Soundtrack, “Old and Wise” by the Alan Parsons Project.



I hate unsolicited advice. Most men know that it is not wise to give another man unsolicited advice. The most important thing to a man is respect and his pride. These things are earned and not idly parceled out like cans of beer—–although oftentimes such libations are swilled to make up for the lack of such noble qualities. On a rare occasion a man may give a fellow golfer advice about how to grip a club, how to adjust their swing or stance, but guys like that seldom get asked back for a future game. Guys have gotta figure shit out for themselves, it’s just he way it is.

Men like to give women advice. It makes them feel superior. It inflates their anemic ego’s. Most women will politely listen even though they know that men spend eighty percent of their time thinking about how to get pussy and what to eat next. The remaining twenty percent of their time is spent picking their nose at red lights or making fart jokes. Under the three piece suits, the impressive job titles and fancy cars, men are basic creatures bumbling their way through life. Women don’t give advice, they make sly suggestions. “Honey, maybe it would be better to use dental floss rather than a pocket knife to clean your teeth.” “Please don’t use gas to light the barbecue dear. Let me fry the burgers on the stove.” KABOOM!!!

But, in spite of my prior warnings regarding unsolicited advice, I have decided to dispense some brotherly advice. So please, “Forgive Me”.

Our time here is so short—–it doesn’t pay to deny ourselves and others forgiveness. Anger only cuts off circulation to the heart and puts a strangle hold on our ability to convey empathy. Forgive, because in the big scheme of things your petty grudges will emotionally bankrupt you. It’s like paying interest on a debt but never reaching the principle—-ya see, you can’t loan love or forgiveness, their value is only realized when given for free.

I wonder if we wear clothes out of shame, or is it a means to hide our insecurities. It’s tough to take another person seriously when they’re parading around bare ass naked. Nakedness is God’s way of showing us that in spite of Madison Avenue fashions and photoshopped vanities—–we’re all allot more alike than we are different.  Under skin and bone our fragil humanness flickers…..

Forgive——-because like a fart, the longer you hold it in, the more pressure it builds, hurting only you, and in time growing louder and smellier—- Forgive because sometimes you have to pull the bandaid off along with the scab in order for the wound to heal, Forgive because there is a child with a bald head dying in a hospital rather than playing on a jungle gym. Forgive because nothing seems that bad until it happens to you. Forgive because there but for fortune go you or I. Forgive because there is already enough darkness in this world—-enough sadness to superglue the softest of hearts eternally shut. Forgive because the shits already out of the pony. Forgive because with age the nights grow longer and peace more elusive. Forgive because winter need not be your favorite season. Forgive in spite of God and his promised heaven. Forgive because the shortest distance between point A and point B is love. Forgive because there’s a supernova a thousand times bigger than our puny sun imploding in on itself. Let go, let go, let go—–because as the old Zen proverb tells us “Let go or be dragged”.

Forgive, because one day you’ll realize that all the stuff you once thought so important were just things made up in your head. This clarity only comes after a major life event like getting fired, losing someone you love, going through a divorce, having a major health scare, facing your mortality or watching reruns of “Friends” (they all look so young). You’ll flop around like a trout out of water, realizing you’ve mistaken the barbed hook for the golden ring.

It all seems so absurd——all the girls you tried to impress with false bravado, the fake laughs given for free to please your dim witted boss, the loud arguments availing only hurt feelings——its all comes back to you like a strange dream, like staring up at the shimmering surface of the water while holding your breath at the bottom of the sea. Down there, there’s only shipwrecks, rusty anchors, the eight armed Kraken and the tiny fart bubbles you release as pieces of your forgiveness. Farting is God’s way of telling you to not take yourself to seriously.

We stubbornly withhold our forgiveness, we’d rather offer up snide remarks and sarcastic smiles. We expect others to rain apologies down upon us, but the sad truth is, some people don’t know how to be sorry. They only learn forgiveness by being forgiven—-and the bible along with all the other holy books speak of this irony. The currency of unspoken forgivenesses pays out in wasted time, it lengthens the bridge we’ve all come here to cross.

Get over your self——–Forgive

Anatomy Of A Hug

Soundtrack, “Hello In There” by John Prine.

Hugging is a strange and awkward gesture. It’s a custom used both as a greeting and a farewell. Somewhere beneath the skin, the bones, the muscle and the surging blood vessels, we share a primal need to reach out to embrace one another. And in doing so, we become totally vulnerable to a huggers intentions. You may be exposing yourself to an emotional pick pocket, or a freeloading groper—not to mention a host of uninvited germs and viruses. There is no escaping a determined hugger, they’ll track you down and then attach themselves to you like a lonely depraved sea urchin.

Arm in arm and cheek to cheek, we appear to fit together as if by design. At birth we go from the womb to a mothers embrace, and as children we are mercilessly hugged by our immediate family, friends and relatives. But, as we grow older such signs of affection become fewer and far between. I’ve noticed that old folks tend to give longer hugs then younger folks. It’s as if they know they have to take full advantage of each hug they’ve been granted. You can see their eyes twinkle as their soul-ness battery is being charged.

If a baby is not held and loved it will fail to thrive. Such physical neglect will cause an infant to slowly wither away and die. In some ways, we humans are very durable and resilient, yet in other ways we are as fragile as gossamer threads.

Our bodies are very personal to us, they’re our fortress, our little vessel we captain throughout life. To splay ones arms open to another is a sign of unspoken trust. To afford someone this form of naive intimacy requires courage and at times a restrained tolerance. Some hugs are like dental appointments, you know its the right thing to do, but it’s a task you’d just as soon get over with as quickly as possible.

I wish I could hug better, but it really isn’t in my style. I freeze up when blitzed by a crazed bear hugging intruder. I feel my body go ridged when a hug is unexpectedly thrust upon me. In truth, I’d rather just give a hand shake or better yet, a knuckle bump then offer up my entire body for a casual squeeze. I don’t much care to be touched unless I feel extremely close to another person.

Some people are serial huggers. This includes those affection starved co-workers who feel compelled to hug you at the office potluck, or the new age neighbor who surprises you on a walk and embraces you as if you were their long lost sibling. Or, how bout the spine cracking dude-hug from that blundering sweat and beer stench-ed “bro”. It eludes me how any woman could find a fumbling, whisker burn of a man-hug, in anyway appealing. Then you have the weird old cologne drenched guy who gives long back rubbing hugs to any female he can stalk, corner and then smother with creepy-ness—-yuk…..

There are several kinds of hugs. There is the limp wimpy ones and then there’s the stern “I mean business” kind of hug. There’s the macho hug where guys grasp hands and bump shoulders, often used to fiend off any speculation of gayness. Grannies and little kids will sometimes slip in a sweet peck on the cheek. Hot chicks get tired of being hugged all the time, so they often discreetly lean into you maintaining their personal space and then making a hasty retreat.

A good hug comes from the heart. I don’t want one of those “have a nice day” hugs, or one of those cold obligated hugs that are offered up at weddings and funerals. A fake hug has a “one night stand” indifference to it. “Hey, here’s my number, maybe we can hug again sometime.” These are self serving desperate hugs that leave you feeling empty and used.

You’ll know a real hug when you’re lucky enough to receive one. They’re soft, warm and yielding, like chocolate melting in your mouth. In fact, once you are done hugging, you feel as if that person has left a little piece of their heart inside yours.

“I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.” —  Robin Williams

Sometimes the people who act like they don’t need hugs are the ones who need them the most. Even though hugs may be strange, awkward and weird, they convey a lot more than words ever could, I know this because I’m a writer. Words can express ones feelings, thoughts and emotions, but the human touch is nourishment for the heart.

“All humans are fragile, hugs help hold us together……” VU

The Checkout Line

Never fall in love with a girl in the checkout line. Actually, I’d fallen in love with her somewhere between the lentil beans and the egg noodles. I’d followed her down all the grocery isles from the bakery and deli case to the vegetable section. I knew it was creepy, but I just couldn’t stop myself as I watched her fondle the crooked neck squash and those fortunate cumquats.

Is it possible to fall for someone who buys tofu and then turns around and buys cheese whiz in the can——I can’t help but love a fellow conflicted soul. There was something irresistible in her smile, something undefinable about the way she moved——part graceful ballerina and part sensual pole dancer. Is it possible to fall in love with the way someone walks, their scent, the way they read the label on the box of Hamburger Helper? She elevated the rigors of shopping to a thing of eroticism. Oh my god, the way she sashayed behind that squeaky shopping cart was enough to make the bag boys split their sacks and spill their heavy cream.

I wanted to talk to her the way people talk in movies. I wanted to be funny and interesting, profound and witty—-but all that came out was some pathetic mumble about the weather. She responded with indifference, nonchalantly turning away to check her cell phone, a polite way of saying fuck off——- or code for “leave me alone you weirdo”.

I awkwardly looked down at my grocery cart with its random contents; two quarts of beer, generic toilet paper, a single banana and a can of refried beans,——my glum life summed up within a losers grocery list. I fidgeted for a minute, hoping to come up with a clever redemptive line——nope, not today. Feeling dejected, I exited the check outline and headed down the soup isle. In a world of grommet soup flavors, I felt like that dusty ole can of bland chicken stock. Now I know why they call it the “checkout” line.

Remembering To Feed The Cat


Soundtrack Sparks by Coldplay.

When I was young I met a girl, she said she’d take care of me, but she couldn’t even take care of herself—— She burned Top Ramen, bled pink on my favorite button down shirt in the wash and was always telling me to get a “real job”. When my band broke up things got even worse. We stopped forgiving one another. We stopped holding hands. We’d lay in bed back to back, facing those bare opposing walls. She taught me how to say things I didn’t mean. In the darkness it’s easy to confuse how things are with the way things once were—-or, with the way things could have been. Once we realized that we were pretending, this is when the white lies lost their power to hold things together.

The stuff that drew us together——music, laughter, defying a world of clocks, money and the wanting of more—-came to be the things that pulled us apart. I went home one day and she was gone. At first I couldn’t breathe. She took her stereo and I was alone in my silence. For the first time I was on my own and alone, no family, no school, no job, just me. Life made no sense, everything was hard and cold—-I no longer had anyone to look after me. No footsteps falling in the other rooms. I suppose she took the cat, knowing that I’d forget to feed it.

Then I met a girl and I told her that I’d take care of her, but she soon discovered that I couldn’t even take care of myself. I tried to rearrange everything, but I ended up making a mess of things. I pawned my guitar and sold my keyboard. Something had ransacked my soul and smashed all the things I valued. I never wanted to take care of anyone ever again. It’s too much trouble. I taught her how to say “Fuck Off”. I laughed when she first said it to me. It sounded strange coming from her, but she was a quick study.

Love is like believing in aliens, it’s a crazy idea, but its better than feeling we’re all alone in this big universe.  Maybe love is having someone to look after—-someone to take out the garbage and mow the lawn, someone to make your supper and mend your shirts.   You can’t see love, you can only see its shadows.  For me, love is a practice, a discipline.  It requires patience, attention, and most importantly compassion.   I’m still learning these ways.  I do know this, spooning with someone is better than staring at your blank walls.