I'm back. Thanks to the kindness and charity of a stranger. I'll tell you the whole story sometime. Samantha is her name, a far-off voice behind a person of good heart, a trail angel. It could have been a terrible disaster. Everything is fine. Thank you, Samantha.
So I'm back, a bit banged up but on the mend. Throughout the summer nearly every part of my body rebelled against the complacency of wellness. It got comical. It also ruined my vacation. There were some good moments though. I enjoyed the company of my family: Dad, Paul, Dave, Don, Karen, Mike, Mario and Daniela. With time I'll forget how lousy I felt and remember the simple good times. Right now, however, I'm in a "give me medicine" mode.
Your question, of course, is: But are you back? Back to writing your so-called blog, back to littering the sea with bottles filled with messages so cryptic even you don't understand them anymore? We shall see. Right now I'm more interested in this personal newspaper than in the Facebook exhibitionism or the Twitter bombardment. There is too much. Must be. Too much means negative excess. "I love you very much" (sounds like an anniversary) is not the same as "I love you too much" (sounds like youthful infatuation). If you can recognise "too much" when you see it, you're okay.
I see everyone at the airport heads down pressing their phones and wonder what they could all be saying that is so vital. What are all those words disappearing into space like clouds? Why can't the man next to me on the plane turn off either of his phones? Laptop, tablet, video screen. I guess my thoughts, brilliant as they always are, need to cook and then cool before they can be offered. Wouldn't want to contribute to the flood of foolishness as this planet quickly dies and we ignore our incapacity to help Mother.
So we post absurd recipes and read about movie stars in bikinis and send messages to improbable friends like "Zup?" which really means I'm bored, entertain me. So much urgent desperation all around and we're bored. And can't sit still silently. Life is short, baby, gotta fill it up, fill it up. Emptiness (death?) is terrifying. But the secret everyone knows is that emptiness slows life down so that we can catch up.
So each summer I turn off the phones, the computers, the televisions and just hang out. Lay on my back in the pool, ride my bike right and left, cook my meals, read at the library, walk down the street. Anyway, I know you don't miss me. And now I'm back. For good? We shall see.
p.s. A huge thanks to all the friends who contributed to this year's California adventure. Couldn't a-done it without ya!
Happy trials, Martin
Mutt: Heard any good police reports lately?
Jeff: I was afraid you'd start telling your awful jokes again.
Mutt: Nope. True crime stories. They arrested the monkey for throwing feces at zoo attendants. His charge? Turd debris assault.
Jeff: They arrested the bartender for taking liquor home. I believe the official charge was "emboozlement."
Mutt: They arrested the former chewing gum manufacturer for unlicensed ex-spearmints.
Jeff: They arrested the Chrysler salesman and he couldn't a-Ford bail.
Mutt: They arrested the owner of a threatening bull; he was brought up on charges.
Jeff: They arrested a barber for running a clip joint.
Mutt: They arrested the hock shop owner for indecency. He was selling pawnographic materials.
Mutt: Sorry, but crime is crime. Punsters deserve to be drawn and quoted, you know.
Mutt: And seven days of punning makes one weak.
Jeff: Have mercy!