inessential by Brent Simmons


Idea: donate your tax refund to the Red Cross.

Discussion group posts from Emmanuel DŽcarie and John Lewis.

I'm sitting on the recliner in my living room, working on my iBook today. (Thanks to my Airport.)

My kitten keeps jumping afdfsdaf pdsof on my keyboard, since the only movement in the room is the typing of my fingers.

CNN is on TV, of course. I'm addicted to news of recovered survivors. The people doing the hard work of digging in that rubble are all deserving of medals.

Last night I heard an airplane overhead and I nearly stood and applauded.

It's possible that my step-brother is or was at the Pentagon helping to dig out. He lives just outside D.C., and was until a little while ago a firefighter and rescue worker. He even did rescue diving -- looking for survivors under water. Hats off to him.

In a gnarly coincidence, my step-brother's name is Brent.

He has a two-year-old son named Brent.

During my recent vacation back East all three Brents got together for the first time. We expected a giant flaming pentagram to arise from the Earth to swallow us all up. (But it didn't happen, I'm pretty sure. Somewhat sure.)

Three Brents? It's just so unnatural, a heinous crime against good taste.

I'm seven years older than my step-brother. I was always known as Big Brent.

But my step-brother grew up to be 6'5" and 270 lbs. (Something like that. He's gigantic, a leviathan on two legs.)

So now I'm Brent the Elder.

Or Uncle Brent.

Call me Uncle Brent.

Details make stories come alive.

I heard one guy talking about walking down 80 stories in tower two. He remembered seeing piles of shoes at every floor, as people got rid of their shoes to make it easier to walk. One imagines that many of these were high-heeled shoes.

Another detail -- I heard that the passengers on the flight that crashed into the Pennsylvania cornfield voted on whether or not to try to overpower the hijackers. They voted! Americans to the last.

Voting, it's like an instinct with us, even when the most horrible thing is going on, we stop to vote.

You can't kill democracy, you can only kill people.

Everyone, or almost everyone, is beautiful in their own way.

I like to think that had this happened in Rome, Italians would not have taken their shoes off, but still would have made it out okay. After all, it's important to look good, no matter what, right?

Is the moment we go from republic to empire?

That's the question that scares me.

Or, it's the question that should scare me, but right now I'm too angry.

Do we seek peace, or do we seek Pax Americana?

My kitten lives in what Sheila calls his "safe happy kitty world."

He knows nothing. He just wants to play with his green yarn and curl up in the sun.

Sometimes in his sleep his legs twitch. He's dreaming of chasing mice. Maybe Sheila and I are there in his dreams too, chasing mice with him? I hope so.