Staring at Stars with Soldiers

13308609_10153713608587683_3511624982502320709_oA concert program falls from the balcony to the floor, like a meteor, causing confused parents to look up and see the auditorium’s Big Dipper, a constellation composed of glowing red SORTIE signs. Cellphones pulsate in the darkness, like fireflies, as we wait for our little stars to come out. How fitting it is, that this marching music was created by military men! Because I feel a kind of martial pride tonight, as I look out upon this vast army of mothers and fathers, soldiering through the disasters and disappointments of midlife with admirable aplomb. We’ll tolerate the friendly-fire of our flash-happy friends, and the deafening shrieks of the newborns in our midst; but we shoot all deserters, who leave early, with deadly looks. Because we love our children. And they were good tonight. This, thought I, is what the Olympians must have felt like when they looked down upon the children of men; this, thought I, is what God must have felt like when He parted the heavens and declared: “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

—John Faithful Hamer, The Goldfish (2016)

About John Faithful Hamer

John Faithful Hamer is a college professor who still can't swim, drive, or pay his bills on time. His sense of direction is notoriously unreliable, yet he'd love to tell you where to go. His lack of practical skills is astounding, and his inability to fix things is renowned, yet he'd love to tell you what to do. His mismanagement of time is legendary, as is his inability to remember appointments, yet he fancies himself a philosopher and would love to tell you how to live. He wouldn't survive in a state of nature, of that we can be sure; but he's doing quite well in the big city, which has always been a refuge for the ridiculous, a haven for the helpless, and a friend to the frivolous.

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