Tag Archives: relationships

The Precipice by Matt Carlson

Elledge stood there : once again. On the precipice. The precipice of making a decision. The precipice of what was important in his life. He had looked up, he had looked down; he had looked all around. Had he missed something? Because to make the best possible decision, one had to have the key elements in hand. He knew that. But if part of the equation were the people he cared about – where were they? And if he knew where they were, why were they acting the way that they did? Maybe his ‘carrier-pigeon mentality’ hadn’t been the best method, you know: the returning to the places of life before… To see ‘it’ again and look it straight in the eye  – to talk to it even, just to make sure that they recognized each other. The problem was that no one spoke, or was even available to have an eventual conversation. It was: “I’m so busy. I’ll call you.” The phone calls never came.

Then he remembered an old concept that he had held close to his heart (and head) in his dating days : when you start playing the guessing game in your head about what’s in someone else’s head, that usually means the person is not direct, is complicated,  not a good communicator, or absent because they want to be and or DO NOT WANT TO SHARE in the way that you need them to share. So ‘bye bye baby, bye-bye’ (Madonna song refrain…)

The little brother incident had been an emotional blow. While there, he had known being in their home was a potential ‘bomb’ of sorts,  he hadn’t known what the missing pieces were. Now in retrospect, he understood them. His psychiatrist had pointed out the abandoned Father issues that dominated in that household – that Elledge couldn’t have done anything about it even if he had wanted to. That all potential Father symbols had to be destroyed ! Elledge hadn’t  thought of any of those things – though he had considered the father role he had played – still a child himself- with his little brother many years ago: a poor substitute perhaps, but it had been a loving one.

Arriving in California, he was on a life trip while there – still was in fact though now back in Paris – and the people facing him had been on a completely different roller coaster ride. There was finally no ‘meeting of the minds’ so to speak. For that, there had to be openings in peoples heads, the desire to be open to something new, to have conversations together. Instead, there had been ‘people too busy,’ defensiveness, parody, moodiness and recriminations – games within games. Even lying. There were false smiles and “Awesome!” this and “Awesome !” that; followed up with “Your the boss!” But when a miscommunication happened it was, ” You’re a mother-fucking-liar” and “I’ll never trust you again!” with “Why did you do that?” Elledge was still waiting for an answer from an email in May, a sent birthday card and postcards sent over the summer. But no, he had been killed off. His Father symbol was now dead to them. Back then he’s been told by his little brother, “People in the states don’t answer emails!”

The other brothers and their absences too were confounding to him. But maybe that shouldn’t have been so surprising concerning the past.  Elledge had some gaps in his memory and distance did play a role too – still he was very disappointed. He’d truly wanted to connect with his brothers again and on a close level.  but he supposed, that in order for them to understand the efforts taken to return, one had to have ‘sat upon the subject’ a bit, to mull it over and consider those steps necessary for a trip like that; to care enough about someone else –  your brother – and what that meant to you. And if it meant something then you would do something about it, right? Like jump on a plane and go and see him, or if you were in the same city, run over and see him, right?  If not, you wouldn’t have done any considering at all just, “Oh, he’s coming back?…Why? I hope it works out for him..”(end of story ).

The good side to his visit upon returning to his ‘roots’ had been connecting with his nephews and niece, three of his cousins …and some nice virtual messaging with at least one of his second cousins. And he had made a friend or two, gotten to see his best friend in Washington and her family. There were connections with her family too – that was all very nice….

But still, what to do? Which city would he return to? Or maybe it would  be a new place? New faces? And more importantly the ‘what to do’ with ones life was actually secondary to the ‘why’ we do something…Hmm, maybe it was time to develop that ‘why’ question….




The Father Ghost of Jane Snitly by Matt Carlson

She had never really considered it. It was something that she’d just decided to do. One day Jane Snitly bought the auburn hair coloring treatment, went home, read the instructions on the box, locked herself up in the bathroom and one hour later it was done. She’d become a redhead at twenty.

On top of it all, she looked good as a redhead. It wasn’t the flashy bright red of some, but more classy, like Katherine Hepburn in the 50’s and 60’s. And so it was, she’d chosen this look seemingly out of the blue – thinking it gave her an aura of the beautiful actress. And yet, even while she looked at herself in the mirror, she couldn’t ignore the pressing images that assaulted her there…

It was a gorgeous Buick of light blue sitting outside on the street under the front yard maple tree  – to keep under the shade. It was a hot summer day in the valley. There’d been a woman sitting in the passenger seat. She was very pretty, quite well dressed and she’d come with her Dad who was now in the house. He was having a conversation with Jane and Jenny’s Mother. The two little blond girls were 9 and 12, Jane was the youngest; Jenny the oldest. The two little girls were intrigued with the woman but didn’t dare speak to her. They’d been playing jacks in the driveway.

Blue curling up smoke from the woman’s cigarette went into the tree itself – seemingly dancing with the leaves – and Jane wondered who she was: this silent friend of her Father’s. Jenny felt it too and the girls left long lingering looks in her direction while halfheartedly spinning and catching. Voices were suddenly raised within the house and Jane and Jenny knew what that meant: another argument between their Mother and Father. They’d known something was up as their Father had ordered them to ‘stay outside and play’ upon his arrival and that he’d ‘wanted to speak to their Mother alone.’ Hearing those words had created a stir in their young bellies, but they had no clue as to why.

The wailing coming from within was low at first: a kind of moaning. Was that human? They both wondered while looking simultaneously at the house where their Father was now exiting. He didn’t say anything to them except that he loved them and would talk to them soon.

Jenny being older asked,”Daddy, where are you going? Why is Mamma crying like that?” She asked while chewing on her fingernail. Her Father stopped and seemed to reconsider something. The woman in the car was watching intently.

“Honey, Daddy is going to go and live somewhere else for a while…. but I’ll come back soon and we’ll do something fun, okay?” This was a lie, of course yet he wanted to give them a warm fuzzy of some kind. A lie was better than nothing. And perhaps he’d made himself believe that his words were true. Jenny didn’t say anything and he got into the car and started up the engine.

The wailing from within the house went up a notch and Jane suddenly found herself standing in front of the running engine, standing in front of the car where her Father sat with a strange & beautiful woman. Jane knew what it all meant. He was leaving. Leaving their Mother; leaving them. Leaving with the woman with auburn hair. Her Father stepped out of the car and asked, “What is it Janie?” But a paralysis overtook the little girl and no words would come. “Honey?… Okay, I’ve gotta go now sweetie – move out of the way.” And just like that she did what was asked of her. Her Father drove away. The woman gave her a sad smile and a slight wave of a manicured hand.

“Don’t go Daddy,” she whispered as the car drove out of sight. She’d forgotten to breath for a moment and felt slightly dizzy. Jenny had run inside to see her Mother. Janie stood there for a long time. Watching, waiting, trying to figure out what had just happened. Her tears and the low moaning were suddenly hers. Her Father had left her. Had left her Mom and sister. Only a Father Ghost would remain now….

**** Explanatory Note:

Almost sixty years later, Jane Snitly (her name has been changed to protect her identity) would die of Emphysema at the age of 68. According to a certain psychiatrist, she chose this hair color because unconsciously she chose to be the woman that her Father left with. That means she wanted to be the woman he chose to be with. (To be the woman that her Father loved). At the same time, she also chose to be the Mother that her Father left. The woman scorned and angry. Probably too,  that both of these identities  co-existed subconsciously within.

That being the case,  the two inner personalities or roles were at constant battle with one another; that the Mistress hated the Mother and that the Mother within hated the Mistress…The Father reassures and helps in developing a sense of identity to children in a family. When a Father abandons his children or is absent, the child will constantly search out that Father image – an image that he or she needs in order to construct their identity. The child (and later on adult) will do this subconsciously, of course and unknowingly will set up repetitive failures with people, people that the unconscious mind will perceive as a potential Father image. This is called the Father Ghost. Many of us have a Father Ghost, though we don’t realize it. He hoovers there constantly and is played out within the people around us, especially family members or other potential father-type images. Because it failed with their own father’s, and is an unconscious functioning, it will fail time and time again. No matter if you are a perfect Father figure, the scorned child will find fault with you somehow. Until the child becomes consciously aware of what is happening (and learns to make a conscious effort to change) he or she will continue to destroy potential Father figures. It is something imprinted within and a vicious circle…Some people will find other ways of creating identity with the pathology of the Father Ghost haunting them. Some will choose to work in psychology, health services and even religion…Anything that will give them a strong sense of belonging and reassurance…

*** ‘A noted sociologist, Dr. David Popenoe, is one of the pioneers of the relatively young field of research into fathers and fatherhood. “Fathers are far more than just ‘second adults’ in the home,” he says. “Involved fathers bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring.”  Fathers have a direct impact on the well-being of their children. It is important for professionals working with fathers— especially in the difficult, emotionally charged arena in which child protective services (CPS) caseworkers operate—to have a working understanding of the literature that addresses this impact.

Such knowledge will help make the case for why the most effective CPS case plans will involve fathers. This chapter lays out the connection between fathers and child outcomes, including cognitive ability, educational achievement, psychological well-being, and social behavior. The chapter also underscores the impact of the father and mother’s relationship on the well-being of their children….

THE IMPACT OF THE MOTHER-FATHER RELATIONSHIP ON CHILD OUTCOMES One of the most important influences a father can have on his child is indirect—fathers influence their children in large part through the quality of their relationship with the mother of their children. A father who has a good relationship with the mother of their children is more likely to be involved and to spend time with their children and to have children who are psychologically and emotionally healthier. Similarly, a mother who feels affirmed by her children’s father and who enjoys the benefits of a happy relationship is more likely to be a better mother. Indeed, the quality of the relationship affects the parenting behavior of both parents. They are more responsive, affectionate, and confident with their infants; more self-controlled in dealing with defiant toddlers; and better confidants for teenagers seeking advice and emotional support. One of the most important benefits of a positive relationship between mother and father, and a benefit directly related to the objectives of the CPS caseworker, is the behavior it models for children.

Fathers who treat the mothers of their children with respect and deal with conflict within the relationship in an adult and appropriate manner are more likely to have boys who understand how they are to treat women and who The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children are less likely to act in an aggressive fashion toward females. Girls with involved, respectful fathers see how they should expect men to treat them and are less likely to become involved in violent or unhealthy relationships. In contrast, research has shown that husbands who display anger, show contempt for, or who stonewall their wives (i.e., “the silent treatment”) are more likely to have children who are anxious, withdrawn, or antisocial.

THE IMPACT OF FATHERS ON COGNITIVE ABILITY AND EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT Children with involved, caring fathers have better educational outcomes. A number of studies suggest that fathers who are involved, nurturing, and playful with their infants have children with higher IQ’s, as well as better linguistic and cognitive capacities.Toddlers with involved fathers go on to start school with higher levels of academic readiness. They are more patient and can handle the stresses and frustrations associated with schooling more readily than children with less involved fathers.

The influence of a father’s involvement on academic achievement extends into adolescence and young adulthood. Numerous studies find that an active and nurturing style of fathering is associated with better verbal skills, intellectual functioning, and academic achievement among adolescents. For instance, a 2001 U.S. Department of Education study found that highly involved biological fathers had children who were 43 percent more likely than other children to earn mostly As and 33 percent less likely than other children to repeat a grade.

THE IMPACT OF FATHERS ON PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING AND SOCIAL BEHAVIOR Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections with peers. These children also are less likely to get in trouble at home, school, or in the neighborhood.13 Infants who receive high levels of affection from their fathers (e.g., babies whose fathers respond quickly to their cries and who The Link Between Marriage and Fatherhood Caring, involved fathers exist outside of marriage. They are more likely, however, to be found in the context of marriage. There are numerous reasons for this, not the least of which being the legal and social norms associated with marriage that connect a father to the family unit. That may also explain, in part, why research consistently shows that the married mother-and-father family is a better environment for raising children than the cohabitating (living together) mother-and-father family.

It is interesting to note that, contrary to stereotypes about low-income, unmarried parents, a significant majority—more than 8 in 10—of urban, low-income fathers and mothers are in a romantic relationship when their children are born.

Most of these couples expect that they will get married. One study found that more than 80 percent expected they would get married or live together. However, only 11 percent of these couples had actually married a year later.

Why they do not marry is an interesting question open to conjecture. However, as Dr. Wade Horn, Assistant Secretary for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has pointed out, it may be because these couples receive very little encouragement to marry from the health and social services professionals with whom they come in contact.

Fathers and Their Impact on Children’s Well-being play together) are more securely attached; that is, they can explore their environment comfortably when a parent is nearby and can readily accept comfort from their parent after a brief separation. A number of studies suggest they also are more sociable and popular with other children throughout early childhood.

The way fathers play with their children also has an important impact on a child’s emotional and social development. Fathers spend a much higher percentage of their one-on-one interaction with infants and preschoolers in stimulating, playful activity than do mothers. From these interactions, children learn how to regulate their feelings and behavior. Roughhousing with dad, for example, can teach children how to deal with aggressive impulses and physical contact without losing control of their emotions.19 Generally speaking, fathers also tend to promote independence and an orientation to the outside world. Fathers often push achievement while mothers stress nurturing, both of which are important to healthy development. As a result, children who grow up with involved fathers are more comfortable exploring the world around them and more likely to exhibit self control and pro-social behavior.

One study of school-aged children found that children with good relationships with their fathers were less likely to experience depression, to exhibit disruptive behavior, or to lie and were more likely to exhibit pro-social behavior. This same study found that boys with involved fathers had fewer school behavior problems and that girls had stronger self esteem.

In addition, numerous studies have found that children who live with their fathers are more likely to have good physical and emotional health, to achieve academically, and to avoid drugs, violence, and delinquent behavior. In short, fathers have a powerful and positive impact upon the development and health of children. A caseworker who understands the important contributions fathers make to their children’s development and how to effectively involve fathers in the case planning process will find additional and valuable allies in the mission to create a permanent and safe environment for children.’


FRESNO TIMES (N° 11) Clash At Yosemite Lakes Park by Matt Carlson

Piddy and Diddy had been married now for a number of years and their life together, though complicated, was comfortable financially. Diddy had his Broker’s License and had established himself at Yosemite Lake’s Park as the main real estate agency. Piddy, through the love of her Father, a man who loved to play with money, had given his daughter half a million dollars.

Of course course Piddy’s sister Clara and her Mother Edna were scandalized, calling out injustice. A family war broke out that would never be healed again, even after Diddy had had the biggest of all houses in the park built for Edna, complete with fancy doors and southern white front porch columns making Tara in Gone With The Wind look small in comparison.

“You’re just an evil daughter!” Edna screamed out at Piddy. “Wheeling &  dealing behind my back to get at your Father’s money. I should of had that egg ripped out the moment it got fertilized!”

Piddy’s eyes rounded out in surprise then narrowly focused at her Mother. She’d held her tongue too long. She was gonna take down this old croony for good now – she didn’t need her bullshit any more.

“You are the poorest excuse  of a Mother – all you think about is yourself. You’re a cold, calculating, old bitch…. it’s a miracle Papa slept with you twice at all. No one else would have! And Papa gave me that money ‘cuz he knew I was the only one smart enough to do anything with it. What did you do to ever help him out? All you’ve ever done for years is get on his back and complain! Bitch about your clothes, bitch about your house – now you’ve got a fucking mansion and you’re still bitching!! Well, you know what? I’m sick of it.”

She picked up her her purse, turned towards the door, paused and then turned back towards her Mother and said, “Just fuck off now and forever. I don’t need anymore of your whining and complaining. You’ve got what you wanted, just get on with your life and leave Papa alone. And me too. I’ve had it.”

And out she went from her Mother’s house on the hill with it’s exquisite decor and fancy garden landscaping, then got into her brand new Porcha 901 and sped off down the road. She was barely 30 years old, rich, brazen and free from her Mother once and for all. Today she had lots to do: houses to sell, rentals and she had just been elected President of the Home Owners Association of the park. There were weeds to be pulled out there – too many old gezers with their narrow minded ideas. She loved a good fight and was ready for them!

Edna, in the meanwhile sat down in her beautiful kitchen with all the latest modern appliances. She and her husband Bill had been separated for many years, but they still saw each other on ocassion. Their two daughters were the connecting force, otherwise they would’ve chosen to not see one another, although, this was a quandry for her and her Mormon religion. She still loved him but could do without him. He was always getting involved in some some ‘cock- a – mamie’ scam in order to make money. He had already lost millions several times!….And he was not a practicing Mormon either. Her body was a temple, so she didn’t drink or put unhealthy things in it, while Bill was like a fish consuming alcohol like it was water.

And now this final betrayal, giving all that money to Piddy! Such an ungrateful child…She pursed her lips and without thinking ground her teeth together too, her left leg began tapping all by itself. Passing the living room mirror, she looked at herself, a slight woman, quite thin, 5 feet, 5 inches tall with a roundish formed black dyed permenant sitting high on her head to make her look taller. Her clothes expensive and exotic looking, but still she had aged considerably. At 60 the wrinkles were taking over. She decide she would make a hair appointment for the afternoon, get a pedicure. That would help her think about something else other than the selfish daughter of hers’.

FRESNO TIMES (chapter 6) by Matthew Carlson

It was autumn in the San Juaquin Valley with the usual dead, wet leaves of yellow, orange and brown on sidewalks. On the roads, in the gutters too. Sometimes on car roof tops. Leaves hung on for as long as they could, one last breath of the wind and a fluttering ballet to the ground. It was a reality show of Madame Butterfly. A morgue in the dirt, maybe some dog poo among dying blades of grass alongside shelter seeking insects. The fog had rolled in once again.

Outside on the road in front of 2036 Maple street, low beamed headlights appeared here and there swirling behind muffled blankets of grey. Joanie smoked her Saratoga Lights’ ciggarette while sitting at the dining table. It was nearly 7:00 a.m. Next to her a romantic novel ‘I Killed My Husband’ and an empty plate which had earlier housed 2 slices of darkly toasted bread with butter. She sighed thinking about the accounts payable and her other responsabilities at the Sheraton Inn and the stupid General Manager who was on a power trip. She was glad to think of her other collegues at work who were also her friends. She didn’t divide people up in categories, people were people whether she worked with them or not. She liked people to be real, not fake. She detested superficiality.

She coughed, straightened her skirt and decided it was time to finish putting her face on. As she did her eyes, lips and then her hair with a good dosing of hair spray, she continued to cough. It was not a light polite “excuse me” kind of cough either, it was a deep raking cough that racked her in the bowels, twisted her body into a bending position. It tore at the insides of her throat. Little did she realize that emphysema had already taken root in her once upon a time pink lungs.

From the bedroom, her four boys could hear her. Her coughing noises were like an alarm clock, something they had gotten used to hearing. Many conversations had been had over it. But Joanie would just get mad and reply that it was her choice to smoke.

Gelledge, her number three son was listening to her racking cough from his bed, but only wanted to sleep some more. He was so tired… and then he remembered the incident  in his bed yesterday. An incredible erection in his underwear and then without barely touching himself, an explosion of white cream. What a great feeling that had been. Once again it had been amazing. At eleven years of age, he had already known what it was, well pretty much, but certainly hadn’t understood the implications. Now at thirteen, that part of his life was a sailing ship on the high seas. The fact that once again he had been thinking of Danny King’s muscular build and tight butt didn’t seem to register yet. Neither the fact that his regular ventures to ‘borrow’ his brothers’ porn magazines hidden under his bed in the next room. Lots of titties and snatch shots of course…and the women were all beautiful too, but Gelledge knew instantly what he was searching for, and it wasn’t snatch.

When he discovered the series of photos named Box Car Bertha in OUI Magazine, it was too fantastic to believe! Some guy named Jan Michael Vincent naked: with blonde hair and a slender muscular build. It was masturbatory heaven in a skin magazine. And then there had been a second guy with dark hair too on another page in a train car next to Bertha, shirtless and in jeans, but then naked too.

it was “lust” at first sight and occasional visits became daily ones’ to his brothers’ room and those ‘hidden’ magazines….

FRESNO TIMES (Chapter Four) “2036 Maple Street” by Matthew Carlson

My little brother...;)

So, there we were living on Maple Street. A house all our own, with my Mother and her four sons. I loved it there, finally a place that belonged to us; home sweet home. It was a big change, finally no more moving (or so we were told.)  My parents’ divorce to one another and their subsequent marriages (and divorces) went well with the word ‘moving’  which means that we moved ALOT and frequently. However, aside from two brief moves to different cities, we usually stayed in the same flat town known as Fresno in California. Years later, we would count 23 houses and apartments , the number of places moved to (and from) while growing up. Some called Fresno the ‘arm pit of the universe’  – we called it home. Hot enough to fry eggs on the sidewalk during summer with house water coolers and pop sicles from Kool Aid, lots of flowers and bugs in the spring with screen doors and fly swatters (though I used rubber bands tied together), yellow, brown, and red leaves in the fall, pea-soup-fog in the winter, with frozen wind shields. I remember how Mom would, all dressed up nice for work in a pretty dress and high heels heat up panfuls of hot water on the stove (microwaves didn’t exist yet) which she would then throw onto her iced up car windows while scraping with a flat wooden kitchen utinsel. Usually four or five panfuls were necessary to get off enough ice in order to see while driving. There was nothing to do with the passenger’s side window, which was always broken no matter what car model she happened to have at the time. It would always break down while rolling it up or down and then stick that way, always partially open. A good reason to have a good heater! At least that usually worked. One year, we inherited my grand parent’s marroon colored 1962 (or 65?) Galaxy 500 . (Maybe it was 1967….) It was in excellent condition (my Grandfather did nothing else but polish it and change the oil frequently) one of those scripts that says ‘old men keep VERY CLEAN and GOOD WORKING AUTOMOBILES!’ But following a nasty accident, the right front side of the car had been terribly bashed in. We never heard the true story of how it happened, but probably something to do with old age. Why they didn’ t have it repaired galled me severely. They were so tight with their money that their glutus maximuses squeaked when they walked. I loved them but they were lost in their short sighted morality and far too distant compassion. We didn’t see them that much and they never came to see us once at our home.They were still ‘displeased’ with my Mother divorcing my Father and had never accepted the divorce. That my Mother went on with her own life without their son, well they never got over that either. Their sons’ acoholism was mostly the culprit, yet they were of old school – he was too old to have any sense beaten into him, and much too big! So help out a little bit (it was their ex-daughter-in-law) but not too much. Give her a car that works well, yet reminds her daily that there is a HUGE gash on her car visible to everyone …Sort of like the gash on their reputation and moral beliefs…repairing the ugly scar on the right front side of the car would have been too nice somehow. Too much of a gift. Approval that they wre not willing to give. Consequences needed to be paid for somehow….And maybe, they didn’t want to pay the premiums on the insurance….I’m thinking probably both reasons worked for them. Still they cared a great deal behind the nordic and protestant sense of what was right and wrong. Safely sitting behind it, unable to access something they could only partially see, yet unable to touch it. A bit like standing outside that car with its’ frosty windows, wanting to drive but only being able to watch as their ex-daughter-in-law held the wheel in her pretty hands.

Anyway, Mom continued to work as a full time bookkeeper & we went to school every day, then church on Sundays, well sometimes. That depended on the ever fluctuating moral intention of the moment. And there was my little brother, Mikael too. Somehow just naturally, I took him under my wing. We were always together and I took care of him as if he were mine. Mom was very busy and though she was a good Mom, she was tired too. Tired of having so many kids, so many responsibilities. It just worked out without anything being said. Kirk and Merk were too busy doing other stuff and being with new friends and for Kirk new girlfriend sensations…Like I’ve said before we kids had our chore schedule to follow and we played sports alot or played outside with the neighborhood kids: marbles, statues, war games, riding bikes, often directly at each other (whoever veered off first before the ultimate crash was the loser)… Throwing water ballons onto suspecting cars was a personal favorite of mine, until a black van one evening stopped and came after me! I never realized how fast I was, jumping over a neighbours 6 foot fence and hiding out in some rose bushes (ouch!)  When the van rolled by slowly I held my breath (young guys calling ou threats) while survival pumped through my veins. When we moved to Maple Street Merk had taken some distance from me, which I never understood. One day we were in the living room and he decided he wanted to change the tv channel. So he did it. I went over to the tv and changed it back. (Remote controls didn’t exist yet – you actually had to stand up and walk over to the tv & change it) I know how old fashioned, huh? Our tv was humungous in size, about one meter in all directions sitting on four peglike legs, and of course with images only in black and white. Anyway, our exchange of changing tv channels didn’t last very long as Merk punched me in the diaphram and I collapsed on the floor unable to breath!

My older brother Kirk (like Captain Kirk, but unfortunately with a very different personality) came over to make sure I was still breathing.  (Captain Kirk would have seriously been concerned about my well being). I was okay, so he said two words to Merk and it was over. It was important for him that I still be alive when Mom got home or otherwise he would be in big trouble. Aside from that, I was an utter annoyance. Something to be tolerated.