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Earthquake Phobia

While I’ve never actually lived there, nor ever even experienced one, I can imagine the mental state of someone who is mortally terrified of dying due to an earthquake, yet continues to live in California.

Living in Florida, yes, every season we are in a perpetual threat of the next Katrina; a hurricane so violent that all we know or ever knew would be swept up in a matter of hours and drowned in a just few days; the life we own sunk like a great ship and resurrected and forever altered.

But hurricanes can be predicted.

They can be tracked with their course plotted and the area in which they will impact drawn in with red and orange and yellow circles.  Those who have the means have a chance to gather up old pictures, hand-made christmas ornaments, and baby-feet stamps and pack up all the things that can’t be re-created.  Like we did in ’96 for faux Hurricane Bertha, we had the chance to pack ’em up into two cars until the back glass of the Blazer would barely close and the door was as full as “Uncle Buck’s” closet, dog in tow, with walky talky communication between cars, taking on-the-side-of-the-road restroom breaks as we drive 100 miles west to Valdosta.  The evac took 8 hours bumper to bumper, with your neighbors who all are also packed to the brim, desperate to outpace the approaching storm in the rear.  Like us, they, amidst thier worry, couldn’t help to hold back the kind of grin a kid gets when he’s gotten away with something clever.  Concerned yes, but we were thankful for our safety; thankful for the warning.

But that isn’t the case with earthquakes.  They Happen!!

Imagine the anxiety therein for this person thats scared to death of them.  They fear something that is completely beyond thier control and is impossible to predict.  The Earthquake Phobic (EQP) lives her days scaling paths covered in eggshells.  She tip-e-toes to the bathroom, pausing for a second in between the doorway, holding it with both hands for a minute while she takes a deep breath and then she does her business and gets back to work.  On the way home, she hesitates before accelerating past newly formed green lights.  Home, a tall glass of wine is waiting by her book, which she reads devotedly beneath an old-fashioned lamp that sits proudly at her bedside table.  Rinse.  Repeat.

Ants marching in an early grave, she might as well be scared of air.

The only thing that I can think of to relate to her is when I was around 12 or 14 and still a fear-led Christian.  In that great age of discovery that is adolescence, I was just old enough to sin via stolen cigars and snuff bandits and porn and drinking my friends parent’s vodka.  It was a time that should have had no worries.  But I was also now able to comprehend, on a semi-adult level concepts such as hell and Satan and the Rapture, whence those who were presently in accordance with the will of God would be called up and the rest of us would be doomed to live or die in a failing, plagued world.  It would be a sudden “earth-shattering” event that would change the world I know forever and it began to eat at me, piece by piece, like those ants would if I’d give them the chance.

I was taught or, perhaps, I led myself to think, that in every sin a man would backslide from being saved in every curse word, lie or lustful thought that he commited and he could again win God’s favor by asking for forgiveness and repenting.  It was as if I was perpetually on the San Andreas fault in San Fransisco.  I remember thinking:

“I’d best be good; good as I can be anyway; don’t cuss; don’t even think those words; is it alright to think cuss words?; don’t look at her like that; but damn look at her legs; no, no, no; but look up top; damn, damn, damn; my bad; I repent; now, I’m fine, just in case, I’m good.”

I remember thinking : “Just in case it happens tonight, how fast can I repent so that I’ll still make it?  They say a trumpet will sound first and it’ll be in the twinkle of an eye.  How long will the trumpet play before the twinkle?  And how fast is a twinkle?”

Despite my fear, I just kept on experimenting with the cool things that I was led to by my friends and through my interest and I slept behind prayers and took “calculated risks” in my ventures of sin before I quickly repented and sighed and went on living.  I was eating my cake and having it too and it was fun most of the time, but eventually my EarthQuake Phobia slowly crept deeper – so deep that the fear turned into confusion and the confusion became deceptive and then, at some point, I don’t quite remember when, I just up and figuratively moved from California and then I felt fine, most of the time.

I had to get away from that fault line so as to escape the losing of my mind, but, of course, I’ve never really gotten all the way away.  Now, it lives in me and occasionally visits me idle-y at stoplights and sunny-day desktops.  “What if the life I know ends right now?  Would I be proud of the pictures I took in the doing of today?  Would they make the Uncle Buck Blazer?”

“Do more now today”  I’ll whisper to myself.

“But don’t forsake tomorrow”, I’ll whisper back.

It’s a game-of-catch riddle if I’ve ever heard one and I don’t know the answer.

In the mean time, however, we must find a way to make peace.  We’ve got to keep on searching; keep on doing; never all the one, nor never all the other.  One mustn’t get caught in the doorway like the Earthquake Phobic lady, desperately clutching the jambs in a frenzied worry.  Alternatively, the earth moves every day and  we’ve gotta keep a good hold on what is so as to avoid being crushed by falling debree that really is, understanding that the elusive ping pong ball that is peace-of-mind to a thinking man – it lies in the balance of the day-to-day doing, the nightly what-if preparation and also the looking-forward-to-it adventures of the will-be dreams of the future.  It, this instantaneous triangular equilibrium that is understanding, HAPPENS like an earthquake and it comes upon us without warning and then, for awhile, all that we know changes forever.

Look Forward to Earthquakes

and Live in the Now Wayne,

embracing the change

that’s gonna happen,

whether you believe

it will or not,

Do More Now.

Parenthesized Reflection: (At least, in writing this, I think I now know the reason for the spiritual apathy that voids me always.  Now, at least, every now and then, I’ll look in that direction too; you know, just in case.)


Collaborative Consumption

“How many of you own a power drill?”, posed the orator, Rachel Botsman.  “Well,” she continues, “that power drill will be used for a total of about 13 minutes of it’s total life.”

Admitantly, I originally clicked on this video to check out the chick who’s presenting.  However, upon viewing, she introduces to me an extremely interesting concept: ‘share your stuff in lieu of buying, barely using and storing more stuff.

Rachel summarizes the logic behind this emergent economic concept saying that we, “don’t want stuff, we want the needs or experience it fulfills.”

As are alot of the videos at TED talks, this is an interesting idea; enjoy.

Now that you’ve watched it; if you will, chew on this:

If we did, indeed, learn to share our power drills so as to more effectively utilize the minimum life therein, what would happen to the production of power drills?  It’s safe to induce that the quantity of power drills supplied would be greatly reduced as the quantity demanded is reduced.  Many of those regular people with living, breathing families associated with the production and distribution of power drills would be made redundant (that’s British for laid off or fired).  Of course, being that there is a real need for power drills, at some point, equilibrium will be achieved.  But the gap left due to sharing will ripple.  Further, if sharing takes off in lieu of consumption of larger commodities such as automobiles, where will the butterfly-effected eventuality leave our monetary system?

Will we (as she implies) find ourselves full circle amidst a barter-based economy where our currency in more of a weighted average formula which is to indicate one’s “trustability.”  At some point in the not-so-distant future, she appears to argue that there may become a dilemma where the Monetary System stands in one corner and Bartering bounces aggressivly, challenging the way the world works in the opposite.  Surely the evil empire of banks and insurance would not allow for money to devalue to the point of extinction, but she does make a decent out-of-the-box argument.

Do more now…



The most important thing in life is not sex, love, nor rock and roll; it’s companionship.  It’s not power nor wealth of fine things, good stories nor an appreciation of expensive wines; it is the friends we make and keep or maybe even just know for a short season but appreciate in a single airplane conversation or over dinner or on the other side of a cash register.

It’s the age-old question; ‘If a tree falls in the forest and no one was around, did the tree fall?’  Or was it just always laying there lifeless on the ground with no roots and no reach.

Every now and then I meet people like this.  People who seem to have been perpetually lying to the whole face of their world or merely lying there in it, tucked back there deep beneath a warm blanket; fetally comatose  with their arms wrapped across their ears as if guarding against a grizzly bear who seeks to crush their skull and drag them back to his cave for a later-in-the-day consumption.

It makes me sad to think of these rich-poor people who fear real life with the rest of us.  And we’ve all been there a time or two.  Too lazy to make conversation.  Too selfish to listen.  Too scared to keep searching.

But believe me, we’ve gotta fight off that great big bare feeling of loneliness because it just isn’t so; that is if you have the gumption to dare to be yourself away from that island desert cave in which you may otherwise find refuge.

” The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one’s appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship.” Amelia Earheart

Make connections with your world.  Within every conversation, there is a transaction of life.

Do More Now…


All the Wild Daiseys

Words are the Authors of those who use them,

“…is the most ridiculous thing I

ever heard.  That’s just plain backwards.

Words don’t write a damn thing!

They just sit there and wait to

be read like some little wild

daisy in a field.”

But somebody had to plant that daisy;

“wild or not, and, like the words,

somebody’s gotta pick-um and put em

in a vase with water and place

the vase near sunlight.  Otherwise

it’ll just die there in your hand or

be left on the other side of a picnic

and forgotten.”

And what does that say about us?




In the last few months at my new job working as the sole “sales guy” for an international painting company I’ve had the privilege of spending a lot of time with several Brits who’ve been over in a regular rotation.  Mostly driven by simple Golden Rule humanity and nudged with a smidge of self-motivated corporate politicalness, I’ve taken it upon myself to guide them through the staple pieces of what it is I know to be American culture. At lunch, we eat Five Guys. At dinner, we drink Bud and eat bloody red steak and gravy-filled mashed potatoes. Last week me and this old chap went to a Monday Night Football game. While the game was terrible as the Jags lost greatly in a slow, boring fashion, it being his first “real football” game, The Brit had a huge time and so did I.  My fun, if nothing else, was in respect to the enjoyment I found in accompanying the introduction of positive experience to others – kind of like watching a toddler blow bubbles as their face, full of excitement, re-introduces the significance of the given act to you.  It was a real blast explaining the game of football and thinking on the otherwise obvious little intricacies of the game and on the way people treat one another or how and why we cheer or boo one team or the other and once you start to see bubbles you notice all of them in their wondrous enormity.
But it was what he mentioned a few days later as we sipped down a Thai Red Curry that has caused me to re-evaluate the importance of that big-little word which is this post’s title. He said, and I paraphrase in an italicized english accent, ‘I really appreciate the way everyone stood at attention during the singing of the national anthem. Even the little kids who were sitting next to us behaved and sang. They knew every word. In the U.K., if we were at a futball match and the national anthem were played, as much as thirty percent of the crowd wouldn’t have even stood from their seat. As a former serviceman, I really appreciated that.’

Even now, that really gets to me.  Why wouldn’t a citizen take pride enough in their country to honor its flag and stand by its side even when the goin gets tough?  Why not cry for My Country Tiss of Thee?  Why not be the first in line to kick some Iraqi-Nazi-Communist butt?

Patriotism, per Wiki, was first used in the Elizibethan era as a term for “fellow countrymen”.   Since then, it has been stretched and molded to become a punchline to draft servicemen.  Still, it is the glue that binds nations and states of minds to prejudices and labor unions and it may be most apparent at Barbecue engulfed tailgate parking lots outside college football games.

(And I’ve come to enjoy watching the fans at the football games almost as much as the game itself – the colors and the fashion show; the songs and the elaborate pageantry and the flags and mascots and all the hoopla; the worship of entertainers and contempt of the striped-shirted whistleblowers, but only if not in your favor; the expert conversations of monday morning quarterbacks and how separation makes way to cohesion as the painted-face little girls and boys smile-down comfort-burgers as big as their heads and how these collaborations around ideas bring us together on cool orange and brown leaved days)

But Why Patriotism?

Understanding that there are many possible explanations, I assert that Patriotism, in all of it’s many forms, is the manner by which we connect with the world through eachother.  It is like a great big hug and there is much warmth therein that keeps us through the cold times and we are drawn in as if a kid who stares at the bubbles that blow in the wind and hover for awhile and until they inevitably pop.  The adult in is thus discouraged in the midst of this earthshattering, lifechanging exposion.  Yet the kid in us knows that it was just a bubble, and he’ll just dip and lightly whoooo’s the wand again, certain that this one will be different, because wait till next year, we will rise, we will make things right this time, because we will never fail to begin.

Begin again and don’t ever lose the wonder and faith of the kid within,

Do More Now.


Everyday Aphorisms: Rocking Chairs

My now “facebook official” girlfriend told me this the other day and I think I’ve passed it on at least thrice by now:

Worrying is like a Rocking Chair,

It’ll give you plenty to do,

But it won’t get you anywhere.

…How true?  Thanks babe.

Do More Now


Happy Hour

I like happy hour at bars full of slightly older women.  It’s like playing basketball with a bunch of 10 year olds on an 8 foot goal.  Like the way we used to play when we were 12 in the driveway for 6 hours straight, only breaking for a grilled cheesed lunch and maybe a 45 minute NBA Jam Tournement.  At night, we would play capture the flag across the street diagonally until 11 and then we would “camp out” slash terrorize the neighborhood – switching mailboxes and knocking over port-o-lets and ringing at least 3 doorbells and running like a bunch of madmen and like the time when my buddy treated the Potato Chip Man’s front door intercom like it was a McDonald’s drive through menu.  I think that was the time when the cops were called and we had to hide in a ditch almost a mile from my house and we sprinted from ditch to ditch as if we were in World War 1.  We eventually split up in pairs through flower beds and in between narrowly adjacent fences, past loud barking dogs until we ended up back where we started.  What a good day that was? 

Now, Thursday night, just past 9, I’m already looking forward to drinking 2 fers with a bunch of cougers.  Go figure.

My Previous Vocabulary.

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