Posts Tagged ‘life’

Fondly: Catch and Release

June 17, 2014





It was the same every summer.

From our first to our last.

It didn’t matter where we were. It didn’t matter who was watching or what lengths she had to go through to do it.

It wasn’t officially summer until she did it.

I remember one in particular. It wasn’t at the beginning, nor close to the end. It was nestled somewhere in the middle, when things could go either way.

Before they went this way.

We sat on the back porch of our home.

It wasn’t the first summer evening we sat out there, drinking good beer and scratching our dog.

Then she saw one.

And then another.

Suddenly our yard was an all-natural, eco-friendly dance club.

There were lightning bugs everywhere—some call them fireflies, but we never did.

I watched her jump out of her chair, and run down to the yard, barefoot and in her PJ’s. She lunged, and then paused. She waited and watched for them to show themselves for that split second.

And then she caught one.

I watched from the porch as she whispered something into her hands, occasionally illuminated through her fingers by the nervous blink of a captive audience.

And then she let it go, watched it fly away and came back to the porch.

As she sat down, she told me, “I named him Herbie. Summer can begin.”

She took a drink, and I looked at her.

This was the part of her I fell in love with.

Sadly, it was just one of many pieces, and we had become very different puzzles.

I still catch a lightning bug every year, whisper a name and let it go.

Sometimes, that’s all you can do with something so wonderful.




Fondly: It Must Be Love

May 4, 2014



Madness. It had all fallen into complete madness. A freefall.


I had jumped. I needed to for the both of us.


It wasn’t always so bad—our life together didn’t begin with such bitter resignation.


We used to enjoy one another’s company.


We spent our honeymoon in London, or more to wit, inside various pubs of London. Drinking was one thing we still had in common, if little else.


It was our last night before returning to reality. We spent it in our favorite local, just down the road from our hotel. We had gotten to know the regulars and bartenders, by face, if not name, through repetition and an open invitation to converse with anyone willing to talk.


I bet the wife I could get the bar to serenade her, without asking. The prize, one pound coin.


And eternal respect for my charm.


I finished my pint, walked to the jukebox and selected the proper song, before making my way  to the bar for a refill.


I selected It Must Be Love by Madness. I’m fairly certain everyone in England knows this song.


As the song began, I noticed the regulars tapping their fingers, and bobbing their heads, gently to the intro. I began to sing along quietly, just loud enough for the people next to me to hear.


When the chorus came around, a burly, bearded old Brit with a cane and a can of snuff stood up and wailed out the chorus with everything he had. His eyes were closed, his face red, his pint was swinging along, spilling onto his had and the floor. That was enough to bring the rest of the bar in for the next chorus.


I walked over to the wife and took her hand. She smiled and blushed, a growing rarity as the calendars turned. I lead her to the center of the bar with the drunk, singing patrons all around her. I winked, and rejoined the chorus.


I still have that pound coin.


What I felt once upon a time; It must be love.




Fondly: When I Was Your Age…

April 1, 2014



“When I was your age…”


When you’re dating someone 13 years younger, this is the moment your relationship changes.


It strikes a nerve—in both of you.


Suddenly, one of you feels young, while the other, extremely old.


It reminds you both that your love isn’t wildly accepted by the outside world, and maybe, the inside one as well.


It doesn’t change how you feel about her, merely the situation.



Why couldn’t we have both been born in the same generation? Why did Grunge happen when she was four, while I was rebelling in college?


Why didn’t our nostalgia match?


Our passions were the same, and every bit as intense.


But she was still searching for something I had found.


When I was her age…sigh…I was every bit as passionate as I am now…and every bit as lost.



Be Thy Name

December 3, 2013



The stones, the sticks.


The arrows. The slings.






Be thy name.


And I shall sing once more.


Fondly: Fumbling in the Dark

November 7, 2013


It was dark before he even got home.


He, of course, forgot to leave a light on. This meant fumbling in the dark, something he should be used to by now in every sense of the phrase.


He didn’t do anything for the first thirty seconds through the doorway. He just stood quietly; his dog jumping in place in the mixed euphoria of his best friend’s return and dinner.


He took a deep breath, placed a calm hand on the dog’s head, and sighed before heading to the kitchen.


As the dog inhaled his dinner, he mixed a drink. Carefully—deliberately.




The kitchen window had already transformed into a mirror, giving him a darkened, slightly obscured reflection.


He looked more disheveled than normal.


Usually, it was a part of his charm, but now he just look defeated.


Deflated and beaten down.


It wasn’t any one thing. It was every little thing. One thing after another, in every part of his life; raindrops collecting in a bucket that was just about full.


He didn’t bother taking off his coat, merely loosening his tie as he walked back to the living room, his dog trailing at his feet.


When he flipped the switch to turn on the lamp, he was met with a flash and a pop, followed by darkness. That was his last light bulb.


When it rains it pours.


He took a drink and sat down, as his dog curled up beside him, head in lap.


Left to fumble in the dark until sunrise.


I’ve got rhythm.

October 25, 2013


I never graduated college.

This is a fact that I’m both proud of, and mortified by.

I’m proud, simply because I managed to become a success regardless. It’s proof that if you figure out your goals, make a strategy and have a little patience, you really can do whatever the hell you want.

I’m mortified, because I consider myself an intelligent individual, but school somehow never worked out for me. With the exception of a few distinct years, I got good grades, by and large. When I dropped out, I literally had a 4.0 GPA.

But it was always a struggle.

It was always a pain.

I hated very second of it.

And I never really cared if I didn’t understand how it actually applied to me and the life by which I was surrounded.


In grade school, I was so underwhelmed by lessons and over stimulated by thought, my third grade teacher inadvertently invented “Independent Studies” for me. She figure out how to put my energy to use, by writing books, and plays, creating sets, binding, etc.

My mom tells me that if it had existed back then, I would have been diagnosed with ADHD. When I was a kid, they called it hyperactivity and gave us Ridlin. But mine was confined to my mind. And thank god. Rather than some prescription that made me calm and complacent, I had a teacher that figured out how to help me put my mind to a better use.

Not that I don’t believe in the usefulness of antidepressants and medication when truly necessary, but as a child, the mind is a great coping mechanism.


Sometimes, I think I have dyslexia. Words get jumbled when I read, and if I write too fast, I literally write words backwards. But if nobody tells you there’s an excuse, you don’t have one and push through it.

And if you’re lucky enough to have parents that instill a passion for the simple act of learning, discovering…if you indeed love to embrace the fact that there is still so much unknown, it’s really easy to push through.

To evolve. Every day.

Case in point. I always believed I had no rhythm. I couldn’t even snap in beat to songs I sang, and knew intimately.

One day, a band member called me out.  I don’t know theory; I don’t know shit, aside from what rests in my soul. I have no problem with criticism, especially when it’s as constructive as this was. I was snapping on the up beat, when I should be snapping on the down.

It wasn’t that I had no rhythm; I simply had the wrong rhythm.

Mind. Blown.

It’s like learning that 1+1=3. Like learning you’ve been tying your shoes wrong your entire life. Such a simple, mild adjustment. We have to be open to the fact that we don’t always know. Even when we assume we usually do. Because, even when we know so much, we have to be open to the idea that we’re wrong; that we don’t know shit from shine-ola.

This is a fatal flaw in the world—we all have egos.

But once you shed that—once you admit that the key to knowing everything is the simple fact that you know nothing at all, that’s when you can truly figure it out. When there are no rules, no egos, no pomp nor circumstance, but rather, an open mind. That’s when the magic really happens.


I’ve got rhythm…



August 24, 2013


Once upon a time, the broadcast day ended.

Once upon a time, we could sleep without talking.

Snow is just a season’s mark now.

Sleep is but a mode.

Our world.

So immersed.

So immediate.

So apparent.

Living, breathing, pulsating snapshots of a past we cannot ignore—

A present so lost in posture and presentation.

The future, merely a meme.

Moments of solace in assumption

Until our world comes back around again.

We can try to hide—

Try to pull the covers up over our head…

But we talk in our sleep.

Always there.

Always on.

Our world.

So accessible.

So obvious.

So inadvertently tragic.


Fondly: Kitchen aid.

September 18, 2010


I had been spending a lot of time in my kitchen.

My living room, a mere 20 feet away, was a fine room to wile away the hours; it had a stylish and inviting leather couch, a soft area rug and even a TV. I wasn’t avoiding the room.

My dining room had a nice table, a comfortable chair and old, original artwork from an era I could just barely recall.  But aside from dinner, the room served only as a passageway to the kitchen.

My office was quaint but inviting, masculine but tasteful. It had a desk, a shelf full of random oddities and conversation pieces; an authentic wrestling mask from Mexico sat next to a Candy Land board game left over from the previous tenant… Books littered every corner, though I kept my favorites in the living room. The walls were a mix of remnants from my art school days and framed pictures of dogs playing poker—All formerly relegated to the attic.

I never worked in there. I barely remembered the room existed most days.

Somehow, I always ended up in the kitchen.

I looked out the window into my backyard, the unmowed lawn hiding in the shadows of the old oak tree next door. I left the kitchen door open to let in a breeze. It was that perfect time between seasons where the weather didn’t know whom to serve.

I lived in the type of place that was full of those “One day you’ll look back and laugh” features. Tiny imperfections littered my quaint little house. All houses have them. But minor annoyances that would have previously sent me to the mad house now posed a challenge and promised warm recollection down the road—providing the road was long enough to water down the context.

My little bungalow was not unlike my life, in certain respects; it was nice enough, but certainly had plenty of flaws—nothing major, just a lot of little imperfections and minor annoyances that ultimately build some sort of character, for better or worse.

My bathroom, however, was another story entirely. It would take an awful lot of time and an entire ocean to water that one down.

The toilet was built for a giant; my feet dangling, toes just barely able to reach the floor when seated, and the cramped quarters left no space to hang a roll of toilet paper.

But it was the shower itself that truly tested me, day in, day out.

That first morning when the faucet handle broke off in my hand, I thought to himself, “One day I’ll look back on this part of my life and laugh.”

The engineering conundrum that kept my tub regrettably lacking in a shower rod reinforced that sentiment on a daily basis as I consistently flooded the bathroom floor. When my bath tub mysteriously closed its own drain one morning, I scratched my head, thought it odd; then attempted to open it back up, only to find yet another unattached handle in my quickly pruning hand as dirty water slowly began to rise up to my ankles.

The tub itself was long and narrow, and I had to stand in it sideways, as if I were on a surfboard; I had to wash himself one side at a time.

Water pressure, it seemed was a whim of some evil spirit that possessed my home’s pipes, waiting until just the right moment of maximum lather to recede to little more than a lazy drip.

Currently, my shower refused to fully relent, spitting out a small, yet steady trickle no matter how tightly I twisted the faucet closed.

I was going to have to call the landlord for this one.

I let out a little sigh, possibly a curse, then smashed an ant sprinting across the kitchen counter with my thumb.

The ants moved in about a week after me.

Aside from the uninvited guests in search of a picnic, it wasn’t a bad kitchen, really. There was plenty of counter space to perch upon as I drank and smoked and pondered yard work.

It had a nice little alcove for my bar, and was one of the largest rooms in the house. There was a severe lack of power outlets, making a coffee maker little more than a wet dream, but that was part of the charm—at least, one day it might be.

I did the most thinking in the kitchen. Lonely nights spent leaning against the counter, staring at my reflection in the darkened window often brought me the most perspective. It felt less like looking in a mirror, more a glimpse into something deeper—an internal truth beyond the normal trappings of self-denial.

I rarely did any actual cooking in the kitchen, other than schemes and half-baked ideas. Yet I was almost always sitting on the counter, as if I were waiting for something to come out of the oven.

The oven hadn’t worked in months.

Hour upon hour was spent chain-smoking—watching the smoke float effortlessly up and away, stretching like taffy until it dissipated into nothing before my eyes. Sometimes I wished I were the smoke. Other times, I wished the world were.

None of these imperfections bothered me too deeply, though. They were just quirks, small reminders that nothing in life is perfect. Not bathtubs or broken ovens, neither unwelcome guests nor forgotten corridors.

“One of these days,” I thought, “I’ll look back and laugh.”

Like a Mime in a Shouting Match

January 29, 2008

All the way to work, all I could think about was how much I wanted to honk my horn at all the bastards and dumb-asses in front of me, but that’s no longer an option.

A week or two ago I had a Little Miss Sunshine moment as I pulled onto the highway for my morning commute. That particular day Highway 40, one of the most used highways and the primary link from city to county, officially closed after a year’s worth of hype. For the weeks leading up to the great highway shut-down, all we heard about day or night on the news and in the papers was the same useless information, regurgitated again and again. It was as if nothing else happened those weeks. Apparently there was no crime, nor death the week before the shut-down; no heart warming tales of local soldiers returning home from King George’s Crusade and nothing of a political nature was hopping.

There’s only so many ways they can eloquently tell us we’re fucked.

The first morning commute after our life line was cut was full of anxiety, everyone was hypersensitive and afraid. It’s as if the sky were falling and the end was nigh. I left an hour earlier than normal. Groggy and unaffected by the world around me, I set out for the comfort of my little fabric-lined den of despair and the not-so-fresh office air. As I merged into the crawling highway traffic on my new route, I had that “Little Miss Sunshine” moment, and officially developed a case of the Mondays.

No sooner had I landed in the drudging lanes of my new commute, when out of nowhere my horn let out a long, angry wail.

Unlike in the VW bus driven in the heartwarming indie-movie, my horn didn’t sound sick and dying—there was nothing sporadic about it. It was one sustained, sport-utility vehicle-loud wail.

Everyone around me thought I was crazy and/or full of road rage.

I suffered the dirty looks and defensive finger-gestures of the world around me for two highways and a long drive down Page Avenue before getting to work and googling my truck’s schematics. It was like disarming a bomb. The fuse box was hidden in the most awkward of places forcing me to lay down, half-in/half-out of my car, still honking, in the cold dark parking lot of my office as my coworkers pulled in one after another. I spent the whole day explaining my reasons for the wailing noise and physical comedy, each coworker pointing out the same similarity to the aforementioned movie, each coworker tickled with their observation.

So I pulled the fuse, and as a result, I’m hornless. I simply don’t feel like spending the money to get the repairs, as the problem is most likely electrical and expensive.

There was a time when I enjoyed driving. When points A and B were irrelevant, and getting there wasn’t half the fun—it was all the fun.

That of course was before some random stranger set my garage (and fun, sporty convertible) on fire, burning it to the ground, leaving me to road rage and my Little Miss Sunshine moment.

Now, allow me a moment to celebrate my inner-hoosier (that would be a redneck to all you non-St. Louisans) with a quote from seminal hair-band of the 1980’s, Cinderella:

Don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”.

Cut me some slack, I grew up in a part of town called North County, or as I like to refer to it, NFC. (that’s north fucking county) A large portion of the population still drive Camaros—a lot of the men still keep a comb in their back pocket for the perfect feathered bang, wear hockey jerseys to semi-formal events and carry a wallet with a velcro enclosure—hell, NFC invented monster trucks, as evidenced by the gigantic Big Foot towering over the highway entrance, so quoting Cinderella is not ironic comedy so much as a sad part of my soul I can never escape.

But I’m digressing again.

“Don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Truer words couldn’t be spoken (or screamed by a sexually ambivalent rock star in spandex)

Our city is full of some of the worst drivers known to man, most of whom come from Illinois. People drive unaware and with their heads firmly planted deep within their posteriors. I don’t know if they’re confused, lost, afraid or experiencing a child-like wonderment at the pretty green light overhead—whatever the reason, they’re incapable of driving with purpose—I hate drivers without an agenda. 99.9% of my city’s drivers like to brake for right turns and green lights. City buses have no regard for the philosophy of proper lane usage, hellbent on running me into oncoming traffic. They drive 20 miles below the speed limit in the fast lane on the highway. The mobile population of St. Louis changes lanes in the middle of an intersection without a signal, oblivious to the car directly next to them, make left turns from the right lane and have a blatant disregard for yielding. They’re either driving at a snail’s pace or they’re trying to kill you. Sometimes they like to swerve between two lanes while: fumbling with their iPod, dialing their cellphone, eating a breakfast biscuit and applying make-up or shaving, depending on the gender—there’s no sexism here, men and women drive equally bad in St. Louis.

And they’re all in front of me.

The middle finger just isn’t cutting it. I’m like a mime in a shouting match.