Tuesday, May 28, 2024

To all the 2024 graduates

I’m sorry, but I have no sage advice or words of wisdom to share with the graduating class of 2024. Except maybe this: BE KIND.

BE KIND to your parents, no matter if they were awesome or rarely in the picture. They gave you life. The least you can do is maybe call or text them every now and then to let them know you’re doing ok, or let them know you’ll be out of jail next month and you’ve learned your lesson.

BE KIND to your grandparents by sending them a handwritten letter every once in awhile. Getting something from you that arrives in the mailbox will give them a wonderfully nostalgic trip down Memory Lane, a beautiful avenue lined with towering oaks and the clinking sounds of milk bottles delivered by the milk man. If your handwriting’s not legible, practice.

BE KIND to your siblings. The young ones will be jealous. They wish they were out of school, too. Older siblings will welcome you into the club of more schooling or the workforce. Many years from now, when you’re lying on your deathbed, these might be the only people left alive who will bring you jello and change your sheets. It’s best if they sort of like you.

BE KIND to your friends, especially if they had to put down their beloved pet. Give them a hug, say you’re sorry for their loss, ask if there is anything you can do for them. Don’t say things like, “Well, it was just a dog. It’s not like your Aunt Edna in El Paso died. You can always buy a new dog, but your Aunt is priceless.”

BE KIND to your teachers. They’ve put up with your shenanigans for years. Whether they use your name in vain throughout the rest of all eternity or as a shining example of everything that is good in this world, they’re still in school and you’re not. They’re not going to know how to act when you don’t return. And don’t forget about references. You might need some.

BE KIND to your neighbors, especially the ones who mow a portion of your yard when your John Deere is kaput and don’t ask for anything in return, such as the deed to your property. Maybe invite them over for a hotdog roast. Maybe keep your dog from pooping in their front yard.

BE KIND to strangers you accidentally bump into at the grocery store, especially when you’re getting frustrated because the management recently decided to move everything around, and now you’re wondering 1) why you even shop there in the first place, and 2) why the bread is in the automotive department? It’s not that stranger’s fault. They’re in the same boat as you. Try not to sink the ship.

BE KIND to the planet. It’s the only one you’re ever going to have. Plant a tree. Pick up your trash. Maybe don’t throw the trash out your car window in the first place. If you knew your brand new truck was the only vehicle you’d ever own until the day you die, wouldn’t you wash it every now and then? Maybe pick up the hamburger wrappers from the floorboard?  

BE KIND to old people in cars who are driving too slow. That may be me. I’m not in a hurry. I’m enjoying the drive and listening to my favorite opera turned up full volume. If you think I’m the one causing you to be late to your own graduation ceremony, then let me finally give you some words of advice: Next time — leave earlier.

Friday, February 9, 2024

A letter from me to you

Dear Julienne: I thought you might enjoy receiving an actual letter in the actual mail, so I’ve actually written you one. I know it’s not the most “modern” thing to do, but sometimes a little bit of “old school” is what the doctor ordered.

It wasn’t all that easy to write, let me tell you. First, I had to put away my cellphone. The urge to just send you a text message was strong. Finding a decent piece of unwrinkled non-lined paper was difficult, too. But as you can see, I found one. Next, I had to find a pen that actually worked (Who owns ink pens anymore?). I went through two dozen buried deep in our “where did this come from?” drawer before I found the one I’m using. Finally, I set thought to paper, checking the dictionary as I went along so as not to misspell anything, then put a stamp on the whole thing, and there you have it. At least I hope you have it.

Well, that’s all for now. Have a great day. And I hope to hear back from you, if you feel up to it.

Dear Steven: I hope you don’t mind, but I just wrote a letter to your wife. Since she’s a teacher, I thought she might enjoy one – you know, out of the blue, vintage Pony Express. And then I started thinking, you being an accountant and all, I might need to send you a letter, too, just to keep things even. I’m hoping you don’t find that odd. (HaHa, accounting humor)

Just curious: when you looked in the mailbox this afternoon and saw there was a letter from me, was your first thought, “I bet he wants me to do his taxes, even though I keep telling him I’m not that kind of accountant”? HA! Fooled ya. It’s just a letter saying I wrote your wife a letter. 

And that’s all I have to say about that. Wish you well, good accounting, and I’ll see ya when I see ya.

Dear Susan: Just giving you a heads up, I wrote letters to both your brother and his wife. I thought while I was at it, I might as well write one to you, too. I know, I could’ve saved a stamp and just told you, but then my words would’ve simply evaporated into thin air. This way, you can save all these words forever in a drawer and bring them out on a rainy day to reminisce about the time I sent you a letter that says I wrote a letter to your brother and his wife. And if that isn’t old-timey romance, I don’t know what is.

Dear Mom & Dad: I’m sorry I never wrote many letters to you two while you were living. It would have been a nice way to keep you informed with all the events in our life, and vice versa.  Of course, we did keep each other up to date through electronic means, but a lot of those emails/texts are lost in The Cloud, and I don’t see it raining anytime soon. Digital correspondence is all about ones and zeros, fonts and point size, legible words mostly spell-checked and approved. Physical letters are all about ink to paper, anticipation and excitement, trying to decipher what is actually written.

I’m guessing we could keep all our emails on a tiny flash drive stuck in a box somewhere, but that’s just not the same as rifling through a pile of letters, all rubber-banded together, and knowing it came straight from your hand to mine.

Ah, the things we should’ve done but didn’t; the things we didn’t know, but now do.

Dear Kids: I’m sending you this text message instead of writing you a letter because I’m not sure you know how to open a real envelope without getting paper cuts. JK. LOL. Hello? Is this thing on?

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Wife of a snorer

My wife doesn't sleep with me anymore.
She says it's because I snore.

She says
sleeping with me
is like sleeping with a
freight train
using five engines to pull
195 railroad cars
filled with trucks,
lumber,
patio furniture,
bricks,
refrigerators,
and ice cream
up and over a mountain pass
it has no business trying to climb.

She says
sleeping with me
is like sleeping next to an
outlaw biker
riding 80 mph down the interstate
on a Harley Fatboy
followed by hundreds of his
leather-clad friends
wearing sunglasses,
long beards,
smoking cigs,
hauling ass and biker babes
to Sturgis for the weekend
and then maybe on to Canada. 

She says
sleeping with me
is like sleeping on an
Air Force base
at the end of the runway while
fighter jets
punch their takeoffs with
afterburners,
screaming engines,
low fly-bys,
strafing runs,
flying on training missions
over the ocean and back again,
or some secret mission to the Middle East.

She says
sleeping with me
is no guarantee of 
sleeping
at
all.

Which is so strange
because I sleep like a log.