What Do I Want To Do?

Since it’s very likely that I’ll be moving across the country in a few years to follow my job, it’s really made me think about what I want to do in life. And I’m not just talking about the big picture, I want to write a book and have a few kids kind of thing. I’m talking about my job type stuff. Where I’m working, what I’m doing, how it’s going kind of thing.

Basically, is this really the job I want to have forever? We always have this image of constant advancement. It’s as if I’m always supposed to be moving up in the world. I can’t be an Assistant Editor forever. Some day I have to be just the Editor. Then the Managing Editor. Then the Supreme Editor of all. Or something like that.

But I’m beginning to question that. Do I really want to be the managing editor? At this point in my life, the answer is no. I like my job. I like that I don’t have to be the final answer. I like that someone else has to deal with the really sticky questions. I like that I can go home at the end of the day and let things go. Maybe in a few years I’m yearn for more responsibility, but right now, I don’t want to advance.

That seems so anti-establishment. Can you really want to just stay where you’re at? Financially it doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially being an editor. I guess maybe I’ll just have to wait and see what happens. Maybe in several years I’ll have changed and want something more. But for now I’m not really worried about the financial matters and moving forward to advance my career.

I’m reminded of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

“Each of us lives in two realms, the internal and the external. The internal is that realm of spiritual ends expressed in art, literature, morals, and religion. The external is that complex of devices, techniques, mechanisms, and instrumentalities by means of which we live. These include the house we live in, the car we drive, the clothes we wear, the economic sources we acquire—the material stuff we must have to exist. There is always a danger that we will permit the means by which we live to replace the ends for which we live, the internal to become lost in the external.” (Strength to Love, page 70)

Neelam Mistry 1979-2000

Receiving correspondence from high school can be an effective catalyst for memories you haven’t dredged up in a while, and with good reason. An e-mail showed up the other day from my high school English teacher, Mr. Palizzi. It was completely unexpected, and the credit goes to the wondering glory of the Internet. I had Mr. Palizzi for American Literature my sophomore year, and a semester of World Literature my senior year.

Apparently Mr. Palizzi was bored one night and started searching for himself on the Internet. He stumbled across one of my odd ponderings from many months ago and decided to drop me a line (little did he know he’d once again be the subject of these thoughts). It was a simple e-mail, mainly replying to a few things he discovered about me. On one hand it presents me with a dilemma; he signed off as Steve Palizzi, and now I have to decide if I’m going to address him as the formal yet familiar “Mr. Palizzi,” or the friendlier yet odd-sounding “Steve.” I hate coping with what to call people. It was bad enough in college when it varied from Dr. So-and-so to Joey. Now as a burgeoning adult all the former names that were solidified in formalhood somehow slip into informal mode without telling me. It usually makes for a correspondence of full names (Hi Steve Palizzi, …), and avoiding actually using someone’s name when you meet them.

But on a more serious note, Mr. Palizzi’s e-mail did prompt a lot of reflection. He didn’t mentioned much news from high school, but did note at the end of his e-mail that one of my classmates had died in the last year or two. It took me a while to figure out who it was, but then (again thanks to the Internet) I discovered it was Neelam Mistry. We weren’t close friends, but then again I didn’t have a lot of close friends in high school. She was one of the many friends I hung out with in class and at the high school radio station and such. If I ever bumped into her outside of school (which I don’t think I ever did), I definitely would have talked to her. I’ll use that as an example because there’s a lot of people from high school who if I saw outside of school I probably would have avoided.

It’s probably more accurate to say that Neelam would have talked to me. She would have bounded over as soon as she spotted me, and bubbled with excitement and laughter. She wasn’t the giggly type of high school girl, but rather happy. She was one of the few people in the halls that actually looked happy most of the time. She’s also one of the many people I completely lost touch with after high school. I’m sorry to hear that she died.

After I heard the news I turned to my high school yearbook, the bastion of poor design, embarrassing photos, and spur of the moment messages in distinctive hand writing that will be so cryptically odd when we’re older. I found Neelam’s note and signature in a sloppy cursive on the inside back cover:

Oh God of Yo-yos!
Good luck next year in all you do (as if you need it!). Never forget the back table groupie! From the time I’ve know you I’ve learned a great many things. Just to name a few: Your sensitivity; though you don’t show it, you express it beautifully in your writing; your amazing talents; four letters–yo-yo, need I say more? And your compassion and love of who you are, I really admire that about you. Your a great person! Good luck next year.


PS – If I don’t see you next year, I’ll see you in he– (Dante)!

So many things in that could use some explanation, but I’m not going to try.

Now the flood of high school memories comes in. I read through the other signatures and odd messages, and it’s funny to compare what people wrote to what I remember of them. So many of these people I hardly knew, and they hardly knew me. It’s as if “Sign my yearbook!” is a request you can’t turn down, and it requires a writing of dishonest drivel, despite the four years of minimal contact.

Of course some of the writings are more telling than others. So many people commented on my yo-yoing ability, which is to be expected. To many people that’s all I was. Others commented on religious convictions, as they might describe it. They remembered me as being extreme, but honest and sincere. I guess that’s all I can ask for. Others commented that they wished they’d seen more of me senior year, and to keep in touch. Unfortunately neither happened.

Oddly, the year book doesn’t express some of the sentiments that truly stuck with me in high school, and even beyond high school. School and growing up in general was not a party for me. I didn’t experience what you see on TV or the movies. I’m not one of those damn Dawson’s River kids, and I never experienced the central element to every teen movie: the giant kegger party where half the school shows up. In my experience half the school would never hang out together. High school had sharper social divisions than that, and I’m surprised they still make movies ignoring the fact.

For me, growing up was about a deep desire to be accepted. Up until the fourth grade I had minimal problems with having friends and being accepted. I knew I wasn’t the most athletic or the coolest kid in my class, but that was okay. I still had friends who liked me for who I was. Fourth grade was probably the last year of acceptance.

With fifth grade the powers that be (sometimes I wonder if those powers that be realize just how much power they have?) shuffled me into a split fourth and fifth grade class. In my class there were only four fifth grade boys, and none of them were close friends. It was here that I realized the importance of being accepted, of having friends. That desire magnified with my lack of close friends and I learned just how uncool I was.

All my friends from fourth grade were shuffled into the other fifth grade class that year, the one that was all fifth graders. So they weren’t far away, but as elementary schools worked you’re consigned to your class for a majority of the day. Recess and a few special classes were the only times I saw those friends, and the relationships quickly diminished.

I was left with the three other fifth grade boys for friendship. Of course it wasn’t cool to be close friends with the girls, and I already had my share of problems with them. And there were a number of fourth grade boys in the class, but inter-grade friendships were looked down upon as well. I was a victim of unwritten social rules, and I didn’t have the self-confidence or the knowledge to know that I could rebel. I was a follower.

In the group of the fifth grade boys I was the whipping boy, the most un-athletic an un-cool. Apparently those are the only things that matter as you grow up. And it started my downward spiral.

Middle school wasn’t any better, and I’d really hate to go into details. Let’s just say junior highers are ruthless. It’s a terrible pecking order system, and you always seem to lose. It doesn’t help that some are dripping with hormones and others are still catching up.

I had my first love in middle school, and it was innocent and sweet. We traded notes and did the cute little things junior high couples do. It’s interesting that this stream of conscious remembering has focuses little on faith, because that played in as well. I think growing up is tremendously complicated, and I could probably re-write this sixteen times from sixteen different angles–and I’d still never get it right.

But I bring up faith with my first love because I think it illustrates what my faith meant to me. Her name was Tiffany, and somewhere in the closet I have a stash full of carefully folded notes that chronicle each school day of our relationship (I say school day because we rarely saw each other outside of school, another mark of the junior high relationship). My wife likes to read these notes and laugh. I tell myself she’s just jealous. She laughs some more.

As most junior high relationships go, there was an inkling of secret romance within each of us, a stockpile of hidden emotion just waiting for the right spark. The spark, of course, came from the chiding of mutual friends. During a field trip to the Henry Ford Museum for our Applied Technology class several of our friends taunted us about liking each other. We both denied the accusations, yet gave knowing smiles to each other. It was nauseatingly obvious that we liked each other. Our friends pushed and prodded us together, and at the same time ridiculed us like we were chasing forbidden love. Knowing the guys I hung out with at the time, they were truthfully jealous. Although they’d never admit it.

Notes were exchanged and before the end of the day we were going out. The idea still impresses me today. Me, the uncool, unhip, un-athletic nerd had a girlfriend. At the time I don’t think I felt that way, but now it amazes me. I realize what a dork I was back then.

But before Tiffany and I could officially go out (I love that phrase, it implies everything that dating, become boyfriend and girlfriend does, yet it works for the junior highers who will never actually go out anywhere together. It’s just a phrase that carries certain implied meaning, but on the surface is ludicrous. Much like most of junior high.), I had something troubling me.

I waited until Friday night, and if I remember correctly it was the same day as the infamous field trip that started it all. On Friday nights it was tradition for my family to go to eat, usually at Pizza Hut. The waitress knew us by name. After pizza we’d go our various ways, usually my dad and brother to some hobby shop in a far-flung corner of the suburbs, and my mom to some nearby mall for an evening of full-scale shopping. I was usually stuck in the middle and had to decide who I wanted to hang out with. Going with mom usually meant wandering the mall by myself, being dragged through a few dull stores, and ending up back at home for TGIF on ABC (it is here that I must admit that I watched and somehow enjoyed “Full House” starring Bob Saget. I was a junior high dork).

But this Friday night was different, and may simply serve as one of those transitional Fridays when my family spent less and less time together. On this particular Friday night I remember going home with my dad. My brother and mom were gone, mom probably shopping and brother probably out with his friends (he was after all in high school, and probably going through the same nightmare of acceptance I was). My dad retired to the basement to work on models or whatever it was he did down there, and I was left to wallow with the nagging feeling in my stomach.

I liked Tiffany. And despite the way my friends laughed, I wanted to go out with her. But there was one problem: I didn’t know if she was a Christian. For those who are unaware, there’s a well-known Christian doctrine that says you should not marry an unbeliever, and by logical extension, you should not date an unbeliever. Apparently I wasn’t making that logical extension in my mind, because the very thought of marrying the person I was going out with in eighth grade would have blown my little mid-pubescent mind. The Christian doctrine actually comes from a verse in the Bible that says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.” (2 Corinthians 6:14, NIV). Apparently “yoked” is the first century term for “going out.” There’s actually a Christian dating service in the Twin Cities called Equally Yoked. They advertise on Cities 97, the local hip-rockers station, and I can’t help but wonder how they expect anyone to want to use a dating service called Equally Yoked.

Now I don’t think I understood the concept of this yoking business. I don’t think I had it in mind that I wouldn’t date a pagan. I just felt strongly about my Christian beliefs, and I figured if I was going to go out with someone it wouldn’t work very well if they didn’t understand my faith.

And so (here’s the good part) with Bible in hand I looked up her phone number and sat down at the kitchen table. Back then (this would have been the early 90s) my family didn’t have a cordless phone, so I was stuck sitting at the kitchen table, a place that usually would have afforded an embarrassing lack of privacy. But my dad was busily working in the basement and my mom and brother were gone. So I found her phone number and sat there with my Bible and the phone and got ready to call her. I figured I’d ask Tiffany if she was a Christian, and if she wasn’t, I’d make her one.

So with junior high butterflies in my stomach, I called her number. I don’t remember a word she said, but I vividly remember the overwhelming sense of relief when she said she was a Christian.

“Oh,” I answered, with a hint of disappointment. “That’s good.” It took me a moment to realize this was good news. I don’t remember the rest of the conversation, but it did include the phrase, “Will you go out with me?” and an affirmative response. As was the custom, the phone call didn’t last much longer. Tiffany and I had an acute dysfunction at talking on the phone, something that would haunt me in later relationships, and cause my wife to laugh all the more.

You may think my eighth grade relationship set me up as a bona fide player in high school, but that wasn’t the case. While eighth grade ended on an very high note with Kevin and Tiffany attending the eighth grade dance together (I’ve got a cute picture somewhere–you should see my spikey hair), and actually exchanging what would have been my first kiss. I think at that moment the cool social life and customs of being a teenager knocked on my door. We kissed, the dance ended, and mom came to pick me up. A bunch of our friends were heading to the Village Place and for some reason I opted not to go. I ended up in my room at home, before 9:00, wishing I could kiss Tiffany again. My social life had passed me by.

Tragically, Tiffany and I never developed our over the phone conversation skills, and the summer passed with minimal contact and a few letters exchanged. As if the first days of high school weren’t traumatic enough, our relationship was on eggshells, and it came splintering apart those first few days. I can’t explain what happened, other than to say I was morbidly afraid of high school and retreated within myself for protection. It took an entire semester before I ventured out of my shell, and by then Tiffany was long gone.

Thus my introduction to high school, and forever struggling with friendship, acceptance, and being cool. This story could go on forever, and I’ll probably continue it later. But to give it some semblance of closure, let’s just say the yo-yo brought me out of my shell, and the rest is history. I earned acceptance by accepting my dorkiness, manifested in the yo-yo. By the time I entered college I finally learned to stop worrying about being cool, I stopped being self conscious, and I stopped trying so hard to be accepted. Unfortunately, the result may have swung me a bit too far in the other direction, evidenced by my wife’s sighs at my choice of attire. I think this is the beginning of the road fathers take to becoming so unbelievably unhip. Perhaps I am doomed.

Reading Yearbooks

Sometimes life is unique. You move on and leave behind a certain part of your life, and when you look back it’s never quite the same. The photographs don’t look like you remember and you discover a wealth of people and faces that once upon a time meant so much.

Some of those people have changed dramatically. I’m probably one of them. Some of those people probably haven’t changed at all. Some of those people are married and some may be divorced. Some have enlisted in the military, and some are settling down to careers. Some of those people I haven’t talked to since high school, and most of them I’ll never see again. Many of them I wouldn’t recognize if I saw them on the street, and I wouldn’t remember their name if I did manage to recognize them. Some of them have done some amazing things, and some of them are dead.

Life can be quite unpredictable. We look back to yearbooks full of end-of-the-year messages, and life seemed so ideal.

Writing Exercise #2

I guess I’m supposed to be upset. That’s what everyone expects. Weeping and the wearing of black and all that funeral crap. But I just don’t want to go there. It looks so fake, crowding into a stuffy church, a cheap stiff suit he never wore in his life. Everyone dressed up like Easter without the resurrection.

I’d rather be outside in the sun. The warm rays and the blue sky eases the pain. I’d rather take a drive into the country and bury him somewhere among the fields and cottonwoods. We’d dress him in a pair of faded jeans and a stained shirt. That’s the way he was. Why do we have to make him something he wasn’t.

I liked to think he loved me more because I was the youngest granddaughter. By the time it was my turn to spend weekends with grandma and grandpa they were already showing signs of wear and tear. He couldn’t toss me up into the air and he couldn’t run with me across the fields. Instead he’d sit in the chair and watch, calling out taunts and jokes, trying to make me laugh and squeel. I’d always come rushing back and put my hands on my hips and try to be as grown up as I could. I’d tell my grandpa he shouldn’t say that to princesses. Grandpa would laugh from his belly and reach out and grab me. He’d pull me into his lap and wrap his weathered arms around me and tell me that he didn’t mean it, that I was a good girl, and that I knew that. I always did. I just wanted him to wrap those tired hands around me.

Grandma would always witness this scene from afar, about to call us to supper but waiting to watch the intergenerational interaction. Now I see grandma across the aisle, teary face hidden behind a black vale. She could use a bit of the early evening sun. That’s the best time for the sun, that’s the best time to pull up a lawn chair and just watch the afternoon slip away. If only I could slip away I’d do it.

Why Do Christians

Why is it that Christians are expected to like everything labeled “Christian”? I get so frustrated when a new CD releases or a movie comes to theaters and it’s supposed to be dripping with Christian values and Christians are expected to be beside themselves with praise. That’s so shallow, so dimwitted, so dishonest. I’ve seen so many poor Christian movies and read some lame books and listened to some music that really shouldn’t have been made. Yet we’re expected to like it, just because it supposedly honors God.

You know, they say do all things to the glory of God, and sometimes I think you can do anything to the glory of God. All that matters is your effort and your heart, if those are in the right place then God is glorified, right? Sometimes I question that logic. If the plot sucks and the dialogue is forced is God really glorified? Maybe he is, and maybe he isn’t. But can’t a sucky plot be compared to a string of obscenities? Neither really glorifies God. Yet somehow the sucky plot gets off easy, and Christians rally around it. The obscenity laced movie, no matter how good and moral it may be, is picketed.

Why do Christians so easily damn some actions and so easily ignore others? And why are the actions they damn always in others and the actions they ignore always in themselves?

Writing Exercise #1

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I just said what I feel. If I just spoke the truth and didn’t care what anyone said. Sometimes I wonder if they think it’s for real, sometimes I wonder if I’d have to listen to a phone call asking why. You want to know why, that’s the way it is. You want to know what I think, that’s the way it is. Sometimes special insight hurts. How do you expect me to remain quiet when you’re tearing everything apart.

In the course of writing these ponderings, I’ve often noticed that people take what I say a little too seriously. I was once asked if I was actually shot in the backpack after I wrote a little fiction exercise that I thought was obviously fiction. Apparently I’m not obvious enough. So I’m going to start labeling my writing exercises. Maybe I should label all my writings as exercises and then everyone would calm down and stop jumping to conclusions.

Writing Exercise #1:
So I was walking through the bookstore, looking for something good to read. I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for, something I could slip into my backpack and read at my leisure. My mother would be mortified. But that’s her job. No one wants to be told by the well meaning cop that their daughter is a petty thug. Hoodlum. That’s the word my dad would use. He’s so cute in that embarrassing sort of way that you only admit to your close friends.

I wanted a book that would blow my mind. Something that would reinvent my life. My slightly off-kilter English teacher always acts like books can change your life. In his happy little world every reading assignment he gives us should reshape our universe. If that’s the case, I’d think we’d all be a little worn out from the multiple world view shifts by the end of the semester. I’ve yet to find anything in the class worth my time.

They should have a section of books that will blow your mind. The ‘fuck with your head’ section. I mean, c’mon, isn’t that what we’re all looking for? Let’s clear all the crap and cut to the chase. All these odd people are scurrying about in this giant altar to commercialized book selling because they want a reading experience that will change their lives. I don’t think people read books just for entertainment. It’s not like watching TV and flipping channels and looking for something to suck brain cells. Reading actually takes work. And if you’re going to work, you want a pay off.

But instead of my brilliant section they have all these screw ball, somebody-else-is-getting-rich sections. Harry Potter, Left Behind, the Prayer of–what’s his name–Jabez? It’s all a bit much and dripping with a little too much psycho-spiritual-goo. My mother would probably tell me to go read the Bible if I really wanted a book that would fuck with my head. I think she’s nuts.

Instead I settle for a copy of Chicken Soup for the Anorexic Soul, slip it into my backpack and nonchalantly head for the door. Let’s see if we can shatter Mom’s world.

Tired of the Phone’s Ringing

The phone rings and your spirits drop. I hate it when the phone becomes the bearer of bad news. There’s been a lot of bad news lately, and it seems like there’s nothing you can ever do. You’re stuck in a moment a million miles away, and it seems like nothing you can do will make any difference. And even if it did you don’t know if you’re helping or hurting, healing or harming. I hate not knowing almost as much as I hate knowing.

More Whining About Wanting to Write a Book

Today I had the scary realization that I haven’t written anything in a while. That is, anything of value. I’ll be the first to admit that my thoughts have been pretty sub-par of late, and I’ve had little to no time to do any writing on my own. At work we’ve been hiring freelancers left and right and I haven’t written an article since September, and before that it was June.

It’s a depressing thought to think that I could lose my touch. Writers only get better by practice, by writing every day, by constantly forcing themselves to write and rewrite and write again. If you don’t do that, you’re just going to wallow in your own crapulence. I think I’m wallowing, and the thought frightens me.

Maybe it’s because I have such grandiose dreams. I’ve always thought I’d grow up to be a writer. I’ve wanted to be an author since the first grade when we published little hard cover books with marker-colored pages and dot-matrix text that was pasted in. I’ve always thought that some day I’d have books published, someday I’d be a writer, if not a famous writer. I think I’ve realized that being famous is probably a bit much, but I still have aspirations of seeing my book on the shelf in Barnes & Noble. If I really thought about it, I’d realize that’s probably the most depressing site a writer could see: your book, lost in the sea of a million titles, being overlooked by customer after customer. I can see why some writers develop a neurosis and do strange things like call their local bookstore under a fake name and ask if there book is in yet.

Of course my actions hardly match all those pie-in-the-sky dreams. The dream of being a writer requires the every day sacrifice of writing, of sweating through your work, of continually being persistent as you chase your dream. In a word, it requires consistency–of which I lack. You may claim that three years of writing my thoughts online for the world to see is pretty consistent, but this has often been an excuse. If I write here everyday I don’t have to work on my story, or my essay, or develop my latest idea. If I write here I can slack off, I don’t have to edit, I don’t even have to proof read. It’s a journal, and as helpful as that may be, I don’t think that counts.

Perhaps I’m afraid. Hell, I am afraid. I’m afraid of sinking hours upon hours into a story only to have it crumble into itself. I’m afraid of spending months trying to write the book of my dreams only to have the well of ideas run dry and the words to stop flowing. I’m afraid I’ll discover the product of all those hours could actually be less than I expect it to be–that the fruit of my labors will suck. I’m afraid I might not be that good of a writer, and if I don’t chase my dream I’ll never have to face that fact.

I’m afraid of what it would do to me to actually write like I think a writer needs to write. I’m afraid of what it would do to my marriage, how my wife would groan, roll her eyes, and storm out of the room. How she’d leave me to my computer and go watch TV or read a book, grumbling about my novel. I’m afraid she’d grow to resent my writing because I’d need to spend all my free time making it what it needs to be. I can already see the frustration in her face when I spend too much of an evening camped out in front of the computer screen.

I’m afraid of the rejection that will surely come, even though I tell myself again and again that every writer has to collect a mountain of rejection slips. It’s a rite of passage, a badge of courage, a technicality that every writer must contend with and overcome. If that’s the case I should be on a mission to fill my filing cabinet with rejections, but it doesn’t happen. At best I sit down and send out a handful of submissions, then sit back and wait for the money or the rejections to roll in. In six months I’ve had one bite, and not even the satisfaction of rejections from the others. In that six months I continued to sit on my hands, and thus my trouble with consistency comes up again.

I’m afraid I won’t be able to live up to my dreams. My wife always encourages me, always tells me that some day I’ll write that book. She humors me and listens when I go on and on about some new idea, even though she knows in a week I’ll have completely forgotten that brilliant, best-seller idea. She actually believes I can write the book I so want to write, but no matter how much she repeats her encouragement I still have doubts.

Writers are strange people. If it’s my only consolation, at least I fit in.

Wise in the Ways of Matrimony

Marriage. Marriage is what brings us together today.

How you read that line says a lot about how old you are. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

So I’ve been married for a year. Now I’m all wise and knowledgeable in the ways of holy matrimony. Have I learned anything in the past year? Yeah. Marriage is hard. It’s not all lovey-dovey and swelling romance like you feel when you pop the question. Most of it is mundane: Grocery shopping together, being tired and cranky together, foraging for something to eat together. When you’re dating or engaged all of those things seem so exciting and wonderful. You only do them together occasionally and it makes the mundane special. But when you do those things all the time it becomes part of normal life and running to the grocery store becomes a chore again.

A bit of the magic disappears when you live together. You find out what’s like after you hang up the phone or go home at night. Before you could hang up the phone and go back to your own little world. But marriage is all about sharing a little world together. You have to put up with one another no matter what.

That’s a lot harder than you think. At first it’s easy, but then things start to get touchy. It can go downhill from there, if you’re not careful. You have to remember a few things about the kind of commitment you made, and the kind of love you’re supposed to have. I always have to remind myself that the world doesn’t revolve around me, that sometimes other things are more important, that sometimes I have to let things go. Sometimes you have to sacrifice. And sometimes you have to sacrifice a lot. That’s what makes a marriage work. It’s communication. It’s working together. It’s learning when and how to be apart. It’s self-sacrificing and others-focused. That’s probably why most marriages don’t work today–most of us don’t know anything other than self-centeredness.

I guess that’s what I’ve learned this past year. I make it sound like a pretty rough year, and now my mom’s probably all upset and worried and I’ll get a phone call later tonight. But it’s not really that way, those are just the occasional hard parts. The times that make you want to throw up your hands and walk out the door before you say something you regret. But it’s not always like that. There’s the times when you hold one another close and let the day drift away. There’s the times when you just float around, not really caring what you do as long as you’re together. There’s the times when you wash the dishes together and you can hardly resist the temptation to soap her nose. There’s the times when you need one another, and you can feel that need deep inside, and you know you’d go to any length, put up with any crabbiness or ill-tempered attitude to have one another.

Marriage. Marriage is what brings some of us together today.

New Year’s Resolutions are Bunk

I dislike New Year’s resolutions and those who pretend to keep them. I think the whole idea of New Year’s resolutions is only perpetuated by the media. The only reason anyone feels the need to talk about them is because news anchors throw them into their stories around New Year’s. I think it’s a silly tradition. You don’t hear anyone in March talking about how well they’re keeping their New Year’s resolutions. And there’s definitely no talk of resolution-keeping in October. What a bunch of bunk. Let’s spare ourselves the waste and just not talk about them. If you’re going to make a resolution to do something, it’s almost a guarantee that it won’t happen.