“Stanley, wake up, there’s a big black bear in our back yard.”


“Wake up, Stan! It’s eating the husks of sunflower seeds on the ground. It smashed down the chimes hanging from the tree and the entire birdbath. Listen to it munching!”

“Can’t hear a thing.”

“It scares me, Stan. Big animal out there, darker than the night.”

“Can’t see, either.”

“How could you sleep through all this, Stanley?”

“I turn around a few times, lie down, curl my legs under my belly, and off I go right next to my food bowl. Empty, I might add.”

“Once you used to go nuts when there was a bear out in back, Stan.”

“I barked a lot, but did you ever see me run out through the dog door? Not that nuts.”

“You’d give the alarm and Bubale the Pit Bull would rush out to attack while you stayed home safe and sound.”

“That Pit Bull was crazy!”

“But now look at you, Stanley, sleeping through everything, deaf to the world.”

“That’s my definition of retirement: Sleeping through everything, deaf to the world.”

“Oh, yeah? So what’s your definition of senility, Stan? Sometimes I come downstairs and find you standing at the corner just looking at the wall.”

“I’m meditating.”

“You have a glazed look in your eye, Stanley.”

“Did you ever see yourself meditating?”

“My eyes don’t glaze! Now listen, Stan. Meditating is not just looking at some wall. It’s being completely alert and awake.”

“At 6 in the morning? P-l-e-a-s-e!”

“The birds are chirping, the world’s awake!”

“Any fool can tell you that’s the best time to sleep.”

“You’re wide awake, Stanley, aware of everything: the slant of sun coming from the east, the smoke of incense stick drifting up, disappearing.”

“I hate that smell!”

“My cold feet on the floor, Stanley, the small ache in back of my neck.”

“That’s what you want to pay attention to?”

“It’s not just cold and achy, those are words. Morning air comes through the window, life is all around. It’s one big invitation, Stanley!”

“That big black bear out there is an invitation, too. Try going out tonight and you’ll wake up awful quick.”

“Oh Stanley, why can’t you be the way you were?”

“How was I?”
“Young, vibrant, eager—”


“Full of life and spark! Not as you are now, Stanley, sleeping indoors in the middle of a bear invasion.”

“You know what I think?”

“What do you think, Stanley?”

“I think you liked me more when I was young. But you love me more now that I’m old.”