Hey Dad! What’s the Difference?

Hey Dad, What’s the difference between a Hippo and a Zippo?

Well, I didn’t know.

He smiles smugly,

(scroll down.)

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A HIPPO is really heavy.

 

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A ZIPPO is just a little lighter!!!!!

 
HAAA! I thought that was funny.

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Moral Dilemma

The Policeman’s neck was straining as he struggled to keep his face out of the snow. He was lying on his left arm which was bent at an unnatural angle. I watched him rest his head for a second and lift again.

The trip started out quite normal, see some guys, drop off some information pamphlets, help some people feel better about themselves, and etc. I might have time for a few drinks and a movie at this rate. Whoa!!! A teenager opened his driver’s door and I about clipped it. That was close! I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw a patrol car coming up quick and turning on the lights as his bumper nearly touched mine. All I could see in my mirror was his front windshield and flashing lights.

$170.00 for failure to maintain lane. I wonder what the fine would have been to run the kid over….. I tried to explain the sudden door opening and I had done the right thing but he told me to calm down. Forty-five minutes later I had a ticket and Officer Dickhead sneered, “Tell it to the Judge if you find it worth your trouble to come back to our fine community. However, I don’t think ‘Doing the Right Thing’ includes swerving all over the road.”

I’d been hassled by criminal cops before. Cost of doing business I suppose. Fucking ASS-HOLE! Whatever. $170.00 down the drain.

A woman at the gas station suggested that I make an out-of-the-way loop to stay at a local treasure. The Old Rail Station had been converted into a bed and breakfast and it was 50 or so miles up a narrow highway.

The reader sign at a local bank said 14 degrees and a liquid wind made my jaw ache. The heater was offering hope as the frost fought a losing battle on the windshield. The same reader sign said 10:29 PM. Jesus-fuck it gets cold here, my body doing an after-thought shiver-spasm.

I didn’t really want to leave the main road on a night like this but the thought of a roaring fire in my guest suite at the B&B seemed worth the effort and an extra day so I swung North towards the Old Rail Inn. Along the valley, low clouds kept me moving slow as wind driven snow started pelting the windshield. Road ghosts drifted endlessly across the road and drifts were beginning to creep onto the roadway.

I slowed to 25 mph and strained to see. It was snowing harder now and the dash-board said 13 degrees.

Hey, another car! The weather had cleared just enough to catch a glimpse of headlights and a flashing blue light. The curves were keeping me on my toes as the car slid slightly rounding a corner. I slowed to around 18 mph and the car rocked with a gust of wind. The trip-o-meter said I had gone 11 miles in 30 minutes and thoughts of the Donner Party skitter through my thoughts. Fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck! I hate this shit. Next wide spot in the road and I’m a-gonna head back to the real world.

The snow plow came flashing into view, blue lights surreal in the whirling storm. God, this is beautiful. I wish Danny could see this. Danny is a high school chum that was with me during most of my youthful adventures. He’s old, fat, and his knees are shot but he’d have loved this! The plow came to a complete stop as I crept around him, feeling relief that at least the road would be clear for the next few miles. Ahh.. not so bad now! 11:17

Creeping along at 10 mph. Room for one car only now and hopefully no one else was coming my way unless they have four wheel drive. What!!?? What was that? I could have sworn I saw the reflective tape of a patrol car in the ditch. My dash clock said ll:32 and 12 degrees. There isn’t anyone there… Probably come out here with a tow truck tomorrow when the weather is safer… Better just keep going or someone will think I’m up to something.. Maybe I better check it out… I backed up, keeping in mind the consequences of getting stuck. There it is. Yup, it’s a patrol car… Looks like the door is open..

I made a quick phone call.

Boy Scouts was kicking in and I scurried to the trunk to grab a flashlight and long wool overcoat I kept there for emergencies. There in the flashlight beam I could see the fresh tracks of a sliding car and dirt still showed in the snow evidence of a rollover. Oh Jesus, this just happened. A man was tangled in his gear, partially in and mostly out of the car. He was bleeding and he was fighting to keep his face out of the snow. Somehow he had managed to get partially rolled over by the car and end up lying on his left arm. His forearm bent at an odd angle behind him. “Oh thank God! Help me!”

I fucking HATE broken bones. Juice leaking out of a person doesn’t bother me but I Fucking HATE broken bones. Why the fuck did you break your arm. I tried not to look at the odd rubbery-weird arm.

“You’re going to be OK. Give me a second to see what’s going on.” Panic-relief was setting in and he started babbling about a radio call bringing help and his wife being alone and he would have been home in an hour… “Sir, calm down.” I chuckled to myself. How ironic. Fuck it’s cold out here. I put on the long wool coat. That’s better, I wish I’d brought a hat.

Somehow his belt gear was hung up in the seat belt like he’d been dancing to the Sponge Bob theme song. I tugged on it but the fat fuck had it fully extended. “I gotta go get something to free this up.” While I had been tugging his wallet had fallen open in the snow, the bright gold of a badge on one side and a beautiful woman on the other. “Officer Bacon? Is that your name? Officer Steve Bacon?”

“Yes.”

“Is this woman your wife, Officer Bacon?” He strained to lift his head. “Yes. We’ve only been married a few months.” Wow! He bagged a FINE one!

“I’ll be right back.” I shined the light on his face. Son-of-a-BITCH!!! “Hey! Aren’t you the cop that gave me a ticket for failing to maintain my lane this morning?”

“Shit. I’m sorry about that, I’ll tear it up when we get back. I’ll tear it up tomorrow.”

“Ass-hole.” I took off the coat and covered him, putting a sleeve under his freezing face.

I jumped in the car and searched the glove compartment for a pocket knife I keep in there. Wait a minute… This lying bastard mocked me and wrote a bogus ticket saying that ‘Doing the Right Thing’ won’t hold up in his town. He is willing to change the record on a violation if I will do him a favor. I sat in the hot car for a few minutes checking for humanity. I fucking despise dirty cops.

The clock said 11:53 and 11 degrees. ARRGGG….. MORAL DILEMMAS!

I made another phone call and fiddled with the radio trying to decide.

Radio: That’s it for tonight Cotton Pickers. Make sure you tune in at 5:AM for morning gospel hour and at 6 O’clock for Breakfast on the Farm brought to you by our very own Willie Bacon and the First Presbyterian Church Quilters Guild. Now for the National Anthem. Good night Cotton Pickers and God Bless.

I cranked the volume all the way up and opened the passenger door.

The dirt was covered now with fresh snow as I slid back down to the patrol car with a quilt my wife made for me and always nagged me to keep for shit like this.

I knelt next to him and held his head as the Anthem played. How God-Damned ironic. I hate the NFL for kneeling for the Anthem but here I am doing the same fucking thing. About dirty cops too!!

My mind was suddenly made up.

“Sir, I don’t think you’re gonna make it. Now, I ain’t no preacher but I’m gonna say a prayer for your soul since it’s my Christian duty. And don’t you worry none about that pretty wife of yours. A woman that good looking ain’t gonna have any trouble getting along JUST FINE without you. Now Sir, CALM DOWN! I can’t cut you free cause you might have some injuries that your corrupt legal system might want to hang me for. If I leave you here at least I can’t get a ticket for ‘crossing some fucking line’.”

I held his head gently and dipped a finger in his blood, wetting it to draw a cross on his forehead. “There, now Jesus is gonna know you’re one of His so now all we gotta do is get you all confessed up.”

“I’ll stay with you ’till you fall asleep so you won’t have to die alone.” The snow had stopped falling and the clear wind felt colder. He was wrapped as well as I could do under the conditions. He kept screaming about his broken arm and crying about his radio. He deserves to die cold, alone, and in the dark. I used a folded suit coat to keep his face out of the snow.

“Anything you want to confess before you die, any messages for the Priest or your family? If it needs said, say it now before it’s to late.” He puffed and blustered. “Say it now pal, while you still can. This is your chance to get right with God.”

“Can’t you just cut me free and radio for help?” he whimpered.  “No. That would be the right thing and you made it clear that doing the ‘right thing’ doesn’t fair well in your fine community. You are going to hang right here until someone from your community stops and climbs down here and cuts you down even if that means you’re a chunk of human ice. Now, anything you want me to tell the Priest?”

“Promise you will only tell the Priest?” “I promise.” I slid my smart phone near his head and pressed record. I had to coach him for the good stuff and reminding him of Judgement Day for the un-confessed. His teeth were chattering hard now and he looked at peace. He smiled at me, his eyes remarkably clear. “I’m ready. I’m ready to die.”

Good thing too because I could hear sirens for a few minutes before the first responders pulled up behind my car. When Officer Bacon realize help had arrived he wept the pure and innocent tears of the sinless.

These responders were the real deal, letting him loose, securing him to a board and climbing the snow covered roadside. I climbed into the car and turned the radio static down from full volume. I watched the process from my car with the heater on. Dashboard clock says 12:24 and 10 degrees.

A paramedic tapped on the window. “Can you give me your contact information, the State Patrol is going to want a statement”

My hot fire at the Bed and Breakfast was gone. “Sure, might as well.”

“Sir, you saved a man’s life tonight with your directions and timeline. Dispatch coordinated with the snowplow driver for the time and place you passed him til the time you first called so we knew within a half mile or so where you most likely were. Also, thank God you called before cutting him loose. No doubt he has a broken back.”

“Hey, can I talk with him for a minute before you go?”

“Sure, it will be a few minutes before we go but be quick.”

Two young men working with focused precision allowed me access to the Officer. I leaned in close, turned the volume on my phone down low and held it next to his ear and pressed play on his confession. He had an oxygen mask on and his eyes popped open. His expression was PRICELESS.

I whispered into his other ear, “Officer, take care of that ticket, will ya?”

 

I don’t know if Good and Evil are real

or if the Masters are in fact watching and testing us

nor do I know if I passed.

There Was a Time (But Not Anymore)

There was a time when….

I wanted to fight outlaws and Indians

To live for Jesus

To be loved and

To run away

I wanted to be forgiven

And to confess my sins and

to start over.

Well-meaning public shaming took that

Off my list.

 

There was a time when

I wanted to die

and lived my life accordingly.

And Death, my only real hope

rejected me.

Maybe not rejection so much..

As it calls me daily.

 

There was a time when I just wanted

to finish school

to run away.

To die in the Army

No luck.

Maybe I can die in a crash…

So many close calls.

Nope.

Death has other plans.

 

There was a time when I hoped

For an industrial accident..

with terrible injuries

But

No luck, no Death

 

There was a time when I had to live

Because my wife

and

My kids

Needed me….

Not anymore.

 

There was a time when

I wanted to join

The Foreign Legion..

Nope too old.

Now I drink more in a week than

I used to in a year.

I used to hate booze but

now it makes me feel.

 

There was a time when

I made vows and oaths

For life.

I wouldn’t have if

I’d had known…

How fucking long I would live.

 

There was a time when

I thought endlessly about

Leaping into the waiting arms

of Death.

But…

What if Death was looking the other way

And I missed my mark.

What if I failed.

 

There was a time when I could have lived

with the crushing dissappointment

of Death’s rejection.

But…

Not anymore.

 

There was a time when

I couldn’t wait to die.

Not anymore

 

 

Where Did I Go Wrong?

The Doc had me on a liquid diet so I found myself at 1:15 on a Tuesday finishing my ‘lunch’ which consists of two Fat Tire drafts at the Tool Shed Bar and Motel: Rakes and Hoes welcome.

A pretty nice fellow just got served divorce papers and I was the first to buy him a consolation round.

“WHERE DID I GO WRONG? GOD-DAMN-IT!!”

The tavern wench wasn’t having it today. “Settle down Winston or Bill is gonna have to make you leave.”

This is looking interesting. “Hey Winston! Come’ere.” He turned toward me.

“Who the fuck are you?”

“I’d like to buy your first drink as a single man.” He drank two whiskeys in silence before he thanked me.

“Where did I go wrong?” he asked to no one.

“I bet if you tell me your story, I can tell you EXACTLY where you went wrong.”

He stared at his 3rd whiskey for about 30 seconds before he brightened .”Alright.” He agreed. “But first I got to have a cigarette. C’mon.”

I followed him out the back into the alley where he proceeded to beat the holy fuck out of me and took $600.00.

So I’m trying to sneak past the receptionist with my glasses all crooked and my jaw starting to swell and she looked startled. “What happened to you!?”

“Oh God, Alice! Where did I go wrong?”

Just then Paulie from San Francisco piped up. “If you tell me what happened I bet I can tell you EXACTLY where you went wrong.” I felt an urge to strangle him.

“Never mind. I think I just figured it out.”

Interview With the Businessman (part one)

Interviewer: Normal Print, Businessman: Italic

Hi. Thanks for being here. As you know I am new in business and my uncle insisted I should visit with you. Mind if I record this?

Sure, why not? (laugh) At this stage of my life, what does it matter?

You obviously did succeed in business. How did you start and what happened and why are you successful while much better picks for success failed?

That’s quite a mouthful. (laugh) What if I just start and you can interrupt any time.

Ok.

A lot of it started with my relationship with Dad. We had money problems and my Dad always blamed the greedy businessmen and the Government. He always told me that the only way to wealth and happiness was to go into business. He always wanted to run a business and always failed before he even started. So I got a lot of mixed messages.

As kids we made arts and crafts and sold them door-to-door, bought boxes of snack cakes or candy bars, pop-tarts, that kind of thing and sold them door-to-door for money. Nothing grand. The door-to door thing really was it.

My folks insisted that I go to private school although they couldn’t afford it so we bought Washington Apples out of a catalog by the pick-up truck load and sold them same way, door-to-door. Even sold anti drug and alcohol pamphlets and church pamphlets that people could have for free. A bit shameless really. People understood. I didn’t lie to them. I said my name and purpose for my visit and asked if they preferred to donate to my cause or buy my product. Some said “go to hell” and some bought or donated. I learned young that you can have what you want and need if you are willing to make an effort.

My first actual ‘business’ was when I was 21. My bride and I worked full time for minimum wage and I decided to mow a few lawns to supplement. My boss at the gas station announced that he was changing the schedule and I told him my supplement schedule and not to cross the times. 2 days later I found that my name was no longer on his schedule. I was fired. 2 weeks later I discovered that it took 1 1/2 hours per day to replace my full-time job.

How was you wife with all this, was she excited?

Uhh…. Not so much. She was raised socialist/liberal and believed that we should all be equal. No one should have any more than the baseline unless EVERYONE got more.

It made her mad that I could just start a business and succeed. By succeed, I’m talking about making $160 a week working 10 hours instead of 40. My dreams were pretty small and I had a lazy streak that kept me from ever REALLY succeeding.

What happened?

That business ended due to laziness and I started another. Starting businesses is easy and fun through the first few years of having employees. Then it’s just a boring grind and you shut it down, sell it, or give it away.

Isn’t having employees the good part of business? I thought that is how you get rich!

Well, yes and no. There are perks and conveniences but it is also a lot of mindless babysitting. I mostly mentor now.

Do you still have employees? I see you working with people.

No. No more employees. I hire other businessmen and/or contractors. I pay a little more by the hours but way less for the job.

How does that work?

You’ve got to start with the players. The BOSS is the guy that wants to do something to serve humanity in a profitable way. He knows what he wants and hires people to help him do it. Usually a really nice, caring person.

The EMPLOYEE is usually someone who has no idea what they want other than to make money to buy a used Subaru and hopes to move out of Grandma’s basement sometime next year. Also a nice, caring person.

So both are the same, they just have different scope and perspectives as it relates to goals?

That is really the difference. The boss is about serving others, the employee is about serving themselves. That’s not good or bad, just a different reference point in decision making and thinking process.

Don’t most employees have a us/them relationship with the boss?

It’s deeper than that. You’ve kinda got to understand the bizarre relationship employees have with reality. They think that someone OWES them something. They just kinda stumble out of bed and are proud of themselves if they show up on time 2 days in a row.

Here is how it breaks down: An employee has NO problems. They get hired, get paid to tour the plant, paid to be trained, paid to make mistakes, paid to fix their mistakes, get paid to complain, cause problems, flirt, cry in HR when caught abusing people and company resources, get paid by unemployment after being fired and get free publicity to badmouth the company and on and on. You can’t lose as an employee… Nothing invested but a bit of time.

This person has NO pony in the race, NOTHING invested. Yet they get to complain about the big mean businessman that works 70-80 hours per week and HOPES to make a meager profit, invested EVERYTHING, pays for EVERYTHING, and if something goes wrong, loses it all. Quite funny actually. In the end people tend to call the boss ‘the bad guy’. 

Does that bother you; being thought of as the bad guy?

No. Doesn’t bother me at all. In and of themselves, employees are fine people. Social programming has warped a lot of young minds. It’s not their fault. Just a severely limiting view of reality.

Where do you find good help then? I know people work for you.

I use contractors and other businessmen.

How does that work?

Well, contractors and other business men on the other hand DO have a pony in the race. They pay the state, pay for their own training, and ALL the other expenses to be in business and then play the game like a BOSS.

They do charge more but they have skin in the game and take a lot of pride in being considered among the best. I’d much rather pay a pro 20% more to avoid 80% of the problems and in the end the total cost is often much less and almost no hassle.

In one of your articles from a few years ago you had a break down for how to hire based on education. Can you cover that in a minute or less?

Oh yes. (chuckles) I took some heat for that one. I’m not saying that this is true or the way to do it; I’m just saying this is a strategy that served me well. 

Hire a High School Drop-out if: You need someone who can think for themselves and get something done. This guy will tell you to fuck off if he disagrees with you. He might walk off the job and curse in front of customers etc. He is a money maker and will usually succeed well if you can mentor him a lot. Sometimes loyal, sometimes not. Bit of a hassle.

High School Graduate if: You need someone who feels accomplished and can think for themselves and get things done with limited obedience. This guy is pretty polite and has limited self control. This guy is a money maker and needs lots of guidance. This guy might go out on his own and might become a great resource in later projects. This is the power structure. These are my favorite.

2 Year Degree if: Some thinking is required and much more obedient. These guys can use a script and make good money if on commission. They are usually nice kids and not in the system long enough to become arrogant or elitists. Their folks usually have more money and they have less problems starting out. Mentor and nurture them and they might do OK.

4 Year Degree if: You need LOTS of obedience, I mean, almost childlike. Sometimes you need a guy with a lot of book learning. These guys can do general research and write reports. The money these guys make is indirect but they still make money. In recent market these guys are seldom loyal. The first to go when times get hard as they are not near the producer that the dropout or graduate is.  These guys seldom can think for themselves but if all the thinking is done, they are great. 

More than 4 year degree, Masters or PhD: Usually a PR position or are part of stop loss planning and legal/administration. They seldom make you any money regardless of position but can keep you from losing money. Attorneys are good for this.

These people are super valuable as masters of research and documentation. Masters and PhD people are best set for big business and government. They can organize the works of data/research people and prepare it for future recovery and research. They are great people, just little use for hire in the free market.

You seem to have done well. What is your education?

7th grade.

7th grade! You’re kidding right. No way, you had to have more than 7th grade.

I learned from school through 7th grade. After that if was re-runs and social programming. I received ridiculously pompous papers from the educational system that signify accomplishment and have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with being educated or able to aptly handle life. Regardless of degrees, my education level is 7th grade.

Wow! I hadn’t ever thought of it that way.

So you said that a Drop-out or High School Graduate can think for themselves. Do you have an example were that stands out?

Hmm….. Let me think… Well,… OK I’ve got one. I went on a two week trip to South Dakota one summer and we had a big project lined up for when I’d be gone. I put a South American kid in charge. He was 20 or so and was thinking about joining the Marines. Pretty good kid. Admin gave him the budget and needed information and I took off. When I got back the project was flawless. I check EVERYTHING. Under budget too. He seemed a bit weird about the whole thing but it was some time later he confessed he had hired another company to do the project. Negotiated the whole thing start to finish. He confessed that he was a bit insecure but wanted to have it done before I got back. I used him in the future to handle similar projects that we could hire out. Last I heard, he was in Southern Idaho contracting big projects as owner of his own firm. Its not likely that someone who turns in their homework, on time, and double spaced (strict in obedience) would have had the ‘nads to pull that one off!

Wow! I don’t know if I’d be comfortable with that or not! Kind of scary actually.

If you had a basic map of life for someone who would like to go into business but isn’t sure where to start, what would you offer?

Two things are enough I think: #1. Decide what you want to do and go do it. Less research is often better. Do what you think will work and get it done. If you need more information, you’ll know. Too much information halts progress to the point of not starting.

#2 Whatever the ‘smart people’ are doing, search for the opposite. Usually the quickest way to anywhere is the opposite of what everybody else is doing. Everyone else is doing what they are told, usually by a theorist rather than someone who can actually do it or has actually done it. Thinking for yourself is pretty radical and sometimes it pays off.

So you just somehow learned this as you went?

Not really. When I was just getting started there used to be a print shop there on 2nd street and the old guy helped me sort out things that would have taken a lot of years to learn trial and error as well as…. Now that I think of it, I had a lot of help. I’d like to say I figured it out but no, I had a lot of help.

What are some other things that you can tell me?

Transcriber’s Note: This is longer in written form than I had expected. I think this is about 1/3. He covers how minimum wage increases makes lots of money for his business. (And hurts employees), How feeding his competition instead of competing caused success, turning employees into private contractors so they make more money, and a bunch more. I’ll see if I can get this done in a reasonable time frame. What a great Guy!

 

Office Goblin for Hire (Am Ass, Will Travel…..)

I need an Office Goblin to make me work harder. Probably won’t make much of a difference but…….
Oh well, since I don’t have an Office Goblin I’ll be stuck with being myself. Maybe I can make other people work harder.

I wonder if there is a job being someone’s Office Goblin, you know, just kind of be the guy that makes life so horrible for a bunch of people that the best way to avoid the Goblin is to work really hard.

That really might not be such a bad gig! “IIiiieemm WATCHING you McGousky!”(Or what ever that yellow monster’s name was in the movie ‘Monsters Inc’) Just be horrible to people for money.

*Next Morning*

I looked for a ‘bully dickhead’ job online but didn’t find anything promising. There must be code words that I don’t know. Maybe you have to be an insider, like the son of the Vice President of Left Front Headrests or some such.

Maybe my wife knows…. “Hey Babe, I’m looking for a job where I don’t do much but just run around making everyone else miserable and get paid to do it!”

“If you find someone who will pay you to be an ass, we’re gonna be RICH!”

“Huh?”

“Never mind. I think you should tell everyone you know what you just told me and I sure SOMEONE will tell you where to go.”

Hmm, I wonder what she’s snickering about.

 

 

Mrs Harris

“G’mornin’ Mrs Harris, are you ready for some noise?”

“Ready as I’ll ever be I guess! I did everything you told me. Here is the checklist.”

“Great! Any questions or are we good to go?”

She got quiet and stepped in close. “Mrs Saunders said I should talk to you. She said… Oh, I feel so silly…” Her hands were wringing. “Oh, I’ll just say it. Mrs Saunders said you helped her with her depression and you might be able to help me.” She looked awkward in her own home.

I took a deep breath. “OK Mrs Harris, you know I’m a house painter, right? Not a depressionist or whatever the hell those people are called.”

“I knew this was a bad idea. I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Forget I said anything.”

“Have you been to a Dr. or Psychologist type person?”

“I’ve been to three.”

“There you go! All fixed up then! I’ll be right outside if you need anything.”

I turned to step outside. “Wait. Please, can we just talk for a minute?” Her eyes pleading.

I checked my watch. “I’ve got a few minutes. What’s on your mind?”

“I don’t know.. It’s just that I’m so depressed and I don’t want to live and I don’t…”

“How long have you felt this way?”

“About 15 years.”

“What did your Dr. say?”

“That it is my husband’s fault. He’s..”

“What did the other 2 say?”

“What? Oh.. They said the same thing.”

“All three??”

“Yes.”

“Did they interview your husband?”

“Yes. They said that if he was nicer to me, I would be happier and that in their professional opinion, I should consider leaving him.”

“So your happiness is dependent upon your husbands behavior. That’s pretty obvious actually. I’m surprised you didn’t come to that conclusion on your own…. but of course, you probably did come to that conclusion and just went to them to confirm what you already believed.”

I don’t know if she agreed or if she was just nodding indicating understanding.

“Um, Mrs Harris…. Did you tell your husband that they said your depression was all his fault?” She nodded. “And what did he say?”

“He says he loves me and will do what ever I need and that they are full of shit. Pardon my language. He says that he believes that I willingly and actively demonstrate disrespect for him and often with contempt. He says that if I could see things differently, maybe I’d be happier.”

“What do you think?”

“Well, they are Doctors… They know what they are talking about.”

“Do you treat him with contempt and disrespect?”

“Well, yes. I don’t respect him. He needs to change.”

“You’re right, you’re right. Doctors know. Well, glad we could have this talk. I’ll just get to it then.”

“But Mrs Saunders said… You might… you know… say something…”

“Sorry Mrs Harris. Doctors are never wrong. Nor are Psychologists. Probably best to call a divorce lawyer. Good luck.” I was just closing the door..  “Unless…” She leaped forward. “What?”

“Do you have ‘connect 4’ or ‘checkers’ or some simple type of table games that you and your husband like to play?”

“Yes.”

I’ll talk with you more tomorrow. I want you to play 8 games. Play against him for 4 games and record your wins. Then play for yourself 4 games and record your wins. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“But…” I left.

*Next day*

“Hi Mrs Harris.”

“Hi. I played the games!”

“Yeah, How’d it go?”

“Well, the first 4 games I did all I could to block him and figure out his strategy and I lost every game. He beat me so easily it was a bit humiliating! I fell into the dumbest mistakes. On the next 4 games I won 2 of them and the games that I lost used up most of the room the game offered.”

“Hmmm… Interesting. Anything else that you noticed?”

“Well, it was interesting, and my husband mentioned it as we went to bed… This was the first time in nearly 3 years that we did anything besides me using Facebook and him watching that horrible ‘Next News Network’. It was kind of nice having an evening of play.”

“Hmm.. I wonder.. What is missing from your life.. that if you had exactly what you wanted…? What do you wish could happen?”

“I.. I just wish my husband loved me. (starting to cry) He hates me… He doesn’t love me. I just want to feel secure in my marriage and I don’t even know why I stay and I am so mad at myself for staying and I can’t stand it and I want to love him but when I try I get so mad and I just…….” The crying was becoming semi hysterical.

“Start with ‘I want to love him.’ and go from there.”

“I want to love him but..” The hysteria started up again.

“STOP! Where are you feeling that in your body? There is a feeling that makes you want to cry. What is it? Where do you feel it in your body? Feel it NOW.”

“In my HEARRRRT.” she sobbed.

“Yeah. What is that feeling? What is it? What are you feeling? It’s in your heart area. Feel it. What is it?

“It HURRTS!”

“I bet it does. Do you recognize this feeling? Do you feel this when you are mad at your husband?

“Ye e e ss.”

“You said a bit ago that you want to love him. What would happen if you loved him?”

“I don’t want to love him… I HATE HIIMMMM!”

“What happens when you try to love him?”

“It HURRTS!”

“What are you thinking about that makes you hurt?”

“I just think about all the fun we used to have and the walks we used to go on and feeding him candy while he drove the motorcycle.”

“Where do you feel that in the body?”

“My chest.”

“What is the feeling?”

“Sadness.”

“So when you want to love your husband, you think of when you were in love and that makes you feel sad and it hurts and you have been hurting a long time and it pisses you off so you lash out at him and he treats you with anger and it causes you to hate him and feel contempt. Is that approximately right?”

“Yes, kinda.”

Remember when you loved him? Remember how you loved everything that he did? Remember how it didn’t matter what he did, you adored him didn’t you? Was it kind of like that? You know, new love, young love?” She nodded. “I know it isn’t possible, but, if you adored him now, if you loved him like that now, if you were thrilled with everything he did now, just like then; do you think it would change his response to you? You think he would act different?”

(Continuing).. “Let me say that differently. If he adored you.. If he loved everything you said and did and couldn’t wait to be home after work and to see you in the morning.. Would you feel different? Do you think it would be easier to respect him and respond to him in a more respectful way?” She was nodding. “Imagine that he treated you like he loved you in the way that you most long for… would that make it easier for you? Would that make it almost impossible for you to continue to be angry and disrespectful?”

“I don’t know if that could ever happen but that would be WONDERFUL! Can you make that happen?”

“Of course I can’t make that happen! I’m not married to him. I’m just a painter. But… think about this for a second. If he were to treat you like he loves you, because he does, and you had this experience of being loved, do you think you could love him easier and if you loved him it might make his life every bit as much easier as it would make your life easier if he did it for you; can you start letting go of depression now?”

She looked confused. “I don’t get it.”

“OK. Here is what I think you are experiencing, some version of it anyway. Ready?

He says or does something and you feel a feeling and that feeling makes you mad.

You lash out and disrespect him.

He is rude to you because he is sick of being disrespected. (More likely because he has a horrible feeling of his own)

You feel that feeling from earlier and want to have the love back but…

You think about back when you were in love and it makes you feel sad instead of making you feel the love that you are trying to feel and it hurts.

You have been chronically hurting for 20 or 30 years and it makes you furious; it pisses you off!

That fury makes you demonstrate contempt and disrespect even more and…

The more you try to love him, the more you feel contempt until you hate him.

Does that sound right?”

She looked furious now. “I don’t think I like you very much. I’M LEAVING!”

“Well, this is your house. You can leave if you want. Sorry if that wasn’t helpful. I’ll be outside.”

I started to leave but came back. “Mrs Harris… before I go.. If you love him, the hurt goes away. When you love him, it doesn’t hurt. Love feels good. If you think about when you used to love him it, makes you furious. Do you see that?

Didn’t you used to run the cash register at the pharmacy? Remember the ticker tape on the machine, you know, you put the receipt roll in and when people buy something, the machine prints the item and price onto the ticker tape and then you tear off a receipt.

The ticker tape just goes through the machine and it is what it is; it never changes. The machine prints different things onto the receipt paper but the paper is just the paper.

I think you are moving through your life like that receipt tape, an angry receipt tape and the content of your life gets printed on it. It doesn’t matter what happens in your life anymore than it matters what a person buys. You are continuing through your life angry and it doesn’t matter what you or your husband do because it is written onto an angry ticker tape of life.

If you love him, the content will be printed onto a loving life. No matter what he does you will be thrilled because you love him.

If you WANT to love him (means that you aren’t loving him) and you think about when you loved him it spins you off into some crazy whirl of anger which will eventually lead you back to wanting to love him and the whole thing starts again.

I think you are simply caught in a silly trap. You want to love him but you don’t want to love him because you hate him because you have hurt for a long time and it keeps starting over because every time you want to love him you think about when you did love him in an attempt to bring back the loving feeling and (HERE’S THE GLITCH) instead of feeling the old loving feeling you feel sad instead and it hurts and you are sick and tired of feeling sad and it pissed you off and you lash out at him and he responds with anger of his own about how sick he is of your disrespect and which adds to how sick you are about his anger towards you and in an attempt to feel love you think about when ……. repeat for eternity, death, or divorce. See, just a simple glitch.

If you want to feel pain, continue to cycle.

If you want to feel love. Love him.

Wanting to love him causes pain. DECIDE to love him and the pain disappears.

Will you at least consider loving him instead of thinking about when you USED to? You know, just love him right now, without thinking about when you used to love him?”

“But what about him? Isn’t HE the one that is supposed to change? Isn’t HE supposed to be loving ME?”

“Remember ‘connect 4’ the game you were playing? If you wait to have him change and react to him, you will be playing against him and his actions. If you play ‘against’ him, you will lose.

Listen close. You losing will NOT cause him to win; just you lose. If you play your own game, just LOVING HIM, you will win about 50/50. 50/50 is more than enough to break the cycle. You winning does not make him lose, it causes you to BOTH WIN!

Now you are just playing. Think about it.

See what happens will ya?’ LOVE him for God’s sake!”

*A few weeks pass*

One of the middle managers of the Tire Store approached me. “This place looks great! You have a great crew. Crazy what a couple coats of paint will do to a place!”

“Thanks Harold, we do our best.”

“Hey, if you have minute, can we talk?”

“Yeah, What’s up?”

“I was talking to Mrs Harris and… um… Well, she said I should talk with you. She said you might be able to help me and my wife fall back in love.”

“Yeah Harold, I have a few minutes but you DO know I’m a commercial building painter and not a love-oligist or what ever the hell those love type people are called don’t you?’