Sunday, September 25, 2016


I hate the word nice.

It is weak. Packs no punch.

However I have no choice, I am forced to use the word to describe the night Carol & I had last night. There is no way around it.

We had a nice night.

I am going down to Manchester Tuesday morning to step back in the ring for Round #2 of the cancer chronicles. Gonna shave some cancer off my nose.

Actually, we are going. It was recommended that I be chauffeured.

Which seems a little strange because I was told I could be on my own with the back thing. Doc Feelgood said I could rise up off the table after surgery like Jesus, walk out to The Big Ride and drive myself home.

That surgery seemed to be a bigger deal than the nose but what the hell do I know. I have been surprised more than once over the past month.

I did not drive that day and in hindsight I am glad I didn't. Carol chauffeured me.

Anyway we had no idea where we are going on Tuesday so we decided to take a reconnaissance drive yesterday.

Decided to slip in a trip to the movies while we were on the road.

Went to see "The Magnificent 7" in IMAX.

Soooooooooooooooo we found the location of Dr. Feelgood #2 and then motored south to the massive cinema complex in Hooksett. Got there around 5:30 and really didn't have time to go to a real restaurant.

So we went to McDonald's.

Like a teenage couple. McDonald's and a movie. Only we are both 62.

We had such a comfortable conversation at McDonald's. Talking about how Carol's parents raised her and how my parents raised me. Talking about how we raised Keith & Craig. Reminiscing over many moments in the life we shared and continue to share with Keith & Craig. Talking about our own siblings.

It was a conversation about life. Our life. And we smiled and laughed a lot.

It felt so good and so real and so natural. Consequence of 38 years living together.

Got to the movie early, which I felt was important. I am a master planner. A real thinker.

The movie opened on Thursday, so I was worried that it might sell out or that we would not be able to sit together.

There were no more than 15 or 20 people in the theater. That is not an exaggeration. The place was empty.

Bear in mind, this is an IMAX theater. Seats about 100,000 people.

Doesn't matter. We dug the hell out of the movie. It was spectacular.

Drove home, watched Law & Order, watched a little Saturday Night Live and the night was over.

The old man in me is tempted to rave on about what the night cost. $53. For McDonald's and a movie and popcorn.

The romantic in me, the sensitive guy, recognizes the night for what it was.

A simple night spent together in love and comfort and fond memories. The perfect realization of a lifetime spent together.

A nice night.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

This Is Not Fiction

"If age brought gifts, he didn't know what they were. It had brought him neither wisdom nor peace of mind. If age had marked a change in him, it lay in his acceptance that loneliness and an abiding sense of loss were the only companions some people would ever have."

I often feel this way.

From "Feast Day of Fools" by James Lee Burke.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Cancer Chronicles

Dramatic title, no?

I am just playing with you. What I am dealing with is minor compared to what some family members and friends have dealt with.

Some successfully; some not.

Still it is a weird progression; it fractures the mind.

Got the cancer dug out of my back on 09/01. Got the nasty stitches clipped out this week.

When she got a look at my back the nurse said "Wow he put industrial strength stitches in there."

Felt good to get them out. Progress.

However, next Tuesday I gotta go in to get the cancer shaved off my nose. Bing, bang, boom - just like that.

Strange kind of stress dealing with this shit. It is for the good and I am quite pleased it was all caught early on.

Still I am still rebounding from the back thing - still sore, still getting very little sleep - and now the nose comes under attack.

Apparently the nose will be bandaged up for a day or two; should be good for some enjoyable pictures. Not sure what the recovery process is but I'll probably be surprised as I was with my back. I did not realize that the back would still be bothering me a month and more down the road.

I will be glad when this intense part of the ordeal is over with. When I have no more appointments to slice up my body; when I get back to feeling normal.

I am walking a fine line here between making too much of this and not making enough of it.

It is not too frightening at this point but it weighs heavy on my mind. That's why I need to get past the slicing and dicing. Get down to the new normal.

My perspective is being sliced up and re-arranged just as my body is.

Patience with stupid people will from now on be in short supply.

I feel it in my bones, in my heart and in my soul.

You better duck.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Big Papi and The K-Man

Recently finished a biography on Andy Kaufman.

Mind blowing. He was truly one of a kind.

More importantly, he was fiercely committed to being who he was, performing the act and doing the things he did no matter what people thought of him.

And he struggled and took a lot of shit because of that.

He believed in himself, believed even as a child that he would make it in show biz. His way and on his own terms.

He pushed things as far as he could push them, often making his audiences and the people who paid him feel uncomfortable.

He was happiest when he made people squirm because it was proof positive that he was defying show biz cliches and truly performing an original act.

Although there are legitimate questions as to whether or not he even considered it an act.

He was deeply sensitive. This makes me admire him even more for having the strength and the courage to get up on stage and defy convention in order to remain true to himself.

Cancer cut him down at the age of 35. I believe that was the price he paid for struggling as he did. When you fight back as hard as he had to against life itself, against what people expect, what people try to force you to do, you burn out. Life will make you pay when you defy convention.

Segue: Big Papi.

I have been digging on David Ortiz as he kicks ass and spreads his love in his final season of baseball.


This is a man with balls of steel and the biggest heart in sports.

He is the definition of clutch and the definition of tough. If a pitcher messes with his head, if Big Papi gets beat one time at the plate you can be goddamn sure he will have his revenge.

With style and grace and triumph and a sly smile.

Yet he can walk over to the stands and effortlessly connect with a young fan in a genuine way. As a real, down to earth and sensitive human being.

As opposed to many athletes today who cannot avoid coming across as insincere because they are so far removed from the life of an every day human.

You cannot help but love David Ortiz. You cannot help but respect him. A unique man in today's sports world, one that all other athletes should emulate.

But they won't. Because he is unique; because they don't care.

These are two radically different lives. Two very different people.

Each is a blueprint for how to live.

The lesson to me is that you gotta live your life. Every thing you say and do should be an expression of what is unique to your soul.

Strangely enough, this is easier said than done.

We get lost. And our lives have no meaning.

This, sadly, is an eternal dilemma, evident since the beginnings of mankind.

The proof is there in the deepest poetry, a poignant song lyric, the most thoughtful literature. Any and every reflective creative expression ever put forth by the most creative and insightful people on the planet.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Alone With His Thoughts

Silence, solitude, was always a comfort; people just get in the way.
But things change; now silence brings a hint of fear.
He once romanticized quiet reflection, fancied himself a thinker.
Now quiet creates a vacuum that is quickly flooded with conflicting thoughts
and powerful emotions.
A life can change faster than a mind can comprehend
and catching up is confusing; even frightening.
It will never be the same, being alone with his thoughts.

Monday, September 19, 2016

MOHS For The Nose, Baby

It's pronounced "moze".

Ok, they got all that nasty shit out of my back.

Dr. Feelgood called last week to say they dug all the cancer out. So that is a good thing.

Now I begin an intimate relationship with a dermatologist. Long term.

Gotta see her every three months for the next two years; every six months for three years after that.

I am OK with that. For one thing it will give me peace of mind knowing an expert is checking me thoroughly on a regular basis.

In addition it will inspire me to lose weight.

In the last month so many people inspected my bloated, aged body that it was embarrassing. I vowed that I would lose fifteen pounds when I semi-retired; instead I gained five. I failed to take into consideration the workouts I was getting at the Booze Emporium.

Now I gotta lose 20.

What the hell; we all need inspiration.

My goal is that at the end of five years or hopefully before, the dermatologist will say when I remove my shirt "Oh my, you have the body of a 21 year old."

I don't think that is too unrealistic.

On to phase two. I got some cancer in my nose. Apparently not too scary. Squamous cell carcinoma.

It is a cancer that occurs in the skin's upper layers, hanging around threatening to get more serious if you apathetically ignore it.

I caught it, Dr. Feelgood #2 is gonna shave it off next week. 09/27.

MOHS surgery is a procedure where they shave a small amount of skin off the diseased area and then run down to the lab to see if they got all the cancerous cells. If they did I am done. If not they shave a little more.

It is a slow process. They told me to plan on being there for two to four hours. That is one to three hours longer than it took to hack that shit out of my back.

And apparently I will look goofy when I leave, big bandage on the nose, Nurse Ratched said wearing my glasses will be a challenge.

The reason for the procedure is to cause as little disfigurement as possible. I was told I may require plastic surgery on the nose afterwards.

Personally, I have been living with El Grande Testa family nose all my life. If they chop it down a little bit, maybe make me look more like a movie star than a gangster, I won't mind.

August and September have been fascinating months for me. Been through a lot, learned a lot including a lesson or two, warped around my thinking a little in a positive way.

Turned me into a vampire.

Now when the sun hits my face I shy away.

Life is a bizarre son of a bitch.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

More Than Just Words

Boogeying home on Sunday morning from OOB listening to Brunch By The River on 92.5 The River when this song pops up.

"Corn Liquor" by Southern Culture On The Skids.

Dig this verse:

"Now way back in the woods where I come from, my daddy had a still and my mama had a gun, yonder came the sheriff, tried to make us run, Momma shot him dead now I'm her only son."

Those are some powerful lyrics, baby.