The First Cut…

“The first cut is the deepest. Baby, I know.” – Cat Stevens

You know, I first heard the Rod Stewart version of this song umpteen years ago, and I wondered what he was talking about. I had some idea that the word “cut” was metaphorical, but that was about where it ended. Then, some years later, I had my heart broken by the one girl I thought would never break my heart, and I understood in a split second what Rod had been singing about those years before. It reminds me of the old adage that some things you just have to go through to be able to understand them. People can tell you until they’re blue in the face about heartbreak, but you won’t ever truly “get” it until you’ve had your heart ripped in two. Continue reading “The First Cut…”

The Six Hundredth

Six hundred is a lot. Don’t think I don’t know and appreciate that, because I do. And I guess while in the process of writing 600 blog entries I didn’t really focus on the numbers. But I think when you get to 600 it’s probably about time to focus on the numbers. In fact, I honestly think I might go through a top 10 of the walk down memory lane,  for this, my 600th blog entry. First, though, I want to thank every single one of my followers, because this wouldn’t be nearly as fulfilling for me without you. Every single time someone writes to me telling me how they identify with what I’ve said is just bonus for me. I still can’t believe I started this blog less than a year ago and I’ve done so much with it, but the interactions are where it’s at. So, again, thank you. Now, on with the show…

From “The Dividing Line,”:

As I sit here with my children, I am trying to think about what life without them was like, and I truly can’t remember it. It’s like a dividing line between one entire existence and another, like I time traveled and skipped over that diving line to safely arrive right here and now, and with kids. I can vaguely remember a club, once, a long time ago, where I would dance all night, by myself. Or a karaoke joint, with “Love Shack”. And a puzzle club (yeah, I said a puzzle club) where I would imagine I was king (but I really wasn’t). And there was this guy. I’ll call him “Before Me”. He was one cool guy. Continue reading “The Six Hundredth”

Black Irish

Black? And four leaves? Wow.

“Mr. McManus, are you really Irish?” my student asks skeptically, knowing as she does that every Irish person she’s ever seen has been white, and also knowing that I’m not even remotely white.

“Of course I am,” I reply, with a twinkle in my eye.

“But how can you be Irish?” she asks, trying not to say what everyone else in the class is thinking.

“Haven’t you heard of Black Irish?” I say, and it ends the debate. Continue reading “Black Irish”

Fifteen Credits

Temple University (aka the first three years)

I tell that joke whenever people ask me what college was like, but it’s a joke only insomuch as it wasn’t the best part of my life. The ten years part was very real. But at least it was only 10 years when you add in my two years of graduate school. That makes it better, right?

What I miss about college:

* Wearing sweatpants every day, all day Continue reading “Fifteen Credits”

I Did What?: My Sordid Job History, Volume 2

The dog chased me down the street, his mouth afroth, drooling and flinging his foam and spittle every which way as he closed in. My sneakers seemed to make impressions in the sidewalk as I literally flew down across the avenue, but he was gaining. And I was tiring. I dodged into the nearest alley, wheezing and panting for my life. My messenger bag had somehow flung wide open during my journey, and a stream of papers had flown out, falling pell mell in the street, on the sidewalk, and in the yards and bushes that punctuated my escape route. I think I finally lost him, too, with that last sprint. But it had been raining, and all the flyers were ruined. Oh well. That was how I ended my first job.

We all remember our first jobs. Well, most of us, anyway. Some of us were barely ten, raking lawns for the neighbors to get a little pocket change. Others were given odd jobs by people in the neighborhood who needed odd jobs done. Still others were babysitters for kids who were nearly as old as they were. I wasn’t allowed to do any of that, so my first job actually came when I was 16, when I began working for the Philadelphia Vision Center passing out flyers. I discussed it briefly here, about the year I was Santa Claus, but there was a lot more to it than that. Continue reading “I Did What?: My Sordid Job History, Volume 2”