In this great wide world, there are two types of people: wavers and assholes. By the great wide world, I mean the national park where I run, the Gettysburg National Military Park (aka the Gettysburg battlefield). By wavers, I mean runners who wave or nod to other runners as they approach. And the assholes? I’m … Continue reading Wavers and A**holes (My rules for running and life in general)
Do you read advice columns? I do every day. The Washington Post runs a daily column by Carolyn Hax that I read while eating breakfast. As I crunch away on my Special K Chocolaty Delight cereal, the game I play is to compare my off-the-cuff response with Carolyn’s. Mine: a knee-jerk reaction to a seemingly … Continue reading Ask Amy
Step, step, step, torque. I twist my torso, a jerking motion, hoping for a violent stretch. Looking for a pop. A release, like a knuckle crack, like that crunching sound Eli makes with his neck when he drops his head to the side. I torque the bottom of my ribs on the left, not quite … Continue reading Torque
Spewing poison. Do you know this phrase? It came to mind riding home from the doctor’s office tonight. I’m spewing poison! My mood sucked. Bad vibes leaked from my pores. Susan kept reaching over to hold my hand, not talking because I didn’t want to talk, not talking because she didn’t want to hear what … Continue reading Stewing Poison
Arrrr. This photo is unrelated to the story that follows... “I think I need to see Nicole.” “You’re feeling pretty bad, huh?” Who’s Nicole? She’s the only mental health professional I see. Tourette syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder, general anxiety disorder, (rarely) depression, social anxiety. I should employ an army of neurologists, psychiatrists and therapists. Instead, … Continue reading The Conversation
These Songs of Freedom
Photos shamelessly copied from Dave's website Won't you help to sing these songs of freedom?'Cause all I ever had, redemption songs --Bob Marley and the Wailers, Redemption Song “How about legal stuff? Have you broken any laws?” “You mean besides all the substance abuse we just talked about a minute ago?” From my intake interview … Continue reading These Songs of Freedom
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?I egged the chicken, then I ate his leg. -- The Beastie Boys You know that saying, which came first… Years ago, when I first met Robyn, we each showed our hand. Robyn: Tourette Syndrome is a comorbidity of autism. Jeff: Funny, I always heard of autism being … Continue reading Stimming
Tics. Part 45.
Tics: Involuntary sounds and movements associated with Tourette Syndrome. I admitted to my boss, I’m having trouble. It started with a nasty cold. Not Covid, my doctor tested me twice. The coughing never went away. It’s no longer the chesty, phlegmy cough of my three-week illness, the cough that stirred up mucus in my lungs, … Continue reading Tics. Part 45.
A Beautiful Mind?
I live a routine. Predictable, clockwork. I arrive at work at exactly the same time every morning. I drop off Eli at school at 7:15 and then drive a mile or so to the library. For a couple of years, I turned on the building lights every day. I beat my coworkers by at least … Continue reading A Beautiful Mind?
Tics: Involuntary movements and vocalizations… I sit at my desk and grit my teeth—first my molars, they squeak with friction, then my eye teeth, left then right. I press outward with my bottom teeth, until I feel movement. When I eat my apple, my jaw locks. It audibly snaps with every bite. I probe the … Continue reading Tourette
First off, I’m breaking the rules. This story isn’t about a song lyric referencing Heavenly Bodies, Planets, Moons, Suns or Stars, which is this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme. Building off a complying lyric is how the game is supposed to be played. I’m posting this up front so no one feels cheated. At the … Continue reading Metal Firecracker
In January, I posted The Routine, a flash piece illustrating my teenage struggle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I initially wrote it a few years ago, but in January I gave it a heavy edit and submitted it to Through the Looking Glass: Reflecting on Madness and Chaos Within, an anthology of short nonfiction and poetry … Continue reading Book Launch
His latest book is crap—in my mind anyway. Jonathan Lethem’s The Arrest takes place in the near future, some years after everything stops. You know, everything: electronics, motors, hydraulics, solar power, indoor plumbing. Amenities, creature comforts. It all stops, but you never learn why. Witchcraft is my guess. As good a reason as anything else. … Continue reading Motherless Brooklyn
*Normal* A story of change
“Jeffrey doesn’t like change.” My father said this (in my presence) to my mother as our family contemplated moving to a new state. I must have been twelve or thirteen years old. Prior to this, I was unaware of my aversion to change. Brief aside #1: Please don’t call me Jeffrey. My father is permitted … Continue reading *Normal* A story of change
It’s a simple mechanism, the garage door lock. A spring-loaded bolt pushed through a slot in a metal rail—the rail the garage door rolls along as it’s opened or closed. It’s like a deadbolt on the front door. Binary, locked/unlocked, no gray area. A lever releases the lock. The bolt springs back, unlocking the door. … Continue reading Routine
Dreaming Dark Thoughts
We’re living through dangerous times—I keep reading this. Isolating, lonely, dreaming dark thoughts. Degrading mental health. Well people become depressed, too much time alone, too much time in their heads. Extroverts. I feel for them, I do. Today my company gave me a Panera gift card. The money they would have spent on a holiday … Continue reading Dreaming Dark Thoughts
Buzz, Buzz, Buzz, Buzz, Click, Click, Click
Rhythms. Complex, repeating. LOUD. Like that Sonic Youth concert at the 9:30 Club back in 2002. So loud, my head spun—possibly the reason I wear hearing aids today. Music accompanies the patterns. Phantom music, it’s not really there, my brain fills it in behind the noise. “Squeeze ---- ball -- ---- ----- to rock.” “WHAT?” … Continue reading Buzz, Buzz, Buzz, Buzz, Click, Click, Click
Can you write a poem about a graph? Can you grab a column of numbers, distill them to their purest form, and use them to paint a picture? I’ve spent my career trying to make numbers seem interesting. My last three companies, all nonprofits, in reverse order: a library, a domestic violence shelter, a community … Continue reading Obsession
When things aren’t right
This happened before, years ago, mornings just like today, a common occurrence. Over-thinking. A bad night’s sleep. Shaky. Hungover. Dry heaving. Brain-fogged. I don’t miss it. At all. I’ve worked myself into a tizzy. Tizzy (noun): a state of nervous excitement or agitation. Nervous excitement sounds fun. I’m in the agitation camp. I’m worried I’m … Continue reading When things aren’t right
A bubble on my ankle, slightly red, hard to see. Itchy. Soft and squishy. Immediately I think it's gotta be a tick Engorged and floppy, ready to be picked. Or a worm, burrowed, safe and warm, or spider eggs buried against the bone. Yesterday spent in grass and weeds, immersed in brush and under trees. … Continue reading A Bubble