Like Father Like Son

candy and cookies

Danny was sitting at the dining room table doing his homework. “Mom, can I have a snack?” he called out to his mother, who was fixing dinner in the kitchen.

“Danny, I gave you some milk and cookies when you got back from school. Your father will be home soon and we’ll be having dinner in a little while,” Danny’s mother answered.

Danny loved snacks. Dinners not so much. The main dish, usually chicken, steak, meatloaf, or fish, was tolerable. But then she’d pile onto his plate things he didn’t like: broccoli, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower. Yuck.

Why couldn’t she let him have cookies or Pop-Tarts or a Snickers bar or a pile of M&Ms on the side? Why force him to confront those yucky veggies that he had trouble chewing and swallowing because they tasted awful?

“Because they’re healthy and they’re good for you,” she’d answer when he asked why she made him eat those things rather than giving him snacks as side dishes. Danny never really understood why she always said that. Who cares, he thought, if food is “good for you” if it doesn’t taste good?

“When I grow up, I’m going eat nothing but snacks,” Danny announced, a tone of defiance in his voice.

“Okay, I tell you what,” his mother said. “Let’s make a deal. I’ll let you have a snack now, but then you can’t have dessert after dinner.”

Danny’s ten-year-old mind started churning. “What’s for dessert?”

“I cut up some fruit,” she said, “and I’ll put a dollop of whipped cream on top just for you.”

“Okay, fine,” Danny said, returning to his homework.

At about that time, Danny’s father walked into the front door of their apartment. He walked over to his son and ruffled his hair. Then he called out to his wife, “Honey, can I have a snack?”

This post is in response to today’s Daily Prompt: Snack.

A Man of Mystery


What, exactly, is a man of mystery?

I’ve heard that, for many women, a man with an air of mystery is quite alluring. They find him fascinating. They are intrigued, and perhaps even a little excited, by a man who seems to have something dark and hidden within him.

Something mysterious is lurking just below the surface. Maybe even something a little dangerous. Something remarkably magnetic.

If you’re truly a man of mystery, women are challenged to figure out who you really are. Why are you so secretive, so aloof? What are you hiding? What deep, dark secrets are lurking within you?

Their curiosity piqued, they can’t help but gravitate toward you. They think about you, wonder about you. They find you hard to predict. They don’t know or understand your motivations. They can’t figure out what you’ll say or do next.

And it drives them nuts. Which makes you virtually irresistible to them. You become a real chick magnet.

I have never been mysterious, much less a chick magnet. I’m a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of a guy. I’m not hesitant to say what I think or to be open and forthcoming about who I am, including the good, the bad, and the occasionally indifferent.

But I was curious — you know, just for my own edification — how a man can achieve that mysterious air.

I tried to find an explanation, or at least a good description, of what it is that gives a man an air of mystery. I couldn’t find anything formal, but I did come across one rather amusing description containing nine steps a man should follow if he wishes to be a man of mystery.

  1. Wear sunglasses at all times, even at night.
  2. Wear a trench coat, preferably with the collar turned up.
  3. Carry dry ice around in your car so that whenever the situation presents itself you can appear out of a thick mist.
  4. Call your voicemail and mutter secretively about “the deal going down” and “Code Red.”
  5. Whenever you leave, say you’ve got to meet your “connection” and walk off in a random direction.
  6. If your name is spoken out loud in a public place, grab the offender and say, urgently, “Shhh, not here!”
  7. Instead of having your friends pick you up at your place, make them get you at the airport or bus station.
  8. Be sure to look around frequently, as if you may be being followed.
  9. Every few hours, shake your head and say, “Crazy life, man, crazy life.”

Okay, so based upon these simple-to-follow steps, all I have to do to cloak myself with an air of mystery and to become a chick magnet is to dress the part and act really strange and paranoid.

I think I’ll pass.

This post was in response to today’s WordPress Daily Prompt: Magnet.

June Gloom


Photo credit:

June gloom really is a thing along the Pacific coast.

It’s not as if the sun doesn’t shine in Northern California throughout the month of June. It does. In fact, the sun shines on many days, even in June. But often you don’t see it until the middle to the late afternoon, if at all on some days.

June mornings at or near the coast in the San Francisco Bay area are typically cool, misty, foggy, and cloudy. But if you head east across the Bay only a few miles inland, you’ll find mostly sunny skies and much warmer temperatures — even in June.

I don’t mind June gloom. In fact, I prefer the cool, crisp air to the high heat and humidity June brings to other parts of the country. It’s also a precursor of sunny days to follow.

And according to the weather app on my iPhone, it will turn sunny by around 1 p.m.

This post was written for today’s One-word prompt: Sunny.

One-Liner Wednesday — Questions and Answers


“I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.”

Richard Feynman, American theoretical physicist

This post was written for today’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt from Linda G. Hill.

Wheel of Fortune

Wheel of fortune

Is Pat Sajak still alive? What about Vanna White? Is Wheel of Fortune still on the air?

I used to watch Wheel of Fortune all the time. That and Jeopardy. Back in the day, my wife, kids, and I would compete to see who could be the first to solve the puzzles on Wheel or come up with the most correct answers on Jeopardy.

I can’t remember the last time I watched either show.

Oh how the times have changed. Now I’m too busy watching Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, and Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC to spend my valuable time watching fun things like Wheel and Jeopardy.

I did think about Wheel of Fortune a few days ago, though, when I came across this meme on Facebook. This is one puzzle to which I know the answer, I just don’t know how to solve it.

FU Trump

This post is in response to today’s Daily Prompt: Wheel.

Locally Groan


Pointing to a box full of zucchini on the table, Sara asked the teenage girl standing in the corner of the booth at the local, outdoor farmers’ market, “Are these zucchinis locally grown?”

“Yes,” the girl responded. “Everything at this booth was grown at our local family farm.”

“Just how local is your family farm?” Sara asked.

“Our farm is about ten miles south of the city,” the girl answered.

“Are they organic?” Sara asked?

“Oh yes, our farm is one hundred percent organic,” the girl said, beaming.

“How fresh are these zucchinis?”

“Just about everything we bring to this farmer’s market was harvested within the past week.”

“Just about?” Sara queried, one eyebrow raised in a skeptical manner.

“Well,” the girl said, “some items may have been picked or dug up before this past week, but most are from this week.”

“Most? What about the zucchinis?”

“Yes, I believe they are from this past week.”

“You believe?” Sara said. “You don’t know for sure?”

Starting to get flustered, the teenager stammered, “I, I, I’m pretty sure.”

“Were these picked yesterday? Friday? Tuesday?”

The girl made a barely audible groan. “I’m sorry, I don’t know precisely what day these zucchinis were picked.”

“Don’t get sassy with me, young lady,” Sara said in a rather loud voice.

The girl’s father, who was at the other end of the booth loading more produce onto an adjoinng table had been quietly watching what was unfolding. He walked over to his daughter’s side. “Is there something I can help you with?” he said.

“Yes,” Sara replied. “I just want to know how fresh these zucchinis are and this insolent little girl doesn’t seem to be able to answer my question.”

“I’m so sorry that my daughter was unable to help you,” the father said. “Here, I’m going to give you this zucchini for free as a gesture of goodwill.” He handed her the largest zucchini from the box.

“Thank you,” Sara said.

“No problem,” responded the father. “And if you really want to know how fresh that zucchini is, why don’t you simply stick it up your ass?”

This post was written for today’s one-word prompt:Local




Forgive and Forget

forgive and forget

Someone you know — maybe someone you love — has “done you wrong.” You’re upset, angry, and hurt. What do you do? Some of your closest friends and confidants might tell you that you’re better off without that person.

Others, though, may advise you to “forgive and forget.” I cringe when I hear someone offer that advice. It’s seriously cringeworthy nonsense.

You’ve been betrayed. A trust has been broken. Is it even possible to forgive and forget?

I don’t think so. Not both.

The unfortunate truth is that you can’t change the past. Once words have been spoken, they can’t be unspoken. Once deeds have been done, they can’t be undone. All you can do is live in the present and strive for a better future. While it may be difficult, frustrating, and even painful, it’s for your own benefit to be forgiving.

Everyone make mistakes. I know I have. I’m sure, have you, too. I can say that with certainty because none of us is perfect. To err is human, right? And according to Alexander Pope, to forgive is “divine.” Yet even if you understand that intellectually, to forgive is also hard as hell.

And then there’s forgetting. Forgetting is not only pretty close to impossible without undergoing a frontal lobotomy, it’s probably not even a very wise thing to do.

How can you be expected to forget one of the most painful experiences of your life? Wouldn’t that be counterproductive? If you forget something that has caused you great pain, how can you learn from that experience? How can you grow?

You may want to forget, but you can’t. It’s really hard to not be resentful, to not dwell on the betrayal, to not replay in your mind what happened and re-experience all of the negative feelings it evoked. But if that is what you do, then you haven’t really forgotten, even though you may have convinced yourself that you have.

I’m not a psychologist and I don’t play one on TV. That said, my advice, for what it’s worth, is to accept the fact that you won’t ever be able to forget the pain and the hurt. But if you wish to salvage your relationship, you need to find a way to deal with it, and that means genuinely forgiving the person who hurt you.

As painful as it was, you really do need to let it go. And if you can’t do that, you need to walk away and not look back.

And that’s what is so hard about “forgive and forget.” That’s why I cringe whenever I hear that phrase. The former is hard to do; the latter is impossible to do. As Thomas Szasz noted, a wise person won’t try to do both.

And now I ask you to forgive me for writing such a cringeworthy post. Actually, just forget I even wrote and posted it.

This post is a response to today’s one-word prompt: Cringe.