• relatively •

When in church, as a kid, if my mom couldn’t get me to sit still, in the pew beside her, she would cross her arms and pinch a piece of me with her vise-like crab claws (you know, the tender part of that ‘turkey flesh’ between your armpit and your elbow), and then, she’s give it a mighty twist. Glory be, did that ever hurt! She’d be sitting there, singing as prettily as you please, and all that time, she would be putting a fire in my flesh, with her goat-hooks, like Beelzebub, in a pillbox hat.

I often think: if I had only had the communication skills, back then, that I do now, why, when my mom told me to ‘sit still’, in church, I could have said, so very politely, “But, mother, I can’t sit still, you see, for the simple reason that it is an impossibility, as I, you, and everyone, and everything in the universe, are always in motion, relative to something else. It’s just the nature of the big wide world, mother, dear, and I am one with it. You see?” And then, I would bat my enormous eyelashes in her general vicinity.

And then, when we got home from church, I would have received a well-deserved beating. (She’d make dad do it.) Now, that’s what I call relativity.

~ Tim Burchfield



• a lucrative little side business •

Maybe someday (somebody can be) President for life! (*wink*) Just joking. I meant to say, if we’re ‘lucky’.

Given our proclivity for political ‘legacy’ in generations past, I shouldn’t be surprised that a Trump might, someday, become President for Life. (No, that’s what they’ll call it, alright.)

I can just picture it…not the President bit (I’m still in denial, about our ‘present condition’), but the rest of it, yes, and why not? See it through the eyes of a ‘visionary’: (Not me, but, who else? President Trump, silly!).

“Okay, fellas, see if you can wrap your minds around this. Genius coming through. Picture it. Big announcement, right? All over the globe: “Trump Moon Industries and Trump Moon Resorts present, the ONE, the MOON-ly, get it? …

Kay Bella Luna Exclusive Retirement Community! Where successful billionaires, like me, and their girlfriends, of course, can enjoy the best, bar none, of EVERYTHING, at one-eighth of Earth’s gravity…is it one-sixth? I don’t think so. Is it? Okay, you’re fired, thanks. Where was I? Oh, yeah, one-eighth Earth’s gravity!”

Can you imagine that ‘tee-off’? You could ‘knock’ a golf ball (btw, that’s the official term, now, ‘knock’ a golf ball) about a hundred miles!”**

Oh! The moon! The Big Lazer (sic) Show! Get this, fellas, ‘cause this is the pizza day resistance (sic): it’s all done with satellites, and it’s a big laser show, in tribute, to me, and it’s going to be the first use of the moon, I mean, Trump Moon Resorts, we have to get used to saying that…as a LUNAR T.V., through the marvels of modern technology! We could run commercials, twenty four seven, using the moon, like a big T.V., for the whole Earth to see! I’m talkin’, BIGLY, baby! BIGLY!!”

** Coincidentally, one moon inhabitant’s entry, in a dairy that came to us from the future, ‘due to an untimely transporter accident’ (sic) reads, “You might not believe this, but I am still finding thousands of golf balls in the regolith, from those Trump Resort bastards, and it’s wrecking my equipment! That was a hundred clicks from here, and five hundred years ago! That’s a lot of ball-knockin’! I’ve been thinking, if I collect, and sell, all ‘those golf balls, on E-Bay, I could have a lucrative little side business for myself.”

~ Tim Burchfield


• strange epithets •

Once you’ve shouted,

“You had ONE JOB to do, people!!”

I know it’s hard,

really hard,

not to shout, “ONE!”

One more time.

You know, for effect.

And, when you try not to say it?

You know?

When you try to hold it back,

the pain!! Right?

In the neck, Right?!! The neck!!!??

I have found, it helps,

now, this is just me,

to find a ‘private moment’, somewhere,

off by myself,

where I can shut my eyes,

clench my fists,

and shiver, for a minute (or three);

and well,

I have been known,

in the long ago past,

after extreme exposure, mind you,

to have hallucinations,

and claw at the air,

and whisper (as far as anyone can make out,

something about,

“Offspring! Offspring!!”)

‘strange epithets’.

But, hey, that’s okay,

take one for the team, I say.

After all, they’re only kids.

~ Tim Burchfield


• the case of the mysterious gran •

My sis has been trying to talk me into using a popular web service whose function is to provide (you) a detailed breakdown of your ‘family tree’, and, in a way, an ‘instant family’, by way of a simple test (a hundred bucks), and a sample of your DNA. To many, that may be a tempting suggestion. And yet, not for me. No offense, sis. Not interested. Thanks anyway. Why? In a word, sex.

Truth is:

After all these years of savoring the deeply Southern ‘mystery’ of my mom’s family situation, I’m ‘hooked’. To her dying day, my mom only had a tremulous emotional hold on the kids of her sisters, her apparently ‘lowered status’ was infuriating to me. I could be found, in my teens, mulling over and over, their strange and incomprehensible behaviors, and stand-offish geniality over the years and decades, the eye rolling, the muted conversations, with far-away fights you could barely hear, with peaks and valleys, and unintelligible shrieks and shushes, always in other rooms of the house: the slammed doors and drawers, the rattled contents in the fridge, the cracking of unneeded ice for bottles of Nehi, never opened: and, ‘little pitcher’, me: I could just die from excitement.

And later, as a young adult, thrilling over news of my mom’s scandalous alleged bastardy, her tales of being locked in solitary by narcissistic nuns, and so after years of intrigue and imaginative speculation lavished on me, well! The senseless senselessness, the uncertainty; and oh! the raised eyebrows, the covering of faces with hands, the guilty pleasures of inappropriate laughing, the misunderstandings! I loved them all. Truly. Over my, shall we say, several decades of life, the mystery became just a part of my story. It doesn’t determine who I am. Only I can do that. I became something else. Me. No mystery there, eh?

So, needless to say, I was only too happy to save the hundred bucks. I had heard some things I didn’t like, because I had lived with my mom’s mom, for some years, from the age of fourteen. She was a peach. A smelly peach, to be sure, and given to going on at length about Dean Martin, and to going as far as making popcorn for us all as we watched him on his weekly t.v. show, “as a family”, as she would say, and the twice-daily back-rubs, yes, with Ben Gay, and by me. She was my Gran. We were meant to be, she and me. What more need I say? Of course, I knew nothing of her varied exploits, then. Oh, dear me, no. She was just Gran, to me, then, and a vociferous cryer, and a Bible-thumper, if a Catholic (we were raised Baptist), at that.

So, I said, “No thank you”, to my darling sis. “Sorry, Sherry-berry. Not interested,” I confessed.

“But, thanks! Don’t get me wrong, if y’all want to do all that, go ahead. Just so’s you know, I’d just as soon you all keep all that stuff to yourselves. Don’t need to know, don’t want to know, no thank you.”

I thought we had achieved a tacit agreement, a mutual nuclear family disarmament.

Then, three days later, from the kitchen, “Oh, your sister said you are 21% Irish, and the rest, Welsh and British. She just wanted you to know.”

“Are you kidding me?!!” I shouted. You could have knocked me over with a feather. This was a clear breach of protocol.

“Never trust a Celt!” I said.

~ Tim Burchfield


• tangent •

Why is it, when your mind occasionally wanders ‘off topic’, you are ‘off on a tangent’? As if there is something intrinsically wrong with the tangential. Off on a tangent, indeed! You know what? I think that’s pejorative, so there, I said it, okay? In fact, I much prefer the kinder and gentler term, ‘digression’, as it carries far less emotional baggage for me. Furthermore…where was I? Oh, yes.

I digress.

~ Tim Burchfield