The things we take for granted in life are the most fragile

Please, don’t sweat the small stuff.

Traffic. Weather. Getting the kids to school on time. Did that guy signal before he drove into my lane? Groceries. Bills. Getting good seats at the theater. A good parking spot at the mall. Making sure the restaurant got your order right. Does the place we are going to have beer? What’s google say? Fuck all that bullshit.

If Siri told you something bad was going to happen to something you take for granted today, what the fuck would you do about it? Would you finish that tweet or text first?

I’m going to get on a soapbox here, and I don’t care what you say about it. A good friend of mine-Paul Walker-had a post about a tragedy that stirred something inside of me, and now I must write. That’s what writers do. You quiet the noise in your head by typing it out. So here I go..

The things we take for granted in life are in fact the most fragile things on this earth.  Continue reading “The things we take for granted in life are the most fragile”

Happily Married 12 years later: A true story

I married my sweetheart in 2005, and today we are still in love.

The first thing that comes to mind is the sweat. I was sweating profusely through my forehead, and it wouldn’t stop. Normally, someone would attach fear and nerves to this, but that wasn’t really the case. I was just ready to get this thing going. Rachel and I had been engaged since a Dave Matthews Band concert nearly two and a half years before this night. Getting married requires a healthy amount of cash if you want to do it right, so time had to be mortgaged over a certain period of time.

Finally, the wait was over. February 18th, 2005 was our day for two reasons: there was no Cardinals game that day and I was marrying the love of my life.

I know, it’s not so cool these days to say that your spouse is the love of your life. It’s as if being nice to one another is hard enough these days that an honest love isn’t allowed. When you are married to someone, saying “I love you” can become an arbitrary practice that most men write off as too sappy or vulnerable to admit and women wonder if they really mean it. The thing for me is clear-I really do love my wife. I need her every day, or else I’m screwed. I’m lost with her in this mad world. If you find a good wife, you are that much closer to a good life. I’m a hopeless romantic, a lover of old school ideals, and one of them is the belief that marriage can still produce a happily ever after. Now, back to the sweats.  Continue reading “Happily Married 12 years later: A true story”

Don’t forget about your grandparents

A call or visit goes a long way, so make it happen.

December 11th is a shitty day for me and for an easy reason; Five years ago, my grandmother Meme took a fall down a flight of steps. 13 days later, she was gone, and my family took a shot to the kidneys of its foundation.

Henrietta “Meme” Bulus was as loving of a person as you could get. She wanted to know everything about you inside five minutes, even if she had only met you a minute ago. She wasn’t writing a book, but simply keeping tabs on you for good reason. She would grab your forearm, pull you in close, and focus 105 percent of her attention on you. It was if Barbara Walters was taking place right in front of you right at this very minute.

It reminds of a timeless message. A piece of advice if you will. Don’t forget about your grandparents. Life moves quick, and rarely slows down to allow you to check and update your planner. Phone calls are simple easy ways to stay in touch, but paying them a visit is an entirely different world of devotion. You show up, and it’s like Brad Pitt or Julia Roberts walked into the room in the form of their grandchild. 15-30 minutes. Perhaps an hour.  Continue reading “Don’t forget about your grandparents”

Fallen cop should make us be better

Blake Snyder may be gone, but he can teach us a valuable lesson.

I didn’t know Blake Snyder. I feel like I got to know him today too late. He was a 33 year old cop with a wife and two year old kid. Cute, right? Blake was shot and killed this morning when he responded to a disturbance call in Affton. An 18 year old shot him point blank as Blake got out of his squad car, voicing the young man to show him his hands.

This is just terrible. Blake served St. Louis County police for four years and had a two year old son that won’t have a fucking clue why dad isn’t coming home tonight. In case you forgot or don’t have kids, two years old is when a kid starts to recognize, download, and capture every thought and reaction. They start to get it. I can’t imagine the pain and torment swirling through the Snyder home right now.

e61575f6ba345c0d95694deee5f23d5f

Death has zero fucks to give about your personal situation. It lands down and takes, and leaves before you can file a complaint. It’s a real son of a bitch. Right now, his wife is having to plan a memorial, funeral, and other things that she didn’t plan on this week.

Blake got up this morning thinking it was just going to be another day at the office. Strap on the badge, put on the gun, and protect and serve a little. He won’t go home tonight.

We live in such a violent, cruel, and unforgiving world with enough cynicism and hate to fill a galaxy. When are we going to come to grips with ourselves and the ability to end life? It’s a disease that is spreading. It has nothing to do with white and black and everything to do with right and wrong. White and black lives matter. All life matters. 

Do me a favor and try to be less cynical tomorrow when you wake up. If you have to be cynical, do it in the afternoon and evening briefly. Cut that shit away. Hug your kids. Shake a friend’s hand. Kiss your loved ones. Smile more than frown. Do something happy. Go to bed with a sentimental vibe. Look around. Appreciate the time. Some don’t get enough of it. Some barely get any at all.

It’s okay to be sentimental, folks. It basically means you are allowing yourself to be optimistic. We need more of that and less of the killing thing.

The difference between a smile and a sad face is a mere decision to make it that way.

Blake Snyder wasn’t a perfect man. There’s a fair probability that he could be a real asshole on occasion and maybe even perform some practical jokes. He was also a good man who, according to his chief of police, liked helping people and that is why he became a cop in his late 20’s and not his early 20’s.

There’s no doubt that I look at this painful tragedy and think of my own situation. I am a 34 year old man, one year older than Blake. I will be 35 in February. I have a wife and a five year old son. Over a decade ago, I applied to be a St. Louis County police officer. I aced the written tests. Passed the physical and the video analysis. I never heard back from them. I didn’t become a cop and instead entered the warehouse industry and eventually, writing and radio. I will be home with my family tonight.

Blake will not and that really screws me up. I sit back and imagine what his son is thinking. I imagine what Vin would think if I wasn’t coming home. During our 20 months in Arkansas, Vin and I became closer than ever. We did everything together. We were two peas in a pod. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Best friends. Allies.

I can’t leave without Vin asking where I am going. I can’t return home and touch my front door without  a massive hug from Vinny. He needs his dad. I need him. Separating that cord is a scary thought. I can’t stop thinking about that today. The “What if” game….is a mindfuck.

Let’s all try to be better tomorrow. Less violent. More forgiving. Smile more. Frown less. Be more sentimental than cynical. The world has cynicism for days.

Rest in peace, Blake. I didn’t know you but I’ll try to be better from here on out.

590 The Fan: From warehouse to radio

It’s okay to do what you want to do until it’s time to do what you need to do. What if those two things merged, though?

Working in a warehouse isn’t for everybody, but I did it for seven years. Five different warehouses over those years but the one constant that connected them all. No air conditioning. Yes. The odor I projected after a 10-12 hour day of lifting, shipping, and receiving rivaled the pandas at the neighborhood Zoo. Sweaty days with a large fan blowing hot air around the dock area is not a way to live if you have a passion to do something else. You do it though to provide for a home and hope something better exists.

I’m not a fool. I don’t have a college degree. I took three swings at MU and Forest Park Community College and struck out everywhere but leaving others and myself in debt. After working in the movie theater and a warehouse briefly out in Hazelwood, I worked for Whelan Security and wore an outfit that would make Paul Blart blush.

In 2007, I joined the team at Senoret Chemical and worked there until 2012. Afterwards, it was unemployment. It’s not easy from making 15.50 an hour with quarterly bonuses and benefits to accepting 9-10 dollars an hour. I don’t care what kind of person you are. It’s bad. I had cups of coffee with Bommarito Wines, Conway Freight, and more time with Ronnoco Coffee before moving to Arkansas and becoming a stay at home parent/writer.  Continue reading “590 The Fan: From warehouse to radio”

Fathers Day: Don’t take it for granted

Fathers Day is a reminder, painful for some, that being able to call your parents shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Call your parents. Please don’t forget. Whether you are close or not, it’s important to call. It’s a rarity that a talk with your parents goes smoothly. One side is thinking about one thing and the other side is more than likely deflecting topics to get off the phone. It’s awkward sometimes but damn it, please talk to your parents. Keep in touch with your family because sooner or later they will be gone and you may not get a warning.

When it comes to life, there is no script or plan. Things happen and only part of the time is there a reason or theme attached. I’m a lucky guy. I grew up with two All Star parents who kept a roof over my head, worked hard to provide for my brother and I, and didn’t give up. As I sit here 34 years old and counting, I am very close with my parents, especially my dad. We are best friends and so much alike it is scary yet cool at the same time.

I am not entirely sure what I will do when my dad goes. I am not sure how I will act or care to be perceived for weeks or months. I may just want to shut down. I may want to hit something. I may want to cry. It is a day that I can’t even think too long about because someone up top may notice and push it in motion to challenge me to react. Life doesn’t warn you about a loss coming. It just takes something away and waits to see how tough you are as a result. I need my dad around and every son or daughter should at least make an effort to speak to their dad. Continue reading “Fathers Day: Don’t take it for granted”

Lebron James and Cleveland: Second place lifers 

When I think of Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, I think of Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins. The juicer subplot is James winning two titles with the Miami Heat during his sabbatical from Cleveland. Now that he has come back and playing in his second straight NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, it’s becoming more clear. They might just be forever second. Runner-up. Silver medal seated. Good job territory.

The Warriors kicked James’ Cavs around the court Thursday night. The final score was 104-89 but the sheet could have read a lot to a little. The Cavs looked like The Harlem Globetrotters out there. They were slow, clumsy and behind every play. It wasn’t just wizard Steph Curry dishing for four quarters. It was a supporting cast that includes Shaun Livingston. It looked like a can of red bull charging on against an old tin can of Folgers coffee.

Lebron didn’t help. He went 9-21 from the court and couldn’t improve. He shot bricks and was defended well. When everyone is lining up to stop you like you are an army, life gets hard. When it’s the NBA Finals, a candle burns brighter. The Cavs have a supporting cast but they needed their stud to take over and James didn’t. That’s the moral of his story. When his teams haven’t been good enough, he gets the blame. Thursday, he didn’t deserve all of it but will receive it nonetheless.

He ran into similar issues against the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic years ago. He couldn’t break down the walls required and that was when he was averaging 35 points in the series. When he drops a measly 23 points Thursday and gets little support, the result is always going to involve the letter L.

Cleveland is a sad place to be for sports fans. For the past 50 years, their three teams haven’t won a championship. The Lebron struggles, the Indians collapse in 1997, and the Browns overall futility(when Johnny Manziel is your headline for off the field stuff, ouch). Watching the brilliant 30 for 30 ESPN film Believeland, it’s hard to not feel bad for Cleveland sports fans. Deserve is a big word but if any city needs something, it’s Cleveland. Remember 60 years ago when they were the industrial goldmine? Yeah, ancient history.

I’m sure the Cavs and Lebron will carve out a win or two this series. They have way too much size and skill to basically vanish into the night. They won’t win four games though. James can put on, remove, and put his headband on if he wants to but it won’t make a difference. He did an honorable thing in coming back to Cleveland to try and I bet he will get back to finals again but a team with better youth and overall skill in Golden State will be waiting. It’s more than just James and Curry, but for this casual fan of the sport, I see one standing in front of the other.

It’s no secret that certain things link these two men. Curry didn’t win his title until his sixth season. James bolted Cleveland after seven title-less seasons. The time might have come and Curry could have bolted but that never played out. James went to Miami and played  with his buddies, winning two rings instead of the promised six. He came back to make things right but I don’t think he will ever make it.

It’s double chilling to realize Curry and James are both from Akron, Ohio. I’m sure this has been reported 69,000 times on ESPN but it was intriguing for this new face to roll over. When James was just three years old, Curry came into the world in the same place. They probably crossed paths several times and thought down the road they could face off. Did James know that Curry would stand in his way of Cleveland royalty then? Without Curry, would the Warriors win a title last year and be three wins away from one now? I don’t think so. He’s a magical talent. So is James. Luck and destiny are tricky things folks.

You never know. James and the Cavs could make a comeback. They could resist defeat and defeat Golden State. It’s just not that likely. This is real life. Not fantasy.

Cleve-believe-land may not get a title from their beloved Lebron James. They may be forever a runner-up.