Rejected column for April/May

I decided to do a little “Eat Pray Love” for dudes and the editors weren’t impressed. it may be a little too real for mass consumption… also they told me not to talk about GOD, which I find impossible, so it is reserved for fans and hungry readers.



Surviving the Doldrums

This week in particular I had a spell where I ran into one of the thick spots in life. You have certainly been there, where all the television programming and dinner conversation seems to be playing in the background, and not really happening to you.

As human beings we sometimes get complacent in the mundane, though at my age mundane is quite nice sometimes. As a way to invigorate the spirit I have come up with a simple solution that has done wonders form me. HAVE A LOVE AFFAIR.

Before you curse and throw down your magazine, allow me to unpack that. You needn’t be married to have a love affair, and you needn’t do anything that would cause a divorce, if you are. This is about taking some time to prepare your heart and soul for love: love of your environment, yourself, your God, it all.

What you will need:

  1. A book you can read a thousand times and always laugh, or cry (for me it’s Slaughterhouse-five).
  2. Cellphone
  3. Small pillow and blanket
  4. Car with an open roof of some sort—this can be a sunroof, convertible, or preferably a Trans-Am with T-Tops.
  5. Comfortable Clothing—denim jackets are only acceptable when coupled with Trans-Am.
  6. Prudent planning and a good excuse for your boss/wife/live in secretary… whomever.

Start the day as responsibly as you can: call into work and lie to them. Tell your friends, family, and lovers that you are busy or ill or something, and then go take the T-tops off the Trans-Am, you won’t be needing them.

Find a patch of open road with little to no traffic and set the cruise control for eight MPH over the limit. The cops will know from your jean-jacket and T-tops not to mess with you. I recommend staying off the freeway. Put your cellphone in the glove compartment and crank up the stereo. Turn it up loud enough to hear unfettered 70’s rock over the roar of the wind and engine. Let the sun warm your skin and the wind tousle your hair, get lost in the country.

Look out your open windows and T-tops and marvel at the beauty that God, or plate tectonics, or random collisions from innumerable asteroids have brought to this planet.

Drive somewhere cozy and stop, you’ll know when you get there, and say a prayer to whoever it is you say that to. Or you can simply meditate for a few minutes. Or you can read a book on physics, whatever peppers your pickle.

Get to a spot, mentally, where you can talk about what makes you angry, or what you regret, give voice to all of your fears and concerns. Take out the cell phone and call your mom, or dad, or talk to a therapist or priest or minister or rabbi, or have a graveside chat, or simply say it aloud into the desert; find some way to open up and purge.

Once that’s done, get back in the Trans-am and crank up the radio. Your Trans-am, by this point, will know what you need and should pilot you there automatically, but if it fails, your destination is a steakhouse that serves fine marbled meats and expensive red wines. Possibly cheeses of some sort as well. Do not pick up anyone along the way or invite them to join up. Instead, leave your phone secure in the glove box and take that book I told you to bring. Eat rare meat and drink red wine, and read. Don’t make undue conversation with the waiter, he is there to bring you meat and booze and nothing more.

By this point, some of you might be wondering if a glass of Scotch wouldn’t be better. It wouldn’t, but you’re gonna do what you are gonna do, it’s your affair.

Now for the final phase.

With a belly full of meats and cheeses, a head full of literature and poetic 70’s power ballads, and a heart emptied of regret and fear, it’s time to truly relax. Take that Trans-am to the nearest Movie Theater and get a single ticket to the manliest movie they have, or maybe a chick-flick if that salts your spaghetti, I’m not here to judge. Order too much soda and sour candies and get to a comfortable spot and whip out your pillow and blanket.

When the usher wakes you after the third sitting through Robocop, you will thank me.

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