VoiceWithin

  • Independence Day: F'ing Dangerous!

    I spent last night tossing and turning. Every fifteen minutes-- Boom... Bang... Pow... Pop! It was clear; a lesser cartel had won. Holiday contraband from Indiana, southern Wisconsin, east Iowa, and Michigan had been smuggled into city limits, into the eager hands of civilians living on my block! My serene street became nothing less than a war zone, a brilliant, and shimmering war zone.

    Instead of calling the cops-- a futile, rookie move on this holiday-- I stared into the courtyard, witnessing every colorful strata of open fire catapult into a canopy of dry leaves and electrical high wire. Ahh... America-- land of the free, home of the third degree burn.

    Then... suddenly! At midnight, as if the assailant had been waiting patiently for the clock to strike an official start of American independence-- KAABOOOOM!-- the loudest declaration of independence heard all night, followed almost immediately by a yawp that pulled me swiftly to the window and an ambulance to my block.

    I was certain that I would start my morning run, having found fractions of an ear, bits of a nose, or perhaps slipping on an entire hand altogether, blown clear off, into the helpless marigolds and coreopsis lining my entryway. I didn't, thank the stars.

    Point being... you're probably celebrating. You're probably eating. You're probably going to be somewhat near combustible, high-pressure explosives with some form of adult libation in hand that, actually, contains accelerant properties.

    Be smart.
    Happy, without carnage, fourth of July.

  • Dads are Awesome...like, really

    Dads are incredible people. They teach us to swim; they foot the bill for flashy weddings; they carve turkey and barbecue like pros; and, they even teach us the rules of chess and the positions of football, baseball, and soccer. Dads are kings of many trades.
     
    It’s senseless and impossible to pinpoint the exact moment we realize our fathers possess some form of superhuman prowess. Was it when he killed the monster under our bed? Is it when he gave us keys to our first Toyota saying, “Take it...it’s yours!” Or is it when he calls joking he’s forgotten how our voice sounds-- his way of admitting that he misses us and simply wants to talk? Dads are lovely, quirky creatures. Mine for example, still uses his fax machine, writes checks to pay utility bills, buys Brut if Grey Flannel is out of stock, and has no idea what iOS or Android means, in spite of owning a Samsung Galaxy 4 for several years. Albeit, fatherly love is deep and wide.

    Today, we celebrate dads-- for taking us camping over summer break; for driving us cross country to college; for demystifying the NBA playoffs; for giving us our first sips of whiskey; and for simply being that incredible someone who helps us navigate life and its many crossroads.

    Love you dad-- and that damn fax machine.
    Happy Father's Day!

  • An Open Letter : Lessons from a Mother to her Son

    Dear Mom:

    You are a nuisance! You call just before I doze off demanding that I recant my every meal since last Thursday. Or, you describe in lengthy detail the subtle difference between Passion, Minx, and Fever, nail polish colors you’re considering, just as I step into rehearsal or work. You meddle, asking about my love life and remind me to find a partner who is kind, thoughtful, and who respects me. You harass me with ceaseless calls every four hours if I am sick or not feeling my best. And face it, you’re a bit of a stalker too! How do you manage to like all my Facebook posts and comments without missing a single one?

    I am completely and inescapably surrounded. I am prisoner of your thoughtful, selfless, beautiful, and perpetual love.

    There is not a day that I don’t think of you. Sometimes it’s before I get out of bed, sometimes while fastening my coat. Sometimes it’s when I’m choosing a salad dressing. Or, it’s when I feel small and the world becomes overpowering and consumes me from head to toe. With what you’ve shown me, with what you’ve given, and what your life has, in turn, exampled for me, I could publish an encyclopedia. But instead, today, I’ll share a handful of your reminders nearest to my heart:

    Don’t be too filtered. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
    It’s simple, but not always easy. Nonetheless, you’re still right. The shortest distance between points-- even matters of the head and the heart-- is often a straight line.
     
    Brush your teeth or you won’t have any friends.
    Was this your cunning design to ensure that I flossed and also participated in PE? Something’s working-- turns up, hygiene and friendship are more closely linked than I first imagined. I’m winning both races.

    You are patient. That’s going to come in handy… you’ll see.
    When I feel light years from the person I want to be. I remember, I used to go shopping with you. Life takes time.

    Everyone farts.
    Really, no joke. Everyone farts… Janet Jackson, the Care Bears, your teacher, Nancy Reagan, your friends, our neighbors, people in other countries, definitely that tall guy at the car wash-- we all fart… a lot.
     
    Have fun-- create joy, don’t ever wait for it.
    I remember when you’d sometimes break out into song at a supermarket or start dancing in the food court at the mall. I realize that was your way of showing me that happiness, joy, and spontaneity live inside me, to never pine for these things; but instead, to embrace my own versions and to simply let them out... like a fart.

    You are the sun above my head.
    I love you, beyond words and with every emotion.

    Happy Mother's Day baby.

  • 5 Rules | Obey and Happy Easter!

    The five official rules--plus one bonus--for Easter:

    1. Remind grandma the family is going to the early service this year. No one wants her upset that she didn't get to sing the Hallelujah chorus with the grand kids.
       
    2. Write down where you hide every freakin' egg--a clever hiding spot is likely to become a bordello of odor and demise.
       
    3. Don't you dare wear that Easter hat while driving! The pastel-sequenced-chiffon-and-paisley blazer is plenty for the car ride.
       
    4. I was glad to prepare. For it gave merriment unto my soul. I was even gladder to sit the hell down, prop my feet, and let everyone else wash the damn dishes. That, made my soul nap... [Psalms 1326:3]
       
    5. Gin, not vodka.

    And last... if you want candy after today, buy Tuesday. CVS and Walgreens attendants will be waiting-- just for you.

    Happy Easter,
    P.S. I love this creepy picture.

  • The Fool | Master of Bliss

    What is The Fool? And why the hell do we devote an entire day to someone who seems... well, so foolish? The origin of this day still remains a mystery. Some scholars believe April Fool's has its roots in ancient Rome. Others decree that it began in the Dark Ages, and some suggest the holiday made its way onto the calendar, by mistake as a prank, but gained appeal. Point being-- there’s a lot for interpretation surrounding this day.

    My interpretation includes the iconic Rider-Waite tarot image: the youth on a mountain top; head poised, gazing up into the clouds; his satchel containing a scant supply for the journey; and he saunters gaily... towards the edge of a cliff... completely unaware that nothing in his archaic felicity will grant him permission to suddenly take flight or bounce unharmed from the jagged, earthy, and dismal death below.

    But unlike Mr. T, I don’t actually pity dis’ foooo’. In fact, today reminds me of a valuable lesson that only The Fool himself can teach. The lesson is coveted and richly desired, but very few understand it. I believe, it is The Fool who has actually mastered bliss. He doesn’t reprimand himself for his failures and neither does he chide himself for being curious and for making mistakes. His flaws are not concealed, or hidden, and his faults are not segue to shame or shortcoming. Instead, The Fool has accepted, happily, that he is, after all, completely imperfect.

    Though perceived as naive, unfocused, and a dreamer; remember, it’s The Fool who mustered enough courage to scale an entire mountain and acted with enough conviction to learn what the world looked like from a different perspective, way up in the clouds, in a place where most of us only dream of going.

    Be curious.
    Be foolish-- but not the kind that gets you into bar fights.

  • History Fibs: Love is Fleeting

    You know why I like cats? Because they can't renege on a mortgage payment; they don't have in laws; and they don't have a deviated septum that, for the sake of holy saints, keeps you up at night when you have an 8AM meeting. St. Valentine's Day--the day of love, chocolate, and bubble baths. How about we debunk some of history's most iconic unions instead:

    Cleopatra and Julius Caesar (59 BC)
    Though a vibrant and amorous love that temporarily joined the ancient forces of Rome and Egypt, this chick actually stuck her bare hand into a crate and openly let a venomous snake sink its fangs into her palm, instead of traveling to Rome to deal with his family. #ReptilesAlwaysWin

    Orpheus and Eurydice (way back, when lutes were popular)
    In the name of love this schmuck actually traveled to Hell, made a deal with Satan on behalf of her soul, but lost her on the way home. #RoadTripNightmare

    Napoleon and Joséphine (1791)
    Of all the things rich, established, bossy Joséphine required in marriage, guess what-- she never assumed a booster seat at every meal would be part of his prenup. #NoHeelsGuuurl

    Romeo and Juliet (1597)
    What kind of sleeping pill is really safe in 16th century Verona? Your local apothecary probably can't even read let alone prescribe salves and potions. Tylenol, Ambien, Potassium Cyanide, Clorox Bleach-- they're about the same, right? #MedSchoolMatters

    Trump and Melania...or Ivana.....or Marla (too soon now, and ago)
    Whatever thoughts came to your mind is terrifying enough. #NeverShareWhatYouJustImagined

    Beyoncé and JAY-Z (eternal)
    Well, they're sorta perfect. And with twins Purple and baby Neon on the way, the world waits with bated breath. #Crayola #Sharpie

    There you have it. St.Valentine's Day is in full swing-- with all it's splendor; all it's overdrawn checking accounts; and, with all the air miles exhausted little Cupid is racking up, it's the national holiday that grants you permission to look deeply into your lover's eyes, take him by the hand, caress her once-thin neck and ask, " Honey. Who the hell are you-- and why are you still in my house?"

     ♥ Happy St. Valentine's Day ♥

  • Happy Holidays 2016

    Come on...who has ever really roasted chestnuts on an open fire? Who the heck is Parson Brown? And why in the world does no one EVER talk about how poisonous mistletoe can be if accidentally ingested? The holidays-- stress, bankruptcy, and a house full of toxins. No thank you. Oh and aunt Lisa's pudding--a culinary wonder somehow more green and less solid each season. Survival advice: find liquor, stay near it, and pretend to know NOTHING about the election.

    Then again, perhaps there is a little magic too. Soft falling snow, a fire place, huddled at the dining table--all the dishes are clean-- and team Mom and Brother are kicking ass in Euchre and Mario Kart. And good ol' aunt Lisa, drunk and wrestling Minx, her thirteen year-old, three-legged English terrier, hardly offended that ninety percent of the green goo remains. Instead, she's blissful to be nearest the ones she loves (who, coincidentally, can also drive her home in a few hours). Ah sweet mercy! What's that I hear? The gurgle-grumble of dad's full stomach as thick flatulent wafts suffocate, killing all who breathe. This is the capstone and truest endorsement of mom's 2-day marathon in the kitchen.

    Whether you've been naughty or nice; whether sleigh bells are ringing high and loud, or whether it's as simple as leftovers and a phone call, may your holiday be bright.


    I have an aunt Lisa.
    I will be hearing about this.

  • Gobble Gobble: Happy Thanksgiving!

    It's everyone's FAVORITE time of year, a no holds barred adventure into the highest caloric heavens; and at the helm-- Thanksgiving!

    As we enter a season of thanks celebrated by food, family, friends, and fun, remember the greatest ingredient of all is good ol' fashioned L-O-V-E. (...and anything that will give you brute strength to tackle every cheeky contender in your Black Friday crosshairs)

    No matter where you are this Thanksgiving day or at who's table you find yourself placed, embrace the spirit of thanks and share it with anyone you can.

    Gobble-gobble, fart, gurgle, burp!

  • Election Day: The American Milestone

    Whenever someone asks, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" I always respond, "...well, who was president?"

    Republican, Democrat, Lefties, Right-wingers-- Tea Party fans, Liberals, Conservative, or if Green is where you stand, today cast a vote for what matters-- to you!  

    No matter your political persuasion or in which corner of the country you live, get up, go out, and exercise your right to vote.

  • Happy Halloween: Be Scary!


    It's the spookiest time of year! Playing dress up and being covered in blood is not only super cool, but totally expected.

    Have fun this ghoulish season and make absolutely sure you'll eat enough candy to make any dentist turn in his grave!

    Happy, safe, and scariest of Halloween frights...
    Muhwa ha ha ha haaaaa!