Day 21

Tomorrow is the fiftieth anniversary of JFK’s assassination. Waiting to see how TV news plays it just like everybody remembers it. You know, how they did when we hit the 50th anniversary of “The Day The Music Died.” Newsflash: The POTUS was a baby. I wasn’t born. My parents were in elementary school.

If it sounds like I’m dawdling, I am. I have to go get blood taken. Great way to start the weekend, dontchathink?

So, what’s going on for Thanksgiving? Headed to the inlaws’ tomorrow. My brother and his wife are coming down this weekend, so I guess we’ll go have dinner with my mom on Saturday. I have no idea what she’s actually planning to do tomorrow. Did I not ask on purpose? Well, no. But…

I have training in a couple of weeks, meaning I have to go in to the office. Pfffft. And the first day of it, I have to leave early, because they’re going to shove all sorts of things into exit-only places (both of ’em…at the same time). I’m pumped, right?

So, on to the prompts, then off to the leeching.

1. What makes you unique?


2. What is your very favorite meal and/or drink?

You know, I honestly don’t know at this point. I’ve been trying to use my pallate more while I still have use of it. (Yes, this damn disease might eventually take my senses of smell and taste….) I notice things more than I used to. Some of that is training, probably.

It’s sort of amusing watching the cooking shows, with their focus on presentation. Isn’t that irrelevant after the first couple of bites? Though I do appreciate the pastry folks’ work; I am certainly not skilled enough to make anything look pretty. See: a really bad birthday cake I made for my wife. But it tasted good.

Day 20

Writing on this mainly to keep it up. I am very unsatisfied right now. About a lot of things. But I’m not in a position to do anything about any of them, really. Still kind of disturbed by the election reactions; 2012 was a vote against change, responsibility. I think it’s important to see that aspect of it…..

Ten more days. Less than two until the Thanksgiving nonsense starts. I’m ready for my break. And I’m also ready to give my wife her gifts, which may or may not be arriving already……

1. Who was (or is!) your favorite teacher? Why were they your favorite.

High school? Mrs. H. College: Hon. LL., Sen Q., Dr. C.

Some others had an effect on me, but I shan’t mention them.

2. How would you describe yourself? How would your best friend describe you?

Does this really matter all that much?

  • Practical
  • Caring
  • Struggling
  • Half-blind
  • Wobbly
  • Placated


  • Egalitarian
  • Not sick
  • Drunk
  • Difficult

But back to the question I asked; to me, it doesn’t matter so long as my wife still loves me, and I don’t hate myself. In the last few years, some people I’ve thought were good friends have revealed themselves to be something else. Others have drifted into their own special worlds (some slightly off). Others, still, have just ignored everything that’s been going on with me. *makes W sign with fingers* It happens. I’m mostly content with my circles now.

Actually, you know what, I’m really content with my circles now. Why? I don’t have to hide things anymore. I have approval from the people whose opinions I care about. How have I done that? Being me, flaws and all…..

Day 19

Kind of in a reflective mood today, but it comes back to one simple truth — it’s impossible to reason with someone who believes he has the prescriptions for all of life’s problems. Sadly, there’s no remedy for it, and selection or election of these people makes them even more insufferable.

There’s things going on that you can’t even start to understand; how, exactly, is your prescription going to work? I know. Faith. And if I can show how your preconceptions backing your conclusions are wrong? Yeah, we won’t discuss that. You’re right, and who am I to question that? Gaia is on your side.

If that was more than a little obtuse, so be it. I’ll know, should I ever go back and re-read this, what I was upset about. On to the prompts……

1. Do you believe in soul mates? If so, do you believe we each have just one soul mate?

Can I answer this one with a firm, “I don’t know?” Because, honestly, I don’t know. Are there connections between people that sometimes extend beyond……yes. Do I have one? Yeah. Can I explain it? No. Is it just one person? Probably.

2. What would you do if you could live a day without consequences?

After two chicks at the same time? Nothing. Then gluttony in various ways. But, mostly nothing. I really don’t have anything to do or say at this point, and consequences never really can go away.

The science behind the consequences doesn’t go away. So what do I do? Go be intentionally rude for my own enjoyment? Is the enjoyment I’d experience from that from the act, or from the consequence of that act? I’m running out of reasons to do much of anything if there aren’t consequences……

Day 18

So, writing at before 0600 on Sunday morning. Why? Because I had a dream that somebody was coming with a delivery, and I needed to sign.

On early Sunday morning. Yeah, I’ve got some mental issues, maybe. Still better than the weirdness that woke me up yesterday, which involved Gangnam Style. Issues.

So, on to the prompts before I fall back asleep, because, uh…there’s no delivery coming.

1. Are you a risk-taker?Do you weigh the pros and cons or jump right in?
Short answers: “No. Depends.” Longer answers: “I’m actually pretty risk-averse when you get right down to it. Living with my physical limitations kind of demands that. Have I done things that might get me hurt, fired, arrested? Sure. Are there a lot that come immediately to mind? No.”
Those said, considering what you see on TV this time of year, the Internets all year long, etc., I marvel at the paranoia I see. People don’t understand probabilities at all, jump to conclusions. With medical issues, it gets worse. Next on The Doctors, “Is my hangnail due to the chicken I ate in 1987?”

2. “The most terrifying moment of my life was…”
You know, I’m really having trouble with this one. Why? Because the things that are coming to mind weren’t actually terrifying until I thought about it after I was away, safe. Some of those where you say, “wow, that could have ended really badly.” Maybe I’ve been lucky. Who knows? But I do know that because I’m acutely aware of my limitations now, I’m more cautious; it’s been a long time since I’ve had one of those moments.

Day 17

For Day 17, the earworm is, “It Was A Very Good Year.” Pretty much any rendition other than Homer Simpson’s works. (And, yes, that includes William Shatner’s, which is actually rather incredible, if you just listen to it. Though it’s tough to match the tone from Sinatra’s…..)

So, where was I? Oh yeah. It’s Saturday morning, before eight. Why I’m up so early is completely beyond me. But here I am.

Take my cocktail of pharmaceuticals, refill my old guy’s pill tray, and write. That tray has grown with another, but it is what it is.

I am a human chemistry experiment. And that’s why I get leeched again to start the holiday weekend Wednesday afternoon. I’m getting better about it, but it’s still not something I take particularly well. Sadly, unlike the shit from Chemistry class was fun to watch when it burbled over. Me? Notsomuch. Sorry about that.

Then the friendly @Norfolk Tide (Yes, it’s a joke, but whoever is writing it really is in touch with the nonsense going on locally and nationally) added buttons you need to push to exit, which wasn’t something I particularly needed while lightheaded, nauseous. But it’s still better than riding the bus.

My wife went to pick up my prescription yesterday, go to the mall, and she got caught, too. (And I can’t say enough good things about the pharmacy; sometimes being forced to move your business yields good results after all. Now if I could get rid of the damn mail order place the insurance company makes me use to fill my injections, complete with Chinese hamster ovarian cells, to let the local folks fill….)

On to the prompts.

1. Is there an outfit, a meal, a drink, a style, a whatever, that you feel is the quintessential “you?”

Maybe when I was younger. Notsomuch anymore. My wife is befuddled by my like of button-down shirts. I don’t know.

2. Complete the following: “Dear ____, it weighs on me that I never told you . . .”

You know, I don’t have much for this one, either. Maybe it’s part of being accustomed to break relationships as a kid. Maybe it’s because if something is left unsaid, I had a good reason not to say it. Who knows? The past is the past, and I have too many things going on to dwell on things I should or shouldn’t have done.

Day 16

So, end of the week, and I’m over the hump on this. Yay….

1. What do you feel is your purpose in life?

1. Be a good husband.
2. Earn money.
3. Obey the law.
4. Enjoy what I still can.

I think I do those. Well, not enough of number two. And rumors on the Internets say I’m a horrible husband (and a worse panda). But I think my priorities are in line.

If number four seems a little ponderous, so be it. I’ve had to find a lot of new things to occupy myself since I got sick. The nights of driving around aimlessly, listening to the radio, are over. Besides, spending time with my wife is so much better…..

As for the earning money, I don’t know. I do feel like my opinion and input isn’t often valued; some people view me as a Negative Nancy. But, in the end, I’m trying to do the right thing. If I feel strongly that I’m being told to do the wrong thing, or that the approach is completely askew, I’m open to convincing. I will listen to arguments contrary to my analysis. But I will criticize them if they’re thin. Too often these days, there isn’t really an agrument at al — just do it. No, it’s fucking wrong. It’s unnecessarily expensive, and you haven’t done your homework.

2. Write an entry from the point of view of your pet(s).

Since all my pets have gone on to their rewards…….there’s not much to write on this. I miss the dogs a lot. *sigh* Eventually, we’ll move to a place where we can have one.

Day 15

Doctor visit this afternoon. Pfffft. Leeched. Some insight into what more is going to happen with the specialist. Not amused. But what can I do? I’m broken. After that, and Rebif, I’m not feeling terribly much up to writing tonight. But here goes, anyway. On to the prompts….

1. Do you feel you are an open-minded person? If so, do you think it comes naturally to you or do you think it is due to your upbringing/life circumstances?

I don’t know if I’m terriblyl open-minded, but I try to be. I was a lot more judgmental when I was younger. My sense of right and wrong is still very strong, but I’m more willing to “live and let live.” Someone else’s stupidity, if it’s not affecting me (or some other innocent person), isn’t something I spend a lot of spoons worrying about.

I still do have an immediate repulsion to people whose initial answer for anything is coercive action. Whether that’s just being personally offensive, or using physical force, it doesn’t matter much.

2. Do you think steps should be taken by government (local, state or federal) to help curb the obesity epidemic currently happening in the United States? If so, what steps should the government take? If not, how do you feel the problem of obesity can be addressed?

Kind of related; I often have immediate negative reactions to use of force to get people to behave the right way. Being overweight isn’t always a personal choice. Furthermore, the government has a responsibility to protect children’s well-being. Is there a happy balance with that? Sure. Do well-intentioned people overstep the boundaries? Absolutely.

If a parent is being overly negligent, there’s ways to deal with that. Restricting portion sizes is a step beyond, Mrs. Obama, Mayor Bloomberg.

Day 14

Missing Shady Grove’s Fall Beer Tasting. *sigh* Just too asskicked tonight. But I will probably go buy something next few days; I hope I get a chance to say hello to Luke and Emily.

1. Are you comfortable being (physically) naked alone? With others?

Alone? Not as much as I used to be. A variety of reasons for that, but….. With others? More. Losing weight helps, but I’m really not trying to impress anyone anymore. I’m ugly; now I’m nakey. BFD.

Perhaps it’s easier now that I’m older, because getting naked means less than it did when I was nineteen, but….

2. Write about a time you felt emotionally naked.

You know, I’ve always been a very reserved person; somebody who hides his true feelings. Part of that was training. Part of it was just trying to be mentally-tough. I don’t need to do that anymore. I am who I am. That said, I am in control of my emotions. Most of the time.

I am quicker to visible (and audible!) anger than I used to be. But I can wrap it up when I need to. So, what’s different? I need to restrain myself less than I did. I think I’m incredibly reasonable when dealing with others; I expect the same in return. Maybe that makes me a fool.

But my eyes are weird. I’m going to stop now.

Day 13

A few hours late, since took an unexpected vacation.

I came to some rather disturbing conclusions yesterday. I’m sticking by them; I wish I didn’t need to. Last week’s election results only reinforce what I’ve been thinking —
1. People are unwilling to admit when they’ve made mistakes, and;
2. People view extra effort on something hopelessly broken as noble.

While the politics drove it home, I see it at work all the time, too. What you have really isn’t working anymore. Accept that. Move on. What about it does it do well? Recreate that when you start from scratch again. What doesn’t work well? Don’t recreate those things, even if people have come to expect them.

*now to find something where I’m not relating it to cars or food*

Yeah, I’m drawing a blank. Bear with me, and my scarred brain for a moment…..

I brush my teeth every morning. Should it really matter all that much that I don’t remove the cap from a metal tube? Or what if I’ve got to hold the brush slightly differently because the handle has a different shape? Does the new stuff do a better job than that old metal tube and rectangular-headed brush? Probably. A dentist could probably show empirical evidence of how well each accomplishes the main goal — getting the damn plaque off my teeth.

Many people in my profession don’t approach the problem like that. You need an Oral-B toothbrush, and Crest toothpaste, because that’s what you’ve always used, and are used to. Uhhhhmmmm. No. The Sensyodyne allows me to drink cold things without pain.

I’ve had a hell of a time lately convincing people to think this way about different problems. Whether that’s at work, or with my mother when it comes to buying a damn house, forming babby; I have other considerations that don’t make those choices right for me.

My job, really, as I see it, is to convince people to think about problems in the way I am so they don’t waste money. Easier said than done, certainly. Now on to the prompts…..

1. Are you a motivated person by nature? If you need motivation where do you find it?

No. I am an utterly lazy sack of crap. See: how little I actually accomplish many weekends. But I do respond well to reasonable deadlines. Actually, I prefer having a deadline, even if means I do something early. Now, that gets taken advantage of, because people who expect one thing often get something else entirely. But I’m not one who thinks his first cut at something is perfect. I screw up. Lots. Give me a chance to fix it. But give me feedback.

2. If you were forced to live the rest of your life in a library, a museum or a zoo which would you choose and why?

Museum. I’m guessing they might have the better snack bar.

Day 12

I’ve been absolutely horrible about straying from the prompts. But anything I might have to say lately comes off as bitchy. Do I have a lot to bitch about? Certainly. Do I need to share it? No.

1. What can make you laugh, even when you are having a frustrating day?

And the TSG Mugshot Roundups linked on Fark.

2. Write about all the different roles you play in your life, i.e. wife, mother, sister, brother, father, son or daughter, etc.

Tom Smykowski
Former radio guy

3. And an extra challenge today, since our word of the day is laughter: in the notes below, leave your favorite joke.
Q: What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t come back?
A: A stick.