Stolen Memories

stealing candy

One of my early boyhood heroes was Kevin Gaines.

If you haven’t heard of him that’s probably because he was a fourth grader who lived up the street from me.

That was 1973, when I lived in South San Jose and was in the third grade at Blossom Valley Elementary. Kevin went to Blossom Valley too, but I didn’t see him there much because the fourth graders were way on the other side of the school – and since the building was one of those giant round flying saucer shaped things you used to see back then, with all the classes in the same massive structure, the other side of the building was actually pretty far away.

Luckily he only lived four houses down from me. Continue reading →


Fire and Brimstone


I have a problem with Christianity.

It’s not a huge problem, you know, like a life altering one. But it’s not a small problem either – not really one I’m gonna get over.

My problem with Christianity is this: It’s coercive.

The reason I’m not going to be able to get over my problem is that coercion – being pressured into doing what someone else wants you to do – is something I’ve never really been tolerant of.

Which is an irony because Christianity is, for the most part, intolerant of non-believers like me.

So apparently I’m intolerant of intolerance.

If I don’t live my life the way Christianity says I’m supposed to then, according its edicts, I go to hell. I don’t pass go, I don’t collect $200 – I just go straight to Hell.

And why’s that scary enough to coerce me into acquiescing? Well I guess because Hell is an eternity spent in fire and brimstone. Though I can’t really comprehend an eternity spent in fire – actually I can’t really comprehend “an eternity” period, fire or no fire.

And “brimstone”? What is brimstone, please? It doesn’t sound all that scary – in fact it sounds like, well, a village in England – you know, one with cobblestone streets and a little ice cream shop in the square. And maybe a pub or two where you can hoist a pint of beer.

Which is good, because a cold beer’s gonna come in pretty handy during my eternity in Hell.


Gone, Home


Are you home?

If so, is it a place? I mean is it a location – one you can find on a map? I used to think so – which is what we learn as we grow up. The word “home” is pretty much synonymous with “house” when we’re kids. The two terms bring the same images to mind. When we think “home” we see our room, and our bike in the garage, and the roses mom planted out front we walk by every day and, well, you get the picture. Continue reading →

Wait, Can I Change my Answer?


(This excerpt from Chapter 9 of my new book is a conversation my girl and I had around Valentine’s Day last year)

On Valentine’s Day we had planned to meet – but Loretta called me the day before. I could tell by the tone of her voice we were about to have a serious conversation. She asked me “Do you see us getting into a relationship?” To which I brilliantly answered “Nope”. She then asked “Do you ever see us being in a relationship?” I again answered “No”.

Man do I have a way with words.

(Luckily there’s a lot more chapters…)


Cycles of Attraction


I taught myself how to ride a bike – at least that’s how I remember it.

I think it was the summer of 1968, when I was about four years old. Dad was in the Army and stationed at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia. We lived on post in a home that faced a large rolling green. Between that green and our house was a sidewalk that led out to the street in one direction and further into post housing in the other.

The first mode of transportation I recall using to traverse the long sidewalk was a little red fire engine. You remember the one – it had pedals on the inside of it and a bell on the hood that you’d ring with a pull of the string.

Those were safe and comfortable times inside my steel fire engine with wheels at all four corners and no real way to tip over. I’d pedal up and down the sidewalk as Mom watched from the front porch. I’d ring the bell and she’d smile – and all was right with the world. Continue reading →