Pain and Peaches

Ramblin Ron

My uncle watched me as I tried to ignore him. My boots were miles away, perched as they were at the end of my legs. All I needed to do was tie them and our strangely quiet conversation would be over. My mother watches quietly from her solitude over the kitchen sink, amidst the bubbles and effervescent warm water that would make clean what was once dirty. Three is a kerplunk of a pan, which held eggs and melted cheese, along with toast and grits, my favorite breakfast with black coffee, only a moment before as it plunged into the water. It was early in the morning. Very early. The night sky still rode across, as Orion ran upon Aries in the southern solstice to the west. A mist had fathered at the gurgling creek, laughing quietly as it prepared itself for a day of dappling about in the mix…

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The air smelled of wood smoke and leaf rot. I ran round the side of the mountain in what every small boy growing up in Appalachia knew was the fastest way to the top. It was futile to struggle straight up the side of those steeply pitched eroded plateaus. That was a sure way to recognize an outsider – as if it weren’t easy enough as it were. Within one sentence, spoken without our distinct accent that has been butchered by so many in Hollywood attempts to reconstruct our way of life for the amusement of the masses, an outsider was recognizable for what they were. Someone not from here. It was rare that the distinction need be determined by a single-minded determination to claw ones’ way straight up the side of a hill.

Going down, well, that was another matter. When we were kids, my brothers and I would dare one another to see how far we could jump down the side of a mountain. The terrain was so steep that you could be aloft for what seemed forever, skimming down, down the pitched earth, dry leaves rustling in your wake, your body only scant inches over the ground. It was exhilarating, maddening, frightening and bound to end up with one of us bruised and banged from landing in rocks. We would fling ourselves anyway, heedless of potential injury, yelling with glee as we defied gravity, sans parachute, with altitude our only hindrance.   

None of that was on my mind at that moment, although I would surely think of it again, after my race against the sun was over. I had just discovered a new cliff face, and like any mountain boy, it had to be climbed, again, and over again, until it was familiar territory, every nook, cranny and face explored and poked and excavated. I also had to see, simply must watch, the sun set off the top of my new fortress of solitude.

I was out of breath when I reached the top. Small wonder. I had just sprinted over a thousand feet up in vertical elevation, the last eighty or so literally straight up a rock chimney. It was a feat that would no doubt leave my adult self exhausted and sore for weeks, provided I had the courage to perform it. I faced out, west, watching the sun fall behind the mountains that marked the divide between counties in my small part of the world, thinking that someday, soon, I would follow that sun, see where it went.

Most of my books, beloved and dog-eared, described great adventures to be had in the direction of the setting sun. West, they would have you believe, is where all red-blooded American boys wanted to go, to the great painted deserts, to the endless prairies and the mighty Mississippi, further, onward, to the great Pacific Ocean, where you could ride giant waves generated by thousands of miles of storm cells building across the fetch of the great water. North was also just as magical, if not more so, with the frozen tundra and great white bears and endless miles of ice and suffering and adventure and kayaks and schooners frozen into glaciers while the men aboard slowly starved and read books and ate raw seal and dreamed of warm feet.

My gaze, inexplicably, did not hold in either of those compass delineations. Instead, inevitably, my wandering eye, even then destined to roam, turned south. To me, in my childhood imagination, south was a land of even greater adventures, where one could simply get lost in the swamps of the Everglades, wander the dunes of the Carolinas, or run the high trails, as my ancestors did, of the mighty spine of the Appalachian Mountains all the way into Georgia, then south and east into the sandy beaches where beautiful women were whispered to be, tanned and golden from the sun, where money was had to be gained and lost.

South was Mexico, a land of spicy foods and fish and beaches and cliffs and pirates. South was the Caribbean, where pirates still plied their desperate trade. This was the direction of derelict wanderers and warriors alike, where schooners were not frozen in ice, their occupants reduced to mad scribblings upon the dried skins of seals, destined to wait, helplessly, for springs thaw. No, South was where a man could drive his own destiny, unencumbered by the desperate plight of winter, nor chained as a slave to the mad longings of some greedy mine owner to the depths of the earth, clawing at the veins of coal, scrabbling for a living, emerging from the darkness as barely lit broken things, steaming of the muck of extinct swamps and long dead creatures.

South was my sirens song, as I clung to the branches from my perch high above all I knew. I dreamt of Miami, of Costa Rica, of surfboards and senoritas, of cenotes and monkeys and perfect, peaking waves. That was where the Incans were, and the Mayans, and the old ones whispered of in the legends past, dim mists of time forgotten. There was no predicting what one would find buried beneath the jungles and beaches and lost, remote, high mountain plains, blown dry and desolate with longing for an age long since passed.

Now, every chance I get, I go south. Nowhere else will do. My eternal compass points in that direction, always. On silent, cold, dreary, mindless short days when sunshine and warmth seem distant and impossible, when not a fire can be lit, I dream of the waves, the sand, the beaches, the food.

This winter was no different. My wife and I, silent partners in our fascination for the warmth of the equatorial sun, set out for the Yucatan, where eons ago a celestial body of colossal dimensions slammed altering the face of our planet forever. We rode jungle trails, celebrated a wedding with a family we adore, basked in the sun, and avoided tourist hordes as if we feared some contagion, brought about by their sunscreen smeared blank stares. We ate, we lived, we saw, and we went home – to restlessly place our port sides to the setting sun, and stare into the Chesapeake, dreaming once again of adventure.



In January of 2015, for reasons that escape me now, I pulled on my old running shoes, walked to the end of our one-hundred-foot long drive, turned left, and jogged away. Like most memories that I have these days, this one is fuzzy. It was cold. I didn’t feel well. My liver disease was progressing rapidly, and I had ascites. Maybe ten to fifteen pounds of fluid retention, which the doctors repeatedly remind me isn’t very much. I don’t think the doctors have ever tried to run with ten pounds of fluid sloshing around in their abdominal cavity. I do think that the definition of “very much” would likely change if they did try it.

Regardless of the temperature, or the sloshing, I jogged off into the early morning air, feeling the pavement beneath my feet, listening to the sounds around me, watching the sun track its way across the land adjacent to the Chesapeake Bay. I didn’t run far. The evening before, I had driven past our drive and measured out a half mile. That was my target. A half mile.

I didn’t make it. My stamina sucked, my will power was weak, and the pain was more than I had bargained for. I stood still for a little while just shy of the half mile mark, feeling my knees shake and my head spin. I walked slowly back home, hoping no one was watching, but hardly caring. I wasn’t exhilarated, or particularly proud of what I had just done. I was just tired.

The next day, I did it again. Then again the following day. I ran in the cold. I ran in Florida, where we went to vacation for a few weeks. Hepatic Encephalopathy kicked in one day while I was running on the beach and I forgot where I was. I ran all over the small island, panic stricken by the end, trying to remember where our campsite was, repeating my own name in my head as my bare feet bruised and bled when I abandoned the beach for the roads to try and find my way back. I did.

I ran in the early spring, sticking to the same half mile beginning, expanding it to three miles, running alongside my wife on occasion. My blood tests continued to be the same, no improvement. An MRI, CT scan, and other associated tests confirmed the same thing, my liver was not really functioning. I was once again given six months, maybe a year, to live.

During a rain storm in June, I discovered that I was no longer just slogging along. There was a spring in my step that I had not noticed, a joy rediscovered in moving along under my own power, in charge for once of my own body. I stood in the rain as it steamed on the pavement around me and cried with joy, with sadness for the years lost to addiction, and for the person I would never become. I wept for the could-have-been me image locked forever in my mind.

I drove to a local running store that afternoon and bought a new pair of shoes. The store employee watched me run on the treadmill and pointed out how badly my over pronation was. She asked if I had ever run before. I thought of the countless miles in my early twenties, when I was young and proud and healthy and arrogant and believed I would live forever. I thought of the drunken car crashes, bar brawls, broken bones not properly set and surgeries to attempt to remedy the damage done. I didn’t answer her question.

I took the shoes home and took a picture of them. The next day I ran five miles instead of three, marveling at how light they seemed and how easy they were to run in. I thought of how I had almost died from alcohol abuse as I ran, and it seemed so long ago, as if it had happened to another person.

A friend of mine urged me to sign up for a race, and I did. I ran a 10k in November and it seemed magical. In a moment of maniacal glee, I signed up for two half marathons the next day. The dates were over six months away, an eternity to me.

The year passed as miles poured out the soles of my feet. My mileage increased along with my stamina and overall sense of well-being. The more I ran, the better I felt. The better I felt, the more carefully I ate. The circular loop of health closed and became more defined. I added yoga, getting over my fear of looking stupid in front of a room of females. After a few weeks, I even enjoyed that, and ran more as my soreness subsided faster after stretching and I slept better.

For the first time in years, I was sleeping most of the night without aides. No booze, sleeping pills, or drugs. I started feeling better, so I ran more.

So it goes, into 2016. I may or may not get a transplant. I’m mostly ok with that. I try not to think of it, as I think I’m a pretty lucky guy. I got to see my son turn three last year. More importantly, I remember it. I no longer get lost running on the beach, although I may again soon. None of us have any promise of tomorrow, but I am blessed in that I get to realize this fact more than most.

Someday, I’d like to surf a big wave. One named Jaws, or Mavericks, or some unnamed monster lurking in the Pacific Ocean somewhere. I know better than to think I’d do anything but survive, but I’d like to grin a lopsided grin at someone special as I drug my board ashore.  I’d like to ride the TT on the Isle of Man. I know better than to think I’d win, but I’d like to pull my helmet off and wipe the sweat of my face, grinning an old man’s grin at the young man’s winner’s circle.  I’d like to be a kitchen Chef again someday. All that would be ok, I guess.

But I’m pretty stoked to go running tomorrow.


We sit on the back porch, facing the low hedge of trees at the property border, the edge row between forest and yard. Perhaps the most neglected place in western civilization, it is also the most vibrant with life. Even now, with the wee hours of morning rushing upon us, as we converse our troubles and woes, the sleepy calls of birds, night rustlings of small predators and their ilk keep my attention at least partially diverted from the young man trying desperately to vocalize his demons to me.

For what reason, I wonder? Why do people tell me their problems, their misgivings, confess their fears, seek absolution from me, of all people? I am the least likely candidate for such a task. I have nothing to offer, no words of wisdom, moments of clarity or absolution. There are people who excel at such measures, when set upon by their lost brethren. Those wiser than I have something meaningful to say, the right words to fill the void of aching souls.

I try, in my own stumbling way, to articulate that fact to him. I feel that I have let him down, somehow. After all, he sought me out, told me of his battle with addiction after having learned of mine, and told me of his desperate hours, when all seemed bleak and desperate.

The tip of my cigar glows briefly for a moment as I shield the tip with my hand, a movement as lost in this time as an ancient warrior awakened from his long slumber to stalk the earth once more in confusion, sword and other clanking useless weapons at his side. There is no one out there in the fringe of forest from whence the rustlings of small killers emanate. There is no reason for me to keep my night vision by gazing constantly into the darkness rather than the light. I have no reason to fear someone, or something catching me unaware, predating me in space and time by the glow of a cigar, unwittingly allowed for a moment to be seen.

No reason at all. But I still do it, still block the ember from view. His next words hang between us. I had just vocalized that I have nothing to say, nothing at all. He turns to me again. “But, you are a survivor.”

I think of the time, many years past, when I laid in a frozen field and screamed at the stars in agony, my leg twisted beneath me, the broken bones pressing hard against the skin, bulging here and there. In my drunken stupor after an office party, I had stumbled out of the hotel lost, broken my leg just above my right ankle, and passed out. I awoke with frost in my hair and blood on my face, my dress shirt frozen in spots from the bitter cold.

Dragging myself along the hard ground, stopping to get my bearings and laugh hysterically at the pain in my twisted appendage, I made my way back to the isolated building, leaving my spoor in the frost behind under the hard gaze of the moon. I ground through landscaping, followed yellow parking space markings, and stumbled, partially upright, at long last to the front door. Still a long way from sober, I was coherent enough from the pain and terror of navigating what seemed to be miles of frozen ground through the pain of the bone fracture to realize my predicament.

The hotel was locked. The engineering firm I worked for had chosen the site for their yearly celebration of success in the moment before the great recession based on its remoteness from town, and in their wisdom, rented the entire hotel. The thinking was sound. Keep the debauchery contained to one location, remove the need for transportation after drinking all evening at open bars, then lock everyone in. Collateral damage minimized. Revelry contained. Except for me.

Fearing suddenly for my life as the realization that I was wounded, barely dressed, and exposed to sub-freezing temperatures with a rapidly plunging core temperature, I pounded on the door until the one person who did not imbibe the night before awoke and called the police.

The officer who helped me to my room was gracious, if not angry at being called out to such a stupid emergency. After I was safely placed in my room, my leg temporarily wrapped in an Ace bandage, he turned to me. “You should be dead.” I met his eyes for a moment. These are words I had heard most of my adult life. He shrugged for a moment, wanting to say more, but hesitant. “I can’t believe how far you wandered away from the hotel. I’ll have to give you this: You are a survivor.”

Management within the firm reacted quickly and harshly. The realization that one of their soon-to-be-senior engineers, one picked for upper management, had nearly died in a field next to the hotel during a company celebration did not sit well with the image they had created and carefully trimmed for themselves. I was targeted, so during my recovery at home from a torsional fracture of the right leg, my responsibilities were dissected, exposed and transferred to others. I returned to work with no fanfare, no get well soon card, no promotion and no job left. To save myself from the humiliation of being fired outright from a company for whom I had worked for years, I requested a transfer out of the office to one in a remote location. They happily obliged.

There was nothing for me to do at my destination office either, so rather than spend my days casting about, waiting on my termination, I left the company. My substance abuse worsened, and I vanished into the haze of addiction.

After recovery, I sought out my old bosses and tentatively felt out a reinstatement. I felt I owed them something. I was also desperate for work, needed to belong somewhere again and I deeply loved that company. I had first gone to work for them during college and spent many happy years under their tutelage. My former boss was honest, as usual. “I could never hire you back. They would never allow it. You are….” His voice trailed away on the phone. No other words were needed. I heard the explanation in the following silence.

Nobody really likes a survivor. The young man sitting by me on my back porch is not yet in that place, where his recovery would be earmarked as survival. He could enter rehab, clean up his life and carry on without anyone truly realizing how close to catastrophe his life was.

I start to tell him as much, then give myself pause. Life would, maybe, be better had I gotten control of my addiction earlier, before so much damage had been done. But, would it now be so precious? Would I appreciate the waxing light of the early dawn if I had more confidence that I would see another? Would the moments of warmth with my young son on my leg, my chin in his hair, be so momentous, if I took them for granted? Would I enjoy the miles passing beneath my feet as I run in the morning air quite so much, if my health were stable?

I don’t think I would. The brittleness of my existence is its greatest gift. I appreciate being a survivor. Regardless of how the rest of the world sees it, I am blessed. I pray a silent prayer for him, the young seeker of a path out of his own turmoil, for life is best enjoyed when the frailty of it is most evident. We put out our cigars and seek a few hours of rest before the sun if fully risen.

For We Are Cooks

“Inspiration comes to those that seek it.” Did I come up with this? It’s highly unlikely. It’s more probable that the “one thousand monkeys on one thousand typewriters” idea is at work here. The quote is probably contained, more or less in its entirety, in one of the hundreds of dustless tomes lying about my house, clogging up my memory banks, and left behind for some other traveler to ponder in my endless voyages in life.

I do seek it though. Every day, the cook in me is pondering moments, sifting through smells and thoughts, memories and tastes, contemplating, wondering – is this it? Is this good? I’m not interested in molecular gastronomy in its intransiences, in its bewildering combinations of the periodic table and divergent molecular bonds. I learned enough of chemistry during my ponderings of minerals and the building blocks of nature, the things that bind together our lives in our trip on this semi-rigid body of stone we occupy.

Instead, I am interested in sharing my life, my experiences, and my reason for being, if you will. Through the artistry of food, through the simple act of sharing nourishment with other humans, cooking becomes art, which becomes sustenance, which becomes memory – all of which is bound for some other destination in the years to come. Who is to say that a sandwich shared, or eaten alone on the shoulder of some blacktop ribbon will not become a valued prescient of memory in the future?

Food transcended the simple act of nourishment for me some time ago. Somewhere between the lip of dawn and the cave of a new dark sky, cooking became more to me than just food. I realized the potential in every single thing I prepared, and so it became more than just the act of transforming the inedible into something tangible, something treasured, if for but one moment.

That is the raw beauty of cooking. The end product, which can take days, months or even years to procure, develop, tease into existence, is, if you have performed the task correctly, gone within but a moment. Works of art, arranged just so, with the passion of a soul yearning to share something so precious that it cannot be put into words, or upon a wall for viewing, are lost to memories and shared bits of information that is passed along, through the human whisper stream of consciousness into the future for others to hear of, sometimes only in passing.

The touch of the ocean upon the shore, the fallible scent of a wildflower at dawn, in the moment it winks out of existence, it’s entire life culminating in that moment, oh so fleeting; to place those passing seconds upon a plate, to bare ones soul to those strangers who dine on the memories of life; such is the existence of the cook.

Just as the artist cannot live without his brush, the dancer without her music, the mathematician without her constructs, the warrior without her battlefield, so is a cook without a medium. Ours is the simplest of professions – we are but cooks, are we not? We simply prepare food for others to eat. Only in recent years has the paradigm shifted to allow us to do what we have always wished, to truly share something with another person, the delight in senses. The smell of fresh mozzarella, the sound of a sizzle of something transcending its garden state, the taste of another’s life, taken with love and respect, so that another may live – so another may do more than just live. So that another may enjoy the life that comes to all of us, so often, at the expense of others.

So we work tirelessly, frustrated sometimes, in our quest to share what we know, what we can do, and above all else, who we are.

For we are cooks.

Two Years

“Two Years?”  The speaker looks up at me, his heavily tattooed elbows on his knees. A vein visibly pulses in the center of his forehead, and I’m struck for a moment at how much like a rock star he looks. I lock eyes with him for an instant. I am stunned and stricken by a shared emotion: Rage. Loneliness. Desperation. Fear. Loathing. But mostly, just rage. He sneers at me, his nose ring glinting in the light, too much light for the tired eyes and secrets of this room. “Shit. Man. Shit. I…Fuck man. What makes you special? You haven’t drank in two years?” His voice trails off and despite myself, my mind races away, spills freely away of its volition, and I’m suddenly…


Exhausted. The light hurts my eyes. Everything hurts. I never dreamed of such pain, never knew such a thing could exist. How a human could outlast such a pain, so large and so cold and so demanding, bludgeoning into my skull, unfettered by painkillers, drugs or alcohol. The doctor’s eyes were cold and flat – menacing. He leaned his large ass against the single chest of drawers in the room, which held despite his girth. It, like everything else, was securely bolted to the wall. Rehab, they told me. A place to rest, get my shit together, be medically supervised while I rode out DT and withdrawals. Hell was more like it. A freezing cold hell, with the AC turned down to polar as my teeth chattered and my hands shook and subzero sweat ran down my bank in rivulets of dripping agony.

He said something. I didn’t get it. I had drawn away into my own space, my own refuge, where the pain could not follow. A trick I learned, a fringe of discipline when faced with the bullies of my youth, when they hounded me for reading “Heidi” alone on the playground. A cavern within my own mind, where I could roam freely, and peer carefully out at what tormented me. I watched from that place as he shook his head irritably, shone a small light into my eyes and said more words I chose not to hear.

My wife called while I was hidden away. She was angry. Furious. Hurt. Betrayed. My foolish house of paper lies, built while intoxicated and secure in my own ignorance, burned to the ground. Money was missing, retirement funds, savings, rainy day accounts and vacation coins, all gone to feed my addiction. The bosses I no longer had at the job I never kept did not return calls on my behalf. They unknowingly added fuel to the fire of my paper house. Our pastor unwittingly fanned the flames as he stressed concern over my lack of participation in events for which I professed to have attended.

My son cried in the background as my wife silently raged. I shook the bars on the prison in my head, desperate now to be released as the sanctum of my youth listed with pain and remorse. I had been locked in before, but I had my key then. I could not find my key anymore, no way out.

Death came knocking one night to collect my debt. We stared at each other through the cage bars, gilded now with rust and rot, as old friends suddenly reunited with no warning. He held out his hand and I would not go. He nodded and tossed me a key, shiny and glinting in the moonlight of my nightmare.

I woke on the floor of the bathroom, the back of my head bleeding, from what I did not know. A nurse, large and black and female, hauled me to my feet and spoke to me as one would to a sick and rabid dog, hiding from his inevitable demise. Tears poured down my cheeks as I held her close, soaking her as she spoke the truth about what life would be like from now on. She told me that it would be hard, that all the shit people say about how things are instantly better is just that, shit. Things would not be better, she said. “It will get worse before it gets better.”


I sat in the T.V. room and waited. Someone told me it was my birthday and that I had been in that place for five days. I did not believe them. Time was no longer relevant, just a marker for an almost ruined life. I had almost nothing left. No career, no money, no freedom, no prospects, no leads, nobody to call in a favor to: Nothing much left. The doctor, sitting on the bed this time just before my release, had given me thirty to ninety days to live. “If you quit drinking.” Free of my own prison, I met his eyes and nodded. “Make the most of it.”

My wife came cautiously into the room with my son. I wept. I couldn’t help it. With shaking hands that I no longer trusted, I held him to me and marveled at how much I had missed. It was my birthday. I was forty. He was eight months. I looked into his eyes and promised him I would never miss another day. Not one.


Two years later, I look into the young man’s eyes in silence. I don’t know what to say. I see his pain, his agony and I feel his hurt. I am no longer yellowed from jaundice, and I ran five miles this morning. My liver is still ruined, and despite my outward appearance, I live on a razors edge between life and death. One infection, one botched surgery, one case of the flu, one hard blow to the abdomen and I will pass from this existence. I feel small in the face of his rage, his loneliness, his frustration. He is healthy. There is no immediate threat of death should he return to his vice, only the rejection of his driving privileges. I feel angry and helpless, and once again look at the old place, where I used to go when threatened, where I hid while the rest of me did what was necessary.

Despite myself, I begin to tell him the story of me, of what addiction took from me, but most importantly, what it did not.


I get home and my son is pretending to be sick in bed. I laugh when he demands a drink and a cookie and bring them to him dutifully, then flop out beside him to tell him wild tales of horses and pirates and trains. His eyes are big and huge and so much like his mother’s it hurts.

It’s a life worth living.

Some Rosemary Advice About Thyme and Life

Did you like the title? Thought this was going to be about food again, didn’t you? It’s not. It’s just some ponderings, doodles if you will, about not much of anything. And everything.

At some point in my life, and not that long ago, I became old. We used to joke when I was in my early thirties that it was the perfect age to be, just on the far side of the thirtieth trip around the sun. You were old enough to be somewhat mysterious, if the girl were young enough, youthful enough to date that same girl and hopefully still mobile enough in life to move if the relationship soured too fast.

The rest of my thirties changed all that. Despite all the predictions to the contrary, I did get married. I would like to think there was a collective moment of silence amongst all the available single girls at that moment, a second of recognition that I was no longer available, so to speak. I know there was no such moment, that, if anything, all the single women either breathed a sigh of relief or, if told, wore a collective group of puzzled looks, followed by a single question: “Who?”

Most men have that fantasy. At least once. Most of us don’t hang on to an altered scope of reality, as life takes us by the ass and fast forwards from the moment we get down on one knee with a small, inordinately expensive stone meant to be worn on a single finger offered as a token of our undying love and an everlasting symbol of fidelity.

The geologist in me gasped in horror when I purchased the ring that my wife now still wears, ten years later. Well versed in the Bowen’s Reaction Series, I could not believe, and still have trouble accepting, that I had spent that much money on one of the least stable naturally occurring minerals, if you call it such, on the planet. The knowledge that it would still last a few million years, give or take, a mere hiccup in geologic time, helped. Some.

But time does pass, quickly, and the diamond? Well, it was large enough to cause envy, yet small enough to be almost ergonomic. Not too ergonomic though. I had no illusions: There was going to be times when I would not be with my wife, and I wanted to make sure that the symbol of my love, my stamp, my claim on this women, would be prominent and unmistakable for what it was. I did not want any other chest thumping, potentially aggressive competitive male apes to look upon this modern equivalent to a brand and think: “I could buy that with card money!”

In the decade or so, give or take some time, that I have spent living up to what I thought were my wife’s expectations (vague and impossible), and then living up to what I thought were her parents’ expectations (more clearly defined, but still impossible), I have realized a few things. One, her expectations of me are vastly less complicated than I thought. Once I removed all the trappings of my own ego from my opinion of what might be what she expected from me, my life became much simpler. What had once been an overwhelmingly impossible feat of strength became more of a leisurely, and far more enjoyable, vacation in Bali, if you can follow my attempts at metaphor.

In line with this style of thinking, my life went from, say, a jaunt behind enemy lines with a bucket of water in an attempt to douse hell, to a walk on the beach at sunset. I finally have begun to realize a number of things about life, and I will, in the style of one who has a right to say what he thinks, attempt to share a few of them with you, in no particular order. Forgive me ladies, as this is meant to be for the male reader, although I think you will find my attempt at sage advice to be amusing.

  • Don’t worry about your wife becoming old fat, and uninteresting. You will get there much faster than she will.
  • Don’t beat yourself up too terribly much about being old, fat and uninteresting. You can lose weight, and read more. There’s nothing you can do about getting old.
  • If you need it, there is Viagra. Chances are, you won’t need it.
  • Marry for love. Don’t look for the perfect match, mate or sugar momma. If you are madly in love with her, or him, that’s enough.
  • Stop looking around to see if anyone is interested in sleeping with you. Chances are, someone is. Chances are, it won’t be worth it.
  • If you are going to drink to excess, start early in the morning. You’ll only ruin one day, instead of two.
  • Never go into a bar to solve a problem. No problems are ever solved in a bar.
  • That intern at work? The one with the amazing ass, who seems to just always need your help and is always willing to “stay late if you need her?” Be flattered, and go home. It’s a phase. She’ll get over it, move on, forget about it and have a life. You’ll get divorced, lose your kids, never get over it, never more on and end up alone. Without a life.
  • There is nothing more satisfying than being old enough to call someone who isn’t, “Son.”
  • Don’t buy the red convertible.
  • If you are working too much to spend time with your kids, stop working so goddamn much. What are you trying to prove, anyway? Do you really think going to college is going to replace early bonding time? Or a trip to a train museum?
  • Fuck work anyway.
  • Speaking of work, do what you love. The money may not come. But, you’ll be happy. Your wife, if you chose well, will be too.
  • You get old and then you die. Sometimes you don’t get to be old, and you die anyway. See the “Fuck work” and “Do what you love” comments above for qualification.
  • Love your wife all the time. If you get the urge to call her a bitch behind her back, kiss her instead. She knows that you are thinking she’s a bitch. Chances are, she’s not thinking much of you at the moment either. The kiss will save the day and just might get you laid.
  •  Sex gets better. You didn’t think that, did you?
  • Stop thinking about tomorrow so much. Think about today, right now!
  • Stop thinking about what you are going to leave behind, your manifestation of destiny, your mark on the world. Where are your wife and kids right now? Why the hell are you still reading this? Why the fuck am I still sitting here wri