Special Note: I use lots of pictures, videos, animations, flipbooks, and other cool layouts and features which can be best appreciated by reading this post on my blog. Mobile View will not give you the very best experience.
Since I have already done a ‘Likes’ version of Me A to Z, I thought it would be fun to do a ‘Dislikes’ version. This is Part II. Read Part I Here. One of my regular readers commented on Part I “That’s a lot of resentments.” I politely disagreed, saying I just felt passionate about some topics in life. However, I decided that Part II would be a little more lighthearted; there may have been a kernel of truth to what he suggested. And I certainly don’t like the idea of having resentments.
I have done list posts before about me. The first one that comes to mind is a post titled 40 Impressions of Me. Quite a while ago I also wrote A Few Things About Me. So, if you are crazy-excited about learning more about your humble writer, hurry up over to those posts. Writing Me A to Z really made me think about who I am and what I truly dislike about living my life in this crazy world. So, without further ado, here is Part II of my list N-Z.
N-achos. As in soggy ones. You gotta eat those bastards quickly; otherwise, they became nasty soggy and I do not like soggy nachos. As a matter of fact, I think I will use Soggy as my S word in this list. I mean, what good are soggy nachos? You can’t scoop up ANYTHING with them! So, eat your nachos quickly, but not so quick that you end up choking and someone has to perform a heimlich maneuver to save your ass. That would be quite the story around the Thanksgiving table next year.
O-piods. Not because they are highly addictive. But because of the constipation that they cause. I was prescribed Vicodin after the major back surgery I had in ’97. Yeah, that was caused by the following events: I got drunk at a chinese restaurant. I left said restaurant without paying. I was chased by the police. I jumped a fence behind Dunkin’ Donuts. The ground behind the fence was way far away. I fractured my spine. I spent the night in jail. Opioids cause incredibly painful constipation if you abuse them, or if you don’t drink lots of fluids. I know that now.
P-eeing. That’s right, peeing has started becoming a pain in the ass (huh, another p-word concept). Now that I am rounding the corner to 57, peeing has become an interesting event. Sometimes I can’t pee, even though I have to pee. Sometimes it doesn’t go where it is intended (think morning here guys). Sometimes it goes-stops-goes some more. Unpredictable peeing is a pain in the ass.
Q-uarantine. As in the people who refuse to quarantine themselves while we are dealing with a pandemic! It annoys me that this country doesn’t just go into quarantine and be done with this mess, once and for all. Are we just stupid, ignorant, or just don’t care about anyone but ourselves? I know, speak for yourself (but yours truly has pretty much stayed in his house, shops online and uys groceries via Walmart pick-up, and wears a mask if he has to go out, so shut yer blower!) But hey, that’s not the American Way! Just like when 9-11 happened: we were all gungho about waving flags, anti-terrorism, and all that for about 5 seconds. Then we do what Americans do, we went back to binge-watching The Office.
R-esponsibility. Being responsible is a royal pain in the ass! I mean, when I was drinking, all I had to do was sell more cars and ignore paying anyone but the guy at the liquor store and a dealer once in awhile. Sure, I paid my car payment to get to work. But that was mostly it when I was in my last years of embracing alcoholism as much as humanly possible. But now, I have all these RESPONSIBILITIES. Yuck.
S-ogginess. My hate affair with sogginess, I believe, can be traced back to the chicken pot pies we were forced to eat as children. Remember those? I know, they still make them. Talk about scalding hot! The outside crust was fine, but boy did I hate the soggy innards of those things. Come to think of it, I cannot stand soggy bread period. If I make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I put peanut butter on BOTH sides, so the jelly won’t seep through the bread and make it soggy. Meatball sub leaking through the bottom, gross! Italian sub with dressing, NO THANKS. However, I do like dipping bread in olive oil, but it’s not the same as some disgusting sub or sandwich that is leaking sauce or dressing. Which is why I NEVER order subs to go or for delivery. I also feel anything soggy, it is deeply troubling.
T-oenails. I have always hated dealing with my toenails. Even when I wasn’t overweight like I am now. They are difficult to get at! Besides that, I have a few of them that are ingrown. Thus, they are painful as all hell! I went to one of those foot spa places. You know the kind. I thought I would get a professional pedicure (don’t laugh guys, they are actually PHENOMENAL, that is if the wonderful ladies there are not all laughing at you and pointing to your feet.) I’ll never walk into one of those again.
U-ndertaker . Somebody has to do it, right? I don’t like the idea of an undertaker. It would mean I’m dead, and that would suck big-time. An undertaker takes your body and puts it under, right? Hmmm, not if you’re going to get cremated! Like I plan on being. Not going to spend eternity lying in the fucking ground, slowly decaying. Nay, really slowly decaying because of all the chemicals they put in me so I WON’T decay so fast. Uh Uh. I’m going into the oven to go back to whence I came: ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The Undertaker may be hauling my ass to the Funeral Home, but then he’s gotta roll me on into the furnace. No dirt naps for me, thank you very much.
V-alentines Day. I’m not even going there.
W-eebles. Why the hell would Weebles wobble, but not fall down? I mean, come on. I just don’t understand who made this stupid toy. Get me in a room with him or her! I want to know…no, I DEMAND to know who came up with this and why! When I was a kid I didn’t want things to wobble and not fall down! I wanted them to crash and burn like Evil Knievel’s Motorcycle toy. Anyone remember that? You put this strip within the cycle, pulled it and it would send the cycle off like a bat out of hell. Weebles wobbling, but not falling down…pffsssh.
X-ylophone. Not too many words that are relatable in the X family. But the xylophone. The xylophone, other than the fact that I can’t type the damn word fast, is a stupid toy for little children (and for parents). First of all, it does not make any truly worthwhile musical contribution as far as I can tell. It does create redundant sounds by little boys and girls that make you want to ring it into the backyard, douse it in lighter fluid and watch it burn though! Also, looking up the definition, there are supposed to be TWO wooden mallets to make it worthwhile; why do most that I have seen only come with one??!! Fuck the xylophone.
Y-ankees. Part of why I am partially brain-dead is because, although I grew up in New Hampshire, my father didn’t root for the Red Sox–like every other kid’s father in the neighborhood. Oh no, he was a RABID Yankees fan! What act of the Gods would strike me with this oppression? All my life I’ve had to endure his toxic fanship of the Yankees. And you can bet your ass he was toxic about it. Just like everything else about him. But I digress. Yankee fans are a different breed from the rest of the baseball fans out there. I especially hate it when they continue to revel in the 26 championships they have won in their illustrious history. I will forever ADORE and REVERE the year we came back down 0-4, and wiped that Yankee smirk of those Yankee fan’s faces. Good enough for me!
Z-oos. While it is certainly cool to see a variety of animals you would otherwise only see in pictures and videos, I do not condone the harboring of nature within cages. But caging up wild animals for the sake of human enjoyment does not appeal to me whatsoever. I think zoos should be refuges for hurt or injured animals, but only as a means for nursing them back to health and releasing them.
Special Note: I use lots of pictures, videos, animations, flipbooks, and other cool layouts and features which can be best appreciated by reading this post on my blog. Mobile View will not give you the very best experience.
Since I have already done a ‘Likes’ version of Me A to Z, I thought it would be fun to do a ‘Dislikes’ version. Be forewarned: I won’t be pulling any punches here, and I probably will sound very opinionated about more than a few on this list.
I have done list posts before about me. The first one that comes to mind is a post titled 40 Impressions of Me. Quite a while ago I also wrote A Few Things About Me. So, if you are crazy-excited about learning more about your humble writer, hurry up over to those posts. Writing Me A to Z really made me think about who I am and what I truly dislike about living my life in this crazy world. So, without further ado, here is Part I of my list.
A- Assholes. We all know one. Some of us know many. The tyrant boss. The jealous co-worker. The folks who cut us off on the roads. The folks who cut us in line. The folks who breed fear in society. The bigots, the zealots, the corporations who suck Americans dry and who continue to find ways to bleed the Middle Class Dry. On and on and on and on. Here’s a great Psychology Today article on Assholes.
B- Bullies. When it comes to bullies, I’m mainly talking about school-aged children. I was bullied throughout my school years. It is inexplicable to me why I was targeted. But I was. Books ripped out my hands. Thrown into lockers. Jeered at and provoked. In Junior High, I often skipped the bus because of the threats made to me by bullies. I blame the parents. Nobody else to blame but the parents. Bullying is bred from the family out, not the other way around. My wife and I recently watched a Netflix series on bullying. It brought back fierce feelings of anger and resentment in me. School administrators and teachers are the second to be blamed. I mean, how ignorant can you be to allow any child to be be bullied to the point that they commit suicide? It’s pathetic, disgusting, and inexcusable. While they are at home, parents have an obligation to keep their children safe and mentally healthy; getting them help if they can’t do the job themselves. While they are in school, school officials have the obligation to protect children. It’s a blight on society that needs to be seriously addressed, in every county, nationwide.
C- Child Molesters/Abusers. Look at the statistics to the left. Relatives of these poor children need to PAY THE FUCK ATTENTION to their children, and who they are hanging out with. 34% are molested by FAMILY MEMBERS!! I do not believe in the Death Penalty. Even if I did, that would be too good for these disgusting predators. Most folks are not aware that inmates live a better quality of life on Death Row than they do in General Population. That’s right: It’s quieter, better food, etc. Google it if you don’t believe me. I think they should be put in the oldest prison in the country, and locked up 23 hours a day. No mail. No books. No visitors. One shower per week. Bread and water, until they are dead. I was molested by a close family member. When his mother passes away, I fully intend on announcing his foul deeds to everyone inside the church on that day. He stole my youth. He stole my soul. I will never be whole again. National Sexual Abuse Hotline 800.656.HOPE (4673) . Visit STOP IT NOW, all the resources you need are there. SPEAK UP, SPEAK OUT! We all have a responsibility to keep children safe from harm and from predators.
D- Deadbeat Dads. These guys give the rest of us fathers a bad name. They propagate a myth. They contribute to higher crime statistics, both for themselves and their offspring who grow up without them. They make it difficult for good fathers, fighting for their rights to equal parenting. They have largely contributed to the idea that, if you are a divorced father, somehow you have issues and are not good for your own children. I have constantly had to remind teachers, colleagues, the courts, that I divorced my wife not my children. Dead beat dads are those fathers that do not care for their children, emotionally or financially. They are often caught up in drugs and crime. They are those men who have gotten women pregnant that they had no intention of being a Dad to. They have contributed to prejudice towards divorced and separated fathers in this country. There were times I became unemployed. Times I fell behind in Child Support because that. I rarely moved the Court to lower my Child Support. I always managed to catch up. I left my children to the primary care of their mother, because the parental alienation had changed them dramatically. And I was no longer willing to contribute to their emotional deterioration. That’s not being a deadbeat Dad; that’s being a sensible father and man.
E- Ex-Wife. I haven’t given my energy over to my ex-wife for many years. That being said, I dislike her for many reasons. She was the poster child for parental alienation. She is the number one reason why my children haven’t spoken to me in over 10 years. She disgusts me in that way. When we had a rigid visitation schedule, she would often miss visitation if the children got injured, if she didn’t feel like dropping them off. She never once dropped them off for Thanksgiving; even though the deal was she could have them for Christmas. And, finally, she lied about being pregnant within the first three months of our meeting. In February of 1991, I took her to Santarpio’s Pizza in East Boston and told her I was joining the service. Suddenly, she said she had big news, she was pregnant! It propelled me to marry her in August of 1991 (but my close friend Jack noted it odd that, for being nearly 7 months showing, she didn’t look any different then when we hung out in December of 1991). I was deployed alone to Augsburg, Germany in September of 1991. Weeks later she called me hysterical–or so I thought–that she had miscarried. However, when pressed on it many years later, she could not supply where the baby was miscarried, where it was buried, or any documents supporting her disgusting claim. Enough said.
F- Family Court. Quite frankly the Family Court system is corrupt. Not only in my home state of Massachusetts, but across this country. Fathers are routinely treated merely as cash registers. 209a’s (Restraining Orders) are handed down without due process. Child Support Guidelines are punitive and harsh. Yes, it does happen to women, but largely infrequently. Family court seems to be under the impression that it’s in the best interest of children to remain with the mother. How they continually come to this conclusion, many times discriminating against fathers, is unfathomable. Last I checked, a child is created by both. Mother doesn’t show up for visitation? No problem. Father behind $100 in Child Support? Arrest him. This is not sour grapes here folks. This is the reality in this country. Fall behind in the thousands? They can suspend your license, freeze your bank accounts, send you to jail. I calculated, conservatively, the amount of Child Support I paid over 15 years. It ended up being over $350,000.
G-Gun Laws. According to Wikipedia, ” In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Supreme Court affirmed for the first time that the right belongs to individuals, for self-defense in the home, while also including, as dicta, that the right is not unlimited and does not preclude the existence of certain long-standing prohibitions such as those forbidding “the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill” or restrictions on “the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons”. Allowing individuals to stockpile assault weapons, grenades, incendiary devices, and an unlimited weapon cache of varying depths and variety is insanity. The Second Amendment, ratified in 1791, is archaic and needs to be overhauled. I mean, does “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” have any place in 2020? It needs to be overhauled. Period. BUt, as long as the NRA and other powerful lobbyists continue to pour money into campaigns, it’s never going to change. Limits on type, limits on amount, and a ban on assault rifles at the very least.
H- Hair. As in, as I turn 57 in a few months, hair has become enemy number one. It’s like a switch was turned turned on when I turned 55; a switch that told my body “Produce more hair, immediately!” I battle the hair in my nose. I pluck hair out of my ears. My eyebrows have gone from normal to caterpillars every other day. I constantly pluck hair out of my ears. My beard goes from trim to Paul Bunyan in a matter of days. Ugh! It’s a royal pain in the ass. And then there’s those folks who seem to be ignorant of the fact that disgusting hair is protruding from their ears and nose. Gangly, unsightly hairs that nearly want me to scream to these folks “OMG! Can you PLEASE trim that shit?”
I-Ignorance. They say that “Ignorance is bliss.” Not to the person on the receiving end of it! And nowhere is ignorance more prevalent than on Social Media. It’s everywhere! Folks making ignorant statements. Folks showing their ignorance when they puke their unfounded opinions and insights. Then there is the kind of ignorance that comes from a lack of education and mental incapacity. Nowhere have I experienced its prevalence, than right here in Missouri. Wow! All I can say is, I can’t wait to move my family back to New England; my little girl has to have better surroundings than this.
J- Jail. Jail is not prison, but it sucks anyway. Forget the fact that you are no longer free. It’s the environment really. EVERYBODY uses the word “Nigger” like nobody’s business. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that this word is so commonplace, you’d wonder how it is that so many different races are able to use it in so many ways without repercussions. And the food…ugh, the nasty, disgusting food. I traded my breakfast for laundry service. Nine times out of ten I traded my lunch for bread and packets of peanut butter and jelly. When I had canteen money, I bought plenty of that combination. The pizza was palatable. You could choke down the hot dogs and chili. Other than that, the food could have been used to spackle a house, pave a driveway, bondo a car. The boredom is the reason why I took the nasty job working the kitchen. Not only did it alleviate the boredom, I earned 10 days of good time per month while working. I read 76 books from May 13-Oct 17 in jail. Lastly, the noise in jail is deafening. Except for the times you are on lockdown. Constant meaningless banter, yelling, swearing, and jive-talking is the rule. Don’t go to jail.
K- Killers. Anyone who unreasonably violates the sanctity of life, by taking a life. This includes the reprehensible hunters who kill endangered species, dogs because of dog fighting, and killing animals for sport. I recall one of my favorite short stories, “The Most Dangerous Game.” Also published as “The Hounds of Zaroff”, it’s a short story by Richard Connell, first published in Collier’s on January 19, 1924. The story features a big-game hunter from New York City who falls off a yacht and swims to what seems to be an abandoned and isolated island in the Caribbean. I won’t give the story away, download the PDF securely! The story is inspired by the big-game hunting safaris in Africa and South America that were particularly fashionable among wealthy Americans in the 1920s. Of course, killers also includes those who purposely take another human life. Especially Serial Killers. In my view, they cannot be rehabilitated and need to suffer while incarcerated. Death Row is too kind. First thing that comes to mind is breaking rocks all day, until they die. Bread and water. No correspondence. No books. No visitors.
L- Liver & Onions. Especially fried liver. When I was growing up we were subjected to liver more than a few times. In my house, you sat at the kitchen table-usually alone–until your food was gone. This included fried liver, the most foul smelling food I have ever had the displeasure of smelling. It got to the point that, upon smelling it in the house, I would begin to cry because I knew I was in for a long night. I tried to budget the milk. I tried to feed it to the cat. I tried to pocket it. It didn’t matter, I was usually the last one to be able to go to bed at about 10 or 11 at night. It indeed was a form of child abuse. Disgusting. Fortunately, I have never actually smelled it anywhere else for over 40 years. And I’ll die happy if I never have to smell it again.
M- Mediocrity. I can barely remember a time that I did anything mediocre. From a very early age, I was a perfectionist. I took pride in every little thing I did. Once I was free from the tyranny of my childhood, I tried to do everything as well as I could. Irregardless of my addictions and mental health issues, I accomplished many things by being meticulous and thorough. Whenever I had to do some major project, in life or in work, it was usually anything but mediocre. And it’s been particularly true since I left jail in October of 2016: each time I have had to advocate for myself, compile documents for my VA Disability or Social Security Office, research my Federal Tort Claim, I have always done it well. I don’t have much respect for folks who go about life in a mediocre fashion. Doesn’t have to be perfect, just taking pride in oneself and appearance is something that earns my respect.
This post was inspired by another blogger’s post. But, I can’t for the life of me remember who! That is one of the reasons I enjoy blogging as much as I do. I become inspired by what others write. View Part I here.
I have done list posts before about me. The first one that comes to mind is a post titled 40 Impressions of Me. Quite a while ago I also wrote A Few Things About Me. And, COMING SOON: Me A to Z ‘Dislikes Edition’, you definitely don’t want to miss that. I’m not pulling any punches with that installments.
So, if you are crazy-excited about learning more about your humble writer, hurry up over to those posts. Writing Me A to Z really made me think about who I am and what I truly love about living my life in this crazy world. So, without further ado, here is Part I of my list.
N- Nazareth. The first hard rock album I ever listened to was Hair of the Dog. I think I was only 12. I had just been removed from my abusive home and put into a small group home for boys called Stepping Stone. It was there that I first found acceptance among the long-haired hippies. They played loud music. They enjoyed nature. They taught me how to smoke. I think the first pack was Carltons. They treated me like their kid brother. Dare I say, it was perhaps the first time in my life that I didn’t wake up every morning shell-shocked and petrified. My favorite song was Hair of the Dog, or “Now You’re Messin’ With A Sonofabitch.” Keep in mind, I had never before ever heard music like this; it felt like my soul was set free.
O- Obelisk. First of all, it’s just a cool word. An Obelisk, according to Wikipedia, “is a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape or pyramidion at the top. Originally they were called tekhenu by their builders, the Ancient Egyptians.” I have seen many cool shows about these structures. Here are 4 cool facts I found about Obelisks: 1. Built by the Egyptians and associated with the Egyptian sun god. 2. Was used in the first calculation of the circumference of the earth. 3. True obelisks are made of a single piece of stone. Obelisks were really, really hard to build. 4. The oldest remaining obelisks are as old as recorded human history. Check this fascinating post about Freemasons & obelisks.
P- Poetry. You probably already know it, but I sure do love poetry! Check out the Poetry Foundation website for everything poetry. I wrote my first poems in 1983. I was 19. I did not fully appreciate poetry until I attended college, in beautiful Plymouth N.H. I was an English Education Major, because the most influential adults in my younger years were always English Teachers. As a college student I was introduced to the likes of Frost, Shakespeare, Byron, Keats, Shelley…and the list goes on. I did end up teaching H.S. English one year, and I graduated Magna Cum Laude; something I am proud of. I have a penchant for the Romantics overall. I also enjoy Sylvia Plath, e.e. cummings, and Ogden Nash. In the mid 2000’s, I actually built a wonderful online paid community called World of Poets. I just noticed that @worldofpoets is still online at Twitter. It was going really well until my arrogance got the best of me, and the money ran out. I wish I could have seen it through. Oh well, still got poetry!
Q- Quitter. As a youth, I would start things with vim and vigor and then lose interest. Throughout my life boredom has been the Devil’s workshop; nothing good ever came of it. I have unwisely quit more than a few jobs; however, and this is not an excuse, mental instabilities and alcoholism had a lot to do with that. From the moment I left the Youth Detention Center at age 18, to this day, overall my life has been enduring and fighting. Time and time again, life has beaten me down. Over and over again, my self-sabotage dropped me to my knees, and nearly killed me. When I cried out for help in the bathroom on Weirs Beach, razor blade cuts to my wrists, I made it to college. In ’88, from staring down the barrel of a .357, to enlisting in the Military in ’91. In ’98 from a loaded gun in my hand, to successful Automotive Manager. You get the idea. I’m no quitter. The only thing I quit is alcohol. My resiliency is a tattoo I wear proudly. Perseverance is the scar on my soul. Fortitude a daily mantra. Survival a badge of courage.
R- Rebecca. My wife. My love. My life. I met Rebecca (Bec) via my blog way back in mid-December of 2016. She found my poetry alluring, I found her nature blog exciting and refreshing. We went from sharing likes, to emails, to texting, to videos, to visits, to marriage in 2018, to mother of our child, Stella in March of 2020! She is from Belgium. She is the only person-other than my Aunt Sue-who has loved me unconditionally from the jump. She is a wonderful artist. She is a great photographer! Bec is the only person who knows all of the ugliness I tried to hide from everyone else. Very early on I decided that, in order to find a genuine authentic relationship, I had to get honest and get real. Although I faltered on a few occasions, I am proud that I allowed myself to be truthful and honest with her. She has been in my corner ever since we met. She didn’t know it at the time, but in December of 2017, when I was suddenly and inexplicably fired from my job at the VA in Colorado, her presence in my life saved my life. I was that close once again to that dark passenger, suicide. She is my best friend. She is my best human. She is incredibly strong. She is a fantastic mother. She is beautiful. She is sexy. She was, is, and will always be, the very best person I have ever known.
S- Stella. Oh my beautiful little girl, Stella! Oddly, sometime in 2017, I drew a picture for my wife of our “future” family (no, I am not the artist that my wife is). In that picture, was a girl with an ‘S’ above her head. I did not recall the S until I just recently unpacked the picture to get it framed. How cool is that? We named her Stella–as in Stellar–because we both love the sun, the stars, the moon, etc. My wife gave me the loveliest, most precious gift I could ever have hoped for: my darling little girl. She was born on March 13, 2020, right when the pandemic started taking off. There are not enough words to describe the joy that she is to us. She is a healthy, precocious, happy little girl who brightens every corner of the room. Everything that I am, everything that I do, is to ensure she has a future full of promise. I do get a little sad that I will be 75 when she is just 20; however, I always wanted to give Rebecca a child almost from the beginning. I will make everyday with her count as though it were my last. I just hope she keeps all the books I’ve been collecting in the family, lol.
T- Tom Brady. Tom Brady played 20 years in New England. He took pay cuts some years, to allow the Patriots to add additional teammates for runs at Super Bowls. And what did they do? They failed to allow Brady to retire as a Patriot. That pisses me off. Watch a great video about the arrival of Brady and his cohort, Gronkowski, in Tampa Bay. That’s why I uploaded a picture of him in a Tampa Bay uniform. The hell with New England. Tom Brady is the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time). Period. And how’s it going over in New England? Ha, they have a losing record for the first time…well, in 20 years. The year before Tom Brady became their quarterback. Check out the milestones Brady set with the Patriots, not counting 2019. And the records he holds. And he’s not done yet folks!
U- UFO’s. I have had a fascination with UFO’s since Middle School. I think that folks who believe that we are the only intelligent beings in the universe, are deluding themselves. And the government has not done anything but fan the fire, through their denials and coverups. If you ever get the chance, watch some of the Ancient Aliens videos put out by the History Channel.
V- Veterans. My Grandfather is a Veteran of both World War II, and the Korean War. I am a Veteran of the Persian Gulf War. My oldest son, Nick, is a Veteran of the War in Afghanistan. In the photo is Nick, me, and my Grandfather; the little girl is my mother. I have always had a deep and abiding respect for the military, and the Veterans who served. It still pisses me off that the Veterans of the Vietnam War were disrespected so horribly. It wasn’t their fault that MOST of them were DRAFTED to fight in a war that they did not believe in. Anyway, next time you see a Veteran, try a handshake, or simply “Thank you for your SACRIFICE.” Because to me, military men and women have had to sacrifice a lot in order to serve this country. For me, saying “Thank you for your service” sounds disingenuous. For me.
W- Writing. I believe that I love writing so much because I read so much. As far back as I can remember, I was always reading. My favorite class was English. I graduated college with an English Education degree. See my transcripts here! I loved grinding away on a term paper. Researching subject matter and creating good writing is something I have always been passionate about. I’ve written sales training manuals for the automotive industry. I received an Army Achievement Medal for the manual I created for our Reassignments Division, back in 1992. It is because of my love for writing that I won my Disability Claim with the VA It is because of my writing that I successfully executed–and won–a Federal Tort Claim against the VA in 2019 (yes, I will be sharing that with you in future installments of my In Recovery Series). Writing has gotten me to where I am today. Publishing is next!
X- Adieux. It’s the best I could come up with for the letter x. It is the french word for goodbye. I chose it because I think the french language is beautiful and elegant. And it’s not because I am of french heritage. Interestingly, my family ancestry can be traced far back into France. I’ve been to France, and I have to tell you: if you have never been, you owe it to yourself to visit this incredibly beautiful country. I visited France with my friend Jack, sometime in 1992. My wife and I visited France in December of 2019. Visiting the burnt Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum, and the Eiffel Tower with her was really wonderful.
Y- Yin/Yang. I like the concept of duality. The Tao Te Ching encapsulates this perfectly. You can read the entire Tao Te Ching at the end of this post! It’s also free to download. Read it if you want to truly expand your mind! It’s about not being able to have the one without the other. The concept of yin and yang speaks to me of balance in the universe. Think about it, the most important aspects of life have duality: cold/hot, dark/light, good/evil, love/hate, death/birth, order/chaos, etc. Even nature, that fickle woman, has two aspects of duality: summer/winter and fall/spring. There is a wonderful dance of duality happening within and without us. How many different aspects of yin and yang can you think of?
Z- Zygote. I would like to celebrate the zygote i.e., the fertilized egg cell. Encyclopedia Britannica has this eloquent explanation: “Zygote, fertilized egg cell that results from the union of a female gamete (egg, or ovum) with a male gamete (sperm). In the embryonic development of humans and other animals, the zygote stage is brief and is followed by cleavage, when the single cell becomes subdivided into smaller cells.” If you’d like to learn more, and I will tell you it was quite fascinating to read, visit Wikipedia. Just think, every single human being on this earth was once just a zygote! Felicitations to all my brothers and sisters of Zygote! Ok, enough said.
This post was inspired by another blogger’s post. But, I can’t for the life of me remember who! That is one of the reasons I enjoy blogging as much as I do. I become inspired by what others write.
I have done list posts before about me. The first one that comes to mind is a post titled 40 Impressions of Me. Quite a while ago I also wrote A Few Things About Me. So, if you are crazy-excited about learning more about your humble writer, hurry up over to those posts. Writing Me A to Z really made me think about who I am and what I truly love about living my life in this crazy world. So, without further ado, here is Part I of my list.
A– Apples. I love the crunchiness of apples. Especially in the fall. Sometimes for dinner we will eat just apples with cheese and crackers. Oh, and apples and peanut butter is quite delicious as well! When I was very young-perhaps no older than 7 or 8-I used to climb the fence into the yard of a very scary old man who had a wonderful apple tree. More often than not, I would just freeze at the top of the fence as he came storming out of his back door to shoo us away.
B– Books. I have always loved books. I started reading at an early age and I have read thousands of books in my life. I actually have a teaching degree in English Education. The picture to the left is just one of my bookcases. I now collect vintage and antique books; particularly the classics and also unique books. One of my favorites is a book written by one of the Pinkertons, of the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency.
C– Cats. That’s my cat, Misty. I’ve always loved felines. When I was growing up my favorite cat was Blue, he was a bluish-grey Persian cat. I loved that cat. Misty is a wonderful cat, but sometimes she can be a pain in the ass; she will meow you to death if she’s been ignored, even for a short time.
D– Doughnuts. Who doesn’t like doughnuts? I do, but not to the degree that I have to eat them regularly. But it’s the best selection for my letter D. Besides, doughnuts are one of the few things that I can’t overindulge in; just too much sugar at one sitting. My favorite is chocolate-coconut, followed by jelly-cream filled ones.
E– Elvis Presley. I confess to having a man-crush for Elvis. The second highest selling artist in the history of music. Behind only The Beatles. In one of the very few shows I got to stay up late to watch, Elvis Aloha From Hawaii, I was completely mesmerized. He had an incredible voice. He was a beautiful man. He was electric. He was iconic. He was cool. There will never be another like him. Check out the last song he ever sang on stage. So sad to see him in that condition, but the song is still powerfully sung. And this song, Glory, Glory Hallelujah. So powerful. So beautiful.
F– Fall. Growing up in New Hampshire, the Fall was always spectacular. Having gone to Plymouth State College, which is farther up North than my hometown of Manchester, the colors were so vibrant. There’s something about the crisp clean air, the smell of a wood-burning stove, the crunching of leaves underfoot.
G– Ghosts. Yepp, I do believe in ghosts. I believe that there are ghosts who refuse to die. I believe that there are ghosts who are trying to get to the other side. I also, for that matter, believe in Guardian Angels. None other than a Guardian Angel could have kept me from killing myself and others as I repeatedly-and foolishly-drove while intoxicated.
H– Hell. I like the concept of hell. I would like to think that hell exists; particularly for child molesters, rapists, and murderers. I don’t care if they repent or not; straight to the pit of Hell with all of them. In college I really enjoyed reading Dante’s inferno. Dante describes the 9 Circles of Hell. I am ok with certain despicable humans spending their eternities in purgatory.
I– Icarus. I really enjoy mythology. The story of Icarus is one such tale. Icarus and his father attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax. Icarus’ father warns him first of complacency and then of hubris (of which I may have fallen victim to a time or two), asking that he fly neither too low nor too high. Well, Icarus flies too close to the sun, and you can surmise the end. Iron Maiden made a great song about this tale, give a listen! As an aside, I really really really like Ice Cream as well!
J– Joker. The Joker originated in the United States during the Civil War, and was created as a trump card for the game of Euchre. I have always liked the Joker card. Of course, who can forget Heath Ledger’s the incredible performance of the Joker, in the movie The Dark Knight? Sadly, Ledger died before the movie was even released. Check out the Mob Scene from The Dark Knight, it’s scary good.
L– Led Zeppelin. My all-time favorite band, ever. Rock N’ Roll Royalty! To me, their music is just as relevant today as it was when their first album came out in 1969. They are 6th all-time in album sales, with 141.5 million albums sold. Only The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Elton John, and Madonna have sold more. One of my favorite songs is Achilles Last Stand from Presence.
M– My mother. My mother was a cruel and abusive woman. I’m sure it was because she lost two children: Gloria at age 3, then John at age 8. I was 1.5 and 11 yrs. respectively. My mother was particularly cruel and abusive after John died. It certainly didn’t help her being married to an angry, selfish alcoholic. She did eventually marry an incredibly loving man, to whom she was married for over 35 years. After all that was done, I loved her. I would visit her off and on over the years; however, we were not that close. She was a tormented woman. She was crippled with guilt. I am grateful that I made my peace with her directly in my 40’s. No, I didn’t “forgive” her; I don’t have that kind of power. I did grab her by the shoulders one day, forced her to look me in the eye, and told her to let go. That it was ok. That I loved her. After defeating two other forms of cancer, she finally succumbed to lung cancer in 2013. I miss her.
When I started this blog in October of 2016, after a 5 month stay in jail, I had no inkling of where my sobriety would take me. Fast forward to My Recovery: 53 months, still clean and sober! See one of my earliest posts about self-condemnation, just 15 days into my treatment at the VA.
From October of 2016, until November of 2017, I learned about recovery through multiple VA treatment programs for Veterans. The principles I learned helped keep me strong, when I finally went back on my own. I even developed an acronym for the 5 pillars of my recovery.
The acronym, S.N.A.G.M., stands for SPIRITUALITY, living in the NOW, ACCEPTANCE, GRATITUDE, and MINDFULNESS. I actually dedicated a blog page about S.N.A.G.M. here!
These 5 principles, along with the lessons I learned in therapy, courses like Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy, have served me well in my recovery journey; I have not relapsed once since I was basically forced into sobriety by jail, on May 12, 2016.