Mitch and Jonas

What do I love about sports? It’s the individuals who play them. What do I love about those men and women? What’s so special about them?

There’s the incredible artistry of brilliant players. I’m in wonder when Mitch Marner floats down the ice for the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team, twisting and turning and slipping a soft pass to a teammate. But there’s far more. I want my heroes to be full human beings, people who see beyond winning and losing, beyond personal glory … to a life of service. Mitch knows his fame is a tool, and he uses it to impact the lives of children, especially six-year-old Hayden Foulon. She’s in the middle of leukemia, and Mitch is with her. “His impact reaches all the way down to her heart, a beacon of hope in a young life that has experienced far too much pain.”

Mitch isn’t the only athlete who has seeped his way into the smiles of Toronto fans. Up until a few days ago, Jonas Valanciunas played centre for the Toronto Raptors basketball team. Then he was traded to Memphis. Whether or not it’s a good move on the court, it’s hard for the fans, including the journalists who cover the team.

(Steve Simmons)

You get lucky once in a while in this business. You get to cover someone like Valanciunas. Someone real. Someone unpretentious. Someone with great pride, little ego and a sense of humour. It was our pleasure.

(Eric Koreen)

[Years ago, a rookie reporter was interviewing a rookie basketball player, a fellow who was learning English]

In hindsight, though, the only moment that mattered was that momentarily frightened look he gave when he saw my notebook. It was a clear moment of humanity. Journalists live for those. More than really explaining the cap mechanics of a trade, more than speaking truth to power in a thundering column, more than getting a scoop, we want to capture those moments.

…..

Of all the players I’ve covered, Valanciunas is right near the top on the list of those who were transparent about their emotions and humanity.

“He gave me the start. He gave me that boost,” Valanciunas told me in October about his relationship with former coach Dwane Casey, who was part of the reason Valanciunas’ goals and role were always being re-defined. “He gave me something that let me still be here. If I’d started with a different coach, maybe I’d be out of the league or playing in Europe or being the third big somewhere. He gave me something that kept me here. He had that trust in me. I can only say good things about that. There was so much talk: minutes, touches, likes, dislikes. Over those six years, he had some feelings, I had some feelings. But the end of the story, I can just say thank you to him because he gave me a big boost, big confidence. He had big trust in me.”

…..

One moment stands out the most. Last year, veteran Toronto Star beat writer Doug Smith was hospitalized shortly before the playoffs started. Doug is always around the team, and it is profoundly strange when he is not. I was walking away from the court before Game 6 of the Raptors-Wizards series began, through a tunnel toward the visitors locker room at the Capitol One Arena. Valanciunas had just finished his warmup, and was headed in the same direction. He put his massive left arm around me, and inquired about my colleague. I told him what I knew, and he expressed hope that Doug could return before the playoff run was over.

“That’s what matters,” Valanciunas said of Doug’s health. “Not all this stuff.”

(The man and woman on the street)

The worst part of being a fan is seeing the guys we grow to love and see as family get traded.

You made us cry, man.

If you’ve ever met him, the first thought that pops into one’s head is “What a nice man.” An absolute natural in making people smile. There’s good things ahead in life for Jonas Valanciunas.

***

Waydago, Jonas
Waydago, Mitch
You done good

Presence in Absence

Objects contain absent people

Julian Barnes

I was watching a TV show last night about the wonders of New Zealand and its people. The host was very engaging. He had a syrupy voice that almost hypnotized me at times. At one point, I was nodding off when he spoke the words above. Huh? What did he say about objects? And what does it mean?

The day after, it’s clear. Dear human beings remain in place after they move on in life or in death. They continue to reside in precious objects. Such as …

1. I wrote a book about my loved one, called Jodiette: My Lovely Wife. About 1200 copies are spread around Canada and beyond. One sits on Anne and Ihor’s coffee table here in Toronto. Jody radiates from the pages.

2. The totem poles of Haida Gwaii, a huge island off the mainland of British Columbia, stand guard. Twenty-six of them tilt in the abandoned village of Ninstints. Hundreds of years of the Haida people remain in the wood.

3. I’m sitting in the waiting room of a walk-in clinic on Weston Road. Six others wait with me. The chair beside is empty and I think of the thousands of sick people who have put their rear end down in that spot. May they all have found health.

4. I wandered through the 911 Museum in New York City last week. I came upon a piece of paper, charred at the edges. It was a report about some project that a company was initiating. I imagined some young account executive holding this sheet as he or she spoke to colleagues and bosses. The person was still there in the paragraphs.

5. Value Village is a thrift store in London, featuring lots of quality used clothing. I go to Wellington Fitness next door and often see crowds of folks coming and going with their treasures. I think of the folks wearing other folks’ clothing and wonder if the energy of the previous owner shines through to the new one.

6. I bought a wooden mask in Toubacouta, Senegal in January. The smile is big and the eyes are wide. The fellow offering it said that his great-great-great? grandfather carved it over a hundred years ago. That man’s hands are still in the crevices of the face, in the high cheek bones, in the joy.

7. I’ve been privileged to see many bears in the Canadian Rockies, even the occasional grizzly. And yet most times on the alpine trails there was no sign of the majestic animals. But I would look to the way ahead and realize that the bears were here – I just couldn’t see them. I would sense their footfalls on the dirt and exposed rock.

8. At home I have a ticket stub for a Bruce Springsteen concert in Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium, around 1980. What lives on in that little slip of stuff is … me. A younger version. Dancing in his seat. In love with life, just not as deeply as now.

9. I’m still in the waiting room, and a huge window allows me to look across the street to a brick building. Its side is covered with a mural, depicting Weston Road as it once was. A streetcar rumbles down the street. A two-storey brick building is topped with a bell tower. Mother and daughter are strolling on the porch of what might be a general store. The people are created in paint but they stand in for real folks who walked this street decades ago. And the artist’s love lingers on the wall.

***

Ghosts from the past
Real in the present
Leaning into the future

Beyond the Brain

The first thing to know is that I’m sick right now. Dizzy, coughing, nausea coming and going. Is it wise for me to hunker down, to feel the energy of healing coming into me, to be alone, to let go of communicating with the world? Or … should I put myself out there, most immediately in writing this blog post? Well, you see the results in front of your eyes.

The thoughts in my head are jambling away, about how I should be in bed with covers tucked under my chin. Maybe they’re right. But I feel something pulling me forward into contact with the human race … and so I tap. I’m not seeking sympathy or praise or assistance. I just want to communicate, in hopes that my struggle of the moment will speak to some of you. To what extent do we need to be stopped by illness? I don’t want to be stupid about this and ignore my body’s needs but there’s a whole wide world out there to give to that isn’t going away just because I’m not feeling well.

***

I left home yesterday in Scarlet for the trip to Toronto. In the pocket of my coat, lovingly cradled, was a ticket for a Friday evening concert. I was going to sit right in the middle of the front row to hear the Royal Conservatory Orchestra in Koerner Hall. It’s such a beautiful room, hosting 1100 guests, under a stunning sculpture hanging from the ceiling. It looks like the flow of a violin up there, looking down, blessing us. I’ll be so close that the sweat on brows will fly through the air as the bodies move to the music.

The drive to Toronto was slow and uneventful. I knew that freezing rain was closing in on us from behind but I had left just early enough to escape the slip-slidin’-away.

Anne, my B&B hostess, told me on arrival that I was just in time to partake of the free Thursday night dinner at the church a block away. Yay! “Murray”, a young Ministry student, welcomed me with song and guitar, and then 1-1. He actually remembered me from about eight weeks ago when I first enjoyed the companionship of the church members and guests.

I sat and smiled with a woman named “Brenda”, who grew up in Eritrea in Africa and now enjoys Toronto. We laughed a lot.

It was time to leave. I put on my coat and walked over to say goodbye to Murray, who was still eating.

“Are you going to another concert this trip?”

[Wow. How does he remember this stuff?]

“Yes. Tomorrow night I’m going to listen to an orchestra at the Royal Conservatory of Music on Bloor Street.”

[I pull out the ticket and glance at the young woman sitting across from Murray. She’s looking at me … and beaming.]

***

Okay, Bruce. what exactly happened next? Something was going on that didn’t involve your brain. There was no debating, no list of pros and cons. There merely was a hand moving.

***

I placed the ticket in front of her. “For you.”

Joy exploded from her eyes. She works at a grocery store and got on her phone, trying to find a friend to switch shifts with her. Four calls later … Bingo!

“You have two tickets, right?”

“No, just one.”

“Oh, so you can’t make it.”

[Silence. Looking into each other’s eyes.]

“I’m giving it to you.”

[Silence. Looking into each other’s eyes.]

“Oh my God. Thank you. This is the best birthday present ever.”

***

I’m no better and no worse than anyone else
No calculation moved my hand
So who did?

Where is Home for Me?

There was a time when playing golf simulations
on my laptop was supremely important

There was a time when me living in Vancouver
was the only thing that got my juices going

There was a time when I knew I would be an accountant …
and the riches would flow accordingly

Where did those people go? They are old versions of me, and I need to honour them as I say goodbye. Which leaves me with “Who is Bruce right now?” And who should I consult to figure that out?

These days, I gauge my Bruceness by seeing what “sings” to me. If I don’t feel my heart flutter, then I sweep the topic to the periphery of my life.

Just now, in the Landon Branch of the London Public Library, I picked up today’s issue of The Toronto Star, a well-respected newspaper. Perhaps in there I’ll find headlines (or commercials) that speak to me. Let’s see:

I’ll add a ♡ for “yes” and a ■ for “no”.

Province looks at ways to speed evictions ■

Beware health care “super-agencies”, experts say ■

No host for Oscars … but show will go on ■

Trump gives insult-free speech ■

OPP mulls probe into alleged bill leak ■

Hockey parents’ “brawl” just words ■

Toronto home prices likely to rise 4 per cent this year ■

How much is your diamond worth? ■

If they say it, they should be held accountable

North Pole isn’t where it’s supposed to be ■

Apartment fire kills 10 in Paris ■

Pope publicly acknowledges clergy’s sexual abuse of nuns

Election interference is top of mind for Canada ■

One day only! Midnight sale! ■

Costa Rican ex-president accused of assault ■

She speaks for the trees

One of top 3 best goal-scorers on Earth ■

Cannabis use another hot topic

Ottawa wrong to support opposition in Venezuela ■

Get your bonus upgrade ■

***

What’s true is that I don’t care about most of the stuff that shows up in the news. I do care about keeping your word, reversing injustices, and having loving relationships. But mass media isn’t looking like a wise place to find many life-affirming articles.

So stop reading the newspaper, Bruce
Turn off CNN
Go elsewhere for wisdom and love
Go home

Your health depends on it

Spondic Love

 

I was on an internet call tonight with members of the Evolutionary Collective Global community.  I revelled in the experience of beaming love at a partner and then receiving it in return.  The topic for the evening was spondic love.

Beatrice Bruteau coined this term.  It’s not about what typically suffices for love in our society, where often it’s “I’ll be tender to you if you keep doing what I want you to do.”  It’s not about a couple turning inward in their devotion, shutting off the world.  It’s not about picking and choosing whom you love.  Here are some quotes from smart people to help us all see what spondic love actually is:

(Ilio Delio)

Bruteau indicates that a “person” is not an individual being.  Rather, a “person” is the unbounded activity of freely projecting energies, or what she calls “spondic” energy, a Greek word that means “libation” [pouring into].  Spondic energy does not originate out of thought or will.  It is not the act of an individual.  Rather, it comes from a deep, transcendent center, the still point where we are being held by Omega [“a final point of divine unification”].  It originates spontaneously, arising only from itself.  It is always free.  A “person” is one who acts out of a spondic, self-giving center.  Anything other than a spontaneous energy center of relatedness is not fully reflective of a person … Bruteau indicates that only “persons” can enter into communion consciousness.  “Individuals” remain external to one another.

(Patricia Albere)

Spondic love is the experience of “I am.  May you be.”  In the way we practice, there’s this experience of love, and when you love someone it comes from some place that’s deeper than your personality loving them.  There’s almost this cosmic energy that wants to just go “Ha!  I want you to have everything.  You know … like I love you.  I love you!”  You just want to imbue them with everything.  We feel that for our children.  Sometimes our heart bursts open into this kind of empowerment that is deeper than just human love.

You can feel it when you’re on the other end of spondic love.  It is palpable.  You actually feel like part of your life just got made because this person loves you from a place where they’re in and for you in a way that’s real.  This mutual spondic love is part of the consciousness that we’re working with, and the consciousness that I think is next.  I think that the next place of innovation will be that kind of love – instead of being separate, instead of not being even neutral towards each other and just surviving on our own, or competing or actively using each other and stomping on each other.

This spondic quality of love and connectivity will be the foundation for a ridiculous amount of miracles, innovation, creativity, coming together, working together, doing things that can’t be done, et cetera, et cetera, that’s going to be the next explosion of where evolution is going to be working.

(Brian Wilcox)

Life becomes libation, libation-ing.  Intimacy with Spirit, being one with True Self, from which flows this spondicity, flows into intimacy with the other.  To have this intimacy, we do not have to like the person, as defined by “personality”.  We do not even have to share a physical space with him or her … This libational kindness is non-local.  This loving can reach into the past, into the present, or into the future.  This love is boundless.

***

I asked myself tonight what my life would be like if I projected spondic love to people who come my way?  If such love was present in my thoughts for most of the day?  If it didn’t matter at all whether the love was returned?

Wouldn’t that be a recipe for freedom?

Floor Hockey

For the past decade or two, I haven’t been what you’d call a careful person.  I’m pretty spontaneous, and no doubt some of the silly things that come out of my mouth have some folks questioning my sanity.

And I want to do things.  Things that involve spurts of energy, throwing my arms into the air, singing when I feel like it.  I’ve loved dancing for many years.  Jody used to enjoy staring at folks who were watching me dance.  She loved seeing their fascination with my erratic use of four limbs – not exactly the fox trot, not exactly jiving, not exactly … anything.

I hurt my knee on Canada Day last year, slipping on some slopey grass.  It still hasn’t healed fully.  I’ve wanted to get an MRI to see what’s going on, but my doctor at the Fowler-Kennedy Clinic offered another perspective.  “You have arthritis in both knees.  They’re degenerating some.  The grass was just the moment that caused you to pay attention to something that previously you couldn’t see.”  Oh.  So I’m doing these eight exercises, not to end a pain that came on suddenly but to strengthen knees enough so that I can continue doing the “Activities of Daily Living”.

And what exactly are these ADL’s?  I guess that’s up to me to decide.  Walking, climbing stairs, bending over to pick up the newspaper – these are good things.  But I want more.  I want to play floor hockey with the kids at school!  Doctor J warned me about the dangers of sudden sideways movements of that joint of mine, but saw floor hockey in my future.  That was three weeks ago.  Today I decided the future is now.

A friend and colleague presented me with a blue t-shirt this morning.  Written across the logo of the Toronto Maple Leafs was the name of the school.  On the the back was “Brucio”.  That’s me!  At noon, the teachers’ team was to bang sticks with an ace kids’ squad from Grades 5 and 6.  The winner would go to the finals on Thursday.

So, Bruce … yes or no?  I said yes, after consulting with my right knee.  It smiled up at me.  The kids are fast and aggressive.  I’m slow and aggressive.  I got out there and did battle, noticing that when the puck did end up on my stick, I had precious little time to do anything valuable with it.  Oh well.  I played some so-so defense and got a few good passes off to my teammates.  The knee twinged here and hurt there but I consistently remained vertical.  I even got a zippy shot on net.  The Grade 6 girl playing goal had to make the best stop in the history of the western world to deny me.  Or … the puck headed right for her stomach.

I picked an opponent to check and stuck with him like glue, occasionally.  More often, he was long gone down the gym floor while I breathed behind.  Happily though, I wasn’t the token adult.  I played hard.  I wasn’t out of place.  I contributed to our stellar 1-1 tie with the kids.  And we do it all over again on Thursday.

Am I crazy?  Am I risking my future ability to walk by engaging in these hockey shenanigans?  Is this a late life crisis?  Naw.  None of the above.  I’ll keep doing my physio.  I’ll do my yoga.  I’ll be on the elliptical.  And I will have fun with those kids.  They deserve me and I deserve them.  And watch out Miss Goalie.  I see a wrist shot to the top corner in your future.

 

New York City

I’m back from nine days there and the feeling is so strong: I love the place. I think about it right now and start smiling. Woh. This is strange. I’ve been to other amazing cities over the years, such as San Francisco and Toronto, but none of them have forced my eyes open wide. Not even Vancouver, where the mountains meet the sea. I lived there for two years but it didn’t leave me shaking my head. But New York does.

So many people rushing down the street, ignoring red lights and “Don’t Walk” signals. Homemade signs next to giant neon. Impatient drivers honking at trespassers every minute or two. The wail of sirens flying to the next emergency. Subway trains available 24/7, and absolutely packed at rush hour. Musicians moving and grooving in the tunnels as five million people a day stream past. Impossibly tall buildings smushed up against each other, some built a hundred years ago. Canyons of wind. Seemingly a pub on every corner. The best bagels I’ve ever tasted. Endlessly helpful people for the Canadian who’s trying to find his bearings. Times Square! Broadway!

I’m a meditator. I like quiet. So what’s going on? How can this hustle and bustle feel like home? How come I slept through the noises of the night? Where, oh where, is this head of mine?

The rational mind can’t figure this out. And that’s fine. I’ll just let the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park beckon me back to the city … sometime soon. Next time I’ll come with a companion and we’ll trip the light fantastic. New York deserves all of our joie de vivre. I’m up for it.

Day Nine: Homeward

What I hadn’t yet experienced was a real New York bagel.  One local guy suggested Tompkins Square Bagels, about six blocks from my room.  So I went, on my last morning.  There were laughing guys behind the counter, smiling patrons in front of it.  Just a wee place but it felt like I was entering the hall of gastronomic fame.

Sourdough looked good and so did blueberry cream cheese.  I guarantee you that the taste was far better.  How can bagels be this soft and yummy?  I sat at my little table, watching people and savouring my breakie.  Even the coffee was good.

I thought ahead to the Newark Liberty International Airport, waiting for my flight to be called, hungry.  How about a bagel to go?  In an instant the choice was clear … pumpernickel with bacon cream cheese.  Decadence of the delayed gratification genre.

Back on the street, I talked to myself.  “You’re tired.  You have this big suitcase.  Subway stations don’t have elevators from the surface to the bowels > > > Get a cab!”  My adventurous spirit was fading away as I raised my arm, beckoning to a whizzing yellow object passing by on the opposite side of the street.  “He’ll turn around for me.”  He didn’t.  So I waited for maybe ten minutes, arm at the ready.  No cabs.

I glanced over to the familiar bus stop and my insides shifted.  “No cab indeed.”  Three minutes later, I was hauling my local world onto the public beast.  “One more time … I can do this.  It’ll just take a transfer or two.”  Later, as I soared through the air en route to Toronto, I added up the vehicles of my day – it came to eleven.  M14A bus > 4 subway > 7 subway > 2 subway > New Jersey Transit train to the Newark Airport > Skytrain to Terminal B > Porter Flight PD 130 to Toronto > Billy Bishop Airport shuttle bus to Union Station > UP Express to Pearson Airport > Skyway Park shuttle van to Scarlet > two hour drive home.  Piece of cake.  I handled the luggaged stairs, I found elevators, I balanced on escalators, I had fun.  Dear taxi, you’re just not needed today.

Even though I was in airplane mode above New York State, I could still compose a blog post about Thursday.  I wrote and wrote about the 911 Museum.  It was difficult writing, since my heart had entered my fingers.  Upon arrival in Toronto, I sat in the airport lounge, did some editing, and prepared to click “Post”.  Click.  Then I copied my message to Facebook.  I also use that platform to post some photos.  I came to the one which showed Bruce’s name, one of the 911 victims, carved into a long metal plate.  I looked more closely.  Above “Bruce Douglas Boehm” was another, and my breath ceased.  It was “Brooke Alexandra Jackman”, the woman whose “missing” poster I had spied the day before, the woman whom I had adopted in love.  The metal plates encircled the two reflecting pools which were the locations of the twin towers.  The number of names inscribed was 2977.  And still, it was Bruce and Brooke.

Love lives

Day Eight: The 911 Museum

I knew I wanted to go there, to let the sorrow come at the loss of so many human lives. Upon climbing the subway stairs, I saw the tips of a huge silver wing past the buildings ahead. A block later, the whole expanse spread itself before me. The Oculus. Hearts took flight, heads were lifted again after the trauma of 2001.

Now I was approaching a large square reflecting pool, the exact footprint of one of the twin towers. The water flowed into a central cavity. Angled all around the edge was metal plate, on which were inscribed the names of the nearly 3000 victims. Every so often, a yellow rose grew from a name, noting a birthday. I came upon a fellow whose name was Bruce. It could have been me.

Inside the museum stood a cross of girders – a huge rust red symbol of love and hope. Other artifacts, large and small, took their place in history. Papers burned at the edges, eyeglasses beside a toasted case, a crushed fire truck. And the photos, screaming of human anguish. The videos of impact and devastation.

Down a ramp, rectangular images were projected on a wall. They would slowly appear, linger for awhile, and then fade away. These were posters pleading for the recovery of loved ones – friends and family who also faded away, to reappear forever in the hearts of others. One scrawl under a name said it all: “Have you seen my daddy?”

I took a photo, and then spent minutes studying it. Right at the bottom was the smile of Brooke Jackman, a young woman leaning into a delightful life. I decided to stare at the wall until she returned. It probably took twenty minutes … and there she was, for a few seconds.

I looked for Brooke in the Memoriam room. On the walls were colour photos of all who died on 911. A screen allowed me to input her name. Photos of white dresses, beaming parents, friends at a party. An audio clip from mom sharing Brooke’s love of books, even word of a phone call home from a crossing guard, warning that the young girl was crossing a busy street while reading. And then a wavering dad … saying how Brooke always included everyone. Oh my. Real live human beings.

In an alcove, a sign said “Advisory”, warning of disturbing content. And it was. Photos of people jumping from the burning and smoking. Plus a few quotations. To paraphrase one: “She was dressed in a business suit, her hair awry. She smoothed out her skirt (such an innocent gesture) … and fell.”

Another display tucked in a corner told of Flight 93, and the passengers who overwhelmed the hijackers, causing the plane to land in a Pennsylvania field, rather than in the hallways of the White House. Several passengers reached loved ones by cell phone. I heard the spirit of an overcome woman’s words to her husband:

I pray that I will see your lovely face again

I love you

Goodbye

***

Who amongst us would be moved by this place
and the events it describes?

Every single one

Day Seven: Cold … Hot … Cold

Late afternoon, I was walking towards Times Square when the world turned. A blast of cold air fell upon us (probably down from some strange place like Canada!). I was ready – toque, hood over toque, Arctic mitts, three coats including a down jobbie. A few folks semi-ran by me with nothing on their noggins, and their necks open to the blast. How can you do that and stay alive? Most people, though, were reasonably bundled up like me.

I’ve made it a spiritual practice to cross at an intersection only when I have the walk light. It gets my ego out of the way … no pushing forward, just letting go. New Yorkers feel otherwise. Red or green – if there’s no cars coming, it’s a go. Waiting as the stream of humanity flows by is good for me, but I can feel my heartrate surging, especially as the cold invades my eyes.

The snow started. In my mind, that’s supposed to mean it’s warming up, but not so yesterday. A whole bunch of white folks (irrespective of their skin colour) turned it up a notch. I had a bit of face skin open to the elements but that was it. There began a desperation and I started searching for an inviting door. What seemed like “finally” showed up, and just like that I was perched at the bar of an Irish pub. Thank God.

Then there was Bryan Cranston. He’s the star of Network, a Broadway play at the Belasco Theatre, and I got to go. Bryan played Howard Beale, a TV news anchor who’s losing it. The world has gone to **** and he’s “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore”. The guy’s unravelling into madness and we’re right there with him, yelling from the audience. Corruption, sleasiness, violence … it’s all smashing Howard in the face. A Type-A network executive sees only ratings before her eyes and wants the man to implode on the 6 o’clock news. He’s happy to oblige.

The intensity was astonishing. I really wasn’t pissed off at the powers-that-be in the world but nevertheless I was swept up in the dizziness of it all.

At the end, there were video snips of a series of US presidents taking the oath of office – all the way back to Gerald Ford, I think. The same words but such different souls. When George W. Bush was onscreen, we were silent. I knew who was coming next, and when Barack’s gentle face appeared, we the people cheered. I trust him so.

We filed out into the night, scarves and gloves firmly in place, knowing that we had been in the presence of greatness. The frigid evening came calling and I rushed to the subway. At the other end, I prayed for a quick M14A bus. Alas, no. Three M14D ones came by as my body stiffened. “Not fair”, I wailed. But still a little smile emerged. “Don’t worry, Bruce. You’ll survive nicely.” And I did. A half hour later, the covers caressed me as I pulled them up to my chin.