After 17 years of writing a column syndicated in Northwest CA (and on this site), I will be in my first national magazine!
You can read the article by following this link.
It’s not that I don’t like my doctor; he’s great. It’s that it puts my impermanence on full display, stripping away the denial of immortality; even when it’s simply a routine checkup. Something about being in a medical office raises my blood pressure as well as fear level.
“How are you feeling?”
“You’re the doctor; wouldn’t it be up to you to tell me?”
He chuckled an inner warmth that blended well with his extensive knowledge. As I said, I like my doctor. In a time where the medical providers are overworked and under-appreciated, rushing here to there to accomplish everything required of them, he always appeared totally attentive during the short time we spent together once a year.
“Are you exercising?”
“Yes, I walk about 30 minutes at least five times a week – plus I take my dog out each day. That’s not really exercise because we have to stop and pee at every bush we pass.” I paused, then corrected, “Well, it’s not WE to have to stop and pee; it’s him. Just clarifying…”
He smiled again.
“Your blood tests all show that everything is as it’s supposed to be. You’re a healthy man.” He paused. “So, how’s your life?”
The question knocked me on my heels for a brief flash; not a query I expected from an MD, but, when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. One cannot heal the body while ignoring the mind and spirit. As I took a mental inventory of “how is my life,” I opened up about the waning days of my career, my aspiring spirituality, family drama, life goals, and the passing of years in general.
First, I wanted them to be of value to you; I didn’t want to vomit a bunch of words on a page assuming that merely because it’s in print, it’s worth your time. That’s delusional and ego-centric; I wish to be neither.
Next, I wanted them to inspire when needed and provide a laugh when possible.
Finally, and as important; they needed to be honest. In other words, I would be transparent, doing my best to be who I am really am so that the person you might meet on the street is the same guy you read in print. The way I look at, if shame was transformational, we’d all be soaring across the heavens. Take a look around, it doesn’t work.
Putting all that on the table, I was reticent about this piece because it’s something with which I’ve wrestled for too long, keeping it in a dark, backroom closet. Will you think less of me if I expose this to the sun? Will you wag your finger, shake your head judgmentally, tsk loudly, and say, “I’m so ashamed of you”? Odd, isn’t it, how that perceived — not necessarily actual — reactions weigh so heavily?
Finally, I decided, “Screw it. If that’s the way you’re going to be, there’s nothing I can do about it. Stick to my truth. After all, as the song says, ‘if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.’”
I haven’t had anything with alcohol in it for a month.
There, I’ve said it. It’s in the world; no taking it back now. [Read more…]
They were popularized by Edward Lear, in the late 19th century. (Fun fact: It is said that the term, “limerick” is from the chorus sung between improvised verses from the song, “Will you come up to Limerick?”) When done well, limericks use puns, spoonerisms, and double-entendres. The earliest known American limerick (1902) is:
There once was a man from Nantucket
Who kept all his cash in a bucket
But his daughter, named Nan,
Ran away with a man
And as for the bucket, Nantucket.
Putting words together in playful patterns is fun. Remember the long-standing children’s poem:
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear.
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.
Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t very fuzzy, was he?
Another example of linguistic mischievousness was a novelty song from World War II:
Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey.
A kiddley divey too, wooden shoe.
It’s more fun to say than any sense it appears to make. However, the bridge of the song explains:
If the words sound queer and funny to your ear,
a little bit jumbled and jivey,
Sing ‘Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy.’
Okay, it’s antiquated and trite – but c’mon, it’s amusing; admit it.
Say “Aluminum Anemone” out loud. Go ahead. No one’s listening. Notice how it feels on your lips? No, it doesn’t make sense; it’s just pleasurable to pronounce.
Of course, that begs the question, “Why do I write it?”
Okay, I’ll tell you. Well, as soon as I figure it out at least. I mean, I like to write (mostly) and it causes me to think, which is a good thing (mostly). And the discipline from writing every week has allowed me to publish nine books on Amazon. So, I guess that’s something. However, probably the biggest reason is that lots of folks come up to me and tell me that that they like it (again, mostly). A typical conversation went like this last week:
Stranger: “Do I know you?”
Me: “Um, I don’t know, where might we have met?”
“Wait, I know now! You’re that guy, aren’t you?”
I’ve lived too many years to respond with “yes” to a question like that without knowing the full context. It could be “Are you that guy who was sleeping with my wife?” I am most certainly not THAT guy. So, I answer, “Which guy?” [Read more…]