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!