I don’t understand the necessity for products to prolong sex after it is necessary. We have prescriptions for men and women to make it possible for them to be sexually active after they are able to have children. Viagra for men, and pills and creams for women are intended to prolong something that has no need. It has turned something normal into something abnormal.
This ad keeps coming up on my home page. It is impossible to ignore. It takes up half the page.
I clicked on it to show you this –
It is “used in women after menopause to treat moderate to severe pain during sexual intercourse caused by changed in and around the vagina that happen with menopause.”
There is no need for this. Menopause isn’t a disease.
It is time to learn other ways to be intimate. Try talking. Try playing board games. Try going on vacation together. Use a different part of your body to connect with your mate – your heart.
This obsession with sex as the only way to connect is what has lead to the disturbing amount of unwanted pregnancies, abortion, and child abuse and neglect, among other avoidable tragedies. Imagine how our world would look if we focused our energy and time towards something meaningful instead.
The door had been bolted and barred longer than anyone could
remember. It seemed better to go in through the side anyway. Long-ago one
insistent person had begun the slow process of removing the plaster and stones,
chipping away at the mortar with a spoon as if he was a prisoner breaking out.
And yet he was free, he was outside. It made no sense to the passers-by, what
he was doing, but he wasn’t in their way so they let him be, free to scratch
and scrape as he pleased.
The ownership of the building had passed into public domain
by this point so not even the police or the insurance company felt the need to
get involved. So he scraped away day by day, but only when the shadows
protected him. His skin was too fair to risk being out in the Guadal sun for
He thought he’d be through in a week, tops. But the builders
had done their job well so it took nearly 2 months to make a hole big enough
for him to crawl through. And what treasure did he find on the other side! You
would have thought he was Howard Carter in his excitement. He could barely keep
his joy to himself. The neighboring shopkeepers hurried over for the whoops and
chortles. They’d long gotten used to this strange visitor but this was
something else. They stooped down and peered in – and saw nothing, nothing save
the unusual prospector with his spoon, sitting in the middle of the empty room,
talking up a storm to the air.
And that was that. Nothing to see here. Move along. The town,
collectively but silently, agreed to let him stay there.
Who cared if he was a little weird? Who minded if he saw
things that weren’t there? They left him to himself the same as they left
people who didn’t see what was there.
Maybe he was more advanced than they were. Maybe it wasn’t time for them to see
the treasures yet. Who could say? So they left him be, but they contracted to
have a window built in the gap he made. It wouldn’t do to have people coming in
to bother him. Only those who were persistent (and particular) enough to go in
via the window were worthy of an audience with the Prince of the Invisible
Because that is who he had become. Or maybe he’d
always been? Maybe this was who he truly was, underneath the mask of normalcy
he’d always put on when he was around everyone else. Maybe he’d always seen the
spirits the same as solid people. Or maybe the potential had only been unlocked
on that day when he’d finally crossed the threshold, especially on such an
unusual way. Perhaps the spirits took note of his persistence.
Perhaps it was none of that and it was just finally time for
the talent to be revealed to the town, like he was at a debutante ball. Now he
was fully himself, out in the open, at large. Now he was multidimensional and
could openly use all of his senses.
He held court with the spirits in that room for days at a
time, seemingly unaware that time was passing. He didn’t grow tired or hungry
while he was with them either. It is as if he took on some of their
characteristics while he was with them. When he would leave the room, he would
return to the world of the physical and require all the usual things and be
subject to all the usual limitations. No wonder he seemed to prefer his time
inside, where the spirits acknowledged and even respected him. It was much
better among them than with regular people.
For the spirits were people too, no doubt about it. They were
just as real, just as present as the visible ones. Many were quite powerful and
opinionated, just as they had been in life. Some were the spirits of those who
had lived before. Some had yet to incarnate. Some had been around the wheel of
reincarnation so many times it was difficult to say whether they were coming or
All that mattered now was that they’d found each other, this
unusual sort of kinship, a family cobbled together out of people who were
unexpectedly able to interact with each other. And wasn’t that better anyway,
better than the usual family where the usual people could barely stand to be in
the same city with each other, much less in the same home.
The paint was peeling on the old doors, but
there were no plans to fix it. In the eyes of the caretakers it was a sin to
change things from the original. That was the paint that Ebenezer Crimmins put
on those doors, lo, those 127 years ago. Yes, they knew exactly how long it had
been. They kept track of all of that, and even more. Every tiny detail was
documented and filed in triplicate for posterity. It wouldn’t do to have
Sure, they couldn’t see the pattern now, but
they had faith that it would surface later. Everything made a pattern one way
or another if you sorted it right. Sometimes it was the focus you put on it –
duration, frequency, type. Sometimes it was interval – how much time between.
They knew it had to surface somehow, but only with enough data and the right
person or computer to do the sifting. But now was not the time. Now, nothing
made sense except to save everything, change nothing. Who knew what would be
the final clue to unlock the mystery? Not them, not yet. But they knew enough
that some when, someone had to find the solution.
For shortly after old Ebenezer Crimmins painted
that door marking the completion of the house, he disappeared. Not went away. Not
was kidnapped. No, nothing as easy as that. Simply disappeared, as easy as you
please, fading away to nothing as the paint dried on the doors. He put the
paintbrush down and had begun to remove his paint spattered overalls and it
just started happening. Passersby thought it was a trick of the light, being
odd as it was on that late December day.
It was a rare sunny day, and warm for a change,
that December 20, the day before the solstice. The light was slantwise that
day, all shifty and strange. Most people didn’t take note of it, but Ebenezer
did. He didn’t trust it, no sir, but the door needed painting before the rains
came. It wouldn’t do to have the bare wood unprotected. All that work on the
house would be for naught if it wasn’t protected.
The house was like every other house in the
village, small and squat. The walls were thick, made from the local clay, fired
in a kiln built on site, purpose built just like for every house in the
village. There was a kiln as part of every yard – they all stayed. Used to fire
the bricks to make the house, then afterwards to make whatever pottery the
residents needed. Some had small stoves built adjacent, to take advantage of
the heat but not mix the materials. It wouldn’t do to get the clay mixed into
All the houses were built by the community as a
gift to the new inhabitants. They were not expected to construct their own
house, or even to design it. Each house was made for the family in accordance
with its needs and the prophecy determined for it. Manys the family of three
that were surprised to move into a home with six bedrooms, only to discover
they were more fertile than expected or in-law had to move in because of
illness. Likewise, manys the family of eight that had to squeeze into a house
with four bedrooms, only to discover tragedy came soon after.
For families were not allowed to move once they
were in their own home. Once built, you were there for better or worse.
Children could move away only upon marriage. There were no apartments, no
dorms. Everyone lived with their family and never alone, even in the case of
death. If a spouse died, the member returned to their homestead. Houses stayed
in the family for generations, until the family died out or the house
deteriorated. Sometimes the two happened at the same time.
But this tradition had come to be questioned by
the very people it excluded. The loners, the misfits, those alienated from
their family – they wanted to live apart rather than endure living together
with people who didn’t understand them. Yet there was no place for them – not
until this house. Constructed quietly, without council oversight, it had
appeared almost overnight and remained empty, with no official resident listed.
The villagers who built it had worked quietly, unofficially, and were known
only to each other. Only Ebenezer would be public in his actions, finishing the
paint job on that fateful day.
After 130 years, the villagers finally understood
what had happened to him. He disappeared because they chose to not see him, to
pretend that he was not doing this thing. It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t spoken
aloud. They just looked away, out of embarrassment perhaps, or consternation.
They didn’t know what to think about what he was doing, so they chose not to
think about him at all.
So he disappeared, slowly but surely, and soon
there was nothing left of him. Nobody ever stepped foot in that house, for fear
the same would happened to them. Nobody ever tried to build another home for
It took all that time to develop a pattern to
see, truly see, what had caused the disappearance. It would take a dozen more
years to learn where, or rather when, Mr. Crimmins had gone. For he’d not just
faded from their sight, he’d faded from their timeline. He’d gone nearly 150
years into the future, many times the normal period of reincarnation.
It took 49 days for Tibetans to reincarnate,
which was a comfort in that culture. There was no need for a protracted grief.
You knew your loved one was alive again, and soon. There was no need to wait
for the resurrection – it was happening all the time. Mr. Crimmin’s culture had
no such consolation. The resurrection happened just the same to them, but they
didn’t know it. It wasn’t like anybody had ever come back and told them. Until
Because Mr. Ebenezer Crimmins came back, looking
exactly as he did when he left. He got to pass go and collect $200. He won the
game and lived to tell about it – really. He was so thankful the town had
archived his life so he had proof he was who he said. Otherwise they might have
locked them up or cast him out. Because that was what most cultures did to
people who spoke truth that seemed better than they could believe.
A quick resurrection wasn’t what they
wanted. They were programmed for death,
and guilt, and waiting, and never seeing the other side any time soon. So they didn’t like the idea of this walking
ghost, this man their grandparents knew, standing among them telling them it
wasn’t like that at all. They didn’t have
to fear death. They all would get a second chance, and a third, and a 27th. He might as well have told them that they
didn’t have to worry about money, or sickness either.
People say to me, “Are you ready for Christmas?” and I wonder what they mean. This is a very stripped down Christmas this year. Cards are sent. Watching A Christmas Carol. Tree is finally up (no decorations). Gifts have been given (handmade). Less is more, I’m learning.
Jim Carrey says “No holiday should manipulate you to the point where you’re going into debt just to show someone you love them.”
Christopher and Lois Helfman loved their children more than they could express, but they understood that not everyone could accept them. They were fraternal triplets – two boys and a girl, born one bitter December morning five years ago while Papa was on maneuvers with the Royal Marines. He’d not even gotten to see his wife bloom into her pregnancy,having just one home visit a year at that point. His wife joked that he made the best of his time while he was at home, but she wasn’t laughing when she was told it was triplets she was expecting not long after he returned to the lines.
How would they ever manage three babies, , and then corrected herself. Why ever did she think they would do anything? It would be all her doing, as it was for all the women in her time. Women had always done it all – all the cooking, all the cleaning, all the child raising. They did it because this is how it was. There weren’t other options as far as they knew.
Lois sent her husband a letter as soon as she was
sure the pregnancy was viable. It wouldn’t do to get his hopes up for nothing.
Because it was triplets, she waited an extra month just to be sure. So when the
letter finally reached him he didn’t have a lot of time to adjust to the idea
he was going to be a father.
Of course, they wanted children. They hadn’t planned exactly when, just leaving that particular to God. That was the best practice anyway, they finally realized after years of struggle. So many years of trying to do things their way and plans not working out. Why would they?Plans of mice and men never measured up to a hill of beans.
But the babies had been born early, too early for the happiness of the nurses at the village clinic. Doctors were in short supply, what with the war and all. They had been sent to the field to tend the soldiers. Civilians had to fend for themselves. Their needs were much less. It was quietly understood this was one of the many sacrifices they’d have to make to win the war.
And who was the war with? Desert dwellers, the People of the Sand. They’d finally ventured out of their domain and discovered the delights of temperate climates. No longer did they have to settle for the arid lands they’d been born in. No longer did they have to settle for a nomadic life of tents and beasts of burden. Now they knew there were choices, options other than a life of wandering from campsite to campsite, from bad pasture to only slightly better pasture. The herds were growing gaunt with all the work it took to forage for food, and so were they. So when they saw these new people, these fair skinned layabouts who didn’t have to fight the land for food, they knew they had to take over.
At first they sent sentries, spies, to move into and among these newfound neighbors. No weapons among them other than walking sticks and knives for butchering their supper meant diplomacy was the order of the day. They never had to fight anyone before and hoped not to now, but they weren’t above it. Their ancestor, the great Mahd had firmly said that violence was acceptable if peace failed. The survival of the People of the Sand was paramount. It would not do for them to be erased in the same way that footprints were in their landscape.
A life of shifting terrain shaped people into never settling down, never feeling stable. It made them suspicious of outsiders, of intermingling, so they clung to their traditions all the more. It was the only thing holding them together. It was who they were as a people –not anything material but all in manner. How you acted was what marked you as a member of the People.
War finally came inch by inch and day by day, until suddenly there was fighting in the streets of the Helfman’s little village. Unrest had come to the town in dribs and drabs, two different cultures mixing like oil and water. There had been attempts to integrate. There were evening classes at the local library to teach both languages, but they were sparsely attended. If only they had asked the people what hours they were available – or even if they were interested. There were other barriers too -where there were misunderstandings and confusion. There were little arguments over use of the community center for worship services. The newcomers didn’t understand the denial wasn’t personal – they didn’t allow anybody to have services there of any sort.
When war came, Mr. Helfman had volunteered straight away, knowing that if he waited to be drafted he’d most likely get a less than desirable position. Not like any position in a war was desirable –but some were better than others. He became a captain in the Signal Corps because he had worked in the village radio station for over a decade and had a ham radio license. Sending messages back-and-forth across the battlefield without the other side listening was his forte, and he relished his role. It was important, essential even, and he didn’t have to worry about getting shot.Well, that wasn’t exactly true. He’d been trained the same as everyone else in the unit how to handle a gun. This was war, after all. The time for talking was over. Diplomacy had been exchanged for destruction, and may the best side win.
And yet he still held out hope that they could work something out. The good Lord didn’t put these people on the earth – and especially in his village – for nothing. But there were so many barriers! The culture was unusual, that was for sure, but the language – that was a real stumper. They didn’t even use the same alphabet, just a bunch of squiggles and dots. It didn’t make any sense. So he began to test the limits of his radio technology. Perhaps he could get it to translate the sounds it heard while he was intercepting their signals. If his phone could figure out what song was playing by listening, surely he could rig up a way to get some sense out of their language.
He’d always done well with the belief that if he could imagine it, it was possible. Surely the Lord wouldn’t have put such an idea in his head if he didn’t want him to try. Now, plenty of folks took that the wrong way and turn God’s dreams into nightmares. They focused the signal on themselves, not on others. Christopher Helfman had been raised to serve others,so his experiments always worked out for the best. It wasn’t long before he had worked out a translator, and within months every person in the battlefield had a portable version.
They’d left ones for the People of the Sand in conspicuous places, knowing that if they simply tried to give them away it would be met with suspicion. So they waited, and were wary. But the experiment worked – they started using the translators! A few brave souls talked with each other across the lines, sharing words and not bullets for a change. An agreement was reached and more of the devices were handed over. Before long, the war was over because they could finally, truly, understand each other. The devices didn’t just translate words but feelings and emotions as well. The full range of meaning was conveyed, and the two sides discovered they had more in common than not.They decided to share their resources, creating a whole new kind of community.
And that is how the masks came to be on the heads of the Helfman triplets. Born too soon, their lungs weren’t fully developed.They were prone to allergies and asthma, and nothing seemed to soothe them.That was, until the village got a People of the Sand doctor, who decided to try something new. These people had long relied on their unusual and somewhat intimidating face masks to survive in their arid desert home. Now that many had relocated to the village, they had no need for the cumbersome devices. Thankfully,many kept them out of nostalgia, so several were available to the doctor. He decided to try one on the children after the usual tricks had failed. Unusual was the order of the day in the village at that point, what with the two cultures openly blending and sharing, so the children didn’t stick out too much.