Stolen from Metafilter. I don’t have a MeFi account, so I can’t even favorite things over there, much less comment. So I figured I’d re-pose the question here.
The MeFi thread is great, but bring tissues. I loved this one most:
My uncle, Albert Crary, was an extraordinary man. Not only was he an explorer and scientist of both poles (The Crary Mountains in Antarctica were named by him and the A.P. Crary Science and Engineering Center at McMurdo Station was named fo him) but he gathered stories like no one I’ve ever met. At his public memorial in Washington DC at, I believe, the Cosmos Club, speaker after speaker got up and told about his staunchness, his incredible endurance, but most importantly, they all told a funny story about him: The time he fell off the ice shelf and what he said to the preacher after his rescue when the preacher came looking for a good sermon. The time he went shopping for supplies in South America when they were running a geophysical line across a South American swamp. The time my father put my brother up to calling him and acting like a dumb reporter asking the stupidest questions imaginable about the ice island T3.
Months later, we had a private memorial in his hometown of Canton, New York. One-by-one his nieces, nephews, in-laws and friends got up and told more stories. To all of us he’d been the source of fun, support and laughter when we were growing up – he never let any of us take ourselves too seriously, but he was always there when anyone needed help. When my turn came, I got up, told my story and then said this:
At what point in your life did you realize that you’re probably never going to be as healthy/attractive/happy/etc. as you once were? Did you have the presence of mind to realize it at the time? Or have you somehow avoided this altogether (i.e. you’re under 30)?
I had my doubts at 30, but now I’m pretty sure I’m officially on the decline. Nothing drastic, but it’s like when you realize your new car isn’t a new car anymore. Except you can’t save up for a new one, or even take out a foolish auto loan.
This being: return to the roadside motel where I lived for the past three months, dive into the dumpster to retrieve a garbage bag, open it and retrieve a small trashcan liner filled with vomit and other detritus, and swirl through it in search of a diamond ring that belonged to my mother.
You know some people talk about being abducted by aliens. I won’t say I have been, but I’ll tell you this much. When I was little, I dreamed I was falling asleep and just as I was nodding off, I felt a weight settle on the bed at my feet. I looked down to see a cat-eyed, long-limbed creature crawling up my legs toward my face. I screamed out, Daddy came. We didn’t have a cat at the time.
In a motel in a northern suburb of Denver, working retail for a couple of weeks a few years ago, I was awakened by something yanking me completely out of the bed by the big toe. I awoke drenched in sweat and in the same position I fell asleep.
Lately when napping, I’ve felt the bed settle, as if a weight lands near my feet, as if a cat has jumped on the bed. I look to find nothing there.