Impossible Outcomes

Lots of talk about sorrow and resurrection the past week…of miracles large and small.

Was wondering the other day if my late wife blesses us from above, or is she noncommittal? Has she left us – as angels and deities sometimes do — to figure things out for ourselves?

Does she miss the sound of me cussing from the next room over some plumbing problem? Does she miss me yelling at the TV?

The other night, the moon was full, and the neighborhood coyotes were having some sort of prom – dancing and drinking, howling and yips. How spooky. How wonderful. Los Angeles was settled centuries ago, yet you can tame a place only so much.

A short time later, White Fang needed to go out, with 20 coyotes looking to rumble, and me out on the porch, in my boxers and my plaid slippers, looking fierce enough, I’m sure, but probably not fierce enough to scare off 20 blood-lusting coyotes.

“Get in here, get in here,” I kept pleading with White Fang.

I wonder if Posh misses that – me pleading for impossible outcomes.

Speaking of which, she’d like that Smartacus and I made it to the sunrise service on Easter — wet and cold, in lawn chairs in the park. An English mist hugged the hills, as per Baudelaire.

“Please stand,” the preacher said, and you could hear the dads ooooooof as they struggled out of their lawn chairs, as their wives – their Mary Mags — helped them up by the elbows. Tiny resurrections, tiny acts of faith.

“God loves you so much,” the pastor said, “more than you could ever imagine.”

Well, we’ll see.

Good service though. The new pastor hit a home run, and there were lots of beaming Easter faces Posh would’ve loved.

“We all feel we’ve let the lord down,” the pastor said, and I wondered: “Did the pastor see me swearing at my new pizza oven the night before, which gobbled up a perfectly homemade pizza pie, and spit out a blob of undercooked dough with the toppings – the sausage, the onions, the pepperoni – flipping over each other in the warm, womb-like oven?”

Are there no secrets left?

To be sure, it’s a terrific oven, an expensive gift from the kids, so it wasn’t like I could chuck it in the ravine, as I wanted to in that very moment, or could mutter unrepeatable things under my breath, which is exactly what I did, and evidently was overheard by God (and his sidekicks).

I wonder if Posh misses that too?

Heaven must be a place where wives don’t have to hear their husbands mutter anymore. Heaven must be a place where the milk is cold and creamy, the movies are 90 minutes long, the wifi never fails, the burgers are three bucks and rosy pink on the inside.

And, Heaven must be a place that, when you crawl into bed at night, someone pulls the covers up to your chin and kisses your forehead.

Like Posh used to do with our kids.

I used to think Rapunzel was the daughter most like her mom – the ruby hair, the smiles. For Easter dinner, Rapunzel threw together a pea salad with 24 ingredients and an unbelievable bacon vinaigrette. That’s so her mother, slaving over something that should’ve taken 5 minutes max.

Anyway, I used to think Rapunzel was the most like her, till the lovely and patient older daughter had this baby girl, and morphed into her mama.

I know this about Posh: She’d adore this doe-eyed nugget.

The other day, I vacuumed out Cakes’ car seat, the stale French fries and the cookie crumbs, the dried ice cream on the shoulder straps. It was a trippy chore, a throwback to those early hectic days of parenting.

I hadn’t vacuumed out a car seat in 20 years.

Time sure flies when you’re dealing with grief and sorrow, and weddings and new grandbabies.

Life’s so funny. Funny and weird. Brutal. Mysterious. You can tame it only so much,

I was explaining the other day how young children can sense when their parents are super tired or hungover. It’s a test of faith, really.

Exhausted, you’ll go to kiss their foreheads, and suddenly they have the flu. Their little heads will spin around, and when you go to reassure them, green oatmeal will fly from their mouths in torrents unseen in human history.

And they will speak in lost tongues. And they will levitate from their little pillows. “Mommy? Daddy! What’s happening?”

Life’s happening, kiddo. But Mommy loves you. More than you can ever imagine.

Save the date: Saturday April 29, for a little hike in the hills above Glendale. Details and RSVP info to come. Meanwhile, find books, past columns and some very cool gin glasses at Cheers (and thanks for your support)

22 thoughts on “Impossible Outcomes

  1. Exquisite post. I believe Posh is right there with all of you in spirit. And I do hope heaven is something like your description. Especially the 90 minute movies. Two and a half hours is too long, even for a good one. Cakes is the embodiment of all that has gone into making your life what it is. Posh is proud, I know.

  2. I ache for your loss, and cheer for your optimism and great writing. Wonderful bit of understatement here:

    “Time sure flies when you’re dealing with grief and sorrow, and weddings and new grandbabies.

    Life’s so funny. Funny and weird. Brutal. Mysterious. You can tame it only so much.”

  3. Thanks Chris – I’m filming out in the wilds of New Mexico near the throat of an ancient volcano (Shiprock)… so perhaps I’m a tad lonesome for home but DARN if you don’t make me laugh and cry in the same sentence (again)!! You’re in fine form my man thanks for the lifeline.

  4. “Life’s so funny. Funny and weird. Brutal. Mysterious. You can tame it only so much.”

    This sentence hit me, too. If you have uncovered ANY ways to tame or temper life, please share!

  5. There are times when your writing makes me cry. This was one of those times. Posh would have adored that baby.

  6. Your column today makes me appreciate my husband using so many choice words while doing a task. I love to hear him talk to himself! I’m sure Posh loved it too.

  7. It seems to me, Posh was a treasure all of you were privileged to know and love. Such a great loss to all of you. Memories are your gifts. ❤️❤️

  8. Beautiful. There is much that will never leave us, nor would we want it so to do. What a mystery memory is. Science may never touch it, for perhaps its imaginable part is untouchable—like the human spirit.


    What once was now is now and then
    In a strange half-light of knowing
    That is not the same, yet seems
    As it was, with its remembered
    Sensate luxuries resplendent
    With experience, the feelings
    Rich with depth as well as nuance
    As if one were painting pictures
    Moment to moment, enjoying
    The creative flux as time ran
    Down like paint in a celebration
    Of mind that what was seen could be;

    In these many guises of love’s yen
    Lie the ambiguities of spring
    Its adoration of the dreams
    Of sunlight to be felt and heard
    In all glistening flesh, and sent
    Blazing into darkness, reeling
    With besotted joy only romance
    And light—as love’s provocateurs—
    Can show in their annual swing
    Into the heat of what once began—
    Like old smoke in the Winter sun—
    As hope as faint as the eye could see;

    And now you have come to inhabit me
    With that same giddy warming flood
    Like Spring, so lovely in the blood
    How delirious the moments when
    Your Summer seems up ahead—again…

    …and that photograph of the two dogs; it really goes to character, doesn’t it? Who would ever let a lovely sleeping dog lie, alone as it were? Not you nor I. Unthinkable.

  9. Love the funny columns, the potpourris of things that drive you nuts or make you laugh, but these ones, where the tenderness and the ache come through and the laughs are still there, but a little quieter, these are my favorites. As we’ve sometimes discussed, drama guys often can’t do funny, but funny guys can go deep when they want to. Just lovely.

  10. I have salty tears in my wine. What a beautiful column. I’ve always felt badly that Posh had to go thru the loss of her son snd mother.
    And how she would have loved little Catty Cakes❤️
    Your Chicago Cub fan

  11. I fought with my pizza oven until I realized that using Trader Joe’s premade dough is excellent, provided it is spread on parchment so slips on off pizza stone and that you add no more than 2 toppings plus cheese/sauce are best…also handy to have the small pizza paddle to move it around in oven so more evenly baked…takes a bit of practice but don’t give up . Blessings!

  12. Oh, Chris, thank you once again for sharing your heart with us. I smiled, giggled, and teared up. Sending you love and kindness now and always.

  13. “…Faulty Lines

    “one was painting… “
    Mainly feinting:
    One cannot hide
    What’s not inside
    This time of year
    So much unclear
    What I once knew
    Now lost to you…
    Good grammar’s sense
    In prose that’s dense
    The death of me
    In poetry—
    For all to see
    My empty head…
    Forgive, instead
    This silly thing
    Because it’s Spring
    Much of grammar
    Verbal stammer
    When one faces
    Its sweet graces;
    So I resign
    This faulty line
    In favor of
    What else but love?
    And memories
    A sweet warm breeze
    A lovely squeeze
    To weaken knees
    And at the last—
    Of love long past—
    How words could sing
    No matter flawed
    Their syntax awed
    By naught but grace:
    A letter’s place…
    Nothing amiss
    After that kiss
    When alll else paled
    And mere words failed….

  14. Hi Chris, will you be attending the LA Times Festival of Books this year? Joan Baez will be there, and so will Susanna Hoffs (from the Bangles) who was my first celebrity crush when I was a teenager. (Ok – maybe the crush lasted well into my 20’s as evidenced by my wife not talking to me for three days after I saw Ms. Hoffs in concert on a snow storm night in Denver)

    Best to you and your clan.

  15. I’m just getting around to reading this after a hectic week of traveling to visit family and wouldn’t change a thing. Well, except have more time. I know your lovely wife Posh is with you all now and forever, that is what life after death is right? All our cherished memories.

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