Four Degrees Before Top Dead Center

My brother has a compass watch, well it’s really a watch that has a compass on it. It’s been broken ever since I can remember, the watch part that is, but he’s into misdirection so he wears it anyway. And I get a kick out of it when someone asks him what time it is and he looks at his watch with a confused look; then he taps it with his finger, he holds it to his ear, then he looks at them, and then back at the watch and says, “Huh. I guess it stopped, but you are facing southwest." It gets me every time. 

A Nail on the Runway at Love Field

I think about the Kennedy assassination, and how a flat tire at love Field could've changed everything. I got a flat this past week, two flats really from two nails. Considering the advances to tires in the past 50 years and the odds of me having two flat tires as opposed to JFKs limo having one flat, it could've happened. I imagine a secret service agent looking in the trunk for the spare and asking anyone if they know how to change a tire. There was no AAA back then and no run flat tires so they would've had no choice but to change it right there. The guys in the Dealey Plaza with the rifles, yeah rifles, would have been scratching their heads wondering what was going on. By the time the flat got changed, the driver would have had no time to make a right turn through the Plaza and then 120 degree left turn (really? Talk about a lamb led to the slaughter); JFK would've told the driver to just go flying through at 50mph while he honked the horn, if there was only a nail on the runway at Love Field.

The Other Girl

I’m not sure when a girl stops becoming a girl, not that she becomes a man or anything, but at some point she transforms, like a butterfly, into a woman but maybe your girl can be your girl no matter her age. This isn’t about my girl and I’m not even sure if I can still call her my girl but there is another girl, friend, and not a girlfriend, commas matter, she’s a friend who happens to be a girl, for now, not that she’s going to stop being a girl, that would be weird, we’re just friends, for now, and that came out a lot smoother than expected. 

She and my girlfriend were like two peas in a pod or on a plate, because there are usually more than two in the pod, but the two of them separated from the rest and huddled by the edge because just two peas on a plate would just be too weird. With my girlfriend gone, she’s not dead or anything, but we all know this so it’s not like I’m the couch with Oprah, but my friend has stepped into some of the roles my girlfriend used to fill. 

It’s not really my fault as they’re so much alike and they clicked right away and I’m convinced that I could have left the room and come back six months later and twenty pounds lighter and with a Tom Hanks beard, and they would still be chatting away. It’s weird for me that one has been replaced by the other and it was never my choice and we’ve all spoken about it and I’m sure this was done by some intelligent design and I thought it might feel strange, but she feels like that pair of Levi's I've had since college and I’ve been told that if you take any man and any woman, and put them together on a deserted island (and with them on it, it wouldn’t be deserted anymore), they’d fall in love. 

I get the point of that statement even if it is largely untrue because if you put me and Rosie O’Donnell on Gilligan's Island, inside of two days I’d be between two slices of bread with a bite taken out of my side. That being said, proximity plays a role if there is or could be attraction and right now her hip is in direct proximity of my hip as we're sitting on the couch side by side so I better stop here before she realizes this is about her. 

Dancing through Dealey with Destiny


Twenty years ago I bumped into Gerald Ford. I could have called him Mr. President; perhaps that would have helped things. It was at Carnegie Hall and I actually sought him out, not for an autograph or to do any harm, just to talk. I told you that story to tell you this story: I am what one would call a conspiracy enthusiast and the whole JFK Dealey Plaza situation I find more than intriguing. Gerald Ford was, at the time, the last living member of The Warren Commission and after reading The Warren Commission Report it was my right as an American, to ask him a question or two. After two hours of being on stage, he was ushered off and I thought I had missed my chance. I asked one of the inconspicuously dressed men in a $4000 suit and wearing an earpiece and dark sunglasses, apparently attempting to blend in, which way Mr. Ford had gone. He directed me down one hallway and I, understanding misdirection, went in the opposite direction. I wound up in the bowels of the building and I had to pass through a Secret Service checkpoint and was thoroughly lost. I rounded a corner a little too fast and ran right into Gerald Ford…well it wasn’t Mr. Ford exactly but his entourage: a tightly packed group of Schwarzenegger types wearing suits and earpieces. Once it was deemed I wasn't a threat and I was able to peel myself off of the cinder block wall they had me up against, I addressed the Mr. former President and asked him a question about Dealey plaza. He gave me a look of intense disdain, or perhaps he just had indigestion. Then he made an eye gesture and the biggest of them, this guy probably had to duck and turn sideways to get through a doorway, stepped between me and Mr. Ford. And when I attempted to maneuver around Hulk's bigger brother, he pressed his fingers into my chest and pushed my up against the wall, again, and before I could blink, Gerald Mr. Ex-President Rudolph Ford, Jr. was gone. It's been over twenty years and I'm a bit further down the JFK rabbit hole and every time I think about it, I get an odd pain in chest.

Just Beyond the Walls

For years I’ve woken up in a mysterious haze, hearing those voices just beyond the walls, beyond the walls of my three-walled enclosure. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hazily walked around in my khakis looking for its source. Frustrated by my inability to locate the source of the chatting, I falsely accused my coworkers, the next aisle over, and fantasized about them being replaced. But then I caught a break. Arriving early one morning for reasons I can’t explain, I stumbled across the real source of the incessant chatting — a small group, working on the opposing side with their voices reflecting. Periodically they would chitter-chatter, then pause as I approached, and they’d pick it up again as I retreated to my sitcom set of an office. At first, I thought the squeaking of my shoes foreshadowed my intentions, and they stopped to avoid discovery. But once again, my initial instinct proved to be wrong. After a long conversation with the wall of my cube, I learned that they were cackling about the first group. I have since apologized to the first group, well not out loud, and they, not surprisingly, acted like it all never happened.

Being Productively Non-Productive

I carry my laptop and a stack of files with me everywhere I go, and I walk fast so people think I’m actually going somewhere and everyone must think I’m very busy. If one of my twelve bosses stops me to ask me to do something, I’ll first ask them a question from one of the reports I’m carrying: “We used to ship in units and now it’s cases. Why the change?” And he’ll go off on a 10 minute self-important rant as to why the change was made along with the pros and cons and how the cons have a point but he can also see where the pros stand and he’ll puff up his chest as if he’s about to share something profound but then spill some noncommittal drivel to hedge his bet and I’ll nod approvingly and close with a, “Well put sir. It’s been driving me crazy all week and you’ve resolved it quite nicely” and I’ll be on my way. He’ll walk away feeling good because he shared his non-opinion is and I’ll not have to do that project I know he was going to ask me to do. I imagine after I walk away, he remembers what he was supposed to tell me and does a half-turn as I disappear out of sight and he probably thinks, “I’ll just do it myself” because he never does come back. I’m working through my MBA and I’ve had courses on ethics, practical applications, leadership, and delegation but I haven’t come across any on office politics, purposeful misdirection, and scheming against others while pretending to be their friend to get the promotion, but I still have another year to go so there’s time. 

My Life is Like a Seinfeld Epsiode

I sometimes feel like life is a Seinfeld episode where I’m the one being schemed on. Or the one being told to ‘get out’ or ‘I’m leaving’ by a girl who’s only around for a week. The one who double-dips and who, subsequently, got into a fight at a funeral. The guy who experienced shrinkage while wearing spandex at Jones Beach and who has spent the last twenty-five years explaining how cold the water was. And who walked away from a three-way because it would have changed everything. The one who remarks “that’s a shame” when his self-serving friend’s plan backfires. At a time when my overtly Jewish New York life seemed not so Jewish and not so New York. Who got the girl, only to lose her, then win her back again, before losing her for good. Whose friend’s plans would sabotage my own and we both wore confused looks, and a few steps further back in the line. Never learning, never growing, never worrying about the consequences, never shedding a tear.
I cut candy bars with a knife and twist tops off of muffins and I sometimes go tucked and offer Snapple to visitors and I have a row of cereal boxes because I like eating and drinking at the same time. I nose into parallel parking spots and I upgrade my mountain bike every year but I never seem to ride it. I open my front door wide to reveal people I don’t particularly care for but who are always, somehow, in my life. And my front door is perpetually unlocked for my neighbor who is my age and for some reason doesn’t work. And at the end of the day, I hit the reset button. 

Fine for Using Cell Phone While Driving

The knuckle-bag was chatting on his phone the entire time. Okay, not OK, context would help: we were in traffic during the morning commute on that one stretch of highway were everything seems to merge together for 3 or 4 miles and we have to slow from 75mph to 5 and you’re side-by-side with the same car for ten minutes. I had the windows down and the music up and the breeze was blowing over where my hair used to be. So he’s chatting so loudly that I can hear him over music and not so discrete like most by using bluetooth or hiding it with the phone in his right ear so it would be somewhat disguised. It was against his left ear and he was almost hanging his head out the window. And it’s not like he doesn’t know because we passed a huge sign that said “FINE FOR USING CELL PHONE WHILE DRIVING” which he probably took to mean it was okay and there was even one of those pulloffs specifically made for texters. 

So I looked over at him with that look like I’m trying to blow him up with my mind and then I make the ‘I’m talking on the phone gesture kind of mocking him and then I hang it up signaling that he should do the same and he rattles on totally oblivious. It was all I could do to not get out of my car, walk over and slap the phone out of his hand or I could have just said something, anything, but I didn’t want to make a big deal of it. So, I’m hoping he gets to read this so he knows that I know that’s it’s not OK, you know?

Mark Zuckerberg Needs a Cape

I’ve often thought of becoming a superhero and you might be thinking that I'd first need a super power. And that’s true for most of your A-list superheros but Batman is my answer to the question that starts with ‘if I had to be a superhero’ because even when he’s not Batman, he’s billionaire Bruce Wayne tooling around in Lamborghini's with Heidi Klum types as his groin candy. Superman's day job is as the impotent Clark Kent and Spiderman is forever the meek Peter Parker so being them would totally suck. And the thing of it is that Batman has no superpowers. I had this conversation with my friends and the Cheech of the group said Batman’s superpower is his mind and with that logic, we should be giving capes to Mark Zuckerberg and Stephen Hawking. 

And I do realize that becoming a superhero would take a lot of prep work. First, I’d need a super outfit which would probably be some kind of 80s leotard with a speedo over it and colorful rain boots from an 18 year old college freshman named Courtney. I’d also have to hire a graphic designer for the chest logo because it’s all about the branding. I think I'd toss the cape; it must take like twenty minutes to iron that thing in the morning and you know it would get in way when on the toilet. And with the super form fitting suit, where would my iPhone 6+ go? A male superhero is only allowed one unsightly bulge and that’s usually set aside for the codpiece area. And having my iPhone with me might take away from my ability to fight crime. “I’ll stop the mugging in a minute; just let me post a picture of it to Instagram.”

Ice Bucket Challenge

I’d never really heard the term 'bucket list' before the movie and all kinds of things raced through my head. Could it be a list of famous buckets or a list written on a bucket or a list of types of buckets? Answering this would take a bit of time.  

It all started when I kicked a bucket and it wasn’t on purpose but some of my accidents make the most interesting stories and I didn’t die, at least not right away, and if people heard that I had kicked the bucket, they wouldn’t be thinking I literally knocked one over. This wasn't the first time I had a run in with a bucket and I knew it wouldn't be the last but knowing that we’ll all someday kick the proverbial bucket has created the need for the bucket list which has been popularized by the movie of the same name and if I did have a bucket list, I’d first put ‘get a bucket’ on it, for the list, and I would never want to cross everything off of the list because there would be nothing left to shoot for.