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Everyone’s got talent. It’s embedded in our genes. I’m still waiting for my talent to surface and show itself. Now, in my mid-sixties, I hope it happens soon.

Coordination is not my talent. My mind thinks at a different speed than my arms or legs. It’s not that one’s faster or slower, but somehow, the gears aren’t connected. Before our daughter’s wedding, Lillian and I took Arthur Murrey’s twelve-step dancing lessons. The instructors wanted Lillian to sign up for the advanced course. After the eighth night, they asked me to leave.

At the wedding, people said the father-daughter dance was beautiful. Those people were family. They lied. After my eighth lesson, the only dance I could remember was the fox trot. Two steps forward, slow. Begin with your left foot, then fast two steps to the left. After about thirty seconds of spinning Jennifer in a circle, she was about to get sick. She let go and started to clap. A tear came to most people’s eyes. My career as Mikhail Baryshnikov was over.

Those disconnected brain-leg gears were misfiring on all eight cylinders when I was at the Air Force’s Officer Training School years earlier. Somehow, leading a squadron of your fellow cadets in marching drills was a pivotal display of future leadership potential. Leave it to the military to invent some connection between two unrelated actions and believe they added up. Four years earlier, I survived marching drills in basic training as an enlisted recruit by hiding in the middle of my flight. When you’re not good at something and of average height, you learn to hide. FYI: A flight is Air Force speak for an Army platoon. Some say the military went downhill after the Air Force became a separate service. Also, FYI, space cadets are called Guardians. I’m sure marching is a crucial activity.

There I was, leading my flight into battle. The great battle of Lackland AFB. Hup, two, three. Hup, your left, left, left, right left. There we were, going in circles—a death spiral for my career. The drill instructor announced, “I’m going for a smoke. Let me know how Prince Charming does.” “Great job, Sir! The prince swept us off our feet.”FYI: They don’t call drill instructors for Air Force Officer cadets drill instructors. I think we addressed them as, Yes Sir, Den Mother, Sir.”

Somehow, I graduated. By act of Congress, I was a gentleman—two gold bars on my shoulders, hiding my two left feet.

I’ve always had a quick wit. I can come up with the exact wrong thing to say at just the right moment. Unfortunately, my tongue isn’t connected to my brain. My tongue flops around, and sometimes, I say the most useless things. Somehow, the synapsis in my brain leaves my arms, legs, and mouth dangling. At times, my tongue is a big source of trouble. Now in my sixties, Lillian says my ears have dislodged from my brain. A different room, the same room, makes no difference. She says even when I’m looking straight at her, and it seems like I’m paying attention, I smile. Nothing. She repeats louder, getting aggravated. I smile wider. “Open the pod bay door, Hal.” “What a space cadet.” Selective hearing, a floppy tongue, and disconnected arms and legs. For much of my life and at some critical moments, I‘ve been lost in space.

Lillian and I just got back from visiting our grandsons. The oldest one is teaching himself to whistle. He’s learning the piano and has moved up front in the school chorus. He’s nine and full of talent.

Advice: Giving and Getting

You were kind of asking for this one. It’s totally your fault. The world wide web and the blogosphere are full of crackpots giving advice. I’m blogging, and you’re reading. Don’t blame me. Since you asked, here are my thoughts on advice. Both giving it and, Lord forbid, actually taking it. Back in my day. … Read more

Male Grooming and Other Ridiculous Stuff

I’m not talking about the mundane, ordinary, and necessary. I’m talking about the things imposed on us by society and, worse yet, women. Let’s skip brushing your teeth, flossing regularly, and combing your hair. Combing your hair, that is, if you have any. Boys, it’s just us here. Let’s be honest. I’ve talked about some … Read more


Lillian and Aunt Lydia synchronize their watches as they execute the wedding plan You meet someone at age twelve, decide to shack up, and then seventy-five years later, suddenly realize YOU’RE IN A RELATIONSHIP. Am I really going to talk about this? Why not? Previously I’ve stepped on politics, religion, and all sorts of stuff … Read more

The Battle of the Sexes

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The Medical-Industrial Complex

I like medical professionals. I mean, most of them care, work long hours, and, you know, save us from our own recklessness. Doctors, nurses, and techs, the lot of them are just fine. All except for the two registered nurses I saw the other day. They were registered nightmares. Both ladies were in their mid-fifties, … Read more


Fuel or fun? Which is it? In my Overeaters Anonymous support group, one of the members, Charlie (not his real name), said, “I am. Therefore, I eat.” You all know the tune. ‘As we age, our metabolism slows down, and unless we change our lifestyle, we gain weight.’ Knowing that and listening to it are … Read more

Complaining Round 2

Random Gripes: Have you ever noticed how in most cultures, you can’t tell a new mother her child is ugly? Most cultures. I love nature. After all, I was a Boy Scout and everything. I love nature, but why does it have to be so dirty? Daylight savings. Enough said. Better to burst into flames … Read more


Winner of the the Park like a Jerk Award I’m a world-class complainer. I’ve been doing it all my life. I’ve honed my skill like a fine piece of art. Blessed with a quick wit and a dark sense of humor, I always know the wrong thing to say. I can find fault in everything … Read more


Can we talk? As your friend, I thought it would be a good thing to bring this to your attention. You have a problem. A problem that’s only going to get worse. Hey dear, another Amazon package arrived while you were at the mall. Your addiction is like every other person I know. It’s terrible … Read more