Category Archives: Life

I’m Weird

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I have a secret – my secret is that I’m weird.

My guess is you’re a little weird too.

I’m willing to bet there’s something about you that you don’t want others to know. And the reason you don’t want them to know is because you don’t think they’ll understand.  You’re afraid, at some level, that their lack of understanding will lead them to judge you for your difference. Continue reading

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Renewal

I used to own an old VW Bug.

I bought it a few years ago when I lived out in the valley. I hadn’t owned one for a while – since I was in the service probably – but had begun feeling the itch to own one again. Continue reading

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She Deserved Better

 

I was behind a man and woman when they crashed their motorcycle.

I was coming up the middle of a three lane highway when traffic across all the lanes started slowing drastically ahead of us. Something was clearly wrong. Then I could see what (part of) the problem was: There was, spinning and flopping down the middle lane, the whole tread of a tire. I didn’t think too much of it, as treads come off cars and trucks all the time. What struck me as odd was how severely the traffic ahead of me was reacting to it. I thought as common as this sort of thing is, surely most of the other drivers had seen it happen before.

So why the big slowdown? Continue reading

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What will you build today?

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When my Dad first came to America from Ireland he didn’t yet know how to build a life here.

He was a farm boy from a poor family in Ireland who saw America as the promise land, based on the stories he’d heard about how good life here was from the US Army Soldiers stationed near his village. It was just after World War II and his Uncle Walter, who lived in California after emigrating from Ireland himself, had sponsored Dad’s entry into the country.

Part of the sponsorship agreement was that the new immigrant had to find a means to support himself – and soon – or run the risk of being sent back home. But because it was the years just after the war, when a lot of GI’s were still returning home and re-entering the work force, jobs were scarce.

So Dad had to get resourceful. Continue reading

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I Try not to Eat Glass

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Charlie ate broken glass.

He’s my son, and was about 14 months old at the time and, if I recall correctly, that was his first trip to a hospital emergency room. By the age of six he would visit emergency rooms four more times, for things such as breaking his arm, knocking himself out, and cracking his skull.

But I’m getting ahead of myself – allow me to back up a bit and explain how it was that Charlie came to eat glass. Continue reading

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Paper and Pen

 

 

 

I write right?

Sure I do, but why? I mean why write when I could just talk, or run, or a myriad of other activities that do not tie me to paper and pen.

Some people never write. They have no interest in it. But me, I have to write – even when I have no interest in it. I’ve got this funny brain that, well, seems to have rubber walls – stuff keeps bouncing around inside those walls until I open a door and let it out. Continue reading

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I Was Afraid to Write this Column

The kids in the neighborhood I grew up in had a certain fearlessness about them.

Well most of them did – there was this one kid named Shawn Reilly who seemed to be afraid of everything. And because fear was such a big part of his daily life it kind of set him apart from the other kids. In fact even now when I think about the kids in the old neighborhood his face doesn’t always pop up. He was a bit player. Sort of like a lesser character in a favorite movie of yours – you don’t always remember right away that he was even in it. Continue reading

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The Truth about Flying

When I was a kid I loved airplanes.

The truth is I still do – and have my whole life. But when I was a kid I thought I wanted to fly them. You know how when you’re a kid you approximate, to the best of your kid abilities, those things that you think you want to do when you grow up?

Well my way of approximating piloting an airplane was to build models of them. And oh did I build a ton of model planes. Big ones, little ones, ones that I hung from my bedroom ceiling and ones that I used to simulate fiery crashes in my back yard (don’t tell my mom, but I discovered at a young age that model glue was a handy, and highly flammable, co-conspirator when re-enacting crash scenes from war movies). Continue reading

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Are You Experienced?

When I was younger I wanted to own my own business.

At about 36, when I’d already been part of the work force for 20 odd years, I saw the opportunity to start my own company. I was in sales at the time for a window manufacturer in Sacramento. One of the accounts I called on was a glass and window contractor in Vacaville, which is where I lived back then.

That contractor had formerly worked in San Francisco, and was talking about going back there because he was more familiar with, and did better in, that business climate. I suggested to him that he sell me his inventory and vehicles so that he could get back there.

He agreed and I started scraping together the money to meet his asking price. Continue reading

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Bridges are easier to cross when they’re not on fire

 

Did you ever burn a bridge?

I’ve burned a few in my time. One such instance was set in motion on a November morning back in 2008. I was working for a company called LP Building Products – I was a sales rep for them – and my job was to sell building materials to home builders in California. You may recall that 2008 was the year that the housing bust was reaching epic proportions.

That November morning started with me receiving a phone call from my immediate supervisor – who explained that a representative from Human Resources would also be joining the conversation. It was about then I gathered we would not be having one of our usual light hearted chats. Continue reading

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