Hey, Dad!

Father's Day, Dad, love, humor, Modern PhilosopherHey, Dad.  Happy Father’s Day.  I can’t believe it’s been thirty years since you left us, but I can still feel your influence on my life every day.

I’m sure you’re having a great time behind the Pearly Gates.  You always were a people person.  Everyone loved you, you could make anyone laugh, and you had this knack for making a complete stranger feel like he’d known you his whole life.

I really love this old picture of us that I used to kick of the blog post.  I think it sums up our relationship perfectly.  I’ve got my legs crossed like you, I want to be close to you, and I’m copying your unique fashion sense.

Most importantly, though, I’m wearing a football helmet indoors, and you’re totally cool with it.  I was an odd kid, but you never tried to change me.  You just let me be me.

Even when others were trying to convince me that there was no future in writing, you encouraged me to chase my dream.  Thank you for refusing to get behind the plan that I study Accounting in college since I was good at Math!

Speaking of my writing, you were definitely on my mind when I was creating my TV series.  Even though college was one of the happiest times of my life, it was also very sad because that was when I lost you.

Father's Day, Dad, love, humor, Modern PhilosopherWhen I wrote about your succumbing to cancer, I completely lost it.  I cried like a baby when I wrote that scene in the Season Finale, and I cried again every time I had to read it while editing the script.

I’m sorry that I had such a painful memory to call upon in my writing, but I coldn’t possibly write about that time in my life without addressing it.

Dad, I have some important decisions to make about my life, and I really wish you were here to advise me. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I don’t try to have a conversation with you.

Luckily, you haven’t held up your end of those chats.  Because if you did, then I’d have to admit that I’ve finally lost it!

I do, however, try to imagine what your advice would be.  You were always so level headed, and never seemed under stress.  I wish I had inherited that gift from you because my stress levels are always through the roof.

Luckily, I did get your sense of humor and work ethic.  Those have both served me well over the years.  Since I seem to have a gift for pissing off people, it’s a true blessing that I can make them laugh and forget that they are upset with me.

Father's Day, Dad, love, Modern PhilosopherI wish you would visit my dreams more.  It’s such a treat to get to spend time with you in my subconscious, and with my fertile imagination, those dreams seem as real as any moment we had together.

Father’s Day is always difficult.  I wish you were here, but at least we get to spend some time together in my writing.  Obviously, you will be on my mind all day.

I love you, Dad.  Thanks for finding a way to always be here for me…

PS — Our Yankees are having a great season!

Posted in Humor, Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dealing With Big Ticket Item Stress

humor, money, stress, Modern PhilosopherQuick show of hands, Modern Philosophers…

Who else totally freaks out, feels like their head is going to explode, and is certain their financial future will be forever bleak if they ever have to purchase a big ticket item?

I can’t see you, but I’m guessing a lot of hands just went up across the internet.

I was raised by my stepmother to be very frugal with money.  When something broke, went on the fritz, or simply vanished in our house, the first option was never to run out to buy something shiny and new to replace it.

That was like option #37 on the list.  More often than not, we figured out how to live without the item in question.  If that didn’t work, we tried to fix it, replace it with a very cheap knock off, or said prayers that somehow the item would return to its original state.

Since God didn’t seem to be listening when I asked him for really important things, I doubted he was really going to jump to the task of repairing my calculator.

I wasn’t very handy, and looking for lost things never panned out, so I became skilled at adapting to life without the item in question.

money, stress, humor, Modern PhilosopherOnce I was on my own, and had a little money in my pocket, I quickly realized that buying a shiny, new replacement was definitely the way to go.

However, if the cost hit a certain threshold, the cold sweats kicked in, and pulling the trigger on a purchase became a whole new problem to conquer.

Remember, I drove Zombie Car for years because the idea of buying a new car stressed me out to the point that I’d lose time, coming to days later, often in a different state, with absolutely no memory of what had happened.

I’m typing this on a laptop with a broken space bar, a “J” key that only works when you hit it at least five times, and a battery that lasts for about thirty minutes.  There’s no way I’m ever going to be able to get past the stress of a cost of a new laptop, so I guess I’m stuck writing short stories, and never using characters whose names contain a J.

Three weeks ago, I noticed that my clothes were still wet no matter how long I put them in the dryer.  It took me awhile to accept, but I finally came to terms with the fact that the dryer was broken and needed to be replaced.

I mean, wearing wet clothes is not a major problem this time of year when the sun is shining and the temperature is rising.  But once October hits, I’ll be wearing a frozen wardrobe should I leave The House on the Hill dressed like that.

laundry, money, humor, stress, Modern PhilosopherI’ve tried hanging up my clothes to dry, but it’s given The House on the Hill the look of a Lower East Side tenement, with clothing draped everywhere.

I also developed an odd anxiety about waking up to find the cats scurrying around The House on the Hill in my wet clothes.

When I realized that J & I had bought this washer and dryer fifteen years ago when we first moved to Maine, I figured it was probably okay to replace the broken dryer.  After all, it had survived much longer than my marriage.

I did some online research, found a place near me that had the best prices on dryers, and asked a friend to accompany me to the store.

The friend was there to drive me home should I pass out from the stress of making a big ticket purchase.  Even though I had justified the need for the expense, that didn’t mean my body wouldn’t shut down to prevent me from handing over my debit card.

Then I took my emergency ride to lunch to both thank her for being on standby, and to also have the opportunity to vent about having to spend so much money.

I knew that if I didn’t get it all out of my head, and send it off into the world, it would bounce around in my head for probably the rest of my life and slowly kill me.

Cause of death?  Stress caused by that dryer he bought thirty years ago…

Caddyshack, stress, money, humor, Modern PhilosopherThe final step to surviving this unique form of stress was to find a funny movie to watch once I returned home.  Luckily, Caddyshack was on AMC.

It’s a classic, one of my all-time faves, and Bill Murray cracks me up.

As I was watching today, I realized that Murray’s quest to kill the gopher was a metaphor for my trying to deal with the stress of making a big ticket item purchase.  The quest was slowly driving me mad, and I was going to blow up everything if I didn’t find a solution.

My new dryer arrives on Thursday.  Hopefully by then, I’ve flushed the stress of this stiff blow to the finances from my system.

If not, I guess I could always try to relax with a round of golf…

How do you handle the stress of making big ticket item purchases?

Posted in Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wait!!! Dying Of Frustration

waiting, writing, frustration, humor, Modern PhilosopherSometimes, I hate it when I’m right, Modern Philosophers.

I confessed that I was dragging my feet on writing the Season Finale of my TV series because I didn’t want to be finished spending time with those characters.

I also feared that I would finish the script, deliver it to my producer, and then nothing would happen.

Like I said, sometimes I hate it when I’m right.

It’s been three weeks since I finished Episode 10, and there has still been no feedback on the script from my producer, nor has there been the even more important conversation about how we move forward from here.

Sure, there were a few emails promising a phone call, and one where he dared to tell me to relax, but that phone call still hasn’t happened.

And how well do you think I’m doing with the whole relaxing thing?

I hate the way I feel right now, and I believe I have every right to be frustrated.  I dedicated almost a year to creating this series, outlining the stories, and then writing the scripts.

I did that in addition to working my full time job, writing for The Nite Show, running five days a week, and fighting my way through a Maine winter.

All the sacrifice, hard work, and lack of sleep was worth it, though, because I knew I was on to something special with this project.  I was also tired of waiting for Hollywood to come calling, so I made a conscious choice to take more control of my writing career by creating something of my own.

Raiders of the Lost Ark, writing, humor, Modern PhilosopherOf course, I knew I would still be dependent on the kindness of strangers in order to succeed, and that part always worried me.

The mere thought of having to market myself to Hollywood makes my face melt like I glanced at the Ark of the Covenant.

I’m not good at playing the Hollywood game. I’m not a schmoozer.  I don’t have the confidence needed to cold call agencies and production companies.  I lack the daily recommended amount of narcissism necessary to wheel and deal my way to a deal.

What I can do is create a TV series, write every word of every script for Season One, and deliver a kick ass story that people will want to binge watch.

I just can’t take it to the next level.  If I had the money and the resources, I’d go all Kevin Smith on this bad boy and make it myself.  But I don’t have a comic book collection to sell, nor do I have access to a college dorm and a mansion.

And so I wait.

Still dreaming of the day I walk into the production office, see my name on the door, and the show’s title plastered everywhere.

I’m jotting down notes for Season Two.  Even fleshing out ideas for other series so when this one hits it big, and people come to me looking for my next project, I’m ready to go.

I’m just dying of frustration in the process.

You don’t even know how difficult it has been for me to keep my cool through all this.  I finally wrote to the producer the other night, and keeping that email civil was, perhaps, my greatest challenge as a writer.

writing, humor, frustration, Modern PhilosopherIt’s ridiculous that this series is languishing on my hard drive while other shows, of questionable quality, find their way onto the air.

I really don’t know what to do right now.  I’m hoping that venting on my blog will lessen my frustration, but even so, it will only be a temporary fix.

I’m open to suggestions, soothing words, and gifts of a chocolate peanut butter nature.  Thanks for listening, Modern Philosophers.  It’s nice to know someone is listening as I die a slow, painful death by frustration as I try to live my Hollywood dream…

Posted in Humor, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

What Runners Do

Groundhog Day, running, humor, Modern PhilosopherI’m sure we all have those Groundhog Day moments, Modern Philosophers, when we wake up and are certain we are just living the same moment over again.

Ths French call it deja vu, but in America, we always go with the Bill Murray reference.

I had one such moment this morning.  And to be honest, I have it pretty much every morning, except Monday and Fridays.

The alarm went off way too early, and I did not feel like going for a run.

I just wanted to crawl back under the covers and sleep for another hour or so.  Give my sore legs an opportunity to rest.

Alas, I did what I always do…got out of bed and begrudgingly went for a run.

It’s not like I really had any other choice.  I am a master negotiator, and can always talk myself into doing things I detest.  How do you think I make it to work every morning?

Today was no different.  I told myself I’d just walk.  Something is better than nothing, and a half hour walk definitely beat the lack of a workout I’d get by staying in bed.

running, health, fitness, humor, Modern PhilosopherThen I told myself I’d run a little, but just laps around the church parking lot down the block.  No big deal, and again, the superior choice to walking.

Next I convinced myself to run just an easy  mile on my regular route.  That would allow me to get in a couple of hills, really start the heart racing, perhaps even work up a sweat.

The negotiations continued like this until I had run my usual route, and returned to The House on the Hill a sweaty mess.

A sweaty, but accomplished mess.

Just like always happens.  Because even though I don’t like how the story starts, I’m a big fan of the ending.  I simply need to trick myself into getting there.

Pro Tip for the beginning runner: Run first thing in the morning.  You’re not awake enough to think clearly, put up much resistance to the idea of running, or even remember much of the run.

But you will be wide awake by the end, which is definitely important, because you can feel like a bad ass for ignoring that groundhog and still getting those miles under your belt.

After my run, I tweeted out this to the world…

That’s what runners do!

I’m disappointed that tweet didn’t get more likes, but there’s only so much I can control in this crazy world.

I’m sure I’ll have to deal with the very same obstacles tomorrow morning, but something tells me that I’ll be my usual sweaty mess about an hour after I finally crawl out of bed.

I’m not always a fan of running, but I’m a fan of how great I feel after a run.  Even if I have to trick myself to do it.  Whatever it takes, Modern Philosophers.

In the end, I just bite the bullet and put in the miles.

Because that’s what runners do…

Posted in Fitness, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Banking On A No Interest Pick Up Line

short story, flash fiction, pick up lines, humor, Modern PhilosopherJune was just minding her own business, filling out a deposit slip, when the guy approached her.

She was an attractive woman, so this was not the first time a stranger had tried to strike up a conversation, but she’d thought she was safe from that in a bank.

After all, banks aren’t exactly conducive to pick up lines.

However, this guy seemed intent on giving it a go, much to June’s chagrin.

“How many people would you use to rob this bank?” he asked and then flashed her the most charming smile in his arsenal.

“Excuse me?” June asked as she raised an eyebrow.  She’d heard many pick up lines in her life, but this one was totally out of left field.

“What do you think?” he continued as if it were the sanest conversation to have with a total stranger.  “One to watch the door and the guard.  Two for crowd control.  Then two more to get the money from the tellers.  Does that sound right to you?  Of course, you need one more person outside in the getaway vehicle, so that’s six total.  After you split the take six ways, is it really worth the risk and effort?”

June stared at him blankly, then decided he might go away sooner if she just answered him and then politely shot him down.

short story, flash fiction, pick up lines, humor, Modern Philosopher“I’m not sure why you’re asking me because I’m no expert on the subject,” she replied, “but my guess would be it’s better to have a smaller take and get away clean, then to get caught because you were too cheap to hire enough contractors for the job.”

Jane smiled.  It really was a beautiful smile, and the guy had no choice but to smile in return.

“You got me,” he chuckled.  “I’m not really a bank robber.  I saw you, and I know a bank isn’t the kind of place one normally approaches a stranger to strike up a conversation, but I had to give it a shot.  I’m Dave.”

“Hi, Dave,” June greeted him, but not too warmly.  “I’m Maureen.  I applaud your efforts, but I’m seeing someone.”

June went back to her deposit slip, hoping he’d get the message and flutter off, but damn was old Dave persistent.

“I knew I should have gone with my first idea, which was to welcome you to the bank and ask you if you were interested in a free sample,” he continued even though June really wished he wouldn’t.  “Then I was going to explain we had fives, tens, and twenties…”

June looked back up at him.  This time, her eyes were a little colder, and there was absolutely no sign of her beautiful smile.

“And I still would have told you I wasn’t interested,” she explained with the tone of a woman who expected to not have to repeat herself.  “Now if you don’t mind…”

short story, flash fiction, pick up lines, humor, Modern PhilosopherHe held up his hands in surrender, and slowly backed away.

June pretended that her deposit slip was the most fascinating document in history until she was certain he was gone.

Then she crumpled up the slip, tossed it into the trash slot, and made a beeline for the door.  She never looked back to see if he was watching.

As soon as she was outside, a car pulled up to the curb.  June headed straight for it, and walked around to the passenger side.

Once she was settled, the driver asked her, “So is it a go?”

June shook her head emphatically.  “No, this isn’t the one.  There might actually be another crew casing the place.”

The driver shrugged.  “No big deal.  This city is full of banks we haven’t robbed yet.”

June nodded her agreement, and he eased the car out into traffic, as they set out to find a new target.

Posted in Dating, Humor, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Even Introverts Need Fresh Air

Maine, life, introverts, humor, Modern PhilosopherSomeone asked me the other day, Modern Philosophers, how I’m able to go out for runs if I’m an introvert.

I gave him that funny look I give to more people than I should have to, and explained that “introvert” did not equal “recluse”.

I mean, I’m not opposed to avoiding people if they’re going to pester me with stupid questions, but the fact of the matter is that I need fresh air just like someone who can actually put up with the rest of the population.

Sure, it’s easier to hunker down at The House on the Hill, where I can write and watch the Yankees without interruption.  However, human interaction does come in handy.  After all, I need to observe homo sapiens in their natural habitat in order to write about them.

Lately, I’ve found a new way to interact with people without having to actually be around them.  I discovered Yankees Twitter, so I can watch my favorite baseball team, and then chat about the game in real time with fellow fans.  Baseball is now a social event for me again, without the stress of face to face social interaction.

It’s an introvert’s field of dreams!

Anyhow, I decided to get some fresh air today, even after running 4.5 miles this morning.  It is a beautiful day in Maine, and they were having the grand opening of the newly expanded River Walk not too far from The House on the Hill.

So I put on my “Oh my god, I’ve got to deal with people” smile, and set off in search of fresh air and adventure.

As always, I took some photos to show you how beautiful Maine is.  Even with all those annoying people out there…

Maine, river walk, introverts, jumor, Modern PhilosopherMaine, river walk, introverts, jumor, Modern PhilosopherMaine, river walk, introverts, jumor, Modern PhilosopherThe fact that I made it back to The House on the Hill to write this post gives away the ending.  Yes, I survived being out in public.

Actually, I found myself walking back towards home alongside a very pretty member of the news media, who had been shooting footage of all the people (so many people!!!) who decided to get some fresh air by the river.

We had a nice little chat, which totally surprised me because I usually clam up in the presence of an attractive stranger.

Score one for the quirky introvert then.  Miracles do happen when I take a chance and venture out into the world…

How are you spending this Saturday in June?

Posted in Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Friday Freedom Dance

Back to the Future, dance, Friday, humor, Modern PhilosopherHappy Friday, Modern Philosophers!

I’ve never been much of a dancer. That might have something to do with the fact that I’m an awkward klutz with absolutely no sense of rhythm, or it could be related to that “incident” at The Enchantment Under The Sea Dance so many years ago…

Regardless, it’s got to be a pretty special occasion in order for me to unleash my inner Tony Manero on the world.

But today is such a day.

Because it’s Friday!

Friday is my day off from running, so I usually sleep in, and then the day gets off to a slow, sputtering start.  This morning, however, I was wide awake far too early, and decided to shake this up a little.

You know, like the way I shake it up on the dance floor.  Only without the scary, herky jerky movements that cause everyone to wonder what’s wrong with me.

Why not start off the day with a little writing to ensure that this Friday rocks like no other in recent memory?  Perhaps I was inspired by my good friend, The Masked Avenger, who yesterday texted me a photo of the gorgeous view from her porch, where she was writing before heading off to work.

Calvin & Hobbes, dance, Friday, humor, Modern PhilosopherIt’s been a long time since I’ve jump started my day by allowing the words to spill out of my brain and onto the page.  And wouldn’t you know it, the sound of the words making their commute from my mind to yours, via way of the blog, made me want to dance!

It’s a regular Friday Morning Dance Party at The House on the Hill!

You don’t need to be a detective to deduce that it’s been a long, trying week.  I know there are still only twenty-four hours in a day, but I maintain that eight of those hours, every Monday through Friday, are much longer than the other sixteen.

Maybe if I dance away the early morning hours, while the sun is still struggling to open its eyes, I’ll disrupt the space/time continuum and add length to the more important hours.

It’s an experiment that is well under way now, and you’re all welcome to join me.

It’s supposed to be a beautiful day.  There’s a new story idea bouncing around in my brain.  There’s ice cream waiting in the freezer.  The Yankees are on TV up here tonight.  And a relaxing weekend awaits.

Why wouldn’t I want to dance to the enticing music of those sweet, positive thoughts?

Friday, life, humor, Modern PhilosopherSome days can seem like a prison sentence with the chains of stress, finances, and the expectations of an overly demanding world keeping you shackled to your desk with little hope of ever feeling the sun’s warm glow on your pale, somber face.

Do your Friday Freedom Dance!  Turn the world upside down.  Declare your independence from everything that holds you back from enjoying life the way you want to live it.

Dance like nobody’s watching, but you’re totally going to write an awesome blog post about it later!

Hope you all have a Fantastic Friday!  Feel free to tell me all about your Friday Freedom Dance in the Comments Section…

Posted in Humor, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments