People say that things happen for a reason. That may be true. But in my life things seem to happen with very little rhyme or reason. And certainly no plan.
I used to be married, kind of a lot. If I total the years I spent married it's 21 years and not all of it was marital blech. But I'm now happily single, so it goes without saying that for all of my marriages there have been an equal number of divorces.
During one of my divorces I discovered that my wife (at the time) had already placed a personals ad on craigslist. I chose to play along and answer the ad which resulted in some merry mix-ups resulting in my placing my own ad on craigslist aimed at making her angry – or at least uncomfortable. It read as follows...
“What I am looking for is a tall smart and funny blonde who thinks about everything that happens to anyone in terms of how it affects her. She should be a lover of things that cannot talk back like plants, animals and oppressed children. She should be a terrible housekeeper and disorganized. If possible she should be late all the time and have a complete disregard for how her actions affect other people. When things don't go her way she should become angry and ill tempered but think that she is warm and kind. She should think of sex as a weapon, distraction or tool for getting what she wants. She should be unwilling to share anything of hers with anyone and have many secrets. She should smoke and drink but be intolerant toward bad behaviors in others. She should be pretty and obsessed with the power this has over men of all ages and she should be dedicated to reveling in the superficial flirtations that this evokes. If any of this seems like you - you should write to me. I think I know you already.”
I had dozens of responses to my surprise, and none of them was from her initially. She did eventually acknowledge seeing the ad with a passing comment - “nice ad.” I've written about this in some detail in an essay called “The Irene Malloy Affair.” But I re-visit it here to explain how I got here.
One of the respondents told me that I should be a writer. I had done a lot of writing in various jobs I held over the years. It was all pretty institutional stuff but this was to be a different path entirely.
Our correspondence went on for months. She learned that I had performed in murder mystery dinner theater offerings from a local theatrical production company.
She sent me a link to someone's Myspace page and asked if I knew the person. I did.
It was someone I had met and performed with and was very attracted to. Obviously it was time for me to have a Myspace page of my own. So I got one.
I soon discovered that my daughters (who I don't see or talk to nearly enough) had pages on Myspace. I also found out that they posted things there that they would never say to me directly and it became a great way to spy on them.
Soon I had fully immersed myself in the world of “social networking.” As the number of my friends grew I began reading some of their blogs. They always seemed like “Dear Cyber Diary” and a tad whiny.
They weren't nearly as exciting as Charlie Sheen's recent rants. I can't help noticing that this guy has a string of successful projects, the number one television sit-com in the country, twin sons and not one, but two beautiful girlfriends that seem to love him and each other. I ask rhetorically, “Why is he so pissed?”
My oldest daughter Adison told me that I should write a weekly column after she met a columnist for the local newspaper. Similarly, my best friend had said much the same thing years before.
I told my friend Steve that I might write something after I turned 50. According to him I said that people didn't really have anything to say until they had lived a while.
Then I turned 50.
The scary thing for me about turning 50 was the sudden realization that I didn't know everything, and that half of what I did know was probably wrong. But Steve reminded me of our conversation years earlier and suggested that I write a series of essays and “shop them around.”
That wasn't likely to happen. I was pretty sure that my lack of discipline would interfere.
But then one day I went to get a haircut. It didn't go well.
After the haircut that didn’t go well I thought it might be fun to write something amusing about the experience. Sort of a bad hair day whine – with cheese.
So I wrote my first blog - “Just Rewards.”
Then something completely unexpected happened. A few people took an interest in it.
I decided to conduct an experiment to see if I could actually write a weekly column. The blog feature on MySpace seemed like an appropriate lab for my little experiment.
The “blog” moved to facebook when I followed everyone else there. I have been blogging weekly for three out of the last four years.
A couple years ago I decided to take a collection of these blogs and print up some sample books to send to prospective publishers. I was short on money and ended up selling all the books I had printed.
I called the book “All I wanted was a haircut” since that was the event that really kicked off my writing.
The whole thing was a complete surprise to me. I would walk around my apartment occasionally thumbing through the pages of my book and think to myself, “I wrote a damn book.”
President Harry Truman once said that behind every great man was a supportive wife and a surprised mother-in-law.
Most of the good things that I've done in my life were complete accidents. That's not meant to make my daughters uneasy.
I can admit to you that when I began I was rambling without purpose. Thanks to these little essays and other things they’ve led to – I can now proudly proclaim that I am rambling with purpose.
I am very honored that “All I wanted is a haircut” is an on-going series now available on-line thanks to Trestle Press. Between you and me...I don't think they actually read my stuff but don't tell anyone that I told you that.
Perhaps you will relate to some of my weird experiences being in bands, raising children and various adventures in the on and off ramps of the road to (and from) romance. I hope you enjoy them.
You should probably buy a lot of extra copies in case you lose it – a lot. Or in case there are people you don’t like very much but for whom you are compelled to give gifts at Christmas or other special occasions.
But what I wish most is that you will laugh a lot – or at least a little.
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