Friday, January 30, 2009


I know identity theft is a growing problem, but I swear there are some days when I would like to leave the windows down and the key in the ignition and pray for someone to steal mine so I could get another one. No, that wouldn’t work because then I would have to steal someone else’s. Maybe I could post a barter ad on Craig’s List—“WM willing to trade lives. Serious inquiries only. Wife and kids do not convey.”

But identity theft can take other forms. Look at Journey. I saw a tribute band awhile back and they were very credible. The lead singer kinda looked like Steve Perry and was spot-on with the vocals. Let’s face it—Steve Perry is Journey; the other guys are totally anonymous.

Ironically, the “real” Journey was coming to town a couple of weeks later, and I got to thinking that since they’ve got that Filipino guy singing lead the group has turned into a tribute band of themselves. They’ve stolen their own identity! I’m glad I only paid $5 to see those other guys for basically the same show.

Maybe someone will figure out how to do a secret identity theft. While Superman’s saving Metropolis Clark Kent’s identity vanishes, or Bruce Wayne’s persona disappears as Batman is chasing the Riddler. Superman would have to freeze his butt off at the Fortress of Solitude, and poor Batman would be homeless, living in the Batmobile. Halloween is the only day they could wander around in public

Oops, gotta go—already got a hit on my Craig’s List post. What? Rod Blagojevich? Come on, dude—I said serious inquiries only!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


When I was young I couldn’t imagine life past the age of forty. By then I would be wealthy, retired, and, um,--------doing something. Well, two of those three didn’t happen and now, holy crap, I just turned 60!! Totally uncharted territory, so I thought I’d share what it’s like to be at this point on the timeline.

I feel terrific except I hurt all the time. Never everywhere but always somewhere. Granted much of this pain is self-inflicted because I maintain a rigorous level of physical activity, but I can’t help but fantasize sometimes how uncomfortable it’s gonna feel to be wearing this meat suit around when I’m 80.

Things go wrong quickly and return to normal slowly. For instance, yes, I still sometimes eat a meal that I know is going to punish me. I once bounced back like the next day; now I’m pretty much voluntarily signing up for a 4 day/3 night cruise on turbulent seas.

What do sleeping all night and a Bigfoot sighting have in common? They rarely happen, that’s what. Muscle mass is supposed to decrease 10% every decade after age 40. That statistic pales in comparison to what’s happened to my bladder, which has apparently shrunk from Big Gulp down to shot glass size.

Mentally I experience a degree of mellowness I never expected. It appears I won’t be famous or infamous. Arriving at peace with one’s strengths and limitations is most definitely a good thing.

I used to think some principles were true; now I know. I know that you can’t be young and wise—young and smart, for sure, but not young and wise. Wisdom comes only with experience. I know that time is not on my side, so I am harshly intolerant of people who waste it—not theirs, mine.

I especially know that it’s important to focus on what’s important, and that very little is truly important. The houses, cars, clothing, possessions—collectively, the stuff we work so hard to acquire—ultimately possess you instead of vice versa. Fantastic experiences and relationships are what life’s all about.

My age goal is triple digits, time-wise the equivalent of living from 20 until now all over again. Wow, I went to Woodstock that year!! "With a little help from my friends" (in medical science), as Joe Cocker sang at that gathering, I look forward to letting you know what it’s like to be a centenarian.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Two people close to me have been recently diagnosed with malignant breast cancer. “Why?” we are tempted to ask when faced with such misfortunes. Why me? Why now?

It’s natural to first ponder whether one’s life choices have somehow led to such an unfortunate plight. Unless you have excessively abused drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and/or food over a long period of time it is easy to rule this option out. “Hey, I need to lose a few pounds but cancer-----come on!”

The next level of questioning moves to theology: What have I done to deserve this? Why is God punishing me? I suppose such thoughts never occur to atheists, with their “I’m here--I’m gone--whatever” philosophy. But for those of us who believe in some form of Higher Intelligence it’s natural to question the fairness of a Plan that includes our possible premature demise. Somehow “the Lord working in mysterious ways” isn’t particularly comforting when it’s your illness that’s part of the mystery.

I’ve long thought that our enjoyment of games is rooted in their similarity to the design of the Universe, specifically involving the element of randomness. Take Monopoly as an example. There is a 3-dimensional field of play, and there are specific rules. Yet as we move our markers around the board we encounter many random components—the roll of the dice; choosing to buy or not buy property; landing on Chance or Community Chest, to name a few.

None of these detract from the integrity of the game. In fact they are the essence of its fun. Is it possible that this frivolous example is a microcosm of Everything? Could the Creator be whimsical and fun-loving enough to create a Universe beyond boring cause-and-effect by spicing things up with a little randomness here and there? If a simple board game isn’t destroyed by unpredictability, by extrapolation why should the Universe?

How ho-hum would Monopoly be if everything were predictable? Drawing a “Go to Jail” card is a temporary setback, but you’re not totally out of the game.

Whatever your specific spiritual beliefs, they probably include some faith in life beyond the physical body—heaven/hell, reincarnation, returning to the Source. Perhaps seemingly random fortune (winning the lottery) or misfortune (cancer) is exactly that—one turn of one round in an Eternal Game.

This notion gives me much more comfort than trying to dissect one’s life searching for clues or questioning the judgment of a Supreme Being. It explains why babies die in plane crashes, gangsters become wealthy rap stars, and all other seemingly unjust anomalies. Trying to understand life with our puny human brain is as futile as attempting to capture the wind in a paper bag.

However you define Faith, it is there that Peace is found.