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Invisible Fingers in Our Minds

Whether it’s on social media or in a blog, I’m constantly surprised by the eternal nature and reach of the internet. We all see to travel a similar trajectory of recognition when we discover music, words, or content which move us. When people find and identify with things I’ve written, it’s a fulfiling sensation.

The video below is something I did last year, after brawling with people who insist on editing history or controlling the content of their friends and family social media. This tendency is especially evident after someone passes from this world.  All those stories and truths which might wound get buried with that person, too, if we aren’t careful. I’ve long fought the battle against censoring anyone’s full story.

I’m a big believer in sharing the content of our lives as it unfolds. It’s true that our perspective will change even toward the facts of our lives as we grow older. We tend to either blossom outwardly, taking our secrets out there with us, or contract and hide within an ever-narrowing caccoon.

In this case, someone else happened upon my blog, and out of the hundreds of blog posts that still remain, watched this video. It sparked a renewal to write their story, no matter who liked it or not, and regardless of whether it was well-done by any objective standard.



Paris Climate Deal is Not Mentioned In This Post


Tired of politics?

After careful consultation with esteemed political consultants, my wife and I are proud to announce that our cat, Güino, will soon announce his candidacy for political office.

Since he doesn’t talk, he won’t be lying like so many others. Additionally, we can interpret his meows to mean anything that appeals to us – thus solving the biggest problem in politics today.

Finally, Güino has all 9 of his lives remaining and he has pledged to use them all to improve this great country of ours.

Given the shenanigans of the last election, Güino has decided to reach across the aisle (unlike current politicians) and choose a dog to-be-named-later as his Vice President, thus healing the divide of this country.

Please remit funds for his candidacy to your local Humane Society.










I think I’m fixated on food: when I taught the children how to tie their shoes, I demonstrated the garlic knot.



As I walked the winding decline of the parking deck, I felt as if I were being watched by a dozen pairs of unseen eyes. When I had walked down to the next level I realized my error. Above the steps going both up and down was a sign: “STARES ONLY.”




Long personal story…. Please read knowing that all businesses, no matter their reputations, have countless great employees who don’t misbehave and/or don’t appreciate how their employers conduct business. It’s a conundrum we all face with businesses. Unless my issue is with a specific person, I in no way wish for people reading my words to think I’m painting all employees of any business with a broad brush of accusation.

A couple of years ago, I shared a story with you about Arvest mistreating my wife. An ATM failed to give her $400. She reported it immediately and Arvest fixed the error. Months later, without notice, they reached into her checking account without permission and without telling her and took the same $400 back out. There was no appeal. They had waited months, after all video evidence was gone, and without following up. Dawn politely worked to get the error fixed. Not only did she not get the error fixed, but a couple of the people working at the bank had an attitude which was dismissive, as if Dawn somehow had lied about what happened. Dawn’s feelings were hurt, to say the least. She’s polite and was certain that logic and patience would fix the problem. No one at the bank cared.

Dawn responded by deciding to leave Arvest, after many years of doing business with them. She took all of her accounts and later we got another mortgage to get away from their shenanigans.

Just because I can, I have also frequently picked on Arvest on social media. I’ve been polite, but I’ve satirically jabbed at them a few hundred times and made several memes to poke fun at the bank.

Yesterday, before coming home, we stopped at our community mailbox and checked the mail. I handed the mail to Dawn, who was seated in the passenger seat. I told her, “Look, you got a big check from Arvest,” and laughed. We joked that it was one of those fake mailers, especially since it didn’t have postage. Also, we had never given Arvest our new address, having wiped them off our feet before we ever decided to move.

I told Dawn to open the Arvest envelope. Lucky for us, she did, instead of discarding it. Inside was a check addressed to Dawn, in the amount of $400. In read, in part: “…during a review… we determined one of more disputes was denied in error. Due to this error, we are enclosing a check…” It was an unsigned form letter with no explanation as to how they got Dawn’s address, nor did it contain any sort of apology.

The look on Dawn’s face was priceless.

More than the $400 Dawn got in the mail, the admission that Arvest screwed up a couple of years ago when we said they did is worth much, much more than that. It should have never happened, because Dawn would have stayed with the bank for the rest of her life, if possible. Now we have the magical words in writing and those words all this time later prove that we weren’t lying or crazy: Arvest took $400 of Dawn’s money without cause and worsened the problem by strangling us with bureaucracy and apathy.

It’s easy to get a customer, but very difficult to get one back after you’ve mistreated them. You should never let a customer walk all over you, but you should also remember that customers are people. The $400 is nice, but nicer still would have been for one person at Arvest a couple of years ago willing to stand up and say, “Enough. We can’t do this to a customer. It is our error.”

PS: You should always address customer service issues or old business before taking any steps toward acquiring new business. The disgruntled folks are going to eat your lunch telling their stories.

A Thanksgiving

To have a hand in the darkness, or a still voice inquiring about your day, even a dismissive eye roll at your anticipated joke, these are the only required components for a thankful life; all else is but a pale reflection of a dim sunset in a curtained corner window. Were but the day not necessary to halt us in our collective haste, that the calendar should not chime the occasion for us to artificially pause in appraisal of our life’s balance. That thanksgiving could be exchanged for an unwieldy dose of awareness of whatever already satisfies us. As a stranger in your land, I only ask that you consider that the things which bind you to your life are proven only in the moments in which you doubt them the most. – X

Burger King Cigarettes

On a recent afternoon, I went and ate at Burger King, the place where you can don an artificial crown and forget that the food there is intent on killing you. Outside, an older gentleman was ambling around the parking lot, picking up discarded cigarettes. I watched as he found about half of a full cigarette, brushed it off and carefully lit it. I could see the glint of satisfaction in his face as he inhaled deeply. Inside, the workers casually ignored everything except their immediate tasks; homelessness obviously was a constant backdrop for them. Discarded cigarettes are their manna from Heaven.

As I took a bite of my delicious burger, I watched him walk up toward the obscured end wall of the restaurant and place a couple more butts on the concrete table. My wife pointed out that someone else was out there. Using the reflecting wall glass behind me, I could see that another person was hunched against the wall, a younger man, head down, quietly mumbling to the older gentleman.

I ate my meal, savoring the french fries and the hardening of my arteries. It was a beautiful day in so many different ways and I couldn’t help but wonder what might comprise the average day of the gentleman outside collecting discarded cigarettes. I didn’t feel sorry for him or guilty for enjoying the guilty pleasure of a Burger King burger. I was certain that the warm November weather was a gift for him, one he was appreciating on such a day.

When I left, I made sure to exit using the door closest to the two men outside. I handed the older of the two a ten-dollar bill and said, “Have a great day!” and smiled as I walked away. The older man’s face lit up and he replied, “Thank you so much, sir.” I could hear the tenor of his voice rise as the unexpected gift he hadn’t solicited gave him a boost of happiness.

Even if but for a moment, we both felt uplifted. There was no hurry to get back to reality – life always comes back to slap us into alignment.

Later, somehow the story of the $10 gift came up.

One of the people with me interjected, “But you know what he probably did with that money, right?” She looked at me, anticipating everything except what I said.

Yes, I hope he bought alcohol or drugs or five seconds of relief. I hope he wasted the money in the most superficial way possible. Imagine having no such choice in life.” I laughed.

What did he do to deserve it?” she asked me.

I paused. “What have any of us done to deserve such great lives, free of the capricious whims of the universe?”

Once again, Burger King, a place to slowly poison oneself with delightful calories, opened its doors and reminded me that the weirdest lessons are repeated in the strangest places. It is possible that the man I rewarded for no reason had made a succession of poor choices, ones rooted in personal responsibility. It’s also possible that he found himself being tested and simply couldn’t keep up with body blows life had thrown his away.

As Jean-Luc Picard said, “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness; that is life

Yet, we prance through life, simply and arrogantly fooling ourselves to think that if we press all the right buttons and pull the appropriate levers that we will never be the ones ambling around the detritus of other people’s lives, looking for any small comfort, no matter how harmful.