Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Listen Up!

Okay, people: listen up. I’ve had enough of this crap, and am planning a coup to take over the world. Once I do, here are a few of the changes that will be instituted immediately.

As I understand it, the game of football is divided into four quarters of fifteen minutes each. Therefore, a football game should last exactly one hour, not six. Under my rule, each quarter will last exactly fifteen minutes. Once the clock is started, it will not be stopped every ten seconds for periods of up to ten minutes each. Fifteen minutes per quarter! There will be five minutes between the first and second quarters, twenty minutes for the ubiquitous halftime festivities between the second and third quarters, and another five minute break between the third quarter and the end of the game. That's it. Is that clear?

The words "under God" will be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. They were not there in the original, they are not needed, they are exclusionary and divisive, not to mention violating the principles of division of church and state. They will be out!

Baseball hats will be worn with the bill facing forward. That is why they were created...to shield the eyes from the sun. Anyone wearing a baseball hat with the bill backwards will have the hat confiscated and be issued a warning. Two violations will result in a sizable fine. Anyone attempting to be "hip," "cool," "with it," etc. by wearing the bill pointing other than directly forward will have the hat yanked off their head long enough to fill it with Crazy Glue and replaced. They will then be marched directly to jail where they will be placed in solitary confinement until the hat falls off on its own.

All rap songs will be submitted to a panel prior to release. Any lyrics containing words derogatory to women or minorities ("ho," "bitch," "muthafukka," etc.) will be stricken--which will leave most with no lyrics at all. "Songs" consisting of only one or two words endlessly repeated will be banned; all will be required to have recognizable sentence structure, and be sung so as to be intelligible to the average listener.

Pants will be worn so that the top is within three inches of the belly button. Those worn around the knees will yanked down to the ankles and the wearer required to wear them in that position while completing 50 hours of community service.

While fully recognizing that ours is a country made of people from across the globe, political correctness will be ignored and English will be the official language of the United States. No one will ever have to "Press 1 for English.”  Our forefathers came here from around the world and they learned to speak English, and they did it. To be able to become a citizen of a country it will be mandatory to speak its language.

Any corporation, company, or organization with a phone number for customers to call will be required to hire enough people to answer every call received within twenty seconds. Severe fines will be imposed for every second a customer has to sit on hold beyond the fourth ring. "Your call is very important to us" messages will be banned. Pressing a succession of 53 buttons before being able to speak to an actual human being will be a criminal offense.

No corporate executive will be paid more than ten times the wage of the average worker. Bonuses will be limited to a turkey at Thanksgiving and a maximum $100 cash bonus at Christmas.

Campaigning politicians will, under law, be limited to telling voters what they will do to benefit their constituents, and be forbidden to criticize their opponents' records or character. 

Handguns will be banned. Period. No argument, no debate. The NRA will limit itself to issues involving sport hunting, and be forbidden to engage in any form of political activity. All defensive weapons will be required to be non-lethal in nature (tasers, pepper spray, mace).

Every email message sent will be required to include the correct return email address of the sender, and  stringent penalties will be imposed for obvious spam messages.

Every claim made by an advertiser must be proven to be true before it can be made.

Marriage equality will be implemented in all fifty states, and penalties for hate crimes increased.

Parents will be held legally accountable for the actions and be required to actively participate in the education of their children.

Littering within 100 feet of a waste receptacle will result in stiff fines, to be doubled with every succeeding offense.

These are only some of the changes I plan to implement. I may list more later. Don't say I didn't warn you. 
This blog is from Dorien's collection of blogs written after his book, “Short Circuits,” available from UntreedReads.com and Amazon.com, was published. That book is also available as an audio book from Amazon/Audible.com.  We are looking at the possibility of publishing a second volume of blogs. The blogs now being posted are from that tentative collection. You can find information about all of Dorien's books at his web site:  www.doriengrey.com

Saturday, January 27, 2018


Odd how the memory of someone you’ve not thought of in years will suddenly be sitting patiently on the front steps of your mind, as though they’ve just dropped in for a visit, and you are surprised at how happy you are to see them.

This happened with me last week when I suddenly found myself thinking of my immediate boss at Duraclean International, Phil Ward. My job at Duraclean, then located in Deerfield, Illinois, was one of the longest jobs I ever held...from 1960 to 1966. Duraclean sold franchises for a carpet and upholstery cleaning system which involved the franchisee getting down on his hands and knees and actually scrubbing the carpet. The secret to its success was in the cleaning foam, which for some reason could not be applied mechanically. I never could really understand how anyone would be willing to do it, but the company was quite successful.

The staff was small and a really nice group of people with whom I enjoyed working. One of my most vivid memories of working there, though, was one day in…what?…1961?…when the president, Grant Mauk, who later went on to run IHOP, came around to each of us saying that the company was planning to hire a black secretary and asking if we might object. Frankly, I was astounded by the question, but the early 60s were a very different time. She was of course hired and immediately became one of the family.

But I meant to talk about Phil, here. Phil was a very large man, heavy set, thinning hair, glasses, and a gap-toothed smile which he used often. My job at Duraclean was to put out the Duraclean Journal, the company’s trade publication for its worldwide franchisees. I was technically the Assistant Editor under Phil. I can’t recall ever having a nicer boss.

I remember going to him one time with an article for which I couldn’t find a finish. He looked it over and said: “Have you said everything you wanted to say?” When I said “Yes,” he replied: “Then it’s finished.”

Phil loved stories, and he had a wealth of them. He once told me of a job he’d had in which he had written an impassioned article on something or other, and titled it something like: “Framostats: Wave of the Future? Yes, say Experts.” He turned it in to his boss who so totally rewrote it that it came out with the title: “Framostats: Wave of the Future? No, say Experts.”

Phil had an absolutely charming, very attractive wife, Shirley, and a young daughter, Pam, and Phil doted on both of them. He announced proudly one day that Pam had learned to write her name, and a week or so later said that Pam had written a letter to her grandparents. A little puzzled, I asked: “What did she say?” He looked at me calmly and replied: “Pam.”

A year or so later, he announced that he and Shirley had gotten Pam a kitten. “It’s not much right now,” he said, “but you give it six months or so, and it’ll be good eatin’.”

Phil’s one quirk was that he could not use the restroom without turning on all the faucets in the sinks first. And he often forgot to turn them off when he left. I have no idea why, and I never asked, of course. I figured he was entitled to an eccentricity or two.

Having opened my own faucet of memories of Phil and Duraclean and the wonderful people who worked there and of who I was then and who I am now, I find myself tempted to just let it run. But I think I’d better turn it off for now, lest it overflow the sink and keep pouring out memories until they sweep me away.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from UntreedReads.com and Amazon.com; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/Audible.com. You can find information about Dorien's books at his web site:  www.doriengrey.com

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Charlie Brown

I’ve always identified with Charles Schulz’s Charlie Brown, though I never pined after a little redheaded girl—or any girl for that matter. My life has been full of both human and corporate Lucy van Pelts, however, each one of whom I trusted, and each one of whom took/takes perverse glee in frustrating the crap out of me at every turn.

I recently moved directly across the hall from Apartment #906 to Apartment #907, which nonetheless requires a full change of address routine. So I went on line to the U.S. Postal Service (ah, the irony of that last word) to use their simple-as-pi, so-easy-a-caveman-can-do-it instructions. And simple they are.

Question: “Start date of change.” I type in “04/03/10” and move on, filled with pride at the keenness of my comprehension.

Question: “Date of Birth” (small arrows to the right of small rectangular boxes marked “Month,” “Date,” “Year”). I click on the little arrow beside the “Month” box and scroll down to November. I click again, and “11” appears in the Month box. I go to “Date,” click on the little arrow, and scroll down to 14, click again. “14 appears” in the date box. I am giddy with delight! I move to “Year,” scroll down—way, waaaay down—to 1933, click. “1933” appears in the “Year” box.

I move on, and suddenly, two or three questions later a box pops up on the screen saying “The date format should be: mm/dd/yyyy.” Excuse me? That was two or three questions ago, and that’s exactly what I did. Also, it’s the only question involving dates, so it has to be referring to that. But I go back and repeat the steps quoted in the paragraph above. Exactly the same results. I mean, all I have to do is scroll and click, and I sure as hell should know my own birthday by this time.

I move on to where I left off. Before I can even read it, another pop-up box appears saying “Provide start date of change.” I did provide the start date of change: 04/13/10. I go back to check and see they wanted “mm/dd/yyyy,” and I’d only provided “yy.” Okay, I’ll give ‘em that. I change it to 04/03/2010.

Back yet again to where I’d left off. A box pops onto the screen saying: “The date format should be : mm/dd/yyyy.” That’s what I just put in, you scum-sucking idiots! Can’t you f***ing READ?

I go back yet again to the very beginning. Birthday is shown as 11/14/1933, exactly what they say they want. I check the start day of service: 04/03/2010, exactly what they say they want. I go back to resume the questionnaire, shoulders hunched, eyes slitted, glancing defensively over my shoulder lest the USPS is sneaking up on me from behind with a sharpened letter-opener.

Everything appears to be perfect. It’s exactly, exactly, what they said they wanted. I move to the next question. A pop-up window appears on my screen. “The date format should be: mm/dd/yyyy” and is immediately overlaid with another pop-up window saying, “Provide start date of change.”

I grasp my right wrist firmly with my left hand and force my right index finger to the little red “Cancel” circle at the top left of the screen. The entire page disappears, hopefully forever.

But like Charlie Brown, I know I can’t resist Lucy’s promises that this time she’ll hold the football in place and not yank it away at the last second. So I will go back to the U.S. Postal Service Convenient Change of Address Online Form tomorrow, knowing full well that it will not matter. That I can do nothing until I put in mm/dd/yyyy and tell them the start date.
Bureaucracy holds the football, and don’t you ever forget it.

Now, would anyone who feels I am not amply justified in feeling more than a little paranoid please raise their hands?….No one? I thought not.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from UntreedReads.com and Amazon.com; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/Audible.com. You can find information about Dorien's books at his web site:  www.doriengrey.com

Friday, January 19, 2018

AT&T and Me

My internet service is via something called DSL, which is an option provided by AT&T at a rate far lower than combined phone-internet service. Since I buy my cell-phone service in blocks of 500 minutes for $50 (which can last me sometimes four months or longer) and therefore have no monthly-fee contract with any telephone provider, I signed up.

My third-in-18-months DSL modem (a Motorola) died eight days ago and I’m still waiting for a replacement.

The day before yesterday (Tuesday), an AT&T phone repairman actually did show up at 10 a.m. (six days into the problem and my sixth day without internet service) only long enough to tell me that the phone lines to my new apartment were “shot” and needed to be replaced, that someone would be over to fix the problem “within 24 hours,” I called them once again at 2:00 yesterday (Wednesday). I went through my by-now-rote recitation of the problem, that it had been dragging on for (then) seven days, and that I relied on the internet for my business—which is true to a large extent—only to be told that no work order had yet been placed, but that because they would try to get someone out here by 4 p.m. today, if that was alright. I told them no, after seven days of waiting, 4 p.m. was NOT alright, and that I expected someone to be here no later than 8:30 this morning. After being put on hold several times while the person I was talking to conversed with higher powers, she reluctantly—and I am sure now, condescendingly—agreed that someone would be here “first thing Thursday morning.” “For sure?” “Yes. Definitely.”

It is now 1:31 p.m. Thursday afternoon and I have not seen an AT&T repairman. I have not received a telephone call from an AT&T repairman. What I have seen is red! Lots and lots of red. Even knowing that my anger/rage/frustration is an absolute, total exercise in futility, I still rage. AT&T will get here, if it ever deigns to do so, in its own good time and on its own schedule. After all, who in the hell do I think I am, anyway? A mere mortal having the unmitigated gall to complain about a Corporation’s service?

Oh, but they are clever! “They’ll call first,” I was told, which I now realize was their way of saying “just shut up and wait.” They may consider 1:31 p.m. to be “first thing in the morning” but I do not. And the brilliance of “they’ll call first” is to prevent me from getting on the phone yet again to interfere with their busy day. It effectively assures that I will not call since, if I did, while I am on hold for 15 minutes waiting to talk to someone, I am providing them with a solid base for what would undoubtedly be their later claim that “the repairman tried to reach you, but your line was busy.”

I realize I exist, in AT&T’s eyes, solely as one tiny red corpuscle of income in the vast blood flow of the corporate body, and that there is no possible way they could give a rat’s behind that they have kept me in a state alternating between (and frequently a combination of) frustration and rage for eight days. (“And we should care…why?”)

Now, let me make it perfectly clear lest AT&T attorneys begin knocking on my door, that all this is a simple recitation of my personal experiences. I am positive no one else in the history of the world has had a similar one. And I am not, in any way, shape, or form suggesting for one instant that you should avoid any…ANY…contact with AT&T like the plague, as I certainly would do if just now considering going with them. No, no, I am sure your association with this august, revered, and omnipotent/omniscient corporate giant would be absolutely flawless. I am quite sure any possible complaint—though the mere idea of a complaint probably would never arise—would be dealt with expeditiously and efficiently, and you would nestle forever in their warm, loving embrace; the perfect marriage of fragile, flawed human and loving, caring, protective corporation.

And me? Well, what’s there to say? I am a troublemaker, a curmudgeon of the first order, and a lightning rod for disasters, real and contrived. If I am unhappy with AT&T, I am perfectly free to choose another gigantic conglomerate corporative carrier who will, I am sure, treat me as a valued customer. Riiight!
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from UntreedReads.com and Amazon.com; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/Audible.com. You can find information about Dorien's books at his web site:  www.doriengrey.com

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Paranoia Rides Again

I always liked the bumper sticker that says: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean somebody isn’t out to get you.” I can relate.

All evidence to the contrary, I really do not like making an ass of myself. Most of the time, I readily admit, I am the instigator. But every now and then…today I wrote a note to one of the groups to which I belong, including a link to one of my sites. When the message was posted, I saw it came across with a space between the “gr” and the “ey” in “doriengrey.” With my sterling track record for screwing up, I knew the error was mine. (Like, who else’s could it be? Ya’ know what I’m sayin’?). So I hastily sent a note of embarrassed apology for the error, including the correct link, without the space between “gr” and “ey.”

I checked the site a few minutes later, and there it was...the space where I had not put in a space, where no space should be, and where no space was intended. So, glutton for punishment that I am, I sent yet another note, typing, when I came to the link, each note with one finger and deliberate slowness: “d...o...r...i...e...n...g...r...e...y.” I looked at it for a good ten seconds on the chance that a space might creep in while I watched. It did not. I posted the note again. And when I went to check…yep; the space was back.

This particular site to which I refer is run by Yahoo which, I have noticed, seems to have an absolutely wonderful time at the expense of its customers. We have one member whose every post comes across with a question mark wherever a period is supposed to be. I know he didn’t do it, unless he is so terribly insecure he must seek approval for every sentence. He is not.

Another member of the same list posts frequently. She has been a member for a couple of years, now. Yet every single post she sends is automatically pitched into Yahoo’s Spam bin. I have no idea what she might have done to deserve it, but I’m sure the Yahoo gods are doubled over with laughter each time the poor woman tries to get directly through to the group. (Oh, and tossing her every post into the Spam bin means that I have to go into the Spam bin about ten times more frequently than would normally be necessary, just to retrieve her posts.)

And there are two other members with whom Yahoo takes delight in playing some sort of cyber ping-pong. At least fifty percent of the time, their posts will also be tossed into the Spam folder. Exactly the same address each time. Absolutely no reason for it, but, hey…
I received a call on my cell phone yesterday. I answered it (punch the “open” button to talk). I did it exactly as I have done it with every call I have ever received. But instead of being able to talk, or being able to hear, I got a random page from the phone’s “Menu.” I hung up, hoping whomever called would call again. They did. I punched the “open” button. I got a random page from the “Menu”. This went on three times until I literally had to hold the hand with the phone tightly with my other hand to keep me from tossing it through the window.

But, hey, it’s all in jolly good fun, isn’t it? ……I said, isn’t it? Why am I seeing a menu page from my cell phone?
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from UntreedReads.com and Amazon.com; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/Audible.com. You can find information about Dorien's books at his web site:  www.doriengrey.com

Saturday, January 13, 2018

To Catch a Raindrop

I have always been a misfit. What seems to be so elementary to everyone else is totally beyond my comprehension. What everyone else does…how they interact with one another and seem automatically to understand what is expected of them…is to me the deepest of mysteries and a source of very real anguish.

It’s as though I have been sent out into a rainstorm for the specific purpose of catching a raindrop. Just one raindrop. But not just any raindrop, mind you: a specific raindrop. I have its detailed description: it is roughly globular in shape, and it is wet. This is, it has been made clear to me, all the information I should require or will be given. It is to be retrieved intact, and not to be contaminated by being diluted by or blended with any other raindrop. My failure to do so will be and is taken as absolute, irrefutable proof of my total incompetence and inadequacy as a human being.

I have been a raindrop catcher all my life, and at the end of each day, back from the failed hunt, inside where it is warm and dry, I picture everyone else proudly displaying their own perfect, pristine, and prismatic raindrops. I imagine they keep them in display cases, neatly cataloged, and referenced with an infuriating casualness. (“Oh, this one I got December 22, 1990. It was a snowflake when I first saw it, but I recognized it at once, and when it turned into a raindrop, I had it.”) To me, and to my great shame, raindrops are raindrops and they all look alike.

I tell myself that all of this is nonsense, and that I am really no more incompetent than anyone else. Unfortunately, I don’t believe me. This sense of alienation, of being alone and neither understanding nor understood is, once again, why I write, because despite all my pontifical blather, I know I am not alone in being alone.

The realization that I expect far too much of myself does not stop me from expecting it. I never cease to measure myself against others, and I never fail to come up short.

The problem lies in the fact that I do, truly, want to be so very much more than I have ever been, or than I can ever realistically hope to be. I want to be a good person, and I really do try. I want to be liked by everyone (an indication of the illogic of my expectations). I do sincerely try to live the Golden Rule and I am ashamed of myself when I find myself being petty or insensitive to others. I largely succeed in not disliking anyone as an individual, though there are large groups of people for whom I have nothing but utter contempt—primarily those who presume to speak for God, and those (often the same groups) who are convinced they have the right to dictate and pass judgement on how other people live their lives.

I cannot comprehend or tolerate bigotry or hypocrisy—which, for some unknown reason my computer’s “dictionary” insists is spelled “hypocreaceae”—or gratuitous cruelty or even lack of common civility. We can all be so much better…I can be so much better…why are we not? Why am I not?

While there is a great deal of pain in frustration in holding myself up to standards nearly impossible to meet, I keep telling myself that because I cannot meet them does not mean I should not try.

Everything begins somewhere. And for me (since I cannot and will not presume to speak for you) I think I’ll be on the right track as soon as I can catch that one perfect raindrop. Wish me luck.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from UntreedReads.com and Amazon.com; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/Audible.com. You can find information about Dorien's books at his web site:  www.doriengrey.com

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Giving Thanks

I know I spend far more time than I should revisiting the past and feeling true and deep sorrow for the loss of so many things—friends, lovers, and family—I once had and no longer have. Thinking of them truly does create a physical ache of longing. But even as I grieve my losses, I realize just how blessed I am to have them in my life at all. I have from time to time wondered, if offered the choice of having been spared the pain of losing them by never having had them in my life at all, would I choose to relive my life without them? The answer, of course, is “no.” So even while I grieve, I am thankful for having had their company—no matter for how short or long a time—on my walk through life.

No matter how I may bewail not being 21 again, the fact is that I have been lucky enough to have lived as long as I have. Tens of millions of people never have that chance. As to physical limitations, just by looking around me, I see legions of people who I consider far worse off than I (and it is quite probable that each of them, looking around, feel the same way when they look at me).

I still have friends and family who are very dear to me, and who make my life infinitely more pleasant and meaningful than it would be without them. We seldom realize what we have until we lose it.

We are all given special gifts, talents, or character traits we are too close to ourselves to see. We’re generally too busy concentrating on what we do not have to realize and appreciate what we do have. I bemoan the changes my poor, brave body has gone through, but I get a sharp wake-up call every time I go to the Mayo Clinic, and see what others endure with far more nobility than I could ever muster. I think of Stephen Hawking, trapped in a body which barely functions but with a mind as brilliant as the sun. I would not choose to be Stephen Hawking, but it is unlikely that he would choose to be me.

All of the above comes down to the fact that we shouldn’t limit our giving thanks for our gifts to one day in November, but consciously try to make it a part of our everyday lives. And of all our gifts, by far the most important is simply the gift of life. It’s all too soon taken away; so every now and then, it might be a good idea for us all to sit back, think a moment, and truly appreciate what we have.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from UntreedReads.com and Amazon.com; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/Audible.com. You can find information about Dorien's books at his web site:  www.doriengrey.com

Friday, January 05, 2018


Oh, dear Lord, how I hate condescension! Deliberate condescension is infuriating; unintentional condescension is just hurtful. But either way, it is dismissal…and I find myself increasingly on the receiving end of it as the years too-rapidly pass. Again, most of it is well-intentioned, but the fact is that the older we become, the more we are regarded the same way as we regard small children. (“Oh, that’s a very pretty picture, Bobby. Did you draw it all by yourself?”)

Yesterday, in a store, a young woman dropped a plastic bottle of water, and I quickly bent over to pick it up for her. Rather than a simple “thank you” she went out of her way to let me know how very much she appreciated my kindness, and wished me a very nice day, which, in turn, was very nice of her. But would she have reacted the same way if a 30-year-old had done the same thing? Possible, but I somehow doubt it.

What happens to us as we grow older? Why do people begin treating us differently just because we have accumulated several more years than they have? And have not the slightest doubt, regardless of how young you now are, that if you are lucky enough to live long enough, your days of being on the receiving end of condescension will come.

Part of the problem, admittedly, belongs with the aging, who too often stop doing things for themselves when they see they can rely on other people to do it for them. Strong, dynamic people who once ran successful businesses and raised families and whose opinions were sought and valued on every subject slowly slide into timidity and hesitancy and insecurity. “Oh, I can’t do that anymore!” “I’m too old to do thus and so.” “No, thanks, I think I’ll just stay home and knit.”

When I lived in northern Wisconsin, my neighbor and good friend Louisa was nearing 80, living alone, keeping her house spotless, cooking wonderful things which she would make sure I would share. She tended a good sized garden, and was always on the go. Then one day she fell in her home and wasn’t found for a couple of hours. Her daughter Marge immediately came from Minneapolis to care for her and in the blink of an eye, it seemed, Louisa changed from “Let me get you a cup of coffee” to “Marge, could you get me a glass of water?” Marge, out of love and concern, insisted Louisa come to live with her and her family in Minneapolis, taking Louisa not only from her home but from everyone and everything she had known all her life. Within a year, she was dead. In a way, I can’t help but think she was a victim of a virulent strain of unintentional condescension.

The gap between what we were and what we, willingly or unwillingly, become grows with each act of condescension. “How are we today, Bob?” (The use of “We” is the epitome of condescension.) “Would you like some help with that?” If Bob looks like he needs “some help with that,” by all means offer it. If he looks too frail to stand by himself on a bus, by all means offer him a seat. But if he is just carrying a package or standing there minding his own business, give him the dignity of treating him like everyone else.

We should never stop being kind, or thoughtful of others of any age. But when it comes to those much older than you, just, please, adapt the level of kindness to the situation. Be careful that your kindness does not say, as condescension to the elderly too often says: “You are no longer one of us.”
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from UntreedReads.com and Amazon.com; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/Audible.com. You can find information about Dorien's books at his web site:  www.doriengrey.com

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Backward, Turn Backward

Though I couldn’t find it, I distinctly remember a poem beginning “Backward, turn backward, O Time in your flight….” (Some credit it to a woman named Elizabeth Akers Allen, of whom I’d otherwise not heard.) [Dorien is right: you can read the poem here: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/52071/rock-me-to-sleep]

I had a dream the other night where time had begun running backwards. I emerged backwards from sleep one evening and began moving backward through the day. And with each moment I moved backward, my memory of what then became the future disappeared. I had full memory of the past, of course, and was aware of what was happening.

Dreams being what they are, I accepted this as perfectly natural. I knew that I would eventually move backward through my cancer recovery, treatment, and symptoms until I emerged from that period able to eat again: to actually eat and chew and taste and swallow and take a huge bite out of a Big Mac, and look up at a passing airplane, and be totally oblivious to what lie ahead. I would continue to move backwards from Pence to Los Angeles, to my mom’s dying in the hospital to her cancer disappearing to my dad’s being alive again, to my original years in Chicago, to graduating from college, go back into the navy, enlist in the NavCads, graduate from high school…well, you get the idea.

It was really a most interesting dream, but it reminded me that, as much time as I spend dwelling on the past in these blogs and elsewhere, for all the wonderful things I would re-experience while moving back through time, there would also be an incredible amount of pain. The fact that it would be experienced backward would be of some comfort (if I were still aware what was happening) since whatever heartache or physical pain I was going through would always get better and eventually disappear completely. But pain is pain no matter in which direction you’re moving through it.

Things would get easier and easier as time regressed. Fewer and fewer major problems. More and more reliance on the love and protection of parents and family. And eventually, in moving backward in time, would come to the point of reentering that place where babies go before they are born. It is exactly the same place, I believe with all my heart, that we go when, moving forward through time, we however reluctantly, reach the end of our allotted time on earth. And I think that I have never really been afraid of death. We came from nothing, we return to nothing. And how can one fear nothing?

I’m not quite sure why I seem to take so much pleasure—which I must or I wouldn’t be doing it—in speculating on the impossible. But I find “what if?” to be among the most fascinating of phrases. I suppose it is another reflection of the fact that I really have never been satisfied with the way things are, and always want…and often truly ache for…what I cannot have.

So I spend endless hours in the attic of my mind, sitting cross-legged on the dusty floor, opening boxes of long-sealed memories and watching tiny spiders in the rafters spin dreams. Each provide me with an endless supply of “never was” and “never could be” to contemplate and play with. But while I fully realize that I can never have all those things that I so desperately want, it certainly doesn’t stand in the way of my wanting them.

And so contemplating having time move backward is just another exercise in the game of “what if?” But it’s a fun game.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from UntreedReads.com and Amazon.com; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/Audible.com. You can find information about Dorien's books at his web site:  www.doriengrey.com