Category Archives: New Word


Thanks to my friend Marilyn, I had to add the word ‘staplefortis’ to my editors and dictionaries.

Y’all better hope my dictionary isn’t the only one that survives as a repository for the English language after the next catastrophe. Since I disrespect the alleged sanctity and correctness of language, my dictionaries aren’t standard. I laugh when I scan through some of my nonsense: today, ‘dicktionary’ made me laugh. I also recall laughing when the popup, “Dicktionary added to Dictionary” occurred.

Marilyn’s mirthful dad often implied that a ‘staplefortis’ was a difficult-to-find part of the car under the hood (because imaginary is indeed hard to get your hands on), but I’ve managed to sneak it into several work-related things – and to also use it to connote, “Comedy through mundane goofiness.” When Marilyn first told me about her dad telling people to check the staplefortis under the hood, it evokes some of the madness my own dad enjoyed. His brand wasn’t safe, though. I’ve taken that sense of humor myself, except in my case I would undoubtedly send someone an invoice and bill them for a new staplefortis. If you can get people to buy milk and drink it, anything is possible. (Except buying an actual extended car warranty. If you don’t believe me, call someone and ask if you can buy one. 50-50% change your call will end if you do.)

It was Marilyn’s dad who also popularized ‘keg of buttholes,’ so I’m still waiting to see if the Dept. of The Interior might construct a statue of him to commemorate this fine phrase. I’m impressed how often ‘keg of buttholes’ can dispense both levity and clarity to a description. Especially in official work documents. Did it produce an odor? Yes, like a keg of buttholes might. No one leaves that sentence without a striking mental image.

I hope you keep your staplefortis maintained.

Mundane goofiness can be the most sublime because we can experience it in incremental bits throughout the day. Most of our lives are lived in the in-between moments anyway.

A Lessonless Moment

The fiftyish man stood at the postal kiosk, talking to everyone and no one. His bright orange shirt clung tightly to him. Though he lacked apparent red flags, his monologue with the anonymous interlopers in the queue signaled that something was amiss. He lifted his orange shirt to reveal his exposed stomach, punching himself repeatedly and with force. He told the onlookers that he did several hundred exercises a day to keep himself in shape. Taken ‘as is,’ his boast was comedic.

Because I constantly have a voice in my head, my voice noted the presence of a couple of attractive soccer moms who were ill at ease with his behavior. I observed their reciprocal and careful acknowledgment of what they were witnessing. I nicknamed him “Milftrap” as a nod to his self-confessed physique. As the line continued to move, Milftrap continued his tenuous conversation. The materials in front of him, purportedly the reason for his visit, remained in front of him, untouched.

I left him there, hoping he’d make a connection with someone to satisfy him.

I knew in my deepest heart that someone was terribly wrong, though I could not attach a diagnosis.

Though my nickname for him amused me, the life behind his story left me a bit untethered.

Had I seen only the briefest glimpse of him as he bragged about his physique, I would have departed filled with a bit of comedy and a new catchphrase; as it is, I left with a bit of cloud in my head.


On the ignored advice of my attorney, I hereby confirm that this post is not intended to discriminate. Men are equally capable of dronery. (Another new word of mine, thank you very much.)


Best money for an honest opinion you’ll ever spend. If that sort of thing is important to you. If you have someone in your life who observably finds you appealing, that is the best definition of attractive imaginable.



I’m probably the last person you’d expect to have an opinion about clothing or fashion. My past self was disinterested. Being fat makes much of the concern difficult to navigate. Once upon a time, I loved crazy clothing and vibrant, ridiculous colors. That love has returned.

Now that I look at ‘fashion’ (whatever that is) with a thinner eye, I discovered something I knew before: I am a huge fan of asymmetrical clothing. Shirts, vests, dresses, everything. I don’t remember noting the inclination as strongly before. Maybe there wasn’t as much of it. Maybe it’s me who has changed.

Interestingly, science fiction tends to portray most people in the future as fans of asymmetrical clothing. Don’t get me wrong: normal cut and other clothing is still interesting. But I find myself seeing the odd angles and mismatched materials much more interesting. I guess there is hope for me not getting old yet. In case you’re wondering about the last comment: it is difficult to find new things and enjoy them and feel old simultaneously.




On a personal level, I haven’t lost a lot more weight. I’ve lost some. But I have not jumped on the scale. I’m at a plateau and I’m still okay with that. But do I feel thin? Lord, yes, I do, even though I have a pudge. I’ve yet to lose all sense and dive into unhealthy behavior, at least in regards to eating. I hope I don’t lose this sense of gratefulness to the universe for providing me with this feeling. I’m still convinced terrible consequences were impending without this big weight loss. I’m equally convinced that being significantly thinner is going to keep me smiling, even when other things might not, for quite some time.



Being bilingual sometimes causes awkward laughter. Earlier this month, I invented a better, new word that better expresses what younger people want for Feb. 14th.

“Will you be my valentine?” will now be replaced with the more accurate, “Will you be my sinpantalón?”

¿Quieres ser mi San Valentín? = ¿Quieres ser mi Sinpantalón?



As an educational comment. Many people do not know that a standard 9 volt battery contains six AAAA batteries (now obsolete, of course) linked in a series. Additionally, If you connect two 9 volts to opposite polarity, you create a hand warmer. Also a detonation device if you’re not careful.



In a move best characterized as “ill-advised,” John located his martial arts studio adjacent to an Anger Management Institute franchise.



Just me? “She Talks To Angels” by The Black Crowes summons a strident desire to recommend a competent mental health professional for the protagonist of the song.



Now I understand why I’m obligated to buy expensive toilet paper: the Bible instructs us, “Be fruitful and multi-ply.”





Feb. 11th

Coming over the hill into the long valley, I realized mine was the only car. Ahead, the ground and everything around it was strangely illuminated from winter’s touch. Winter did not bring its worst to us last night, choosing a subtle reminder that certainty eludes us. Far ahead the emerald traffic light burned with a green intensity. Go. Proceed. And I did, though I wanted to linger in the early February morning, as the world slept. On to work I came, as Evermore melodically hypnotized me. Go. Proceed. The emerald light is somewhere out there.



“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may” is great poetry. But evidently a terrible horoscope for the day.



Day after the Super Bowl

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: complaints about the halftime show are proportionally correlated to the likelihood that Centrum Silver is somewhere in the speaker’s medicine cabinet.” – X



The pandemic was a really bad time to start using mustard in the hand sanitizer dispensers. That’s what my manager shoutily told me.6 Comments

(Shoutily is a word because I say it is. You’re welcome.)



If I had a kid, I would name him or her “Mnemonics” so that people would be unable to forget the name without looking foolish.



“‘X, how would you describe his intelligence?””Well, ‘Parts On Order’ adequately covers it.”



Titles don’t impress. Even the monkey closest to the tree trunk is the Branch Manager.



The above picture made me remember Amen Tailor.



The above is to be used when you find yourself irritated that people place ideas over other people.





Shirtless In February

This is obviously not me.

A few times a day, even though it is February, I have a sudden urge to just take my shirt off. Initially, I attributed it only to weight loss. I guess there’s a word for this condition: “Detunicitis.”

It’s important to note that I just made that word up.

When we were young, no one wanted to be ‘skins’ in the horrible PE games that the bored coaches made us engage in. It’s why half the world insists on wearing a shirt in the pool, which makes as much sense as flippers in the bedroom. Except for Gary. He can keep his flippers on, thanks to a condition I can’t publicly discuss. (Gary, you be you, okay?)

While I’m complaining about childhood PE classes, it was kind of sexist that the coaches never made the girls play “shirts” vs. “skins.” Particularly observant guys pointed this out to deaf ears on the part of the coaches. No one ever understood the complex morality of being modest in such matters while encouraging cheerleaders to run around half-naked. There’s a disconnect there, much in the same way that we don’t want anyone to see us in our underwear yet we cavort around poolside wearing less than our imaginations.

But we need a word to describe the sensation that encompasses the moments of realization that we’ve transitioned from obesity to normalcy. Those moments manifest themselves perfectly in those moments at Target where you’re looking at the ketchup selection. And realize that you’ve yanked your shift off.

It’s a real thing.

And, as for the three older ladies at Harps on Thursday, please accept my apology. It only got awkward because they started throwing money at me. Coins. It’s part of the reason that you can’t take your Grandmother stripping.

Anyway, if you see me without a shirt on, just walk past me without comment – even if I’m receiving communion when you notice. If it doesn’t bother the pastor or priest you’ve got no dog in the hunt. (I hate that cliché.)

“f you’ve got smokes, light’em,” so to speak.

I’m struggling to decide if this post is a joke or real. I’ll let you know.
Love, X

The Piper


This post ends with the punchline.

A while back, I wrote about the fact that I would start writing more things that cross people’s lines. For anyone close to me, you already know that I don’t have a problem with cursing or other objectionable language – especially if such language is creative. Everything is context.

It is probable that people who don’t know me well will have a problem with me not having a problem.

The reason this fascinates me is that I’m the same person in that respect I’ve been most of my adult life. Acknowledging that my comfort zone is far wider than other people in no way negates whatever version of me that you hold in your head. One of the great realizations in our lives is to come to understand that each person in our lives has a different version of ‘us’ inside their heads. There is little we can do to alter that version of us.

If you think I’m the kind of person who doesn’t curse, you’re wrong. I adjust my audience accordingly, especially if I know that someone has a problem with coarse language. It’s a delicate balance that requires a bit of ‘squish’ on everyone.

Likewise, my turn of phrase goes directly to the idea of paying for the consequences of our words and actions. The original idiom implies misbehavior or tomfoolery that comes due.

My turn on the old cliché goes a step further. I don’t mind paying the reasonable consequences of something. Paying more than reasonable becomes onerous. From that was born my extrapolation of the phrase to be both humorous and accurate.

Don’t make people pay more than is due for errors, words, or deeds.

“I don’t mind paying the piper. I just don’t want to blow him too.”

If You Can’t Shake The Can, You Can Always Shake The Skillet

“If you can’t shake the can, you can always shake the skillet.” – X

I resurrected this phrase of mine today for someone’s social media post. They referred to J-Lo and Adam Levine’s Super Bowl performance last year, implying that if they looked like J-Lo, they’d be out there shaking their tailfeathers too. It’s a bit ridiculous, given that the people involved are attractive and know how to smile. (Hint: it is the smile and enthusiasm that galvanizes other people’s attention. Turn the smile and enthusiasm toward another person and you have the only successful recipe for convincing someone you are interesting and interested.)

I’d also like to mention that it is a bit weird to think that they’d shake their tailfeathers like J-LO if they were as attractive. It would be the same act, except with the perception of desirability or a feast for the eyes. The act itself? The same. Their claim in some way that’s hard to pinpoint dismisses the observer’s ability to find a wide range of people to be attractive. If you think there is a single standard for beauty, you’re wrong. And if you think that people can’t look at your defects and find something worthwhile, you are doubly wrong. People forget that a defect is not a defect to everyone. Many men find J-Lo’s most notorious physical asset to be unattractive. As for Adam Levine, he is a beautiful man. But there’s a lot about him many women dislike. In both J-Lo’s and Adam’s cases, their wallets are beautiful too – which helps alleviate many of the issues with their appearance. That is exactly what a smile, attentive ear, and other subjective things bring to the table. There is no single standard.

The quote goes directly to the heart of using what you have.

For those with sublime inclinations, it also could be used as a way to say, “Show love through food.” Though food is a necessity that sustains us, anyone who doubts the intimacy of preparing food for someone you love is a fool. It is an expenditure of time and energy, resulting in the simple pleasure of enjoying the food you need to live. It is magic to take a mundane task and add a dose of love and appreciation to it. As you get older, you find yourself wondering if ALL the true moments are hidden in plain sight like this.

The reason I wrote the phrase originally was to remind people that all of us have our peculiar likes, dislikes, fetishes, and inexplicable things that ignite us. Bald? Big nose? Scars? Thin? Heavy? Big hands? Small hands? High voice? Low voice?

No matter what it is, someone appreciates it.

It bothers me when people forget that their familiarity with their own perceived defects blinds them to the fact that someone else might appreciate them – and especially their alleged defects or faults.

You shake the can, or you shake the skillet.

Use what you have. Pivot. Be enthusiastic about the ‘you’ that you bring to the world. That’s worth all the money in the world.

It is in the act of realizing that you bring something to the table that makes love, life, and happiness possible.

No matter who you are, you can shake your can or skillet.


If you show attention and enthusiasm, most defects are rendered invisible.

Stop being in a rush to tell people you’re not attractive to someone – or a lot of people. You have no idea.

It’s Going Fadulous!

This picture amuses me!

“I would lose weight, but I hate losing.” – unknown

Regarding my weight management goals, my body is holding me hostage around 175 lbs. It doesn’t stress me because I expected a plateau. Maybe not at this weight, but it was inevitable. Among the factors at play are insufficient sleep, stress, and my body shifting to defensive mode. I’ve been overweight too long to expect my body to throw in the towel and let me get to my goal weight easily.

So far, I have to say that one of my biggest achievements is that amidst a lot of turmoil and upset, I’ve yet to feel like I’m a victim to my choice to be thinner for the rest of my life. Nothing calamitous has knocked me off course. I am surprised by that, given my history with stress, rough times, and food.

As for continuing to make healthy choices and eat much less, it is still a success. I’m taking the long-term view of the process anyway. Treating food like a heroin addiction helps remind me that I’m not eating healthy for a short-term goal. I’m just finally being the person I should have been my entire adult life.

While I’m getting used to being smaller, I still find ways to surprise myself. I laugh when I catch myself thinking, “Is this how a normal person is supposed to be able to move? What is this bone?” And so on. I don’t want to embarrass anyone, but it’s wildly interesting to be able to touch parts of my body without effort. (I didn’t write that sexually, although I am sure it went there for most people.)

Part of my simple system is an insistence that I wouldn’t do anything I might not be able to do the rest of my life. With that in mind, I had no interest in starving myself or letting junk ideas knock me off course. Now that we’ve made it to February, I’ve seen many people crash and burn with their resolutions. I try to take a minute to ask them to consider my way to lose weight. Most people think it has to be hard. It is not. It is math via reduced consumption. That’s it.

The worst consequence of a plateau, even one that lasts a few weeks, is that I will maintain a good weight. While it is not my goal weight, it’s good. I’m about 50 lbs lighter than I was in October. Try picking up and carrying around 6 gallons of milk – which is about the weight of what I’ve lost in that period.

“I’m not losing weight, I’m getting rid of it. I have no intention of finding it again.”  – unknown

I have yet to have a ‘bad’ day regarding eating. I haven’t binged on anything markedly unhealthy since October. Same with sugar, desserts, and other miscellaneous foods.

Most of the opportunities for me to fail have been exposure to foods and people not focusing on healthy choices. Pretzels, cheese slices, regular chips, etc. It’s not their fault. Making healthy choices is a personal choice and until they see the need or benefit, it’s a losing battle. If I look at those foods as heroin, they are always going to be around me. I will say that if all food where I live was chosen by me, the process would be ridiculously easy. It is an “If only” fantasy, though. I know I would be relentless if I were the only one bringing food where I live. Work gives me the structure to make choosing wisely easy.

I do rely on a routinized selection of foods. In my case, I have a wide variety that keep me full and without experiencing hunger found in almost all healthy eating systems. I’m not deprived. I ate Tex-Mex a couple of days ago, choosing as many better options as possible – not to mention a plate of pico de gallo. Yum! I eat at another Mexican place about once a week. When I do, I eat a delicious yet copious amount of healthy alternatives. That’s part of the danger of going somewhere new: you lose control of the unknowns.

“Successful weight loss takes programming, not willpower.” – Phil McGraw

In the last couple of weeks, I also decided to finally try plasma donation again. Not at the burdensome twice-a-week rate that many people choose. If you approach plasma donation correctly, it forces you to focus on eating well and drinking fluids appropriately. One of the wrinkles of donating plasma is that the donation amount is based on weight. My weight is slightly above the lower limit. Going through the process has given me a LOT of stories about the process and the people I’ve interacted with because of it. Because I wasn’t donating primarily for money, I didn’t have the anxiety that usually comes with donation. I could take it or leave it. That’s a privilege, one I recognize and appreciate. I helped a few people feel better about doing it, including one couple who stayed for their first donation because of me. They were using their donation money to buy groceries, which humbled me.

Going through the weight loss exposes me to a lot of crazy ideas, fad diets, and weird science. If it is interesting, I will look it up. So far, none fare well when compared to the known science of just eating healthy – and less.

I eat fiber. I don’t fry. In general, I don’t eat desserts. I eat a LOT of vegetables. I find things that I LOVE and that are also healthier – and then try to eat them as much as possible. I use a LOT of seasonings, sauces, and flavors. (More than you can imagine.)

In conclusion: the problem is that food is just damned good! That is not going to change, so you’re the problem until you recognize it. And reduce.

“He who indulges, bulges.” – unknown

Autopsy Of Moments

The autopsy of moments is one of the ways I describe the ceaseless soliloquy in my head.

Words, deeds, inaction, reaction, and effervescent distraction.

Can you imagine the silence of your mind if the autopsy of your moments suddenly dissipated?

Would you feel peace, or as if a piece of the essential you died?

I’m asking honestly.

Not everyone feels an affinity for their mind observing itself and the world.

The entire world spins around you, independent of your thoughts.

What a fascinating place.

I find myself enjoying the zen moments of quiet, but even as they overcome me, I want to whirl and dance with the thoughts that consume me.

Yet, I sit, pondering. The booming in my head is silent to the world.

And you?

Love, X

Nothing Tastes As Good As This Feels

I’m wearing an absurd surgical cap. But I’m also optimistic in the picture, which is worth a lot of words.

She wrote, “And nothing tastes as good as this feels!!!” She sent me a picture of how far she’d come. I found it hard to imagine I was looking at the same person I used to know. She was part of the reason that I imagined I could achieve a lot of success this time. If she could do it with so many obstacles, how hard should it be for me to stop the rationalizations and just do it?

I re-read it. And again.

It struck me as resonantly as “Choose your hard” had many weeks before. Why that one stuck in my head when so much for so many years hadn’t is another mystery.

For her, she meant that all the bad food choices couldn’t compare to the elation and satisfaction of being who she’s supposed to be.

While her comment was focused on her war with eating properly, it also extends to other areas in life. The payoff at the end of the race, the peace of making a long series of decisions that result in a triumph of consequences…

Once you’ve done the work and reached your goal, it really is hard to let yourself fall into the trap again.

At least at first.

The pain of ‘who’ we were before getting to our own pinnacle is still fresh enough to serve as a reminder.

Life intercedes. Time evaporates. Fatigue weakens our resolve. Loneliness and self-esteem issues propel us backward.

It’s why I constantly remind myself that yo-yoing dramatically in weight must be approached in a manner similar to how we deal with addiction.

It is okay to fall off the wagon. Just don’t let it run you over.

In my case, there is more to it. But it certainly isn’t willpower.

Love, X