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The Dementors

You have met them, at least one of them. Those dementors hiding in your family, in your social circle, perhaps at your employment. The one, evil soul, who sucks your soul away. I pray there is only one in your life.

These bullies, and there are more than two of them hunting me every workday, prey upon those they feel are less worthy and filled with fear. You know those they hunt: the kind, the good, those who simply want to live their lives in peace.

To confront them is unimaginable to them. They are rarely confronted in their life. They intimidate those around them, insisting life is according their definitions.

They are the strong, the intelligent, the rich, the beautiful.

You are the weak, the stupid, the poor, the ugly.

They are above, before and beyond you.

And when you have had enough, when the social filter you possess that governs your behavior is so dirty and strained from their behavior, and you finally lose control, and your rail against the tyranny on display because you have had enough and cannot take more, it is your fault.

You are the one out of control, you are the one who is in need of anger management. You are the evil one.

These dementors do not get it. Empathy is a concept beyond comprehension. They possess no frame of reference by which they can understand those beneath their self appointed station in life.

You are wrong.

They are right.

I would rather be wrong than be one of them.

Retiring on the Couch

I retire in six weeks. I am concerned what my lifestyle will become. I admit I am lazy by nature. I work only when I have to. My wife of nearly forty-one years once told me I am either on or off. I work hard when I have too. Beyond that, leave me alone. I will lie on the couch and vegetate, usually multitasking between my iPad, (either reading or playing Tribez) and whatever is on television. It occurred to me over the last few days that if I continue behaving as I have in the past, my weight will explode and I will atrophy.

On the other hand, I have a goal, more a dream, to live long enough to see my youngest grandchild become a parent. If I am able to live that long, God willing, I will be somewhere around eighty-five, about twenty years from now. My fifth grandchild will be born this coming July, a grandson yet to be named. Perhaps he will become someone whose name is never spoken. It has happened before, but I pray not. But I want to see his children. If I am blessed with another grandchild, say in two years, then I will add two years to my dream.

Therefore, I need to create a schedule and stick to it. I need to become productive, or, rather, remain productive. I have been considering getting a part-time job, just to get me out of the house. I need to get to the gym on a regular basis. I want to work on my genealogy, something I enjoy.

But more importantly, I want to read and write more. I want to blog, but I have no idea why I feel I need to. If you ever want to follow my blog (why you would want to is beyond me), I plan on posted at least once week, perhaps twice, depending on my thoughts. The posts will mostly be about what I am reading or writing. I am considering putting up quotes from my work in progress, mainly to motivate me to write. Or posts about The Iron Writer Challenge.

I realize of course, that most blogs go unread. I mean, be honest. If I read every blog from every writer I have met on line, I would not have time to write this blog, let alone write my stories. So, I hope my posts will be short, ones that can be read in less than a minute, but worth the time to read, if only for myself. I write for myself anyway.

Amerigo “Uncle” Samuel – Obituary

Amerigo “Uncle” SamuelUncle Sam

Born September 13, 1812 (circa) – Died June 16, 2015

Amerigo “Uncle” Samuel passed away quietly in his sleep, alone, at sunrise, June 16, 2016, in his residence near the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The only child of Jonathan and Columbia, Italian immigrants, Amerigo was born near Troy, New York, sometime during 1812.

At an early age, Uncle Samuel worked for his uncle, Samuel Wilson, for whom he was named, in a meat packing business, supplying rations to soldiers involved in the War of 1812. His efforts at such a young age became a family legend.

Renown for his work ethic, Amerigo symbolized and exemplified his nation’s government and power throughout the world with everyone he met. His image and his example forever ingrained in the American psyche, Samuel was often portrayed as a figure of dignity and integrity. His life was depicted in countless newspaper and magazine articles. Samuel appeared in many movies, often as a character actor, for which he was well suited.

Determined and courageous, he fought many conflicts during his life, from the Revolutionary War that freed his parents, through the War of 1812 where he gained notoriety for his bravery, to the deep and painful struggles with the many deep wounds of the 19th Century, to numerous wars in the 20th, some of which he regretted, feeling he was forced into campaigns that were against his nature.

A strong public figure, the original Yankee Doodle, he lived an extraordinarily long and fruitful life, until the 1960’s, when his countless surviving children forced him into retirement.

Suffering from dementia, he spent his final days in home near the National Mall. He could be found muttering silently to himself in his rocking chair most days, as many of his children scurried past in pursuit of lost life, liberty and happiness.

He is preceded in death by his wife Forgiveness and his children, Respect, Patience, Love and Civility. He is survived by his children Selfishness (Pride), Hate (Anger), Cruelty (Intolerance), Poverty (Slavery), and Greed (Avarice).

Samuel is being cremated. The family does not plan any services, but in lieu of flowers, they do request donations to your favorite PAC, in memoriam.

On Retirement

opus harper lee

I am retiring in six weeks. In fact, as I will be working about half the time left, I have 18 working days over those six weeks. I am retiring two years early, due to several factors. First, I can. I was surprised when I found out that I could, not in the sense of being 64 vs. 66, but that the finances are there. I discovered the finances are lined up because I hate bullies. I try to not hate anyone, but bullies seem to push buttons I would rather not have pushed. One bully pushed me mid-January. She is a co-worker, a supervisor, with whom I have clashed over the years. One night she put my life in danger on the freeway. I do not take this behavior lightly. As she passed me, after putting my life in danger, I looked at her car, realized who it was, and took a deep breath. Two weeks later, I addressed her. I was not kind. I was angry. I cursed. I lost it.

You see, this particular bully has been abusing too many of my coworkers for too long. I have observed her telling someone to doing somethings, they do it, then she chews them out for doing what she told them to do, correcting them, ordering them to go do what she did not tell them to do. I lost my patience (let alone respect) with her years ago. But when she put my life in danger, I blew my top, in the workplace, in front of witnesses. I refuse to apologize.

The reason I refuse to apologize, to have ‘remorse’, is doing so permits another bully to win. If I am not man enough to stand up to her, even at the risk of losing my job, then who am I? Where is my integrity? At what point does a man have to submit, what price does he surrender to the bully? If I am not willing to be fired for my behavior, if I whimper before the powers that be, then who am I?

I have a target on my back now. I will not be fired, my behavior does not rise to that level, but I am facing suspension. Before I learned of the intent to suspend, I decided to see if I could retire, in case they decided to fire me (which was on the table). When I learned how much my wife and I have in savings, plus social security and other benefits, I realized that I no longer needed to work. So I will retire.

Underneath all that, my hands are shot. I visited my doctor about mid-January as well, just a minor checkup. I complaint to him that my hands have been giving me grief for a couple of years now. He probed and pushed, stating that it looked like I have carpel tunnel, that I needed to see a specialist. I wondered if I have arthritis. I chased that down, had an MRI on my hands and learned just last week I do not have carpel tunnel, or arthritis. I suffer from chronic inflammation. Bottom line, stop working.

So, putting the inflammation, the finances and the bully together, it is time and I feel good about it.

Retirement should be fun.
I am going to bed now. But I never good to bed alone.

The Iron Writer Challenge

TIW Logo black back

In February of 2013, a writing friend of my asked if I would contribute to her blog. Back then, I was anxious to brand my name, create a place for me in the writing world. Today, I have cast those emotions overboard. Today, I would rather write than marketing my writing. I do not care about making money from my writing.

I committed to Victoria, expecting the ubiquitous Proust Questionnaires, for which I already had my responses. A day or two later, I found out that she wanted me to write a short story, a flash fiction piece in fact. At the time, I had no idea what ‘flash fiction’ meant. She gave me a deadline of six weeks and told me the story had to include four prompts or elements; a 1959 Zil 111, a dead gypsy, a jug of moonshine and a mounted sword fish. I was lost and regretting my promise. But I believe in keeping my word. I googled flash fiction, and the Zil 111. I stewed over it for a day or two, realizing that, as I had never considered writing a short story, let alone a shorter short story, I had no idea what I was going to do. I didn’t want to back out. I do not believe in running away. I made a promise, so I had to keep it.

I sat down the next day, and this is when I googled the Zil 111, and the muse (Ida) flew by. In an instant, a matter of mere seconds, I had my story. Five hours later it was written, polished and sent off to Victoria.

Over the next few days, I was amazed with my emotional reaction to what I had written.  It was almost euphoric. I was sharing the experience with a coworker,  who stated it reminded him of the Iron Chef.  That was when Ida flew by one more time. It was like the proverbial light bulb going off in my head.  That night I googled, searching   for the ‘Iron Writer’.  Unfortunately it was already taken buy fellow who had not been active on his blog since 2006.  But, ‘ was available. I built the website and announced it in a few writing groups on Facebook that so I was a member of. A week later I posted the first challenge and here I am thirty seven months later with this wonderful albatross hanging on my neck. The Iron Writer Challenge has become my love child, taking much of my writing time, but I’m okay with that. Today, there is a large group of writers who have banded together, embracing the concept and helping each other in our craft. I’m grateful for that and plan on spending much of my retirement keeping that website viable.

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