Archive for the ‘Just Havin Fun’ Category

I’m reading a book about writing books, and it could be one of the coolest pieces of literature I’ve ever read. Have you ever read something and it spoke to you in a way that made you feel that it was more like a personal message to you than a piece written for the masses? It could be anything, a book, an essay, a magazine article, just something that seemed like you and the author had your own little secret. Songs can do that to me every once in a while too…it’s like there’s this special message, and I’m sure that I’m the only one in the world that really get’s it. Bonnie Raitt’s Too Long at the Fair did that to me the first time I heard the song.  It’s a very superior feeling…when you’re so much smarter than everyone else. This is rare territory for me, but I’m feeling it with this book. I get it.

However, my smart, superior self-image came crashing back to reality this afternoon (where it should be) when I realized that I left the book on my night stand at home. What a dumbass.  I’m traveling this week, and I feel like I’ve left a good friend behind and alone at a biker bar, or like I drove off and left my kids at a rest area.  This book may become part of my soul, and I treated it as if it were an afterthought. I will punish myself for this crime…not sure what the penance will be, but it will be severe.

Somebody somewhere once said, “You know you’ve read a good book if when you finish you feel like you have lost a good friend”…I have no idea who to credit for that clever thought, but its brilliant, and true.  I love it when I feel that way about something I’ve just read. Lonesome Dove, To Kill a Mockingbird, Fluke, Lamb, The Count of Monte Cristo, Florida Road Kill, The Contender, King Rat, Papillion, Red Storm Rising, The Catcher in the Rye…and now Bird by Bird are all in my posse…my crew. I would do anything for them, and I know they would do the same for me, because we have a bond… we are good friends for life.

A good book (or a good song) can comfort you or make you cringe, keep you warm or throw you into an icy sea of despair, satisfy your hunger, quench you, or leave you thirsting for more. They make you laugh or cry out loud…just about every physical or emotional condition can be realized when the words have been put together in a way that connects you to the story, or even the characters.

I’m not exactly sure why I decided to share my thoughts on parenthood, my livelihood, the neighborhood, husbandhood, WHATEVERHOOD, but I really do enjoy it. I take pleasure in the process more than the applause.(Thank goodness!)  Other than obsessing over whether I need to insert a comma, or a semicolon, or an ellipsis… or nothing: it’s just so damn fun to put a story together! 

Then, if the response is good and positive it inspires me to do more. However, if the response is not as favorable, or if the piece is not well received, I’m still inspired to do more…just do it better.

Most of my life I have been able to make people laugh.  My original concept of The Large Man Chronicles was to simply create laughter, maybe provoke a little thought or pluck at a heart string, but for the most part I had humor in mind. Now I want my stories to become a friend that the reader won’t soon forget. Good company on a chilly night, a place of comfort and refuge. That’s a lofty quest, but that’s okay, I dream big. I’m just dumb enough to be comfortable thinking: Someone else has done this, why not me.

Not long ago, I dreamed that I was nominated for a Pulitzer for a piece that had been in a small market newspaper. Excluding dreams that have involved beer or Baywatch it was the best dream I’ve ever had, except for the end.

My BIG Dream…

Everybody posted congratulations on Facebook. The people I work with were trying to decide who would get to go to New York for the award ceremony. My wife was trying to work out child care because the Pulitzer folks would only give us two tickets to the event, and she didn’t want to miss her opportunity for a red carpet walk. She had a dress picked out, but oddly she was going crazy trying to find shoes. My parents didn’t believe it, not as in “This is so exciting JC, we can’t believe it!”  It was more like “Oh BULLSHIT JC, you couldn’t pass ninth grade English!”  But that’s how they are, and I wasn’t going to let them ruin my moment.

I was honored, humbled, and of course, so excited. It was the first time I had been nominated for any kind of award since I was in high school, and that was just “Best Weed” in the senior superlatives . I didn’t win because of some Columbian import shit that showed up a day before the votes were tallied. The voters all got stoned and gave the award to a Latin teacher that nobody liked. He got fired, I lost the only award I was ever nominated for, we both got shafted. Such is life.

I was preparing an acceptance speech, (for the Pulitzer, not the weed) but because it was my first nomination I was mostly preparing for the barrage of interviews that were sure to come. I repeated over and over, “Well thank you Barbara, it has been an amazing couple of weeks.”… “I appreciate you having me on the show Jay. It’s an honor just to have been nominated”. I had the “awe shucks” routine down so well you could smell it on me. You would swear that I was wearing an aftershave squeezed from fresh-cut hay and country rain.

As the dream continues…I’m picking out new shoes, and trying to decide if I want to go classy & glam in a tux, or go artsy & eccentric in a pair of jeans, sandals, a Harris Tweed jacket with suede patches on the elbows over a tee-shirt that said “Writers do it on a desk”. This was my moment and I wanted to make an impression…who knew when or if this would ever happen again.

I leave the shoe store, and now I’m on the set of Conan doing the pre-show interview with a hot little intern named Bay…I think it was short for Bailey. I’m scheduled to go on right after Bruce Willis; if he stays I’ll be on stage with him, Conan and Fergie (the singer not the Jenny Craig royal). Bay has a list of questions clipped to her brown clipboard and asks me what I’m most excited about.

 “Hmmm…I guess being in the same room with the Pulitzer bikini team, I hear they’re hotter than the Hawaiian Tropic bikini team…brains AND beauty” , I reply with excitement.

…she laughs and says, “That will be hilarious, go ahead and use it.”

I reply, “I will, because it’s the truth.  I love hot women, smart women, and anyone  who pushes the intellectual envelope.”

She just stares at me for a minute then she says, “I…I ahhh don’t think there really is a Pulitzer bikini team. Are you trying to be cute? Or are you making fun of me?”

I say, “Of course not! This is what the caller from Columbia University told me…my wife and I would be sitting in the row behind the Pulitzer Bikini team.” I laughed nervously as I said this, I didn’t want to upset her, but that’s what they said.

This is where the dream gets weird…

She stands up and pulls a 3 foot saber from out of her 14 inch clipboard. The weapon is huge and shiny and heavy-looking, but it’s in the shape of a ferret. Her face turns into Mel Gibson’s painted William Wallace face from Braveheart, but she’s still a girl. She screams at me and swings the sword in a complete three hundred sixty degree circle while in mid-air and just before she makes impact with my skull, I wake up and I scream


I’m now wide awake, my chest heaving, I’m covered with sweat, sitting upright checking the left side of my head and face to see if it’s been crushed. My wife rolls over half asleep, pats me on the hand and says, “I know honey, I trust you”, then falls back asleep.

DAMN IT! I hate coming out of a dream like that. That always happens when I’m going to score a touchdown, kiss a supermodel, get a piggy back ride from Muhammad Ali, or when I win a prize. SHIT!

I’ll never know if I won, or if there really is a Pulitzer bikini team. I guess I could Google it, but I’m afraid. The truth is, I don’t want to know the truth…I like the story that was the dream.  That story became my friend.

Until next time…when I’ll do better.

The Large Man

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The Large Man Chronicles 



My 10 year old daughter has asked the Santa question to my wife already, and she prefaced the question by reminding my bride “the worst thing you can do is to tell a lie”.

We have had that agreement since she was about 5 years old. 

I felt that the agreement was necessary because, as a young person I was such a pathological liar – George Costanza had nothing on me. I once told my mom that my biology teacher entered my terrarium in the state high-school science fair, and that I would be away all day and night on a Saturday, and that it would cost $50. I then went to the local drive in movie with my buddies, drank Malt Duck until I puked, and missed being hit by a car by mere inches. One of many sad and shameful things about this recollection is that I more than likely could have just told my mom what I was doing, (less the Malt Duck) and she would have been fine with the activity. But with the story I used, I had to create more lies to cover the original. What place did I come in? What was the winning entry? Etc. etc. I then had to deal with the guilt of all the lies, and a $50.00 embezzlement from my poor sweet mother. 

That’s just one mildly disturbing tale of many. The BS that I conjured as a teenager and as a young adult was my full-time job. I have since learned why I did those things, and I won’t bore anyone with the psychology behind it all now. I will say that today, trust is fairly sacred to me. For my children to have the kind of teenage years I want them to have, I will have to be able to trust them completely. SO…they should expect the same in return. Right? 

So… what to do? What to do? Santa? Tooth Fairy? Easter Bunny? Wikipedia? Hooters girls are Santa’s elves in their summer job?  Believing in these things is monumentally important in our home – as they are in many homes. I’ve read so many different strategies on how to handle this, and I have listened to many more ideas from well-meaning parents, friends, and co-workers.  This is an issue that nobody can help with, mostly because I don’t want any help. My heartfelt belief is that a daughter’s relationship with her father – when it comes to trust is unique to the individuals involved. What works in some families, would not in others.


In the Large Man world, a little girl has to believe in her father, and what he teaches.  Believing that the things your parents tell you are true is a critical ingredient to creating a safe haven for a child. Will the weight of the disappointment of Santa Claus being more of a spirit in your heart than a real person that you can touch, confuse the fact that you really do need to do your homework and go to college because you won’t have a chance in life without a good education? I don’t know. 

No tooth fairy! Really? What other bullshit have you been feeding me dad? Are drugs really bad for you? Should I really wait until I’m 35 to kiss a guy? Am I really safe with you? Are there really and truly no monsters in my closet? Was the lady you were hugging at the mall today REALLY your cousin? 

These are tough things to deal with, and frankly, these things are the reason why I told my wife that wanted to raise bullmastiffs – NOT children. But here I am, too late to turn back, and too early to send her off to the college I have found for her. (I chose an all girl college on a remote island off of the Georgia coast surrounded by sharp rocks, and man-eating sharks. The administration and faculty are all heterosexual virgin women, and all the dormitories are guarded by ferocious penis eating pit bulls. She may never learn how to parallel park, and we’re going to have to pay the out-of-state tuition fees, but when it comes to your daughter’s education you should look at safety and quality – NOT the price tag). 

I remember when my mother told me that there was no Santa; I called her a lying whore, then tried to burn down our Christmas tree. “Lies! Lies!” I screamed in despair. I overreacted. I was 16 and had just failed my driver’s test for the second time, so it was a bit of an emotional day. Based on that memory alone, you can see why I’m a little apprehensive about this subject, and how to discuss it with my baby girl. 

I think we’ll be able to get through one more year. She’s still young enough to trust the grown ups without many conditions. And she is fearful enough to the adage that non-believers get no visit to completely dismiss all belief in St. Nick. But you can see it coming. You see her looking over her shoulder to see our reaction to key moments as we watch Elf, The Santa Claus, and Bad Santa. The theme of all these classic family movies revolves around the premise of adults not believing in Santa Claus. 

I blame my wife for most of this. I assumed when she agreed to marry me when she wasn’t even pregnant that she wasn’t very smart. I assumed incorrectly. My wife finished college in only 4 years! Had I married someone a little bit closer to my IQ level we would be worrying about this 5 years from now.  But thanks to my little swimmers taking a dip into the deeper end of the gene pool, we’ve ended up with a fairly smart child. What to do? What to do? 

Thanks for reading, this one actually will be continued… 

Merry Christmas, 

The Large Man

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An Evening at the Airport

The Large Man Chronicles


An Evening in Charlotte International Airport


If you take the time to look, nothing special can become very special. If you look really hard, nothing special can become downright noteworthy…or blog worthy. (Damn! At least I hope so)

I am at the end of a 3 hour layover in Charlotte, on my way to Dallas/Fort Worth for a week of revenue generating activity. It is 8:00 PM and frankly none of these details are special: I do something like this just about every week. But at the same time, if you take a few minutes to really look, these are the things you might see from a gray upholstered chair at gate B3:

  • A rather tall and striking woman sitting straight across from me in a dark gray business suit…working what looks to be 2 Blackberries and a laptop: its friggin 8:00 PM! I hope she is not a valve & fitting sales person, or a blogger trying to get published. I can’t compete with that kind of work ethic. She seems uncomfortable with my gaze; she must see only my steel-blue eyes and none of the human complexities that lie behind them… so I move on.
  • Two seats down from the gray suited worker bee is another striking woman…but in a different way. She is sort of short and a little more round in her features, she is in black stretchy pants that are too tight. The spandex is SCREAMING for mercy… this pretty woman is not too big; her clothes are just too tight. Her hair is dyed jet black, and it stops just at the shoulders of a perfectly matching black stretchy top. The black top is …revealing. Let’s call it low slung. Displayed within the frame offered by this low slung top is a very large, very colorful tattoo of the sun rising in flames from her bosoms. I guess it could be setting in flames into her bosoms; I’m trying to discreetly figure it out. No matter what the sun is doing now, in about 15 years it’s gonna look like a golden pond in the middle of a burning swamp. You should think about that shit before you invest all that time and money into inking up such prominent body parts. She seems annoyed that I’m staring at her chest.  
  • There is a badass, true Texas cowboy sitting right next to me…starched and creased Wranglers, real boots with the wear of work on them, lines on his face tell a story…tough guy. The tough guy is on his cell phone saying something in a soft voice…daughter or granddaughter is my guess. He hangs up just after, “okay, I love you sweetheart” in a drawl that makes me think west Texas. Now he’s helping the family next to him wrangle their toddler, because they are 2 hands short. I would help, but somebody has to type out the story. This guy is cool, and is completely comfortable if you are staring or not. He’s a tough guy, but he’s a gentleman. I think I would like this dude, but he might not like me. I might be a little talkative for him. I won’t give him my card. 
  • Nestled next to the lady with the sunny bosoms is an art student. I have no proof, but I know I’m right. Same jet black dyed hair, with a streak of purple. She is sporting a tattoo of her own: left shoulder… a spider web with a black widow at 5 o-clock on the web. She’s protecting several shipping tubes from the rambunctious kids that Tex just gave up on. I think I like this girl. She responds to my smile with a smile of her own, so, unlike the worker bee, I’m thinking she has a sixth sense when it comes to men who are noble in their character. 
  • Now just walking up is a polar opposite of the girls in black; and distinctively different from worker bee too. Strawberry blonde hair that could use a little brushing…windblown & outdoorsy. She has a very tight Texas Longhorns tee-shirt on top of a very tight pair of jeans on top of a very tight (as in appropriately cool) pair of cowboy boots. Her tight, is not like Ms. Sunrise’s tight… her tight is like ain’t no one complainin’ tight. I have no idea what her story might be, but she just got Tex’ attention too. Let’s call her Longhorn.  Tex hops up from his place next to me and offers his chair…gentlemanly as it is, it’s a dumbass move because now she’s sitting next to me. You don’t want the hottest chick in B3 sitting next to me…game over.

 This is a rare treat! Usually only smelly fishing bait sales people, or someone with a cold will sit next to me. She has a sweet smell. Not like a perfume, but maybe a nice suntan lotion. Every guy in gate B3 is staring at her, and envying the shit eating grin on my face. I would have offered her my seat, but again, someone has to tell the story. She has a very friendly and easy aura all around her. Not easy as in slutty, easy as in relaxed. Easy as in… if there was no wine left at the party, she would just say “I’ll have a beer”.  Then she would just kinda toss her hair over her shoulder with a smile as she walked away and looked back at you as she said “Thanks”. That move gets me every time! The tossing hair over the shoulder with a smile of gratitude while settling for a beer when you really wanted a glass of wine move. My wife landed me with that move. I think they teach it at finishing schools or something. 

  • As we are all sitting (in Tex’ case standing…dumb ass) waiting for our plane to arrive, I notice a couple of pilots that I had seen having dinner earlier. They are now standing at the doorway to gate B3. Nothing special about that other than I remember thinking these guys looked to be in bad shape – not common for most pilots that I see. THEN, I remembered what I thought while I was watching these guys eat: “Now there’s a couple of heart attacks waiting to happen!” I had a private chuckle over this as I watched them down their Texas sized plate of North Carolina BBQ, hush puppies, slaw, fries, pecan pie, and a 55 gallon drum of sweet tea. I currently find this much less chuckle worthy as I think about them flying me to DFW for the next 2 hours and 35 minutes. This “not so special flight” is now becoming an adventure…and not in a good way. I like Disney World and white water rafting. I hate it when I have to take over the plane when the pilot and co-pilot are having coronaries. I’ve done it like 3 or 4 times*, and it really sucks.

I look back at “Sunrise” and she is still giving me the stink-eye. What the hell? If there wasn’t a family in the general vicinity I would challenge her on her aggressive posture towards me. Sunrise and I have a policy conflict. As a general rule, I will discreetly take a gander at a woman’s more striking features; it is part of being an American male…a civic duty if you will. Paint certain features up with an orange, red, and neon yellow fiery sunrise and the same policy applies, just remove the discreetly part. Frankly I’m a little hurt…if Tex were participating in the activity would she be as angry? I’m not even staring in lust, okay… maybe a little bit, mostly it’s just curiosity.

Oh it gets better…

So, they call zone 1 to board the plane, I am shutting down my remote office, I pack up my laptop, and as I walk by the row of chairs in front of me,  Ms. Sunrise says, “I hope you enjoyed the show little man”.

Huh? Excuse me? WHAT? Little man? (Obviously she’s not on Facebook) She makes this statement in a very passive aggressive voice. Loud enough that I could hear something, but not loud enough for me to be sure of what I heard…or so she thought. Because I lost my sense of responsibility at an early age, all of my other senses are more finely tuned and acute. I have the hearing of a whale, better than a guinea pig…better than a wife in the next room at a party when you are planning a fishing trip with the guys. I heard her just fine.

I want to respond…I (now) want to ask some questions. Why? You are a beautiful woman, why the ink? But if the ink is your thing, bless you, you have every right. I love expressive people. But when your posture and presentation says, “look at me”…don’t get mad when I do.

But I say nothing. I’m not in a confrontational mood, and what if she kicked my ass in front of everybody? Well let’s just say as good a story as that might be; it’s a Large Man Chronicle that I just don’t want to write. Getting my ass kicked in front of the Longhorn girl would be something you could never get over.  If you roll through the 3 levels of humiliation on The Large Man Humiliation Scale, it doesn’t get any worse.

  • Level 1 humiliation…any ass kickin.
  • Level 2 humiliation…ass kicked by a girl.
  • Level 3 humiliation…ass kicked by a girl in front of a bunch of women, children, overweight airline personnel, real cowboys, and hot chicks that smell like suntan lotion.

…this can’t happen. So I withhold a retort. I really don’t want to create bad vibes for myself or anyone…I’m going New Testament, and turning the other cheek. This is better for everybody.

So as I swallow the urge to engage the angry exhibitionist, I refocus on the pilots. Where are they? Are they really our pilots or are they just hitching a ride? I find them at the end of the jet-way…the answers are very clear. They are here, and they are taking me to Texas. My panic reflex starts to wiggle, throat tightens a little bit, that “need to pee” feeling starts to take over the lower half of my body. White knuckle grip on the brief case as I walk onto the plane. Because of a lot of miles flown, at least I’ll go down with the ship in first class. Just don’t lose it in front of everybody, I think to myself as I stow my briefcase and settle into the soft roomy seat. Maybe Longhorn is flying first class? My mood begins to improve with that thought, just as I start to get a little excited about that notion (and the fact that the seat next to me is empty), I look up to see Tex walking onto the plane with her right behind. HE takes the aisle seat next to me after he turns to her and says, “Nice to meet you, I guess I’ll see you when we get on the ground. I’d offer you this seat too, but the flight attendant said I couldn’t”.

She just walked past and smiled back at him as she tossed her hair over her shoulder and said, “Thanks, I like the window seat anyway. I look forward to that beer when we get home”.

Damn!!…maybe I should have offered my chair. I could have chronicled this later! Probably would’ve been a better story! Oh well…at least now I can include my wife on the distribution list.

We made it safely to DFW, no coronaries, no conflicts, maybe a love connection after we hit the ground. I didn’t see Tex, Longhorn, Sunrise, or the art student in baggage claim. I did see the worker bee…cell phone in her ear…making it happen.

If you just take the time to look, nothing special becomes something. 

As always, thank you for reading.

The Large Man

*ok that was bullshit. I’ve never really taken over a plane for a pilot that had a coronary. But I would if called upon.

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