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Month: May 2015

The Heaviest Things

water weights1A plumber taught me one of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learned a couple of years ago. When clearing a rather significant clog in our plumbing, he said “Let’s do the double sink test.” He filled both of the kitchen sinks to the brim with water, and as he did, said something quite profound:

“If you have a clog, you should throw the heaviest thing in your house you can down the drain first, before calling anyone like me. What do you think that is?”

“I have no idea,” I said, while I watched the water rise.

As the water reached the top, with a certain drama, he pulled both plugs at the same time. The water level dropped rapidly, large gurgles coming from the now cleared pipes.

“Water,” he explained, “is the heaviest thing you can throw down your pipes.” He went on to talk about the number of gallons of water in both sinks, and the weight of each gallon. But I zoned out at that point. Because I knew what he was saying was true, I’d just never thought of it.

waterweights2Words too, are like water. Language is one of the heaviest things we have in our human arsenal, the way to express both our deepest feelings and our most amusing thoughts. Sometimes we don’t think of them as heavy, just like we don’t think of the weight of water when we add a bit or it to whisky, whether liquid or in the form of ice cubes, and drink it.

Words can indeed weigh a lot. A story is a sink full of water, a novel a barrel. Small words combined, can be heavy, healing, or both. Of course, smaller doses of water or words that can be dangerous. A person can drown in a couple of inches of water in the wrong place at the wrong time. And take water away from someone for long enough, and they will die. A poorly timed insult can be deadly, and angry silence can destroy a friendship.

The heaviest things around are not always what we think of: antique furniture, a lead weight, or the fold out couch that belonged to your mother. But sometimes, the weight of things is a bit deceiving. You might be sipping on one, while using the other to communicate with the person next to you.

Are there other things that are heavier than they appear? I’d love to hear from you.

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Peed There to Be There

Introducing a new blog, and blog thread. My girlfriend and I sometimes disagree over things of dubious importance, and the only fair way to settle the argument is to let you, the people decide. So we’ve started a blog, titled That’s What S(he) said. Find it here, and leave us your comments. Be sure to take our surveys, like the one at the end of this post, because your opinion counts.

Peed there to Be There

Troy’s side

marking territoryI wanted to add another state to my visited list. But there’s only one way to make it count, at least by the rules I have been taught. You have to have peed there to have been there.

Since I have been back east this spring, I’ve added quite a few states to my list. They’re close together, (compared to those out west) and I stay well hydrated, so establishing my visits has never been problematic. But this weekend, my girlfriend Abby and I took a bus to New York from Philadelphia. I’ve never been to New Jersey, but the bus wasn’t stopping anywhere in the state. This was an issue for me, but I quickly thought of a solution.

I’d just pee in the bus restroom on the way through. Then I would have peed in New Jersey, right? That would mean I had been there. Suggesting as much to my partner, she immediately belittled my method, emphatically stating my plan was flawed, and my visit would not count.

Her points are outlined below.

Abby’s side

busSo, here is the deal.  As I don’t totally disagree with the ‘Peed there to have been there’ concept I completely reject the peeing on a bus to make it count!  I mean… come ON!  It makes no sense.

First of all, the bus is elevated off of the ground, moving through an area, where neither your feet nor anything stationary touch the ground.  How on earth can it count to be somewhere if your foot doesn’t even touch the ground?

Secondly, going to the bathroom on the bus makes even less sense as counting.  Your pee goes into a tank that doesn’t even go near the ground in that area.  I think the entire point of ‘peed there to be there’ is leaving your deposit in the land.  Since the sewage from the bus doesn’t actually GO into the land in Jersey for this case…. NO COUNT! If they pumped the sewage tank in Jersey I might be persuaded.

It is crystal clear my side is the logical one here.  If you stick your junk out the window and pee into the free wind leaving your deposit, that counts.  Your deposit has to actually go into the ground.  And that ladies and gentlemen is my side… the correct one.


In the end, I never used the bus restroom, so the point became moot. I am convinced it was due to Abby distracting me to foil my urination scheme. So even by my loose standards, I cannot cross Jersey off my list. I’ll just have to go back in a car, with a fuller bladder next time.

What do you think? What do you have to do in a state to make the visit count, so you can cross it off your list?

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Eyes close. There is nothing to see. The room is dark, the ceiling above
the same shade it was last time you looked.
How long ago?
Five minutes? Jesus, please let it be
five minutes.
A glance at the clock. Not five. Three. Why not
two more?

Eyes close. Where is the off switch for my mind? How can I stop
these dreams, these images? Why must they
choose now to come?
five minutes? Jesus, please let it be
five minutes.
A glance at the clock. Not five. Two, this time.
What happened to five?

Eyes close. There is nothing to see. The room is dark, the ceiling above
the same shade it was last time you looked.
A blink?
All I get this time is a fucking blink?
Not five minutes. Not two.
Don’t glance at the clock. It won’t be good. Won’t be…
What happened to two?

Dry eyes. They won’t even blink now. There is no respite from
the constant, meager light. The ceiling above the
same shade as the last time I looked.
Five minutes, two minutes, a blink?
No. Not a goddamn thing.
I might as well get up, since I’m sleepless.
What else should I do?

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Broken Places

Broken PlacesI’ve long been a follower of Rachel Thompson, a social media and book marketing queen who detests the word guru, is constantly learning, and posts some really great stuff for authors. She is also an author in her own right. She has written about her experiences in Broken Pieces, Broken Places, and coming soon (I believe) Broken People. These books are a collection of stories, essays, and poems chronicling her own journey as a survivor of abuse.

But I have a confession: although I have followed her from some time, I just bought one of her books for the first time the other day. The reason? I perceived them more as books for women, and although I was not the victim of child abuse of any kind (unless you count being raised in a fundamental Baptist church, arguable), I have been around many who have, including my first ex-wife. It’s something I almost hate talking about. But that brings me to my current experience: a second divorce, and what I am calling a brutal healing process.

During this time, I read one of Rachel’s blog posts that really spoke to me at the same time I wrote “Letting Go,” about my own journey, to much criticism and praise. It was titled “What Happens When You Walk Through Fire.” The feelings expressed were so similar to mine, I could not read it without a pile of emotion. In fact, I have re-read it several times.

I also constantly read Rachel’s wall, where I found quotes from Broken Places, quotes that spoke to me in a unique way, as a man, damaged by a recent broken relationship, yet on the way to a new kind of healing. Over and over. I shared the quotes. Re-read them. And then bought the book they come from.

And I was not disappointed at all. The book is excellent, every page holding a gem. It’s not a sit down and read this in one sitting book, like the thrillers I write. It is an old friend, newly discovered, that you can revisit whenever you feel the need, or the desire.

Not only do I give this book, and the author, a thumbs up on a number of levels, but I recommend it to you, if you have ever been damaged in any way at all.

“Damaged people recognize other damaged people, and we let you in. We are kindred.” ~ Rachel Thompson, Broken Places

Thanks Rachel, for sharing your stories, your feelings, your passion, and for helping me along my journey.

You can find the book on Amazon here, along with my review.

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