Browse Category: Stories

You Just Have to Make It Through

Did I hear that correctly?
Did I hear that correctly?

I was eating lunch in a diner today – because that’s what we people in Jersey are known for: eating in diners. It was my escape from the stress of the office. I thought I would do a little journal writing, a little reading, enjoy a cup of soup and a sandwich (which ended up being lentil soup and a chicken fajita wrap – with fries (see my last post about stress eating before you bitch me out for indulging in fries)).


Did you notice that parentheses with parentheses thing there? Is that permissible in writing? I mean, I do it all the time in my work as a programmer, aka: “developer,” aka: “software engineer,” aka: “FREAKING MASTERMIND GENIUS!” Not to be referred to as a “coder.”

return(“Bitch, please! That’s like calling a runner a jogger!”);

Back to what I started with…

So, I was sitting at my table at the diner, nursing a Diet Coke (aka: schlepping my brain with aspartame), and I heard a woman at the next table say,

“You just have to make it through this life. Then everything will be okay.”

Now wait a minute! What kind of empty platitude was that? It inferred that “this life” is merely something to be endured, something to be weathered. Just lean into the wind and keep your eyes closed against the rain. It will all be over soon and then everything will be okay. That also assumed a lot about the afterlife, assuming there is an afterlife. Her statement contained as much dogma as the proclamations of the most radical religious zealot, with flippancy in place of fervency. THAT was faith: stating an eternal premise without a note of hesitation or a flicker of thought.

And what was the person possibly suffering through to whom she was offering this pithiness, who, I realized when I looked up, was on the other end of the phone into which the lunchtime philosopher was speaking? Cancer? Betrayal? Poverty? Good God! Maybe the trials and tribulations of old Job had revisited this poor soul! How harsh and hopeless was their condition that the only consolation that could be offered was, “You just have to make it through this life?” I couldn’t help but feel a measure of sympathy for this person.

Do you know what she said next? After the person on the phone spoke and she listened, presumably… after I waited in suspense and rehearsed all the tragedies listed in the above paragraph… after my lentil-filled spoon stopped in mid-air before my open mouth…

She said,

“Ok. So, I’d like to make an appointment for a mani-pedi. For two people. Thank you.”

Oh, come on! Jesus Christ, lady! You were on the phone with a nail salon?! (No, that’s not using his name in vain! I mean that as a prayer! Because SOMEBODY needs to straighten out this woman’s view of life and death and compassion! I mean, Jesus Christ!)

Well, that revelation demanded a reassessment of my beliefs about the suffering of old Job on the other end of the phone line. Cancer was quickly replaced by human trafficking. Poverty was usurped by money laundering. Heartbreak was displaced by prostitution.

I shook my head and thought, I just need to make it through this life. Then everything will be okay. Because, Jesus Christ willing, there won’t be any stupid people there! And if there is lentil soup on the menu, that will be paradise!

When We Were Rock Stars

We were in the KISS Army and we meant business.
We were in the KISS Army and we meant business. (Click the image to read the story.)

In keeping with the current “Throwback Thursday” theme that is all the rage with the kids these days, here is my contribution: a (true) story I wrote in 2001, thirteen years ago! (Did I really just say 13 years?)

Even though it was written after the internet was well on its way to being a ubiquitous staple of everyday modern life, this story is showing some signs of age, a little rust here and there. For instance, iPods were not invented and CDs were still all the rage. (A little Googling revealed that the first iPods hit the market in October of 2001.) Also, this gem of a story hit the internet 2 1/2 years before MySpace opened its doors and 3 years before Facebook began its intended world domination. (What’s MySpace?) This story was published during the era of “online journals.” We didn’t have “blogs.” Blogs didn’t catch on until after some of us toyed around with “weblogs” first. Same difference, “blog” just sounds cuter. There was Diaryland back then, a site were you could sign up for a free online diary. It was pretty basic and you had to “host” your images elsewhere. But there are some of us still around who went hardcore and built our own websites. We told our stories, recounted our days. We made image galleries, resizing photos and making thumbnails and html pages and we “ftp’ed” all of it to our servers (for which we either paid a monthly fee or we got free hosting, for which we had to tolerate ads on the headers and footers of all our pages). Facebook has combined all that and, unfortunately, has conditioned (reduced) us into primarily writing brief statuses and witty comments. Who writes stories online anymore? Who has the attention span to read them?

But, you know what? All that great stuff aside. Growing up, what the hell was an internet? Who thought about the “World Wide Web” in 1975, except the Army? Who cared about computers? We had bikes, and footballs, and BB guns, and the outdoors, and imaginations. And, as a rite of passage into our teenage years, we all discovered the true opiate of the masses: Rock-n-roll.

I want to go back! I will willingly turn in my iPhone, walk away from the entire internet without even glancing over my shoulder, hand write all my letters for now on, if… if you will let me go back to those years when I first discovered rock music. I don’t want to go all the way back to the days of GI Joes and playing hide and seek. Not that far back. Just back to the days when I first grew my hair long (when it was still an act of rebellion), when girls lost their cooties and became the most intriguing of God’s creatures, and Led Zepellin had just released “Stairway to Heaven,” and the sound of electric guitars and drums brought me to life. I want to go THERE.

This story from January 30, 2001 is about the beginning of those days for my cousin, Patrick, and me. I miss those days. I miss my cousin. (And some of the trouble we got into.) This story is a reminiscence of those days.

Read it here.



I didn’t really mean all that crap about giving up the internet!

Hand me my iPhone, would ya?

Six Years Ago Tonight, I Couldn’t Sleep

Click the image to go to the article
Click the image to go to the article

Six years ago… on a distant blog, at a now distant location… I wrote this.

I will be right upfront and tell you there is an “unseemly” misspelling in that old article. All words are not what they “seem.” I could go back and edit that article, fix it all up, make it pretty. But… I’m too tired.

The article has redeeming qualities though: Dr. Seuss, Beatrix Potter, Monty Python, and snakes… snake plants actually. Make sure you click those links in the article. (The links are in white text. Dumb, I know. But, hey, the links match the “monster” in the video I linked to.)

If you can’t sleep, I recommend “I Can’t Sleep”. If that doesn’t help, try the chamomile tea, you naughty, fat, little rabbit.

Long Ago… By Chance, Two Perverts Met


Eight years ago… on a distant blog (an “online journal,” as we were want to call them back in the day)… I wrote this.

My, things have changed! Today, I can view that old article on a fancy phone, with no cables attached and far from any dial-up modem. I can take a picture of that article on my phone’s screen and upload it to my new spiffy state-of-the-age blog here. I can even re-size that picture online, on the fly, from my phone, and stick it into a new article.

And this new article is telling you to go read that old stuff. There’s stuff all the way back from December of the fine year 2000.

“It was a drizzly Thursday night…”

It’s a drizzly Tuesday afternoon on this October 22 in the prime year of 2013.

Hopefully it’s drizzly wherever you are. If not, pretend it is, take a walk in the drizzle, and read this…

“By Chance Two Perverts Meet”

(Disclaimer – I am not responsible for any phones ruined by following my dumb suggestion. Don’t go out in the drizzle. Stay dry. Read in the comfort of your home. On a laptop. In a beanbag chair. In your slippers. All cozy with a cup of cocoa. Far from the perverts and their minivans. Safe from the drizzle.)

Back Spasms from Heck

The View from Here
How is it remotely possible to injure oneself while home on disability and doing nothing? I don’t know, but I did. I think the breath-absorbing back spasms I am experience for the last two days are due to falling asleep with Tad Williams in my arms and in a position that was fine while reading but which proved crippling after four hours of sleeping in said position.

So, now I am flat on my back on a heating pad. I haven’t quite figured out the safest ways to move and without warning I am finding myself in the vice grip clutch of back spasms. I thought I was fine this morning. But then I made the mistake of thinking I could actually walk in a hominid-like upright position in an attempt to forage for sustenance in the currently de-evolutional zone which is my kitchen. Doing dishes is beyond the abilities of a Neanderthal like me, not to be expected but by the grace of natural selection, which hopefully will enable me to straighten up enough to peer over the sink’s edge within the next several millennia. I did manage to eek out a cup of coffee and a Rice Krispie treat for breakfast.

Meanwhile, Doomsday is approaching. I go back to work on Wednesday. Less than a week now. It’s still six days away, but already I am fighting off depression. My two week disability for migraines turned into four weeks when the doctor changed my medication. He put me on a beta blocker because they help high blood pressure and migraines. Someone told me beta blockers also cause “reptile dysfunction.” I said, “Holy hell! I certainly don’t want the ol’ T. Rex getting all flabby!” But I don’t want migraines or strokes either. After a week on the new medicine there have been no migraines, no strokes, and Rex is still the King of the Mesozoic.

Now, if I could just get the rest of my body straight…