The Greatest Picky Eater You Never Met

My stomach hurts and I am focused on not running back to the bathroom for the 1,968th time this evening.

Was going grab shawarma for lunch but decided to try a Chinese place I have heard good things about.

The lunch special was mediocre and more support for my belief that most of the people leaving Yelp reviews for Chinese or Mexican food here haven’t a clue what good is.

They are the same kind of folks who order Blueberry bagels, a pastrami wrap at a deli and spread mayo on naked bodies and call themselves sexually progressive.

That is the sort of broad brush stroke that gets one in trouble so you might ask if I am going to laud their barbecue skills as a way to mitigate the smear job but I won’t.

It is easy to find good barbecue here, good meat meals in general but that doesn’t cover the other items.

Still it would be false to suggest I haven’t found anywhere here that has the sort of ethnic food I consider good, there have been some but they aren’t as plentiful as in my hometown. That isn’t misplaced loyalty, it is fact.

Of course there are some misguided folks who try to label me as a picky eater. It is kind of cute and funny.

We all have our standards and after 50 years I am still good with mine.

Grieving The Night Away

I had some teachers and employers who told me they didn’t like my writing and suggested I go a different direction.

Been told I am not not particularly good at quite a few things not the least of which is listening to criticism they claim is constructive.

Periodically I think about looking up some of the teachers to show them the writing awards and accomplishments that came after they said their piece.

Every now and then I thought about looking up the old employers who had negative things to say to ask them if they figured out I have written 15 books using three different pseudonyms but I haven’t done it.

Probably won’t.

Got an email saying that my dad’s stone is resting upon his grave and was irritated and relieved not to see a picture of it.

We’re coming closer and closer to marking a year since he made like the ballplayers and wandered into the cornfields.

By this time last year I could hear the sand running out of his hourglass and did my best not to jump if the phone rang too late or too early.

I still secretly hoped he would surprise us all again and make it to my 50th birthday and if he had, well I would have asked for more time because it is what you do.

But he didn’t so I couldn’t and now I think about grief and what it means to grieve the night away. Sometimes it is hard and sometimes it is simple and sometimes it is somewhere in between.

I expect the day will come when I realize that empty hole isn’t as prominent as it once was. It won’t ever disappear, but scar tissue will cover it a bit and the pain will go from regular appearance to surprise showings.

It will be like an unannounced visit from a major star or band who blows into town for an unexpected show, one night only.

At least that is what I anticipate, because that is how it usually works for me.

Maybe it is because I spend so much time rooting around in the pain and the holes. Me, the kid who used to slam his head against the ground when he was quite little and then roar in pain.

A girlfriend once asked me to explain that and I said “you fell in love with a man who is sometimes stupid and very stubborn. I always figured the ground would break before I do.”

Actually I don’t know if that is what I thought then, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I am very consistent about some things.

I love who and what I love and dislike who and what I dislike.


Love Me. Write Me, Be Me

I typically don’t use outlines for these posts. I just write down whatever I am thinking and let the thoughts roam free.

Sometimes that works well and sometimes it probably isn’t as useful as it could be.

Lately people keep trying to apply structure and limits upon me and the harder they try the more I resist.

Sometimes it feels like they think they can motivate me to behave or respond in certain ways by trying to crush my spirit.

I may be broad enough to strap a saddle upon but I am very selective about gets to ride me and inclined to do more than just buck off and stomp upon those who aren’t selected.

Truth is I think grief has held me back a little bit.

The old man would tell me that it shouldn’t and that I ought to do my thing without letting outside interference slow me down.

I’d tell him I am going to wear these shackles until I am done and then I will take them off and run…hard.

When is that going to be?

I don’t know.

Will I shave my beard off after we gather around his new home?

I don’t know…maybe.

****

We’re sitting around the dinner table talking about tornadoes and earthquakes. My daughter says there isn’t much you can do for earthquakes and I stare at her.

“Yeah, I know dad, you take cover.”

Her older brother smiles at me and adds “stay calm.”

“That is the most important thing. Stay calm and use your head to make smart decisions.”

I don’t follow up with the 10 other thoughts in my head about how that doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t make mistakes. Don’t tell them all you can do is your best or how you can only play the cards you are dealt.

They have heard them before and I feel like communing in silence with dad. I tell him that I am going to play out the hand on those two things we discussed.

“Going to see where they lead because I won’t be able to relax if I don’t. Peace of mind is important dad, got to have it.

However they go I’ll be able to move onto the next steps knowing I didn’t let inertia or fear stop me from possibly experiencing and doing some amazing things.

It is the best part of having lost so many things and rebuilt so much, you don’t let fear stop you.

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