Interview with Lamont and Dude on the Subject of Age

Back when I was a teenager/early 20s person people thought I was older than I was and I thought that was cool. Now that I’m 65 and people think I’m older than I am, it pisses me off.

In between, most of the time, I “passed” for someone younger.

How old are we, anyway? We have decided to ask Lamont and Dude that question. “Ha ha ha ha,” says Lamont. “You want to talk about age? I’ll talk about age,” and out came an articulate diatribe on what it’s like to live for eons…

“Be an oak tree,” he said. Some people who hear him think “Be an oak tree” is a Zen koan, but Lamont advises anyone who returns from iteration to iteration to BE an oak tree whenever they get the chance. When asked why, Lamont said, “You start small and slowly reach a majestic stature from which you can peruse the world and foibles of animal life. You provide a home for birds and squirrels who eat your children, but it’s OK. Squirrels need to live, too, and if all your children were allowed to fall and sprout there’d be no room for anything to grow. You also give a home to numerous insects. It’s a calm life participating in the various activities of the natural world, but in a quiet way.”

His friend, Dude, also spoke highly of the oak tree life but related that his favorite iteration — that he knows of — is now. “I like surfing and I was not able to surf in any of my other incarnations.”

“He was once a porpoise, but he doesn’t remember,” said Lamont. “It’s really impossible to remember every incarnation.”

Lamont and Dude claim to have lived in some form or other on this planet for eons. Science is unable to prove or to disprove their claim.


Lamont and Dude are characters I came up with a few years ago. They have the uncanny ability to remember many of the previous incarnations which gives them the unusual perspective on life, the universe and everything.

Lamont and Dude Horse Around

“They think we nested.”

“We did.”

“Yeah, but not like robins.”

“No, not hardly.”

“Isn’t it strange none of them seem to remember?”

“Maybe they’re newer. Maybe they haven’t been to as many rodeos.”

“In my horse iteration, there were no rodeos.”

“You were only 18 inches high, Lamont, back in your horse days.”

“Imagine. Given the choice between predator and prey…”

“I know, be an oak tree.”



Lamont and Dude are characters I came up with a few years ago. They have the uncanny ability to remember many of their previous incarnations which gives them a unique perspective on life, the universe and everything.

Lamont and Dude Discuss Life and Death

“Life is a panacea for death.”


“Dude, think about it. We all die. It’s the one sure thing in every creature’s life, right?”


“Life just puts it off. Gives us the illusion that we’re immortal.”

“Uh…I don’t have any illusion like that, Lamont. I know the final outcome. God’s nose I’ve experienced it a few times.”

“That’s my point.”

“You don’t have a point this time, my wise and learned friend. The point is NOT death. The point is how we get there. Life is not a panacea for death any more than death is the result of life.”

“I never said it was the result of life. It’s just the end, unless someone lives a life of total self-destruction.”

“Whatever. I’m going out to check the sets. This is way too morbid for me when a meteor could hit us any time, anyway.”

“Good idea.”

“Grab your board then.”


Lamont and Dude are characters I came up with a few years ago. They have the uncanny ability to remember many of their past incarnations which gives them a unique perspective on life, the universe and everything. If you enjoyed this dialogue, you can read more by typing “Lamont and Dude” in the search bar. 🙂

P.S. Lamont was under the impression that panacea meant a false cure-all. Having looked it up, he’s no longer sure, but it’s still a good story.

Lamont and Dude’s Fabled Existence

“The soft big flakes struggled against the warmth of the air, but they had no chance. Before 10 am everything had turned to rain. Nature relentlessly ignored their preferences with the arbitrary rationale, ‘It’s only October!'”

“What are you up to, Dude?”

“Trying to write a story. A fable, actually, about the weather.”

“By definition, fables have personified animals.”

“I wanted to personify weather, you know, kind of a new take on the whole fable thing.”

“Who’s the protagonist?”


“That won’t last long.”

“You think you’re SOOOO funny, Lamont.”

“Yeah, well, I am.”


“Cheap, predictable shot, Dude. Why don’t you change your fable to write about the ‘living in the moment’ fallacy?”

“How is that a fallacy?”

“Think about it. You’re a sweet ginormous apatosaur. You get up early to do your spiritual practice which consists of numerous repetitions of, ‘Live in the moment,’  before the sun rises completely. You finish, and just as you are about to begin your inane breakfast of leaves and such you’re set upon by a troop of hungry velociraptors.”

“Been there, done that.”

“Wait Dude. Your spiritual practice is still in your mind, even though its moment has passed, and you are suddenly blasted by the sacred internal light of understanding. You realize that maybe the moment sucks and you DON’T want to live there and you’d have been better off looking around for predators lurking in your future.”

“Ah, so that’s the fable. The moral of the story is?”

“Plan ahead? Watch where you’re going? Look out, something’s going to eat you? The future is uncertain and the end is always near? I don’t know.”


Lamont and Dude are character I came up with a few years ago. They have the uncanny ability to remember many of their previous incarnations which gives them a unique perspective on life, the universe and everything.

Lamont and Dude Proffer an Allegory

“It wasn’t might, Lamont. It was more.”

“Uh, like, what? I think it was might. Being a giant lizard is definitely a mighty thing. The ground shook when we walked across it. It was great for the short time I was a Tyrannosaurus Rex.”

“You were a Tyrannosaurus Rex?”

“Not long.”

“What happened?”

“Oh, stuff. You know, things. I got sick and died.”

“I’m sorry, Lamont. That’s sad.”

“That’s how it goes. One day you’re a giant thunder lizard scaring the shit out of everything and the next you’re a pile of flesh being torn apart by scavengers.”

“Listen, Lamont, back when we were dinosaurs, we were also skillful. Not just mighty. We were skillful. And fast.”

“Fast, but skill? We just saw what we wanted to eat and ate it. That’s not skill. We didn’t need skill. Food was smaller. We killed it — or not — and ate it. Humans need skill. Velociraptors, no.”

“You mean all we did was see food and eat?”


“No skills? No development of a philosophical center?”

“No. None. Why? We didn’t need any. It’s not like now. Humans are just as aggressive as velociraptors, but not as mighty. Skills and philosophies are cheap compensation for pure, dumbass might.”

“Wow, Lamont. I never thought of it that way.”

“Look at history, Dude. Over the centuries humans have tried over and over to regain the clarity of an existence based on pure might, but they’re always dragged down by their paltry size and the human tendency to ask existential and ethical questions. As velociraptors, none of that applied to us. It was a simpler time and not all that unkind, not that kindness was an issue, but we only ate when we were hungry and there was food. We didn’t fight for fun.”

“Oh god no, absolutely not. You could always end up a giant mound of flesh for no reason.”

“And we had no real enemies.”

“Hmm. I’m beginning to see what you mean.”

“Sure we had a teeny tiny brain, but that might have worked to our advantage. Hard to say.”

“It seems to me, Lamont, if humans had the might of velociraptors and the consciousness of evil and all that stuff we’re stuck with, that would be a huge burden.”

Getting Aurochs Off with Lamont and Dude

“What happened, Dude?”

“Wiped out bad. Obviously.”

“Hey, don’t snarl at me. I didn’t do it. I’m sorry for you, Dude. That has to hurt.”

“Thanks for the sympathy, Lamont.”

“Bad concussion?”

“Yeah. And a big cut. That’s why I’m bandaged up.”

“I figured that out on my own, Dude.”

“What’s happening in your part of the world, Lamont?”

“You mean the back bedroom? Thanks for letting me stay here, by the way. I appreciate it a lot.”

“Well, I think you and your old lady will figure things out, but sometimes you need a little distance.”

“I don’t think so. I got a wedding invitation from her yesterday. She’s marrying that joker.”



“I told you you should have beaten him up.”

“What, like a couple of Aurochs in rut?”

“Speaking of Aurochs, I read here that science is close to bringing them back. They’ve bred a new bovine that’s genetically close to the Aurochs.”

“That’ll be fun.”

“Were you human in those days, Lamont?”

“Some of them. In some of them I was an Auroch. You were there.”

“I don’t remember.”

“With that knot on your head, I’m amazed you remember yesterday.”


Lamont and Dude are characters I came up with a few years ago. They have the uncanny ability to remember many of their past lives which gives them a unique perspective on life, the universe and everything. If you enjoyed this type “Lamont and Dude” in the search bar to read more. 🙂

Clean Up Your Room, Dammit!

I woke up early this morning with a throbbing migraine that I didn’t anticipate. Usually my migraines are the visual kind and might make me a little nauseous but nothing awful. And tired. They make me tired, but this was more than that.

The air is worse today. I can only imagine how it is for people in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, California, Washington… 😦

When I walked the dogs last evening at sunset, the sun was a ball of red. Smoke from the thousands of  fires to the north and west had obscured the views of the mountains on both sides of the valley all day. Clouds traveling in front of the sun broke the light into what my ex-husband called “Bible beams” which, in the normally clear, clear, clear air of the San Luis Valley, I seldom see.

My first thought when I finally really got up, the migraine having retreated, leaving only a numb feeling and a mildly upset stomach, is that we did this.

When I was a kid there were no fires like these. Sometimes there was a forest fire. We know this from Bambi and Smokey the Bear, but they were never EPIC in proportion. There were hurricanes, but they did not register on seismographs (for the love of God). It snowed a LOT more than it does now in all the usual places that get snow.

When I was 5, 1957, my parents, my brother and I were traveling in the South where my dad was to be giving papers and teaching seminars in Florida. As we went through Mississippi and Alabama, heading toward the Gulf Coast, we were in a hurricane. It was a lot of wind, a lot of water, sandbags and waiting. It was NOT like Houston and sure as hell not like the hurricane approaching the Bahamas looks like it will be. I remember when we went out for breakfast and the waitress said, “It’s just that time of year. What do y’all want to drink?” I got cocoa.

I don’t think it even TAKES a scientist to say, “Whoa, this is WAY TOO FAST for changes like these in the climate of the Earth.” I’m not a scientist, but if this has happened in a mere 60 years, Houston, we have a problem.

When I was in high school I was determined to overcome my terrible fear of speaking in public. First I joined theater, then my theater teacher told me to join speech club. I did. I traveled around Colorado doing competitive speaking and did surprisingly well. My first year I won prizes for Humorous Interpretation of Oratory. The next year — my senior year — I won second place in the state of Colorado for Original Oratory. My speech was political, but it was not about the Vietnam War. It was about the thing I cared most about.

The speech is mostly written in a tone of bitter irony, the kind 18 year olds love, along with lots of big words, but even then, even in 1970, I was worried about what was happening to the one thing I could depend on in my life to love me. I wrote:

The human race is racing toward total annihilation, with, at last, no exceptions made as to race, creed, gender or nationality. Man abuses the air he needs to breathe, the water he needs for sustaining his life, and he is brilliantly devising technologically advanced ways to destroy the delicate food cycle of which he is the ultimate beneficiary.

The Environmental Protection Agency was founded the same year I won my award for this speech. It immediately set about finding ways to slow down the rate at which pollutants were being thrown into the air and the water. It did a good job; it has done a good job. Maybe it has written many irksome regulations. Maybe it’s required mitigation when land is developed. Maybe the regulations are long and hard to read. Maybe what it requires is expensive, but dammit. Lake Michigan is no longer dead in places and LA (when the mountains aren’t on fire) has a clear sky and breathable air.

But… It’s possible to ignore regulations; it’s possible to fake compilance; it’s possible to put greed and momentary financial interest ahead of simple good sense. Houston was built on a flood plain. And the plain flooded.

The Harvey-wrought devastation is just the latest example of the consequences of Houston’s gung-ho approach to development. The city, the largest in the US with no zoning laws, is a case study in limiting government regulations and favoring growth—often at the expense of the environment. As water swamps many of its neighborhoods, it’s now also a cautionary tale of sidelining science and plain common sense. Given the Trump administration’s assault on environmental protections, it’s one that Americans elsewhere should pay attention to.

Nature knows what it’s doing. I walk with my dogs frequently along the Rio Grande in a wetlands area. It’s a little annoying in summer because of the bugs — this year in particular because it has been a wet summer — but I’ve seen the slough at work. The high river of spring had channels into which it could drain and from which farmers could draw water for irrigation. It was almost as if the river said, “Here, dude. For your potatoes.” It works great and nature built it for herself (and us; we’re nature, too).

Climate change denyers can deny all they want, but it doesn’t change reality. It doesn’t change the fact that 60 years (the time between my hurricane experience in Mobile and now) is a very short time for what has happened to our climate to have happened. Yes; climate cycles happen to the Earth, but sixty years?

Lamont and Dude know that from their many incarnations, including Coelecanth and Woolly Mammoth, but they would probably be the first to agree that — with the exception of the meteorite which made things happen rather quickly, ending their time as velociraptors — the changes were eons in the making. Lamont’s belief is that humans have acted on the climate of the earth in much the way the meteorite did.

I love nature. In my whole life when things in my life have been too sad or too glorious,  I’ve gone to trees, open spaces, the sky, water (if it’s there). I’ve never been unwelcome, misunderstood, or even lost. In nature is ALWAYS an answer to the question, “Where am I?” Thousands of times it’s pulled me up and out of whatever catastrophe has been my life in those moments (and sometimes it was really a catastrophe, such as my dad dying, or my brother dying, my house under threat of foreclosure…) and shown me something. Last night on my simple, short walk with the dogs,  it was the call of a Coopers Hawk from a cottonwood tree. There is always something.

Beyond nature’s personally redemptive powers, it provides everything we need for life. Seriously. As I watched some very fucking stupid people yammering on TV in Houston I thought, “They have no idea.” I get it that they’re worried about where they’re going to live, how they’re going to live, where their children are going to live, how they’re going to eat — all of that. I’ve been through a natural disaster; I know it’s terrifying and the ordinary details of life are suddenly NOT to be taken for granted, but they think in terms of their landlord not calling them back (not that their landlord might be in his own shitstorm and unable to call them back).

But it’s a good metaphor. Extrapolate from that to REAL LIFE. Earth is our apartment building. Nature is our landlord. Without it we have no place to live, nothing to eat, no where to raise children. We do not even exist.

In my high school speech is a quotation from Adlai Stevenson. He compares Earth to the satellites that were orbiting our planet.

We travel together, passengers on a little spaceship, dependent on its vulnerable rserves of air and soil; all committed for our safety to its security and peace; preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work and the love with give our fragile craft.

Lamont and Dude Experiment with Hypnotism

“You are falling into a trance.”

“Looks more like a hole to me.”

“Lamont, you’re not even trying.”

“Dude, I’m sorry, but I don’t really WANT to be hypnotized.”

“Why didn’t you say so? The book says the participant must be willing.”

“I’m not really willing, Dude. Sorry.”

“I thought we could remember MORE of our past lives if we could hypnotize each other.”

“MORE? But would remember what we remembered during the hypnotic trance?”

“I set up this recording system here so it wouldn’t matter if we remembered it or not.”

“Huh. That’s an interesting idea. How many lives do you remember, Dude?”

“I haven’t counted. Mostly I remember the lives we’ve shared because, I think, we’ve reinforced the memories by talking about them. That’s why I thought this would be cool.”

“I could try to hypnotize you. I think you’re more, uh, suggestible than I am anyway.”

“Is that good?”

“For this, yeah.”


“Are you comfortable?”


“Is this thing turned on?”

“Just press the red button when you’re ready.”

“You are falling into a trance.”

“I think it’s a hole.”


Lamont and Dude are characters I came up with a few years ago. They have the uncanny ability to remember many of their past lives which gives them a unique perspective on life, the universe and everything.

Lamont and Dude have a Deep Talk

“Hey Lamont. Look at these pictures. Were we ever one of these?”

“I doubt it. I think there is a clear demarcation between land and sea animals and we never crossed that line.”

“Not true. I was a shark. And salmon.”

“I forgot, Dude. I forget about the random stuff you were while I was an oak tree, peacefully at one with everything.”

“What do you think? Would it be cool to be a pilot fish or one of these guys?”

“No. There are many things other people do that I do not want to do ever.  One of them is deep sea diving — or even scuba diving. I have an irrational attachment to air, sunshine and Terra Firma.”

“Because of the creepy things that live down there?”

“No. Because I just don’t like it. It’s dark. It’s wet. It’s scary. There are all kinds of wrecked ships, stuff from wars like unexploded armament, submarines…”

“When I took that scuba trip to the Bahamas we got to see a sunken German U-Boat from WW II.”

“You did?”

“Yeah. Nothing special. Just a sub. Standard, you know, for the time.”


Lamont and Dude are characters I came up with a few years ago. They have the uncanny ability to remember many of their past incarnations which gives them a unique perspective on life, the universe and everything.