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The Unbridled Joy of DNR

I was in a quandary, facing the DNR decision again. In the end, it was easy and so liberating I could sing like Sarah Gabriel. (You know, you could sing like Sarah – all you have to do is release all doubt, fill your lungs with Faith and Joy, and let ‘er rip.)

Sometime yesterday, facing a heart catheter, I began to regret the decision to permit rescue if my heart stopped again. For all the things I have to live for (and they are many, including sending Monte the $50 I owe him), dyin is not the worst that could happen. All I needed to do is write a Last Words document. Once done (and it’s groovy), I’m more or less ready. I still need to address the to-do list, and manage the medical conditions, but bring it on…

It’s not such a big decision. I am going to die, hopefully not today, but eventually. Between now and then, I will have good days and bad days, I will feel good and I will feel bad. But I will feel, baby, I will feel it all the way.

DNR is easy to decide when you’re popping a 150 bpm heart rate, about to throw up, coughing incessantly and pissed off. Let it go, man, enough of this. Of course, if you’re deep in a conversation with a grand child or other good friend, if you are rocking out on a solo, you wanna be saved, please gimme more of this life. If morning meds will let me live more of this, pay the copay and pop the pills. If by-pass gets me out of a traffic jam or two, go on round.

On the other hand, when the moment come, there it is.

That’s not my last words – we all have to wait for those until it’s time. But if heart lungs brain have stopped, that’s it. No matter when, what or where, There. It. Is.

Truth vs. Real

Shit happens. You get sick, fall down, lose stuff, experience life. Without friends and family, the odd incident would merely pass, unmentioned. Inevitably, your partner comes home, a friend calls to check in, you go to a meeting, drinks or an event. They ask that question, and you are faced with a decision: are you going to tell the Truth, or the Real Story? 

Facing this dilemma, I often leave it up to the interrogator, but they nearly always choose the Truth. Big mistake. The Real Story is always more entertaining, and often contains clever life lessons to direct your steps. 

I discovered The Real Story when quizzed by Eric Simpson’s kid at a party shortly after the ventricular fibrillation that killed me in May 2010. She asked about the death experience. I told her the Truth: I was completely unaware – no bioflick flashing before my eyes, no glowing light. Here one moment, gone the next. I kind of regretted not having a better experience to share.

A few weeks later, the Mason family were at the house. As they were leaving, Leah asked the same question. I was ready.

Now, Randy Newman recorded a similar story, and so I am pretty sure The Real Story has validity.

I was in a meeting at esd&associates and I heard, “Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhh” in perfect harmony. Three French Algerian backup singers stood before me, grabbed me outta my chair and we whooshed away.

We landed in a musky old. garage studio, complete with cardboard egg cartons. Looked like Lubbock to me. Jerry Garcia, Jimi Hendrix and Craig Wiley sat on stools in front of Keith Moon’s drums. The guitars were locked away in some sort of A minor jam. John Entwistle was in the opposite corner – I was on the right side, standing behind a Hammond B-3 with twin wood Leslie cabinets whirring away. I fell into a full-chorded rhythm and Keith yelled, “gary! We been waitin’! We need some pad under the guitars.” 

I looked around the room, did my best to keep up, did pretty good. Jerry passed a segue to me, and I launched into a winding solo. I took one chorus, but passed on the next, sending it on to Craig. Finally, we wound it down. “Nice,” Entwistle said. 

I was suddenly struck by the players. “Aw fellas,” I said in a moment of doubt, “I need a lot more woodshed before I play this garage.” The whoosh came back and I woke up in the hospital. Dude, you can’t sing and doubt at the same time. If you get a chance, take it and play. Heaven is no place for cowards.

So, as you can see, don’t let your friends choose between Truth and Real. On Friday, June 2, I tripped and rammed my forehead into a wall. There was no lasting damage, but I sported a racoon face for a few weeks. That kind of cosmetic prompt calls the question again. Both Terry and I had good Real Stories to explain the bruising.

Terry: “I told him and told him, don’t EVER say that again.”

The Real Story, written by Adonis Yoda: “Sittin round, passin one with da boyz. Tyson was just about passed out, and stopped the flow with a loooong Bogart. I told an old hippie joke: “Hey Mike, you know what body part was most discussed in the Sixties?” Tyson looked up and said “What?” I took the roach from his hand, took a toke, passed it back to him. “‘Ere'” I said. I had no idea he was so sensitive about that…”

You got your own Real Stories. Next time I check in, don’t waste The Truth on me.

every MOMENT

Two years ago I died. Medics brought me back to life, doctors and nurses brought me back unaffected. But the luckiest thing was I realized:

every MOMENT a MIRACLE every breath a blessing.

So, feel your energy know your power sing your song dance your day re-assemble your mystery dig a pony LOVE YOUR LOVE walk this way and that flora fauna

hearten your heart.

for swift kat – noblsavaj 060612


Note to Juan Williams

Original Message Posted on Daily Beast coverage: I support NPR’s attempt to draw a line here, and look forward to their Ombudsman analysis, which is not afraid to hold them to task. However, there is a line between analysis, opinion and news. Freedom of the press belongs to the people who own the press – our journalists are free to opine to their owners’ intent. As “public” radio, NPR feels a higher calling to balanced, objective reporting. When Nina Tottenburg or Mara Liasson or Juan Williams appear on non-NPR programs, we tune in to get their analysis, but we expect them to report without personal bias. And it’s true that Juan may have spoken for millions of conscious, reasonable people who are nervous about the well-publicized stream of violence woven into global Islamism. This fear – like fear of flying, which is largely safe – is something we allow to come across our chests, but dismiss, knowing that the vast majority of aircraft pass through the skies without incident, and the overwhelming majority of Muslims seek peace, prosperity and freedom like the rest of us. Juan shoulda coulda woulda kept this fear under control instead of feeding O’Reilly and the Fox fear machine. That’s where NPR seems to find the line. We expect more balance from NPR correspondents, and Juan lost it a long time ago. Fox will pay him to spread the fear – probably more than NPR can pay him to deliver the rational, well-considered analysis we know he’s capable of. Sorry to lose you to the likes of Beck, Susternan and O’Reilly, Juan. You used to be so rational. But real news – the news I turn to NPR and PBS to hear – needs to come from people who can think before they speak.

the blessing of wise convenes

Vonnegut once claimed to know what women want. “Women want other women to talk to,” Vonnegut said. And the women I have known that had close girlfriends have been healthier than those that didn’t.
Surrounded by a family of friends, I am blessed with two friends that function as peer sages. An hour or two with one of these guys is a mutually therapeutic exchange of enthusiasms, experiences, anxieties, realizations, reassurance, nonbinding recommendations and wisdom.
I was there today, feedin’ the chickens, and came away with a couple new Savaj cards:

Rehearsals are not always scheduled.
Bless this.



beer bottle stands in the crotch of a three-trunked cedar stump
daring outrage at drunken intentional litter and arbitrary tree removal
until recollection mitigates – the non-native cedar drowned our sacred cypress
and the beverage provides every worker a palliative relief from drudgery
thus, the epiphany, whatever first impression, carries no meaning,
just a silver-labeled longneck shining in the severed limbs of a weed tree.
(Original Date February 8, 2003)