I can’t remember where I heard it or when but I’m guessing it was from my friend Clyde who knew about all things Dinosaur Related.
Clyde was seriously into Dinosaurs- we were about ten years old at the time- and I was into Archeology and all things Mummy Related so we always had a lot to talk about.
Anyway one day we were slamming the tether ball around the pole and trying to hit each other with it ( I think it was called roping when you grabbed the rope and whipped it around ) and Clyde informed me that the way you could tell the difference between a rock and a bone was that if you put a bone on your tongue it would stick because bones are porous and if it was a rock it wouldn’t,
I bounced the ball off his head. ” Really?”
He assured me it was true.
” You just want me dig up a bone and lick it?”
It was one way to be sure, Clyde told me. Besides, it was the only way he knew.
I bounced the ball off of his head again. ” Good try short stack. I’m not falling for that one.”
Clyde changed when we were in high school.
We would be talking and his eyes would roll up into head and he’d start talking to God- sometimes the Devil and when he came back he would hold my hand and tell me it was getting harder to hear hear his own thoughts anymore.
One day, Clyde was just gone- I mean the person who I grew up with. His body was there but he would talk in random words and numbers.
His family moved him to an institution in the same state his Uncle lived in. Clyde and his Uncle had always been close and he wanted to care for him.
I went a few times to visit but Clyde didn’t know me, didn’t know himself.
After the last trip I took I went home to my Mom’s because my dog had died ( thanks for the kick in the head God ) and I was in the backyard gathering up his toys when I came across one of Sham’s chewed up ham bones.
I thought about what Clyde had said.
I held the bone up and shrugged.
I went to the hose, washed it off, wiped it on my jeans and set the bone on my tongue.
I’ll be darned- it did stick to my tongue.
It tasted like earth, like sadness. I chomped it a bit and wondered what it would be like to snap it in half with my jaws, what it would feel like to crunch at the shards, to spit out the remains and keep working at it until nothing was left.
My friend was gone, my dog was gone too and I was in my back yard chewing on a bone and you know what?
At the exact moment I needed it I felt very much alive.
My friend who I called ” Clyde” in this post died in 2001.