Thursday, December 31, 2020

Sweet Home

 Recently, my 20 year old stepson recommended that I watch a Netflix series called, Sweet Home--a South Korean horror flick about people locked down in their apartment buildings while monsters of every assorted contortion rage in the streets outside, and of course invade the apartment buildings themselves. 

What struck me most about the film was the personal sense of being dropped into a strange generational divide, an inability to grasp any sort of world being described through the viewpoint of this younger generation, with or without monsters. In a way, for an older person like me, the whole experience is monstrous from the get-go, because the people, their attitudes, their crushing ennui alternating with blind detachment sets up a nagging conflict before you even get to the one-eyed serpents or the hulking behemoths. 

For a generation steeped in video games and anime, I guess this all works. They seem to enter the story without requirement of logic or narrative guidance, as we in my generation know these things, but simply accept a sort of prefab world with a shrug of easy recognition. This is how things work in the modern environment. They just happen that way. 

In short, I was lost. I kept asking Why? and How? 

"What do you mean?" Sasha said. "Where were you confused?" 

"Starting from the beginning, and up to this point in time." 

"Hmm. Well, yeah, I guess they could have explained things a little better. But stay with it. The end explains everything." 

Hopefully this will include how the beginning began. 

We are truly like on two different planes in time, or in space, or both, hovering, knocking edges, tipping one another, but never congruing (which is, by the way, the present participle of congrue, despite my spellcheck's red underlining). We are, for all practical purposes, and mutually so, aliens to one another. The difference, of course, is that I am a member of a dying race (despite its order and logic), while Sasha is a member of the contemporary. So if some things are beyond me, hey, no worries. He has it all, in his detached and weary though flexible way, perfectly under control. 

New Year's Eve

 Well, here we are at New Year's Eve. Seems like there's not much partying going on, predictably enough. Which is fine by me. In Australia, a partial shutdown is again in effect, and here in Bali people are being required to be in their homes by 11 p.m. For my own part, I hope to be in bed by 10 and asleep long before 12. It may be, in any case, that fireworks will be muted this time around. I suspect so. 

We go into a new year that is still fragile and uncertain in many ways. COVID is raging, and vaccinations are coming only down the road some months in the future. In America, congressmen are poised to object to the most secure election in American history and Mr. Trump seems to be hoping for some kind of disruption by a mass rally he has scheduled. Moreover, a new, more contagious strain of COVID has surfaced around the world, showing up now in America as well. And in Bali? Who knows? 

We hope the best for 2021. But my goodness, God help us. We'll need it. 

The Best Laid Plans

 Let me start by saying that the underground parking at Plaza Renon has been rather carefully designed, by Indonesian standards anyway, to discourage the all too familiar chaos generally associated with Indonesian parking lots. Large white arrows have been painted on the road and on the pillars of the structure pointing out the route one should take in navigating the lot, such that all, ostensibly, might navigate to their spots safely and smoothly. There are even graphic maps painted on the walls explaining the intended traffic flow pattern. 

And yet this is all for naught--because Indonesians insist on entering at the exit and exiting at the entry. Why is this? Is it a lack of familiarity with common symbols, such as the arrow? Is it an inability to read? Or is it simple obstinance? Who can say? What I do know is that, despite all efforts to effect order, the place is an absolute mess if the mall is at all crowded. Those trying to get out via the marked exit are crowded and blocked by those entering inappropriately. And the funny thing is that they seem surprised to find a motorbike trying to exit from the exit. They are dumbfounded to come upon the obstacle of someone exiting from the exit they have just entered! 

I had parked one day by a pillar on my left side and another bike on my right. When I returned to my space after coffee, I found that someone had moved my bike behind the pillar, between the pillar and the wall, so that he could edge his bike into my original spot. Now, how did he figure I was going to get out? Jeeze.

Well, it all looked good on paper, I guess. But the best laid plans of mice and men ... Well, you know the story. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Tidur Nyenyak

 For all the complaining I've done lately, I should, on a positive note, mention how thankful I have been for a fairly recent habit of sleeping through the night. And not only for sleeping through, but for the newfound 'talent' of being able to fall asleep almost as soon as my head hits the pillow. Thereafter, I generally do not awake until the morning light peeks through the windows at around 6 a.m. In fact, last night I had gone to sleep with the windows and patio door open, as the night was cool enough that the AC was not required, and although it unexpectedly pissed down rain sometime during the night, thus creating a lake on a portion of my floor, I remained blissfully unaware. I was dreaming for some reason that my third wife had become President of the United States. She was late for her inauguration and I was desperately trying to get her there in time. Operating a motor vehicle in my dreams is always a desperate endeavor. Nonetheless, I am glad not to have missed this event by waking up during its course. 

An American Nutcase

 You know, I had the sneaking suspicion from the beginning of this Nashville bombing that the perpetrator might turn out to be just some random nutcase, something America seems to specialize in these days. It seemed strange that he would take such pains to manufacture this explosion and go out with a boom, music and countdown included, and yet overlook announcing the motive if indeed motive had been important to him. He had stated beforehand, according to a neighbor who has been interviewed, that he would do something to be remembered by in Nashville. And indeed we will remember him for a while, as just another American nutcase. 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Vyt and Tina

 I hooked up with my old friend Vyt on the day after Christmas for a coffee and a pleasant visit. Gosh, I guess I've known Vyt for perhaps eight years now. Back then, we both wrote editorials for The Bali Times newspaper, and then later on he was my next door neighbor for a few years. Vyt is maybe 73 or 74 now and getting a bit shaky, much like me. He has trouble walking, trouble seeing, and neither of us can hear worth a damn. Vyt is fortunate to have married a woman about three years ago who clearly loves him just for himself. It's truly heartwarming to see the companionship. She is significantly younger than Vyt, about 50, I think, although she looks much younger than that. But the point is, she is still quite energetic and able and helps him with such things like walking up stairs, reading the restaurant menu, and so on. A good woman is truly to be valued very highly. One can hardly measure the blessing of being loved and valued by a woman. Theirs, as it seems to me, is an old style marriage, wherein those familiar vows--to love and cherish, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health--truly have meaning. 


 Dear Nashville bomber(s): Americans are not frightened by 'terror attacks'. They are entertained. It's like any other entertainment, only better, because it's real. Americans live for such entertainment because it interrupts their otherwise dreary lives. We have long lived without the looming threat of nuclear holocaust, by which we had been, as Walker Percy once said, continually enlivened--enlivened, encouraged by the thought that 'all of this'--the day by day drudgery, the numbing routine, the dulling sameness--might suddenly end and free us once for all, make life simple and essential again, a life wherein we would live by our wits and from the original abundance of the earth unfettered and unlocked. Hunters and gatherers once again. We no longer have 'the' bomb, and so we live on the occasional scraps, such as you have unintentionally offered. Do you think that we receive or learn any intended lesson? No, we do not. Sorry. Your motive is quite meaningless, of no interest whatsoever. We simply marvel at the destruction for its own sake, and envy those who were close enough to experience the event and still live. Haven't you ever wondered why disaster movies are so reliably popular? We cannot live with this clockwork world of ours unless we constantly see it in flames, or flooded, or plagued, broken and scattered, if only in our dreams. As the author of this event, you are nonetheless irrelevant. You blew up with your own bomb, either literally or figuratively, and now we await the next. The thought that you may have died with your own bomb is pleasing. The thought that you lived and can eventually see the electric chair is more pleasing yet, for it would provide one final crumb of delight. 

Friday, December 25, 2020

I Resolve Not

 Time to start thinking about New Year resolutions, I guess ... but hmm, I can't really think of much. I feel like I'm becoming increasingly curmudgeonly, so I suppose I could resolve not to be. I don't know what it is. Too much time alone, maybe, but then again I often feel like I just want to be left alone. Not that anyone is fighting me on that. I really don't know what my function is anymore, here or anywhere. What is my function? What does it matter? Actually, I never did like New Year resolutions. I never made one, that I recall. It has been a hard year though, hasn't it? For everyone. So much trouble, no much conflict, no much death and illness. It kinda feels like the whole world has been knocked on its ass for a while. So we can at least hope for better things in 2021. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A Job for Christmas

Many years ago, when I was just out of college, I worked at a newspaper in the lowest possible position the paper had to offer. A paper is in business 365 days a year, so when Christmas came around at least one person in my position was required to work. For me, the idea of working on Christmas was unthinkable. It wasn't just that I hated that job any day of the week, but to end up working on Christmas day would have been unbearable. Luckily for me, my equally lowly coworker had no problem with working on Christmas. In fact, he was happy to do so, because, for him, it would have been especially lonely to have been stuck at home with nothing to do and nowhere to go, for you see, he had no family--or no family with whom he cared to interact at any rate. So that worked out just fine. Nonetheless, it was difficult for me to imagine what that would be like. What would it be like for Christmas to seem just the same as any other day of the year? At best. It seemed that there must certainly be something special about the day itself, something self generating, self sufficing. But I realize in these latter years that minus the family, minus the loved ones, minus the various date generated activities, there really is nothing special about Christmas day. It is just another day, although differentiated, perhaps, by seeming more lonely than the typical any other day sort of day, exacerbated, in fact, by a routine of the seasonal shows that seed the networks with love and family and gifts, and jingle bells and reindeer and sleighrides and so on. When you are alone, this is all taking place not only far away but in another time, another dimension. The bells stop, the singing stops, the lights go out, and there you are. Santa Claus is not coming tomorrow and there will be no holiday feast. Yes, I understand now how it was preferable for my friend to have something to do, anything to do on Christmas day. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

A Mysterious Merry Christmas Message

 The other day, I received a phone message from an unknown number, no name attached. The message read 'Merry Christmas'. There was a second message from the same number with a photo of my old family home on Mt. Tabor in Portland. Now, this perplexed me to no end. I discovered that the area code of the number placed the call in New York City. How can it be? I don't know anyone in New York. And who in New York would have a photo of my old family home? 

Well, as it turned out, the mystery was solve easily enough. I called my second wife, with whom I had had lived in that house in Portland, and asked if she had sent it. 'No,' she said, 'I think Jamila sent it. Jamila is my younger stepdaughter. Ah ha! And it just so happens that Jamila used to live in New York, and it also just so happens that she is visiting friends there during the holiday season. 

Why did she sent a photo of my old house (where she had never lived, as she had already moved away from Portland by that time), and why had she not attached her name to the Christmas greeting? ... Well, that's still a mystery. 

Sunday, December 20, 2020

To Live

 I'm currently re-reading a great novel, To Live, by Yu Hua, in Indonesian this time around. I previously read the book in English and have also seen the Chinese movie version with English subtitles. This is about the struggle of one family just 'to live' during the harsh years from the end of World War II to the end of the Red Revolution. It's a great novel to read if you ever think that your own life is hard or that the vicissitudes of life are overwhelming. Imagine, for instance, having nothing to eat but for roots dug from the ground or the bark of a tree, competing with others to obtain these poor treasures even while exhaustion and malnutrition and illness make it difficult just to stand, let alone toil in the field. Imagine how a handful of rice might seem like a fortune. And while the novel is on the one hand about the weakness of the human condition, it is also about the awesome power of love, the relentless will to endure and to hope. It is about one man's arduous passage from careless self-absorption to a full life of compassion forged through hardship. A great novel, as I said. And by the way, the movie version is also excellent. 

Saturday, December 19, 2020

I'll Have a Blue Christmas

 "Where will you spend Christmas?" they ask. The casual acquaintances, the baristas, the online 'friends'. It's something to say. Small talk, chit-chat. 

"At home," I answer. 


"Yes, alone." 

Home alone. 

It strikes me just now that this will be the first ever Christmas I have spent alone. Generally, at the very least, I would go to a gathering sponsored by Louis--but Louis, this year, is still in Australia due to the COVID and various travel restrictions.

So it's just me. 

Hmm ... that doesn't sound very festive. No presents, no gathering, no dinner, no spiced and spiked punch nor even a damn fruitcake! 

What to do? 

Well, I suppose that I will, barring rain, get out for a coffee, and then watch a couple of good movies. 

But wait ... that's just like any other day. 

Well, perhaps the dogs will visit the house. Must be sure to have special treats for them. 

Thursday, December 17, 2020


[Sorry about the strange appearance of the text that follows. It is copied from my old Livejournal app and seems to have retained the format here]

 I received today a rare notice from my old LJ account. I had nearly forgotten writing here, once upon a time, so I logged in to take a look and refresh my memory (having first, of course, to recover my old user name and password, both of which I had forgotten). 

And refreshing it was. What strikes me most in these former entries through the years is the intensity of feelings expressed. It is as if these things were written by another person altogether, a person who loved deeply, who was in touch with his heart, and with his heartbrokenness. Many of the entries, the farther back one searches, are related to a girl I loved. Jamie. The gal who got away. Or as Sinatra would have it--

"The girl who won you has run off and undone you. That great beginning has seen its final inning. I don't know what happened -- it's all a crazy game ...

No more, no more those all time thrills, cuz you have been put through the mill, and never a new love will ever be the same ..."

Well, I guess I was always hoping that she would read these entries, and relent, speak to me again (for, you see, we both used to write in LJ). Of course, no such a thing happened. Or if she did read them, she responded not, strictly sticking to her promise to completely end our relationship in any and every degree. 

These many years later, I do understand what happened to us, and that the fault was wholly mine. She would be 43 now, if I calculate aright. And I will soon be 67. It has been roughly twenty years since we last spoke.

I am surprised to see all the poetry I wrote down here, which, inept as it is, impresses me as touching for its honesty, for the heart laid bare on the sleeve--for the heart that even existed in that once upon a time. I can't help but miss the person who cared deeply, who felt irresistibly pressed to express his sadness and his longing. Where has he gone?  

I spoke once here of having been awakened, of coming to life, of astonishment at this sudden gift, the magic of a woman, the magic of love. I felt alive through and through, to my very fingertips and toes. I remember, I remember. And sometimes I dream of her still. And I have thirsted ever since, in my deepest soul, for love is a miraculous fountain indeed, one that both fully quenches and leaves one fully empty. From this fountain poetry bubbles, and also one's life blood. Is it better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all? I suppose so. This is the only manner in which alternate universes can endure.

Jamie. I picture you now with a family, two children, wholly immersed in a world on the far side of all possible worlds. Or as Sinatra has it--

"Once you warned me that if you scorned me, I'd say a lover's prayer again and wish that you were there again to get into my hair again ... It never entered my mind ..." 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

The Days that Got Away

 I feel like apologizing for having been so silent lately. The thing is, I just seem to have nothing whatsoever to say. Or when I do think of something to say, I lack sufficient energy or interest to write it down. I had some thoughts for instance about the shameless, seditious Republican circus act transpiring around their refusal to accept the results of the presidential election, but the whole thing is just so tiring now, so sickening and disheartening that I find I'd rather not devote time even to thinking about it. As things stand, I barely recognize my country anymore, and that in itself is disheartening. In the meantime, the days pile up here, one atop another like drifts of snow, one barely distinguishable from another. And the rain goes on day after day, the wettest wet season I've yet seen in Bali. I sit in my chair, watch Netflix, eat, nap, run out for a coffee whenever there's a break in the rain. Which makes it hardly surprising, I suppose, that I have nothing to say. I sing myself to waking slumber to the tune of beloved old movies and novels, the comfort food of the idle mind. 

Sunday, December 13, 2020


Generally, I have been in the habit of watching all my favorite Christmas movies during the Christmas season, and yet this year it feels as if I just got done doing so from last year. How has a year passed so quickly? It truly feels more like a couple of months. They say that time passes slowly when one is idle, but if this is slow, I would hate to think what would happen were I leading an active life. As it is, even while sitting doing nothing in particular, I am somehow putting the years away like a particularly industrious chipmunk. I mean, hell, I'm gonna end up at the end of the story before it even has a chance to get a plot. 

Saturday, December 12, 2020


One forgets from year to year how very violent the storms can become here during rainy season. We got a reminder last night when a ferocious rain, thunder, and lightning storm hit Sanur, swiftly flooding most of the houses on my street. Shutting the doors does not shut out the rain. It simply flows in under the doors. I ended up soaking six towels in an attempt to dam the flow. Crashing thunder shook the windows, reverberating like the blast of artillery while the lightning flashed from the barrels of the black clouds. And then the lights went out. Of course. The neighborhood WhatsApp line lit up as well. I don't have any candles! OMG! Flood! There's water running down my walls! For my own part, after placing the towels, I took refuge in my easy chair so as to avoid having to skate across the wet ceramic tiles of the floor--famously the most slippery thing ever invented by man. It was still raining when I went to bed, though less violently so, and I awoke this morning to a world that looked like one big soaked towel, drooping, sagging, dripping. The rain has stopped but the clouds remain, and so I am wondering how I am going to dry these towels before the next storm arrives. Happily, I don't do my own laundry at home any more. The maid takes it out. Otherwise, I would find myself not only with a pile of wet towels but with no clean clothing to wear for however long the sun decides to hide away. 

Thursday, December 10, 2020


 Set between the gas station on Jalan Hang Tuah and my side of Gang Merdu Komala #1, there is a field extending along the length of the gang (gang being the Indonesian word for a small side street). From what I've heard, dwellings cannot be built on this patch of land due to its close proximity to the gas station. Before I moved to my newly built house, the field, and indeed the land where I now live, had been sawah, a ricefield. Construction all along my side of the road gradually turned the field into an expanse of dry soil, upon which mountains of rocks and other debris were gradually lain, and now with the arrival of rainy season, this barren track of land has become a jungle of wall grass and thick bushes.

I was talking to a neighbor up the road who expressed the opinion that there are likely snakes in the grass, and buaya (large lizards), and who knows what all else. It may seem odd that exotic creatures such as these might be lurking in this little spot of wild in the midst of so many civilized creatures such as gas stations and houses and roads and warungs and shops and motorbikes and cars, but then again, as their natural habitat disappears chunk by chunk, where else are they going to go? I remember seeing the relentless paving over of Renon, where I used to live, and actually witnessing a homeless alligator run across the neighboring housetop! I also remember a yellow snake spanning the width of a road (although the snake was dead, having been run over by a car). 

Back on Merdu Komala, the neighbor was mentioning the caution he takes when he comes outside his house at night. "I always bring a flashlight, just in case," he said. "But on the other hand," he continued, scratching his chin, "I see kids running around in this field every day."

Well sure! I would too if I were a little kid. What better playground than one occupied possibly by wild beasts? Ah, where has our sense of adventure gone? 

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Unappreciative Insects

 It seems to me that ants have gotten very particular these days about what they are willing to eat. They must have sweets, and even then only the sweetest of sweets. Just yesterday I watched an entire hoard go around a bit of chocolate brownie to satisfy a preference for a nearby bit that included in addition to the cake itself a little piece of a chocolate chip. It seems that beggars after all can be choosers. Spoiled by abundance, if you ask me. Not an ounce of thriftiness in their tiny bones. I remember a time long ago when my brother and I had poured some dried macaroni noodles into a pan of water, thinking to make our lunch, for our household had no chocolate chip brownies just lying about, only to find that the noodles were aswim with tiny ants (which we took at first to be flecks of pepper). The point is that ants had some personal integrity back then. They made use of the things that were available, and did not think themselves too precious for a meal of mere noodles. Ants, like people, were frugal, industrious, thankful. Of course they would not turn their backs on cake, nor, however, would they abstain from all else in favor of cake. And yet, I have now an open box of noodles on my kitchen shelf which has proven to be in no danger whatsoever of being raided. It could sit for another year without being touched by a single ant toe—Ah but let a bit of beef fall on the counter, or a dab of jelly, and the pampered little pests rush in like thankless, unruly children, knowing only instant gratification. It seems to me a measure of how very dramatically the world has changed, from top to bottom, from the great to the small. 

Sunday, December 6, 2020

The Next Day

 Hardly had I gotten out of bed this morning when the man with the new pump showed up at the house. Shocker! I was prepared to wait until noon without complaint. Showing up a half hour before the scheduled time was quite un-Indonesian of him. Not that I'm complaining. Without any trouble, he installed the new pump, fired it up, and ... nothing happened. Still no water. The next step was to check the reservoir on top of the roof (which is where the pump is supposed to send the water from the well). I watched in amazement as the man, who had brought no ladder, scaled the house like a ninja--first to the top of the wall, then to the eave, then to the roof. Amazing! I have a hard enough time just climbing onto my own motorbike. Well, it turned out that a second pump inside this reservoir tank was clogged, thus allowing no water to flow. This was fixed forthwith and my house is once again 'afloat'. How long will we be seaworthy? Who can say? I can commit only to enjoying it while it lasts. 

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Later That Day

 Well, by golly, it turns out that the problem with the pump was not the electricity, but the pump. The pump is dead. Long live the pump. It is also far beneath the ground, which means that they had to break through the concrete and fish down for the thing as if they were ice fishing in the arctic. All this took a good long time and has left a gaping hole in the driveway and pipes and ropes hanging about and still no water in the house. Do you know how hard it is to function without water? No shower, no handwashing, dishes piled in the sink, no flushing toilet, no water for brushing teeth or cleaning dentures. Good God. Well, the neighbor was very kind to let me use his room to take a shower and such-like. But the pump itself is not scheduled to arrive until 8 o'clock tomorrow morning, which the builder told me would be more like 9, taking into account the Indonesian reckoning of time. Which I already know. So hell, I'm gonna go to sleep now and hope for the reestablishment of running water some time tomorrow. Good night! 

Rub-a Dub-Dub

As I was taking a shower this morning, the water suddenly quit on me. Not just the hot water, but all of the water. That same 'all', in my house, is controlled by a pump and there is no other, except for that in the drinking water dispenser--and this is what I used, cup-by-cup, to get as much soap off of me as I could. 

There are still many builders working in the neighborhood, and so we (the neighbor and I) soon employed one of these to look into the problem. Turns out the the pump is receiving no electricity, although the electricity in the rest of the house is still operational. 

This is inconvenient but not surprising. If everything worked, this wouldn't be Bali. And I had long suspected anyway that there was some essential problem with the electricity. The AC, for instance, works only if you don't use the water (and thus engage the pump). This seemed absurd to me, but the project manager assured me one would have to upgrade the electricity in the entire house (at significant cost) to have a system that would run both the AC and the water at the same time. If you ask me, people here just make stuff up when they would prefer not to deal with a problem, and I reckon this is one of those cases. My suspicion is fortified this morning when the next door neighbor tells me that he experiences no such problem in his house, which is exactly the same as my house and was built at the same time. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Good Morning?

 I had a dream last night wherein when I awoke, in the dream, I found myself completely unable to speak. My mind was able to gather words quite normally, but the words vanished at any attempt at utterance. In fact, no sound at all could be uttered, not so much as a sigh or a grunt. 

My immediate thought was that someone must be alerted regarding this problem. Louis came to mind. But how was I to alert her if I could not speak? Or make even the slightest sound. 

Ah, a text message! 

Upon retrieving my phone, however, and tapping her profile picture on WhatsApp, I immediately found that I had no idea how to type a sensible message. I knew very well the words I wanted to type but simply could not transfer them to letters on the screen. I could manage only alphabet soup. 

Hmm, this was a kerfuffle. 

My next inspiration was to write out my message on a sheet of paper and hold the sheet up before the phone screen. But of course, as it turned out, I could no more write the words, any words, by hand than type them into the phone. What I wanted to communicate--or rather now needed rather desperately to communicate--was perfectly clear in my mind yet perfectly incommunicable outside of my mind. 

Morse code? Well, no. I don't know Morse code, nor surely would she or pretty much anyone else. Sign language? Same problem. 

What to do? 

Well, ultimately the best answer was to wake up, which I did, with considerable relief, even bidding myself a verbal good morning just to be sure--although it remains reasonable to ask whether 'good morning', isolated in the empty air of a house occupied only by oneself, possesses any meaning on its own, or indeed even exists at all. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

A Rumination on Teeth

 The one undeniable thing that can be said about false teeth is that the natural ones are infinitely preferable. I come to this conclusion after receiving my upper set of teeth last night and finding them, in combination with the already existing lower set, twice as uncomfortable and similarly as useless if we are talking about actually chewing anything. I guess the point ultimately is cosmetic, and to that extent anyway these gleaming gnashers do restore an air of dignity to one's smile, in the case, that is, where one might find something to smile about in the midst of being more inclined to wince from the pain of those hard plastic edges pressing against one's gums. Of course, the pain will recede somewhat over time as one adjusts to the presence of the appliance through continual wear. In fact, I have been required by my dentist to leave the teeth in for two days and nights to begin with--a necessity which, as I found last night, makes a peaceful sleep rather difficult to come by. 

One cannot help but pause and meditate on the perfection of the original teeth, those fashioned from the beginning by the creator. How very part of us they are! How organic! How natural! What a pleasure these made of eating! With false teeth, you have not so much the sense of chewing as of simply pressing some sort of matter, perhaps damp cardboard, between the upper and lower rows of plastic--a method that derives no appreciable taste but does increase the painful response in the gums as the edges of the appliances are pressed into the already tender living tissues. How very miraculously we are made, as King David noted. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. 

And now, seeing one by one those wonders fall away, my soul knows it even better!