Sometimes, You Just Have to Take a Step Back and Breathe

A lot has happened since I last wrote here. By no means was it intentional, but when I published my last piece back in June, my interest in finishing the half-written posts I had waiting to the side sort of just dropped off all of a sudden. I wasn’t enjoying it.

Writing is something I’ve always done for different reasons at different times. When I was in college I wrote because I had to. After college, I wrote to make money, but the longer I’ve gone and considered myself a writer, I’ve found myself writing for the art of it all. The experience. This blog has served as a field on which to do that, where I can tackle any topic, air any issue, and make any list that I want—because I enjoy it.

But back around the time I quit writing here, I wasn’t enjoying this anymore, or much of anything else, to be honest.

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The Work Does Not Define Us

Let’s talk about work. I don’t mean “work” the verb, but “work” the general noun, work the job, work the thing you do day in and day out, love it or hate it—that work. Because work, your career, the job you’re doing, is all too often the central part of who you are, who we are, a badge we wear to tell the world, “Here is my worth to not only myself, but to you and society as well.” We introduce ourselves as “Hank the chef,” or “Susan the optometrist,” never “Hank the occasional garden grower,” or “Susan the comic book collector,” because our work is so important to how we live, where we live, what we drive, the time we have, the places we go and the things we own, that it seems all the more important to us—even if it isn’t. (more…)

Something Needs to Change

Surprise is a funny thing. Be it a monster or a party, surprise is a moment in which something that doesn’t normally happen, happens, and everything we’ve come to expect from an established set of normal dissipates for a moment to reveal something…different. Surprise isn’t inherently good or bad. It’s a reaction to what we know, what we’ve been taught to know, and anything that surprises us typically falls outside the set points we’ve been given.

A couple of days ago, a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida killed 17 people, and as horrible a sentence as that is type, it isn’t in the least surprising, the reason being, school shootings, church shootings, concert, nightclub, movie theater shootings are not outside of the set points we’ve been given any longer. They aren’t outliers. They aren’t uncommon. (more…)

I Never Talked About Why We Went Vegetarian

I realized when I posted the “old man rails against fast food chains” post the other day, I neglected to ever explain or even mention the fact that Abbie and I had become vegetarian or, and perhaps more importantly, the reason why. Usually I slip random tidbits like that into whatever it is I’m talking about, but, for some reason, I guess I assumed I’d gone and done that already–oh well. (more…)

A Burger on Every Corner

I guess it was sometime during college, maybe senior year of high school at the latest, that we got our first Cook Out. If you aren’t entirely aware of what the majority of the words in that sentence even mean:

Cook Out is a fast food chain that seems to try and aim to fill the gap we apparently have in our diets for good, old-school 60s style burgers, hotdogs, and shakes. To the best of my knowledge, the chain exists entirely in the Southeast portion of the United States, similar to how In-N-Out Burger is a West Coast thing. It’s one of these burger chains, like In-N-Out, like Steak n Shake, like Sonic, and so many others that, successful or not, were built and exist to serve a post-war nostalgia we developed as we got further from the mid 20th century for simple, wholesome, no-frills food. (more…)

My Resolutions (of 2017): How Did I Do?

If ever there was a word to describe 2017, it would be introspective.

You’re right, you’re right, I know. 2017 could be described in other ways too that perhaps may sum it up better, but this year has been so full of conflict, so full of bombshells that I believe a lot of us were encouraged to think: of what we thought, how we felt, where we stood on this issue, on that man; it isn’t uncommon. Come the end of a year, we like to look back and assess what happened in our lives and the lives of those around us. We give every year a grade, wrap it up, label it as “Good Year” or “Bad Year” and set it aside as we bear down to record the year to come. But it’s too easy to make check marks and pretend that bad things make a bad year, always, or vice versa, that a year is simply a score given to be improved upon next time. And I could do that.

I could look back and say, “Because of my resolutions and what I did and didn’t do, I came out a success or a failure,” but that isn’t true. Every year sees improvement, every year sees growth—we come a long way over the course of 12 months and that’s an important thing to remember.

All of that being said, here is a report card of sorts pertaining to the five resolutions I laid out last year. Let’s go. (more…)

Our Children Are Losing Their Way and Disney is to Blame

There’s this sense we begin to take on as we get older that the generation behind us, the one following our trail and the subsequent ones following directly behind them, are for some reason inadequate. Years and years ago we believe, centuries and so on, the greatest people, the pinnacle point of humanity, lived out their days and birthed a generation that would slowly take the charge in our descent toward becoming an amorphous blob of idiocy. But we aren’t the only ones who believe that. (more…)