412. Unfriended Progenously


You have likely been unfriended before in the FB world, right?  It happens. You get busy with your own self absorption and fail to pour into one of your face book friends’ self absorption.  Maybe you don’t even realize that your 608 FB friend count is now 607. However, when it’s your own flesh and blood daughter, well, it’s pretty noticeable, and devastating. Yes, bloglings, my daughter unfriended me, and if you hang around I will tell you how in excruciating and humiliating detail.

By post 412 you must know that I am a joker, gadfly, comic, teaser, bear poker, a smoker, and a midnight toker. Okay, I’m getting carried away with Steve Miller’s song cycling in my hamster wheel of memorized songs. Wherever that hamster wheel stops, there’s a song to be sung. OOh, oooh, Sunshine Daydream by the Dead comes up on my shuffle. I’ll be right back. You don’t buy coffee; you merely rent it.

Anyway about a year ago, yes almost exactly at this time of pre-holidays, my lovely lawyer daughter sent out a FB post about employers being liable for their party goer guests if they served alcohol and their guests got in some smash up later. Liability is a big scary word to legalists. Now it was very well written and professional as a gold plated fountain pen. However, I failed to distinguish her professional FB account from her personal account when I  responded foolishly, thinking “She’ll get a laugh out of this response.”

I replied to her warning. It was a Friday as I recall… the last Friday for my already blemished dignity.

“Dear Ms. MCHammer,

I read your article with much interest. Now, I am self employed and work on the second floor of my building, up a flight of 15 steps. My legal question for you is this:  If I have a holiday party and get myself drunk, and then if I should fall down my stairs and injure myself, can I then sue myself? Can I be both plaintiff and respondent? How would that work? ”

My real name was attached.

Never hit send, bloggidos, unless you have thoroughly checked out your global liability. Of course, I hit send and chuckled about the anticipated funny response. My daughter is a funny girl, by the way. Oh, but it was not a funny reply I got.

Monday morning she was called in to her boss’s office. The company CEO was on the phone. They asked what the FB message was all about…. “And who, pray tell, is this guy?”

Horrified, she read the message for the first time under their glare, imagining the end of her brief career in law. “Uh, he’s my dad.” Gulp. Shamefully she looked down at her cute suede mauve shoes. They were comfortable and would be kind to her feet as security escorted her off the campus, she thought. Later on, these shoes would give her steps bouncy energy as she walked from interview to interview, hopelessly trying to escape this professional disaster.

Stunned, the two bosses waited for the other one to say something. Finally the big boss said, “It must have been hard for you in high school.”

She laughed out all the nervous energy that had been building up in her organs like steam.

“You have nooooo idea!”

It is a little known scientific fact that many people laugh spontaneously prior to their own executions. Apparently it helps them relax and die peacefully. It’s an autonomic reaction just before one voids his or her bowels.

“Jack, what do you want to do with the message?”

“I don’t know, Jim.” Pause. Smirk. ” Just leave it up. Hell, it is pretty funny. It’ll show we have a sense of humor here at Litigation Nation.”

My daughter sighed a deep sigh of relief. “Oh, thank you. I’m sorry. It will not happen again. I promise….”

“We know because you are going to unfriend him. Block him from any attachment to this company. Disenfranchise this clown. Cut him off….”

“Yes, sir. I will. I was adopted, by the way. We are nothing alike. I’ll bring in my birth certificate and take a DNA swab if you like.”

“That won’t be necessary.”

Later that day I got the upset word from my daughter. Man oh man!!  Have you ever felt like your body is melting away? My feet melted, then my legs, as my stomach dropped to a pig farm in China where, coincidentally, pig stomachs were being harvested on that very day.  Shame, like ice cold formaldehyde pumped through my vascular system, embalming me in that moment, naked in my sin, on display for all to mock in the Norwegian wedge of Antarctica. I felt like I’d killed her dog, which is the best dog ever. It hurt in a hollowed out way, not sharp local pain but all consuming galactic pain that burst out into deep space. I hate to hurt others, but hurting my daughter felt like instant lung cancer. Breathing suddenly hurt, as if shards of glass were in every breath.

Image result for arabian desert pictures

I was exiled. Sent into the desert of social media to wander aimlessly till the end of my useless, shame filled life. Only ghosts and specters, slivers of shattered humanity inhabit that wasteland. Unplugged and unfriended, they hide by day and watch distant fires by night, knowing they may never approach. Modern day millennial lepers. I’m the guy on the left in the picture below.

Never lose hope, my one-humped blog camels. Forgiveness may show up one day like rain in that arid wasteland you are wandering through. It did for me. As I painted my daughter’s house this past month, she asked me how she could ever thank me. I saw an opening and took a shot. “Refriend me on Facebook. That’s all I want. It’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

“That’s all? You know I’m resigning from Litigation Nation in two days, right?”

“Yes, I know. Please reinstate me. I will not be improper ever again.”

“Deal, Daddio.”

Suddenly my leper chrysalis fell away and a forgiven butterfly slipped out to float away on a breeze of mercy, never to fart in the wind again.



191. pushing jello uphill

When I was a middle school teacher, there were times when kids would sit with blank papers in front of them during the time allowed for writing their  little assignments, usually the world famous five paragraph model. “I don’t know what to write” was their typical response to any prompting. I’d say something like, ” Just push your pencil and see what you get. You can always rewrite it later; that’s what editing is about.” Somehow these kids thought that making a mark on paper was equal to opening negotiations with an international extortionist. (Mind you, they had time to brainstorm and outline prior to writing. We did follow a logical  process.) If they left the paper blank, so it seemed to me, then they would not have to edit or rewrite or share with anyone. The case was not that they had nothing to share; nor was it a case of double negatives; rather, they lacked trust and enjoyment in the communication business.  Once the trust hurdle was cleared, we could have some fun with the written word. Sometimes, though, it felt like I was delivering breech babies…”Okay, I’ve got a foot. Pull. NO! That won’t work. It’s Stuck! I need 100 cc’s of vodka, stat!! Uh, that’s for me, Nurse.”  At other times it was more like Caesarean deliveries in a school desk. “Okay, you have a wooooord… is that THE? Now what would be a good word to follow THE? People? Good. Which people? The people around you. Alriiiight.” Whew! chipmunk brain surgery.

Occasionally I need to apply the same push to my own writing. “Just start, Senor Burrito, and you can always edit how you like later”, I tell myself. “Push it”, like Jimi Hendrix playing live, with no thought about the mixing and editing later. Just jam now. (Forget the fact that he was on several hits of acid.) If I approach topics like an obsessive-compulsive safe cracker, I’ll never write anything. It’s not poetry here, bloggeisters; it’s just a brief communion of your mind and mine, as scary and unholy as that may be. I appreciate your courage in investigating the tapestries and caves of my meandering mind. I hope that you find at least one redeemable sentence woven in the tapestry, or one cave painting that intrigues you. After all, I have trusted enough to open the negotiation of communication, knowing full well that there are risks on-line in our sue-happy country.

My attorney daughter cautioned me not to use last names to avoid torts. (I told her I didn’t personally know any torts, then she clarified this is not a slang term for the dull witted…otherwise I would qualify. Rather, it’s the name of  litigations in civil court, aka, lawsuits for money, not to be confused with tortes, flourless cakes in nice restaurants.)  Thus far I’ve only referenced one dead rock legend by last name, so I think I’m safe, though safety is not my goal. But torts are not either, especially since the word comes from the root “tort”, meaning “to twist” from which we get ….. contort, extort, distort, and torture. You get the picture.  These are not happy verbs to experience, I know. Also, I want to assure you that, unlike my hero Jimi, I am not under the influence of any hallucinogenic drugs at the moment. Still, I think it would be prudent if you signed a release of liability at this point, indicating that  reading beyond this sentence implies that you are not damaged or annoyed by the content herein.   Signed___________________________ and dated_____________________. Thank you. And while you are up, would you pass me that buttercream torte on the counter?

I’d hate to live in bubble wrap with a helmet, steel toed boots, an air bag safety vest, a harness, skateboard pads, and a mouth guard just to avoid the risks that come with living. Risk free living is not living, in my book. Every once in a while we have to push our limits, fears, and comfort zones if we are to grow ourselves. If not, we live defensively, doing the same safe things over and over, setting up like thick green Jello in the back of the fridge. I’m not saying that you should go skydiving in the nude over Vegas, but mix it up at home, take a small chance on a regular basis.  Sure, it’s messy making changes. Just ask Chris…uh, the governor of Jersey. When you rip down that 1980’s wallpaper of  ducks and cattails, it’ll be pure chaos for a short while. However, once the new sagebrush blush and tangerine paint go on and you rearrange the lighting and furniture, the ducks and cattails will only be  faint background quacks and meows. This is what I tell myself when I contemplate renovating our finished basement. The temporary trauma will not override the lasting tranquility of calming colors on the walls. I say, “Push against the torts. Out with you, rabid Torts! If you don’t like it, sue me.”Image result for fat folks on treadmills pictures

Push the Jello uphill, Blog Nation. Step it up on the treadmill that is everyday life or be hurled backwards onto the floor of Planet Fatness. Some days it feels like the cholesterol clots are chasing us on the treadmill; they are flying monkeys released by the Wicked Witch who wants our cool running shoes. But press on. Soon I need to give my annual blood work for my doc to take roll of the good and bad cholesterol twins and the evil  triplets, those triglyceride demons. I feel like Alex Rodriguez about to be busted and put on medication probation. I’m pretty sure that the increased diet and decreased exercise regimen that I have been on since October will produce some spoiled fruit in my circulatory system. A pineapple clog, a bushel of triglyceride kiwi, a watermelon-sized aneurysm somewhere. Yup. So I must keep on pushin‘ my jello uphill. I’ll see you at the top of the slop.