Friday, January 11, 2019

$hort


I haven’t written for a while. I haven’t written any non-fiction for even longer. I tried getting into a series of interconnected fictional posts, but life itself is probably more interesting and I don’t want to spend any more time writing about things that didn’t happen. While during most of my life I was probably better at telling the lie than the truth, I want to keep writing about my life as it is, and perhaps write more for fun on a private basis and publish it as another book someday.

Anywho, my last post took you (the reader) back through the year 2018. I wrote about my financial insecurity as it relates to new home ownership, and that is where I will start here.

When I first bought this home, I was under the impression that there would be some tax benefits and maybe for the first time in decades, I might receive an actual refund. Well, that will not be the case. In fact, it looks as if I’m going to owe a significant amount in Federal taxes (although I don’t feel as if I should have to pay a government that isn’t functioning currently) and a small amount in state. I don’t get it. I claimed 1 on my W4, which is one less exemption that the sheet suggests, and I’m still in the hole by about $700. My employer assured me that they are taking the proper amount. Maybe it has something to do with the new tax reform, and since I’m not rich, I owe more. I don’t know. I just can’t seem to catch a break as a single (for tax purposes) white male in this country.

I’m sure I will find the money over whatever period of time they allow me to pay off my debt, but instead of maybe getting ahead a little, now I will be behind all year again. Not everything is terrible, not even a financial burden is terrible. I won’t lose the house, I can still pay all of my bills, I just can’t pay as much extra on them.

***

I have found that the more English language a three-year-old understands and relates, the more frustrating life becomes. The littlest of the two girls is going through a phase in which the only solution for all situations seems to be crying and saying “No!” Of course, I exaggerate, and most often she is adorable and really funny, but there are moments where I wonder what I’m supposed to do to corral her emotions, or if even I’m supposed to do that. She can quickly go from a screaming mess to a laughing cuddle monster, especially when a snack is involved. I’m sure this is normal for children, and I’m wondering if I can rip-off some of her behaviors to get more of what I want at my job or in my relationship… I will try this.

***

I’ve been putting in applications at a few places and entities over the past few weeks in hopes of securing part-time work during the slow season at my present job. I actually applied with the U.S.P.S. because they have an opening in an office closer by and I made it through the first few screenings and tests. They actually will hire felons, they (me) will just be scrutinized more, and have to be completely honest throughout the application process. I have a proctored exam coming up this Monday in St. Cloud, and I’m wondering when it will finally come up.

I also applied for a job with 3M in Hutchinson. Well, I applied with whoever runs the kitchen within the plant. It would be a M-F 6-2 shift, and the benefits would start right away.

Now, the two jobs I just described are full time, which would remove me from my current employ, but the likelihood of me landing one of them is small, nonetheless I like to put out the feelers. I did apply to numerous other positions, and have fielded a few calls but nothing that would help much with the bills. I need something; my vacation (I love that I have to use vacation to get 40 hours at my job) will only last for six weeks and then I’m down to however many hours I get over my four-day workweek.

Uber and Lyft won’t hire felons, and I don’t think I would be a good stripper or prostitute, and I think our book has run its course, so I can’t depend on those royalties for early retirement.

That’s enough about money. I’ve vented, now I’ll solve the problem. It’s what I do.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2018 Recap


2018 was the most stimulating, expensive, and rewarding year of my life so far. It took me forty years to have the best year ever, and I would like to keep this forward trend moving. But first, let’s look back at 2018: the year of the woman, the dog, and the lord according to a Google search I just did.

On January 1st, 2018 I took a big step in my relationship by moving in with my girlfriend and her two children. It was a small apartment in a western second-ring suburb, not technically affiliated with the cities, and about 1,000 feet west of the dividing line of Hennepin and Wright counties. That was a long pointless sentence; it’s something I’ve committed to work on in this New Year. Anyhow, I moved to Delano because I was ready to move my life headlong with another human being, who happened to have two little humans of her own. It was a rough start, and I wondered if I had made the right choice, but the girls grew on me, and I really enjoyed being accountable as a “daddy-figure.” I started taking on more responsibility with the girls and we bonded over science experiments and homemade mac-n-cheese.

Things moved quickly, and I attended a first-time homebuyer’s workshop on March 10th, not really with any intention of making any more sudden moves, but with keen interest in the process. In that seminar I met the man who would end up finding me the loan for the home we would all move in to together (not the mortgage broker, me and the girls) in June after a long and stressful loan application process, wallpaper removal, and a big move. Finally, on May 19th, we were in our new home.

A new home comes with new bills, more responsibility for the area around the house (like a lawn and a driveway), more bills, and more bills. I paid a lot of attention to the seminar but I think they could have emphasized even more the initial financial burden of buying a home. For example, there are things called tools (hammer, screwdriver, a different hammer, and wrench) that I owned none of.  had to buy them. I didn’t know how to fix, repair, build, or maintain anything. I had to pay for that. I didn’t know the terms for anything, and up until May 19th, houses were just walls, wood, and a roof, but as it turns out, they are all made of other parts, none of which I knew anything about. With the aid of some very helpful and knowledgeable neighbors, I have made a few simple repairs on my own—sometimes under supervision—and so far, none have exploded or broken.

We’ve been here over six months now, and money still scares me a little. We have some savings, money in our accounts, and the girls have everything they need, but I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen if a major appliance breaks down in the next couple years. I try not to worry about it, but I have to be mentally prepared for the worst case because that’s been engrained in my brain for so long. I’m slowly fading away from those old thoughts and behaviors, but fears are real, and most often valid subjectively. We will cross that road when we get to it; it just needs to be a road with a bag of money on it.

For the first time in my life, I will have only one W-2. This is significant because it will be easier to do my taxes, and I didn’t quit or lose a job for any reason. I foresee some changes in my life in the next year jobwise if I can’t move forward in my current position, but for now I am happy at work. Ideally, I would like to find a way to work with addicts and alcoholics, but I don't have a fancy college degree, and I am a pretty good line cook. But I'm forty, and I don't think I'm being as useful to humanity as I could be. I'll keep my eyes and ears open for opportunity to be more useful, and hopefully make more money.

I turned 40.

I went through an incredibly painful tattoo removal and re-ink process for which I will simply share this link because it was it's own post and I've already written enough on it, and there are a lot of cool pictures.
 
My mother and I published a book! I've promoted it plenty, and we haven't become millionaires yet, but we have sold a few, and given a few away. I hope the message contained in those pages reaches who those it needs to.
I shared in a meeting  this weekend how wonderful it’s been to start noticing trends in my life. Like this is the third year in a row I was able to celebrate Christmas/Channukkhakhhh with my family, this is the second holiday season I’ve spent with the girls, and the fourth Christmas without drugs and alcohol. I then recalled that before these trends, there were negative trends, like two Christmas/New Year’s chained to a cage, but more staggering, eight previous holidays chained to a bottle. That’s ten in a row without my family, without the light of loved ones, void of self-love and filled with anger and resentment because of the choices I used to make. I was lost. I was broken. I was a fucking mess.

Now I am here-I'm present, I’m alive, and in just over three years of freedom I’ve accumulated a life that I have only dreamed possible. I have family, real friends, new neighbors who are becoming friends, responsibility, motivation, and light. I can see. I can see where I went wrong and I actively pursue a solution to my problems both past and present. I have not just pulled myself up, I have helped others pull themselves up, and given them the same opportunity to pass along the wisdom I have cultured.

2018 has been the best year of my life so far. So long as I keep doing what I’m doing in the rooms of recovery to be a better man out here, these beautiful things will keep happening. What a blessing to have to be worried about replacing appliances in a home when just five years ago I was a homeless meth addict. What a wonder it is that I can leave my house when four years ago I could not leave my cell. What a miracle this life of mine is. I want to keep it. So I must keep working for it.

Here are some 2018 highlights:
 
 

























 
 

 
Never have I had so much. Never have I wanted so little. Never have I felt so much love from so many wonderful people. Thank you all for such a beautiful year.

 

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Never Forgot (Fiction Part 2)


Day after day I’m surrounded by the memories that haunt me the most. Their pictures left untouched even after ten years. My lonely cubicle is my second home, but I feel more comfortable here than in my own house. In either place, the memories never faded like they said they would. Every day I see the fire, the carnage, and the look on my dead wife’s face as she passed me on her way out. I hear the noises and the screams, and some asshole reminds me every year that they’re all dead, but I don’t show on the outside how much I dwell. I’ve lost all of my friends and family over the years so there are fewer people to remind me, so it’s just me now.

My job is incredibly boring. I field consumer complaints about product defects in general, and more often, our store-brand products that are sold in all 597 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores in 44 states. I mean, I don’t take them all, we take them all.

I work in a cluster of cubicles the size of a city block, and we are surrounded by offices filled with bosses and other corporate types that I never speak to. Those offices are enclosed by walls and doors, and there are 12 floors just like this that all do similar but different customer service-based work, 24 hours a day, every fucking day. People always complain. Sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re wrong, I never care. My only job is to make sure everybody gets their money back or a new product. I told you it was boring.


On Tuesday September 11th, 2001, my wife and I were in New York with our two kids doing the touristy stuff. They always say it was such a beautiful day; not a cloud in the sky. I thought it was a bit chilly, but I resent that day as a whole.

This is where the guilt starts. We were at the foot of the two largest structures I had ever seen, and we both commented on how cool they looked and wondered how they were built and how they could stand like that. I mean, they are buildings, but we had never seen anything so big. We also thought the Statue of Liberty was 100 times bigger than it looks on TV. We were hungry, so I told Elaine to go up with the kids (Steve and Bob were both six (twins)) and get tickets and I would come up and meet them with some street food because it for sure was cheaper down here than up there. She smiled at me and said, “OK!” And I never saw them again, except for one frame.

A frame is one section in a reel of film, that blend together to make moving pictures. Our mind doesn’t quite work like that, but when reality happens quickly, we can lock on to one single flash of a moment, one unforgettable pulse in time which is what I will always see of her, not the flawless smile.

The hotdog cart took me about two minutes to get to, and he wasn’t quite open yet so I chatted with him for a few minutes. He seemed the opposite of most New Yorker’s and enjoyed hearing about my small town. He looked up at the same time I did when we heard the incredible whining of the engines. I couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing. The building my wife and children just walked into exploded out the side and back, and rained hellfire down on to the buildings and streets below. I was not standing near anything that fell, so I never ran, I wish I had.

I knew the moment I first saw Elaine that I wanted nobody else for the rest of my life. She would have been creeped out if I had actually said that, so I kept my distance, until I couldn’t. We worked together at a small coffee shop in a small town, so we had to talk. I often stuttered my words, and blushed just talking to her. She seemed to notice that I had affection for her, and she would laugh lightly at my ineptitude. After knowing her for only two weeks I asked her out on a date, and she said yes. We went to see Reservoir Dogs in a theater in the big city, and then we had Vietnamese food and just stared at each other. It was love, we both knew it. My love. My heart. I will never forget you.


I’m writing this at work because I have a lot of down time and I just don’t care about my job or life anymore. I just got a call from a frantic woman who said she thinks she found real poop in a pooping baby doll toy in a Walmart store. I asked her why she thought it was real and she said because it smelled like it. I asked if she or anybody else in her household touched it and she said yes, that her child had ripped the box apart because it had hardened into a brick. She took it away when she smelled that it was definitely real, and what could I do about it? I wondered if she had tasted it.

I am so fucking sick of people and their stupid complaints. Obviously there isn’t real shit in a baby toy, she is probably some welfare case trying to get a lawsuit or some free money, or even a gift card from us for nothing. It happens every day, people always want something for free, and we always have to give it to them. But not today, today is the day. Today is my last day. I tell her to please go fuck herself and I hang up. When I’m done writing this, I will pull the loaded .40 caliber Smith and Wesson from my drawer that I purchased at Walmart for a discount, and point it at my chin, pull the trigger, and die.


The last time I saw her was about five minutes after the plane hit. People were running in every direction, people were falling from the sky along with metal, fire, documents, office equipment, and glass. When a body hits the cement, the noise is deafening, and stuff goes everywhere. I reckon I saw twenty or thirty people hit the ground in front of me that day, including my wife. Like I said, I didn’t know it was her until she was right in front of me, and then she wasn’t. She was everywhere. I was coated in her blood and intestines, and her brain lay next to her open head on the curb of the sidewalk. I swear I could see it pulsing, like the heart was telling it to live. But that’s not even what I remember every day; I just remember the flash of the look on her face. She looked like she was mad at me; like I had let her down. 

I know why she looked at me like that. It was because our kids were dead and she knew I was alive. My psychiatrist says there’s no way she could have conveyed all of that emotion and thought into one look and specifically fallen in front of me to show me, but I begged to differ so I never paid him. He also said it was more likely that I recognized her clothing and hair than her face or expression, but I know what I saw. I saw it. It’s all I ever see. But never again. I’m done with this letter, I don’t even know who it’s for. I’m going to say a quick prayer to her, and then I’m gone. Goodbye.


I’m doing this so I can see you again, my love. I have never been the same, and I never will be. I hope this is quick, and I can see your perfect smile again, and we can raise the boys together in Heaven. If I go to hell because of this, I hope you know I never loved another woman, and I did this to see you. I wish I could have been more of a man; I wish I could have bared the pain. Here I go, my love. See you soon.

Kjiym,l;kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkn b



To be continued…


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Encopresis (Fiction Part )


There was never just a “standard” trip to Wal-Mart for us, there was always some excitement and it usually ended up with us being trespassed or at least kicked out for the day. We like to wreak havoc of an odd order, and confuse everybody we came into contact with. Today was like most days for us: we were high on mushrooms and weed, and we were giddy with amusement.

Like I said, we’d been kicked out of most Wal-Mart’s, but in the big city there are so many of them to choose from. They line the corners near highways, adorn malls, and highlight those middle-of-nowhere parking lots, and it seems that when you leave one through the exit (which for some fucking reason is the left side) it leads you through the entrance (which for some fucking reason is on the left side) of another. It’s a perpetual infinity of the big chain: they’re literally everywhere now.

We like the toy aisles because they are the most colorful and that plays with our demented minds and contracts the zygomaticus at a more intense level than in say, a dog food aisle. Also, you can see kids doing stupid things, and parents being horrible people. The toy aisle brings out the hope in children, and the despondency in parents.

“Mommy, can I have this!? A little child pulls down a boldly colored spinning unicorn thing and smiles brightly at an inattentive parent. There is no response and the child throws it on the floor with a tantrum which is when the parent snaps to action with a pointed finger and a sharp scowl.

All of this is amusing and confusing to us and we turn our minds elsewhere. In the next aisle we find a baby that claims to make real poops when you feed it a special formula that is included in the box. This is our time to shine.

About half way down the aisle is an attractive blonde-headed employee who is stocking shelves mindlessly and listening to something on her wireless earphones. She doesn’t seem to notice our demeanor but surely will when I shout to her in a frantic waving manner. They always pay attention when they’re afraid, or if they think they’re going to get into trouble.

One time we stole Wal-Mart vests from a locker room and went around with clipboards telling people they were in trouble for abusing break privileges. We claimed we were corporate auditors and that they had to clean out their lockers and go home and expect their last check in the mail. It worked twelve times because we figured that virtually all employees of every company abuse their break privileges. With a dozen employees now missing from the store, we were free to steal thousands in electronics and food.

“Hey! Is this real shit?” I yelled to the stunned shelf-stocker from fifty feet away.

Brad chimed in as he pointed to the box I was holding, “In here!”

I couldn’t see her nametag from this distance, so I decided her name was Amanda. Amanda was staring at us with her mouth open; she looked like a sunfish just pulled out of a hole drilled in the middle of a frozen lake. Her left hand slowly lowered down as the weight of her scanner overcame the mind’s subconscious desire to balance properly. Her body tilted slightly to compensate for her empty right hand. She was frightened.

I decided we should walk toward her with the box so she could answer our questions and maybe we could get her to eat some mushrooms with us and have an orgy. We have tried this move countless times with no accomplishment.

As we approached, she nervously and slowly crossed her arms in front of her but kept her mouth open. She remained quiet which I knew upset Brad because he had to know if the baby toy contained actual fecal matter, or if there was a process that happened within the $49.98 (rolled back recently from $58.98) toy that created a natural type of feces unique to this particular doll. He would also ask if there was an African-American version for sale because he is black and are they racist? I’ve seen it a hundred times. Not with the poop-doll, this was inimitable. He liked to add to the “environment” by claiming he was black.

I’ve known Brad since he was a kid but we didn’t get along until we found out we both liked the same drugs and mischief. We sort of found out by accident at a party when I dropped a bag of weed in front of him and we started to talk about finer things. He was weird, really weird. So am I. Brad is about five feet tall, morbidly obese, and has red curly hair and freckles so sometimes he passes as a black guy in certain lighting.

“Does this baby make poop, or does the poop already exist in its most processed form and we are just supposed to squeeze it through the plastic baby into some diaper then change it?” Brad asked.

Before she could ask what had just happened, I said, “Because we don’t want to pay $50 for a doll that doesn’t make its own genetically exclusive feces. We’ve been fooled before.”

Amanda surely had never been so horribly cornered and disordered in all of her life. We were used to this response, so we continued.

“We would like you to find out for us. Can you get a manager please?” I asked curiously.

Amanda nodded and hastily turned away and scampered off at a terrified gallop. She never looked back, which meant she would probably never tell anybody about what just happened, or she would tell social media about the whack-jobs you find at Wal-Mart, or she would actually find somebody to kick us out. Either way,  we had some time to fix the baby.

Brad pulled out his pocket knife and carefully unsealed the cardboard bottom of the box. You don’t want to cut the plastic, or nobody will ever buy the toy, so you have to get everything out from the bottom, which everything is usually secured from anyhow. As it always does, the doll and all of its accompaniments slid out in a tight wad of recyclable organized chaos. He cut a couple zip ties that held on the package of “special formula.” It was enclosed in a plastic box about the size of a cigarette pack and it was easy to dump out which I did on a nearby shelf. I tasted some of it, and it tasted nothing like poop.  Brad had already taken his pants down enough to shit on the floor a little which I could smell. (He had an incredibly poor diet of McDonald’s, cheap beer, and beef jerkey.) This always made us laugh and I knew we would be out of control if we didn’t focus.

We stifled our laughter and I put on a latex glove I had in my pocket and picked some of the puddle of poop while he wiped his ass with the hair of a Mermaid Barbie doll from the shelf behind us. It was hard for me to get a grip of the shit as it had the viscosity of a marmalade that seemed to melt in my hand. It took several scoops to fill the empty box, but I was proud of my triumph so I raised it up to show Brad. We smiled at each other with that devilish grin we were accustomed to under the circumstances, and he got out his bottle of glue and sealed it closed, and back on to the package. We struggled to get everything back into the display packaging, but we did it, and sealed that as well and put it back with the rest of the dolls, all of which were white.

We threw all of the evidence behind various toys for somebody to find later when Amanda peered around the corner and was followed by a much more intimidating employee who wanted us to leave.

“I want you to leave.” He said sternly. His name was also Brad, and ironically, her name was actually Amanda T. This is when we started a laughter that could not be contained.


To be continued...

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A Neighborhood Confession


Why am I sober? It’s a good question—one I was asked recently by a neighbor.  Instead of drawing out an epilogue of the history of Vince, or deflecting with a joke, this time I told it like it was.

We have two sets of neighbors that the girls mainly play with. Their parents are the adults we see most often in this little town of ours, and seven months into living in our house and our kids playing together, I thought it was time to tell everybody a little more about myself. I just didn't know how. This can be a scary subject to broach since the term prison has such a stigma, and one of these neighbors happens to be a 12-year veteran of the police force in Michigan. Fortunately, it came up naturally at a Halloween party for them when the wife—who happens to be a doctor— asked very bluntly why I was sober. And it came up in my own living room while I was reading my own book, when the other father from the other house brought over his child to play.

It’s an awkward moment when somebody asks, “What are you reading?” And you happen to be holding your own life story with the word prison right on the cover. I hesitated, and then I let it out. After a brief synopsis of my using career, I mentioned that I spent some time in a state facility, and had a number of years of sobriety under my belt. I went on to explain how I was active in my recovery and had a lot of support in the forms of family, friends, and a sponsor. I finished by affirming that I hoped he would never be afraid to send his kids to play here because of anything I had ever done. And his reply was beautiful, but private.

I can’t go in to detail, but I can say that he was able to identify with my story in many ways. He liked who I was now, and was interested to hear more about who I was then. So we decided to make some time in the near future to discuss life-both past and present—and let the girls run around and get into mischief while we conversed.

A few days later I had a very long, incredibly rewarding chat in my kitchen with somebody who has spent about as long as I spent using, on the opposite side of the fence. He had other ways to look at my situation, and was astonishingly insightful. He dealt mostly with drunk college kids during his cop career, and saw a lot of men drinking their lives away. We talked about drugs, felonies, sobriety, A.A., and so much more. It was a necessary conversation, and probably the first of many to come.

We are going to live in this house for a long time. It’s important to me that the people I know best around me know me. For seven months I had to shade stories and only allude to certain parts of my life with obfuscation. If anybody asked what job I held a few years ago, or where I lived before Delano, things got a little tricky, and I didn’t necessarily lie, but I did use some alternative facts and some long-winded skirting explanations of my whereabouts and accomplishments. Now, I can simply state the facts and not worry about judgement and shame.

Hiding my past no longer has a place in my life. I am no longer hiding anything about myself, because it is those great struggles and triumphs that have given me my oddity and forte. And it is my stories that can inspire hope in strangers, and beckon admiration from those who know me, and get to know me. 

I hope I explained all of this well enough. To be clear, there are two separate couples in two separate houses, both of whom have two girls. Children girls. And we have two girls, so that’s six girls and six parents. Also we have a house.  Thank you.

And a side-note—I would love to thank all of you who have purchased our book, whether in paperback, or electronic. It isn’t going to make us rich, but it is wonderful to know that so many of you care enough to show your support. You are why I keep writing.

 

Friday, December 7, 2018

History Repeats


I’ve been reading an incredible book lately, the subject of which I used to know all too well. I find myself caught in the pages of a previous existence and I wonder how I ever thought the way I did, and did the things I thought I could get away with. I’ve seen an extraordinary evolution of an aspiring writer, and I am amazed that I’ve been able to keep it up for so many years after that trauma.

Two nights ago, I was reading about a few times I got pulled over carrying bountiful felonies on my person and remaining calm and leaving the scene with no more than a warning. The very next morning—yesterday—I was pulled over.

I knew he had me dead to rights when I saw his reflectors ahead as I rounded a corner doing 55 in a 45. I braked, but his tail lights illuminated and I could see his headlights highlight the road in front of him as his vehicle came from hibernation to life. I was going 45 when I passed him on the shoulder and that’s when the red and blue emergency lights began to strobe, and a feeling of terror overwhelmed me briefly. It was only a matter of seconds before I realized that I had nothing to fear. Nothing I had done, nor anything I was in possession of, could get me arrested that morning.

I immediately pulled over to the shoulder and into a driveway that leads to the police station he was parked in front of. I always want the officer to feel safe when he approaches my vehicle, so I do that, and roll down my window, and turn off the car then wait for him with my hands on the wheel.

He greeted me, told me how fast I was going, and asked for my credentials. I told him I didn’t think that was any of his business and asked if there was any way I could get out of a ticket and then I winked at him sexy-like. Since that didn’t happen, I informed him that I would have to reach into my back right pocket for my wallet which he endorsed. I then told him I would have to do some digging for the insurance card because I was in my girlfriend’s car, and he said he would be back.

It all happened so fast, I didn’t have time to tell him how neat it was to be pulled over for the first time in my life completely legal. Of course, he didn’t know anything about me, but he didn’t seem too worried at any point and let me go with a verbal warning.

This is the same route I take to work every day, and on occasion, there is an officer posted in that very spot. I was in the wrong for speeding, and it could have been worse. I can’t afford a speeding ticket, so it would befit me to drive more carefully in the future, even when I think nobody is looking.

There is no way to explain the fear I felt if only for a moment, but it was real even if I was never in any danger. I’m well past the point of being afraid of going back to prison for a technical violation, but I think a fear of those bright lights will always strike a nerve, even when I’ve been good.

 

Friday, November 30, 2018

Organic


Infrequently, but often enough, I question my motivation to continue writing. More infrequently, my inspirations are confirmed by a reader that isn’t already a friend or a Facebook acquaintance, or a friend of a friend, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing that my work benefits people or at least amuses, but I often wonder how far these posts travel outside my circle. Well, quite far it would seem.

On Thanksgiving after leaving Roseville and my family behind for the day, we drove to Oak Grove to spend the evening with Amanda’s family, some of whom I’d never yet met in our time together. This is our second turkey day together and I’ve met almost everybody but It’s always a little nerve-racking meeting new people because I never know what they already know about me. In one case, it was everything.

A relative of Amanda’s struck up a conversation toward the end of the evening I added myself to in which she confessed that she had been reading my blog, even since before I had met Amanda. “What!?”  I’m sure I exclaimed. Yes, a cousin-by-marriage—from a different state—of the woman I’m dating had been reading  a series of blog posts I had written a while back when she realized that the content of the posts were her very own family. It dawned on her slowly—as the posts played themselves out—that the scenario I was outlining was too familiar and she confirmed with another family member that it was in fact true.

We talked about the blog, the book, how she related to the content of the overall theme of the blog and my life, Jews, mustaches, and we vaguely fought over a pooping dogs calendar during a dice game. I won the fight. Well, I won the calendar, there was no fight. But, I do own the calendar, so… It was a pretty standard night. If you are reading this post, I want you to know that it means everything to me that you found this blog, and it means even more that I got to meet you and your husband, and that we will surely get to talk again. You have inspired me. Thank you.


We released our E-Book just over a week ago and we aren’t millionaires yet. I’m largely disappointed but understanding that Oprah hasn’t reached out hitherto, but I’m sure she will someday soon. A few days after we released the digital book, it became available as a paperback and I got to see one yesterday that my biggest fan Amanda purchased, and I was humbled. I’ve written hundreds of posts, hundreds of thousands of words, and I’ve seen them published on Facebook and Blogger, but nothing is like seeing your own words in ink. It’s surreal. It’s magical.

I’ve imbedded a couple permanent links to the book in both formats somewhere on this blog page so it will live on forever. Currently, our paperback book is #75,219 on Amazon’s best-seller’s list and the E-Book rolls in at #126,302. It’s not bad considering Amazon has millions of titles, and we aren’t anybody famous. I think my goal of selling 1,000 books was a little much, we aren’t even close to 100 yet, but we have eternity. So, please buy our book and support independent publishers and authors!!!!

During this holiday season, many people will be imprisoned. Some of you may know an inmate you haven’t written to in a long time. Maybe you have resentment, maybe you’ve just been too busy, but either way, maybe now is the time to jot down some words of love and encouragement which will help somebody get through an otherwise shitty day. Many prisoners are locked down 23-hours per day, and mail is one of the few things they have to look forward to. I know I felt better every time there was an envelope sitting on my bed after we shuffled back from chow. Ten minutes and a pen can change somebody’s day.

$hort

I haven’t written for a while. I haven’t written any non-fiction for even longer. I tried getting into a series of interconnected fictio...