It’s Not the Economy, Stupid

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Many years ago a little boy whom I was teaching was found hanged in his attic. They said it was an accident while playing. I’ve always wondered if maybe Marco, 12 years of age, had taken his own life.

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How To Grow Your Brain Without Half Trying

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Silence literally makes your brain bigger.

I just came across a 2013 study published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function—about the effect silence had on the brains of mice. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day they developed new cells in the hippocampus, a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning.

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The Good That I Would

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One of the most popular features in The New York Times is called “Sunday Routine.” Each Sunday, the paper details the hour-by-hour activities that describe how a celebrity typically spends the day of rest.

It’s the first feature I turn to, even though the featured persons are uniformly and vomit-inducingly pretentious. 

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Soufflé, Testosterone and I

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A lot of guys read recipes the way they read science fiction. They get to the end and think, "Well, that's never going to happen.”

It shouldn’t be that way. If real men eat quiche, they can serve up soufflé, too.

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“Every Night for the Rest of Your Life”

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Like the pimple that pops up the night of the prom, I knew the unthinkable might happen but I hoped it never would. The pimple erupted, however. One of my books got a crummy review.

Here’s what somebody who fancifully calls himself “Seadog” wrote on my Amazon page about my book, Fat Guy in a Fat Boat . . .

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“I Wish To Die for That Man.”

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The crocuses poking through the last of the snow, the first golden blooms of forsythia, the imminent celebration of new life known as Easter—none of it kept my wife’s close cousin from death a week ago. Cancer overwhelmed Robin Sicoli, just as it had my wife three months ago.

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From Darkness, Light

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Last weekend was the most wrenching I’ve experienced in a long time. Blame it on a somber film about concealed sexual predation. And a day spent immersed in the cadences of a thousand men praying.

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Best Friends

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For fifty years I never referred to my wife as my best friend. I thought it was an odd phrasing to apply to a spouse. "Friends" were Vic and Chuck and Bill. My wife was, well—my wife. A connection far beyond friendship.

Now, in the aftermath of her death, I realize that our marriage endured for a half-century precisely because she was my best friend. 

In meditating about her passing, I’ve come to see that friendship is like holding a bird in your hand. Squeeze too tightly and you will smother it. Pay it too little heed and it will fly away.

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Julie’s Story

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My younger daughter this week celebrated a birthday—her first since losing her mother to breast cancer in December. Julie wrote this brief remembrance in her honor. I was struck by the idea that, yes, each of us reaches a point in our lives when no one remains to remember the day we were born—what the weather was like, what time we arrived, what Mom was doing when the birth pangs began. So I set aside my own blog post that I had prepared for today so you can recall the story of your own children’s birth and consider leaving them the gift of remembrance that my wife, Jo Anne, bequeathed to our daughter, Julie.

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Succubus on My Chest

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I have forgiven and try to forget, but my mind betrays me with imagined scenarios of the iniquity that went on behind my back. And when my harrowing dreams wake me in the night, I wake to the thought of the betrayal—riding my chest like a succubus.

This is the dispiriting aspect of forgiveness—to forgive is a decision of the will, to forget is beyond our control. The pain of remembering revisits again and again, like an untreated abscess. 

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