MIXED SIGNALS

What can happen when messages get crossed:

January 1, 2015

To: Sophia

From: Paolo

Cara Sophia – I send you warmest greetings. Unfortunately I have bad news. There was a fire in the guest cottage in Agrigento and all was lost. I know the idea of moving to Sicily permanently was very appealing to you but you were understandably undecided. Now, sadly, the decision has been made for you because the house is gone. Fortunately you have not sole your lovely house in New York. I hope some time in the future you will visit us for a few weeks at our home in Palermo. Ciao cara – Paolo 

AT THE SAME TIME THAT DAY

To: Paolo

From: Sophia

My dearest Paolo – After much thought and soul-searching, I have decided to accept your kind offer to move into your guest cottage in Agrigento. The New York winters are getting progressively worse and I cannot stand another day here. I desperately need a change of scenery and I’m ready to become a permanent resident of Sicily. Luckily, I was able to sell my house quickly and the buyers want to move in immediately. I have already packed all I need and I’m ready to go! I see there is a flight to Agrigento leaving this evening and I will call the airline right now. As soon as I know my ETA I’ll contact you. Thank you again, my dear cousin. I look forward to seeing you very soon in sunny Sicily. Ciao caro – Sophia 

AT THE SAME TIME THAT DAY

To: Sophia

From: Angie

Hi Soph – How’s my favorite sister? I’ve got exciting news! I landed that great job I was angling for …. the one at the music school near you. I know it’s been a while since you offered your guest room to me and I’m hoping the offer still stands. You haven’t turned it into a shrine to George Harrison, have you? Anyway, I sold my condo here in Boston; my stuff is already packed and all I need to do is reserve tickets online to NY. I can be there as soon as tomorrow. Can’t wait to see you! Love, your favorite sister Angie 

PS: Brad and I broke up, that jerk! Good riddance! 

AT THE SAME TIME THAT DAY

To: Angie

From: Brad

Babe, I’m sorry! Forgive me for being such an ass! I love you and need you in my life. Taking the first flight home to Boston tonight. Brad xx

NAR © 2018

TOO LATE TOO LITTLE

February 27, 2003

My dear daughter:

If you are reading this, I am no longer with you. There’s so much I wanted to tell you when I was alive, so many things I needed to explain but the words failed me. Now I find myself in the early stages of dementia and know this is my last chance to say the words you needed to hear. 

You know my life was not an easy one and I learned at an early age to keep my emotions in check. I was always the  practical one .. doing my duty for the family. How I now regret those missed mother/daughter times – never reading bedtime stories, going to the playground or snuggling with you on the couch. I was too embarrassed to tell you the facts of life and can only imagine the horror you felt waking up with your first period and thinking you were bleeding to death. 

I never worried about you because you were the defiant and rebellious daughter, unlike your sister who is too much like me. I think I always knew you would become your own woman, doing everything you could to be nothing like me. Having seen you with your own children, I know I’m right. 

Please know I did the best I could. I loved you even though I never could bring myself to say it. I hope you can forgive me.

Love – Mom 

August 18, 2009

Dear Mom –

I’m writing this letter knowing it will never be sent. You’re gone now so who can I send it to? But some words need to be said. It was rough growing up thinking I was unloved and there were times I hated you for that. For a long time I thought it was something I had done. 

My teens years were the turning point for me because I got out of the house and away from you. You know my mother-in-law was very different than you; we formed a bond and I found in her a mother’s love I desperately needed. 

How I resented you and your aloofness! What a shame … so many years wasted. Now as I look back I feel sorry for you. Deep down I believe you loved us. You just didn’t know how to show it. I forgive you, Mom, and I’m happy I didn’t turn out like you. Rest In peace.

Affectionately, your daughter 

NAR © 2018

GOO GOO G’JOOB

May 4, 2000

TO: Mr. Al Bumen, Homeowners Association

FROM: Humpty Dumpty

Dear Mr. Bumen

It is with eggstream distress that I find myself writing to you once again. 

Apparently the situation regarding the eggceedingly narrow wall upon which I often enjoy sitting has gone unaddressed as I have once again eggsperienced a great fall resulting in eggcruciating injuries. 

Usually my mishaps leave me slightly scrambled with a few minor cracks. However, in this most recent fall, all the kings horses and all the kings men were unable to put me back together again. 

As a result, I now find myself an impatient patient in Eggcelsior Hospital, completely covered in horrendous cracks .. some so deep that my yolk is eggscaping like yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog’s eye. Do you not understand the severity of this situation? I am the Egg Man, goo goo g’joob! 

The doctors have informed me that once I am healed I am to be hard boiled in an effort to protect my eggsterior shell should such a great fall happen again. This is no yolking matter as I have heard that hard-boiling is quite painful and there are no guarantees that the procedure will be successful. 

In the meantime, I am being coddled in my hospital bed, sharing a room with a severely burned slab of bacon whose incessant sizzling keeps me awake all night. 

Getting out of bed requires a gentle over easy roll maneuver with the assistance of the eggspert nurses on staff, but it is very embarrassing as the hospital gowns leave one quite eggsposed. 

I’m trying to keep my sunny side up but unless the wall is widened, I’m afraid I have no recourse but to bring this situation to the attention of my attorneys Benedict, Deviled, Florentine and Poached. I assure you I will be doing a slow soft boil until I hear from you regarding this eggstremely urgent matter. 

May 6, 2000

TO: Mr. Dumpty

FROM: Mr. Al Bumen, Homeowners Association 

Dear Mr. Dumpty:   

As you are aware, we recently had an issue with a maid who was in the garden hanging clothes when along came a blackbird and snipped off her nose. Wall sitting and clothes hanging are strictly forbidden, according to the Homeowners Policy. While we sympathize with your plight, the wall will remain unchanged. We suggest you try sitting on a cornflake instead. 

NAR © 2018

GREAT GIG IN THE SKY

I have a burning question. How many of us can honestly say we’ve seen God … not just seen Him but had a full-blown conversation – a religious experience replete with images and epiphanies? Ten, twenty, fifty, one hundred perhaps unless, of course, while under the influence of mind-expanding, hallucination-inducing psychedelic drugs the number would increase exponentially.

That is exactly what happened one night when a friend of mine emerged from his  bedroom after an hours-long LSD trip and announced to all in the living room, “I have just seen God and I now know there’s no such thing as everlasting death.”

Being in various stages of synthetic delusion, our reactions ran the gamut from “Heavy, dude!” to “WTF?!” to fits of hysterical laughter. Undeterred, although somewhat unsteady and quite high, my friend wound his way through the mass of pillows strewn about the room and situated himself in the middle of the floor like the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Fifteen pairs of glazed-over eyes watched my friend while went on to explain how God revealed to him that the followers of Pythagoras were extremely superstitious and mystical. They believed that the human soul was trapped in a continuous cycle of death and reincarnation. Although the body dies, the soul lives on, lying dormant in a constantly spinning dimension of the universe where it patiently waits to be catapulted back to earth, implanted into one form or another of the female species and is reborn. And this cycle of death and reincarnation can go on an infinite number of times.

Minds officially blown, we all agreed this new-found knowledge was indeed “heavy” and required more contemplation while listening … again … to Dark Side Of The Moon. But I, who was always somewhat preoccupied and frightened by the thought of dying and ceasing to exist for all eternity, wanted to learn more about this amazing concept. I found it calming, hopeful and profound. So my friend and I discussed this astounding, all-encompassing theory which I took fully to heart. Suddenly I was filled with a warm peace, a confirmation that the soul lives on, returning after mortal death. How ineffably comforting.

Soon I found myself drifting off to sleep as Pink Floyd played softly in the background:

“I am not frightened of dying. Any time will do, I don’t mind.”

NAR © 2018

In response to Fandango’s #FOWChigh

TICKETS TO RIDE

“Well done? You call this well done? Not one single seam is sewn straight. Sloppy! Now rip it out and start again.” 

More anger and ridicule rained down on me by my mother. Living with her was not all shits and giggles, as the saying goes. 

A rigid, controlling, aloof perfectionist who never let her emotions show or her guard down .. which is why what happened that ordinary day in August left both me and my sister bewildered .. squinting our eyes and scratching our heads much like the Pythagoreans trying to decipher that damn theorem. 

Suddenly the sky parted, a brilliant stream of light landed on the envelope in my mother’s hand, angels sang and my sister and I hugged each other, jumping up and down, screaming and crying tears of joy .. for peeking out of that envelope were three yellow tickets which read:

Sid Bernstein Presents

‘THE BEATLES”

Sunday, August 15, 1965
Shea Stadium, Flushing NY

Three passes into a world we only dreamed of, a fantasy land more majestic than any national treasure in the universe, tickets more precious than gold, frankincense and myrrh. 

Clapping her hands, mother brought us back down to earth. “Hurry and get dressed. The show starts in four hours and traffic will be a nightmare. Dresses only, girls. No blue jeans and no shorts!” 

Sacred tickets in hand, we jumped into our 1957 Ford Fairlane 500. It seemed to take forever to arrive and we sang one Beatles song after another. In the distance we caught our first glimpse of Shea Stadium … glimmering in the sunset like the Land of Oz .. and the four wizards were there waiting to play just for us. Well, us and approximately 56,000 crying, screaming, hyperventilating and fainting fans.

My sister and I grabbed the binoculars and ran to the bottom of our tier to get a closer look. Hearing anything over the cacophony of squealing girls was almost impossible and we screamed and cried right along with them. At one point I looked back to see my mother singing and dancing in the aisle. Unbelievable! 

That night my greatest dream came true. I had reached Mecca, climbed Everest and walked on the moon. Being there was beyond surreal. It was the most electrifying and exhilarating experience of my life. That night remains etched in my mind and my heart for all eternity. 

Well done, Mother. Well done. 

NAR © 2018