Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Stick Stays

I'm glad the selections have been announced for this season's edition of "Dancing with the Stars (in the loosest sense of the word imaginable) DWTSiTLSoTW" since I slipped on a wet floor at work Friday and have spent the weekend with ice packs on my left knee which suddenly straightened as my foot slid out from under me. I wouldn't have made the cut this time around for the show. I don't think I ever, even as a child, had that much flexion in any limb, so I'm sort of sad my orthopedist didn't get to see the split. Wish I could say the same. That it's sore and swollen (still) suggests to me that he may get a chance in the next couple of days, way ahead of the schedule he and I (but mostly him) had worked out. And bottom line, I don't get to tango with Kate Gosselin or Shannon Doherty (talk about spoiled for choice) which, because I can't dance a lick (or lick a dance) and neither of them are actually stars, works out just fine.

I'm smiling today partially from the controlled substance pain-killers I'm taking to manage the knee noise, and fear (if you've ever had limb replacement surgery, the adjective you NEVER want to hear is 'spoiled'). The pills make my sense of whimsy towards the foibles of others a little deeper so the clown princess in the over sized and soon-to-be-extinct SUV who looked me straight in the eye as she backed out across two lanes of traffic on Washington by the bank, and kept coming anyway, gets no more than a shake of the head from me, because it's all I can muster. I'm feeling sorry for myself and I do it well.

In the fast food place, standing behind a dad and his young daughter, based on the time of day and their clothes possibly on their way home from Mass (Holy Communion and a McGriddle, who could ask for anything more) I realize from the way he's speaking to the counter person about employment that he doesn't have a job. There's a discussion of shift availabilities (all of them) and pay differentials (doesn't sound like many) and he's nodding as she's talking while scribbling names and numbers down on a McNapkin.

It's funny, I think, as we age, it takes us longer to bounce back from the knocks and bruises of everyday life. I remember a coarse witticism that involves endurance at a specific act for the course of a night and how you know you're getting old, and how I laughed when I first heard it. Same with the rest of our lives, too. In our twenties, we went from position to position with nary a thought--as the decades advanced, each job started to look more like a career until the tsunami we're enduring at the moment swept away savings, self-respect and maybe home.

The child at his feet was no more than five and had a tiara on and a pink fairy-dress that parents think every daughter at that age loves, and maybe some do. He's making sure he understands the sequence in which to call the numbers, because 'if you call region before district, they'll tell you there aren't any vacancies' when the child squeals in delight and holds up her prize.

She's found a dime on the floor-perhaps someone dropped their change from a purchase, or, more likely, it didn't quite make it through the slot in the counter collection box for the supportive housing of parents of children with cancer the franchise has constructed across the USA and around the world.

I'm not alone in this latter supposition as the father bends to pick his daughter up and explains to her where the dime really came from and, by inference, where it really belongs. Without hesitation, safe in his arms, the child leans across her father and drops the dime through the slot in the top of the box. He smiles as his order is given to him and both dad and daughter head for the parking lot and home with breakfast and, perhaps, a new hope. For a just a moment, a bright Spring morning brightens even more. The past is gone, it's all been said. So here's to what the future brings, I know tomorrow you'll find better things.
-bill kenny

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