Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Sometimes things happen that shouldn't be explained.  I'm not saying these things can't be explained, because heck, if scientists have determined that we exist on one of an infinite number of parallel universes, then what I'm about to tell you is a can of corn.

As I emerged from the depths of the Metro station this morning I crossed 15th Street over to McPherson Square and walked to work.  The homeless man who I pass every morning said to me, as he does every morning, "Good morning, Chicago!"  I gave him a nod of my head and returned the pleasantry.  But then as I was passing him he started making whistly kissing noises as if he were calling a dog.  (Spontaneous behavior... Unexpected break from the day's regimented routine...  This was not in the rehearsed script for "Walking to Work on a Wednesday Morning."  I stopped walking and paid attention.)

There was no dog.  There was a squirrel.  And the homeless man called the squirrel over to him and gave him a bite of food.  And the squirrel happily ate, rewarded for his obedience.  

 A different man might attach some schmaltzy, symbolic meaning to what I saw.  Feel free to interpret the scene however you want.  If it were a Hollywood movie I'm sure the squirrel's name is Ben or Rascal, and the homeless man will end up conquering some form of conflict with the help of his furry friend.  But for me it was just a man feeding a squirrel.  (A squirrel who comes running when called.)

I live in a world that puts a lot of emphasis on explanation.  As I read recently is a book I'm reading by a very good author, "Explanation is such poor poetry."  It seems like we've lost the art of shutting the fuck up and appreciating events and occurrences as they happen.  I don't know why the Autumn leaf fell onto the sidewalk and not the lawn - can't we just admire the beauty of the falling?  (Yes, I know it was probably wind related, but you're missing my point!)  We don't go to art museums to admire the frames - we go to admire the paintings within the frames.  (Unless you're into woodworking and the craftsmanship of the frames is the art (I digress.))

Look at what I've done.  I killed it with explanation.  See what you made me do?  This is why we can't have anything nice.

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