In order to promote my new book, I’m going to be posting a few snippets from some of my stories. I hope you enjoy them. Remember, there are still free copies of my E-book available at BookGrabr. Just click the book cover on the right. You can go to iUniverse, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble Bookstores to purchase copies of my book. I appreciate all of you who come here to “Simple Observations of Everyday Life,” to read my stories. Thank you.
This was the first year I was taking my teenage son with me. As most fathers eventually must do; it was time for that talk about growing up into adulthood, and becoming a man. No, it wasn’t “that” talk. It was something much more important. He needed to gain the knowledge, learn the skills, and develop the grit and determination, to someday shop for his own spouses or significant others Christmas presents. It’s sort of a rite of passage into manhood in my family. It has been passed down for generations. It’s kind of like the Hebrew tradition of Bar Mitzvah’s for young Jewish boys. My father had taken me to the mall as a boy, and I hoped to uphold this special family tradition with my son. Hopefully, he would eventually pass it down to his own sons. My father used to jokingly tell me that “M-A-L-L-S” was an acronym for, “Men-Alone-Lost-Lord-Save us.” I don’t doubt it’s true.
As we got in the car for our father and son bonding experience, I turned on the ignition, and prepared to leave for the mall. As the car started moving forward, I noticed my son out of the corner of my eye staring intently at me. I stopped the car, turned and said, “What’s the matter son?” His soft brown eyes appeared to be misty with held back tears, his hands were shaking slightly, and in a trembling voice he said, “Dad, I know you’re depending on me, but I’m really scared. I think we should bring mom along.”
Putting my arm around his shoulder, and applying a gentle squeeze, our eyes met, and we shared one of those rare and special moments between a father and son that happens maybe once or twice in a lifetime. Looking down to meet his steady gaze, I calmly said, “Son, I know how you feel. To be honest, I’m a little scared myself; but sometimes a man has to overcome his fears and do what he needs to do. It’s not always easy, and it’s sometimes painful, but if we work hard, follow our plan, and stick together, we may just make it back home safely. Now, let’s go shopping!”
One of the worst things is being stuck behind a school bus full of young kids. Have you ever been behind a bus, and a cute, smiling little girl appears at the back window, and begins to wave to you? What do we always do? That’s right. We wave back – big mistake! That just gets her going. As she continues to wave, you start thinking to yourself, “Hey kid, I’ve already been waving for five minutes. Are you playing some kind of mind game with me? Maybe I should just pull over for five minutes, and let the bus disappear into the distance.”
By the next stop there are two girls at the window, then four, then eight. All of them are waving, and it’s starting to feel like an episode of the Twilight Zone. No matter how much you wave and smile, it’s never enough. At each bus stop, you park your car further and further back, hoping that maybe some distance will get the kids to lose interest and go back to their seats. It doesn’t work, does it? Have any of you ever had a root canal performed by a dentist whose wife just filed for divorce, and he ran out of anesthesia? That’s what it feels like to be behind a bus full of kids. Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, here come the handwritten signs. One of the little girls has gotten out her notepad and she’s writing messages and holding them up. It starts with the word hi, but then she gets bolder, and the other girls join in. Now they’re writing things like, “Ha, ha, your cars a piece of junk,” and “are you a monkey?”
One of my earliest childhood memories was being a boy of seven or eight, and visiting the local park with my dad. We would spend hours walking, conversing about life, and feeding the ducks which gathered at the water’s edge to eagerly devour our food offerings. I can recall a particular afternoon when the quiet and solitude of the park, was interrupted by the sound of a commotion down by the lake. I remember hearing sounds which even to this day, send an icy chill up my spine. My dad was a big, tough man who never showed fear, but even he hesitated slightly, as we made our way towards the escalating and disturbing sounds.
As we neared an area of grass which gently sloped down towards the lakes shore, we were witness to a grown man running in fear and terror, as a huge goose ran swiftly behind him. The man who looked to be in his early thirties, was tall and fit, as he fled with ever-increasing speed, as his legs strained to outdistance the winged horror. With head extended and massive wings flapping, the angry goose, following closely behind, nipped at the man’s posterior with an elongated and obviously powerful beak. I can still close my eyes and remember the horror, the hopelessness, and the abject fear, I witnessed in that man’s eyes, in a small park, those many years ago. That day, I made a vow to myself, to God, and to all I hold sacred, that I would overcome my fears, and never run from geese, as that man had done.
Why, is the first thing out of a psychiatrist’s mouth always, “What seems to be the problem?”
“Well, let’s see doctor. I barely made it through high school, and you on the other hand, have eight years of post-graduate studies, four years of residency, a medical degree, and twenty years as a psychiatrist. This is just a shot in the dark doctor, but I was hoping you could tell me!”
Here’s something that’s been bothering me lately. Do psychiatrists take special classes, where they practice listening to people? I would love to be a fly on the wall and possibly hear, “Okay class, now repeat after me. Hmmm… interesting… hmmm… interesting. Okay, now everyone, slightly incline your heads, nod, and pretend you’re writing stuff on your notepad. Hey, you in the back! Mr. Miller, please. No nodding off. Remember, it’s okay if the patient falls asleep. At the end of the session, just wake him, and then say, I think we’ve made some real progress today.”