What I Like About You

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In two weeks I turn 44-years-old and what scares me the most is I still have little to no self-esteem. You would think after more than half my life gone I’d have accumulated some cockiness about my resume. Nope.

A couple of months ago, I visited a new psychiatrist. She was a very nice Indian-American lady who exuded warmth, kindness and positivity. Either she was a fantastic actress or the perfect person for her chosen profession. She made me feel safe, welcome, and relatively okay, for a crazy person.

One of the things she told me was I was too hard on myself and didn’t give myself enough credit for the good stuff I’d done and my positive attributes. She gave me homework that of course I didn’t do, until today.

“Go home and write 5 things you like about yourself and say them aloud to the mirror.”

My first thought was, lady, you’re lovely, but I’m a writer, isn’t that enough narcissism for one person. Then I realized I was paying her for the hour, so eventually I obliged.

It was difficult. Five things about me? Really? I’m a mess. Okay, but note, I wrote out like seven, then realized that two of them were sarcastic lies so the five you’ll read are absolutely it. I don’t recommend any of you do this, because I know most of you will whine about paring your list from 37 to a top five and then I’ll have to hate you.

5) My taste and knowledge of music is pretty stellar. I can’t remember my kids’ names but I can recite Lou Reed lyrics from the Transformer album. I always forget at least two things on my wife’s grocery list but I know more about 1970s punk and glam rock and 1990s grunge and alternative music than the average dude or dudette. People ask me for playlists all the time, tag me in their Facebook posts about music stuff, and if one more person argues with me about the merits of Diamond David Lee Roth Van Halen versus Sammy Hagar Van Halen I’m going to curse them to choke on brown M&Ms. If you don’t get that reference, we can’t be friends.

4) I don’t drink coffee or play the lottery. This means I’m the perfect person to be in line with at a convenience store. You don’t have to worry about me bickering over the quality of the cappuccino mix or taking 14 extra minutes selecting scratch off tickets.

3) I’m reliable. I hated this about me until about five years ago. I’ve moved over 30 people by either owning or tracking down a truck, dollies, and boxes. I’ve bailed over 10 people out of jail. I’ve never failed to pick someone up from the airport, school, or work when they needed a ride. You ask me to be somewhere, I’m 97.3 percent of the time punctual and proud to do it, publically. Privately, I’m probably making fun of you and making snide remarks. Seriously, I’m that dude you’re supposed to call because it’s the right thing to do.

2) I can write. I’m not saying I’m Hemingway or Palahniuk or even Franzen but I think I know what I’m doing. Time and deadlines are hard to meet sometimes because of real life but I know my way around sentence structure and storytelling. My editing sucks, but I have people for that. I think I know what I’m doing as a writer compared to most.

1) I’m a good parent. I didn’t say I was a great one because that’s crazy talk. I know my 3 daughters love me, mostly behind my back, but with one in college and two others at the tops of their classes, I haven’t screwed them up or nullified the fantastic work of their mother. There’s a lot of love in our house and all 3 of my girls are smart, beautiful, and can tell a good joke.

What are your good attributes? Please, limit them to five. I’m very fragile, emotionally. You start showing off with more than that, and the next 47 posts will be dark dystopian tales of woe that will make you want to punch yourself in the face, too.

Here’s The Romantics.

http://youtu.be/Rqnw5IfbZOU

I wrote two books. They got good reviews. The third one, a sequel to the first, Woman Of Troy, is on the way, very soon.

The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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Always On The Run

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Chewing my breakfast in the car, I ignored apple Danish smudge my thumb left on the phone screen. I typed good luck with first day of college classes to my oldest daughter while my middle one waved goodbye and walked into school.

 

http://yeahwrite.me/gargleblaster-176/

The ultimate question

Lace up those sneakers – this week’s ultimate question is designed to get you moving.

What are we running for?

Basket Case

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Walking the ten steps upstairs to pick up clothes for the laundry basket, check the cat’s food bowl, and shudder at the mess of my 3 daughters’ bedrooms is a routine that has suddenly changed because one of them is gone.

Since my 18-year-old daughter graduated high school in the spring and prepared to leave for college, there have been a lot of tears. Yet, with her moved in to the college dormitory at Georgia State University yesterday, I realized that those bouts of crying were in anticipation of a harsh reality that she’s no longer living in my house. Now, I’m just numb.

College move in day was pretty standard stuff. I bought and hooked up a mini-fridge, maneuvered around several twenty minute parking zones in downtown Atlanta, and owned my dad moment when I handed over pink pepper spray mace and lectured her on being smart and safe as a pretty, naïve, young woman on a large Metropolitan campus.

It was a long hard day without a defining moment. My wife and I were just like the other moms and dads stumbling around looking for carts to roll boxes into rooms and kicking ourselves for forgetting obvious stuff like silverware and toilet paper. We were too busy to stop, drop and roll through our emotions and pinpoint the mind-blowing instant our lives were splitting the atom and changing forever.

Until I went upstairs this morning, and saw her room, almost empty, and without her.

For the emotionally draining months to come to a mildly anti-climatic end seemed appropriate. This is real life. I have two other daughters currently filibustering for their sister’s room, to take care of and stress over growing into the same kind of young woman my oldest did.

Now, I follow my college enrolled daughter’s day through her social media accounts wondering if there’s a boy just out of screenshot or she’s eating something more than Doritos and cheese dip.

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Our relationship has been unique because I didn’t meet her until she was twelve, we were friends while I dated her mom, then became dad after we married. It’s a 37 minute drive from our driveway to her dorm. I know at some point I’ll embarrass her and show up for a lunch or a freak out night trip after she doesn’t return a phone call because she left her phone at a fraternity party.

Friends who have gone through this have told me it gets better. “You’ve done all the hard work and it’s all up to her, now”. I don’t think I buy into that, just yet. The next four or five years of her life in college will matter a lot more than the ones before it because of the choices she makes off the lessons her mom and I have tried to teach. As hard as yesterday was, It had to happen.

Now, I just hope she let’s me fine tune some of those lessons and realizes I wasn’t just some annoying basket case after all.

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100 Word Song – Cup Of Coffee

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I’m living in an alternate dimension right now, teetering on mental breakdown because of real world wildness of my oldest daughter moving into college tomorrow and my real job, outside of the blog, book writing and Lefty Pop (www.leftypop.com), becoming overwhelming. I apologize for the lateness of this week’s 100 word song.

My writing friend, Valerie The Word Pirate of http://thewordpirate.wordpress.com/ selected this week’s tune, Cup Of Coffee by Garbage. My 100 will be connected to Velvet Verbosity’s 100 word prompt, Wharf, as well http://www.velvetverbosity.com/.

Back to Silas in the garage, now unarmed and vulnerable.

Last time: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/100-word-song-worrisome-heart/

“Silas, pick up the money and the gun. They’re yours.”
Archie held back Roscoe and Kenny, who stared in amazement.
Silas kept his eyes on all 3 men, scooped up the cash and gun, holding it down to the garage floor. He spoke.
“I know how to end this.”
Roscoe yelled.
“Yeah, we kick the shi…!”
Archie pushed him then motioned for Silas to continue.
“I have Bart’s stash, all of it.”
Archie shook his head at Roscoe, who growled.
“Meet at Tampa wharf in 2 hours. I’ll give you 3 grand, then you put a million miles between us.”

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

You have six days from NOW, to write 100 words inspired by Valerie’s pick of Garbage’s Cup Of Coffee. Use the media that are social to advertise you magic, then link up with the green mr.linky button at the bottom.

Freeze Frame

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I don’t usually hitchhike on bandwagons, but this one rides smooth, gets good gas mileage, and possibly ends at an amazing destination.

A friend asked me to take part in the internet phenomenon, The Ice Bucket Challenge, to raise awareness and money for the horrible illness Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease“.

It took the life of a family member and has stricken the lives of people I know. So, I loaded up a kitchen pot full of ice water, fetched my teenaged daughter as an assistant and gave my wife my iPhone to shoot the results.

This is connected to the writing prompt, “phenomenon”, at http://www.velvetverbosity.com.

Today’s song is from the J. Geils band. I couldn’t pull the trigger on Foreigner, Madonna, Vanilla Ice, Slayer or Metallica. This is too good of a cause.

If you would like to donate to ALS, go here: http://t.co/PFA50C9Pxa – MJsArmy.org

Never Said

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It is a 20-year-old tale told by a fool, full of drunkenness and pity, signifying something, and when the Facebook friend request popped up I ignored her on instinct. The following message made me grin, wide, but guilt as cargo. My wife sat three feet away on the family living room sofa as I read.

What is the airspeed velocity of a flying monkey?

I remembered. Two decades earlier the person behind the message and I sat on a sad, yellowed couch watching The Simpsons. It was the episode where Mr. Burns unleashes his flying monkeys. We quoted every line, laughed at each joke, and plotted our own entertainment successes that never happened. Against better judgment, I answered.

Fly my pretties! Fly!

I didn’t wait for her response. I shut my laptop and walked into the kitchen to look for a diet soda. I opened the refrigerator, popped the top, and drifted into a memory.

I stood in front of a dirty fridge looking at a twelve pack of beer, a pack of cheese, some condiments and left over pizza. She had followed me into the kitchen, chattering about our plans.

“When we make it as comedy writers and stand ups, we’re never drinking cheap beer from a can.”

I swigged a Natural Light while tossing her one as she leaned against the lime green wall phone with a cord that could stretch into all five rooms; kitchen, bathroom, living room and two bedrooms. She caught it with her left hand and said.

“Tell me your first joke you’re going to do at the open mic tomorrow.”

I frowned at the thought of performing in front of just her. As close as we were, it was a competitive relationship. I didn’t trust her. If she liked my material, she’d downplay her delight. If she didn’t like it, she’s patronize my feelings. I took the bait like a hungry catfish.

“Hey, how’s everyone doing? I just graduated college and my post graduate work is making strangers laugh enough so that the important guy in the back running this place gives me a break and I’ll have my own sitcom by Christmas. So please, for the love of poverty, don’t forget to tip your waitresses. I plan on sweet talking one for a twenty buck loan at the end of the night.”

She drank her beer, then grinned. I fumed.

“What?” I demanded.

She stepped toward me, tossed back another drink, and answered.

“That’s so adorable, you’ll get laughs and get laid by the waitress.”

She patronized me. I knew her so well. I walked past her and looked for the black spiral notebook that contained my best stuff. I felt her hand on my back as I reached the bedroom.

“Who is she?”

The refrigerator door shut and I was back. My wife stood a few feet away with her arms crossed, holding her cell phone with raised eyebrows and a mischievous smile.

“Somebody I used to know from my stand up comedy days. I denied the friend request. answered her message, then walked away. I was going to tell you.”

She met me in front of the fridge and leaned in for a kiss. She brushed away strands of brown but gray-tinged hair from my eyes.

“I know, but I was bad. I looked her up on my phone. She’s not as pretty as me, and it looks like she’s unhappy with her life. If she messages you again, tell me, and I’ll have her killed by the end of  the day.”

We both broke into loud laughter. I composed myself, kissed her, then said.

“You’re the funny one, these days. Maybe I should take you to an open mic.”

I followed her into the living room. We never said anything else, about her, or my life, back then.

http://youtu.be/RCP-UIs2kpM

100 Word Song – Worrisome Heart

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No lead in or exposition, just a song, more Silas and Olive, and a request to go see my sometimes writing partner, Tara aka @Tara_R from http://www.thinspiralnotebook.com. She chose today’s 100 word tune, a jazzy number from Melody Gardot called Worrisome Heart.

Here’s my 100.

Last time: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/100-word-song-wish-i-could-fly-like-superman/

Silas swallowed, thought about Olive, then his hand shook. His finger was close to the trigger. He dropped it on the ground. Archie smiled. Kenny and Roscoe ran next to him, but Archie stopped them with one sentence.

“I know what it’s like to be surrounded by people with troubling ways and worrisome hearts.”

He stepped toward Silas. The gun was equal distance from both men.

“Everybody wants the short cut get to where they’re going. We’re not like that.”

Silas stared at the money in his other hand, then dropped it to the garage floor, too.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

As always, you have 7 days from NOW, to write 100 words off Melody Gardot’s Worrisome Heart, Use the media that are social to advertise your magic. Also link up to the green Mr. Linky button, below.