New Year’s Resolutions, Deodorant & Car Repairs

“Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.”― Theodore Roosevelt

A reader once sent me an email in which they offered advice that they said would make my blog better and more popular. Here is what they shared with me:

  1. Stop updating so frequently. We can’t keep up and most people don’t care.
  2. You are too negative. You bring us down and people don’t like that.

That’s not verbatim but it is very close. I didn’t respond to their email and it wasn’t because I couldn’t.

I didn’t because I couldn’t think of a reason why I needed to convince them to like my blog or why they needed to change. I suppose that some of it was because I wasn’t going to and I didn’t expect them to either.

Shofar (by Alphonse Lévy) Caption says: "...

Shofar (by Alphonse Lévy) Caption says: “To a good year” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why I Do What I Do

I blog the way I do because it pleases me. This makes me happy. My posts are as long or as short as they need to be and they cover the topics that need to be covered. Some people love my writing, some hate it and some are indifferent.

This is ok. It is life and it is how the world works. I am powerful and capable of changing many things but this is not a battle I need to fight. I pay attention to those battles, especially around the new year.

I probably should qualify that and say I am talking about Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It is just around the corner and I am feeling a bit unsettled.

This happens every year. I could give you a long winded story about why but it is well after midnight and it is probably not necessary.

Instead let me say that part of why I am unsettled is because I am in the midst of big changes that have taken far longer to settle than I had planned for and it is a bit disruptive.

It is also because this is the time of year for introspection and while my overall sense of who I am and what I am about it is good there are things that I am unsatisfied with, hence I am unsettled.


This weekend we bought deodorant for my son. Today he asked me to show him how to use it. It may sound silly but it was cool and I suspect a precursor to shaving.

We are a long way off before that comes, but it is something that I have long looked forward to. I remember my father teaching me. I am not in a rush to teach my son, but I expect it will be at an older age than I was for the very simple reason that his hair is light brown.

My beard is black and distinct. His shadow will be less noticeable than mine. He doesn’t know that is a perk, but he will.

This past weekend I watched him play soccer and saw him really begin to come into his own. He has been making big improvements for a while now, but it is clear that things click in a way they didn’t before.

The boy is really turning into the preteen I have been expecting to show up. I am both excited and nervous.

His Bar Mitzvah is next year. How the hell am I going to pay for it.

Car Repairs

I am sure I’ll figure it out but moments like today don’t help. I am referring to car repairs.

Today was pretty simple, it was just a new battery but it was the latest in a string of repairs on the cars. New hoses, radiator, battery, belts and an assortment of this and that.

I am a writer but my name isn’t Stephen King or JK Rowling. The major book deals haven’t rolled in…yet. The faucet is dripping and not quite turned on full bore so the cash that comes is in dribs and drabs.

Maybe I’ll get lucky and see the flood sooner than later.

In the interim I suppose I’ll spend some time thinking about who I am and who I want to be.

Be The Blogger You Want To Be

In regard to blogging I am focused on being the blogger I want to be and I strongly encourage you to be do the same. If you aren’t doing this for yourself and you aren’t having fun you won’t last.

Be the blogger you want to be. That is all.


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  1. Leroy Nickelson June 2, 2013 at 2:21 am

    Personally, I also like blogging very much. As you love writing, I love it too but unfortunately I cannot bind my feelings well within words. Is there any tips from you to make over this barrier?

  2. Jesse C April 23, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    I had to read your article just because the title is so great. I had to find out what deodorant and car repairs had in common!

    I feel for you in both areas. My sons have grown but I still remember the little milestones that turned them into men. And car repairs? Yes, it seems like everything goes wrong about the same time.

    Good luck with your son. I’m sure he will grow up to be a great man.

  3. Ian March 25, 2013 at 6:43 am

    It’s good to see you’ve faith in your confidence. People often tries to help other violating expected one main freedom and I don’t like such type of help at all. I do whatever I think correct in my blog and so often visitors shows complementary leaving comments. I’ve truly inspired reading through your post and this confident will help me a lot to improve my blogging experience nicely. Thanks. 🙂

  4. Judy Lee Dunn September 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Hey Jack,

    We all need to make our own way with the advice the world brings us. I don’t pay a lot of attention to unsolicited advice with the exception of:

    1. Advice I get repeatedly form a wide variety of sources.
    2. Advice from someone I truly admire and respect.

    In those cases, I tend to hold it up to the light and look at it more closely. In the end, if my gut tells me to ignore it, that is what I do. I always thanks people, though, unless they were a rude jerk about it.

    Cherish those milestones with your son. They fly by so fast! In researching for my memoir, I was just looking at tapes of my daughter from junior high, when she co-hosted a kids’ show called KidsWorld at an NBC affiliate in Spokane, WA: Her rather shy interviews with people like the impersonator Rich Little and the Olympic swimmer John Naber. She was just a gawky little girl with braces. It’s a cliché, but it goes by like the blink of an eye.

    • Jack September 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm

      Hi Judy,

      Those are sound guidelines that I more or less follow, at least try to. It is probably obnoxious and uncharitable to say, but I see many people who have no business offering advice doing just that.

      Some of them have mistaken the lack of red pen across their screen as being evidence of expertise, but I digress.

      My kids are younger than your daughter but I have learned the “hard” way just how fast time passes. It amazes me how we blink and see the years pass by.

      If there is a reason to stop the clock it is to have a few more minutes with the kids at these amazing ages.

  5. Joe September 10, 2012 at 7:41 am

    My wife bought my 12 YO son body spray. So he’d smell good for the first year of middle school. It smells like he’s been bathing in it and I find that hysterical.

    I find the love/hate thing applicable to Springsteen. People I know either love him or hate him. No in between. I think both emotions are generated by the same factor. Those of us that love him do so because he blows your ass up with his live shows. I think the people that dislike him are secretly scared because he’s so intense and committed to his craft…like most people aren’t.

    Keep posting, baby. Never mind the critics (bollocks).

    • Jack September 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm

      Hi Joe,

      That body spray is what my son really wants. I am not against it, but I suspect he’ll douse himself the same way your son is so I have held off. Mostly it is because the one he showed me smelled badly to me and I was afraid what it would be like if he took a bath in it.

      You are right about Springsteen. He brings out really strong emotions in people. I relate to passion and intensity so he really resonates with me.

      Don’t have to worry about me and critics, I am deaf. 😉

  6. Vidya Sury September 10, 2012 at 6:35 am

    🙂 Yes, good to be the blogger I want to be. I bought my son deodorant, but he doesn’t want to use it, yet. 14 years and already having to clear that chin hair every once in a while. Maybe an automatic (is that what they are called?) shaver is a better idea. The growing up is certainly a heart-string-puller – I think it is the confidence that comes out that makes you wonder – where’s the little boy who wanted to cling to you on his first day at school, and wouldn’t even look back on the second day because he was too eager to meet his classmates. Excited and nervous, yes.

    You will be famous Jack. So what if your name is not Stephen King? Write that book 🙂 You’ll hear the steady cha-ching when you least expect it. And remember, I’ll be happy to promote your work 😀


    • Jack September 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      Hi Vidya,

      Sooner or later the question of whether they want to use it becomes moot. 😉 An electric shaver is easy to use. It is not as close a shave, but that is not a terrible thing.

      The confidence is wonderful to see. I love watching the kids come into their own and to see them stand tall. It is both awesome and beautiful.

      As we say in the old country, from your mouth to G-d’s ears. I look forward to the day. You know I’ll write rich or poor but it is always nice to be able to focus solely on writing and to not have to worry about anything else. 😉

      Hope you are doing great.

  7. Bill Dorman September 10, 2012 at 4:58 am

    I wasn’t too offended when you didn’t respond to my e-mail; I was just trying to help you out………..

    It’s fun to watch your kids ‘grow.’ You have those moments you want to capture in a bottle and you do in a way, in your mind. But it’s really cool to see them turn into ‘people.’

    Question, what if that e-mail had come from someone who was a successful writer and someone you really respected, would you have reacted any differently? Just curious….

    • Jack September 10, 2012 at 11:11 am

      Yeah, I know about your help. Feed a guy once and he keeps coming back. 😉

      This parenting gig is all sorts of fun. It is surreal to see these tiny babies grow into real people. I can only imagine what it is like to be on your side of the fence already.

      I am not against or above taking advice especially when it comes from someone I respect and believe to be skilled in a particular area. This wasn’t like that and the advice was flawed so…

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