Some who read my blog know my friend, John. I think those who do know him would agree on this point – we’re sad for those who don’t.
All of us agree that he is someone everyone should know, but disagree on why. Some would point out that John talks with a funny accent and that makes him wicked fun to listen to. And that would be right. Who talks like that, y’all? No one.
Others might point out his fabulous wife as a reason to know him, and I’d agree there. You could also mention his noble profession, his fine sons, his charitable deeds or his taste in music. Read the rest of this entry »
Long ago, a teacher told my class that “somewhere in the world, is someone just like you.” I’m not sure what the point was, because I’m not sure how possible that is.
But the idea fascinated elementary school me. I wondered about this other me without questioning if it could be true that he was out there. What would we talk about if we met? If he were older, would I be just like him, or could he still be just like me? The teacher didn’t really cover that.
The probability of a couple in Belgium creating another me can’t be good. Then I factor in the environmental aspects and what the chances are that the other me was raised by clowns. When I add that up, the odds of Mr. Other Me’s existence are pretty slim.
How Slim Are Those Odds?
“You scare me. How did you arrange for your doppelgänger to sit next to us?” I read the text message, then looked at the photo my friend had attached. There, next to some of my best friends, at a concert I couldn’t attend, was Mr. Other Me. Read the rest of this entry »
The fans were streaming toward the exit after another loss by the home team. I wasn’t paying attention to anyone in particular, just watching the wave of disappointed humanity go by. Then, without warning, it happened.
A man came out of the crowd. He yelled over all the other voices around us…
I haven’t seen you in forever, what’s up man? Read the rest of this entry »
Last week, I learned something about myself. I am a master of disguise. I can change my look instantly and effortlessly.
I discovered my ability at lunch. I was sitting in a restaurant by myself. It was quiet, and I was using the restaurant’s wi-fi to answer blog comments. I’d not gone out of my way to hide my true identity.
Things Get Strangely Ugly…
The door opened and someone I know from work came in. The hostess seated him at the table next to mine. As he walked to his table I looked up and asked “how’s it going?” He nodded, replied “good” without any particular feeling, then sat down without another word. I thought this was odd. I wasn’t finished having that thought. Another man came in. This gentleman had been in a class I had taught recently. He walked to the table where the first man sat. I greeted him, he nodded and sat down without speaking.
“Well, this is awkward”‘ I thought. I wondered what I could have done to offend these two. I’m pretty low-key most of the time, but sometimes I will agitate people. Or so I’m told.
If the nations of the world got on each others nerves badly enough, missiles and bombs could end life as we know it. People say that if that were to happen, cockroaches would be the only survivors. They can survive anything.
I know what will happen when the bombs stop falling.
Two roaches will crawl from the rubble. They will discuss the folly of mankind and how we’re finally all gone now. They’ll make plans to get together for dinner. Then one will lift his head. A shocked look will cross his face. The other roach will notice and ask him what’s wrong. He will shake his head in disbelief and say to her “I don’t believe it, he’s done it again. It’s Tom Joy.” Read the rest of this entry »
I am a warm weather guy. Cold weather is just an unnecessary inconvenience. Ice has its place. That place is in a cup.
There is one thing that I like about cooler weather. I can drink my favorite hot drink without facing the scorn of others. You see, unlike all but about thirty-six adults on the planet, I do not like coffee or tea. No one questions it when a person orders coffee on a warm summer day. People react pretty strongly when I order hot chocolate on that same warm day. “But it is 90 degrees” applies to me and the other thirty-five non-coffee drinkers, but not to the coffee drinker.
That’s Right, I Don’t
There is not really an explanation I can give for my distaste for coffee and tea. I just don’t like them. I enjoy hot chocolate.
When I have “coffee with friends”, I order hot chocolate. People I’m close to know I do this, they don’t really mention it much anymore. That is, they don’t mention it much anymore unless they’re short on something to tease me about. I know that sometimes they think coffee with me is like going to Starbucks with an eleven year old.
Maybe that’s more of a reflection of my conversational ability.
Hiding The Secret
When I don’t know people as well, or with those I have a professional relationship with, I have a few strategies I employ to avoid the stigma of being outed as a non-coffee drinker.
I like to think of myself as a guy who reasons things out based on facts. Maybe that is why I don’t really buy in to all the classic superstitions we’re all told are bad luck. Friday the 13th is just another day. Black cats are like white cats, only black. Breaking mirrors isn’t a problem, once you put aside the expense and the mess.
That’s not to say that I’m not superstitious. I just make up my own. I’ve got a big pile of them. I follow them religiously and they all can lead to disaster if not followed.
The Vacation Superstition
Vacations trigger one of my most closely followed superstitions. I do not speak of my vacations at work before I leave. Ever. Bad things happen to me when people know I’m leaving.
At first, I noticed this effect in my work load. I would let it be known I was going to be away and I’d get a last-minute project. I’d often barely be able to get it done before I had to leave on my trip. I perceived this as a problem with management and found ways to avoid that problem. I soon learned that my perception was way off. Read the rest of this entry »
Over the past few years, I have developed the idea that there are certain things that are better done by strangers. I’ll go so far as to say that despite the fact that we teach children to stay away from strangers for good reason, strangers play significant roles in our lives. Let me explain.
A few years ago I flew on an airline that had as one of the options available on its audio entertainment system, a channel that would allow passengers to listen to air traffic control. I thought this was pretty cool. It was especially cool since I knew someone who was an air traffic controller at our airport. I settled into my seat, tuned in the channel and started listening.
I kept hearing calm voices giving commands that I couldn’t understand as I listened for my friend’s voice. Then it hit me. What if I heard him? Would that be reassuring to me? What did I know about the man? He was probably the best juggler I knew, he was married, he had a daughter.
When he and I talked he didn’t use the calm air traffic voice. He laughed. His tone varied. I knew too much about him; he couldn’t possibly get my plane off the ground, he was a juggler. Read the rest of this entry »