Archive for the ‘humorous’ Category

So, years and years ago, before the internet and Mario Kart, when I was first toying with the idea of writing, I sent Stephen King a short note asking if he could give me some sage advice about the craft. Of course, I had no delusions I would actually receive anything back from the man himself, but I did receive several photocopied articles from his envelope stuffer in which he spoke of writing in general. I was a little disappointed in the photocopies. I mean, I could have found the same thing at the library, made my own copies, and mailed them to myself, right?


Anyway, I tossed the whole of it in a desk drawer and it’s made the rounds with me from continent to continent for the last 25 years, a bit dog-eared but still legible. The other day I pulled it out and had the bright idea to go all Star Wars on it and Google the return address: King, 49 Florida Ave., Bangor, ME, 04401.

This is what I found.




‘Get your Van Halen tickets now!’

That was the subject line of the email I received in my Yahoo inbox yesterday. I stopped everything I was doing and ran upstairs. My wife was in the bathroom putting on makeup.

“You wanna go see Van Halen?” I asked.

She gave a me a deadpan look, eyeliner pencil poised for the punchline. She was, at best, a quasi-fan of the band.


“In May. Denver. Pepsi Center.”

“How much are the tickets?”

I hadn’t paid attention to that. The aging teenager in me was to blame. ‘IT’S VAN HALEN, DUDE! THE ORIGINAL VAN HALEN!‘ he implored through pimples and a pre-cro-magnon haircut when the thought briefly flitted across our brain.

I ran back downstairs and clicked my way to the ticket site. I pulled up the concert tour, searched the venue map for the best seats and drilled into the PURCHASE NOW link.

Section 231: $200 per seat

Section 426: $320 per seat

Section …blah, blah blah ‘really expensive seats here!’

My teenage self left the room, surely embarrassed by my old man reaction. I walked upstairs and passed by the bathroom, uninterested in engaging my wife in an ‘I told you so’ type conversation.

“How much were the tickets?” she yelled, not one to be denied validation.

“Third of a mortgage payment or two months worth of groceries!” I yelled back, not slowing down. I didn’t have time to be ridiculed. I was on a mission: find my old Van Halen CD’s.

The irony of this?

Back in 1979 (or 1980?), I saw Van Halen live. I paid $20 for an outdoor concert that featured Van Halen, Boston (yes, THE Boston), the Outlaws and Poco.

$20, folks.

I was fifteen feet away from the stage when David Lee Roth flew out of the scaffolding in a harness and glided across the stage doing his hammy poses prior to rocking the bark off the nearby trees and causing dozens of screaming girls to spontaneously lose their undergarments.


I was drinking PJ from a red solo cup when Tom Scholz of Boston came running onstage playing the opening chords to ‘More Than A Feeling’ and slipped, landing hard on his ass. You know what? He never missed a note. Not one.

Or maybe the PJ was just that good. Who knows?

Or more important, who cares?

The way I figure it, those memories will stay with me until I grow so old I don’t need to remember them. They were priceless in what they offered for only $20. Not $200. Not $1000. In fact, after seeing those ticket prices, I felt like I’d robbed a liquor store with a Pez dispenser.

Those good memories saved me money. Besides, who wants to pay two months worth of groceries to watch old men try and reclaim their glory days?

Maybe they should revel in their own good memories and stop tempting that teenager inside me. Or maybe I should just go mix a batch of PJ and dance naked to my CD’s. 🙂

When I was younger, I gleefully rang in the New Year like everyone seems to do. Friends, booze, food and music, party hats, buzzers, confetti, and some things I won’t mention, were all a part of the event. It didn’t matter WHY we were there. The general thought was WHY NOT?

As I’ve aged, the New Year celebration has become a complex beast to me. I watch the hordes of people in Times Square at the stroke of midnight and wonder WHY?, because WHY NOT? does not seem a logical or valid response to me anymore. I wonder if they all feel as if they’ve conquered some vile, horrendous beast that attacked their lives all year. Or are they just happy they survived personal, economic and social challenges for 365 days? Or maybe they’re celebrating togetherness? That would be nice. The tribe of mankind hunkering down together against the evils of nuclear annihilation? Or maybe they’ve never been able to turn down a good party?

Oh, I imagine there would be good reasons to celebrate the end of a calendar date (albeit symbolic at best). Things like beating cancer, publishing your first book, being in the black instead of the red with the business you started last January, etc.. But what if you looked back and nothing spectacular happened other than the fact that you woke everyday, had your health, had your family safe and happy, wherever they may be. What if, like me, you gave thanks for these things every day? What would that leave you to celebrate on New Years eve?

I’ve steered clear of this celebration for many years now. To be honest, 12/31 feels like 1/1 to me every passing year. If I could be ten years younger on 1/1, I would certainly funnel champagne on 12/31 to celebrate. If I won the Powerball lottery on 12/30, I would probably be celebrating way before 12/31- 23:59, wouldn’t you?

I watch the faces of people in Times Square, look for some indication of what they are actually celebrating, thinking, hoping that each had something significant that explained their over-the-top exuberance. But it’s possible, just possible, that they like a good party. So be it. We make our own peace in the world and if that helps them to face another calendar year, I’ll raise a glass of cider to their honor.

What did you celebrate this News Years eve? I’d like to hear about it!

Here’s to good fortune, health and happiness for all in 2012!

Along with all the good things about being a writer, there are a few that we’re not so fast to brag about to our friends and family. I’ve tried to list a few here.

1.    First, there’s the “zone”. You know. That moment when your writing is smoking hot and nothing can stand between you and that Pulitzer Prize? When you’re completely engrossed in creativity of a divine nature so high in the planes of existence that you feel immortal? Okay, maybe that’s flourished-up a bit, but you get the drift, right? How you look and act to others is a different matter all together. To them you look “slightly out of it”. This is followed by, ‘Do you feel okay?’ and ‘Is everything all right?’, inevitably leading to the dangerous one, the one that you should avoid if at all possible: ‘Are you listening to me, dear?’

2.     Time. Before you took up the task of covering writing media with words, time was pretty much a task master with specific lines, angles and rules. Day job? Arrive at 8, leave at 5. Movie? They’re scheduled for showing, so pick a time and don’t be late. Doctors appointment? 2 p.m. sharp! (plus one “not so sharp” hour while you wait for the doctor). But if you’ve truly taken up writing, truly committed yourself and jumped in with both feet, you’ll discover that “time”, for you at least, grows fuzzy, losing those lines, angles and rules. Appointments missed, trash not put out in time, missed the last showing of the movie you’ve waited months to see, and the list goes on and on.

3.     Which leads me to that smell. My wife works outside the home. That said, I am left with the task of preparing certain foods over the course of the day. I’m good at getting it started. I’m just lousy at stopping it. (See 1 and 2 above.)

I mean, who can stop when they’ve got four injured/bleeding characters speeding to the hospital and one of them is about to lose her unborn baby, and perhaps her life, on the backseat of a half demolished minivan? Did I mention the fate of the world hangs on their success of failure?  I’ve done countless mad dashes from my office to the kitchen once the smell of seared, burnt or flaming food has permeated my senses. Dangerous? Yes it is. Insane, actually.

I will have to find an alternative for this conflict of interest and necessity, but one thing is for sure: whatever the solution, it will not interfere with my Pulitzer Prize-winning work-in-progress.

Do you have quirks as a writer that go against the grain of the world around you?