Sunday, August 29, 2010

It was beautiful while it lasted, Brad.

Brad made reference a few posts back to a piece of pottery that he made in high school that he later gave to me as a gift, together with a note saying he made the bowl for me and that he wished me all the best. He signed the note, "Your BFF, Brad."

I'm lying.

Brad did not give me the bowl. Nor, it goes without saying, did he write me a note. I took the bowl without his permission when his parents, noting how I was pathetically and chronically breaking the Tenth Commandment, offered me the bowl in his absence.

Note: No, despite what you might be thinking, I was not guilty of coveting his ass, as explicitly prohibited in that particular commandment--it was the bowl that I wanted. That and his friendship, but, alas, Brad's parents could not secure that for me.

I think in giving me the bowl they said something like: "Why would Brad want it? Sure, go ahead and take it."

My response was, "But....but....this is art! I mean, this is genuine art. I couldn't take it!!

To which they said, "It'd just gather dust anyway. You're doing us all a favor."

So I did them all a favor and took the bowl.

Now what Brad wrote about my response to the bowl is accurate. I did find this bowl to magically function as the pottery equivalent of Prozac, which is why I dubbed it The Happy Bowl--and also why I insisted that others refer to it as such as well.

No really, I insisted.

I keep this piece of art in my office at work, and it's one of my favorite possessions. Truly. For years and years, every time I brought this bowl up to my face to crowd out out all other visuals--which I did with surprising frequency--I could not suppress smiling or, as often, laughing.

As students and colleagues alike could attest were they to visit this blog (but, gratefully, do not), I have been known to challenge them to stare closely at the bowl without smiling. Though I confess a few soulless pod people could resist the need to smile, the vast majority of persons would eventually succumb to the warm and giddy glow of irrational happiness that the bowl inevitably generates.

It's truly blessed, this happy bowl.

With Brad's all-too-brief appearance on this blog--what, with all the promise that it brought--and now with his just as sudden, and likely permanent, disappearance, I confess to seeing the bowl today in a sadder and wiser fashion. Now it is a poignant and melancholy, though far from hateful, sight to me.

Just don't ask me to look at it for too long.

Note: I have added a photo to the original post about Brad. It's part of the skeleton ball he made--another of my favorite possessions. I fear, that the rubber bands are disintegrating and the ball is shedding itself of skeletons at an alarming rate. The deterioration has been sudden and shocking. This photo of the still relatively robust and healthy skeleton ball was taken a few years ago. Now the sight is not nearly as pretty.


Andy D. said...

If you post it, he will come.

Mike Bailey said...

Don't tease me, Andy. Not about this.

And does this mean that I have to rename my blog to "Brad's Blog"?

Andy D. said...

Tell you what, rather than going to all the trouble of renaming the blog, why don't we get you some help first?

You a sick, sick man...

Andy D. said...

And note to self:

Did I not tell him?... Did I not say, "Don't go to extreme measures to 'trap' Brad?... Didn't I say, "Brad will come and go, and you just have to enjoy his presence when you sense it, without freaking out him -- or yourself?"...

Is there not something more I could have said? Indeed, done? Couldn't I have warned him further...

Alas, no. History repeats itself time and again. And you gots a sickness.

That we do know.

Andy D. said...


Mike Bailey said... that a "yes" on renaming the blog?

Andy D. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andy D. said...

.... "left here, Phil."

Tell you what. You rename the blog if you want to. Only... Only let's consider some other possibilities.









Monday, August 30, 2010

Mike Bailey said...

Those are all good suggestions. Any one of them should do.

Andy D. said...

One more, just occurred to me:


Anonymous said...

I see that this is a very demanding blog. I'm fine with that. If you want to send me the skeleton ball, I'd gladly put new rubber bands on it.

- Brad

Claudia said...

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Mike Bailey said...


We're glad to be of assistance. Yes, here I speak for Andy, too.

Of course, it goes without saying that I'm as excited to have you on the blog as having Brad on the blog.

Or....nearly so.

You know.

Mike Bailey said...


Welcome (again) to the blog!

We're all happy you're here. I don't want to dispute you, but I think that you'll find it's not at all a demanding blog. So long as, well, you know, you check in from time to time.

I appreciate your offer to fix the skeleton ball. My fear, however, is that the skeletons are also disintegrating, and that too much play with them and they'll just fall apart. My other fear is that once you see how good the skeleton ball is, you'll want it back.

Let me ask you this: What was Andy's strength as a big brother? How did you grow as a person for having him as your brother?

Andy D. said...

Don't pester Brad with your little questions.

Also, skeletons do NOT just spontaneously disintegrate. Everybody knows that.


Anonymous said...

I'll have to think about that.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Brad will put more Starburst in it.

I have nothing to offer Brad to make this seem worthwhile.

Mike Bailey said...

Brad--Yes, you give it some good thought. It may be, of course, that your all-round wonderfulness owes nothing to Andy. That's a possibility. Indeed, it may be that you became who you are in spite of Andy. That's an even more likely possibility.

Anonymous: I bought starbursts.

Andy D. said...

Option C - that Andy shaped Brad's wonderfulness very handsondedly. Very because of, Andy. Di-rectedifully. Well you know....

Option D - that Brad became Brad without any reference to his surroundings, so no one who loves Brad has had any impact on Brad's formation whatsoever. Whether that person might love, idolize, or worship Brad in an anti-Second Commandment way, or in other anti-Biblical ways. Like, well who's been doing that.... Well you know.....