Category: Living

Living, in Coma

The following is one in a series of intermittent excerpts from Coma residents’ blogs published by Coma News as a community service

 

By Sadie Cracker

My oldest son Joe runs fast up the rain-slick mountain path to catch up with his little brother who spotted a rainbow and ran toward the possibility of catching it and out of my eyesight.

Joe stops by an Oak tree to catch his breath and he says, “I can’t go on.” and he’s 14 and he can.

“Don’t stop. You can catch up to him.” I said.
Joe takes off running. His legs strong now. More like a man’s legs than boy legs and I watch him run until I can’t see him anymore where the hike-path bends.

This is hike was a bad idea because I’m old now and this mountain path is reminding me I need to work out more but the boys, they need to run, and I need to keep up.

One of my girlfriends gave me Sheryl Sandberg’s book, ‘Lean In’ as a Christmas gift.  This book says I can have it all—motherhood, amazing career, amazing internal life—but right now all I can do is lean forward to push up this hill when my thighs are killing me.

leanin2
“Mom you gotta see this,” Joe said.  And he yelled and then laughed.

I round the corner to see them together. Joe stands looking down at his little brother Ben who is covered in mud.

My legs are on fire from leaning forward and there’s my little guy, Ben, his mouth covered in dirt.
“What happened?” I said.
And Joe laughed so hard he can barely breathe. “Ben ate dirt.”

*************************************************************************
It’s karaoke/ poker night at Bear’s Biker Bar where the losers have to sing Madonna’s “Justify My Love”.

There are only two poker players tonight, my dad, Stan and Bear. The poker game will end soon because my Dad can’t remember how many cards he needs to win. I am sitting at the bar and trying to get through Sheryl Sandberg’s book. It’s been on my nightstand for months beside all the other books written by people who have money, time, hired help, and some sort of success and they want to share with me. Sheryl, Oprah, Kardashian fashion—all stacked on top of Virginia Woolf — on my nightstand.

There’s a lot of information out there about how we as women can be better at being ourselves written by people who don’t know us or live our lives.

leanout
“I can’t go on.” Dad says and he throws his poker cards on the table.
“But you were winning, for real.” said Bear.
“Doesn’t matter.” Dad said. “I’m tired of playing this game it’s always the same thing. Some cards. Some winning.”
“When you don’t give up, you win sometimes.” Bear said and he goes behind the bar and turns on the news.

“There are no good presidential candidates. The world is ending…” The newscaster on the radio says in a matter-of-fact voice. Bear turns the radio OFF and he winks at me.

I look down at the book jacket cover of Sheryl Sandberg. She’s staring up at me but her hair looks great.
“Sadie is a winner. She went to a great college. She’s gonna be a famous singer.” Dad says.
Dad has Alzheimer’s and he doesn’t remember everything that got us to this moment where I’m not a famous singer and staring down at Sheryl Sandberg’s hair that looks slightly unnatural. He thinks I’m a 12 year-old-dreamer tonight but I’m happy he knows who I am.

***********************************************************************
“You can’t eat dirt. Why did you eat dirt?” I said.  And why did I take this walk? I can’t feel my legs.
“I wanted to know how it tasted.” Ben said.
“What did you figure out?” I said.
“It doesn’t taste like anything.” he said. “I’m tired. Can we go home?”
And I look at the trail-mile marker and it is one more mile to the top of this hill where we can see everything.
“Let’s keep going.” I said.
“I can’t go on.” said Joe.
“I can’t go on.” said Ben.
I can’t feel my legs. “Let’s keep going.”

*********************************************************************
“My Sadie, she’s no quitter. She’s so strong. She’s gonna be a famous musician.” Dad says. “Better than Madonna!”
And I look down at Sheryl and her perfect hair that doesn’t “Lean In”.

“Bear.” I said and he looks up from where he’s wiping a spill up on the bar. I point to the book “Can you throw this out?”
He nods picks up the book and it makes a “swoosh” sound as it hits the trash bag inside the can. I turn around on the creaky barstool and face the stage. Don Reynolds is at the Karaoke machine singing “Like a Virgin” and he stops mid-touched-for-the-very-first-time- sentence to wave at me.

“She’s better than you, Madonna.” Dad said and points at Don.
There was a moment in New York City 15 years ago, where I stood in front of a bar and it was open Mic night, and I’d just gotten a call from Michael who was back in Coma. I was standing in front of the bar with my acoustic guitar and ready to play because tonight maybe a record label would be there. But on the phone so far away Michael said, “I miss you.” and he was just some mechanic in Coma. Just a guy I’d known forever but I knew I had to turn around. I knew I had to go see him. And now he’s gone and I’m raising two boys alone and I wouldn’t give up that moment.

I wouldn’t do that moment any differently.

I didn’t lean in that night.

I stood.

I walked away.

moonriver audry
Charlie, the Coma Librarian walks in the bar, and nods at me. Tonight he’s in a leather jacket but tomorrow he’ll read Shel Silverstein to kids at the library. He walks up to the stage and Don stop singing Madonna which is something to be grateful for. He starts setting up and I think about standing up.
All of the candidates may be bad, the world may end, and we will have disappointment. We aren’t Sheryl Sandberg leaning in and leaning on a nanny and a housekeeper.

But we all end up the somewhere with our choices which are the only things we can own in this world.

Charlie clears his throat and Dad starts clapping, “Sadie is famous tonight…”
I stand but as I try my skirt gets caught on the bar stool and a falter, fall a little and a drunk guy at the end of the bar starts to clap and laughs a little. I smile and stand up.
Charlie winks at me and he pulls out a banjo. He strums a couple chords and suddenly it’s ‘Moon River’ in here and I think, “I can’t feel my legs.” – after sitting for so long on that stool. I keep moving and pick up a banjo and Bear sings about a couple of drifters go off into the world together and I pick up the banjo and play the chorus…
Moon River…
And we go on.

Queries and Quislings

 

 

Dear Query Guy,
How do I find happiness? When I was young my grandma told me that I could find happiness and it would be as a little leprechaun man who guarded a pot of gold and every time I went to find the rainbow it would vanish before I could find where it ended and I ran the minute I saw the sun come out when it was raining but I never got there. When I got older I searched for it in other things such as stationary bicycles, dark alleys, matching knit sweaters with my significant other and I still couldn’t find it. I need an answer Query Guy. How can I find happiness and stay happy all the time.

Dear happy,

Laughter has always been very close to pain even as a court jester in a Shakespeare play would come in just before Hamlet murdered himself and everyone else or more recently on Game of Thrones where the midgets brought laughter to the crowd before Joffrey was killed by poison. The truth is that laughter and pain are always closely linked and this reality is not something that a leprechaun can fix if perchance you find him huddled under the rainbow with his bottle of Jim Beam whiskey.
In truth you have to find the happiness in yourself and sometimes it is easier to focus on the unattainable rainbow when kidnapping a midget would be much more simple.
If kidnapping a midget it not feasible for you and you don’t have access to a jester hat wait to down the poison. As my sweet petunia always says when we are huddled by the fire surrounded by our very expensive furniture while the renters in our ten aments call and ask for fire wood “hit it with a hammer”. Take your pain and hit that as hard a you can with a hammer. Hit the pain and hit it and hit it until you are exhausted and the only thing you can do is laugh.

Sincerely,
QG

When are Mothers Ever Right? An Lol Girl Mystery

By Marybell Davis, 25 years old, amazing life lived, local blogger and Coma’s only Private Dick

Daddy Warbucks: I’m not sure you should go and get a second graduate degree in Criminology Marybell. You’re not even using any of the degrees you have.

Marybell: Listen, Daddy. It’s tough to be a woman in a man’s world. Men are everywhere farting and taking up space. I need a Criminology degree so I can solve really important mysteries like why is Mom always wrong.

Apparently mothers have been around forever and basically they’ve always been wrong. It’s amazing that children even exist and become anything because mothers have no idea what they are doing, obviously. Case in point: Mary. Yeah right, lady. You were such a good mom that dude Jesus got nailed to wood and stuff. Case in point: Ted Bundy’s mom. What even happened there? For years, mothers have been around thinking they know so much. “Brush your teeth, George,” said Momma Washington. “That tight rope is dangerous,” said some carni’s mom. And the real mystery is how can women who know so much be so wrong?

Here’s an example. I am dating this guy named Randy and he said, “your mom is cute for an old lady.”

And I said, “gross.really?”

And he said, “Yeah I think she was totally wild when she was your age.”

And I said, “gross”

So I told my mom and she said, “I don’t like this Randy. I don’t like how he talks to you. You can do better.”

And that’s where she’s wrong! Randy is the best. He lets me be a real woman and pay for everything when we go out because Randy is between jobs right now. He’s trying to do a lot of meditation and spend some time in a sweat lodge looking at crystals to tell him “What the UNIVERSE wants him to become”. That’s huge. Randy tells me how great I am to look at and that I have an amazing mind that is represented by things like my tight butt and he can really see how smart I am in a bikini. He tells me that one day when he figures out what he’s going to do with his life he’ll take care of me by letting me do everything including work full time so I can feel like a real woman.

And basically I realized moms are wrong because they just don’t get it. They don’t know how it feels to be an independent woman and basically they are never there and always failing you because they can’t help it. Mystery solved. They are wrong because they just can’t help it. Someday if I ever become a mom I’m sure I’ll do everything better.

Daddy Warbucks: Marybell, dinner is ready. Your mom made enchiladas.

Marybell: That’s so gross, Daddy. I didn’t want enchiladas. How come she never knows

what I want and need?

Queries and Quislings

Queries and Quislings is an advice dispensary offered as a public service of Coma News Daily and the advice is written by Coma News Daily publisher Davis Montgomery III.

 

Dear Query Guy,
How do I find happiness? When I was young my mom told me to get out of the house and find the little leprechaun who guarded a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But every time I went to find the rainbow it would vanish. When I got older I searched for that leprechaun in other things–stationary bicycles, dark alleys, matching knit sweaters–and I still can’t find it. All I ask is that you help me find happiness and a way to stay happy all the time.
Signed
Happy Adventures?

3586660226_7e2ae26b74-300x191

 

Dear HA,

Where there is laughter there is frequently mirth. But laughter has always been very close to pain–to wit, the court jester’s arrival shortly before Hamlet’s suicide and the playful  romp of miniature miscreants in ‘Game of Thrones’ immediately preceding Joffrey’s poisoning.

In truth, laughter and pain are tightly intertwined.
Does that mean you should amend your odyssey to search for  a bull whip-bearing billionaire midget? No (the combination is highly unlikely and they are notoriously difficult to train).
Instead, I would suggest heeding the advice my sweet petunia always offers when occupants of our tenements wail about their lack of heat in the depths of winter: hit it with a hammer!

hit it with a hammer 1
Take your sadness and hit it as hard as you can with a hammer. Hit it again and  again, until you are too exhausted to move and the only thing you can do is laugh.

 

Sincerely,

QG

Mystery Solved: The Heart of a Man

FullSizeRender
Daddy Warbucks: Marybell, maybe you should start thinking about getting a job rather than this private detective stuff. It seems like its just not panning out because there’s no money in it.
Marybell: Daddy, that’s sexist. How much was Einstein paid for his theory of eels and stuff?
It’s almost impossible to be a private dick in a mans world.
Men are mysteries. Like, why do they put their hands down their pants? Why do they stay in a bathroom for two hours and still walk out and their hair isn’t even combed? Why do they wear Jockey shorts, which is so sexist–there are women jockeys, people!
All these questions remind me of the time at a zoo I saw a gorilla hurling his own fecese at the shatter proof glass and I know this is not a good comparison because men have totally evolved beyond poop jokes and the need to have sex with some poor small much younger monkey lady?
But beyond all of the intricacies of men that I’ve mentioned above, I wanted to solve the greatest man-mystery of all: how you get to the heart of a man. Even more important, what is at the heart of a man? Is it love? Is it the need for intimate talks and walks on the beach? Is it every Lifetime movie where the man just wants to deeply understand what is inside of a woman’s heart? In short, what makes men tick?
So I went to the only place that made sense–an airport bar.
I sat next to a middle-age dude, we’ll call him airport guy, who was trying very hard to help a girl my age remember her phone number.
“What’s your phone number?” airport guy said.
“I don’t remember,” phone girl said and left the bar.
My phone was dying and the bar had a charging station under where airport guy was sitting so obviously I said “can I put my chord between your legs?”
And he looked at me and suddenly asked me the nicest thing.
“How is your day going?”
So we talked about really really important things like Tinder and he told me that chick who couldn’t remember her number really missed out on his texting skills. I told him i was a detective writing about the heart of men. He also told me that he’s also a private dick “in a way” and is also a writer–just like me!
Of course I gave him my email address so he could share his stories.
We said our goodbyes and when he finally sent me a story it was all about how I could help him in some really gross ways. It was also illustrated with “private dick” photos that were so gross and no one should have to see.
I was confused. Is this the heart of a man? So, I asked the smartest man I know, my Dad, about it.
Me: is this the heart of a man Daddy?
And I showed him the pic of airport guy’s  very uninformed “private dick pictorial” story of what women want. Also, Airport guy is  married. It was really easy to find that fact out.
Daddy Warbucks: Ah, gross. Where did this come from?
Me: Some guy in an airport who told me he’s a writer and a detective, like me.  Is this the heart of a man?
Daddy Warbucks: No, I’ve never sent anything like that to a woman.
Me: Then what is the heart of a man?
Daddy Warbucks: Men and women are different, it’s true. But I think, in the end, everyone wants to be cared about for who they are, cherished, loved, cared for, treated with kindness and respect. That’s love. And then there are douches like this guy you met and no one can fix is heart or his unfortunate picture skills.
The mystery of a mans heart is solved. Men have good hearts too and also better underwear names. I am getting so good at this job.

Yoko App Promises to Help GenX With Direction

The following is paid advertisement and does not necessarily reflect the views of Coma News Daily.

stop sign 1

From the mind of Bob Smith-Smith, former Coma Town Councilman, father, grandfather and twice married businessman, comes a breakthrough directional tool for Generation X, called simply YOKO.
Bob Smith-Smith: I developed YOKO, based on the WAZE App, because I can’t always be there to direct my kids and grandkids, and tell them “Oh no you’re doing that wrong.” And below is an example of how it works.
Guy who is 43, wearing a plaid flannel, and listening to Beastie Boys, “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” : YOKO, Is it ok if my kids play in the yard without me hovering three feet away?
YOKO APP: Oh no, don’t do that. You’re a failure as a parent.
Guy working at a used book store in the Japanimation section: YOKO, Is there anything I can do to get out of this career slump?
YOKO APP: Oh no, your job is meaningless. But you can always live in my basement.
GIRL wearing a beret and an ironic “hang in there” tee-shirt: YOKO, are my mom and dad right that I need a practical degree from a good college?
YOKO APP: Oh no, you should follow your street art dreams. You’ll always have your grandfather’s basement to live in.

Bob Smith-Smith: Finally, you can make sure the voice of experience and reason are always with you, to give you the right direction for your life.

I’ll Fly Away

Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who every day choose to love and care for other human beings and put all those needs before their own. What a beautiful testament to grace. This column is for you.

 

by Sadie Cracker

I’m standing in my kitchen making spaghetti for the third time this week and humming, “Traveling Kind” by Emmylou Harris. Four soccer games, a school diorama project, my full time job, kitchen cleaning has rendered any energy I might have for a Rachel Ray style dinner moot.  Suddenly, Johnny runs into the kitchen with his small hands clasped around something. “Mommy look what I found.” He said.

“What is it?” I said.

He opens his small, still fat, baby hands. At seven he’s so hopeful and excited about everything — a life untainted by all the disappointment and I’m afraid of what’s in his hands and that it’s something aweful and I’m gonna have to tell him to get rid of it.

“His name is Maxwell.” said Johnny.

And inside his hands sits a small brown frog that is no bigger than a quarter. “I’m gonna keep Maxwell.” He said. “He’s gonna be with me forever.”

I’m gonna let him down right now. All the hope in his face is gonna fall when I say the one thing I need to:

“Buddy, we can’t keep Maxwell.” I put my ear down near his small hands. “Maxwell just told me he has to be free. He needs to be outside and he needs to live his life. He’ll never be happy if we keep him inside.”

And Johnny’s eyes well up with tears. “If you love something you set it free. Daddy used to say that. It’s dumb. It’s dumb, dumb, dumb and I hate it.”

“It’s true. If you love Maxwell you gotta let him go find a river, or a blade of grass, and you just have to believe that you might see him again because he’ll remember how kind and tender you were with him and how much you cared about what he needed.” I said.

“Or he won’t.” said Johnny.

“And that’s okay too.” I said.

#############################################################

It’s Thursday night and Ladies Night and revamped old hymn night at Bear’s Biker bar in Coma and the publisher of Coma News Daily told me if I write one more story about, “playing dumb songs in a bar full of drunk locals” he won’t publish it. But it’s also Mother’s Day weekend and I once again reminded him that I’m a mom who works a full time job, raises kids, takes care of an ailing father, and that he is really doing a service to the female community by letting me have a voice in the paper.

“Just don’t be depressing.” He said. “Stop talking about love and realities. No one wants to read real stuff anymore especially when it’s written by a 40 year old woman.”

And Charlie, a local motorcycle enthusiast and the Coma Librarian, is up on stage playing, “Let Him Fly” by  Patty Griffin and it’s funny to hear him belt it out so strong and I look at the beer in front of me and giggle to hear Charlie, “I’m gonna let him fly. I’m gonna let him fly.”

witman

Bear, the local 30 year old skate rat punk and owner of the bar, is playing Go Fish with my Dad, Stan Bargemeyer, at the other side of the bar.

“Do you have a five.”

“Go fish, buddy.” said Stan.

“What?! How is that possible?? You just showed me your hand and you had a 5??” said Bear.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re crazy.” said Stan. And Stan, who remembered to put on his pants tonight and struggles in his Alzheimer’s, shows  Bear all of his cards.

“That’s a five.” said Bear.

“No buddy. That’s a six.”

“I’m gonna let him fly, ” sings Charlie. “I’m gonna let him fly.”

I’m waiting for Jack. Jack is late and it’s okay because tonight is the last night I’ll see him for quite some time. I thought after Michael died and left me alone that I wouldn’t love someone again. I was okay with being alone, it was lonely, but it was my pain. And as long as I was alone I knew I wouldn’t hurt again. Then Marybell posted my picture in local Paneara’s and somehow Jack appeared in my life.

But tonight he’s leaving for LA. He accepted a teaching position at UCLA and California is not the same as Coma.

“You could come with me.” said Jack.

“I can’t. I need to stay here and take care of my Dad. I need to stay here and take care of my kids.” I said.

“But you could come if you wanted to.” He said.

“You could stay if you wanted to.” I said.

“You could visit.” He said.

“You’re gonna be so busy.” I said. “With all those 20 year old coeds who think you are so amazing because you are successful.”

And I look at his face and all the lines of age and the beautiful way his entire forehead crinkles when he thinks about something and I’m old enough to no longer believe in fairy tales. I’m old enough to know that this life isn’t always fair.

“You gotta let Maxwell go, Johnny.” I said.

And up onstage Charlie sings “Mary” by Patty Griffin and promises that the next song will be “I’ll Fly Away” which is the first song I learned to play on the banjo. I remember my grandma in her apron in the kitchen making a pie for my grandfather from scratch and humming “I’ll Fly Away” and it’s hard to remember how beautiful a moment like that is when you see someone just so grateful to love another human being.

“Sadie Cracker. Sadie Cracker. Come up here and sing with me.” said Charlie.

I shake my head, no. “I’m waiting for someone.” and Charlie laughs. It’s only my father, Bear, Charlie, and me in this bar.

“Just come up here and sing.” He said.

So I pick up my acoustic guitar and walk to the stage.

“What are you gonna play?” said Charlie.

“I think,’ a love that will never grow old’ by Emmylou Harris.” I said.

“Good choice.”

And I strum the guitar three times and start to sing. My father is still at the end of the bar fighting with Bear about a 5 card.

‘Go to sleep may your sweet dreams come true

Just lay back in my arms for one more night

I’ve this crazy old notion that calls me sometimes

Saying this one’s the love of our lives…’

And the door opens and I see Jack standing there with his scratchy beard and great hair. I see him standing there and I know I will miss him so much.

And Johnny’s eyes well up with tears. “If you love something you set it free. Daddy used to say that. It’s dumb. It’s dumb, dumb, dumb and I hate it.”

‘I know a love that will never grow old’  I sing. I sing it loud because I want to believe in it. I don’t want to give up on that.

 

 

 

Mystery Solved: Nothing Depends on a Red Wheelbarrow

Editor’s note: As part of Coma News’ community outreach, the following blog excerpt is one of a selection of local online postings we will re-publish by residents and business owners.

Mystery Solved: Nothing Depends on a Red Wheelbarrow
By Marybell Davis, 25 years old, Amazing life lived, Awesome blogger of Awesome things

Daddy Warbucks: “Marybell have you made any money yet?”
Me: “No way Daddy but I solved another Internet mystery and this one is not about an ex-boyfriend. It’s about poetry”
Daddy Warbucks: “College degree! $200,000! Marybell! Blah blah!”

So I went to this poetry reading. BOR-ing. but then I was surprised because some of the poetry was actually short and they had a lot of wine. Good!

One guy I like a lot was William Carlos Williams because his stuff is shorter than tweeting. Sort of like the first tweeter in history.

So much depends...LOL. LOL.

So much depends…LOL. LOL.

Sadie Cracker made me go to the poetry thing because she said I need to get out and meet real people and not just “stalk people” on the Internet. So I went and was not surprised to find most of the poetry was horrible.

Stan Bargemeyer read something about his knee socks and then my ex-boyfriend Jax got up and said we should all stop reading poetry and get out to the forest. Everyone cheered when he left.

Then Sadie got up and read about a red wheelbarrow. And she read it like she meant it and it was shorter than something I tweeted about my eyeshadow earlier in the day. “So much depends on a red wheelbarrow” she said.
I started laughing so hard I spilled the wine all over my white dress. “No it doesn’t.” I said so loud and everyone stared at me and started clapping.

When we left right after that I explained to her that “nothing depends on a red wheelbarrow anymore because we have cars and ride on lawnmowers and tractors.”

I don’t think she got it.