Long ago, I realized that for men named Lou, the only possible nickname is Big Lou. Big and Lou just fit together. They bring a certain toughness and a particular image when they are combined. Lou is just a guy. Big Lou is someone you don’t fool with. Lou has a few friends. Big Lou, he has people, if you know what I’m saying. Read the rest of this entry »
Dear Carrot Cake,
I can’t imagine eating any other cake that is based on vegetables. I don’t want beet cake. Green pepper cake is not for me. Somehow it makes a difference that you’re full of carrots. Eating you keeps me from going blind, in that way you are one of a kind.
There’s a bit of cinnamon in you; that’s very cool. Even better, you hold hidden treats to surprise me. I might find a nut in one bite, a raisin in the next. Sometimes you’ve even got a bit of coconut for me; not too much, just a hint.
You and Chocolate are my top cakes. Sure, I’ll eat yellow or white cake, but I don’t look forward to them. Yellow and white, those aren’t flavors. No one knows what colors taste like, except possibly people who are on LSD.
I was at a basketball game a few nights ago. Because there were not a lot of other people there, I was able to hear a lot of the talk that went on between the players and coaches. During a time out, I heard one of the coaches talking to his players:
I like the way we are working the game plan. We match up well against these guys, we can win this if we stay with the plan. Keep the energy high. Don’t forget that it helps to be full of piss and vinegar too.
That moment ruined the game for me. Understanding the coach’s reminder about piss and vinegar wasn’t the problem. It is a commonly used phrase. It bothered me that I didn’t know why it became a commonly used phrase.
I don’t want that for you. Why should some inexplicable aphorism rumple your leisure time? To protect you, I’m going to explain why people say it is a good thing to be filled with this odd combination of fluids.
And then there was the day that I realized I had been at my job for many years.
On that day I realized that I had a solution somewhere in my head for just about everything. When the uncommon happened, I had the response. I’d seen it before.
That was a fun realization to have. It gave me flexibility that I enjoy. When the uncommon happens and no one knows what to do, I go do what needs doing. When it works and people look surprised, sometimes I’ll admit I’ve seen the problem before and someone showed me the solution. Read the rest of this entry »
It seems fashionable, in these trying times, to publish a manifesto online. While it is true that most of these documents come to our attention when their author goes around the bend, I don’t think anti-social behavior is a pre-requisite for a person to publish their “intentions, motives or views”.
So many of my fellow manifesto authors have given our form of literature a bad name. Their ramblings about people and institutions who have wronged them do not play well to a mass audience. I have no such grievances. I am pretty well treated. Most institutions never get around to hassling me because they don’t know I exist.
There is not a lot of sense in waiting until the last bit of my life, or until I am a raving madman, to get my manifesto out. I am so committed to not waiting that the last sentence actually contains intent, motivation and my view. Thus, my explanation of what I’m doing here is also the first sentence of my manifesto.
Maybe I’ll write a longer manifesto one day, but here’s what I think now, a little of why I think it, and what I’m going to do about it. Read the rest of this entry »
Back then, I was really something. I had purpose. Nothing moved without my say so. It looks like that time has passed. Here I am now, sitting in some parking lot, in the rain.
I made things work. I got things done. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m smart enough to know I didn’t do it all. On my own, I was just something. But when I was part of something I’d keep the others in line and help them do their jobs. They did so much. We worked together, we were like a machine, we were a team. Read the rest of this entry »
Sometimes it seems like I’m doing anything, but that isn’t so. I’m not just staring off into space. I’m thinking “oh God, in eleven months I won’t have a job”… as I stare off into space.
I spend much of my “off into space” time wondering if I can do more with my writing. I’d like to write things that will cause organizations to make direct deposits into my bank account. In my spare time, I toy with some ideas of how I might make that happen. The idea of being spontaneously contacted by a publication searching for a weekly columnist hasn’t worked out yet.
Just a few days ago, the inspiration arrived for my best writing career idea yet.
It Was Like Angels Singing On A Hill In Maryland
I’m not a fiction writer. I don’t do short stories. Rather, I haven’t until now. This one grew out of my spam folder. I found this message there:
“Would you like some help? Close the door after you please. I felt no regret for it. She really wishes her alarm clock had rung. I’m supposed to go on a diet get a raise I am busy. The brothers differ from each other in their interests. Tomorrow will be a holiday. He sat with his arms across the chest.”
I wondered what I could make of those sentences and phrases. It became a 1940′s film noir gangster style short story spoof where an alarm clock repair man replaces the hard-boiled private eye character.
All the gibberish from the spam is in the story, in order.
Please read this in black and white.
She stood in the doorway, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the dim indoor light. The sun silhouetting her from behind made part of me wish she’d stand there all day. I decided not to listen to that part.
I called out to her, “Would you like some help? She seemed confused. “Why, yes. Yes I would. It’s just that…I can’t…well…”
“Take your sunglasses off, sweetheart, it’ll brighten things.” She blinked as she put her shades in her purse. Her eyes were like big pools, the sort a fella could fall into and drown…if pools were brown. I can’t swim. I decided I’d better not go near this dame. Read the rest of this entry »