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Dean Koontz, Marry Poppins, and My Strange Fear

My life is strange.  Not strange like in a Dean Koontz book where a man and a woman team up to fight some bizarre techno-creature that’s about to hit civilization like a Japanese monster.  Usually when that happens in his books it’s because post-modernist progressives have run amok in government or are engaged in some well-financed secret scheme to bring their darkest utopian designs to fruition.

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No.  My life’s not strange like that.

Not at all.

Though I wish it was.

His heroic characters are usually exemplars of human decency.  There are times in my life when I haven’t been.  They constantly choose to do the right thing in a modern world in perpetual moral disarray—one seducing us to do what is easy over what is right or good, to flee from responsibility for instant gratification.

I went for the gratification.

In Koontz’s books the characters have endearingly memorable quirks and engage in a constant back and forth barrage of witty banter.  Best of all, more often than not, there are golden retrievers in his books.

I don’t have a golden retriever.  The closet thing I have is a cat, and much as I hate to say it, when some creature slithers out of the darkness into the house to eat me, my cat’s going to show it where the silverware is kept.

That’s why I’m thinking about switching to plastic forks and knives, or maybe even economizing and just doing sporks. The other day when a neighbor unexpectedly rang the doorbell at midnight because he needed a set of jumper cables, the cat shot off into  bedroom closet faster than Adam Lambert came out of the closet.

By the way, thanks a lot Patches, you’re a real stand up pet you stupid fur ball.

Thankfully there are no manmade monstrosities stalking me either.  If there were, I might beat my cat into the bedroom closet and call the SWAT team, or in the least, Terminix to take care of the threat.

Or maybe not.

I used to sell pest control and it can be pretty damn expensive.  Especially if the guy from Terminix tries to get me to buy protection against things I don’t really need, like termites.

I’ll get an aardvark for that.

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I really do whish I could be more like one of Koontz’s characters.  Like Odd Thomas.  He’s an awesome guy.  Think Peter Parker played by Toby McGuire, but even snarkier.  By the way, if you haven’t read the series about him, stop what you’re doing, even if it’s driving.  You shouldn’t be reading this behind the wheel, anyway.  Go as quickly as you can to Barnes and Noble or Amazon and buy the books.

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Oddie is not your typical hero.  He’s an out of work fry cook who finds himself in the wrong place at the right time to do some really good deeds.  He’s average.  An Everyman responding to extraordinary events with ordinary decency, which means that all too often, he is an out of the ordinary guy.

And that’s a sad commentary on the world we live in.

The one thing my life does have in common with a Dean Koontz novel is the romantic and amazingly wonderful way it unfolded this year.  After torpedoing my first marriage and causing an immense amount of pain to a number of people, I never believed I could have been fortunate enough to meet my future wife, Carrie.  Nor did I believe that I would know . . . just know after only 48 hours that I was destined to marry her.

Yet here I am.  Totally in love and living with someone who I am dead certain I am not good enough for.  It’s a miracle that she loves me.  But here’s the problem.  You’d think I would be extremely happy that I have blundered into finding a girl like that in my life.  I actually am.  Honest to God.  But how many people find someone who has a smile that can shine bright enough to cause retinal injury, is incredibly patient, gentle, smart, and always warmly encouraging.

Considering my life, that amounts to a freaking miracle.

I’ve never met anyone like her before.  And that’s when I began to realize either God made a mistake, or Carrie is some on some kind of special mission.  I’d say she’s like a real life Marry Poppins, but I don’t think Marry Poppins would ever have had sex with me and Carrie is willing to do things I’m not totally sure I’m comfortable discussing in public.

Thing is, when you realize that you have a truly genuine girl in your life, the kind of person the universe only spins out rarely, It dawns on you that you don’t deserve what you’ve got.  Then you start expecting that once things are going really well, the umbrella pops out.

I’m honestly afraid Carrie’s going to float away one day.  The secret, I guess, is not to be too good.  Mary Poppins always stayed around until everyone became better than they were before she arrived.  Maybe I’ll take up a vice, like running a drug ring or lighting paper bags filled with dog doo-doo on preachers’ front porches . . . or something like that.

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And look at what happened to all the truly amazing people that have walked this earth.  Socrates?  He became the first person to join the Hemlock Society.  Gandhi?  He got shot before he ever had a chance to put on any weight.  And Dean Koontz’s own Odd Thomas lost his girlfriend to a shooting spree by a very bad bunch of people.

Maybe I’m weird, but I was reflecting the other day how strange it was to find the girl of my dreams and suddenly start going into conniptions over it.  I do hope to the core of my being that God grants undeserved graces without cruelly pulling them away just as you start trying to live up to them.  Until I know for sure, I’m going to try to be a much better person than I was before I met Carrie, but I think I’ll go throw her umbrellas away, just in case.

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