Thursday, March 5, 2015


Periodically we must be reminded of the ugliness and inevitability of slush. I was out briefly today to run errands and have a cup of coffee. The snow was quite beautiful.
By the time I went outside again much of what was on the ground had turned to slippery slush. My spirits sank. Slush is dirty and treacherous. Slush is Frank Underwood from House of Cards. It is the relative you dread showing up at family gatherings. Slush takes no prisoners; it salivates at the sight of sneaker wear, or, even better, dress shoes.
Ice gets a bad rap. In its own way ice is elegant. When you slip on ice it will leave you embarrassed, aching, but, all important, dry. Slush seeps into every pore in seconds. Scrambling to your feet will not help one bit. Falling in slush is humiliating. It makes one doubt the existence of a benevolent God.
And if you're waiting for a bus during slush time and a vehicle passes too close, the spray may just leave you murderous. More felonies are committed during slush accumulation. Look it up.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Old Friend

I met an old friend from work this morning. He recognized me first. We, two retirees, sat in McDonalds and sipped coffee while catching up. I'm out of the PO eight years, he's out two. Both of us are happy to have made it through, although he got a serious neck injury which required two operations. He still has pain and walks slow, taking a disability.
He hurt himself loading a package. I was reminded of all the falls I took, any of which could have led to a similar injury. We discussed co-workers and bosses, focusing on one poor guy who retired and had a fatal heart attack two years later. He was found in his basement in the home he lived alone in. Who knows how long he lay there?
We promised to meet again in the future, but I think we covered everything in our 30 minute talk. That was a whole other life for me that provided a modest pension and not much else.

Monday, March 2, 2015


I'm minding my own business at the market, headed for checkout when this guy pushing a cart starts yelling at me. Cursing actually. Never saw him before. I stopped and walked up to him and cursed right back. What are you going to do about it, he says. What are you going to do about it, I say back.
He was much bigger and probably ill. But you can't let anyone bully you ever, especially in a public space. He pushed his cart to the cafe section and tried to enlist another guy. He kept cursing, I cursed back, Everyone else put their heads down and hoped things would calm down. We'll see.
There are a lot of sick, angry people out there whose life didn't work out. We don't have to tolerate  their crap.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

CVS Slut

I have a CVS plastic discount card attached to my keyring. I walk in, head right for the coupon machine and scan my card. Strange noises come from the machine and me, as I rub my hands together, waiting for the coupons to slid out.
But sometimes I have already exhausted my allotted quota for that week and a very sad message appears on the screen. I stifle a sob, stagger out the door, knowing my day is ruined.
But most of the time I grab my coupons, combine them with email offers and Sunday paper coupons. Then I attack the store.
Wheat Thin crackers $1.99. Blue Diamond almonds half price! Tuna, 88 cents, pickles and olives, buy one, get one free. $3 off vitamins. Eye drops, nose spray to clear my mind, garbage bags, anti acids, cereal, hand lotion, deodorant, cranberry bags, protein bars, diet milk shakes, bandages, on and on.
My bags are full, my life is full. I am a proud CVS slut, a coupon slattern who cannot wait to get home and put all this stuff away. Then it is on to Walgreens, Rite Aid and Target.
I need more space for all this toothpaste.

Live Long and Prosper

I'll be honest. I want to outlive every writer I know. When a writer dies I make a fist and whisper, one more down. Harsh? Perhaps. Writing is very competitive. I must keep publishing, must create. If I come across a dead writer's book on a shelf, I will bring it to the store owner and point out how pointless it is to stock books from deceased authors who can no longer do book signings, as opposed to me, living and breathing and ready to market the crap out of my work.
And what does it mean to prosper? Mother Teresa prospered spiritually by living among lepers. Donald Trump buys buildings, Hugh Hefner seduces women, grandparents observe extended family around holidays. The guy working the taco truck pulls in a small fortune.
The concept of prospering is so amorphous.
Meanwhile, I wait for Harper Lee to croak.

Ducks and Swans

Doctor, may I ask how this works?
You talk, I listen.
Okay. Where should I start?
At the beginning.
Fine. Ever since I can remember, I've been attracted to water fowl. Even as a young boy. Ducks, geese, swans. As a teen, I would sneak out at night to the pond and try to capture one. The ducks swam away too fast. Geese traveled in packs and protected each other. Swans hardly ever appeared. I grew frustrated.
How did that manifest itself?
I purchased videos of water fowl, locked myself in my room and spent hours watching them, all the while pleasuring myself. Oh, the shame.
Mr. Finley, you are 32 years old, with your whole life ahead of you. We will come up with a strategy to deal with these inappropriate impulses. Perhaps shock treatment. The incident that led to your arrest had to be traumatic.
You have no idea, doctor. Have you ever actually caressed a fully developed swan? The sheer ecstasy.
May I ask what your feelings are toward turkeys, chickens and roosters?
Oh please. What kind of sicko do you think I am?

Monday, February 16, 2015

We Own the Night

They are invisible during the day. But at night...
Sometimes they move as one. Roving above
They dip to a point just above you
You try to grasp us and fail
Transfixed, you follow them through the shadows
The child in you wondering how
The light in their tail guides you
Look daddy! What is that?
That, honey, is a firefly
It flies through the city lighting even  the darkest streets
No one knows where they go at sunrise
Will they ever burn out?