The Leap of Faith

On July 28, just after dark, me and my two road dogs, Izzy and Bailey, slipped out of the back door of our apartment building and stealthed our way into my waiting, over stuffed vehicle. We never looked back. At 10 pm, we swung into the La Quinta Inn in Somerville. This would serve as our cross-country launching pad.

That was two months ago. In six days, we covered New York, Ohio, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and finally Phoenix. Arriving on Thursday, August, 3. It was 110 degrees. A good, soul cleansing heat.

With barely two dog bones to rub together, never mind a job or a place to live, we aimed to tread water until our ship came in. Bailey taught me to dog paddle. Oh me of little faith.

Back east, I was more frustrated than frightened. When BMS transferred me back into the home office in 2003, I swore I would get back out west one way or the other. Of course, I took the other.

When my business went bust and my finances took a turn for the worst in 2016, I had to hole up in a depression era, furnished apartment in the hardscrabble town of Ayer. Penance.

My marriage was kaput! It just ran its course. No hard feelings.

With my head in my hands I tried to think my way out. It took almost a year. In early September of that year, as I was walking Bailey, I stumbled across a large warehousy looking building next to the railroad tracks. When I looked in the window, I saw and heard the all too familiar grunting and clanging of serious iron being hoisted, squatted, and curled.

My heart jumped. I had been taking my iron pills for years and craved the feel of muscle soreness again. Could it be? Right next door to me? Open 24 hours? Yessss!

Frustration and bankruptcy are mighty catalysts when you are beaten down. My first day at the gym, the person behind the front desk approached me and said, “You tryin’ ta kill yourself?” I replied, “You got a better way?”

At 70, and nowhere to turn, I turned. I leaned into it with a passion. I created a split routine where I could pulverize one muscle group a day. I could barely brush my teeth some days. It hurt that good.

The rest of the time you would find me on the Nashua Rail Trail making the two hour and change ride to Nashua, New Hampshire and back. It helped me sleep. Sleep was a commodity.

It was a Spartan existence. I ate, trained, read, rode and slept. I watched my body change. When you start following the owner’s manual, shit starts happening. People started commenting at the gym. The change was in.

At seventy, we think we can only slim down and maybe lower some blood pressure. Nay, I say, we have evolved.

My clothes started getting loose in some places and tight in other places. The right places.

One day, someone at the gym asked me if I was a personal trainer. I laughed. They didn’t think it was funny and asked me to train them.

It was then I found out you need liability insurance to train at a gym. Any gym. And one other little item, certification from a reputable organization, like the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

No problem, I says, give me a week and I’ll get back to you. Boy, was I naive. This was serious business. As I would soon find out. We’re talkin’ science. Hard core science.

It would be a year of hitting the books and combing the internet to find out “supraspinatus” wasn’t a Greek. Oh my head! The book was so big, I would put it in my trunk so I wouldn’t get stuck in snow.

If I studied this hard in school, I would be writing opinions for the Supreme Court.

When I made it out here, I had three chapters left to study. The second day here, I joined LA Fitness. On the fourth day, I was working for them. Truth be told, there are probably lots more jobs back east but it doesn’t feel like it. Maybe it’s the geographical thing but it’s working for me.

Now that I’m a certified fitness professional, anything can happen. I can do Corporate Wellness, take on private clients, start an online business, or a mix of all three. Sooooey, here piggy, piggy!

A year ago, when I felt froggy, I took that leap.

Now, I just need to muscle in somewhere. 🙂

Over My Head


More than 40 years ago, I enrolled at Berklee College of Music to study guitar, piano and instrumental performance. My initial thoughts were that it would be a fun two years where me and a bunch of musicians would sit around and trade licks and roadie jokes.

I was disabused of that notion in a hurry. In fact, I was on my way to my first nervous breakdown, compliments of the G.I. Bill.

At thirty, dusting off all those atrophied brain cells was agonizing. I found myself in a room with perfect-pitched prodigies analyzing Duke Ellington arrangements and sight-singing multi-staved compositions from the Baroque Era.

Oh, the buyer’s remorse I suffered. It was an incredible and valuable experience as I look in my rear view mirror…now.

But at the time, it appeared I was in over my head.

So last year, Mr. Brilliance decides, having forgotten all about 1976, to enroll in the National Association of Sports Medicine’s Certified Personal Trainer program. Fun, right? Running, jumping and pumping, right?


We all know how serious heart attacks are and this was similar in every way: tightness in the chest, trouble breathing, profuse sweating, palpitations. N.A.S.M., what have ye wrought? I paid upfront, no opting out.

What a revelation! If I didn’t have religion when I started, I do now. What an amazing species we are. We actually survive in spite of ourselves. This amazing contraption we ambulate around in has been built for optimal performance, we just never stop to contemplate our miraculous configurations.

This system of pulleys, levers, muscles and blood that comes factory fine-tuned for a hundred years boggles the mind…mine, anyway.

I struggled mightily with every time-tested physical concept that was presented to me. Wrapping my head around agonist, antagonist and synergistic muscle groups, ligaments, tendons, assessments and bone densities was certainly above me at the outset.

Again, it appeared I was in over my head.

Amazingly, some of the immediate personal gifts I received were answers to physical limitations and weaknesses in my own exercise regimen. For example, I could go two or three months full tilt on a program and something would come along and derail my efforts: back spasms, hamstring pulls, tendonitis, headaches, over training, stress related illnesses, the lists went on.

My good deeds never went unpunished.

Having to delve into biomechanics, respiratory capacities, nutritional science and muscle imbalances brightened up my dimly lit attic. Voila!

I have learned so much. My physical conundrums have all but vanished. At 71, I must admit to being in better physical condition than when I was drafted into the military at 19. Not one doubt.

I have a new career now and I will be sharing my learnings as a certified fitness professional. I have been very fortunate in this life. My mission statement has always been “How can I help?”

Now I have found a way.




Workin’ For It

Yesterday was the big day. After a year of study and memorizing Latin body parts, heart rate equations and muscle configurations for my NationaI Academy of Sports Medicine Certification exam, I headed off to the testing site across town. Phoenix is huge. 20 miles out here is considered “down the street”.

Driving east into the sun in bumper-to-bumper traffic when you absolutely have to be somewhere on time is a fool’s errand. My stomach was in knots. I was already reciting my “life ain’t fair” narrative for when they gave me the bad news at the end of the test.

But I had my Google maps. That little piece of magic that took me all across the country less than two months ago. Door to door. So as I neared my destination and maneuvered myself into the middle of a huge intersection with buildings on every corner, I thought I would expire when my phone said, “You have reached your destination.” Huh? Where? In the middle of an intersection?

Long story short, I made it after running madly through oncoming traffic and almost getting my ticket punched. I ran through every building in the area in a panic. When I finally took my seat in the testing room, I just knew the universe was conspiring against me.

When I woke up this morning, my back was in spasm and my lips were all broken out. Usually I would go into a mild depression, but not today, because I passed my exam to be a certified personal trainer after a year of work and study at 71. Life ain’t so bad after all.

These days, I actually don’t mind being called “certifiable”…. that much. 🙂

Death Perception…

… keeps me alive.

These days, I draw my sustenance exclusively from dead people. When I’m up against the wall, these folks are my crisis management team. Duane, Gregg, Stevie Ray, Kurt, Miles, et al.

Without my parents, my spirit would have broken years ago. Their indomitable spirit continues to live on in me. They lived and laughed as hard as they could under almost unbearable circumstances.

They raised twelve, Irish-Catholic, Somervillans who, obviously never got the memo on how hard life could be. Ignorance was always bliss with us. Thankfully.

After recently flinging myself across the country without a net, landing in Phoenix with my two little dogs and no plan, I am forced into the realization that I like playing fast and loose with life.

Which is why these people are so important to me. For one reason or another, either stupidity or curiosity, I am forced to confront myself when my ego starts to panic. In which case, I can either succumb, or revolt. I prefer the latter.

“The future’s uncertain and the end is always near.”

As long as I keep Mr. Morrison’s words spinning around on my hard drive, I find the courage to keep on keeping on. I just came off a critical three day stand-off with a business owner. A huge showdown.

Given my ticklish financial situation these days, the bright thing to do would be to adhere to his demands and fight the good fight somewhere down the road. I chose not.

I didn’t buy his wolf ticket and walked. I had three full days to consider the consequences. I could have acceded at any time but I waited while looking at my other options. Which were slim at the time. I was gambling heavy as the casino was about to close.

Day one, I was still full of myself. Day two, not so much. Day three, yesterday, I broke out the Eckhart Tolle material, “The Power of Now.”

The fever broke yesterday afternoon in my favor. Needless to say, that positive outcome will do nothing to cure my death-wish negotiation style. This used to drive my wife to distraction. It was a short drive.

In Arizona, nothing is “down-the-street”. Five miles is considered next door, so I get a lot of drive time. In that time, I get to listen to all the musical legends who went before me and realize they actually “went” before me. They’re gone. All their struggles, pains, confusions, addictions and failures, gone. But not forgotten.

The ego is constantly under threat, real or imagined. Mostly imagined. When I hear brilliance in a piece of constructed music, or an improvised solo and I realize this talented entity gave it all he or she had, then gave up the ghost, I am inspired to live life as hard and fast as I can, while I can, because, after all, no balls, no blue chips. Right? Deal ’em.

But what these trailblazers leave behind is immortal. They lived life, good or bad. They took chances. They expressed themselves in the extreme, and of course, all of them failed harder than the rest of us. They died. That is, if you consider death a failure. I don’t.

At my end, I want to be spent, played out and ready for a nap. I’m hoping God never has to say, “Why didn’t you?” Because by then, I did.


Lipstick For Your Afterthought?

I am entertaining quite a few business offerings these days on my road to re-enlightenment. After making the leap from Boston to Phoenix, I decided to get my resume out there to see what I might find. As it turns out, there are some pretty interesting scenarios. You can do almost anything these days as a 1099. Sales, marketing, distribution, the list goes on.

I like the idea because I don’t want to sit around someone else’s office all day putting in my time. Having my own business for years, Double O Creative, I have grown accustomed to life and death by my own hand.

One of the big reasons for putting away my entrepreneurial aspirations was creative differences. Wrangling with clients over style and delivery got to be a bit much. Having employees was no day at the beach either. I am no Father Flanagan,  and I don’t always suffer fools lightly.

What made my business successful for the most part, was my understanding of the business world and the application of multimedia to gain eyeballs. Too many cooks, especially the untrained variety, will always spoil the broth. So I folded up my tent and headed west.

My fat lady hasn’t taken the stage yet, so I must remain relevant these days to survive. Today, I received a job offer along with a “prospective new rep video” to get me up to snuff with my potential new employers. This piece of afterthought had the effect of grounding out any enthusiasm I might of had for this medical equipment outfit.

I can almost hear the conversation as it was being produced. “Ah, this is good enough, we just want them to get an idea of how the company works.” Been there, done that.

It was a series of screen grabs with a horrible, echo-filled audio track. Complete with dead air, aahs and ums. Right away, I think they’re a bunch of second-rate wannabes. It brought back memories of everything I disliked about my previous adventure. How you present yourself to someone, anyone, in this fashion is critical. But if you have to tell them, you’re wasting your time.

If this is what they think is going to attract employees, their customers are faring no better. I fear.

Cool-inary Art!

Full circle. I’ve had my hands in food since I was a young-un. At 12, I was flipping pizza in a converted bread truck. We had an oven in it and the side would open up to serve customers. We would travel around to colleges and softball games plying our wares until we acquired a store front. This was my initiation into over-the-top customer service.

At 15 years and three months, my mother wrote a hardship letter to City of Somerville School Committe, relieving me of my stellar academic efforts. 🙂 I was gone and never looked back. Until I G.E.D’ed to study music at Berklee College of Music years later.

I’ve been banging around in kitchens in one way or another ever since. Correctional institutions, the Army and major culinary sweat shops, is where you could always find me, behind a hot stove, serving up the delicacies of the day. Always loved the idea of making someone’s dining experience enjoyable. An act of love that not always made it into my personal life.

Interestingly, when I entered the Dupont sales force, my kitchen skills proved invaluable. I would commandeer restaurants and hotel kitchens to ensure that my evening with my targeted thought leaders would go off swimmingly. I would usually show up earlier in the day and meet with the staff to pick my seating and give them instruction on service and the wine list.

I gave them my AMEX card, told them not to drop the check at the end to avoid any embarrassing gestures, and add 20% to the evening unless they heard differently from me. I always loved it when a plan came together. It was how I turned micro into macro.

At times, depending on the target, and how badly I needed their business, I would call Legal Seafoods on the east coast and have them ship me a case of live lobster, steamers and chowder, along with a pot to cook in. When the FedEx’d crate hit my intended victim’s door, so did I. I wore a Dupont apron while I served, told jokes and played their piano. I even washed all the dishes at the end. Not part of my corporate sales training by any stretch.

Upper management neither condemned nor condoned. They preferred to look the other way as the coffers filled up. Much to the chagrin of my field sales contemporaries, who sometimes cried fowl. 🙂

Recently, I was offered an opportunity to fold my passions into a unique soufflé that will satisfy my diverse, creative tastes. I am joining an outfit that offers a rich, personal gourmet dining experience.

It will offer me sales, marketing, deep customer empathy, online marketing, over-the top service, and even blogging, to highlight my cheffing skills and ensconce me back into the lifestyle I have been part of all of my life.

So it’s time I headed back through those swinging kitchen doors, because after all, I could always stand the heat.


The Icarus Dilemma

Poor Icarus, his father, Daedalus, made him some wings and told his son not to fly too high or too low. If he flew too high, the sun would melt his wings, and too low, the ocean’s moisture would clog them. So his father, in essence, told him to conform.

My father would espouse moderation, of which to this day, I know very little. So, for me, it’s back in the game with a vengeance.

My feeling is, you have to die from something. I have always believed that anything worth doing, is worth overdoing. My life has always had a certain buoyancy. I may go under but I always bounce back up. Why else would they name me “Bob”? 🙂

Showing Up!

This is remarkable in the sense that it’s the third time it has happened. Though I have employment, I haven’t ceased my interviewing activities. I love the process and will make one happen on a moment’s notice.

Arizona, being what it is, is a laid back business community, loaded with monied golfing types who usually “dress down” to dress up. On the last three occasions, I was told I could show up dressed casual, or “cazh.” I didn’t.

There is nothing “cazh” about me, so why should I pretend? I’m out for blood and make no pretense.

I come with resume, business cards, focus, and a head full of homework. Each time, I was offered the job before the interview was over. One company kept me five hours into the night filling out employment paperwork. I respectfully declined their offer the next day.

Each hiring manager also wanted to hand me off to their immediate superior the next day, with the request to “please dress as you are today.” Cazh. Indeed.

Arizona On My Own Terms

Finally have you all to myself. After all these years. Marshall Tucker’s  “In My Own Way” is blaring through my kitchen and the sun is setting over the Sonoran Desert. My eyes are wet with happiness. I’m at peace. I never wanted to leave, but now I’m glad I did. For almost 15 years, I would pine away at just the mention of this beautiful place.

I now have a fresh appreciation for all that I was missing. When I landed here in July of 1990, it was a record 126 degrees. My eyes and all my senses went into overload. I have never experienced such a wonderfully romantic place.

With my new job as a rep, I wouldn’t have much time to kick back and relax in those first years.  I was constantly traveling and trying to digest new information. The only time it really sunk in was on long drives or on the approach to Sky Harbor Airport.

Of course, when the honeymoon of the new job wore off, it became constant work. Enjoyable, but constant. Those days are gone. I’m here now and it’s me and the desert. For good.

Done…with pleasure.

While trying to pull things together for my trip out Left, I’ve been stressing about a check that was due to me last week. If I leave, there’s no telling what will happen to it. Especially around here. Even getting your prescriptions by mail is hazardous duty.

This company is so busy, you can’t always get a live body. The company’s name is Adorama. They specialize in camera equipment and anything to do with multimedia. They are killer!

If you order something on line, no matter what delivery option you specify, it’s at your door the next day. Some days, that night??? Whoa.

So I’m in a bind now, I have one foot out the door on my way to Cactus Country and the other in the land of miserable apprehension. I am screwed.

When I get the guy on the phone, he tells me the check was sent out last week. Shit! This is getting complicated.

So he says in his best Manhattanese, “No worries, give me your bank routing number.” I give it to him and says, “Done…with pleasure.”

“Done…with pleasure.” What a beautiful phrase.

It’s a keeper.

Up In The Ayer

And he waits… I see this guy sitting here almost every morning. It’s 7:30 am. He is a denizen of the hardscrabble town of Ayer, Mass. He has nine and a half hours to go until he gets his dinner at the local soup kitchen. He worries incessantly, sometimes out loud. He shares his misery with anyone who will listen. And even those who won’t.

He worries me. He is 20 years my junior and he is done. Cooked. Stick a fork in him. When I’m unconscious, I put mtself in his place. You can imagine the misery that comes along with that visual.

In my eleven month recovery from all things material, I’ve had lots of time to observe those less fortunate. The town is rife with what most would consider “loser types.” Businesses struggle mightily. Some of their offerings border on the absurd. They even resort to putting signs on the sidewalks to shame you into buying local.

Some business owners don’t even show up. They leave a crossed out, updated note on the window with their cell phone number on it. Pampered Pets looks like a “Hoarder’s” episode. One store, I can’t remember ever seeing open for business, has a sign that reads: “Closed But Still Awesome.” My apartment is located right in the middle of this circus. It is a voyeur’s heaven.

This is an actual restaurant, Markoh’s On Main. If you choose to visit and have had your shots, you will receive a free shower, compliments of the faulty AC unit placed strategically overhead. People actually eat here.

I’ve seen people who have had one too many, almost break their neck trying to exit this place, unable to negotaite the dangerously condemned stairs. And no lawyer has ever showed up.

The guy who runs the local Coffee Roaster’s was palpating one of his rear molars while taking my order and handed me a blueberry scone with the same hand. Then became confused when I called him on it.

The only dry cleaner in town touts an organic and gluten free process that is designed to put him way out in front of his competition. I have only witnessed one customer entering the store, me. I saw me in his mirror.

Ayer has greatly diminished my lust for rural living.

From my perch in front of the infrequently visited Town Hall, I witness the comings and goings of almost everyone who lives here. Nietzche would be salivating. Ayer, to me, is the gift that will always keep on giving. A grounding that I’m all at once, grateful for and humbled by.

Even the police cruiser that just passed by is imperfect. It has a front head light missing and is running on one of those shitty factory supplied spare tires. I should have pulled him over. He’s the same cop who served me a restraining order a few days ago. 🙂

From here, there’s only one destination….up!

Summer Bummer!

To avoid overtraining, as I am wont to do, I decided to skip my long bike ride this morning. Along with the usual withdrawal side effects, rapid heart rate, sweaty palms and a feeling that something’s missing, I felt particularly lost. Such is the exercise junkie’s life.

So, not knowing what to do with myself from 5:30 to 8:00 am, I decided to make the 2000 step trek over to my gym. I haven’t been over at this time of day in months. I have been training later in the day, not only because of my bike ride, but because I am lifting heavier these days and I don’t want to risk injury. I want my body to be completely warmed up.

6:30 am: There they are, all my lady friends, lined up on the ellipticals and treadmills just the way I left them back in the spring. Huffing and puffing away. This morning, after all that time, not only did I see no improvement, they all looked heavier, even bloated.

Their faces, their arms and lower halves were bigger. None of them does any other type of exercise, and from conversation, I learned they know very little about nutrition and the benefits of weight training, but they show up every day like clock work. What a shame I’m thinking, to do all that work and not have it show up in the mirror.

Of course I didn’t say anything, or else I wouldn’t be alive to write this. 🙂 The takeaway here is there’s more to keeping your health and shape than flopping around on a machine for 45 minutes of your precious day and seeing no results.

Aerobics is not a license to stuff whatever you want into your body and write it off. Your body is very intelligent and knows how to store calories for a future famine that never quite gets here. Metabolism, bad food choices and the same repetitive aerobics routine will leave you nowhere.

Ironically, this is the summer they all worked so hard for. I have a feeling my next decade as a fitness professional will be very interesting… and rewarding.



It ain’t over…

Is this some kind of a cruel joke? What is happening here? I’m not supposed to feel this good, am I? My body is anticipating a rigorous start to the day, a long bike ride, weights at the gym and countless dog walks. My training plan is working. I have a long term strategy that is coming along nicely, except….

….wait a minute! You’re almost 71 years old. Where’s the walker? Where the stash of orange bottles that by now, deserve their own table? That little voice in the back of your neck that tells you to find the nearest sofa and wait for the reaper, “Nice try Bobo, let’s settle down, you’ve had your fun”.

Then how can I be so much faster, stronger and more flexible than any time in my life? How can my attitude continue to improve and my creative impulses seem limitless? Beats the hell out of me. Regardless of what I have done to myself over the years, I am still in one piece and ready for more. More than ready.

Either by chance or by choice, I have turned the screws on myself so I have to remain relevant just to survive. This is not what I thought we would be facing when I was a kid. My folks never saw these years, and if they did, they would have been crippled by one disease state or another. In most cases, anyway.

Still, seven decades of flopping all over the planet is no mere feat. I am still cogent enough to enjoy all of my dramas, even my current one. 🙂

The little weenie in all of us is begging for some shelter from the big, bad world but the big, bad world doesn’t owe us a thing. In my mind, 70 is some kind no man’s land where green bananas don’t exist. Should I stay or should I go? Very confusing. Very enlightening.

Are we still relevant at this age? Of course. How much longer can we continue to shape the world? Beats me, but I don’t hear the fat lady singing so….


My Coach, Al…

It’s 3:00 am. My feet hit the floor and I take my morning assessment. I can stand on my own. Good. Tummy tight? Good. I walk into the living room after hitting the coffee button. Last night, Sunday, I hit the sack at 6:45. Needed eye shades. I have been clocking nearly 25 miles a day on my bike. It caught up with me.

As I lean over to lace up my sneakers, I notice how tight I am. The good tight. Biceps pump as I pull on the laces. We all know that feeling. The body’s way of saying thank you for doing the right things.

I look over at the recliner where I usually set my belt with water bottles, headphones, iPhone  and a sweet potato wrapped in tin foil as insurance against an unexpected blood sugar drop on my way to Nashua. 22 miles, round trip.

There was a time when just the drive would have wiped me out.

This morning I’m feeling it in my knees a bit. Today will be my sixth day in a row and like everything I do, I tend to overdo it. The mind says, “Really Bob? Are we going to do this ritual until it wears you out?”

After I lace up and sit back on the couch to enjoy my first sip of coffee, I’m thinking maybe I’m should do something else at first light instead of my ride. But I am a junkie in every sense of the word.

Then my recorded version of 60 Minutes pops up on the screen. The second segment is on Alzheimer’s. Yikes! I quickly shut it off and start Googling. My research concludes:

Exercise has many known benefits, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, strengthening the bones and muscles and reducing stress.

It also appears that regular physical activity benefits the brain. Studies show that people who are physically active are less likely to experience a decline in their mental function and have a lowered risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

 Exercising several times a week for 30 to 60 minutes may:
  • Keep thinking, reasoning and learning skills sharp for healthy individuals
  • Improve memory, reasoning, judgment and thinking skills (cognitive function) for people with mild Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment
  • Delay the start of Alzheimer’s for people at risk of developing the disease or slow the progress of the disease

Physical activity seems to help the brain not only by keeping your blood flowing but also by increasing chemicals that protect the brain. Physical activity also tends to counter some of the natural reduction in brain connections that occurs with aging.

More research is needed to know to what degree adding physical activity improves memory or slows the progression of cognitive decline. Nonetheless, regular exercise is important to stay physically and mentally fit.

Last one to Nashua is a dirty rat 🙂

Work: As a means to an end?

Viet Nam vets will remember the infamous “short timer’s” calendar. The daily ritual of checking off another day of nothing on the way to something. Taped sacredly to the inside of a foot locker, woe to the person who would dispute that holy document. The existential clutch was in during that period where nothing of consequence was happening.

Viet Nam was lettuce, filler if you will, in this sandwich called life. The now is not where we wanted to be. The future, coming home, friends, family and freedom. Then our problems will be over. So we thought.

Lots of people look at their work, their occupation, their profession in the same way, as an obstacle to happiness. I’ve heard it labelled as “doing time.” I have never prescribed to that notion. I don’t have time for that. None of us do, really. I now have less sand at the top of my hourglass than I do at the bottom.

I haven’t always been aware of my motives for working. I have no children, have had only brief encounters with stable relationships and never thought my life would start at retirement. I have always demanded that what I did for a living had to be fun, financially rewarding, and it had to grow me as a human being. Now.

The last part was always critical. Because I always knew I would move on and I wanted to gain something I could bring forward.

Now my current situation requires me to earn a living somehow and I am damned if I’m going to sign up for something that doesn’t mean anything to me. Can’t do it. Not that I am the retiring type anyway, mind you.

Work should never be a means to an end. What if you get to the end of the road and there’s a fork in it?

In my case, I’m looking at a whole drawer full of silverware.



The Levelling

I’ve thought a lot about this. What I call leveling is a process by which our social standings get circumstantially alterred under duress. It is a protective response to rid yourself of what you perceive as the weaker of your species so you can survive. It is completely subjective.

I have been in many situations in my life where a friend I had in school, or an acquaintance from my neighborhood would get thrown into the mix of experiences with me and my opinion of them would change. Drastically. What sometime follows is an alliance with a more unlikely soul who shows you qualities you can appreciate in such circumstances..

The leveling has taken place in kindergarten, summer camp, Boy Scouts, Catholic school, (terrifying) reform school, the military and business. It is the process where the perception of another person is dashed when the screws get tightened. And they always get tightened.

Under extreme external pressure, personalities change, the person either shows emotional strength or the facade falls away. Kids I preferred to play with before summer camp wouldn’t make my cut after that experience. Now you wouldn’t think something as benign as summer camp would elicit terror, but let me disabuse you of that notion. If Camp Copithorne happened today, someone would go to jail.

Some of us kids on that bus into Freedom, New Hampshire in 1958, swore allegiance to each other based on familiarity and social standing. But all that gets washed away when the pressure gets amped. At twelve years old, the spigot opens. Bed wetters were marginalized and tormented. Fully. I will hold the details for another day, because the intention here is show how social preferences evolve under pressure.

Boy Scouts. Going to Camp Sayre was another social experiment gone awry. We split off into packs and declared war on each other. The namby- pamby versus the street kids. Cruelty in abundance. Someone actually tried to set my bunk on fire. Ostracism ruled the day when human weakness reared its ugly head.  Again, you find yourself updating your guest list.

In 1963, I was once again taken off the street and poured into a situation with some of my street-wise contemporaries and again, they didn’t fare so well in my opinion. My view of them changed under the extremes of incarceration.

Reality sets in when, at the Police Station, your best friend from childhood is brought in shackled, points the finger at you and wrongly accuses you of a crime he himself committed. Social pressure at work.

I remember one sunny day, as three of us were handcuffed together coming out of the bowels of East Cambridge Courthouse, heading to the Division Youth Services, in Roslindale, the guy in the middle said, “Shit, I must be the worstest, I got both of my hands cuffed.”

I thought to myself, “now this is a guy I can do time with.” That little speculation disintegrated by night fall. What happened there was a litmus test of terror that had you changing sides quickly. I’m sure his view of me changed also.

The Army. In 1966, I was part of the largest military draft in history where another leveling occurred. Thousands of us were conscripted into mandatory military service and loaded on to trains headed for South Carolina. (Today, if you google “largest draft” you get basketball.)

Again, on the way to Fort Jackson, me and the usual suspects from my neighborhood were pledging allegiance to each other based on social mores and perceived pecking order. You know how this ends. Like most movies where the protagonist gets developed beyond his pay grade, the same formula. For better or worse.

Business. This is where it always got interesting. The pressure to produce in a heavily propagandized, political and petty environment will separate the wheat from the chaff in a hurry.

Gossip and speculation either killed you or cured you. This, for me, was the most challenging, non confrontational situation, because I found it almost impossible to battle perception. It worked for me and it worked against.

I saw the worst in people in that particular situation and it changed me forever. I run solo these days and am loathe to associate myself with a team of any kind, lest I be subject to, or have to participate, in a leveling process again.

You can pick your nose and you can pick your friends but choose your allies carefully.




Are You Stable?

In my quest to recapture my health, my sanity and my long lost lust for living, I will need to train and maintain my body so I can live a long and productive life. Notice I left out happy? I’m not that naive. 🙂

I’m now finding I have to deal with something I’ve always taken for granted: balance, or neuromuscular stability. Lack of balance is how folks at any age start their downward spiral into the healthcare system. With emphasis on downward, there are no happy campers on the healthcare circuit.

It seems a natural progression, you get a little older, lose your balance, break something, like a bone that hasn’t been strengthened, it doesn’t heal quickly, and everything else falls out of alignment.

You go into therapy, get on the meds, get even more disoriented, fall down again and on it goes.

I will take no of that thank you very much. If I can help it, that is. And it seems I can.

I am officially back to doing what I have always thought of as “time wasters” Like in standing on one foot like a pink flamingo, to train the body to maintain equilibrium as well as other assorted stabilizing exercises.

That is, if I want to avoid the cascade of hell I just described.

I won’t go through a step by step stabilization protocol here, it should only serve to stress the importance of having a stable, balanced body as to avoid common injuries that can sideline you.

My aim here is to bring your attention to it. For now.

You want to be on the stage, not in the audience. You want to headline, not sideline.

Steady, steady.

The Bank Shot

Fuck transparency! Sometimes when you “ask for the business,” you “get the business.”

I hate directness. I also hate pain in the name of honesty. Yes, I’m talking to those of you who fancy themselves as brutally honest. You get no points from me. There is always more than one way to skin a cat. You just have to be creative and of course, ballsy.

I call this approach the “bank shot.” Instead of shooting the ball straight into the pocket, I take the indirect route by banking the shot first. Sometimes using numerous banks. Sometimes sinking numerous balls. It adds degrees of difficulty and risk but it is more than worth it. It’s a beautiful thing, when it works.

It was October 25, 1994. I’m sitting in an upscale restaurant in Old Town, Albuquerque, New Mexico. It’s my birthday of all things, and I am sitting with my “Top Ten Techs” All female, all gossipy, all dangerous and tonight, all drunk and seriously beating my Amex Card to death.

They all liked your’s truly and that was a good thing. We had convened to celebrate my 48th and come together as the friends we have been since I took over the territory in 1990.

But all was not well with me on this beautiful fall evening. I just had a major relationship implode on me and my house ransacked while I was traveling by one of Scottsdale’s finest, a tanned, blonde, barracuda named Dana. Did I mention evil? Oh, the pain I was in that night.

So here we are, me and my ten ladies, each a chief tech and each a decision maker who could decide my fate as a Dupont sales rep. They don’t call New Mexico the “Land of Mañana” for nothing. New technology is slow to take root, which put my Cardiolite numbers somewhere down the bottom of their list of priorities.

This was a problem. I had all their thallium business and they thought that would suffice. Besides, if I had done the dry, predictable plea for the business all reps are taught, another honeymoon would have ended.

We all know how business works, mo’money, mo’money and then mo’ money. Albuquerque lived in a vacuum. As I’m sitting there hoping no one can smell my incinerated innards, I’m thinking about the conversation my boss Sully and me had earlier in the week.

He told me Syncor wanted to move me out of the territory because of the zero Cardiolite penetration. He said he put them off, albeit temporarily, but I got the message.

Now, as all the ladies are telling me how much they love me and hope I stay in the territory, I plied my bank shot. Wired up with a belly full of dark chocolate birthday cake and black coffee, I blurt out, “I have an announcement to make.”

I told them that upper management had decided to try someone else in Albuquerque because I had failed to convert the town to Cardiolite. Oh man, pandemonium. Made worse by the fact that I was sober and they weren’t. A huge gamble because news would travel quickly, first to Syncor and then back to my folks in the home office. “Disappearing Dana” just got pushed to the back of my worry list.

It worked! I hardly had to Machiavelli my way around such a volatile move. Within days, and just before the letter writing campaign started, requests for Cardiolite trials started popping up all around the city.  All because I took my shot and put a little English on it.

This was the shot I came to bank on. All the way to the bank.

Rack ’em up!

The Plan: How Can I Help?

I don’t get excited about commerce for commerce sake. I’m not interested in selling widgets, life insurance or time shares. I have to be on a mission. It has to be unique, valuable and most of all, helpful. The first question I always ask clients, whether it’s for a video, an e-marketing strategy or a platform of any sort, is always “How can I help?”

If I don’t have that burning desire to help someone, then I’m just spinning my wheels and it will end before it starts. This is the process I have used for more than 15 years. By helping my client, I’m helping myself. Don’t we all get that warm feeling in our bellies when we help someone?

Now I find myself on a somewhat different path. My lifelong obsession with all things physical has brought me to personal trainer certification. Amazing. By slipping accidentally into this realm, I find I will not only be able to help someone cross over into their retirement years without being disabled or crippled or even bed-ridden, I will be helping myself as well. Physician, heal thyself.

Once we move into our fifties and beyond, our physical problems start accumulating. Know anyone over fifty that can’t share their favorite ache or pain or disability? Doesn’t have to be that way. Plus, having physical challenges will mess your head up big time.

I know first hand the benefits of fitness. At 71, I’m in better shape than when I was 19. Hands down. In spite of my many faux pas. What jazzes me is knowing I can help alleviate a lot of the issues we seniors go through. My mother used to say, “youth is wasted on the young.” How right she was. I frittered my youth away as fast as I could fritter it.

I don’t ask how I got here today. I don’t even want to think about it. It’s like that collision you barely missed from years ago. Too painful.

So how cool is this, to have this time of my life to be able to focus on this gift and be able to spread it around? I didn’t realize it at first. I thought personal training just might be just another passing fancy. Of my many. Bonus: all the things I’m learning pertain to me. Today. Wrap it up, I’ll take it.

Diet and exercise has always been a passion of mine as well as a life saver. Why not roll it all up and pay it forward?

So, how can I help?


War Memorializing

“Did I ever tell you the time…

I keep meeting these vets. The Vietnam era variety. While at the gym this afternoon, I noticed a little lady with her chart, struggling her way through her exercises with her husband in tow. He showed no interest in exercise at all, but he was tinkering around in his street clothes trying to kill some time.

He’d look at a machine, try a few reps then move on. He was in the worst shape you could be in without having a coroner in attendance. But I noticed the hat. The Vietnam Era Veteran hat.

So he’s sitting in the leg press machine getting ready to take a nap, when I approach and say, “Vietnam? What year? I was over there too.” I’ve seen this look before. You see it in Las Vegas from time to time, when the lemons line up. He just grinned.

It seems like it took forever for him to start speaking. It’s called the wind up.

Another rusty boat anchor whose best years are behind him and I happened to touch the one key on his piano that started his captive concert. And start it did. “I’m just a tired old man, licking his wounds from war.” Here we go. He’s eight younger than me.

To me, some vets are like alcoholics, they feel they have to keep treating the disease, to the exclusion of everything else. As is the norm for guys my age, he just rattled on and on, never asking me one thing about my experience. Memorializing to beat the band.

I was physically warmed up for exercise when I stopped to chat, and colder than the shady side of a dead Eskimo when his wife mercifully whisked him away.

This is always a lesson for me. Not just vets, but all older people should just ease up on the memorializing and not begin their sentences with “When I was your age….”  It’s not attractive.

Get over thy self.


The 9 and 3 o’clock rule:

This is an extrapolation of some very valuable driver training I received on a runway in Bryan, Texas in 1996, courtesy of Dupont Pharmaceuticals. It is an “evasive driving techniques” course of the like given to the secret service, bodyguards and chauffeurs of the rich and famous.

The concept here is that the correct position of the hands on the steering wheel should be at 9 and 3 o’clock, so that if you come up on something quickly in the middle of the road, you’re attacked or there’s an attempted hijack, you can evade the situation not by hitting the brake, but by stepping on the gas, twisting your arms quickly to the right or left and then returning to position after you have escaped to another lane at high speed. Pretty heady stuff.

We practiced this from midnight to sun up on a wet down runway at high speeds with large orange barrels as obstacles. Motion sickness was the norm. The back seat, where the drivers-in-waiting sat, was hell, as you can imagine.

Once we got used to hitting the gas in difficult situations instead of the brake, our chances of survival increased. Took a bit. I was happy just to survive the training, thank you very much.

Now, where does the extrapolation come in? On my road of life I have some serious obstacles in the way. They are big, looming and ever-present. I can either panic and hit the brake and try to mitigate the damage, or gun it and hope another lane of opportunity is open. I’m thinking….balls to the wall! You?

The Vietnam Error

I wasn’t going to go off on this subject given its sensitivity and nature, but today was a little more than I could take. I brought my car in for service this morning and took a seat in the waiting area of the dealership.

Most places I go, I’ll sometimes spot a guy who looks around my age with a baseball hat with gold braids or markings usually accompanied with the theater of operation, dates, ship names, buttons, battalions, brigades, VFW and DAV affiliations. Reminders.

I swear this is the umpteenth guy I’ve met over the last year that’s on anywhere from 60 to 100% government disability. With no discernible physical challenges. Some look to be pretty fit. Are they mental? Probably no more than I am.

You get talking to them and it all comes rolling out in a bragging manner. They ask “how much you gettin’?” When I say nothing, they start lecturing me about how much I’m leaving on the table. “Tell ’em this, tell ’em that.”

Some of these guys weren’t even in the goddam war. Some never touched that soil. They were in during the “era”. All you need to submit a claim. The government also has some responsibility here. Government guilt? Who knows?

I would leave well enough alone but they’re so adamant about it. Like in all this civilized society you’ve got your “loser think” mentality. Yeah, some of these guys are messed up but some could have done it to themselves. Way after the fact. The guy I met today was half in the wrapper at 10 am.

I’m not talking about the guys who need it, Lord knows, there are plenty of them. God bless ’em. It’s these Section 8 cases that keep dirtying up a good system.

To them, war was just the excuse to drop out and keep sucking that teat until the milk runs out. I was there in the thick of it and never thought about getting a second helping from the government. I turned in my training wheels and got on with my life.

I got a very nice college education from the G.I. Bill, thank you very much, and I have health care from the VA if I need it. What a blessing!

And don’t keep reminding me about all the stuff I’m leaving on the table. What I left on the table, was some friends and loved ones who never came home. Get a job.

A Position of Strength

Join the resistance.

It’s 5:30 am. The door to the 24 hour access gym buzzes, then clicks to open for the harried housewife, mother, student, secretary, dog groomer or real estate agent sans make-up. Upon entering, they inevitably turn left. Always. Left is where the aerobic section lay in wait.

The endless assortment of treadmills, bicycles, ellipticals and rowing machines line up against the wall with the usual barrage of TV screens facing down on them.

The routine is the usual steady state, punch it in, check e-mail, text the babysitter, remind the husband and chat up your neighbor on the next contraption. Same thing, different day.

The male, “doctor’s orders” group follows almost the same ritual. Get on, do thirty, grab the crossword at the front desk and tell your wife about the 90 minutes you spent at the gym. I see it all the time.

Enter the resistance. What these folks are leaving on the table is the resistance training that will strengthen their bones and ligaments and save them from a life time of pain and possible infirmity.

Resistance grows bone. Period. A huge factor in preventing osteoporosis and bone loss. Use it or lose it applies here. You need to strengthen more than your resolve.

At my perch in front of the Ayer Town Hall, I see folks who can’t be more than 50, being helped into cars, taking a full five minutes to cross the street, having difficulty getting up the Town Hall stairs and even trying to open a door while maintaining a walker. Sad.

You see people waving to someone and when the hand stops moving, the back of the arm is still going. “The wave” is every where. Hard to watch.

You just have to weight.

The takeaway here is, if you are going to make the effort to get to a gym or follow an exercise plan, don’t leave the most critical component to your overall health on the table. Your body needs that resistance or else you wouldn’t have been born with all that muscle and bone.

We think we can flop around for a half hour on some Life Fitness machine and meet all the requirements of our owner’s manual but it doesn’t work that way.

Feet, don’t fail me now.

While ellipticals and stationary bikes provide cardiorespiratory benefit, your feet still need weight bearing exercises to resist the ground in the form of walking, climbing stairs, group aerobics, running or jogging.

If you are retired, or heading that way, I’m betting you don’t want to get into that doctor-hospital-home loop so many of today’s seniors are stuck in. It’s not what you signed up for.

A generation ago,  this would be a reality and greeted with acceptance. Not so, today. Resist ye, at all costs. 🙂

Come from a position of strength. Always.

Bob O’Hearn


Fish sticks

Nothing brings you around quicker than seeing your name on a death certificate. I stumbled upon my father’s while pulling things together for my upcoming move out west. Robert Sr., to whom I am his junior, passed away in March, 1977.  He was 57. Sobering in every sense of the word.

I had two strong emotions when I read it again: How much I missed him and the sad, difficult, brevity of his life.

My immediate difficulties pale in comparison. I will now, instead of shrinking from my challenges, embrace them. Every big watershed moment in my life has yielded enormous gifts, though I didn’t recognize them until after they passed.

I remember frying fish sticks in a mess hall at Fort Carson, Colorado for 700 troops. Mind numbing. The mess sergeant approached me to give me a heads up about an upcoming levy for a large order of warm bodies to do a year in a moist, sunny climate. Vietnam. I thought to myself, so this is how my life’s going to end?

The sarge liked me and wanted me to stay where I was for a while. He said, “Kid, if I can get your name pulled off that list, would you want to stay here and work for me? Of course. Who wants to die? Then he left for headquarters to work his magic.

While he was gone, I kept looking at those fish sticks floating around in the grease. Is this it? Am I gonna spend my whole two years standing over a Fryolator? This would be like going to a famous steak house and ordering a grilled cheese sandwich.

My yin started going at my yang. Should I stop him? What are you nuts? Don’t you remember Morley Safer standing in front of that burning hooch with women and children screaming? Remember the gun shots, rockets and mortar rounds driving the CBS Evening News’ ratings up and scaring the shit out of your poor mother in the bargain?

We’ll have none of that, Bobby Boy. Now, keep flipping those fish sticks. Who in the world would knowingly volunteer for a tour of hell? Besides, if Nora found out I volunteered, there would be hell to pay.

He was gone about an hour. Just when I had reconciled myself to weekends in Denver, he gave me the bad news. I was gone. Nothing he could do. Well then, it was settled. Now it wasn’t my decision.

The die was cast. Time to gear up for the new adventure. And an adventure it was, Cecil B. Demille couldn’t have made that movie up. Grew me up in a hurry. For my parents, it was 365 days of white knuckles and slowly disseminated  information. Hell.

This is my back pocket story. I keep it next to my father’s death certificate to remind me to Carpe diem my ass off. Every goddam diem. Thanks, Dad.

Bob O’Hearn

Getting our skit together!

Skits used to be the preferred way to showcase product knowledge and presentation skills at sales meetings in Dupont Radiopharmaceuticals. We buried that technique deep in the foggy bottom of history in 1992.

Being cursed with a ribald sense of humor and no filter, I was my team’s unwitting agent provocateur for the skit’s demise. Skits were an awkward and mostly embarrassing method of limiting someone’s career. For me, it was rote.

The scenario we cooked up was “Cardiolite On Trial”. This was, after all, the big Cardiolite launch meeting and they were spending huge bucks to make sure we knew our stuff. Traveling us to Kona, Hawaii, with separate rooms, food to die for and a huge celebration at the end, they were hoping to recoup their investment. They did. In spades.

Rehearsals commenced in Mike Komosinski’s room that morning and it got nasty from the git-go. It never rose above the sixth grade. Debbie Elliot was the only one who raised concern. Our only voice of reason. We didn’t listen.

My thinking was, hey, these guys have been around a while, they would know if we were going to break the HR code of decency. I would be wrong.

Once rehearsals ended, we took our wobbly creation to the designated platform. No one anticipated the jitters, the enormous sound stage, the lights, the cameras, all those people and of course, our executive audience. I did. This was old school for me. After all, I used to make a fool of myself for a living. No stranger, I.

As we were being miked up, I had a bad feeling. Such intuition was how I had survived until then. Again, I didn’t listen.

Once on stage, were were blinded by the lights and mercifully couldn’t see the audience or our boss, Sully, trying to hang himself with his lei. We used every elementary play on words we could lay hold of, Berman became sperm-man and on and on.

William Kennedy Smith was on trial then and we mimicked a lot of that salty testimony. I was dressed as the judge and for the most part, in charge of the proceedings.

The live, unintended improvisations were what really cooked us. Once I sensed we were running out of steam, I ended the mess with, “Have you ever had a camera go down on you?” Signed, sealed, delivered. I was done.

I knew. One foot off the stage and I knew. No matter who else I shared the lights with, it was gonna be O’Hearn. Again. “Why isn’t he still on the dock, where he belongs?”

It was 5:00 o’clock when I reached my room with echoes of Ken Kasses’ high pitched laugh bouncing around in my ear drums. Was he laughing because he thought it was funny? Or was he laughing because I had just imploded my still shaky career? Guilty minds have no limits.

By 6:00 pm there was no living with me. There was a big party scheduled on the beach that night with live music, food and spirits. I pulled myself together and made my way to the beach.

It was huge. Big torches lit up the night, the band was playing “Tulsa Time” and festivities were in full swing. I started to sore-thumb my way through the crowd.

Like paranoia off a weed high, the trek was other worldly. I was coming out of my body. Crowds would suddenly part like the red sea. Nobody had to look, it seemed they could just sense me and move aside.

Peter Card sidled up to me and looking off towards the water muffled “That was the funniest fucking thing I’ve ever seen” and disintegrated into the crowd.

Years later, when we had meetings with spouses, I would be introduced to significant others as “This is the guy I was telling you about. He ended the skits in our company. Forever”. I’ll never live it down.


Bob O’Hearn

Seems like a good idea, no?.

“Hey, I have a great idea. Why don’t we all meet up at my house and we can alter our consciousness. We can get silly, interrupt each other, turn the music up so loud the cops will come, I can misunderstand you, you can misunderstand me, I can say some things I will never be able to take back, you’ll probably bust up all my furniture, I can put you in the hospital, you can insult my wife, I can wake up with yours, you can bring me to court, your kids will stop talking to mine, my neighbors will stop talking to me and on and on….whaddya say? Friday at eight?”


It’s not even worth mentioning anymore. But I will. We have been slouching toward distraction for years. The zombie parade continues to get worse. People are traversing the landscape with their faces firmly locked into their gadgets of choice. Maddening.

On these beautiful mornings, I see young mothers introducing their newborns to the world while never looking down at their gift. They are Face-timing, texting and gabbing away to beat the band. I see couples taking in the beauty of the Nashua Rail Trail holding hands while listening to music on separate headphones. ??

In the gym yesterday after noon, there was just me and this other guy. He didn’t notice when I came in, and he never saw me leave.

I used to take someone that worked for me out to dinner. He would immediately turn into a potted plant once we were seated. He never looked up. That used to bother me. On a seven hour drive to New Jersey together, I didn’t even know he was in the vehicle. I’m not angry anymore, just sad.

The ubiquitous phone. Hate to generalize, but it appears our tattoo splattered, out of shape, out of attention, out of the loop, society is sleep walking themselves into extinction.

We have become a complacent, distracted bunch. Strike that, you have, not me. I will have none of it. If I didn’t have my driver’s license inserted into the back of my phone, I wouldn’t  bother taking it outside. The big reason is I would need to be identified in case I get run down by a texting driver. Mandatory to think about those things now.

Now we have sleeptexting, brought to you by the makers of Ambien. What’s next?

Bob O’Hearn

Jay Street

No one ever took Mike Messina for a Rhodes Scholar. Let’s get the understatements out of the way. When it came to brains, he never paid his light bill. What he did to the English language was nothing short of murder and if bullshit was electricity, he would be Con Edison. But he had his ways. If he couldn’t fight you, he would wear you down. His name should have been Mike Machiavelli.

For us, in the early ’60’s, there was never any relaxation of the dress code. What you wore on any given day or night could move you up or down in the Davis Sq. pecking order. Such was the seriousness of the “clothes made the man” code we lived by.

Hair. Hair was all consuming. Back then you could actually attain follicular sainthood and be described as “the guy with the good hair.” You didn’t even need a name.

The introduction of permanent press clothing kicked up another level of stress. Permanent press back then wasn’t what it is today. One double crease in your pants and it was over. Double creased for life. You would have to go out and steal another pair. I remember when my brother John was ironing his iridescent, high water, wish I was James Brown, shit kickers.

There could be no TV, no radio, no talking (on the whole street) as he ironed with the efficiency of an ATF agent defusing a bomb. He would even attempt to get the dry cleaner to sign a waiver to press his pants. He threw John out.

So back to that sneaky bastard, Mike. Every night that counted, Thursday, Friday or Saturday, (Thursday was pay night.) the plan was always to meet at Mike’s house on Jay Street. It was a cramped, steamy, Italian, third floor tenement.

The mother was always so nice in her broken English but it was always hot up there, even in the winter. Summers? Ugh! The only attraction to us at the time was maybe we could catch his older sister Anna in some form of undress before she went out with Eddie Faulkner. Worth the wait, believe me.

Once, when “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” came on, Anna went hysterical and her house coat flew open. I almost caught a touch of the vapors on that one. Seared into my memory. She would have so many rollers in her hair she could pick up WMEX. But it in no way, detracted from her fiery Italian beauty. Mannaggia!

On those hot summer nights we would have to sit there while Mike dawdled…and dawdled…and dawdled. By the time he was ready, it was almost time for us to come home again. Before long, we all looked like we got hit with a fire hose. Our clothes were soaked, our hair (think Vaseline and sweat) was down over our eyes.

I remember Stevie Wonder’s “Fingertips” wafting through the air on those muggy summer nights. And I remember Mike, always fresh as a daisy, as we walked beside him back up Jay Street like his rumpled, disheveled flunkies, our eyes watering from the gallons of Canoe he hosed himself with, while we withered in the night.

Got to give him credit though, that bastard, he knew how to even up the competition. So Mike, if you are somewhere and someone is reading this to you, I would just like to say, Ba-fungoo!

But please, say hello to Anna for me. 🙂

Bob O’Hearn

I Have A Write To Be Wrong


This business of business. Seems what accounts for it is in the eye of the beholder. This piece is sparked by a digital click on the chin I received from an estranged sister-in-law on LinkedIn. Why she should choose to chime in and possibly exacerbate an already fragile legal/domestic situation is beyond me. It numbs the mind but I guess you would have to know her.

Never one to be able to hold her powder or her liquor, I can only surmise she was sitting at the corner of the bar when she punched in the attack on her phone. Seems what I posit doesn’t pass her smell test but I suspect other motives at play as well. Her talent at room-clearing is legend. I’m grateful she brought it up though, so I can address it.

LinkedIn does not have a legal controlling authority. (Thanks, Al ) It is left up to the participants to police up would-be offenders. Who is deemed an offender and who is not, is up to the LinkedIn hall monitors. Methinks LinkedIn is shirking a responsibility here.

This is where it gets muddy. Just because a submission doesn’t specifically mention a merger, an acquisition or an FDA approval, it doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant. When I write a piece about health, exercise, vanity, mental toughness, sales serendipity, some legal or existential conundrum, it is business. Life is business. This country is business. B-U-S-I-N-E-S-S. You cannot separate the professional from the personal.

When I finish a blog I have the option to direct it anywhere, Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter. Or all of the above. Like a kid flying a kite, I like to see how high it flies. Who knows? 🙂

I have found that opportunity can come from any where. Do I expect work from it? Maybe. Does no one see I am hawking my creativity? Will no one look at a piece for its cleverness and insight? Is that not a viable commodity in today’s myopic slave market?

I went through this whole charade in Big Pharma. They crave creativity and when you serve it up they want the Cliff-Notes. Like Diogenes looking for an honest man, I can only hope some business leader can see my worth through my life experience and self-motivated communications.

At this stage of my life you can fit my resume on the back of a baseball card. The only thing I choose to offer today is my subjective creativity. You can have all the latest state-of-the-art equipment and resources, but if you don’t have that intangible, you ain’t going’ nowhere. In my role as a creative consultant over the years, I’ve walked many a drunk away from the edge.

So, who knows? Maybe someone will have a moment of clarity and want to have me hang around outside that box they’re always talking about. To my critic(s) I would only say, get some help. I did.

Bob O’Hearn


The Reconnected Disconnection

I dated a young lady in the late eighties named Melissa. She was 24 years my junior. To say it was awkward is an understatement. While she was instigating our relationship, I really wasn’t catching on. When I realized what was happening, I went along. But it was extremely awkward, every moment of it.

Conversations could get maddening. She had no earthly experience of any romantic nature. Read into that what you will. We had a lot of good times but I could never see a future. I never saw a future with anyone.

When she would sit in my kitchen while I cooked, it felt like a visit from my niece. As a matter of fact, my nephew Tommy would fall all over himself when she came over. She was as attractive as she was naive.

But something was missing.

Meanwhile, the guys at work were always hot on her trail. Not interested. I was confused. These guys were good looking, well built and certainly had more in common with her than I did. Still not interested.

Anyway, she still came over my house three or four nights a week after work. I remember her father having a serious problem with me being on the scene. He should have, I was older than him.

I have no earthly idea how we hung on. A couple of years passed and I finally got the nod to move to Arizona as a sales rep.

Our still-awkward relationship disintegrated. Completely. I never thought twice about it and moved on. Like a chapter missing out of a book.

I looked her up on Facebook a few days ago and saw a picture of her and her wife celebrating their five year anniversary. Ya never know.