What Kind Of Soldier Would You Be?

The hygienist has the chair fully reclined and is telling me I have done a fantastic job at turning the situation around in my mouth.

“Keep it up and you won’t have much to worry about in the future.”

That provides some small comfort knowing I still need to get two partial crowns to deal pre-existing problems that are going to pay for the dentist’s next vacation and make me wonder if my old dentist in LA was incompetent.

Intermixed I hear Grandpa Wilner telling me about how the army dentist pulled all of his teeth out followed by my father telling me to heed the dentist.

That resonates cuz dad had his teeth pulled due to medical reasons when he was about 60 or 61.

Any time I mentioned my irritation with dental bills he told me it was better to have them and then I would tease him about being able to scare the grandchildren.


Somewhere in the midst of the cleaning something sends my mind wandering to driving around with one of my Israeli friends in Canada.

We’re on a hill and the car is a stick and I having a mental hiccup trying to get it out from between the two cars that are parked in front and behind of us.

“Josh, stop driving like you are scared and just drive.”

“Betach commander.”

He laughs, tells me my accent is terrible and says I would make a good soldier. I tell him his accent is horrible too and that I never wondered what kind of soldier I would be.

“If I go through with making aliyah I am sure I will find out.”

Stop Arguing With Fools

I have an idea for a story but it is barely formed and I am afraid to try to bring it to the surface because it feels like water in the palm of my hand.

So I try listening to a bunch of different songs to see if they will help flesh it out.

It is a rough attempt punctuated by multiple runs to the bathroom because for the last few days something has tried to attack me on multiple occasions.

I close my eyes and look inwards trying to find the culprit, “Come out and let’s fight. You and me, hand to hand.”

It of course doesn’t answer nor does it appear in any form other than the ambush that sends me running.

Fortunately it didn’t show up during my gym time so I was able to do my normal work out which was made so much better because my daughter went with me again.

We have made a practice of going together every evening and she has told me to stop staring and smiling almost every time we go.

When school resumes next week it is probably going to impact her ability to go with me and I’ll miss having her join me.

That girl has big dreams and is only a few years away from heading off to college and given how fast time moves I am extra cognizant of how fast this time can go.

It is a good thing, but it is bittersweet in a way.

She and her older brother are on their way into their primes and I am on the flip side of mine.

Ego makes it hard to accept my not being able to do what I once could with the frequency and effort I want to put in.

I haven’t given up on working my way back to that kind of shape, but honesty requires admitting 50 year-old men can’t work out as hard as I want to each day without feeling some of the mileage I have put on.

But it is not over yet and I am not done trying to do something about the clock.


Post gym we’re back home watching a game show while we cool down because it is too soon to take a shower.

I answer six or seven of the questions and my daughter asks how I know about so many different things.

She reminds me that at dad’s unveiling a family friend talked about how strong her grandparents were at Trivial Pursuit.

“I beat grandma and grandpa a few times. You could too. It is not hard to be good at Trivia. You just need to read everything and anything. You know I am not always arguing with fools online.”

Written down it sounds obnoxious but I hope it didn’t come across that way because I really wanted it to be a teaching moment. I want the kids to understand how important reading is.

I grew up in a house where there tons of books all over and was never surprised to see my parents reading.

There are books around the house and probably 30 boxes of books in the garage so I think the kids have a pretty good idea about how I feel about it.

But I sometimes wonder about the impact of tech. They see me with a Kindle, computer, tablet and phone with regularity.

That doesn’t necessarily translate in their heads as my reading something so I try to remember to comment about it with some regularity.

He Probably Won’t Answer

I dialed half of dad’s cellphone number and remembered he probably won’t answer and reminded myself to get checked out if he does.

Later on I’ll mutter a few words at his picture.

“Did you see the idiot in the White House is running around giving thumbs up poses at a hospital that treated gun victims. Can you believe how many of his idiot supporters say there is no connection to his rhetoric and their actions.

I am telling you dad, the world is fucking crazy now but just how crazy won’t be determined until some more time has passed.”

Dad probably wouldn’t have had any particularly profound words of wisdom for the current circumstances and situation.

He thought Trump was an idiot and nothing has happened for me to believe his mind would have changed.

I am ok with that, some things have to be lived through and experienced before you can make decisions about what things were like.

But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about it so that I can provide answers to the kids and support to friends and family who need it.

Got to stay strong, stay vigilant and aware without letting the craziness drag us down. It is the only way to make good decisions.

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