product placement

Remember my friend, Thor?  My friend of twenty-five years who, a week ago, married the woman who makes him ridiculously happy?  Well, I failed to mention that Thor married the woman who is his equal and ideal in every way. 

It’s true.  She is.  Thor told me.  Well, truth be told, he described her fifteen years ago, long before he even met her. 

Their love is the undeniable proof of the power of advertising and the laws of attraction.

About fifteen years ago, Thor informed me that he had discovered the description of his ideal woman, that very morning, on a new canister of Edge Shave Gel.  So being the good and loyal friend that I am, I mentioned this in my toast to the bride last weekend. 

(Much laughter and blushing ensued.  I was thoroughly pleased.)

And then this past week, Thor unearthed the original email, sent in 1996, in which he enthusiastically shared his discovery and detailed the woman he had yet to meet.

…..Normal.  (“So far so good”, Thor said.)

…..Ultimate Closeness (“Getting better”, Thor said.)

…..Rustproof  Bottom  (“Never really considered it before, but I guess that’s a rather important feature”, Thor mused.)

…..May Explode When Heated  (I had forgotten the exploding bit, and had replaced it in my memory with “Non-Irritant”, which, by the way, also describes Thor’s lovely lady.)

And so, fifteen years after Thor discovered Edge Shave Gel, and a week after having married the woman so perfectly described thereupon, I raise my glass once again, to the woman who meets and exceeds the description of Thor’s ideal woman. 

P.S. I’m now a believer in the power of product placement. 


manners do matter

Earlier this week, I was walking from my office to a studio art class when a voice stopped me in my tracks.

If you are familiar with the brilliant television series, “The West Wing”, you have a sense of the way in which I flew out of my office not fifteen minutes earlier.  Rapid-fire dialogue with colleagues as I delegated responsibilities, confirmed priorities, and sorted schedules while tugging on my coat, slinging my supplies over my shoulder and heading for the door.  The energy did not subside as I hit the sidewalk.  With each stride I continued to organize the cluttered desk I had left behind and strategize a way to recover the time I would lose in the studio that afternoon.

I was impatient and completely preoccupied when a young voice interrupted my internal department meeting.

“Hey, Mister!”

I looked up to find a row of middle-school kids, clinging to their schoolyard fence ahead of me.  A blue dodge-ball bounced to a stop against the curb across the street from me.

“Hey, Mister!  Could you please get our ball for us?”

I pointed at the blue ball.

Heads nodded.

I gave a thumbs-up and crossed the street to retrieve the ball.

As I walked towards the schoolyard, ball in hand, a chorus of  “Throw it here!”  “Me! Throw it at me!” and “Over here!  Over here!” grew louder. 

I walked up to the fence, and reached over, handing the ball to the boy who had first called out to me.  “I think it should go to the polite kid who asked for my help”, I said.

The kid took the ball, thanked me, and then immediately turned to his buddies and said, “See!  Manners do matter!”

I walked on.  …at a more moderate pace.  In his eagerness to recover a dodge-ball, a kid remembered his manners.  In my frenetic dash out of the office, had I remembered mine?  



I knew Saturday was there, waiting for me, ready to pounce.  It read my Friday blog post, snickered, peered at me from under its bushy eyebrows, and grinned.  That unsettling, bratty, tickle-monster grin.  

Serves me right, I suppose, for lamenting my age and the passage of time.

This past Saturday, my friend of twenty-five years, married the woman who paints his face with a ridiculously contented grin.  A woman whose two beautiful toddling grandchildren call my friend, my school-daze chum, my contemporary, “Grandpa”.

Grandpa.  I ask you.

Okay, I knew that my my friend's bride had two bubbly grandchildren.  I had simply not considered how they might refer to my chum.   

I fully expected that if Thor (not his real name, though strangely, it suits him) and I ever raised families of our own, we would be Uncles to one another’s kids.  Y’know, the cool uncles who knew stuff and could get away with kidding and cajoling under smirking parental eyes.  But what am I supposed to do with this?  If my friend is a Grandpa, am I a Great-Uncle?  In which case, am I to let my eyebrows grow bushy and start carrying hard butterscotch candies in my pocket?

I shake my first at thee, Saturday.


that guy

I don’t want to be That Guy.  You know who I mean.  You’ve seen him around.  Deep-v t-shirts exposing chest-hair stubble.  Butt-ugly dark denim jeans with what appears to be white blanket-stitching on the back pockets.   Trucker caps spun too far to one side, appearing more idiotic than ironic.  Convinced that his style camouflages his age.  The human budgie, captivated by his own reflection, unaware he is staring into a carnival funhouse mirror.

But I also don’t want to be That Other Guy.  That Guy’s brother.  You’ve undoubtedly seem him around too.  Khakis.  Small-check or plaid collared shirt.  Sensible shoes.  Subtle fear of appearing too old and too young at the same time.  The Goldilocks of the GQ set.  He who craves ‘just right’.    

I don’t want to be That Guy or That Other Guy.  But here I am.  Wearing a golf-shirt, hoodie, khaki cargos, and Keens.  Next stop: trucker caps and bad ass jeans.

Okay, I admit it.  I turn 45 in six months.  And the very thought of turning 45 makes me feel as though I’m wearing a wool sweater…sickly warm and itchy. 

Its not that I have any regret or reservations about where I am in my life or the things I have accomplished or the things to which I have committed.  I like me.  We get along well.  It’s simply a matter of chronological dissonance.  

I am standing smack-dab between my experience as an undergrad living on student loans and my imaginings of life as a retired gent living on a fixed income.  And I don’t like it much.  It boggles my mind.  Or maybe that’s just the panic attack dizziness.  Either way, I’m not processing it well.

And so, in true extroverted introvert fashion, I will process my musings, meanderings and mental whatnots in the quiet of my interior world before posting them to this brand-spanking new blog for the world at large.  (I feel dizzy again.)

I have a loyal clutch of friends who have been encouraging me to write and publish for quite some time now.  And I have been resistant.  You see, I’m not interested in a vanity project.  I have no desire to document my culinary progression through a cook book.  I do not have a pet whose fascination with cardboard boxes requires daily photo-documentation. And I have no interest in cataloguing strangers’ street-wear style. 

Simply put, I turn 45 in six months and I don’t have a thing to wear.