A Letter To My Mother – Happy Mother’s Day

May 4, 2013
Saturday, 9:22 PM

I’m a week early, but it’s better to be a week early than a week late…

Dear Mother,

It was a cold day on December 10, 1977 in Somerset, Pennsylvania.  The maximum temperature was 13 degrees fahrenheit, with a low temperature of 2 degrees.  I looked it up online.  They keep record of these sorts of things if you can believe it.  Anyone can look it up if they’re curious, and well, you know that your son has a curious mind for things that most people don’t care to know about, so I looked it up.

I was born on a Saturday morning at 9:45 AM, just a few weeks before Christmas, which is why you and Dad settled on the name Christopher.  I don’t know where the Paul came from.  I never thought to ask before, but I think it was because you and Dad liked the biblical character, Paul.  I looked up the meaning of the name, and the name Paul means “small” or “humble.”

I came into this world weighing 7 pounds and 10 ounces, and measured 20 1/2 inches in length.  Having your ass smacked by the nurse and being covered in all that goop is a pretty humble beginning for any child, so I guess the name was suitable for your early Christmas present.  Christopher Paul was born.

Birth Certificate

Pictured are your newborn son’s foot prints in black ink, and right below them are your thumbprints marked with the same black ink.  When the nurse took my feet to the ink pad –  most likely kicking and screaming, and hopefully taking a whizz all over her – there was no telling where those tiny feet would end up some 35 years later.

Would your son become a teacher?   Would he become a missionary?   Would he get into trouble and spend half his life rotting away in jail?

Would your son get married?   Would he have kids someday?  Would he be content to remain single just like the character Paul did in the Bible?

Would your son be healthy?  Would there be complications from birth?  Or heavens forbid, would your son pass away and leave this Earth far too early?

These are the questions that a mother never knows when she decides to have a child, but she swipes her thumbs along the ink pad and presses them firmly to the paper with a lot of uncertainties and no guarantees for her son’s future, other than the guarantee that she will try to love him as best she can.  But even that is something that you can’t predict no matter a mother’s best intentions from the beginning.  So you were left with a lot of questions and worries about your newborn son on that cold, winter day in December.

5 Year Old Hands

Pictured is a photocopy of your son’s hands when I was five.  They’re chubby, little hands smushed against the glass.

There were some answers to be had by the time I was five.  You knew that I was kind and had a tender heart.  I made you many colorful drawings of flowers and birds with the words scribbled in crayon “I love you.”  You knew that I embodied a creative soul and enjoyed making art with crayons, pencils, pens, markers, finger paint and anything that my little, chubby, five year old hands could get a hold of.

You knew that I had an inquisitive mind and enjoyed reading books and looking things up in the Encyclopedia, but I also enjoyed making up my own stories a lot of the times.  You knew that I was a people person, but you also knew that I had a very independent spirit.  Many times I left to go explore the great wide open, wearing nothing but underwear and a pair of Moon Boots as I went trouncing off into the backwoods by myself for the day.

You knew that I was a bundle full of energy, hated taking naps, didn’t mind eating vegetables, and was a real pain in the ass sometimes, to the point that I almost drove you literally insane, with much help from my other siblings, of course.

You had a sense of who I was, but still, there were a lot of questions left unanswered about your son’s future, and the worrying from a mother continued.

35 Year Old Hands

Pictured is a scan of your son’s hands taken just a few days ago at the age of 35.  Those little, chubby hands grew and grew and grew, and they became too big to fit on the glass anymore, so that’s why parts of them are cut off.

A lot of questions about your son have been answered over the years.   Your son got a job working in the film industry through a lot of hard work and a little luck.  I’ve never been married and have no kids.  I’ve been blessed with good health so far.  I prefer a simple life, have no television, coffee maker, toaster oven, and live in a small apartment in Pittsburgh.  I enjoy cutting up, entertaining others, but I can also hold a serious conversation with the best of them.  Your son is happy with his life for the most part.  But still, there are a lot of questions left unanswered for a mother.

When I was born, you knew that there would always be questions and worrying, but you made your thumbprints on the paper anyhow, claiming me as your son.   You were committed from that day forward despite the many uncertainties that life throws at a person, for better or for worse.

I don’t know where my hands and feet will take me the remaining years on this planet.  Somedays I dream big, and somedays I’m content to do absolutely nothing at all.  Somedays I think it would be nice to be married, and somedays I prefer to be left alone.  Somedays I think about moving to a new town, and somedays I want to live in Pittsburgh forever.  These hands and feet seem to have a mind of their own, so there’s no telling where they’ll end up one day.  I wish that I had the answers to ease your worrying mind, but that’s the part of life that I seem to thrive on best.  The unknown.

Really the only answer to any questions that I’ve ever needed was for someone to love me unconditionally and to support me when this curious mind gets him into trouble.  You’ve fielded many angry phone calls from principals, teachers, neighbors, parents, church ladies, police officers, park rangers, and from the college Dean.  I’ve gotten many scoldings and spankings as a child, but afterwards, you took the time to sit me down to explain how things in life are supposed to work, despite my resistance to want to know.

You knew my heart better than those fussy people who liked to point fingers and yell that your son was a problem child, when I was only being a curious boy.  You were patient and committed to your son, despite the many headaches having a curious boy can cause for a mother.

I wanted to leave you with something that my chubby hands created when I was six.  It’s a drawing of a flower that I colored with crayons on white construction paper.  It’s ripped and torn to pieces, but you taped it up, or somebody taped it up, and you saved it after all these years.  It must have been special for you, because when you gave me a box of keepsakes that you kept of mine over the years, including this one, you started crying.

I’m not a mother, so I can only guess as to what the crying fit was all about.  I just figured it’s because it must be difficult for a mother to come to the realization that her son is no longer made up of tiny feet and little smushed up hands on the photocopier glass.  A mother sits around at night when the house is empty, and wishes that she could still hold her son tight in her arms and kiss those tiny feet goodnight.  But time marches on, so maybe that’s what spurred on the tears that day – seeing your son all grown up in the kitchen that day.  I don’t know.  I didn’t think to ask you that either, because it made me uncomfortable to see you crying, and my feet just wanted to get going.

Mothers Day Card 1Mothers Day Card 2

Your small and humble son would just like to say thanks for always being there for me and loving me like only a mother can love her child.  I know that I’m handful.  I know that I’ve left you with more questions than probably most sons, but I guess my answer to all your questions would be this.  Even though I’ve grown to be a young man and those tiny feet are now a size 11, my heart is still the same as your tender five year old who enjoyed making you drawings of flowers and birds.  It doesn’t matter where my hands and feet take me, as long as my tender heart is leading the way.  So try not to worry.  Try to put all the questions to rest.

Next time I see you, we’ll drink some Franzia boxed wine, and have a good laugh remembering all the old stories of how I almost drove you to the loony bin.  You deserve a medal, but a crumpled up flower will have to do.

Happy Mother’s Day.  I’m sorry that I forgot to wish you that last year.  I know that it hurt your feelings.  It was just a bad year for all of us in the family, so that’s why this year I wanted to make it up to you as best I can.  With a crumpled up flower from 1983.  Some lousy son I am.  HA!  Guess you’re stuck with me, hands and feet and all.

I love you,

Christopher Paul

Guest Blogger – The Baha Men

So by now, you regular dimwits know that I work in the film industry.  I’ve downplayed it in previous posts, but it’s actually a pretty cool gig.   I’ve been at it for about 12 years now, and I’ve had the fortune of working on two films with Anne Hathaway, or Annie Spagannie as I like to call her, and well, of course we became instant best friends.

We chat back and forth from time to time, send drunk texts to each other at 3 AM, those  sorts of things that best friends do.  Well, Annie Spagannie has been following along on my blog when she’s not too busy making films.  She had a chance to read the last guest blogger post where John Stamos wrote a brave and chilling letter to the Baha Men (which I would suggest you read first if you haven’t already), and being the huge Baha Men super fan that she is, she was able to help get me in touch with the nice fellas.

So I’d like to thank the Baha Men for being kind enough to be this week’s guest blogger and offering up their response letter to John Stamos.  It’s an insightful read as one would expect, and I think you’ll get a lot out of it.  I know I did.  Thanks the Baha Men.

0724386409522

Yo Stamos!  Woof, Woof, Woof!

Yo we got your letter dawg (no pun intended.)   Hey listen man, that was an incredibly cool thing of you to do.   It takes a lot of guts to tell someone you killed two of their dawgs, even if it did come 12 years late.  I just gotta believe they up there somewhere in a better place, right?  Isn’t that how this whole thing works?  Pepper Spray and Mace, snatchin’ tennis balls outta the air, havin’ a damn good time rolling around up there in them puffy clouds.  Probably nailin’ them female dawgs too, if I know those two hound dawgs!  WOOF!

Sorry it took so long to get back to you, but we was back in the studio making some more of those fresh and funky junkanoo beats.  Our schedules have been mad crazy right now.    But it will all be worth it in just a little while.  We hopin’ anyways.   The Baha Men can’t wait to blow the lid off the new stuff.  They thought the dawgs was wild – wait till they get a hold of these beats.  It’s gonna’ blow some minds!  And probaby a few stereos too, cause I’m tellin’ you, this shit is dope.

Back to the killing our dawgs thing – man, no hard feelings.  We actually knew it was you all along.  Sally ratted you out.  Sombody at the party overheard somebody who said you was hammered and goin’ on about a master plan for juicy steaks, and plottin’ revenge on us for not being able to play your birthday party, or somethin like that.  Then that somebody told Sally who told our drummer Jimbo Slice.  You know how it goes.  Poeple like to yap their traps when it ain’t nobody’s business really.

And well, we was disappointed to hear you done it, no doubt.  We always seen you on Full House, and even though you was a badass biker, you seemed to have a good heart.  I know it’s just TV, and it was all acting and stuff, but still, you can tell alot about people form their smile, the way their eyes look or don’t look, and just the way they carry themselves.  You can’t act that Stamos.  We knew you was a good guy.

It’s just you was in a bad place, that’s all.  Ain’t we all sometimes.  Life can knock you silly but unlike you, it don’t have the decency to say sorry.  It don’t care none if you’re Bob, or Jim, or if you’re the famous actor John Stamos.  Everyone gets the rug taken out from underneath them at some point, and I guess it was just me, you, and Sally Jessy Raphael’s turn at the time.  Just gotta get back up, put the rug back into place.   Like Eminem says, you only get one shot.  Might as well make it a good one.

We gotta tell you this one last thing before we get back to the studio.  You was actually the inspiration behind the idea for “Who Let The Dogs Out?”  We didn’t wanna’ tell no one it was John Stamos,  cause we collectively felt it was more mysterious just letting it alone.  The mystery paid off.  We still collectin’ those checks off that song 12 years later, so let’s leave it at this Stamos.  Let’s get together sometime, crack some bubbly and we won’t never mention none of this ever again.  Clean slate.  Whad’ya say?

Hope you’re good John, and sorry to hear when things got ugly with you and Rebecca, and the whole split and all of that stuff.  Just another one of those things, another one of those twists and turns in life.  Grab the wheel, hold on, don’t never take your foot off the gas.  Keep on driving Stamos.  Take that shot.

Your dawgs forever,

The Baha Men

PS.  Thanks for the PF Changs gift certificate!  I got the Shaking Beef and Jimbo got the Crispy Honey Shrimp.  It was mad dope!  Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof!!!

Ten Famous Autocorrected Quotes – Volume One

Suppose a young man with a wild imagination and too much time on his hands went to a greasy spoon diner one evening at 3 AM.   Suppose the same young man grew tired of all the belligerent drunks and lot lizards that usually frequent a greasy spoon diner late at night, so he began to surf the interwebs on his smart phone to occupy his time until his gyro omelette and rye toast were ready to be served.

Suppose that while killing time surfing the interwebs, the young man came across some famous quotes and later stumbled upon the humorous website, Damn You Autocorrect.  Now suppose the imaginative young man with too much time on his hands got to thinking:

“What if all the famous authors, poets, artists, philosophers, and great leaders of history had to use a smart phone to type their inspiring quotes?  Would their quotes sound any less smart?  Would they be any less inspiring?  What would the quotes read like if these great historical figures had to put down their pen and paper, and use the same means of communication that we use today – texting, tweeting, emailing, and other forms of social media?  What if the famous quotes were subject to autocorrect?”

Suppose the young man’s thoughts were to materialize.  I suppose you would get something like this.  Ten famous quotes given the autocorrect treatment.

001 Dalai Lama

003 Helen Keller

002 William Shakespeare

004 Mark Twain

008 William Shakespeare 2

007 Eleanor Roosevelt

005 Thomas Jefferson

009 Oscar Wilde

006 Mother Theresa

010 Martin Luther King Jr

My God.   What have we done.  Modern devices and social media are destroying our love shaft.  Our language!  Destroying r language!

What are some of your favorite famous quotes?  Leave them in the comments section below (140 characters or less, JK).  I’m a big fan of paying homage to the greats and I would love to hear them if you wouldn’t mind sharing.  Much obliged.

Select Emails – Freaking, Unbelievably Awesome!

Freaking Unbelievably Awesome

Okay, I said that I wasn’t going to make anymore posts until after the New Year.  Yeah, so I lied.

I’ve been cleaning out my email inbox these past few days.  A rather daunting task when you lack any semblance of organizational skills such as I do, and have allowed message after message to accumulate over the span of several years.  Facebook notifications, work emails, family emails, junk emails, political forwards, party invites, fundraiser reminders, and wow. I really, really need to develop a better system for handling my email.

I’ll tell you this though – and this is probably going to sound like bragging – but I am so freaking, unbelievably awesome!  Let me make it sound a little less like bragging by following it up with this. You are so freaking, unbelievably awesome as well!   You probably don’t even know it, or you may think that you’re only a 3/10 or a 5/10 on the freaking, unbelievably awesome scale at best.  Not so.  You are a 10 or at least a 9.5.  I don’t even need to have ever met you to form this assessment.  This is how I know.

Let’s say that you were a little lazy and scatter brained such as myself, and you let your email inbox fill up over the course of five or six years, and then say, one night when you had a break, you began the painstaking, mind-numbingly, boring task of sorting through your emails one by one.  This is what you would discover:

You are somebody’s friend, somebody’s significant other, somebody’s co-worker, somebody’s boss.  You are somebody’s mother, somebody’s father, somebody’s uncle, somebody’s aunt, somebody’s nephew, somebody’s niece, somebody’s cousin.  You are somebody’s son, somebody’s daughter, somebody’s brother, somebody’s sister.  You are somebody’s mentor, somebody’s inspiration, somebody’s source of laughter, somebody’s shoulder to cry on, you are somebody’s hero.  You are somebody to a lot of people. It may not feel like it sometimes, but truly, you’d be surprised at just how much you mean to so many people, and how much our lives intertwine with one another.

I mentioned in a recent letter that I wrote to my father in prison that “I’m just tiny, old me.”  I believe that sentiment to be true.  It’s good to remain humble and to realize there are over 7 billion other souls on this planet that are somebodies, too.  But don’t ever underestimate just how much you mean to all of the somebodies that are in your life past or present.

Maybe it’s the holidays, maybe it’s recently celebrating my 35th birthday, or maybe it’s the excitement that comes from beginning a new year, but I’m feeling rather sentimental.  I thought it would be cool to share a few excerpts from emails that I turned up over the past few days.  I had sorta forgotten about a lot of these exchanges to be honest, so it was pretty special to revisit these conversations.

I’m keeping the names anonymous, otherwise I may have a few less somebodies in my life that might not be too thrilled if I made our exchanges public on a blog.  I just felt it important to share some of their words as a reminder to myself, and maybe as a revelation to you that we have so much impact over one another’s lives.  All the times we’ve sent a compliment, shared a joke, sent encouraging words, offered condolences, carried on respectful debates, shared pieces of knowledge.  All of those things add up over time.  I’m sharing a few excerpts from my inbox, but it’s your inbox, too, in a way.   We’re all in this thing together, and boy are we ever freaking, unbelievably awesome!  Surely a 10/10.

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“I read your blog once in a while for a nice laugh. Or when I’m feeling selfish or sorry for myself. You’re a breathe of fresh air! You see beauty in the most simple things, and I love reading your updates. They help me see things differently and grow in new ways.”

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“I’m having a pretty bad morning. I had a really rough night last night and I was hoping I’d feel better in the morning, but that didn’t happen. I don’t even know why I’m telling you. I guess I just needed to tell someone.

I just feel like an idiot sometimes.”

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“So, um, yeah!  Just a random person that you’ve seen a handful of times writing to say that she thinks you’re wicked talented.  And you seem like a pretty good guy, too.  I know I don’t know you very well and I know this might sound weird, but don’t change too much, ok? It’s nice to know there are people like you out there.”

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“I’m thankful for you, Chris.  You’re a remarkable person.  And a very dear and good soul.  You make my heart smile.  And i’ve missed you.  I just had to tell you that.

I also have to tell you that the word blog sounds as if someone is trying to throw up.”

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“YOU ARE SUCH A LITTLE SHINING STAR. i WISH YOU ALL THE VERY BEST IN LIFE.”

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“LOL. please promise me you will never change. The world needs more pants poopers. Well no it doesn’t but it needs more people with so little inhibition that they will confidently say they have pooped in their pants and be so charming about it they can make friends. :)  You are my hero Chris Hinton.”

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“Hi Chris:  Hope you had a nice restful Thanksgiving break.  I want to thank you again for including Will.  It was a highlight of his holiday and he loved being able to tell his friends about his experience on the set of Love And Other Drugs.  You all provided him with a great opportunity and as a parent, I truly appreciate it.  If we can reciprocate with a home-cooked meal some evening when you are free, we would like to do that.  Do you have a break coming up this month? Thanks again.”

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“Chris, everytime I see you, you make me laugh and I’m able to forget about anything on my mind. You are a unique creature with unmatched charisma. Happy to know you. I will miss you. Pittsburgh is lucky to have you. Best always.

Ps I’m not trying to get in your pants..”

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“You are amazing and I feel blessed to call you a friend.  Do you know how amazing you are?”

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“C Snatch you are such a solid writer witty ,original and heartfelt! So happy to have found your blog.”

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“Dear Chris
I like you.
Do you like me?
Pick one:    Yes      No”

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“Dude you got sexy legs!!”

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“LMAO…So having a not so great day I randomly check out your FB page and can’t stop laughing at comments / posts, etc. Just wanted to thank you 4 the smile! Hope you are having a great day.”

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“I hope you are having an amazing time in Italy. I just finished reading your blog – and man, you provide some awesome inspiration. It is weird how you can go on living your life and forget that you are connected to amazing people (if only for a short time). Your writing is amazing. I forgot how funny you are. I hope you keep writing. The way you connect with complete strangers and aren’t afraid to talk about your faith really inspires me. I need to be more willing to step out of my comfort zone and connect with those around me.”

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“Can’t wait for the next chapter, Chris!  I’m glad I read this before heading out for my guaranteed-to-be-stressful work day.  I chuckled, cackled, and hysterically sobbed!  Now I’m ready to face the world!”

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“Dear Chris,

Thank you so much for the delicious Italian chocolate.  After the first bite, Mom said “this is very delicious ” , and I said “mmmm” then after another bite Mom said ,  “oh this  is good”  and I said “mmmmmmmm”.   It was better than American chocolate—- the perfect gift for chocolate lovers like us.  I hope that you got some for yourself.  We appreciate so much that you gave it to us —-sweets from the Sweet!

Also you certainly helped touch Michele’s heart with the rosary you brought her.  She called me tonight and was still talking about her dear Willy remembering that she always said that she wanted a rosary from the Vatican and how you were so wonderful to do this for them.  She was overwhelmed.  So again Chris you have spread your special kind of happiness to those who are blessed enough to know you.”

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“dude ur shit kills me.. when im feeling down i just read ur page and laugh and laugh.. who would have thought u were funny.. haha”

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Hello, my darling Unicorn.

Hey, I just wanted to tell you that I adore you. You’ve been so sweet, kind and empathetic toward me knowing ****** is gone and the adjustment I’m having to experience.

It’s pretty much the last thing you need to worry about but I wanted to acknowledge you, your effort and your sweetness. I hang onto every word you say.

Love you, boo. Truly & madly.
XOXOX

ps. If I was in the Burgh, I’d be shit-faced drunk with you RIGHT MOTHERFUCKING NOW. Hugs!

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“I would like you to know that you have successfully made me laugh, out loud, for 2 days in a row! Thanks Chris!”

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“You make me laugh Chris! You make me laugh.”

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“Thank you for being who you are. Your words have inspired me. Thank You! Thank You! And if there’s ever anything I can do for you, don’t hesitate. I mean it. Be well.”

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Hi!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Miss you!!!!!!!!!!!! 3 minute Air hugs without letting go!!!!!!!!!!

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“OMG! Are you serious??? I laughed my head off! I always new you had issues and I always knew I loved you because if them but this.. …

Chris would you marry me?”

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“You are C A R A Z Z Z Z Z Y!!!!!”

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“Chris you smell like Old Spice and you love shiny short sleeve shirts… And I still love you more than ever!”

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“hahahahahahahahaha”

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Shakespeare’s Sonnet #73 – Hinton’s Sonnet #69

Sonnet #73
William Shakespeare, 1609

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

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Sonnet #69
Christopher Hinton, 2012

Holy schnikes,
Tis’ Autumn season yet once again
Where in the h-e-double hockey sticks doth the time go?
Answer me, thou canst not my dear, wise friend.
Why, just last week it was summer, warm
And the week before twas a lively spring,
Dagnabbit, I found a gray hair in my beard
Tweezers and dyes hath I, but it mean’ith not a thing.
The color of leaves turn to orange, to yellow
To red, from whence they were once vibrant green
The photosynthesis of life is a real mothertrucker
If you know what I mean, jelly bean.
So live thou life from the greens, to the grays
Liveth all the colors in between
Until winter washes white, peaceful and gentle
Until final seasons thou will sing.