Dear Dust

Get a clue, asshole. You’ll never write anything half as good as Fountainhead. Ayn Rand spelled it all out fifty years ago and if your [sic] too dumb to get it, then you can fall back in the mud with the rest.

The Light in The Cave


My name is Irene Zion and I have been writing for TNB for quite a while. I’ve been married to Victor for 76 years, or thereabouts. Victor practiced retinal surgery for decades and I taught junior high and high school, but mostly I raised the oodles of children in my house. Some of them were mine. Now we are retired and living on Miami Beach. We are blessed with good health and stamina. We are thankful for the discovery of powerful antacid medicines, so that we can continue to enjoy foods that would otherwise eat right through our stomach linings. I am still hoping for a cure for chicken neck, but all things considered, we are content and peaceful. Life is good.

Victor and I went on a long trip to Africa recently. Yeah, but that is way too long and complicated to get into here. Never mind. You should just be aware that we do a lot of weird traveling. Our aspiration is to go everywhere and see everything. We have plenty of time, since we aren’t planning to get any older.

We have at least five kids that I can remember off the bat. They are frequently characters in my stories, so you should know a bit about them. In age order there is Sara, who is an anesthesiologist. She is married to Tushar and has our phenomenal and only grandchildren, Stella and Oscar. Then there is Lonny, who is married to Sara. Tim is in the middle. Then comes Lenore, (you know her, right?) Last, I think, is Ben, who is married to Kate.

Sara, Tushar, Stella and Oscar moved from one state to another recently. Their new house came with an elevator and a fish tank. The elevator is exceptionally safe. You could walk up the stairs backwards and blindfolded, carrying a porcelain toilet, and get there far before the elevator does. The fish tank is teaching the children about death.

Lonny proposed to Sara at our annual Thanksgiving festival. Two years ago, Ben proposed to Kate at this same festival, thus setting in stone the tradition that when a child of ours gets engaged, it is at our house, during the Thanksgiving weekend, surrounded by family, friends, dogs and sushi. Strange things seem to happen at our Thanksgivings, ask around.

Sara and Lonny followed our sensible family custom and eloped. They are now a typical newly married couple, complete with a practical house and enormous debt. Sara obviously has magical powers, since she actually retained a teaching position in Los Angeles, which is nothing to sneeze at. Now we have two “Sara Zions,” the resulting confusion being perfectly Zionesque. There was an outside chance once for another “Kate Zion,” but she turned out to be a closeted creepy psycho-stalker, so we had to jettison her, but I would need permission in order to tell that story.

Timothy is now getting a Masters Degree in Accounting. This required him to buy and use a PC. He keeps his beloved Mac in working order and occasionally buys it a new Mac toy in order to assuage his conscience and mollify his Mac. Tim is allergic to cats and he can’t have a dog in his apartment, so I’m pretty sure the Mac is his only pet now. After spending close to nine years in Hawaii, Tim is having a difficult time leaving his flip-flops home and putting on warm shoes in the cold and snowy Chicago winter. I think that it would be a safe bet to make that, after he finishes his degree, he might very well relocate to a place that is flip-flop-friendly.

Lenore was in the original crop of TNBers; I assume you’ve read her stuff. She has only a matter of months remaining in her Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. She, not unlike other Zion children, is collecting degrees. This one will be her fourth. She also has two in Creative Writing and another in Psychology. These degrees have so far landed her a short stint at Blockbusters. We, as a family, look extremely good on paper. Unfortunately, we do not excel in actually landing gainful employment.

Lenore is working on what we euphemistically call the “last draft” of her novel. She will be out in the job market again at the end of August, given that she has not already appeared on Oprah, before the show goes off the air.

Benjamin and Kate also live in Chicago. Benjamin will finish Law school at the end of the summer, after which he is determined to land the elusive position in Law. I am concerned that this search is unlikely to bear edible fruit, so he may soon be adding yet another degree to his résumé. We hope the next one will lead to a real job for which he might get actual cash money. Kate just began Medical School. She is usually holed up in their tiny extra room studying. She occasionally sleeps and eats.

Our four-year-old Golden, Brooklyn, tore her second ACL and had her second Tibial Patellar Leveling Osteotomy. We were relieved to hear that ACL tears can only happen on a dog’s rear knees. Since both of them have been repaired, we should be good to go now. She has a staggering amount of titanium connecting parts of her body together. She won’t be pulling any sleds in the Iditarod, but she gets around just fine for what she needs to do. In March she will have healed enough from her latest surgery to limp back to her therapy dog work. Kimchee, our two-year-old Golden, is almost finished her therapy dog training. She is a goofy and delightful dog, perfect for therapy work, if she will stop peeing and wagging her tail in it every time she meets someone new. So far as I know, being sprayed with dog pee is not considered therapeutic.

For reasons that are unclear to us, we have had five attempted koi suicides in our atrium fishpond this year. Alas, four of the suicides were successful. One fish was saved in the nick of time by quick action by Victor, who ran through the pond to retrieve the muddy fish off the dirt and hurriedly placed him back in his element. It has been some months, and this particular fish seems to have had a change of heart. We think he has chosen life. Bravo for him.

Victor still volunteers at Fairchild Tropical Gardens doing backbreaking work on palm trees in the beating sun with two of his highly educated friends who also nevertheless inexplicably do hard labor. He and his friends are all of a certain age. Virtually every week, one of them throws out his back or injures an eye.

We also found out that Victor is allergic to every variety of ant in Florida. Aside from making him itchy, he looks uncommonly nasty after these allergic reactions. Luckily for him, he couldn’t care less how he looks. He also doesn’t care how I look. This used to annoy the bejezus out of me, but the older I get; the more this quirk of his is working in my favor.

Victor also teaches basic math and reading skills at a men’s homeless shelter. If you know Victor, you may be surprised to hear that he has an unflinching faith in humanity and the right to a second chance. (I know! He seems so cynical, right?)

I continue to play with children confined to their beds at Miami Children’s Hospital. I also cart Brooklyn around so she can do her various therapy jobs, since, although she is uncommonly clever, she does not have the opposable thumbs needed to drive a car.

I continue to paint peculiar portraits in oil when I am able to dislodge Victor from my leg.

It pleases me to write stories on line at TNB, for which I am grateful to its creator, Brad Listi. I write non-fiction. In doing so, I try my best to embarrass as many family members as possible. From time to time, a serious story slips in to my site. That’s your one and only warning; Ben Loory, (also known as “son of Loory,”) was right. Virtual gold stars are sent out to everyone who comments. The repugnant and offensive comments are especially fun to read, so, please, have at it!

Now that we have officially been introduced, we wish each of you good health and contentment in your life.

And a dog.

We wish you each at least one dog to love you regardless of what life throws at you.

Photograph Legend:


Back row, left to right: Tim, Sara, Lonny, Ben, Victor, and Tushar.

Middle row, left to right: Kate, Lenore, Irene and Sara.

Front row, left to right: Stella and Oscar


Back left: Kimchee

Front right: Brooklyn


Survivors of the multiple piscatorial suicides are swimming Shiva and declined to be photographed at this time.