the hunger games

The Hunger Games.  The Hunger Games.   The Hunger Games.  Just a couple weeks ago, my son got a hold of the Kindle in our house and inadvertently ordered a copy of The Hunger Games.  In the airport yesterday, waiting to board, someone is reading a copy of The Hunger Games.  On the plane, on her iPad, someone is reading The Hunger Games.  After landing, at the pool, a young woman is sunbathing…and reading The Hunger Games.  Some people enter the pool area and start talking about the movie version of The Hunger Games.  Someone says that the book is better.  I want to dive into the deep end of the pool and stay there.  There are no more options.  If my seven year-old son is ordering up The Hunger Games, that’s because there is no such thing as consumer discernment left.  Books and movies have become like Wal-marts and McDonalds.

You look at The Week, and you read about two plays that opened this weekend – Aurthur Miller’s Death of Salesman as directed by Mike Nichols and someone’s adaptation of a Tennessee Williams.  Two plays opening this weekend?  No, thousands of plays opened this weekend.  Dozens of movies were released, hundreds of books.  We hear about the ones with the biggest money behind them, like we talk about the candidate with the largest SuperPac.

The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games.  My son inadvertently ordered a copy because it was easy enough for a seven year-old to find it and buy it.  Nobody’s taking any chances – it must be in every single home.

Well, it’s in mine, too.  I could have deleted the order, but, you know…

(And now I’m helping to advertise it.)



your baby is a psychic buddha alien from outer space

WARNING!  If you’re lying in bed and your baby is nearby, and you’ve just made eight or nine small physical adjustments to yourself in order to get comfortable, do not make that tenth move!  Your baby will wake up the second you find you’ve gotten comfortable in the bed.  Stick a thumb tack in your butt!  Put a tennis ball in your mouth and chew on it.  Anything – the only way your baby will sleep is if you are uncomfortable and awake.  This is because your baby is a psychic Buddha alien from Outer Space. She is psychically connected to you and can sense the instant you are about to fall asleep, and will cry to assure you stay awake at that very moment.

Alien?  Oh yes.  Your newborn baby is expending all of her energy adjusting to this new world.  She’s never been here before; she’s never breathed the air.  She’s not felt the compression or even the gravity.  She’s used to buoyant suspension – look at her now, head flopping all over the place, hands flailing, she’s like Stranger in a Strange Land.  Her skin breaks out in tiny newborn rashes as it combats thousands of foreign substances – every kiss from a looming, leering grown up, every puff of breeze issuing in new germs.  Her upper GI digestive system is getting its trial run with that milk she’s drinking – it’s brand new and all the pipes have to be worked out – that’s why she sounds like a ketchup bottle when she excretes!  FFFeeerrpppp.   Psychic Buddha alien!

Her eyes roll open for a second, flashing silver grey, like lures.  Her mouth is set in a grim line, though smiles flicker over her as she works the gas through, her tiny, pretzel stick fingers interlaced in front of her.  She is a tiny Buddha, completely in the moment.  There is no future, there is no past.  There is only Now, there is only feeding, there is only pooping and sleeping.  Your baby exists in the state we all try to get back to and perfect our entire adult lives – your newborn is Eckhart Tolle times a thousand.  She is Buddha under the Bodhi tree, in a blissful state of semi-consciousness, what the Upanishads would note as having a foot in this world, and one in the other, one kicking leg on the changing table, one jabbing you in the ribs as you try to clean her messy bum bum.

People say, “I want to have a baby.”  You don’t have a baby.  What you actually “have” is a forty year-old with a job and a car, magazine subscriptions and a mortgage.  We’re adults a heck of a lot longer than we’re babies.  You get a “baby” for about eighteen months, between the ages of six months and two years.  Prior to that, you have a psychic alien Buddha from Outer Space.  So, fill her up with antibodies from the breast so that she may navigate this new world, chant with her in her state of total being (it sounds like squalling, crying, fussing, but it is really chanting) and fill her to the brim with love, so that she is spilling over with it, like an overflowing pod of sweet milky goodness.