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Notes from the Small Pond….Lie to me

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By Parnell Thill

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Well, once the snow stops snowing and the ice finally melts and comes running brown down the walls from beneath the froze-broke shingles, and once the ice-slush in the driveway and on the street eventually melts to dirty rivulets and flows into the garbage-clogged storm sewers, then, maybe then, we’ll have a few days of relief before the Pharaoh-style horde of tent caterpillars swarms through, their incessant crunching audible throughout the midnight hours, windows open, lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, trying hard not to imagine the squirmy, defecating larvae, writhing in hideous piles in the branches outside the window, at the base of the front steps, their numbers in the billions, seething, stinking, mutant, hairy macaroni.

But, what the hey…we love it here. We convince ourselves, daily, that <i> our family is here and it’s a nice place to raise kids and at least we don’t have snakes and hurricanes…</i>

…I’m just not sure how much longer I can lie to myself. This sucks. Admit it. And every time I tell myself, again, that we don’t have it so bad. That 45 degrees below zero is an adventure and that “there’s no bad weather, just bad clothing and planning,” and that eight months of winter, a month of silver-sky freezing rain on either side of it, and two months of summer — the first nine weeks replete with an ocean of army worms — is perfectly fine, since all my loved ones are here. Every time I tell myself that, Hey, we don’t have scorpions! — I just feel like the guy eating cake over the sink at 3 a.m. mumbling to himself about how tomorrow is gonna be the first day of the rest of his life.

The world’s best liars lie first to themselves. Introspective passive-aggressive. You liars know what I’m talking about. The rest of you: be glad you don’t; but all the greatest liars have got to get over that first hurdle of lying to one’s self. Bernie Madoff. David Koresh. Adolf Hitler. Lying ain’t just storytelling, after all.

So, of course, we can take solace in the fact that our basements aren’t full of rattlesnakes and that we’re out-of-reach of most Tsunamis and that we probably won’t die of malaria. Sure. Fair enough. There’s that literal atom of Fact in there somewhere…which, if we elect for it to do so, can readily, unceremoniously, stresslessly stand in the place where Truth would otherwise stand, Truth and Fact being mere cousins and probably second-cousins at that, barely blood related.

Anyway… I’m sick-and-tired of winter. And since giving up lying, I just can’t accommodate another grocery aisle conversation about how blessed we oughta feel since, after all, those cowboys down in Texas don’t have it any better, since they have scorpions and snakes and twisters and all. Maybe not. But I hear there’s this place called Croatia…ancient and lovely, on the sea, the birthplace of beauty, where forgiveness is something like memory. And no army worms. Let’s go there.

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