Freudian Slips: The Heart of the Matter

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

April 03, 2005

The Heart of the Matter

When I was in third grade, I vividly remember a school trip to the Franklin Institute, a landmark science museum located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While the museum has added exhibits over the years, its signature remains the interactive giant human heart. The heart allows you to walk through all of its chambers colorfully teaching about its functions with all the bells and whistles you would expect from this middle earth of human organs. One thing every kid's memory comes away with though is the constant beating of that heart. Some 32 years later, a Boy Scout camping trip to the museum brought me back to the foot of the giant heart.

As fate would have it, our troop was assigned the floor with the human heart as our base. We could pretty much choose where we wanted to sleep. I hunkered down for the night next to the beating heart. But the heart that kept the museum alive with its pulsating beat was silenced at lights out. Any man can attest to the difficulty of trying to nod off to sleep with a heart on but hearing that massive heart stop beating made me contemplate the value that should be placed on life. I started to wonder how I can go through an entire day not hearing the miraculousness of my own heart beating yet have this three decade old splinter memory of an artificial heart beating in a museum? I needed to get to the heart of the matter. So there I lay wide awake in thought. Two gallons of my own blood circulated through my body as I stared at this massive replica heart that had been killed for the night. I tried to fathom how many ticks of a clock turned me from nine years old to forty two in the blink of an eye. I rolled over in the cocoon of my sleeping bag to cradle the base of the darkened heart in a classic fetal position. It was then that I saw the light. Ever so subtle emergency lighting shone around the curvature of the right ventricle. Indeed, light was at the end of the tunnel even after the death of this manufactured heart. Its eerie glow offered up a symbolic representation of the hereafter. Its prominence so pedestrian, its meaning so profound. Life moves on.
I nuzzled off to sleep amidst the trailing voices of Boy Scouts each taken life for granted as I did at their very age on my first trip to the Franklin Institute. With another blink of the eye, I awoke to the sound I too have too often drowned out, a heart beating life. Not the stale museum's heart that I remembered all these years. My heart. I was here for another glorious day.

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2 Comments:

Blogger PaxRomano said...

"Any man would attest that it is hard to sleep with a heart on..." Oh no you didn't!

12:53 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

It was a Freudian Slip. I swear.

7:28 PM  

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