Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Shall Be Released

By now it seems customary to begin my posts with an apology. As I've said many times, I'm well aware that leaving loyal readers in the lurch, without a meaningful update to brighten their mornings, is a grave, possibly unforgivable sin. To go nearly a week without reporting from the front line -- well, it may be an offense so odious as to be beyond terrestrial judgment altogether. With all of this in mind, I offer my sincere thanks to the Arniholics who, despite the toll my irregular posts are taking on their work and home life, continue to faithfully check the blog. (And no matter what your spouse or boss tells you: when Arnie is your drug, rehab is for quitters.)

To make it up to you, the loyal readership, I offer this post. More than mere words, this post is a multimedia experience. It's six days worth of posts consolidated into one super-charged, video-packed blitzkrieg of an ArnieUpdate.

To really get the most out of this post, however, there are some instructions you'll have to follow. Before you scroll down to the second half of this post, go ahead and play the embedded video below. Although this video is not technically a prerequisite to understanding the sentences that follow, I think its function as tone-setting device is crucial. (For those of you who have heard NPR's This American Life, you know what I'm talking about.)

Seriously, go ahead and press play. Don't worry about me. I'll wait on the other side while the video loads.

Are you hearing music? If not, you've either directly disobeyed the clearly stipulated rules of this post or you've proven unable to operate a fairly adult-proof application. I admire either your defiance or your complete unfamiliarity with YouTube.

For those of you hearing the [insert your own adjective here] voice of Bob Dylan, you're doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing. Great job! (Whether this makes you a tech savant or a feckless lemming is probably the subject for another post. Either way, thanks for playing along.) From here on out you can treat this like a traditional post. Even forget, if you can, that this is a full-fledged multimedia experience. Forget that this is totally Web 2.0. Just let the music play in the background as you scan, using your eyes, from left to right, sounding out words where necessary.

So: According to my calculations, Papa Goodwin has spent 23 straight days in the inpatient facilities of the U of C Medical Center. Although not precisely the same as a stay in a minimum-security prison, it's not really that far off either. While the food may be (a little) better at U of C, his taste buds have been too disagreeable to make any use of it. Although he isn't forced to pledge allegiance to the Aryan Brotherhood to survive an afternoon in the yard, he also hasn't actually had the opportunity to be outside in about a month. So, while I've never heard A. H. refer to the hospital as a penitentiary, the analogy doesn't seem too far-fetched.

(Right about now, The Band and its many famous accompanists should be thundering towards the chorus. If you're one of those speed-reading types that likes to show off by going faster than everyone else, take a few seconds to do this math problem [(32 + 12) x 81] before continuing. Once you hear all of them shouting about "any day now" you've reached the ideal point in the song--and in this very carefully orchestrated multimedia experience--to read the following paragraph.)

If my Dad's been an inmate for the last month, then the news I'm here to deliver is the akin to a call from the warden. As you've probably guessed by now, it looks like A. H. Goodwin, long a prisoner of IVs, catheters and socially challenged dermatologists, is up for parole. Although the terms of his release haven't been finalized, there's hope that he'll be out by Friday, December 21st. As in two short days from this very moment. While it's probably too early to celebrate in earnest (and although he's still feeling severely under the weather), I think it's fair to shut your office door, grab your guitar, and sing along with Bob and The Band. After all, if sparkling-new marrow and Christmas at home isn't worth singing about, I don't know what is.

Free at last, Free at last,


Anonymous said...

First of all, Zach, I hope to one day meet you. Your articulate narrative has been a joy--you are your father's son--positive, interesting and a man worth knowing. Now this news-- well, what could be better. My love to you, your Dad and sister, Mary Jo and her kids-- may this be the best holiday ever!

Deborah S.

Rich said...



Merry Christmas. Ask Santa for more white corpuscles. Let me know when you are up to either visitors or a phone call.


Mark Drozd said...

To finish Zack's quote, "Thank God Almighty . . . "

Jan said...

We're singing along!!!!!! Merry Christmas!
Love, Jan and Larry

Tripp Hudgins said...

That is great news indeed. And Bob Dylan's voice did not ruing that news either! Heh.

Peace and all good things to you all. I'll look forward to more good news.

"A light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it." John 1:5

Tripp Hudgins said...

Nevermind the typos...

Kim said...

A stellar post Zach--thanks so much for giving me my first smile of the day! My love to Arnie--Merry Christmas to all.


Anonymous said...

Tis the season, ey...

Thanks, indeed, Zach. My dear friend Dylan wrote another ditty, a little less known, but also worth sharing. So let this my comment be...

Can't you hear that rooster crowin'?
Rabbit runnin' down across the road
Underneath the bridge,
where the water flowed through
So happy just to see you smile
Underneath the sky of blue
On this new morning, new morning
On this new morning with you.

Can't you hear that motor turnin'?
Automobile comin' into style
Comin' down the road for a country mile
or two
So happy just to see you smile
Underneath the sky of blue
On this new morning, new morning
On this new morning with you.

The night passed away so quickly
It always does when you're with me.

Can't you feel that sun a-shinin'?
Ground hog runnin' by the country stream
This must be the day
that all of my dreams come true
So happy just to be alive
Underneath the sky of blue
On this new morning, new morning
On this new morning with you.

So happy just to be alive
Underneath the sky of blue
On this new morning, new morning
On this new morning with you.
New morning . . .

With love,

Eric said...


You’ve definitely left some "Blood on the Tracks" (Dylan reference, couldn't resist!) along the way.

I think my thoughts might be summed up best by a Shawshank Redemption line: ’’... some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright and when they fly away...part of you....does rejoice ...’’



Jenn said...

Hi Zach,
I'm the church administrator at Arnie's church. Several people are asking me for Arnie's Oak Park address...can you possibly email it to me?
Best Regards,
Jenn Peterson
Community Church of Wilmette
jenn at community church of wilmette dot org

Anonymous said...

Strange leaving a comment on your own blog, but here goes. Zach and Erica really took over for me- this was truly the hardest of times for me physically, but in the end our bodies allow us to forget the assault and move to a place of joy and gratitude. And I am grateful in every possible way; for your prayers, loyal following, real and continuous support. IIn the end it's about love, gratitude and the will we all have to overcome moments like this in out lives.

Thank You,

Deb Fletcher said...

HI Arnie,

You are so amazing. I'm very very happy to hear you've been sprung. Know that we're thinking about you.

May you have the warmest, happiest, wonderfulest holiday ever. And, keep your hat on, Arnie. Its cold when you're bald!

xo Deb

Dan said...

Arnie and all:

Have a wonderful Christmas together and a very happy new year.


mick said...

Welcome home Arnie. The best of gifts came early this year. Wishing you and your family a wonderful and joyous Christmas.

(Excellent work Zach)


Anonymous said...


Blessings and Grace of the Lord are with you. You are teaching all of us


Anonymous said...


Home for Christmas. Great News Let me know when you are strong enough for visitors.

Merry Christmas

John and Monica

kym said...

hope you are home for the holidays.
sending you my love and wishing you and your
family a joyous celebration.

Richard said...

Arnie: I spent a good part of yesterday gazing at the awesome cartoon you drew for me so many years ago prominently displayed in my office. Maybe the best part of the drawing is your trademarked spelling of yiddish phrases! My thoughts stay focused on your well-being. So wonderful for you to have your loving family's energy and support - surely the light of the season will surround you and the spirit of human kindness benefits from your success. Happy New Year to you, Zack, Erica, MJ and all those whom you hold dear.

RJ Sorman

Nancy said...

Arnie, I hope this note finds you at home with your family...December has flown by for us with work, family and end of year obligations. We think about you every day, and I'm happy to see your white cells and happiness and optimism counts are both rising. Let us know when you're ready for pizza and/or company.
love, nancy