HINDSIGHT IS 20/20

Did you ever wish you could go back in time to when you were five years old? That’s a reasonable age – old enough to grasp the difference between right and wrong yet young enough to be just a kid having lots of fun; not on the cusp of adulthood so it’s probably a good idea to try not to muck it all up.

If I, a sixty-something-year-old woman could write a letter to my five-year-old self, I might say something like this:

“Hey, you!

There’s a ginormous amount of ‘stuff’ that you’re gonna have to deal with in life so listen up:

• Everything you’ll ever need to know you’ll learn in kindergarten so pay attention.
• Follow the Golden Rule, obey the Ten Commandments and listen to the Beatles because life really is about peace, love and understanding.
• Mom and Dad aren’t the enemy; they’re doing the best they can so cut them some slack.

Right now you’re having the time of your young life. Your days are pretty much planned out. Mom does all the work and there aren’t a lot of demands on you. It’s mostly playing, eating, napping, doing a chore or two, sleeping; repeat tomorrow. Life is good and you’re a happy kid.

Sometimes, though, you’re gonna be so sad all you wanna do is cry and that’s ok; even big people cry. You won’t be sad forever. Other times you’re gonna get so mad you just wanna hit somebody, but that isn’t a good reaction – except if it’s Willie Casa; he’s the bully who lives three houses down. So when he hits you over the head with that plastic gun of his, you’re gonna bop him in the nose. And you know what? He’ll never bully you again.

Speaking of noses, yours is ok right now but in a few years it’s gonna turn into a real honker and you’re not gonna like it. You’ll get teased some and it’ll hurt. But hang in there because the most important guy in your life won’t care about that at all. He thinks you look like Sophia Loren and that’s a good thing.

Mom isn’t comfortable talking about a lot of personal stuff and you’re gonna wake up one morning to discover you’re body’s changing. It happens to all girls and while some of it is pretty yucky, most of it is really amazing. Let’s just say God knows what he’s doing and you’re gonna turn out ok.

When you’re about 13 somebody cool is gonna enter your life, coming and going for a couple of years. He’s a 16-year-old beanpole name Steven Tallarico – Google him. You might feel like kicking yourself because you didn’t run off with him but your whole life would have turned out differently and probably not for the best. Don’t worry. In 1968 you’re gonna go on a blind date and that guy will change your life forever and in the best ways imaginable.

You’re gonna make a lot of mistakes; everybody does. It doesn’t matter who you are in this giant world – you’re gonna screw up and believe me some of your booboos are doozies. You’re gonna hurt people and when the dust settles all you can do is apologize and try to make things right. The important thing is to own your mistakes and take responsibility.

Responsibility. Accountability. Big words with important meanings and so easy to overlook. They’re gonna be important to you and believe me, kid, there’s nothing wrong with that. People won’t always act the way you want them to; try to remember just because YOU think someone should act a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the right way for them. Let it go because it’s wrong to force people to do anything. And don’t let others force you.

Don’t be afraid to smile and make friends but don’t blindly trust people you don’t know. And if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If somebody scares you, scream your head off and run like hell because there are some bad people out there. But there are also a lot of wonderful people and most of the time you’ll be able to see the difference. Sometimes you won’t and people will hurt you. Shame on them! Cut your losses and move on; it’s their problem, not yours.

Nobody’s life is perfect, not even yours. You can own a lot of great stuff but if you don’t have a loving family and friends then you don’t have anything. You will be greatly blessed in more ways that you can count – not by the wonderful things YOU do but by the wonderful people in your life.

Some things I’ve learned along the way:
• Listen to Mom and Dad; they really do know more than you (especially about Woodstock!).
• Go easy with the blue eye shadow; it’s not a great look. And watch out for sloe gin fizzes; they have a way of sneaking up on you and knocking you on your ass.
• Be a friend, lend a hand and don’t judge; you never know what someone may be going through.
• Be respectful – not only of others but of yourself.
• The popular thing isn’t always the right thing and the right thing isn’t always the popular thing. That’s a tough one.
• If you say you’re gonna do something, do it. Be responsible (see above).
• Don’t be afraid to show your emotions and let people know how much you care; it’s how you know you’re alive.
• Be flexible. Things don’t always go as planned.
• You’re gonna have your heart broken more than a few times and you’re gonna break some hearts, too. It sucks but that’s just the way life is.
• Don’t be late. Period. You can’t control the weather or traffic but you can anticipate it.
• Don’t lie or make excuses. Not only does it show poor character – it’s too hard to remember all your tall tales. The truth always comes out.
• Smoking is not cool so cut it out. It’s a disgusting and expensive habit.
• Listen to the Beatles as much as you can; not only is their music just about the best you’ll ever hear, you’ll learn a lot from what they have to say.
• Just be a decent person; it’s really not that difficult.

And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.

Love, You!”

NAR © 2020

UP, UP AND AWAY

Hope, my dearest –

Why do you continue to invade my dreams in the stillness of the morning’s early hours? I awaken and for a moment I believe the dream to be true. The feel of your smooth yielding body next to mine, the tenderness of your kiss. I reach for you but you are not there and a tear slowly emerges from the corner of my eye. 

Somehow I manage to get through the disorder that is my life but without you I am not truly alive; I merely exist. You asked so little of me and brought unimaginable joy to my lonely world. How I loved treating you like royalty; you were my princess dressed in satin and lace, your shining blue eyes sparkling with excitement whenever I brought home a gift for you. You delighted in each present, whether a bottle of perfume or a book of poems which I would read to you every night. 

Yet, in all honesty, those steamy sensual sex games we played are what I miss the most. You were insatiable, your beautiful mouth smiling with desire, your lithe body as malleable and compliant as the branches of a willow tree. Those intimate times we shared together in our apartment are etched in my mind forever. 

Leaving you in the morning to go to work was torture. Knowing you’d be there waiting for me when I returned was the only thing that got me through the day. I’d race home to see you, to embrace you. But that all ended one year ago when I found you lifeless on our bed. You were so beautiful that morning as you slept I didn’t have the heart to wake you. I placed a single rose on your breast for you to discover when you awoke and quietly closed the door behind me. Oh, the dreadful nightmares constantly invade my sleep! How could I have left you alone like that? I’m sorry, my darling Hope. 

Today I walked to the park. When I realized it was our anniversary all the air left my body and I felt empty inside. The children in the park  were playing with kites and balloons, laughing with glee as the wind lifted their playthings higher and higher. Suddenly one of the little girls cried out in dismay as the string escaped her hand and her balloon slowly floated out of sight. The poor child was inconsolable. I thought of you and called your name. The little girl’s mother bought her a new balloon and gently tied the string around her daughter’s wrist; she ran off laughing, carefree once again. 

That’s when I realized I had two choices: continue living the life of a lonely, broken man or find someone to share my life. That, my darling Hope, is when I chose the latter. I truly believe you would want me to find happiness again, to fill this void in my wretched life. 

I slowly walked home, retrieved my mail and sat on the couch, dejected. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed the tip of a familiar publication. Could it be? On our anniversary? Yes, it was–  Johnson Premium Dolls with a large banner advertising 40% off discontinued sex dolls. With trembling fingers I flipped through the pages until I found you, my dearest Hope. I was overcome with joy and placed my order immediately. 

Tomorrow I will insert this letter into a balloon, inflate it and release it to reach you in heaven. And never again will I buy you even one thorny rose.

My love forever,

Lawrence 

NAR © 2020

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

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