In outer space, you get to floating through your days and grabbing shit as it floats by. A granola bar here, some string cheese there. Glasses of water. Glasses of wine, sweaty bottles of beer. Some magazines. A little ass, maybe: if you're lucky. You take stuff you need and you end up letting go of other stuff, so it can float off down the proverbial astral lane out towards the next sucker floating behind you a little; moving through his day. The process is slow too. Slower than you think. Time is just a messy slog through Peanut Butter Pie when you're living the outer space life. You start rolling up on things from a good two/three miles out, your eyes trying to pick apart tiny colors in the distance. You see things coming down the pike. You anticipate. You guess and gamble.
Whats that? Pasta salad? Hmph. Yeah, I'll have a scoop.
What's that? What the fuuuuuuck? An old friend? Ugh. (AWK-WARD!) Pass.
What's this coming up here then? A Wal-Mart? Hell yes, sir. We will have a peek in that!
What's this next thing? A long talk with an old neighbor about the value of hard work and family (that takes place over a chilled Grimace glass from '78 filled with Country Time from powder)?
I have to decide right away?
Whats this next thing floating my way? A little baby human? Ok. Yeah, cool, I'll take one of those.
Whats this thing coming up? A twisted ankle? What the? Pass.
Whats this? A McRib? Fuck yeah, boy! Take it !
That was still the twisted ankle?
So, I have to take that now? Seriously?
Shit. I have a twisted ankle.
And a McRib.
I've taken so many things, I've long lost count. I took pickles out of white buckets in a real Italian deli before. Ate it right there and stared down at the brine, at the rabbit poops (peppercorns) floating around down in there. I took cake. A lot of it. At birthdays at roller skating rinks, when everyone else was finished and back out on the boards, I'd wait until the kid's Mom would ask me if I wanted another slice. And I'd get one and eat it with a plastic fork; pushing spongy hunks through the soft marsh of melting Neapolitan on my Herbie The Love Bug paper plate. The tines of my fork would carve temporary lines in the ice cream stream, and it was then that I'd see the face of Don Knotts for a sec, his goofy Adam's Apple Head hanging out the side of Herbie. Then, like that, he was gone. Pulled back under a cocoa river.
I've taken love. I've taken it and held it to my heart. I've held it in my shaking hands and watched it light up like a Glo-Worm. I've taken so much love that they oughta really stop dishing it out to me. The love comes from them. The Good Hearts. A select few who dig me no matter how hard I try to get undug. People seem to line up early in the morning to give love to me. No lie. And I take it, some of it, graciously. Some of it I take and carry it with me back behind some apartment building I'm working in, back to where old Big Gulp cups lie half buried in weeds and leaves, like some murder victim dumped down a Forest Service road...I take some of the love people give me back there and I just plop it down there in the leaves, next to an empty Pringles can, and I just piss hot piss down on it. No reason, either. Too much love maybe. Maybe I just can't handle it all every damn day.
I try and give some shit back. Some love. As much as I can find in my Gut Rooms. And I try and leave some cheese in the fridge for my wife. So, you know: she can have a quesadilla or two when she gets home from work late at night and she's peckish. I consider that giving: the cheese thing. And I let trout go after I catch them. That has to be giving right? They gotta appreciate that, I'd say. Or who knows? Maybe not. Probably they don't give two shits.
I give my dogs rubs at night in front of the fan on high. Their hairs come off in clumps and spin up into the air and stick to my arm skin and creep into my nose. They moan as I do it. Like I'm doing the dirty to 'em. But I ain't. I'm just digging in, rubbing their backs and thighs, helping them release the live-long day pretty much the only ways dogs know how. A little love. A little rub. Maybe a fart.
I take so much from my daughter, I can't even go there. In return, what....I change her diapers? Christ. Selfish prick. I can't measure up really, I'm afraid. I just take take take from the kid. Even in the highchair: she leaves a piece of turkey lunchmeat laying there too long, I swoop in. Eat it.
Each day here in outer space I grab onto cans of Diet Coke and Marlboro Lights. I let go of the empties, the butts. I see opportunities tumbling towards me from some distant horizons and I move to avoid them. I shift lanes. Moments go by. Words I could say. To my wife, maybe. To a lot of people. I let them slip away more often than not. It seems like this whole floating in space thing is so fucked up sometimes. Most of the time.
Dvds of CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM? Oooooh yeah! Yeah I want those. (where the hell do I even put them though, ya know?)
Chocolate rice cakes? Oh yes. OH YES! Gotta have those, buddy. Gimme them.
Chance to say you're sorry, that you love them more than anything in the world?
Or: here comes a Slim Jim Pepperoni flavored stick of pig and turkey assholes and lips....so what'll it be, Mac?
(Crickets chirp. Space crickets.)
Love. Eternal love and the courage to embrace it amidst a galaxy of floating horseshit.
Or a meat straw?
You know what I picked, jackass.