American's like to Albeit Inadvertently:

I’ve written about this before but because I’m generally anal I had to re-visit this one more time.

Over the last 2 years, American Consumers embraced the opportunity to purchase environmentally safe--reusable shopping sacks from their favorite stores and boutiques. The premise for utilizing these sacks is simple. You’re reusing a bag to transport your goods from the store to your home eliminating the use of plastic and ultimately helping the environment.

The synthetic fibers and oils used to manufacture these reusable sacks leave less of a carbon footprint on the environment than their plastic counterparts and if used properly can and will reduce the use of plastic bags.

Great! However, the marketing geniuses on Madison Avenue have discovered that the sacks can also be used for advertising. This single idea can entice consumers with clever sayings and graphics branding not only the sacks but the people who carry them. If fact, many people proudly shoulder their branded sacks as a fashion accessory acknowledging where they shop and ultimately defining who they are.

However, labeling these reusable sacks changes the dynamics and principles of why they were introduced in the first place. A plain or single color branded sack if reused properly over the course of its three year life span can and will illuminate the disposal of 400 plastic bags. Of course, you have to reuse the sack at least 400 times for this to be achieved. 

Now take the multi-colored fashionable reusable sacks that many high end stores offer. The lead content and oils used in the graphics negatively affect the environment. In fact, it has been reported that the majority of consumers that employ the use of reusable sacks have accumulated over 20 sacks per household. Most are never used and are shoved under the sink or buried in a pantry never seeing the light of day.

The manufacturing and distribution for unused reusable sacks is growing. Again, the whole purpose of the reusable sack is to limit or eliminate the use of plastic bags.

Which brings us to another question about people who use reusable sacks, what are they using for bathroom and bedroom can liners? Many people reuse the plastic bags from grocery stores for small receptacles at home or to wrap chemical cleaners and sprays for safe storage.

The answer is simple; they’re buying small garbage bags to line small receptacles adding too and not reducing their use of plastic bags. This not only creates more toxic waste in our landfills it also adds  to their own expenses by purchasing small can liners instead of using plastic grocery bags they once accumulated.

So taking all this into consideration and to save our planet from the onslaught of plastic refuses, is it safe to say purchasing reusable sacks is a good idea for the environment or is it just another gimmick created by Madison Avenue creating a new revenue stream for their clients? 

All things equal using plastic or reusable bags is simply a preference.  If you like to using the trendy reusable sacks great. No harm, no foul.

However, I believe these trendy sacks will one day end up lying right next to the plastic bags and bottles currently residing in our nations landfills and Americans will find something else to embrace. Like all those American flags we had dangling from our car windows after 9/11.

We the fickle …

The Nine Symptoms of Chronic Depression:

The Nine Symptoms of Chronic Depression:

(1) depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day,     as indicated by either subjective report or observation made by others
(2) markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all,      or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly    every day as indicated by either subjective account or observation made by others
(3) significant weight loss when not dieting or weight    gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite   nearly every day
(4) insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day
(5) psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every     day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down.
(6) fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
(7) feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt(which may be delusional)nearly     every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about     being sick)
(8)diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others)
(9) recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

The second depressive disorder identified is Dysthymic Disorder. Dysthymic Disorder is identified by the presence of depressed mood for “most of the day more days than not for at least two years.

To be diagnosed with Dysthymic Disorder an individual must also present two (or more) of the following while suffering from depressed mood:

(1) poor appetite or overeating
(2) insomnia or hypersomnia
(3) low energy or fatigue
(4) low self-esteem
(5) poor concentration or difficulty making decisions    
(6) feelings of hopelessness

If you know anyone suffering from these symptoms PLEASE intervene-get them help. They are not only dangerous to themselves they can put children and family members in danger as well.


Final Chapter being posted.

Following Hemingway


Finally editing the end of the story


Click the link to check out my story titled Following Hemingway.

I always get sick in the summertime

Do you want to know why you get sick in the summer just like you do in the winter? Well, it can’t be the weather. It’s not cold outside. It can’t be your kids bringing home germs from school, unless they’re going to summer school. 

So why do you get sick in the summer. The same reason you get sick in the winter. Granted you can  catch germs from door knobs and bathroom sinks. Or someone sneezing on the train or in your office, or your immune system could be weak and you just get sick.
Or it could be this,

Most illnesses are transferred due to the lack of discipline your butcher, sandwich maker, deli counter person and yes the cook at your favorite restaurant has when it comes to sterilizing his cutting board and this …

I’ve seen it so many times at a sub shop or in a commercial kitchen. The cook or prep person sneezes into his hand but he’s so busy that he wipes it on his apron. Now he’s cutting tomatoes and you come in and want a sandwich. What does he do? He wipes his knife on his apron and proceeds to make your sandwich. Like his apron is some sort of sanitary haven.

Same goes with cutting boards. Most restaurants and supermarkets keep their employees busy. As the managers watch payroll they want Jose over there to prep up 4 cases of lettuce, two boxes of tomato’s and slice a bag of onions all in about 2 hours.

Do you think Jose is concerned with sanitizing his cutlery and boards? Or do you think he wants to keep his boss off of his ass and get the work done in the required time.

Let’s go to behind the cooks line. Peter works at a place that serves fajitas and it’s busy. Do you think Peter switches between a poultry knife and a beef knife to illuminate the possibility of cross contamination? Or, wipe the cutting service in between the chicken and the steak or whatever else he has cut in the last fifteen minutes.

                                                                              Oh and what if Peter has the sniffles.
If you get sick all year round it may be as simple as the people that prepare your meals. The kid at Subway, or the Pizzeria you frequent. What about Uncle Bill’s barbecue every Fourth of July. Does Uncle Bill execute clean and safe food handling techniques? How many times does he touch the chicken and then the steaks on the grill with his not so clean hands?

Ok you can’t lock yourself and your family in a bubble.

What you can do is be aware of who’s preparing your food and how they prepare it. Watch the kid making your sandwich. Instead of running through the drive through, go inside and watch the people in the back handle the fries, the burgers and for God sake the salads.

Note: there is no way on God’s green earth I would ever purchase a salad from a fast food restaurant. A Fast food restaurant should be used for one thing only--a pre-cooked, pre-heated limited hand contact--desperate sustenance source. 
For one day she might be the one making your oriental salad at Burger King in the near future. 

Just --The God's Honest Truth.

In movies, in literature, in music, in government and in life. I could not sum it up better than this ....

"The world is desperate for authenticity. In business and in real life. We crave it I think, because it’s in such short supply."

Mike Rowe


Remember, there is no great writing-- only great rewriting.

Enjoy Following Hemingway


A writer interprets life differently than others.  They write life the way they think it should be or the way they would like it to be. That’s why a successful romance novelist could really be an introvert rarely going out, never engaging in a meaningful relationship and always keeping people at a distance. Or, they could simply be in what is considered a normal family environment but the people around them considered them cold and distant. A horror or mystery writer may very well be the opposite of whom they portray in their novels.

When a writer taps into their creative brain the content that appears on the page is filtered and influenced by every emotion and memory collected during their lifetime. Sometimes this may result in false truths and enhanced story lines. The end result is always a true reflection of the author’s aspirations. It doesn’t matter if the guy gets the girl or the serial killer escapes, those facts can be change depending on how the writer feels the story should unfold always relying on how they perceive the characters life and how they want that life perceived. 
Some write to log events in their lives and rely on their memory to illustrate – to the best of their knowledge and what actual occurred. Many write for the therapeutic aspect of it. Getting something on paper separates a person from a situation or circumstance and often helps that person cope with the event or situation in a better realm.

There are some who write to shock and intrude on old relationships or adversaries possibly attempting to correct things that can’t be corrected. And then there are some that simply want to make amends of an unfavorable moment from the past. Ultimately trying to make sense out of an unfortunate event and make peace with those that were affected.

There are authors and then there are writers. In most cases they’re interchangeable. An author of fiction or non-fiction once in front of their computer creates content solely for the purpose of enticing a reader to be interested enough to read what they wrote. Hopefully tempting the reader to think and imagine beyond their normal world.

A writer tries to tempt the reader as well. A writer’s content can be influenced by facts and situations from their personal lives usually delivered in a way that can easily illustrate a moment in time. However a writer is still a slave to his or her own beliefs and desires. And they still want to portray life as they see it or how they would like it to be seen, hence, the blog.

Everything that is written in a blog  may or may not be 100% accurate. It is up to the reader to decide whether or not they agree or disagree with the content.
The reader’s job is to first acknowledge the fact that reading blogs or notes on the internet is purely is by choice. If a writer or author feels the need to express him or herself on a topic whether it is political—factual—or just plan opinion the reader should never feel the content is bordering on malice or personally condemning to them because they don’t share the same opinion. It’s a Blog!

Writers take privilege on what they say and how they say it. It’s OK to agree or disagree that’s why most Blogs allow comments. As long as no one is personally attacked by name or circumstance no matter how the content reflects similar events from ones past it is still just a blog.

Speaking for myself, I write for many reasons and my writing comes from things that have influenced my life and the people in it. I try not to get too detailed in order to keep the persons or personalities from being exposed. I take my memories and use them to tack through life adjusting my course in the attempt to avoid future obstacles. I’m not always successful, especially when I look back and see I’ve thrown a wake on something or someone from the past.

I know it is impossible to change what has already happened but my readers can take solace in knowing that I’m not the rogue captain they may think I am. And I am able to make adjustments maybe not calming the seas on my bow but relying on my experiences and knowledge to ensure a safe passage toward the future. Hopefully one day leading me back to my home port of call, where ever that might be.

When Regrets Replace Our Dreams

Most of the time we are able to put regrets behind us especially the one’s that are not major disappointments. We look around and realize that we don’t have it so bad. But when regrets begin to replace our dreams we become consumed, taking a moral inventory filled with questions that have no answers.

“Is it better to have loved and lost or tried and failed than never to have loved or tried at all?”

We tell ourselves it would’ve been better if we hadn’t smoked, if we had eaten better, if we learned how to cope with stress. We convince ourselves that life would have---could have been better. We would be healthier, wealthier, and happier if we weren’t so weak, so unwise, and so unlucky.

Instead of dreaming what could be we replay what “might” have been, “could” have been or “should” have been.  We are capable of storing millions of images and memories in our minds eye but we can only see one at a time. We recall those images through deep thought, mediation and in our dreams.

Is this part of a midlife crisis? I think so ….

The inability of letting regrets go is directly related to the metaphysical and neurological changes in a person once they reach the age of forty or beyond. We start to question the choices we made and the validity of decisions made years before. The spouse is the first victim. Anger towards a spouse cultivates the feeling of being let down and tied down. Doubts that they never loved their spouse and resentment over marriage replaces the ability to cope with any and all external problems and distractions.

People that have a difficult time during midlife go into a severe crisis mode all fueled by internal and external factors. They compound stress in their life making the transition from adult to senior adult difficult. They may have physical challenges such as menopause, heart conditions or just poor health. Or, unresolved childhood issues that were never dealt with could come to the surface causing more regret replaying past images over and over.

The question is not a matter of if it will happen; it’s when it will happen. For some, a midlife crisis can be more complicated. When a person can’t replace regrets with promising thoughts of the future they loose sight and direction.  They can’t cross over that bridge or see that lighthouse in a storm. Regret clouds our ability to navigate to a safe harbor and ultimately enjoy the remainder of our lives.

It takes courage to really let go of regrets. We are able to move on when we realize that things did not turn out as we expected because of something we did, or failed to do. Only psychopaths have no regrets. They never look back or learn from their behavior * * * the rest of us can.

Hemingway's home gets literary honor -

Hemingway's home gets literary honor -

Liar Liar Pants On Fire

Disposed to or characterized by untruth

Lying, we all do it. No one on earth can say any different. So why do we lie? Who taught us how to lie? The answer is mind boggling but if the truth be known we taught ourselves.

We start lying as early as preschool. Of course, lying is not part of our parents’ curriculum like potty training or dressing ourselves but somehow by the time we enter school we know all about lying.

No one really knows how we developed the skill to lie. Television is the most likely suspect. We learn that lying can be used to avoid pain. We also learn that lying can bring pleasure. Young children test the water with little white lies. As parents we react with some level of punishment. So the child associates getting caught lying with pain. This doesn’t teach the child not to lie it teaches the child not to get caught.

“My child doesn’t lie”.
Well, you know that’s not exactly true and lying to ones self is also considered a lie. Believe it or not there are three studies on lying. All three considered lying morally and ethically wrong. However one supports the belief that a lie could be moral based on the consequence that follows.

Immanuel Kant said that lying is always morally wrong. He said all humans are borne with an intrinsic worth that he called dignity. He believed humans are uniquely rational and capable of freely making their own decisions, setting their own goals and guiding their conduct by reason. He also stated that we have the power of free choice; to be ethical is to respect the power of ones self towards others.

Lying corrupts the most important aspect of being human, the ability to make choices freely. Lying robs others of the freedom to choose rationally. In short, Kant believed that we should value ourselves and others as ends instead of means. We should avoid trying to damage or interfere others ablility to make free choices. In other words no lying

The second study aligns with the concept of Virtual Ethics. Virtual Ethics does not judge right or wrong rather it focuses on the development of character. Fairness is a virtual aspect allowing people to strive for or pursue a goal. To be virtuous is to be ethical.
The nature of virtual ethics makes it difficult to assess individual acts of immorality however those who advocate this theory still believe lying is wrong because it opposes the virtue of honesty.

For example a brother that lies to a sisters’ drunken husband is motivated by compassion for his sisters’ safety, is this right or wrong? This conflict between virtues is managed by most ethicists through a concept called the unity of virtues. This concept states that the virtuous person, the ideal person we strive to be, cannot achieve one virtue without achieving them all. Therefore when facing a conflict between virtues, like a passionate lie, our virtue ethics helps us to imagine what would the ideal person do and then act accordingly. Virtue ethics finds lying immoral when it’s a step away, not closer toward, the best person we could possibly be.

The final study is based on Utilitarian ethics which include tests necessary for judging the morality of a lie. Utilitarianism bases its reasoning on the claim that lying is morally acceptable when the results or consequences maximize benefit or minimize harm. Therefore a lie is not always immoral.

For example a Mother’s dying request to her son is to be buried with her money in the coffin. The son does not keep his promise and instead offers the money to a local charity. Although the son promised his mother while she was alive he knew he would not. So he lied to her on her death bed. Was this immoral?

The son knew the money would be wasted or possibly stolen and the local charity would be denied this generous offering. Utilitarianism supports the son’s decision to lie on the determination the greater good would be served. Altruistic or noble lies, which specifically intend to benefit someone else, can also be considered morally acceptable by utilitarians.

Clearly lying is alive a well in today’s society. Lies flourish in social uncertainty, when people no longer understand, or agree on, the rules governing their behavior toward one another." Maybe social uncertainty abounds because we are a mixture of Kantians, virtuists, and utilitarians who share no common ground.

Now, what if nobody lied, would your life be different? If no one ever lied to you and you never told a lie would you be where you are right now? Would you be richer or poorer? Would you be living somewhere different? Would you be married or single? How did lies affect your life so far? It’s interesting to think about.

The greatest question is; what if you made the choice never to lie again. What profound challenges and triumphs would be in your future?

The Best of Times -The Worst of Times

February 6th 2009:
As I carried 6 years of my professional life in two small boxes toward my car I felt nothing, no anger, no sadness, no disappointment. I knew the business was struggling for quite some time however like so many fools before me, I believed in the product, so I stayed.

The owner of the company became increasingly unavailable. When he was present he never extending any conversation beyond a hello or goodbye. When a situation mandated face time the conversation was brief. Note to self, when your boss deems it necessary to cocoon himself for extended periods of time, something is wrong.

His partner, whose work ethic equaled that of a politician tried to keep things light but it was easy to see through the forced smiles and overstated hellos. His dream of being a player in the world was slowly deteriorating. You could see it on his face, you could see it in the way he walked and ultimately you could hear it in his voice, something was terribly wrong.

The company was not failing from a lack effort or the existence of true talent. It was simply a boat with no rudder or sail. It lacked leadership and direction. For most of the last year it was difficult to enter the building and even more difficult to say anything positive about the situation. That’s one thing I won’t miss the negativity. It was corrosive, abusive and downright ugly at times. But it was all true.

My position was simple I offered basic business / management skills. I knew how to run a business and if I given the opportunity, who knows where that company would be right now. Unfortunately when you have two thirty something’s that think they know everything offering opinions and direction becomes futile.

It was quite surreal driving home in the opposite direction I was just driving an hour before. The only difference was the sun was high in the sky, not kissing the Gulf as I crossed the Skyway Bridge for the last time. I truly felt nothing, nothing toward the colleagues or boss I’ve been with every single day for the past 6 years. I also knew right then and there that I would never work for someone else again. It’s true what they say about working for others. What you give never equals what they take. You are just a number on a spread sheet at the end of the day.

I have always been able to find work relatively easy. However in my 35 years in business I’ve never seen the job market so thin. It is also difficult to take any interview given by a twenty something HR person or new promoted manager seriously. Watching them fumble through the routine hiring questions that you once used on others becomes irritating. When an interviewer seems more nervous then you there’s something wrong

Career Builder and Monster are useless in trying to find legitimate employment. I foresee the demise of both, but I still have to ask, why they are so popular? Then of course there are the website that will find you a job for $39.99. Don’t bother, you’ll waste time and money. So what can you do to find work?

The hardest thing about being unemployed is trying to keep your families spirits high. As the weeks turn into months my kids began to worry. Worry about things that you never want your kids to worry about. I knew it was getting bad when my daughter approached me and said. “Dad, don’t buy me any gifts for Christmas. Just make sure you get presents for Devin. (Her little brother)” I also realized my seventeen year old son wasn’t showering everyday. One day when I picked him up from school I smelled his dirty clothes. When I asked him why he wasn’t showering everyday or putting his clothes in the laundry he said, he was trying to save money. I also learned he stopped eating lunch at school, saving his lunch money in case we needed it. When I asked why, he told me he noticed sometimes I didn’t eat during dinner so he could go without lunch. I told him it was my choice to make sure there was enough for you kids. I ate; I just didn’t eat the same thing you did.

As the summer turned to fall Christmas was coming fast. I wanted to give my children a normal Christmas. So I took down the decorations from the attic and hung every Christmas light I could find. Our tree was put up before Thanksgiving and we were able to give the children a nice Christmas.

On New Years Eve I hoped and prayed for a better year to come. I watched as the kids played with their games and toys. I was able to give my daughter some new clothes which she proudly modeled. But as I watched the clocked ticked down to midnight I knew time was running out. If my prayers were not answered this coming year there was nothing I could do to shield my children.

This would be the last Christmas in our home. I also knew that sooner or later I would have to tell my children that we will have to move.

Well it’s February 6th 2010:
It’s been a year and I’m still unemployed and most likely going to loose my home. I only hope that I can maintain a positive outlook if not for me for my family. Because we used up most of our savings and equity in our home we can’t afford to pay for my son’s college next year. So he is considering joining the army. I will do what ever it takes to get him to change his mind. I know I could never live with myself in my son joins the service and goes to Afghanistan and dies.

I pray for better days. I pray for strength, but mostly I pray for my children so we can all get through this safely together.

Valentines Day Gifts for Men

I don’t know any man that cares about Valentines Day. It’s only a hassle for them to try and think up something for the wife or significant other. The only a women can give her man is ………. You know what he wants. That and only that he will remember.

The Four Way Stop

Approaching another cross road in life, I know it’s a cliché. We all reach them, we all have to deal with them and sometimes we don’t know when to go. You can really tell a lot about a person at a four way stop, especially if four vehicles arrive at the same time.

Some people wave everyone on proving one of two things. Either this person doesn’t really have to be anywhere. Or, they’re just so damn polite they yield to everyone.

Sometimes a person gets confused or they don’t pay attention when approaching a four-way stop. Either way they still have to know what to do. If they don’t, they will let everyone go just to save embarrassment.  

Then of course there’s the person that believes they should go first, no matter what. “Screw them all, I’m going, they’ll still be sitting there for another 10 minutes trying to figure out what to do!”

We also have the jigger bug, they approach everything cautiously. Pumping the brakes way too soon and inching their way up then stopping, inching a little more and stopping. Distraught and confused they just wave everyone one through showing their complete lack of confidence in the situation.

Another personality is the drifter. This person likes to approach any situation slowly. They press on their brakes way too soon coasting into the four way stop. In most cases they’re actually the first to arrive, but it takes so long for them to get to the line it causes confusion for everyone else.

Don’t forget the yield to the right guy. This person truly believes you are supposed to yield to the car on the right. But what if there are no cars at the four way stop. Do you wait for another vehicle to arrive? How can they move forward without first having the opportunity to yield? I guess they just wait until someone else arrives.

The two characters left are the live and die by the rotation of the earth and the movement of the sun people. First we have a person that thinks each car should take a turn in clockwise rotation order. Of course by the time everyone figures that out, more cars have arrived at the intersection. How should they handle the four way stop? Do they continue using the clockwise rule or do they go back to the first to arrive, the first to go rule.

The other earth clock disciples are completely opposite of their brethren. They believe the correct order is counter clockwise. This is really confusing when there are both types at a four way stop.

Most of us were taught how to drive many years ago. Trying to remember all the rules and proper procedures is difficult. That’s why we have signs telling us how fast we can go and warning us if there’s a curve in the road. But sometimes when we’re unsure we take the liberty to make up the rules as we go.

We do our best, using our intellect and experiences to handle all driving situations. But sometimes we just look like complete asses. Next time you approach a four way stop check out the other drivers and watch what they do.

Oh, by the way the rule is; first to arrive – first to go. That’s it.

Does Your Horn Blow Too

This is a time of year when patients and understanding goes along way on the roads and highways in the Sunshine State. If you want to get a quick quart of milk or a pack of smokes from 7-Eleven chances are that 5 minutes trek will now take a little longer. The streets in Florida in normal conditions are more than sufficient for that quick commute to just about anywhere.
But these are not normal times; this time can only be defined with one word ‘SEASON’.
This time of year between (Super Bowl Sunday and Easter Sunday) is when restaurant owners and shop keepers see their bottom lines grow. Season is the equivalent to Black Friday and Cyber Monday for retailers.
But there are sacrifices to this phenomenon for residents living in the coastal communities of Florida. First and foremost it’s the traffic. There is no more jumping in a car and running up to 7-Eleven and being back before the commercials end. Oh no, in fact there are no more quick trips anywhere. You see our roads, streets and byways were designed and built when 80% of the habitable landscape was swamps and orange groves. There are some streets that still don’t have sewers. Making those homeowners fend for themselves when it comes time to that all important flush of their toilet. Most of us don’t know or care where last nights Paella goes. But there are some that know exactly where it flows, right to the drainage field in the backyard.
OK enough poop talk, back to the roads.
So as a community we must concede to our population tripling in size for 12 weeks and we adjust to the fact that the short run to store may take a few more minutes than normal. It’s also alright that some of the people visiting our state are senior citizens and drive a little slower or in some cases a little faster then we do.
I can’t speak for every Floridian, but some of us don’t like the ever popular Snowbird and those people take every opportunity to make their stay with us a living hell.
You see, I was sort of a Snowbird myself. When my family took the long ride down 95 to the Sunshine State we too were mesmerized by the sight of palm trees and coconuts. Or, the simple fact that it was possible for it to rain on one side of road and not the other. Most of us are very aware that the smell of suntan oil can make some people delirious, causing tourist to watch cranes fly toward the sea, instead of watching the road.
This brings me to the reason for writing this blog, car horns.
Just this week I was sitting at a traffic light making a left hand turn. The traffic was very heavy and I waiting until the light changed from green to amber before I made my move. Now granted, I was in the middle of the intersection and had no where to go, so when the on coming traffic slowed down I made the turn. This didn’t seem to bother anyone and I’m sure most of us have executed this maneuver one time or another. “Oh, I guess I’m committed, I have to go.”
I didn’t know there were two other cars behind me that rode my wake through the red light. Ok, we’ve all done that before as well.
However, before that second car crossed the walkway the vehicle going in the opposite direction deemed it necessary to lay down their horn. I guess to let those folks know a thing or two about proper road etiquette. Well those folks were about 90 years old and their car almost crashed into another because they were so freaked out. I guess if they crashed that guy blowing his horn would feel justification RIGHT (NOT).
This made me think about my own horn usage and I can honestly say except for the friendly double toot letting someone know the light has been green for at least 30 seconds I have never use my horn. That’s right 30 years of driving and I’ve never blasted someone for something I probably did the day before. When I asked a few people if they used their horns the answers was always the same, NO.
So as I was driving down the road the other day I thought about my horn and other peoples horns as I listened for one to see what kind of person utilizes their horn regularly. “Whoa, there goes one, oh that was just two friends saying hello.”
“There’s another one, oh that person was just sitting at the light by himself – weird.” Then it happened, I was in a congested flow of traffic. In front of me; an elderly couple in a big Buick, to the right, a young kid driving a small pickup and behind me a Mom and her kids in an SUV. Then a little car maybe an eclipse darted over to my lane then back again. Every move he made caused him to loose ground not gain it.
As we all traveled through a major intersection this little bastard changed lanes (which is illegal) and cut off large pickup truck. Well this pickup truck had one of those railroad horns (also illegal) installed and blasted one out. I almost soiled my pants and unfortunately the person in front of him was not the eclipse but the elderly couple. When I reached the next traffic light I was next to the elderly couple, the women was upset and the guy looked like he was having a heart attack. I rolled down my window and asked them if they were OK. I also explained to them that the blast was not meant for them but the little sports car that was now long gone. I think they felt a little better but I thought the guy in the truck should say something to them. So at the next light I made sure I was even with the pickup. I motioned for him to roll down his window. After explaining to him the situation he flipped me the bird. Before he left, I shouted “hey those horns are illegal in this State and I’ve got your plate number. So I hope I see you apologizing to those folks at the next light.” Well, his wife or girlfriend extended his previous reply and added a green loogie on my windshield. But something must have sunk-in because at the next light I could see he was talking with the old couple, small victories.
My research has taught me that car horns were installed for the safety of pedestrians and animals. In the early 1800’s horns were installed in self propelled vehicles so that pedestrians and horses could be alerted because the vehicles were difficult to stop. Well I think we’ve past the need to alert pedestrians and cattle because of our cars inability to stop. Why do we have car horns anyway? Is it to say hello to a passing friend, or scare the shit out of the person in front of you. If you use your horn, isn’t it too late anyway. Our reaction time is not that good to alert someone to avoid an accident or correct a traffic infraction.
The car horn in most cases is used improperly and probably causes more accidents then prevents them. What gives any of us the right to judge some ones driving skills when we damn well know we do the same things? Of course, if we fly through a red light or pass someone in an intersection and another driver horns their opinion our way, we call them assholes. Someone today blasted me at a four way stop thinking that the proper procedure was to yield to the car on the right. (WRONG) Four way stops, don’t get me started.
Anyway think about it. Do we need car horns? Listen the next time you’re driving not many people use them and the ones that do probably shouldn’t be driving in the first place. And for God sakes if you plan on coming down to the Sunshine State this winter look at the palm trees when you’re walking down our streets.

Waiting To Exhale -- 2009

Another post employment morning, starting the day checking his email as he quickly deletes the spam and junk messages that seem to find their way through miles of fiber optic lines. It’s not a surprising to find nothing encouraging in the e-box. Of course there are suggestions on how to write the perfect resume and companies almost guaranteeing that they will hook him up with an interview for $29.95.
Nothing has changed much the last few months, except his role in the home. He is now the designate driver for the kids. Dropping them off and picking them up at school. He also spends a lot of time at the grocery stores finding deals on cheese and items listed as two for ones.
It’s hard being home all day, especially this long. It’s been six months since the layoff and time is running out, on everything. He made some tough choices about what little money was left and keeping his family together. Trying to maintain a worry free environment has been difficult.
At first it didn’t seem to bother the kids, Dad being home. But as weeks turned into months and the months will soon be a year even the youngest knows something is very wrong with this picture.
Trying to maintain a normal life for his family has been hard. He didn’t want his wife or children worrying about food or clothes or whether they would have a bed to sleep in. He knew keeping calm and not talking to them about it would work, in the short term. But now, he’s getting to the point were a true miracle would come in handy.
Putting off the creditors is easy, but putting off the bank holding the mortgage is a different story. He is currently 5 months behind; he is waiting for that knock on the door from the courts letting him know his presence is requested.
So with every new day comes a different set of problems. His family didn’t know that there are times when he doesn’t eat, because there simply was not enough food to go around. They didn’t know that he has used every dime including a large water jar of coins he’s been savings since high school for a trip to France. This was going to be a fiftieth birthday present to him. They don’t know that keeping the pool clean and the grass and bushes trimmed was only a mirage, smoke and mirrors so the neighbors don’t realize there’s a problem.
Remembering 2009, who wants too? The scares of 2009 will take years to heal. The worst part is, he knew it was going to happen. Like a nightmare, he was standing on a switch track at a rail station when suddenly the clamp closed on his foot. Locomotive 2009 was bearing down on him. At first it was just a small light in the distance slowly growing larger as the crept up to the present. Should he cut his foot off and save himself or wait? Wait to see if some miracle will happen. The train may screech to a halt, or change tracks. That’s how everyday of his life feels.
It’s been a long time since he had a good night sleep, even longer feeling good about the mornings. Hopefully the New Year will bring change and a little luck. Maybe something will take a little pressure off of him so he can enjoy the simple things in life again.
2011 can be a new start for everyone, one thing is fore sure he is not alone. Many people have been holding their breaths much longer than he has. Maybe, just maybe—2011w ill be the start of something new, something wonderful for us all