March 17, 2018

Days until the 2018 Goodboys Invitational: 125
Handicap: 26.0

Was sitting out on the back patio tonight under the happy pineapple lights thinking about my approach to this year’s golf season.

My handicap sits at 26.0.
My target handicap is 20.0.

(That’s six strokes for those of you who don’t have a STEM degree from college and have your degree in the humanities or something akin to wanting to take guns away from law-abiding citizens.)

Under the lights and watching clouds moving in from the northwest, I thought back to the last few posts I checked out associated with my Golf Quest category and am shocked to see just how much in disarray my golf swing was following last year’s Goodboys Invitational. In my mind I saw that after adopting Paula Creamer’s golf swing I had nailed things down, culminating in that best-ever Superstition Springs round. But now I wasn’t so sure.

I poured myself another Pinot Grigio and realized I couldn’t even remember what I was trying to do out there. I did shoot a 111 at Stallion Mountain in Vegas my last time out, but that was the very day (December 3) that everything started to go south at work. I had been woken up that day at 4 AM with a heads up that trouble was on the way, and during the round with fellow Goodboy “Doggy Duval” I was called again. I didn’t play well that day, but the vibes were turning negative, that’s for sure.

It’s now 3 1/2 months later and I’ve only taken a few swings at the PGA TOUR Superstore down the street and hit a medium bucket of balls at the range down the street. I feel rusty, not just with my swing, but with my life in general. This past week the true scope of everything that has been going south at “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless” for the past 3 1/2 months finally started to be revealed to everyone involved. I’d been trying to tell my management for the past two months that what we had delivered there was unsustainable, but no one seemed interested in listening. Last week they did, and now I know I’m going to be dealing with this crap sandwich for at least the next few months.

[Ed. note: I'm just realizing that my original intended post about golf has started to veer into work, but that's not surprising. Right now - and there is no getting around it - work is the driving force in my life. And it's not just me, it's impacting my boss and his boss. And now, with the start of Daylight Savings Time, my workday is starting somewhere between 5 and 6 AM, and with a new client coming on board in Singapore my workdays are extending out to 6:30 PM in the evening. That's not a good thing, and it's something I'm going to have to put the kibosh on ASAP. I'm getting too old for this.]

A golf psychologist would have a field day with me right now. He’d say that the last round of I’d played I would equate with the start of the fiasco down in Pensacola that started innocently enough while I was getting ready to play golf back on December 3 and then went on steroids with the text I received from a VP while driving back from Vegas insisting I get my butt down to Pensacola the next day. And that because of everything that happened since that time, I equate my golf game with the nightmare that happened starting that day, so therefore in my subconscious I’m leery of picking up a golf club again because I’m afraid the same thing might happen all over again.

That could be, who knows? The sad truth is that right now the very idea of picking up a golf club and working my way through a bucket brings with it a sense of insouciance and paranoia – kind of like the tracks from the Beatles’ Revolver album all rolled into one. I’d like to think I could just pick up a club as if nothing happened since that last putt I drained at Stallion Mountain (for a miraculous par, if I do say so myself!), but denial is not just a river in Africa, y’know what I’m saying?

Perhaps it would be best if the whole business involving the “Client Who Shall Remain Nameless” was over and done with, but the fact is this is going to go on for the next few months at a minimum. Folks are pissed, threats of lawsuits are lying just below the surface, and just about every moment of my working day is filled with discussions at all levels as to how we extricate ourselves from this. And the short answer is, we can’t.

There have been a couple of times now where I went to reach for one of my clubs to just take a few swings in my front yard and I just can’t bring myself to do it. It’s not fear, it’s just… well, I don’t know what it is. The whole idea of working on my game right now just sounds like so much of that – work. Last year I had no problem immersing myself in rebuilding my swing from scratch, and I really enjoyed it. This year? I just feel burned out at every level. This week I’m planning on getting back to the gym in the hope that that will help in a number of ways. Perhaps it will make me want to pick up a club again. Perhaps it will help remove the state of fracture and disconnect I feel with everything right now.

I just want to feel whole again. I just want to feel The Great White Shank again. But whoever I was seems to have gone somewhere else, to the point where I can’t find myself anymore. I folded under the pressure like a cheap bridge table – something that never happened before. Now everything seems different and I see myself as though through a camera obscura. Somehow I’m going to have to get through this and get back to working on those six strokes I want to take off my handicap.

…so reading this post I guess I’m not quite as ready to “kick it all off” as I thought I was. As George Harrison once sang, you can only run so far:

You fly out as your smile wears thin
I sigh knowing the mess you’re in
And you know that you can’t get away
And you know that you can’t hide it from yourself

Lonely days, blue guitar
There’s no escape, can only run so far

I know something I ought to say
Stuck here, trying to find a way
And you know that you can’t get away
And you know that you can’t hide it from yourself

I’ve got four months until Goodboys 2018 weekend to get my golf $hit together. I hope I can.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:58 | Comments (2)
March 11, 2018

…so it was like going to an auto dealership and having to do all that negotiating and the bullshit, “…let me check with my manager” crap, but both me and my equally-dumb phoned sister-in-law are now proud and willing occupants of the Apple universe.

…obviously, Al Gore was not available for comment.

Joe Bastardi at has been predicting this for more than two weeks now. Anyone who loves the weather and doesn’t check in for Joe’s daily updates and Saturday Summary posts are truly missing out.

I have to admit, Tiger Woods looked great at the Valspar, but there’s something inside me that thinks this is a candle in the wind and that he’s going to hurt himself again. Of course, no one listens to The Great White Shank; I’m just putting it on the record.

A great live performance from one of my all-time faves and a very underrated band.

This was a bad weekend as far as work is concerned. Everyone is working 14-hour days and things keep going from bad to worse. Were I the client, I’d have told my company weeks ago to yank the whole thing out and bill them for it, but we’ve got a of bunch of ignoramuses in charge, and that’s not going to happen. But let me tell you, things are near the breaking point, and when it happens I’m going to Vegas for a few day to leech the whole thing out of my system. I’m tired, I’m worn out, and I’m at the point where if I ended up getting canned it would almost be a blessing.

Looking forward to our own little spell of wet weather next weekend. They’re calling for 1/2″ of rain here, which would be pretty good.

Last night I had another dream about Santa Fe. It wasn’t as vivid as the dream I had on the plane a few weeks ago, but it still left a lasting impression. I wonder why that is?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:43 | Comments (0)
March 6, 2018

Big and hearty congrats to Phil Mickelson for a well-deserved win at the WGC-Mexico Championship in Mexico and Michelle Wie for her win at the HSBC Women’s World Championship. The wins break long draughts as far as wins as concerned for two very popular figures in golf – wins that I’m sure both cherish even more after all the hard work they’ve put in to get back to the winner’s circle. Between Bubba Watson’s win at Riviera and Mickelson’s win, and considering the advantages Augusta National gives left-handed golfers, you have to think Watson and Mickelson will be on everyone’s short list once the Masters begins in a month’s time. Is it too early to queue the music?

…and as for Michelle? All I can say is, she’s a doll.

…and there’s little doubt Justin Thomas also has to be considered a favorite at Augusta. He’s the real deal – even more so than Jordon Speith.

Is there a more boring baseball announcer than NESN’s Dave O’Brien? And to think NESN dropped the likes of Don Orsillo for this hunk of vanilla? I wouldn’t waste my money on a NESN subscription simply for the fact I’d then have to force myself to listen to O’Brien drone on game after game.

What a bunch of friggin’ morons. Know what I wish? That a dozen B52s rain bombs upon these “remote villagers” and turn their village into fiery goo.

I listened to all of five minutes of The Oscars while getting supper ready in the kitchen. Talk about your lack of self-awareness! Is there a greater stage for a bunch of pretentious, nattering, celebrities-in-their-own-minds who think what they do actually matters in the grand scheme of things? And is there a more obnoxious, self-absorbed clown than Jimmy Kimmel?

So I actually hit a bucket of balls the other day and did so without wheezing and hacking my brains out. I was beyond rusty and could barely remember how to hold a club, and the ground I was hitting off of was barren of turf, but I didn’t care. The sun was nice, and the sounds of the driving range were soothing to my soul. Much-needed medicine – especially after the last three months I’ve had.

Here’s my song of the day.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:46 | Comment (1)
March 4, 2018

I was saying to a couple of my Goodboys pals a couple of weeks ago how much I wanted to be off the grid. No e-mails, no blog, no phone, no tablet, no desktop, no laptop – nothing to connect me to a digital world that has seemingly become a part of every friggin’ part of our lives from waking to sleeping. I’m guessing I’m in the minority when I say I’m tired of technology. Sure, I make my living off of it, but it brings me no joy to have to use it. To me, it’s just a necessary means to an end – the world now evolves around Twitter, e-mail, YouTube, and Dropbox, and you have to play the game or get trampled down by it.

Of course, it’s not technology in and of itself that’s the problem – it’s the fact that you increasingly can’t get away from it for one blasted minute that’s the problem. Oh, and that on the other end of it you know there is a human being or corporation of human beings who don’t necessarily have your, mine, or anyone’s best interests at heart. Technology may be a convenience or means to an end, but what we do with it is nothing more than an excuse for other human beings to exploit it for their own ends and purposes. Sure, there are always advancements in technologies that make our lives better (especially when it comes to modern medicine), but technology in and of itself will never fix everything that afflicts a world with human beings running it. Sure, technology has made our world smaller – but tell that to the children living in the slums of Asia and other the hellholes in the so-called “Third World”. The poor and destitute will always be with us, as will those suffering from mental illness, and poverty, and technology ain’t gonna be able to do a thing about it.

…but you will be able to see or read more about it because of the internet, right?

I would argue that in some – if not most – ways technology has become a necessary evil, a tool for every faceless, nameless, and nobody whack job who thinks that by having an Instagram or Youtube account they’re somebody. The truth is, they’re not. They’re just people with an opinion. And, in most cases, moronic opinions at that.

My biggest concern is that you have technology replacing true human interaction. At our core we’re not machines, we’re human beings. We need a connection with each other. Deep down, our souls, hearts and minds thirst for a human connection. You can have a million followers on your Twitter account and still be the loneliest person in the world. We need to be able to share our own different lives, upbringings, thoughts, cultures, and selves with other people. That’s how you grow up exposed, with an open mind and understanding of how human beings tick. The kids growing up these days, sheltered behind technology and its way of segregating those who are like-minded, are going to grow up functionally illiterate and in practice ignorant. And they’re learning well from their moronic parents who walk around supermarket aisles like Stepford wives and drive around with their heads down, texting who knows who, thinking their very lives evolve around some stupid form of electronic communication. It’s really a sickness, and one I want no part of.

Nevertheless, there I was yesterday with the twins at the local AT&T store trying to figure out the most strategic and fiscally astute way to upgrade Tracey’s iPhone and drag Tammy and I and our dumb phones into to the future. After the better part of ninety minutes of debate and haggling, Tracey got her much-needed upgrade (to an iPhone 8), and Tam and I are to enter the 21st century and get iPhone 6s – gasp!. While I really didn’t want to, in the end it just made sense: the world wasn’t going to change or slow done technologically on my behalf, and at some point you just have to embrace the grid.

I really don’t know anything about my soon-to-arrive iPhone 6; I suppose like everyone else five or ten years back I’ll just kind of go with whatever cool functionality that comes along with it and then get sucked into the vortex of every friggin’ app you can download so you can brag about what you have like everyone else does. I hope I don’t go that far. I’m really being dragged kicking and screaming, because it just goes against everything I want to do or be in my life. Deep down, all I really want to do is go off the grid.

Hey, maybe on my new iPhone 6 I’ll find an app for that.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:40 | Comments (2)
February 24, 2018

Back in Massachusetts and its roller coaster weather once again to take care of some more family business. My dear Auntie Marge’s wake and funeral service is this weekend, so the family has gathered from across the country once again to pay their last respects. There’s also work to be done as continue to explore senior housing opportunities for my Dad, with applications and forms to be filled out and financial statements to be gathered.

My brother Dave has a nice tribute to Auntie on his own website. If you want to get a great feel for who Auntie was and what she was like it’s a must read.

I’m really kinda mad at myself. Back in October of 2015 I was visiting my folks, and Auntie and Uncle Don had come up to play cards as they normally did on Saturday nights whenever Auntie and Unc weren’t snowbirding in Florida. I was watching some TV and listening to the same comfortable and familiar chatter I’d heard for years and years whenever the four of them would gather around the whist table it occurred to me to take a picture of them since I was heading back to Arizona in a couple of days. A long winter was coming, and it would be another eight months before we would all be in the same room again, and who knew might happen over that time? So I snapped a picture on my dumb phone and thought no more about it.

Of course, events after that took over. It was just after the holidays that my Mom got sick for what turned out to be the final time ahead of her passing in June 2016. When Auntie passed a couple of weeks ago I went searching for that picture, but do you think I can find it? I’ve searched my phone and computer file folders everywhere. If I find it, will post it for y’all.

Anyways, rest in peace, Auntie – you’re with my Mom now and it’s up to the rest of us who are left behind to make whatever we can out of the rest of our lives.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 13:31 | Comments (0)
February 20, 2018

I’m talking about a place in between one’s imagination and one’s longing; a place that exists, but maybe not in the exact way as it does in one’s mind. In The Shawshank Redemption (one of my top ten flicks of all time, BTW), Tim Robbins’ character Andy Dufresne saw Zihuatanejo as the furthest extent of freedom possible beyond the gray walls of Shawshank State Penitentiary – a place along the Pacific Ocean which has no memory. It’s an escape of the mind, for sure, but, unlike, say, Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville” (which exists solely in the imagination and can find itself anywhere from your backyard Tiki bar in Gilbert, Arizona to Key West or even in the icy-cold shimmering light of a margarita sitting on the bar in front of you in Anywhere, USA).

I only mention this because the other night while watching Shawshank I was thinking about my own Zihuatanejo and how my horizons have contracted over the years. There was a time when as a kid I dreamed of faraway places – the Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass records brought home by my folks took my imagination to exotic places like Mexico, my parents’ vacations took them to places across the oceans they never could have even imagined seeing while growing up in the Depression and World War II years. As I grew older, I dreamed of expanding my own horizons and was determined not to be born and die in the “Lowell-Dracut Metroplex” of Massachusetts’ Merrimack Valley and was incredibly blessed to spend the first decade or so of my wedded years with Tracey cruising all over the Caribbean and Mexico. But even then there was always a restlessness that wouldn’t go away; all these beautiful and exotic places and there I am, wondering if that was all there is. Which was OK – in my life I’d never expected to feel completely whole and at peace no matter where I ended up.

So here I am at 62, and there I was the other night, laying in bed wondering where was my Zihuatanejo now? It wasn’t a question of location: the wind was high in the royal palms rustling next door, the wind chimes hanging in the pistachio tree outside the window clattering in the blowing southwest wind. You certainly wouldn’t experience that on a New England mid-February night! And it wasn’t a case of wanting to be somewhere else and in some other time and place; I’d long reconciled myself to the fact my mom and my Auntie Marge are both gone and the family left as nothing close to what it resembled just a couple of years ago, and will never be the same again. As Dad told me a couple of weeks ago, everything’s gone and that’s just the way things are. As Andy Dufresne said in Shawshack, “either you get busy living or get busy dying.”

And it was then that I gradually came to the realization that my own personal Zihuatanejo had been reduced to nothing more than a date in the past – December 2nd of last year to be exact, when I last felt truly healthy both mentally and physically, with only the cares and the vista of a Las Vegas weekend with my Goodboys pal Doggy Duval ahead of me. Because that was the last time everything seemed good enough, before everything at work went to shit and all the stress and the professional and personal crap I experienced down in Pensacola, Florida changed my life forever. And then on top of that, getting sick last month to the point where I wonder if I’ll ever be able to walk around without my ears ringing, my hands shaking, my chest worn out, and me hacking my brains out from the moment of my waking to my sleeping.

I don’t mean to over-dramatize this in any way – as New England Patriots coach Bill Belechick is wont to say, “it is what it is.” But the fact is, I’m worn out, tired, sick, and emptied out both mentally and physically. The chest X-ray I had last week will come back negative, I’m sure, and my doctor will tell me the effects of the flu I had last month have simply been exacerbated by all the stress I’ve been under and will all go away in time. But the steroids and the antibiotics I’m on are doing nothing, and I can’t help but think that this will never go away. I can’t even take more than a couple of swings with my golf clubs without wheezing and getting shaky. Last year, I was totally revved at the idea of carving six strokes off my handicap; now I could care less if I swing a golf club ever again.

A couple of weeks ago on my way back to Massachusetts I slipped into a deep dream. I was on a balcony in Santa Fe, New Mexico looking at the mountains all around me covered in snow and shrouded in a deep fog. The clouds hung low and gray like a welcoming blanket against my life as it existed – sunny, warm, open, and free. It felt close and intimate, like a big comfortable blanket you could lose yourself in. There wasn’t anything more to the dream – it was just me, looking out at the mountains, into ever and forever. I’m not a mountain guy by any means, and I’m certainly not a winter guy either, but the dream was one of the deepest I’d ever known.

I awoke on the plane with an intense longing to crawl back inside that place and woke up thinking that perhaps there was my Zihuatanejo.

Two weeks later I still haven’t shaken that dream. Perhaps that means something.

So here I am at the airport in Phoenix, hacking my brains out amongst people praying I’m not on their flight.

Actually, the idea of a margarita doesn’t sound too shabby right now. Beam me up, Jimmy.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:37 | Comments (0)
February 15, 2018

…being on a Beatles kick lately, if you want to just let loose you can’t do much worse than these:

Paul McCartney’s “Smile Away” from 1971′s Ram. Great song, great album. The bass line absolutely smolders.

George Harrison’s “Wah Wah” from All Things Must Pass. Total Phil Spector “Wall of Sound” production. That’s George on the slide throughout and Eric Clapton playing wah-wah guitar and sharing licks with George during the instrumental break.

John Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth” and “I don’t Want To Be A Soldier” from 1971′s Imagine. Both feature stinging George Harrison leads, BTW…

McCartney’s “Give Ireland To The Irish” is a great piece of garage grunge that I wish he did a lot more of.

It’s kind of amazing to look back on the first years after the Beatles’ break-up and see the Fabs operating at such a high level. These were all great albums, easily in the top 100 of all-time.

…but now I’m starting to think about other songs that I think are worthy of blowing a speaker:

The Guess Who’s “Star Baby” from 1974′s Road Food, which absolutely rocks…

…as does “Heartbroken Bopper” From 1972′s very underappreciated Rockin’! Man, could Kurt Winter play some axe. Just as worthy as Randy Bachman, in my opinion.

…and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Sweet Hitchhiker” from 1972′s Mardi Gras.

…And how about Badfinger’s 1970 smash “No Matter What”. Man, I just love that tune.

..and Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” from Rumours goes without saying. It’s a bravado band performance with Mick Fleetwood’s drums, Lindsay Buckingham’s guitar solo, and Stevie Nicks’ harmonies top notch.

…and “Seven Wonders” From Tango In The Night” is as good as it gets. And the raccoon eyes featured by Christine McVie in the video are awesome!

…Pink Floyd’s “Sheep” from 1977′s Animals has one of the great outros ever with those David Gilmour bone-crushing chords.

…and Gilmour’s guitar intro to “Learning To Fly” is a great riff, no matter how you slice it.

And how could you not include Neil Young’s “Like A Hurricane” and “Powderfinger” from 1979′s Live Rust? Two absolute classics. The latter’s line, “So the powers that be left me here to do the thinkin’” cuts very deep right now as far as my dad’s situation is concerned. I live it each day.

Play them all loud and you won’t be disappointed.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:55 | Comment (1)
February 14, 2018

So we’re just about halfway through February and I’m living dual existences. Last week it was Massachusetts and snow-covered ground and below-freezing temps (at least at night). This week it’s Arizona with the pool, the palm trees, and a dry winter that shows little sign of getting wet anytime soon. Next week it’s back to Massachusetts again, and this time I guarantee I won’t forget to bring my black leather jacket! It’s pretty bad when you show up in Massachusetts in mid-winter having to borrow a coat from one of your friends.

But isn’t that what friends are for? Thanks Paul!

We have it so easy here. I walked down to the mailbox at the end of the street Monday night in my bare feet, lounge pants and a T-shirt. No dirt, slush, or cold concrete beneath my feet. No need to grab a coat. Not even a passing thought about ice or falling on your ass. There was a breeze rustling the palms, and the waterfowl in the lake on the other side of our subdivision wall chattered under the gray skies. Just something you would take for granted if you weren’t careful. I don’t take it for granted, that’s for sure.

Our feathery acacia bush on the west side of the house is always the harbinger of spring. It has its first blooms, so spring has gotta be on its way.

Visited the doctor today, he didn’t like the way I looked or sounded. He’s now got me on a new regimen of antibiotics and some kind of steroid, and I have to get my chest X-rayed. Lots of fluids and bed rest as well. Which is good, because I really can’t keep living like this. I’ve had the flu in the past, but the cough and shakiness have never lasted this long. All I can say is, while my relationship with my work has changed there’s still nothing like working out of your own home. It’s been hard to stay focused at work, and when I lay down in the afternoon for a nap it’s like I haven’t slept in days. If I was working out of an office I couldn’t do that, that’s for sure!

I’m looking forward to the Red Sox starting up. Although I don’t know much about their new manager, Alex Cora, just the thought of no more “Manager John” Farrell is enough to make me feel optimistic. Sure, the Yankees are loaded this year, but championships are seldom, if ever, won on paper.

I’ll admit to having watched none of the Winter Olympics, and I don’t plan to. Just watching the Yahoo! News of the day and everything being made political and anti-Trump makes me sick. The amount of disrespect to the Prez and his VP Mike Pence is a disgrace. Whether you liked or voted for Trump or not, he’s the President and the office should be respected. I never liked Barack Obama or his taxpayer-mooching wife, but I would never show either of them disrespect. That shows a lack of taste, class, and appreciation – all qualities our country and culture seem to have forgotten. Not to mention the lack of simple manners.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: my generation, the so-called “Boomers” have ruined everything they have touched. You can look at the generation that came before us and, even with their deficiencies, had far more sense of proportion and dignity than my generation has. And we’ve not ruined just about everything we’ve touched, we’ve created a generation of spoiled monsters and precious snowflakes who don’t and won’t know anything about the values and traditions that made this country what it is because my generation has polluted their pointy heads will all this fairness, tolerance and social equality bullshit. Just my two cents’ worth…

A happy Valentine’s Day to all the lovers and loves out there, whomever and wherever you may be. A big HVD to my wonderful wife Tracey!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:06 | Comments (0)
February 12, 2018

Sure, I could be talking about that fab George Harrison hit, but in this case I’m talking about life as it is lived when it is lived. Was talking to my neighbor John who just took a boatload of cash in selling his house to move thirty minutes east of here to be closer to their grandchildren. He’s 66 and he’s telling me there’s really nothing good on the horizon – sure, he can play a little golf and spend some time with the grandkids, but his parents both had Alzheimer’s and he’s planning to call it quits as your everyday handyman next year because his knees ache and his back aches, and he doesn’t recover as quickly now as he did even a year or two ago.

“So what keeps you going?”, he asks me.

“I used to like my job but it’s no longer fun and the people I work for are a bunch of incompetents at best and two-faced assholes at worst.”, says I.

“So what do you do now?”

“Well, I got a great wife and friends who care about me, but otherwise I don’t know.”

See here’s the thing: when my mom was alive there were things to consider in everything you did. For her, family came first and making her happy made me happy. Now she’s gone and it seems to me that the whole bottom of my existence has been yanked from under me. Don’t get me wrong: in some ways it’s a burden off my back that I never asked to have put on me and never really liked. But making her happy made me happy – being the oldest that’s just what you do. So is having that yoke removed a good thing or a bad thing? It’s really neither. It’s just the way it is.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there’s a great emptiness that I can’t get rid of. Or the sense that at 62 years there’s not a whole lot of good that’s going to come down the pike, at least health-wise. I mean, I look at me right now. I can’t even get rid of this crap in my sinuses or in my chest that’s been nagging me for a month now. Granted, it’s a great way to lose ten pounds, but I’m tired of feeling like crap and I can’t go to the gym hacking my brains out – they’d look at me as if I had the plague. I have the worst nightmares, and I can’t even hit a dozen balls without wheezing. So it’s back to the quack tomorrow for the third time.

I’ve lost my desire for golf and can’t even stand to look at my clubs. There’s a little PTSD going on there, for sure – every time I pick up a club I think of being in Vegas and getting called by work, and I can almost feel my skin getting rashed and my speech slurred again. I just can’t deal with it right now. Can’t even watch it on TV without starting to feel the heebie-jeebies coming on. So I might just leave the clubs on the sidewalk, say the hell with it, and tell the Goodboys to go on without me. They’ll do OK.

Fortunately, I’ve found a great deal of solace in George Harrison’s Living In The Material World – a classic in every sense of the word – most especially “Be Here Now” and “That Is All” with its memorable lyric:

Silence often says much more than
trying to say what’s been said before

I guess the whole point of this post is that there is no point to it at all. It’s a warm night, the wind chimes are working overtime in the southerly breeze, and it was nice enjoying a pinot grigio while watching the clouds slide south to north overhead. I’m living in a state of limbo that I’ll simply wait patiently to pass. Is it a “dark night of the soul”, as my man St. John of the Cross called it? I look at the kinds of decisions we’re trying to make for my dad and see in them only the kind of decisions waiting to be made for me twenty years down the line. You think twenty years is a long time, but I can remember clearly what was going on in my life back in 1998 – we were getting ready to move to Louisville – and it doesn’t seem very long ago at all to me. Fact is, twenty years from now everything will be gone – perhaps more than I can imagine right now – and there will little point in any of it. But I’ll still soldier on.

Harrison was right in one very simple and straight-forward observation about life: all things, must indeed, pass. And, as he so eloquently sang, Beware of Darkness. Because that’s where it’s at right now.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:00 | Comments (0)
February 8, 2018

It’s been a long, hard slog since the last post. First I got the flu which has – as it has the past two years – into bronchitis. Then my dad got sick. We’re not exactly sure what happened, whether it was a minor stroke or pneumonia, or something else, but he ended up in the hospital and spent a few days in a rehab facility before being released last Sunday. He’s back to his normal self, thank you, but as a result I’ve spent the last week here in wintry Massachusetts, where I’ve been reintroduced the joys of snow-covered grounds, snow piles left over from earlier storms, and the obligatory streets and sidewalks covered with every form of sand, dirt, and grit known to mankind.

During this time, my dear (and the legendary) Auntie Marge – who would on occasion toss up a comment or two at this site if a post tweaked her interest – passed away. She’s wasn’t in the greatest health when my mom passed away back in June of 2016, but mom’s passing hurt her deeply and brought a great sadness into her life. Not sure what there is over the other side, but I’d like to think Mom would have been waiting for Auntie to cross over so she could greet her with a big hug. Of the two sisters, Auntie was the one who was the most gregarious and artistic, almost larger than life to us kids when we were growing up. I remember her writing poems about the Red Sox in 1967 and the Bruins in 1970 and seeing them published in the Lowell Sun (which I thought was very cool). Auntie also served as the creative muse behind a decade-plus of Masonic Lodge variety shows back in the late ’70s and ’80s. There wasn’t a movie from the forties to mid-fifties that she didn’t know the entire cast of, or a popular sing from that era that she didn’t know who the artist was. She helped start and run a travel agency and went places around the world that her parents could only have dreamed of. It’s sad to see her pass, but she lived a full and good life, and that’s about all you ask for these days.

Of course, being here in Massachusetts during Super Bowl week was kind of fun, and being able to watch the SB with my dad was fun even if the Pats lost.

Today, Dad and I are going to focus on exploring the next stop for him, living-wise. He’d like to downsize, so we’re checking into various options that might be available to him in the near future. Tomorrow I’ll be hopping a flight back to Phoenix where I hope to be put on another antibiotics regimen to get rid of this damned bronchitis. But I won’t be back for long – in less than two weeks I’ll be back here for Auntie’s wake and funeral; by that time we might have a better idea of what Dad’s next plans are.

And, of course, work is work. The “Great Crisis”, by and large, has passed but there’s all kinds of residual stuff going on, and there are some work relationships that will never be the same. But that’s OK, that’s someone else’s problem, not mine.

Hopefully there will be less distance between this and the next post than since my last one. We’ll see!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 06:27 | Comments (5)


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