Monday, August 7, 2017

I Deliver

For 30 years, I delivered. Like clockwork. Like Karl Malone. Then I was asked to stop.

I was reliable. Like a Maytag appliance.Then I was discontinued.

I was loyal. Like an old dog. Then...you get the picture.

Results don't grow on trees, but apparently people do, so I was replaced. Tough luck, but not the end of the world either. At least not yet.

So now I still deliver. Like clockwork. Like Karl Malone. That's right...I'm a mailman. Neither rain, nor snow etc. etc... so I'm also still reliable. Someone determined that I'm actually an old dog, so the loyalty thing is covered too. But I really deliver. I'm not just about the mail, I deliver parcels too. Like Doug Heffernan in King of Queens.

But it's not enough.

When I'm done delivering like Karl Malone and Doug Heffernan, I still deliver. Like Frank Martin in The Transporter. Or Hoke Colburn in Driving Miss Daisy. That's right...I'm an Uber driver too. After I deliver mail to people, I deliver people to places. Airports, bus stations, McDonald's. Check that tree...any people like that growing on there? If so, I can deliver them where they need to go.

Need a pizza? Call Domino's, not me. I don't deliver. At least not yet.


Monday, March 31, 2014

A Man On Fire

A Man On Fire.  That's been my online profile description ever since I created my online presence several years ago.  It was conceived expediently to convey my core essence without divulging any public information about myself.  As I ponder expanding my profile description, I thought I'd examine my current one more closely.

A Man On Fire was adopted to convey the urgency of my passions.  Those include my passion for writing and my passion for living.  When you're on fire, it's urgent.  The flames burn brighter each passing moment, culmination is unknown.  As the fire grows, so does the urgency.  I hope to exit in a fierce, fiery blaze when the fire finishes with me, something like a Phoenix, I guess.

It wasn't always this way.  I think the fire started shortly after my sister-in-law passed away after valiantly battling cancer.  I always thought she'd prevail, but was forced to reexamine the frailty of life and our time to live it.  I realized how many things I had procrastinated about, or avoided altogether as a result of low confidence.  I decided to change that if I could, without knowing quite how.  I didn't realize yet that I had been set on fire.

I inadvertently became a local activist.  I started a career in real estate alongside my occupation.  I started to learn guitar.  Still unaware, the fire continued to grow.

A life-changing business trip to Vail made me aware.  I returned home with new perspective and for the first time, discovered I was on fire.  My instinct told me to stop, drop and roll to smother the flames, but I didn't.  Instead, I ran.  And I ran hard.

I resurrected my writing passion, leaped headlong into a unique run for local political office, and focused on building more meaningful relationships with everyone I knew.  More family and friends met their end along the way which galvanized my resolve to live life on purpose.  Be positive.  Encourage others.  Make a worthwhile daily difference.  Be more compassionate.  Write. Connect.  Share.  The fire engulfed me.

I turn 50 years old in a few weeks.  Though I'm healthy (except for the raging fire,) I'm aware of the limited time that fire can continue to burn, even if I get the reasonable life expectancy.  I'm as motivated as ever to fan the flames.  Every single day is still a challenge to live up to my self-imposed expectations.  I often fail.  I'm not deterred.  As I said, as long as I go out in a blaze, I've succeeded.

So, despite still being A Man On Fire, I'm likely to revamp my profile description a bit to include some literal explanation of my passions.  My ultimate hope is that as my last spark flickers, it ignites someone else. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Dinosaur Age

Online, appearances can be deceiving.  For example, I'm not new.  In fact, I'm old.  Older than younger.  More than halfway to dead.  Someone recently referred to me as a Renaissance Man.  The Renaissance happened ages ago so I think they were really just cleverly calling me an Old Man.

I should've seen it coming years ago when technologies overlapped and I was in line to purchase some last vinyl records at the record store, when the kid behind me in line asked, "What are those?" I replied, "Records." To which he said in all seriousness, "So...what...you listen to them once and then throw them away?"

One thing I'm certainly not is new.  I'm pre-PC. I'm pre-digital.  I'm pre-cable TV.  I'm Mr. Analog.  I grew up listening to transistor AM radio, watching 3 channels of black & white TV, talking on a rotary phone tethered to the kitchen wall, and playing vinyl records.  45's, 78's, and 33 1/3's.  I'm far from new.  I am a dinosaur.  But don't expect my extinction anytime soon.  I have adapted.  And I have a context that new people don't.  Dinosaurs once ruled the world.  Perhaps they might again.

I seamlessly listen to mp3's on my iPod, or to cassettes, CD's, and even vinyl LP's.  I play the original Coleco Vision, Atari, and Nintendo game systems I grew up with but can hold my own in any computer generated medieval bloodfest.  I type on a manual Royal typewriter.  That means ribbons, white out that isn't a liquid, and a return that is an actual handle.

While a relative newcomer to social media, I'm battle-hardened from my experiences in various forums, but even more so by in-the-trenches interaction of actual human contact.  All of which pre-date social media like FB or Twitter.  It's somewhat amusing to me to be "advised" or even outright threatened on these new virtual outlets.  It astounds me what people will do or say electronically that they wouldn't dare dream of in-person.  That is not a recipe for survival.  I wonder how long until the evolutionary cycle of social media relegates it to the rotary phone scrap heap and where all the self-important experts with no context will wind up?  At the lightning speed technology advances, the answer may turn up before the end of this post!

No, I'll never quite be new again.  I'm weathered.  I'm seasoned.  I've been through the fire.  Heck, apparently I've been through the Renaissance!  Yes, I am in fact, a dinosaur.  Once a flesh-eating T-Rex, but now just a lumbering, plant-eating Brontosauras.  But have you ever seen the swath a Bronto cuts?  Old just might become the new new.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

WWLFD

WWLFD.

What Would Lou Ferrigno Do?  He'd give it 110%.

For anyone who watched him as a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice, you understand that when Lou gives it his all it equals 110%, not 100% like the rest of us.

Seriously, I'm a big fan of Lou.  He triumphed over his hearing impairment.  I've admired his achievements throughout his career as a bodybuilder and "actor." I mean, he is The Hulk so that's not acting, right?  He's also got a great ability to laugh at himself (and I hope this, because I don't want to make him angry!)

Anyway, I've recently adopted WWLFD as my new instant motivation tool when I feel like slacking off.  It originated accidentally and humorously while I was trying to provide some inspiring words for my brother.  Afterwards, I recognized it had value in it's simplicity. So now I get myself re-focused and amuse myself at the same time!

So the next time the going gets tough and you feel like getting lazy...WWLFD.  Lou and I expect nothing short of 110%.

Monday, September 30, 2013

October Swim

Did someone say the summer is over?  Not at the OC Fortress, where summer is measured not by Memorial Day to Labor Day, but by when the pool opens and closes.  Guess what?  The pool is still open!

That's right...the pool which opened in April is still in operation and awaiting the annual rite of October Swim. No, it isn't heated - should it be?  Anyway, it's pretty self-explanatory, but it involves someone of questionable sound mind (okay, always me) taking a frigid, uh...I mean final, dip of the season for no obvious reason other than I'm late closing the pool again.  I'm always late on that score - pining for just a few more days of summer, usually settling for some approximation of Indian Summer instead.  But swimming while leaves slowly float through the air is somewhat enchanting - assuming of course, I'm able to remain conscious to witness it.

Exactly how the tradition began is a little hazy, no doubt the result of unnecessary exposure to icy cold water.  I don't believe any records are in jeopardy though this year.  October 1st is early for an October Swim and the outside temperature is projected in the mid-70's.  That's a veritable heat wave equivalent for this time in the Northeast.  Pool weather temperature is another thing entirely - today it registered a balmy 56 degrees!  I've had warmer ocean swims than that.  I can hardly wait.

Preparation is ongoing as early Fall leaves are being skimmed daily and I've received medical clearance (physically, not mentally.)  Ready the pool cover at your leisure; last year it didn't go on until the first flakes of snow from a forecast Nor'easter actually began falling.  So wish me good luck, or survival anyway, because last year I thought I induced a heart-attack or embarked on an ill-conceived cryogenics experiment.  Everybody in the pool!  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Serenity Now

Meditation is a simple, fast way to reduce stress.  If there was ever someone who needed stress reduction, it's me.  I was a bit reluctant to attend the Adult Ed workshop on my own, but the course description sounded appealing so I decided to give it a try.  If nothing else, it was an opportunity to escape other demands for 2 hours per week.

I expected something mystical but it really just boiled down to various breathing techniques.  It was a little awkward at first sitting around in half-darkness with a few strange women practicing breathing while listening to soft, new age music, but it turned out to actually be very relaxing.  The basic stuff was pretty easy to master, though the real benefit for me was lending structure to some things I was already doing on my own to relieve stress.  I wound up sleeping more soundly too on the nights I had class, and awakened feeling more refreshed.

If you've never tried Meditation before, I'd highly recommend giving it a try.  It's easy, takes as little or as much time as you're willing to devote, can essentially be done anywhere, and yields surprising results.

Here's a useful link on meditation benefits - Click here

I'm looking forward to my next experiment - Reiki.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Empty Nest

The jelly is out of the doughnut. What? The bird has left the nest. Huh? The children have all grown up and moved out. Oh. 

Funny, I don’t feel that old but the sand in the hour glass never lies. I suppose it’s bittersweet. On the one hand, I loved having the kids around the house. On the other hand, I couldn’t wait for them to grow up and leave. Well, I’ve gotten my wish and it’s not quite what I expected. I’m sadder than I thought I’d be. I’m sure I’ll adjust. The trick is to focus on the benefits. More alone time. More time with my wife. (Hey, where did she disappear to anyway?) Okay, so maybe it’s just more alone time? Seriously, I’m looking forward to going out. We can travel a little. We can tidy up the house and actually wake up to find it just the way we left it. I can take a shower whenever I want. I can walk around wearing just my…never mind. The joys of living in the empty nest!

Of course, I’ll miss not having the kids around. No, really I will. The house feels empty sometimes – a little too quiet. I’m still catching myself wonder where they are before I remember they’re elsewhere. Then I’m sad… until I realize they took their mess (oops, I mean their stuff), their laundry, and their lizard. And then a smile creeps in slowly. If only I could figure a way for them to take the college debt too…hmmm. Hey, didn’t somebody mention doughnuts?