Archives for January 2010

Worth Reading Again

Time to air out the archives again and shine a light on some old posts that are worth reading:

Where I Come From

The tears that do not fall

The Supermarket

A Conversation with Someone Dear To Me

Why I Blog

Are You Smarter Than A Rabbi? Part I

I Never Stop Thinking About You

Another insert for Fragments of Fiction

“Oh, I know (oh, I know)
That the music’s fine
Like sparkling wine
Go and have your fun
Laugh and sing
But while we’re apart
Don’t give your heart to anyone
But don’t forget who’s taking you home
And in whose arms you’re gonna be
So darlin’, save the last dance for me, mmmm”

Baby, don’t you know
I love you so
Can’t you feel it when we touch
I will never, never let you go
I love you oh, so much

You can dance (you can dance)
Go and carry on
‘Til the night is gone
And it’s time to go
If he asks if you’re all alone
Can he take you home you must tell him no
‘Cause don’t forget who’s taking you home
And in whose arm’s you’re gonna be
So, darlin’, save the last dance for me
Save The Last Dance for Me– The Drifters

“Just another Saturday night and I ain’t got nobody
I’ve got some money cause I just got paid
How I wish I had some chick to talk to
I’m in an awful way”
Another Saturday Night & I Ain’t Got Nobody– Sam Cooke

“Action speaks louder than words
And I’m a man of great experience
I know you got another man
But I can love you better than him

Take my hand, don’t be afraid
I’m wanna prove every word I say
I’m advertisin’ love for free
So, you can place your ad with me”
Hard to Handle– Otis Redding

In a different life a woman once told me that because men weren’t as in touch with our feelings it takes us longer to figure out what women know in less than half the time. It was the sort of comment that most men dislike hearing at any age, but as a twenty-something I was even less interested.

The future was nothing but endless highway filled with opportunities. I couldn’t see anything but pots of gold waiting to be discovered. Not to mention that an overblown fragile male ego was completely unprepared to do more than feign being interested in the conversation.

Can’t tell you exactly what happened after that, but I can remember a few things. She said something, I said something in reply and went straight into foreplay. Decades later I realize that her participation in the festivities was not tacit approval of the aforementioned non response. If anything it was a check mark that she used on the wrong side of the mental list of things she like and didn’t like about me.

But like I said, I was young and foolish. Who knew. Time passed and she and I found ourselves entangled in a weave of differing interests. She wanted to pursue her dreams in different cities than I did. We talked a lot about what we wanted as individuals, at least that is how I remember it. She might see it differently, might even claim that I am engaged in revisionist history. But I truly don’t remember talking as a ‘we.’

The end result was that we went our separate ways. It wasn’t because of major issues with each other, just bad timing.

Some years later we found each other and picked up where we had left off. Being a child of technology and history I call it relationship 1.5. It started out relatively quietly. There were a few emails and then some conversations followed by a meal.

We met in front of the restaurant and hugged each other. I didn’t realize until we got inside that I had buried my nose in her hair. It was instinct really, she always smelled good. Three minutes later we sat down and I got lost in her. I know that sounds goofy, pull my man card. But I did. Her scent was still stuck in my nose and all I could think about was taking her home as quickly as possible.

Apparently I wasn’t alone in my thoughts because right after we ordered she suddenly came down with a migraine. At least she thought that is what it was going to be. While we waited for the waiter to box our food I offered to walk her home and she said yes.

Along the way she told me that the night air had helped to clear her head and asked if I wanted to come up and eat at her place. Did I mention that it took me until the next day to realize how she had set me up. I spent most of the walk back to her place silently lamenting the crash and burn of the evening.

Anyway, we set the table, enjoyed a bottle of wine with our meal and then woke up together. As I said earlier it was part of relationship 1.5. And if you haven’t guessed it didn’t last long. Her company transferred her to an office in the Southwest. I was climbing the corporate ladder and too close to a major promotion to move.

Time passed and we drifted apart again. Another case of two people who probably could make it work if they could find a way to be together.

And now I find myself saying that more than I’d like to. Two people who could probably make it work if they could find a way to be together. Oh, did I mention that relationship 1.5 was the most intense that I have ever been in.

It was the kind of love affair that makes you write stupid poetry and plays. Did I tell you that I apologized to her for being so stupid when we were younger? Well I did. I told her that I wished that I had never let her go. I said that it was the mistake that haunted me and that she really was the love of my life.

She told me that was great and that she wished that I had said it earlier but that we missed our window. And then came the fights and accusations. The hurt feelings built up and over time we stopped communicating. That is sort of the filler part of what happened when relationship 1.5 moved on.

So I find myself in quiet moments thinking about my girl. Not sure that it is right or fair to say that, but I can’t help it. I like to think that she still thinks of herself that way. I like to think that sometimes she thinks about me and wonders if maybe someday we can find a way.

Although we can give the standard laundry list of he said, she said issues the reality is that we didn’t really end things because of issues with the other. It didn’t fall apart because I stand her incessant need to make lists for everything or desire to keep Laura Ashley in business. The things that killed us were external issues and those can be dealt with.

Maybe it is one of those once in a lifetime opportunities in which you grab that brass ring or you don’t. Maybe it is something that I’ll look back upon and smile. But I hope not. For a long time she was more than my best friend. I am still holding out hope that she can be again because I never have stopped thinking about her.

The Greatest Blog Post Never Written

This could be the greatest blog post that was never written. It could be magical, amazing and enlightening. This could very well be the one that launches my career as a writer. Well, I should qualify that.I have worked and am working as a writer. This is a different sort of thing that I am referring to.

A post that leads to an opportunity to write a book and to become a published author. I keep dreaming about it. I keep writing about it and wondering how to make it into reality. Do I want to write the great American novel and if so, what do I want to write about.

I can be funny. I could tell a million stories that you make you laugh. Or I can go a different direction and write about the great love that got away. I can make you remember that man or woman you still carry a torch for. I can tap into those feelings and make you ask yourself the uncomfortable question of, “what if.”

But then again maybe it is better to write a book under my role as a father. It could be called “The Dude they Called Dad” and feature me with a very serious and solemn look on my face. Or it could go the silly route, that fits me.

The other day I realized that I have an idea for a line of clothing. If you are one of the three people that know me you recognize how goofy that is. Me, the clothing designer. Ok, it is not really meant to be a designer like you’d see at some fashion show. It is different, but I have a pretty clear idea.

It is an idea that I am going to give life to. I am going to turn take it from something that I play around with in my mind into something that is real, tangible. Damn it, I am going to make it happen for no other reason than I can.

This thing is going to be proof that sheer desire and force of will can make amazing things happen. I am really fired up right now. We’re almost one month into the year of Jack and things are happening, albeit slowly, but they are happening.

It reminds me a bit of moving a heavy object. I have started to rock it back and forth. Slowly the momentum is building and its own weight is beginning to make it move. I just need to generate a little bit more movement and then that sucker will start traveling.

The hard part is not getting started but making sure that I don’t smack into any icebergs.

Well have to see what happens. For now all I can say is that this could have been the greatest blog post that was never written.

Are you There God? It is Me, Jack

Are you there G-d, it is me Jack. You know, that crazy kid who grew up down the street from you. You remember me, when I was five I got chased down the street by the neighbor’s dog. The same neighbor who gave me that awful Kool-Aid concoction that made me puke through my nose.

Kind of nasty, but when you are five nasty is kind of cool. Gave me some sort of street cred, not that I knew what to do with it.  Or at least I don’t really remember knowing much about it. But maybe I did, maybe that five year old boy knew some secrets that he has since forgotten.

Ya know G-d, I am not all that different from a lot of people. I like to think that I make an impression upon people, that they remember me. You can call it ego, fear or insecurity, but it is just nice to know. I know, I say that I don’t care about any of that. Most of the time I don’t, but I have my moments.

Is it a contradiction? I suppose, but that is ok. Women change their minds all the time and although I am most assuredly male I am happy to write this off as being part of getting in touch with my feminine side. But let’s be clear, I don’t need 2,876 pairs of shoes or want to decorate my home in some sort of flowery motif.

G-d, I have got to tell you that I am not sure how I feel about you these days. Do you have any idea how many friends of mine have died? It started in junior high. You remember that girl that had a seizure in the bathtub and drowned. What was that about? Or what about those kids that died every year I was in high school.

Two neighbors died in car accidents during college another girl that I kind of knew was killed in Europe. Of course we can’t forget about D. He really was like a brother to me. Twenty-nine, why? What the hell is that about.

And then last year three more. Two mothers and a divorced guy. C’mon G-d, WTF is that about. It doesn’t make sense to me.

I mean I understand that when I was 20 it might have been a little forward to ask you to put a good word in with Ann Stacey for me. Ok, I didn’t ask for a good word. I asked you to give me a couple of hours of alone time and promised to close the deal.

Have to tell you that I feel kind of foolish here. I am not sure that you are listening. Can’t say that this is anything but it a very poor attempt to engage in some sort of silly blogging trick. Nah, scratch that, this is something a bit more than that. It is me cleaning out the pipes and stretching my legs a bit.

Not sure if it is working, but we’ll see.

Back To The Hospital…Again

That tweet was only partially tongue-in-cheek.I made it shortly after finding out that my grandmother had been rushed to the hospital. She tripped and fell late Sunday night and her eye was swollen shut. The docs weren’t sure exactly what was going on and ran a bunch of tests.

My mother called me early Monday morning to fill me in. She told me that the doctors had provided several different options for how to treat grandma. Sometimes conversations about medical issues are simple. You operate because the patient will die if you don’t or you don’t operate because the risk is too high.

You’ll forgive me for not providing all of the details here. It is not really important for you to know and unless you are a medical expert the details won’t make this any more or less interesting. And now back to our story.

Anyhoo, the docs presented my mother with several different options to choose from and reminded her that though they didn’t want to pressure her time was of the essence. And so I found myself doing some basic research on surgeons and the procedures we were discussing.

A short time later I called my mother at the hospital and asked how grandma was doing. I knew from my mother’s voice that things weren’t great. She didn’t try to hide it. If you read The Long Goodbye you are aware that dementia is beginning to steal my grandmother. It is not easy for me to see and it certainly isn’t easy for my mother.

Until relatively recently grandma had been blessed with excellent health. She was very active physically and mentally so it is really shocking to see the changes. All I have to do is read Passing The Baton- Grandma is 94
and I can’t help but shake my head in disbelief.

“Macular degeneration has taken her eyesight and her short term memory is a little rough, but overall she is in really good shape. She told me that she thinks that her age has finally caught up to her. That may or may not be true, but she still exudes quiet strength and she still is among the happiest people I have ever known. If you ask her why she’ll laugh and tell you that life is hard and that is why you have to smile. If you press her to provide a less cryptic answer she will, but that is a story for a different day.”

That is how I think of my grandmother. She tells you that age has caught up and still has more energy than most people, at least she did. That is just not reality anymore.

My children don’t know her like that. They see a different woman than I know. It is life and that is ok, but it makes me a bit sad. I’d write more but it is late so I am going to cut this off here. But before I go I want to share one more excerpt from the post about grandma’s 94th birthday.

“When I dropped them off at their home I had to take a moment. They both hugged and kissed me goodbye, and then without any further ado they held hands and walked off towards the entrance. When I tried to follow them in my grandfather stuck his cane out and told me not to interrupt his time with his special girl and with a twinkle in his eye told me to tell the office that they wouldn’t make it to dinner tonight.”

In a few minutes I’ll go to sleep in my own bed while some miles away my grandmother lies in a hospital bed. Tomorrow I’ll go back and visit her again and hope that she recognizes me. If she doesn’t that is ok, I am a big boy, but I’d be lying if I said that I don’t wonder…