I can’t sleep. I am sixteen hundred miles from home (Alabama), and my grandmother isn’t doing well. I’m not mentally prepared for her to leave this earth. I’m having a hard time…
She and I are very close. If you could give me some comforting words, I would really appreciate it.
I wish I had words, but I don’t. Because nothing I could say would make things any better.
Sure, I could say, “You’re stronger than you think,” or something. But why should you believe a guy like me? I’m just an average Joe with crummy car insurance.
I DO have something special. And before I tell you what it is, you have to promise you won’t laugh.
No. I mean really promise.
I have a magic lamp.
Now, hold on. Before you shut off your phone, I’m serious. I bought a brass lamp at a flea market in New Orleans. When I saw it, I had to have it. It cost thirty-nine bucks—you can’t put a price tag on genies.
Though, I haven’t used it yet. In fact, until just now I’d forgotten all about it. The thing has been in my garage.
Tonight, I’m going make a wish.
I know exactly what I’ll wish. I’m going to wish for everything go back to normal for you.
If you ask me—which you didn’t—there is nothing better than normalcy. Life has a way of screwing up normal, and it leaving everything abnormal and funky.
So if this magic lamp is the real deal, you and your granny are going to get plenty of normalcy back.
Also, I’m going to wish for the University of Alabama to win the Orange Bowl on my birthday, but whatever.
Growing up, my life was anything but normal. I had a terse childhood. The details don’t matter. Our days were dark, money was tough to come by. Every day featured a new crisis around every corner. Everything was sad.
And to make things worse, the University of Alabama was being coached by Bill Curry, followed by Gene Stallings. These were trying times.
I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that all I wanted was a normal day. Just one.
My perfect normal day might’ve gone like this:
Breakfast—three eggs over medium, grits with enough butter to short circuit U.S. congress, toast. A good book.
Lunch—turkey sandwich, extra mayo, add pickles and tomatoes. A few phone calls from friends. More reading. A little bit of activity outside, but not too much—we don’t want to break a sweat. Midday nap.
A burger for supper—extra cheese. Then, watching the tube, sitting beside a dog I love. And that’s a wrap. Bedtime for Buddy Boy.
God, if only I could’ve had one of those days as a kid I’d be a well-adjusted human. Instead, I grew up to be the kind of guy who goes into flea markets and pays obscene prices for things like past issues of MAD Magazine.
The thing is, normal days don’t seem to exist in reality. In fact, I don’t think life ever “does” anything ordinary.
So I know life is anything but normal for you right now. I know it’s painful. And sad. And indifferent. And just when things seem to be going okay, life kicks you in the ribs and bills your insurance for the damage.
Therefore, I wish for things to go back to how they were. Even if only for a few days.
I wish for you to remember good memories of your grandmother. To relive each moment on her porch, shelling peas, or riding shotgun with her. And the times when she helped you understand things about friends, love, or romance. The times you fell asleep beside her.
Speaking of sleep, I’m wishing for you to sleep. I hope you wake up feeling normal, and that your heart will beat in a normal rhythm. And I’m wishing this with all my heart.
I am sorry I couldn’t write something better for you. God knows, you deserve more profound words.
But, right now I am going into my garage. I don’t know if this lamp business will actually work, but I’m going to try just the same. I’m going to close my eyes and wish the best for you.
If for some reason it doesn’t help, maybe this will:
You are stronger than you think.