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Goodbye old friend?

October 13, 2013

Goodbye old friend?

On October 11th, an old friend, John Tucker – ‘Tuck’,  who was deathly ill at that time, closed our conversation by saying, “Goodbye, old friend.” When he said that, I immediately felt a sharp shard of memory cut through the curtain of consciousness, appearing in full color, very short, but very real. I remembered a sunny afternoon, after school. We were walking together past Brigg’s stable. There was a tree there, on the north side of the road, sitting in a bit of a dry well, a well perhaps 3 feet in diameter, by means of which someone had carefully prevented the lowest part of the trunk from being damaged by wet soil. We were in the eighth grade, walking west from Sylvester school, heading home.

Reflecting on this memory, I realized that if, and when, my friend ceased to live here on planet Earth, we  will remember millions of events, large and small from the last 5 decades, many of which we shared with him, or in which he appears.  When you put some details on the on the bones of that idea, the details start to get interesting.

How many?

Our human minds, each with its associated memory “bank”, contain coins of existence as memories, each in varying degrees of accuracy, clarity and importance. Physically, we have a perceptual time frame of slightly less than .4 seconds, but I suspect the least time for triggering a perception into memory storage might be, on average, longer, for ordinary moment-to-moment living. For the sake of exploration, let’s say storage to memory requires about 5 seconds, a time frame which allows us to recognize an event plus some time to recognize our own physical and emotional reaction to the incoming perception. That gives us an opportunity to record some memory of it, in the form of a memory of sound, sight, smell, taste and touch. Most of these brief storages will fade, or disappear completely, if not actively gathered, reinforced or re-remembered. Some just live on, for whatever reason, reinforced or not. Still, there are about 12 ‘units’ of memory possible to perceive and store per minute, if the reader will allow me the approximation.

12 per min. X 60 min. per hour X 24 hours per day X 365 days per year X 50 years is what?

315, 360,000 memory opportunities in all, which is more than 6.3 million such possibilities per year.

Now, of the 52 years of opportunities available, Tuck and I had spent perhaps 10 of them in constant daily contact, or nearly so. Then we interacted on several thousands of other occasions over the years. Let’s estimate it conservatively at 7 years of contact. Multiply that by 6 million and we end up with 42 million possible triggers for recalling a memory. Many of those are kept alive and, in continuity, for retrieval, deliberately or spontaneously. That is a staggering measure of memory coins. If those memories were miles, we could ascend to the moon 190 times.

Now it is true that Tuck and I did not reinforce and recall all memories of each other every day. Some memories are just not that relevant to our lives in a way that merits recall and reinforcement. Nonetheless, I say that I think of him, still, at least in a passing way, at least once a week, often more. I often think of him in regards to something current, often in a mode like this: my friend spoke about this category, and he might say this, or react in such-and-such a way to an idea like that. I compare each of life’s new event against the history of my interactions with him. Sometimes I think of him, when I’m ruminating about Music, Photography, Tools, Woodworking, Bicycling, Politics, Handshakes, Hugs, Love, Differences, Friendship, Living Quarters, Happiness, Stress, Places, Professional Life, Meals, Tools, Books, Discussions, Snow Removal, and the list goes on an on, in a finite but very long list.

So when he has drawn his last breath, his friends will be holding a gigantic treasure trove of these memories, and these memories will persist as long we still have our mental marbles to move in the game of human experience. I imagine that it will seem to me that my friend will remain, and he will be absent, simultaneously.

Ain’t it just like life to be so wonderful, yet contradictory and hard to comprehend?

10/13/2013

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Stand your ground, or change your mind?

April 8, 2012

zimmerman mug shot, color red, with date 2012In 2009, I wrote about the day when I realized some of my friends were viewing me through the lens of stereotype, at a previous post.  The observation affected me powerfully when I realized how stereotypes impact perception.  What one believes is not necessarily true.  Trayvon Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, says he warned his son about stereotypes.

Recently, I connected the  political stereotypes of my experience with the stereotypes that caused the death of Trayvon Martin.  I was not there, and my knowledge of the incident comes only from reading a few dozen news reports, and without TV.  I don’t  have television service by choice.  So if I make a mistake, please comment, so that I can realize my error, and change the post here.

A person’s behavior might match a stereotype in your mind, or maybe not.  Without personal experience to support the stereotype, or undermine it, a stereotype can be a very evil thing.

I read that Zimmerman believed he was volunteering his time as part of a neighborhood protection group.  In an interview with the head of that Florida group, I heard that it was not an official Neighborhood Watch group.  Either way, I think that Zimmerman, in his mind, was protecting his neighborhood, because of a series of burglaries.

I also read that Zimmerman said “Punks.” in his recorded dialog with the police.

So Zimmerman suspected that Martin was a punk and a burglar.

That means Zimmerman was applying two powerful and negative stereotypes to Martin, even though they had not met, and they had not talked at any time before that night.  The only evidence, at least the only evidence of which we are aware, is that Martin was walking in the dark in Zimmerman’s ‘neighborhood’.

So when Zimmerman applied those two stereotypes to Martin, he set the stage for murder.  Zimmerman’s beliefs caused him to act, in spite of whatever the truth of the situation was.  The police told Zimmerman, “we don’t need you to follow him” [Martin].  Unfortunately, Zimmerman’s beliefs caused him not to listen to us, the real people of the world.

In my case, in 2009 I only had to worry about what was going on in the minds of my friends, so the stereotypes might have social consequences. Yes, my friends did have licenses for weapons, but politics is not a cause for shooting, not here in Massachusetts. Also, they have known me for a long time and have other knowledge beyond the political stereotypes of  Yankee Liberal versus Tea Party Birther.  Trayvon Martin, and all of us who step outside our homes after dark, now have to worry about being murdered, summarily executed, based on fears in the mind of a stranger.

This is a very bad situation.  If you still support the “Stand Your Ground” approach to law, would you please reconsider your support for such laws? Or at least consider how we could modify them for improvements, perhaps requiring some type of objective, observable facts to support the theory that the mind of the shooter is correctly perceiving the world?   For example, if the shooter is off  his medications, and is fearful about something that exists only in his mind, does he still have the right to pull the trigger?   Wouldn’t you agree that just being fearful, regardless of circumstance,  is insufficient evidence for killing another human being?

When the only knowledge which you possess about a human being consists of categorizations and stereotypes, you may lead yourself into an evil act. What stereotypes sit behind your eyes, coloring your perceptions, and changing your behavior when you meet strangers?

How many of the things that you believe about people are not really true?

Jay Fulton

How will you “say” 2010 in the new year? (Poll)

December 31, 2009

Will you say “Two Thousand Ten”?

Will you say “Twenty Ten”?


Blackberry for a eulogy

December 26, 2009

“Standing at the pulpit, looking down at the tiny handheld device, that blackberry screen looked like a postage stamp and the letters of Meg’s words looked like scrimshaw scratches on a 200-year-old tusk.”

It’s not easy to read a eulogy from a blackberry, but I did it when I had to do it.  Recently, my younger sister Kathy Fulton died and then her daughter’s family held a beautiful service at Saint Anthony’s church in Falmouth, Massachusetts.  (Thank you, Freitas Family!).  Our  cousin, Meg Schwemmer, had a long friendship with Kathy, but was unable to attend the services, due to her work at the college where she is employed.  So Meg wrote a letter to represent her feelings.

Her letter was heartfelt and well written.  Kathy’s daughter decided to have it read at the service.  Unfortunately, I didn’t really “get it” that I would be the one to read it, so I had given away my printed copies of the letter to friends and relatives at the wake.  I arrived at the church to discover that I was to read the letter that I no longer had in my possession.

The only tool available was my Blackberry.  I moved to google’s gmail app.  I found the email with the letter attached.  I launched the attachment.  There was the letter staring up at me from the tiny window. When called,  I walked to the pulpit, breaking all the protocols by neglecting to genuflect in front of the twice life-size painting of Our Lady of Fatima.  I thought to myself, “If god actually exists, this church will tumble and fall down upon us all, because a non-theist is standing here  on his home turf!”  Oh well,  both the church and I are standing today – for whatever that’s worth.

imagin reading from a blackberry screenStanding at the pulpit, looking down at the tiny handheld device, that blackberry screen looked like a postage stamp and the letters of Meg’s words looked like scrimshaw scratches on a 200 year old tusk.  Why couldn’t I have a mail-enabled kindle-sized screen!?!

Luckily I had read it over several times, so I just did the best I could.  At one point, a tear fell on the screen and I had to brush it away with the edge of my shirtsleeve to continue. This proves that it’s possible to read a eulogy from a blackberry, although it’s difficult, not kidding about that.  May you never have to utter a sentence that contains both of these words: blackberry and eulogy.

Here is the text of Meg’s letter:

December 8, 2009

Although I can’t be there with all of you today, I hope you’ll allow me to share a few thoughts about my dear cousin, friend, and near-sister Kathie. Qualities that drew me into Kathie’s World were her sense of humor and ironic view of life. I grew up knowing that type of humor in my Mother. Also, Kathie had a funny way of combining cynicism and romanticism. Her inner adolescent was never far from the surface. How could I not be totally disarmed by someone who believed that the only reason she and Steven Tyler weren’t close friends – or maybe more than close – was that they hadn’t yet met in a grocery store or restaurant? She always seemed to believe that winning the lottery was only a day away – and you know that she would have shared every last dime with all of you! She took the greatest pleasure in being generous when she could be. Even when she had a dreadful day, full of pain, she never failed to ask, “And how are you, Dear?”

Like many good Irish-folk, Kathie could nurse a grudge, but she also savored and celebrated every kindness. I think Kathie often looked at the world as an outsider. It seemed like a lot of the movies she recommended to me over the years were about people who didn’t fit in but triumphed and found happiness in the end. One was “Shallow Hal”, which she told me about in great detail. Just this Thanksgiving she gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up to “The Incredible Mr. Limpet” with Don Knotts. I thought it was going to be corny, but I watched it anyway. She was right, it was quite touching.

As recently as two weeks ago, Kathie was unwilling to think in terms of her condition being permanent, much less terminal. The miracle of getting better was elusive, but it was right around the bend. That particular miracle was not to be. And yet there are miracles all around us. The fact that our planet, of all the planets in the universe, holds life in such abundance and amazing variety is a miracle. The fact that we have an inborn capacity to know and share love is a miracle. All that is fine in our world comes from love. I don’t mean romantic love; I mean the roll up your sleeves and get messy love. The kind that involves caring and listening and understanding and reaching out and overlooking foolishness, crankiness, and human weakness. The kind that shares the laughter and the tears as well. Maybe the miracle isn’t saving the earthly life of our friend Kathie. Maybe the miracle is family and friends around her bedside, and bringing everyone together at a time when the need for love and understanding is so very evident. Miracles happen every day when we are sharing our love with all the people and causes in our lives. I know for certain that she felt Tenaya and Michael’s little Hannah is a miracle. Kathie fought hard to be here long enough to get to hold her Granddaughter!

We are surely going to miss her! While my hands were usually doing some task or other while we were talking – she often teased me about that – my mind needed those frequent visits to Kathie’s World. Somehow, even when she was needy, she gave more than she took because she was so grateful, always.

I love each of you for all the ways you showed Kathie love during her life. You all enriched her time on earth in countless special ways. I celebrate that I had Kathie in my life, and I wish I could be there to witness the love that you are showing one another today because she loved you and you loved her. I know you’ll be okay because you have each other and that common bond. God bless you all!

Love, Meg

It’s ironic that I would be called on to read that letter, because I was the most distant of brothers for the last 10 year or so.  When I realized that she was losing the battle to metabolic syndrome, which would lead her inevitably to diabetes, we had a falling out. I tried to point out to her that constant drinking of soda pop would kill her.  She disregarded my words.  I told her that change could be difficult, but the taste of change was sweet.  She declined. My heart went cold; I knew it was only a matter of time between that moment and her death.  I specifically asserted that diabetes was preventable.  The gulf between us was a wide as the solar system.

All I can say to you is, please, please, drink water and balance your food intake. I’m tired of watching my relatives die of adult onset diabetes.  And the devil’s dance continues even now.  My cousins and my niece are still drinking soda today.  There’s plenty of evidence that metabolic syndrome usually precedes diabetes. Sadly, it seems not to matter what I say.  Maybe by chance some reader will stumble upon this blog entry and will benefit from the information.

thanks for reading.

Death by Stereotype

January 1, 2009

First of all, Happy New Year to you! Thanks for being in the world, and here specifically to read this weblog.

Most of us survivors are genuinely delighted to be stepping into the world of possibilities called 2009. However, on boxing day, I had a gut-wrenching experience in which I watched myself die of an unnatural cause, namely political stereotype.

To keep it short, during a delightful holiday gathering of old friends, a wide ranging discussion eventually turned to politics, as well it should nowadays. However, I noticed that one of my old friends referred to me with a phrase like, “all you guys on the left”, in regards to a reaction to some assertion in the conversation. Actually, I am not enrolled in any political party, but I make active choices and support candidates by small donations and occasional volunteering. One person who knows me well calls me a Singularitarian, because I read the works of Ray Kurzweil.

Then it hit me hard, that we humans don’t try to remember everything, or even experience everything. EVERYTHING is much too big to truly experience, and definitely too big to remember in its entirety. So we naturally tend to remember, and then re-remember key elements or patterns in our experience. Although this is a very efficient way for us to survive, when stereotypes are used to subsume real experience about people, the other people in the experience are destroyed in the process. My personal experience seems to vary in many ways from what can be described in a two-dimensional array of politics such as left versus right. Politics is a multi-dimensional experience and the shallow analogies used, in the past, to portray political processes, such as left-right, will fail to adequately and logically describe the nature of politics. Over a decade ago, I abandoned the technique of 2-dimensional description of politics, or most anything, after reading Bart Kosko’s excellent books about logic and programming.

This is what makes political stereotypes so destructive that I could classify them as pathogens that destroy the very people who get labeled with the stereotype. And it’s also what I dislike the most about the hate-filled discussions that I hear on the syndicated radio talk shows supported by commercial messages. (tangential question: If a point of view is not supported by commercial messages, is that point of view unworthy of your consideration, and also unworthy of airtime?) Many of the listeners and participants for those shows, are plagued by the stereotypes, which are pushed out over the airwaves, by self-serving talk show hosts. As soon as they categorize me (or you!) into the stereotype, the action of categorization emphasizes within their mind the ways in which your behavior is similar to the stereotype. Unfortunately, it’s easier to remember the stereotype, than the real experience of the whole person. The application of the stereotype masks, or destroys, the individuality of the person labeled. That is death by stereotype, in which the unique, individual nature of each person disappears from view. I suspect that my old friends, with whom I meet only once or twice a year, see me filtered through the lenses of stereotype, lenses tinted by the color of memory. And the stereotypes put forward by the radio shows by Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and Ann Coulter are virulent pathogens, indeed.

Also, consider that once categorized under a stereotype, subsequent recall will reinforce that pattern, and the longer the period of reinforcement, the greater the difference between the recall and the reality of a total human being. Why? People gradually change their thoughts, opinions and behavior over time, but, unfortunately, the shallow stereotype has crystallized in the mind of the beholder.

In 2009, I resolve to avoid using stereotypes, and other forms of reasoning by analogy, to the greatest degree that I am able. In 2009, let the light of ubuntu shine.

Jay Fulton
1/1/2009

Grandmother Peace Drum: Conflict and pepper spray

April 6, 2008

She noticed that his blood was puddled on the floor. I watched her put her right hand down on the hard wooden floor, wet with his blood, and then deliberately rub her hand around on the little, red puddle. She paused and then rubbed both hands together. She went to the drum and rubbed the blood off her hands and onto the drum skin.

.


I went to see the Grandmother Drum for Peace event, with my wife, and a friend.

The location was a public school gymnasium in Weymouth on April 4, 2008, 7:00 – 10:00 PM, at Chapman Middle School 1051 Commercial St., East Weymouth, Massachusetts . I found information about the drum at http://www.drummingforpeace.org/

art or religion, please choose

attendees\

Drum? An amazing drum it was. We are talking about a hypnotic sound ritual from a 7 foot diameter wooden drum that weighs hundreds of pounds, a true giant in the world of drums.



The audience paid just inside the door. The cashiers at the door wrapped a yellow tyvek band around the wrist of each person that paid.

yellow tyvek wrist bands

Once inside the attendees walked to the far side of the gymnasium, in the corner near the wall with the Jaguar symbol.. The event took place in a corner of the gym, using only one set of seats, and about one quarter of the floor space. The tone was calm. Many people in the audience brought a drum or two with them. Some people bought drums from a table near the entrance. It was a very relaxed scene, lots of children and grandmothers, and some men, in a mostly feminine audience of about 150 people. Definitely a family-and-friends type of audience. People were passing around rattles, brightly colored plastic eggs containing garden seeds and dried corn. Children were shaking them, experimenting with the sounds.

There had been advertising on a local radio station, WATD-FM. Some internet publicity preceded the event also. On a web page at youtube.com, I discovered this information: “White Eagle Medicine Woman (Suraj Holzwarth) is the director and Drum Keeper of the International GrandMother Drum Peace Project. She is an international renowned shaman, seer and performance artist of Seneca and Celtic descent. Her CDs include Journey of the Heart and songlines of the Soul. She is the director and co-producer of the newly released documentary film Grandmother Drum: Awakening the Global Heart. She is also the founder and director of The Whirling Rainbow Foundation and the Rainbow Fire Dream Institute in Palmer, Alaska.” She performed in a beautiful white costume, and, in one part of the prayerperformance, posed in a beautiful, white eagle mask. She was accompanied by a young woman who sang, and also danced. The name of the dancer/singer was announced, but I didn’t write it down, so I’m unable to report that. I do have some pictures in my cell phone, which are low quality shot from the top bleacher seat. There were at least two photographers at the event with good cameras.

SurajEverything was spiritual and calm, people singing, kids shaking plastic rattles, the picture of peace and harmony – until the end of the intermission.
drum and local Native Americans
I was standing about 8 feet from the Grandmother Peace Drum on the opposite side from White Eagle Medicine Woman. I was in the “rattle” section, holding 2 maracas that my friend brought. Between my position and Suraj Holzwarth stood the massive drum, with corn meal sprinkled on it, and also scattered on the floor.
When she started talking again, she was interrupted by a group of 6 young people, who had marched quickly into the middle of the floor next to the drum, confronted her, and started shouting. Events happened fast so I’m not sure of the precision of my memory; there were 3 men and 3 women. I guessed their ages as between 20 and 40, certainly younger than most of the adults in the room. They claimed to be Wampanoag, and their leader, the foremost of them, demanded to know who gave this lady (self-admittedly only a part-blood Seneca) permission to be here? And they were angry, shouting because they were offended by this “mockery of their sacred rituals.” They specifically didn’t like the sale of tickets to a Sacred Ritual.

He shouted, “What if someone was making a mockery of a Christian ceremony?” Bam!

White Eagle Mask

The leader of the Wampanoag protesters had marched in carrying a substantial, thick, walking stick; to emphasize each of his points, he began slamming the stick down onto the gymnasium floor. Bam! Bam! Bam! White Eagle Medicine Woman had a bigger ceremonial stick, with a black rubber cap at the bottom, but she was not using it. However, he used his with enthusiasm.

“Who ARE you?” Bam!

“Who gave you permission to be here and do this?” Bam!

“Mockery!” Bam!

Men in the audience started moving inward, towards the action; women and kids began backing up, moving away, their faces showing that they were uncomfortable. Most of the really young children were oblivious, not understanding the confrontation. A few children, however, were grasping it and responding fearfully.

Meanwhile, White Eagle Medicine Woman was not escalating, acting reasonably, plainly wanting them to sit down and talk. Her walk-in opponents, however, didn’t want any of that reasonable stuff. A bunch of people standing around became frightened and frustrated, so they start banging furiously on drums and shaking the rattles that they brought, originally intending to drum for peace. That hope was abandoned; they were drumming to drown out the shouting and the angry words. The volume level went through the roof.

The only cop on duty was a middle-aged woman, about 64 inches tall by my estimate. At the explosion of shouting and drumming, she came running out of the back room where she’d been hanging out with someone. If she had been at the front entrance, perhaps this story would be different. She ran directly to the young men and got in their faces, which provoked an immediate, further escalation of shouting and waving of arms. I could see that the leader of the Wampanoag protesters had veins standing out on his temples. He was visibly enraged. The guy behind him wore a tee-shirt, with the arms torn off, and the words “Homeland Security” silk-screened in large letters on the chest. That was a wry comment on current American politics, viewed through the eyes of a Native American. The male protesters were not in ceremonial clothing. They were in street clothes.

The cop and the chief protester were suddenly engaged physically, when he decided to try to destroy the 7 foot wide buffalo skin drum head. Whack, whack, whack! He gave 3 hard strikes with the stick he carried. Suddenly, the policewoman and he were wrestling, shoving, grappling. They came around the drum towards me, with him putting a head lock on her. Then their positions were reversed, she was attacking him. Nearby men were reaching in, to impede her opponent. I saw that she had a device in her right hand, not a gun. They were struggling right in front of me, literally three or four feet away. I could see them clearly.

I heard myself shouting reflexively at him, at the top of my voice, “What are you doing????”

He turned and saw the pepper spray device aimed at him and he put out his left arm to stop it. Her hand with the pepper spray in it wobbled around in a circle, spraying people standing close by. Suddenly, I was tasting pepper, my lips were burning and I exhaled hard, instinctively, to keep that stuff out of my lungs. I backed up, putting my hands up in front of me. At that point the protester was down but kicking. Men were grabbing him. I saw her right hand come around and spray directly at his face from above. He twisted his head avoiding it, but most of the liquid hit him on the cheek and neck. I saw it glistening, dripping on his skin. I stepped further back, moving away from the biting smell, looking around for my wife. I began thinking about how we could leave the building safely after this nasty turn of events.

Having stepped back, looking for the exit, I saw that some policemen had run into the gymnasium. They had Mr. Homeland Security face down on the floor between the drum and the left-most exit door. The young Wampanoag women were shouting at those policemen. The women protesters were not striking out, only shouting. The police had physical control of the protesters at this point.

White Eagle Medicine Woman came over to the spot on the gym floor near me where the policewoman had subdued her opponent. White Eagle Medicine Woman knelt down in front of him and tried to talk to him. There was a lot of noise, so I guess that very little communication, if any, happened. The police picked him up and started force walking him towards the exit doors.

She noticed that his blood was on the floor. I watched her put her right hand down on the hard wooden floor, wet with his blood, and then deliberately rub her right hand around on the little red puddle. Then she paused and rubbed both hands together. She went to the drum and rubbed the blood off her hands and onto the drum skin. Her actions were eerily calm, slow and deliberate, in great contrast to the commotion and noise around us. She was not speaking.

The police woman got everyone’s attention by shouting loudly, no microphone needed. She said that if there was anyone here in the gym that was unwelcome, they should leave now. Her emphasis plainly said that greater police response would have been forthcoming against anyone silly enough to take violent actions.

My wife and I walked over to the far left corner where my friend was standing with the PA sound man, Ken. We talked a little bit about leaving. Before we could get it together to do that, everyone in the audience was making a big circle on the floor, holding hands. The drum was then surrounded, in the center of a fifty foot wide circle of about one hundred silent people, both adults and children.

White Eagle Medicine Woman started talking, using the melee as a teaching opportunity. I found myself disagreeing with some of what she said, but everyone in the gym was listening intently. She said that we were witnessing the pain of the Wampanoag, and that it’s not about us. They – Indians – don’t hate us. But the turn of events showed how deep is the suffering of the Native Americans, especially those that are looking backwards “seven generations.” She said that the night’s events were about them expressing pain and frustration that had its roots in the horrible history that American Indians endured. She said that she had been challenged before, more than once, by medicine men and chiefs who don’t view her drum, and her rituals as authentic. She talked about being confronted by an aborigine fighter in Australia (I’m not making this up). She said that she had been “incested from age two to age five.” Because of that experience, she had been an angry person herself for a long time. She used to be a “flaming lesbian feminist” – her words. She said that we – all of us – must stop looking back at all the damage done historically.

She said it is now time for all of us to recognize that we are all one people, and we need concentrate on Peace. She said the 1000 year period of peace that had been prophesied is starting now. She said we need to honor and support women and also make sure that no child is ever hurt. She says we’ve been breaking those 2 basic rules, causing much needless human suffering.

Then, White Eagle Medicine Woman asked one of her “sisters” to talk, so Ken’s mike ended up in the hands of one of the other Indian ladies that had been there all night. She talked a lot, making a sort of weak apology for the behavior of the protesters (now long gone, having all been removed by the police team). She asked us to view the protestor’s behavior in the context of their life experience. I found myself listening without sympathy. My lips were stinging; the skin above my lips was stinging. I left and went into the men’s room and attempted to wash my face with soap and water. Unfortunately, that did not work. The stinging sensation spread around my mouth. What I didn’t realize was that the pepper spray was on the skin of my right hand and I’d been smearing it around on my face. Yuck.

When we got home, all my clothes had to go in the washing machine. They smelled like pepper spray. I showered and washed up thoroughly. Then my wife noticed that she had a bruise in the corner of her left eye, and it was puffy. It did not progress, but we were somewhat worried. We speculated that she may have been struck by a small chunk of wood flying away from the clubbing of the drum.

The three of us had a lively discussion on the way home. That’s a separate story for another day.

Truth is stranger than fiction.

Thanks for reading

Jay Fulton

Written April 4th and 5th, 2008


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