Monday, May 31, 2010

Let's Build Something Together...

I read the latest New Orleans crime statistics report the other day.

For those who are unfamiliar with this cheerful piece of paperwork, it’s a stack of numbers that the folks at the FBI thoughtfully publish periodically in order to remind us that, in all probability, you WILL be brutally murdered in your driveway while talking with your neighbor- perhaps BY your neighbor.

It’s also quite possible, according to the stats, that your lifeless body will then be raped and/or domestically abused and then you‘ll be robbed, stabbed and lit on fire.**

**Note: If you have pets, they will likely be abused and left for dead...until an animal shelter volunteer comes to rescue the pet.  At such time...the volunteer will be killed by a drive by shooter.

With so many creative minds in this town I was hoping that someone would form the largest “Second Line” parade or concoct the world’s largest Po Boy or anything of record breaking proportion in order to overshadow the title of “Murder Capital.”  Murder capital is soooo Gary, Indiana.

In a related story I read an article about how a “beefed up” police presence would be employed in our fair city.

The plan calls for a heavily armed militia; a moat will be constructed around the city perimeter and F-16 fighter planes will begin daily patrols with orders to shoot first and ask questions later.

This strategy will be activated in order to project a friendlier image for the city.**

**(Note: The red light and speeding cameras will be unaffected by these new implementations)

Fearing that Al Qaeda might burst through my windows at any moment, I decided that it was time to put a new security latch on my door.

I don’t know what the official name for it is, I just call it a door thingie which looks important and secure.

This is why my father always became frustrated with me in the garage. It was also the leading cause for him to frequently violate the third commandment.

He’d ask me to go get a 3 and 5/8ths wing nut toggle-action torque screw hydraulic ratchet socket. I would dutifully bring him back a Phillip’s head screw driver…and a beer.

There I was- standing before him with a proud look on my face- feeling like a man’s man because I was doing manly stuff with my dad in the garage. Then I'd fart...just to feel even MORE manly.

He, on the other hand, looked at me as though he felt certain that he and my mother were given the wrong child at the hospital.

In order to properly secure my home I felt it prudent for a trip to the hardware store.  As I strolled down the sidewalk I ran into my landlord and informed him of this important plan.

My landlord is a friend of mine…which means that he knows me well enough to understand the fact that I can’t read a calendar…at least on or around the first of the month. The conversation went like this:

Jeff: What’s up man?

Me: I’m gonna install an extra security latch on the front door.

Jeff: (Laughing hysterically)

Me: What?

Jeff: Let me do it for you.

Me: Why?

Jeff: Because I remember your last house project.

Me: The room was poorly ventilated-- and no one died.

Jeff: Just be careful. By the way, your rent is due.

Me: I thought this was leap year.

I fully own and accept the fact that I’m not the most handiest of people. I once installed a shelf though and was quite pleased with how quickly I managed to do so…until, after neatly placing my stuff on it, I learned that brackets don’t work properly if they’re not mounted on a stud.

You live and you learn.

Example: This is expressly why I don’t date women from the Westbank of New Orleans anymore.

After buying a stud finder, another shelf, a replacement television, six new picture frames and a replacement lamp, I consider it a valuable learning experience that can’t be taught in a classroom.

Speaking of which, I finished shop class in junior high school with a triple F-minus as I recall.

The largest project that I tackled was when I attempted to build a small chest of drawers. When I was finished, I felt an indescribable sense of pride and accomplishment as I submitted to my teacher a beautiful little wall mounted coat hook. I stained and varnished it though and gave it to my mom for mother’s day.

I used a wood-burning pencil to etch her name on it, but ran out of room.**

**I also gave one of my classmates a small 3rd degree burn

Nonetheless, according to my mom, my little coat hook was the greatest gift ever.

My shop teacher can eat it!

My shop teacher’s name was Mr. Jennings...and the fact that I can’t build crap is a direct reflection on his smelling like stale whiskey.

His facial expressions were priceless- especially when I’d call for assistance as I stood at the high-speed table saw. He looked as though he wished for a camera equipped bomb squad robot that he could send over in his stead.

In retrospect, I believe that if he'd owned a robotic drone he would have sent it out for another cocktail.

Now that I think about it, I’d probably stay drunk too if my job entailed teaching hormone ravaged young, stupid boys how to build a bread box and a picture frame.**

**Important Note: Neither of which I successfully built

Even though I’m not very handy, I really enjoy watching those home improvement programs. I’m fascinated by how Bob Villa can remodel an entire house using nothing but a can of shellac, a few nails, wood putty, some crown molding and a hammer…all in 30 minutes!

I liken those programs to the Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray show. It should be titled:

“Things that we make look easy but YOU, of course, will NEVER be able to do.”

My grandfather was a professional interior painter and he was good at it. The old school painters are impressive to watch, in that you will never see them using trim tape.

These old salts, despite several who I know to be raging alcoholics, can wield a paintbrush with the steadiness and precision of a brain surgeon- never a drop on anything but their intended target- Show offs!

I on the other hand tackled a bedroom painting project and taped the entire house, including the cat. Somehow I still managed to drip paint on the carpet, the window pane, the telephone (the one located in the next room), the car AND the cat.

When I removed the trim tape I likened my foray into the painting world to that of a 6- year old child who proudly presents a page that he or she has colored from a kindergarten activity book...after smoking a bowl of crack cocaine.

I succumbed to the fact that it was time to spend some money and call a professional painter to the scene. Once he stopped laughing he gave me a bid and I walked away feeling suicidal.

Back to the lock installation project.  After walking around the home improvement store for about 35 minutes looking for security latches, a very pleasant store associate clearly recognized that I had no business whatsoever in a home improvement store. 

He asked if I needed assistance and I assured him that I needed assistance in many areas of my life but the task at hand, in which he could be of immediate aid, pertained to the security latch aisle and its whereabouts.

I also suggested that the store layout could be a little more user friendly since I’d been searching for a half hour for the latches.

He thanked me for my suggestion and assured that he’d pass my thoughts along to the manager...and then he bent down to the lower shelf in front of me and grabbed a security latch.

 Show off.

On the way home I made a brief stop to cover the most important order of business in ANY home improvement project. I strolled into the convenience store and bought a case of beer, a bottle of peroxide and a package of band-aids.

Step 1: Begin removing the security latch mechanism from the package.

1: 49pm
Step 2: Finally made a small opening in the bottom of the impenetrable hard plastic blister pack (open my third beer)

Step 3: Aborting further attempts at removing the latch from the bottom of the package.  I focus on opening it from the side...with a box cutter.

Step 4: Able to reach far enough into the slit in the side of the package to actually TOUCH the security latch.
(open another beer)

Step 5: Completely douse my right hand with peroxide and grab a dishtowel to stop the bleeding.
(Breaking the third commandment frequently)

*Note: They should build a security latch made from blister packages.

Step 6: Finally remove the latch from the blood covered blister package- installation instructions are torn to pieces, with the exception of the Spanish version.

Step 7: Open another beer as I scan my high school Spanish translation textbook. Jeff stands above me on the porch laughing hysterically while his girlfriend stares at me judgmentally.

Step 8: Step aside as Jeff tightens the final screw in the security latch.

Sitting on the couch drinking beer with Jeff while his girlfriend properly bandages my hand…and stares judgmentally at me.

Later that evening as I lay on the couch I felt good knowing that my new one pound 12-dollar alloy security latch, mounted on a strip of 160 year-old decaying wood, somehow made me feel safer in a dangerous world beyond my tiny porch.

I now understand why home contractors make tons of money and Junior High School shop teachers smell like stale whiskey.

I’m thinking that I’ll take a stab at replacing the decaying door jamb this weekend.

copyright Pontchartrain Press 2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dearly Departed...Help!!!

I had a conversation last night with a writer friend of mine that, I’m convinced, was a dream.

After confirming that it was indeed a real conversation I desperately tried to grasp the subject matter over breakfast today.

She told me of an elderly family friend in Texas who had asked that my friend write a eulogy so she that she could have an opportunity to approve it before she passed. Eeeeewwww.

This conjured the scene of aunt Edna sitting on top of the station wagon in National Lampoon‘s “Vacation.” Creepy!

Even better, my friend’s business partner recently sang at a memorial service for someone who WASN’T EVEN DEAD. I absolutely love hanging with these two- for obvious reasons. 

Why such a rush with the memorials?? No one wants to die! Well, except for my friend Tommy, who’s being forced to be in a wedding tomorrow. Aside from Tom, most people RUN from the mere mention of mortality.

I have no opinion one way or another other than I would prefer NOT to die…not until I’ve had an evening of unadulterated, wild, sensual, passionate (conversation) with Jessica Alba. Who else needs a cigarette?

One girl I know informed me that she plans to host an essay contest for her eulogy to see who can write the nicest things about her.

If prizes are involved, I’m sooo down with this contest! Otherwise I’ll show up at the funeral and say:

“She was a cool chick, we got drunk a few times and I got to see her boobs after about 26 cocktails. They were nice…oh, and so was she.”

I started thinking that maybe it’s not a bad idea to have a eulogy “in the can.” So, I enlisted the assistance of some writer friends.

They all agreed to take part- under the condition that I promised not to come anywhere near their homes. Somehow my friends get into trouble with their significant others when I’m around.

I decided to sit down and write my own eulogy and then compare it to that of the others; thinking that, with several minds involved, we could merge the papers into what we shall call a super eulogy.

Here’s my version: (with stage direction)

We’re gathered today to honor a wonderful man. Jim was a wonderful man in so many ways, many of which I can’t talk about but, allow me to say that whatever you’ve heard about elderly men simply isn’t true.

Hoping that I’m in my 90’s, I have a stipulation in my will that my friends hire a 20-something year old girl to read the eulogy.

What to say about my friend Jim…big, big, big Jim…I’ll miss it, I'll miss it so very very much...uh, I mean, HIM.  I'll miss HIM.

Speaker has a longing look on her face as she takes a moment to wipe her brow.

He lived a simple life without regret or shame; except for the fact that he actually voted for Ross Perot.

Being a generous person in life, he gave back to the community...never forgetting his roots.  Jim will be greatly missed.

I’m sure that he's looking down right now, wishing that we hold love, hope and happiness in our hearts.

With the exception of Mike, who constantly edited and micromanaged Jim’s work to shreds- to the point that everyone is fairly certain that MIKE is, in fact, the reason Jim is dead right now.

When you see Mike as you leave the service, I urge you to chase him to his car in wholesale Frankenstein film fashion and then gather around his house this evening and burn it to the ground.

F**k you Mike! F**k you! Edit that you miserable little rodent!

Clearly I’m in the wrong frame of mind to write a eulogy at the present time. Let’s look at what my friends wrote.

Melissa’s Submission:

Many of you are here today for the same reason as I - we all know that there will be an open bar after the service.

Jim was a cool guy and I’m sure some of you in the audience will miss him. Amen

Thanks Melissa…your economy with words were both moving and got you uninvited to my funeral.

Todd’s Submission:

I stand here today with a hangover, and a heavy heart. Jim and I collaborated on writing projects many times.

I’ll especially miss the days of constantly waking him up while we were writing on a tight deadline.

I can say this to you now my friends...Jim and I were more than colleagues, we were LOVERS! I‘m kidding.

I’ve always admired him for his tenacity- when he set out to do something, you could rest assured that he’d prevail. With the exception of talking Carolyn into a three-way in my swimming pool the night we were editing her book.

Love ya’ buddy!

Bravo Todd!! BRAVO!

Todd is a true friend. His wife is mean to me, but I understand that a divorce wouldn’t fit into Todd’s budget right now. This is expressly why I’ve started a trust fund for him.

I actually had a tear in my eye when I read this.  Primarily because we ALMOST had Carolyn talked into a 3-way but we ran out of tequila and then she sobered up!

Carolyn’s Submission:

The world is a better place today. I’m sure that Jim is looking UP at us all right now, envying the fact that it’s nice and cool here. Oh, and F**k you and your swimming pool Todd! Peace out!

Such hostility. Carolyn is never invited to the pool again! Unless, of course, she wants to come over.

After reading the above submissions and three others (which cannot be published) I realized something that choked me up. A poignant moment of self awareness...

...My friends really suck.

I was asked to give a eulogy once at my uncle’s funeral. 
He was a cool old man.

As a kid, when I spent the summer at my grandparent’s house, my uncle used to let me work with him on his farm. That is to say...he forced me into child slave labor.

I used to split enough logs to build a railroad line across the country.

He also had quite the knack for being a ladies man. Sadly, his wife passed long before he did, thrusting him into the dating world well past middle age.

He had no problems, per se, in the female department, he just seemed to adopt the quantity over quality format in his partner selections.

I suppose we were all biased since we loved our departed aunt so much, but my uncle finally settled down with a woman who was about 20 years his junior.

She was a pleasant woman, however, her hair, apparel and makeup consultant evidently never moved past 1984. She also smoked these long cigarettes that, as I recall, were about the length of a racquetball court.

I think they were Virginia Slims 450’s.

While in town for the wake I visited with his family and we reminisced. I studied the vacation pictures on the mantle of he, his grown sons and new bride. Several “Glamour Shots” of my new aunt also peppered the wall.

In looking back to the vacation shots, it finally hit me. It looked as though my uncle and his boys had picked up a hooker along the way.

At any rate, I shared the words that I planned to deliver at his funeral and after my aunt, five cousins, my mother, the preacher, the funeral director, the neighbor and some guy I didn’t even know all weighed in, it was determined that I was not cut out for the eulogy job.

My mother literally begged me not to do it.

So far, dipping my feet into the pool of the eulogy world has been an utterly disappointing experience. Not being one who gives up easily, I ask that you indulge me with another shot:

My uncle was a veteran of the Korean War. It’s officially called a “Police Action." My uncle would have assured you otherwise.

According to the U.S. Army Military History figures:  

In it's first 100 years of existence, over 683,000 Americans lost their lives, with the Civil War accounting for 623,026 of that total (91.2%).

Comparatively, over the next 100 years, a further 626,000 Americans died through two World Wars and several more localized conflicts (World War 2 representing 65% of that total).

With two current theaters of operation, and potential opeations elsewhere in the world, that number continues to climb.

The statistics above represent more than numbers. They represent real people who gave their lives for real people. These men and women put their lives on the line in order to preserve and protect ideals and principals upon which our nation was founded.

Many more follow in their footsteps to do the same- understanding that they, too, might pay the ultimate price in doing so.

And, even though we don’t officially include first responders in our community celebrations on Memorial day, remember that they, too, put their lives on the line every day.

I love to write, but I simply cannot find the words to express a gratitude that rests deep within my heart for these people.

While an official holiday is a fitting tribute, their service and sacrifice should be celebrated year-round.

As I pray for the safe return of those who actively serve today, I also pause to humbly reflect upon the men and women who understood something larger than any of us.


copyright Pontchartrain Press 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

OMG I Gotta Take This Call

I wonder how we ever survived without cell phones?? It’s such a convenience to have so much information in the palm of your hand AND to have the capability to hear every single detail from your nephew’s 3rd birthday party while standing in aisle 7 at the grocery store comparing the prices of stewed tomatoes.

A pet peeve of mine, that I usually allow to pass without mention, is when I’m in conversation with someone who constantly sends and receives texts. I know that I’m not the only person who feels a sense of dejection when holding conversation as the other person casually glances down at their cell as though they‘re listening to every word you‘re saying.

I work with a guy who will be sitting at the table over lunch and announce earth shattering facts that have exploded in his Twitter in-box. “Wow!” he’ll begin “You know that guy who played Rerun on What’s Happening? His brother in law’s best friend’s cousin just got in a car accident in Santa Monica!” Fascinating. I suppose I should go to the drug store and pick up a get well soon card.

I’m holding firm ground with regard to Twitter in that I never want to sign up for it and I’m deeply concerned for my friends who use it as an umbilical cord. Plus, I’ll never feel comfortable announcing that I just “tweeted”. It sounds like a feminine euphemism for passing gas.

I have a simple cell phone which exhibits cutting edge technology...It actually makes and receives…telephone calls!

I like the i Phone, I simply don’t need it. The blogs buzzed with raves when President Obama was spotted with his new i Phone. News quickly spread throughout the techie world. (Translation: A bunch of guys who authoritatively comment and publish helpful reviews as to the ever evolving world of computers and electronics…from their bedroom. Usually located in their parent’s basement).

I’m not sure if his is a special, Presidential, edition with the capability of managing a nuclear war but I’ve heard rumors that it might be replacing Vice President Biden should Obama run for a second term.

I deeply value the opinions of 38-year old tech-savvy guys. Anyone who has the ingenuity to build an operable spaceship from aerosol cans, a matchbook, kitchen utensils and the frame of a 1973 dodge commands my undivided attention. They selflessly sacrifice having sex, with an actual girl, so that you and I may hold our heads confidently as we stroll into Best Buy and smugly inform the store associate that we’ll be needing none of their condescending assistance today as we snatch a box from the shelf with the piercing stare of an armed robber.

I recently tested a friend’s i Phone. He’s so deeply in love with it to the point that I believe they will be getting married sometime next month. The specifications of this phone are nothing short of impressive- but, again, I don’t need it.

My friend’s phone holds upwards of 4,000 songs and an actual full symphony orchestra, complete with a music director. There’s video mail, video games, Internet and wifi access, texts, full phone capabilities, a stackable washer and dryer and it can even bring loved ones back from the dead.

Development of the i Phone began under Steve Jobs’ direction when he ordered Apple engineers to investigate the use of touch screens, and a strategy in which we could cure the common cold, win the war on terror and make Sean Hannity shut up for a second or two.

One item that is proudly touted in the i Phone promotional package is the fact that it attracts users of all ages. With the exception of my friend Ritchie, who still can’t figure out how to make the clock on his microwave stop blinking 12:00. He may be in luck because I’ve heard that Apple’s next i Phone will include a microwave oven and a complimentary frozen burrito.

I also understand that battery life is a moderate concern among i Phone users. I would think that the primary concern should be that they’ve spent a large portion of their paycheck on a phone that can’t be insured. Their battery fears must be relevant since the Apple site proudly touts that “If the battery malfunctions or dies prematurely, the phone can be returned to Apple and replaced for free while still under warranty”. Which will most likely expire a day and a half before the battery craps out.

While browsing the i Phone site I checked out the specs for the built-in camera. “The iPhone and iPhone 3G feature a built-in fixed-focus 2.0 mega pixel camera for still digital photos. It also includes an upgrade option to add a sketch artist who will pop out of the phone and draw a caricature of you and your friends”.

I’ve had to replace phones far too often due to water damage. Which is to say that, when in the restroom, I should probably focus more often on the task at hand…so to speak. My service provider insurance division and I have an intimate relationship. The conversation is always the same:

Me: I’m not sure what’s wrong with my phone but it’s just acting funny and it’s shutting off all the time.

Cell Provider: Has your phone been exposed to water?

Me: Oh, no. I’m very careful with the phone.

Cell Provider: My records indicate that you’ve had 8 replacements due to water damage.

Me: (trying not to cry)

Cell Provider: Can you take off the back cover and tell me if there’s a little red square behind the battery?

Me: Uh, it’s not red. It’s actually fuchsia. It must be a defective phone. (nervous laugh)

I hate the cell drop-out spots too! I was speaking with a friend this afternoon who sounded as though she were calling from the International Space Station. I simply wanted to see where she might want to meet up for a beer after work. According to her, we would be meeting downtown at “the ing on West ushto across fr the ld wa tion”. Dead silence.

Is it me, or when someone’s cell disconnects in mid-conversation do you find yourself thinking the worst? My mind races- wondering, oh my God! I wonder if the space shuttle plunged from the sky and crashed into her car! I’d better call all of the hospitals to make sure!

I am a fan of text messaging. Especially when driving at 137mph down a curvy mountain pass through a school zone. I’m kidding. I would never, of course, text in a school zone.

I will, however, text after 87 beers. Thus, waking up the next day wishing that one of my friends would have just put a gun to my head and killed me where I stood so as not to face the recipients of said text messages the following day.

Usually I just tell those who have received the “drunk text” that I allowed a homeless crack head to borrow my phone to call the local shelter and that he must have been having fun at my expense. Silly me!! (nervous laugh).

The iphone can predict what word the user is typing and complete it, and correct for the accidental pressing of keys near the presumed desired key. This grabbed my attention in that it might just be a precursor to save me from “drunk texting“.
Example, a drunk text that I send to Monica looks like this:

Me: Out w/ some friends 2nt. The moon is really nice…was thinking of u : )

Me: Ed is such an asshole. He thinks that I should 4get about u and hook up w/some girl 2nt. I wuldnt do that. Whatcha doin??

Me: R U getting my txts??????????????
Me: My fone has been acting funny…not sure if txt is wrkng. Gona reboot xoxoxo

Me: Even tho me and Ed r at a strip club, this girl bent over in front of me sooo reminds me of u. I miss u : (

Me: U there???

Free Service Provider Msg: The subscriber is unavailable at this time

If Steve Jobs wants to impress me, show me the innovative software that can turn the previous into something from Shakespeare and I’ll invest my life savings into Apple stocks.

Indeed, what did we EVER do without the good old cell phone?

Hang on…I gotta take this call.

copyright Pontchartrain Press 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

April Showers Bring...Writers Block

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

I count myself among one of the luckiest people on earth and I’ll tell you why.

For quite some time a friend nagged me to write a short piece that I wanted no part of. She enjoys reading my stuff and understands that, when I’m not writing books or reporting news that I abhor, I like to waste time watching baseball. I equally enjoy taking everyday absurdities and spinning them for anyone who might be interested to consume. I don’t want to write a serious story, I want to goof off- as evidenced by my first year college transcripts.

We didn’t agree to disagree. This is pretty much how it went- She agreed that she was correct and I agreed that I was too tired to argue. Why is she ALWAYS right?? That HAS to be a character flaw but I’ve yet to find anything in the New England Journal of Medicine or any health magazine to substantiate a viable counter-argument. I‘m still researching.

I knew what she was suggesting and why she was doing so. Being stubborn when it comes to spewing much about my personal life, I found myself running in the opposite direction whenever the topic arose.

Finally giving in, I wrote and wrote and wrote- only to strike the delete key the following day. It was like Groundhog Day. Using a clever procrastination tactic, I decided that a gloomy, rainy day was needed. And so, I waited. And waited…

For me, writing about silly things or important issues with a silly slant is a means of putting life into healthy perspective. I hold serious and deep conversations, just like everyone else, but I also engage in insanely juvenile chit chat. Ultimately, I firmly subscribe to the adage:

“If you can’t laugh at yourself… ”

Like all of us at some point, I’ve been in a serious relationship. The experience was spectacular in depth and remarkable in its simplicity. It was reciprocal in most ways. A chance meeting with an old acquaintance, as though it were straight out of a Hollywood movie, evolved into a genuinely happy and memorable chapter in my life. And, perhaps hers as well. That’s not for me to say.

I often wonder how couples who have been married for 40-years or those who have lived together for several years simply drift apart. What happened?? I suppose that’s an answer only fully known to them. While a well intentioned friend in either camp speculates, doing so with incomplete or speculative info. The bottom line is that a relationship has ended- as some do. I suspect it’s an even sadder situation when one, or both parties, find themselves contemplating the following…

1. Why?
2. If Only.

While I hate to hear about relationship misfortunes, I’m amused at some breakup stories. Well, not so much amused as dumbfounded. The 21st century has taken relationships to a level which most likely finds psychologists in need of therapy (and a shot of Tequila) just to fully grasp it.

I know a guy who recently broke up with his girlfriend via text message. After assuring him that he was going straight to hell we went out for a burger and a couple of beers. He “hooked up” with someone while I passed out at home- alone and fully clothed. The burger ROCKED though.

My favorite observational study is associated with breakups and the “Facebook factor". I’m particularly fascinated by those spurned lovers who try to “Out-Facebook” one another. It seems to me an exercise in absurdity. But it makes for good reading.

I shall provide an illustrative scenario. We’ll call the recently detached couple Tony and Danielle. Now, let’s take a look at their post-breakup Facebook wall:

Tony: Kicked it with my BOYZ last nite!

Danielle: I’m sooo lucky to have great friends…one in particular : )

Tony: Home at 5 this morning! Damn! I need some sleep!

Danielle: OMG, the moon was soooo beautiful last night along the riverfront. Dinner was great too…so was the company : )

Danielle and Fernando are now friends comment . like
Fernando and 2,755 others like this

Tony: Sooooo much to do before I take off for the Bahamas next week! Oh, I got a promotion at work. F*** yeah! Life is GREAT!

Danielle: After a busy week at work and being dowtown all week it’s gonna be a lazy Saturday by the pool…with great company. No tan lines this summer LOL ;)

Tony and Heather are now friends comment . Like
Heather likes this

Danielle: Just started Spanish lessons this week. It’s such a romantic language : )

Matt: Hey Tony, what the hell happened to you last night??? One minute you’re on your I-phone and then you dropped out?? WTF dude? Where Y’at?

Danielle: GOD! Why don't SOME ppl take a hint????
Tony poked Danielle

Heather: Hangin' for girls nite 2nt. I need a f'ing break
Tony poked Heather

Heather: OMG! Just had the landlord change the locks to my house!!

Heather and Danielle are now friends comment . like
Fernando and 2,755 others like this

I’m convinced that a century from now anthropologists are going to study social networking dialogue and wonder how the world didn’t come to an end in the early 21st century.

I have another friend of mine who we will call Trent. Trent is NOT his real name, primarily because “Trent” could literally kill me with his index finger if he wanted to do so- especially if he caught me writing about him.

Trent maintains a small apartment in the city for those not so blissful moments between he and his, as he calls her, “Old Lady”. I can attest to the fact that he does NOT keep this room to mess around with other women. When I see his car in front of the house I’m always certain of two things: He and his lady are fighting and he is so drunk that, if he were to be pulled over, the breathalyzer machine would need a sober ride home.

I hate when they argue because I know that she’s going to worry about him (translation: Blow up my cell phone). I also expect that he’s going to communicate explicit instructions as follows: “You haven’t seen me tonight.” Seeing how I’m frightened by both of them, I find myself in an unenviable situation until these two romantics kiss and make up.

You know what? For their occasional bickering, they seem to be madly in love. The means by which their love thrives is not for any of us to understand- I‘m not sure that THEY understand it. Perhaps walking away for a while might seem evasive to some, but it works for them and, at the end of the day, that’s all that counts. Love is a funny thing.

In the aftermath of my breakup I, as most of us, found my mind searching and I shed a tear or two…as did she. It's heartbreaking and it's SUPPOSED to be. It's a classroom lesson for all parties involved. Just remember that, as in school, class is dismissed at some point, until the next time.

Is it timing? Timing, as they say, is everything…right? I mean, you have to be in the right place at the right time to meet. Perhaps you also have to be in the right place personally. Maybe distant thoughts linger in one or both minds. The heavy burden of unresolved conflicts from a previous breakup, without enough time and space taken to understand and heal. Some couples come to realize that they want different things in life.

Or…maybe people simply think too much. I vote for the latter.

I’ve seen breakup situations where some build impenetrable walls around themselves. I’ve also known many who build healthy walls, for the short term, fully aware that the walls will soon need to be demolished. Sounds eerily like the modus operandi of the New Orleans Department of Public Works now that I think about it.

One thing that I’ve found is that I don’t have the first clue, but I move forward with happiness, well wishes and a little foolishness in my heart. I firmly believe that “If Only“ are two words that don‘t belong together and that some of the greatest experiences we can ever have are usually not welcomed…at that time.

Realization and understanding of one’s self, and others, is a key that unlocks more doors than one might think. My friend was correct afterall.

And so, here I am- no rainy day necessary. I‘m writing on a beautiful sunny afternoon counting myself as one of the luckiest people on earth.

And now, you know why.

copyright Pontchartrain Press 2010


Before I pulled a Jerry Maguire and traded in my suits, ties and starched shirts for jeans, tees and ball caps, I never really enjoyed much downtime. It was rare to find me sitting in a park or, generally, just screwing off without a care in the world. And if you did, it was, most likely, because I’d been forced at gunpoint. I was a bit of a workaholic.

These days, happily, I make time at least once each week to sit by the river or at City Park to give my brain a rest. This morning the wildlife at City Park made it an exercise in futility.

The peaceful morning air was pierced by a noisy situation unfolding a few feet away. A mother duck appeared to be having words with her stray little duckling. The conversation went something like this:

Quack, quack, quack. Tweet, tweet, tweet! QUACK, QUACK, QUACK!

Now I don’t know what any of that means, but it sounded pretty serious and I believe some back-talk was involved. This little guy swam as fast as he could, with mom steady on his tail. Who knows what the problem was? But, the cat and mouse chase carried on for about five minutes- the mother duck clearly grew angrier with each lap around the cove. I think the little duckling was showing out in front of an audience, much like that of a testy child in a Wal Mart. Which makes me wonder- how does a parent exact punishment in “duckville”? Is it possible to have your ass whipped in the duck world? It occurs to me that being swatted by a soft feathered wing would be about as intimidating as being threatened with a Nerf baseball bat.

If someone threatened me with either I would, most likely, fall to the ground in hysterical laughter. Depending on the circumstances I might even look at it as foreplay. Don’t judge me!

Mother duck, finally having had her fill of nonsense, corralled her little one onto land thus ending the chase. For what it’s worth, the father duck brought nothing to the table through the course of this incident. He swam behind, at a safe distance, pretty much doing nothing except looking busy. Hmmm, perhaps there are parallels between the duck world and humans.

After the excitement concluded I turned my attention to a young woman who was squeezing in some exercise time. She enjoyed a morning jog with her baby stroller firmly in hand. In the foreground I spotted another duck tending to her, count them, twelve ducklings! I wonder if they make a stroller for twelve? It would be quite difficult to do the morning jog with twelve kids I suspect. Incidentally, the father duck was napping nearby. There ARE parallels! At least he made no attempt to hide his lack of interest. There’s great virtue in being honest I suppose.

My quiet morning resumed with the God awful, deafening honks from a nearby goose. I like geese but why so much noise? It sounded as though it was being gutted. I feel strongly that Geese could take a cue from the swans, who were gracefully swimming in circles making the geese look like the obnoxious drunk relatives at a family reunion.

Meanwhile, looking back to the duck colony, I witnessed two male ducks engaged in an all out school yard brawl. It appears that the avian world collectively woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. So much for peace and tranquility at the park. I felt as though I were in the French Quarter at 1:00am. Fearing that, perhaps, the duck fight might end up in gunplay, I moved to calmer territory farther around the cove.

Staring at the water, I noticed three ducks swimming in the distance- two males and a female. I’d like to think that it was a husband, wife and, perhaps, gramps or maybe even a brother-in-law. Outside of that I simply require no further details.

Finally! A peaceful moment of meditation, facilitated by the gentle, melodious chirps of little songbirds. The pigeons softly cooed as the light morning breeze washed over my body and…an annoying bee swirled around my head. As I swatted at the bee with the masculinity of a 7-year old girl I noticed a man nearby who suspiciously lingered against an oak tree. His eyes trained on each passing female jogger until they disappeared around the bend. I’m most happy that there were no 7-year old girls around this guy.

What would a trip to the park be without seeing the requisite “creepy guy”? What exactly is it about the park that attracts creepy guys anyway? I mean, there’s an abundance of “creep friendly” places.

Deciding to put distance between myself and el Creepo, I decided to walk across the street to a convenience store for water. As I approached the store I noticed a young couple. The man held a beautiful child against his chest, his other hand clasped tightly around the handle of a baby carrier and a small bag of items from the store. An envelope dangled tightly in the grip of his teeth while he fumbled for car keys. His significant other, meanwhile, stood by empty handed. I wish the male ducks would have followed me across the street so I could show them how lucky they are.

Hoping that a wave of calm had finally blanketed the park, and the creepy guy might have been arrested by this point in time, I walked back to the bench near the pond. Indeed, all was quiet on the waterfront.

My mind unraveled, releasing all worries of a world beyond the perimeter of this little slice of Eden. No bills, no work deadlines, no traffic jams, the Yankees organization had been dissolved and the Red Sox win the World Series each and every year! Aaaah! Zen.

A gentle tickling sensation on my ankle ended meditation time. A spider- about the size of a car tire- had found a comfortable place to perch for his own Zen time. And, again, with the grace and collectiveness of a teenage girl being chased by Jason in Friday the 13th, I did the “spider dance“. I hoped no one was nearby to witness it, especially “creepy guy“- it would have probably turned him on

After my heart rate slowed from cardiac arrest levels I planted myself on top of the picnic table for another attempt at R & R.

Finally, with the spider incident behind me, I drifted to a semi state of consciousness. The lilting sounds of an early morning in the park transported my mind to a peaceful place. THIS was the moment I‘d been patiently waiting for today.

The groundskeeper had different plans for me. He wielded a hand held weed cutting device which, from the sound of it, was probably operating at about 950-thousand horsepower. He was followed by another gentleman with a blower that I liken to something that one would find at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Between the two of them they harnessed enough engine power to go back in time.

Make no mistake, City Park was as beautiful as always but the natives seemed a little too restless for my comfort level today.

With that, I finally headed downtown for some peace and quiet.

copyright Pontchartrain Press 2010

Sunday, May 23, 2010

An Experience Worth Renting

I suspect that most of us have shared living space with a roommate at some point or another. I count myself among the fortunate in that mine was a pleasant experience.

I’ve heard stories about roommate situations- some were hilarious, others were downright disturbing. A friend recently informed: “I think I’m going to divorce my roommate”. Huh? I didn’t know what to say. Will lawyers be involved?

I once knew a young lady, Kristen, who was at her wits end. One day Kristen announced the following:

"I’ve about had it with Wendy. She NEVER puts the dishes in the dishwasher, she leaves her clothes all over the floor and, I can’t prove it but, I think she slept with my boyfriend. I’m sick and tired of her banging around when she comes in at 4am! And she always leaves her TV on!"

Judging by the complaint ranking I’m not quite sure that Kristen’s concerns are in the correct order.

I had a roommate who was a porn fanatic. Thank God my mom always gave advance notice and never randomly popped in. I’m forever thankful that I had lead-time to politely ask that my roommate stow his scattered collection of “films”. Mom understood that guys would be guys but I’m fairly certain that seeing titles such as “Anal Intruders 7“, “The People’s Republic of Poon-tang” and “Penitentiary Penetration” would have tested her “coolness factor“. Incidentally, Anal Intruders 1 is the best. I wonder if the book was better?

Actually, I was the designated “sanitizer” for my roommate. By that, I mean that I was the house consigliore should anything ever happen to him. My job was to dispose of any and all offensive material in his room so that the final memories that his parents held would be those of joy and thankfulness for their baby son rather than to leave them in a state of bewilderment, wondering where they went wrong in rearing (no pun intended) the young lad.

Another situation with two other buddies who had a little too much to drink one evening: Friend #1 did the prudent thing and went straight to bed and passed out. Friend #2, however, decided that after about 12 vodkas he’d visit the freezer and retrieve a half gallon of double chocolate fudge ice cream. Lying in bed, he shoveled a few spoonfuls from the carton before passing out.

The following morning friend #1 peeked in to check on his roommate to make sure he was okay. He faced a horrific scene. Try to visualize giant swaths of dark brown stains from side to side and end to end of the bed then imagine what YOUR first thought would be. God! I wish so very much he’d snapped a picture!

I lived with a girlfriend once who suggested that it might be financially prudent if we were to find a third person to share the house. I immediately stepped up and offered to spearhead the search. Upon my first two presentations I was dismissed from search committee duties. Who knew that attractive young females could strike such a nerve with a girlfriend? They need a place to live too!

Even though I reside in privacy, there is a common area. It’s shared among 7 people, of which includes a nice young couple, a couple of male college roommates and a couple of random dudes. All of which, apparently, have a camera trained on my every move, specifically when I need to do laundry. They somehow always know when I gather my clothes in the basket, immediately prompting ALL of them to converge upon the machines at once.

The young couple usually leaves their clothes in the washer and dryer all day, as though their clothes will magically fold themselves and fly upstairs to their closet.

Often times, in the interest of courtesy, one of the other tenants or I will fold their clothes-- making room for our own laundry. I feel a certain level of perv-ness when I handle a stranger’s panties and bras. When I say panties I mean a tiny strip of cloth and a string. How do you FOLD this stuff? Is there a secret code only known to women? I usually just toss them in a pile beneath the other clothes and walk away feeling as though I’ve just committed a sex crime.

Apparently only I and my next door neighbor know that there are lint traps in dryers. I emptied what I thought to be a winter sweater or a small puppy this weekend.

There’s a side exit to the common area; it opens directly to the outside and, when left open during a typical stifling New Orleans day, it feels as though it were the gate leading directly to hell. It amazes me that almost no one in the building knows how to close this door.

Wondering if it took brut strength or if the door might, in fact, be broken, I gave it a whirl. Click! Smooth as silk- it worked perfectly and with little effort at all.

After the common area A/C unit froze I tried the neighborly approach and left a polite note:

To keep the laundry and common area cool and to prevent the landlord from raising our rent please make sure this door is completely latched at all times. Thanks!

This note worked for all of about three days. Upon arriving home to a hallway that registered about 1,800 degrees I tried a different approach and left another note that, I figured, might relay a clearer message:

I’m not an engineer but my educated guess is that ¼ of a pound per square inch of pressure is all it takes to securely close this door. It will keep the joint a lot cooler in the common area and save the landlord money for electricity and repairs so he doesn’t pass the cost on to all of us. Plus, I firmly believe that it will aid the United States in the war on terror. I can’t prove that claim, but I have a gut feeling. Thanks for your help as we work together to hunt down and kill Bin Laden and to keep our country safe…and frigid!

If my parents were still alive they would attest to the fact that my notes to the teacher got me in trouble at school on more than one occasion.

Another gentleman in the building hardly ever says hello- even if you say it FIRST! No big deal, just a bit odd. It reminds me of a time with a roommate who almost went absolutely insane about one of our neighbors who did the same.

Each and every day he would come in ranting and raving about our upstairs neighbor who shunned my roommate’s attempts at cordiality. My buddy politely nodded and shot a “Hey, how ya’ doin’ man” every day, only to slam into a brick wall of expressionless silence as our neighbor looked at the walkway. My friend became obsessed with this, seemingly, lack of manners.

One day, sitting at the kitchen table, I noticed our neighbor in the parking lot with a friend. I called for my roommate to come see. There, he spotted Mr. Silent Treatment conversing with someone. Neither of us knew what they were talking about but it was abundantly clear that they were speaking in universal sign language. He was deaf. I remember two things after enlightenment blazed through our dining room window as though we were watching the Discovery Channel:

I laughed until I almost peed my pants and my roommate didn’t talk to me for a little while.

Whether you share space with someone out of friendship, assignment or necessity, it’s a useful preparatory learning experience. It can be rewarding, it’s sometimes packed with comedy and, inevitably, it will be challenging at times.

We all share living space in a very large, yet small, world. Living under the same roof is but one study which prepares us for the larger stage.

For instance, I learned that Anal Intruders 4 was when the series finally returned to its pureness and roots of episode 1.

copyright Pontchartrain Press 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010


The other day a friend of mine from Finn’s in Mid City handed me a piece of paper that had been placed under the wiper blade of her car. After reading it, and after lifting my jaw from the table, my immediate thoughts were those of utter disgust and indescribable disappointment.

Apparently my friend parked in front of a neighbor’s house- legally mind you- and didn’t see a small 2x4 piece of lumber from some home improvement project underway across the street. The incident prompted her friendly neighbor to leave the following note under the cowardly blanket of the nighttime darkness:

Look, Fat Pig-
If you want this parking place, you’ll have to work for it, in removing the obstacles- You just might lose some weight doing it. I’m not going to tolerate you parking in front of my house every night; you fat cow. If you roll over or break anything I put out, you’re repaying for it, or you’ll find your behind in court or jail, or both! I’m not putting up with your inconsiderate & discourteous behavior, you clown!

I'll give this idiotic excuse for a neighbor credit for fairly good punctuation and grammatical usage- especially when hastily scribbling such hostility. Rather anticlimactic at the end though. I give it about a 6.5 on the rating scale.

I was a bit disappointed in the closing. The neighbor set the tone at the top with “Fat Pig”, she moved on to graze (so to speak) the bovine world and then closed with “Clown”. Talk about dichotomy in slander.

Which is she? A fat pig, cow or a clown. All three have funny characteristics and two of the three make for tasty entrees.  (I've never eaten a clown, however, they make me laugh.)

People seem to be terribly unfocused in today’s busy world. If you’re going to distribute hate mail, stay on point and exercise consistency in doing so.

In order to keep proper message flow, from salutation to closing, I feel that the author could have peppered in more small minded labels, thus leaving the reader with a palatable aftertaste rather than a sense of disappointment. Example:

Large Marge
Bertha (no offense to those named Bertha)
Incredible bulk

Now that I think about it, "Clown" is completely out of place.  I associate “Clown” with something happy, funny or amusing. My teachers often called me a clown- an adjective which was largely under appreciated by my parents when they read the comment section of my report card. This is another reason I graduated early. I’m convinced that my teachers had their fill of me.

Back to my friend.  She's not easily offended, but that stems from her goodness of heart. I find it almost impossible to fathom that the note didn’t strike some sort of nerve. It was hurtful and, in addition to being an utter waste of energy and paper, it was demonstrative of a misguided mindset. I was angry FOR my friend.

I am in complete agreement that there are certain situations which warrant a note. Perhaps, should this broad decide to take some counseling sessions, a more fitting message to my friend would have looked like this:

Dear neighbor,

Even though you were parked in a perfectly legal parking spot, it seems that you accidentally ran over a two-dollar and fifty-cent piece of lumber.

Since I have recently begun classes at finishing school $2.50 might break the bank right now. Who knew that it was so expensive to learn how to behave in a cordial manner and thoughtfully interact with others? In the past, I would have probably flown off the handle and left a nasty note, but finishing school seems to be working.

With that duly noted, in the future, please exercise caution when pulling to the street and I will make every effort to keep my debris at a safe distance.

Best regards

I, on the other hand, believe that proportionate responses hold great virtue. I even volunteered to write it:

Dear Bitch,

I am in receipt of your Pulitzer winning note and, quite frankly, am honored that you took time from your busy schedule and dedicated it to little ol’ me. I stand corrected, according to your note, I’m not little.

Most likely at the end of the day I will still be larger than you but you’ll still be a jackass. I think that’s a fair trade-off since I love being able to sleep at night knowing that I treat others in a manner in which they wish to be treated- This is precisely what I’m doing right now in these short passages.

Since I pay taxes, as do you, I have the right to park in any spot that the city designates as legal. You, on the other hand, flagrantly stroll through life with utter contempt for the law by leaving debris on the street. I won’t report you this time, but please know that I’ve got my eye on you.

I wish you luck, mainly because I suspect that you will definitely need it should you leave a note, such as the one you left for me, on a less tolerant individual’s vehicle. Have a blessed day.

P.S. Don’t EVER call me a clown again.

If I lived on my friend’s block I feel reasonably certain that I would be the catalyst for an all out neighborhood war.

I don’t have an answer as to why this lady felt it appropriate to communicate in such a juvenile, hateful manner. Perhaps she’s having a bad day, maybe the stress of tending to a severely ill relative has taken its toll. Maybe even a death has triggered some sort of temporary mental condition which has severed nerve endings to the rational and compassionate side of her brain.

They say (“they” being mental health professionals) that one’s self esteem reduces seemingly normal individuals to name callers…schoolyard bullies if you will. I’m no expert and I get irritated with people also but I believe that each of us are a work in progress. This sad woman has obviously taken a break from work. I’d say that, for her, lunchtime is over.

Which gives me an idea- I think I’ll go buy a bunch of pizza and me and my friend can stuff our faces in the LEGAL parking spot in front of the Incredible Grump’s house.


copyright Pontchartrain Press 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

I’m tired of, what I view as, loaded questions. Perhaps they’re unintentional, but some questions make me feel as though I’m being set up for failure. I approach such questions as though I’m attached to a 450-thousand volt wire- one slip of the tongue and I’m immediately transformed into a slab of blackened ribs.

Some don’t even make sense to me:

“Do these earrings make me look fat?”

What?? Okay, I made that one up. I am not, however, making THIS one up:

“Do these shoes bring out my eyes?”

When this query was inexplicably hurled at me I honestly thought it was a joke until I noticed that no one was smiling. As I recall, my first thought wasn’t a thought at all. It was a silent prayer. A prayer that I’d be involved in a drive-by shooting at that very moment.

I can visualize it now, the young woman would be sobbing over my casket, solemnly describing the moment when her true love was unnecessarily snatched from this unfair world before he could answer an important question.

Now, in retrospect, I fully realize that my answer should have been an immediate and resounding accolade: 

“Of course they bring out your eyes but, then again, your eyes are always gorgeous and need no accentuation for one to notice and appreciate their sheer beauty. Come now, let me take you to an expensive dinner at a snobby restaurant and then we can go shopping”.

Nope, I spewed out the first thing that came to mind:

“I suppose so, if you hold them up to your head”.

I’m now astutely aware that I answered incorrectly.

I’ve never tested this tactic but I wonder if, when I find myself nailed against the impossible question wall, I were to just collapse in the fetal position and wildly cry like a small child who‘s just been stung on the face by seven giant jellyfish. Perhaps I might get a free pass. Or maybe I could fake a seizure. God, I wish there were a remote control for life. I’d use the pause button often to facilitate a clean getaway.

You’ll never catch most guys placing heavy emphasis on trivial issues such as wardrobe. Sure, we do seek counsel as to whether the shirt looks okay, but the conversation goes like this:

“Hey dude, does this shirt make me look stupid?” Answer: “Nah, you don’t need a shirt to do that but it looks cool, let’s grab a beer and shoot some pool”.

End of story…we got things to do.

One of my favorite questions came from my ex:

“Do you want to go with me to visit my family?”


“Would you be interested in driving 70-miles each way and spend the day around a pack of screaming nephews who appear to be on crack cocaine? Then we’ll probably play a 28-hour game of Scrabble with people who make up their own words and I will sleep while you drive us 70-miles back in the middle of the night.” Obviously, in order to keep the peace, the answer must always be “I would be delighted, let’s go now so we can get there early and make the most of it…I‘ll go get the car sweetie!! Let‘s stop for latte‘ on the way.”

It may seem boring, but many people are perfectly content with sitting around watching 15-hours of ESPN or every last second of the NFL draft. I think that it keeps people out of trouble, especially guys. As a matter of fact, they should install Jumbo-Tron televisions tuned to ESPN in criminal hotspots around town.

Before I’m accused of chauvinistic mentality, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that guys ask plenty of stupid questions. All of which escape me because I have the memory of a Wildebeest , but I’m reasonably certain that we exhibit dumbness more often than not. I’ve been so advised many times- plus I’ve loaned couch space to numerous friends over the years.

I remember a lesson hard learned by one of my friends when he tested the “Do not ask” waters:

“What do you think about a threesome?”

He’s lucky to be alive, especially since he named the desired third party…his girlfriend’s best friend.

Gentlemen, allow me state an obvious standing rule. When the lady returns from the salon, her hair ALWAYS looks great!

I had a buddy who threw caution to the wind on this one. His girlfriend came home sobbing about her new haircut. His reply? “It’ll grow out.” (Insert the Price is Right” loser jingle here).

If ever there were an ideal moment for a group of professional rodeo cowboys to burst through the front door and hog-tie someone and drag them to a safe distance before answering, THIS was said moment.

As I recall, he and I went out for beers that evening…I believe he had about 30.

Another question that is, almost ALWAYS loaded, is:

“Where’ve you been?”

You’ll deservedly hear this when you’ve obviously forgotten how to tell time and determined it a good idea to be about an hour and a half late for dinner or a date, etc. Here’s a dissection of trouble waiting to happen…follow closely:
“Ah, Chris got stuck on a big problem at the office so I helped him and then we chatted in the parking lot for a moment…he and Allison are having some problems.”

Be prepared that your significant other, most likely, possesses reconnaissance intel that is not even available to the National Security Agency. You will most likely receive this response:
“Well, I didn’t know that your company allowed you to drink whiskey and beer on the job. Tell me, did your office recently relocate to the pub on the corner.”

**Helpful hint: I'm not going to advise you to lie but, if you plan to do so, don’t park out front and carry a toothbrush.

Here's one of my favorites...

“What do you love about me?”

This question literally makes me bleed from the eyes. I swear that I had a buddy who responded as follows:

“The sex is awesome, especially that thing you do. I’m glad you don’t want to have kids for a long time and you’re just like one of the guys.”

I’m shocked that he didn’t have to switch sides and “get with” one of the guys due to the length of time he went without sex after puking that piece of verbal idiocy.

I try my best to answer random questions honestly, but ever so mindful that diplomacy is needed under certain circumstances. My brain sometimes hurts after walking around as though I were in a non-stop episode of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire but I suppose it’s a well paid price, most of the time.

It can be a world where white is black, black is white and 1 plus 3 equals the number of hours the silent treatment will be invoked for an idiotic answer. Hmmm, that’s not entirely a bad thing.

By the way, don’t EVER say that out loud if you know what’s good for you…don’t say I didn’t warn you.

copyright Pontchartrain Press 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Date Night

I recently went on, what most would call, a date. 

 I hesitantly call it a date, not because it wasn't fun, quite the contrary. I’m just not really into putting labels on things. I call a fun evening what many categorize as a date.  
(Read the previous sentence aloud in your best Billy Bob Thornton voice from Slingblade).
Before anyone preemptively lunges toward me, tossing  “Non-committal, Mommy Issues” in my general direction, please allow me to clarify.

There’s a certain awkwardness associated with formal attachments. 

 Example: We need you to speak at a “forum” tomorrow morning. 

 Forum?? That sounds pretty intense. Images of grumpy elders flash through my head by hearing the very word “forum.”  I'm visualizing mean men, staring at me judgmentally, waiting for me to screw up!

 With it being a forum and all, these people must be pretty serious. I’ll bet I’m standing over a trap door and, as soon as I utter something that angers Jabba the Hut, I’m going to immediately be dropped into a pit with a three headed monster who is sleep and food deprived. 

A monster who is angry and hungry, like my obese 6th grade teacher; I’ll become an appetizer (mainly because I weigh about 150) and then Mrs. Watson...I mean, the angry beast, will take his nap and wait for the next dunce who makes his verbal misstep above ground.

Allow me to demystify the word forum:  

A forum is typically comprised of an audience and a panel, most of which want to be somewhere else. Except for one or two sycophants with way too much time on their hands.  The guys who regularly inform the boss that employees are taking long breaks, having sex with the receptionist, smoking weed, doing the aforementioned simultaneously in the employee bathroom ON their breaks, etc . 

It’s a meeting, usually a gripe session.
In talking with friends, I found that many others feel the same about attaching such stigmatic titles to things, especially "Dating.”   Call it what you will, but it boils down to either good or bad conversation; You either enjoy the company or you don’t. 

I learned from that in ancient times, many of the first marriages were by capture, not choice - when there was a scarcity of nubile women, men raided other villages for wives. If they aired this program on Tru TV...I'm sooo there!  

 Frequently the tribe from which a warrior stole a bride would come looking for her and it was necessary for the warrior and his new wife to go into hiding to avoid being discovered; Sort of like the weapons of mass destruction and/or Dick Cheney.  

Sounds romantic. 

Me and my lady simply went to eat; we enjoyed a nice stroll and then a few drinks. Nothing compared to those hopeless romantics of barbaric yesteryear. It never occurred to me that I should resurrect the tradition of tribal warfare on a first date.  I save that for the third date. 

According to an old French custom, (and we all know what the French are famous for: That's right...obnoxiousness.) 

According to the country of cheese, infidelity and wine, as the moon went through all phases a new couple drank a brew called Metheglin (This sounds too close to Meth for me). 

This concoction was made from honey. Hence, we get the word honeymoon.

Arranged marriages were the norm; Primarily, they were business relationships borne out of the desire and/or need for property, monetary or political alliances. For some, I think this standard might still apply. This deal sounds eerily similar to that of a recently divorced friend of mine.

Personally, there’s nothing sexy or spine tingling about creating a council and a chairman to oversee the dating process. Plus, when the time comes, that would include way too many people in the bedroom for my taste.

I also learned from that during the Victorian Era, romantic love became viewed as the primary requirement for marriage and courting became even more formal…almost an art form...among the upper classes. A gentleman could not simply walk up to a young lady and begin a conversation as though they were stumbling through "The Drunk Frog" in Cozumel after 2-thousand margaritas.

Even after being introduced, it was still some time before it was considered appropriate for a man to speak to a lady or for a couple to be seen together. Oddly, this is standard protocol in the Middle-east and for some couples that I know who have been together for years. I suppose past IS indeed prologue.

Once those crazy kids of the Victorian era had been formally introduced, if the gentleman wished to escort the lady home, he would present his card to her. At the end of the evening the lady would look over her options and choose who would be her escort. 

She would notify the lucky gentleman by giving him her own card, requesting that he escort her home. If the courting progressed, the couple might advance to the front porch and then the backseat of a 1991 Toyota Corolla. 

Smitten couples rarely saw each other without the presence of a chaperon  and marriage proposals were frequently written.

I suspect that I would have been hanged, drawn, quartered and/or burned at the stake during this era. 

Nonetheless, it sounds like a lot of paperwork to me. If only one owned a Kinko’s in the 1830’s they’d be rich. 

Again, on MY date, we just went out to eat and had a few drinks. I DID open the door for her though.

I remember once, in my wilder days, I went on a date and at the end of the evening we happened across a mutual friend. The three of us chatted for a bit (by chatted, I mean we had three shots of Tequila) and before sunrise we found ourselves 400-miles away at the beach in South Florida. 

Not to worry, our friend (who NEVER gets laid) drove; he did not partake in shots. I suppose his presence qualified as a chaperon. Now that I think about it, I believe sand in a chastity belt would be quite uncomfortable.

Another date memory was when I visited a former colleague in Chicago. A 24-hour trip ended 3-days later in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. Don‘t ask. I enjoyed Lacrosse but my boss was less than amused when a 1-week vacation extended past 13-days and involved a slight run-in with Wisconsin state authorities.  

Perhaps my favorite “date” visual comes from a friend of mine, Marie. She told me that one time she went on a double date and tooled around town in an MG; Even better, they went to a festival in Lower Manhattan and won “The Big Banana.”  Four people in a two-seater with a stuffed, 6-foot banana. The clowns in a Volkswagen will NEVER top this visual.  I’m not sure what role the banana may or may not have played later in the evening and I didn’t ask.

Even though my “date” didn't involve tribal kidnapping, nor the exchange of cards with the Queen of England’s stamp of approval or the “Big Banana” (keep your head out of the gutter) it appears to have gone just fine. She still talks to me and I learned how to maximize the cushion space on a chaise lounge patio seat.  So, I suppose that I didn't do anything stupid.

Enjoying another’s company, whether it be over dinner, drinks, a walk or on the phone, needs no formal event title. It can be with a buddy or it can be with someone who you would greatly like to see naked; No pressures or stigmas needed... 

Unless you look down and notice that you’re standing over a trap door.

copyright Pontchartrain Press, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go

I decided to kill some time this weekend while waiting to meet up for dinner with a couple of friends. I really wish I could figure out a way to be paid professionally to both kill time AND meet with friends but there are no senate or congressional seats available at present.

My time waster du jour included taking in some baseball and a couple of beers at a bar near the restaurant.

Having the common effect that beer does, I scanned the room for the men’s room. This may sound odd, but I think I’d like to start a publication solely dedicated to restrooms. The AAA, Mobil or Zagat’s rating guide to the best and worst if you will.

I’d even include a special pull-out reference guide of do’s and don’ts with regard to restroom protocol.

They say you should judge a restaurant by its restrooms. I don’t want to hear that! I’ve had great food at restaurants with undesirable restrooms. I probably wouldn’t want to see the kitchen but, as long as the food isn’t being prepared in the restroom, I adopt the “if I don’t see it, it’s not there” rule.

By the way gentlemen, the men’s room isn’t a comedy club and if it were, we‘re in dire need of some A-list talent.

My least favorite worn out attempt at comedy in the men’s room comes from the guy who cleverly announces that “We don’t buy em’ we only rent the beers”. Hahahahahah…MAN, that’s funny! Hurry up and go rent some more before I get urinal stage fright and injure my bladder.

Call me a snob, but I’m not really into meaningful conversation at the urinal. I appreciate great conversation, I even enjoy mediocre conversation, but I’d rather save it for the table or after sex.  My list is in no particular order.

For the guys who utter the self aggrandizing “Man, this water is cold…and deep”, it was funny when Karl used it as disencumbered dialogue in Slingblade and that’s pretty much the size of it, so to speak. One day someone is finally going to snap and drown you in the toilet bowl and go to the bathroom on your head if you continue to expose us to this joke.

I also absolutely LOVE restroom graffiti. Who knew that Stacey gives good head? If I happen across her at the bar I’ll feel much better having this valuable inside info, thus I will put on my A-game.

If she’s sitting with Robert I’ll feel much better about my chances with Stacey because, according to the men’s room wall, he ALSO gives good head and is actively looking to do so on Tuesday night between 10pm and midnight in the back parking lot. I hope he finds what he’s looking for, although I feel strongly that his self imposed 2-hour window is rather limiting.

I hold special sympathy for the guys who have to drop the deuce in a public restroom…especially when the unstoppable urge occurs at the most popular club in town with about 80,000 patrons drifting in and out of a restroom with no stall doors. I would just hold it. But, then again, I always hold it when it comes to public numero deux (deux). I like home field advantage.

Most guys treat the restroom experience as though they’re walking away from Sodom and Gomorrah or as if Madusa is in the room. Fearing that the slightest eye contact will turn them to a pillar of salt or stone. I’m not that extreme, but I understand those who are.

Which brings to mind the good old pee pee trough. I hate, hate, hate them. I’m not overly modest but the trough is a little too open for my taste. 

I don’t care what any guy tells you, it’s sometimes IMPOSSIBLE not to catch a glance if your peripheral vision is up to par. It’s unavoidable, especially if the guy next to you seems to have a liquid spouting telephone pole. I suppose the water is indeed cold and deep for these gentlemen.

I will also uncover a breaking news story…you might be amazed by the number of guys who don’t wash their hands in the men’s room…or maybe not.

Back to my little pre-dinner diversion-- I found the men’s room, only to be stopped dead in my tracks by an “Out of order” sign.  The obvious alternative was to venture into “No Man’s Land”. The mysterious, somewhat mythological, oasis that most guys only hear about through stories passed down from generation to generation by tribal elders.

The Ladies room!

Finally! I will gain knowledge that can someday be passed to the next generation, like a torch or a sacred heirloom. A glorious story of the secret garden that most of us haven’t the capacity to grasp. There would probably be a grand piano, a spa, perhaps a hot towel attendant and a gift shop.

I hesitantly opened the door with the cautiousness of the irritating guy who’s about to be killed in a teen horror film. FINALLY, I will be exposed to a world that’s securely hidden behind a small door with an unassuming little stick figure emblazoned “Ladies.”

No orchestra? No gift shop? No one giving massages? What?? It DID smell pleasant and it was decidedly cleaner than a typical men’s room, but where is the big screen TV and the champagne??

I did my business and, YES, I lowered the seat when I finished. I also learned that Craig is an asshole and that Keith has herpes…according to the wall that is.

While my ladies room experience felt as though I were in an episode of myth-busters, I somehow feel like a modern day Cortez or Columbus. Even though I didn’t pillage, plunder, enslave or burn any ships, I feel that, in some small way, I proved that the world beyond that mysterious door is indeed round...and equipped with a tampon machine.  So now I shall pass it along through regaling tales to my comrades.

By the way, when I publish the restroom rating guide, the back inside flap will include a compartment for emergency TP! I’m gonna get sooo rich with this idea.

copyright Pontchartrain Press 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Don't Pack The Bags Yet

I met a friend for dinner recently and she told me about a website that supposedly matched you with your ideal place to live. Simply fill out, what I found to be, an extremely long questionnaire and, voila, your perfectly matched Garden of Eden flashes across the screen. Actually the site suggests several options, based on your criteria.

Here’s what they suggested to me:

Savannah, GA.
It IS one of the “Top 100 Places to Retire“ according to some magazine to which I‘d never subscribe. The problem being that I‘m nowhere near retirement age. Savannah is beautiful and culturally rich, but not for me. That it hosts the 2nd largest St. Pat’s Day celebration and parade spot in the country grabs my attention. What would I do on the other 364 days?

Mobile, AL:
Aaah, the 1st capitol of colonial French Louisiana. They also have Carnival celebrations and I like the gulf. Not enough to inspire a move. Next…

Tallahassee, FL:
If I were to live in Florida, I certainly would NOT pick a landlocked city. The city slogan is “Visit Tallahassee, where it all comes together”. Of course it does…it’s the center of a state where there are many cool things going on, just not there. I think the slogan translates to “We know you’re just passing through and we reeeeally wish you’d just give us a shot”.

Pensacola, FL:
I’m not opposed to the Redneck Riviera. Visitors from Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana converging upon one place on vacation can only equal unscripted hilarity as a net result. The white sand beaches are beautiful but I‘d simply enjoy telling people that I live in Escambia County…because I like the sound of Escambia. I would say it with a thick Spanish accent to the point of irritating everyone around me until they ask me to leave.

Galveston, TX:
Sincere apologies to the citizens of Galveston but…No.

EL Paso, TX:
I think El Paso is a fine city; I even make it a point to purchase “Old El Paso” food products. El Paso is also in the finals for the All American City award, whatever that means. Maybe I’ll just visit

Dallas or Ft. Worth, TX:
No and no. I’ve had many fine times there, but it’s too clinical and widespread for my taste. Plus, I don’t trust a city with that many TGI Friday’s and an interstate system where east is west and south is east. Try driving there sometime.

Oklahoma City, OK:
I associate OKC with nothing particularly fun, that’s just me though. I know people there who are very nice but I’m a little wary of considering a place where people who I know constantly want to leave as though a massive biological weapon had been discharged.

Nashville, TN:
I have intimate knowledge. It is a fantastic city with unparalleled culture and a rich history. I’m forever grateful and proud to have grown up there but, as the saying goes, been there, done that.

Atlanta, GA:
If I wanted to live in a city that is so scattered that it takes 30-40 minutes to get anywhere, I’d move to Los Angeles.

Austin, TX:
I think this website must be owned by a Texas company…geez! Austin possesses the closest in cultural atmosphere as that of Nashville. I dig the music scene. While Music Row in Nashville exports the next “Hat Act“, Austin embraces the music that Nashville used to produce long ago.

West Palm Beach, FL:
I considered moving here once. I absolutely love the Del Ray beach area. There’s something wonderful about dining at Café Luna Rosa with the ocean breeze gently wafting through the sidewalk dining area. It’s possibly where I would retire.

Jacksonville, FL:
This is southern Georgia. As a matter of fact, I think the state of Florida is considering giving Jacksonville to Georgia as a Christmas gift this year. As a guilty pleasure, I do (gasp) like a few Skynyrd songs.

Houston, TX:
I think the city of New Orleans has shared enough of its citizenry with Houston. I shall not be one of them; my “rap sheet” isn’t long enough either.

Baton Rouge, LA:
If I wanted to be involved in a multi vehicle crash or stuck in miserable interstate traffic, I choose to do it in a city with a little more soul. My company has offices up there and they look at us in NOLA as heathens and drunks. What’s their point?

Memphis, TN: The largest city in Tennessee. Anyone who tells you that Beale Street is like Bourbon Street is someone upon which you should never rely to give accurate details to a police sketch artist. And, if you live in New Orleans, you might consider punching them directly in the nads. I’m not sure which part of Beale Street they’re talking about, but I’ve yet to find it.

Little Rock, AR:
(I’ve composed myself from wild laughter) For a medium sized metropolitan city, I was shocked and amazed that the streets are indeed rolled up at night and the town shuts down. I do like Bill Clintons Presidential Library. It looks like a giant trailer. apropos I suppose.

Oddly, New Orleans never appeared on my “custom” list of potential matches. Fortunately, I don’t really need a piece of software to tell me that which is evident. My eyes, heart and soul don‘t lie.

I once wrote the following about New Orleans in a book:

New Orleans is a city steeped in hundreds of years of culture with a history as rich as it is eccentrically notorious. A beautiful and mysterious place, its people are known for embracing one another, and total strangers. It can be poison to some, romantically glorious for others. It’s a city that does not love unconditionally though, you have to love it back.

That seems fair enough since New Orleans has shone brightly with human resilience in the face of burning twice and, of course, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina still haunts the minds of its people years later. They still love, they persevere, they hope and they rebuild. It’s a city that refuses to tolerate those who pass through with a chip on the shoulder. No time for nonsense and trivial worries that plague transients who come in and out of her life every day.

Truly one of the most unique cities in the world, it‘s a place, even before Katrina, of rebirth. You either “get it” or you get out. She’s beautiful, she’s loving, she can be a total bitch. But making up is the best part. Yes indeed, when she puts her arms around you it’s like no feeling in the world.

Many a transplant will tell you that she’s virtually impossible to leave. Once you’ve experienced her, no matter where fate finds you in this big, sometimes complicated, world, you’ll always take a piece of her with you. Deep within your heart.

It’s home.

copyright Pontchartrain Press 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

An Interesting Classroom

I’ve found humor, sound advice and downright disturbingly bizarre subject matter dispensed from a variety of people in some of the most common locales . Often times it’s blatantly in front of me, sometimes it’s hidden in plain sight.

Whether it be a stroll down the sidewalk on a pretty afternoon, sitting in the park, walking through the grocery store, hanging at the coffee shop or chillin’ at a pub, there’s a wealth of knowledge, advice, lessons and amusement always within earshot.

During the recuperation period following a long weekend of entertaining a visiting friend, it felt most appealing to listen and observe than to write. Okay, I was too tired and lazy to be productive. With notepad and pen in hand, I figured that there would be no harm in letting the environment around me write the following piece thus allowing extra time to live, relax, eat comfort food and learn.

Here’s what I found:

Woman: What’s that?
Man: Hot dogs and chili…I’m makin’ chili dogs tonight.
Woman: That’s crap…it’s not good for the kids.
Man: What do you want to do for dinner?
Woman: Let’s just pick up a pizza.

I suppose pizza was the lesser of two evils, since we don’t know exactly what’s truly in a hot dog.

Woman: My A/C is broken at the house
Man: Just hang out in the bar and you won’t have to worry about it.

Is it any wonder that man discovered 1,001 uses for duct tape? Problem solved. This guy is a genius!

Woman: I can drive! (author note: read the previous aloud at a deafening level as though you’ve just polished off 8-thousand beers)

Man: I can’t get it up.

This misunderstood line was uttered by a gentleman using the Internet on his I-Phone, just to clarify.

Man: How did I propose to you?
Woman: (unfortunately, inaudible)
Man: No, no, no. Babe…that ain’t how it happened.
Man: (speaking to man #2) That ain’t how it happened…Dude, you’re gaining some secret insight here
Man 2: No, I’m in a front row seat for an imminent fight.

While my life would, most likely, chug along unencumbered having not picked up the pieces of general knowledge that follows, I somehow feel more complete having gained insight to them anyway:

Riding on the train from New Orleans to Memphis makes you want to shoot yourself in the face.

Some people apparently become enraged when a friend posts a picture of Moe Howard (Of Three Stooges fame) on their Facebook wall. Who knew that Moe was such a polarizing individual? I would think that Joe (the latently homosexual Stooge) would stir stronger emotions.

Speaking of the Stooges; a young woman’s ex boyfriend nick-named her Shemp. I don’t even know how to feel about that. She didn’t seem to possess Shemp-ish characteristics, she certainly didn’t LOOK like Shemp. Perhaps she leads a secret life only known to him. That would be one disturbing role-play

By the way, it’s difficult to people watch when your text goes off 250 times. Don’t these people know I’m pretending to WORK? Okay, back to eavesdropping…

No matter how great or awesome one’s profession seems to the rest of us, they bitch and moan about THEIR job also. I’ll be more mindful of that the next time I peek over the proverbial fence to inspect the green grass.

Openly to da’ boys, I aver that PDA exposes the rest of us to unnecessary sappiness. However, there’s something genuinely pleasant about seeing two people who clearly enjoy the other‘s company. If anyone tells my buddies I will vehemently deny that I wrote the previous passage.

Shift change, whether it be a restaurant, bar or grocery store generates a nervous energy among employees as that of the White House situation room on the eve of preemptive warfare.

There are actually straight men in this world who deposit money into a jukebox and proceed to proudly play “Wake me up before you go-go” by Wham! Even more telling, there are numerous straight men who keep beat to the song on the bar top. Amazing, and somewhat disturbing. I felt like I was in a Cohen brothers film.

It was pointed out to me by an extremely kind and well meaning young lady that I could save $1.50 if I purchased the grocery store brand of cheddar rather than Cabbot of Vermont. I politely thanked her and, when she moved on, held my civic loyalty to the citizens of Vermont.

Ronald Regan seems to be responsible for EVERYTHING bad that is happening in the world today. I suppose the subsequent 4 administrations had a perfect track record. I shall remain silent.

I gained an inordinate level of knowledge as to the vacation policies of the French national school system. Could come in handy should I move to France, or have children. Which one should I do first??

More people than you might suspect talk about their friends when they go to the restroom.

From the French Quarter carriage tour guides, I learned that a particular bar on St. Peter NEVER closed during Hurricane Katrina. (author’s note: Except for the 30 or so days that it was, in fact, closed before, during and after Hurricane Katrina.

It was pointed out that a laptop might cause one to be completely oblivious to the fact that a very nice stranger is actively trying to gain attention for friendly conversation…

The End.

copyright Pontchartrain Press 2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Ties That Bind Us

Now and again I think of something obscure, obvious or downright absurd to toss into an Internet search engine just to see what gets thrown back. It’s bizarrely fun.

The latest search engine time waster stemmed from a visit with a longtime friend. This weekend we added lasting memories to a pile that has been inching upward for 14-years. Some are poignant, many are downright hilarious, at least to us.

This was his first visit to New Orleans since the storm and, since he was in dire need of a long overdue vacation, he packed his bags and headed to the deep south for some fun. Yes indeed.

At the end of his stay, after dropping him at the airport, a feeling of loneliness washed over my mind. We had a wonderful time so I should have been happy, and I was. Spending quality time together simply made me realize how much I miss my friend.

That evening, I typed the following phrase on a search engine: “What creates friendship”. I’m not sure which amazed me more, the fact that there must be a need for such websites or the dialogue on some of the Q & A blogs.

I found a rather interesting take on the subject from Benjamin Franklin though. I like Ben, especially the currency with his likeness stamped across the front…I wish I had more of those in my wallet. Ben definitely knew how to party also and, in a Puritan world, I‘m sure that he raised a few eyebrows. I’ll bet he had some pretty fun friends. I would have, most likely, been burned at the stake.

Benjamin Franklin opines: "He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged."

Huh? Basically what Ben was saying, as interpreted by the “Changing Minds” site, is that when we do a person a favor, we tend to like them more as a result. This is because we justify our actions to ourselves that we did them a favor because we liked them. Huh?

I simply don’t over think it. I enjoy those around me and try to be equally as enjoyable. I should add, some days are better than others.

I first met my buddy just over 14-years ago under unsteady and potentially dire circumstances. He was the new boss…a changing of the guard if you will. I viewed it as unnecessary disruption to a safe company structure. Plus, I knew the routine…cleaning house would quickly ensue in order to make room for cronies.

As the new boss surveyed our operation, and its existing employees, one could feel the tension swelling like an overflowing river bank throughout the hallways. Then, some pink slips appeared.

At the conclusion of day five of the new regime the boss invited me for a chat over beers at a pub near the office. This would be a first; I’m gonna get axed over a couple of beers. Better than the notice in the mailbox I suppose…plus I’d have a buzz.

This is a opportune moment to note that the boss had impeccable taste in suits, cufflinks and, especially, ties. It was clear that this was not his first gig.

I’ll invoke the long story short rule and say that in the course of an informal chat between a newly appointed leader and employee, a drunken lady friend of mine appeared and took his tie. Alcohol apparently causes an unnatural obsession with neckwear for her.

The boss calmly made it clear that he would be most appreciative if I retrieved his tie. I politely excused myself and visited her at the bar. I won’t share the exact verbiage, but I informed my friend of the consequences that would befall her if she didn’t produce the $100 Italian hand-made silk immediately. She obliged and I rejoined the boss, expecting that I would be scanning the classifieds the following day.

Quite the contrary. My job was secure.

Subsequently, I spent over 10-years working for the old man. (He hates when I say “for” rather than “with“). Oddly he doesn’t hate it when I refer to him as the old man. We shared numerous ups and downs, challenges and accomplishments. Most importantly, a lifelong friendship was born amidst an uncertain work climate and a drunk, tie swiping young lady.

He has since retired which, I believe, further gives me permission to refer to him as the “old man“. Especially when he received the following text messages from his fellow retiree friends while on his visit: “It’s raining here” was the first news flash that came from back home. The other was, and I swear on my life this is true, “I found some giant corn on the cob holders, you want me to buy some for you?”

After absorbing the electrifying news that flashed across his cell I solemnly looked him in the eye and offered to send a military rescue team to move him to New Orleans…far away from the two gentlemen who sent those texts.

My friend is almost 70 going on 30, in all respects. I believe that he stays young at heart, and in appearance, because he is indeed young and kind in spirit.

I will make no serious effort to consult a book or website to figure out how or why I share a strong bond with my friend. I accept the fact that it flourished because we’ve shared good times and bad alike. Abandonment was never an option. He’s been like a father to me…especially when I needed some firm fatherly direction.

Over the years we’ve laughed and cried together, we’ve openly pointed out the other’s good qualities and, when necessary, suggested changes to correct the bad. True friendship is a work in progress. Results from a search engine may provide facts, but experience is where the true answer lies. Our friendship is…that it is.

In my absurd little web surf I stumbled across the following question on a blog site: “Which creates a more meaningful friendship? Online friends or Real Life friends?”

I was as equally at a loss for words as much as I wondered if this was a REAL question.

As for me, I still miss my friend today but I am the proud holder of a decade of great memories. It serves as a figurative pillow on which I will lay my head tonight and laugh as I reminisce about good times with good friends, sprinkle in a little Abita Lager and you’ve got yourself one hell of a fun weekend in New Orleans with the old man.

When I go for a visit to see him, I will eagerly look forward to eating corn with his giant new corn on the cob holders…as long as there’s crawfish somewhere on the table.

copyright Pontchartrain Press 2010