I couldn’t wait to read my abuse.
Sick, right? But when this post started to pick up momentum, most of it was vitriol-loaded. Dismissive of my views, critical of my examples and points.
God, I loved it. Not because I love punishment.
Because it was a discussion.
Not once did I feel wounded by the words, being called an idiot or that people considered the piece the “worst they’ve ever seen.”
Can you imagine? Out of all the crappy posts here, MINE was №1? Sorry, I am not even being sarcastic. I truly love this.
It’s how I felt, not hurt over any of the words hurled at me, but invigorated by the discourse. I dove right in, answering each as thoughtfully as I could. …
When I was young, I dreamed of becoming an NFL quarterback.
My hero: Jim Zorn, of the Seattle Seahawks. The ‘Hawks were lovable losers, playing in a huge, noisy dome with cool silver helmets with the NFL’s coolest logo on the side.
My bond was fierce with this free-wheeling, floppy-haired Californian. We were both lefties. My hero was a white dude. I thought nothing of that.
There weren’t many Hispanic quarterbacks in the NFL in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s (Joe Kapp, known as The Toughest Chicano, played before my time as a football fan, and Tom Flores and Jim Plunkett were with the hated Oakland Raiders.) …
I know you mean well.
And I know that no matter how hard we try, or how easily we just get along and meld with each other, in school, at work, as couples, as friends … we will always have fundamental differences.
Our people are just in different places, although we can also easily find common ground.
Still, though, sometimes the things you white people do get on our nerves.
I’m a Hispanic man who was raised in a white neighborhood. Now, I’m a Hispanic man who raises his daughters in a black neighborhood. …
Have you ever looked up the origin of something … and wish you hadn’t?
I could have dove right into the meat of this post. Just, cut the fat and got down to the nitty-gritty. See, back in 1981 — when we were all whistling the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme and marveling at the first space shuttle (I was 10) — the book Richard Spears’s Slang and Euphemism introduced the world to the concept of love handles: the “fat on the sides of a man or woman held onto during copulation,” the book sayth.
I’ll give you a minute. (It’s also called “side butt,” which makes me want to move on quickly from the history and nomenclature.) …
You get my age, you spend some time with folk.
It’s impossible to categorize, 100%, good and bad. Think of something you’re proud of that you did. Like, rescuing that turtle from the country road. Good on you. Now, think of something you’re not proud of at all.
Like, when you <intentionally left blank.>
Are we as good as the great? As horrific as the horrible? Usually, no. Somewhere in the middle. If you’ve got equal parts on the ledger, though, you fall somewhere in the middle. …
I haven’t posted since Sept. 10. I want to, the same way some of you want to keep up this days-long gym habit. Or want to give up downing full-sized almond Hershey bars like they were the fun-size versions.
It just hasn’t happened.
Life is one gigantic and convenient excuse. I was sick. I was healthy. I was busy. I was bored. I got called into work. I called out from work. Too cold? Too hot. Too medium.
But when I got this 4-cent check — it changed everything.
Suddenly, without me giving enough attention to it at all, my writing here had a monetary value. Not Rockerfellerish by any stretch, but TWICE the value of the two-cents worth we talk about constantly. …
I bought a bag of candy corn.
This coincides with a promise to myself to cut out flour and sugar. Well, more than 5 ounces of sugar per serving. Turns out with my rudimentary math skills, three kernels (does that term apply to candy corn?) is within the threshold of 5 ounces of sugar.
More or less.
I bought this bag with the intent to squash my desires and galvanize my promise to myself. I’d know the tempting morsels were sitting in my work bag, just begging to be eaten.
Yet, I’d ignore them.
Guess how that’s working out for me? I bought the bag of candy less than a week ago. It’s almost empty. I can’t even tell you how many times and ways I’ve justified nabbing a fistful of the fall favorites and either savored them one by one or shoveled them back into my face, like a whale drinking in plankton. …
I got fired from the last newspaper job I’d ever held.
This isn’t earth-shattering or even surprising to those who knew me. I’d had moments of promise. I wrote better than my editors at most of the papers I worked for. I crafted compelling headlines. My ideas in budget meetings came to fruition and even became popular with readers.
The day I sat in HR, given a chance to explain away my latest photo caption error, the decision had been made. I was being fired — for the first time in my life. I’d managed to leave two weeks notice everywhere. Grocery stores. Pizza joints. A party warehouse. (Actually, I didn’t give notice from the shady gig selling impostor cologne out of my trunk. And I kept the remaining supply. …
I see you.
Everyone does. But it’s the way you handle the way they see you that made me want to talk to your manager. He’s not surprised I praised you. He sees what I see: Patience, empathy, strength.
When others see you, they ask the same questions. How old are you? Are you old enough to work? What grade are you even in? I even heard … What do you want to be when you grow up?
I was parked behind a laptop in the cafe, writing remotely. In between nodding at chatty seniors and smiling at fetching moms, I’d see you accompany another customer to their car, pushing a cart of their groceries. …
How’s your support system? a friend was asking just yesterday.
I’d felt pretty drained all morning. Hard to pinpoint. There wasn’t any tequila in my immediate past. I hibernated hard the night before. But that malaise that hits sometimes hung over me. It spiked my words and dulled my actions and I couldn’t even muster a happy phrase to keep up appearances.
You might be like me. You might be the helium tank in your circle of friends, the one they come to when they feel a bit depleted, too. Usually, we’ll pump them up with what we know they need to float again because we know them. …