Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Kiddies Table

Thanksgiving just passed and hopefully everyone had a wonderful time. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday for a multitude of reasons. Thanksgiving in my house was always a time where we invited many of those close to us that didn't have family nearby. Sometimes we'd even pass up the opportunity to be with our own families to be with those who might otherwise be alone. This lead to some wonderful experiences growing up and made me value friendships as much, if not more than family itself. I also like Thanksgiving because it lacks all the religious nonsense that our other big holidays include. This to me is very important. It's a time to give thanks to those real people around us and those who are not. We don't have to worship false idols and thank them for all the hard work we do. We can thank our mothers and fathers for that meal that has been put in front of us. Sure some do, but the only time I say Grace is if someone with that name happens to be present. Somehow the idea of thanking God for us killing a turkey seems somewhat silly. Finally, the real reason to love Thanksgiving. It's really all about the food. A very integral part in my being.

Like all great things I feel it necessary to point out one thing I have always detested about some Thanksgiving dinners. If there is one "tradition" I can not stand, it is the kids table. Now I understand that some people just don't have a home big enough to accommodate everyone they invite (a topic for another blog), but one thing that truly drives me crazy is this idea that sitting all the children at their own table is acceptable. Thanksgiving is a time for family to be together. The children are part of the family, aren't they? So why should they be banished to another table, or in some cases room. I remember one year, I was about twelve and we went to a cousin's house for Thanksgiving and they had a separate tale for the kids in the kitchen. I refused to sit in there and brought my plate and chair out to the adult table and set it up between my parents. Instead of sitting talking about kiddie stuff, I sat and argued with my mother's cousin about stocks vs real estate and he told me I was a kid and didn't know what he was talking about. Three years later he had lost everyone in the family thousands of dollars in stocks and real estate values had nearly doubled. Maybe there's something to be learned at the kid's table.

I know some people will say the kids love all sitting at their own table. They don't. Think back to when you were a kid. Don't think back to how your parents said you felt. Don't ask a kid, because of course they will say they love it. Think back to that time when you wanted to sit with Grandma or your favorite cousin and you couldn't. It wasn't pleasant. Maybe it's just that my memory is better, but I remember friends, cousins, and other kids all hating it. The worst part about the kids table is that the only time the adults ever came in was to tell the kids to pipe down. Thanks for giving me shit, we were finally making the best of our prison sentence and then the warden told us to eat our food and shut up.

So next year if you have a kids table. Destroy it. Squeeze the little buggers into the big table. They will appreciate being included, they will have much happier memories of Thanksgiving and believe it or not, the adults will enjoy themselves that much more. If Bill Cosby has taught us one thing, it's that Jello pudding pops are delicious...oh yeah, two things. Kids say the darnedest things.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Proust Questionnaire

I had been contemplating doing this as a facebook note, but decided it might be a little personal and I'm just to shy to have my life displayed on facebook....OK I'm just fucking with you. Here it goes, the famous questionnaire that tells you everything you wanna know about someone, but really didn't care to ask.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST FEAR? Mine is nothing symbolic or some cliche like to die alone. We all die alone in some way or another. Unless of course, we die in a car crash with others, but metaphorically, we all die our own deaths. My true fear is very strong winds. I shit you not. I'm probably less likely to be blown away than 95% of the world, but strong wind scares me. I've seen hurricane winds, but the thought of a tornado absolutely paralyzes me. There was a street sign on my corner that would flap in the breeze every time a bad storm came through and I swore that one day the sign would dislodge and kill me, Final Destination style. Serious, wind. Scares the shit out of me.

WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT STATE OF MIND? I've been sick for a week, so it's one of aggravation. Aside from the sickness, I feel somewhat worn down from the routine of life. I need a new challenge, maybe even a new locale, definitely some kind of stimulation. I'm also very distracted lately. My attention span is that of a gnat. This must change. I need to get back the ability to relax, watch a movie, not worrying about this and that. I'm also looking forward to a family Thanksgiving.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE OCCUPATION?(WAY OF SPENDING TIME) I would have to say curled up on a rainy afternoon or evening watching a great movie with a hot cup of coffee. Alone is wonderful. With someone special is perfect.

WHAT HISTORICAL FIGURE DO YOU MOST IDENTIFY WITH? Richard Nixon - yes he had his faults, but he was borderline genius and did many good things while he was in office. All is overshadowed by the one bad thing he did, which in retrospect isn't half as bad as some of the stuff that has been done by president before and after Nixon's tenure. That being said, I think when all was said and done, he was more a misunderstood individual than a villain.

WHICH LIVING PERSON DO YOU MOST ADMIRE? I am not one who admires people for the most part. We're all human. Some invent things, some make money, some have talent, but is another human really worth admiring? I guess if a gun was put to my head, I admire truly good parents. Parents, who despite their fatigue or personal problems, cook their children dinner and sit and talk with them about their days. I admire the kindergartner's parents whose child said please and thank you to me the other day without being told. I admire the first grader's parents, whose daughter stopped me from doing my class because she wanted to tie the 2nd and 3rd graders shoes so they wouldn't trip and get hurt. I admire the parents of the child who during a snack break had four mini muffins and gave three of them away to kids whose parents forgot to pack a snack, leaving him with one. Then when he saw that another kid didn't have snack, he broke his remaining muffin in half and shared it. I admire those parents. They are few and far between.

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE FICTIONAL HERO? Max, from Where The Wild Things Are, because despite the power he found, he never forgot where he came from or where he belongs.

WHO ARE YOUR REAL-LIFE HEROES? My parents and grandparents. Six people who showed me more in my life than hundreds of teachers could ever do. They also showed me that you don't always have to say what people want to hear. I learned this by saying those things to them first.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION? Obviously family, but I don't think this is what the question is meant to mean. I believe this is a materialistic question so I will answer it as such. I do not own one thing in this world, I would not give up, in a second, for anyone I care abouts health and happiness.

WHEN AND WHERE WERE YOU HAPPIEST? There have been so many places I've been with friends and family and shared momentous occasions and feelings of happiness, but if I had to be selfish and only think about me, the choice is easy. The four summers I spent at Birchmont. Each one was special in a different way, but all were as close to perfect as I can imagine.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST OBVIOUS CHARACTERISTIC? I'm a big boy. I like to eat and drink and my body shows this. I wasn't always like that, it used to be my legs...or so I was told. Old age and bad habits will do that to you. Oh yeah and two torn ACL's.

WHAT IS THE TRAIT YOU MOST DEPLORE (HATE) IN YOURSELF? My inability to clean my apartment to the point I can't have company. My apartment is smaller than most walk-in closets. My apartment might be a walk-in closet. Yet, there is a stack of paper on the desk and on the floor that rivals Vesuvius. I've got dust with born on dating since before some of my friends had their children. Oddly enough, dirty dishes is my pet peeve and I almost never have dirty dishes in the sink. Don't ask.

WHAT IS THE TRAIT YOU MOST DEPLORE IN OTHERS? Ignorance, being proud of your ignorance, and not willing to admit ignorance. If I don't know I say I don't know. I feel ashamed. I then go home and spend long sessions looking up info on said topic on the Internet. I will spend hours sometimes, so the next time, if it occurs, I am more prepared than anyone in the room. If only I had done this in school. I just don't understand how people can be proud of not knowing common knowledge things. I don't understand how "devout" Catholics, Jews, Muslims, etc don't know their own religion. I don't know why people don't understand things that are important to societies well being, and brag about it. For every intelligent conversation I have had in the past year, I have had this response given to me ten times "Don't bother me with that shit, I don't read or listen to the news...why should I care what goes on in Iran or Iraq or wherever were fighting." Seriously, this is almost a verbatim response to any debate. Scares me.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST EXTRAVAGANCE? Sadly, socializing at the bar. I probably spend twice as much a month on going out eating and drinking as I do on rent. This is not something I'm proud of, necessarily, but I find the people that stay home all the time when they do come out, they all talk about the same things, and honestly I don't really care about your kids first shit or the excitement that this years Real World is giving you. Tila Tequila is a drink right?

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE JOURNEY? My next one. I'm not a traveler, per se, but I do like to go away. I don't need a plane, or a bus, or a train. My next journey was planned last weekend, but rainy weather changed my mind. I was going to go solo to my old stomping grounds in Brooklyn. Hit up Grimaldi's or Difara's for some pizza. Then over to Atlantic Ave to Sahadi for some of the world's best hummus and coffee. Then over to the Promenade and just stare at the Brooklyn Bridge. That was it. Maybe next week or the week after.

WHAT DO YOU MOST DISLIKE ABOUT YOUR APPEARANCE? I've gained so much weight I don't think I look anything like I used to. I don't know if that's good or bad, but while I was never thin, I did have a pretty good physique back in my 17-19 years. I was strong, a good athlete, and could actually walk without limping or being out of breath.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST OVER-RATED VIRTUE? Purity. You can slice this one any way you like. This is not a good virtue. What's good for the Virgin Mary and Jesus, ain't good for people here on Earth. Seriously, some sick bastards love having sex with virgins. Makes them feel good about themselves. Really, for how long? Six minutes? Seriously, find me an impure girl and now we're talking. OK, so it's not about sex, it's a spiritual thing. OK, if I'm with someone who is living for the after world, I'm fucked. First off, we're not on the same mental plain and probably won't be honeymooning on the same plane, so why bother. I don't need pure thoughts, pure anything really. Unless I'm going to eat snow. Then purity is fine and dandy.

ON WHAT OCCASION DO YOU LIE? If I lie it is only not to hurt others. That being said, my lies are few and far between. You wanna know how you spot the liar. He's the one who never hurts any one's feelings. Lying is for cowards. Lying is for those who don't have enough value in their own lives so they make things up to give the impression of greatness when in reality, once their lies have been uncovered, they become smaller than they once were.

WHICH WORDS OR PHRASES DO YOU MOST OVER-USE? I refer to things as the best a lot, when they are in fact not even close to being the best. They are just above average for that time frame. I also say "I heard," when a lot of times, I read, or I was witness to, but I tend to say I heard, which is weird. I don't now why I do this. I am sure to be called out on this by anyone who reads this.

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOURSELF, WHAT WOULD IT BE? It's silly, but I wish I played sports in high school. I wish I did something at that time in my life that was more about a group than about me. I was a good athlete, and all due respect to people I went to high school with, a hell of a lot better than most of the better players in every sport. Obviously, I didn't have any thoughts of making it past high school, because at 5'9" 194lbs with speed like a baby cow, there wasn't much to dream about. I do wish I played for teams though. The camaraderie, the leadership, the coaching. I ended up coaching after high school and I realize how important it is to have someone show you how to do things better than you knew how. I always knew I could hit a baseball, but if I had played under our teams coach, I'm sure I would have hit it that much harder, that much further, and definitely that much more often. Big mistake, but I was young and dumb. It's silly now, but I think it would have made a big difference. I try in my own little way to make that difference in kids lives now.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT? Maybe saving someones life (a memory I'm sure she's long forgotten). I'll never know. I was leaving school in second grade and a friend of mine had walked ahead. We lived a few doors down from each other and always walked home from school together, rain or shine. I was talking to some of my friends when I noticed she was talking to someone in a car. I saw her open the back door and start to get in. I dropped my book bag and ran towards the car and grabbed her jacket and yanked it. She and I both went tumbling out onto the street and the car sped off, back door slamming shut as he drove away. We got up, I grabbed my books and we ran home as fast as we could. The man had told her that her mom had asked him to pick her up and take her home and she believed him. Maybe the story wasn't as dramatic as I remembered, but my mother told me that I came in the house crying my eyes out that someone tried to steal my friend. I'd say that's about as good as I'm capable.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO LIVE? I love Boston, but it's basically a quieter New York with a baseball team I adore. I don't think I'd wanna live there though. Nope, for me it would be in a little house with a screened in porch looking over Lake Wentworth in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. I wouldn't need a big house. Just big enough that friends could visit, a fire could be set, and in the spring and summer we could hang our feet off the dock and feed the ducks or gaze at the eagles as they soared amongst the clouds during some of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever witnessed.

WHAT IS THE QUALITY YOU MOST ADMIRE IN A MAN? Honesty. There is no quality, virtue, whatever you want to call it that matters most to me than someone being honest with me. Male or female, honesty is what matters most.


WHAT IS IT YOU MOST DISLIKE? I dislike that a world of similar people try so hard to be different to the point that they must kill or alienate others to prove that they are right. Religions, nationalities, political beliefs, even ways people dress seem to cause such furor. In the end, we must all realize deep down that if we truly believe that a higher power created us, he/she did not create us to play his giant version of the game Risk. He/She created us to get along and adapt together, to thrive on a planet that has everything, if everyone shared. I have a problem with anyone telling me I'm going here or there when I die. Does it matter. Wouldn't you rather take the chance that this is our only shot and to soak up every second of it and love someone rather than hate them? I know it takes so much more energy to argue with someone than it does to hold them and kiss them. It takes much more energy to hate someones point of view than it is to accept their ability to have a viewpoint. It takes much more energy to punch someone than it does to agree to disagree and shake their hand. I hate that people can't accept we don't all believe the same thing or look the same. We all seem to have two arms, two legs and a head...doesn't seem to me like that was an accident.

WHAT DO YOU VALUE MOST IN YOUR FRIENDS? I guess it would fall under loyalty, but what I value most is that I have friends that at times we don't speak for days, weeks, some months, some even years. When reunited, that isn't an issue. Sure we argue at times, we have differences of opinion, but time away, never strains our bond. I remember one time I had not seen a group of friends for one whole year. Not spoken to many for the year. We gathered together as we had on many occasions and there wasn't one awkward moment the entire day. At the end of the time, we said our goodbyes with the expectation that time would lapse before we spoke again, but all was good.

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO DIE? Quickly and painlessly, but the reality is I'll probably die of a horrible heart attack due to being overweight and not taking care of myself. I just hope it's not one of those embarrassing things where people think I'm playing a joke because my face is in a bowl of chicken wings. I also hope it's not something where other people have to take care of me. I don't like wiping my own ass at times, god help someone else having to do it. See that's called levity. Death ain't a fun topic, but we all get to do it.

IF YOU WERE TO DIE AND COME BACK AS A PERSON OR AN ANIMAL, WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WOULD BE? I think I would come back as a woman who had 10 kids. I'm very nurturing with children and almost motherly, but not in that "ooh my baby scraped his knee" kinda way. I think I'm tender enough kids feel safe, but tough enough they don't over do it. I've seen kids change in my classes when they look for that easy way out and they realize they aren't going to get it. I had one kid in a class who I basically taught that winning and losing was ruining his fun and he was too young for that. His father then basically challenged me to a game of one-on-one in front of his son, which I obviously declined, although the temptation was almost overwhelming.

A penny. Plain and simple, I would like to make up for all the traveling I didn't do in this life.

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO (WORDS YOU LIVE BY OR THAT MEAN A LOT TO YOU)? "The truth hurts, but it's better than lying." When people are fat you aren't supposed to say they are fat, because that's hurtful. I'm fat, kids tell me that I'm fat. Some are innocent and some are malicious. It's true, so how can I get mad. When someone says I'm stupid, I get mad, because the reality is, and some might disagree with me, but I'm not stupid. I used to have tests to prove it. But what about when you tell someone who is stupid that they are stupid. It's not socially acceptable, but it's true. Now if a woman says "does this make me look fat?" There is only one answer and that is no. This is the one scenario where telling the truth is in direct correlation to being stupid. If you lie on this one, you are smart. If you don't, you are celibate. I try to be truthful whenever possible, unless I feel damage will be caused. Then I have to adapt. I might not lie, but I might dull the truth. Political Correctness may one day doom our society. Truth never will.

WHO HAS BEEN THE GREATEST INFLUENCE ON YOU? This is the easiest question of them all. My father has been my biggest influence. There is almost nothing I do that is not in some way connected to him. He's one of the smartest people I know. He's read more books than I've looked at in some libraries. He started me on my appreciation to film. As a youngster he took me to a revival theater that was playing Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai. Who takes a little kid to an old black and white movie, with subtitles, where almost everyone gets killed? Did I mention it's almost four hours long? To this day, it's one of my favorite films. He opened my eyes to art and music. I was pointing out which composer was on the radio (at times) before he could when I was ten or eleven. He gave me an appreciation for fine wines and sometimes not so fine that were just as good. He made me do my homework and made me make sure that everything was grammatically correct and my spelling was perfect. I hated that, but now when people misspell words it drives me crazy. The one thing I think I learned from him that has stayed with me was when I would write a book report, an essay, or some type of research paper in grade school, he would read it once. He would make a suggestion or two and I'd add or subtract something. Then he would edit it. I would always ask him what he thought and he would always say "are you happy with it?" I would sit an reread it and go over it again and again, but in the end, I would almost always say "yes I am." He'd tell me "well, then you're done." When I got older, in high school and my college years, (with two complicated exceptions) I never once wrote a paper that I can remember that received lower than a B+. I sometimes rush through things, but if I've taken one thing from him, it's to be happy with what you've produced and be at peace with your effort. If my effort had been half of what I put forward, I don't think he would have pushed any harder. I think that was the lesson. He turns 75 today and I hope that one day, I can be 75 and have someone feel that I've impacted their life half as much as he impacted mine.

This concludes the questionnaire. I thought when I began this would be my shortest blog ever. It has taken me nearly two and a half hours to finish it. Albeit there were some distractions along the way, via calls, texts, etc. I don't know if anyone will read it start to finish, but I assume if you've gotten this far, you are not only a friend but someone who now knows me a little better than before. Au revior!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Confused and Torn

So many times I start one of these blogs and I write a paragraph, sometimes two, I've even written whole blogs and then erase them. Sometimes they are too personal. Sometimes they might hurt the feelings of a friend or someone else I deal with. I do not know who reads this and since I started the feedback has become less, so I write for myself. That being said, it's not penned into a book and hidden under my bed, but on the Internet for the public to see. Sure in my delusions of grandeur I believe that thousands of people hang on my every word. I'm spoken about at parties in the highest of circles, but the reality is that maybe 20 people read this at most. Some have signed on as followers, but my own family needs to be reminded of this damn thing. My ex-girlfriend wouldn't ever read it unless I read it to her. And yes I've thought of her terminal blindness jokes, but they aren't there.

In recent weeks I've started blogs bashing the true teachings of Sesame Street, but felt my writing was a little bit homophobic of which I am not. I mean the metro sexual bird with the imaginary friend, the two gay guys who loves rubber ducks, ball gags and pigeons. The only one who ever got any straight sex on the show was Kermit and that's because he fucked a pig. Metaphorically or not, that's some funny shit. It also recently came to my attention that Elmo is Mexican. WTF? No that deserves a real WHAT THE FUCK? When was the last time you heard a Mexican with a voice like wet finger circling a wine glass? The educational aspect is lost these days, because each character seems to have a new speech problem. Maybe this is why speech therapy is so common these days, because kids get plopped down in front of the tube and learn to speak from fucking muppets. This isn't healthy!

I also wanted to write about Obama. Sure he hasn't turned our country into the oasis that many thought he would. Republicans are loving this, Democrats are worried sick, but I remember taking an American Presidency class at Westchester Community College with Mr. Bataly (sp?) and he explained on day one in a first term the President has little or no power his first year, his second and third years he usually fights for one major thing that will be his campaign base, the fourth year is spent almost entirely campaigning. It's not until his second term where he can make a true difference. So unless people want real "change" they are going to have to stick through seven more years of this, or elect someone new and go through the motions again.

I think I've mentioned this in other blogs, but the state of television is a disgrace. On any given night there are numerous shows which need a hypothermic body temperature IQ to grasp. My favorite is Grey's Anatomy. I think this show separates those who want to be entertained and those who want to be lobotomized. Listen, in my attempts to appease a partner I've sat through this crap. Now it wasn't too hard to look at Katherine Heigl and the red-head, and if I was a girl I'd probably like Patrick Dempsey, but the script, the acting, the same fucking thing week in and week out? This show is about as intelligent and stimulating as reading an eye chart, with the exception being that at no time at the DMV does someone take you into a closet and bang you. And seriously ladies is this what you really want in a man. Sure he has money, but seven days after taking your dignity in a closet, he's taking your coworkers. But men are the pigs...right!

Farmville. Let me explain what Farmville is to those who don't know. it's a game on Facebook where you grow crops, buy animals and have a cyber farm. You get a barn, etc. It sounds like so much fun and you should enjoy yourself, but the constant messages asking me to join are driving me nuts. Seriously, it's like when you get to the bar late and everyone is drunk and keeps bringing up that funny thing that happened earlier in the night and everyone laughs. That is Farmville. Except, three people are laughing and everyone else wishes they weren't the three loudest people in the bar. I just wish there was some way to make crop circles or let wolves free on these people's farms. Maybe acid rain?

Shots. I remember back in HS we never did shots. We'd take swigs from a bottle. Inevitably I'd puke my brains out and swear never to drink again until the next weekend, or next night. Now, nearing forty I've found that shots are more popular than ever. I see college kids doing shots and then shitting their pants at the bar. I see them sleeping and falling down and making asses of themselves. I see twenty somethings hooking up, basically in public and wonder what happened and where were these girls when I was in my twenties. I'm sure they were out there, but then again I didn't go to places to do ecstasy, I liked to drink. Nope, in my thirties I've seem to have come of age. Which is a scary thing, because I'm sure a few weekend nights in the past few years have taken days, maybe even weeks or months off of my life. What scares me the most is having full knowledge of what you are drinking. I mean, when you know that you are on shot #12 and you've been out for nine hours and you only started doing shots at the seven hour mark, it's time to go home. I can count the number of times I've gotten sick in my thirties on one hand. And many of those have been caused by my hand, well a finger or two. But seriously, I need this trend to stop. I liked being the cheap date. Start drinking at 8pm home asleep by midnight. $20 end of story! These $150 days are killers.

I'll wrap this melting pot of shit up with this. There is an old saying that goes something like "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." People usually attribute this quote of genius to their grandmother or some older, more wise person. Well you know what, fuck that. If I only spoke when I had something nice to say, I'd have evenings where I'd be a fucking mute. Sometimes stupidity needs to be kicked in the ass. Sometimes just being loud and thinking that makes you right, needs a jab to the throat. There are so many times I overhear conversations between a newly formed couple and I just want to bask in their love...and then kick them in the genitals so they don't reproduce. I think it's our civil duty to stop stupid-on-stupid relationships. Let's give our future a fighting chance. I really want to know if stupid people know they are stupid. I don't think they do, because they seem to talk so much more and so much louder than everyone else. I wish there was a superhero that could fly in and save the day. I'd love to do the job, but my ass looks huge in tights.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Double Standards, Ironies and Quandaries

If a guy goes out wearing sweatpants, a baggy sweatshirt and a team cap on, he's a bum. If a girl does it, she's hot.

It's OK for a woman to wear tight short skirts in order to climb the corporate ladder, but it is completely inappropriate for a guy to look up that skirt while she's on said ladder.

30-something moms dancing to Miley Cyrus in the car...cute. Me dancing to Miley Cyrus in the car - Amber Alert.

Remember the 1980 World Series when the headlines included George Brett and 'Roids and the article was about Preparation H?

Why are the same people who want Roman Polanski's head defending Michael Jackson?

They say never wear white after labor day. Isn't every day "after" labor day until the next one?

If a guy drinks five beers, gets completely drunk by halftime and goes home, he's a social drinker. If a guy drinks 20 beers is completely coherent and goes home 10 hours later, he's a drunk.

I lived in an apartment that had a row of three lights and we called it track lighting. What do you call the lights that surround a track?

With words like paramedic and paraOlympics and paralysis, why the hell would anyone go para sailing? The outcome is inevitably going to be bad.

Is a parking meter called a parking meter because it measures time or because it's roughly 37" tall?

They say you shouldn't count your chickens before they hatch. Well if you are counting your chickens, they have already hatched, haven't they?

Have you ever held a stapler against your arm and thought "how much could this hurt?" Well if you do, look at a staple remover and then ask yourself that, because it does.

Why is it that people that don't smoke crack always talk about "the dangers of smoking crack?" How would they know if they haven't tried it?

The other day I bought a coffee cake for a house guest. The next morning she asked for a cup of tea with breakfast. I made her the tea, but didn't tell her about the cake. How could I? It obviously wasn't for her.

Isn't it funny how in an office if there is one of something left, nobody ever takes it? Someone always throws it away though.

How many movies have featured a guy with bad vision losing his glasses and someone stepping on them? One of them is almost always dead soon after.

I am a little squeamish when it comes to worms. So the last time I went fishing I hired a hooker and told her I had a boat and a big worm. Something got lost in the translation and she was not happy.

Do foreigners think Americans have sexy accents?

And finally: Has anyone ever had a priest tell them to "look both ways before crossing?"

Friday, November 6, 2009


Dreams are truly magical. I know there are books that interpret them and people think they know what they mean, but honestly, it's one of life's magical moments. In dreams we fight our fears, we see people we can't see in reality and we deal with pressure, real and imagined. All of us have had similar dreams. In school naked, teeth falling out, being chased, falling, etc. We always escape unscathed. Maybe an increased heart rate, maybe a yell and some sweat, but we awake invigorated.

Dreams have always fascinated me, because when I was younger I was told "in your dreams you never die, when you fall, you wake up before you land, because if you die in your dreams, you die in your sleep." Thank goodness this was a falsehood, because I die in my dreams almost on a nightly basis. I have for over 30 years. To my knowledge, I am no Dr. Malcolm Crowe, but who knows, maybe I am. When I was younger I would dream I was falling and on a few occasions I landed on the floor upon contact. This wasn't that big of a deal, although my bed was about three feet off the ground. I was also a bed wetter when I was younger, so dreams of going to the bathroom were a nightly occurrence. In my dreams I was standing at the toilet. Dreams can really get you sometimes. They make you believe you are doing something you're not.

Sometimes dreams can be different. Sometimes you know you are having a dream and you can manipulate the outcome. You become something you aren't. You get the girl, you slay the dragon, you become the thing you want to be in your conscious life, but are afraid to grasp. These dreams aren't as frequent, at least for me, and these are the ones I find hardest to remember. I guess if we could remember them, we'd use the power in reality. Maybe that's why we don't. Imagine if everyone had no inhibitions?

Some believe dreams are past events. Some believe they are future events. Some believe they are nothing, but random junk being discarded from our subconscious. Psychologist and scientists have long studied and speculated, but there will never be a clear cut answer. Honestly, I don't think we need one. Dreams are magical. Let's leave it at that.

In dreams, I have had long conversations with my late mother. She's told me things that I need to know. She told me where lost things were and where lost thoughts were. Maybe they were, maybe they weren't in those places, but it didn't matter. In those moments of sleep, I got to speak to my best friend again. She's never the sick and feeble woman in my dreams. She's the young vivacious woman who taught me so much about life. She is always nurturing in my dreams, never angry at things, like she was apt to be in reality. So many times when things have gotten tough, she enters my sleep and tells me not to worry. Sometimes it's just a word or two. Sometimes a kiss on my forehead. Sometimes I don't remember the dream until later in the day, sometimes I awaken, more ready for the day than ever before. Whichever the case may be, I love these dreams.

Last night I had a dream involving a conversation with someone I wanted some answers from. In the dream, I held no animosity. I was calm and understanding. I could not make out the words, nor could I hear any sounds at all. All I knew was that I understood. Things happen for a reason and things end for a reason. That's what I awoke realizing. I took a breath, wiped a tear from my eye, and realized that if nothing else I'd have that moment in time, those few days and that was it. Wanting more isn't going to help me or her. Be happy with what was shared and move on. Only time will tell if I have.

My dreams are complex. I've viewed entire movies in my head that have never been made on film. If I could remember them, I'd make millions. They star big time actors and close friends. In my dreams there is no ending. Nothing actually finalizes. It only makes me yearn for another few minutes, but the dream never comes back the same. In dreams I've gotten the girl and I've lost the girl. Many times I awake, my hands clasped, knowing that in my dreams I held her hand. Sometime my eyes open to me desperately trying to grab something, someone that is not there. It's a futile effort and the day starts with a sense of loss. Dreams can be that powerful.

Tonight, while I slumber, I don't care if my dreams are those of happy thoughts or those of scary thoughts, I just care that I dream. Because so often, when I dream, I feel more alive than when I'm awake.

A Letter to October

Well October, you went by like a blur. I think you carried over to November, because a week is nearly gone and I'm just now sitting down to write you. You started me off very nicely. The end of the regular season in baseball and my afternoon gig at the school started. I did however start the gig a day late due to a golf outing. A great time was had and I actually played pretty well.

Being around the kiddies, even if for only nine hours a week has rejuvenated me. It's given me that little boost of energy and sunshine in what's been a tumultuous time. I'm financially strapped and emotionally drained from the last few months, but for those hours I'm responsible for the happiness of others. It's a duty I cherish. I have however found that it's a lot more tiring than it used to be. My odd sleeping habits, my nocturnal vices, and my general malaise have caused me to become quite the napper recently. The only real beneficiary of these naps is those who battle me in arguments about baseball either online or at the Kilt.

For those that don't know what I'm talking about with the gig, I run an after-school sports & tennis program at a school in Scarsdale. I've done so for either nine or ten years at this one school alone (with the exception of one). Two years ago the school asked me to do it on my own, much to my pleasure. Doing what I love and no boss to answer to or take two thirds of the money. It's a jackpot. The kids are great and it's something to see the second or third, in some cases even the fourth child in a family. I've known some of these parents for ten years. When I started most of the parents were older than me. Now we're about the same age, I'm sure, I'm older than some of the younger parents. It's something I love to do and despite jokes from friends of mine about my "tennis pro" status, it's something I'm good at.

My one regret, is a small one. I wish when I had started this, I wrote down every funny thing that was said by the children. Almost daily there is something said that would make for a great compilation. So far the best was, while picking up tennis balls I noticed a kid, who is five, putting them down his shirt and holding the bottom. When he couldn't fit any more, he'd walk to the ball hopper and pull the bottom out, dispensing the balls into their basket. I told him what a wonderful way to pick them up that was and he continued. Then, he got the bright idea to put them down his pants. I quickly stopped him and told him we can't do this. His response "is that because it makes me feel funny." What do you even say to that?

October brings the baseball playoffs and in doing so, each year, I prepare for what usually amounts to three to four weeks of constant going out. Either I'm rooting for my Red Sox or rooting against the Yankees. Either way, I'm out. This year my Red Sox were done quickly, so I turned my attention to rooting against the Yankees. They won their second round games and then faced the Phillies. Being that my father is from Philly and I was a Philly fan as a youngster, I got behind them. As of the 31st, they were down 2-1, but with two games at home. I had hope.

The middle of the month was rather mundane. The days blended together like clouds in the sky. Some light, some dark, but for the most part they drifted by, taking wonderful shapes at times, but for the most part just a blank canvas that seemed to stay that way. I didn't have the energy to make them any more interesting. November promises to be different.

Halloween approached and as usual, I was indifferent. I love to see my friends kids all decked out in their costumes. So proud to be a superhero or a princess, if only for one day. Our town threw their little parade, which has sadly become more pathetic as the years have passed. There used to be rides for the kids and hot and cold cider stands. This year it seemed more like a reason for parents to walk down the middle of the street. It seems it's not about the kids anymore. I didn't even see my friend's kids on that beautifully warm autumn day. Everyone is so busy these days, they don't stop to admire the foliage or do what their parents did for them. Hustle and bustle? I'm glad I've avoided it. I watched from a window and enjoyed some college football. I glanced a few times, but didn't see anyone I recognized. Sad.

The weather changed, but it didn't really feel like it until nightfall. Some seventy-degree days and thirty-degree nights made us wonder what is happening. I love this weather, even the middle ground of fifty is still shorts and a long sleeved shirt weather to me. No need for heat yet, as my full-time job is so well aware off. When will schools learn that this idea of cranking the heat on a 60 degree day does nothing but enhance the children's chance for sickness? These massive incubators harvest germs and bacteria and kids and parents alike are getting sick at an alarming rate. I have fallen victim too, but only for a brief while. I can't wait for my usual late November/early December cold where I'm usually sick for three weeks. Many times it spans Thanksgiving right up until college bowl season. Then I'm able to fight it with alcohol and leftovers from Christmas dinner.

October, you weren't to bad. Because of you, I'm gonna get back on track financially (for the most part). You'll keep me busy and out of trouble. Maybe I'll find someone who wants to share some time with me. I always do seem to find someone right before Christmas. Isn't that convenient? Aside from the going out six nights a week, I'd like another month like you. Throw in a Thanksgiving dinner with my father and November is looking quite promising. Goodbye October, you weren't half as scary as you tried to be.