Monday, May 29, 2017

Van Nuys

Roaming the Internet for enlightenment  is perhaps a fool's game. But here we are once again. And no discredit to you. I am out here too, seeking the truth, but finding instead wedding parties falling into pools in hilarious ways, finding people falling off of bicycles or having dramatic problems with treadmills rather than finding the visions of understanding I was hoping I'd just sort of stumble on. On the Internet I am vastly more likely to find a cat slipping off a couch while sleeping than I am to find the answer to any important question. In real life the chances are closer to fifty-fifty.

And what is an important question?

Let me tell you about the time I was five or six, living in the Principality of Van Nuys, California. In the three bedroom house of my family there was a crawl space attic I had never been up in and had never seen made use of. But for some reason my father had to take a rare excursion up into it. So up a rickety ladder he went, through a trap door in the ceiling, to disappear into a mysterious area of our house I didn't even know existed up until that time.

We could hear every movement of my father up in the ceiling, and there was something terribly captivating about how this whole man, surely five times my own size, was over our heads in a secret area. Thump, thump, thump. Was he crouched in there, moving about? What was it like? How it creaked and groaned. And then, as he took one more step that we were all monitoring, fascinated, it crashed. The ceiling split open. My father shot down feet first, half way. But the explosive birth was arrested, and my father suddenly stopped part way through, at the waist. The whole of his legs poked out of the ceiling and wiggled comically while chaos broke out through the house.

I do not know what happened next. But it is best to leave him there, half in the attic, calling instructions, and floating comically above us, legs waving about like dangling branches in the wind. I have carried this vision for almost half a century. I am sure there is an answer to an important question in there somewhere. There always is. So I keep looking.


  1. I promise that this comment is poignant...
    My sister was widowed at 21 with a 2 month old daughter & she moved back in with my folks when i was 16.
    My dad's rumbling around in the attic and falls through above them when they are going to sleep.
    "Look Randi, it's Santa!" My sister says to her toddler. Sadly, my late father never came to appreciate that special moment.
    Moving right along... This "roaming the internet" that you refer to is, I'm quite sure, called "Surfing". The honourable master Thich Nhat Hahn sez dat the Dharma is a wave that passes through the ocean of karma. So, ummm..just sayn'..☺

    1. Hmmm... What does this mean that we both have fathers who fall through ceilings? I am even more sure there is something here! And clearly we share it.

      To understand your other comment I looked up "Dharma" on the Internet.

      First definition says there is no single word translation for Dharma in Western languages.

      Second definition says "Dharma" means "Protection"


If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.

I respond to pretty much every comment. It's like a free personalized blog post!

One last detail: If you are commenting on a post more than two weeks old I have to go in and approve it. It's sort of a spam protection device. Also, rarely, a comment will go to spam on its own. Give either of those a day or two and your comment will show up on the blog.