Author Archives: marvelvarietal

Skylos Milo

“With my new invention the Skylos Milo which means dog speak in Greek, I will be able to hear what dogs are trying to tell us. First, I will test my device in veterinary hospitals. Stomach ache? Labor pains? Pulled tendon? We’ll be able to understand your beloved canine. Then I will allow the device to be commercialized and the dog can actually be part of the family!” I explain to my potential investors.

“Professor Schwartzman, have you tested this device yet?” A board member asks.

I clasp my hands together, “Yes, I am in the final stage of testing. And I wouldn’t be before you here today if I wasn’t absolutely positive that my device can interpret what dogs are saying.”

The board decides to fund my device. I could not be happier. I rush home and cannot wait until next week for the lab to finish testing. Causally, I walk down my neighborhood street to the corner where the houses have the most dogs.

I have been working for this moment for five years. I start pushing buttons and flicking switches. An excitement unlike anything I have felt like ever before washes over me when I place the device like helmet on my head.

I hear a whirling sound then a dog barks chasing a car. I expect to hear a complex language even if the communication is not in English, but sadly not. “Hey! Hey!”

Then another dog barks at me, “Hey! Hey! Hey!”

Dogs do not communicate as much in sounds as I thought!? My life is ruined.

My device works perfectly, but it is the problem I was trying to solve ends up it is actually not even a problem.

dog talk

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My Decrepit Soul

 

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Story inspired by this image

“Congratulations, Private Johnson, you survived Basic Training,” Dad said patting me on the back.

All smiles, I say, “Thanks Dad. BCT was – really rough, but I’m glad to be able to- to have the experience.”

“Yeah, it was the experience all right.” My sister, Jessy, is doing everything I have not been able to do for ten weeks: chew bubble gum, pop her hip out, scroll through her phone, and say ‘yeah’.

Mom swoops in for a hug, “Well, honey, I am so incredibly proud of you!”

“Thanks. You’re letters really kept me going. Letters keep everyone . . . motivated. You can just see how different people act when they haven’t – uh- received any mail to when they finally have,” I say while at parade rest, a force of habit.

“We tried to write you as often as possible, but your letters just got to us so slowly,” Mom explains.

“Yes, the mail has to go through several, um what’s the word, post offices before coming to the base and often the drill sergeants don’t pass mail out for a week.” It is so strange being the center of attention again.

“Hm, that’s too bad,” Jessy says popping a bubble.

“Well, you must be in the best shape of your life, son,” Dad says.

“No, not really. I’ve got so many ant-bites, rashes and, oh whatdacallit, a stress fracture in my hip. Yes, I gained – muscle, I’m fit. But not the best shape, no.”

I did not realize how difficult it would be to talk. I have been focused on one task at a time and clearing everything else out of my mind for so long. Stringing words together that actually make sense is so foreign to me.

The Army has one large dictionary and the only words are swear words. I hardly swore before, and now restraining from cussing only makes talking all the more difficult.

I have forgotten so much. This morning a civilian asked me if the ground was muddy. I forgot what the word ‘ground’ meant. We have all forgotten voices, lyrics to our favorite songs, names of loved ones.

I feel like my mind is a glowing light bulb, but with the cord unplugged. Where I get my energy, my motivation, my will power is gone. I cannot find it; I am so exhausted not only physically but also emotionally. I have to be strong for my family, but I can hardly be strong for myself. Somehow, unbeknownst to me, I keep going, continue to have my light glow.

More muscle than ever before, but I have never felt this unconnected to the universe outside my own decrepit soul.

 

Think of You

I can’t not think of you

when I see a sunrise

I can’t not think of you

when I see Phineas and Ferb

I can’t not think of you

when I hear a sneeze

I can’t not think of you

when I see a lamb

I can’t not think of you

when I hear “Let Her Go”

I can’t not think of you

when I see white with cream

I can’t not think of you

when I see an elephant

I can’t not think of you

when I see a card game

but isn’t that the way life is suppose to be?

Filled not only with things and experiences

but with people

to define those things and experiences.

And so I think of all the people

that fill and define my life

with a smile

because that is what each of you

make me think of

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Wikimedia/Jessie Eastland

A Wrestler Named Tiny: A Mad Lib

Prompt from 642 Tiny Things to Write About: Once upon a time there was a _____ (adjective) wrestler named Tiny. One day, Tiny was ______ (verb ending in -ing) near the White House when an enormous  ______ (noun) fell on Tiny’s head. Because of that, Tiny was forever _____ (adverb). For some reason, no one investigated (end the story).

I asked my sister to fill in the blanks without telling her the story and she chose: purple, going, Harvard, and shiny. So the story is: Once upon a time there was a purple wrestler named Tiny. One day, Tiny was going near the White House when an enormous Harvard fell on Tiny’s head. Because of that, Tiny was forever shiny. For some reason, no one investigated.

Everyone has heard of the Wicked Witch of the West and her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East, but few know of their Warlock brother: the purple wrestler named Tiny of Washington DC. The Wicked Witch of the West was green but Tiny was purple because all super-villains are either green or purple (I mean there is Green Goblin, Lex Luther, Impossible Man, Annihilus, Hulk).

Tiny was going to the White House to inflict his wrath on the established authority because magic was not allowed in wrestling and he wanted to change the rules. Suddenly, an enormous Harvard fell on Tiny’s head; however, Tiny did not die because his magic powers saved him, but he became forever shiny. The whole event only added to his fame as a purple warlock wrestler, brother to the Wicked Witch of the West.

The similarities between what happened to Tiny and what happened to the Wicked Witch of the East are rather odd: both had magical powers and had buildings dropped on them; however, no little girl stole Tiny’s shoes (probably because they were too small for her because a purple warlock wrestler must have a reason why his name is “Tiny”). There must be a correlation between the Wicked Witch of the East’s ruby slippers and Tiny’s shininess. No one investigated the Harvard v. Tiny incident because everyone was so busy with some girl named Dorothy and some flying monkeys.


Thank you for indulging with me in some silliness. Some days you just feel like being silly and some days the world needs a bit of silly. 🙂

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Memories’s Magic Act

When the world seems too much

When the weather in my mind is rainy

When that familiar ache in my heart whistles its melancholy tune

When I miss you

Then I will think of this moment

I will think of it briefly and sparingly

Just enough to see the sun and change the melody in my heart

Because the more I relive a moment

The less its potency

It fades until the smile it gives

Is only a marred reflection

Of smiles past

How sorrowful it is indeed

That our favorite memories

Disappear

But that just means that we have to make new ones

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user:Unsplash

Role Models

I have found that

role models that I’ve never met in real life

aren’t role models at all,

only people who I think are good at what they do

but no one I should model myself after

because they are good at what they do

and I should be good at what I do

not at what they do.

I have found that

role models that I see everyday

are the best role models

because they are not only role models

but they are people who care about me

and I care about them.

I can see their daily struggles

and not just the ones the camera catches.

I can talk to them and they can talk to me

So I want to thank you

all my role models,

but especially the ones

who know me and love me personally

because you have had a personal hand in making me, me

so thank you for being you, the real you

Plans, Tears, and the Creator of the Universe

I was having a hard day some time ago, neither my day or my future seemed like it was going to plan. I was heavy hearted and disheartened, but I couldn’t let the signs of it show.

One thing that you should know about me is that I plan. I plan and scheme and layout my life on an Excel spreadsheet (literally, I’m not joking). I have contingency plans for contingency plans. I stay up late, laying in bed, planning my future so that nothing takes me by surprise.

It’s not that I don’t like surprises, I just like to feel in control, I like to feel safe and know where I’m standing and know where I want to go.

And so when it seemed like my life was not going according to plan or any contingency plan, I felt powerless. I felt lost and helpless and insecure.

I wanted to cry (because that fixes everything (I’m actually joking this time)), I wanted to scream at the world to put itself back in the little box I put it in, I wanted to dream up some plan to fix all this. But my heart was in control and not my head. Oh, the horrible and wondering things that can happen when the heart is in control!

So I walked through the halls holding my shattered plans in my hands and holding my tears in my eyes.

Two of my favorite quotes popped in my head, “The first casualty of any battle is the plan of attack,” by Cory Doctorow and “If plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters,” by Claire Cook. But I wasn’t in the mood for inspirational speeches especially if I was the one giving it.

So I finally get to my locker and look up at the Cross magnet I have on it, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” [Italics added] That is God’s work right there. I change my magnet every couple of weeks and it was just by chance that I had Jeremiah 29: 11 up. I was lamenting over my broken plans and the verse used plans three times. God knows the plan; His plan is never broken; He is never caught by surprise; He is always in control. I am secure in His plan. I was upset over my plan when God said that He would give me one of His plans. And I’d take one of God’s plans compared to one of mine, anyday.

The conflict isn’t completely resolved but it is looking better. God said that His plan gives me hope, and it sure has. My heavy heart is now a happy heart. I don’t need my head to be in control when I know that God is in control. I don’t need a plan to make me feel safe; I have faith in the Lord Almighty. And faith is much better than any plan.


“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

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Pixabay/bykst