I have bats in my belfry. Well, sort of.
Before I go any further, let me tell you a little bit about why I’ve been away from the presses for so long. Most of you know I’m on dialysis due to kidney failure. By the way, if any of you are Type O and have a kidney to spare, let me know (shameless plug). It’s a bit complicated, but what it boils down to is this.
For most of last year, I did my treatments at home. For a long time, I had a catheter installed in my chest which made treatments easier to do, but was, well, inconvenient to my self-conceived role as a Player with advanced experience. Anyhow, starting in January, I had a series of infections that ruled out using a catheter, and it took a while to get my access started working again. It’s on my left arm, looks like two vampire bites. If you’re nice to me, I’ll let you see it.
As a result, I’m back to treatment at home, and that makes me feel better and have more energy. So I thought I’d come back and visit you folks again.
Now, about those bats.
I really don’t have a belfry, which is either a medieval siege tower or a church bell tower. I do, however, have an all-brick chimney. Some breed of noisy flying thing has made it a home. They could be bats. I don’t know and I don’t care. As you can imagine, they make a lot of noise and fascinate Shadow, my cat and only roommate.
So, I did what any self-respecting person of advanced experience would do. I turned this over to Becca, my girl Friday, and left it to her. Staffed it out, in other words.
Becca, who is very efficient and does what you’d expect of an efficient Girl Friday, started making some calls. Apparently, the agency that handles bats in the belfry, and other fowl in chimneys, is Animal Control. A call to that facility brought a recommendation to find a chimney sweep.
Like most of you, I have a chimney sweep, but I’ve never met him. I do have Mary Poppins-like visions of him in a black suit with a floppy hat and a broom in his hand, dancing on the rooftops of London like Dick Van Dyke. Who knows if it’s accurate? But his response to my request was that he’d be glad to handle my bird problem, for a price of course, but not until the baby birds learned to fly. He wouldn’t kill baby birds, you see. Gee, I wonder what his stance is on omelets.
I eat omelets, but I agree that killing baby birds is, well, on the left side of the right-wrong meter. Strangely enough, I just read an article in an old New Yorker about how songbirds are disappearing in Europe because the Sardinians consider them a delicacy. They catch them on their migration path across the Mediterranean from Africa, barbecue them on sticks and eat them whole. Yum.
If the creatures in my chimney are songbirds, they haven’t learned any new numbers and I don’t want to eat them. They’re just noisy and distracting.
Like most things in life, whether it be dialysis or bird infestations, this is nothing more than a distraction, a little thing which is a part of the great vista we’re allowed to see each day. I once had a friend whose car bore the license plate “118:24.” I knew it had to be a Biblical reference, but had to ask him which one. “Simple,” he said. “It’s Psalms 118:24. This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Good lesson as usual. If you have a job that breaks your back and makes you hurt for hours after you get home, thank God you have your paycheck and your family. If you have a manageable, but serious, illness, remember that you also have the chance to fight it every day and maybe, eventually, overcome it.
So put away those minor things and love every breath you take.
I can’t go without saying something about S. J. Gomez, my Gridiron buddy who passed away recently. That stage won’t be the same without him. Love always to Ginger and his extended family, including all my Ad and Press Club posse.
As I’ve said in this space before, death is a part of life. Therefore, do not send to ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.
Before the bell tolls for you, remember you live in a great place with good local government and lots to do. Remember each day is fit for rejoicing in the midst of tedious work or aggravating friends. Remember you have a life, and as S.J. did, live it until it’s over.
See you folks on the flip. Thanks for waiting for me.