Category Archives: People

Struggles

 

I have a hero, but I don’t know his name.

In fact, there’s a lot about him I do not know. I don’t know his age. I don’t know what his career was. I don’t even know how he came to be the way he is now – but my guess would be a stroke. Continue reading

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American Renaissance

It’s September, 2024 and the political conventions have just started up again.

I say conventions like there are more than one that matters – technically there are actually two, though it’s been a while since I’ve talked to anybody who admits watching the other one (for anything more than entertainment value). When I say the “other one” I’m of course referring to the Demican Convention.

The Demican Party has slipped so far in recent years that they rate somewhere between watching old reality show reruns and stubbing your toe. I think it’s funny that we now count them as one party when everyone knows they’re still kind of two parties – two parties that had to become bedfellows because individually they were growing irrelevant. 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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Beach Town Blue


I rode down to that beach town to meet a woman.

She was from L.A. somewhere (south of the Grapevine it’s all L.A. to me) and was looking forward to seeing me – as I her – but it didn’t go all that well. I mean how could it? We really knew nothing about each other aside from the pics we exchanged and the divorces we talked of.

When the weekend was over I rode off knowing I’d never see her again. I’m sure she drove off thinking the same. But the funniest thing happened as I headed back north across the streets of that sleepy little beach town. Continue reading

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A Stab at Friendship

I once stabbed a man through the foot.

And the worst part of it was – well the worst part for me, for him the worst part was the actual getting stabbed through the foot part – the worst part of it for me was he was a friend of mine.

Have you ever done something you didn’t mean to, but you did it anyway, and the outcome was so crappy you wish you hadn’t done it – and you almost sort of pretend, at times, that you maybe didn’t do it, or try to forget the fact that you actually did do it? 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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