So it looks like the tomatoes are done for. The last bit of fruit is still green, but already starting to split and rot away.

And I must say, I gave my garden a lot of love this year, but other than one nice bowl of screaming awesome salsa, I was pretty disappointed in the results.

It was my first real foray into green thumbyness and I kinda sucked.

Which is fine.

The first step to being good at something is sucking at it for a while.

So as I stood out in the back yard this morning looking at my forlorn fruit vines, sipping my coffee, and scratching all over I noticed that I had a pretty monster zit just below my right shoulder blade.

Actually it could have been a number of things. It could have been a bug bite or one of those heat pimples you get from sitting at a company conference all day where the air conditioner is almost but not quite low enough to keep you from sweating profusely in a shirt you only wear once a year or so.

But it felt like a zit.

And of course, being the gross 12 year old boy that I am, I finished up my coffee and scurried into the bathroom so I could angle the mirrors and get a good glimpse of the monster before I squeezed its guts out.

Zit popping is one of those little life pleasures somewhere on the same orgasmic level as foot rubs and thinly sliced home grown tomatoes.

And much to my surprise, elation, disgust, there was more than one.

I wouldn't necessarily say that my back fat was littered with puss monkeys but I could definitely trace out a few constellations with a magic marker.

Which begs the question; "Why?"

Why all of a sudden?

My routine hasn't changed that much.

Up early, cup of coffee, work most of the day, yell at my children, eat dinner, wait till everyone goes to bed so I can stay up late and finish that box of Cheese-Its.

What box of Cheese-its?


No wait. There is one change. I've been exercising daily. Or more importantly, sweating daily.

And something occurred to me as I sat there with my ass on the counter and my neck twisted like an owl;

I don't wash my back very often.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I shower every day, and I put on clean clothes every day. And I soap up, and shampoo every day. I keep my toe nails clipped and my nose hair a reasonable length and I'm not one to shy away from belly button lint, but I've never lathered up that spongy thingy on a stick and rubbed it up and down my back.

Why not?

Well, it just wasn't part of my morning routine.

Letting the hot water run down my spine seemed sufficient.

And my shower routine was very specific.

I won't bore you with the step by step, but the soap started and ended in the same place and the only real variable was how much of Joann's curly hair I could dig up from the drain with my big toe.

It was very specific and timed exactly right so that I was always, to the minute, aware of how many times I could hit the snooze alarm and still make it to work at the exact time I needed to be there.

And those fastidious steps of operation didn't include the back scrubber thingy.

Not because I'm gross, but because my routine was decades old by the time I became a married man and single guys aren't allowed into that section of Target where back scrubby thingies are sold.

Yet, and this is weird for me to conclude, the routine is meaningless now.

All my routines are meaningless now.

I would like to give off the semblance of professionalism by calendaring my day, but the difference between 8:00am and 8:17am, which in my former life was monumental, is now insignificant.

I am faced with reassessing all of my routines, my priorities, and my beliefs.

There is no rhythm except in the music I make. No constancy except for the love that I have for the people around me. No right. No wrong. Nothing but a blank canvas and a trust in my own judgement.

Time to let go of the dying fruit and force the spiders to find some place else to spin their webs.

Find a way to really live,

or rot on your vine.

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