Trigger warning: All kinds of disturbing stuff in this one. “I shot the clerk. I shot the clerk.” In a pivotal scene in the sleeper classic My Cousin Vinny, Ralph Macchio of Karate Kid fame is wrongly arrested in the killing a convenience store attendant. When first accused, in utter disbelief, Billy Gambini, played by … Continue reading I Killed the Crow
Not my shoulder, I don't see a doctor for this. Sigh. Another Saturday afternoon on the couch nursing a boo-boo. Someone added a new mountain biking obstacle—a bridge of logs lined up perpendicular to the trail, maybe seven feet long. The bridge doesn’t actually span anything, the only purpose is to have fun. Like a … Continue reading Subluxation… Again
I’m sensitive. No, really, I am. I’m a grown man scared of ghosts. Eli’s horror movie phase only lasted about a year. As a young teenager, he blew through an extensive list of well-known titles. The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Shining, et al. Trying to participate, I suggested we watch the 1982 film … Continue reading Ghost Story
Eli left for work at seven yesterday and didn’t return until six-thirty last night. Sophie came home from a weekend away yesterday, popped out of bed this morning, her birthday, and drove off to educate a gaggle of kids in animal science. Susan, excused from attending work in-person, trades off remote work and managing our … Continue reading Goldbricking
The guy pulling the strings over at the Other Stuff isn’t doing his job. Generally, I resent bloggers making excuses for their absences. They all start with “Sorry I haven’t posted in so long…” and end with “I’m back, and I promise to do better.” Hollow promises. These self-chastising posts always represent a predictable step … Continue reading Katherine Dunn gives me a poke
. My dad called me. “Jeff, do you know Allie Winston?” “No, I don’t think I know that name.” “Well, boy, he sure knows you!” Since my stepmother died, my father has been trying to find ways to fill his days. Initially, he immersed himself in the arduous task of wrapping up her affairs—selling her … Continue reading Jeffrey, Eat your Beans!
I drove into one of those industrial parks that sit out beyond the suburbs. Buildings lined the street in various stages of construction, off-white concrete, nondescript. Gravel parking lots surrounded by ten-inch-high curbs still awaited macadam and white lines. Yellow construction vehicles, all types—backhoes, dump trucks, bull dozers, steam rollers—scattered throughout the complex. Wide, desolate … Continue reading Admitted
Dammit. I can’t find that post. I searched the blog for flea market, junk and vendor. No luck. No patience either. I want to write, not browse someone else’s blog looking for a post I might never find. I read it during my transition phase, shortly after I attended the West Virginia writer’s workshop. I … Continue reading Junk Shops
A thick layer of dust covers the path. With each footfall a small cloud explodes around my shoe. The last rain fell a week ago. Dry is an understatement. Years ago, I passed a couple with their toddler on this trail. The child sat in the dust, scraping together a mound, placing pebbles around the … Continue reading Devil’s Den
Diane died yesterday. Diane is my stepmother, was. Or maybe ‘my father’s wife’ is a better description. They dated and then married while I was in my thirties, long after I needed mothering. Sort of—an adult, obviously, but still immature. At the family dinner the night before their wedding, I toasted my wicked stepmother, … Continue reading Twilight Zone
Content warning: Old, obscure rock lyrics. They put a hot wire to my head'Cos of the things I did and saidAnd made these feelings go awayModel citizen in every way Anger is an energy!Anger is an energy!Anger is an energy!Anger is an energy! —excerpts from Rise by Public Image Ltd I drove to York … Continue reading Anger is an Energy
It’s a million pounds of marble. It sits like a boulderor a bomb-sheltertwo blocks from the Square,which is what we call the town center even though it’s a circle.Past the comic book storeand the candy shopand the place that sellsexpensive shoes from Sweden,the century-old Federal Buildinglooms on the left shamingevery other property on the street. … Continue reading A New Day
Horse puzzles, she loved them. Early on, she worked a twenty-four-piece wooden job by Mellissa & Doug. A country scene, brightly colored—a horse-drawn apple cart, a big red barn, bright green trees and a yellow hay bale. A Clydesdale effortlessly pulls the cart to market. She dumped the puzzle on the carpet and stirred the … Continue reading Puzzles
Twenty years ago, my friend Doug admonished me. “You always speak in superlatives—slowest, meanest, hottest.” He didn’t follow up with any reason why I shouldn’t, so here we are today, the ugliest trees in the world. They sit just outside my neighborhood. Across rural route 116 bordering the Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary. Seven of them line … Continue reading The Ugliest Trees in the World
Caution #1: This post contains *salty* language. Caution #2: Old, privileged, white guy whining about his ridiculous first-world non-problem. Aargh!! Neil Young has pulled his music catalog off of Spotify. There are two types of people in this world. Those who could not possibly care less about this, and the rest of us—that’s 6,128,499 people … Continue reading WTF, Neil?
I have an annoying habit. Actually, I’ve got dozens of annoying habits, but I’m only writing about one of them. If someone says something that reminds me of a song lyric, I sing it. “Aw, that’s cute,” you say. No, it’s not, I’m as tone deaf as a stone. I can’t carry a tune. ♫ … Continue reading The Calm and the Storm
I never know what I’ll write until the typing starts. Often a vague topic floats through my head, a hazy arrow pointing the way, just a theme, but with no clear idea where I’m going. Other times, I form a strong opening sentence, that’s all, just a sentence—no subject, no area of focus. This always … Continue reading Write on Schedule
I read it every December. The library owns a ratty old copy, a broken binding, a lousy font. The lines sit too close together. People like me with a propensity towards double vision struggle not to jump around—reread the last line, skip to the next. Even though I know I’ll read it, since I always … Continue reading A Christmas Carol (part ii)
Six years sober. Strong word, sober. It implies not drunk. Drunk wasn’t my problem, not six years ago. Twenty-six years ago, drunk fit well. Six years ago, sometimes buzzed, tipsy. But usually, just relaxed... every night. Relaxed or buzzed every night. Until I quit. New Year’s Day seems like a good sobriety anniversary. Easy to … Continue reading Six Years “Sober”
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?