Saturday, May 31, 2014



A couple returning from Rome
Met some parents who couldn’t leave home.
As they cooed at the cradle
They were asked, “How’re ya able?”
 “Well, we chose not to share our genomes.”

Those of you who’ve read my old sf novel LEVELS: The Host (coming soon to an ebook reader near you), will perhaps recognize faint echoes of some of the book’s themes in this post.

Perambulate my perambulator!

So a lot of my friends are in their thirties and are suddenly having babies. Popping out puppies. Making new humans. And these friends are all wonderful moms and dads: quirky, artsy, vibrant, funny people with great attitudes. They’re awesome parents. And they’re raising great kids.

But… why?     

What’s the deal? It seems to me the time has long since passed we shoulda chucked the old tradition of “first you go to school, then you get a job, then you get married, and then you hunker down and have yourself a passel of kids.” Yet it’s still considered almost “mandatory” to reproduce this reproduction plan in many circles. WTF?

It’s particularly troubling considering how many bad parents there are out there. Why not create a society encouraging only those who have a very special “calling” for parenthood to breed? It’s one of the hardest, trickiest, most demanding jobs in the world, but we seem to believe everyone should do it. People who can barely operate a can opener think it’s just fine to go off and make themselves a person… and then try to raise that person on up… so it can then make other persons.     

As Doritos used to advertise: “Crunch all you want, we’ll make more.”

I won’t even touch on the population issues involved. Okay, so maybe I’ll touch on them a tad. Here I go: We have plenty of humans, Peeps. There’s barely a problem I can think of (climate change, disease, famine, war, pollution, etc) that wouldn’t be eased up quite a bit if there were far fewer Homo sapiens infesting our cute little planet. So automatically popping out more of them “because that’s what’s done” doesn’t make sense.

Just ‘cause your folks did it doesn’t mean you have to. Your folks also wore polyester jump suits and watched TV shows when they aired. Rest my case.

I believe being a parent should be something rare and treasured, like being a stunt man, brain surgeon, or sommelier. And those few who pursue it would get huge respect -- especially considering all the strenuous training, testing, and licensing ideally involved in the process. It should be something that, at a cocktail party, draws a crowd. “Really? You’re a dad/mom? Wow! What’s it like? I went to school with someone who wanted to be that!”

I would like to live in a world were being a parent was kinda like being an astronaut. Cool as hell, but pretty darn rare, and only done by experts.

My point is, why not have yourself a gerbil, some sea monkeys, or one of those purse dogs? Leave parenting to the pros.

And, please, don’t get me wrong. I love kids. I really do. I always wanted to have my own, truth be told. (Fact is the only reason I didn’t have children was I thought I should wait until the day I felt like a “grown up” myself. Needless to say, that never happened.)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014



A dancer with troublesome hips
Used some money collected from tips
To install a new joint
At his hip’s turning point
Now he’s able to kick just for kicks.

A limper who’s hip was a trickster
Found a doc through a medical tipster
No longer a “crip”
His titanium hip
Gives him newfound street cred as a Hipster

(You get two limericks for the price of one this time.  I felt a flood of PC guilt for using the expression “crip” and so wrote another.)

Yes, I have self-image issues.

This past February I went under the knife and had a new hip installed.  I wanted one with more bling.  Nothing ostentatious, just a little light bedazzling.  Pimp my hip out.  And if I could get one that doubled as a wifi hotspot, so much the better.

Getting a total hip replacement turned out to be a bigger deal than I expected.   Not the kind of thing you just walk away from.   Recovery takes a while, and there are complicated bathroom issues I’d rather not discuss here.  Trust me, you don’t want to read about them while you’re eating.  Or if you ever plan to eat.

I was rockin’ a walker for a while, then a pair of forearm crutches, then a single forearm crutch, and now I’m on a wobbly cane.  The cane is, I suppose, methadone to the crutch’s heroin, and I’m slowly being weaned off my addiction.  The surgeon, when he realized how long I’d been on crutches because of various complications, cautioned me to be careful I didn’t start using the crutch as “a crutch.”  I was, uncharacteristically, speechless.

Physical therapy is a blast.  And by “a blast” I mean it hurts.  A lot.  However, as a heterosexual man, I confess the one nice thing about going to my physical therapy appointments is that my therapist happens to be a very attractive young woman.  If I’m going to be hurt by someone, it might as well be someone cute.  During each session I try to fantasize that we’re merely a couple experimenting with something kinky and I’ve forgotten the “safe word.”

Friends and family were particularly wonderful during the early, housebound stage of my recovery: bringing meals, keeping me company, or simply being sensitive to the fact that I’m an introvert and leaving me the f**k alone.  (Some people who know me really well left food on my doorstep, rang the bell, and ran like hell.)  Surprisingly, strangers have also been amazingly nice to me throughout this process.  They see crutches and start holding doors, offering up seats, helping with bags, etc.  Smiling, assisting, being extra patient and kind. They almost behave like I’m some big movie star simply because I’m semi-incapacitated. It’s very sweet, but also a little sad.  (And not just because I’m not a big movie star.  Yet.)

A month or so after the surgery my wife’s car broke down right in front of our house.  It’s a long story.  Actually it’s a very short story but I’m skipping it anyway.  Sue me.  The point is I loped my crutchy way outside to stand by her car door, lean in her window, and keep her company while she waited for Triple-A.   Since it was rush hour and she was blocking a lane on a narrow road, folks would race up behind her and slam on the brakes at the last minute.  Their faces were always horribly pinched and they all seemed about to yell something really nasty… until they caught sight of my forearm crutches.  Then they’d instead smile sweetly and wave like I was George Clooney or something.  “No worries!  Take your time!  I’ll just drive around you folks!  I didn’t realize you were differently abled and/or a superstar!” 

As I watched this happen over and over, I began to wonder why we can’t be nice anyway.  Why can’t we try to treat all people like they’re George Clooney on forearm crutches?

So next time you feel a bubble of rage rising within because some stranger inconvenienced or annoyed you, before your act on that feeling, picture them as George Clooney on forearm crutches. 

And, if it helps, pretend you and George are a couple and you forgot the “safe word.”

Sunday, May 25, 2014



A man who was luckless at snogging
Decided to try out this “blogging.”
And now he is known
(In the blogosphere zone)
For his snoring and comforter hogging.


So I’m on top of this whole blog thing now.  This is me, blogging.  Doing it.  Yeah.  Going all bloggy on the internet’s ass.  Cutting edge, that’s me. 

I’m only, what, 15 years late?

My wife makes fun of me because I can’t even use the freakin’ expression properly.  If she makes a particularly cogent comment about pistachio gelato or Olympic curling or the like, instead of asking her, “Why don’t you post about that on your blog?” I’ll say, “Why don't you write a blog about that?”  And I’ll get the “you’re sweet, but kind of an idiot” look I know so well after twenty-odd years of marriage. (And, yes, some of those years were very odd.  But I digress.)

No matter how often I misuse the B-word and am corrected with a loving glare, for some reason my frontal lobes refuse to stop making those kinds of old fart “blog me about it when you get to Reno” mistakes in usage.  Why?  Maybe the very same reason I’ve resisted starting a blog for so long.

The-thing-of-it-is is, is that I just don’t wanna.  Or at least just didn’t wanna until today.  Blogs, it seems to me, are mostly – let’s face it – about the comments section.  If you don’t get any comments, you suck.  You’re a friendless loser.  You threw a party and nobody showed up.  You built a baseball diamond and they didn’t come.  You held a parade and were left alone in the middle of Main Street, gripping your own sweaty baton.  On the other hand, if you get lots and lots and lots of comments, odds are they’re mostly spittle-freckled rants about how very wrong you are.  And how you should probably eat poop and pass away… or just head off somewhere and make sweet love to yourself.  Or words to that effect.

Look, I find I even run into this kind of “comment thread issue” on Facebook.  If you scroll down my Facebook homepage you’ll find years and years of daily status updates going back to when I first joined up in an era when computers were still hand cranked.  You’ll note that almost every one of those posts is a joke.  A silly attempt at humor.  No politics, no religion, no diet advice.  Nothing controversial.  Most of them, in fact, are safely self deprecating.  Yet invariably, someone will take the particular joke seriously in the comments section and try to argue with me.  “What matters is not why said chicken crossed the road, good Sir, but if it was humanely butchered.  Your callous disregard for the chicken’s welfare speaks of….”

So it’s a Catch 22.  (Or a Kobayashi Maru, depending how literary/nerdy you lean.) Either I write a blog that no one reads, or I deal with comments that make me want to open a vein (in myself or in someone a bit more veiny).   But I think I’ve figured out a viable third option.  I’m hiring a staff of twenty to read and pre-screen all the comments, shielding me from any undo pain and suffering.  (And by “staff of twenty” I mean my cat).

So here we go.  My first blog on my blogger page’s blog, all about blogging. Was it bloggy enough? 

In the end, all I can really hope for is that when I blog someone, they stay blogged.