This morning I was sitting in church watching a guy surf Facebook on his iPad during a sermon on personal integrity. Let me start by saying that I’m the last person who should judge anyone. There was a least one occasion in my checkered worshiping past when the minister shouted out from the pulpit in an attempt to wake my sleeping carcass. Anyone who makes it to a church service has started down a road of betterment that I can’t criticize. To that gentleman checking out the status of people he never speaks to, or isn’t sure he remembers, I can only say “Thanks for coming out today.” God doesn’t really need to friend people and his status remains God for all of eternity. He doesn’t post pictures of his activities, because God knows the race of two-legged Weebles He created to stare at social media night and day can pretty much go outdoors if they want to see how the earth came out.
It’s very hard to be truly present when worshiping while doing anything else. Maybe there are religions out there where you can reflect on your chosen deity and still fold laundry, but I haven’t found one. The times have changed and maybe churches will add an Angry Birds service later in the day for those who need to kill egg stealing pigs and reflect on the unfathomable nature of God at the same time. I am a simpleton, a throwback to earlier times. There is nothing I can do during a church service, save for listen to the inspired wisdom of scripture and confess my shortcomings as a human. Multitasking is a modern myth. In the end, I’m only able to breath and to focus on a God who is not only bigger than me, but the universe.
One of the great, unifying places in Western Civilization is the public restroom. It doesn’t matter if you are standing with feet firmly planted atop the fiscal cliff watching everyone else in the country go over the edge. Eventually you meet up in line at a public bathroom with those same people. The common design of every public men’s room in America obviously originated from the mind of someone with severe inadequacy. The urinals are generally placed strategically at a height to ensure maximum splash potential. For women, the old adage reminds them not to wear white after Labor Day. You don’t normally see men in white at any time of the year, because we’ll inevitably end up in a public splashing room sometime during the day. For the most part, men are the forgotten gender when it comes to public restroom amenities. Oh, sure, some restaurants and arenas that boast both fanciness and schmancy-ness place television sets or Lucite encased newspapers on the walls directly over the urinal (to entertain our belly buttons, apparently). These same places don’t tend to give us extras like paper towels. Or soap. If we’re lucky, the genius restroom gods assign us hair dryers attached to the walls. This makes sense, I suppose. Floor level urinals and hair dryers that only a three-year old could fit under. Sometimes, the designers see fit to install a changing table on the wall. Every man knows that if he is a loving parent, he mustn’t put his child on this device. For one, there are usually dirty diapers still in the thing. The other issue is the more than likely outcome of having one’s beloved offspring dumped onto a men’s room floor by a broken, diaper filled changing table. There is yet another issue. We don’t actually change babies. Sometimes we pretend to and then bring the dirty child back to his or her mother (Which leads to the conclusion that women are sneaking into men’s rooms and leaving diapers).
One of the strangely considerate items found in lots of public places is the unisex restroom. I’ve noticed that it’s often located smack dab between the men’s and women’s rooms. In case we find ourselves at a crossroads one day and out of confusion need a third option. “I’m feeling uni today. Maybe I’ll try that middle bathroom. I wonder if they have paper towels?” The secret of the unisex bathrooms is that they have cleaner changing tables and sometimes a couch. All in the name of comforting the confused. I could just enjoy the bathroom sofa and let the dryer breezes waft over me. At least until somebody asks what in the world happened to my white pants.
The life of an aspiring writer is filled with webs of complex doubt. Questions arise throughout the process of committing cyber ink to pixellated page. My biggest question as a neophyte author is
Where will today’s inspiration come from? Do I have enough ideas in the tank to put together something enjoyable?
The thing that I do each day is let life act as its own source of inspiration. Each and every situation in life becomes material for this blog and the novel I’m working on. I keep scraps of paper within reach all of the time. Most of them would appear incomprehensible to anyone else. Papers filled with nonsense words, circled phrases unrelated to anything outside of my own mind. Most days there is a single word that relates to everything I’m writing. Today the word was inspiration. What kind of things inspire and fire my imagination? I wondered this throughout the day, as I have over the past few days. Many times, especially during the 15° days of January, inspiration seems in short supply. The rhetoric of shortsightedness fills the airwaves and it’s hard to find that one act of altruistic goodness that inspires and enlightens. Each day I live with good humor and optimism and look at life for things to write about. I live the long-sighted life. Writing is my aspiration today. A hobby, but one I can look forward to growing in for many years. Instant success has eluded me, but long-term bliss is captured and contained in my pocket as I walk along the road of life. Inspiration for writing is always a conversation away. One moment I have nothing to write about, and the next the events of the day have made me laugh until I can’t help but pour the words out onto paper. I may not have anything in the tank today, but I know that with enough faith and cheer the words will come naturally. They always do.
Several years ago, I ran a gimmick blog post in which my then 8-year old daughter Anna and I watched the Academy Awards red carpet pre-show and made commentary. Anna is older and wiser now, but still manages to render an opinion on most subjects. I sat down with her to watch the Super Bowl (i.e., the big copyrighted sports telecast not to be mentioned by name) and see if she had anything to offer. There were parts that made her put aside Harry Potter long enough to pay attention.
Anna on the first drive of the game: ‘Dad? What’s a quarterback? Do you have to put quarters into his back?”
“Yeah. This one looks like he needs a lot more quarters.”
On Audi’s “Bravery” spot: ” Wow! Do you think they really punched that guy in the face?”
“I think the black eye is just painted on. People can’t really just punch each other.”
“Oh. It would have been more real if they had.”
Regarding Oreo’s cream vs. cookie ad in which the actors burn down a library: “What’s the difference. It’s just a cookie.”
Anna’s first impression of Raven’s quarterback Joe Flacco: “He looks like Simon Cowell.”
On the lack of progress writing this post: “Any farther? Yeah. I didn’t think so.”
On Beyoncé: “Oohh that’s flaming. What the heck? Where is she? Too much fire. She needs to dress more appropriately. Where’s her kid?”
(then, mercifully, Anna went off to brush her teeth and missed much of Beyoncé’s um, light show. She returned for the Destiny’s Child reunion to ask “What is this? A freak show, or something?” Even Anna, the skeptical pre-teenager, had to admit that Beyoncé is extremely pretty.)
Anna, amid much protest, went to bed just ahead of the first half. Someday, I’ll go over what makes up a first down with her (again) and try to steer her away from the suffering of a being a Lions fan for life. Maybe, before she’s too old to appreciate, the Lions will go to a Super Bowl and we won’t have to worry about the commercials. Thanks to the miracles of medical science, maybe I’ll be alive when that happens in Super Bowl CCCIV. That will be a lights out game.
Yesterday I posted (yet another) knee jerk reaction to a genuinely soul sucking tragedy. Most of the time I wear my heart not so much on my sleeve, but definitely in plain sight. I love people and have felt an outpouring of empathy toward strangers this past year as horror after horror has unfolded. That said, I also love being an American. I’m a patriotic, loyal homer. The country that gave me a chance to be something (or other) still has a lot to be proud of. Here are some of the people, places and genuinely unique blessings of living in the good old U.S. of A:
Despite a cold, Mostly Teachable maintains it’s level (sic) of cheerful sarcasm and infantile humor through the first Podcast of June ’12. Thanks for listening, Mostly Teachable loves you (blog love is still a crime in 38 states, so check the books on that one).
Grace is kind of a zen savant. She sits stock still, focused on some distant point, trying to figure out it’s deeper meaning. She’s can’t form the words for fried chicken, but she’s laser focused on the good smelling food that occupies my plate. Grace is our addle brained, ancient beagle. She is definitely my dog in that she’s perpetually nervous, smelly, and runs around in circles most of the time, grunting all the while. My daughter named her Grace, and I realized the first time that I chased her off the kitchen counter that the name is fitting. It is but for grace that she has made it this far in life.
There has been an undercurrent of gossip during the last few days about Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s late dog Seamus and a 12 hour car trip he took on the roof of the family vehicle in 1983. Conventional wisdom would say that the stories are being kept alive by opponents, but this is the kind of story that bites back because it’s true and terrible. Seamus was ill in his carrier and Romney has defended his decision to keep the animal up there by pointing out that the car was too crowded. This becomes less political and more human failing the more that it comes up.
A few years ago I got called about a blog mentioning Grace’s penchant for sitting under the dryer vent in back of the house. My defense was that I get a good smelling dog and she has a warm zen moment in the lavender breeze. It’s the same as Seamus, though. We really do have to consider the animal’s needs before our own, because they can’t do it themselves. Call me a bleeding heart liberal, but my doctor hasn’t mentioned heart defect. I’m just developing the heart of a smelly old soul dog. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lanny-davis/-romneys-dog-on-car-roof-_b_1202883.html
I have more dreams about proper hygiene than I used to. Maybe it’s approaching middle age, or just the fact that I no longer flip burgers for a living, but I’ve started to have night terrors about social ills such as bad breath and perspiration. The days of being a teenager and only worrying about grooming as it related to meeting girls have long since passed. Those were the days when I owned an economy sized can of Right Guard. Wonderful stuff, Right Guard was. I received a can upon graduating the fifth grade and it lasted through my Junior year in college. There was no issue of not using the Right Guard. The can was just enormous. Some of the worst days of my teens were when I mistook my mom’s can of Aquanet for the Right Guard and shellacked myself with hairspray. No wonder my grades were so bad. Some days I couldn’t raise my hand because my arm was hairsprayed to my side. We knew nothing of climate change in the 80’s. There’s still a hole in the ozone layer over my childhood home that scientists have linked to my giant can of aerosol deodorant. The ozone was so depleted that we choose not to have a lemonade stand as kids. We just walked outside with bacon and let it cook for all of our neighbors.
Now I have dreams about being a stinky sort of person. I wear Wilhelmina mints around my neck at night so that I can ward off bad breath. What a weird thing to start dreaming about. I used to dream about cars, and women. Sometimes women and cars. Dreams these days are of hygiene-ville, where I’m looking around for my lost can of Old Spice. It isn’t easy being an adult, but it sure smells better.
Most humans are the descendants of other people. Not all humans. Some obviously came from torrid relationships between cans of mushroom soup and turkey basters. I have a father. One in fact, who turned 64 years old on Wednesday. I can’t even imagine that my old man is that…old. I still picture him as a 30-year-old, 135 pound dynamo of stubborn will. A little bald-headed dervish hopping fences and chasing down neighborhood kids who’d stomped his flowers. He looks about the same, save for a few more worry lines and the changes in his eyes. As long as Dad’s grinning with his weird, toothy smile, I figure he’s alright. Dad’s on his own planet and I tell people he might outlive us all. He might.
Dad was left blind by Scarlet Fever at 12 days old. I only bring this up because it forms starting blocks in his life from which he sprinted away. If there is one thing that I take from Dad’s life it is to get up each day and make a living no matter what. He worked within the limitations of his disabilities and did what he had to do. There is almost a sense of shrug with my father when it comes to accomplishing tasks. He just wills himself to do them and completes the tasks. At 18, he somehow got drafted into the service and took a bus across Michigan to the induction center in Detroit. Obviously Dad was 4F, but he lived up to his responsibility. After marrying my mom, dad inexplicably got into photography school and graduated. He ended up working at an ad agency. Looking at his portfolio over the years, I see that he obviously had talent and worked with the faculties that were at his disposal. In order to make a living, however, he ended up down other career paths. Dad just worked at whatever supported the family. In fact, he still does. Like his own father, Dad has a unique sense of doing the things that interest him and exploring whatever creative outlet sparks his interest at the moment. Like many extraordinarily grandiose men, Dad and Grandpa tended to lead lives of acceptable ordinariness. They dreamed in visions tempered by the white-hot fires of need and immediacy. I don’t hold it against them, but in fact see things their way. I dream and I pine for all that could be, all that might be. In the end, however, caring for my family comes first. So, I appreciate my dad for himself, but also for raising us to know the difference between want and need, right and right now. I’ll take him out for a burger tomorrow and at some point he’ll get that weird smile on his face. It’s his planet to dream and scheme on, and the rest of us are just living here.
I hold a bizarre hatred for Sunday nights. Each one is the end of a dream, the last glowing embers of a weekend that may ( or may not have) been the greatest ever. Try as I might, there just isn’t any way to extend time. I find myself each Sunday evening, parked on the end of the couch, glancing at the wall clock and remarking that it must be wrong. “10:23? Nah. I must have set it too far ahead.” Friday afternoon always holds so much hope, but Sunday night is like going through the wardrobe into the Narnia that is a new week. If, as Douglas Adams put it, Sunday afternoon is the long dark tea time of the soul, then the evening of the day is the end of tea altogether. Never mind the soul.
Eventually, I sleep it all off and wake up to start a new week. The dream begins anew. The hope that I can get to spend time with my family, sit for a few minutes and talk, and enjoy the strange, sweet blessing of sleeping in. The embers are stoked and kindled back into a fire that burns true. I can plan for the next time I have away from work and dream about a little time to do the things that make up my personality. In the meantime, I’ll work as hard as I can and put away pennies for weekends to come. This is a good life, despite the creeping presence of Sunday nights. Being able to work all week to get to that point is proof of how good life really is.
My 10-year-old daughter Anna brought home a permission slip this week asking me to sign off on her enrollment in family life classes at school. I wondered what in the world she needed to take a family life course for. She knows how life works in her household. She’s expected to complete all of her homework, treat others with respect, watch Spongebob without repeating anything he says, and…oh, sweet Lord! Family Life. AKA, “How to keep Anna from creating a family of her own until at least the time she’s completed her doctorate in astrophysics.” By calling early sex education courses Family Life, the schools have tried to break it to parents gently that their babies are maturing rapidly. This year the classes take place in the cocoon of the elementary school, but next year the kids will have a field trip to South Bend, Indiana for further study. Something to do with either corn reproduction or Notre Dame football. As long as both aren’t involved, I guess that signing the permission slip will be okay. Maybe.
Growing up, I don’t recall having to have a slip signed permitting me to take sex education courses. Permission slips were meant for really dangerous subjects. I had to have permission to take driver’s ed. My dad dragged his feet for several years about signing that slip. With good reason, too. No sane citizen should sign off on having a high school kid drive two tons of steel and glass over flower beds and through the marble lobbies of downtown hotels. Sex? Well, there was no parental permission given to learn how exactly to make a baby. Plenty of my friends had already done so and professed to how easy the process was. I didn’t feel as a teenager that I needed a class for sex. The knowledge that I gleaned from several neighborhood girls, my mom’s copies of Psychology Today and After School Specials with Helen Hunt and Scott Baio gave me what I felt was a well-rounded education. The actual classes were a bit of a shock. My sex ed class (or health, as they termed it. Health, as in “don’t use somebody else’s gym towel, or you’ll go blind.”) was taught by a former Soviet scientist. She’d designed truth serum in her former homeland. Mother Russia would bark commands at us and boy, did we do what she said. She started the semester by handing out crude anatomical sketches resembling eggplants with arms and legs. Sort of like the Operation man, only not as pleasant. “Draw the ovaries!” Mother Russia would shout, and I’d quickly approximate organs. On my girl eggplant, the one with odd thoracic radar beacons, I drew a hat. Surely, the over-ease must be on top of her head? What did I care about all of these details? These weren’t the eggplants of my dreams! I felt that I could draw a more complete woman from my study of Sports Illustrated and my imagination. This talk of “fall-open” tubes seemed frivolous. Oh, but then we moved on to venereal diseases. You didn’t get STD’s back in the day. No, VD was the great black death. Every instruction against catching gonorrhea or syphilis was punctuated with
…and you’ll die!
as in “Hang around with neighborhood girls while reading psychology magazines pilfered from mom… and you’ll die!” Sometimes, even as a reasonably educated adult, I still fear the hand of lingering death from old school diseases. Death was always right around the corner. Driving was a lot easier. I got my license after taking the driver’s test just five times. My education about women, eggplants and reproductive “health” continues to this day.
Each day I write my blog, but sometimes I forget about it. There are times when I need to be reminded that the writing is fun and can be taken away as easily it was started. Last night was an old school migraine night. One of those nights when I couldn’t possibly write a blog post. I couldn’t write a check to the Grim Reaper so that he’d take me away. At one point during the evening I got off of my face and out of the bed long enough to say something to my wife. She was watching American Idol, which apparently is a program about Nikki Minaj. The Minaj Mahol was telling some hapless singer about her waffle eating habits. Nikki wasn’t just drunk, she was f-unk. The migraine, along with AI, pierced my eyeballs and sent me back between tossing my own waffles and the bed.
Somewhere in the early hours of morning, long about two o’clock in the morning, I woke up with slightly less of a headache. The headache was momentarily kicking my butt rather than my head (although, they’re eerily similar). The first thing I thought about was writing this weird little blog. Then I fell back asleep. When I got up for the day, the thought of putting some electronic ink down was still with me, though. I kind of missed putting the blog together on a day when I couldn’t do it. Making up Mostly Teachable as I go along is cathartic. Writing the blog is a way of scribbling out the good and bad events of each day and making sense out of them. Sometimes the blog works, many times it doesn’t. Quality and quantity are beside the point. Writing is fun for me, because it’s a way of sorting out life. Nasty migraines, obnoxious reality singing show judges and the rest of life.
The tiny, non-starter irritations in life are always the ones I get stuck on. The other morning, I awoke and turned on the TV in time to see some unctuous spokes-models wandering through a wheat field touting the virtues of a brand of breakfast cereal. The beautiful people rattled and prattled for thirty seconds about this wonderful, natural sort of cereal. The food is supposedly natural because it’s shaped like something once found in nature and healthy because of some purported relationship with the earth. Blah, Blah, Blah. Never mind that the product is doused in malt syrup and makes its own gravy when covered in milk. The commercials used to employ a preachy testimonial from some world-famous chef, but models meandering through wheat fields dreamily expounding on the blessings of cereal must have seemed more relatable to advertising executives. Poor, hunky, famous chef. He’s probably gone back to slinging oatmeal in a hotel dungeon somewhere.
There isn’t much natural about breakfast cereal. If there was, we’d all be eating bowls of fertilizer (“All the best to you each morning!”). Rice grains impregnated with superheated air, rolled oats covered in sugar and stuck together with dyed and dried cranberries. I actually enjoy the completely unnatural. Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch. At least when I eat PBCC, I know that it’s not even an imitation of real food, the same as I know that it hasn’t travelled with actual pirates.
Arrr…we’ll forgo the booty and take the peanut butter crap food with us. Sure beats cow manure…
I’d love to make a new kind of cereal that embodies the all-American breakfast. Coffee, cigarettes and resentment. The new breakfast treat might be called Smoldering Java Anger Flakes. The advertising would feature combat boot wearing lunchroom cooks wandering through Walmart shouting the virtues of eating compost. Every box would feature a hairnet at the bottom as a sort of prize. You know, I might change course and start eating some of that unctuous, whole grain cereal. It might regenerate the brain cells killed off by years of Cap’n Crunch.
Blogging for me Writing is all about the content, the nuance, the meaning of what the author is trying to say. In the case of this particular blog, I try to get at least some of that right. So, when friends who read this regularly started to mention that the audio player was hinky and not functional, I got motivated to blow up the blog with the bath water. This new…thing has a better player for the podcast episodes, plus some different features and menus. The thing is, if I’m committed to putting up a new, decidedly weird post each day, the place I post them better be cool. Hence this new work in progress. The best is yet to come ( or some related cliché).
This is a response to Michelle W.'s Daily prompt question for 2/12/13 at The Daily post. In this podcast, I talk about how my blog came by it's name, how I became (Mostly) Teachable and the nature of the blog.
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This is an audio podcast response to Michelle W.’s Daily prompt question for 2/12/13 at The Daily post. In this podcast, I talk about how my blog came by it’s name, how I became (Mostly) Teachable and the nature of the blog. Below is a link to Michelle’s original piece:
Yesterday I posted a bit of verbal nonsense about what its like to find ways to kindle (and rekindle) romance in the midst of marriage. My wife didn’t really let me off the hook. She hasn’t heard the podcast yet (shhh). Date nights are a wonderful, cherished occasion rarely enjoyed during our workaday lives. The times we get to go out and have a laugh (or three) are a relief and a reminder of the days when we were going out. In those days, I either cut out early for home, or pretended that I didn’t notice her father’s quizzical looks if I was still hanging out when he was going off to bed. Nowadays, Lori and I both enjoy our laughs, check on our daughter and then fall asleep, because the sheer excitement of being alone together wears us out.
This week, I helped put together nearly 400 date night kits. Despite my caveman ways (“I’m a simple caveman. I don’t understand your modern romance), I try to help out with encouraging and helping local married couples. We put in three suggested dates, along with a lot of incentives to try local restaurants. The idea seems both absurd and novel at the same time. Many couples, when they find out what’s included in the date night boxes, ask why they need any such motivation. The argument we get is that they’re already married, so there really isn’t any need for our box of goodies. What gets forgotten in the business of being married, and the business of raising kids while working, is that we need to make time to date our spouses. After all, we didn’t marry each other and forfeit our souls. Sometimes, it takes a box full of funny sounding, old-fashioned suggestions to remind us that being alone with our marriage partners was (and is) fun. We live and breathe every moment in support of our families, yet often forget to communicate with our own partners. I’m a little proud of having worked on the date night kits. We distributed, by the Grace of God, nearly 300 of them today. Older couples told us things like “We’ve been married 45 years, and it’s been a long time since we dated.” Which is exactly the point. The idea of the date isn’t just time alone. It’s about time alone together.
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This is podcast episode 19(ish). In this week’s episode, I goof on all things Valentine’s day including gift buying, romance and sex. This podcast also snapshots a little bit more about depression. For information on “stuff” heard on the podcast, please feel free to ask away. Also, check out our car and travel friendly i-tunes podcast (which is absolutely free).
I can’t wrap my brain around the idea of being reincarnated. Earth is a nice place to visit, but returning to it repeatedly in various forms seems like a buzzkill. To be reincarnated is like watching a rerun of a show you were mildly amused by over and over again. Sure, you might notice little details that were missed the first time around (“Ooh! Colors!), but essentially the show will always be a repeat. Heaven is a much simpler concept, which is imperative for the feeble-minded man such as myself. I love God and accept His gift of Grace for all of eternity. He will then allow me to live in his home forever. The streets are gold, the music is soothing and I’ll have forgotten the things about all of my loved ones that were so annoying. To be reincarnated is to work. Work is nice, at least in theory. Having to do it over many lifetimes is a hard road. I’m not a really good person. Certainly not good enough to be reincarnated as anyone cool. More than likely, I’ll come back as Alex Rodriguez’ left butt cheek and will be repeatedly stabbed with a hypodermic needle for years. With any luck, I won’t return as some sort of infected monkey, Lindsey Lohan, a doorknob , or some combination of the three. Yep, that will be me. A body carrying the spirit of monkeypox Lohanknob.
We are born. We die. Then we aren’t. At least not on earth. Part of the joy of living is knowing that one day we won’t have to exist amongst the problems of earth. No more worrying about money, laundry, or money laundering. Our spirits won’t be crushed any longer by bad relationships, or left to wonder when the bottom is going to fall out of good ones. I believe my spirit will go on in the heavenly realm. My body won’t be a concern any longer, though. The addled brain that inhabits my repeatedly cracked skull will no longer plague me with stupid questions. I’ll be one with God and His universe. Though there will no longer be a need to, I’ll kick back and enjoy shaky jokes and way too many Cokes. Heaven is real and I can’t wait to be united with God there.
There is a part of me that revels in simplicity. There are only a handful of possessions in life that I care about, and the concern for them is mostly sentimental. In a 9″ x 6″ box that sits atop my dresser rest most of my so-called “important” things. The box means a lot, because my wife’s grandparents gave matching ones to all of the men in the family one Christmas. Inside are photos of my wife Lori from when we were dating, baby pictures of our daughter Anna and assorted ones of my nephews. There are watches that Lori gave me, including one from St. Thomas, as well as the Beatles watch my parents gave me when I turned 17. Near the top is the first Valentine’s card Anna ever made for me. Rounding out the assortment are “attaboys” from various jobs, including a 5-year anniversary pen from my present job and lots of lapel pins. The one featuring the World Trade Center buildings still means a lot to me, and every time I wear it the fear is that the pin will get lost. Alas, things are just things. I try to keep the main thing the main thing and care more about people than stuff and trifling bits of material. All that said, I do have one oddly emotional attachment to a possession though, and that is my raggedy old automobile. The car is so me, and I am so that car.
This morning I was summoned away from work to run an errand in my old Honda CR-V. There are a number or recurring characters that appear at Mostly Teachable. Lori, Anna, and our dog Grace are the most notable. The Honda appeared in these pages long before any of them did, however. According to the car’s birth certificate, it will turn 15 in March. Nevertheless, I’m still running errands in the car, which is fine by me. Last night, I drove my wife’s sensible automobile of a more recent vintage across town and nearly bit the farm (or some applicable cliché). As I almost slammed into the back of a stopped car while skidding on a snow-covered street, I really thought very highly of my old Honda. This morning, driving my fussy Honda around town and feeling the car adjust to the road conditions, I felt slightly more reassured. Sure, the Honda doesn’t have creature comforts. It takes 20 minutes for the interior to warm up, but I don’t need to be warm. The back hatch doesn’t close, which isn’t a big issue. If I happen start hauling immigrants across the border, I’ll spring for duct tape to keep the hatch closed. There are unidentified smells and never-mind stains, but I don’t drive the Honda for looks. Bumper stickers cover most of life’s inadequacies and that goes double for my car. So, happy Valentine’s day old, clunky friend. I’ll always keep your grill ornament on my dresser. I’m just a little sentimental that way.