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Monday, March 31, 2014

My wild and wussy weekend

I can always tell when I do something that disappoints my friends my wife will be elated and vice versa. It’s very difficult for a convivial family man to do anything simultaneously satisfying to both demographics.

So this weekend was in some ways sort of a wash for me.

On the downside I disappointed my friend. On the upside, I avoided being murdered by someone who 25 years ago swore he’d kill me if I ever behaved in the wussy way I behaved on Saturday night.

Friday night I stayed up partying until 6 a.m. at my buddy Quinn’s new bar in Columbus.

Quinn’s had a terrible year. His wife left him shortly after he learned his mom had terminal cancer; she passed six months later. It was two years after the death of the step-father who raised him.

Me, I had a much better year.

My buddy Quinn opened a new bar!

I know, it’s not like I need yet another bar-owner friend to inebriate me for free, but it’s unwise to maintain some commodities in quantities fewer than one.

It’s why people keep spare tires in their trunks.

His last bar was Andyman’s Tree House, which he and co-owner Andy Davis sold in '08, shortly before Davis died unexpectedly in 2010. That bar was named by Esquire as one of the 50 best bars in America.

I think Little Rock is even better.

Why is a bar in the state capital of Ohio named like a city that is the state capital of Arkansas? 

Because every great bar needs at least a Little Rock.

And rock it does.

See, Quinn’s also the singer/songwriter who cryptically named his band Los Gravediggers. His bandmates have included Dan Baird of the Georgia Satellites and Bobby Keys of the Rolling Stones. Quinn's the best songwriter I know and among the best songwriters I’ve ever heard.

He’s that good and it’s a confounding disappointment in a world awash in so much lousy music that Quinn’s music struggles to be heard.

And he’s very funny. When he learned former Hootie Darius Rucker was going to switch genres to country he suggested he be called “Brocephus,” which I’ll not explain save to say it’s an off-color country music joke about a man of color.

We were roommates for one year in college when I was in the midst of a 10-year heyday for running wild. Often running wild and naked.

Quinn and our buddies loved that part of me. That’s from whence the murder threat stemmed. I remember him telling me the night after some vivid antics that he and another friend were discussing what then was my legend.

“We said, ‘What are we going to do if Rodell ever changes?’ We decided we’d have to kill you. We wouldn’t be able to stand being in a world where you’d disappoint us by behaving like a normal, boring guy.”

We stayed up drinking in Little Rock straight through until 6 a.m. I laughed myself hoarse.

I was pleased that after all these years of waking up at 6 a.m., I could still when duty called stay awake until that time.

But — and I’m not ashamed to admit it — the revelry turned me into a boring old man by Saturday afternoon. I was eager to get home. It was causing me to reconsider our plans to drive to Athens and meet some other old Ohio University friends and again drink the night away.

And I’m at an age where I don’t belong in many of the bars in Athens. To spend a night amidst a mob of binge drinkers 30 years younger than me requires a kind of cool I can no longer summon.

After about four hours, I told Quinn I’d had enough. I’d be walking back to the hotel at 11 p.m. I told him I didn’t want to be wrecked all day Sunday and that I was looking forward to spending the day with my family.

He looked like presidential candidates must look the instant they’re told, despite all the rosy poll results, they’ve lost the election. He was crestfallen. He demanded a recount.

He couldn’t understand how I could want to do anything with my family when I had an opportunity to again get falling down drunk with him and our pals. I told him I planned on being on the road by 7 a.m. 

“Why so damn early?”

In hindsight, I really should have told an artful lie. The truth didn’t make me look any better in the eyes of one of the very coolest guys I’ve ever known.

“We’re going to see the new Muppet movie.”

I slept lightly back at the hotel, fearful he might fulfill his ancient oath and slay me in my sleep.

It’s an emphatic example of just how difficult it is to have a family you love and enjoy and friends about whom you feel the same. The one group will never understand why you want to spend so much happy time with the other and the two will never fully reconcile.

It probably gives you some idea, too, of why it would be impossible for a guy like me to ever hold down a full time job.

But this weekend I got to spend a lot of time with a friend I love, and a lot of time with the family I love. So to me it was one of the best weekends of the year.

See, I love The Muppets, too.



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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Re-Run Sunday: My first adult content post (from '10)!

This story from January ’10 still gets a steady readership from budding deviants. It’s not for me. I don’t think Val would let me anyway. And that's a bit of a relief. "Palang" sounds painful.


It’s about 12-degrees out right now and I’m thinking about having sex on the sunny beaches of Cebu in the Philippines.

Not right now.

I’m thinking about 500 years ago.

Regular readers of this blog know how fond I am of accounts of the godforsaken sailors of the age of discovery.

It’s almost unimaginable the hardships these brave souls endured. They took to rinky-dink sailboats in the 16th century to explore a world as distant and unknowing to them as the planet Pluto is to us.

They dealt with utter isolation, disease, and brutal death at the hands of tyrannical captains, violent storms, predatory sea creatures, war-like natives and even shipmates so overwrought with hunger that eating one another was always an option.

Why these grim histories so appeal to me, I do not know.

Perhaps it’s because, as a lonely blogger, I feel a sort of kinship.

I’m all alone in this tiny office for six hours. If it wasn’t for this cellphone, sketchy internet connection and a nearby bar full of convivial inebriates, the isolation would likely drive me insane.

Sometimes I console myself by thinking, hey, at least you’re not on board the Essex, a ship that in 1819 was destroyed by an enraged sperm whale leaving 20 men in three lifeboats where, one by one, they began to consume the next weakest boat mate. Only eight survived.

It puts it all in perspective, not to mention makes me happy I don’t have a cannibalistic office mate blocking my escape to the Happy Hour.

So now I’m reading Laurence Bergreen’s outstanding 2003 book, “Over the Edge of the World: Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe.”

And the book delivers. Magellan’s coming across as a messianic despot who from 1519-1521 tortured mutineers, slaughtered perfectly inoffensive natives for petty reasons and drove many of his scurvy-racked crew to death in his quest for spices, riches and new lands to be claimed in the name of Spain’s rapacious King Charles.

Why, besides often illusory riches, would men volunteer for this kind of duty?

Well, one reason is what I used to hear some straying men call “strange.”

Strange in this case were the natives on the tropical paradise of Cebu in the Philippines.

And what was going on with these natives is as strange a sexual practice as I’ve ever heard.

Now, I’m no kid. I’ve been having sex for as long and as often as willing women have let me. I’ve written about deviates for deviates at both Maxim and Playboy magazines. I’ve fathered two children so I know what goes where. And I still enjoy what’s best called meat and potatoes sex with my comely wife.

And meat and potatoes in this case isn’t a metaphor for carnal relations atop the dining room table. It just means good, basic sex.

It’s good for me and I know it’s good for my wife. She never fails to express her satisfaction by saying, “There, NOW will you re-tile the bathroom floor?”

Still, I’m forever curious about how others get their jollies so I never prudishly turn away. On the contrary, I often press my nose right up against the glass until the steam from my heavy breathing obscures the view.

Then I close my eyes and listen.

What I just read in Bergreen’s book is something I could never imagine and will now never forget.

Anyone ever heard of “palang?”

Don’t worry. I’ll get to it.

First, like any good romance novelist, let me set the scene.

Magellan and his sea-weakened and love-starved men (excepting the many situational homosexuals) rejoiced to land on the palm-lined sandy beaches of Cebu.

A key to the story is just how devoutly religious Magellan and his men were. Part of their mission included converting the many heathens they came across to Christianity.

So when the local natives emerged from the palms, Magellen must have been delighted to see scores of obvious heathens.

The men must have been delighted for other reasons. As described by ship biographer Antonio Pigafetta, the gals were “very beautiful . . . the prince had three quite naked girls dance for us.”

Strict religious principles prevented the men from carnal canoodling with the women, even though the natives practiced what hippies some 447 years later would describe as free love.

Why? No man was allowed to enjoy sex with a non-Christian.

What followed was a series of what could be called drive-thru conversions. Literally, within minutes these beautiful and quite naked women who’d moments before had worshipped things like coconuts were -- hallelujah! -- turned into Christians.

Let the games begin!

But what most fascinated Pigafetta, an Italian who admits to joining in on the fun, wasn’t the babes.

It was the men.

“I very often asked many, both young and old, to see their penis, because I could not credit it,” he wrote.

It was palang or genital stretching.

I’ll let the old Italian describe it:

“The males, large and small, have their penis pierced from one side to the other near the head, with a gold or tin bolt as large as a goose quill. In both ends of the same bolt, some have what resembles a spur, with points upon the ends, others are like the head of a cart nail. In the middle of a bolt is a hole, through which they urinate.”

It reminds me of something I saw in one of those Time-Life videos I once watched for tips on how to repair a leaky sink.

“When the men wish to have communication with their women, the latter themselves take the penis not in the regular way and commence to introduce it into (the female part) with the spur on top first and then the other part. When it is inside, it takes its regular position, and thus the penis always stays inside until it gets soft, for otherwise, it could not be removed.”

Intercourse involving palang lasted as long as a day or even more, Bergreen writes, as the lovers remained locked in an embrace of passion.

I confess I read the above description about five times and still couldn’t exactly wrap my head around what the heck was happening with all that genital hardware.

Pigafetta moralizes that these pleasure-seeking individuals were of a “weak nature,” equating pleasure loving as weakness. Then, of course, he boasts that the women preferred the Spaniards and their unadorned tools.

That may be. He does not, however, report scores of lovesick native woman jumping on board to beg the Europeans lovers take them along. 

How Magellan managed to ever wrangle a crew back on board those stinking and rat-infested ships after this auspicious landing is a testament to his historic  leadership which, incidentally, came to a bloody conclusion just 10 days later when he and 30 of his crew were slaughtered by a nearby “Make War/Not Love” tribe.

So now as the snows pile up outside, I’m left to wonder if the Cebuan natives and their days and days of lusty coupling had it right. Maybe such exotic additions would please my missus.

In fact, I’m going to ask her if she’d like me to undergo, purely for purposes of her pleasure, the painful and exotic steps necessary for us to bang in palang.

I’ll do anything to keep from having to re-tile that bathroom.


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Friday, March 28, 2014

Impatient to be outdoors & dancing in my underwear

The last six grinding months convince me there ought to be a musical counterpoint to the Beach Boys “Endless Summer.”

Because this has been and endless winter and I’m about beat.

It’s been more than six months since I’ve felt a sun-kissed 70 degrees out of doors, thus it’s been about seven months since I’ve felt like dancing around outside in my underwear. That’s something I do in a powerful downpour after I’ve been outside working up a really good sweat.

I’ve worked up numerous good sweats this winter, but they’ve all been while shoveling snow up to my ass. Only the insane would entertain thoughts of taking off his or her clothes and dancing around in their underwear in those conditions.

It’s something I do in summer when I’m sure the girls are far away and it’s raining too hard for the crazy old birdwatcher down the street to be out with her binoculars.

I don’t remember doing it much in our old cramped little neighborhood where such liberated behavior would have been scandalous, especially if any of the neighbors would have spied me drop my drawers which I sometimes do when it’s really pouring.

It’s incredibly refreshing and I encourage you to remember to try it this summer, that is if this summer ever comes.

Yesterday’s morning temps were once again in the low 20s.

That means the only dance I do outside is what I call “The Arctic Macarena.” That’s where you rhythmically pat with both hands the twelve pockets in your multi-layered coats to detect the location of your keys, gloves, phone, etc.

I bought a brand new Pea Coat two weeks ago at a criminally misnamed “End of Winter” sale at Penny’s. It was a $150 coat on sale for $40. By the time I got through all the promotions they were throwing at me I snagged it for $23.

I love it. I was thrilled at the deal and it’s a dandy garment.

I got it home, basked in Val’s standing ovation for my rare burst of savvy shopping and said, “Well, I’ll just put this in the basement for next winter when I’ll need it.”

I’ve needed it every day since.

And I love it even though whenever our 7 year old sees me in my Pea Coat always asks if I’m also wearing my Poop Pants.

She thinks it’s hilarious.

And she’s right. That’s funny. It was hilarious the first time, but has become decreasingly less funny after about 30 repetitions.

This is the winter that has me questioning why I live where I do.

I love the four seasons. Really, I do.

But I resent living in a region when any one season hogs a whole half the calendar. That’s what happened this year with winter. It’s been six months, October through March.

That means we’re going to be cheated on spring, summer and fall, which now have to divvy up the next six months in fair proportions because the tilt of the earth won’t permit the seasons fair comp time. It’s not like spring can bitch to the boss that winter stayed late so every other season should by all rights get extended.

The good news is Opening Day is Monday and the forecast calls for room temperature. Well, for me at least.

It’s as much fun for me to watch the game here at the bar as it is to attend in person. Dave always makes a big deal out of it. He has footlong hotdogs, nachos, peanuts and Cracker Jack. And all my friends’ll be here.

And the weather’s supposed to finally be decent for the ball game, too. The high on Monday is supposed to be 62 before tanking again the very next day.

But this winter that’s had a stranglehold on us will one day end. It has to.

Until then I’ll just have to tough it out.

All pissed off in my Pea Coat.


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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

To counter Russia, US should invade . . .

After more than a month of careful deliberations involving the international situation, I’ve devised a cunning geo-political strategy in regards to current crises, one that will show American strength without risking the loss of essential blood and treasure.

Yes, it’s time to invade Canada.

Many experts are saying America needs to do something assertive to stand up to Putin, that sanctions and frozen bank accounts send the message that we’re weak. Many of these experts are the same ones who assured us the Iraqi people would rise up as one and greet our invading soldiers with cheers and sweets.

I think if I’d have been among the cabal that said the Iraq War was a really swell idea I’d have quit opining on foreign relations and by now would be offering Rotisserie baseball draft tips.

I watch the news and see mobs of emphatic people in the Crimea insisting they want to be Russian. The numbers are substantial.

They shout pro-Russian slogans. They say Russia is strong, that Russia is determined and that Russia will prevail.

They must not have seen Alex Ovechkin and Team Russia play hockey in the Sochi Olympics.

I’m surprised by how many people seem eager to re-engage the Cold War. I guess that’s because there’s comfort in the familiar. But I don’t see any Domino Theory in play here.

Russia has 37,861 miles of often ill-defined border. That’s a border about 12,000 string miles longer than Earth’s circumference.

It’s neighbors with 16 sovereign states; 18 if you include Abzhazia and South Ossetia as sovereigns, a situation that changes too frequently for Wikipedia to bother refereeing.

The neighbor with whom it shares the most border kilometers is Kazakhstan with 6,846. The shortest? That’d be North Korea with just 17.5 — and isn’t a pity no one thought to invade them instead?

Other border neighbors include Norway, Finland, Azerbaijan, China, Poland, and Estonia.

Can you name another? How about The United States? We’re just 55 maritime miles across the Bering Strait from our historic arch-enemy.

Rest easy. Remember, the Palins are our first line of defense and nobody wants anything to do with them, including a growing number of sensible voters who tend to lean Republican.

My point is it’s easier to consider this Crimea situation in the context of an elastic border. I contend that this morning Crimea is Russian, but it might again be Ukrainian in two years. And these transitions could happen without bloodshed.

And for that outcome it is worth saying a short, fast prayer.

It’s not like it was 50 years ago. People all around the world are becoming more assertive about their universal rights, and the available technologies are helping agitators accomplish those goals.

It happened in Egypt, in Libya and right there in Kiev just about six weeks ago.

The situation is fluid.

Still, I understand the need for the world’s only superpower to appear strong, if for no other reason than to appease the hysterical blabbermouths over at Fox News from goading us into another ill-fated shooting war.

That’s why I suggest we invade Canada.

I pick Canada because the alternative would be to invade Mexico, which would be pointless because so many Mexicans are already here and the incentives for Mexicans to invade themselves are few.

So Canada’s perfect. It’s a beautiful country full from border-to-border with happy, sunny people adept at joyful carousing.

They’re like Americans before we got all that belligerent ‘tude that came from single-handedly winning two world wars and the Cold War while Canada, Europe and Asia basically stood by and did squat.

I absolutely adore Canada, especially the sublime Canadian Rockies, home to Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise (above), the latter being among the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. 

They can keep their Tim Horton’s, but that stupid metric system has got to go.

We can be The United States of America (and the rest of those other guys).

The Canadians may recoil at the brazen example of international muscle flexing — well, the couple dozen Canadians who remain sober might — but I’m sure they’ll come around when they consider what this means to their claims on international prestige.

Their biggest threat to Olympic hockey gold will now be their farm team.

So everybody wins.

Everybody but Russia. Putin will once again be denied the one thing he most craves: international respect.

And those who agitate on behalf of greater Russian liberty will be given the one thing they most need: one more reason to be pissed at Putin.



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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Rabbit flies to Dallas and back for $44


This is bound to sound like a Bugs Bunny tale, but I swear it’s true: Rabbit flew to Dallas and back for just $44.

Rabbit’s a real colorful and animated guy, just not in the celluloid way you think of  when you think of Bugs. He’s one of the six or seven United States postal carriers who frequent The Pond.

Why all these postal carriers wind up in this particular watering hole about two miles from the nearest postal facility is a mystery, as is why they call this one Rabbit. I don’t even know if he even has a real name. And actually as of about a month ago Rabbit is no longer a postal employee. He retired after 35 years of lugging mail around Westmoreland County.

I asked if they threw him a party.

They didn’t. He just danced right out the door.

I find myself thinking a lot about Rabbit these days. I thought about him again Saturday when Val and I stopped in for some beers at The Hofbrau Haus on Pittsburgh’s South Side. I was checking out the menu to see if it served hassenfeffer, which is rabbit stew.

If it does, I didn’t see it.

I have never had rabbit stew and I’ve never seen Rabbit stew. He’s very cheerful. 

He says we should all go with him to Dallas one afternoon and we’re thinking about it. It sounds like a perfectly senseless road trip.

See, Rabbit came into the bar a couple of months ago and said he’d just gotten back from Dallas.

“It was $44 roundtrip. Can you believe it?”

No, we couldn’t. It sounded preposterous. So he showed us the receipt.

It was just as he’d said. He’d flown from Latrobe to Dallas round trip for $44. And parking at the Latrobe airport’s free.

Best part of the story? He tried to haggle for an even cheaper ticket, which I guess with Spirit would have to be out strapped to the wing.

His daughter lives there so he flew down for cheap to have some lunch with her and fly back.

Yes, here in Latrobe our retired mailmen are jet setters.

Spirit Airlines out of Arnold Palmer Regional Airport has for a few months been flying a Dallas route as one of its destinations that include Orlando, Myrtle Beach and Fort Lauderdale. If it flew to New Orleans it would mean our little regional airport is the gateway to anywhere anyone would ever need to go. 

CBS Sunday Morning just featured Spirit Airlines on a segment the other day. They took shots at it for being too cheap.

How dare they. I love Spirit Airlines. They’re a huge boon to the community. Many western Pennsylvanians are foregoing flying out of Greater Pitt in order to fly from the AP airport.

CBS knocked Spirit for often being late, cramped and for charging for petty incidentals, but anymore isn’t that the industry standard? Flying commercial’s a nightmare. And that was before the only thing the major airlines used to lose was luggage.

We suspect Rabbit’s deal was available because Spirit is winding down the Dallas route that failed to draw much local interest.

So we probably have about a month to decide if a gang of us wants to fly roundtrip to Dallas for $44, which is less than it would cost us drive to Pittsburgh for an afternoon jaunt.

What would we do in Dallas?

“For that little,” Gary said, “it’d be fun to just walk around the airport.”

He’s right. We could spend the afternoon heckling stupid Cowboy fans.

It sounds perfectly exotic, especially for a gang of guys whose idea of “going someplace different” involves sitting on stools on other side of the bar.

So that’s just some news about our now-retired friend Rabbit. It’s a post that covers Rabbit’s retirement, Rabbit’s good cheer, Rabbit’s travel habits and the creative ways in which Rabbit is spending his free time.

So, of course, I just had to slug today’s item whatsup.doc


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Monday, March 24, 2014

Results of my weekend crashes, the computer and the car

Determined to overcome vexing computer problems, I made the hour-long drive into Pittsburgh Sunday morning with the expectation of returning home about $1,300 lighter. I figured I’d need to buy a new laptop.

Turns out I was half right.

I drove home about $1,300 lighter. But I didn’t get a new laptop.

And I spent a good portion of the last 24 hours wondering if I’d had a very good or a very bad day.

On Saturday the friendly repair gang at the Apple store in Shadyside said my computer would be ready Sunday, but they never sent word if it was done or if the hard drive restoration problem had been resolved.

So I did some resolving of my own: I decided I was going to drive in and lay out about $1,300 for a new MacBook Air. My MacBook Pro was about five years old and I figured I’d better shell out for a new one rather than spend more money on an old one that was overdue to expire anyway.

I don’t like spending money I don’t have, but I do like getting shiny new stuff and the Discover card could float the balance until that long overdue Powerball ticket finally cha-chinged.

Understand, I didn’t even know if it was ready. So driving there in time for the store opening at 11 a.m. was a bit of risk. I’d spent a good deal of time in the car the past two days trying to get this thing fixed and was eager to get home for some Sunday relaxation.

Lo and behold, they told me it was done, it was repaired, and the charge was just $59.

This was gonna be a great day!

I decided to stay an extra 90-minutes to make sure the back-up went smoothly. I’m scrupulous about backing up my hard drive.

In fact, I’m so scrupulous about backing up my virtual essentials I decided to purchase another $100 external hard drive in case the first hard drive ever failed simultaneously with the computer.

See, I can be very prudent.

Well, most of the time.

Really, it did feel like I’d already hit a jackpot. It’s a wonderful feeling expecting to spend a big chunk of change and learning the expense is unnecessary.

So I was feeling pretty good around 1 p.m. when I’d stopped in for some Pad Thai at Lulu’s Noodles in Oakland. It’s delicious. I was figuring I’d be home around 2:30 p.m. in time to commandeer the TV to watch golf and March Madness. And I’d have what now seemed like a nifty $1,300 surplus.

And that all would have happened just as planned save for one slight miscalculation of about eight inches over about .05 seconds.

It was that close.

As I said, I’d been in the car a good bit the last three days and was eager to get home. I was driving east on a pothole-strewn stretch of Fifth Avenue near Wilkinsburg.

It was the kind of calculation each of us makes maybe four or five times a day; the green light turned yellow. I had a split second to decide: could I squeak through or should I slam on the brakes?

I accelerated. It was an aggressive move by a fully engaged driver.

Do that 1,000 times here in Latrobe, birthplace of Fred Rogers, and you get through the intersection unscathed by motorists who drive mostly like Fred. Here the only other aggressive driver of any renown is Arnold Palmer and he does most of his aggressive driving with a Callaway Big Bertha Alpha on dogleg par 5s over at Latrobe Country Club.

Big cities have more than their share of aggressive drivers. On Sunday at about 2 p.m., I ran right into one. He began advancing through the green light the instant it turned.

If he hadn’t been so aggressive, I never would have hit him. Of course, if I hadn’t been so aggressive the whole point would have been moot.

So there could be no weaseling out of it. This wreck was my fault.

I told him so as soon as we’d pulled off the road to powwow.

I thought for a moment I’d never seen a vehicle like his. Then I realized I was mistaken.

I’d seen one similar to it in the 1971 Stephen Spielberg movie “Duel,” about a truck from hell being driven by an unseen madman out to terrorize a traveling salesman played by Dennis Weaver. But the truck’s the movie’s real star. It’s filthy, beat to hell and exudes menace.

That’s what the modified Dodge monster truck I hit was like. I swear its finish was like like black stucco, almost like shark skin. I was afraid to lean against it for fear it’d shred my skin. It looked indestructible. 

And it was at least when it was up against a once-sporty 2007 Saturn Vue.

He lost a driver’s side headlight. The fender may have been scratched, too, but it was impossible to tell. He estimated his damage at $75.

My car was another matter. The driver’s side front quarter panel was destroyed, the hood was wrinkled, the rearview mirror was right then in the middle of the intersection getting pulverized. And the front and rear doors were tattooed with garish rubber from his monster truck tires.

Sitting in the driver’s seat, however, it looks like nothing’s really wrong. Another eight inches and all I’d have lost was that rear view mirror.

I estimated the damaged and figured, yep, that looks like it’ll be at least $1,305.

Perfect.

The guy’s truck may have appeared Satanic, but the guy was an angel. He absolutely could not have been more understanding.

You never know how someone will react in a tense situation like this. It’s not uncommon for threats to be issued, for fists to fly or guns even to be pulled. Heck, the first thing many do is summon the police or reach up and start rubbing their neck for phantom chiropractor-enriching injuries.

I thanked him for his reaction.

“Oh, man, I could tell within the first 30 seconds you weren’t going to be an asshole about this so there was no point in making it any worse for you.”

Mom’ll be proud.

He’s a molecular biologist who runs a construction company. It’s as fascinating a story as it sounds, one I’m sure I’ll one day share.

He asked what I did for a living.

I told him I write books.

He asked what kind.

The kind, I said, that aim to help people learn how to keep bad things from ruining good days.

He thought that was hilarious.

My car is perfectly fine to drive, but I don’t know how the other parents will feel when I show up in it to pick up their kids on the nights when it’s my turn to head the car pool.

It’s been about 20 years since I’ve had a claim-worthy accident, so I’ll probably turn it in for cosmetic purposes.

I got home and, as planned, switched on the tube and enjoyed the sports. The girls had been out and returned all abuzz about the accident. I was honest and told them it was all my fault. I think a kid can learn a lot from how a parent deals with unexpected adversity.

And I began to think about those eight inches and that .05 seconds.
With just a bit more deft snap of the steering wheel the whole accident could have been avoided. That would have been great.

Then I thought about this: What if if had been eight inches in the other direction?

The vehicle frame would likely have penetrated the driver’s safety cocoon. The car would have been totaled. I could have broken a leg or an arm and lost my ability to control the car’s direction.

The Saturn could have jumped a curb and struck a bystander waiting for a bus. That bystander would have been tending a baby carriage.

I spent the rest of the night enjoying a nice pasta dish Val’d served up. We sat in front of the fireplace, watched some shows, played some games and I got to read some bedtime stories to our darling 7 year old.

We tucked the kids in, said some humble little prayers and then Val and I had a glass of wine and spent the rest of the night relaxing in the welcome peace.

Good day? Bad day?

Hell, it was one of the very best.



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