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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 😊

My Shining Moment

All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy.

All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy.

All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy.

All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy.

All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy.

All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy.

All.

Work.

And.

No.

Play.

Makes.

Tom.

A.

Dull.

Boy.

All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy.

All work and no play makes Tom a dull boy.

😎

The Runoff Race in Georgia

The runoff race in Georgia provides an interesting contrast to the political drama in America today, on many fronts. If you don’t know what was happening there, they held an election in Tom Price’s deep red district after Price became Donald Trump’s Health Secretary. The Republicans have held that district since 1979. Victory was assured. However, the backlash against Donald Trump in America today gave the Democrats hope that they could unseat the Republican candidate Karen Handel. It was a longshot, but hopes were higher as the election cycle continued. It turned out to be the most expensive campaign in congressional history.

Handel won, as most expected. I paid attention to the rhetoric leading up to the race and almost everybody was saying her opponent, Jon Ossof, was a longshot to win, but that even a close race would be a victory for the Democrats and a referendum on Trump. It wasn’t really close. Handel won, if you’ll pardon the pun, handily. A Republican won a deep red district as expected. This, according to some pundits this morning, is an apocalypse for the Democrats.

No, it isn’t.

The person expected to win the election won. It is, however, a great time to overemphasize a runoff election with hyperbolic embellishment. And everyone from the President of the United States to the left-leaning Atlantic is ringing the bell of historic victory or doom and gloom.

It’s dumb. But that’s America right now. All sensationalist sound bites and chest-beating. Zero substance. It’s a big game being played out between Democrats and Republicans and only the final score matters. CNN and Fox News are simply the ESPN of politics, covering the players in the game. The folks in the stands don’t matter, as long as they pay their ticket and watch.

I understand the Trump grandstanding on all this more than the Democrat hand-wringing. Trump has been short on victories since taking office, and he’s prone to bluster, anyway. He’s gonna make it sound like his team just won the Super Bowl, because of him, no matter what happens. Even if everybody in Georgia avoided talking about him as much as possible down the stretch. He’s bad news for both sides.

The reason the runoff is such an interesting contrast, however, is because partially the Democrats are right to be concerned. It wasn’t the end of the franchise. They lost a game they were supposed to lose. But it is still a wake-up call. One of these parties, somewhere along the line, has got to start remembering it isn’t about the game, it’s about the fans. The millions of people in the audience are more important than the handful of players on the field. If you want to make a great America, focus on what is best for the people. The party that figures that out will run the table in 2018.

But, no, that asks too much. Donald Trump wants to run social media victory laps. Republicans want to repeal a health plan, then add tax cuts for the wealthy and reintroduce much the same plan with their name on it, instead. Democrats want to take back the Congress without compromising their core value of self-interest.

It’s time for some soul-searching. Both parties should take Georgia as a wake-up call and start thinking about the American people again, start thinking about the us in U.S. The approval ratings of Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan are even worse than the approval ratings for Donald Trump, and his are at historical lows. Nobody likes the leadership in America. And who can blame us for that?

But go ahead, leaders, keep celebrating and hand-wringing. Go ahead, news outlets, keep sensationalizing nothing stories. Keep the end times coming.

Apocalypses are great for ratings.