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Showing posts from December, 2013

A One-Sided Conversation About Money

"Hey, Buddy, what can I do for you?"

"No, you can't have a hundred dollars."

"Why do you need a hundred dollars?"

"You've already got a video game."

"How can it be too old? You kept going on and on about how new and great it was when you got it."

"Five years ago?!"

"Wow, that doesn't seem that long ago."

"What about your birthday money?"

"I guess you need to decide between a Lego set and a Nintendo DS2."

"Sorry, 2DS."

"Yes, I know it's because different from the DS3."

"Whatever, 3DS."

"You don't need to keep correcting me. 3DS or DS3, it doesn't matter to me."

"Because you don't have one."

"Fine, you don't have the 2DS."

"Well, you could earn the money."

"By working."

"Shoveling driveways or mowing lawns."

"I know. I didn't mean right now. You'd mow in the summer.…

Rudolph And the Christmas Therapist

"I'm tired of letting people walk all over me, Doctor."

Rudolph stared at the painting above Dr. O'Hanlon's head, trying to focus on the moment. The psychologist had been trying to get him to "live in the moment, not the past," so Rudolph always focused on something in the room during their sessions to keep himself grounded.

"What do you mean by that?" asked Dr. O'Hanlon.

"I just get so caught up in the Christmas spirit that I don't want to stand up for myself, because I don't want to be seen as selfish or ungrateful."

"What does that have to do with letting people walk all over you?" Dr. O'Hanlon is like a dog with a bone, thought Rudolph. Say something casual, and we spend the whole hour on it.

"It means that even after people are cruel to me, I'll do what they ask if they're nice."

"Why do you think that is?"

"Because," Rudolph sighed, "I hope they were moved by …

My Wife Got Me Shoes for Our 20th Anniversary. I Love Them.

All I got for my 20th anniversary from Toni was a pair of TOMS shoes. And they may be the coolest thing ever, because they showed how much she understands and knows me, and was willing to do a lot of work — a lot of work — to make them happen.

Two of my favorite writers are Kurt Vonnegut and Hunter S. Thompson. They're the ones I talk about constantly. The ones whose books I keep quoting when I give talks, and whose writing advice I keep stealing. I also like Ernest Hemingway, but like all other humans, I only have two feet.

There are artists who specialize in painting TOMS canvas shoes with personalized, individual designs. Artists like Decker Yazzie, a Native American artist in Ogden, Utah and owner of Soul2Sole. Toni contacted Decker and told him what she wanted.

She wanted two individualized shoes, painted with words and images symbolic of my two authors. She spent months researching these two, learning what things they were known for, searching for images that represented the…

Reflection on 20 Years of Marriage: What Baseball, Bitsy Hatteberg, and My Wife Have In Common

In Michael Lewis' 2003 book Moneyball, Scott Hatteberg, the former catcher with the Boston Red Sox, had been acquired by the Oakland A's, and was told he was going to play first base, a position he had never played before. Scott was so nervous, so afraid, that he asked his wife to start hitting ground balls to him, just so he could get used to the position.

Mrs. Scott Hatteberg listed herself at five foot one, 100 pounds. She wasn’t built to hit in the big leagues. She didn’t even look capable of grounding out to first base.

Bitsy had noticed something about her husband. Even though he’d been in the big leagues for five years, and had been the starting catcher for the Boston Red Sox, he had never really thought of himself as a big league ballplayer. The other players volunteered their autographs to fans before games. He never did, not because he didn’t care to, but because he was worried they wouldn’t know who he was. He doesn’t admit this; she senses it’s true all the same. An…

When Are You Going to Write a Real Book?

"Hey, Kid, when are you going to write a real book?" asked Karl.

Excuse me? I said, not sure if I'd heard the deranged curmudgeon correctly.

"I said, when are you going to write a real book?" he shouted.

I heard you, I heard you, you crusty old fart.

Karl chuckled into his beer. He enjoys baiting me like this. We were sitting in The Tilting Windmill, my favorite Dutch themed bar, watching the Dutch men's curling team compete in the European Curling Championships.

What do you mean, a real book? I've written real books.

"Oh yeah? Since when?"

I've written four books and I'm working on my fifth right now.

"Those aren't real books, Kid."

What the hell are you talking about? They were published by real publishers, I have physical copies of the book printed on real dead trees, and they occupy a physical space in the world. How are those not real books?

"Those are nonfiction books," said Karl, dismissing my accomplish…

I Won't Shave My Beard For Anyone

I skipped Movember last month. Actually, I've skipped Movember for the last 10 years.

No, that's not a typo. Movember is the men's health nonprofit organization that brings awareness to male reproductive health — prostate cancer and testicular cancer, plus mental health — by urging men to grow a mustache in November.

Or moustache if you want to be all French about it.

Teams of men — called Mo Bros — will grow mustaches as a way to bring awareness to, and raise donations for, Movember, which then sends funds to different education campaigns, research groups, and support groups. Last year, they raised $147 million, registered 1.1 million participants worldwide, and started 2.7 billion conversations about men's health.

It would be like if women didn't shave their legs for October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Or grew mustaches. Which would definitely draw attention to their cause, although it would start very different conversations.

Men's health awareness is…