inessential by Brent Simmons

Experiments on my great-grandfather

The Navy used to run experiments on my great-grandfather.

Or at least that’s the story he told me. He died when I was a teenager.

What they used to do was put him inside a man-sized rubber ball and toss the ball into the waves. He’d be inside there, either getting terrifically sea-sick or not.

But he never got sea-sick. That’s why they ran the experiments on him in the first place, because he was known for never getting sea-sick.

As a boy he was an oyster fisherman in the Delaware Bay. That’s what his family did. They were Dutch.

Sometimes I like to imagine him inside that rubber-ball, getting tossed around by the waves, and just filing his nails and thinking about what’s gonna be for dinner. So cool.

Me, I get sea-sick easily. I have to be careful when I run water in the sink. I just about have to take pills before I can take a shower.