Archives for July 2005

At Peace with Myself

This is a topic that I think about…frequently. Perhaps too frequently.

For the sake of discussion let’s define this as being my quest to find inner peace and happiness with myself and let’s add that I have had it, lost it, had it and lost it.

What I am talking about is the feeling of calm, of being whole, of being one with yourself in all areas of life. It is the feeling you have when you are happy with who you are, what you do, what you look like, feel like etc. It is being able to go to sleep feeling fulfilled.

I know what it is. I have been to that place. I have had moments in time in which I was happy with everything and all was right in the world and I have been in places where I felt as if I could not be any farther away from it.

The secret to this zen like state is not something I can share because it is different for all of us. I have always hated answers like that but in this case it really is true. You cannot tell me how to live because you don’t know what drives me. You don’t know what brings me peace and what brings war.

Ok, you can know some of these things, there are clues and there are some answers but in the end it always comes back to me. I have to be comfortable with myself. I have to accept my strengths and my weaknesses and it is not always easy to do so.

Within the last couple of years I have been frustrated with a number of things. And the hardest part about some of this is that some of these things have truly been outside of my control. I have written about my graphic imagination many times and it has come in handy during these moments of frustration.
When I was a younger man that kind of frustration frequently turned into white hot anger, some might even classify it as being rage.

And I admit to enjoying that anger, to responding to the rush of adrenaline. At times it was exhilirating. When I was serious about lifting weights there were moments where I spent time upsetting myself because I used that aggravation to push myself into the next weight class.

But as I have aged I find that these moments have decreased. Slowly they become fewer and fewer.
And that makes me happy because the reality is that the anger was not something that had great utility, what it gave me also took something out of me.
So now I return back to the focus of the post, the quest for being at peace with myself. At the moment I am not there. I am not in the place that allows me to rest and be fulfilled. There are many many blessings in my life and much to be thankful for, but there are still some pieces that are missing.

For now I am working on being content with what I have while trying to acquire the things that I need to bring the sense of quiet and security that I seek. Some days are good and some are bad, but the one thing that I can guarantee is that I will not give up. Some things are worth waiting and working for.

You Can Learn From Anyone

Rav Fleischmann’s post You Talkin To Me reminded me of a very valuable lesson that I learned a number of years ago.

The majority of my friends have advanced degrees, they are doctors/lawyers and there are even a couple of rocket scientists in the mix. I graduated from college with a BA in Journalism a minor in political science and am two classes short of a second BA in Speech Communication.

So within my group I am among those with less education although I can guarantee that I read more than most of them. But the one thing that I really learned early on is that I am an education snob. It was hard for me not to look down at people who could have gotten a college education but chose not to.

Relatively early in my professional career I learned that a college education was not truly indicative of a person’s ability to make money nor was it always indicative of their intelligence or willingness to learn.

I also learned that within the working world the best way to get better and advance was to find the person/people who were the best at whatever my job was and to emulate them. Some of those people were not college educated yet they were very successful and I learned a lot from them.

So if there is one general comment that I can make it is to emphasize the need to be open to learning from everyone around you. Beyond that I would add that I try to surround myself with people who are either smarter or more effective and efficient. It is an easy way to learn and there is no reason not to try and sponge up as much education as possible.

If I Could Play An Instrument

April fool!

If I Could Play An Instrument I would want to be able to play the following:

  1. Harmonica
  2. Guitar
  3. Trombone
  4. Saxophone
  5. Bugel
  6. Maybe I should include all of the horns in one single item.
  7. Piano
  8. Violin
  9. Drums

Ok, so I realize that I have included a lot of different instruments, but they all attract me in different ways. I think that it would just be cool to be able to play them in large part because it is such a good way to express yourself.

Beyond that I see each one of these instruments as being a tool that can be used to specialize in specific types of music, although clearly some can be used across the entire spectrum.

Letters to the Editor

Deer Jack,
I haf been reeding you for a long time now. Keep up the good werk.


Ok, I am confused/amused by this. What the hell is this and could you be real. I don’t think so.

Did you go to UCLA and if so did you take an astronomy class there? You look familiar. I think that I might know you.

Jonathan Wooden

Actually if you are John Wooden you have probably seen me at VIPs in Tarzana at your morning breakfast and you most assuredly have seen me but that would be more than 25 years ago when you used to jog by my bus stop. As for my time at UCLA you might have found me wandering around Ackerman or playing ball at the Wooden Center.

Jack, what is your relationship to the Shmata Queen and who is she?


Hi Max,

The Shmata Queen can be found in her own corner of cyberspace. She is my wife, friend, concubine and mystery woman. Or maybe she is just one of my 17 sisters. Aside from a mistaken sojourn in cleveland she is a pretty decent lady who has one hell of a right but she is a sucker for a right hand lead. Be careful because she is good at slipping the jab.

Jack, I wish that I could be as cool as you. Please tell me what I can do.


It is a simple process. First you need to learn how to write so that the sarcasm oozes off of the page. I am still working on that one, but I suspect that you know all about being sarcastic and bitter. Or maybe not. Maybe you really do think I am cool. Maybe you really like me in which case pretend I am Sally Field accepting an award.

Well folks that is a partial selection of recent email. I left out a few because I don’t want any of you muscling in on my Nigerian/South African/Russian benefactors who have all sworn to make me rich.

Beyond that I am quite afraid that some of you men may abscond with the enormous amounts of Viagra and pills that are guaranteed to increase my length and girth to such an extent that horses will be ashamed to be seen near me and I can’t miss out on that opportunity now can I.

Back later. Enjoy your day.

Fragments of Fiction- It is New

Fragments of Fiction is coming along. I have added another little bit to it. Slowly but surely the story is moving along, developing, growing and evolving. It still has a tremendous road to go down. There is an awful lot of work that needs to be put into this, but I feel good about it, not great, but good.

For those of you who are following along I am making tweaks and adjustments to the entire story but I have not marked each one of them. It is too time consuming and frankly I don’t think that anyone is really interested in reading that I changed a word here, added a sentence there.

Anyway I am trying to make an effort to do something each day because I don’t want to lose momentum. So here is a rough addition to the story. You should expect to see some changes in this shortly.

The monkey was a little man, both physically and literally. He had received his moniker in high school. It had come after he had been beaten silly for the third time by a boy who didn’t appreciate the monkey’s efforts to impress his girl. The other boy had punched the monkey in the nose and the bystanders had said that he looked like a sick monkey, swaying back and forth in a vain attempt to stop the bleeding and remain standing.

Some people argue that a person’s greatest strength is also their greatest weakness and there is something to be said for that, but not here for philosophy is better left to others. Yet if you apply that line to the monkey you would find a man of great will and obsessive in his desires.

In some respects a better nicknamed for the monkey would have been “Gollum.” Not in tribute to Tolkien but in recognition that the monkey shared those same snakelike mannerisms. He didn’t walk, he slunk from place to place, always operating in the shadows.

But none of this would be an unexpected revelation to anyone who knew the monkey. The only person who would be surprised would have been the monkey. Not unlike so many others he failed to really see himself as he was an instead had a very twisted and distorted view of himself and his importance to others.

If there was a need to hold a class on failed relationships the monkey would be a good instructor. He was just smart enough to hold a conversation and just well read enough to convince his date that he had an education. But without fail his temper and petulant behavior would surface and things would end. It didn’t take much to send him into a rant. He was forever convinced that the world owed him more.

I never believed in fate or destiny. There was no such thing as predestination and if you asked me about a deity that watched over humanity I would have chuckled. That is the kind of thing that the weak need. I didn’t need that kind of crutch. I never did and expect that I never will. But even I had to admit that sometimes life had some funny moments in which your path crossed someone else in a funny way.