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Month: August 2020

Emissions Inspection Letter

My car failed emissions inspection today. I had given the car to my parents because we leased another car when we were expecting. The person doing the inspection asked if I had used the car recently, and I shared it had been pretty much un-driven for the past eight months. He said the scanners could not pick up the information, and I need to drive the car 100-200 miles.
“What? Where am I supposed to go?!” I asked, because it’s Covid time. “I’m not planning to go anywhere,” I said. They shrugged and said I had to drive the car.

My dad knows the father of the person who did the inspection, so when I told him about this, he asked me to bring him a pen and paper, so he could write him a letter. He wrote one line in Farsi with some of the best penmanship I’ve seen from him in a very long time. Then I asked him to read to me what he wrote. He shook his head and said that he could not read it. He put the pen down and said he has Alzheimer’s.

He can still remember things, he just can’t remember letters and words. This is aphasia. So I told him he doesn’t have Alzheimer’s, he just has a problem with words. Then I held back tears so he wouldn’t see me cry, because telling stories and writing emails was something my dad did all the time. I did tell him Alzheimer’s would be worse, because if he didn’t remember us or other people or events, things would be even harder.

I got to see my parents today though, so that was good.

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The thing about the wands

In October last year, David invested in some high-end wands. They use material that is weighty enough to feel significant but also light enough where you can wield the wand easily if you have reasonable wrist dexterity. The designs etched into the wood are intricate. They were part of our Halloween costume.

We store these wands in some nice cardboard boxes. They are on the shelf next to our daughter’s high chair. Last month her hands were messy with yogurt, and she leaned over and grabbed one of the boxes. She turned the box in her hands, making sure to trace along the edges and leave a strong coat of yogurt on one side.

David was really upset when he saw what happened. I was defensive though, replying, “Why are you mad at me? She did this!” Our daughter watched us have a heated exchange.
“These aren’t toys!” David said finally, and walked away. We hid the boxes.

Anyway, a few years from now our daughter is going to find these boxes and open them. She will see the wands. And she’s going to remember her parents arguing over them, and her father declaring, “These aren’t toys.”

For a little while, she will not tell us that she has found the wands, because she will know she was not supposed to be snooping. She will keep the secret. A few days will pass, then weeks, then months. She’ll watch us closely this entire time. She’ll rationalize that we don’t use magic because our wands are stored in the boxes, so we can’t. She’ll ask about our histories, our parents, where we came from, where they came from. She’ll read books on magic. Picture books, maybe, depending on how old she is when she finds the wands.
Maybe she’ll ask us what we think of wizards. David will say, “Wizards are great!” But I’ll look off in the distance, wistfully.

When she’s a pre-teen, we will all have some sort of argument. She’ll yell, “YOU ALWAYS LIE TO ME!” and we’ll say, “What? How could you say that?”
She’ll continue, “I KNOW YOUR SECRET!”
And we’ll look at each other, because maybe by then we actually have a secret, like tax fraud or something.
And then we’ll wait to hear it, because we’re not dummies. We wouldn’t volunteer a secret to a pre-teen.

And then, she will look us in the eye, and she will say,
“I know you are wizards.”
And we’ll gasp, “Are we wizards?!” We’ll each point to each other and mouth a whisper, “Are you a wizard?”

Then I’ll tell her to sit down. It’s time for a family meeting.

We’ll tell her everything.

We will explain that 827 years ago, has it been 827 years already?!, there was a war between wizards and humans. We sided with the humans. Humans lost. Why would humans think they could win against wizards? Hubris. Anyway as punishment our powers were revoked and we have to live among humans. She’ll ask if we’re immortal. We’ll say yes. She’ll ask if she’s immortal. We’ll say no. She’ll ask about the wands. “Relics,” we’ll explain. “Couldn’t cast a spell even if we wanted to.”

Then we’ll lean back, and let her process everything she just heard. “No more secrets,” we’ll say to her, “now you know everything.”

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It’s Beginning to look a lot like COMEDY

I’ve started writing jokes again! Here’s what happened:

1) I was very sad.
2) I saw there was a Level 2 online stand-up class available for people with some experience.
3) It was 200 dollars! 200 DOLLARS! In COVID times! Can you imagine?!
4) I asked David if it was okay if I signed up for a $200 class, because I thought it would help force me to write jokes again.
5) He said “mhmm hm mm,” because he was looking at his phone and not paying attention.
6) I signed up for the class.
7) The three week class involved work-shopping your tight five. So I wrote some new jokes. I pulled in some old jokes. I laid out a concept to explore. I was rusty in the first class session. The second session was a 30 minute one-on-one with the instructor. The third session you presented your updated tight five. I pulled together a pretty solid chunk of jokes that came full circle. The instructor said, “Wow you took a concept and fleshed out a whole joke. Amazing, this is why I love teaching this class.” I felt really good about my set. My classmates liked it! Of course they did, classes are so supportive. I love classes. Since then, I’ve cleaned up the jokes further! Every day I’ve made updates!

Last night, I presented my tight five to my comedy group’s online workshop, under the guise of asking for feedback.

Here’s what Tammy said:

“Have you timed this? It feels longer than five minutes.”


I was like, “Okay well I’m thinking the audience is going to be so engaged, rolling over with laughter, that the host can’t bear to pull me off and will wave me on for ANOTHER five.”

Tammy looked away from her monitor. “You said it was a tight five. Those are five minutes.”

Other people weighed in on feedback for different parts. Every time I said, “I could cut this,” someone would say, “I liked that part, what about cutting ___.” This feedback just confirmed my suspicions that my set is very, very good.

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