Where This Thing Has Been and Where This Stuff Is Going

I write TomBeingTom.com because I like writing, and I like Tom. It’s important, I think, to know ourselves, to like ourselves. I like me enough, and what goes on in my head enough, to share it with the world. Generally speaking, two or three dozen people read each new blog I post. Sometimes, that number doubles. Sometimes, it halves.

It isn’t “successful” or viral, but it is fun.

When I started it I knew, it would be neither successful nor viral, it would just be fun. A personal blog. Me, writing about stuff. Something for me to write and friends and family to read. I never figured it would be very interesting to people who didn’t know Tom, and I was right.

But it might be time to say goodbye to Tom, just being Tom.

Not because I don’t enjoy it anymore or that people aren’t still reading it. I love it more now than I did on day one, and I have more of a following now than I did then.

But …

The reason I started TomBeingTom.com was to get myself to write, to challenge myself to become a writer. To prove to myself that, if I put my heart into it, I could write consistently. And consistently well. I think I’ve proven that.

So, if TomBeingTom.com has fulfilled its original purpose, then it is time to evolve that purpose, if that purpose can evolve, or to put it on the shelf as a memento to my very personal and internal success.

In other words, it’s time to find my niche.

If TomBeingTom.com had a niche it was this: me, talking about stuff. Any stuff. Politics, religion, ghosts, dogs, love, my day, her day, moving, Stephen King, crime, the future, seasons, beer, yadda yadda yadda. In fact, when I first started it I told people I had the Seinfeld of blogs. In the 90s, Seinfeld was often jokingly characterized as a show “about nothing.” My blog is a blog about nothing. I come up with an idea, I write about that idea for 400-1400 words, I post it on my blog, summarize it on social media for friends and family, and they read it. Sometimes I get comments or even questions, or a kudos, and sometimes I get pretty much nothing at all in response. Great. My formula worked to perfection.

But for a blog to be “successful,” the sphere of reach must necessarily be larger. And from the very beginning I knew that a larger reach comes from a specified niche. To understand that, just think about what folks type into Google machines when they’re looking for a topic. Almost nobody in the world randomly types in “Tom” to see what Tom is being.

Bless you if you do. 😉

So, to drive the world to Tom I need to be more than just Tom. Really. Apparently, that’s a thing.

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been googling “how to be a successful blogger” and all sorts of things (that were not Tom) popped up in response. Some of it I’ll get to in a minute, but the best summary is this:

  • Find your niche
  • Add value

There are a lot more, deeply important, responses, but these two are vital. I have to know what the overall theme of my blog is and, every time I write, I have to add value to that theme and to the lives of the reader.

I tell my boss and co-workers all the time (or, at least, I used to) that the first, most important aspect of running a successful business is to define its core mission and values. Every decision we make from then on can refer back to that core mission and those core values.

That same principle applies to a successful blog or, if you’d like to get all existential and stuff for a minute, to a successful life. Define your mission. Define your values. Work, write, and live according to them. So easy an ape could do it.

But I’m not here to change your way of doing business or your life. At least not yet. I’m here to change the way I write. To find a niche. A mission. To add value.

To add value to my mission and to your life I have to be more than honest, interesting, and original, three things I think I did pretty well on TomBeingTom.com. I have to, in some way, help you, the reader, discover something new. All the other things are important – consistency, outreach, identity, authenticity, transparency, originality, honesty, and great content – but none of it matters to the larger world without value.

All those things are true in business, too, by the way.

So, from now on, Tom will be thinking about something more than Tom. Tom will be thinking about his core mission and trying to find that one thing he’d be passionate enough about (besides Tom) to write about every day.

Tom is going to try to find his niche.

And then, by god, he’ll find a way to add value to it and value to the lives of every person who stumbles across it.

Because, in the end, it’s not about me, being me. It’s about something bigger than that.

P.S. When I say “successful” blogger I don’t mean money or fame or notoriety or even lots and lots of readers. All of those things can be byproducts of success, but they are not the definition of it. The definition of success, to me, for my blog, would be this: defining my core mission, passionately writing about it, and getting great, interactive feedback about it every time. If that happens I will know I have done something I truly love to do, and that it has added value to the life of the reader.

What could be better than that?

P.P.S. Having a niche does not exclude a variety of topics, or content. It doesn’t mean writing the same thing every day and changing the adjectives and nouns. It means that every topic of every blog falls under the scope of the mission, and relates back to it in some way. For example: when running a business you can sell a variety of products (topics), but how you sell them and who you sell them to relates back to your mission (niche).

Does that make sense to you?

P.P.P.S My wife just told me I can’t completely quit BeingTom, or she would cry. I’ll find a way to do both, for love. 😎

The Promise Inside the Declaration of Independence

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”

And so it went, 241 years ago today, when the founding fathers of the United States of America made their declaration of independence. In the course of human events, they felt it necessary to dissolve political bonds with a despot. They set a course to free themselves from tyranny.

It was a good move, and the document they wrote was one for the ages. Contained within were powerful, flowery words encouraging a government by the consent of the governed. It declared unalienable rights like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It was a watershed moment, the beginning of the modern liberal democracy. There was a promise of equality, and opportunity for all mankind. They lit the spark of egalitarianism. Others used the document in the decades to come to stoke the fires of freedom again. Slavery would be abolished, in time. The right to vote would eventually come to all.

In the ensuing years the entire world would embrace liberal democracy. “By the people and for the people” was repeated in nation after nation. Freedom became a trend.

It is a great story, and a great beginning, but we have only just begun to live up to the promise of that original document. The revolution that rocked the world less than 250 years ago has only just begun.

America, the nation, is a work of fiction. Harari says that what has separated our species most from other species on the planet is our ability to create such fictions. No other animal draws a line on a map. No other animal believes in God. Only we, the sapiens, can draw ourselves together in shared beliefs and rally around that belief to create a day of celebration, a monument to greatness, or a war.

Only we can create or overthrow a tyranny.

Our mythology is a strong one. We have made great heroes of these founding fathers. We have an enduring belief that we are the greatest nation on the planet. That fervor, that patriotism, has enabled us to become the strongest nation in the world, in the history of the world. There has never been a military might like this one. And if military might is the measure of greatness, then we surely are the greatest nation on Earth.

But that was not the promise of our fathers. The promise of our fathers was liberty and equality. They despised the bully. They rallied and railed against the king. The founders spoke out against injustice and inequality. They were children of the Enlightenment dreaming of an egalitarian world.

We have not realized that dream yet. In modern America, we have come to worship capital instead of liberty. Greed instead of happiness. War instead of life. We are divided, partisan, and bitter. We risk, once again, tyranny.

I still believe in the promise of America. I still believe, in my heart, in the mythology created by the founding fathers. The world does not have to belong to kings; it can belong to all.

I re-read the Declaration of Independence today. I am emboldened by its promise. We have suffered this “long train of abuses” by our political and capitalistic leaders. Greed denies us our destiny.

But that is not the end of the story. Recent events have derailed an otherwise long-term upward trend. 240 years is a blip on the radar of history and the next era in America can define or destroy us. We can, if we choose, have health care for all. Or, we can conquer the world and take their oil. We can, if we choose, focus on universal education and equality. Or, if we choose, we can protect the gains of only the few.

We can have great kings or we can have a great people.

History will remember the kings. They create mythologies around the might of rulers; the plight of the people is forgotten. But history, they say, is written by the winners.

In an equal society, the people are the winners. In an unequal society, it is the kings.

As we move forward into year 242 in the story of America, let us remember what the foundation of this country was, as listed in the original document we celebrate today. Read it. And then, amidst the sparklers and libations, the grilling and the laughter, think for a moment about what you’d like tomorrow for America.

And then let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work. For the people.

The End of a Thing

Technically, I ought to just skip today’s session and buy the fellas a round this weekend, in thanks for their support. Or maybe I could play the birthday card and wiggle out of that obligation or trade free birthday beers for free blogging beers. Technically, I could fudge on my bet. Technically, I could call 30 days good, since this is 31.

But, on the other hand, I could really prove something to myself if I could somehow come up with 400 words in 10 minutes, before I have to get ready for work. If I could do that I could look back on the whole experiment as a success, because it taught me how to free flow, to meet my obligations, and to piece together an article in a hurry, when I have to. I mean, sure, it’ll be short on research and might even come across looking rushed or unplanned, but, sometimes, we have to make compromises. Sometimes we just have to wing it. That’s life.

Speaking of life, you probably know by now that my life ticked another notch forward yesterday, when I observed my 49th birthday. This ol’ planet did another revolution around that there sun, and gravity pulled me a little further down in various parts of my body. I’m not complaining, I like moving forward in life. I feel young, most of the time.

I don’t feel young today. My plan to pace myself on my birthday got blown apart by a noon call from a friend for a lunchtime beer. That led to all sorts of mayhem, as lunchtime beers often do, and the celebration began. I celebrated. Far harder than I expected but, again, it was my birthday. I do have great friends. And a spectacular wife. And one hell of a strong liver.

But that’s it. I know it’s Friday, but there is no way the party will continue. I’m done. Forget the fact that the weekend has not even begun, or that it’s kind of a long weekend with the 4th of July on the other side. Forget all that. I’m taking a break. Even the most powerful liver needs a weekend off.

Soon.

Go ahead and strike that last paragraph from existence. There’s not an ounce of truth in it. The party has just begun. It’s still my birthday until it’s not. I might take a day, but I won’t take a weekend. Come on, man. This is Tom we’re talking about. Who are we kidding?

But however the rest of this weekend goes, I know I’ll spend it with love. I’m lucky enough to have a big group of great friends, and an amazing family. I just, somehow, drew the right card in life, in that respect.

On that note, I made it. Some 500 words in about 10 minutes.

Thank you again for your patience this month. I’ve enjoyed bringing you daily Tom, more than even I thought I would. I’m amazed how many stuck with me; the daily clicks actually went up as the month went by. But that’s enough of that for a bit. Tom Being Tom will return to its regularly irregular schedule, and I’ll go back to bringing you my thoughts, on stuff, about every week or so.

I’m gonna miss this. But this is not the end, only the beginning. We have a lot left to talk about.

Another revolution has just begun.

Happy Birthday to Me

I won’t bore you with a bunch of birthday resolutions today, you’ve heard all the promises I’m going to make to myself along the way this month. You know how that goes. I won’t talk about the history of the birthday itself, as I thought I might, because how other people in other civilizations throughout history viewed birthdays is inconsequential. I don’t want to start my day inconsequential.

Today is my birthday and the 29th day of the unnamed TomBeingTom.com June writing project. I’m on the cusp of completion. I’m 49 years old. I could wax philosophically about the importance of daily writing or the meaning of life at 49 years old. Maybe I could talk about how I feel different today than I felt yesterday. I do, a little bit. I feel a lot different than I did 5 years ago. I’ll have plenty of time in the months and years ahead to talk about all of that. At least I hope I do.

I could remind you today that a year ago I wrote about my birthday in comparison to the history of the nation. That is probably a more interesting read than this, because that had a topic and some deep research involved. I thought it was pretty cool. It was poorly read, compared to others written around that time. Go check it out. Bump last year’s numbers. Go ahead. I’ll wait.


Thanks for taking the time to do that; welcome back. Sometimes I have pretty clever ideas that compel me to write something intricate, sometimes I don’t. Today, it appears that I don’t.

That’s okay. It’s my birthday.

I could have, by this point in the article, told you what I’d want for my birthday. I got a new Kindle Paperwhite yesterday so I can read my books outside without glare. It’s awesome. I may never buy a paper book again. I’ll accept them as gifts, cuz books are cool, but I don’t need to go buying them now. But that’s not what I meant. I meant, the really big stuff. What, if I could have anything in the world, would I want for my birthday?

Should I really go into that now?

Well, let’s get the obvious things out of the way, while we’re here:

I’d sure like to see a better president.

I’d like to see universal health care in this country.

It’d be nice if we stopped pointing bombs and guns at one another.

Education should be free.

I’d like to see the Rams get back to the playoffs one of these days.

I want to talk to Mom.

I’d like to end bigotry, write about important stuff, grill on BBQ mats, take more walks with my wife, see the family more, take the Rogue on a road trip, and make my 49th year the best year of my life. So far.

Some of those things I have a modicum of control over. Others, none at all.

Whatever comes, I made it this far. So, is a birthday a celebration of how far we’ve come or a prelude to the life yet to live? The Egyptians only celebrated birthdays for their pharaohs, for the day they became a god. Early Christians thought it a pagan ritual. The Germans made it cool (of course), and the Industrial Revolution made it for everyone.

I simply made it through another blog. And another year.

Happy Birthday to Me.

And happy day to you, as well. I’m glad you made it, this far. Hang in there with me; we’ve still got a lot of stuff to do. ❤️

My 100th Entry

Today has the distinction of being the last day of my 48th year on the planet, and my 100th entry.

I started tombeingtom.com in January 2016 as a spontaneous idea I had been working on for months. In my journal, in November 2015, I gave myself an ultimatum: write daily until January XX – 60 full days – and know for certain at the end of that period whether I am going to be a writer, or I am not.

I had been playing with the idea of writing for years. Even back in high school, 746 years ago, I was encouraged to pursue a career in writing by teachers. I did not. I pursued instead a career in carousing. It was always more fun to have fun. I had jobs. I had my own business. Fairly early on, I owned my own home. I took my work life seriously, but I didn’t take my future seriously much at all.

When I returned to school in my 30s, after a brief 16-year hiatus, I ran into the same level of encouragement. Professors encouraged me, demanded me, to write. My poetry teacher loved me. My English teacher wanted to make me an English teacher. The Critical Thinking professor wanted me to teach other kids in the class how to write critically. Writing was that one god-given thing I had.

I should show you all some of my poetry someday.

About that time in life (sorry for the digression), I started writing. I joined an online “about.com”-style service and became their NFL writer. I produced, for them, some 10 articles, the 3rd of which was selected as the article of the month (among hundreds, or thousands, or some such) and I felt pretty good about myself. Then I stopped. Cold turkey.

I don’t remember why. Did I get bored?

I took some more classes, shifting to online formats entirely. They were easier but lacked the personal touch and motivation that came from direct professorial contact. Eventually, through great effort, I never finished school.

I’ve spent the last dozen years running an appliance store with a great family that has become a family to me, as well. I take my work life seriously. I love it. It pays the bills, helped me get another house (which I subsequently lost in the crash), and allows me my precious carousing.

But there was always this emptiness. This “what am I supposed to do?!”

As an aside, and at the great risk of pushing yet another consecutive article into the “too long to read” category, I should point out that I don’t believe in supposed to’s. I don’t believe in god-givens, either, since I don’t believe in gods. I have a knack for writing probably because I’ve spent my whole life in love with words. There is a yearning to write because I’ve put it off my whole life and feel like it’s something I can do.

Aside over. Sorry if it was meaningless.

So, I told myself, in November 2015, that I was going to shit or get off the pot. This time, for sure. No excuses. No tolerance for failure. By January XX, 2016, I was going to be a writer or hang that yearn up forever.

I failed.

I did not write every day between November XX, 2015 and January XX, 2016, and the deadline came and passed and I was still thinking, “should I be a writer?”

About a week later I asked some friends where I was carousing in a bar if I should start a blog and they all said, resoundingly, “YES.” So I did. Spontaneously, and with a lifetime and several months of buildup, I decided to start tombeingtom.com.

So here it is, on the last day of my 48th year on the planet, my 100th entry.

I’m not close to bored. I’m not close to done. June 2017 has been my favorite month of blogging, doing it every day. If I had the time, I would do it every day until the gods came to pull me from this mortal shell and take me to do what I’m supposed to.

But I won’t. I don’t. I have this store to run. There is more carousing to do. Writing doesn’t make me money, and money’s a big deal. I won’t post daily after the day after tomorrow. But I will keep posting. I will keep writing, all the time.

It’s what I do. I’m a writer.

I have 100 entries to prove it. 😎

Crime and the Illusion of Crime

My new favorite local reporter put out the article I was trying to find time to write in my blog, and I’m glad he did. He did it better than I would have. He went out and did some “shoe leather” reporting, as one commenter put it in reply to his story, and that’s not something I likely would have done, either. I just would have pontificated distantly over a cup of hot java, as I’m probably about to do now, anyway.

But I had become concerned of late, and had told some of my church-morning compatriots, and fellow workmates, that this reactionary social media crime-buster business isn’t productive. I had already seen cases of folks posting what they perceived as a crime in those chat rooms, seen outraged response after outraged response, and then seen it end up just being folks going about their ordinary business. An uptick in crime is one thing. An imagined epidemic quite another. How long before people start using this exaggerated “crime wave” to cover their own mistakes?

Not long, as a matter of fact.

So I’m glad Scheide wrote this article. It helps to bring back into perspective that even though, yes, we have a crime problem, that doesn’t mean that everything that happens is a crime. Sometimes people cause their own misery. And, when they don’t want to own up to it, they will often blame the local “villains” and our local “villains” right now are the transient and homeless. In that cowboy-vigilante mentality it’s easy to form a posse and grab a rope and want to enact justice but, as both local and distant history will teach us, often we’ve got the story wrong. And enacting justice when you’ve got the story wrong is the most tragic crime of all. The wheels of justice move sagaciously slow, and require a lot of shoe leather investigating. That’s going to be a problem in the draw-and-fire CCW age.

And I’m not trying to understate the problem. Laws enforced at the federal and state levels have released people from prison back onto the streets. Literally. At least partially because of that, we have an uptick in crime, all over the state. The laws put into place to jail them were ill-conceived and we ended up with the highest prison population in the world. We had to, and still have to, fix that. At the same time we are living in the era of the greatest gap between rich and poor this country has ever known. Add to that the fact that we are still in the aftermath of a great economic collapse and there are frankly not enough opportunities for those on the bottom rung of the ladder, and we’ve added thousands to that number.

We can continue to argue the merits of those original laws that put too many people in prison, or the merits of the prison downsizing, and we probably will, but we have a reality to face here. Last year, we voted down a tax increase that would have added to our police force and increased our jail capacities. In 2014, we did the same. If more money for more jails and more cops is not the answer, what is?

It isn’t vigilante justice.

Another story hit the wire just as I was contemplating this write-up last night. A story about vigilantism. It ended with vehicular assault on a homeless man. There are many details about the story I don’t have; it’s hard to tell who the aggressor was. I haven’t looked to see what the social media crime sites have to say about it yet, but I will. I hope we don’t jump to conclusions. Maybe the man ought to have moved. Maybe the citizen force shouldn’t have been out there brandishing guns. Or maybe it was just a case of miscommunication and bad timing.

All I know is something like this doesn’t make things better. It makes things worse.

The Old West has been romanticized in novels and old Reagan movies, but there is a reason we went from lawless frontiers to lawful communities. Too many people die unnecessarily in cowboy shoot-outs. The reality is far more horrible than the fantasy.

That is not where we want to end up. In a society there are necessary trade-offs. One of the trade-offs of increasing incarcerations is that more people who do not deserve to be put away get put away. One of the trade-offs of decreasing incarcerations is that more people who deserve to be put away are not. There is no way to get it right every time. There is no way to eliminate all possibility of crime.

We have to find answers to the recent uptick of crime in the community of Redding. Sensible answers. Creating a criminal act of your own is not an answer to crime. It is simply another crime.

Creating a false criminal act out of the blue to cover a mistake is also a crime. Or, at least, it oughta be.

I’m willing to help look for answers. This is my town, too. But the solutions need to be better than the problems or, in reality … we are all just a part of the problem.

Tom 4.9

As I approach the final week of dailies I also approach my 49th birthday. This is always a time of deep introspection and June nearly always brings some level of previously-unattained personal growth. This year will be no different.

The first and most important change I need to make relates to my level of health. I haven’t seen a doctor since 2010. That must change. After the recent scare with my friend, I realize we must take nothing for granted. I need to exercise more, which, for me, means more morning walks with the pups, and doing daily push-ups and stretches. I’ll never be a workout warrior but a little bit goes a long way for me. My last, and maybe most important, change is to bring down that weekly unit count.

I don’t have a ton of bad habits. I’m not one to eat a lot of sugary foods. I don’t like soda much at all. I essentially have three daily liquids: coffee in the morning, tons of water all day long, and generally a couple of beers in the evening. A typical day for Tommy involves 2-4 cups of coffee, a half dozen or so 17-oz bottles of water, and 0-3 beers. June has not been a typical month on any of those scores.

When it comes to eating I generally stick to what most people call a version of a diabetic diet. I eat small, somewhat healthy foods every two hours. A banana at 8. A handful of nuts around 10. A Smart Ones around lunchtime. An apple at 2. A snack bar, or maybe one of those tiny bags of chips, around 4, and then sometime in the evening a fairly big but reasonably portioned hot meal.

Again, June has not been typical for any of those habits, either.

June has been broken air conditioners and abnormal house chores and kicking-off-the-summer celebrations and daily blogging and just about anything else you can think of that is a routine-breaking event. July will probably stack up to be unusual, as well, with the big trip thing coming up.

But I’ll do my best. On Thursday I begin my official 365-days ‘til 50 countdown. The 40s have absolutely been the best years of my life, bar none. I intend to make my 50s even better, but I might need some help. I might need some health. Just need a little better nudge in the right direction.

Any more than a nudge and it ain’t gonna happen. I’m not looking to change, just improve. Tom 4.9 is 3 days away. Tom 5.0 will be better than ever. I don’t need to rewrite the program at this point, it’s finally been running good. I just need a little software update.

And another cup of coffee.

Happy Monday, my friends. Be atypical all day long.

Incunabulum

I don’t have a ton of time this morning, so I’ll make this brief.

Yesterday, if you missed my entry, I wrote about starting a book. I intend to do that. I’ve spent some time brainstorming the ideas in this book, but the purpose and composition of Tom’s tome is still in the stage of infancy. I’m not quite to genesis yet. I’m pre-genesis. I googled “a word that means before the beginning” and came up with “incunabula.” I’m not sure that’s what I was looking for but it looks fun to say. So, I’m in the incunabulum stage of my book. Go with it.

After writing my blog I went to work. Work is a thing some of us do to earn money to pay our bills. I sell appliances at my workplace, which is a word that means the place where you go to work. I sold a half dozen appliances, which wasn’t quite enough for a Saturday. But it was a really hot Saturday. I just heard Johnny Carson’s audience asking me how hot it was.

“It was so hot today I saw a robin dipping his worm in Nestea.”

That’s an actual Johnny joke; I googled it, too. Sometimes I google nearly as much as I write.

But, it was so hot yesterday we had a big summer outdoor party cancelled and several little pool parties pop up instead. The temperature outside hit 113. Again. I went over to a friend’s place, broke a beer bottle walking in, dived into the pool with two noodles, and laughed my ass off for 5 hours while keeping cool.

I brought noodles because I don’t swim. Well, I can swim, just not well. And I cannot float for anything on my own. That kicking feet and moving arms thing we learn in swim class when we’re young just never took with me. If I have to get from point A to point B in the water I can kick my legs and rotate my arms and turn my head back and forth and probably make it. That’s good. But if I have to stop along the way, and the water is taller than about 6 feet, I’m dead. So I bring noodles. I only do it to keep me alive.

And being alive is my favorite part of life.

Today I’m returning to the same pool, in the same backyard, with the same people, and new supplies of unbroken beer. We have a volunteer to cook eggs and things. It’s church on the road. Maybe I’ll baptize folks since we have the pool and stuff.

In the meantime, I hope you get to spend your morning doing exactly the thing that you want. I hope you love being alive and you’re not too hot, or cold, or hungry, or in pain. I hope you have a job and a workplace, if you want one. I hope you’re about to start a book, or whatever is the equivalent of that in your life. I hope you’re happy.

If not, come down to the pool party and have some eggs and beer. I’ll baptize you. We’ll start again.

This could be your incunabulum. I could be your incunabulary.

Okay, I’ve destroyed enough human language for one day.

Have a great Sunday. 😉

The Book I’d Like to Write and Give to Everyone

Now that I’ve gotten this daily writing thing down, I’m thinking of starting a book.

I’m still open to ideas on this book. I think I’d like to make it a little bit quirky and self-indulgent. Maybe it could be something about the journey and oddness of life, from the perspective of somebody who sees things a little bit different. I see things a little bit different.

Politically, I don’t align myself with any certain cause, but instead seek out answers. What works? Last night I was talking to a new person, we’ll call him Rupert, and Rupert was telling me he’s traveled all over the world and social democracy doesn’t work, anywhere. I asked him how so? He told me that it drags the rich down, and the opportunity to become filthy rich just isn’t there in societies like that. He said, “don’t you want the opportunity to be filthy rich if you come up with a great idea?”

I told him no.

I told him most people who come up with great ideas don’t become filthy rich, anyway. There just aren’t that many filthy rich people, but there sure are a lot of filthy poor people. He agreed. I furthermore told him that what I’d rather see is a pulling down of the top and a lifting up of the bottom. He agreed with that as well. I told him that’s how a social democracy works. We cheered.

Religiously, people just don’t get me. I guess because people have spent their whole lives thinking only one way of believing is possible, so I can’t possibly not believe what they believe. I’ve been an atheist for more than 30 years, following a 3-year stint where I tried daily religiosity. Before that, I just believed what I was told, without practicing anything. So I’ve been a sheep, when I was very young, a devout in my teens, and a freethinker my entire adult life. But some folks think all it’ll take to push me back into their worldview is a nudge. I don’t mind; I know nudging is a part of their religion. It is not a part of mine. Mine says live and let live. And pull down the top to raise up the bottom. That’d be a good first commandment.

Honestly, if there were a god I’d want to do the same thing to him. Nobody deserves to have everything. Besides, creating the universe was a long time ago, and creating mankind was a dubious accomplishment at best. We should rethink how we think about that.

So maybe some sort of book with a self-indulgent title like “Freethinkin’ in Modern America” or maybe “Your God, My God, Red Fish, Blue.”

Yeah, I don’t know what that means, either.

Or maybe, to really sell something today you need to do it with numbers. “The Twelve Things Every Freethinker Must Know,” or “How To Piss Off Every Religion and Political Party In Three Quick Steps!”

Nah, it wouldn’t matter. I don’t want to sell it. I’d pass my book out like candy, and hope folks read and enjoy it. I hope it’d make them smile a little bit and think a lot. Or vice versa, I don’t care.

I think it’d be fun.

The only drawback would be, with my attention span, the book would wind up being about 18 different things in 13 different chapters.

Maybe there’s my title.

Carry on with your day from here, folks, and don’t get too pissed off about anything. It’s not worth it. We can’t really change people, but we can change the world.

My book will tell you how. 😉

For a Smile

Well, here we are, boys and girls, in the home stretch. Seven days from today I will have typed my last obligatory words and tombeingtom will return to its regularly scheduled format: whenever I please.

Not that I haven’t enjoyed these moments we’ve had together. I actually enjoy stretching for a topic each day, or simply freewriting a blank page for public consumption. I even enjoyed my shining moment yesterday, which was halfway cheating but still followed the letter of the original directive. Plus, it made some of you smile. If I can get someone to smile, every day, I’ve done my job.

Did you smile just then?

Okay, then, I will continue.

The wife and I have been busy getting the house ready for the return of the mother-in-law. Her room has been something of a storage unit since she’s been away, visiting sisters and such, and now we need to store our stuff someplace else. I want to build a storage unit in the backyard, but haven’t pulled that $549 trigger just yet. Money is so much easier to part with than to earn. Perhaps once I get my massive tax cut from the passage of the new health care bill I’ll use some of that windfall to purchase a shed.

Perhaps monkeys will fly out of my ass, too.

Smiling yet?

Last night, around 9 in the evening, I was ready for bed. I had put in a long day of yard chores and house organizing, and finished it up with beers and BBQ. I let the dogs out for a minute, after checking the perimeter for skunks. They did their business and went back inside. It was 103 degrees and the sun was setting behind the distant mountain peaks. I couldn’t help myself.

Realizing that 103 at 9 pm was rare, I decided to indulge in one last beer and a poignant moment alone on the deck. I’m glad I did. Everything in life makes sense when you can take a moment for yourself and indulge in the pleasures of a cold beverage, a big deck, a summer evening, and a beautiful view.

I don’t know what tomorrow brings. I don’t know what I’ll say in this space. What I do know is that I’m happy to be alive. I’m enjoying every magical moment of this thing called life. I hope you are, too.

And I hope, somehow, I made you smile.

Have a magical day, folks. 😊