Dear Journal: Shutting Up

Dear Journal, Why haven’t I learned yet just to keep my mouth shut? Maybe that’s the real reason I’ve lost so many friends over the years. They just got tired of listening to me, probably. I mean, I’ve never entertained ideas that I was a quiet person who didn’t speak unless spoken to. That’s not … Continue reading Dear Journal: Shutting Up

Knowing When

“Know when to give up, and when to keep forging on.” People used to always tell me, usually on the heels of some grievous defeat, that things will look up, that if I keep working hard the world would reward me. But that’s not true, is it? There are so many people out there trying … Continue reading Knowing When

Before I Die

before-i-die15_178343183Before I die I want to live. I don’t remember where that quote comes from, but it’s one I’ve lived by since I turned 21. Before then I never even thought about death, even though all around me people were dying every day. None of it really seemed that personal to me until I turned 21 and began having little aches and pains, signs that informed me of my own mortality.

In recent years a lot of focus has been given to the proverbial “bucket list,” a list of things people want to do before they die. It started off with a lot of older folk and their list of regrets. What didn’t they do that they wish they had done in their lifetime? They were regrets, though, because almost everything on their lists were impossibilities for people of advanced age. That’s when people younger and younger began writing out their own bucket lists of things they could conceivably do if they lived a nice long life.

Of course living a nice long life is not a given for anyone who’s young, and we can see more and more the stories of people who’ve died young, before they had a chance to truly live, before the things on their bucket lists could be successfully completed. I recall reading a book once about this woman who was involved in the death of a young girl who had a list of 40 things she wanted to do before 40. I could be massively reinterpreting the plot structure of the book, but it was intriguing, completing someone else’s list out of a sense of guilt or obligation. In a way it was even better because the woman felt compelled to go out of her comfort zone to try and get some closure on what she had done, accidentally or not. The idea intrigues me. Continue reading “Before I Die”


il_570xN.530350248_bs57It’s odd how something that is completely unrelated to something else can still trigger those memories in my mind. For instance, I was listening to Rod Stewart this morning (The Motown Song) and it made me think about Pepsi. Of course the song is all about hanging out and listening to old records to set the mood. It has nothing to do with Pepsi, but follow my logic…

When I was in high school I worked on a mushroom farm. It was 1991, so the song was on the radio a lot, and we listened to it while we worked. That song will forever be indelibly linked to mushrooms, fertilizer, heat, Losing My Religion, and Diet Coke soda. The mushrooms, fertilizer, and heat were related to the boxes we were packing to ship off to people trying to grow mushrooms, the song was another big one in the rotation on the one radio station we listened to, and the Diet Coke was what our boss let us have when we were in some downtime. As I can’t stand Coke, my mind instead goes to Pepsi when I hear the song, as it did this morning.

That happens a lot to me since my mind is always going a mile a minute, and I pretty much dare people to keep up, to trace back my brain’s journey to get to the bizarre destination. In fact, it has gone on so long that it has become sort of a game for me to even figure out my own logic and connections, a variation on the six degrees of separation, but internal instead of external. It’s why a pair of blue jeans reminds me of Von Hayes, why a kid on a bicycle brings back memories of the Empire State Building, and why Fred Flintstone saying “Yabba Dabba Doo!” inspires me to do the Humpty Dance.

So, I think about 900, and what comes to mind are the SATs, you know, the exams that are supposed to test your potential ability. I recently found out that the newly revised (again) SATs will feature a return to a 1600 perfect score, so I will theoretically be able to compare my score with my daughter’s score when she takes the test in 8 years. Back in my day, the math score had a ceiling of 800, and the verbal score was the same. Usually people did a lot better on one or the other, but the score to look at was 900. Most schools would accept you if you scored a 900, so it was what you strove for, right? Continue reading “900”