Thursday, April 13, 2006


In a flurry of brownness, the UPS man came today with a package so small that it could not have been my hammock. But it was.

I held an impossibly small black bag with white letters on it and a diagram on the back, also in white, showing the proper way to lash my new pet to a tree. I held the bag in my hands and lifted it up and down and up and down, testing its weight. It tested light. I smiled and looked down on my new home. I benedicted it with my eyes. I removed it from its bag. It rewarded me with nylon and mosquito netting and a smell better than that of a new car. I cannot tie knots, however. I have not yet begun, in this life, to lash. So I went to to watch a tying/teaching video by someone who used to be or still was a Boy Scout.

You can watch this amazing video for yourself under the section titled “Set-up Instructions.” It is rated “R” for language, violence, and adult situations. You can see for yourself how easy the procedure is. You can see for yourself why it would take a normal person thirty seconds to understand and perfect the procedure. You can see for yourself why it took me an hour to understand and fail to perfect anything near the procedure. Thank God for the pause button. Thank God for rewind. Thank God for the Boy Scouts. Thank God for popcorn and Good ‘N Plenty.

I took my pet to the top of the woods behind our house and lashed it between two trees. I liked it. My pet liked it. The bark of the trees liked the feel of the webbing strap and the tautness of that strap against its rugged skin. The sun and the breeze liked the new smell; they wafted it proudly about the woods and then up toward the tiny puffs of cloud.

My wife called her friend Jamie when I left the house and they began talking about me. I think my wife is proud of me. I think she is excited for my new hammock and me. I think Jamie respects me. And so I cannot understand why Melody was laughing and whispering. I cannot understand why Jamie was looking out her window with binoculars and laughing as I walked across the field toward our woods. Unable, was I, to interpret what appeared to be Jamie’s mirth.

The bottom of the hammock has a slit running halfway up its length. I poked my head through that, sat down toward the back of the hammock, pulled in my feet, and that was it. I was in. I was in the Hennessy Hammock. The entrance Velcroed itself closed behind me and every mosquito in the woods became instantly stymied. I, myself, became ensconced in nylon and netting. The trees benedicted me with their eyes, and bravely sustained my weight.

Do not ever laugh at—or artificially magnify—a tender baby in the new womb.

© 2006 by Martin Zender