Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I've a dash of melancholy and the mean reds this evening, which I suppose is to be expected on account of the date.  Eleven years ago, I was working in a theater and Tuesdays were my days off.  I was living with my parents at the time and was woken up very early by my mother.  On television we saw the second plane crash and watched the towers fall.  This was in Orange County.  I spent the day trying to contact my New York friends.  I didn't know anyone who died in the buildings, but I knew people who did. And I knew one guy who was right there, just a block or two from the buildings.  He heard the planes, felt the heat, saw the bodies fall, ran as the buildings fell, had lung problems later from the dust and smoke.

My best friend was in New York.  His fiancée watched it from her office window.  He wrote one of the best poems I've ever heard in my life about the experience and the aftermath.  He has since died.

I watched it on the television of the house in the photo at the beginning of this post.  The photograph is of my cat Boingo on the porch of my parent's house.  I got Boingo when I was in college.  My father found him and his brother in a sealed box in the parking lot of his work, mewing loudly.  He brought them home and they let me pick which one I wanted to keep.  Boingo picked me.  He was so lively and ferocious.  He would bring birds to the door as well as one time a fighting rooster and another time a rabbit.  He died today.

In July, when I was down visiting my parent's house, the house where I grew up, I took a lot of photographs of the house, as if I were doing architectural restoration.  I did this because I am increasingly gripped by the impermanence of this world.  I knew that someday I would value having pictures of the hallways, the doors, the cabinets, and so forth of the place on which my early development hinges.  Boingo used to jump up on that door and hold on with his claws, meowing at us sitting inside.

Also, today, my sister was attacked by a dog in Huntington Beach.  The doctors told her that she might lose her leg.  That is all of the information I have at the moment.  Needless to say I am horrified.  I have not seen her in many years and she was going to drive up to visit me recently.  Circumstances hindered her visit.  Especially in violent moments I so often find myself thinking about how different circumstances might have turned out if anything slightly different had happened.  If I had decided that my tie clashed with my outfit and gone back to change it maybe I wouldn't have been hit by the car because that car would be two miles further down the road at the point whe eventually cycle through that intersection.

The other day I posted a video of me reading the story of the death of Laocoön.  I mentioned that I've had a mini-obsession with that story.  I was telling Laurie the other day:
"It is entirely possible that no such person ever really existed, but let's pretend for a moment that Laocoön was a real person.  He did not wake up that morning thinking, 'Today the Greeks are going to roll a giant horse into our city and I'm going to die from hideous god-snakes.'  He woke up that morning just like the rest of us, getting out of bed, performing his ablutions, expecting another day of life on Earth no different from any other."
When I was leaving my parent's home this past July, I took a picture of Boingo right before we got into the car.  This is the picture I took:

It reminds me a little bit of the last photograph taken with my best friend Rob who passed away over 2 years ago.
He came to visit my house and this was right before he got into his car to drive back to the airport and fly back to New York.  We were goofing around, both unaware that it would be the last time that we saw one another.

I think if I could distill one piece of advice for people in Earth based on my experiences in this world so far, it would be to try to treat one another as if this might be the last time you ever get to see that person.  Sometimes it turns out to be true and, when it does, it is rarely when you are expecting it.



  1. So sad Paul,my commiserations. Try not to conflate these tragic events together as one giant tragedy. Last paragraph is sound advice.

  2. Paul, thank you for writing this. It is meaningful. I wish I could say more, but there doesn't seem to be anything else that fits.

  3. I am sad too but thank you for a beautiful post. I like your last paragraph I would only add, so many people think oh, I should call so and so or I should go see them and then they get busy and don't. I wish more people would just stop and make that call or go see that person.