Sunday, May 30, 2010

All's Well That Ends Well

Yesterday was my daughter's birthday party. She turned 4 today. It was a big party - bigger, at any rate, than this introvert is quite comfortable with. But, whereas this blog is all about me, yesterday certainly was not. And my daughter had a great time; she also made a killing. But the best part, I think, was when she sat down in front of her cake and we all sang Happy Birthday. It reminded me of my favorite part of Christian baptisms. I'm not a religious man, but when all those people stretch their arms towards the baptisee and vow, in front of God and everyone, to help take care of him or her, I feel God. And that is how I felt yesterday. Looking around the room, at all those people, from all those walks of life, gathered because they care enough about my daughter to spend a beautiful weekend day celebrating her, I felt God.

p.s. The baby, my 4 month old son, made out pretty well, too. He got a couple presents. And, he was held and tickled and cooed at so much yesterday that he cannot be put down today. He wants another day like yesterday. And I don't blame him. I am embarrassed at our riches.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Carte Blanche

The first draft of my previous post, about having "made it", had a different ending. There were more specifics about my life, and why I thought the bully would probably love to lead it. There were lesbians. And sex talk. My wife, afraid I would offend our friends, wanted me to change it. I didn't think I would cause offense, but I had a crisis of confidence, and, unable to reach my friend by phone before publication, changed the ending. As it turns out, the new ending is better, I think, but you, the reader, were cheated out of some pretty good stuff. Well, good news! I have recently been given carte blanche by my friend to write what I want. So here it goes. Put the kids to bed. Draw the shades. Okay, it all started when...what's wrong with this computer? Ke ps bl nk ng on nd of . T ink bat ery dying

He Who Laughs Last...

I was an incredible nerd in junior high. My home life, always abusive, was at its all-time worst. The details don't matter: mine is a pretty common story, and it is one on which plenty of ink has already been spilled. Here is what matters: I don't think it would be possible for a person to feel worse about himself than I did when I was in seventh grade. Naturally, I tried to do the right things at school, but I failed miserably to fit in. I was easy picking for bullies; I was the low hanging fruit. And they had a field day with me. Being bullies, that was what they were supposed to do. I don't remember why, but I signed up for football in seventh grade. When I walked in for the first meeting, one of the aforementioned bullies said, "you'll never make it," and stuck out his foot. Why is it that the stuck out foot always trips nerds? I was not a bad athlete, but nonetheless, I went down. Maybe I simply knew my role.

In the movies, the nerd usually wins in the end. Everyone stands behind him and laughs as the bully walks away a beaten man. I don't expect that to happen to me. I don't care if it does. I spent a fun evening last night with my neighbors. After they went home, it crossed my mind that I was lucky to have them as friends. Then I thought, "well maybe it isn't luck that I have so many good, smart, funny, successful friends. Maybe I am doing something right." Anyway, I have paid my dues. I love my life. And if I ever run into the above-mentioned jackass, I will tell him that he was wrong so long ago. There is no question that I have made it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


     Have you taken the Myers-Briggs personality inventory yet? You should. If you're in a relationship, you should do it before you do anything else. And so should your partner. Here's a link:
If you are reading this, and you are in a relationship, you are either done with the quiz, or you already know your type. Either way you will not think I'm speaking gibberish when I tell you that I am an INFJ. If you follow the link, you will find a description of your type on I couldn't describe myself better. My wife's is the same for her.

     I consider my wife to be, if not my soul-mate, then close enough that she may as well be. We complement each other almost perfectly. I paint the outlines of our future, and she fills in the details. However, if I was looking for a woman who shared my taste in music, books, movies, hobbies, humor, blah, blah, blah, then Stacy would be almost the last woman I would pick. And my first time around, I did sort of find a woman with whom I shared tastes, in some areas at least. And after 10 months I learned that she had a boyfriend. (I dare say I did not care for him as much as she did. Our tastes differed greatly. I would have picked a smarter guy for her, but what do I know? They are together to this very day.) We never had a first anniversary. Now, how can I be blissfully happy being married to someone who likes almost none of the things that I do?  Well firstly, there are some things that we both like to do. But mostly, we have learned that neither of us is going to be enough people for the other. The great thinker and author, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., introduced me to that idea - not enough people. He argued that one thing, the main thing, that caused so much trouble in marriages these days, that never used to be a problem, was that families had become so small. It used to be that everybody had sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. all around them. Their spouse didn't need to laugh at all their jokes, or play golf or poker, or gossip or whatever. In fact, it was better if they didn't. It was easier 50 years ago to get out of the house and spend a little time with other people; you could tell your jokes or gossip or whatever with someone who appreciated what you were saying. Then you could go home, fulfilled, and chat with your family.
     Taking this personality inventory with Stacy helped me to realize that she was simply not going to see some things the way I did. She couldn't possibly. Her mind did not work that way. Early in our marriage, I would be all riled up about something, run and tell Stacy about it, and be disappointed when she didn't get riled up, too. It became pretty clear that I was going to need more people in my life. I think a lot of people in committed relationships get to this point. Unfortunately, I think many of them feel guilty about it. They think their partner should be enough for them. Their partner almost certainly feels that way. The reason it was easier when it was extended family who was the "other people" is that jealousy and infidelity and all that crap were not issues (unless you lived in Mississippi).

     It can still be done, though. You can join a golf or a bowling league, you can be a Mason, or an Elk, or join the American Legion. Or you can simply have friends with whom you can do whatever it is you need to do. As long as you promise your mate that he/she is the only person that will get all of you, then it's perfectly reasonable to have a lot of other people who get some of you.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Just Don't Have it Tonight...

Oh, lord! Writer's block! I've been trying to write through it. I started the story of how Stacy and I came to be. I started the questionnaire that James Lipton does on Inside the Actors' Studio. Should I finish either of them? Help!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My First Bad Review

An apparently one-time reader of this blog e-mailed me the other day to report that he found said blog self-indulgent and was no longer going to read it.

Editor's note: No shit. It's my blog. But here's the thing: He's an idiot, and being disappointed at finding a blog self-indulgent is only one of many examples of that fact. He is a clown with whom I argued about Obama a couple months ago. A friend posted something on Facebook. Our hero, he was a stranger to me, responded, forshadowingly, with something idiotic. I posted a response to him. Then we continued "debating" by e-mail for a while. There were many reasonable points on his side which, sadly, he chose not to make. I would make my points and then he would respond with personal and completely ridiculous attacks in which he described "all liberals" as thinking such and such. I think he's hated me ever since I ended the argument by writing, "When I think of all the reasonable things you have left unwritten, it makes me want to cry. I would have disagreed but not felt, as I now do, worried for my country. Instead you have called me ignorant, and, I think, don't realize that in so doing, you have betrayed yourself as the same. You may honestly call me many things - fat, well-endowed, thirsty (that last one would have impressed me! ) but not ignorant. I continue to make my argument and you continue to ignore it. And that is the last of my time you will waste." It took me a while to calm down after that "debate". Maybe he has spent the time since trying to prove me wrong, about one thing at least; for he was not done wasting my time, as it now turns out. More likely, he stumbled across my blog, and thought he'd found an opportunity to hurt my feelings. Anyway, I didn't tell him what I have now told you. Here was my response to him: "If you found my blog self-indulgent, I am exceedingly grateful that you have never seen me having sex."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Other Blogs

I was just randomly checking out other blogs. They all had two things in common: They sucked, and they had more followers than me. I'm not sure I want to think too long about what that means.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thought of the Day

Three same-sex couples are suing the state of Minnesota for the privilege to marry. I hope they are successful, for all the usual reasons. Equality, fairness and decency would be on the list, for example. But here's another reason: My wife is a divorce lawyer.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sex Talk

Dear Parents: Please talk to your kids about sex. It's a complicated subject and they need to hear about it from you first.

Dear Mom: Please do NOT talk to me about sex. I know enough to get by now, and the rest I'll pick up on my own.


The Successories poster I would like to see:

(The picture would be of someone standing by a campfire, looking down at it with a content smile.)

Take this poster out back and throw darts at it. Then get yourself a shotgun, load it, and shoot this poster (be sure you are aware of applicable laws in your area regarding the carrying and discharge of firearms.). Next I would like you to find some dog shit. Ready? Okay. Just rub it all over the poster. (Check to make sure that this is legal. I think it is, though. And don't forget to wear gloves for god's sake!) Now the fun part. Take the poster down and burn it (check with your Fire Marshall). If you need a Successories poster, then the poster is not going to help. Many of us have jobs that we will never be motivated by, and that, luckily, we do not need a great deal of motivation to do. Either find different work, or accept that whatever you are are doing now will not give you fulfillment and find a hobby that does.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Dream Nightmare Interview

"Hi, Tom. Thanks for coming in today."

"You're welcome."

"Is is still raining out there?"


"Oh, man! I hope it stops soon. I'm in a golf league; supposed to play tonight."

"I don't give a shit."

"Do you golf?"

"You don't give a shit."

"Alright. Let's get started. Tell me what brings you in today."

"Well I need a job. Got bills to pay and I need health insurance. I looked through the paper and circled 15 ads that looked like they might not suck too bad. I don't know what my dream job is, but none of those was it. Still, I live in the real world and I know I've gotta work. Anyway, out of those 15, 10 didn't even call me back and I decided I was not desperate enough to do the other 4, so here I am."

"Great! What would you bring to this job? What are Tom Morgan's strengths?"

"First of all, I don't talk like a dipshit. That's number 1. Also, I don't take myself too seriously, which means that the next time you come up with a policy meant to bleed more blood from the turnips, I will be able to help you. You won't even know you need the help, because you'll think that the meeting in which you told the employees about the new policy was a success. You'll probably think that they bought what you were selling. You'll think that you had an answer for everything, that they really believed you were listening when you asked for suggestions and feedback and that your euphemisms fooled your employees into thinking this new policy was going to help them. But they will know the truth. Most of them don't say anything in meetings because they long ago learned it doesn't matter. But when they go back to their desks, they're going to be pretty pissed. Morale will be low and productivity down. That's when I'll remind them that this is just a stupid goddamn job and that we should just come in, do what we need to do to get through the day, and go home. Ironically, morale will go up and so will productivity. You may even get a raise!"

"Great!. Can you tell me what you think you biggest weakness is?"




"Well what is it? Your greatest weakness."

"I would say my ability to swallow my pride and do a job like the one I'm interviewing for now. I wish I was more tenacious about following my dreams, but, alas, here I am."

"Right. Can you tell me about a workplace conflict you've had in the past and how you dealt with it?




"Please tell me."

"Well, the guy in the cube next to me drove me fucking crazy. He made strange noises. He smelled. And he said the same thing to every person he talked to on the phone. I heard the same stories over and over, every day. So, whenever he wasn't around, I talked about him with my co-workers. We absolutely destroyed him, behind his back of course. That helped a lot. Sometimes we would e-mail each other jokes about him while he was sitting right there. Then we would all laugh and, when he would ask what we were laughing about, we'd make up something stupid. Then, because he didn't want to be left out, he would laugh, too! Then we'd all laugh harder! God that was great! And it did help deal with him; made him less annoying."

"Good. Tell me about a workplace conflict that you didn't handle well?"

"Boy. I, uh. Yeah, you got me there. I can't think of any."

"Fine. Where do you see yourself in five years?"

"Well, I had my last job for five years, so if I had to guess, I'd say I'll be interviewing for another job five years from now."

"Fair enough. Well, thanks for coming in, Tom. We'll be in touch real soon, okay?"


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Name That Tune Answers

1. Bridge Over Troubled Water
2. Goodbye, Earl
3. If I had $1,000,000.
4. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
5. Pretty much any Beach Boys song not about surfing or girls or surfing girls
6. Damn near every song ever written
7. Jesus Take the Wheel, for example
8. Used to Love Her (would also accept damn near any song not included in #6)
9. Cecilia
10. Hey You
11. She Talks to Angels
12. My Sharona
13. Better Man
14. Suspicious Minds
15. Boy Named Sue

Friday, May 7, 2010

More on Money and Happiness

This is a story about the best things in life happening by accident. But it also involves a pretty shocking outlay of money. One evening last fall, our neighbors asked us to watch their two girls, ages 8 and 11, for a couple hours. They and our daughter are friends and it was easy to say yes. I don't know what they started playing but eventually they began playing "dress up." They would go up to Isabella's room and get her dressed in her nicest clothes, including shoes and accessories. After each change, Isabella would come down the stairs, and be announced by one of the girls. My wife and I were sitting on the couch, in the living room, at the bottom of the stairs. The fireplace was on, candles flickered and glowed - the lighting, accidentally, was perfect for the occasion. You know that feeling you get when everything is perfect? I had that, and for more than just a moment. Happiness was washing over me, wave after wave. After they had spent Isabella's wardrobe, they decided to dance. The neighbors are pretty good on the piano, and they took turns on the baby grand behind us. So it ended up that Isabella and a neighbor girl were twirling around in front of the warm fire, in front of us, while another girl sat and played perfectly imperfect behind us. Can you hear the music? The laughter? Can you feel that warm fire? I can still, these many months later. As I was sitting there that night, I was thinking about all the bullshit that I had been through that made that night possible. The shitty childhood which caused me to want a cliche for my children - a big house, a fireplace, a piano. The disastrous first marriage that caused me to get it perfect the second time. The miserable jobs that made our first house possible and then the second and made it possible for my wife to start her law practice which helped make this house possible. I realized that I had worked my whole life to put the pieces in place for this night to unfold. And all that was left was to sit there and let it happen. I traded who knows how much pain for that night. I can't even guess what that night cost, but it was worth much more.

Little Bella Was Blue

Litta Bella was blue;
she’d up and lost
her shoe.

And though she loved frogs,
and even more dogs,
she thought they hadn’t
a clue.

But then the frog said ribbet,
the dog arf, arf,
“your shoe is under
your scarf!”

Name That Tune

My wife says I have a knack for saying just about anything in 15 words or less. I thought I'd practice with the lyrics to some popular songs. Let's see if I could've saved everyone some time, and if you recognize them when I'm through with them.

1. If you're having a tough go of it, call me; I'll help you out.

2. That guy was a piece of shit and will not be missed.

3. I'd do some odd things if I had money. Take my word for it.

4. There are many ways to break-up with a mate. Many of them rhyme. Trust me.

5. I love my car. (Multiple answers will be accepted.)

6. I really love my mate. (Multiple answers.)

7. I love and trust God. (multiple answers)

8. I really hate my ex. (numbers 5,6,7 and 8 should take care of the Country genre.)

9. I should warn you - that woman is an absolute slut!

10. Psst. Help a brother out?

11. That woman is bat-shit crazy.

12. Even though you're underage, it seems like you're flirting. Let's get on with it.

13. I don't believe that you love that guy. He is an absolute douche bag.

14. If you're not going to trust me, I am out of here.

15. I now understand why my dad gave me this name, but I still hate it.

When it's okay to let your kid eat ice cream for breakfast

A couple months ago, I read about a study which found a good a way to predict whether a three-year old was going to succeed in college. The researcher would put a child in an room and give him or her a cookie. Before leaving, he would tell the child that he was going to come back in a couple minutes. If the child hadn't eaten the cookie, he/she could have it then, and would be given one more. He left the room and watched via a hidden camera. Some ate the cookie right away, naturally. But some did not. And he saw all sorts of methods used to delay eating, from ignoring it to talking to it like it was a pet. The upshot: regardless how they did it, the kids who managed to wait for his return, who were able to delay gratification, were more likely to get college degrees later in life. Which brings me to this morning, and Isabella enjoying a DQ Blizzard for breakfast. Last night was picture night for her dance class. We made it through no worse for wear, but still her mom and I felt like we had earned ice cream. Stacy thought it would be rude if we didn't offer to buy Isabella ice cream, too, which made sense, and so, Isabella got a Blizzard. And, as she always does, she asked us to hold it for her. When we got home, she was tired, so she put it in the freezer and went to bed. This isn't unusual either, but it amazes me every time. Anyway, this morning she was thinking about what she wanted for breakfast and she remembered her ice cream. She asked if she could have it. My first thought was to say no, but then I thought, "well I don't want to punish her for saving it. It should already be in her system so why couldn't she have it now? If I explain why it is okay, shouldn't she be able to have it now?" Well, I did, and she is. And that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thought of the Day

I'm not feeling very creative tonight. But, I don't want to take a night off, either, and I did overhear something at the coffee shop this morning which will work for today's thought. I will quote what I heard someone say. It was the adage, "money can't buy happiness". And now you can quote me, "Poppycock." It does not guarantee it, of course, but it can, and does on a daily basis, buy it. My coffee, newspaper and space at the coffee shop caused me to be happy for a while. And even if you believe that money cannot buy happiness, I think you'd have to admit that it sure can rent it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest Entries

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is a literary competition sponsored by the English Department at San Jose State University. I highly recommend checking this site out.

It celebrates horrible opening sentences and is named after the novelist who penned, "it was a dark and stormy night..." One can write what amounts to his or her own awful opening sentences and submit them for judging. I will be sending these:

1. Through the pure, heavy, cold, slippery, white, driving snow walked a woman who was, herself, none of those things.

2. The chase had been going on all day - a literal game of cat and mouse, except that Steve was no mouse at all, but very much a person and the cat in this case was a tiger - when Steve's stomach began to growl, as he crouched under a bush, and he realized that he had not eaten breakfast while at the same time he heard a growl which came from outside of him and he realized that he would not be eating supper.

3. I have hated clowns ever since, when I was young, my father would come home from work stinking of the burgers and fries he had served all day; you can imagine my disappointment when he came home and announced that he had gotten a job as a bouncer at a strip club.

4. Jon R. never stole condoms - not because it was illegal, but because he remembered how hard he laughed when he read the police blotter item about the man who had had both legs amputated just below the waist and who had been arrested for stealing long pants.

Send me yours, or better yet, add some in the comment section!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Thought of the Day

A lot of times we don't try to follow our dreams because we are afraid that someone will stop us and say, "You suck. Don't even try." And maybe someone will, but probably not. And still, it's much worse if the one saying, "You suck. Don't even try!" is you. And then there is this joy, which I have experienced twice in two weeks and which I hope you either have experienced or soon will: While chasing my dream, I have been told that I am doing well and should keep going. I wish I could bottle and sell the way that makes me feel.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

----Thought of the Day---- Here's some unconventional wisdom for ya: Delicious apples taste like shit.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


It is not exactly unconventional wisdom to say that depression is an insidious disease. But I think conventional wisdom holds that it is synonymous with sadness. And I don't think that's the case. I think it would be more accurate to think of it as physical, mental, and spiritual numbness. It is not the same as feeling sad. It is like feeling nothing at all. I have cried more in the years since my depression began being treated than I ever did before.

I am on anti-depressants now. Before going on them, I was pretty against them. I thought they would change who I was, or worse, cause me to be a laughing fool. Depression is the only disease I know of which tries to convince its host that it cannot be treated. In fact, they have not changed the essence of me at all. What anti-depressants have done is allow me to share who I am with other people in ways I would never have imagined before.

It took me years to muster up the courage to talk to my doctor about depression. When I finally did, I started by describing my physical symptoms. He couldn't find anything wrong with me, of course, and was about to leave. Doctors call this a "doorknob moment", I now know. The patient, seeing the doctor is going to leave and fearing he/she will never get this close again, blurts out "could it be..." I knew it was, of course, and had for a long time. So what brought me to the doctor that day? I finally had had enough. I had a fantastic wife, the perfect wife for me. I had a great house in a great area for raising a family. I had a job which did not suck (yet). I had many great friends. And I was absolutely miserable. I finally realized that there was nothing external that I could change that was going to help. So I went to the doctor. He gave me a sample and sent me home.

And, here again, I was very lucky. I forget what it is called, but what happened to me is pretty rare, I think. The medicine, which can take weeks to work, helped me within days. I was leaving work my second day on the meds and was stopped in my tracks. Right next to me was a flowering crab apple tree. It was magnificent! I can smell it still. Across the road were many more. What a sight! I took a few deep breaths. My God! And then it occurred to me that they did not bloom that day. I had never noticed them before - drove and walked right by them. I could go on and on listing all the things that have happened in my life that anti-depressants made possible. My kids, for example, would be on the list. Not long after starting the meds, I asked my wife why we didn't have kids yet. She didn't really know. She had mentioned it before and talked about adoption and I just wasn't interested. I made an appointment with my doctor the next day and it was discovered that I have a low sperm count. Next thing I knew, we were applying to adopt. But here's another example, and I will forewarn you that it's silly, but it is a perfect example of something that takes almost no energy and that I still would have been unable to do before the medication: Stacy and I had a long weekend off, so we decided to fly to St. Louis. We got in late in the evening and it was raining. Hard. Our hotel indicated that it was across the street from Union Station. I knew the transit train went to Union Station so we took it. We walked out of Union Station, into the darkness, into the rain, and looked for our hotel. We couldn't see it. Stacy called and was given directions. It was at least four blocks away. Seeing no cabs, nor people, we walked. It occurred to me that our predicament was begging us to be depressed. We weren't. We simply walked to our hotel. Once there we found that the hotel had no restaurant. Where was the nearest place to eat? Union Station, naturally. Before anti-depressants that would have been the end of my evening. I would have yelled at poor Stacy. I would have said, "Fuck it. I'm going to bed. Fucking horseshit town." But instead, though we were disappointed, we sat down on the bed and talked about our options.

"You hungry?"


"Me too. What should we do?"

"I don't know. I guess call a cab and go back to Union Station. They have a Hooters! Er, I mean, they have a Hooters I think I heard. They have good wings, I think."

"Okay. Let's do that."

Done. See how easy that was? Trust me when I tell you that I could not have done it without pharmaceutical help.

So I was on my way, with the help of medicine. I was not home yet, though. But, friends, that is enough for today...

Thought of the Day (Morning Edition)

If you are a biology teacher (as a dear friend is) and you are writing a test question regarding birds (as a dear friend was) do NOT, when trying to type "thin, hollow bone", instead type, "thin, hollow boner" (as a dear friend did). Normally, I wouldn't point out something so obvious, but, well, the need has arisen.