The Middle School Love Song Writer

I never figured out how solve a Rubik’s cube, at least not based upon the instructions.

You took that cube of many colors and twisted it so that each side went from being a single uniform color to a jumble of colors.

The goal was to restore it to uniform color per side by twisting and turning it back but it wasn’t as simple as that sound.

It was a puzzle and required some careful thought and as a 14 year-old boy my patience was limited for that particular item.

I could do two sides without much trouble and got three down a bunch of times, but beyond that I never did progress.

Sometimes I watched others solve it, but I never let them show me exactly how they did it because if I solved it I wanted to do it myself.

The Middle School Love Song Writer

There was a time when I was in between jobs and feeling lost because I couldn’t get an interview and the few I did get were for dead end positions that didn’t want me either.

A unending moment in time where I sometimes would get in my car and drive for hours with no destination in my mind but this crazy idea that I would find something.

Some days there was a destination in mind, a local coffee house where I’d hang out with a friend who was in the same position and we’d do our best to prop each other up.

“If I can’t find something soon I am going to have to create my own job.”

“Oh yeah, what are you thinking of doing?”

“I am going to be a middle school love song writer.”

“Do you know how to read or write music?”

“Nope, but I think I should be able to cobble together some lyrics that love sick middle schoolers might like. All I need is for them to whine at their parents or grandparents for a couple of Shekels and I’ll be on my way.”

Later on when I have too much time to do nothing but not enough to do anything I’ll throw a few lines on a page and almost be impressed with myself.

Almost because just when I think maybe I came up with something I realize it is way too close to one of my favorite Springsteen songs.

A Thousand Lifetimes Later

A thousand lifetimes later I sit in the back of a room waiting for a lecture to start.

I am a stranger here and don’t really know anyone and the dude who kidded around about being a middle school love song writer thinks this feels like being in school again.

Being new is a mixture of exciting and scary because when no one knows you there is an opportunity to write a new story and that is cool, but kind of scary too.

A tall brunette walks to the front of the room and provides the introduction to the lecture and though I am listening to her speak my mind does wander back to my school days.

That is because she is very attractive and I think about how in middle school I wouldn’t have known how to respond to that kind of thought and probably would have done something stupid.

High school wouldn’t have presented that sort of response, but even though I would have been comfortable with it I would not have said anything.

Can’t say exactly what I would have done in college because given the right moment I would have been comfortable walking up to her to say she looked stunning, but only if I felt I could pull it off without her thinking it is a line.

Back in present time none of that matters and part of me finds it funny to think about how I’ll remain silent as I did when I was in high school albeit for very different reasons.

Now if only I could take that high school feeling and use it to bring my back my high school metabolism.

Bad Driver’s License Pictures

The night before I went to get a Texas driver’s license one of my friends told me I ought to take a really bad picture.

“Close your eyes or scrunch up your face when they take the shot. It’ll be fun, those photos aren’t supposed to be good.”

I laugh and tell them that ought to work well because if ever there is a manhunt for me the police will be looking for the guy with the half closed eyes and stupid look on his face.

“They’ll never catch me, as long as I use my usual smile and keep my eyes wide open.”

Since it is a regular phone call he can’t see the ridiculous face I am making but I laugh anyway. That is part of the dad creed, you must laugh at your own jokes…hard.


When I finally receive the hard copy of my new license I look at the photo and almost choke on my drink.

It is awful.

The funny thing is I didn’t try to take a bad shot but it happened anyway.

I didn’t realize how thick my beard was or how the lack of hair on top of my head accentuated the beard.

Stick me in a cabin on a mountainside somewhere, Grizzly Wilner at your service.

The bad photo irks me for a moment and then Grizzly Wilner thinks about that Rubik cube and wonders if maybe he ought to buy a new one.

Something about not having solved it way back when gnaws a little bit at the back of my mind, maybe it is time for me to finish that.

Or maybe not.

As I throw the first load of Sunday laundry into the washer I think again about that middle school love song writer job and laugh.

If I went to career day at the kids’ schools that is precisely the kind of job they’ll want their father to have.

And then I laugh again because the dad creed must be obeyed regardless of whether you are alone or with others.

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