Karen Rivers


Karen Rivers

We were driving somewhere yesterday when The Birdy suddenly said, "Mummy, there's an angel in your hair."

"It's not in her HAIR, you duck*," said The Bun.  "It's on her shoulder."

"Oh," said The Birdy.  "Mummy, there's an angel on your shoulder."

They both stared intently at my shoulder.  "It's sort of in the air right by your ear, actually," said The Bun.

"Right there," said The Birdy.   "See?"

I couldn't see anything.   

"Maybe grown ups don't see them," said The Bun.  "Like fairies."   

It's entirely possible -- even probable -- that my kids hallucinate.   That one time with the octopus and the squid on the wall!  Oh man.    Good times.   But I'm easily spooked and I like to link all the cars in the crazy train together to make one, long freight train of insane, and so...

See, I'm having some surgery soon that I don't want to have, but can't be helped.  And surgery, as you know, involves anaesthetics.  And not very long ago, I made the mistake of reading a book about anaesthesia and now I know WAY too much about how they work (and don't) and OMG-I-AM-TOTALLY-NEVER-HAVING-ONE-AGAIN!

But they're perfectly safe!  They are!   I know this!  BUT I ALSO KNOW HOW THEY WORK!   And also, about twenty years ago, I read an article in Readers Digest about someone who had an anaesthetic that paralyzed them but did not work to shut off their BRAIN and they FELT THE WHOLE OPERATION!  THEY FELT IT!   AND I AM SO IRRATIONALLY FREAKED OUT!  AND HOLY HARPSICHORD**, WHAT IF IT DOESN'T WORK ON ME?

What if -- and stick with me here -- the kids really DID see an angel and they AREN'T reassuringly as crazy as carpetbugs*** -- and what IF I DIE?   And the angels are just STAKING THEIR TERRITORY?   

I mean, I don't really believe it.  

But I might.

I could.


This is my last weekend with WHAT IS REAL before it heads off to the editor and the printer and the nice people who make covers and pick fonts and arrange words nicely on the real page and it becomes an actual book.   

Speaking of "crazy".    


My attic is full of rat traps.   No, that isn't a metaphor.   It is, for real.   BECAUSE OF THE RATS.

Last night, as I listened to the rats making their nightly rounds, I found myself rooting for the rats.   Not for their choice of residences.   But that they could avoid the traps and their imminent horrific death.   

I waited for the snapping sound, but it never came.   

Now I'm worried that the rats have outsmarted the trap-system.   Then what?  It's RAT ANARCHY!   Next thing you know, the insects will get in on the action and our whole system of dominating the planet as our plaything will be in jeopardy!

This is doing nothing to help with the crazy, believe me.


*  The Bun calls everyone a "duck" when he's name-calling.   I'm trying to decide if this is really, really funny or really, really much-to-close-to-that-other-word-for-comfort.   Feel free to weigh in.

** I made up the phrase "holy harpsichord" just now and I'd like you to use it at least once in your coversations at work today.   Then report back and see if anyone else picks it up.   I call this a "procrastination device" "social experiment".   

*** see: "holy harpsichord"