Today was my little niece’s Bat Mitzvah.

Yesterday my daughter turned 21.

Today I found a note hidden under a metal grate on my front porch that told me that there was a witness to a local murder, and gave all the details.

Last week this guy came to the house with a little bottle and some sand and note. He said he found it on the beach when he was vacationing in Hawaii. The note was from a ten year old girl and said that she would probably be dead by the time anyone found it.

He figured maybe I could find out who she was. If she was okay. Probably I couldn’t, he knew that.

But maybe I could.



I never been to a bat mitzvah before. Never set foot in a synagogue until today.

I was telling The Woman on The Verge today I feel like my life got replaced with an exact duplicate life, only they didn’t get everything right.

Or almost anything.

Everything that was there is still there, only….it’s odder.

It was nice at the ceremony, all our family was there. My sister-in-law’s family, too. Surreal and beautiful.



Those notes, the people who come to our door infrequently, but often bloody or distressed, they greatly disturb my wife.

To me they are dispatches from an absurdist universe, addressed to “current resident.”

The world is profoundly odd.


Why should we expect anything different from it?


It distresses me to feel at one remove from life, as if there is a semi-permeable membrane between me and everything that isn’t me, and it can be violated only with a great deal of effort.

As I was sitting in the pew listening to my niece read from the Torah, I watched a red-tailed hawk swoop down from the perfect blue heavens and take a small rabbit or squirrel, I couldn’t be sure of what.

The cantor played a blue guitar throughout the ceremony. It made me wish he’d just intone with a sonorous voice, devoid of strings.

It seems frivolous somehow. Joan Baez. Not that she’s frivolous, but, you know….


Last week this woman I work with came into my office. Her son died a few months ago at 21, the same age my daughter is today. She sat down and talked and I listened to her. We hadn’t spoken since his death, so it was our first foray into that subject together.

She cried a lot.

So did I.

She stayed there in my office for more than an hour, all broken hearted and snot-nosed and brave and smart and funny and decimated by it.

I felt like there wasn’t anything more important in the world than just letting her talk and letting her feel that I was right there with her.


I’m still deeply saddened by Ryan’s murder. This other murder, the one that someone left a note on my porch about, also has a deep and personal connection, astounding and terrible.

I feel as though I’m getting peeled. Peeled and scalded. Peeled and scaled and run over.

It’s leaving me all tender.


I got so much selfishness in me. So much anxiety and fearfulness and small-heartedness. It gets so I can hardly stand my own self. Like I’d like to smash myself to bits over it.

Lucky for me I am getting peeled and scalded and run over without me having to do a damn thing.

Ain’t that some shit?