Sweater Meats and John Travolta

Here’s a little clue about what it’s been like to live my life.

Some years ago my wife dared me to put on a dark pink sweater of hers that even she wouldn’t wear and walk outside to get the mail.  Maybe I dared her to dare me, she said “whatever,” and then I felt obligated to follow through to avoid looking like a complete pussy. But whatever.

So I put it on and walked out to the mailbox, no problem, until I was a few steps on the way back when my neighbor roared around the corner and into his driveway in his Mac truck-inspired Dodge Ram pickup.  I hurried across my lawn.  Notice I didn’t say “I ran,” because I don’t.  Apparently, I learned to move from watching claymation films.  I flow-morph in an unbalanced and haphazard way to my final, and usually unfortunate, destination (Oh No, Mr. Bill!).  And standing inside the now-closed and bolted front door, at 6-foot-5 and wearing what looked like a vest made of salmon flesh, I wondered if he’d seen me.  Maybe he drives with his eyes closed, I thought.

“That was quick,” said my wife, briefly looking up from whatever she was doing.

“Ed just pulled in,” I said, trying to catch my breath.

“That’s a surprise,” she responded without emotion, having known that this precise thing would happen.

I sat down on the couch knowing that this big adventure into the world would be my last for a while.  I’d stay in my bubble until I got bored with its predictability and then I’d jump out with something else absurd, though maybe not quite so Ethel Mermanish next time.

So to hell with John Travolta.  He jumped out of his bubble in that movie and he died.  That, I think, is a metaphor.  And you don’t need to guess what would’ve happened if he’d stayed in the bubble.  Just look at the real John Travolta.  He gets famous, and then brainwashed, eventually dressing up like an alien shill for Dianetics.

And there you have it.

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