simply trying to steal my girls. I didn’t fare well with the general 
population. The entitled jocks quietly fumed at being denied 
some of the fruits of their schemes by my magnetic, the lost 
rebel lure. Girls wanted to save me and fix me. Do you 
remember trying to fix Dad? The nerds knew they might 
never get a day in the sun, and their hatred was more 
generalized toward anyone who was to be so fortunate,
especially those like me who tossed the gifts of female attention 
away like empty sandwich bags. Some of those nerds would 
grow up to write computer viruses, I’m sure, 
avenging the world like vigilantly recluses, laughing in hidden 
shadows while we scramble to save our hard drives. I could 
narrow my search for therat to the trail of pimples and hormones. 
Perhaps it was that invisible kid who’d fallen hard for the grade 
twelve beauty I ditched within a month. I know he stomped on 
my shadow. He always threw me that look, knowing that his 
princess was merely a puppet to me:

“I’ll get you, fucker!”
He dared never speak to me but his eyes said it all. Maybe that
fucker got me at last as I ducked in and out of the arcade 
washroom preparing portions of sweet pollen for the adolescent 
masses, securing my supper money for Manchu Wok in the
downtown mall.

Karma can be a bitch.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Deep Fried Dreams

This one's fiction folks. It's heavily rooted, however, in my cooking daze, and a mosaic of people I've trudged the path with.
 Goda La Lettura!

"There it is!" I held the barely recognizable relic high in my stainless tongs.

"There what is?" Anthony, brand new boss, tossed me a sideways glare, never able to fully pull his attention away from his own causes and conditions.

"Another dream, Daddio."

"A dream. Are you drunk?"

He lowered his brow in suspicion.

"Look close."

He sighed and humored me a moment. He leaned in close, pushing my hand off of the lip of the deep fryer that he might rest his own.
Better be good. I need time to worry about life.

"Halibut. The King of the Food Fish!"

"How do you know? It's just a burnt piece of shit you dug out of the grease!"

I twirled the tongs with an upper hand and smiled wisely:

"Look! Flesh...still a hint of white. French fries go hollow. Onion rings, dead black. Mozza sticks just blow up into dust. This guy was a fighter; held on to the bitter end...left us brave evidence of his brief stay in our world...broke off from his own body, refusin' to be forgotten. He wasn't just going to end up in someone's stool! I wonder if he had a wife and kids. Maybe they'll reunite where the plumbing intersects. They're actually pretty ugly fish. Perhaps that's why God made them so tasty...give 'em some justice in the end."

"Wow. You're fuckin' nuts!"

"Oh, il mio amico, you are quite incorrect! Our over-fried friend has earned his memorial!"

And in a thick painted on accent of his bloodline he tossed me a dismissal, underlined with true-to-form flying hands:

"Forget about it Jasinto! We got the work to do!"

He was the crazy one. He was life imitating life; an Italian, red white and green in almost every way, tossing on the tongue of the old country like skin that didn't fit. He'd gotten his birthday suit in the Canuck fashion. When he spoke on the phone in his transplanted voice, one didn't see his charcoal eyes, the decided slope of his nose, the slight tan and thick lips, the Joey Bagadonuts total package, and one would assume he was just white trash like the rest of us.

He turned back to his red sauce, wrestling in vain with the basil/pepper/garlic balance. He dipped his finger and tasted often, continually shaking his head in mild despair. He wanted to pull it off. He wanted to fly his flag. He gave every hour of the day to his new Italian cuisine cause, never flinching. His was not a learning curve but a learning curb, and he tripped often. He'd demolished pastas, toppled delicate sandwiches, stalled supper rushes painfully, and was usually most effective in total absence. I'd stood guard in that tired kitchen for stagnant years already. My taste buds were sharp, my mind dulled. I'd vowed to escape it all a decade prior, but dreams are like that sometimes...broken off and lost in distraction.
I applauded him. He had a buon cuore. I felt slightly guilty always allowing him to amuse me, but it was a comfortable guilt.

His sauce was going nowhere. You can always add, you can never take away. Rules for cooking. Rules for life.

"You want some help before you bury your own flag over there?"

"Fuck off."

I jammed the gnarly coat hanger in and out of drain pipe of the deep fryer like a piston, flushing out yesterday's shit pile. The  sludge resisted my efforts for a time but finally surrendered in a swoosh and vanished into the murky pail of water.

"There they go, one and all."

"More talking dead fish?"

Anthony was lost in sauce, daring not take his eyes off of it. It had taken on a life of its own, the natural ingredients morphing into the realm of most unnatural...a monstrosity really. And so it goes in life sometimes...a pure, untainted vision ultimately becoming clouded with the crap we heap upon it, to a point of no return. Call me a pessimist if you wish. I prefer realist, and I'll cook you dinner if I'm wrong. He couldn't harness his creation. It swelled and bubbled in the pot, laughing I'm sure. His forefathers would curse: 
Oh madre di Dio! Cosa ha fatto? A starving Canadian would cry. 

I was still caught up in my own mess.

Deep fried dreams. You try to rescue them while they're still tangible, but sometimes they only sink to the bottom. At that point, all you can do is jam them through the waste pipe; they're mere obstacles then. If life must be dreamless, perhaps we should simply kill all traces of la speranza and get on with it. Or perhaps we should leave a hint or two behind...let the future know we were here.

Bagadonuts was drowning in his red mess. He finally slammed his whisk onto the table, having failed to slay his beast, and headed for the dining room, defeated. He paused for a moment as he passed me:

"I give up. You can fix it." 

"But can I?"

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Mr. B

Chapter 3 of "Letters Home" memoir, Jay Sims. A portion of this memoir has since seen publishing! (Though not this chapter yet) Thanks one and all for visiting the blog/book!

The class fell silent, the door closed on its hydraulic hinge. He looked over the sea of still faces and consulted his thoughts a moment, hands planted casually in the pockets of his loose wrinkled dress slacks. He paced, eyes lowered, back hunched, in perfect back and forth movement, careless necktie swinging to the rhythm of his steps. How to begin, how to begin? 

And how should I begin this memory, Mother, in a way that you won’t close the book and toss it? Bear with me; all good stories are worth repeating. 

All eyes followed his every movement, studying this strange bird. He wore worn out white runners that stole attention from his charcoal pants. The shoes were his statement to the machine that was the Catholic school board: 

“Damn your dress shoes! You won’t own me!” 

Oh, the cursed Jesuits; at one time torturing the natives with visions of hell, now painting Nike shoes into the picture for every man! 

His hair was purchased from Korean causes; impoverished maidens hung from his head. He paid more for that obvious mop than he paid for his entire wardrobe. Would God approve, I wonder from time to time, of His creation being covered in such a fraudulent fashion? Surely He blesses baldness if He allows hair to fall away from a man’s skull, never to return. Perhaps bald men have bigger brains; a kind of compensation for losing the locks. He thought nobody knew, but everybody knew. No one dared utter a word about it. Shame to the one who made even the smallest reference to the fake hair: You makin’ fun of Mr. B.?  When he’d sweat, blue streaks from the wig’s double sided fastening tape ran down his face. That in itself garnered him fame among his student followers; fame in a protected, respected hush-hush sort of fashion. Had his eyes been better eyes, he would have noticed the blue goo.

His mandatory collared shirt, standard white, screamed “Get me off of this man!” as it hung only half tucked in, yanking itself free from the bargain basement belt. Every man has to bend to the will of another if he wants to survive. God owns the heavens, man owns the earth. 

He was a brilliant class clown; a collision of Einstein and Mr. Bean. 

He was a fashion nightmare.

He never planned too far ahead, preferring the magic of the moment. Inspiration is never found in a day planner, much to the bewilderment of many of his cronies. 

He finally stopped and spun a vacant front row chair to face him and rested one leg upon it, folding his arms over the bended knee. The scrape of the chair on the concrete floor offered a gentle echo off of the white cinder block walls, as if to say “Good morning, Sir.” 

A clock, industrial issue, hung in a far corner. It could have stopped altogether in this room; nobody gave it much attention.
No grade six face dared move; a gesture not born in fear, like so many other rooms within this maze, but out of awe. The magic man was here. Whatever tricks he’d brought, it was going to be a treat. 

I watched nervously, Mother, as the tape fought to keep contact with the lens of the VCR. Let it snap, you say? Sorry; I secured it to DVD before history was sacrificed altogether to the gods of bad technology. 
(Note to self: add worst technology of the 80s to my browser list.)

It was a mini movie made for new recruits within the board. When the boss wanted a solid This is how you do it reference video, he often went to Mr. B, making every effort to keep the camera off of the Nike shoes. Mr. B loved the camera, but he didn’t dull down his performance during the far less rewarded, unrecorded day to day.

“Ok Ladies, Gents…Chris….”

A short burst of laughter, Chris smiling wide, eating up the attention. It was social studies hour.

“I gave you guys a survey last week.” He held the submitted papers high in one hand as though he’d made a pertinent discovery into the adolescent mystery. He’d forgotten the chair and began his journey on foot.

“Let’s see what the survey says!”

The answers rolled forth at perfect pace, to everyone’s educated amusement. This was a happy place. Laughter was allowed, but not at the expense of learning. Nike shoes were Nike shoes; a child’s future required a more solid footing. 

“Everyone agreed that it’s not ok to steal…which is kind of encouraging!”

A clown face lit up. Mild chuckles.

“Three people said that yes, it is alright to throw your candy wrapper in the street!…
two people said that it’s better just to drop it.”

Drum roll.

“33 of you said that if you accidentally throw a ball through someone’s window, you should tell him or her….8 said no…”

Mild roar. Crooked, goofy grin, scolding stare.

“3 of you said “I’m not sure!”

All eyes intermingled in amused suspicion.

Smile widening on Mr. B:

“Some of you said you should just send a telegram or a letter.”

They’re on the floor. Take that, Letterman!

Time raced. Most of the kids wanted the clock to stop. 

“Another question on the survey: Are we unique?” 

A field of hands. Me, me! Pick me!

“Are we unique….is there only one Mike Davis? Yes, thank God!”

They’ve all but melted into a puddle of unrestrained happy chaos.

“Moving along, survey asked, do you agree or disagree with this statement: “I like to do my own thing.”?

Planted pause. 

"I like…to do…my own…thing.” 

He drew the words out long and slow, drawing out like, do and own in deep, long loops with a pointed finger in the air, conducting his orchestra. 

He studied the faces. The faces studied him. 

He knows something that we don’t, What is it? Did I answer correctly? What does the question really mean? Were “yes” or “no” the only options, like an answer extracted by a TV lawyer? Is the world black and white or is it a million hues of reds, greens, 
yellows and blues?  Is A minus closer to A or closer to B plus? If exactly halfway, will my life always be caught between two places? Who decides? 

Their minds turned and churned. He could read their thoughts in this pinnacle moment of silence. The teacher had taught, the lesson now twisting all of their faces.

Long…drawn…silence. Halt. What’s that, there, at the back of the room?

“Chris, what are you doing back there?You've been fiddling all morning!”

All backs straight. All eyes dead ahead. A tinge of fear. Teacher didn’t look pleased. Teacher was always pleased.

“What have you got? Get him on the camera, Frank. I’d like to see what he’s got! Come up here Chris. What is that, a gym bag? Bring it up!”

Chris approached the bench and stood frozen to the floor. He wore a curious expression.

“Can I open this on camera?” The defendant nodded yes.

Mr. B allowed a faint smile and the classroom slumped slightly in collective relief. Maybe he’d get off easy.

They’re all on the bag now, all but leaping out of their chairs. 
What is it? God forbid a nudey mag in the Jesuit house!
Chris’s fame grew by the second.

1 bag of chips. 

“Oooooh!” a subdued choir.

A second bag of chips.

“Ooooooooh!” Crescendo.

Long…drawn…silence. What to sing next?

“You’ve got everything in here but your Aunt Martha!”

Fortissimo chorus of laughter. Mr. B lifting the bag to his face, peering inside.
“Aunt Martha?”

Keep the choir singing, conductor, but bring it back down, bring it down; hold the reins.

“Do we have a rule about eating in class?”

Mr. B cut through the gayiety with a knife of a stone face.

“What’s the rule? Anybody?”

The obvious answer came forth from a frail female voice.

“Is Chris being fair to you guys?”

No reply from the sea of silence. Do we sell out our own?

“Ok, what if I had to cut the lesson short to take Chris down to the office? Chris would be stealing your time, because he wanted to do his own thing." (loops in the air again; emphasize the pertinent passage) "

He wanted…to do…his own…thing.”

Never steal our time with Mr. B.!
The conductor met each face formally with his eyes in an eternal moment.

“Did we play well, Sir?”
“You tell me. Did you play well?”

He sewed the lesson neatly, almost right on the hour:

Life is, in fact, a rainbow of hues. Black and white is no life at all. Do your own thing if you so choose, but know there’s a time and a place for it all. Damn right I wear my runners to school, but I strap on the noose necktie as I’m told. Don’t bring food to the classroom of life, the janitors are starting to bitch about mold!

The ride was over. Elation prevailed. There would be no reckless balls thrown through windows by this class. And where would they go from here? Where are they now, those delicate flowers that left their innocent print in a frozen moment full of the colors of dreams? 

Like most men who dared breach the safe surface of things, Mr. B had enemies for miles. But his coworkers could not understand; they spelled their instruction in planners and calendars with black and white words.

The bell would ring in a moment. This was the only time the clock got any attention, the disciples hoping the hour wasn’t up.

“Ok, you guys know this was a setup, right?”
Wide sly grin.

We did? All eyes intermingled again. Confused, mild laughter.
Let him think we knew.

“Chris, this one’s yours…” Mr. B. tossed his star actor his payment: a bag of Lays. “These ones, I’m keeping” He kept the Cheese Doodles.

And like a true magic man, he disappeared when school was out.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Department of Youth

There was no safety, no comfort, living under the perverted neon umbrella. Every meal was a few and far between feast. Every bath, a baptism proper as the dirt of countless days fell away to make room for fresh sins to soil the flesh. 

A child snuck off to the city fair. He rode every ride, took every high, spent every dime. The sun began to set and his compass was confused, dizzy from the sugar and bright lights: “Which way home now?” Minutes grew into cruel hours quickly. Surely, he insisted to himself, Mother or Father will be driving up any second. The only lights he saw however, were the cigarettes of tired Carnies that circled and jumped like fireflies in the summer black. 
“Why haven't they found me? What’s going on?” 
“Move along now, boy.” said the man from the ticket booth. 
“But I’ve nowhere to go.”

I should start a campaign; I’ll borrow the title from Alice Cooper: 
The Department of Youth. I’ll tour country wide, telling every anxious adolescent to rejoice for pimples and breakups, for rusty first cars and day old meatloaf. I’ll tell them to thank every teacher and every parent preacher. Thank God for the roof that keeps out the rain! Thank God for the school that gives you an A! Be glad for first loves that end on a dime, your true love waits on the edges of time. Thank God for your pillow, it sees you to rest! Thank God for each day and you'll all pass the test!

You never had it so good!