The Way of the Zern
by L.L. Zern
It's who we are. It's what we stare at in the middle of the night. It's a bug zapper.
When we were young and newly hatched—also young and in love—my husband and I lived with our four young children on the Space Coast of Florida. The massive propulsion of rocket and shuttle launches from Cape Kennedy often rocked the windows and doors of our little love cottage. We were always properly respectful and impressed by the reach of mankind’s achievements.
It was a point of pride to stop whatever we were doing (dishes, dinner, dancing, sleeping, fist fighting, etc.) to watch the eastern horizon—hands on hearts, tears in eyes—as the United States of America raced into the frontier of space.
One deep, dark morning (about 2:00 am) I shook my husband awake to watch yet another triumph of human advancement.
“Get up,” I mumbled to Sherwood, “the shuttle’s going up. We gotta’ watch.”
Sherwood moaned, “The garbage is out all ready. Let me die.” He did not open his eyes.
“Come on. We should watch. Night launches are amazing.”
He dragged himself upright and clung to the window ledge behind our bed. We knelt, with our chins braced on the ledge, our bleary eyes fixed on a blazing light in the eastern sky. We watched. The light did not appear to move. We stared some more. The light remain fixed. We struggled to focus. The light blazed away.
We waited for the light to fade into the blackness of space. It did not. We watched and watched and watched. The light stubbornly refused to move.
At last, collapsing back into my pillow I said, “Honey, go back to sleep.”
Sounding confused, miffed, and a little whiney Sherwood asked, “Why?”
“Because for the last eight to ten minutes we’ve been staring at our next door neighbor’s bug zapper.”
He went back to sleep. And I lived to worship at the altar of space exploration another day.
This story pretty much sums up who we are, and how we got this way—excessive staring at bug zappers. And this is my blog, a space-age way of recording one’s thoughts, ideas, embarrassments, and foibles for the entire known world. Once upon a time, I would have made this record on papyrus, rolled it up, stuffed it into a ceramic jar, and asked to have the whole thing buried with me in my sarcophagus. I still might.
Disclaimer: Some of the stuff you will read here is true. Some of it is not. Some of it is the result of wishful thinking. Some of it is the result of too much thinking, and some of it is the result of too little thinking. But all of it will be written with joy and laughter, because the alternative is despair and weeping, and isn’t there more than enough of that stuff out there?
Thank you for your support,
Linda (Zippity the Zapped) Zern