Showing posts from 2006

How I learned karate from a raisin.

Lately I’ve been thinking about where my life has been, and about where it’s headed. I find myself thinking about the past, about mistakes I’ve made, regrets I’ve had. People long gone, only to be remembered, and at that, vaguely, like a faded snapshot from an old Kodak. I’ve started to wonder why it is, that I dwell so much on the past, and I never really live in the moment. That’s odd, don’t you think? I can’t wait for tomorrow, but when it gets here, all I think about is yesterday, and then I start anticipating tomorrow again. But wasn’t today, tomorrow, just yesterday? Ouch, that one made my head hurt. It’s true though. Right now, this is where I am. Here.

As much as I had some fun at the good Dr. Grad Student’s expense, there was a lesson to be learned there. I think I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. Everything we do, everything we touch, everything that touches us, changes us. Changes our course, the fundamental direction of our lives. Like the mons…

The blue jay in my backyard.

I found him lying on the ground in my back yard one summer afternoon. I was about 5, maybe 6. There, under an oak tree, was this little baby blue jay. I knew enough about birds to know that their parents push them out of the nest when they think its time for the babies to fly. I think I learned that in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, but no matter, I knew it was true. If the baby bird flew, all was well. If not, well, you get the little fella that was on the ground in front of me. I’d seen this sort of thing before, a dead animal from time to time in my back yard or maybe in the woods behind my parent’s house where we used to play. Sometimes it was a small frog that my dad had accidentally hit with the lawn mower. A few times we’d found birds, usually sick or already dead. One time, we could tell that the bird had been killed by a tick that had swollen up with the bird’s blood. I guess that’s what killed the bird. Even now, after all these years, when I think back, I’m pretty sure …

Raisins, a blow-hole, and how I learned not to drive angry.

Thursday, September 07, 2006Raisins, a blow-hole, and how I learned not to drive angry.Dr. Grad Student, if you are reading this, please understand that not only am I taking the study seriously, I am enjoying it, and look forward to learning from the techniques you are teaching me. The following story, however is too good not to re-tell.

A month or so ago, I got an email that a grad student was conducting a psychological project/study on "angry driving". Now, I'm not normally an angry person, or at least I don't think I am. However, as a 25 plus year Long Island commuter, who travels about 80 miles a day round trip on some of the most harrowing, grueling collection of roads in America, I do tend to get angry from time to time. You can read that to say, all the time. I clicked on the link in the email, and took a 10 or 15 question survey, submitted it, and forgot about it.

Until I got an email, that I almost deleted as spam, from the grad student, inviting me to parti…


Tuesday, August 29, 2006EndingsBeginnings are, for the most part, easy to spot. First something isn't and then it is. You really do know that something has begun. I'll concede this isn't always the case, but usually it is. Of course, there is the rare example where something has begun, and you don't know it until you take a moment to look back, and realize, well, there it is; that was the beginning. It may be a happy thing, or a sad thing, or even a nothing thing. But it’s begun just the same.

When I was a kid, my folks used to take us camping on summer vacations in some campground upstate NY, or out East on Long Island. On one of these vacations, my brother and I met up with a couple of kids, a brother and sister, while we were fishing for sunnys. Their names were Erik and Elena. Ah, Elena. I was young, but at that turning-point age where I certainly noticed girls. Now at first I treated Elena like I would any other new kid we met while fishing. Just a cool kid who li…

What Defines A Life?

What defines a life? Not the biology definition, I’ll leave that up to the scientists. I mean what defines a life, what is its value? How did I become the man I am? Nature, nurture? Genetics? Fate?

I can look back at my life, at the thousands of days, tens of thousands of hours, and much of it is a blur. I can’t tell you what I ate, or did, or watched on TV on any particular day. I can’t tell you if it rained, or if I was sick, sad, happy. But there are times that it seems that life slowed, came sharply into focus, and I remember those things. Some of my older memories are so out of context, I can’t remember how old I was, or even what month it was, but I remember. Are these things, these crystal clear snapshots, what build the foundation, the walls, the structure of my character?

When I was young, very young, my brother and I had a tree fort. It was actually two; one in each set of trees a few feet apart from each other. I climbed into one, and could see into the other. I saw a huge …

I Think I Lost My Glasses

In the midst of all the mayhem and chaos, I realized I’d lost my glasses. It was an odd moment to think about something so minor, what with the woman screaming in the background, the emergency vehicle lights flashing like obscene holiday decorations, and the cop barking orders for me to fill out the accident report. It was then that I’d realized that I lost my glasses. Silly, huh?

Just about 10 minutes before this delightful moment, I was driving with my son after having picked him up from his mother’s house, and we were talking about going to the driving range the next day. It was a warm September evening; the Sunday night before Labor day. Why golf? Just about a month earlier, some co-workers, and dare I say “buddies”, had asked me to join them at the driving range after work. I use the term “buddies” loosely because they were “moment buddies”: the moment they stopped being my co-workers, they stopped being buddies. Got it? Jolly old friends and all, keep in touch, good luck, say hi…