Freaky Friday (on a Tuesday)

There is an episode of Red Oaks where the father (Sam) and son (David) imbibe multiple shots of a mysterious clear liquor at a Japanese restaurant. After passing out and waking up the subsequent morning, they find themselves in each other’s bodies. Predictably, hilarity ensues. It’s based on the Lohan/Curtis romp based on the Harris/Foster classic Freaky Friday.

There is a flashback sequence in my forthcoming novel Finding Fidelity where the father (Leo) shows up to watch his son’s (Jaye) cross country meet. Jaye gets hopelessly lost on the course (in the woods) and nearly finishes dead last. This of course happens during the sole race where his father actually makes an appearance as a spectator. It’s essentially a barely fictionalized account of an actual event in my life. Such is the nature of writing in the first-person.

Today, I kinda conflated those two scenarios IRL and attended my son’s (Nate) cross country meet. Although not his first, it was the first meet at which I could make an appearance as a spectator. As an eighth grader, this is his first year of cross country. As a ridiculously dedicated PC gamer, this is the first real team sport in which he’s shown interest strictly of his own volition.

Nate’s 8th grade cross country photo just hit my in box last week…

And he’s front/center in the team photo that was in the local newspaper.

Here is my 8th grade cross country photo…

I still find it hilarious that in 1985, the only sports team that was not herded together for a group photo was the lowly cross country team.

wah wah wah…

Non sequitur/side note/full disclosure: In addition to my son’s burgeoning running career, my daughter swims, a lot. Despite having a pair of active kids, I am not a helicopter parent. I operate much more toward the free-range end of the spectrum. Frankly, I pull up just shy of total anarchy. As a result, I do not religiously attend my kid’s sporting events with zeal and vigor. I have never volunteered to sell concessions, run a stopwatch, or stand around and look “official”. I do not travel to distant northern lands to stay at two-star motels and dine on one-star meals for weekend tournaments. I don’t own a “parent’s themed” shirt/sweatshirt/hoodie/ballcap/headband/wristband/sunglasses for either of my kid’s sports teams.

And neither did my parents.

Honestly, 8th grade me was fine with that. 8th grade me understood that my folks had demanding jobs. 8th grade me knew they both lead busy lives. Unlike today, attendance was never mandatory, nor did chronic absence brand anyone a derelict parent.

And yet, 49-year-old me knew I had to make at least as many appearances as my father did. I needed to go for multiple reasons beyond that. Unexpectedly, being in that space again, that setting, that vibe—it was surreal. The whole experience of watching my kid like my father once watched me catapulted me right back into my 8th grade soul.

Unlike my cross country events of yore, the “Princeton Tiger’s Cross Country Invitational”—held at the one-and-only golf course in Princeton, MN—was PACKED!!! There were parents, grandparents, and even siblings every fucking where. Back in ’85, if a gaggle of parents showed up, it was a minor miracle. This was due in part to the fact that there ain’t much to see at a cross country race. Essentially, you see the start, then everyone disappears into some great beyond, only to reappear at or near the finish line. During a 15-minute race, you might see your kid for a minute total.

In this case, since my kid was running all around and over a golf course, I was able to jog over to the 4th fairway from the 1st tee starting line to catch him halfway. Other than that *bonus sighting*, it was a pretty standard cross country spectating experience. It went something like this…

And they’re off…
Rounding the 4th fairway…
Big finish!

Based on my scene-of-the-crime observations, the kid seems to be a bit faster than I was at his age. I mean…he was far from taking the penultimate booby prize like his old man.

After the race, our exchange went like this…

Me: “Nice! Do you know if your time was better than last race?”
Nate is red-faced, huffing and puffing, hands on hips.
Nate: “No clue.”
Me: “Cool.”
Nate: “I have to get water, hold on.”
He walked over to his backpack in his team’s outdoor tented gypsy encampment and grabbed his water bottle.
Me: “So you gonna to do cross country next year?”
Nate: “Yea, it’s really fun.”
Me: “Totally awesome, so are you just gonna hang out here for the rest of the races?”
Nate: “Yea, then get on the bus, then get a ride to Dairy Queen,”
His eye twinkled a bit.
Me: “Sounds brilliant—have fun!”
Nate: “I will.”

With that, I headed toward my truck. I looked over my shoulder, and he had already settled in and struck up a conversation with one of his teammates. Grinning, I refocused on what was ahead of me just in time to barely swerve out of the way of the roped off practice green.

I had a solid 55 minutes of reflection time during my ride home—Princeton is “up north” from my pad..

The first thing that struck me is how different cross country meets in ’21 are in comparison to cross country meets in ’85. In ’21, there is a PA system blaring bouncy pop music between races. In ’85, there were maybe some birds chirping. In ’21, there were seven teams with tents, blankets, chairs, coolers, and even tables with displays (for the home team). In ’85, we were lucky to find a picnic table to sit at or railing to lean against. In ’21, there was chatter, exuberance, and excitement everywhere. In ’85, there was quiet contemplation, silent stretching, and a general sense of foreboding.

The contrast between the two epochs was staggering.

The next thing that struck me was how I was nothing like my father, and my son is nothing like me. My father is an extrovert prone to loud outbursts. I am an introvert prone to contemplative spells. My son is an extrovert prone to loud outbursts. And yet, we are all inextricably linked via blood and ancestry—we’re most assuredly “Donley men”.

That said, I’m clearly the odd man out.

Finally, it was a kick to be in this setting with this kid. He has been a diehard gamer since we sold his Thomas the Train collection to buy an Xbox 360 six years ago. And that was just the beginning of his gaming odyssey. During that period, I heard all of the usual concerns from all of the usual suspects. Rather than caving to the onslaught of well-intentioned parenting advice, I stuck with my gut. I told him as long as he kept his grades up and didn’t act like a prick, I wasn’t going to tell him how to spend his free time.

This was essentially my old man’s parenting style.

I totally had him figured for a geeky gaming kid. When he told me this summer that he was joining the cross country team, I was flabbergasted. The aforementioned concerned usual suspects were delighted. Secretly, I was delighted he made this decision sans any meddling, goading, or hectoring on my part. It reinforced my theory that telling your kids which friends to have, which classes to take, or which sports to play is a mug’s game.

Watching him do this thing, on that golf course, on Tuesday…it struck me how much better he is at all of it than I ever was. Back in ’85: I was a lackluster athlete, I was an average student, and I was prolific loner. And yet somehow, I’m “raising” (whatever that means) this smaller version of me, who is none of those things—the opposite, in fact.

As I’ve previously essayed, autumn is a wondrously paradoxical time of year for me. It was always rife with unrequited expectations. It was a time when my dreams were intense and optimistic, but my reality was flaccid and disappointing. Yet my hope sprang eternal, and I always looked forward to the idea of fall more than the actuality.

This fall marks my 49th seasonal shift. And while the autumnal transition no longer concerns me, the birthday ahead is a daunting one. It was when my father turned 50, that he started to become more and more irrelevant. Lately, I’m starting to see myself fading into the background as well.

It’s a peaceful uneasy feeling.

Embedded in that setting, on a perfect fall day. watching my son run—it struck me how long ago everything in my life was. It reminded me how supererogatory I’m becoming. I was reminded that youth must be served, regardless.

Rather than the hands-on/elbow-deep parenting I once did when they were in elementary school, it would be hands-off from here on out. And just like my father, I’ll soon be relegated to perpetual spectator. But I guess that was always going to be the point of this little endeavor, right?

What the hell was I expecting?

Like life, the drive home passed so rapidly it seemed as though it never happened. As I pulled into my driveway, I couldn’t help but wonder what it felt like for my father…

Thankfully, he’s still around.

I should probably ask him.


Copyright © 2021 – ∞ B. Charles Donley

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Acid-Washed Flashback Series: Love, Karma, & the Whole Damn Thing…

WARNING: what you are about to read is real. It was actually published a long time ago on a platform far, far away. It comes from an epoch when I had much more ego than experience, much more swagger than savvy, much more hubris than humility. That said, I believe this essay retains at least some redemptive qualities. Hopefully, you’ll uncover a nugget (or three) of insight, humor, or wisdom you can pocket and carry with you on your journey. Other than cleaning up any blatant grammar boo-boos, it’s presented for you in its original gory, umm…I mean glory. Cheers!

This essay entered the cyberverse on 10/2/2015 at 11:28 PM. Reader discretion is advised.

Disclaimer: I neither claim to have insider information, nor do intend for anyone to believe the subsequent blather I’m espousing here. Said blather is a loose aggregation of books I’ve read, people I follow, and the collected experience of my life compressed into a crystalline belief system. This is the wisdom I’ll impart on my kids. The rest of you can label it utter bullshit and me a charlatan–I’ll happily don that label.

Warning: Results may not be typical. In fact, they may not be much at all.

Dogma: There is a spiritual energy that binds all living things. It ain’t your God or her God or his God or their God. It ain’t Jesus or Muhammad or Vishnu or Zeus. It ain’t Bordeaux or chocolate or music or a good fuck. It’s a spiritual force that lies just beneath the perceptible physical realm. You are connected to it, I am connected to it, cats and dogs and trees and frogs are connected to it. It is the “place” from which everything came and everything will return. It is the universe that all things—past, present and future—inhabit.

In this universe, benevolence flows toward those who contribute and malevolence is cast upon those that neglect. That’s where Karma steps into the spotlight. Karma is there to mete out universal justice—both sweet and severe.

One of the functions of this universe is banking. The currency is good and evil deeds. The exchange rate varies from entity to entity depending on its complexity. For small children, the exchange rate is much more favorable than for grown adults. Empathy (intuition), Altruism (action) and Gratitude (appreciation)—these are the means to accumulating prosperity.

  1. Empathy – when you see another suffering, try to imagine their suffering (sympathy) or recall your own similar experience (empathy).
  2. Altruism – act to ameliorate that suffering, give comfort, right the wrong.
  3. Gratitude – give thanks for the opportunity to heal, make a sacrifice, reflect on your gifts.

This entire process can be as easy as picking up a the screw-top to a soda bottle in a parking lot, so that it does not end up in the belly of a dying seagull. Then pause a moment to take in the majesty of birds in flight. This can be as hard as dutifully remaining by the side of a loved one in hospice care to provide comfort amid their final days. Then reflect on all of the joy you shared with that person. This can be every positive action in between.

When you contribute to the well-being of the universe, you accumulate universal prosperity. Do the opposite—be apathetic, act neglectful, inflict suffering, and you go into universal debt. The universe is not a forgiving lender. Karma confronts those that fail to repay their universal debt. But it also distributes prosperity to those who accumulate it.

With banked prosperity, you must then believe that you deserve a withdrawal; it won’t just drop into your lap. The universe doesn’t simply dispense prosperity in the form of lottery wins, luxury homes, or career advancement. Like any financial institution, the universe likes to hang onto the prosperity you’ve deposited.

The universe will remain oblivious to your desire for a withdrawal until you make it known. You have to believe you deserve the prosperity you’ve accumulated through your good deeds. You have to believe it to the point where is binds to the core of your reality. If you have accumulated enough prosperity through empathy, altruism, and gratitude, if you believe in that which you desire, if your gratitude will be profound, the universe will dispatch Karma to set events into motion that will ultimately connect desire to reality.

That said, even if you’ve banked much universal prosperity, you can short-circuit this exchange with negative thoughts, negative vibes, and doubt. What you do not feel you deserve will never be yours. Regardless of how much prosperity you’ve accumulated, the universe will not dispatch Karma to work on your behalf if you feel unworthy. Ultimately, the universe never rewards the unworthy.

That’s a thumbnail sketch of my whacked-out spiritual belief system. You can now crumple this entry and toss it into the recycle bin at the bottom corner of your screen.


Copyright © 2015 – ∞ B. Charles Donley

Acid-Washed Flashback Series: When It Was Like Sep-tem-ba (I Rememba)

WARNING: what you are about to read is real. It was actually published a long time ago on a platform far, far away. It comes from an epoch when I had much more ego than experience, much more swagger than savvy, much more hubris than humility. That said, I believe this essay retains at least some redemptive qualities. Hopefully, you’ll uncover a nugget (or three) of insight, humor, or wisdom you can pocket and carry with you on your journey. Other than cleaning up any blatant grammar boo-boos, it’s presented for you in its original gory, umm…I mean glory. Cheers!

This essay entered the cyberverse on 9/17/2015 at 11:28 PM. Reader discretion is advised.

Full disclosure: a lot of the “front end” portion of this post is too ridiculous to (re)post. This bums me out, since the “back end” is kinda lovely. Hence, I’m (re)posting with liberties taken.

Accordingly, before I got embarrassingly off-track at the front end, let me set the stage: I was mowing the lawn, listening to music, and wallowing in the wonderous autumnal glory surrounding me.

Let’s pick it up there…

Anyway, back to me and the lawn mower and the iPod Touch wired to my head. As the music in my ears elevated my consciousness, the unconscious sludge that obfuscates my secret writer’s powers all-at-once disintegrated. In a few milliseconds shy of an instant, my awareness exploded. I was suddenly acutely cognizant of…

A vivacious murmur I could not see
A musky breeze I could not hear
A crisp atmosphere I could not taste
A ripening grist I could not smell
A silent decay I could not touch

something like this in my mind’s eye

And it hit me. This day of mowering was one of those rare betwixt days when a seasonal shift was evident only to those accordingly attuned—I was accordingly entranced. I was privileged to be in the thick of the numerous forces pushing, pulling and battling for seasonal supremacy in this fleeting moment of purgatorial latency. And I almost missed it. I was sleep-mowing through my banal task as summer was exhaling it’s final breath—an exhalation that would certainly stoke autumn’s elegant blaze of color.

As previously stated, I revere and revile this particular seasonal shift. Like no other annual transition, as the pungent sweaty aroma of summer mellows toward the refined musky scent of autumn, I am as alive as I am dying. For me, the magnitude of social and romantic possibility historically piqued this time of year.

For a decade-and-a-half, September marked my return to the hallowed halls of some educational institution. I often embarked with renewed hope that I’d stake a claim in the twisted social scene. The dashing of my hopes was generally complete a few weeks into the campaign. But you know what they say about hope… Possibly because all of the significant affairs of my heart were in full regalia or stripped naked come September, my heart still takes umbrage and flight this time of year. Sure, the heart heals, but it never forgets.

My monotonous chore suddenly became an orgasm of sensory throughput. Nature’s lines – the ones that defined my quaint little Urbandale Lane North – despite being obscured by too much human interference, were more bucolic than normal. Bees and butterflies suckling the last drops of nectar from exhausted blossoms assuaged my dismay regarding their inevitable frosty blight.

I snatched a fallen apple from the clutch of little yellow headstones that dotted the space under the apple tree. It was a autonomous planet complete with uncommon beauty, obvious imperfections, and a population of busy inhabitants. And like so much aging newsprint, a yellowing thistle jumped out as I passed to prickle my forearm and remind me that much like old news, it too was not irrelevant.

You know how the anticipation of something is nearly always more satisfying than the actuality of it. This is especially true when it’s viewed in retrospect. Looking forward to something is a precarious notion at best. That’s how I felt Monday evening as the sun faded with the harvest season barely over the horizon.

Autumn has always held so much promise throughout my lifetime, and yet it rarely delivered. Regardless, I cherish every aspect from the crisp air to the plethora of aromatics to the promise of cozier passion. I hate to love the onset of autumn, and I love that.


Copyright © 2015 – ∞ B. Charles Donley

Acid-Washed Flashback Series: A Latesummer Night’s Dream

WARNING: what you are about to read is real. It was actually published a long time ago on a platform far, far away. It comes from an epoch when I had much more ego than experience, much more swagger than savvy, much more hubris than humility. That said, I believe this essay retains at least some redemptive qualities. Hopefully, you’ll uncover a nugget (or three) of insight, humor, or wisdom you can pocket and carry with you on your journey. Other than cleaning up any blatant grammar boo-boos, it’s presented for you in its original gory, umm…I mean glory. Cheers!

This essay entered the cyberverse on 9/7/2015 at 12:08 AM. Reader discretion is advised.

When I was slightly older than my daughter, this time of year used to cause me considerable angst. The waning moments of summer were the bitterest of sweetness. If you’ve ever lived in Minnesota, you know the value of a hot August night. Sure, the other seasons each have their allure, but none so much as the ides of August. When life can be so cold at times, there is nothing like the rich dense warmth of summer. Plus, heading back to school was one of my fondest  miseries.

To those that contend northern winters are too much to handle, I ask…would a season by any other name taste as sweet? That is to say, whilst you simply endure your blistering southern summer, I’ll savor my therapeutic northern doggish days – a respite from “that other season” – a reward for “surviving another one”. I’ll suck every last bit of temperate marrow from this most hallowed of northern seasonal varieties.

And so it was this weekend, that I had the kids at the Urbandale estate. As per my entire life since April (or thereabouts), we were carting ostensibly important stuff back and forth from our previous residence to our newest one. Subsequently. we’d put each piece of stuff in its newest temporary final resting place. I swear my kids think life with me consists of: sleeping, eating, and every activity in the realm of home renovation + moving. I don’t think we’ve sat together and stared into space whilst getting lost in conversation, a board game or even a movie more than once since before the capacity of my middle-term memory.

On Saturday evening, in the bowels of the basement, Nate looked at me as we were assembling the latest ingeniously engineered modular storage contraption and asked: “Dad, are we ever going to be done moving? Summer is pretty much almost over; all we did was work on the house.” As per my pointless parental pandering, I fed him some cliched hackneyed bullshit about how adults “have to get things done” and “we’ll be done eventually” and some other crap that contained the word “done” or “finished” or “complete” – shit he’s likely heard from me a billion times in the past year. He shrugged, sighed and handed me another 12″ x 12″ rubber-coated-metal mesh shelf. I proceeded to bang it into place. And so it went…

The fact that this was our last summer weekend before school was never lost on me. I’ve actually ached a bit more than a bit since exiting Delano Elementary on orientation day last Wednesday. The summer is so rich and wondrous and we spent it boxing up the stuff that clutters our life, carting that stuff our new house (or Goodwill, or ARC), meeting strangers to exchange stuff for money via Craigslist transactions too numerous to recant, putting stuff on shelves in drawers or in ingeniously engineered modular storage contraptions or throwing stuff in the garbage. I’m starting to realize that I exist strictly as my stuff’s bitch.

And so indeed I do.

Nate sees stuff differently than I. He likes his stuff, but he pays it less heed (and homage) than I do. Rather than ogle and fondle stuff all day, He’d rather wrestle with me, blow my doors off on a bike ride through our new neighborhood or sit on the tailgate of my truck and eat ice cream with his sister and me. He’s a kid. He’s starting to get the fascination with stuff, but he stops short of worshiping at an alter of it.

That’s so great! It must be liberating to live beyond cloistering shadow of stuff. Alas, I’m a hypocrite, I never will.

Saturday night, after we’d assembled the ingeniously engineered modular storage contraption, and I’d shoved some stuff into it, I noticed particularly gaudy chorus of crickets serenading us from just beyond the screen porch. I asked Karli (watching Full House season 5 on DVD) and Nate (playing The Lego Movie game on the XBOX) if they wanted to go hang out in the screen porch (for the first time all summer). They both literally dropped what they were doing and bolted for the porch. With lemonade in their hands and an Oatmeal Stout in mine, we sat on the porch and chatted amid the dulcet cricketorial concerto.

We chatted about the summer’s of my youth (they love my “back in my day” stories for some reason). We recapped the one or two highlights our summer together. We uttered the “S” word (school) and looked ahead to their 2015-16 campaign. The crazy thing is that all of this transpired in the absence of any stuff. I guess we were sitting on neat-o Coleman portable folding chairs, but we could have just as easily been sitting on the floor for all it would have mattered.

I was amazed at how unaffected Nate and Karli were about the forthcoming school year. Thank God! Another one of my manias with which I failed to afflict either of them; lord knows I’ve done enough damage already. They felt nothing but the sheer joy of soaking up the waning moments of a humid summer evening on a screen porch with their dad, plus a few million crickets. I felt the weight of the impending school year (homework, lunches, 8 PM bedtime), the inevitable seasonal shift (raking leaves, freezing to death on Halloween, sharpening the snow shovels) and everything that was on Sunday’s to-do list.

Why in the hell do we bother growing up…?


Copyright © 2015 – ∞ B. Charles Donley

(My) Life Is A Parade

Writing, lately, is akin to a July 4th caladiscopic acid trip.

It’s like being a kid at the ’76 bicentennial parade.

I was there.

It’s loud. It’s colorful. It’s frenetic.

But, the candy is the goal—the candy is everything!

And so, the candy is thrown, and I know I can’t grab it all.

My hands are small, I’m small, there are so many small people doing what I’m doing.

But, it all looks so enticing.

I want at all.

I want it now!

Chaos erupts.

Candy is everywhere.

I have to hone in on one piece–sharpen my focus.

If I try to grab it all, I’ll get none.

Too much competition.

Writing these days…

…for me…

…is like that.


© 2021 – ∞ B. Charles Donley

The Music Gal

As many of you know, I’m “the music guy”, or, at best “a music guy”. And, if I’m any sort of “music guy”, Cyndi was most assuredly “the music gal”. The impact of music on our respective lives is incalculable.

As “the music guy”, I was tasked with playlist duties for this evening’s festivities. Normally, I’d just do what I always do—assess the guest list, gauge the tone of the evening, and gather some tunes into an appropriate flow.

I’ll be honest, this one gave me pause. I tried to imagine Cyndi here, as she most assuredly is. This made the task quite daunting. “The music gal” would surely want me to step up and offer something a bit…more…especially on this occasion. I mean…how many times have you heard someone say, “I want this song played at my funeral.”

Then it dawned on me—Cyndi should DJ her own damn life celebration! And thankfully, she left a very detailed Facebook roadmap for me to follow with a fantastic soundtrack for me to discover.

After meticulously crawling Cyndi’s Facebook feed over the course of a week, I’ve come to the conclusion that Cyndi possessed a mastery of philosophy that could not be taught in any institution of higher learning. Like many, her observations were drawn from the school of hard knocks. But they were no less insightful or impactful.

No single observation she ever made was earth shattering, but taken as a whole, they shifted my orbit even further toward patience, kindness, and gratitude. She was most assuredly a folk philosopher of the highest order.

As I back-walked Cyndi’s entire Facebook feed, I traced her musical history. When I encountered a song she had posted, I added it to a playlist. 66 songs later, I have exactly what we all need to hear tonight: Cyndi’s Musical Wisdom

The playlist is one that only Cyndi could’ve created. And, in true Cyndi fashion, she didn’t just post links to songs. Each song came with a bit of her unique folk philosophy, and I wanted to preserve that. So, I loaded her sermonettes into the lyrics tag. As each tune plays, if you tap the screen, the wisdom that originally accompanied it will appear. Some of her sermonettes could get a tad long-winded, so I did do a bit of editing.

Scrolling through someone’s entire Facebook feed is to watch their life flash before your eyes. It’s a trippy trip. After my sojourn, I know the following things to be true…

Family was paramount. Y’all are all over the place in her life. She cherished each and every one of you to the moon and beyond. She was your biggest fan and loudest cheerleader. When it came to family, she was the rock of Gibraltar, she never waivered.

Friends were her lifeline, her oxygen, her jam. Friends were her touchstone for sanity, solace, and joy. She treasured her friendships, and we treasured her. And as I gazed at her life through the lens of a friend, it was obvious that Jodie is the Thelma to her Louise. To have a friendship like that is rare and precious and glorious.

Cyndi was one of the great eternal optimists of all time—God bless for that! There aren’t many around these days…

Finally, as the music guy, I took just two liberties.

First, Old Dominion was one of Cyndi and Jodie’s favorite bands. I asked Jodie to contribute a special Old Dominion tune; she obliged. It’s slotted just behind the lid lifter.

Second, I wanted the first song to be utterly apropos. Thankfully, the Eli Young Band had the good sense to craft such a ditty. As we all gather here in one of her favorite places on earth, a beach song only made sense. And this particular beach song only makes all the sense in the world.

In closing, I’ll leave you with the words of the sage herself. I fashioned one of her recent Facebook posts into a poem of sorts. And, it works surprisingly well. In fact, it’s the vision of her I have right now as she joins us in celebration…

And so I sit,
in a bungee chair that I borrowed from my son,
losing circulation in my legs,
with a cardboard coffee table before me,
drinking wine,
and watching 2020,
alone.
Honestly…
I couldn’t be happier.

— Cyndi


© 2021 – ∞ B. Charles Donley

Acid-Washed Flashback Series: Her Name Was Rosie; She Could Clean the Hell Out of a Home

WARNING: what you are about to read is real. It was actually published a long time ago on a platform far, far away. It comes from an epoch when I had much more ego than experience, much more swagger than savvy, much more hubris than humility. That said, I believe this essay retains at least some redemptive qualities. Hopefully, you’ll uncover a nugget (or three) of insight, humor, or wisdom you can pocket and carry with you on your journey. Other than cleaning up any blatant grammar boo-boos, it’s presented for you in its original gory, umm…I mean glory. Cheers!

This essay entered the cyberverse on 2/22/2010 at 1:54 PM. Reader discretion is advised.

Over the period that spans this past year, I have been on an amazing emotional, and to a lesser extent, intellectual journey. My understanding of my own emotions and feelings has been greatly enhanced. I have embraced an incredible opportunity to grow and evolve. And although the process has not always been enjoyable, the outcomes hold immense value.

During the less enjoyable times, I often drew upon my own strengths, attributes, and philosophies to survive intellectually, emotionally, and physically. As a fairly complex individual, I have a number of attributes that I would consider strengths. But there is a singular foundational strength upon which all of my attributal infrastructure is built. It does not have a name, as it is a strength that I uniquely understand. It can best be described as a combination of the following:
• an unquenchable drive to succeed
• an unwavering belief that success is immanent
• an unparalleled capacity to out work anyone standing between me and success

My mother often asks from where these attributes emanated. She feels that neither she, nor my father exhibited these traits nearly to the degree that I do. And these traits don’t generally manifest themselves organically—not to this degree, anyway.

When I really examine this question, I always find myself going back to the same time, same place, same experience and same person: Rosie, our cleaning lady and caregiver when I was young.

I feel like the time I spent in Rosie’s presence was a period from about four to six years old. Rosie cleaned our home. She also watched us on many evenings until my mother or father were done with work and able to pick us up for the evening. I was able to observe her in action at both in my own home as well as hers.

To an obviously impressionable young boy, Rosie seemed like a true super hero. I am not sure if this is a retrospective take, or if I actually understood it at the time, but Rosie exuded a sense of supreme dominance. Not in the classic sense, but in the sense that she dominated whatever task with which she was occupied. The best way to explain it is as follows: when Rosie cleaned our home, I can’t help but feel like our home felt totally and thoroughly cleaned. She unleashed cleanliness on our home like a well-trained S.W.A.T. team storms into a dangerous situation and restores order, except she was a one-woman operation, flanked by no one.

I vividly recall watching her move through our home and efficiently executing each small task that was a building block to the larger task that eventually lead to the ultimate completion of the overall task: a clean home–a really fucking clean home! She executed each task with the skill and grace of a Julliard-trained ballerina coupled with the force and thoroughness of a world-champion heavy-weight prize fighter. Even at the age of four, I could sit back and appreciate this woman’s ability to clean the hell out of a home.

This stuck with me, and I later developed it into the series of aforementioned attributes. I always considered Rosie the inspiration of these attributes. The task she used to unknowingly model these attributes, cleaning a home, may not have been profound on the surface. But the way she executed this task was extremely profound and meaningful to the four-year-old watching from the family room sofa.

In addition to providing me a blueprint that I would later apply to nearly every task, duty, or challenge I would encounter in my life, Rosie taught me life lesson one evening that would eventually become one of my foundational philosophies.

Rosie ofen provided dinner for my brother and I at her home. Not surprisingly, Rosie made meals that were straight from the USDA food pyramid. I do not ever recall a single meal that did not include a vegetable. One evening, Rosie provided cooked beats as the vegetable. At five years old, I was not a fan; I remember mentioning this to Rosie. She listened to my concern about the viability of beets as actual food source, and put this spin on it: (paraphrasing) “If you don’t like beets, just eat them first. That way you will have the rest of your meal to enjoy without having to worry about the beets.”

This seemingly simple piece of wisdom would eventually become one of my core philosophies. To simplify it greatly, it was the: business-before-pleasure axiom. But whether intentional or not, it was much more profound than that. Rosie provided me a strategy that I would use countless times in my life to de-emphasize the non-pleasurable aspects and emphasize the pleasurable ones. In that tiny snippet of advice was a life-long strategy for maximization of happiness.

Each of those strategies that Rosie gave to me is amazing in its own right. But again, whether intentional or not, they just happen to compliment each other and produce a most amazing synergistic effect. You see if you apply hard work and drive to the non-pleasurable tasks in life, you can actually derive an almost perverse pleasure that comes with exerting your will over the task itself and dominating it (so to speak). And once all of the non-pleasurable tasks have been convincingly executed, the resulting satisfaction intensifies the sweetness of the pleasurable ones.

Now if that is not a strategy for fulfillment, I am not sure what is?

Thanks Rosie for your wisdom, your example, your gifs…the blueprints you handed me many years ago, have always been cherished and are heavily utilized on a daily basis. They have provided me the means to a rather extraordinary life.



© 2010 – ∞ B. Charles Donley

Acid-Washed Flashback Series

A decade ago, I had a blog on the Blogger platform. In a move that was fairly self-aggrandizing, I titled it: To Explain It All.

Oh the hilarity!

My first post, Remember…, was on 9/8/2009. I apparently threw in the towel on or around 11/6/2014 after a post titled: 3 Boys For Every Girl (What Women Want)—I can’t wait to reread that one! In actuality, I didn’t give up, I just started other blogs (and writing projects) on other platforms.

While blogging never really got me anywhere, it pretty much got me where I needed to get. You see if Malcom Gladwell is to be believed, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery of any pursuit. And while I’m not a “thought leader” like Malcom, this rule seems just about right, at least in my experience.

It was not until September of 2017 that I attempted my initial first novel. It was 2019 when I finished my subsequent first novel. And in 2020, I finished editing it. Now, I’m back working on that initial first novel once again. But from that fateful day in September of 2009, for eight subsequent years, I wrote (blogged) essays—tons of them!

At one point, I had seven active blogs on various topics ranging from general observations on being a human to general observations on wellness to killer observations on vintage HiFi gear. It was a lot of plates to spin considering I had an audience of like a three kindred souls. That never stopped me from spinning, however.

When I buttoned up To Explain It All and ported it to PDF for cryogenic storage, it was 284 pages long—that’s a book! Other blogs were over 100 pages long. All-in-all, before I started writing books in earnest, I had undertaken about two dozen separate endeavors in the realm of the written word.

In an effort to pay homage to those days of yore, I plan to republish those essays here along with the following disclaimer:

WARNING: what you are about to read is real. It was actually published a long time ago on a platform far, far away. It comes from an epoch when I had much more ego than experience, much more swagger than savvy, much more hubris than humility. That said, I believe this essay retains at least some redemptive qualities. Hopefully, you’ll uncover a nugget (or three) of insight, humor, or wisdom you can pocket and carry with you on your journey. Other than cleaning up any blatant grammar boo-boos, it’s presented for you in its original gory, umm…I mean glory. Cheers!

To be honest, some of these essays represent some of the most profound thinking I’ve ever done. Most were written while I was mired in my 40s, newly divorced, and living in my mother’s basement. I had a lot of time to think. You can judge whether I did any actual profound thinking—I’ve been known to suffer bouts of delusionary grandeur. As though I somehow knew I needed the practice, I chose to write these thoughts out loud.

Oh, that first blog entry, Remember…, was short and sweet. It went a little like this…

“Remember, a writer writes, always.”
—Larry Donner (Billy Crystal) from the movie: Throw Mama From the Train

And so it is [true], a writer writes, always.


Copyright © 2021 – ∞ Blake Charles Donley

World’s Most Meticulously Cluttered Basement

Michael Chabon once penned (or keyed) an essay entitled Subterranean. It appeared in a book, which was a collection of essays titled Manhood for Amateurs.

Hilariously, this book was my introduction to Chabon’s writing. Despite the fact that he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction waaaaay back in 2001, I was oblivious. His prize-winning novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay was a mystery to me on that fateful lunch hour (and a half) a few years back when I randomly plucked the CD audiobook of Manhood for Amateurs off the shelves at the Maple Grove Library.

Since then, Chabon has become one of my favorite authors. He’s top 5 along with David Foster Wallace, John Irving, Michael Pollan, and Russell Brand (yes, that Russell Brand). He’s one of the authors whose style I try to emulate without actually trying to imitate. I’ve tried to imitate David Foster Wallace, but GFL on that path to futility.

Anyway, in Chabon’s essay Subterranean, despite nearly drowning in his grandparent’s basement during a particularly torrential rainstorm, he pens the seminal defense of the lowly underground hideout. For my money, this is the first point in literature where the basement, rife with all its weird smells, darkness/dankness, and spiders is elevated to the status it so richly deserves: quintessential underground workshop.

Where else can you be six feet under and still thrive?

Chabon’s essay stuck with me for a very long time—like still. A big part of my first novel, which comes out after the novel I just finished, hinges on the basement almighty. I was hip with the basement vibe long before Chabon articulated it in the pristine manner for which he’s legendary.

In a bananas meta moment, I referenced him and his essay in an Instagram post of my basement—he actually liked the post! I ain’t gonna lie, it was a thrill—it blew up my skirt a lot!

Without bogging this down any further with backstory, I’ll go ahead and bog it down a bit further. After my divorce, I lived in my mother’s basement for a spell. Actually, my tiny kiddos and I lived in her basement for five years. As much as it was a major defeat for 38-year-old me, my two-year-old son and four-year-old daughter have fond memories of their five year sentence in Grandma’s dungeon. This amuses me to no end. My daughter still says things like, “I loved living in Grandma’s house.”

How?

Kids…

After five years in purgatory, I had finally saved enough (and received a fair amount of assistance) to buy my own house (again). Needless to say, it was a fixer-upper extraordinaire. Thankfully, my only sibling is a contractor and agreed to undertake the majority of the colossal rehab project. Thankfully, my wifey is a pro photog with keen eye for design and agreed to pick out all of the finishes and fixtures. From that point, the three of us vacillated between intense admiration and intense disdain for each other depending on the day. It was a long process (nearly two years).

DISCLAIMER: do not buy a fixer-upper with your new spouse and proceed to enlist your sibling do the up fixing. On the surface, this seems like a great opportunity to offset the cost with a little sweat equity. But trust me, once you are knuckle deep in mummified mouse carcasses piled up behind the vintage dishwasher you are extricating, so that you can heave it into the 30-yard dumpster parked in your driveway on a blistering-cold/dreary-as-fuck Minnesota February morning, you’ll be questioning every decision you’ve ever made in your entire lifetime. You’ll have occasion (many) to question your sanity as well. This will ultimately be no ones fault, but it will be inevitable.

I offer this analogy—think of how hard you have to negotiate with yourself to just get out of bed on a Sunday morning after an uproarious Saturday night of imbibing, just so that you can push play on the coffee maker, just so that you can start to begin to resemble a human again. Multiply that by an entire home gut job/redo and two additional humans.

They—whoever the hell they are—say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” This is spectacular bullshit. It’s more like, “Whatever doesn’t kill you will scar you for life, haunt your dreams, and give you PTSD. But naught for nothing, as it will give you pause if you ever contemplate something similarly fucking idiotic ever again.”

Take my word for it—just don’t do it!

Mercifully, the main level and upper level were eventually completed. The kids and I moved out of Grandma’s basement into our new home. It was a red letter day. We moved furniture up from my wife’s house in ATL (that’s an entirely different novel). And with the help of friends, family, and my beloved wifey, we made a home out of a zombie mouse apocalypse.

I’m still grateful for everyone who pitched in to make this a reality. There was no shortage of cool human beings who made this impossible undertaking possible. I’d like to take a moment to thank them all again—you know who you are. None of this would have been possible without y’all.

While the main level and upper level of our new pad were perfectly lovely, the basement resembled the garbage disposal scene from Star Wars where Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewy are simultaneously up to their tits in garbage while being hunted by some one-eyed snake thing as the walls literally close in on them. What lay just below our living room was something similar.

And while I had a village helping us get into the house, rehabbing the lowly basement fell to me, myself, and moi. I actually enlisted the kiddos—then seven and nine—in the demolition process.

Famously, in one 30-minute span of questionable parenting, Karli stepped on a 2×4. A protruding rusty nail pierced her tiny shoe and tiny foot drawing a copious amount of blood. After that minor emergency was abated and she was back on her foot, she swung her 5 LB mallet into a piece of Sheetrock so swiftly that it came down on Nate’s head.

At that point, I broke up the band and completed the rest of the demo as a solo artist.

Here is what the demo looked like in progress. There was a single functional outlet in the basement at this point, and it was dangling from the celling like in some horror movie.

Here is some of the cool shit, literally, I found during the demo…

To add insult to injury, at points during the demo process, there would be angry wasps dive-bombing me. In classic Chuck Donley fashion, as I was swatting at them with my gloved hands, I would mutter angrily about, “The damn kids leaving the front door open.” Eventually, I’d find a wasps nest glued between two joists in the storage room, because there was a hole in the foundation—of course there was! There were actually multiple holes, but I’d discover the rest of them later. No wonder there were malevolent wasps constantly trying to end my life.

Sorry kids…not your fault.

This is what the basement looked like just after I pulled the last nail out of the celling joists and the dumpster trailer was dropped in the driveway…

Here is the dumpster/trailer with everything I hauled up from the basement, one garbage can at a time…

And after I went through the space with a fine-toothed shop vac, it looked like this…

There are moments in a lifetime where you feel good—no, fucking great—about yourself. This photo was captured on a Friday afternoon/night in early summer 2015 after “the final clean out” was complete. I felt like Jack Dawson standing on the bow of the Titanic with the wind in my hair yelling, “I’m the king of the world!” In my lackluster version, I sat alone on the fireplace hearth and quietly drank a celebratory Moosehead. The kids hadn’t started drinking yet.

As time passed, and I chipped off one project after another, the scariest space in the house started to look less horror show and more monochromatic insane asylum—a serious improvement!

Eventually, after the electrical work was completed, and the last coat of paint was slathered on whatever needed more paint, we were ready to move the stereo into the basement.

Without music life would be a mistake.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Before going any further, we had to have music. This was the chief goal of the basement project. And once a reliable HiFi system was installed and records were shelved, our grandiose fanciful flight began.

While my son gratefully spearheaded the procurement of modern gaming artifacts, Karli and I focused on capturing gewgaws that struck a delicate balance between vintage/groovy and audacious/unnecessary. For nearly a half-decade, we’ve thrifted the western suburbs of the greater Minneapolis area in an effort to acquire immortality. And we’ve acquired quite a bit. I cherish each and every one of these too-numerous afternoons spent canvassing the city and pouring over other people’s crap with my redheaded co-pilot.

It wasn’t a bad run…

It ebbs, flows, and shape-shifts from weekend to weekend, but we’ve largely achieved our goal of curating “the world’s most meticulously cluttered basement”. It’s basically in the Smithsonian state in which it will remain until the kiddos head off to college and the larger adventures this life has to offer. Eventually, I’m destined to migrate south.

They also say, “To the victor goes the spoils.” We’ve been #winning every second we’ve spent down here—I guess that makes us the victor(s)!

When the time comes—as it inevitably does—we’ll split it up, pack it up, and spread it to the four winds. Accordingly, some spoils will go with Nate-o, some will tag along with K, some will migrate south with me, and some will be graciously returned to the places that recycle these majestic relics. Other lucky souls can then discover these artifacts just as we once did. And that’s OK.

Nothing is forever, except acne.

But as it sits right now, in all of it’s glory, I want to provide a virtual tour. I want this space to be immortalized in the same spirit that Michael Chabon immortalized his grandparents basement. Only I’m doing my tribute with visual aids.

Basements = essential + immortal. So without further adieu…

The door at the top of the staircase is innocuous. It’s situated across from the main-level powder room, and if you didn’t know better, you’d think it was the door to the broom closet. But when you open it, it ain’t no broom closet.

The space is divided nearly in half by “The Great Wall of Stairs”. The kids hang a right at the landing, and yours truly hangs a left. While their half is a rectangle, my half is “L” shaped due to furnaces, water hearers, and other necessary basement appliances.

Let me begin with their space, specifically “Karli’s Korner”…

Her chandelier is courtesy of the aforementioned grandma. It previously hung in her office at the salon she ran like a gangster for 55+ years. When she was clearing out her things, Grandma asked if we wanted it. We both knew exactly how to answer that question.

Another day, we decided that no self-respecting basement is sans hammock. This one was procured on a particularly fruitful thrifting expedition; the color was perfection. Karli spends copious amounts of time literally hanging out, eating popcorn, and contemplating the existential injustices of high school as she stares at the celling joists. She is unfortunately stuck with the beer and Mtn. Dew fridge on her end, but I tried to integrate it into her desk. She assured me that, “It’s no big deal.”

Nate-o commandeered the other end. He games, a lot, and always. His rig is set amid a backdrop of the largest Nerf Gun collection this side of the Toys “R” Us secret storage compound that is laying dormant until the juggernaut of fun announces it triumphant return. We couldn’t think of anything better to cover the walls with, so we kept requisitioning more firearms until the wall was nearly covered. It seems to feng & shui righetously. At least we got options when the zombie apocalypse descends upon humanity.

Opposite Nate, but still in his realm, is the retro wall of retro gaming and other retroness. A vintage green gaming chair faces off against a wall of 13″ Sony Trinitrons, VCRs, handheld video games, and other superfluous bullshit. I often climb into the retro gaming chair and we game back-to-back.

His gaming handle is: MyFriendNinja. His gaming buddies have bestowed upon me the handle: FatherNinja. When I’m sputtering profanities at my tiny TV during a particularly intense game of Mappy, his friends will ask, “Do we hear FatherNinja?”

As I transition back to my half, the wall o’ 8 tracks eyes me with disdain…they want more attention.

As I pass from their space into my space, the view is simply breathtaking…

Starting at the command center, this is actually where I am sitting as I type this right now. Crazy, right? I am an ordained Dudeist Priest of some repute. My Dudeism shrine is on the second shelf to the left. Abide…just abide. That Panasonic clock radio TV right in the middle of everything actually works. As this photo was snapped, an episode of Star Trek the Next Generation was playing in glorious B&W.

Flanking me, and directly behind me is Blockbuster Plymouth. The OG Blockbuster Plymouth closed years ago, but its spirit lives on in my lair. Despite the fact that I don’t have eyes in the back of my head, there is always a movie screening on the crazy red Seiki TV. Just like Blockbuster back in the day, there is always a little visual noise “now playing”. I have approximately 1,200 “slabs” as the cool kidz say.

Just around the corner from Blockbuster Plymouth is my LP collection. There is an entire other blog devoted to this obvious obsession. Since I started mining the thrift store LP bins a decade ago, I’ve discovered approximately 6,500 golden musical platters. I have resigned myself to the fact that I cannot listen to them all in this lifetime. Maybe in the next, tho.

Buttressing the LPs are the compact cassettes…all 1,000 of them. I was ejected into this realm in 1972. Hence, I was in the unique position to watch all of the various musical mediums come and go.

As a kid, I listened to my dad’s Beach Boys, Dr. Hook, and Juice Newton vinyl LPs on the home HiFi. Cruising around town in the backseat sofa of our Chrysler Town & Country family truckster, I was subjected to an endless rotation of 8 track tapes featuring easy listening legends like Neil Diamond, Air Supply, and Glen Campbell (my old man’s doppelganger). I bought my first compact cassette tape in ’82, Freeze Frame by the J. Giles Band, at K-Mart after a therapy session at the Washburn Child Guidance Center. 10-year-old me found that tape to be much better therapy that what my counselor was doling out. I bought my first compact disc a scant five years later. Thanks to the runaway success of “Wishing Well”, Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D’Arby would be the first CD I’d ever pop into the open maw of my Sony Discman.

By the time high school began, I’d seen all of the major formats come and go. And now they all seem to be coming and going around and around again and again.

Cassettes, above and beyond all others, were the paramount format of my coming-of-age epoch. And being that I was the right age during the heyday of cassette/boombox culture, I’ll most likely be mired in it forever. I have a ton of tapes and a badass cassette deck (or 4).

As I previously mentioned, this is the reason I didn’t just leave basement in disarray. This glorious monstrosity has expanded dramatically over the years and goes by various titles:

  • “The Wall of Sound”,
  • “The Midwest’s Most Dangerous Pioneer Stack”
  • “THE ALTER”
  • “Don’t Even Think About Going Near Dad’s Stereo”

Call it what you want, it’s the heartbeat of this home. If I spin the big volume knob rightwise enough, the pulsing can be felt from the foundation to the top of the chimney (and beyond). It plays all of the aforementioned formats. In the very near future it will even play digital files and have streaming functionality thanks to Arthur at the Tapeless Deck Project.

Taste aside, this rig dazzles all of the senses. It sounds as impressive as it looks. There are enough shiny knobs and switches to keep your fingers busy for hours. When the big woofers are bouncing prodigiously, the cabinets exhale powerfully through the reflex ports. There is nothing quite so intoxicating as the aroma of ’70s speaker insides. To be honest, I may have licked it once; it tasted metallic. I’d contend that my musical taste is impeccable, however.

Due to the vintage of the equipment, and the relative complexity of tape loop that interconnects half the units, simply turning it on is rather like firing up a 737. Operating it is rather like flying one. As the inimitable Techmaon once said in one of his videos, “I rather like having a complicated HiFi setup that only I can operate. It’s a bit like Biff’s car—only Biff can start it.”

Eventually, I ran out of space for stereo components. Plus, I needed somewhere to display my stable of Pioneer cans/coconuts/headphones. Someday, all 13 components will be stacked from floor-to-celling. Today, the ceiling in our current subterranean space ain’t tall enough. So, the overflow is tucked away in the gutted MCM stereo console that we rescued from a roadside curb alert. Fun stuff here, especially that sexy U-24 Program Selector!

And that’s a wrap!

Sure, there is a furnace/laundry/workout room. There is also a storage room—the one where the kids were sitting on shelves—which has been fully built out for max storage. But those aren’t the sexy parts. And for this provocative post, I only wanted to feature the sexy parts. Creating this space with much assistance from the aforementioned kiddos will forever be one of the greatest joys of this lifetime. It’s where we’ve spent many evenings alone together.

There are a lot of switches, buttons, and remotes required to get it all dazzling and sparkly. This shit don’t just light itself up! I once drunkenly boasted that it takes about 99 switch flips to light up/shut down the basement. Nate immediately called bullshit on this. Karli and I counted the next time we shut it all down. Nate was right. Not including Nate’s computer, it takes exactly 66 switch flips to slow the whirling power meters and quiet the glare.

We’ve had many most excellent times underground. And we’ll continue to have them until we go our separate ways. But long after we sell this mixed up, muddled up, shook up home, the memories that have been absorbed into the cement foundation below us, the cinderblock walls around us, and the wooden joists above us, will linger forever in our respective minds. And that’s OK—that’s where they ultimately belong.

That we got to make those memories in the first place—that is everything!

Huzzah!


Copyright © 2021 – ∞ Blake Charles Donley

When everyone who ever knew anything about Bob Dylan is dead, will anyone know Bob Dylan ever existed?

I just spent 40 minutes with N&K on Omegle. This was simultaneously jarring, terrifying, and (at times) uplifting. I’ve never seen the actual future collide with (and devour) my adorable notions of the theoretical future. I imagine this is what my parents experienced when they became aware of Cyndi Lauper, Twisted Sister, or (gasp) Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s video for “Relax”…

On Omegle, I felt as ancient as a special edition U2 iPod (black, 4th gen) at the Avalon Apple Store in Alpharetta GA last week as sat across the street in a wicker chair sipping a Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc waiting to be seated at Rumi’s Kitchen for my wife’s birthday dinner with the in/out-laws.

The three of us sat in a Han/Chewy/Leia arrangement in front of Nate’s webcam as we attempted to make contact with others riding this blue-green sphere through the universe (being the most hirsute, I was Chewy, you can figure out the rest).

We generally didn’t last more than 30 seconds with any random group or individual served up to out mötley crüe. It turns out, the sight of a 49 1/3-year-old man on the camera in horn rimmed glasses, a Westerly sweater (by Pendleton) topped off with a porkpie hat festooned with a turtle broach tends to scare the fuck out of most tweens and teens. But periodically, we’d make contact with fellow travelers who wanted to chat with our unlikely gang of three.

The ones who chatted all said the same thing: “That’s so cool that your dad (Chewy) hangs out with you!”

It made me a bit sad, honestly. We’ve always hung apart together in the basement. None of us get up in each other’s shit, but there is a unspoken solidarity that permeates our meticulously cluttered space. It’s almost like when the sun slowly heats the earth more and more as the angle gets closer to 90 degrees—you don’t necessarily see it as much as you feel it.

My son’s online moniker is MyFriendNinja. It has stuck since the day we sold the Thomas the Tank Engine table and the $1 mil. worth wooden train cars for a paltry $150 and parlayed that cash into a used Xbox 360. That was six years ago; he kept the moniker. Now, when I walk to his end of the basement and start shit-talking into his much-too-enormous microphone attached to his preposterous gaming rig, the gang on the other ends of the interwebs say, “Hey, is that father ninja?!” I’m like their mascot.

After an hour or so, we disbanded our makeshift Millennium Falcon seating arrangement and said goodnight to Omegle, I was struck by this question: When everyone who ever knew anything about Bob Dylan is dead, will anyone even know that Bob Dylan ever existed?

I’m thinking, naught—at all—for the future is devouring the present (and past) at a pace seen only in Sci-Fi books/movies.

I need to secure that bartender gig at that beachside Aruban Tiki bar ASAP!

Copyright © 2021 – ∞ Blake Charles Donley