Friday, March 30, 2012

Getting Older Is Not a Felony

Getting older is not a felony…it’s just a misdemeanor.

I know I’m getting older because every day my newspaper has a new date on it.

My orange juice no longer comes in a carton but instead, a bourgeois, plastic carafe.

The box of Twinkies I bought right after college just expired.

Filling my gas tank, today, cost more than I paid for my first car.

The only person I used to know with a mobile phone was Maxwell Smart....

Time passes and life happens; that’s how it is.

If you’re philosophical you might ask, “Why does life happen?”

If you’re not probably have a good job...and you say, “Life happens so we have something to do and someplace to go when we get out of bed”.

And if we get older in the meantime…so be it, because getting older is nothing to worry about. 

However, not getting older is definitely something to worry about.

So why is it that we all angst over every new birthday?

It wasn’t always that way.  When we were very young—like 5-6 or 7 young—all we wanted to be was older. Old enough to go to the movies by ourselves, ride the roller coaster, stay up past 9.

When we were 13-15, we wanted to be older so we could grow a beard or wear a bra; get a driver’s license and drive a car. 

If you wanted to grow a beard and wear a bra, you were probably my 9th grade algebra teacher.

Even at 20, we still wanted a little age elevation so we could be done with school, make money and get on with our lives.  But…even at 20, we started thinking how odd it seems not to be able to attach “teen” to the end of our years.

And so it began…the wary look towards the future as we began to feel the tickle of the past slipping away.

We whispered, slow down world…slow down…at least just a bit.

Now, as most of my closest friends and I approach and reach 60, we say…


At least just a bit.

But I assume that’s a normal reaction…maybe.

When a friend of mine lamented, shortly before he was to turn 30, some 28 years ago, that the prospect was at best deflating and at worst defeating, I recall responding with the optimistic wisdom of one who had already turned that magic number, several months prior, that I looked at it as a triumph that I was still able to do the things at 30 that I could do at 18. Like tracking down a well struck ball to left field and even sometimes catching it…sometimes.

In fact, at 30 it was actually somewhat easier, because at 18 I waited until the ball was well up in the air, then ran like crazy to the spot where I saw it coming down. Sometimes I got there just as the ball did, and sometimes I didn’t.

At 30 I had more experience; experience to gauge the sound and angle of the ball coming off the bat so I could run, before the ball was well up in the air, to where I knew it was going to come down and get there a couple of seconds ahead of it.

By 40 I had learned that if I dropped the ball, to grab the back of my leg, fall down, and pretend I pulled a hamstring; either that or keep running to the parking lot and get in my car.

So, at least in my mind, experience trumps youth…and the experience of living trumps all. 

Now, when I hear someone lamenting the burden of turning 30, I smile and think to myself, they will never really understand 30 until they turn 40 or 40 until they turn 50 and 50 until they turn 60…and so on and so on.

Until then it’s just a spin of the wheel…every day.

So when you look in the mirror today, don’t shudder because the face you see is no longer 25.

Smile, because the face you see is the face of the person you were always meant to be.

And that's not too bad....


Every minute of life carries with it
its miraculous value, and its face
of eternal youth.

Albert Camus

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Everyone Wants to Blame Wednesday


Hello….this is Wednesday.

Sorry…I’m not real good at this, but I thought I’d better speak to you directly.

I know you’ve been hearing a lot of things about me the last couple of weeks; a lot of things that just aren’t true.

First of all, let’s correct the record.  None of this is on me…none of it.

I’m not the bad day I’ve been made out to be.  I’m a normal day, just like any other day.

Well, maybe not Thursday. Thursday is a little…well…let’s just say “confused”.

Thursday doesn’t know what it wants to be: mid-week or pre-weekend.

It’s been trying to position itself as the real day to start celebrating the weekend since way back in college.

It just can’t accept the fact that it’s just the boring mid-week day that it is.

Kind of sad actually.

But I’m not here to talk about Thursday. I’m here to talk about the truth…the truth about the shabby treatment I’ve been getting around here for quite some time now.

AND all the misconceptions and lies that are being spread around out there by a management that has been, quite frankly, less than upfront with you.

First of all, I have never asked for creative control of any kind. Nor would I expect any.  Why would I…because I’m so special?

I mean, I am...more so than any of the other days, but that’s just because I am kind of the central hub of the whole week.

Do you really think Tuesday could handle that responsibility?  Tuesday…?

And is there any other day of the week that spells itself as “elegantly” as Wednesday?

How many other days have silent letters in them?  Saturday…Sunday…? 

I think not.

Plus, what good would creative control over any of this drivel do anyway?

What kind of topics have I’ve been getting to work with lately? 

Leap Day? Yeah…that’s original.

Reincarnation? Please….

Angry Suns? Yeah…okay….that makes a lot of sense.

Shopping forToothbrushes?  Sure everyone is interested in that…and that's just this past February!.

AND I NEVER said anything about wanting to be referred to as “Hump Day”! 


And if I did, it was strictly rhetorical….

So maybe now you can see my point.  All I’m looking for is a little better creative effort. Effort that’s befitting the day around all others revolve.

And consider this…maybe…just maybe…this management doesn’t want to resolve this issue at all.

Maybe this management just wants to lighten its load and is trying to lay all that at my day bed by painting me as uncooperative. Maybe management just wants to get rid of me no matter what?

So maybe that’s what this has really been about all along.

Did you ever consider that?

Well, I think you should….

But no…everyone wants to blame Wednesday.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Out of Body…Out of Mind

I had another out of body experience last night.

Go figure….

And, as always, my body was annoyed at being left behind.

Mostly because the first thing I do when I have an out of body experience is make myself a sandwich…preferably a BLT…and I never share it with my body.

First of all, my body doesn’t need all those empty calories and second of all, it eats enough on its own, all day long.

As you might expect these out of body experiences can be pretty cool. For some reason, at least with me, they always seem to occur when the clock is synchronistically aligned at say…2:22 or 3:33. Don’t know why, that just seems to be the pattern. Maybe my spirit has a bit of an OCD thing going on.  

Everyone has these out of body experiences, but most people get a little spooked, so to speak, and immediately jump back inside and that’s the end of that. When they wake up, they think it was just some kind of a dream, that is if they remember anything at all..

I admit, it can be a little jarring, especially at first, when your spirit head is still a bit groggy.  You might think that you’ve actually slipped this earthly coil as it were. But then you can see that your body is still breathing in the bed, sometimes even snoring, much to your embarrassment.  Luckily there aren’t any other spirits around to hear, especially that cute little spirit up the block named Millie.

What?  I know…I’m married, but what can I say?  This isn’t life.  Here I’m more of a free spirit. We all are.

Millie, in real life is a 91 year old lady named Mildred. But that’s the beauty of out of body experiences; once you’re outside your body your spirit can be any age you want it to be.

Even more cool, huh?

Anyway, once I have my sandwich, I usually head out for a bit and take a spin around the neighborhood to see if anything’s going or in the past…even in the future.

That’s another pretty neat thing about out of body experiences…you can actually see the worm holes and zip around the space/time continuum.  Just like Scrooge, without all the melodramatic ghosts.

Of course you do have to be careful because sometimes when you see the latest 3235 model year iPads, you’re tempted to stay in the future.

But inviting as that may seem, there’s a built in universal mechanism that prevents  that kind of time lagging thing…and that would be the Reapers.

You know the Reapers, those sickle carrying shadowy, cloaked figures who come a calling for you when it’s your real permanent out of body time.  Nice folks, for the most part, but they suffer from all the bad PR; millenniums of myth and legend to live down. 

But…like I said, really nice folks. They never show up too early and never  leave too late.  Unless of course you over do and over stay your out of body interludes.

One time, when I first started experiencing these little ethereal excursions of mine, I was cruising around the neighborhood, going in and out of houses, checking out which ones had 2 full baths.

I was a little on edge because this kind of spirit peek a boo was still new to me and I wasn’t quite sure just how much I could push the envelope without hurting myself. I mean, after all, your out of body constitution is not much more than gossamer and dreams.

So you have to get a feel for it and take it slow…at least in the beginning.

Anyway, I drift out of this tidy little Tudor across the street when I suddenly come across a Reaper…or at least what I thought was a Reaper, and I don’t mind saying, it scared the bajoojoos out of me.

I just about swallowed my spirit heart and began high tailing it back to my body when I hear this obnoxious laughing…and one thing I know, Reapers don’t laugh. That’s why they’re thought of as being socially inept and rarely get invited to parties, which also accounts for their surly moods.

Turns out this particular Reaper was just my annoying neighbor, Marty, who gets his kicks out of what he calls, “initiating the newbies”. 

Kind of chancy, if you ask me.  I’m not sure you want to go around mocking the Reapers. But that’s Marty: obnoxious in life and in spirit. 

So Reapers and Marty aside, out of body experiences are cool, if you take them for what they are.  Most people never even remember having them. Some feel a little run down in the morning but other than that they don’t recall a thing.  Not sure why I do, but people are always telling me I never forget anything…so maybe that’s it.

Uh, oh…this is weird.  I think I’m starting to have an out of body experience right now…even though I’m still awake.

Oh, wait…never mind.

It’s just that breakfast burrito I had this morning….

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Aries Season

So, spring is here....!


I know…I missed it.

Because of…you know…Wednesday.

Actually, it feels like we just skipped spring and went right to summer. 

80 degrees…in March?

Who needs Florida?

Well I guess the Floridians need Florida…or else they wouldn’t have any place to go.

I guess they could go to Alabama, but I’m guessing that would just make for crowded beaches.

So we better just leave Florida where it is.

Don’t mind me…I’m an Aries.

It’s just how we are.

We like to say things like, “Who needs Florida?”…just to stir things up.

And now, aside from spring, it’s the opening days of Aries season.

Kind of like the opening days of baseball season, except we’re not crazy about letting anyone else play with the ball.

It’s just how we are.

Besides, if we did throw you the ball, we would only tell you that you’re throwing the ball back all wrong—if you had it—which you don’t.

But we Aries are also quite generous, thoughtful and considerate, so we would happily let some of you be on our team…as long as we’re the captain…and you’re not.

But don’t be late for practice…cuz we don’t like to be kept waiting. 

Ahhh…the heck with practice, let’s just start playing games…but someone needs to go find another team to play…cuz I didn’t think of it. 

Oh, and bats…we’ll need some of those too…and bases would help…maybe some uniforms.

Hey, I said you could be on my team…I didn’t say I had all the details worked out.

That’s why you’re on the team.


Okay fine….be that way. I never wanted you on the team anyway. 

I just didn’t want to hurt your feelings.

I’m sensitive to those kinds of things…you know?

So now whose feelings end up getting hurt?



Maybe I don’t even want to have a stupid team anyway. Nobody seems to appreciate it.

Or….I could start my own league!

My own league with a whole lot of teams…and I can name the league after myself…and it will be better than any other league there is….and become world famous and make lots of money.

What…you don’t think it could happen?

Well that’s just the kind of thinking that’s keeping you off the team in the first place, isn’t it?.

And don’t think you’re off the hook about getting all those bats and bases…and uniforms.

Right…you’ve probably already forgotten about the uniforms.


It’s not like they’re going to just get themselves are they?

We’re going to need a whole lot more of them for all the new teams in the league…and I’m thinking they should all be blue…because I like blue…. 

Who doesn’t like blue?

And hats…we need hats…but those super cool good hats…not those other stinky hats.

I don’t know who makes them or what they’re called, but you’ll figure it out.

What do you mean you don’t want to be on the team? 

Well that’s a bit selfish of you, isn’t it?

Who’s gonna do all this stuff?

What are you some kind of a Capricorn?

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Still at an Impasse

I’m still at an impasse with Wednesday.  I thought you’d like to know.


I never thought it would drag out this long either, but that’s how these things go sometimes.

It actually looked like we might have a deal, late last night. My people and Wednesday’s people have been working around the clock to get this thing done, but when it was presented to Wednesday, it just walked out of the room…with attitude.

See what we’re dealing with?

And we’ve been nothing but generous with our proposals, especially when you consider we really shouldn’t even be negotiating at all.

We even put full dental on the table, which I know is important to Wednesday.  Especially after the comment made by Friday at the Christmas party this past year.

But I’m not getting into that now.  It was hard enough dealing with it then.

And I thought I was very reasonable when I even entertained the notion of changing its name to the much cooler “Hump Day” that Wednesday threw out there early on.  Not that I would ever do it.  Sure, in its normal usage, as in being over the hump of the week, it’s not a problem.  But I could tell by the look in Wednesday’s eye what it was hoping to convey. 

But we’re just not about that kind of thing here, and Wednesday knows that. It was just testing me. It was just happy I considered it…at least in its mind.

“Hump Day….”

Z had enough problems as it was with my mention of public urination…she’s going to let me go with “Hump Day”?

So, basically, once we had the new compensation package worked out, the rest was just a formality…at least in my mind. Then Wednesday starts talking about not only having creative control again, but actually writing its own material, saying any moron can do what I do.

That’s when my people jumped in and made the point of saying that not just any moron can write this stuff…it took a very specific moron…to which I took  offense.

Then Wednesday backed off, but just a bit, and agreed to let me write the first draft, but it still wanted final edit…plus a byline.

That’s where I drew the line, and that’s when Wednesday stormed out.

So that’s where we are with Wednesday.

I know this is disturbing to all you Wednesday people, but what else can I do?  I even offered 4 weeks off in the summer.  If I cave in to Wednesday’s demands where does it stop?  As it is I’m already losing money on Friday’s never ending medical expenses not to mention Monday’s tuition reimbursement?

Enough is enough.

Stay strong…we’ll get through this.


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Monday, March 19, 2012

Too Many Rules

There are an awful lot of rules to follow every day, many of which are only implied.

Like squeezing the toothpaste from the bottom of the tube. 

How many of you follow that rule, or at least try to?

Yeah…I know.

How about pouring your coffee in the cup before you add your sweetener and creamer of choice?

I’m betting most of you do that. 

Or tying your right shoe before your left…and that’s always after putting your right shoe on before your left.

Do you put your right leg in your pants first or your left?

Maybe you’re a risk taker like me and started putting your pants on both leg at a time….

Do you always wrap a napkin around your ice cream cone?

Do you lick your ice cream cone from the bottom up in a neat circular motion?

I bet you never remove the tag on anything that warns “under penalty of law”, even though you know you should.

You never remove the garment care instructions from your clothes, even though you know how to care for your garments.

You save that little piece of thread and extra button that comes with your new shirt or sweater…you know, just in case.

You always put your glass and plastic recyclables in the red bin and paper in the blue, even though you know the recycling people can probably tell the difference anyway.

Do you always feel the need to applaud after any school concert or play?

Do you always have to say a newborn baby is “soooooo cute”?

If a friend tells you their 20 year old cat just died, can you ever not say, “Well he had a good life”?

Can you ever say…”Well, it’s just a cat…”?

Do you always lather and rinse…then repeat?  You know you’re supposed to; it says so on the bottle.

Were you kind, did you rewind…always?

You didn't store CDs in your CD player…did you?

And you can't bring yourself to get rid of them, even though you never use them...just like you never threw away your albums.

Using a household cleaning product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling is a violation of federal law.  So don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.

However, reading the directions on a bottle of Windex through the blue liquid is next to impossible? But do you really need to read the directions on a bottle of Windex?

Is it mandatory to empty the powder drink mix into the container before adding water…or is it more of guideline than a rule. But it says so on the jar…so it must be a rule.

You always stay to the right and pass only on the left…right?

Always come to a complete stop?

Keep back 500 feet?

Always keep off the grass?

Ever turn on your computer without checking your e-mail?

Ever not open an envelope that says “You May Have Already Won!” even though you know you really haven’t?

Ever not open an envelope that says “You May Have Already Won!” without thinking of Ed McMahon, even though you know he’s been dead for nearly 3 years.

Do you call Poison Control if you ingest your mouthwash?

And should we really be putting a substance in our mouths that require us to contact poison control if ingested?

Why do we always have to “see more on page 4” when reading a story in the newspaper?

Why can’t a story in the newspaper just finish on the same page?

Do you always have to read everything to conclusion no matter how tedious?

If you’re reading this line now…I guess you do.

Too many rules…way too many rules.

But we have to have them, even if we impose most of them on ourselves.

It’s a rule….

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Is Everyone Really Irish on St. Patrick's Day?

The big daddy of all March hoopla is here…St. Patrick’s Day!

The day when everyone is Irish…or so they say, and it’s everyone’s responsibility to dig out all their garish green sweaters and ties, view and or march in a parade, drink to excess and urinate on a public building, in broad daylight singing…”It’s a great day for the Irish!”

Yes indeed…the Irish are very proud to have you all on board….

I’m half Irish and half Italian, so I only get half excited about the whole thing. It’s a nice thing to be proud of your heritage, as everyone should be, and I do go to the parade and swallow my share of stout in the Irish pubs, but I never understood the whole St. Patrick’s thing.

But that’s probably just me, because admittedly I don’t understand a lot of things.

Part of it may be because I wasn’t really raised with that whole in your face, “we’re Irish and you’re not” thing. Both my grandparents on my father’s side came over from the old sod, and settled in this little town of mine, but never acted as if they were proud to be anything thing other than naturalized American citizens.  Same on the Italian side.  There wasn’t a lot of talk about the “good old days” back in the “old country” because I think for the most part, there weren’t all that many of them. That’s pretty much why they came here.

When I would ask my Irish grandma, Nellie, about Ireland she would think for a minute and say, “It was very damp”. 

My Irish grandpa, Jim, would add, “And hilly…lots of hills”.

So you can see why I didn’t really get all the parades and green beer.

I don’t recall a lot of Irish songs of rebellion being played or sung. To this day I couldn’t quote the lyrics to one complete tune, but I do still wonder who threw the overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s chowder…and more importantly, why?

My dad liked to sing “McNamara’s Band” over and over, much to my Italian mom’s “delight”.  Our name was part of the lyrics, along with just about every Irish name there is, so that tickled him. The green beer might have had something to do with it, as well.

I know a lot of towns have big parades to celebrate the occasion, but for whatever reason, St. Patrick’s Day is not a big deal in my zip code.  You don’t find anyone painting a green line down Main Street or a parade of pipers and Irish dancers strutting their stuff down the Avenue….at least not in the light of day

Sure, we have our share of parties and events hosted by various organizations and clubs, and we do have one very good Irish pub, that stands out from all the rest…mostly because it’s the only Irish pub in town.  But it is a good one and worth checking out especially if you like Irish music and corn beef.

You know corn beef…that tasty Irish staple served with cabbage that most of us only make or partake of this one time of year? But we enjoy it so much we always wonder why we don’t have it more often, and so we always promise ourselves we will…and then forget about it until March rolls around again next year.

Speaking of food, having both Irish and Italian grandparents meant also having the experience of very different Sunday family meals.  On the Italian hand, I was treated to crispy Italian bread, always served with some sort of pasta—which my dad said all looked the same—and on special occasions a big dish of lasagna, alongside a mountain of meatballs, braciole, sausage, pork and other items, swimming in my grandma’s homemade gravy, that were mostly unidentifiable, probably for the better.

On the Irish hand, there was always a loaf of Irish soda bread, no matter what time of year, always served with some sort of beef— which my mom said still mooed—and on special occasions…more beef, alongside a  mountain of potatoes and  lots of different vegetables that were mostly unidentifiable, probably for the better.

Don’t get me wrong…it’s not that Grandma Nellie, never served pasta, but it usually involved opening a can…so it was different.  Then again, Grandma Daisy’s version of roast beef or steak…well, let me just say…it involved a lot of chewing.

So there were tradeoffs.

But the thing both families shared was a table full of smiles, good times and laughs. And on those occasions when the Irish and Italians came together, I never saw one or the other think of themselves as being anything other than family.

So on St. Patrick’s Day, when you’re donning your green carnation, hoisting your 6th pint of stout and waving your Irish flag, remember, it is a great day for the Irish, but also everyone else.

After all, when we say “everyone’s Irish on St. Paddy’s day”, aren’t we really saying everyone’s just the same. 

It’s hard to imagine that anyone could ever think otherwise….

Unless you drink to excess and urinate on a public building in broad daylight.

Then you’re on your own….


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