Lucky man

Another dream where I’m outside the building where I used to work but my badge won’t let me in because I’ve been fired. I took my mom to one of my favorite restaurants but began choking on an olive pit and tried to hock it up but the sound drew attention from the other tables so I just swallowed it.

Malfeasance. How the dems use that word like they know most people listening won’t know what it means, they serve it up like a volleyball spike: mal-FEA-sance. They use words like sacrosanct and dystopia but they’re big words and don’t work on the anti-intellectuals they’re aiming them at. They just take their language and turn it against them.

We went to the Value Village and loaded up on fake blood and flannel. Most of the plastic skeletons are from China, the same as the fentanyl we’re now learning about since our local kids are dying from it, thinking it’s oxycodone. And people are making millions off it because everyone just needs some relief, and what’s easier than taking a pill?

Late October skies, flat bands of color. I ground down the leaves with the tractor but as soon as I turned back more came down and I had to return, over and over. I resolved to get every last one, to remove them all until the trees were just empty hands reaching up to the sky, sun-starved and bare.

In the middle of the night the only sound was a frog croaking, a frog and the coming winds. The wind that hollows out canyons and culls out the dead. The frog croaks grew tentative, unsure, and then petered out. And then the dribbling water from a broken gutter seam like an open faucet, drip, drip, drip…

I wondered dimly if I was depressed and sat holding my head by the window. A desiccated fly with its legs upright in the sill. Orchids needing watered, but I didn’t care.

I peeled back the cat’s ears until they were inside-out, pink, and looked like mice ears with tufts of white sticking out.

The leaves sailed down, some with the precision of a hawk.

Single men hunched over the bar on a Tuesday afternoon and me among them. Dropping my mom off at the airport and sitting in traffic on the freeway, taking a smaller road to get off. Losing myself in the aisles at Bed Bath and Beyond. The sense that all of these stores are going out of business and have been for years. And then we’ll get exactly what we want, and bit by bit the small specialty shops that sell hardware and books and niche stuff will creep back. Nature filling in the cracks. No empty mall dystopia. A rebalancing of order, a bit less Amazon.

Twice this week we watched the Spike Lee film BlacKkKlansman: that ’70s song from one of the last scenes, oooooooh…what a lucky man…he was. And how that song sets you up to think that but by the time you get to the end, he dies all alone and you realize he really wasn’t lucky, it was all a setup. You were led down a path to believe everything was fine but it wasn’t, and that made it more interesting somehow and more real. We are all being led like that by the songs we play for ourselves and the stations we tune into. The narratives about ourselves that we’ll likely never remember or understand, that animate our dreams. That someone else will recite back for us to believe, if we’re not lucky.


Categories: Memoir, writing

Tags: , , , , , ,

23 replies

  1. Despair in the air this autumn. False narratives and weasel words in both our worlds. You caught the tails of them here, Bill. It would be good to run a tractor over them – greenly fuelled of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I too struggle with a low level simmering depression at times where I can’t decide for a while if I’m melancholy or worse. It’s better than crying in bed but still a tough row to hoe.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Those trees will haunt my dreams tonight

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hope you were appropriately and manfully shirtless as you blitzkrieged those leaves. The work dream I keep having is I’m still working weeks after I quit, worried I will get caught and get in trouble. Last night I dreamed the store flooded in a storm. Outside a lady was pulling a donkey on rope behind her car, going way too fast for the poor thing to keep up. Luckily his tennis shoes held up, although he did turn into a sort of half-donkey, half centaur kind of thing at the end.

    I’ve been wanting to see that movie. I would ask if I should but if you watched it twice in a week I’ll take that as a yes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I worked out all my manhood on that lumber I split. Thanks for sharing that dream…I’ve had them periodically for years. Weird how that shit gets in you and stays there. We could start a whole blog series on work dreams. How about let’s not.


  5. Work dreams! I retired more than 3 years ago, but I still have them. In those dreams, I’m no longer part of the team, but I show up and do work type stuff unofficially. And of course it’s all totally weird, as dreams always are.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. this song brings me back. when walking to school in middle school, my friend was killed by a train on the railroad tracks. lucky man was played at his funeral

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Songs and radio stations… Bill, Lucky Man played on the radio all the time when I was in high school. I am lucky to have been young when all that music was created. You would like Radio Paradise, I think. It’s an internet station formerly out of Paradise, California. He plays a huge range of music, all commercial free.
    Take care,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Jadi! Nice to hear from you, thanks. I caught the tail end of that timeframe, born in 1970. The song works really well in the film; cool to see songs “rediscovered” or rethought like that. Thanks for the tip on Radio Paradise. Funny, I’m listening to an archived internet radio program now…be well! Enjoy the week. Now it’s “Winter time” as they say in Germany, right?! Bill


  8. Saw him in I don’t feel at home… A couple of weeks ago, synchronicity? 😎

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Don’t forget to turn your clock back this weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

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