First published in the April 28 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.
I get a little depressed just after Easter — happens every year. “Jesus is risen!” as they say in church, and I’m still stuck down here with a hundred gophers, in the little house that used to be a Wienerschnitzel (when it rains, you can still smell the chili fries).
About my yard: You know what a nice bowl of guac looks like after a bunch of teenagers are done with it? That’s my front yard — ravaged … excavated … with little flecks of broken chips.
Speaking of broken, I was walking across a busy intersection with my dog White Fang the other morning, just trying to survive the experience. In L.A., they drive cars like loaded guns, especially these alpha-commuters who like to get to their desks by 6:30.
Anyway, White Fang and I make it safely across, stutter-stepping for the cars that don’t see us as they roar by, shaving our shoes.
As I explain to White Fang, you have to cut these drivers some slack. They are probably just on their phones with some important call: “SO WE’RE PLAYING BEER PONG AND THIS DRUNK DUDE COMES UP TO ME…”
I look at White Fang: “The problems of two little pedestrians like us don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.”
We make our way to the closest church, where we stop to say a quick prayer. I mean, we didn’t go in or anything, we just sat out on the bench in front and prayed that my cold would go away by this weekend, which is my grandbaby’s very first birthday.
Catty Cakes probably won’t remember whether I’m there or not. Still, I’d like to go. I suspect they’ll be serving cupcakes with a little too much frosting, which is how the lovely and patient older daughter serves everything — with a little too much.
“Dear Lord, please FedEx me some antibiotics. And could you renew my Esquire subscription? Oh, and about the Chicago Bears …”
I suppose I should go see my internist, Dr. Steve. He’s less busy than God, and he takes any form of insurance. Last time, he took my AAA card.
To be honest, I’ve lost a little confidence in Dr. Steve. I had drinks with him last week, and he should have sensed I was sick. Already, my voice was a little husky, far too deep and resonant. Any sort of doctor would’ve diagnosed some sort of bronchial crud, as well as my post-Easter disenchantment.
“When’s my resurrection?” I whined at one point.
Dr. Steve didn’t even hear. He was more concerned with the fortune cookie that came with the check. “They’re not really fortunes anymore,” he noted. “They’re affirmations.
“Stuff like, ‘You are a good person,’” he explained.
Then he opened his cookie; it was empty — no fortune, no affirmation, no nothin’.
“I wouldn’t read too much into that,” I told him.
My other doctor is Dogpark Gary, who actually offers some pretty solid medical advice. When he heard my voice, deep and rich, Dogpark Gary advised me to see a doctor as soon as possible.
“You’re a very social person,” Dogpark Gary explained. “You meet a lot of people, and you don’t always wash your hands. In fact, you never do.”
My other doctor is this New Girl I’m seeing (Dr. Suzanne), who asked me to hang a shelf, a mirror and a painting in her home on Sunday, even though she knew I was obviously a little under the weather.
“You don’t have to do anything,” she insisted, but I’m the kind of guy who needs stuff to do, otherwise I’ll just sit around missing Easter and worrying about the Chicago Bears.
“Whatever,” she said, because Brian, Brooke and her brother were coming for dinner and she was a bit behind.
So, I hung the stuff she wanted. I’m a savant at hanging stuff. I use a portable drill and plastic anchors where others would just hammer in some silky little nails.
Basically, I over build, which you don’t see much in America anymore — real craftsmen who care.
Listen, if you ever need anything hung, give me a holler. I charge $800 an hour, which is very reasonable these days (plus beer, plus barbecue).
But I guarantee I will hang stuff super straight. Your house may be crooked but your paintings will be straight, your TV will be straight, and all your mirrors.
“That picture doesn’t look straight,” Suzanne said when I was done.
“That’s this house,” I say. “It’s really the best I can do.”
Email the columnist at Letters@ChrisErskineLA.com. For books, past columns, or to sign up for his free newsletter, please go to ChrisErskineLA.com