Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Greatest Joke Ever Told

Ya know, way back in the day, when I was a sad little boy trapped inside the walls of a hospital, my dream was to become a world-famous comedian.

Yeah, you heard me.

I would plunge myself into the bajillions of joke books that people would bring me as gifts, apparently trying to cheer me up (it worked, guys! A very belated thanks to all of you's!!!) and laugh myself silly. I would then proceed to annoy my parents and whoever would come and visit me by repeatedly telling the same jokes, over and over and over again.

[BLOGGER'S NOTE: Just to clarify, after a certain point, during my luxurious, 18-week stay at Immanuel Hospital, I began to regain enough mobility in my upper body that I could hold and turn the pages of a book. That, and flop about in my bed to the sounds of Billy Joel on my Walkman. Strangely enough, even with upward- and lower-body mobility, my dancing has not improved. In fact, my dance moves have curiously remained the same as when I was paralyzed. Go figure.]

In other words, I really haven't changed much since age seven, have I? I'm still saying and doing anything I can to get a laugh or a smile out of The Next Guy (or Gal), even going so far as pushing it down their throats and/or humiliating myself in the process. Anyone who has seen me rubbing lotion all over my half-naked body or wearing nothing but cut-off jean shorts in a shower--and for those who have seen it, you know that's not even the half of it!!--in Mr. Erik's now-legendary (infamous?) "Tuesday's Gone" music video needs no further proof of the above.

However, of all the jokes that I've read or told, none of them can hold a candle to the one delivered by one of the characters in Noah Baumbach's splendid-yet-little-seen 1995 film, "Kicking & Screaming." The joke goes as such:

How do you make G-d laugh? Make a plan.

At the risk of getting off the subject for a moment, the film revolves around a group of college graduates who have no clue what to do with their lives, once they finish school. As a result of this sort of paralyzing fear of the unknown (sound familiar?), they stick around campus, providing witty, sarcastic commentary on life as they know it--as that very same life simultaneously passes them by. It's a very funny movie that deals with post-college life and relationships realistically and honestly.

I love it.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. It's not like I hadn't heard a variation of that joke before. Growing up in my parents' house, I'd always hear my mom say "we make plans and G-d laughs."

It always stuck with me. It's so true.

We always have these grand plans when we're young. We think that as soon as we graduate college (or whatever our idea or point of Look, ma! I'm all growed up is), we're just automatically gonna be spoon-fed our shimmery, shiny, gold-tinged dreams: A job (CHECK!), marriage (CHECK!), children, a house, two cars (CHECK, CHECK, CHECK!!), et cetera, et cetera. Since my own college graduation, I've come to realize that's the biggest joke of all.

And it's almost always on us.

I'm not exactly proud to say this, but I haven't been to shul (synagogue) since May. It has nothing to do with me not believing in G-d. It's not like that at all. I believe in Him/Her/It. I do. I just think G-d's sense of humor is a bit too much for me to take sometimes.

So, yes. I have surpassed the I don't believe in G-d phase of my life and have now reached the What's it all mean, G-d? phase. I guess I'm moving up in the world. I dunno.

Here's the thing: The reason I used to not believe in G-d was because of all the bad shit that happened in the world. Ya know? I use to say things like, "How could G-d let the terrorists do that?" or "If there's a G-d, how could He let The Holocaust happen?"

I would always get the same reply or, at least, a variation of it. It all came down to the fact that G-d gave us free will.

Ah, yes. Free will: The ultimate cop out.

Okay, people. Maybe I'm an idiot (and if you think I am, well, take a number!), but if G-d has a plan and it's all part of G-d's plan, then where the
does the free will part come in? You can't have both an Almighty Plan AND free will?! Wouldn't the two things cancel each other out?!

What the
?!'s the the deal: I believe that G-d has given us free will. However, I also believe that every once in a while, The Big Guy likes to look into our lives and say to Himself, "This shit is getting booooorrrrrring. Maybe if I just--no, I couldn't! Well, maybe...I could just pull this one...little...string and.......whoopsy daisy! Did I do that?! Oh, well. What's done is done, I guess. Man, oh man, this is gonna be GOOD!! This is gonna be so GREAT!!"

It's like a group of TV writers that trap themselves in a corner (read: "Alias" or "Prison Break"). You know what I mean? It's like the writers have this ongoing, labyrinthine plot and then, when they themselves have no idea what the hell is happening on their own show, they throw in a twist in the season finale that has nothing to do with anything, that changes everything we know about the show, rendering almost all of what's come before as superfluous and, ultimately, pointless. And then a character arches a oh-so menacing eyebrow and proclaims--wait for it!!--"HA! Just as I planned!!"

I've come to the conclusion that G-d likes to put us in sticky situations so he can watch us squirm, wriggle around and, ultimately (but not always, because variety is, after all, the spice of life, right?) claw our way out. Truth be told, G-d would be an amazing TV sitcom producer. In fact, I'm pretty much convinced, at this point, that many of the television producers of the '70s were, indeed, touched by The Hand of G-d.

I can just totally see one of the Deity-inspired pitches:

Hey, fellas! Put down your cigars!! Have I got a pitch for you!! Not sure where it came from, but here goes!! We've got a male swinger livin' with two buxom broads! But wait 'til ya get a load o' dis one!! You ready?! He's gotta pretend to be one o' them homosexuals my daughter keeps tellin' me about!! You know?! To fool their wacky, old-fashioned landlords?! Can you imagine all the hijinks?! Wouldn't that be just a real riot?!?!

Look, I believe in G-d.

I love G-d and I truly, in my heart, believe that G-d, for all of the crap he's thrown my way throughout the year, loves me. There is a Higher Authority out there, people. He's watching us. And, yes, as paranoid as I can be, sometimes--not always, but sometimes--I take great comfort knowing that G-d is watching over me. It is G-d who has helped me get to this point in my life.

And that, most certainly, is not a bad thing at all.

I just think that sometimes, He/She/It has a really shitty sense of humor and really, really bad comedic timing.

No Smoking!!!

It's been two years!! AT LEAST!!

There is no rhyme and there is certainly no reason reason for this, but in the last two days, I have had these major cigarette cravings!!

No, for the record, I have NOT acted on them.

Thank G-D!! But it's getting bad.

I am not stressed. I am not unhappy. In fact, I am happier than I have been in ages, what with my writing finally taking off again and getting my mojo back. Cigarettes should be the last thing on my mind, right now, at this point in my life.

I mean, in the 2+ years since I quit smoking, I've had cravings here and there, but I have not smoked one cigarette. But these cravings--the ones that I've been having for the last few days--have been BRUTAL!!!

Why is this happening?!? Like I need this shit, ya know?


I will not smoke cigarettes. I won't. I love being able to breathe, exercise without gasping for air (most of the time) and/or coughing. I enjoy being able to taste everything that goes into my mouth (yeah, I know how that sounded. Being serious now, right now, folks).

I hate Bronchitis and Smoker's Cough is awful.


You ain't gonna get me, this time!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ne Me Quitte Pas

The other night, I wrote that ultimately, I'm the only one who can make myself happy. While that is absolutely true, sometimes, I need to get a little help from my friends.

Ya know, when I think of my group of friends, I picture one of those photo mosaic collages, where all the little photos are arranged to make one larger photo or picture. Every little bit helps. If one little piece goes missing, the picture just looks a
Well, lately, a few of those photos have gone away or, soon enough, will be leaving my collage.

I'm not going to lie: It's something I've been dreading.

Don't get me wrong. I'm excited for their accomplishments and optimistic about their futures. Make no mistake, I love my friends with everything I'm made of--more than myself, sometimes--and I want nothing but the best for them when it comes to their health, happiness and successes. but still...It sucks knowing that they won't always be around, that we won't be able to hang out at a moment's notice or that the weekly traditions we had will now be considered as "special occasions." And no, never before has the phrase "only a phone call away" sounded more dreary and depressing.

What can I say? I'm a needy person. I need my friends.
I've said it once and I'll never stop saying it: They are truly the lights of my life.

It's the Tinas, Kevins, Justins, Eriks, Marys (DING!! There you go, sweetie! Your first mention!!), Courtneys, Matteos, Crystals, Dereks, Sharons, Andys, Joels, Joes, Glens/Waynes/DJ Magics, Heathers, Sergios, Saras, Sarahs, Clarks, Evans, Cowboy Curtises, Kristis, Christinas, Nicholes, Stephanies, Matts, Kyles, Sams, Amandas, Russes, Tammys and Trees that help make life just a little more bearable on a day to day basis.

Yeah, like I said, ultimately, I'm the guy who has to flip the switch when it comes to getting my life started and making myself happy, but knowing that I have so many absolutely wonderful, beautiful people behind me certainly makes it that much easier.

As many of you may or may not have heard, my Master Plan is to be gone, out of Omaha, by Jan. 31, 2009, when my lease goes up. The plan is to move to one of the following three places: Minneapolis, Philly or New Orleans.

Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know what y'all are thinking: Oh, shut the fuck up, Haliboot! You've been saying you're gonna move for years!! Give it UP!!!

And it's true. I have been planning on moving--or, at least, telling myself I will--for years, but it hasn't happened. I either lack the balls and chicken out or I end up running short in The Fundage Dept. This time, though, I'm going to make it happen if it kills me!! [BLOGGER'S NOTE: Wait. That doesn't make sense. I know that was supposed to sound persuasive and dramatic, but wouldn't, like, dying kind of defeat the purpose? That's kinda stupid. Oh, well. I'll shut up now. Keep going.] I've been online, looking up jobs at each of those places, doing research, looking at cost of living expenses. I've been trying to save money. I'm really trying to go the distance here.

Anyway, I think the reason that maybe I'm kind of getting all solemn about people leaving is that I realize that, as some of my closest friends begin to move away--or even just drift apart from me--and as I get closer to my projected move date, it's really getting closer to that point, ya know? That moment before you've reached the Final Destination. The calm before the storm.

The Beginning of the End.

Hold on tight to those photos.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tomorrow Is My Time

I remember once convincing a whole group of people in a bar that I was this big-shot Hollywood screenwriter-producer-director.

The ultimate hyphenate. The Zach Braff of "The Big O."

I told them about this new film that I had just completed. It was done, completed, finí the can. They believed me. I had everyone in the room fooled.

Everyone, that is, but myself.

The truth is, up until recently, I hated going to places where people would have the potential to ask me what I do, what I've been up to and where I was headed.

Hated. It.

Because the truth is, up until recently, I didn't do much of anything (other than work at Marriott) and I sure as fuck had no idea where I was headed. Let's face it: These last few years, I've been stuck, living one day at a time, talking the talk, but never, ever walking the walk.

It's over. I'm done talking. The time to act has already begun.

Ya know? It's taken me years to figure this out, and now...I finally get it. I have to stop depending on all these external things that I think are gonna make me happy: A girlfriend, DVDs, shiny new toys (preferably ones that don't involve lubricant, thank you very much!!). For so long, I've been trying to get a girlfriend, that special someone who is going to be the source of all my happiness, the one who is going to complete me. I've gone on J-Date, I've been set up by different people, I've met people in bathrooms. [BLOGGER'S NOTE: okay...that was a one-time deal. Never again!!] But the truth is, the only person who can make me happy is me, myself and I.

I need to do better at taking care of myself, working on myself. I can't expect to love someone fully if I don't love myself, if I'm not a happy person. More importantly, I shouldn't put the brunt of responsibility for my ultimate happiness on anyone else's shoulders but my own.

Ya know, last year, I received an Anonymous comment (okay...I received a lot of anonymous comments, last year. But that's an ugly chapter in my life that I don't really like talking about anymore. Water under the bridge, ya know?) from my ex Liz's old roommate Nathan. It went like this:

save you? for fuck sake man, SAVE YOURSELF. if you sit there and yearn and pine for "ms. right" to just show up and sweep you off your feet, well you better have a comfortable chair and a damn good book on hand, because IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. women in this world dont want to deal with the psychosis of a man who cant get his life in order. most of them want to mold you in to their "perfect man" but that starts with you. it starts with you being a man to begin with.

Harsh, right? I remember being so angry with that comment. I was enraged!! But ya know what? There is a bibles-worth of truth to it. I am done pining and I am done whining. From now on, I am going to really start focusing on getting my life together, working toward a career, actual endgame. I need to get myself back on track. The good news is that I'm well on my way. I'm done being the guy who is on the outside looking in at all the successful, happy people out there.

I'm done being stuck.

Wait. PAUSE!!!!!!

It's funny. I keep using that word, "stuck." But ya know? I don't know if it's applicable. No one is stuck. Not you. Not me. My life? Your life? It is what you make of it.

Ever since I got the job at that newspaper, The Reader, I have felt my confidence level rising each day.

Just the other day, I made a pitch to my editor to spearhead a TV page for the paper. It seems like a lot of publications have one, these days, and when it comes to TV, I am like a walking, talking TV encyclopedia. I know, live, breathe, eat and drink TV. I am knowledgeable about shows from the '50s until yesterday. Plus, with my experience heading a TV/Entertainment column at The Omaha Pulp for nearly two years, as well as that paper's entertainment page, I think I would be a great candidate to spearhead such a project.

It got shot down, but ya know what? I didn't care. I was just so pleased with myself--ecstatic really!!--for displaying such newfound hubris.

In fact, everything lately seems new and improved.

I got my first paycheck, yesterday. Do you know how fucking amazing that made me feel?! For the first time in four years, I was paid for my writing, my work! Sure, it was only $18.20, but it's a start. It's something I can work with.

That was yesterday.

Today, I was given my first major assignment! I am going to be covering a Gala hosted by one of the lead actors on CSI: NY. I'm actually going to be conducting my first celebrity interview!!! And to think that it was only three months ago that I was on my couch, crying over the big, bad choices I'd made in my past. Boo fuckin' hoo.

As Phil Collins once said, just take a look at me now.

For the first time in years, I am no longer saying to myself, great. Another day. Here we go again. On the contrary, I'm not saying a fucking thing.
My mouth is shut and my eyes are wide open.

Life is beginning for me. I can feel it coursing through me.

I'm ready.

Here we go...!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Tale of Two Cummings

So, a friend of mine, the other week, was bored at work and she wanted me to tell her a story.

Nothing specific.

Just something to help her pass the time. So, I racked my brain, trying to think of something good until, finally, it came to me: one of the funniest yarns that I have in my arsenal of Tall Tales and Legends.

And yes, it even beats The Legend of Crusty Nipple Girl, Bathroom Sally and The Fan of Death [BLOGGER'S NOTE: Trust me...ya don't wanna know 'bout the latter story. Hell, I don't even wanna know that story...and I fuckin' lived it!!]. Though, it's not quite as, um, unseemly.

So, with that, ladies and gentlemen....without further ado...tonight, I present to you...

Um, HELLO?!?! Read the fucking title head above, geniuses!! What? Do you need me to wipe your arses, too?!?!


Once upon a time, I had a major crush on this girl in high school named Kirsten. She was, like, the coolest girl. She wasn't super popular, but she was That Girl, the one that every guy secretly wanted. She had her nose pierced, she had long, blond hair (which is usually, ya know, not my bag. I've never really been one for blondes. I mean, who really needs that much fun, anyway?), big, saucer eyes, down to earth, easy to talk to. Loved indie films (she was the one that first introduced me to "Swingers.") She was awesome!

Anyway, after I finally grew some hair on my shmeckel, figuratively speaking, I invited her to my Halloween party. I thought for sure she'd say no, but she accepted my invitation and came at--er--to to my party. I was soooooo excited!!! I was like in a state of nerd euphoria!! I couldn't believe that The Girl of My Dreams was at my house ( parents house, but still...!!). Anyway, she got along really with my friends and we all had a blast.

The End.

...But not really.

So, a couple of weeks later, on a Friday, she approached me in sixth-period English and asked me out to a movie for later that night. Let's just say this: In that moment, I think I dropped about a good 10-15 pounds. Anything that I had eaten, two hours prior to our conversation, may as well have just gone in one end and out the other.

I. Freaked. On the inside, of course. Except for the smell. Hmmm... [BLOGGER'S NOTE: He's kidding, people. He didn't really shit himself. STOP IT, JACKASS!! You're embarrassing yourself!!]

Later that night, every fiber of me was giddy and tingly and excited. I paced around my parents foyer, looking forward to her grand arrival in my parents' driveway.

I waited. And I waited. And I waited...



...Until finally, she called me up to tell me that she was still getting ready (who "gets ready" for a movie?!?! I mean, really?! It's a fucking movie, for G-d's sake!! You are in the dark!! This ain't "Project Runway," yo!!) and that two of her guy pals, Zach and James, were going to pick me up instead of her.

Leave it to my mom and dad to be like, "we've gotta meet these guys before we let you drive with them." It was so embarrassing. I mean, here are are these guys I've never really talked to in high school, from my class, who were going to escort me to see the Love of My Life....and my parents wanted to, like, talk to them?!?!

About what?! Fuckin' world peace?! The conditions of the rain forests?! UGH!!

Anyway, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum got in and out my house really quickly, but not before mom put on her usual "I'm Hal's mom and aren't I just fabulous?!?!" while my dad did his usual, cool, calm, very-Bostonian "Hi, how ya doin'?"

After I practically shoved them out the door, we began driving toward the address that one of the two dudes had written down: 144th and Cumming Cir. Or something (it's been a while, alright?). I was like "Oh, my GAWD!! I KNOW THAT AREA!!!" We all high-fived each other (that was probably the first and only time I ever high-fived anyone during my high school career). So, I led the way, navigating Zach (who I'm sure was completely wasted on some herb. Or something.) how to get to the circle.

When we finally arrived at the the house, I leaped out of the vehicle before Zack could even put it into park. Who could think about auto safety when my own Princess Buttercup was waiting for me?

The porch lights were on, beckoning me. I ran to the front porch with, arms wide open, ready to embrace my Lady Love. James lumbered up the steps, behind me, until we were both on the porch. I took a deep breath...







I rang the doorbell and knocked simultaneously, practically shattering the glass with my hairy-knuckled fists.

All of a sudden, a bald, stern-looking man came to the door. He had this who the hell are you and what are you selling?! look on his face. He opened up the door and suspiciously asked us, "How can I help you boys?" I blurt out "We're here to pick up Kirsten...your daughter!!" He gives us the ultimate, searing what the fuck?! look, followed by a tense, awkward 30-second silence. Without warning, he startles us by screaming, at the top of his lungs, "KIRSTEN!! CAN YOU COME DOWN HERE?!?!"

Dear, loyal reader. What happened, after that, I will never, ever forget.

Like, seriously. Never. Ever.

This 10-year-old, freckle-faced girl with pig-tales came bounding down the stairs and stopped next to papa bear, looked up at him and, with big, inquisitive eyes, asked "yes, daddy?"

He gestured to us and asked her, "do you know these boys, Kirsten?" She looks us up and down with those big, adorable eyes, vigorously shook her head and said, "nah ah!!"
Let's just say that before that dude could even think of grabbing his shotgun, we were already in the van (yes, a appropriate for the circumstances). Apparently, we were three miles away from the correct address and when we arrived, Kirsten was ecstatic to see us.

She barely, however, spoke a word to me. And the movie, "The Man Who Knew Too Little," (starring Bill Murray in decidedly one of the most grating, godawful movies ever made) sucked my post-pubescent balls. Apparently, my invite to the movie was her way of reciprocating for me inviting her to my Halloween party.

To be honest--and this should really come as no surprise--the journey itself to see Kirsten was the highlight of my night, possibly my high school years. I never, ever hung out with those two guys again. Every now and then, though, we'd bump into each other and joke about going to see "Kirsten."

* Epilogue *

I became me. Am still working on becoming me. Will let you know how it goes...

Zach and James graduated high school (on time, too--impressive!!), stoners or not. Though, I later found out that James tragically died by accidentally OD-ing on heroine. It's a shame, too. He was a really nice guy to me, all throughout high school and into college. What a fuckin' world.

Kirsten, on the other hand, moved to NY and became an actress, never to be heard from again. Sometimes, I wonder if she ever made it to The Great White Way or if maybe she fell into the abyss that all failing/struggling actors go to die.

Cats, that is.

Ooh...could it be?!

Is this happening?!

Can you feel that?!


I feel a sing-along coming on...!!!!

See the dew on the sunflower
And a rose that is fading
Roses wither away
Like the sunflower
I yearn to turn my face to the dawn
I am waiting for the day . . .

Not a sound from the pavement
Has the moon lost her memory?
She is smiling alone
In the lamplight
The withered leaves collect at my feet
And the wind begins to moan

All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again

Every streetlamp
Seems to beat a fatalistic warning
Someone mutters
And the streetlamp gutters
And soon it will be morning

I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life
And I musn't give in
When the dawn comes
Tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin

Burnt out ends of smoky days
The stale cold smell of morning
The streetlamp dies, another night is over
Another day is dawning

Touch me
It's so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun
If you touch me
You'll understand what happiness is

A new day has begun

I bid thee all a good night.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Power of Goodbye

[Foreword: Ok...let me make this clear. Before you read the contents of this particular entry, I want to make it clear that a) I wrote this at 3:30am and, therefore, was super sentimental and overtired and b) I probably was a little hard on myself.

The truh is, I genuinely don't think I was nearly the ferocious, monstrous, manbeast I make myself out to be here. I just had a lot of issues at the time (truth be told, some of those issues still remain to this day). I didn't really have my OCD pinned down, at that point--in fact, I really wasn't sure what was wrong with me. That, and I just was really confused about my sexuality as well as all this relationship stuff, so I just really didn't know how to act and, being the boy that I was--as opposed to a Real Man--I acted like an immature fool. She happened to be in the crossfire of all these issues and my inexperience and immaturity. And, as we all know, sometimes, foolish, reckless behavior can be just as hurtful as deliberate, malicious action.

My point: While I am in no way a saint in the context of this story, I think I was more of a childish asshole than I was some evil demon. I suppose I could just delete this entry, rewrite it, but most of the sentiments ring true. Also understand that when I say she was "The One," that's what I thought at the time. After a certain point, I had no illusions that we were over. The truth is, there is someone out there that took over that mantle. They knew who they are. on.]

I think I've reached a crossroads, people. I have finally reached that point in my life where the past has finally become The Past.

It's the End of An Era. Today, I finally lost Rachel.

Many of you don't know who Rachel is to me, but she was the first girl I was ever in a relationship with. She was the first girl I ever kissed and the first girl who loved me. And I loved her, too.

Just not enough.

I hurt her so many times. Not physically, mind you. But emotionally, I was a monster to her. And the thing is, I didn't do it to be malicious or because I wanted to hurt her. Simply put: the idea of someone loving me--the gimpy, awkward, insecure, sexually confused little boy that I was--was a notion so completely alien to me that I downright rejected it and turned it against her.

I came to Philadelphia twice and both times, I left her crying. Same scenario when she came to Omaha. Twice. She left me, tears flowing freely.

I hurt this girl in ways unimaginable. I was cruel to her and she didn't deserve it. And the thing is, I wish I had known what I wanted. I wish I had known better. She was an angel. And I was a devil toward her.

I remember driving to a party to meet some friends of mine and on the way there, I told her that I just couldn't see myself getting married. She asked me why and I told her that people annoy me too much. She looked at me and said, "What are you saying? That I annoy you?" I answered her back with, "quite frankly, yes. You do." I saw the hurt in her eyes and I felt so small just then. I kept my eyes on the road.

I was such a stupid fucking asshole.

Now, let me make this clear: I always loved her. I did. Make no mistake. I just didn't know how to love her the way she needed to be loved. It sucks. Anyway, despite my monstrous behavior, she and I still remained friends. We were good at being friends. I mean, it wasn't like this thing where we talked every day, but we would pop into each others' lives for months at a time and get what we needed out of each other.

I guarantee you that had I stayed with her, I'd be married with a bunch of kids running around. And for awhile, once I realized that she was probably The One, I pursued her. Hardcore, too.

But alas, 'twas not to be. The damage was done. She had wised up. Good for her. She deserved better.

A few years later, she met Andy. A guy that based on the first date, as she described it, was not exactly Mr. Excitement. From then on, I referred to him as "Mr. Boringsteen." But I guess he wasn't so bad. She stuck with him. And despite some growing up that he needed to do, he proved to be The Better Man.

I guess I'm writing all this because after a year of unanswered, unreturned calls, voicemails e-mails and IMs, I finally sent her a text message, telling her that I thought that we were friends and whatever I did to make her angry, I'm so, so sorry.

After a year of nothing, her reply:
"I'm not angry with you at all. I've moved on."

I sent her a reply basically saying that there was nothing to move on from. We're friends. However, if that's what she really wanted, I understood. I told her that I wish her only the very best and to take care.

How else do you respond to someone who has basically told you that you're no longer a part of their life as they know it?

I'm not angry. I'm sad. I should have let her go a long time ago. I should have done a lot of things differently a long time ago. The funny thing about it, though, is that it really wasn't that long ago. It feels like it, but I mean, really, five, maybe six years ago isn't exactly ancient history.

I'm happy she's found someone to share her life with. She deserves The World. I wish I had known what I had when I had it. But that's sort of a constant theme in my life--a running joke, if you will. I never know what I have until I've lost it.

Does this story sound familiar to anyone? Hint, hint? Nudge, nudge?

The truth is, as much as losing Rachel for good hurts, I'm going to look on the bright side. This is the end of a chapter in my life. It's a chapter that taught me that sometimes, you just have to cut your losses and try and do better the next time.

I may not be able to correct the wreckage of my past, but at least I know what I want now for the future.

I want happiness for myself. I want a wife, 2.5 kids and a white picket fence. I want to be one of those happy couples I see walking around the mall, holding hands, kissing and not caring who sees them, or at the movie theater or at a restaurant. I want to smile and not be afraid that all of it will end in an instant. I want to know that all of the snapshots I have in my head of my future aren't going to blow away--POOF!--into nothing.

Am I getting a little ahead of myself, here? Yeah, maybe.

But hey...ya gotta start somewhere, right?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

By George...!!!!


Ok...a few weeks ago, I came up with an ending to my latest screenplay. Something about the hero and heroine chatting it up online, each in their own respective corners of the world. How very Tom and Meg of me!!


I wanna go bigger. When people see this movie--and they will...right, Erik?!--I want people to be like, "wow! That movie really inspired me" or "wow...I need to make a change my life."

I was thinking about things, this evening, and the ending just popped in my head. I didn't have a pen where I was and, apparently, no one else in Omaha carries one either, so I just had to make due with the notepad feature on my cell phone. Without giving too much away, it ends--of all places--on a tropical island with an amazing sunset. Our hero stands at the edge of the ocean, watching the majestic sunset. A woman's hand grasps his and she joins him in watching the sunset. They kiss, smile at each other and head back toward the mainland. We pull away to discover....

That's all you're getting. There's a little twist, but it is absolutely perfecto!! It's not exactly a reality. It's a completely happy, satisfying ending. But it's not the one that people will see coming. Not by a long shot!

This thing is gonna be big.

The truth? I've been completely intimidated by writing this motherfucker, for the last few months. And it's not for a lack of plot. This sucker has got it all!! I truly think it's a great story with many different themes: Love lost and found, missed opportunities, heartbreak, deceit, commitment, sacrifice, arrested development and, ultimately, just...growing up.

And yet, I've been too afraid to write it. Why?

Well, the story had yet to truly play out.

I think it finally has. Well, at least one aspect of it. And it has nothing to do with difficult choices or tragedy or me pissing and moaning or anything like that. I'm actually pretty secure and comfortable with how things concluded. It's just life. Sometimes, things work out and other times, they just don't.

Circumstances, man. Life's all about circumstances. And that's okay.

At the very least, out of all of this, I have gained an amazing friend, a cheerleader (among many others in my own neck of the woods. Y'all better know who you are! I'm going to really miss you when I leave.), who wants the very best out of me. And I know that things will be different now, but I'm just glad that she's still in my life. Whether she feels comfortable saying it back or not, I love her and wish her nothing but the best of everything. I truly mean that from the bottom of my heart.

There aren't any "buts" or "howevers" to that last statement either.

I think she's an amazing person and I'm glad she's finally becoming the happy(er) person that she was, is and will be. I hope I can be her cheerleader.

In the meantime, I'll be writing our story.

And yeah, it's a fucking beautiful one--no matter what the ending.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


It was a Wednesday.

On August 3, 1988, 20 years ago, I was admitted into Children's Hospital for Guillain-Barré syndrome.

I never knew what hit me. For those new to this blog,
Guillain-Barré syndrome (a.k.a. French Polio) is a very rare form of Polio, not covered by the Polio vaccine, that left me paralyzed from the head down, including my eyes. Through physical therapy and having a drill sergeant of a mom, I became fully mobile again. Though, I'll never have the strength of an average guy.

It's funny. You'd think I'd remember the anniversary of the day that changed the course of my life. But the truth of the matter is, I didn't. I was at the gym, this afternoon, and my dad told me.

I was kind of like, huh...that's kinda funny.

I don't know if I should be worried (HOWWWWARRRRRRRD!!!!) by this cavalier attitude or grateful that I've gotten to that point where I can shrug off such a horrible time in my life.

I'd like to think the latter.

I used to hate walking around in public wearing shorts. It'd always be the same thing. Some little kid or, let's face it, rude, nosy adult would look up and down the length of my legs, not-so-subtly eyeing the translucent white plastic of my braces that ran up my calves. I'd catch them and then they'd look away and pretend like nothing happened. Luckily, several years ago, I had my leg braces shortened to ankle-length.

The truth is, I just don't think about it anymore, really.

It's a part of me. I wouldn't necessarily say it's who I am, but it's definitely shaped the way I see things, people. There are times where I wonder what kind of person would I have been had I not had the disease. Would I be a star (read: douchebag) football player or wrestler? Would I have be as tolerant as I am now? As socially awkward?

These are questions that will always go unanswered and, truth be known, it's probably better that way.

Because when push comes to shove, I've become so used to being this person, this version of me, I don't think I'd want or know how to be anyone else. I know I have issues--a lot of 'em. I have doubts, worries, insecurities. But at the end of the day, at least I know who I am, I know where I've been and while I don't know exactly where I'm going, I have the past--successes, failures, mistakes and all--to help me get there.

And I've come a long fucking way to get to this point.

But as long winded as this entry already has gotten, the point of this blog is not to write about me. Well,'s a little bit of the point. Not gonna play pretend here.

But no, there's a story I want to tell that always makes me smile and cry at the same time.

I remember how my mom was, understandably, freaking out about everything when I was in the hospital. For a while, she was almost inconsolable. My dad was trying so hard to be the rock, as he always does.

What must have been going through their heads on a day to day basis, the emotions--worry, sadness, anger, frustration--I'll never be able to fathom.

One afternoon, my mom was visiting me and just, ya know, being there for me. I could tell this was taking a toll on her.

Apparently, so could my dad, who had to go out of town on business, that day.

When my mom left my room and walked the great distance to get to her car in the lot, she discovered a note in the windshield. Handwritten, it said the following:

"I love you. Everything is going to be okay."

It was just a simple note. Nothing fancy. But I think it was really what my mom needed to push forward. She cried for a few moments and then stuck the note in her purse. She never got rid of that note.

It's been 20 years. And ya know? My dad was right.

Everything turned out okay.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Gone for Good...

Alright, ladies and germs. I'm not going to lie. I'm in a really bad way, right now. I'm at my wit's end, really. I'm dying inside. I didn't know a person could cry as much as I have, the last day or so. This is what's up: Last night, I came home to find an envelope sitting on the kitchen table. I opened it up, only to read the following, which I've transcribed for you below. Read on and keep me in your thoughts and prayers.


Dearest Hal,

I don't know how to say this but, as much as it breaks my heart, I'm just going to say it...

I'm leaving you.

I've really enjoyed getting to know you so well, these last 12 years or so. They've been the best years of my life. They've been a real blast, but I feel that, after the events that took place, the other night. I just can't be part of your life anymore. It's just too hard for me to deal with.

You've been despondent, lately; cold. I thought we could get through this bumpy patch, but we just don't communicate the way we used to, we don't mesh. Sure, the sex is good--as good as it's ever been!--but there's nothing behind it. I just feel...used. You can't even look me in the eye! It's like you're afraid I'll blow up, explode at you or something, that you'll go blind.

I know you have needs, but I have needs, too! And you just aren't meeting them. And the truth is, you haven't been meeting them for a while. And it sucks. Because for the longest time, I thought I was the only one that you needed. I was your world. But now, based on your actions, the other night, you no longer need me.

And so, I write this letter saying "goodbye." There was a time when I could weather such a storm. You know this. I know you know it. This has happened before. Three years ago, in fact, when it happened the first time around. And I let it go. I was willing to overlook your...indiscretion. I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt.

But now? I'm too tired to even try. I can't be around you anymore. It hurts too damn much. You've dug this grave, Hal. You made your bed. And and as much as I love you, I hate you for what you've done.

Fuck you, Hal.

Fuck "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Part 2!"


Love Always,

Your Penis (a.k.a. Shlomo)