Finishing Touches

I never understood why professional painters will just add another layer of pigment on top of their mistakes until I realized how easy it was to tie a double windsor.

Diabetic Jokes

Diabetes gets old. Diabetic jokes do not. I still laugh when my wife says, “I’m low,” after having a needle in her all day. Or, after having a bout of sugar-related uncontrollable emotion, yelling, “I’m so high right now!” People have asked her in restaurants if she’s playing video games and I almost lose my milk every time. “Yes,” I say, “but there’s no extra life if she loses.”

She laughs. She’s come to have a sense of humor about the thing. But just like when children play advanced arcade games, button mashing doesn’t really help the cause.

Only a Person Can Make a Promise

If forgiving is the only remedy for your painful past, promising is the only remedy for your uncertain future. … When I make a promise I bear witness that my future with you is not locked into … the fateful combinations of X’s and Y’s in the hand I was dealt out of my parents’ genetic deck. When I make a promise, I testify that I was not routed along some unalterable itinerary by the psychic conditioning visited on me by my slightly wacky parents. I am not fated. I am not determined. When I make a promise to anyone I rise above all the conditioning that limits me. … No German shepherd ever promised to be there with me. No home computer ever promised to be my loyal help. Only a person can make a promise, and when he does, he is most free.

— Lewis Smedes

Soda Jerk

The guy who ran the old soda fountains at the old diners used to be called a Soda Jerk. And I know, deep down, they named it for the motion, but what if they didn’t? What if somewhere there was the archetypical man who served soda at a pharmacy?

“Yeah, what do you want?” The Soda Jerk asks.

“Hello, Mr. Master,” says the eight year old. “I want a root beer.”

“Who’s asking?”

“You did, sir.”

“Huh,” the Soda Jerk says and pours about a fifth of root beer as if it were whiskey and charges for eight of them and then throws it, glass and all, at the kid’s face. The Soda Jerk.

Like Chevy Chase armed with high-pressured sugar water. Like a fireman gone mad with cane. Like Willy Wonka starring Bob Saget.

The Soda Jerk.


It’s amazing to me that we used to make these fans with metal blades with like a single strand of barbed wire surrounding it, as if that would protect the fingers of a small child. It’s almost as if someone got stoned up at the GE design lab and said, “You know, when I put my face over our blenders’ blades, there’s this nice air current.”

And some executive responded, “We could double our demand!” Two weeks later they had oscilating blender blades in half the houses in America that cooled us all down a couple of degrees. It’s unclear whether we cooled off because of airflow or blood loss, but the end goal was achieved so no one asked many questions. After all, when I see anything with the word “blade” in it, I immediately think, “that’ll definitely make me way more comfortable.”

Basic Needs

In Carthage, Missouri, every once and awhile you’ll catch people bringing mattresses in the beds of their trucks to the drive in theater. They get frisky, but mostly just make out. If they do anything else, it’s not like the squeaking of truck suspension interrupts you while watching Pixar films with the kids. They just want to be up off the gravel, sheltered from the rain. I can imagine some of them even arguing, “Well it is called a truck bed.”

In Brooklyn, you’ll be just outside the bandshell five feet from the cops, enjoying your wine and picnic as some folk band plays music when a sound from above — a leaf-shaking, wood-groaning sound — causes you to look up and find two twenty-somethings doing it on a rather small branch, barely shrouded from the streetlamps by the leaves surrounding them.

I suppose if you look close enough, you can always find folk in both rural and urban settings whose basic needs and primitive interpretation of “shelter” neuters the power in the imperative “get a room.”

love of the the way he tells

“It is the subtlest of all snares. Every poet and musician and artist; but for the grace of God, is drawn away from the love of the thing he tells – to the love of the way he tells it. ‘Til down deep in hell he cannot be interested in God at all but only in what he says about him and sinks lower and lower and becomes interested in his own personality and reputation and nothing more.”
—Ravi Zacharias, “A Fish Out of Water,”

Brooklyn Author, Screenwriter, and Producer

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