You look like shit!

Eight jobs in a year. Or should I say, attempts. I needed fast income so I aimed low and was appropriately rewarded. There was Caring.com, Verizon, CVS, United Health Care, Clearlink, Health Plan One. TTEC and I.C.E, International Cruise Excursions. (I’m getting depressed.) At each onboarding, the dress code gets spelled out by someone who is violating it.

Garish and gruesome are the two words that come to mind.

I was at CVS when Halloween went off. I think. I can’t imagine coming to work looking like that and not expecting to offend someone. Green hair, hoodies, sandals with no socks, tight, tight, clothing on fat, fat, people, and jeans that have a mind (and a personality) of their own. The guy with the green pony tail had the same clothes on for my whole 30 days.

Coming from the Mad Men era, it’s a shock to my system. How does anyone expect to be chosen for a leadership position when they can’t manage a facecloth and an iron? I always wonder if management looks the other way because they think it’s all their gonna get. Maybe I’m just old fashioned and I ought to loosen up a bit on my world view.

One day at I.C.E., amidst all the sideways, oversized, baseball caps, the bling, the tattoos, the mindless chatter and the sagging drawers, this well composed, nattily attired, rather serious looking young man made his way through the crowd. The contrast was blinding.

I was stunned. Was he just passing through? Interviewing? I had to investigate. So I followed him outside and into a sister building. Then upstairs and down a long hallway which led to his elegantly spacious corner office.

I think I’ve made my point.

Where’s the decline?

Where’s the decline? I’m experiencing my 73rd year on the planet and I ain’t seeing it. Is it just gonna spring up on me on the way to the bathroom some morning? Or will I just not get up?

As I train myself, I only get better, leaner, harder, more flexible, more resistant and more resilient. Needless to say, more determined. My on is on and keepin’ on.

I’m more like a can in the morning than a can’t. I am present and accounted for…..totally.

Sure my wrinkly, receding and world-wearied grandpa face is still staring back at me in the mirror, but my body has news for me. And it’s good.

This whole transformation isn’t just aesthetics, I haven’t had so much as a sniffle in more than 30 months. I always feel like feeling like it. I’m working with a brand new me.

Hate to say it folks, but these days, I’m a fuckin’ animal.

You Left The Water Runnin’

In September, 1978, I was a busy boy. I opened a restaurant with my partner and cut a sponsored demo tape with my band. At the time, I was drinking heavily, snorting coke and gobbling up pharmaceutical speed. Anything that would move the needle. For me, being horizontal more than four hours was a coma.

Phil was my partner, my friend.

He got his father-in-law to front us the money, and we started the fiscal plunge even before the doors opened. We were stroking though. The place was packed on the weekends because we were sucking the foam off of Fantasia’s beer, their business. Fantasia was a legendary restaurant back then. Phil and I were their chef and sous chef, respectively.

Before.

Phil wanted to be famous and so did I. He, a world renowned chef, and me, an Allman Brother.

Phil had a problem with my band. It was taking too much away from the restaurant and his screaming Sicilian wife, who didn’t care for Irish drunks who snorted that white stuff on her nice new chopping boards. He also didn’t care for some of my more callous band mates. Callous, for sure. And very talented.

So there was some friction.

One night after a gig at the Hofbrau in Brookline, outside of Boston, Phil invited us all back for a real late night breakfast to show he was cool with everything. A nice gesture considering the amount of work he had to put in that night. Without me.

We all show up at 2:00 am. Phil opens the bar and dining room and starts cooking breakfast for everyone. Roadies included. There was manicotti, gnocci, eggs any style, wine, grappa and all those Italian cookies that look like Christmas ornaments. And he wouldn’t let me help. I felt blessed.

At 4:30, it was time to go. Phil was so tired he could hardly stand up. He started drinking the previous morning as I did. Poor guy, he had no pharmaceutical help.

Phil opened the overhead door at the back of the kitchen and told the band to slip out that way.

We went back in the kitchen and stayed cleaning up until almost sunup, talking, laughing ….and drinking.

I was at the bar getting myself one for the road, when I heard him scream. I ran out in the back and saw him standing up past his ankles in dirty water. All the freezers were open and food was missing.

The good stuff, Prime Rib, veal, chicken and steak. There was frozen cow tripe in a big sink and the water had been turned on to gush. After it was plugged.

It was the drummer who did it. A coke dealer from Natick. He stayed behind and left some evil. Not only did he steal the goods, he shut the restaurant down for the whole following day by flooding it.

We almost drank ourselves into alcoholic shock over that. I was inconsolable. I felt like a fool.

Phil said, “Not only did he rob me, he left the water runnin’.”

40 years later my wife divorced me without telling me. Told the judge I was “parts unknown.” She took most of my valuable possessions and she left me with a mountain of IRS and marital debt. Half of which was rightfully hers. I was shocked.

Then she placed a restraining order on me for good measure. Like a thief in the night.

So I would say to her, as Phil might say, “You not only robbed me, you left the water runnin’.”

And it’s still runnin’.

 

 

Missed Opportunities

I am a 72 year old man who lost 45 pounds over two years. After being detoxed from benzodiazepine and alcohol and almost suffering a stroke.

I now have the heart and lungs of an athlete. My cholesterol and blood pressure readings are perfect. I have no arthritis, diabetes, gout, or depression.

I run 5 miles every morning and can bench, squat and jump with high school athletes.

I have tremendous energy, vitality, and sleep like a kid with no prescription help.

I didn’t biohack, fast, or Weight Watch my way into this condition.

Alas, I have no ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting, special powders, enemas, hormones, exotic foods or Foreman grill to thank for my recovery.

Or one of my publicists would be typing this.

If I did, I would be on the talk show circuit promoting my books, TV show and new line of senior workout clothing. Instead of eating less, moving more, using resistance, and stretching.

And to think, I left all that ^%$%$# money on the table. Where did I go wrong?

If things were different..

This is Freddie O’Connor of Union Square, Somerville, Massachusetts. He slid in behind me on the bus leaving the Powder House Draft Board and heading to the Boston Navy Yard induction center. It was Friday, September 16, 1966. It was a beautiful fall morning.

A good day to prepare to surrender your life.

That night we would depart South Station in Pullman cars for the three day slough into Columbia, South Carolina. Fort Jackson. Hell with red clay.

Freddie was a goof, I thought. This fool had kids. What is he doing? As he sat behind me, screaming obscenities out the window and spraying my ears with remnants of last night’s Ripple, he reminded us all more than a hundred times that he was “at the gin mill all night.”

He was loving this shit.

Sunday night, when we arrived at the Fort Jackson depot, Freddie was already drinking Mennen’s after shave and quoting from the Jack Webb movie, “The D.I.”.

That’s when the riot gas went off, the clubs came out, and the decorum departed.

It was the largest draft of the Vietnam war. And Freddie was its most eager conscript. You could hear his froggy bellow up in Charlotte.

The ass end of this train hook up was still blocking crossings in Newark N.J.

Every car was taken out of service at least temporarily, following this unholy pilgrimage. Windows were smashed, seats were yanked out and railroad workers were opting for early retirement.

Freddie went straight to the infirmary.

With a smile on his face.

He fared no better in basic. He was constantly being pulled aside for special punishment.

He had no sock to put in it.

One Sunday afternoon, when we legally weren’t supposed be training, but training anyway, Freddie got this bright idea to go to the movies after chow, instead of back to formation. He told Murphy, Pancoast and me, that we were in our rights under the Geneva Convention.

What a crock.

But we believed him and went to see “Tobruk” at the post theater down the road. What we didn’t know, between the popcorn and the cokes, was that 200 of our “used to be” closest friends were being tortured in the hot South Carolina sun.

Because of us.

The blanket party was scheduled for later that night. We were told to make our amends with Jesus and not to scream. Or it will be worse. They decided later to let us slide. Except for Freddie. I didn’t recognize him the next day.

Poor Freddie and his mouth, it was always getting him into trouble. It wasn’t his mouth that killed him though. It was the Viet Cong. I hear he died a horrible death.

He thought going to war was cool. Kids or no. It’s what a man should be doing.

Miss ya pal, you sure made it interesting.

 

“Ya can’t take it with ya.”

I have a recurring nightmare. In it, I imagine I’m watching “Storage Wars” and I see them enter my defaulted POD in Nashua, New Hampshire for the first time, and start laying my life out on the concrete.

All my musical equipment, my ’71 Les Paul, my Martin D-35, my piano, my Total Gym, my office equipment, my clothes, the dress greens I wore home from Vietnam, my computers, my video equipment, my personal effects, awards, pictures and books.

They pick the stuff up, make insensitive comments, even jokes and throw it to the side. It’s like live looting. It’s unbearable. And they have no idea. And they don’t care.

Those are the nights I run out of the house and into the dark, trying to burn the vision of that debacle out of my head.

I pump down El Camino in my Goodwill sweatsuit trying to imagine what it would be like to have the kind of money that could deliver me from that scene. I did once.

Early this morning, under that bright full moon, I wept into the reality that you really, really, can’t take it with you.

Maybe I won’t need it.

Cheap Bastard

I don’t know what happened to my parents during the depression that made them so averse to anything cheap, stingy, frugal or tight. But averse they were. They came from, and got, very little in this life.

They believed in “always go for your wallet first, never quibble, and don’t get caught dead trying to weasel out of anything”. They would always grit their teeth while sharing their views. Strange, I thought.

My mother’s favorite joke was about a large family at their parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. None of the kids chipped in anything for the celebration and were having a grand old time for themselves at their parent’s expense.

At the appointed time the feted parents took the stage to address the large, adoring audience. The father said he had an announcement, “I just want to tell everyone here that for all these fifty wonderful years, we were never married.”

Shock went through the audience. Then a hush fell. One of the children shot up and said, “You mean we’re all a bunch of bastards?” The mother leaned into the mic and said, “Yes, and a bunch of cheap ones too.”

My mother would roar at that punch line. “Yes, and a bunch of cheap ones too.”

The worse thing in the world my mother could call you was a “cheap bastard.” Strange sentiment from someone who had nothing.

When my marriage was ending there was a lot of selfish, cheap, corner cutting things I could have done because I held the purse strings.

I could have feathered my own nest…..but I couldn’t lower myself to the status of “cheap bastard.”

It’s not the punch, it’s the thought behind it.

I can take a punch. I’ve had practice. I’ve had my lights go out. I’ve had that fucking rainbow come up on the horizon more times than I can remember.

The shots that hurt the most are the ones that have intention. The ones that have hate behind them. I call them “bull droppers” such is the elevation, windage and velocity.

They are well thought out, hateful missiles from hell. When you start to feel your face crack, you feel the love. It hurts so much more with intention.

You can forgive someone who just hauls off in a moment of haste. But someone who’s been loading up…

I got into it one Saturday afternoon with my father in the kitchen. I was 18 and had a belly full of beer. I also had a belly full of him. He was always picking away at someone and I was his favorite.

This afternoon, thanks to Anheuser Busch, he was mine. My brother had given me a bloody nose earlier, (nice house, huh?) and my father told me to quit being a baby and clean it up. I told him to fuck off.

He told me he was going to go in his bedroom for something and when he came back it had better be cleaned up. He loved ultimatums. Being full of bottled balls there was no way.

When he came back he had a door knob in his right fist. Then there was a huge white flash. I thought I was hit by a train. I don’t remember much after that.

I grabbed him in a front headlock, more to keep me from hitting the ground than anything.

I bled all over his back, the kitchen and the back stairs on the way out.

I will never forget that feeling. It must be like getting hitting by a car and not surviving. I never looked at him quite the same way again.

It’s not that I ever thought he didn’t love me, it’s just that I knew if he had to, he would have killed me.

That’s what hurts. More than the punch.

I say all that to say this: I was married to someone once who did a despicable act. To me. It wasn’t an emotional reaction to something I said or did. It was a slow, methodical, cruel, process that took a lot of time, effort and concentration.

She put a lot thought behind it.

That’s what hurts. More than the punch.

In Good Form

Last Thursday, after throwing my lanyard at some under paid security guard and then being summarily escorted off the Verizon site, I felt like having a quick lunch and heading to the gym.

As I backed out onto my driveway, the garage door released and jammed like this. I didn’t want to leave it like that, so I jiggered it so it would close cleanly. After some doing, I took off for the gym to work on my frustrations.

At the gym, I really went at it. Nothing like the grip of cold steel and the smell of gym rats.

The next morning I could hardly get out of bed. My neck, my back, my stomach muscles felt like they were pulled out, twisted and put back in again. I thought I really overdid it at the gym.

That’s a worry because I work out hard. I like to work out hard and I want to keep on working out hard. So I start to fret.

I don’t need some doctor (who doesn’t work out) with his hand on his chin, telling me I have to kick it back a notch because of my age. Grrrrr.

Then it hit me. I always use correct form when I exercise. But I didn’t on the garage door. I was in a hurry and never contemplated the injury from different, unused muscle groups.

Always use good form. Think. Whether you’re taking something out of the oven, the washing machine or the fridge. Think first because you might not remember what it was that injured you.

Then someone might misdiagnose you and give you something to take the edge off.

Don’t ask.

500 Bucks

I need 500 bucks a week to survive. My problem has been looking at companies that pay roughly that. It has been a nightmare. These outfits will grind the life out of anyone that crosses their threshold.

At one outfit, I got a written warning because I lacked the motivation to shame someone into staying on the phone.

They use terms like “adherence”, “quality”, “corrective action” and “walked to the door,” to show they mean business. A car insurance company told me the key to my success would be my ability to tuck a $150 dollar “roadside charge” into each policy without the insured catching on.

Caring.com, CVS Healthcare, Health Plan One, TTEC, United Healthcare and Clearlink are some of the companies I have endured. I quit Verizon last week. That deserves its own book. And maybe a lawsuit.

I am an experienced sales and marketing pro, entrepreneur, video producer, licensed insurance agent, certified personal trainer with certifications in diet, nutrition and senior fitness.

There must be something I can do to brighten your day. I am also a professional chef, as well as a professional musician that could add to your organization. I am a total creative.

Be nice to hear something before I head to the homeless shelter. P.S. I do windows.

Sanctuary


I just sent an e-mail to the Kundala Taoist Sanctuary in Sedona, Arizona to see if they take Medicare.

I have finally come to the realization that my interpersonal skills are so lacking that I should remove myself from the herd.

I laid in bed this morning with vivid memories of all my spectacular romantic failures.

In short: I can’t pick ’em.

I’ve been robbed, maced, abandoned, stranded, diseased, betrayed, tortured and toyed with.

Linda: was a waitress who could jump start a vibrator and roll her own tampons. She actually tried to extol the virtues of anal sex to my mother. My mother never looked at me the same again.

Marie: who is by far, the worst of the worst, who up until this day, I have on a death watch. I’m thinking she could go any time. A great start to 2019 if she cooperates. Hope I’m in the area.

Dana: When she walked in a room, the heat kicked on. In 87 days she set my emotional development back 30 years. When I came back from a hike one morning my neighbor said, “Hey, didn’t you just move? ”

And then, this sneak in the night. A squeaky, mousey liar that waited until I was down, to rob and pillage by using the police, an unconscious court system, and some convenient distance.

This wasn’t even colorful. I hardly got my money’s worth.

And now…oops, hold on, it’s the Sedona sanctuary on line two. Gotta take this….

Verizon Terminus

“Welcome to the gulag” I said, as my badge activated the gate this morning onto Verizon property. I did not have a good feeling. That feeling would prove to be uncannily prescient as I was being escorted off those premises four hours later.

When I arrived, as usual, the trainers were not there. They never come in to prep for the day. We sit around and wait for them to get it together. About 45 minutes. One is an ex-car salesman and the other is an idiot savant. After a week of training, not one of us 25 has any idea what they’re talking about. None.

At 10:00 am, I decide to use the bathroom. When I return only minutes later, the room is empty. I can’t imagine. I ask the guard and he only says they left. All the doors on the whole floor are secure so I don’t know where anyone is.

I go back inside the room to wait. After I empty my pockets out to the guard for the ninth time.

Ten minutes go by and and I’m still sitting alone, so I start to worry I might be missing something important. I put my hand on the door knob to leave when it gets pulled open and a morbidly obese security guard grabs me by the collar and cocks his fist to my face. I’m stunned. He says, “This goddam room is supposed to be empty.” He slightly apologizes and limps away.

Just then, the idiot savant shows up and asks me where the hell I’ve been. I try to explain but she’ll have none of it and takes me to another room where the rest of the group is.

As we’re seated, a Verizon regional director takes the floor and tells us why he’s a snake spirit.

He was up, he was down, he was rolling on the floor. We had to pull our chairs back. Never seen the like of it. Spittle flying everywhere. I was praying for 5:00.

When he gives up the stage, the savant says the other director wants to see me in her office. On the way over she says, “Don’t worry, you’re not in any trouble.” I think, what a stupid thing to say.

A part of me is thinking this director must be aware on some level how bad this training is, and might be looking for some help from someone with corporate experience.

Oh, I would be so wrong.

We have half a dozen passwords that have to be memorized. Nothing can be written down anywhere. When I got locked out, they start talking to me like I’m senile.

I listen very carefully to the words they’re using because I’m a 72 year old, age sensitive, man.

I don’t like what I’m hearing.

When I get over to the other director’s office, I find out they are going to serve me with a corrective action for getting locked out of my system three days ago.

Oh no, they’re not.

I flip out and ask the director if this is a slow day for her. “You have anything else important to do with your time?”

She runs out to get security while I’m still going off on how bad the training is. The savant is still in the room with me, wishing she was back on the ward.

As I’m pulling my lanyard over my head on the way out, I make sure I stop in every office that counts to get a bunch of licks in and to ensure they have a nice, uncomfortable day.

Like I’ve been having all week.

I, of course, will stay with AT&T. There is no Verizon on my horizon.

 

 

Killin’ Floor

When I was playing in blues bands around the Boston area in the 70’s, we had a favorite tune called, “Killin’ Floor”.

The term comes from the Chicago slaughter factories back in the day. When a cow was designated for destruction, it was brought out on to the killing floor. It would just stand there helplessly and wait for the end.

Not a place anyone wants to be.

When my relationship was ending, I needed a little mercy. I wasn’t gonna get it. I felt that lonely, helpless, hopelessness in my bones.

I realized after all of my generosity and trust was expended, I would be left standing naked and vulnerable while someone carelessly dropped the hammer on me.

Leaving me defenseless and up against financial predators and legal buffoons. Life’s a bitch. And has a name.

Right now I’m on the killin’ floor. And I will take care of this business in this life, or the next.

You better hope there ain’t no next.  🙂

 

Unrequited Violence

He passed by on the left. Within a foot of me. I never heard his bike tires. There was no need to pass me that close. He deliberately crossed into my space. I could smell his breath. It was 2:00 am. There was no one else on the planet as I was lost in the usual, “revenge in a small room” scenario I go through nightly.

When I felt him, my heart stopped. Shock. I tingled all over. He wanted to put fear in me. I have enough fear in me.

Then… the rage came. I screamed obscenities as I unhooked my fanny pack and started to run after him. He stopped up ahead and dismounted.

I scaled him against his bike and quickly knew he was bigger. I didn’t care.

I just wanted to pound his flesh.

The closer I got, the better I felt. I’m gonna kill this motherfucker. I need release. For some reason, he thought better of it and mounted up. In my insanity, I thought I could catch him. It was not to be.

As I stood there empty handed, in the middle of that dark lonely road, I dropped my hands and wept. I would get no release this night. I have such rage. I need to get better. I’m not better…yet.

The Gift of Sense of Humor

On August 4, 2017, I crossed into the Phoenix city limits. I had two dogs, three blue containers of clothing and a laptop.

I had enough money for maybe one month’s rent and a whole lot of beans and rice.

My credit score was below sea level and I had a few weeks before creditors started to catch up with me. I was in a La Quinta trying to plan my next move when the phone rang.

It was a lady my buddy Wayne put me in touch with. A property manager. She was out of town at the time but after some conversation and a reference check, she told me how to open the lock box.

She came over a few days later and we had a nice chat. I made that poor woman wet herself laughing. You could hear her out in the street.

We ran out of Kleenex.

She hugged me hard and said she just had a death in the family and was grateful to be able to laugh again. Sometimes, she would call so I could tell her girlfriend a funny story.

I managed a few.

In a few weeks, she wanted me to sign a one year lease. I will never forget that day. She asked me for my social security number so she could check my credit.

I braced.

The noise she made when she saw it made me want to weep. I was John Dillinger on paper. I hung my head and figured I would look into VA Housing.

Not a good thought. Not with dogs.

Then I felt her hand on my shoulder as she handed me a pen. You could see the smile in her eyes. I was in. I rushed home to tell my doggies we had a permanent place to stay.

That lady still comes over for a few laughs every now and then. With a friend, or two. 🙂

 

Track Star: Some gifts come in olive drab.

When I’m running at night, I remember 4:30 am, October 3, 1966. First morning in my new unit. We fell out of renovated barracks and started lighting cigarettes off of each other, not knowing what was about to happen next. We were dressed just like I am here, V-neck t-shirt, fatigue pants and dog tags.

As daylight approached, they moved us up onto the company street. That company being A-4-1, Fort Jackson, South Carolina. We were being groomed for jungle warfare.

Once on the street, four platoons of fifty troops were called to attention. After a sloppy “leeeeft faaaace, forwaaard, haaarch” we started to move awkwardly towards the run down “Drag Ass Hill”.

It was so steep you could almost fall down it. “Drag Ass” got its name for the return portion of the torture. Its name was well deserved.

When “double time” was ordered, chaos quickly ensued. The term “myocardial infarction” was twenty five years from my lexicon, but if I had known what it was then, I would have used it.

My leathery, 19 year old lungs were about to explode. Things were happening to my body that scared me to death. This, was surely the end.

The Viet Cong would never get my skinny, white ass. I thought.

At the one mile mark, a few of us panicked and ran off into the woods. The drill instructors, fully anticipating the move, were in there waiting for us.

Sgt. Sanders, a “muscle head” of a lifer, took particular joy in punching, kicking and berating me, while rubbing my face in the red, Carolina clay.

But anything was better than running back up Drag Ass Hill. In other words, I didn’t feel a thing.

In a few months, I was a lean, mean, fighting machine, My body had responded to the rigors of military life. It had a dramatic effect on me. I started to carry myself as a man, not a confused, aimless kid.

Better yet, I knew how to put the work in. I was, for once, organized, responsible and mature. The change was in.

Nowadays, my torture is completely self-inflicted. I crave the demands on my human movement system. I love every minute of it because…. my ass ain’t draggin’.

Some gifts do come in olive drab.

The House That Jack Built

Back in March, 2017, when I got an attorney, Deidre O’Brien, I filled out an extensive financial statement, then started proceedings to divorce you. Mostly, to induce you to come to the table.

When you received the letter, you acquired Attorney Shauna Finnegan. Then you called me right away. We both met to try and do this amicably.

That afternoon, we were in my apartment drinking Postum and talking rationally. I remember you saying that once we got this behind us, we could become “close” again.  Immediately, I knew what that meant. Oh God, so not you.

After years of intimate unavailability, that was a slap in the face.

From then on, I was on my guard. As you were leaving, you took phone shots of the credit reports I had paid for and then said you had a lot of work to do settling your mother’s estate.

You were also sitting on almost a hundred grand I had given you from the sale of the house. My house, you had no credit, remember?

But after two weeks and three letters to your attorney, you produced no financial statement. What were you hiding? I remember my attorney started berating your attorney. She was getting irritated, calling her a rookie.

You still wouldn’t come around, so I had to cut my lawyer loose. I was just about broke at that time because you wouldn’t help pay any part of our debt. It was all left to me. I was hemorrhaging. Maybe that was your plan all along?

Then you stopped taking my calls or answering my e-mails. Cruelty. You left me to swing.

The last conversation we had, according to my journal, was on Friday, March 17, 2017 at 3:15 pm. I said if your stall tactic was allowed to drag on any longer, I wouldn’t be able to go through with the divorce.

You were not forthcoming. I rattled off all our debt, down to the decimal point and asked if you could help in the short term. Crickets!

Then, in desperation, I said if you give me $11,500 cash, a month’s worth of our bills, I would walk away. Clean. A deal in anyone’s eyes. I just needed some breathing room at that point.

That’s how desperate I was to salvage my credit. Those cards were all in my name. You loved it.

I said, “OK, I’m gonna walk, I don’t care what happens. I’m not gonna grovel.”

It was terrifying to have to go “straight to deadbeat” from a responsible business owner.

The last thing I said to you was, “Be careful here, you may think you’re getting over on me but you haven’t thought of everything.” Then I said it again for effect, “You haven’t thought of everything.”

The last time I heard from you was when you surreptitiously emptied my bank account, then…..you sent the police.

You filed a phony restraining order, restricting my mobility in the area. I couldn’t afford to accidentally bump into you and land in jail. I left for Arizona the next week.

I was also worried about them repossessing my car. Then I would have been stuck in that hole forever.

Six months later, while I was still under that abuse order, you divorced me ex parte, and dumped all our debt on me using “of parts unknown” as my address. As a bonus, you extended that “order of abuse”. Abuse? Never in your life.

Another assault on my character. And you told that bald-faced lie to boot, about my whereabouts.

But you messed up. You texted me during that period to wish the “threat to your safety”, me, a Happy Birthday. You knew where I was all the time. That’s gonna bite you.

I will never let up. Until I die. I won’t forget what you did to me and what you tried to do to me. You must have known deep down this is how I would react. 15 years. Remember?

You gotta be some kind of evil. You must be rotting from the inside out.

You won’t get away,  because….you haven’t thought of everything. 🙂

Early warnings:

I don’t usually besmirch bystanders but I will make an exception in this idiot’s case. In 2003, we had moved back to Massachusetts. I had taken a promotion with BMS and life soon became very hectic. It also became lucrative as my side corporate video business started to take off.

In those days, my wife started to see a therapist every Monday morning. Christine Musello, Psy.D.

I was under the impression that it was family matters. Her family. And that was her business. She was always in some drama with one family member or another, so I thought, “chick stuff”.

Years later, as life started twisting its way around me, I decided I needed to talk to someone. I was having trouble kicking the xanax my doc had prescribed and I couldn’t slow down long enough to give it my full attention. I would soon regret it. That stuff is a bitch.

So at my request, my wife gave me this lady Christine’s phone number and I called. It was only up the street or I might not have gone.

Christine and I sat in a small room with a view of Main Street in Groton and started to get to know each other.

Within a half an hour she started telling me all of the things that were bothering Susan. One of the big problems was ……me! I was shocked.

When I confronted my wife, all she would say is “she’s is so unprofessional!” That was all. Then she stopped seeing her. I’m know I’m no day at the beach but I always thought we were cool. For the most part.

I was always completely transparent when it came to my weaknesses. I am a long time recovering drunk and druggie and there’s no use in trying to sugar coat it. So I don’t.

I was too lost in my own business crap at the time to notice the signs. I was making big money and everything was moving quickly. Too quickly.

I hired her son at 60 grand a year and stepped on the gas. But like Icarus, I flew too close to the sun. Businesses rise and fall like the ocean. I fell.

Would I do it again? Absolutely.

That therapist was a dingbat. What was she thinking? She could have lost her license. We could have sued.

The early signs of treachery and dishonesty were there, though. I think of these things now, of course.

Too late.

 

You Rat!

 

Docket# 17D2609

So you divorced me behind my back. You knew where I was. It was granted on June 15, 2018 and made absolute on September 14. Absolute? You made sure you sat on it for the whole 90 days so I couldn’t defend myself. Then only revealing it to me in October when you wanted off that bank account. You know, the inconvenient bank account the IRS is hitting. For..our...marital..debt.

All the while telling them a bold faced lie that you had no idea where I was. Nice work, you rat. You weren’t ever going to tell me. Ever. Nice.

You do everyone like that? Especially the ones who brought you in and gave you a life you never dreamed possible? Trusted you with all their earthly possessions? Bought you horses, houses, cars and took you out of that grocery store checkout?

When I sold the house I put more cash in your hands than you will ever see again….in your whole life. Then you back up the dump truck of marital debt and dump it all over me. You sneak! Is that how you do people?

Which face are applying make-up to today? That lie is gonna do you in.

You can change your name all you want but it will always spell R-A-T.

 

‘Cherchez la femme’

She’s always up to somethin’…….

This is Susan O’Hearn, my lovely wife. The last message I got from her said we were divorced. She is such a kidder. And a practical joker too. She called the cops on me, ran off with all my furniture, and shut down two of my active bank accounts just for fun. Isn’t she clever?

She is seen here after purchasing an entire Home Depot building just to get a better price on mulch. Never one to pass up a bargain, that one.

Just like Lucille Ball when it comes to money, she’ll always buy the dumbest and most expensive things and then tell me a great big whopper. So cute. And quite the imagination, too.

Now, she probably thinks I’m mad at her for robbing me blind, siccing the feds on me and almost getting me thrown into prison, but I’m not. I’m still crazy about her and want her to come back to me….with my money. 🙂

Maybe she can have a long chat with that nice therapist she was always complaining about me to. Dr. Musello?

So honey, if you are reading this, please come home. All is forgiven, you crazy kid, you.

Love always, Bobo

P.S. Don’t forget the money.

Oh, you big baby!

Yes, you!

In my experience, lawyers and personal trainers are full of shit. Neither one of them will level with you if it doesn’t mean money in their pocket. Lawyers always tell you it’s worse than it seems to get your loot. Likewise, personal trainers can be an embarrassment.

This morning, I saw this female trainer who looks like she’s in her mid-fifties working the floor. Not in great shape. And I hardly ever see her with a client.

When I see her hanging around the front desk, I sometimes think she’s complaining about the lack of work. Another part of me thinks she’s related to the owner.

But I do think it’s great that older trainers get a bite at the apple. For obvious reasons, of course.

This morning, as she’s on a machine next to me, I can’t get the lever on the shoulder press to release so I ask her if she knows what the deal is.

I’ve never met her.

She’s on me like white on rice. She starts criticizing me like I’m a novice. She tells me I shouldn’t use that machine, I’m gonna trash my shoulders and throw myself out of balance.

I say thanks and try to back away.

She’ll have none of it. She reaches out, turns me sideways and tells me to drop my hands, then she pushes her fist into my low back. She stands back and says, “Oh my God, you must have no muscles in your back.”

I know that trick.

We’re drawing a crowd now and that’s just fine with her. She’s got me by my shoulders and is maneuvering me back and forth.

Then she starts rattling off all the rehab she could give me while she’s showing me the error of my ways, when Neal says, “He’s a personal trainer, ya know.”

She says, “Oh,” and walks away.

Like I was sayin’. 🙂

Buyer’s Remorse

In the spring of 2003, I did the unthinkable and took a move back into the “ranch”, the home office in Billerica from Arizona. I did it based on two pieces of critical information provided by Jim Howley: I could live in Groton, a nearby town famous for its “snob zoning” and that “things move very quickly”, due to increased exposure. I would soon be disabused of that notion.

But back then, I was more than willing to expose myself.

In sales, everything thing you do means something. Every sales call, flight, road trip, lunch, e-mail, phone call, team meeting, and even the ability to tell a good joke could fatten your coffers.

My coffers were obese at the time.

Once in-house, everything I did meant exactly nothing. To me, it was senseless. I was totally underwhelmed. Even the air refused to move in 600-2. I would flip a coin in the morning to decide whether I would venture in. Or not.

Back then, you could stop by someone’s office and lose a whole morning. It was a look behind the curtain.

What did I do to myself?

The only marching orders I received from my new boss was, “Don’t get me in trouble.”

We were beyond broke at that point. It was rotten in Groton. The walking around money they gave us was gone quickly and the cost of living bump was a joke. It was terrifying. I had plenty of time to worry about food stamps during those long, senseless meetings.

I remember us holding each other once and crying when we found out customer service wasn’t going to hire her. She had no extensive work history.

One day I left work early to try to run my disillusionment off in the Nagog Woods next to my house. As I was turning onto my driveway, I noticed the outgoing red flag was up on the mail box. I didn’t usually check the mail because I was gone all day.

So I got out of my truck and checked just out of curiosity. It was a $300 check written from our dwindled bank account to an insurance company in Arizona to pay for her son’s car insurance.

Huh? We couldn’t put food on the table. The re-lo was killing us financially. BMS had just passed her over for that customer service job and I was seriously considering resigning and moving back out west.

So I just stood there in the driveway, numb. We had only been married a few years at that point we hadn’t had any major skirmishes.

No one understands a mother’s love better than me. But where was the trust? The communication? Weren’t we in this mess together?

When I get inside, my wife and her mother, who had just come up from New Jersey, were sitting at the kitchen table. In a slow burn, I pay my respects and place the opened, unsent envelope in front of her and then headed upstairs to my office.

My life partner quickly followed me up and we just stood there ….staring at each other. There were no words spoken. No explanations. None were needed.

After that, I did what I shouldn’t have done…looked the other way.

It would come back to haunt me.

Punt!

I could write a book on job interviewing. The last two years has found me sitting across from recruiters, hiring managers, HR specialists and business owners. Shoulda been my therapist.

In financial desperation, I even offered myself to a fat chef in a greasy kitchen only to be insulted about my age. All bets are off in the culinary world. Despite my 40 years of experience and talent in that arena.

Recently, I’ve experienced a strange phenomenon. When the person you are interviewing with, instead of playing “hard to get” as you would expect, starts pitching you. This is never good.

Lift your feet, because it’s gonna start coming in heavy.

When this happens, you can be assured that they can’t keep their help, they pay shitty, and they have a “fly by the seat of your pants” sales process. There is no base salary. None.

Then comes the anecdotal on how much money the schlump out on the broker’s floor made last year. “I mean, if he can do it. C’mon.”

Now your host starts getting animated. In an unhealthy sort of way.

You notice the pitcher has some white stuff around his mouth as he removes his jacket. Shit, he’s digging in.

For a moment, I think if I look at my watch, Chris Farley will flip and come straight for me.

I have been asked to take a drug test…that day, asked if I can start tomorrow, asked for a list of friends and neighbors I can start pitching annuities to, and sometimes, even for upfront money. All in good faith, mind you.

I am so leery now, I usually ask my friends to text me mid-meeting to provide me an emergency out. In case.

Insurance companies, especially running up to enrollment periods, will casually mention how attractive your new co-workers are. Huzza huzza!

They will offer to train you to get your agent license, pay for your test, buy you an elevating desk and even pick you up at your house.

It is, in a word, icky. Your benefactor is now furiously rolling those two steel balls in his left hand as he scribbles furiously on the white board to bring this incredible opportunity to a crescendo. Climax?

His AA starts to clap.

You are almost expecting one of James Brown’s  “Famous Flames” to enter the room and throw a cape on him as he screams “Please, Please, Please.”

Keep your wits about you, but feign a bit of interest so you can at least get out of the building.

No good will come from this hasty muster.

Trust me.

Punt.

 

“It was only business”

Dear Bobo,

I was laying, uh, sitting, around my new condo with my boyfriend last night enjoying this movie when that famous betrayal scene came on. When Salvatore Tessio says, “Tell Mike it was only business” I suddenly realized I should have at least whispered something similar in your ear when I was planting the shiv.

You deserved at least that. Because it was business. In my defense, where would I come up with this kind of booty? Me, a grocery checker? C’mon Bobo, wake up.

I mean, I can’t make a living slinging bullshit stories to the rich ladies at the barn. (Although, it worked on you) I needed an opportunity and you presented it. What’s a girl to do? I didn’t tell you to go into detox that day.

You made it easy to squirrel away your belonging while you were reeling from the mind numbing effects of Seroquel. After they took your belt and shoe laces. Have to say, I never felt so much financial freedom.

You didn’t sense my treachery when I cut you off intimately on Sunday, May 13, 2013, at 2:30 pm? With that flimsy excuse? Boy, you must have been distracted, or loaded.

Now you’re out there shooting that big mouth off and making my new boyfriend look at me funny. For your information, I am not a rat. My new hair color may belie that fact but I resent the implication.

Bobo, you’re screwed, and nothing you can do will unscrew you. But knowing you the way I do, your outrage has given you wings. You love it, you miserable son of a bitch. Admit it.

You always appreciated a good screwing and here it is. Ha!

You’re a vicious Irish bastard, and I have a feeling you will never let up until you torture me into an early grave. Would I be correct in that assumption?

 

(yes)

 

The Perils of Paulina Street

When we last left our hapless hero, he was tied to the railroad tracks. He was almost double-crossed into captivity by his evil ex-partner because of his naivete and lack of judgement in the human character.

It seems the “ratress” had emptied his bank account then called the cops….on him. It was then that our protagonist grabbed his two furry associates and took it on the lam…out west.

Fast forward one year and we find our Monte Christo licking his wounds and plotting his revenge.

Some days, when his mind takes over, his eyes roll back in his head and he drools himself into a trance-like stupor.

He was removed from Fry’s Supermarket recently for head butting a lettuce, stabbing a rutabaga and apparently speaking in tongues.

He seems to forget where he is.

Sometimes he groans himself awake, scaring the shit out of his little dog. Oftentimes at night, he runs miles into the desert so he won’t choke things. Oh, dear.

Recently, his evil past reached out to rub more salt in his never healing wounds. Seems she wants to be removed from the very bank account she used to trick him, then banish him. What?

She just realized that that is the very same Wells Fargo account that the IRS uses to dip its never quenching beak. Every month. Oh no! And they know she’s on it. Double Oh no!

And she’s liable. (Getting a touch of the vapors, here.)

So now, will our hero, knowing what he knows, stop funding the account and let the full might of the government descend on him. On them? Oh, if there’s a God in Heaven, by all means. (That means yes).

Our hero is familiar with incarceration. To be captive. To be locked away. Marginalized. He still misses the C-Rations he endured during the war. Anything has to better than Paulina street.

So tune in next time when we might be live at the Yuma Regional Correctional facility to join our hero to celebrate his pyrrhic victory.

Stay tuned.

Waitin’ For Bob

It’s midnight. I’m awake and refreshed. As usual. Time for the ritual. A four mile round trip run then back to bed. It is 40 degrees different than what I’m used to, so I grab my hoodie out of the closet and my gloves off the dresser. My gloves actually have dust on them. But who dusts their gloves?

The street is quiet, crisp and glorious. The big dipper is straight above. About a mile in I spot something shiny in the middle of El Camino. Upon closer inspection, I see it’s a flashlight…then a water bottle… then, Oh my God, a wheel chair.

I look quickly to my right and there’s a body laying in the gutter. At this point in my run I instinctively know who this is. It’s Al, my 87 year old handicapped war veteran buddy. The one who offers me safe passage every night. It’s him because I see a baseball bat laying beside him. Our protection. I’m thinking I’m gonna have to make that call when I hear, “Hi Bob, I was wonderin’ when you was gonna get here.” He’s alive. Though he sure didn’t look it at first.

Seems he felt frisky tonight and thought he would check his own mail by pushing his wheel chair out to the box. He had to let go of the chair to retrieve his mail and when he did, his only means of support rolled out into the street. He went down quickly. He called his handicapped wife inside and she wanted to call 911. He said, “No, don’t, I’m just gonna wait here for Bob, he’s by here every night.”

He waited for more than two hours.

Now we have to get him up. He’s 250, with no use of his legs and no grip in his big beefy hands. We were up and down like the stock market. I looked like a skinny, outmatched sumo. At one point, I was actually laying in the gutter with him face to face with my arms around him. I haven’t been in that particular position with anyone in years. If you catch my drift.

I finally get behind him, wrap my arms around his chest, and it was up we go. Sort of. I tried to use mostly quads but he couldn’t lock his knees so it’s all me. My back starts screaming. I finally get him up, then up the driveway and safely in. After I gather his water, flashlight and his trusty baseball bat.

After I ensconce him safely, I continue my run starting to fret about my back but relieved that I was able to rescue my friend.

When I get home, the smell of warm cocoa and Icy Hot fills my head as I ready to go back to bed. I finally roll in, tuck Izzy in my armpit and start to feel the gentle pull of sleep.

Before I nod off, I think about what a strange evening it was. And how nice it is to have someone glad to see you.

Sure makes my back feel a whole lot better.

A Piece of Work

It’s 6:30 am. I am returning a couple of 35 pound dumbbells to their rightful place on the mirrored weight rack. I step back. What do we have here?

I see a heavily lined face, evidence of a full and sometimes foolishly lived life, less hair than yesterday, and more sun damage than my dermatologist recommends.

There’s no one around at the moment so I stop to take myself in. At first I can’t believe it. I have on an unforgiving Calvin Klein tank and femur choking shorts. My deltoids are jutting out like east-west  globes connecting my head and neck to my full chest and bulging arms.

The veins in those arms are like a blue garden snakes crawling towards my hands. I look around quickly to make sure no one is catching me in my act.

I launch into a side pose. I don’t have to pull my gut in because I don’t have one. For once in my life, my boobs push past my belly. Naturally.

I don’t have one of those clunky bodybuilder bodies with too much trapezius, a neck the size of a tree trunk, over sized arms and a too wide back. I look more like a fitness model, symmetrical, muscled and lean, which has always been the goal.

I don’t want to look like a goon in a business suit.

In street clothes you would have no idea I ever gripped a bar. The overhead lights and a coat of sweat bring my definition out in bold relief. This deserves more than a selfie, I’m thinking.

I look down at my legs. Ridiculous. They are shaped and ripped and veined from the miles they put in and the heavy stress applied at the squat rack.

What a piece of work.

Then that word flashes across my temporal lobe….elderly. Truth. I am an elderly man with less sand at the top of my hourglass than the bottom.

I’m elderly ….. if the actuarial tables are to be believed.

At 72, I don’t.

 

The Set Up

On July 20, 2017, I receive an e-mail from Wells Fargo. My bank. It said my account was at a zero dollar balance. What? My stomach drops. Has to be a mistake.

I go on line and see more than $200 dollars was spent at Hannaford’s Grocery store in Pepperell.

Hannaford’s? I don’t shop there. Then there was another forty for gas. At this point I am broke, I have no food, no gas and at least a week before my social security hits.

I gave my notice to my landlord two days prior because I am leaving for Arizona on the 28th.

Oh my God!

I can’t figure this out until I see the last 4 of the debit card that was used. It was her. Why would she do this? She knows my situation. She has already refused to pony up on our marital debt. This was almost a year after our split.

I had a lawyer but had to quit because she wouldn’t disclose her financials. The lawyer fees would have wiped me out completely.

Now I’m walking in circles in my cramped little apartment trying to think. I call, I text, she won’t answer. So I drive to her house. I don’t have a key so I don’t go in. I leave a note in her mailbox and one on her back porch then I leave.

The next morning, I am out with my dogs in my apartment parking lot when the police swing in. I had a bad feeling so I rush back to my apartment and hide while they almost beat the door down.

I needed time to think.

I came to find out she filed a restraining order…..on me. I was shocked.

When I saw one of the cops returning to his car from my kitchen window, I took this shot and texted her. She immediately sent it to the cops thinking I had already been served. I would have been jailed on the spot.

I hadn’t been served yet so they couldn’t arrest me.

She didn’t know that.

After I pulled myself together, I went down to the station to turn myself in. That was surreal. Someone you spend all that time with would have you thrown in jail. For nothing.

I immediately send all my video equipment to New York to be sold for pennies on the dollar and start planning to unass the geography.

I left for Arizona as scheduled so I couldn’t defend myself at the hearing. Which I didn’t think she would actually follow through on. But she did.

I never took her to be that crafty. She always ran off of pure emotion and would say the dumbest things when under pressure. She’s still saying dumb things.  🙂

Outliving Your Body

Never thought I’d live this long. So I didn’t prepare for it. I burned through my pension, my savings and most of my physical well being. I thought. But these days I run like a kid, train like an animal and sleep like a baby.

I’m lighter, smarter and quicker on the draw than ever. When asked my age I say, “72, so they tell me.”

My comprehension skills have only gotten better. I’m maxing tests on first attempt that have a 75% fail rate.  Having been voted “worst absentee student” year after year, (when I did show up), I seem to be a Rhodes Scholar now. Inquiring minds would like to know, “what gives?”

My seventies are looking like my best decade ever. I don’t suffer all the petty silliness I endured most of my life. I have real problems, not imaginary ones. I can go to bed relatively angst free after a long day and trust my next day’s intuition to figure things out.

Dash that image in your head of what a septuagenarian is supposed to look like, and like me, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

I owe my present state of existence to physical training, a curious mind and eating right. Simple as that. Increased blood flow helps cognitive skills as well.

I would tell anyone looking into their future that these are valuable and productive years and that you should never outlive your body.

Take care of your contraption because your gonna need it for your very own “70s Show”

 

 

You Cannot Lose With The Stuff I Use

These are my must have productivity tools. They are open and running on my system all day. With these applications you can do anything. From learning, writing, publishing, blogging, web and graphic design, access your content from anywhere and most importantly back your system up. Gone are the days of the big publishing houses, stuffy agents and lame excuses. Click on the links below for more info. Roll ’em, baby.

1. Evernote is an amazing organizational tool. If you love to collect stuff and collaborate with others on the web, this tool could change everything!

2. Carbon Copy Cloner backups are better than ordinary backups. Suppose the unthinkable happens while you’re under deadline to finish a project: your Mac is unresponsive and all you hear is an ominous, repetitive clicking noise coming from its hard drive.

3. Lynda.com is a leading online learning platform that helps anyone learn business, software, technology and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals. … With tutorials in five languages, Lynda.com is a global platform for success.

4. Dropbox brings your files together, in one central place. They’re easy to find and safely synced across all your devices—so you can access them anytime, anywhere.

5. Squarespace empowers people with creative ideas to succeed. This platform empowers millions of people — from individuals and local artists to entrepreneurs shaping the world’s most iconic businesses — to share their stories and create an impactful, stylish, and easy-to-manage online presence.

6. WordPress is open source software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog. It just may be the easiest and most flexible blogging and website content management system (CMS) for beginners.

7. Scrivener is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. … Enter Scrivener: a word processor and project management tool that stays with you from that first, unformed idea all the way through to the final draft.

8. Photoshop is the predominant photo editing and manipulation software on the market. Its uses range from the full-featured editing of large batches of photos to creating intricate digital paintings and drawings that mimic those done by hand.

There ya go, now do somethin’  🙂