Changing Inclinations

Nate Borden

I last saw Bud, when he was a man, and not a baby, almost a year ago. He was visiting the city on business, doing some teaching and consulting, I think. To be honest, I never got to know too much about his work.

Years ago when he came to visit the family, we were all too busy to pay much attention to what he was doing. When Jean, my wife died, I had the time to tune in, but I didn’t.

I’ve spent most of the last six years feeling sorry for myself, eating poorly, smoking too much, and taking too many pills. Once upon a time, I was in good shape, worked out, and only took vitamins or Herbalife. Now, I have to take a couple different blood pressure pills, some crap for my stomach, an antidepressant that ain’t worth beans, and more often than not a knockout drop to get to sleep. At least, I don’t do booze.

I do keep a close eye on my kids and grandkids. I have two sons and three, now four grandchildren. I love ‘em all a whole lot. When I’m around them I usually feel pretty good except when I don’t. And, that’s when I begin remembering how things used to be. When I’m home in my condo, I’m mostly bored and blue. I should take up golf or something. But, I’m too tired. At least, that’s what I’ve told myself. I usually listen to those kinds of things. Haven’t been able to motivate myself. What’s the use?

Life was busy and overloaded for years with the kids growing up and trying to keep up with them and put in a solid work day at the office besides maintaining the house in decent repair. The wife worked outside the house off and on and helped out in lots of ways. Did more than her share.

She was a real peach. I missed her tremendously after she died. Now there’s just a constant, gaping hole in my life. Grieving after six years -- I should be ashamed. But, I’m not. Guilt is more exhausting than anything I’ve encountered to date.

You see, Jean’s death was all so sudden and unexpected that I just broke down and gave up for a long time. The white flag has been out for almost six years.

Jean was killed in a one-car accident. Her car skidded off the road one icy winter night. They said she died instantly. No pain.

I’m the one with the pain that just won’t go away. It’s on the inside, the outside, the underside, the right side and the left side. I can’t get away from it. Most anywhere I go, it follows me or rides with me. I can’t get away from it for more than a few minutes at a time. Guess it keeps me company.

Bud tried to help me come to grips with the situation when he stayed for a while from time to time with me, but I usually wouldn’t even let him get started. What did he know? He’d been married once for a short time, had no kids, never even owned a house. He was the Wandering Jew in the family.

We all thought highly of him, though. And we all loved him as a brother. But, we couldn’t relate to him a whole lot because his life was so different from our own. I’d only seen him in his own world once in all the years since we left home and that was just for a few moments when he was still married way back when.

Don’t get me wrong. Bud was a neat, bright, cheery fellow. Really a good man. Kind heart.

Always trying to find ways to give and help out. Never seemed to be looking for anything for himself.

I couldn’t help but gather a view of his interests, an overview, at least, but not much more than that. Maybe I should say convictions. For, Bud certainly had those and he’d do whatever it took to stand by and uphold them. He was solid and vocal about his beliefs. Back home we called it stubborn. He was obstinate Bud in those days. Mom used to say that you couldn’t budge Bud with a broom handle when he got something set in his mind.

Well, in adult times, Bud developed beliefs in lots of that New Age stuff -- I used to call it crap -- self-help and healing, and metaphysics -- I guess they call it. He was a follower of Edgar Cayce, you know, The Sleeping Prophet -- for a long time. Actually, I was somewhat responsible for that happening.

A book called The Mystery Man of Miracles fell into my hands decades ago. Caught my attention long enough for an interesting read. Sent the book to Bud, thinking it might be up his alley.

Well, he jumped at it and got hooked. Stayed hooked for a long time until he branched out into other similar stuff. It was good for him, I guess. Excepting it drew him away from medicine which always pays well toward teaching which doesn’t.

As for myself, well, I just didn’t have the time or inclination for such things. Still don’t. But, it may well be that Bud’s reappearance will change some of my inclinations.

The Obstinate Creature
Dr. Child

It’s been an eventful and demanding few days. Besides my busy practice and hospital duties, I inherited the supervision of the Borden case. I probably shouldn’t say it that way. Forgive me. I’m struggling with finding the right words a whole lot these days.

Ever since I encountered Borden, my speech has been tongue-tied and my brain has been on overload. He’s amazing and confounding at the same time. If I had my right mind working, I’d pass on the “opportunity” to work with the infant, child, person. You tell me what he is.

There are two edges to every sword. This blade certainly has both. It’s almost uplifting to sit with the Borden child in conversation or just in silence. On the other hand, to try to accomplish a medical task is supremely difficult. Borden is the most difficult patient I’ve ever had.

Suppose, when I think about it, that shouldn’t really sound terribly unusual. Most patients, adults or children, haven’t a clue as to what’s going on with them when they enter the hospital. Their questions are pretty simple and easy to handle, or deflect, if necessary. Their responses to care and treatment are pretty predictable. They don’t make much fuss, just go along with the game plans we make.

Not Borden. He’s predictably unpredictable. So what else might we expect of a newborn who talks.

Yes, he does indeed talk. Actually, it only took a couple days for him to begin speaking full sentences. After the halting efforts he took at birth, it was really quite impressive. On the other hand, his first words impressed me profoundly. Took my breath away.

So, what’s my problem? Don’t most physicians appreciate patients who are intelligent and can carry on a high-level conversation?

Well, yes, mostly. To be honest, most of the problem lies in the fact that he just doesn’t want to follow the plan. He wants to make the decisions. He won’t let us do tests, even some of the routine ones.

“No blood. No X-rays. Touch, examine, but no needles. No invasions. Use mind, heart. Use your stethoscope and electrical devices, if you like,” he says.

It’s a little maddening, having a 2-day-old tell you your job. I don’t care who the 2-day-old is.

Anyway, Borden seems to be in perfect health, almost adult health. Beginning to eat solid food at three days old. His grandfather has him crawling and doing some exercise stuff with him. He is amazing. I can’t stop saying that. But, he really is.

He wants to take up residence in the hospital. To live here on my ward. Well, it’s not my ward. The pediatric ward. I am chief of service. I don’t know if I can or should go along with the idea.

He’s not really clear why he wants to be here. Says, “This is where I belong. You need to take it up with the hospital board.”

Oh, did that one hurt. No doubt, the board and executives will be all for such a resident with the attendant publicity and media exposure. “Great PR,” they’ll say.
But, they won’t have to deal with him. I will. No telling how he might insinuate himself and his, I have to imagine, subversive thinking into the ward and hospital.

That’s what he’s up to, I bet.

John Rich

This is a special report from KBOB-TV.

We have just received information from City Medical Center via our crew stationed there that the Hospital Board of Trustees is ready to make an announcement about Baby Borden and his status with the hospital. Our cameras are taking us live to the hospital now where reporters are standing by in the board room after a prolonged executive session. You are about to hear the board chairman deliver the announcement. We now go live to City Medical Center.

“Good evening, friends. I’m Gordon Gates, publisher of the Rocky Mountain Gazette and Chairman of the Board of City Medical Center. It’s my pleasure to announce that our board has agreed unanimously to invite Baby Borden to become a permanent resident in our esteemed hospital. We believe that this is an extraordinary opportunity, a learning and growing one, for the medical center, its physicians and staff. A contract is right now in the process of being drawn up by our legal officers in which the details of an agreement will be recorded.

“Master Borden will continue to live with his grandfather temporarily in the pediatric wing until such time as we can provide more suitable arrangements. The child and family have agreed to certain testings of Master Borden. At the same time, the hospital has agreed to Master Borden’s participation in a wide range of medical center activities. Many of these will be determined as to specifics at later dates.

“At this time, I’ll take your questions on this subject. If I cannot answer, I believe one of the executive officers or our legal adviser will attempt an answer.”

“Mr. Chairman. What was the deciding factor in determining to accept the Borden family request of having the child live in the hospital.”

“Yes, young man. This really was very simple, although I’ll say that we discussed a number of concerns from various quarters about the idea of having Master Borden with us permanently. We felt that this wasn’t really a very large request. Master Borden’s presence here so far has been very positive, on the whole, for the hospital and we expect it to continue so. Very honestly, being a newspaperman of some decades, I can tell you that we’ve had the finest publicity for the hospital and the city over these several days. The publicity has been far beyond any that money could possibly buy. To be perfectly frank, City Medical Center cannot afford to pass up this one in a billion, I mean a trillion, opportunity.”

“Mr. Gates, can you tell us how the idea for having Baby Borden stay permanently developed? Was this the hospital’s or the family’s idea?”

“If I have it correctly, a request came from the family attorney and the grandfather, Nate Borden. But, they represented that the newborn Master Borden himself originated the request.”

“What benefit do you expect this’ll have for the hospital beyond simple media exposure?”

“Good question. Very honestly, we don’t know. At this point, we think the exposure will draw more people as patients to City Medical Center. Truthfully, it can’t help but encourage giving to the Hospital Foundation. The Bordens have told us that they’ll be willing to help us in public relations and fundraising. It’s really a win-win situation, as we see it.”

“Have there been any dissenting opinions against the housing of the Borden baby on hospital property?

“We’ve had some questions and wonderings, but no significant negatives to this point. Like I said, this is a real win-win proposition.”

“Chairman Gates, there’s been some talk that the Borden child claims to be a reincarnation of his granduncle. Do you know anything about that claim?”

“Well, that one’s news to me, son. This is an extraordinary being by all accounts. I haven’t had the pleasure of making his acquaintance, yet. Now, I have another excuse to interview the little fellow. Thank you, all. Have a good evening and come back and see us at City Medical Center.”

What’s Good for the Hospital
Dr. Child

Well, I figured that my presentation to the board would fall on deaf ears, but I had to try. Gates was the major obstacle. For all practical purposes, he is the board.
I told him, “We’ve already discovered the Borden child is in many senses not a child at all. He has a child’s body -- actually he’s the size of a 6-month-old as delivered a few days ago. He may look like a child, but he doesn’t talk like or act like one, other than the fact that he’s in diapers, can’t walk, etc.”

“Sounds like a baby to me, doctor,” Gates retorted.

“Forgive me,” I continued, “Let me point out what puts him in a different category. Borden, if I may call him that, started eating solid, or semi-solid, food, within 48 hours of his birth. He has twelve teeth and is using them. He has a diet of fruit and juices, nuts and berries, yogurt and cereal. No baby food for him. He’s gaining weight at a rate of 2 ounces a day. He’s crawling on all fours already and his grandfather has him working out with some homemade barbells.

“Borden says he’ll be walking within a month. I can’t for a moment disbelieve him on that count. Actually, everything he’s said or predicted has proven true so far. Which leads me to his speaking ability.

“Within 24 hours, Borden was speaking full sentences. Apparently being born taxed his strength quite a bit. He still requires a large amount of sleep, although it’s not a typical child’s, or, for that matter, adult’s sleep. It’s really difficult to explain. I suppose, if he were an adult, I would say that when he’s resting or sleeping that he’s really meditating or in some sort of altered state. I’m hardly an expert in this area, so please don’t take this latter description for fact.

“Of greater significance is his adult mind and memory, his knowledge and ability to converse about almost anything. He certainly has a large fund of medical knowledge at his fingertips -- I mean in his head or mind. He has not taken to reading yet, I might say. Although, he has his grandfather read to him, newspaper clips and books on philosophy and music and healing. He’s quite enthralled with music. Has a whole library of symphonic and opera music collected already to listen to through a CD system which the hospital procured for him at no small expense. The grandfather always has music going, even when Borden’s asleep.

“So, you see, this is really an adult we have in Mr. Borden. Beyond these things, we’ve had him tested neurologically and psychologically. He was okay with those procedures. He tests out as a healthy-minded adult of superior, actually, genius, intelligence. His IQ is off the chart. So, this so-called infant is just a terribly unusual adult in a baby’s body. I would request that, if the hospital wants to take Mr. Borden on as a resident, he be placed on an adult wing.”

Gates dismissed my comments with his apparent standby response, “Thank you, Dr. Child. We’ll take your request and information under advisement while addressing the whole situation from the standpoint of what’s good for the hospital. I’m sure you understand.”

Taking Orders
Nate Borden

Well, yes, you wanted to know about what happened after the birth and my arrival on the scene. You’d think that I’m someone of importance in this whole scenario. Not so. Honestly, I’m just taking orders or directions from Bud. He really seems to have a handle on just about everything that’s going on. It’s beyond me.

So . . . After Bud asked for me to take care of him and I caught my breath a bit, the birthing room cleared out pretty much. Even the doctors gave us some space.
The family gathered around Bud and he just mostly smiled and beamed at us all. Put on a huge grin. We were quite in awe. Awestruck is really the right word. Never felt that way before in my whole 60 plus years.

Everyone got a chance to hold and touch him. Bud especially seemed to enjoy nestling in his mother’s arms and his aunt’s and all the women’s, for that matter.

The second time I held him, Bud reached his little arms up to touch my neck. I bent my ear toward his face and he almost paralyzed me again when he whispered, “God loves you, Nate. You’re in good hands. Just like I’m in yours.”

Well, I guess we all had sort of an impromptu family love fest. We sang a little and remembered people who were missing like Jean. It was all kind of healing and inspiring, yet light and fun at the same time.

Things almost got giddy for a while. Eventually, they toned down a bit. By that time, it became clear that Bud was getting tired. Seems that he can only mobilize so much energy through his little body at one time.

So, we waited on him until he took a deep, but unsteady breath and said, “I need rest. Nate, keep an eye on me.”

The family decided that two rooms were needed. One for Marian and another for Bud and me. So, the hospital was very accommodating and fixed up another spot down the hall for the two of us. It only took a few minutes. I’ve never seen such prompt attention in any hospital, including this one, in the past. Special treatment for special people, I suppose. Nice to be considered special once in a while.

So, we got our room. It’s a bit small, but larger than lots of hospital rooms. Has a window which can even be opened. Hooray. We can get some fresh air now and then.

With only a little struggle we got Bud ready for a nap. He had enough strength to point out how he wanted to rest. He sleeps only on his back lying reclined at a 45 degree angle. We got him arranged in a car seat for the time being. But, he’ll outgrow this before very long. So, we’ll have to make other arrangements.

Actually, I have to tell you he really doesn’t sleep at all. He says, “The bod-y needs rest. I’m a-wake at all times.”

In any case, when his body is resting, I try to keep things quiet -- except for the music. He insists on having music played constantly. Bud says, “Mu-sic is food for the soul. Next best thing to hea-ven.”

He likes opera mostly. The hospital has kindly gone out of its way to provide a hi-fi set up and the kids have brought in all the opera they can find. Actually, I think friends and neighbors and hospital folks heard about it and have sent in CDs by the hundreds. We should have enough music to last his whole life. Actually, his favorites are Verdi and Beethoven. I never heard of Verdi before. But, I knew Beethoven, kind of. Whenever there’s a question of what to play, I just look for Master B in the stacks of CDs. Might learn something about music if I keep hanging out with Bud.

In all seriousness, I’ve had some duties to attend to. I’m the gatekeeper and the guard for Bud, more or less. He’s told me that he’ll need my help until he’s physically grown which will be several years. He’s not sure how long. He thinks his body will grow and age about twice as fast as normal. But, we won’t know for sure until some time passes.

Bud wants me to protect his strength and his privacy. So, I’ll be on guard and at duty all week long. Bud said, “You have a week-day job. Week-ends, you can play.”

I thought that was kind of funny. Lucky for this situation, I guess, that I retired a few years ago. Now, I have a new job. Nothing like I’ve ever done before.

So, I’ve been here when the medical folks come in to make rounds, when they take Bud for testing and examinations. If he tells them that he doesn’t want something done to his body, I make damn sure they pay attention. So far, we haven’t had any major problems.

Bud told me he didn’t believe in poking needle holes in his body or anyone else’s. So, we made that a rule. He’s had an EEG, EKG and some psychological testing. No X-rays or scans. Some urine tests were run. Really, quite a few tests, though they act like they’re hamstrung because he won’t let them have a drop of blood.

He’s had several physical examinations. A neurologist was in to check him out one day. Nice fella. The physician didn’t stay long. Kind of laughed, as if his trip was unnecessary. But, he did have a friendly visit with Bud. They seemed to talk on the same wavelength.

Yesterday, we had a whole room full of medical students. They became particularly warm and friendly, once Bud opened up a conversation with them. In less than a week, he’s improved and strengthened his speaking ability amazingly. Bud asked each of them questions about what prompted them to become physicians and what was important to them. I know he was trying to drop some hints about them hanging on to their youthful idealism.

Bud asked one fellow, “What do you think is most important, making a diagnosis or
treating a patient as a human being?”

The wide-eyed student looked perplexed for a moment, but recovered quickly enough to respond, saying “Well, sir, I believe they’re both important. Yes, we should be very concerned about treating people kindly while we’re trying to understand their physical problems.”

At that Bud returned, “You might want to keep that belief tucked securely in your mental computer.”

To a very attractive female student on whose lap he somehow managed to find himself, he asked, “Do you think the goal of a physician should be to relieve pain and suffering or to promote health?”

She stuttered a bit, I think in part because Bud’s blue eyes were piercing into hers, saying, “Well, I’m sorry. I -- I don’t know for sure. You ask unusual questions. We don’t usually talk much about health in medical school. I think maybe we should, but we spend so much time fighting diseases and trying to fix things.”

Bud hardly let the young lady go mentally or physically. It’s becoming quite clear that at less than 10 days of age, Master Borden has an eye for women.

Speaking of women, tomorrow, Bud makes his first home visit to see Mom and Dad. And, I get my first weekend off. Actually, I’ll spend part of Saturday with Bud and Marian and Joey. But I’ve some things left hanging in the wind from the past couple weeks. I have to go get a life, beyond my weekday chores.

Our Boy
Marian Borden

Buddy came home this weekend. His first time. I can’t tell you how hard it was being here all alone during the days without him for the past two weeks. Then, I didn’t know how to get ready for his weekend visit.

Sounds so strange. Like he was coming home from college or on parole from prison.

I fretted and worried. Seeing him for an hour here and there in the hospital didn’t help much. Joey and Nate have been supportive, but you know how men are. My friends came by, but no one could really know what it’s like.

Anyway, by the weekend I was almost adjusted -- or, at least, adjusting. It was a really unusual weekend, nothing like I expected. But then everything has been extraordinary, strange, incredible, since Bud was born.

Actually, we haven’t named him. We, Joey and I, really didn’t think it was right for us to name the child. We don’t even feel totally comfortable about calling Bud, our child. He’s obviously his own person. For now, we just say he’s our boy.”

One thing that has helped was the pile of mail we’ve gotten. It’s kept me busy. People send and write the strangest things. Quite fitting for this occasion, maybe. Funny and touching ones, too. They were really trying to help.

Well, the mail has occupied my mind and given me some comfort. Then, there’ve been some thoughts and sentiments people shared which have really caused me to ponder. A few, anyway. Maybe that was enough.

One writer sent a copy of a book by Gibran. Never heard of him before. A poem on children was starred. I’ve read and reread it to the point that I’m beginning to understand. I’m sure he was talking about Bud: “Your children are not your children, but the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. They come through you, but not from you.”

Well, Buddy came through me and I’m so proud and thrilled that I could be his mother. But, I admit I’m still quite confused. It appears that we’ll only see Bud on weekends and that our family life will be far from typical. I was going to say regular. But, we don’t need regular or normal. Neither Joey or I are totally normal and I have to think that we’ll become less so as we’re around Buddy more and more.

This weekend was just a taste of things to come. It was really an exciting and fun homecoming. We met Grandpa Nate at the hospital. There was a good-sized crowd with cameras and microphones and balloons and streamers, like the Fourth of July, on the front lawn of the medical center. Bud was all smiles. Waved to the people and winked at the pretty women.

Then, there was another crowd to pass through when we returned home. All the neighbors, and more that we didn’t even know, plus cameras and reporters and gawkers were packed yards deep as we drove onto our lot. They were all friendly and in fine humor. Yelling and waving. More Fourth of July stuff, you know.

Bud’s grown even over the past two weeks, almost two pounds. He’s much brighter and stronger. His grandfather has been working with him to “tone him up,” he says. That’s kind of funny. Grandpa is the one who needs the toning up.

But, Nate looks a hundred times happier and healthier than he did before the baby came. I think he’s nearly quit smoking. Can’t smoke in the hospital and he has to keep an eye on Bud practically all the time during the week. He’s been taking his vitamins again and cutting down his medication. I think he said his blood pressure had dropped well into normal range.

Then, Nate’s been eating better, too. He pretty much eats what Bud asks for, which is mostly fruits and juices and that sort of stuff. Grandpa must have lost about twice as many pounds as Bud has gained.

Well, Bud’s eating habits have affected our household already. We knew what he liked. So, we stocked up and decided to try eating like he does. Seems to be good for him and for Grandpa, too. Why not for us?

We had fruit smoothies -- fruits and juices chopped in a blender -- and some strange flourless bread for lunch. Bud doesn’t wake up until almost noon. And, he takes a long nap in the afternoon, but stays awake until past midnight. Grandpa says he’s a night owl like the rest of the family.

Then, for dinner we made some rice with vegetables and nuts. I had to have Aunt Laura help me with that. Bud ate a big portion of it. Grandpa and I helped him with his spoon. He can’t quite make his little arms work, yet. He gets frustrated at times and almost loses his temper. When he gets close he seems to grab himself and make some internal decision. Then he closes his eyes and starts to hum. His energy changes quickly and then he’s ready to move on. No temper tantrums, yet.

Doesn’t like to be fussed over. I mean he doesn’t like to have to have people do things for him. He especially doesn’t like to be diapered and bathed. He has to really fight himself to let me do that for him. I think he got used to Grandpa Nate taking care of him in the hospital. Otherwise, he seems to like being touched and held, especially by me or Aunt Laura or any of the women in the family or outside of the family, for that matter.

Well, we didn’t quite know what to expect on our first weekend with our boy. Nate said, “Expect the unexpected.”

Joey and I were kind of worrying about it. But, it was like Bud read our minds. I think we were all thinking the same thing over our first lunch together, when Bud looked back and forth at us, and said, “Don’t worry. Be happy.”

Don’t think we didn’t all laugh and laugh and laugh. I thought we’d never stop laughing. I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants.

So, after things had settled, Bud said, “Invite the neighbors over. Tomorrow night. I’m sure they’re all wondering what’s going on here.

“If you are up to it, have the family over tonight. We need to get to know each other.”

Get to know each other, we did. Like we never did or could’ve before. You know how people are. We’re all so afraid to tell our stories. We think that we’re the only ones who do stupid, shameful, or unthinking things.

Well, family night was a real revelation. Bud started us all out after we had dinner. I guess there were twenty of us. Nobody turned down the invitation which I called out after noon. Some of the family had other things planned. But, they all managed to reschedule, bow out or cancel.

So, Bud started us all out by watching a movie -- or at least part of a movie. We started watching The King and I until they sang “Getting to Know You.” That was as far as the video went.

Well, Bud, in his strained, but resonant little voice, said, “I think many of us don’t know each other very much. And, I think that needs to be remedied all over the world. Where better to start than in the family.”

Well, I couldn’t tell you -- even if I tried -- what all happened in that room filled with twenty or so people. It was magical. People shared all sorts of things I’d never imagined. There was laughter and tears and a most loving, holy feeling in our house. I don’t believe that that sort of thing is too often felt in church or even in heaven. I think we all fell in love with each other in a very gentle, respectful way.
There were a number of people in the group who’d been offended over the years by someone else there. People made up, asked forgiveness and received it. Told each other about their faults and shortcomings, their pains and fears. Maybe next time, we’ll be able to share our hopes and aspirations.

I think lots of us don’t have many dreams because we’re spending most of our time worrying.

Well, the next evening we had a block party. It was terrific. Hundreds appeared out of nowhere. I had just called people on the block whom I knew or knocked on doors and told them we were having a pot luck and Getting to Know You Party. Everybody was thrilled.

We ate and danced. Live music spontaneously appeared like manna from heaven. Everyone obviously wanted to meet Bud. I think most of them did. And, I believe he invited them all to come back another time for more conversation.

Just a few days ago, we worried about what we’d do with the strange new addition to our family who was only visiting on Saturdays and Sundays. Now, I think Joey and I may have our hands more than full on these weekends.

And, despite the irregular life that lies ahead of us, we’re so happy that Bud’s our boy. He is an amazing fellow, like Dr. Child says.

Time Out
Dr. Child

The Hospital Board made its decision to let Borden stay on and for the time being on my -- the pediatric ward. Gobble-Gobble Gates sent me a note saying this would only be a “temporary situation” and that “other arrangements” would be made shortly. So, I might have to pass the rest of my adult years waiting for old Gates to get his act together.

In the meantime, he suggested that I delegate care of Master Borden to another staff man or an intern. Well, I’ve certainly considered that option. It is tempting. On the other hand, maybe I’d be making a mistake in letting my professional discomfort get in the way of the opportunities this totally unusual case could bring to me. If I kept close tabs on Borden, I could write an insider book in a decent period of time. I might even get a chance to be on Oprah.

So, let me tell you what the little creature has been up to lately. First, he’s been taking the weekends off to spend with his parents. Would that he was kind enough to take the weekdays off and visit the hospital on the weekends while I’m off duty.
Shame on me. I have to stop talking this way. Some people think I’m carrying a chip on my shoulder. Professional jealousy, they hint. Maybe they’re right. How common is it for an adult to be jealous of a one-month-old kid even if he supposedly has prior medical training?

Actually, I have trouble countering that suggestion. He knows a hell of a lot of medicine. He hasn’t gotten around to taking the medical licensing exam, yet. So, I’m safe for a while.

So, here it is or, rather, here they are. If you must know my complaints, here they are. No one else seems to care. One: Borden disrupts the routine on the ward and in the hospital. It was a pretty regular, run-of-the-mill situation here until he came along. Things ran quite smoothly. Now, I never know what to expect next. Two: Borden takes attention from other patients, all of which need it more than he does. No complaints have been made yet, but I can see them coming. Three: Borden is self-righteous and thinks he knows it all. Makes it hard to take proper care of him. Four: He’s a lascivious old man in a little bitty body. Disturbs the nurses and female attendants, I think. Five: He’s corrupting the medical students with his questions, insinuations, and ideas. This has prompted them to ask their own oddball questions which takes away from the regular flow of work on the wards. I don’t dare think what the fallout will be with the medical school. Six: Possibly worst of all, he’s upsetting the apple cart with the nurses. Putting big ideas into their little heads. It’s just distressing. Seven: My own credibility and that of the rest of pediatric medical staff is at an alltime low.

Well, there it is. The whole sad mess. What can I do? I give up. What do they say? “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” I may be forced to join ranks with a 30-day wonder. Wish me luck.

John Rich

Good evening. Some time ago, we promised you that KBOB would be the first to interview the city’s child wonder, presently known as Master Borden. Tonight, we keep that promise.

It’s been exactly a month since we first reported this amazing event. Incredible things still continue on an almost daily basis. However, until today, we’ve had no direct contact with Baby Borden.

Through the offices of Gordon Gates, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of City Medical Center and publisher of the Rocky Mountain Gazette, we’re able to share with you this entirely unique interview and close-up of our favorite son. The interview was taped at the medical center earlier today.

“Good morning, Master Borden, and Nate. How are you today?”

“I think we’re fine. Aren’t we, Nate? You can call me, Bud, if you like. I’d like that.”

“Why, certainly, Bud. Whatever you say. May I ask how your accommodations are at the hospital? And, how you’re being treated?”

“Well, everything is really quite fine. We couldn’t ask for more. Could we, Nate?”

“Now, I’ve never had a conversation with a one-month-old before. Sometimes, I have trouble conversing with adults. Don’t you think this is a bit unusual? I imagine most people believe it is.”

“Yes. I suppose so. If I were in your chair, I’d be thinking quite the same. Want to trade seats?”

“Certainly, I’m a novelty, a bit of a freak, for the moment. But, much of that is because of everyone’s mindset. Most things change so slowly that we have lots of time to get used to them. Not me, this time, anyway. I don’t think that you should start expecting lots of infants to walk and talk and dance at birth. But, most things are only impossible to us because we keep parts of our minds closed. When our minds expand, so do our possibilities.”

“Well, yes, I suppose so. But, may I ask you. This seems rather funny to ask. But, how is it possible for you to be doing the things you’re doing at your age? Seeing is believing, they say. And, I’m from Missouri. I have been shown. I believe. But, how is this possible? Can you explain just a little?”

“I’ll try. Standard belief says that a baby is a brand new being. Just cut fresh from a mold. Well, that’s true, in part. The baby’s body is new, but his soul is ancient. His, yours, mine. We’ve all been here before. Time and time again. So, every time we come here, we start with a new body and have to go through a very long relearning process. No other creatures take so very long proportionately to grow up. Why do we take so long? To tell you the truth, I don’t know. But, I believe that part of it is just our conditioning and pattern. We expect it to take so many months for a child to talk and walk. So, we get what we look for. We expect it will take 18 or 21 years for a human being to mature. So, that’s just about how long it takes. But, I believe and am partly trying to suggest that it can be otherwise. We have been in bodies again and again. We’ve really had lots of practice at this baby role. Why can’t we speed up the process and get to the work at hand more quickly? I know I can and knew I could. So, I did it and am doing it. I expect a few others to follow suit in the coming years. A few, mind you.”

“So, you’re trying to tell me that this all has to do with past lives and living again. That the body, your body, my body, is just like a cloak we put on and take off. I don’t know if I believe in that. I guess I haven’t taken time to think about it until now. The idea is reassuring, but a little foreign. Enlighten me, if you can.”

“Sorry, Mr. Gates. I can’t enlighten you. Only you can do that. But, you certainly could take some time to review this thing called reincarnation. Actually to me, it’s a fact, rather than a distant theory or unexplained phenomenon. Such a study would certainly be worthy of your investigation. In the meantime, I can tell you about my own singular experience, though I think it has broader implications than just for myself alone. Time will tell.”

“Yes, I quite understand that you can’t enlighten me. You have given some hints, though. Tell us what it’s like being in that little body.”

“First off, most folks wouldn’t want to go through what I’m going through. It’s a bit exciting and glamorous. Lots of attention and people have been very kind and respectful, so far. But, surely some of this will wear off. And, you have no idea how uncomfortable it is to be wide-awake conscious in such a tiny, weak, and uncooperative thing as an infant body -- even with all the energy that we’re pumping through it. A tremendous amount of energy has been directed my way to get me this far along in just one month.”

“Energy. What do you mean? Where does the energy come from? I don’t quite follow you.”

“You see, there’s another part of the story of which I can only give you a few hints. What I’m doing and experiencing didn’t just happen. Only nothing comes from nothing. This event, this birth, this life has been in the planning stages for a dozen years, but more truly a dozen lifetimes. Since my memory doesn’t go back accurately several lifetimes, I can just tell you that in my last lifetime I personally invested a great deal of energy projecting and preparing for this one. Part of my investment involved tuning into the possibility which had been laid down for me through agencies beyond myself. I have to tell you that I’m just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.”

“Well, that’s very fascinating. May I ask about these agencies that are helping you. Did I understand that correctly?”

“Seems that you have. In some ways, it’s very simple. In other ways, quite the opposite. It’s like this: Every breath we take is supported by unseen forces. Not just by sunshine and air and the deeper energies of creation, but, pardon me, yes, angels and devas and fairies and the like. They all exist in other dimensions. They’re more truly the source of our life than bread and water and vitamins and calories. Such things are only the husks of the grains which get us and keep us going. This is a reality in every moment of our lives, but most dramatically, during the formation of our bodies and the calling in of the souls which will inhabit them. Also, in the building of physical stature, emotional strength, and mental power. It’s really an amazing process. More so than any industrial manufacturing you could ever imagine.”

“My stars. This is - is - is. Well, I don’t know what to say. And, that’s quite rare for Gordon Gazette Gates. Please let me think for a moment. Oh, yes. Well, this has been extraordinary. I do have a few more questions. Now, can you say more about your part in this? How did you help bring this about? Have I asked a good question? Oh, me!”

“Yes, Mr. Gates. You’re doing splendidly. Far better than you think. My part. Well, I really can’t be too specific about that. There’s a lot of power moving now. All that I’m allowed to say is that this phenomenon of which I’m a part has required me to master a certain brand of meditation. Actually, I haven’t mastered it, yet. What I’m doing now is part of the practice. But, I gather that I’m doing reasonably well, under the circumstances. The major work of the meditation and the whole process is meant to produce continuing consciousness. I’m simply learning to be conscious -- alert, if you will, 24 hours a day. During waking and sleeping hours. Living and dying. I’m sorry that’s all I’m allowed to tell you. Actually, I couldn’t put much more into regular words, even if I was permitted.”

“Now, now, I’m wondering -- who tells you whether you’re permitted or not permitted?” “Sorry. I’m not permitted to say.”

Where Did He Go?
Nate Borden

Well, by now, you know quite a bit about my new grandson who used to be my brother. We’re calling him, “Bud,” because we don’t know what else to call him except “Master Borden,” and that’s comes over a little high and starchy for me. Works for some people and the press, though. Bud seems to be okay with either.

I told you some about his coming and going in the family’s life and my own. But, what you’re probably wondering is what happened to him. You’re thinking how did we lose track of him a year ago. And, where did he go? Yeah, where did that 46-year-old kid brother of mine go?

Wish I could tell you. It seems to be a $64 question right now. Before long it might become a $64,000 question the way things are going. I’ve asked the new Bud that same question more than a couple times. His response is one that’s becoming too common already, “I’m not permitted to say.”

So, I really can’t tell you a whole lot. Just some general information and surmises and a few tidbits that Bud left with me.

Before he disappeared, and, for all I know, that’s just what he did, Bud used to visit every four to six months. Something like that. We -- or I -- would hear from him between visits every few months, maybe.

He was a traveling man -- remember, the Wandering Jew in the family? So, when he didn’t check in for months at a time, we never really got concerned. We knew he’d show up soon enough. This all, despite the fact that Bud even made lengthy trips to Asia and Latin America, on occasion. He’d stay for several months at a stretch. I think he visited ancient ruins and stayed in monasteries and the like.

Well, anyway, he’d been out of pocket for over six months when he called from I don’t know where -- maybe his home, which had been in Montana for years.

We talked for fifteen minutes or so. Spent most of the conversation talking about my situation. He was always trying to buck me up. Asked about the kids and grandkids.

Bud was always asking questions, so a fella had to work to get the conversation moving in the opposite direction. And, I hadn’t been very good at that for years. But, he did say he’d been traveling and was working on a special project which was going to make waves and shake up a lot of people. It seems like he repeated those words “make waves” to plant some seed in my mind.

He gave no details, just that hint. It wasn’t like it was a big secret or anything. He just never talked a lot about most of the things he did. Bud once said he didn’t like to roll out his plans because most of the time they ended up in File 13 before the ink was dry.

So, Bud was involved in some plan somewhere for some unexplained purpose. Then, I had no word from him for another six months until he showed up at my place a year ago.

We went out for lunch. He told me he was just passing through and had a favor to ask. That was unusual. He’d never asked anything of me before except to visit or stay over for a few days. So, Bud gave me a small wooden box -- looked like it was made in Asia or Africa. He said he needed it placed in a safety deposit vault. Wanted me to find one and handed me $100 to take care of it.

Well, I remarked to him that that was a lot of money for what he was asking. But, Bud insisted that I was to keep the annual fee paid up for him as long as necessary. Seemed kind of strange, but I quickly told him I’d do it the next day.

He left town shortly after lunch and I didn’t see him again until the birth in the hospital. I must admit that I had some forebodings, but never enough to cause me to move on them.

I did get one certified letter from him, thereafter. Again, that was unusual. There was nothing special in the envelope. Seemed almost like he forgot to include some important document which was the reason for the letter. But, there was no mention of such a thing. From this vantage point, I have to guess he just wanted to make sure that I received his message.

Bud wrote that he was busy with his project. Said that it would be developing over the next year. He added that we wouldn’t be seeing him for quite some time and, when we did, we might not even recognize him.

Now that got me to wondering again, but to no conclusion. I really couldn’t make anything of it until you know when.

He extended his salutations to all and, curiously, he asked me to pass on special greetings to Joey and Marian. That, too, was out of character.

I had one final contact, so to speak, with the old Bud. One morning a few months ago, an attractive, but rather sad looking, woman in her 40’s knocked at my door. She told me her name but unfortunately I forgot it even before she walked away. She only stood at the door long enough to hand me a small package. The woman told me that she was a friend of Bud and he’d instructed her to get the package to me for safekeeping.

I tried to induce her to come in for coffee. I wanted to be hospitable, but honestly, mostly, I just wanted to find out what was going on with my brother. The woman refused, although I could tell that she really wanted to talk with me. She merely said, “I’m just doing what Bud asked of me,” when she started to cry and ran off to her car. The woman jumped in and raced off. That was all of that.

Except for one thing. Handling the package, I got this sad, wistful feeling. I almost started to cry. I didn’t know if the feeling was about Bud or Jean. And, another thing caught my attention. It seemed to me that there was a layer of dust or ash on the container. I could feel it, but couldn’t see it. In hindsight, I think part of me knew then that my brother was gone. But, I wasn’t quite conscious of the whole thing and didn’t want to admit it. I did make some passing remarks to Joey that Uncle Bud might have checked out and left me holding the bag -- or the box.

Although I was more than tempted to open that package and the other, I’m not the nosy type and stopped myself. I went ahead that day and took the little box to the bank to be company for the other one. When I sat them side by side, they looked like twins.

So, I had only a few clues to what was going on with Bud. Some cryptic words, two boxes in the bank, and a certified letter. Decided to put the letter in the vault with the other items. Figured it was somehow a keeper. Even though I received that note months ago, I quite well remember Brother’s last words: “Bye for now. Time for me to start getting into shape. You can join me one of these days. Love, Bud.”

Up in Smoke
Dr. Greene

I understand, Mr. Rich, there is conjecture that this Borden fellow is a reincarnation, possibly of his granduncle. Yet, you have been unable to determine if the chap ever died and, if he did, you are wondering how he might possibly have slipped away without being noticed.

Yes. Well, since this whole affair is so rather queer, I took it upon myself to do some little research on that other end of the story. Let me tell you just a few things that I have discovered. Imagining for the sake of conjecture that the former Dr. Borden did die and is not wandering around in body somewhere on the planet, it is quite possible that he perished of natural or unnatural causes in some place where his body could not found. Another possibility suggested itself to me and I have been able to verify it, at least in a small way.

You see, knowing of the apparent potency of this younger Borden, I imagined that he may have taken an unique way to depart his previous body. I halfway surmise, that the good doctor -- I understand he was a bit of an Orientalist -- may have learned some aspects of the ancient Tibetan art of g-tummo or divine fire, as it’s called.

You may have heard of monks and yogis who can maintain body heat on frigid, winter mountains at the top of the world sufficient to dry wet sheets all night long. That same phenomenon may be the cause of the spontaneous combustion which has apparently consumed numbers of human beings over the years. Actually, there are over 200 documented cases of this quite remarkable event.

Such stories go back hundreds of years mostly among monks and the like. Tradition has it that Radha, a 15th-century Hindu saint, immolated herself “in a burst of light” without the benefit of fuel leaving only a handful of ash as her remains.

A similar situation surrounds a Sikh holy man, who burned up in a public venue with reputable medical and police personnel in attendance. His personal fire was more of a simmering variety. Apparently, it took the gentleman about six hours to turn his flesh and clothes and straw mat into a few cinders. This occurred, I believe, within the last century. But I am sorry I do not have an exact date. The story suggests that the man had surpassed the age of 100 and decided to go out with a blaze of glory. Pray excuse the pun.

Now, as I said, there are these 200 or so cases of spontaneous combustion in the west. One of the most recent was reported, in 1966, to have taken the life of, interestingly, a physician, Dr. John Bentley, of Pennsylvania, U.S.A. It seems that the fire occurred in his own home but only in a limited area where the body burned falling into the basement. All that remained of the good doctor after the fire went out was part of a leg and one of his bedroom slippers. Seems the poor fellow went out with only one leg to stand on. A-hum.

Mr. Rich, thank you for letting me share with you and your curious-minded American audience. Cheerio, old chaps.

Getting into Shape
Nate Borden

Some things are starting to become clearer while others seem to be getting hazier. And, it’s not just my age and health that are causing the situation.

For that matter, I’m really getting into shape again without trying very hard. That’s obviously due to Bud’s input into my life.

It’s clear that Bud has a goodly-sized plan that he’s hatching one egg at a time. Totally clear. What isn’t so clear is where this is all leading.

So, I’ve lost about twelve pounds in the last month or so. I quit smoking without noticing it. My doctor cut my blood pressure medication in half. Said maybe I could come off it totally if I keep losing weight and my pressure stays stable and normal. I threw away the antidepressant and haven’t needed a sleeping tablet since Bud was born. I’m doing great. And, I’m -- we’re -- just getting started.

So, some people are wondering what my secret is. No secret. I can’t keep a secret even when I want to. But, there is none.

Honestly, I just now have something important to live for and be healthy for. My life’s got some meaning again.

That’s one end of it. The other is that I’m doing good things for me and by me. And, there’s just Bud, period. He’s obviously rubbing off on me in a way he could never have as a big person. You know what I mean.

Bud and I eat right every day. Actually, it’s taken some getting used to, but we do his berries and nuts thing twice a day with a snack in between. A good, healthy snack. Though we do do ice cream once in a while. Hard to avoid with the well-wishers coming and going, trying to be nice to us. I admit I go off the diet on the weekend.

Then, we work out twice a day. It hasn’t been strenuous yet because Bud has just begun to walk. It took a little over a month for him to go from creeping and crawling to standing and walking. Now at not quite two months of age, he’s really ready to pick up the pace.

So, our workout has been stretching and situps and weights in the morning. Joey brought us some homemade weights to get Bud started. The hospital rehab department loaned some bigger ones for me. It’s a real kick to see Bud with his flabby little arms waving those weights around. But, people laugh more at my workout than they do Bud’s. I think it’s time that we get a trainer. Bud says okay.

I’ve been sweating up a storm and Bud just huffs and puffs a bit. We work out for about 40 minutes to music, of course. We don’t do Verdi or Beethoven, though. He likes Richard Simmons’ Sweating to the Oldies tape and some other rock and roll stuff. We still don’t do any television which is all right by me. Although I do sneak a peak once in a while when Bud is busy and I’m not allowed or needed. Like when Joey and Marian are here.

In the afternoons, we have a yoga teacher coming to teach postures and breathing and such. It’s a little foreign to me, but I’m starting to get the hang of it. Bud, couldn’t do much with it at first because his body wouldn’t cooperate, but that’s starting to change.

We ran out of space real quickly with the workouts, so we had to move to another spot for our exercises. We’re starting to draw crowds now. Some watch and some are joining in. Patients and nurses and even a doctor once in a while.

The other part of our program is music. Music is part of almost every activity we do. Bud believes in the power of music. We’re experimenting with different vibrations, not all musical, to see what effect they have on different parts of the body.

Bud, just decided that we need a teacher. So, we’ve asked the hospital to help us find one.

Our schedule is about to change since Bud walks now. He wants to get out once a day for progressively longer walks on the hospital grounds. We may need a marching band for music and to keep our group in step.

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