Sunday, July 18, 2021

Why am I such a crybaby?

(657 words)

The second most common question asked of me by my daughters, ages 20 and 15,  — and I’m paraphrasing here — is: “Why don’t you  have the common decency to leave the room when you have to fart?”

The answer is if I left the room every time I had to fart I’d never be in the room and despite the odor and commotion they’d miss me so I just let ‘er rip.

The first most common question is, “Why are you always crying?”

The answer is more complicated.

It’s true. Hardly a day goes by when something doesn’t happen that leads to at least a mild weep.

I’ve pondered it a lot, always with a hanky close at hand, and I believe the main reason is I feel my humanity more deeply than most.

I feel about my fellow humans the way some maniacs feel about their favorite professional football team. 

They desperately want them to win and are devastated when they lose. They hinge their emotions on the results of 45 or so multi-millionaire strangers.

I feel that way about 7.8 billion earthlings.

You’re one if them!

I want you to succeed. It makes me happy to hear you got a promotion, that your car passed inspection or that the spouse was feeling extra frisky last night.

Conversely, I feel genuinely sad to learn you’re feeling over-worked or that your buck-toothed kid needs pricey braces.

Those sentiments are understandable for any caring person. But my empathies go way beyond that.

I’ve been devastated by the news of the Surfside condo collapse and the cataclysmic European flooding. People dying makes me very sad.

But so does people living. Many of us are living way too long. I’m friends with several people whose parents are being tortured by the curses of longevity.

Songs, both happy and sad, can start the waterworks. I heard Eric Bogle’s “And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda,” about a doomed WWI soldier’s experiences at Gallipoli, in 1915 site of some of the worst slaughter in the blood-drenched history of war.

Of course I cry over that one. Many do.

But how many cry over one of the most buoyant and joyful tunes in the history of recorded music?

How many cry over “Our House?” The  bouncy 1970 CSNY hit asserts the songwriter’s house is a “very, very, very fine house.”

I’m sensitive to the homeless problems here and around the world and I know there are millions of people who’ll never know the security of having a stout roof overhead and won’t enjoy the soulful bliss exhibited in the 2 minutes and 59 seconds it takes to listen to that dandy ditty.

I cry that Tom Petty’s dead and Dick Cheney isn’t.

I cry at the beginning of Pixar’s “Up” and at the end of Paul Newman’s “Cool Hand Luke.”

I cry because I believe climate change is real and has the potential to kill us all.

I cry because I believe we mismanaged this pandemic and the next one has the potential to kill us all.

The stories in the newspapers all discourage, as does the fact that newspapers are disappearing right along with the bees, polar ice caps and any evidence of rational thought among large segments of the voting public.

Understand, not all these tears are tears of sadness. I cry for reasons of paternal pride, sweet nostalgia or if I drop a hammer on my foot.

I contend it’s not surprising I cry; what’s surprising is that I ever stop crying.

I figure I’m composed of at least 80 percent tears so they’re right there near the surface. I’m like a teacup full of tears. Any little jiggle will cause some to spill into the saucer.

So my sassy daughters are learning from me it’s okay for a man to cry.

Drink, too.

See the other 20 percent of my composition is mostly bourbon.

The presence of the former explains the need for the latter.

Subscribe to my “Use All The Crayons!” newsletter — just $5 month/$50 a year — and get all my best stuff delivered twice-weekly to your inbox!

Saturday, July 3, 2021

On July 4th, my response to a decorated officer hinting I'm un-American

 (658 words)

I had a disheartening encounter with an illustrious and once-avid reader this week who declared me as anti-American over — take a wild guess.

Yes, it all comes down to Donald Trump.

Did you think we were at odds over the legacy of Alex Trebec?

This fresh antagonist is a lavishly-decorated, recently retired officer. He served with distinction over the last four decades. He’s been on the front lines of freedom. I’ve bragged about having him as an enthusiastic reader of my stuff. 

Were we close? No, but I’ve stayed at his house and have enjoyed golfing with him.

So I was blindsided by his e-mail ending our friendship and stupefied by the reasoning.

“Chris, I see you applaud Obama and stomp Trump. Kindly take me off your mailing list. I happen to believe in this great country I proudly served. Good luck.”

Hear me out: I strive to keep my newsletter/blog/books free of partisan bile. There’s plenty of it elsewhere and I don’t feel obliged to pile on.

Plus, it makes zero sense for a guy cravenly interested in growing his readership to routinely belittle roughly 50 percent of his potential customers.

And — get this — I’m proud I count among my readers many Trump supporters. Although the notion is becoming increasingly quaint, I happen to believe we can still find common ground upon which we can all unite.

(By the way, I’m proud that so many of you town drunks out there read my blog, too. I approve of diversity on both my Supreme Court and blog stats page so “Cheers!”)

So there was no applauding Obama, nor stomping Trump in any of my 2021 public posts.

Could he be referring to a mild e-mail exchange?

I’d in my newsletter included a link to this blog, “Greatest American Speeches & Why Mine’s Better.”

Now, unfriending me for bone-headed audacity, that I get.

The story prompted him to send me a link to North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson speaking. Here’s an example of his powerful oratory. 

My then-friend’s note read: “You mentioned in last ‘Crayons’ great speeches. This eclipses anything Obama ever did! My opinion!”

My response: “Powerful and well-reasoned. I've never heard of him. I remember being moved by Obama's ‘Amazing Grace’ speech; Reagan's ‘Challenger;’ and I liked Sen. George Mitchell's Iran-Contra takedown of Ollie North.”

And because bone-headed audacity never sleeps,  I concluded with “And my ‘Crayons!’ speech is still better!”

Can anyone in any of this point to a “Trump stomp?” And is writing in a personal e-mail that I was “moved” by an Obama speech upsetting enough to cause hysterical over-reaction.

Is it now infuriating to admit to admiring a devoted family man who was twice and by commanding majorities elected POTUS?

What? Has he been spotted ordering take out from Comet pizza?

We naturally and justifiably defer to the men and women who serve and sacrifice.

Well, not double-amputee U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) we don’t, but this is no time to muddy the narrative.

But if a decorated officer infers I do not love America because my opinion differs from his shouldn’t it be taken at face value ?

After all, I’m just a blogger who votes, and a not very enterprising one at that. Yeah I voted for Joe Biden, but couldn’t figure out a way to do it more than once. 

Of course, this makes what I’m about to say all the more difficult.

Because I’d default side with my esteemed friend on any issue involving national security, foreign alliances and which club to use out of the green-side bunker. He is an accomplished and charismatic leader.

But when he hints I’m any less American than he because I disagree with his politics, there’s only one thing left to say.

Sir, with all due respect, you can go fuck yourself. 

My opinion.

Subscribe to my “Use All The Crayons!” newsletter — just $5 month/$50 a year — and get all my best stuff delivered twice-weekly to your inbox!

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Tweets of the Month

• If the love of money is truly the root of all evil then I must be one of the world's most virtuous men. Money and me, we're barely on speaking terms.

• I guess it's because the name seems both generic yet familiar, but Rolls-Royce was founded by Henry Royce & Charles Rolls. Who knew? It's like learning my favorite music genre was founded by William Rock & Todd Roll.

• Many of us try & include some exercise to keep firm & appealing. But as we age, gravity & disposition lead to key muscles we rely on to be appealing to atrophy. Abs? Butt? No ... face! Try smiling without provocation. It's not easy. There oughtta be an exercise. Now, gimme 10!

• Not sure I even heard this right, but it sounded to me like ol' Doc Fauci said those of us who've been vaccinated have been liberated. We're now free to go anywhere -- indoor or out --pantsless! I'm guessing the Freedom Caucus is "behind" this. Yippee! See you tomorrow!

• I advise everyone to dream big. Outlandish, colossal, preposterous big. Not because big dreams will all come true. Dream big because with big dreams even the falls are more fun.

• Admitting to someone you spent the day writing is akin to admitting you spent the day masturbating: Saying so feels dirty, the results may be messy and when it's all said & done the pleasure may be a solitary affair.

• We live in an era where many men and women boast they say what they think. They fail to realize the real virtue is to think what they say.

• Today I'd like to complain about the misuse of the term "movie star." With all due respect to guys like Brad, Leo & Johnny Depp, they do not star in movies. They appear in them. Now, Burt Reynolds. There's a man who starred in movies.

• This will betray my warped priorities, but if my house is ever in an earthquake how long will it be before I can safely open a beer?

• It wasn't done by design but my go-to bourbon has become the one that best describes me. I'm not a Jack or a Daniel, a Jim or a Beam. What am I? I'm a turkey who on occasion still gets a little wild. #WildTurkey

• Do you think cavemen and women were emotionally developed enough to mourn the passing of a mate or they just fired up the grill, sprinkled on some seasonings and started inviting cave neighbors to the picnic.

• With so many superhero movies based on the mingling of DNA, I'm surprised they've yet to sketch an insect hybrid adept at calming Opie's fears, winning the Mayberry bake-off and putting the sting on Moonshiners. All hail Ant Bee!

• A toe nail is a uniform part of the human anatomy. It is perfectly acceptable to discuss a toe nail in polite conversation. A toe nail is not to be confused with a toe screw.

• Mulch! Mow! Plant! Prune! Repeat! If we devoted as much time to understanding one another as we do to lawn care things like checking out opposing Facebook views wouldn't be so nerve-wracking.

• Practicing Catholics who car pool to worship are engaged in Mass transit.

• If all the people who so casually remark to relative strangers, "Now, I'm not racist, but ..." suddenly and inexplicably become racist, man, I fear America could be in for some real problems over race. 

Subscribe to my “Use All The Crayons!” newsletter — just $5 month/$50 a year — and get all my best stuff delivered twice-weekly to your inbox!

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

30 years w/o a job & notes on my new novel

(664 words)

I spend an inordinate amount of time wondering if my decision in 1991 to skip the whole career thing was a wise career move.

I wonder this a lot because, geez, I have so much time on my hands.

I meet strangers at parties. They ask what I do. I tell them I stare out the window for an hour, type for about 90 seconds, then resume staring out the window. I then repeat the process throughout the day until 3:30 or about when kicking off the Happy Hour is deemed socially acceptable. 

Who knew that doing squat for years at a time would essentially pay squat?

I look back on the last 30 years of my life and it’s like I’m the star of one long beer commercial. There’s joy, laughter, camaraderie and deep in the background a whispered admonition to “Please Drink Responsibly” that me and my happy band of sudsy co-stars knew was not meant to be taken seriously. 

I have so many people who really love my books, my inane posts and pointless little musings. Sample: “Fashion experts who work to ensure ample bosoms fit snugly in frilly brassieres are rack-contours.”

Took me about two whole hours of staring out the window to come up with that one.

Know what I did once I’d composed and posted it?

Took the rest of the day off!

I did. I was feeling the same sort of accomplishment I feel on the days when I find a quarter on the sidewalk.

Of course, there’s the inevitable awkwardness when you stroll through the front door and the family wants to know how your day went.

How many fathers are going to respond with bold honesty, “It went great! I came up with a really nifty tit pun!”

I sense just how much people want me to succeed. It’s not uncommon for readers to ask me if I yearn to be famous.

I can’t get them to understand my entire aspiration is simple break-even solvency.

I’m nearing the home stretch of my second novel. Understand, there is near-zero clamor for me to write another novel. Yet, I believe “The Last Baby Boomer” is my best work and the praise I hear for it supports the contention.

“Boomer” is 66,132 words (248 pages). Just this weekend I crested 70,000 words on the new book. So it’s an actual book. 

A 20,000-word book could fall victim to indifference, neglect or a sudden burst of mocking sanity that insists writing any book is a colossal waste of time. 

This book I’ll soon finish and it’ll one day this fall be for sale.

It’s the Romeo & Juliette story, but instead of her being on a balcony in Verona, she’s in Heaven and he’s in Hell. In order for their love to flourish, she’s going to have lower Heaven and he’s going to have to raise Hell.

Their names are Evan and Elle. 

I’m calling the book, “Evan & Elle in Heaven & Hell: A Long Distance Social Media Afterlife Love Story.”

Please, hold your applause.

As I learned so cruelly with my first novel, a clever premise and snappy writing does not guarantee success.

This book could be an abject failure, and in some way each of my books have been just that. They don't make money. Not for me. 

In fact, by some bottom line standards, you could judge my last 30 years in that same harsh light.

I choose not to.

Despite decades of evidence to the contrary, I persist in believing the bet I made on myself this week in 1991 will one day pay off with me hitting the solvency jackpot.

And on that day, I’ll stare out the window and to my everlasting delight, I’ll see you approaching, you and so many others whose cheer has buoyed me through so much bewilderment.

Together we’ll simultaneously raise Hell and lower Heaven.

A good time will be had by all.

All I ask is that you please drink responsibly.

Subscribe to my “Use All The Crayons!” newsletter — just $5 month/$50 a year — and get all my best stuff delivered twice-weekly to your inbox!

Friday, June 11, 2021

Happy Hour? America could use a Nappy Hour!

(664 words)

A friend and I were commiserating about our lack of sleep when he told me he nearly fell asleep behind the wheel of his Volvo.

I asked if he thought it would work with a Ford.

“I don’t see why not,” he said, “but it’s nothing I’d recommend.”

The Volvo was at the time moving at about 50 mph.

He came instantly and fully wide awake when the car drifted off the road. It was about 30 yards from the trunk of a sturdy oak that had the potential to once and for all end all his sleep troubles.

He asked if I ever tried napping.

“Tried napping? I’m The Human Nap,” I said, “I spend my entire existence not fully awake, not fully asleep. I’m so sleep-deprived I make zombies seem quick-witted.”

It’s a mind-muddled state of being and the reason if someone tells me they were asleep at the wheel I think, yeah, I’ll give it a shot. It’s just a matter of getting to REM before getting to RAM.

It is said adults between 18 and 64 need 7 to 9 hours. I thought, yeah, that’s about right. I figured I probably got about 12 hours last week. Then I re-read it and saw I was wrong. We need that much per night!

It seems excessive. Where do they find the time?

They must do all their sport drinkin’ at lunch.

Nearly 70 million Americans report being unable to sleep because of job anxiety, past mistakes, worries about the future, current events, etc.

My wife has trouble sleeping, too, but it doesn’t take an expert to figure out the source of her sleeplessness. Every 30 minutes or so she rolls over, sees me and thinks, “I married that?”

I do try and nap in my office, but being caught napping is like being caught in another solitary act of self-pleasure that winds up all messy and ultimately unfulfilling.

I’m talking, of course, about writing books.

You’d think I could knock off a decent nap up here in my office but the necessary elements rarely align. The office can’t be either too hot, nor too cold, which happens about eight days a year. 

My creaky office chair needs to be correctly angled so I can put my feet on the desk. Many have suggested I acquire a cot, futon or small bed for right here in the office. There’s obvious merit to the idea, but I’m fearful bar romantics would use the addition for their illicit recreations and my office would start turning up in the on-line guide books as a make-shift brothel. My reputation would be ruined.

Or would it be enhanced?

I nap better when I know that Buck, the Tin Lizzy owner, is away from the building.

Really away.

I’m talking Florida. He and his wife often fly there to visit the kiddos. I can more comfortably drift off knowing he’s 1,200 miles away

A solid nap is impossible when he’s around. He’s just so loud, always with banging, drilling and sawing. He comes and goes as he pleases and generally acts like owns the place.

It’s one hell of an act because, well, there’s zero evidence to the contrary.

I tried to imagine what he’d do if he saw a sign on my door reading, “Please Do Not Disturb: The Writer is Napping.” I think his reaction would involve either fire or a bucket of ice water.

I’m fairly sure it wouldn’t lead to him reading me bedtime stories about saying good night to the moon.

I may not understand the stigma against napping, but that won’t stop me from working to eradicate it.

Maybe it's time we replace the traditional post-work/pre-dinner drink to dedicated sleep time.

Yes, welcome America, to the Nappy Hour!

I envision a Nap Olympics. There’d be nap & field, synchronized napping, nap obstacle courses and hours and hours of watching snooze-deprived people catching some zzz’s.

With so many Americans stumbling through their days in need of a snooze, Nap Olympics is bound to be a  true sleeper hit.

Subscribe to my “Use All The Crayons!” newsletter — just $5 month/$50 a year — and get all my best stuff delivered twice-weekly to your inbox!

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Seeking a flame in a world that's on fire

(538 words)

The stranger had an air of desperation about him. He fidgeted. He was agitated. He couldn’t find a match.

We were in the clubhouse of a local golf course. It was getting late on a Saturday afternoon. The place was clearing out.

He looked about 50, trim, well-dressed, appeared prosperous. You’d think a guy like that could find a good match.

Twenty minutes later he asked again: Did I know where he could find a match? Like I knew 20 minutes ago and was just being coy.

“Well, I’m married,” I said, “but the girl cleaning up at the snack bar has a nice smile and I think she’s single. She might make a good match.”

“Funny guy,” he sneered and stormed off, a frustrated smoker in search of the kind of match that is becoming more elusive than an honest soul mate.

I couldn’t remember ever seeing a smoker unable to find a match. Clearly, he wasn’t a “Survivor” fan. If I was as desperate as him, I’d have gone out to 18th green and started rubbing shafts from two bunker rakes together.

We live in an age where if Jim Morrison sang,”C’mon, Baby Light My Fire,” he’d better hope she has a trusty Zippo in her purse.

Smoking has killed millions of people. Not smoking has killed an industry that served a useful and charming purpose. 

Matches used to be vacation keepsakes from our travels. We keep them in a small Hershey Hotel tin that was once full of, duh, Hershey kisses. I looked through it this morning, a sulphur-tipped trip down Memory Lane.

There was Boudreaux’s in San Antonio, Le Mont on Mt. Washington, The Breakers in Palm Beach, The Hotel at Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. We  consider the one from Windows on the World from the World Trade Center a sacred relic.

Now, I can’t remember being in a restaurant that had signature matchbooks, also handy for writing the phone numbers of illicit lovers.  Of course that was before killjoy smart phones did everything but set fires.

Ironically, the disappearance of this bar/restaurant staple burns me up.

While the match industry is being extinguished, the match ‘em up kind is en fuego.

Besides, there are internet match makers for divorcees, over 50s, seniors, train buffs, bird watchers — you name it. There are so many concerns devoted to coupling singles it’s surprising anyone anywhere feels compelled to self-pleasure.

More irony: During this time when so many agents are devoted to bringing together people from around the world, the world itself seems to be coming apart.

War in the Middle East, Russian aggression in Ukraine, endless partisan tumult, climate upheaval.

“Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Krushchev, Princess Grace, Peyton Place …”

We’re even bedeviled by ….

“Trouble in the Suez!”

No, we didn’t start the fire, but do you place all the blame on the arsonist or do you save some for those of us standing on the edge toasting marshmallows and singing campfire songs?

I fear we’re becoming like the frustrated smoker, desperately seeking a a little light in world that’s on fire.

And I fear if we can’t find compatibility with one another it’ll all be over.

Game, set and match.

Subscribe to my “Use All The Crayons!” newsletter — just $5 month/$50 a year — and get all my best stuff delivered twice-weekly to your inbox!

Friday, April 30, 2021

Tweets of the last two months!

 No time to proof or pre-amble. Just two months of raw tweets ...

Have a great weekend!


• The loud, jarring phenomenon that occurs when that evening’s meal preparer tries to remove the 13th pan from the bottom of a drawer designed to hold not more than 10 is "Panvalanche." Panvalanche activity also common in sinks stacked with too many dirty dishes.

• At some point in every human life, the physical body is revealed to be the most preposterous, burdensome, inept and smelly vehicle to transport a divine soul from pre-birth oblivion to afterlife infinity anyone could ever imagine. My old Plymouth Horizon was more reliable. Less farty, too.

• I once found myself admiring the men I knew who disdained recommended Covid vaccines on the grounds that they weren't "afraid of dying." Then it dawned I was misreading the mindset. No, they weren't afraid of dying. But what truly terrifies them is living.

• How lackadaisical am I becoming? I now consider the act of me pouring milk on Lucky Charms meal prep. Anyone want to take a wild guess what's for dinner?

• An elaborate beard is one of the few traits that can grow on you even as it grows on me.

• It’s a linguistic pity the gangster flicks have so indelibly linked the words "rat" and "fink." Our descriptions could use more different types of finks. I'm thinking goat fink, ass fink, etc. I'd like to be a monkey fink!

• Families are God's way of proving we can't help the ones we love the very most.

• I wonder if God, whenever He needs a good laugh, goes back and checks out my youthful prayers for fame and fortune and marvels at my mortal simplemindedness. 

• You don't have to be a raging environmentalist to agree that any country that seeks prosperity through intensive mining is an in-dig nation.

• I wonder if the 1st caveman to shave his beard was teased by other cavemen or if they were frustrated by the understanding that it would be thousands of years before the word "metrosexual" would be coined. And I wonder if the shave drove the cavebabes wild, thus sparking a trend.

• You’d have to think being a nymphomaniac with a willing harem would take a lot out of you even as you put a lot into them.

• Which unnecessary innovation will come first: A toaster that can make phone calls or a phone that can make toast?

• Am becoming nervous about upcoming toe surgery. Told podiatrist I was getting cold feet. He said, "I can fix that," and billed me another $1,500.

• Life’s a crap shoot and here in America we’re not happy unless we're constitutionally assured everyone everywhere is entitled to shoot the crap of anything.

• Being a thoughtful dermatologist is inherent with cruel frustrations. No matter how careful one is, he or she must still make rash decisions.

• The stores we used to call "convenience" marts are now built with drive-thru windows to spare us the inconvenience of having to leave our vehicles to enter the convenience mart. Should we still be calling them convenience marts or has that become anachronistic?

• You used to be able to count on all-news networks to present you with fact-based reports on a wide range of stories. Now the major networks seem to devote most of their time to convincing viewers their competitors are involved in dark conspiracies that serve Satan's purposes. We've gone from cable news to cabal news.

• I was stuck in such a long bank line today I actually began twiddling my thumbs. It was a good long twiddle, a fine twiddle. And while in mid-twiddle, it occurred to me my thumbs are the only things I've ever twiddled. Seems a waste. Any suggestions for something else that'd be fun to twiddle? And I mean while I'm in line at the bank.

• The word "astute" means shrewd or mentally sharp. Had the people who coined a word that's pronounced ass-TOOT been shrewd or mentally sharp then astute would mean something entirely different.

• I know so few people who sleep, I propose we stop calling sleep sleep and instead call it, "(Mostly) stationary time where we recline in darkened rooms and ignore one another but the television/devices are (mostly) NOT on." Too cumbersome? I can do better. Let me sleep on it ….

• A horologist (sounds just like it looks) is expert at making watches and clocks and is consumed with all the elements of time. A whoreologist's study is built around mostly hourly increments.

• France is populated by creative, artistic and passionate men and women. So how come in my entire life I’ve never heard anyone say, “You gotta hear this really kickass French rock band!” France: Where mimes matter more than music.

• If the love of money is truly the root of all evil then I must be one of the world's most virtuous men. Money and me, we're barely on speaking terms.

• The term “psychological warfare” was coined by Nazi strategists in 1939 to describe mental manipulations meant to undermine morale, faith and allegiances. In the intervening years, countless wars have killed millions of humans and yet psychological peace isn’t even a term, much less a custom. 

• Bible says the "meek shall inherit the earth." My fear is that once all the Type-A aggressors conclude  their greedy plunder the only thing left for the meek to inherit will be an uninhabitable cinder where earth used to spin.

• Every one declaring "Justice has been served!" Has me wondering if justice left a tip …

• I’m so convinced I'll one day die of random gunfire I'm thinking of getting a bullseye chest tattoo just to give the morgue folks a good story.

• I always feel like I'm really gettin' away with something when I watch a "Mature Audiences Only" program and the smart TV doesn't explode.

•The signs were all there: Newspaper readership plunging; Magazines folding; Libraries ditching books in favor of vids. I saw all this &  what did I say: "I know, I'll become a writer!" Now we're left w/ irony of a writer who didn't read signs complaining ab't willful illiteracy.

• Call me paranoid, but I'm psuspicious any time a pso-called pspokesperson pstoops to including psilent letters in their name. It just pseems psneaky. pSo what else are you trying to hide, Jen Psaki?

• I never really thought about being a podiatrist, but I once repaired an Apple music device. I guess that makes me an iPodiatrist. 

• I’d like to see a sensational trial where a Samsonite exec is accused of killing her boyfriend, a VP at Away luggage, just to hear crime pundits say, "There's still a lot to unpack, but I think we're looking at a real open 'n' shut case here.”

• Someone will one day identify an exclusively male condition in which men convince themselves they  alone possess the virility and sex appeal to, if needed, re-populate the entire planet. These men are “egoTESTicle."

• It was a long time ago, but I still recall being a promising young writer and hearing a wise mentor say, "Kid, you're really going to go places." Some 30 years later, the only place I ever go is The Tin Lizzy. I wonder if that's what he meant. It is quite a place.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Godfather & the importance of health to happiness. Or not

(517 words)

It is my understanding that in some convalescent settings, many of the faithful turn to prayer.

Me, I turned to Hyman Roth.

Roth was the wise Jewish gangster (modeled after Meyer Lansky) who in “Godfather II” memorably counsels young Michael Corleone on relationships, trust and how dessert cake can be used to demonstrate equality in Third World plunder distribution.

And, an enfeebled old man, Roth expounds on the benefits of good health.

“Good health is the most important thing,” he says gravely. “More than success, more than money, more than power.”

Right now, you could argue I’m oh-fer-4 on the Roth rankings.

I have little success, no money and so little power that if the stupid dog ever communicates he’d rather watch “The View” than baseball the girls will insist I forfeit the remote.

Health-wise I’m actually doing pretty good. Eight days out of surgery and still mostly homebound, the podiatrist says I ought to be traversing the 77 steps between my office and favorite Tin Lizzy barstool in 10 days.

As for the Parkinson’s, all the experts say I’m doing great. This is perfect because my plan all along is to appear symptom-free for so long all my friends begin to suspect I fabricated the diagnosis just because I crave attention.

I looked up the Roth quote to ensure precision. I wanted to understand his life priorities. They are: health, success, money and power.

If I were advising the young gangster, I’d in order list family, friends and either memories of happy times or hallucinations of happy times.

I love bein’ human, and I love human bein’s.

Unlike Roth, I take good health right off the table. Our lives are so fleeting and finite that emphasizing good health and longevity is like stressing the importance of winning the lottery.

Sure, it’s great to have in your pocket but acquiring it is largely beyond our cunning. We’re all one distracted driver from a pulse-racing helicopter ride to an urban trauma center.

My priorities, if properly pursued, will lead to scores of loved ones crowding around our death beds and — one hopes — a tidy grave drenched with appreciative tears rather than — one hopes — warm urine.

I wish I could have (for a small fee) stressed to Roth the importance of close friendships. His disregard for them wound up — spoiler alert! — getting himself  killed. 

I sense no one is right now out to kill me and that includes Val and my daughters who’ve been patient and pleasant with my needs as I gingerly seek a return to full mobility.

I don’t count my blessings. I lose count of my blessings.

The gratitude attitude never caught up to Roth. He spent his life in pursuit of illusory goals that required, literally, back stabbing and cut throats.

So men like Roth never gain an appreciation for the things that mean more to life than even stellar health.

But to paraphrase Roth’s most famous quote, “That was the business he chose.”

I’m glad it’s none of my business. 

Subscribe to my “Use All The Crayons!” newsletter — just $5 month/$50 a year — and get all my best stuff delivered twice-weekly straight to your inbox!