*

Last night we watched this documentary called “Pressure Cooker” on our Netflix-enabled instant-watch crack delivery system. It is about these high school kids in an inner-city school who enroll in the school’s culinary arts program as a way to latch onto some scholarship money and get out of the ghetto. The program is run by Wilma Stevenson, part drill instructor, part mommy, no bullshit, all business.

I started crying about three minutes into it.

*

So many people live their lives completely under siege. I think that most of us just get crushed by life, smashed down into smaller and smaller lives by the brute forces of poverty, violence, disease, despair, stupidity, unfairness, disaster. We just get rolled over by the big machine.

But some of us get stronger and harder, like diamonds, under that pressure.

*

It’s good for us as a species, but not so much fun for us as individuals.

*

We also watched “The Exploding Girl” which was the quietest, sweetest film. Ostensibly about falling in love, but mostly really about taking your first steps into the world.

I cried all through that stupid thing too.

*

I can cry at a Jello commercial.

*

My wife is getting more beautiful, which just freaks me the fuck out. She’s always been a strikingly good-looking woman, but lately she’s radiant. She throws off like a five-foot circle of white light around her.

And whatever you do, don’t look her in the eye.

You’ll be as lost as I am.

*

In the early morning hours the bulldog went apeshit, whining and pacing and even barking, which she considers very much below her.

Racoons.

I ignored her for a long time, but after a half dozen sharp pokes in the ribs by someone next to me, I got my flashlight (which happens to be mounted to a Glock 17 I keep by the bed) and went out onto the back deck.

It looked like somebody threw a frat party in our koi pond. Shit was all over the place. The hammock was pulled down, branches from the Japanese maple were busted off, the deck was strewn with lilly pads and little wet paw prints traced back and forth everywhere.

Fucking criminals, is what.

I should hate them, but they don’t bother me. They’re evil chimpanzees dressed up in cat-burglar outfits, I know. They’ll fight you over the trash can, they’ll hiss and hunch up and glare, and they don’t like you at all.

I don’t know why, but it cracks me up. My old man, he traps them and shoots them.

I don’t see the need for it myself.

*

There is yet enough of death in this world.

*

I miss my kid but I don’t think we’re going to get to see her this weekend. She’s got to go to a black church in Compton and get prayed over by some real professionals, so no visit for us.

*

The hedge remains wild and untrimmed. Maybe I’ll just let it devour us whole.

*

Namaste.

***

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