“Aussie, what are you going to do when I’m away in retreat?”

“Ambush squirrels.”

“You rarely have much luck with that, Auss.”

“You took out the birdfeeders for the winter so I know just where to sit when those varmints come out. That’ll teach you to be away from us.”

“Oh, Aussie, it’s not like you eat them or anything like that.”

“Who’d want to eat a squirrel? It’s not kosher. Look at it like this way: You’re going to do good, so I’m going to do bad.”

“I fail to see the connection.”

“Everything has to be in balance, see? You’re Yin I’m Yang. Call me Aussie Yang. In fact, I encourage you to do as much good as you can, that way I can do lots of bad.”


“You Zen Buddhists always talk about Bodhisattva this, Bodhisattva that, doing good for others, blah blah blah. The way life works is, the more good you do, the more bad I do. Thus, we are always in balance.”

“You know, Aussie, people bought out the Christmas gift list for immigrant children. Some 82  gifts have been bought and they’re already arriving in Jimena’s house by the dozens.”

“Why not here? I love to chase the Prime driver.”

“I knew I wouldn’t be home to receive them. A few come here, and Jimena’s husband comes to pick them up. I’m telling you, Aussie, people are so good it’s hard to believe.”

“That’s great. When people are good I spring into action. Ambush squirrels, snap at Henry the Terrible Chihuahua and make him yelp, steal food from his food bowl, break out of the yard and chase deer—”

“It’s hunting season, Aussie, we have to be careful.”

“I’m on a mission to restore balance to this world after you and all your do-gooders bought out that list. I’m going to terrorize everybody who walks on the road and make a mess in your bedroom. Leave it to me, Aussie Yang will singlehandedly keep the world in balance.”

I called my mother to tell her she won’t hear from me till Monday. She didn’t seem alarmed in the least. Her words to me were: “I beg you, Chavale, help people. Do your very best, it’s what God wants from us. It’s easy to think you are more important than everybody else, so okay, maybe for you, you are a little bit more important than everybody else, but just a little bit. Don’t forget, the whole world is ours, so do everything you can for the world, ok, Chavale?”

Okay, mom.

The blog will be on retreat till Monday.

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