The Good Old Days

There’s a time in each of our lives we look back upon often. We remember those times as the happiest of our lives. We reminisce about all the good times we had while vaguely recalling anything bad that may have happened.

The good ol’ days.

Those days for me are my freshman and sophomore years in high school. I had attended two different schools in 6th grade, and then again in 8th grade. Entering my freshman year of high school, I was determined not to make any friends because I knew we would just move again and I would lose them all. I became good at alienating people.

Halfway through my freshman year a new kid showed up in class. His name was Lee and we hit it off immediately. As a bonus, he lived with his grandparents about a mile away from our house which, out in the country, is practically right next door.

For the next year and a half life was great. Mostly. There were tiffs with my dad. Typical teenage rebelliousness, but I ended up making a lot of friends my sophomore year, when I first began to believe that maybe we wouldn’t move again. I fell in love for the first time my sophomore year. I learned how to drive. I liked my teachers – even the history teacher who scolded us because our “inbred” parents failed to pass a school levy. I skipped school for the first time ever. I had a shop teacher who was missing fingers.

We had an in-ground pool and a 3-acre yard. Many good times were had in the couple of years we lived in that house. Swimming day and night. Hide and seek in the dark. Playing baseball, football, soccer, or golf out in our huge yard. Running for my life when a farmer chased me off his land wielding a shotgun. 

This is a surprisingly accurate depiction of that farmer, except he was older and had gray hair.

I’ve had many dreams take place in the house we lived in there, which leads me to believe my subconscious agrees that those years are the good ol’ days. Last year I counted all of the residences I’ve had throughout my life and I think I came up with 27. Out of those 27 that house is the only one which I dream about.

When I left that house a downward spiral of one hardship to the next began. I went from living in that house to a disheveled, cock-roach infested trailer. I had a step-father who paid the bills by stealing. I attended three more schools during my junior and senior years.  Not long after high school I was emotionally blackmailed into a marriage I wanted no part of. Then I got divorced, remarried, and divorced again. It’s really no wonder why I look back at my first couple of years in high school as the good ol’ days. I had no responsibility. No worries. I had a shitload of friends, and, though I’d already had some tough times life hadn’t yet beaten all hope out of me.

Those days out in the country were the good ol’ days. Carefree and fun.

Post inspired by today’s Daily Prompt

River of Doubt

There is one poem I’ve written that sticks out in my mind as my favorite. It is a poem I wrote nearly 8 years ago.

I had just left the twins’ mother. I was living with my brother in an apartment complex literally right next door to the home my wife and I had shared. On a daily basis I drove by that home and I wondered: How are the twins? Are they okay? How is my decision affecting them? Will they understand? Have I fucked up their lives? Should I go back home?

The guilt of what I had done to my children overwhelmed me at times. In my mind I know that staying in a marriage solely for the sake of your children is ultimately not a good decision. I was miserable with their mother. I was mistreated and abused emotionally, verbally, and, on occasion, physically. I struggled – weighing my need to be away from her with my need to be in their lives at every waking moment. It was the first time I’d really doubted a major decision I had made.

I wrote the poem below as a means to release my struggles. To get my demons out of my head and trap them on paper. I think it helped, to a certain extent. After I finished the poem and reread it I realized I actually liked it. It was the first time I had written something I was actually proud of. It was the first time I thought, “Hey, I might be okay at this writing thing.” I posted it to my MySpace blog (hey, it was 2006) and it was well-received there.

For those reasons, this poem is, and probably always will be, my favorite of all the poetry I’ve ever written. I hope you like it as much as I do.

River of Doubt

3016458-slide-s-2-imperial-stormtroopers-get-a-paint-job-in-this-japanese-nissan-campaign
Nothing’s constant throughout life
Changes come, causing strife
So sure ‘til now of choices made
Doubts creep up, then pervade
My mind at times when I’m not ready
Keeping my thoughts random, unsteady
Sometimes I can’t help but wonder
Did I choose right or did I blunder?
From what depths do these doubts arise?
Do they seek to create my demise?
To ensnare my consciousness, paralyze my mind?
How do I lose this, how can I find
A way to let my confidence thrive?
So I can move on, so I can survive
Without being plagued, without being hampered
With needless worries that lately have tampered
With my life, with my happiness
And violently raised my level of stress
I’m slowly succumbing to a river of doubt
Wandering, desperate to find a way out
Please let it end for the sake of my sanity
And return to me the wisdom and clarity
I held once before these times of confusion
Before I felt the need for seclusion
Hopefully in time this too will alter
Or in the life I’ll certainly falter

*This post was inspired by today’s Daily Prompt.

Journal Entry: September 3, 2514

Journal Entry: September 3, 2514

Exciting news! The Ohio Valley has recently been deemed safe from harmful radiation leftover from the Great Nuclear Holocaust of the early 21st century. We’ve finally been granted permission from the UN to begin sifting through the remains of the once thriving metropolis of Cincinnati.

Image via world3001.wordpress.com

My team and I decided to begin at the far south of the tri-state area and work our way north. We began at what used to be the intersection of I-75 and I-275 loop. The suburban sprawl surrounding the crisscrossing freeways appears to have been a mix of restaurants, businesses, and homes. I began with the remains of a community of townhouses just east of the junction, which is located approximately 20 miles south of the GE plant which took the brunt of the attack.

One particular home stuck out to me. There was one home completely inundated with Star Wars paraphernalia. I discovered many frames with the charred remains of what were once Star Wars posters, completed Star Wars puzzles, and autographed Star Wars art. There were dozens of die-cast replicas from the famed movie franchise. The replicas looked to be in good condition other than the paint being completely scorched by the intense radiation of the blast. No doubt these trinkets will fetch a hefty sum of currency once they’ve been cleaned up and the gunk carefully removed. The skeletal remains of a handful of plastic toys sat perched upon a mountain of soot, like they had been doused in fuel and ignited. The emaciated remains of two bookshelves held the ashes of what must have been over a hundred books. I hypothesize those shelves held nothing but Star Wars books, as what discernible remains I could find were those of Star Wars books.

There were carbonized remains of destroyed electronics throughout the home. There must have been a computer and/or television in every room of the house! That fits with the descriptions we have of nerds in the 21st century. That, and the Star Wars obsession. From what I can gather, this archaic equipment was all networked together somehow to facilitate the sharing of information. I find it fascinating how different life was nearly 500 years ago. It appears everyone had their own private networks and could lock them away behind firewalls, preventing others from accessing their data. Trying that in today’s society would earn you a lifetime prison sentence, obviously.

What really struck me about this particular townhouse, however, were the sheer amount of photos littered about the rubble. Every wall in this home must have been adorned with pictures. Actual physical photographs. Intact pieces of glass were seized inside the disfigured remains of wooden and plastic frames. Most of the salvageable photos were those of children. There were pictures of a set of blond twin boys in various stages of childhood, along with those of a toddler with reddish-brown hair. And stormtroopers. Pictures of stormtroopers everywhere. Someone had an unhealthy obsession with stormtroopers.

I plan on revisiting this home tomorrow for further study. I was quite perplexed by the facilities in these townhouses. It appears there was a network of piping underneath these “civilized” areas which pumped water into these homes. And waste out of them. It’s hard to fathom such barbaric sanitary methods when we take for granted the moisture vaporators (which, ironically, had their roots and ideology in the very first Star Wars motion picture) which are standard in our homes today. Also, it looks like electricity was supplied through a similar structure of wired networks. This is all fascinating, really.

I can’t wait to see what I discover tomorrow!


Inspired by today’s Daily Prompt.

Why I Like Back to School (It has nothing to do with the kids)

When I was a child, I hated fall. Mostly because it meant going back to school. It meant an end to the carefree days of doing whatever the hell I wanted. An end to staying up as late as I wanted and sleeping in as late as I could. No more frolicking in the woods climbing trees or playing baseball in the backyard. No more all-nighters playing Tecmo Bowl on the Nintendo. No more running through the custom-built sprinkler my dad made for us from spare PVC pipes he had lying around in his workshop. No more fun.

Gameplay of Tecmo Super Bowl
Best. Football game. Ever. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hated school because it bored me. I’m impatient. Explain something to me once and normally I’ve got a handle on it. Droning on about the same thing for 50 minutes drove me bonkers. Having to go home and continue to do schoolwork maddened me. When I got home from school I wanted to fly out through our back door and play. Toss the baseball. Kick the soccer ball. Ride my bike. Shoot some hoops. Play on the leviathan mountain of dirt that the builders had amassed from digging holes in which to build new houses. I wanted to be a freakin’ kid.

Were it not for homework, I’d have been a straight A student. My proclivity for eschewing homework earned me some very shameful grades in school. I had no problem doing schoolwork…at school. Once I was home, however…fuck that. To be quite honest, I still feel the same way. Kids don’t have enough time to be kids. Learning is important, I know, but so is having time to play and let your imagination run wild.

Anyhoo…

These days I look forward to the start of school. It has nothing to do with getting the kids out of my house. I work so I’m not stuck at home with them all day. I look forward to it more because of the season. As I’ve grown older my feelings towards summer have changed. I loathe heat. I hate to sweat. I have allergies. I hate allergies. Spring and summer are the worst seasons for allergies. Autumn is when all those allergenic plants begin to go back into hibernation. The weather cools, meaning I can start eating warm weather food again. Hot chocolate. Chileh! And, most importantly, football is back. NCAA. NFL. Touchdowns. Big hits. Diving catches. Broken tackles. Ankle-breaking juke moves. Football is the one sport I still love to watch.

Going back to school still brings some headaches, though. I no longer attend school, obviously, but my children do (again, obviously). That means clothes shopping. New shoes. School supplies. Filling out an entire tree’s worth of paperwork with information the school already fucking has. The evening after their first day of school my right hand is useless by the end of the night (I hear you snickering, you sick bastards…it’s not because of that). I have twins so I’m filling out packets and packets of information in duplicate. I type everything these days so when I have to actually write (with a pen! how archaic!) my hand cramps up something fierce.

Back to school? I love it. Just not for the reasons most parents do. Bring on the cold weather.


Post inspired by today’s Daily Prompt.

HK-47
Query: Do you like back to school, meatbag?

Sinking Stones

After I wrote last night’s post, I clicked on the playlist YouTube suggested for the song. After Words As Weapons finished playing, This Is The Time (by Nothing More) came on. I had never heard of the band or the song, but I was immediately captivated by it. The energy. The intensity. The lyrics. The powerful imagery of the video. I’ve probably listened to the song 20 times already.

When today’s Daily Prompt popped in my mailbox (‘ello, mate), and asked for me to write a post using the first line of the last song I had heard, well…that just gave me another excuse to listen to this song again. So thank you for that, DP. Challenge accepted.

When did we become
These sinking stones
Soulless piles
Of flesh and bones

Tossed to the water
Skipping along
I come to a halt
Everything’s wrong

I break the plane
Plunge quickly below
Darker and colder
My death to bestow

The pressure is rising
While slowly I sink
I face the depths below
With nary a blink

Absolute darkness
Watery grave
Eternally damned
Can I be saved?

My Medicine

[Editor’s Note: I’ve actually been contemplating writing a post about this for quite some time and when I saw today’s prompt, I figured now is as good a time as any.  What’s your signature beverage — and how did it achieve that status?]

My relationship with alcohol had always been a casual one…up until a couple of years ago. I drank socially. I’d gather with friends, whether it would be at a bar, a club, or at someone’s house. Drinks would be consumed. Shenanigans had. Memories created. Then it would be another few months before I consumed an alcoholic beverage again.

Two years ago my wife left me. My life spiraled out of control. I was, emotionally, at the lowest point of my life. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. If I tried to eat I became nauseous. I could only keep down liquids, so my diet consisted of coffee, chocolate milk, and alcohol. I turned to alcohol because it was the only way to purge my mind of the clusterfuck of thoughts constantly rampaging through my head.

Why did she leave me?

Who is she with?

Who is she fucking?

How can I get her back?

When I was drunk I didn’t care.

After a couple weeks of this I finally made an appointment with my doctor and he put me on prozac. It took a few days, but I was eventually able to cope without turning to alcohol. It also helped that I was little by little changing my wife’s mind. After a two month separation, we got back together.

In February of 2013 she decided again that she no longer wanted to be married to me. Even though I was on prozac, I still had a bit of trouble handling it. I handled it much better than I did 6 months prior, but I still turned to alcohol to quiet my mind. From then until now, the majority of the days I haven’t had my children I’ve been drunk. It became habitual. There was always some drama happening in my life I didn’t want to face. Whether is was my divorce, problems with women, depression’s demons, or simply missing my children when they weren’t there, I didn’t want to deal with it. I was all drama’d out. I wanted to be, as Pink Floyd would say, comfortably numb.

I was tired of the bullshit. I was tired of feeling like a failure. I was just tired of all the negativity that I somehow seem to gather without even trying.

My drink of choice has always been Southern Comfort. When I was 17 years old my stepfather’s friend came over one night with a super-sized cup of spiked Coke. We got to talking and he told me what he was drinking: SoCo and Coke. He let me try it and holy shit was it good.

Sure, I’ve cheated on SoCo occasionally and drank things like Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Kahlua, or red-headed sluts, but SoCo has been my go to self-medication for the past 20 years. In the last couple of years, actually, my childless nightly rituals involved either Mike’s Harder Lemonade or SoCo and Coke. Mike’s Hard Lemonade isn’t the greatest tasting beverage, but it’s cheap and let’s me get drunk for 5 bucks. You can’t beat that.

Luckily for me, the frequency with which I have my children probably saved me from becoming a full-blown alcoholic. They saved me, and not a one of them is aware of this. Hell, I wasn’t aware of this until recently. I knew I was probably drinking a little too often, but I figured once or twice a week wasn’t really a problem.

Last week, though, it finally hit me that it’s becoming a problem. I had 20 bucks to my name and my gas tank was on empty. I had a very shitty day and really wanted a drink to calm myself down. With 20 bucks, though, I couldn’t get gas AND get alcohol. I had resigned myself to just being stressed out all night when I remembered that my Midas credit card can be used at Mobile/Exxon gas stations to purchase gas.

So I searched the internet to find the closest Mobile station, used the card to get gas, and used 5 bucks of my remaining cash to get enough Mike’s Harder Lemonade to make me forget about the shitty day I’d just had. Well, enough to at least make me not care about the shitty day I’d just had.

It occurred to me even while I was doing this that my behavior was just a bit pathetic. And sad. But I didn’t care. I did it anyway. I needed the escape from the pain I was feeling. I had it. I got drunk and ended up playing with the new pop gun my dad had gotten Baby C the day before, which by itself is kinda funny, but extremely sad in the larger scheme of things.

I haven’t had a drink since.

A week and half isn’t a whole lot of time to say I haven’t had a drink, but considering the frequency with which I have been drinking the past couple of years it’s something to feel good about. I’m not going to quit drinking altogether, because I enjoy feeling drunk, but I am going to try to find different ways to cope with my pain. I want alcohol to be a compliment to my good times, not a crutch for my bad ones.

My late aunt used to refer to Southern Comfort as her medicine. I turned Southern Comfort into my own medicine. It’s time to come off the medication and face the demons from which I’ve been fleeing and I think I’m finally ready to do it.

Take This Job and Shovel It

In an effort to make this here corner of the interwebs a less depressing place I’ve decided to begin participating in the Daily Prompt again. As often as I can, anyhow. They sometimes have some very interesting prompts. Other times it’s, “Why would anyone want to write about that?”

Today, the DP wants to know if I’d keep working if I had bottomless pit full of money. Specifically, they asked:

If money were out of the equation, would you still work? If yes, why, and how much? If not, what would you do with your free time?

Would I still work if I didn’t need the money? Allow me to answer that with some imagery.

Why the hell would I work if I DIDN’T need the money? Hell no I wouldn’t work. I HATE having an alarm clock wake me in the morning. I hate my morning commute. My coworkers drive me fucking insane. The account I’m on is so mismanaged that even Snooki would be scratching her head and asking, “Hey, what the hell are you guys doing over there?”

So what would I do with my free time? I’d sleep in. I’d exercise. I’d write. I’d spend more time with my children, niece, and nephews. I’d play video games. I may even do some cleaning around the house. I’d visit far away friends and family. I’D POTTY TRAIN BABY C!

baby c playing with trains
No thanks, Dad. I’m kinda likin’ this whole diaper thing.

I work because I have to. The strain and drain of the rat race annoys me. Life shouldn’t be centered around our work and careers. It should be centered around our families, friends, and happy memories. Life is meant to be lived, and I don’t feel alive while I’m working.

*Bonus points if you can tell me what movie the title of this post came from.

Magical Rainbow Tunnel

I was startled awake this morning. I had just slapped the snooze button on my alarm clock (because, seriously, who wakes up on the first try?) and was just about back to sleep when a deep voice rattled the room and nearly made me piss my pants.

“AHEM!”

A dark-skinned man stood by my bed, arms crossed and a look of dire disappointment on his face. I couldn’t see his feet, but judging from this man’s posture and expression I would guess that he was impatiently tapping his toes. He was attired like Prince Ali Baba (Aladdin, people. Keep up with me.), except his clothes we sparkling as if they’d been bedazzled. Or glitter-bombed. It’s refreshing to know Michael Jackson’s tailor found work after he passed.

Like this, except the smile was upside down and the clothes were sparkling like a Mr. Clean commercial (Advert, for you crazy Brits.).

“Who the fuck are you and what are you doing in my room?” I asked him crazily. I didn’t mean for it to sound crazy, but I had just been startled awake, there was a strange man in my room (dressed like an Arab prince, no less), and I hadn’t had a single drop of coffee. I wasn’t sure which of these things was the most dire. In fact, I wasn’t entirely sure I wasn’t still asleep and stuck in some bizarre dream.

“I am a genie, but not your typical genie,” the Arabian prince(ss?) responded.

No words were necessary to convey just how skeptical I was of this man’s claim. I felt the pressure on my eyes as my eyebrows sunk as low as they possibly could. My slack jaw was agape. My facial expression was the instant message equivalent of saying “………”.

The self-proclaimed genie continued. “I am a genie, but my wish-granting capability has been severely limited. In fact, I only have one power so I can’t really grant wishes. I’m not even sure why I still refer to myself as a genie.”

“That’s great. Really, it is,” I interrupted. “Let’s get to the part that explains why you’re in my room, waking me up, and dressed like a glitter-bombed Arabian prince.”

“Ha ha,” the “genie” chuckled humorlessly. “Let’s don’t be an asshole, mkay? I’m here to do you a favor.”

“Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. And that favor is?”

“I can build you a magical tunnel that will quickly and secretly connect your home with the location of your choice — anywhere on Earth. Where would you like me to build that tunnel?”

Well, this HAS to be a dream, I thought. This is one of the most asinine things I’ve ever dreamt, too. 

“That’s an awfully odd thing to be able to grant. Especially in this day in age where anywhere on Earth can be reached in a matter of hours.”

“Not like this,” the genie rejoined, a prideful look on his face. “The magical tunnel I create for you will allow you to travel it instantaneously! If your tunnel connects to Myrtle Beach you’re there just like that!” the genie cried while snapping his fingers for emphasis. “It’s like, ‘Beam me up, Scotty!’ So where would you like to go? Vegas? Miami? New York? London? Hawaii?”

I knew this was a dream, but I saw no harm in playing along. The worst thing that could happen is that I woke up. I considered this proposition carefully. Where would I like to go instantaneously? Oklahoma, where one of my best friends resides? England, where another does? Australia, where my BFFFL lives? Myrtle Beach? Disneyland? California? The possibilities were endless! After I thought about it, though, the answer was quite simple.

“Detroit.” I answered.

Ah, Detroit, Pearl of the Orient!,” the genie said in a pitiful imitation of Gex. “Really… DETROIT? Out of all the places in the entire world you could go, you want to go to Detroit on a regular basis? For the love of Robin Williams, WHY?”

“Easy,” I retorted. “The majority of my family lives there and I rarely get to see them. In fact, I haven’t been back in years because I just haven’t had the money to go. Gas is expensive, as are hotels. With your magical tunnel, I can travel there in an instant and come back when I’m finished. No gas or hotel needed. I can save money to go to those other places.”

The genie considered this momentarily. “I see. I think I understand. This decision cannot be undone, though. Are you sure this is where you want your tunnel to lead?”

“Absolutely.”

“Okie dokie. One magical tunnel to Detroit coming right up!”

The genie pulled a wand from his pants. I almost asked what else he kept in there. Or where, precisely, that wand was hiding this entire time. He began waving the wand around erratically while chanting in some language I did not recognize. One of the books on my Star Wars shelf began glowing. As the genie’s chant grew in intensity, so did the glow of my book. Closer inspection revealed that the glowing book was A New Hope, which seemed fitting somehow. The genie’s chants eventually ended, and the glow faded.

“What did you just do to my book?” I asked quizzically.

“That book is the catalyst for your tunnel.” The genie opened the door to my living room closet. “This door normally takes you to the Star Wars universe, yes?”

I nodded.

He closed the door, then pulled the book out about halfway. He then opened the door again. There was a magical, multicolored glow emanating from somewhere inside the closet. He looked at me with a smirk and said, “Follow me.” He then entered the door.

Intrigued, I followed him.


Audience Participation Time!
Where would you build a magical tunnel to?

I Forgive, But Never Forget

“To err is human; to forgive, divine.”
Alexander Pope

There was a time when I was ruthlessly cold and callously unforgiving. In a little black box hidden in the back of my mind I stored the details of every time I’d been wronged. The sin. The offender. The anger. The hate. The belief that I would never do anything like that to another person.

It was the worst during my teenage years. In addition to my normal teenage angst was an unseen layer of anger. Anger at my father for uprooting our family so many times. Anger at my father for marrying a woman who came in to our family with the grace of a wrecking ball. Anger at my mother for settling for an abusive husband who used her for everything he could. Anger at my father for his angry outbursts which he directed at me physically, the most notable of which was ripping a shirt off of my back that had been given to me my best friend I who I left behind when we moved from Atlanta. That shirt had been bought in Jerusalem, where his father owned two successful restaurants, and was left shredded in the aftermath of my father’s rage.

Somewhere along the line I began to let go of my anger. I wasn’t perpetually focused on all my slights, perceived or otherwise. To this day I don’t know if this was a conscious decision or just genetics taking over. Maybe I had gotten tired of being angry all the time and subconsciously decided enough was enough. Maybe my mother’s serene genes finally began to take hold. Maybe I finally realized harboring all that anger within was fruitless and destructive. I don’t know for certain.

Despite being saturated with anger no longer, I still had an unforgiving disposition. All it took was for someone to wrong me once and that was the end. My judgement of you as a person was harsh and merciless. If you lived your life in a way I didn’t approve of, I wouldn’t associate with you. You would be judged.

Of course, I didn’t realize at that time I behaved this way. I didn’t have anyone to point it out to me because I had alienated everyone. It became apparent when Superbitch began getting upset with me because I didn’t like any of her friends. I had judged all but one of them unworthy of my friendship or as people I didn’t want to associate with. I hadn’t met many of them and my opinions had been formed solely by the way she spoke about them. Most of them were promiscuous, and sluts by her own admission. I had a problem with that. I thought it was wrong. I had no respect for them. I guess these opinions were remnants of my religious upbringing, I don’t know. Frankly, she didn’t much like that they slept around either. The worst part of it all is that I never gave them a chance. I judged them on the words of Superbitch alone.

In the aftermath of my initial separation from Superbitch, I fell into unfathomable depths of depression. An episode of manic proportions which I hope to never experience again. I slowly recovered but my depression has been an unstable roller coaster ride since then. In my darkest times I have done the very same things for which I have so brutally judged others. I’ve slept around. I had a one night stand. I’ve hurt people. I’ve done things I swore I would never do. I desperately craved the attention I no longer received. I’m not proud of these things, but in having done them I’ve gained a new perspective. I realized that even the best of us make mistakes or will do things against our better judgement or character given the right (or wrong) circumstances. I’ve learned that there are two sides to every story.

Some people have forgiven me my sins in the past two years, and for that I am immeasurably grateful. Some people have not and they have judged me as I used to judge others. I have been judged harshly and had horrible things said about me. Some of those words cut me deeply and I still bear their bitter scars. My actions surely said otherwise, but I never set out to purposely hurt anyone. I was mired in selfishness and only ever stopped to consider myself, showing no forethought or concern for the feelings of others until it was too late.

Forgive and forget isn’t as simple as it sounds. Situations saturated with infinite shades of gray cannot so easily be reduced to black and white. While I have found a place in my heart to forgive the majority of the people who have wronged me, I cannot bring myself to forget those wrongs and I’m very conscious of them during any future dealings I may have with them. Life is too short to burn every bridge you cross. If you end up burning every bridge you’ll eventually find yourself with nowhere left to go. That is a predicament I hope to never find myself caught in again.

This post was inspired by today’s Daily Prompt.

Don’t Step on a Crack

Editor’s Note: Today is Veteran’s Day here in the US, a day we take the time to thank those brave soldiers who have served in our nation’s fine military and done their parts to preserve our freedom. My father served briefly, and today I take this moment to thank him for his years of service. In the blogging community, I’m aware of two bloggers who have served. Please take a moment to visit BrainRants and Gabriel and thank them for their service and dedication to our great nation. They are both great men, and have seen and done things that would probably have broken me. For that I admire them and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them both for their service. I know my paltry words do no justice to the great deeds they have done, but I don’t know that any words can.


A majority of the most important things we learn in life we learn by the time we’re in kindergarten. Most everything we do from day to day is imbedded into us during those precious early years. How to walk. How to talk. How to feed ourselves. How to dress ourselves. How to tie our shoes. How to treat people. How to use the potty. Manners. I’m sure there are a lot of things that could be added to this list, but they’re things we do on a daily basis without paying much attention to them.

It’s funny how ingrained certain things become from our childhood. Certain things become inherent in us without making any conscious effort to do so. Habitual. Most of these things are important. Some of them are not.

I’ve recently discovered one of those habitual things that is of no importance whatsoever.

Don’t step on a crack or you’ll break your momma’s back.

I’m sure we all remember that game from our childhood. We’d waltz up and down our driveways and sidewalks as children chanting that particular line to ourselves while actively avoiding every single crack in the pavement. Of course, nothing ever happened if we did accidentally step on one of those dangerous cracks, at least to my knowledge. My mom is still alive and isn’t paralyzed so I can only surmise that this game was some sadistic trick played on us unsuspecting and naïve children.

It’s a five-minute walk from the parking lot at work to my office. During these lonesome strolls I find myself staring at the ground as a saunter along half-awake. And I’ve noticed recently that, without any deliberate decision to do so, I deftly sidestep every crack along my path. I’ll shorten my stride. I’ll lengthen it. I’ll angle my foot so the tip of my shoe doesn’t cross paths with one of those malevolent cracks. When I get about halfway to my office I notice I’m doing it, but still cannot make myself stop. The rest of my walk in is then spent pondering why I still avert these cracks and debating whether or not I should write a post about it.

I think the post debate can finally be laid to rest.

It’s amazing sometimes what my mind will hold on to. It puzzles me how I habitually fall into the childhood habit of lithely dodging cracks in the pavement with no mental effort made at all, yet I can often walk into a room and totally forget what the hell I went in there for. Or I’ll get home from the grocery store and realize I forgot to buy milk, something I buy every frickin’ week. Or worse, I’ll remember to buy the milk but leave it in the trunk. The mind is a mysterious enigma. At least, my mind is. I can’t attest to anyone else’s, but some of you guys make me wonder.

It’s all good, though. At least I know no matter how awful my memory becomes that I’ll avoid those dreaded cracks at all costs. Your back is safe, mom.