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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Like A Boss

It was a gala fundraiser.

I was a lowly volunteer helping with the silent auction. He was sitting in a corner, busy on an iPad. He appeared to be a supervisor of some sort. Events like that require a lot of organization, and this was no exception. So maybe he was one of the organizer-ers.

Later that night, he pulled me aside. "I need some help at the refrigerator."

No problem. Maybe something heavy needed moved. Maybe an urgent delivery needed delivering. I'm your man.

I opened the fridge, there were six bottles of craft beer. Expensive beer. He's said they need moved.

All six of them.

"Okay. Well, do you have a bag?"

He got one. He held it open while I put them inside. Then he set it on the end of a very long counter where all the other silent auction items (none within my pay range) were being organized for attendees to pick up. He said he'd let me take the bag of beer (expensive and craft) to where it belonged.

He pointed ten feet down the counter. "Right there."

All right. So I took the bag of beer. He followed me ten feet down the bar and pointed to the empty spot. I placed it on the empty spot.

He said thank you. Returned to corner. Returned to the iPad.

I thought, maybe he had a really, really bad back. Maybe he thought I'd enjoy moving expensive beer.

Or maybe he was just practicing supervisor-ing.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

When You Can't Go Back

Alex Honnold is a free climber. There's another word for that.


He climbs thousands of feet, straight up a cliff, with no rope, no helmet. Nothing. Proof that he's never made a mistake, he's still alive.

During one climb, a veteran climber analyzes his ascent. About a thousand feet up, he notes that Alex's next step -- a tricky one that bridges a gap -- is a one-way street. He can't cross it the other direction. At that point, there's only one way out.


There are moments we can't undo. Moments that change the course of our life, forever. Sometimes we choose those moments. We say something  or do something and because of us, relationships change. Our mind may alter; our emotions, too. We may even change those around us. Sometimes the moments we choose change for the good. Sometimes, the bad.

And sometimes, those moments choose us.

Life inserts itself into our little private life of wants and desires, of fears and dislikes. We cross a gap that can never be crossed again. The only way is up.

By all accounts, Alex Honnold seems crazy. But he doesn't just find a mountain and climb it. He studies it. He prepares for it. He gets ready for it. And when he's fully present, he ascends to the top.

The gaps are always coming. We have to be ready.

Or we just might fall.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Magical Midget Ninjas

Dane is 7.

He told me there are magical midget ninjas that go to his school. Oh, yeah? I ask. What are their powers?

"Umm, well, they can jump."

Okay. Not really magical, but maybe if it's really, really high, then okay. What else?

"Umm, well, they can climb walls."

You mean like really smooth walls, where there's nothing to grab onto? In that case, I'll take it. What else?

"Umm, they can turn invisible."

Invisibility? Now we're talking. I mean, if you got midgets that are magical, invisibility is a homerun, lil' buddy. But, I told him, I think next time I'd lead off with the invisibility thing. If they're ninjas, we know they can jump and climb.

Dane was just getting warmed up. They could also shoot. Transport, shrink, and fly. Oh, and they help Santa deliver presents.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Stop the clock. They help Santa? You're talking about THOSE magical midgets. (By the way, is "midget" a bad word?)

Ten minutes later, we sorted out the magical and mysterious ways of the midget ninjas. And I got the kernel for my next novel. Ideas start that way, with an innocent comment. Something shifts, something unfolds. By the time I write it, it probably won't have anything to do with midgets and magic.

It'll be a serious take, a sci-fi story, about the fat man himself.

The initial stages have begun. Let the sun shine down. Let the story grow and jump and climb. And not be invisible.

The Legend of the Fat Man
A Novel