Freudian Slips: October 2005

Freudian SlipsImage Hosted by


My Photo
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.

October 30, 2005

Freudian Slips Blog Anniversary

One year ago, Freudian Slips was born. There isn't a more fitting birthday for Freudian Slips than Halloween. How many blogs have a born on date in the witching hour? Heart of hearts, I didn't know what Freudian Slips would be in the beginning. To my utmost satisfaction it has evolved into three weekly posts in a short story format with a take thee to a punnery approach.
This blog has registered 9000 visitors in its virgin year and attracted a small audience who visit regularly. Nine thousand hits is not to be confused with a hit parade or a traffic jam in front of an anonymous rowhouse but what a fruitful year for me as a writer. I attract 10-20 first time visitors per day and pen approximately 5000 words a month. I haven't experienced famine or fishing for stories yet and writing is becoming less of an exercise. Thankfully, I haven't bottomed out on puns, quips, or play on words. Many thanks to my regular readers who bared with me until I found my inner voice fitting for public consumption.
My writing has allowed me to come into contact with interesting people from as far away as Italy, South Africa, and Argentina to as close as my own backyard. There is no greater compliment than hearing the words "I read your blog last night." or receiving a nice email. Recently, a stranger on the tennis courts brought up my blog in conversation. Only last week an acquaintance got out of his parked car to stand in the pouring rain to passionately approve of a recent blog posting. The fact that I am hearing the name Freudian Slips more often tells me that it may not be slips of the tongue but that I may be on the write track as a budding author.
Special thanks to big blog brother Pax Romano, who encouraged me to start my own blog. I got one year under my belt and I hope that's not all. A fitting postscript, I felt compelled to end this blog anniversary of sorts with a Freudian slip no less.


October 27, 2005

Planet Eccentric

The Ripley's Believe It Or Not almanac called Planet Eccentric has just been published. I am pictured on page 176 with a 1/4 page layout and a caption that reads No Ordinary Joe. The hardback book chronicles the world's most eccentric people, places, and creatures in no less than 256 pages. Hundreds of color photos abound. The pages are filled with stories of world record holders, contortionists, strongmen, exhibitionists, and a diseased guy so terrified of venom that he wore a beekeeper's suit outdoors from 2001-2003.
Ripley's kept their verbal promise to me and put the name of my disease, Mastocytosis, in print with a brief medical explanation. They also plugged my book Stop and Smell the Silk Roses. If the above picture looks familiar, Ripley's used the photograph on my actual book cover for their page layout. No marketing major in the country would question how this could happen.
Leafing through the pages of Planet Eccentric, I have concluded that my company is a little suspect but the friendly spread is a walking endorsement. It suits me fine.


October 25, 2005

The Grim in Grim Reaper

I saw a young adult woman shopping for a Halloween costume in a costume outfitter store. In an aisle promoting Jason, Freddy Krueger, and Friday the 13th movies, the woman theatrically demonstrated various instruments of torture. I stopped shopping to watch her prop chopping. I found some macabre pleasure watching a delicate creature acting out make-believe horror in the aisle. A writer always takes timeout for a story in the making.
Stationed beside a bottomless pit of plastic blood splattered hatchets, sickles, axes, and swords, ironically it was her cell phone that startled her. Force to interrupt her exaggerated sense of play with a phone call, I figured on disappointment. Instead, I turned out to be frightened.
“I couldn’t make it.” she protested into her flip phone. “I got arrested on Saturday night.” After a long pause, she elaborated. “I’ll tell you what happened. I stabbed my boyfriend with a steak knife.”
Somehow the steak knife impaled in comparison to the slice-and-dice weaponry she just modeled. Something told me that this wasn’t love at first sight. This was two people taking a stab at romance in a grim fairy tale.
“That’s the funny part.” she laughed. “Danny was cool about it even with the knife sticking out of his neck. He was nice enough not to press charges so there was no bail. Ha! What a break?”
The caller got in a few words edgewise. She couldn’t just listen. Temptation got the best of her. As if she couldn’t be away from mayhem for too long, she returned to finger more weapons.
She interjected, “Oh, Paul will be okay. He’s a big baby and it’s not like I hit a major artery. Can we change the subject? Are you and Bob still going to the Halloween party? I’m shopping for a Halloween costume this minute. Do you think Danny would like to see me as the grim reaper?”
If Danny didn’t see her as the grim reaper before, come Halloween the black robe and swinging sickle will surely convince him otherwise. Sometimes love cuts like a knife.


October 23, 2005

Doctor Privileges

My wife and I attended a Halloween party last night. I dressed as a tacky gynecologist, Dr. Seymour Tush. I accesorized the costume with a high powered flashlight, bottle of Viagara, identification badge, stethoscope, mirror, and latex gloves. Smudged lipstick across an unfurled collar suggest a hard working man to say the least. I succeeded in making the guests uncomfortable.


October 20, 2005

U2 for Boss's Day

- October 17, 2005, The U2 Concert on National Boss's Day.

My wife and I went to see U2 in concert at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The concert almost proved to be out of sight when a 6'5" Swede decided to stand throughout the concert in the seat in front of me. After a lackluster opening Reggae band, U2 resoundingly mesmerized the crowd. Bono was an energetic front man but my eyes were often stolen by Edge's guitar riffs.
U2 performed for over two hours to a sold out show. U2 covered songs from their new album as well as the all-time classics. The Joshua Tree album was well represented in song and spirit. It remains one of my favorite albums and I am not alone in the adulation. Public radio station WXPN just voted it as one of the top ten albums in history. U2 did a moving rendition of Miss Sarajevo which could not be introduced without political commentary to do it justice.
The band returned three different times for encores. Standing ovations and spilled beers greeted them each time. During the middle encore, Bono prepped the audience for something special by instructing everyone to get out their cell phones for picture taking. Phones flipped open and a virtual sea of soft blue light illuminated the dark. The Darkness on the Edge of Town had been pierced and technology never seemed so tranquil. When Bono needed another guitar player on stage, he recruited audience participation. New Jersey's beloved Bruce Springsteen was plucked straight from the crowd. The Freudian Slips irony did not escape me: The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, on Boss's Day. The crowd went absolutely berserk over the staged shenanigans. Two of my favorite musicians now shared the same sound stage. How boss!
Meanwhile, I couldn't see a freaking thing from section 107 lower level and it wasn't just because of the giant Swede. The last time I saw Bruce Springsteen live in concert was at the tenderloin age of twenty when I boasted 20/20 vision. Two decades later, I needed the army field binoculars of a four star general to know the Boss was even in the building. Through the high powered binoculars, I found Bruce strutting on stage. Periscope eyes watched him and Bono belt out a fiery rendition of People Get Ready. Why did my ears hear the crowd emanating a chorus of boos to such a cool duet? Well, my ears joined my failing eyes when I learned that the crowd was chanting a flattering Brrruuuuuuuccccccce and not boos.
After the fulfilling concert, I couldn't find my stinking car in the parking lot. Did I mention that my legs hurt from walking and tippy-toeing all night over the treetop from Sweden? Twenty years from now I'll probably be watching the Foo Fighters farewell tour with Coke bottle prescription glasses and hearing aides all the while smelling every bit like an old person dipped in garlic. Don't laugh. For the record, it will happen to U2.


October 18, 2005

Hoosier Daddy?

In 1980, my mother and I drove out to see my brother and his family in Indiana. The Hoosier state was the farthest away from home that I had traveled. Maybe I should have stayed home. This vacation proved to be a hallmark of sorts for it represents the last time in my life I considered myself naïve.
My brother is a hard working man whose main priority in life has always been to provide for his family. Consequently, he could not take off of work the whole time we visited. So when I was looking for a little nightlife on a lonesome Saturday night, my dear brother thought it would be a hoot to send me to a gay bar. What are brothers for? My poker-faced brother gave me directions to a neighborhood bar in walking distance, a contact person, everything really but the greenbacks for my first drink.
“Ask for Sy the bartender?” my brother instructed.
“I’ll do that and thanks.”
When I walked into the joint, a long wood grain bar awaited me. There were a handful of patrons sitting at behind-the-scene tables and milling bar side. People tended to their drinks and the movements of those around them.
The bartender was a thin older gentlemen who had a Cheshire smile and spoke from the side of his mouth. When he introduced himself as Sy, I knew I was in the right place after all. I hopped up on a bar stool and chilled to the tune of a beer. Sy seemed glib to make my acquaintance. I got to say that the service and individual attention that Sy gave me was par excellence. Bar none. He was a heck of bartender who even guessed the cologne I was wearing. I got to talking to Sy, who became even friendlier once I told him I was only in town for the weekend. He introduced me to a couple of fellas which was might nice of him. First impressions are important for a stranger in a strange land. Indiana seemed a very friendly state and I had my brother to thank.
“Hey Sy, where are all the women?” I asked innocently.
“Slow night but there is a woman’s softball team that comes in here after games. A bus brings them in. Pretty soon this place will be crawling with snatch. You wait and see.”
So I waited to talk me some baseball to some fine Indiana women.
Two downed beers later, my question returned as if it were from the mouth of a babe. “Do you still think the women are coming, Sy? Maybe you were mistaken and they didn’t have a game tonight?”
Sy glanced at his watch as if he had the women’s softball schedule in his back pocket and the infiltration of women in the bar down to an exact science.
“Yeah, gals will be along any time now." Sy reassured. "You just wait and see.”
I believed Sy for why would he not be honest with me? Trouble is, I waited all night for that women’s softball team to arrive. I guess the game went into extra innings. Not!
Rule #1 for any heterosexual guy in a gay bar without knowing it. It helps not to be naïve in the first place. Strike one.
Rule #2 for any heterosexual guy in a gay bar without knowing it. Never sashay over to a pinball machine in tight Jordache jeans and proceed to play the body table. TTTommy can you hear me?
Rule #3 for any heterosexual guy in a gay bar without knowing it. When a grinning guy wearing a muscle shirt buys you a beer before knowing your name, chances are he is romantically interested at least for the night.
Rule #4 for any heterosexual guy in a gay bar without knowing it. Never walk up to a silent jukebox and drop coin to play the anthem It’s Raining Men without expecting mixed messages.
Rule #5 for any heterosexual guy in a gay bar without knowing it. When every single guy in a gay bar follows you into the men’s room, chances are that not everyone needs to urinate.
Rule #6 for any heterosexual guy in a gay bar without knowing it. When two gentlemen nearly erupt into fisticuffs over a chance to drive another man home, their charity may not be a random act of kindness.
Despite generous offers for rides by strangers, I ran all the way home shedding every parcel of naivety at breakneck speed. Later when I told my brother about my awkward moments in the gay bar, he laughed his ass off. I didn’t find it so funny. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I love a good practical joke…just not on me.


October 16, 2005


“I see you working in a day care or nursery school but you aren’t doing direct care work. You must be a director or an administrator.”
A psychic prophesized my occupation before I had even declared a major in college. I dismissed the illogical claim to pedestrian fame and the prediction stayed in my rearview mirror. I didn’t revisit the notion until I was middle aged. On an average Wednesday morning, the 25 year old trace memory surfaced like a divining rod of purpose.
Let me explain how. My work location has not changed in the last thirteen years. It is a noisy day program of non-ambulatory, non-verbal developmentally disabled clients. My employer rents space for me to have a shell of a satellite office in this special needs day program. As the lone social worker, I oversee clients who attend this day program. It is the same rickety foam partitions forming the walls of my office cubicle, the same fluorescent light covers brimming overhead with trapped dead bees, and the customary paper clips and staples underneath my pacing feet. For all of its flaws and lack of amenities, it is where I conduct business. The drab office is my home away from home. It is where I belong and from where I will probably retire.
“Joe Tornatore.” I answered the phone for the ten thousandth time.
There was a deliberate pause. “Joe, it sounds like you are working in a nursery school.”
“Can you hold on a minute?” I asked the caller.
What did the caller just say? Where have I heard those words before? As I took in the familiar sights and sounds of the day room, the psychic’s quarter of a century old prediction rang true with the lifted weight of a startling revelation. Forget the last 13 years I have worked here without changing jobs and not coming to the same conclusion. Life happens on a subconscious level and it often doesn’t bubble to the surface right away. So for the very first time, I listened with the mind’s eye of that gifted psychic.
An interactive toy spit out a singy-songy nursery rhyme. I heard the non-harmonious blend of vocalizations. Amidst cooing, cackles, and crying sounds from mouths yearning to be fed and bottoms stirring to be changed, I remembered the psychic’s prediction verbatim. Humm…where I work cannot be distinguished from a day care center. Oh My God! That psychic was right!


October 13, 2005


"But it’s morning. I have been given another day. Another day to hear and read and smell and walk and love and glory. I am alive for another day. I think of those who aren’t." –Hugh Prather
Sister Sue 1940-2005
One of the hardest things about life is saying goodbye to it. Mercifully, many of us leave this life unexpectedly like a bump in the night but there are others who must know the intolerable cruelty of when their time is up. This is the bitter truth regarding terminal illness.
This past August, the news of a co-worker’s illness spread almost as fast as her pancreatic cancer. Sister Sue made her terminal diagnosis public by hanging a colorfully crayoned banner outside her office which read, “I’m dying to leave this place.” Some colleagues questioned the peculiar advertisement but nothing could be further from the candid truth for a terminally ill person. Sister Sue was a hard-nosed nun cut from a different cloth. She served the Lord and others. To her credit, Sister served every population as if the world’s salvation could be crafted from her two hands. Sister Sue pulled no punches but an outstanding sense of humor softened her giant blows. Her quick wit and habit of creating levity around the office was much appreciated. I didn’t prescribe to her religion nor did I always embrace the prudence she imparted on others but human compassion should overrule personal differences any day of the week. This was more than any day of the week. This was the end and staff all sensed the precious time left with Sister Sue, who had already planned her interment and settled her estate.
On Tuesday August 2, 2005, Sister agreed to go out for Chinese food with a group of 25 co-workers. The spotlight was never her attraction so I wondered how she felt needing to be driven to the restaurant. I watched her lose her balance getting out of the car. It was the first beat I have ever seen her miss in the many years that I have known her. Sister Sue sat at the head of the grand table and devilishly ordered the unhealthiest menu item. I sat close enough to her to be within listening distance. Wearing a patch for pain, she nuntheless beamed radiance with either a brave front or a religious resolve. During the luncheon, Sister never once lost her smile. She joked lavishly to the surprise of many in her company. She even dipped her spoon into her water glass and sprayed holy water around the table. I basked in her contentment while others seemed borderline offended. She spoke fondly of the hospice agency whittling her 18 different medications down to a manageable few.
Sister Sue commented, “When you are terminal, you don’t have to worry about your cholesterol or blood pressure. Terminal cancer has a sadistic way of curing lesser ills.”
Absent was any hint of bitterness in her voice. Irony begets that the person with the least time on Earth would wait the longest for a meal at a luncheon in her honor. But it happened if anyone took time to notice. After we dined, people began to recount fond stories of Sister Sue’s dedication to her job. Sister seemed to cherish the memories.
“I am being euologized while I’m still kicking. Glory. Glory. They should do it this way more often.”
After the meal, the fortune cookies arrived tableside. I wondered to a fault what particular fortune a terminally ill person would wind up with. My prayers were answered. Nobody had long to wait for Sister Sue's awe-inspiring reading of the fortune aloud:
Sister might have called the inscription on the fortune cookie as God’s word. I had the good fortune of knowing her and listening to the good things being said about her. The sadness could be seen on the faces of people in attendance because this was bon voyage, the Last Supper if you will. Sister Sue brought grace to this table.
Later, we circulated a personal diary through the office, a Book of Life if you will. Not knowing what the next day would bring, I said my goodbyes to her with a hug and a Hallmark greeting card. I had trouble even finding a greeting card that would fit the morbidity of the occasion. Comforting words were that much harder to find. It seemed counterintuitive to give a greeting card for a curtain call. What do you say to someone who has a death sentence? I conjured up the writer and humility in me.
Sister, There should be a governing law in the universe that any Good Samaritan, who has given her life by blessing a helping profession, should be able to retire by their own choosing. Alas, the gift of life is not to be fully understood until the hereafter. I wish you inner peace as you are about to embark on your unexpected journey. Love, Joe Tornatore
Wednesday August 3, 2005 was Sister’s last day on the job. Several staff helped pack up her cluttered office. I supplied manpower. Others supplied those in need with tissues. Sister seemed to be almost cleansing herself as she rid herself of the paperwork that constitutes a bureaucracy. She gave the shredder and trashcans an incredible workout that afternoon. She seemed to exact some sort of irony while shredding documents that had gone from classified to inconsequential given the circumstances.
“Dying is out of this world, isn’t it?” she commented.
“That is what I’m hoping for, Sister.” I answered faithfully. “To leave this place.”
“We all will.”
So she indiscriminately gave away dictionaries, supplies, and mementos to anyone bearing need. I made the following careless observation after loading a borrowed pickup truck full of her furniture and personal possessions.
“Sister, do you realize you’re still leaving with more than what was left to me in my divorce?”
She said, “Material things don't matter. They certainly don’t matter to me now. I will donate what is being hauled out of here.”
With her office purged, Sister Sue gave a few of us the wink-wink then did a disappearing act. She returned wearing her nun’s habit and made a surprise procession around the office. Since I brought in the only camera, I got hired as the photographer in a closing scene. I assure you that preparedness did not deserve the penalty of collected sighs and stares. As Sister Sue made a procession through the office, I found myself the unwitting trailing historian. Sister Sue encouraged her colleagues to pose and take pictures with her for prosperity. Time and time again my camera shutter clicked and captured her soul. She joked about holding an autopsy in one hand and a death certificate in another. Like an old school Catholic nun, Sister carried a two foot ruler in one hand. Her soul and humor were everywhere. I cringed making it a bigger production than necessary but a parade was the manner in which she wanted to leave us. It was her right of passage.
Then came the time for Sister Sue to leave us…
“Hercules, I want you to help me up into the pickup truck. I don’t think I can make it alone.” A few colleagues walked her outside. I followed and opened the vehicle door.
“Grab my habit, Joe.”
I stood motionless for a split second wondering how to politely lift a nun from the derrière.
“Don’t be shy. I got to get into the truck. Grab my habit so I can lift my leg.”
I moved in close. “Okay, here we go.”
“Has a nun ever asked you to grab her habit?” she joked.
I mused, “Not in this lifetime.”
She settled into the pickup truck, her earthly possessions now stacked in the flat bed. I kissed her ashen cheek. God puts us in strange places for a reason.
Sister Sue then whispered words I will never forget, as if she knew I would be writing this story for those to better remember her by.
“Keep writing.” she mouthed.
A fire truck with sirens ablaze came roaring out of the fire house across the street.
“A fitting send off.” Sister remarked. “Follow that fire truck.”
God put out Sister Sue’s fire on October 8, 2005.


October 11, 2005

The Mind is a Terrible Thing To Waste

Do you remember the time in your life that you were the angriest? I try to forget about it but the unusual circumstances cause me to revisit the emotion from time to time.
On the night in question, I found myself sleeping on a couch that didn’t want me either. I was in between marriages. Enough said. I kneaded my fingers into the folds of my closed bloodshot eyes. I had pent up anger inside. I tossed and turned. I mumbled invectives that would make a pirate blush. When I get angry, it paradoxically becomes more of an internal battle. I am my own worst enemy in argument. Endless playback ability. Swirling mental anguish. Gnawing and knashing of teeth. Private auditions for sobbing. Emotional implosion. Inability to regroup. This is me.
On the couch in question, it felt like my anger ionized the air. A pressure cooker, my head readied to explode under the volcano. The detestation attacked me like a parasite bringing suitcases. I tossed and turned on the couch. At the apex of my anguish, I heard what sounded like a shotgun blast in the late hours. The blast came from inside the house and it sounded to be only a few feet away. It scared me enough to silence my crying. My body stiffened up. I listened but heard no further sounds in the eerily quiet house. I sat up and looked around in the darkness. There were no other sounds to be heard. I should have cased the entire house. Instead, I chose immobility and the wallowing in my own pity as the lonesome priority. I returned to my crying towel, a musky throw pillow saturated with the salt of my tears. Anger once unleashed can be a heck of a manufacturer’s recall. Eventually, exhaustion helped me drift off to asleep.
The next morning, I awoke to an unexpected mess. When I walked into the kitchen, I noticed a cabinet door ajar. A curious blood splatter pattern tainted the kitchen floor. I could not believe my eyes. Judging by the splatter pattern, the red substance originated from inside the cabinet. I looked inside the cabinet not really sure what I would find. I soon discovered the culprit, a mangled can of tomato puree looked as if it had undergone rapid decompression before exploding out of its tin. Being a chef, I mused over the squandered chance to make my authentic Italian gravy. Mama Mia! What force of nature could have blown the cabinet open and splash tomato puree across the kitchen? I had to look no further than myself, the volcano. I realized that if I could bottle my anger, a side job as a human can opener in a traveling carnival was not beyond possibility. If you let it, canned laughter can easily be replaced by canned anger. The mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Labels: ,

October 09, 2005

Broom Hilda

A life-size Halloween decoration in our palladian window. She greets our goose-bumped guests. Her boots have been nailed to the floor boards of the sill so she can fly every witch way but loose! I made her out of papier mache and coat hangers.


October 06, 2005

Bringing Up The Rear

-Add a retrofitted oversized diesel tank inside this trunk and the umbrella would need to lay sideways.
While riding down the road in the compact company car, I heard a slapping sound. Gazing through the rearview mirror, I watched the trunk flapping in the wind. Naturally, I stopped the car and tried to close the lousy trunk. Repetitive slams proved that it was not going to cooperate. I have never liked this trunk from the moment my squinting eyes laid eyes on it. A little peeved, I drove out of my way to the nearest company Motor Pool where I explained the most unlikely scenario of a derailed caboose. The mechanic pulled the car into the garage and up on a ramp as if major repairs were in store. I followed. He called two mechanics to the trunk for an impromptu meeting. Knowing nada about cars, I retreated to a neutral corner of the garage. Words were exchanged and snickers passed before the trio nodded in agreement.
“Hey Buster, come here.”
That was my cue. I walked over to the trunk not expecting to be blamed for the mishap. As I approached them, the head mechanic was already bringing up the rear.
He rhetorically asks, “Do you see that garment bag?”
“That is your problem.” he proclaimed. “This model car is notorious for trunk latch failures. The manufacturer makes the cable part out of plastic to save on the cost of metal. The plastic don't wanna hold up over time. It's flimsy and breaks. See?” He raised the broken cable for examination. “Anything that even rubs against the cable will snap it. You can’t put a garment bag in this trunk. As a matter of fact, you can’t store anything in these trunks.”
I stared down into the starving belly of the trunk. It housed a bulky obsolete dual diesel tank which reduced the trunk space by 80%. Under the hood offered more room. The trunk cargo space was as laughable as their advice. So I laughed.
“Let me get this straight.” I voiced. “I got trunk space for just about one soup can and you're telling me nothing is allowed to go in this trunk? May I remind you that I'm a social worker who moves client’s belongings for a living in a car the size of a refrigerator and I can’t use the remains of this trunk for storage?”
“That’s what we are recommending.”
“That’s what I thought you said.”


October 04, 2005

Natasha Ryan, the Necromancer

In 1999, fourteen year old Natasha Ryan disappeared from her home in Rockhampton in the state of Queensland, Australia. The worst was feared since a serial killer had been terrorizing the area. Blood of a nine year old missing girl was later found in the car of Leonard John Fraser, 51, who was eventually charged and convicted of her rape and murder. More horrifically, other blood was discovered in Fraser’s car but to make a solid case against him for other murders, including Natasha’s, a confession and corpses are sought.
A jailed con man enters the picture who decides to make it his mission to break the case by getting Fraser to confess to where the bodies are. The two are purposely holed up together. Chameleon-like, the con man builds a rapport and Fraser buys into the bravado. After detectives secretly taped his confession in prison with the help of the con man who befriended him, Fraser was charged in four other murders. On the tape, Fraser confessed to killing not only Natasha Ryan but three other Australian women. Fraser leads police to a crime scene where human remains are discovered in grisly fashion.
During the murder trial, Natasha magically appears like a necromancer altering future events. Incredibly, it is learned that Natasha is alive and well. Fraser had either killed too many people to remember all their names or bravado consumed him. Natasha is found in hiding and Fraser has absolutely nothing to do with her disappearance. As an emancipated eighteen year old adult, Natasha admits to staging her disappearance four years earlier to go live with an older man working as a milkman, the one time boyfriend of her older sister. She went into hiding fearing her parent’s disapproval of her illicit relationship. Necromancing.
Innumerable dollars for search and rescue personnel, the time of countless volunteers, the banding together of a community on a united front, and incalculable resources all were spent looking for poor Natasha. She lived in a silent retreat all squirreled away less than a mile from her home. So convinced that she was killed by the confessing Fraser, her parents held a teary-eyed funeral. Natasha chose not to go. The parents endured years of needless anguish thinking some meat cleaver of a serial killer sliced and diced their daughter. Natasha did not let them think otherwise. In fact, while Natasha rarely left the house she followed her celebrated case in the newspaper. As the media wildly followed the case on television it was Natasha who watched the programming.
After a tip off, the authorities raided the boyfriend’s house and found Natasha holed up in a breakaway closet, a place she willingly hid whenever someone entered her boyfriend’s home. During a break in the trial of her alleged murderer, Nastasha was encouraged to telephone her father. To the shock of her grieving parents, they both learned that Natasha was not only alive but alive and well. Eventually, she showed up in court where her paramour was set to perjure himself with testimony that he had not seen Natasha since 1998 despite co-habitating with her. The tables turn and the milkman now finds himself in hot water. Because the milkman bottled up sensitive information he faces obstruction of justice. Meanwhile, Natasha is a witness for the Defense and the very man accused of killing her by his own admission. Now that she is back from the dead, the Prosecutor for her own murder asks Natasha on the stand if she has indeed been murdered. In a bizarre twist, she affirms her identity, her life, and denies ever being murdered. One murder charge against the accused is dropped.
The reunion with her distraught parents proved emotional but hollow. Reportedly, Natasha shares a strained relationship with her mother and remains estranged from her father. I wonder if the parents thought more kindly of their daughter when she was presumed murdered. This may be the rare instance in which thinking your daughter has been murdered may not be the worst case scenario. Natasha’s dramatic return from the dead has made headlines internationally with media outlets around the world bidding for her celebrated story. Natasha now seeks a king's ransom for her story. Natasha’s silence is all I need to know about her. Let’s leave her alone. Tight-lipped Natasha always preferred it that way. Just ask her grieving parents.


October 02, 2005

A Cringle in Time

"Hank, how many years we gotta do this charade?"

"I'm retiring next year. They can get someone else for the Macy's parade."
On September 28, 2005 my eleven year old son figured out the fallacy of Santa Claus. He confided as much to his mother, who sheepishly admitted to eating all the cookies and milk on every Christmas Eve and each of the 364 days leading up to the holiday. When I asked my son how he unraveled the great mystery that seemed to last like a Cris Cringle in time, he got his dander up. I have been falsely accused of preying upon the emotions of my children before so it came as no surprise that my son took exception too. Annoyed, his answer shot out of his mouth with the speed of the Grinch sledding downhill to Whoville.
“A 2000 year old fat man has been living in sub degree temperatures at the North Pole with magical reindeer that fly and silly elves and you have the nerve to ask me how I figured out there is no Santa Claus. Come on.”
Enough said.


Free Image Hosting at