Some Days I Wish I Was Wolverine

Some days I wish I was Wolverine because I think it would be cool to be him and some days I wish I was Wolverine because I Need to be him.

Don’t mistake it to mean I don’t like being me or that I have any real problems with it because I don’t.

Sure if I had the power I’d make myself slightly taller, give myself a digestive system that works at full capacity 100 percent of the time and one or two other tweaks.

But that doesn’t mean I think the person I am is bad, weak or deficient because I don’t.

It just means that I recognize I am as human as the next guy and that I’d like to be better.

Besides who wouldn’t want to have the ability to heal almost any wound and have Adamantium claws you can use for all sorts of nifty stuff.

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Today is one of those funny days where I am feeling a bit frustrated and would like people to feel like a tiger is staring at them.

It is one of those days where I’d casually extend a claw and pick my teeth with it so that people know old Jack Steiner is feeling a bit ornery and it might not be the best time to aggravate him.

One of those days where I look at the picture just above and think about how nice it must be to live in a place so green and lush.

I can almost hear the sound of the water and that is a very pleasant noise indeed.

Will Dad Take His Own Advice?

When the kids tell me they are upset about something I always ask them if they know what it is because it is easier to work with feelings you have identified.

I suppose I ought to use this as my own teaching moment and should take my own advice.

If I did I’d ask myself why I am feeling this way and I’d say it is because I am a little nervous.

I don’t have as good a handle on the new job as I would like to and that makes me a bit uncomfortable.

Ask me if anyone has criticized or chastised me and I’ll say no.

All they have done is offer support and told me to take baby steps because it is brand new, been in the new position for one week and on my own for all of one day.

You have to learn to walk before you can run, except I am impatient and my own biggest critic.

If anyone else talked this way to me I’d tell them to get lost and or ignore them because they are acting like a fool.

Except this time I am that fool.

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So here is the deal and the plan.

I am going to accept feeling uncomfortable, uncertain and foolish.

Give me the damn mask or the jester’s hat and bells so I can do some silly dance and get this over with.

And now that I have taken ownership of it I am going to tell you about the song that is playing in my head right now and how it made me smile.

It is Time Stand Still by Rush and the lyrics just feel perfect for this moment.

“I let my skin get too thin
I’d like to pause,
No matter what I pretend
Like some pilgrim
Who learns to transcend
Learns to live
As if each step was the end

Time stand still
I’m not looking back
But I want to look around me now
Time stands still
See more of the people
And the places that surround me now”

And just like that clarity snaps back into place and my attitude is adjusted.

Someone call my kids and tell them dear old dad just proved some of his advice is worth listening to.

Still it might be nice to be Wolverine. I bought a bunch of stuff at Costco that was packaged in that crazy clamshell plastic and it just doesn’t want to open. 😉

Be The Blogger That Punched A Moose

They asked me who I want to be and I told them I want to be the blogger that punched a moose.

Not because I hope to be immortalized by the bad PR I receive when PETA pickets my blog but because I have been trying to push myself to reach deeper and become the writer I know I can be but haven’t yet become.

I suppose I could say that becoming the blogger that punched a moose would have the added benefit of being memorable and that it is more likely that people would remember you.

*****

Been testing my limits again, trying to figure out whether there is truth to saying that the only limits we have are those that are self-imposed.

Had a few solid hits, posts where I felt like I found my rhythm early and kept it going throughout

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“Dad, tell me again why you need a girl for anything other than having a baby.”

These conversations intrigue me because there is a process of discovery taking place on both sides. The teen is probing, searching for something and the man is trying to pull out some more details so that he better understands what the teen is looking for.

The teen is probing, searching for something and the man is trying to pull out some more details so that he better understands what the teen is looking for.

“The right girl helps you recognize things about the world and yourself that you might not otherwise learn. She’ll help you see things in a way you might not ever do on your own.”

“You don’t have to have a girl for that, you can do that with friends.”

“Yeah, it is possible but women often see the world and life differently than we do. Sometimes there way is better and sometimes it is just different.”

He tells me he still doesn’t plan on getting married and that he refuses to have a girlfriend.

I wonder if he is already interested in some girl or girls, but I don’t push it.

“Hormones might disagree with you but let’s not argue about it. It won’t hurt for you to wait to start dating a bit, there might be less drama if you and her grow up a little bit.”

“Dad, I am not interested in girls and I am not going to have a girlfriend.”

“Ok.”

What Do Teens Need To Know?

Steiner the minor is working hard to become an independent man. I recognize much of his behavior the way you remember a pair of familiar jeans that you haven’t worn for a while.

I recognize much of his behavior the way you remember a pair of familiar jeans that you haven’t worn for a while.

Some of the moodiness and the pushing back against affection remind me of when I told my parents there wasn’t any more hugging or kissing me.

I saw that as belonging to a baby and didn’t think it was appropriate for teenage me.

Now teenage me looks at the reflection of the man in the mirror and shrugs his shoulders, “sorry, he’ll start hugging you again when he is about twenty. Don’t take it personally.”

*****

I got my first handjob when I was 15.

It was at an overnight at summer camp.

We were at Catalina Island.

It was dusk when she slipped her hands into my sleeping bag and then lower into my shorts.

Can’t say if it was five minutes or five seconds, but for a brief moment it felt like a wonderful five years and then it was…done.

She was from Tennessee. I can still hear that accent and her giggle.

We never kissed, but she took my hand and put it where she wanted it and then that was over too.

The next night she moved her sleeping bag next to another boy and then did the same the following night.

I never asked those other boys about their experiences so I don’t know if it was the same or different than mine.

I just know I was both thrilled and terrified.

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It is past midnight and somewhere into the between 1 and dawn stage of the evening.

The boys from Kiss are singing about Beth and my thoughts are drifting from past to present to future.

Somewhere intermixed are ideas about things for the children and my own dreams but the focus is still upon whether I need to keep winging it with the teen or if there is something more precise I should be doing.

Do I tell him that sometimes you’ll be an adult who gets butterflies in your stomach when you talk to certain girls or that sometimes they make you want to egg their house and pull their ponytails.

Will he understand that no matter how grown up you are some things just make you…young again.

Or at least they make you act like it and then you look in the mirror and ask the beared face to explain why you just did what you swore you wouldn’t do.

I already know the answer to these questions and that some things can’t be explained because they have to be experienced.

Of course I could tell him about how his aunt told me how she hated the girl who broke my nephew’s heart and how sad she was because she saw it coming and couldn’t do anything about it.

Because the boy who says he is never going to have a girlfriend will most certainly do so and that means that someday he might be the heartbroken or the heartbreaker.

Be The Blogger That Punched A Moose

Somewhere someone is trying to determine what metrics to use to figure out what sort of authority and influence bloggers have.

Somewhere they are talking about unique users, pageviews, time spent on page, demographics, followers, comments and more.

All because they think this will help them figure out who to ask to work as brand ambassadors and sponsors but I can assure you that none of them will think to look for bloggers who have punched a moose in the nose.

You can help move the needle and become a major influencer.

Be the blogger that punched a moose and move from being a no one into internet fame.

Sometimes you have test your limits. Sometimes you have to see how far you can reach.

Sometimes you have to punch a moose, but don’t forget to duck and or run because there is a good chance the moose you hit won’t like it very much.

Tell Your Mom To Shut Up Too

When Opportunity knocks I’ll see it.

Editor’s Note: Technically this ran last year but I’m feeling a bit ranty because I listened to some really ignorant people talk to their children about things they don’t understand.

I wish that some of you would just shut up. I am not kidding because I really do wish you would just stop blogging. No, I am not being nice and yes I know what your mother said about not speaking if you don’t have anything nice to say.

You can tell mom to just shut up too. Do me a favor tell her twice and say that Jack sends his love. Tell her that I use two spaces after periods because I don’t give a fuck if some typographers get upset about it.

They mean well but I have too many other things that are chafing my hide. I am too busy trying to figure out why our public school system is broken and wondering if I can afford to go see the dentist.

I have health insurance but I don’t have dental insurance. I gave it up so that I could pay for private school for my kids. I couldn’t afford to pay for everyone in the family anyway but I make sure that the kids see the dentist for their regular teeth cleaning.

When mom asks you why I am being rude tell her that I am not really being rude. Tell her that it is rude not to be angry about the homeless guys who are sleeping on the street because they have no other place to go. Tell her that people who are unemployed aren’t all lazy and that lots of them want jobs.

Tell her to be thankful that she has a roof over her head and food on the table. Let her know that there are educated people on the street because shit happens. Let her know that some of them got hit by medical bills that overwhelmed them and that when their companies laid them off they didn’t get severance and that no one wants to hire middle management because they have too much experience.

Let her know that it is time to stop blaming god for why things are good or bad. Tell her that we waste copious amounts of money fighting to stop gay marriage because we need to fight the moral decline here and that the decline of infrastructure isn’t important.

We don’t need to retrofit bridges, repair broken water mains or worry about keeping public libraries open. Tell mom that her dear friend Jack can’t be pigeonholed as a Republican or a Democrat because he has learned to hate both parties.

That is because it has become more important to make the other side look bad than to fix common problems. Tell mom that I will continue to tell people to shut up because they haven’t bothered to learn enough about the issues to explain why supporting or fighting them are important.

Tell mom that I can’t be bothered to listen to another tale about how Bush stole the election or how Obama isn’t really a citizen. Tell her that I can’t listen to Democrats blame every bad thing on Republicans and that I can take listening to Republicans blame the Democrats either.

Just Shut up

Tell mom that in the blogosphere I am sick and tired of blogs where the authors consistently take the easy road because their readers don’t hold them accountable. Not every post is great. Not everyone is a winner. Some posts suck. Sometimes we fall down and we fail.

I say ‘we’ because I include myself in that group. And when mom asks if I have an ego and think I am better than some bloggers you can tell her that I do and I am. Tell her that I don’t claim to have all the answers but that I am trying.

Let her know that the primary reason I am so damn angry is because I don’t see changes. I don’t hear coherent plans for improving things for all of us. Tell her that when I suggest that it is better to have an educated and healthy populace it doesn’t make me a socialist and that if you are going to call me names you need to understand what you are saying and why.

And then tell mom that this isn’t a rah rah speech. It is not me trying to be inspirational. It is just me venting because sometimes people really suck.

How To Make Friends and Influence People

It is considered bad form to suggest that you can help the socially inept by incorporating throat punch and Mule Kick Monday where we help you rid yourself of the people whose sole purpose in life is to irritate you.

Hell, I don’t doubt there are at least three people in this vast world of ours who would like to improve their day with a preemptive strike which is exactly why I went around today doing my impression of Bruce Lee.

Yeah old Jack showed his fists of fury off in a big way. You should have seen the looks on those who were enlightened by the boots of burden.

It Is Fiction

Confession: that was fiction, I didn’t unleash my fists of fury or boots of burden. Hell, I own two pairs of boots, a pair of Black Justins and some nice Timberlands but neither were used to strike anyone.

Ladies, did you appreciate my sharing information about my boots? Was it wrong of me to ask?

I am not really asking nor am I serious. Right now I am just writing for the sake of writing. I am writing because there I didn’t get to hang out with the wolfpack tonight and the demon inside demands my attention.

I am writing because I am turning 44 years-old in a couple of days and I am trying to figure out how it all works. I feel like I am 25. I don’t quite look like I am 25, but I feel like it.

Is it just me or does 44 sound old?

Hell, if memory serves Satchel Paige was still pitching at 44 and so was Jamie Moyer. I think Rickey Henderson was still playing pro ball too.

What Is The Difference Between Us?

Well let’s see, Rickey and Satchel were/are Black and I am not. Jamie was a pitcher and I am not. All three of them had enough talent to make the big leagues and apparently I didn’t, er don’t. But maybe I do.

I never did get a try out and if you miss every shot you don’t take well then I missed because I didn’t try out, not because I didn’t make the team.

That gives me an idea, someone get Kobe on the phone, I can still play for the Lakers. Hell, someone tell Kobe I challenge him to a game of one-on-one with the stipulation that he plays me now while he is on crutches.

I May Be Older, But I Am Not Stupid

Sometimes it is better to be the crafty old veteran than the young rookie. You have to work on being clever and use a few tricks here and there. Speaking of tricks let’s see if this one works.

I am going to mention Triberr because 9 times out ten Dino Dogan magically appears and leaves a comment. So let’s mention Triberr and see if he shows up here. Hell, let’s get ready to write another post about Triberr and then guarantee that Dino will grace us with his presence.

In the interim I am going to review what we learned here:

It would make some people feel better if we could create  throat punch and Mule Kick Monday. It would undoubtedly have many fans as well as many detractors and we might find out if the old adage about bad PR being good PR is correct.

We might also get arrested and be thrown in a cell with Bubba the drunk degenerate who fought Bad Bad Leroy Brown, the baddest man in the whole damn town.

Now I reckon some people might have a problem with me talking about Bubba the drunk degenerate. You might not prefer me to call him Bubba the buggerer either which means that clearly you are in favor of stealing all of our guns so that radical Islamist terrorists can declare Jihad on us and murder us indiscriminately.

Of course if you were patriots you wouldn’t mind my talking about Bubba the drunk degenerate who fought Bad Bad Leroy Brown, the baddest man in the whole damn town.

How To Make Friends and Influence People

In fact you patriots would be pleased to know that I didn’t make it into pro ball and that  after I created throat punch and Mule Kick Monday and was thrown into jail I met Bubba the drunk degenerate who fought Bad Bad Leroy Brown, the baddest man in the whole damn town.

Why?

Because I would beat Bubba the drunk degenerate who fought Bad Bad Leroy Brown, the baddest man in the whole damn town to a pulp saving you from the beating you would have surely received when he sobered up, was released on his own recognizance and took to wandering the streets again.

And that my friends is how you make friends and influence people. Some of you might call it Tea Party Logic, but me, I call it common sense.

Echoes Of The People We Miss

"The Favorite" - Grandfather and Gra...

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Two weeks from now everyone will be talking about St. Patrick’s Day but not me. It is my grandfather’s birthday, except this year he won’t be around to celebrate it with us.

He would have been 98 and had my grandmother not died he would still be here now. There is no doubt in my mind that grandpa died of a broken heart. They were married for 76 years and friends for 85.

Hadn’t really thought about his birthday yet but we had a school event that dealt with genealogy and his picture was part of a slide show. Actually all of my grandparents were in it and I couldn’t help but think about how strange it is to me to not have any left.

When I wrote The People We Miss I still had two living grandparents. When I wrote about Four Generations and a Wedding I was down to just one grandfather but I carried the others along with me. They all had their places in my heart.

It feels so surreal to me to think they are all gone now.

When I stood in the tux shop last summer I watched my grandfather marvel over my son. That boy of mine didn’t like putting on tux but I gave him a look and he stopped squirming. I couldn’t have been more proud, especially when I saw the joy in grandpa’s eyes.

But I also saw the pain and when I helped him put his jacket on I knew that he would tell me about how much he missed grandma. And I knew that there was a good chance that he wouldn’t hang on for the wedding. I am not angry with him for that. I can’t imagine what it means to be with someone for that long and not have them.

Changing of the Guard

When grandpa died it marked the end of that generation. They are all gone now. All the members of that generation in my family have moved on to wherever it is we go and the rest of us moved up. My parent’s generation has become the old guard and mine is just…older.

There is silence now that reminds me of endless blue skies. I can’t complain of them having had their lives cut short because they didn’t and they weren’t. But I can say that I miss them for a million different reasons not the least of which is I have lost my cheering squad.

My grandparents were always among my biggest supporters and I always knew it. They loved listening to me talk about my life and always wanted to know what was going on with me.

I noticed their absence today for another reason. A big opportunity presented itself. It is the kind of thing that could be exceptionally significant and something that I would have told them about. My grandfathers and I would have spoken about it in a hushed tone, can’t speak too loudly for fear of losing it.

Traveling Jack May Ride Again

Can’t say much more about it than I already have but am willing to share that I am excited. Excited and nervous, because…well I don’t want to jinx myself so I’ll be quiet. No need to put the cart in front of the horse.

So let’s take a moment for me to compose some thoughts. While I do that feel free to open a tab to check out the following songs:

When The Levee Breaks– Robert Plant & Allison Krauss
Battle of Evermore – Robert Plant & Allison Krauss
Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On) – Robert Plant & Allison Krauss
I won’t back down – Johnny Cash
Maybe I’m Amazed– Wings

And we’re back. Spent a few minutes cruising through the blog and stumbled onto The Mother Of All Blog Posts Told By A Father and had to smile. I am consistent in my themes and messaging here.

But it is also a reminder to me that I need to continue to bear down and fight harder for the things I want. I need to continue to tell the people I care about they are important, significant and of value. I need to keep pushing to live my dreams and not dream my life.

And now it is time for bed. As I drift off to sleep I am going to think about the people I miss and tell them about the opportunities that have presented themselves to me. Wonder if I’ll dream about them.

Do you think that we get messages from “beyond?”

Do you believe in destiny? Is life a combination of destiny and free will?

Will the 7 year-old boy who made my daughter cry be smart enough not to really piss her off or will she rip his head off? He is playing with fire and not because I wanted to deal with him myself.

Well, we’ll have to save that story for later. It is almost 1 am and your favorite grumpy dad blogger is off to the land of ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

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