Save Money By Being Single On Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day, dating, relationships, humor, Modern PhilosopherValentine’s Day is rapidly approaching, Modern Philosophers, and rather than writing another Dating Tips post, I thought I’d talk economics.

With the stock market recently doing a swan dive, and Republican lawmakers looking to change the tax code so that they get all the money, there’s no better time for us to keep an eye on what little income we have.

Since that’s the case, I’m going to recommend that you stay single on Valentine’s Day so that you can save a boatload of cash.

Let’s face it, Valentine’s Day is a big time racket created by the greeting card, chocolate, jewelry, and flower companies to line their pockets in order to help them buy more Republican politicians to further change the laws in their favor.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but a nice card and a box of chocolates will no longer cut it on February 14th.  At least not if you want to remain in a happy relationship.

According to all the commercials interrupting my shows this month, you don’t really love your significant other unless you are showering her with diamonds, and making sure she walks only on a path of rose petals (with roses costing about $100 a dozen this time of year) the entire day.

Valentine's Day, dating, relationships, humor, Modern PhilosopherAnd you can’t buy a simple heart shaped box of chocolates anymore.  Not even the fancy kind with the road map inside the lid that shows her what’s inside each piece of chocolate, lest she mistakenly bite into one that displeases her.

Quick note: If she’s that picky about her chocolate, then maybe you need to be more picky about who you’re dating!

Now you have to buy expensive, genetically engineered chocolates that contain a drop of Cupid’s blood to make them more romantic.

More economically catastrophic, is the option of chocolate jewelry.  Why buy her chocolate she can eat, when you can buy her chocolate that will eat up your entire paycheck and make her the envy of jewel thieves and cat burglars the world over?

And don’t even think about offending her with a homemade dinner, or by taking her to that diner that’s been your “special place” ever since you shared your first kiss there over burgers and a milkshake.

You need reservations at the only place in town where dinner for two costs more than your mortgage payment.  If you don’t buy the most expensive bottle of wine and splurge on the special dessert, you are telling your date and the overly judgmental waiter that you are not only a cheapskate, but also that you don’t love or deserve your heartbroken Valentine.

Valentine's Day, dating, relationships, humor, Modern PhilosopherWhy would you put yourself and your bank account through any of this nonsense?

You’re going to be single anyway if you don’t make Valentine’s Day absolutely perfect, so why not just head into this ridiculous holiday unattached and with a decent nest egg in the bank?

That way, when you do meet that special someone who loves you for all your quirks and flaws, you can afford to take her to that cool diner with the best burgers and milkshakes in the world.

And if you never are lucky enough to fall in love, at least you’ll have the money you didn’t blow on Valentine’s Day, to keep a roof over your head and food on the table.

Some of you might think that this post is a little over the top, and maybe it is.  Perhaps I’m just looking for an excuse to justify being single again on Valentine’s Day.

Valentine's Day, dating, relationships, humor, Modern PhilosopherOr maybe, just maybe, I’m giving you the best financial advice of your life.

Either way, Happy Valentine’s Day! 

And keep in mind, this advice cost you absolutely nothing…

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My War Against Snow Miser

Snow Miser, Maine, winter, humor, Modern PhilosopherWho knew, Modern Philosophers, that my greatest weapon in my long running battle with Snow Miser would not be the countless hours of therapy, all the medications prescribed to me during that therapy, or even my trusty snow shovel?

Turns out that the super weapon I’ve needed to defeat my archenemy, and to conquer my Post Traumatic Snow Disorder, was provided by my allies in Japan.

I’m talking about my RAV4.

Snow Miser has conjured up yet another snowstorm in an attempt to make my life a living Ice Age.  I’m sure the meteorologists have given the blizzard a name, but I just think of them all as Winter Storm Pain In My Ass.

I’m happy to report that I had a great day, stress levels never got anywhere near the red, and I’m all warm and cozy at The House on the Hill while Snow Miser blows his load outside the confines of my home.

I just don’t care what’s going on out there.

Yes, I’m that calm.

Snow Miser, Maine, winter, humor, Modern PhilosopherSnow Miser is a master of psychological warfare.  He knows that my fear of driving in the snow sets off my Post Traumatic Snow Disorder, and makes me an absolute wreck.

I’d worry for days about an impending blizzard because I’d freak out about how I was going to get back and forth to work in the storm.

I’d lose sleep.  I wouldn’t be able to write.  I’d be constantly distracted.

All day at work, I’d watch the accumulating snow and my stomach would be an erupting volcano of stress.

Now, I really don’t care.  And it’s all because I have traded in Zombie Car for a trustworthy vehicle that actually enjoys rumbling through the snow.

If I’d known how much better my life would be with a new car, I would have gotten one years ago.  Sure, the financial stress is a little troubling, but it’s nowhere near the paralyzing stress brought about by having to drive in a blizzard.

I’m totally confident in the RAV4 and my ability to pilot it safely through any storm.

Now I check the weather reports just to figure out how early I need to get up to shovel the driveway, and to see if I’ll still be able to get in my morning run.

Speaking of running, I’d never even realized how my war with Snow Miser was affecting my physical fitness.  I have continued running all winter, which is something I’d never been able to do in the past.

I always gave up once it got too cold and snowy, not wanting to deal with the conditions out on the road.  Assuming I wouldn’t be able to handle it, and that I’d find a way to injure myself by tempting fate to go voluntarily out into Snow Miser’s domain.

Snow Miser, Maine, winter, humor, Modern PhilosopherSomehow, the newfound confidence I’ve gotten from the RAV4 has carried over to my runs.  I no longer fear Maine’s winter running conditions.  In fact, I actually thrive on running in bad weather.  It makes me feel unstoppable, and I’m always pushing myself to go a little further and faster just to show Snow Miser he’s no longer winning this battle.

Of course, I’d much rather it be sunny and warm, but I have stopped living in fear of the harsh six months I like to call The 182 Days of Terror.  Hopefully, Snow Miser will see that I have risen to his challenge, and will consider calling a truce.

I’m done being terrorized by Snow Miser, and ready to live live to the fullest twelve months a year, rather than just six!

Let is snow, let is snow, let it…well, let’s not get too carried away…

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Tom Brady Can’t Catch

Tom Brady, Patriots, Eagles, Super Bowl, humor, Modern PhilosopherTom Brady is many things, Modern Philosophers.

He is a five time Super Bowl champion.

He is the NFL’s reigning Most Valuable Player.

He is the holder of numerous Super Bowl records.

He is the husband of a supermodel.

What he is not, however, is a receiver, as evidenced yesterday in Super Bowl 52.

The Patriots ran a trick play, which left Brady all alone down the right sideline.  The ball was thrown to him, but St. Tom, Patron Saint of New England Football, could not come down with the catch.

To be fair, Brady is the quarterback.  His job is to throw passes, not to catch them.  He’s also getting up there in years, so running, raising his arms, and trying to pick up the ball with his ancient eyes, all at the same time, was probably just too much to ask of him.

But to make matters worse, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, proved to the world that not all signal callers have butter fingers.

Shortly before halftime, on fourth down no less, the Eagles ran a trick play of their own.  Foles was left all alone in the end zone, and when the pigskin was thrown to him, he caught it.

Nick Foles, Patriots, Eagles, Super Bowl, humor, Modern PhilosopherFor a touchdown.

Thereby becoming the first QB in Super Bowl history to catch a TD pass.

So there goes Brady’s excuse that no quarterbacks can catch.

We all know I am a Jets fan, so I’ll never have to worry about my team’s QB dropping a pass in the Super Bowl because the Jets will never play in the big game.

Because I love the Jets, I naturally hate the Pats.

So I was loving it when Tommy Boy showed off his butter fingers.

I loved it even more when St. Nick, Philly’s new version of Santa Claus, pulled down the touchdown catch to extend the Eagles’ lead.

And make Brady look even worse.

I immediately shot off a text to my good friend Kori, aka “Killer”, who is a diehard Patriots fan.  It read something like: So Philly’s QB knows how to catch, but your boy doesn’t?

Sure it was obnoxious, especially when my team didn’t even make the playoffs, but she would have been disappointed if I’d let the moment pass without a comment.

I expected a barrage of curses to be hurled back in my general direction by my beautiful, ex-cheerleader, grade school teacher friend, but all she could muster was: Yea, yea, yea.

Tom Brady, Patriots, Eagles, Super Bowl, humor, Modern PhilosopherI felt her pain, Modern Philosophers.

It’s how I would’ve felt had one of my beloved Yankees done something embarrassing in the World Series.

She probably felt worse than Tom Brady did, but then again, she didn’t let down millions of fan and screw up in front of millions of viewers on live television.

But nobody’s perfect.  We all make mistakes at the worst moments.

I’m sure Tom Brady will get over it, though, with the help of his gorgeous wife, adoring family, huge bank account, and five Super Bowl rings.

And maybe in his down time, he can learn how to catch…

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Satan Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl, Patriots, Eagles, short story, humor, Modern PhilosopherSurviving Super Bowl Sunday can be a chore when you are a New York Jets fan.

The Jets have not appeared in the big game during my lifetime, and according to team sources, they have no intention of making it to the Super Bowl any time soon.

There are several ways to approach Super Bowl Sunday as a Jets fan.  The easiest being to root enthusiastically against the hated New England Patriots.  Odds are, the Pats will be playing in the big game, and as luck would have it, that is the case this year with Super Bowl 52.

You could also root for a team that you kind of like, or a team that never makes it and is something of a Cinderella story.  I suppose the Philadelphia Eagles fit the profile of the team that never makes it, but they are the Eagles and for some reason, I can’t bring myself to root for them.

Another great option is to just prepare a ton of great Super Bowl snacks and enjoy all the cool commercials between the action of a game that means absolutely nothing to you.

I chose to go with that last option, which was easy given that my usual Sunday guest had arrived with several platters of his award winning Hell Fire Chicken Wings.

“So I take it you are rooting for the Eagles since you hate the Patriots because you are a New Yorker who loathes any team from Boston,” The Devil asked with a chuckle.

I took a long sip of my Snapple and shrugged.

Super Bowl, Patriots, Eagles, short story, humor, Modern Philosopher“I’m really not sure what I’m doing,” I admitted.  “True, it is in my nature to despise all sports teams from Boston, and Boston in general, but I’ve never liked Philly, either.  Both cities piss me off, so I’d rather both teams lost.”

Lucifer, who was well dressed in an impeccably tailored suit with a pin of the Vince Lombardi Trophy on the lapel, flashed a handsome smile.

“I’m running into the same problem” he admitted as he put a few more wings onto his plate, and then carefully wiped his fingers on a napkin so as not to get any Hell Fire sauce on a suit that cost more than my mortgage payment.  “I have numerous people offering their eternal souls in exchange for a Super Bowl victory, but I’d rather not have Hell overrun with Beantown Boneheads or Philly Fanatics.”

I had to raise an eyebrow to The Prince of Darkness’ catty answer.  It was so out of character for him as he always seemed Hell bent (pun intended) on increasing the census numbers of his kingdom.

“I thought it was all about securing souls for you,” I stated as I reached for more wings.

Super Bowl, Patriots, Eagles, short story, humor, Modern Philosopher“Not exactly,” Satan countered.  “It’s supposed to be Hell for the Damned, who are trapped for all eternity to pay for their sins.  If I fill the place with knuckleheads from Boston and Philadelphia, it becomes Hell for me.  Which, in turn, means more time spent at The House on the Hill to get away from it all.”

I froze mid-bite on a delicious Hell Fire wing.  Did he really just say he would be spending more time at my house?

One day a week is more than enough.  The House on the Hill is my sanctuary from the nightmares this world insists on hurling at me.  I was not going to allow it to be turned into Hell on Earth.

“Then you need to turn down all offers related to the Super Bowl, and have absolutely nothing to do with the outcome of the game,” I insisted.  “If you don’t, Hell is either going to become the new South Philly or South Boston.  This is a no brainer.”

Lucifer fiddled with the chicken wings on his plate while he pondered my suggestion.

This Is Us, Super Bowl, Patriots, Eagles, short story, humor, Modern Philosopher“Then who do we root for?” he finally asked.

“We make fun of both teams, accuse the refs of fixing the game so the Patriots win, and enjoy the commercials.  It’s really all just an extended lead up to a long awaited episode of This is Us,” I explained.

“I love that show!” The Prince of Darkness beamed.  “We never get to watch it together, though, because it’s usually on Tuesday night.”

“Today’s our lucky day then,” I informed him.  “It truly is a Super Sunday.”

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Shedding Your Work Skin

life hacks, humor, work stress, coping skills, Modern PhilosopherI don’t know about you, Modern Philosophers, but I’ve discovered that the best way to deal with the stress of work is to not take the job home with me.

Every day, after they unchain me from my desk, I walk out to my car (running would be an amateur move) and say a silent prayer thanking Zeus for my surviving another day.

Once I clear all the snow off the RAV, and then get the heat going long enough for it to be warm and toasty inside my vehicle, I slip out of my work skin.

I fold it up neatly, put it into a carefully sealed protective bag (you can get them cheap and in bulk on Amazon), and then tuck the package under the passenger seat until I need it again in the morning.

It’s kind of like how Clark Kent sheds his nerdy, reporter skin to reveal that the real him has been hidden underneath the whole time.

So I guess in that scenario, work me is Clark Kent, while real me is Superman.

life hacks, humor, work stress, coping skills, Modern PhilosopherOf course, with all the running I’ve been doing lately, I’m much more partial to being the Flash.

But you get the point.

You’re probably able to relate to the idea of putting on a totally different persona for work.  If that’s the case, then you don’t want to take that work version of you home.

It could mess with the whole time/space continuum if work you replaced real you.

You know how much Doc Brown disapproves when we even consider screwing with the space/time continuum.

If this concept confuses you, or it you work better with visuals aids, check out the episode of Seinfeld where George explains the consequences of what would happen if Relationship George and Independent George ever crossed streams.

George Costanza, Modern Philosopher.

Some might argue that it is a terrible idea to keep work stress bottled up inside, and that you need to talk about your day once you leave the office, to allow the steam out of the pot before it explodes.

I vehemently disagree.

I used to bring work home with me, and it rarely lead to anything good.  The more I’d talk about it, the more upset I’d become as I relived the horror of my day.

life hacks, humor, work stress, coping skills, Modern PhilosopherI would begin to dread the next day, and not be able to enjoy my time at home.

The way I see it, if I’m not getting paid, then work should not be on my mind.

The only good thing I ever brought home from work was Rachel, and trust me, we did not waste our time together rehashing the work day.  She had much better, more exciting ways, to distract me from whatever had bothered me back at the office.

So if you don’t have a sexy coworker to take home to make it all better, you need to shed your work skin, and leave it in the car.

As much as I hate being single and coming home to an empty house, it does make it easier to keep the work day from infecting my personal life.

With no one to ask me about my day, I don’t have an outlet, even if I wanted to talk.

Unless you truly love your job, and your work is your passion, then it does not deserve to take up more than a third of your day.  If you’re lucky enough to get eight hours of sleep, that leaves you with only eight hours to be who you want to be, need to be, and wish you could be.

Let’s be honest, work might pay you for eight hours, but it takes up even more time than that with your unpaid lunch, the commute, and the time it takes to get ready.

Don’t give work a second more than it deserves.  When you punch out for the day, shed your work skin!

life hacks, humor, work stress, coping skills, Modern PhilosopherRemember, I’m not saying to be all Buffalo Bill about it and make an actual suit of human skin to wear to work.

However, it has been a very dry winter, so you might want to rub some lotion on your body.  Just put it back in the basket when you’re done.

So if you’re the type of person who takes the day home with you, let me remind you that your employer is not paying you for those hours you’re spending stressing about your job.

Unless you plan to submit a bill for overtime hours owed to you, you’re stealing from yourself every second you let work creep into your private time.

Just give my plan a shot.  If you don’t like the results, go back to doing it your way.

I have one final tip: When you do shed your work skin, be sure to fold it nicely before storing it for the night.  It would be totally unprofessional to show up at the office the next day looking all wrinkled and unkempt.

Good luck and enjoy your free time!

life hacks, humor, work stress, coping skills, Modern Philosopher

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Baseball Season Is Coming!

February, winter, Maine, baseball, humor, Modern PhilosopherIt snowed again today, Modern Philosophers, which should come as absolutely no surprise since this blog is coming to you live from Winter in Maine, where the snow never stops.

I had the day off, but I did not allow the weather situation to deter me from the swift completion of my rounds.

I went for a 4.25 mile run once I finally rolled out of bed.  It felt very good to sleep in on a Thursday.  Now I have a sense of what was going on in Ferris Bueller’s head when he decided to take that day off.

The run was a little dodgy since the roads were still very sloppy, but I didn’t care.  I’m used to the conditions by now, and since I was off, there was no rush to get back to The House on the Hill so I wouldn’t be late for work.

I shoveled the driveway after my run.  At this point, I see it as extra cardio, some weight training, and an excellent way to collect more steps, rather than as an annoyance.

I even went out to the grocery store to get my shopping done so I wouldn’t have to do it after work tomorrow night.  For those of you who are familiar with my fear of driving in snow, the fact that I voluntarily went out for a drive in the snow should speak volumes as to how far I’ve come this winter.

I’m just back inside from shoveling again.  An extra round of cardio, weight training, and step collecting.  No big deal.

So why am I so relaxed and in high spirits despite the never ending snowstorms?

Because it’s February 1!

February, winter, Maine, baseball, humor, Modern Philosopher. New York YankeesThat means we are one month closer to the start of baseball season.  Hell, spring training starts in a few weeks.

Before you know it, my beloved New York Yankees will be taking the field in a quest for a 28th World Series Championship.

When baseball arrives, Snow Miser leaves, and the sun and warm weather return!

So I don’t care that it’s snowing today because we are 58 days from April 1.  Pitchers and catchers report to spring training in a few days.  Shortly thereafter, Judge, Stanton, and the rest of the Bronx Bombers will be hitting baseballs out of the park again.

And the snow and cold will be long gone.  The only ice I’ll have to worry about is the cubes I put in my glass of Snapple.

Sure, February is known for a few other things.

There’s Groundhog Day, which is a great Bill Murray flick, but I’ll still take Stripes, Meatballs, and Caddyshack over that one any day.

There’s Valentine’s Day, which isn’t exactly this single guy’s favorite holiday.  Although, I do reserve the right to buy myself copious amounts of chocolate while I mourn the single life and await Opening Day.

February, winter, Maine, baseball, humor, Modern PhilosopherThere’s also Presidents’ Day.  Back before the circus came to town and deposited that scary orange clown in the Oval Office, Presidents used to be well respected in this country.  So much so, that we’d get a whole week off from school to celebrate them.

Now we just long for Presidents past…

Bottom line, February is all about bringing us closer to baseball season.  It’s the shortest month, which is awesome, because it means less days of snow to contend with while we wait for March to finally arrive.

Welcome, February.  Glad you’re finally here.  Can’t wait for you to be over.

Let’s play ball!

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Quitters Can Be Winners!

health, fitness, running, humor, going to the gym, Modern PhilosopherI went to the gym for the first time in over a year and a half today, Modern Philosophers.

I didn’t realize it had been that long, but my last day at the facility was listed right there on the form they gave me when I canceled my membership.

That’s right.  When I finally go to the gym for the first time in an eternity, it’s not to work out, but rather, to put an end to a relationship that simply was not working.

And I feel like a winner!

Sure, usually when you give up on a gym membership, you are admitting defeat.  After all, quitters never win.

At least that was the lie I’ve been told.

But I am here to tell you that quitters do win.  I was wasting money on that gym membership, always keeping it in place because I was certain I’d go back and I didn’t want to give up such a great monthly rate.

That being said, for the last ten months, I’ve been running five days a week and lifting weights in the basement bunker.  My not going to the gym hasn’t hurt me at all in the health and fitness department.

health, fitness, running, humor, going to the gym, Modern PhilosopherIn fact, I’ve come to enjoy running much more when it’s done out on the open road, rather than inside on a treadmill.

I don’t like treadmills.

You know how I feel about The Machines and their plot to enslave us in The Robot Apocalypse.  Whenever I was on one of those treacherous treadmills, I could sense it was trying to control me.  All those flashing lights and numbers, egging me on to go faster, implying I wasn’t working hard enough.

Since I’ve been running on a regular basis, I’ve come to find peace out on the road.  I can be alone with my thoughts.  I push myself when I’m ready for a challenge.  I seek out new running routes on a whim.  I answer to no one other than my own desire to push myself a little harder in my quest for personal wellness.

In other words, I’m never going back to the gym, where I’d feel like a prisoner trapped with all the sweaty automatons blindly following the pace set for them by The Machines.

So today, this quitter earned his freedom.

And also freed up a little cash in the monthly budget at a time when money is tight.

health, fitness, running, humor, going to the gym, Modern PhilosopherDon’t get me wrong, there was a time when the gym was good to me.  Back when Rachel was still here, she’d drag me to the gym all the time, and I lost 50 lbs.

Sure, it helps when your gorgeous, twentysomething girlfriend is urging you to work out with her.  I mean, why the hell would I ever say no to that?

The last time I went to the gym was with Melissa during her last visit from Ireland.

I’m fine with the gym when there is a beautiful partner to distract me from how much I loathe the place.

But when I’m on my own, which seems to be the constant state of my life these days, I’m all about the world outside the gym.

So today I took a stand and proudly quit.

The same day that I hit Level 3 on the Wellness app we are using at work.  In one month, I jumped three levels.  The goal is to get to Level 4 by the end of the third month.

Clearly, my workout plan is working.

health, fitness, running, humor, going to the gym, Modern PhilosopherSomehow, I’ve managed to keep up my running program for ten months.  Despite the cold, snowy Maine winter, I’ve still been out there five days a week.

Who needs a dreadful treadmill when the road is always out there?

Just calling to me.

Free of charge.

I was a quitter today, Modern Philosophers, and I feel absolutely awesome about that!

Posted in Fitness, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments