Recaffeinated Mondays: Now witness the power of this fully operational Death Flu

There’s a scene early on in the 1970 movie Love Story when Jenny (Ali Macgraw) attends her first hockey game to watch Oliver (Ryan O’Neal) play. Their post-game exchange went something like this:

Jenny: Now I’ve seen a hockey game.

Oliver: What did you like best?

Jenny: When you were on your ass.

Oliver: Thanks for coming.

I didn’t see the movie in the theaters. Come on, it came out in 1970, I was twelve.

But a few years later it showed on network television. I watched it with my mother. When Jenny said the “when you were on your ass” line, my mother gasped audibly.

This was still the 70s, and I’m pretty sure the movie came with a viewer discretion warning.

I’ve never played hockey, and there was no viewer discretion last week when the flu put me, like Oliver…well…you know…Mom might be reading.

My wife and son both dealt with the flu over the weekend prior. I thought that I had dodged it. After all, I take all the vitamins and supplements and I’d already been dosing up on the cold medicine because I thought that was as bad as it would get for me.

Narrator: It was not as bad as it would get.

By the end of my rehearsal on Monday night I could tell I was in trouble. I got home and confirmed that my fever was somewhere north of 101 degrees.

Fast forward to say that after three days in the comfy chair, I began to return to the land of the living somewhere around Thursday. That was fortunate timing since I had my final dress rehearsal and my show opening on Friday night.

Shameless plug: You have three more chances to see A Red Plaid Shirt with River City Community Players this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

In full disclosure, I was not completely well by the time we opened or by the time I was writing this post on Saturday morning.

In fact, I came up with a list of Saturday projects. On that list was, of course, yard work. After all, it was warm and sunny. But I told myself that I’d do yard work only if I felt up to going outside.

True story, all it took to confirm that yard work was out of the picture was to bend over and pour food into the cat’s dish. I didn’t need to compound any breathing issues by stirring up leaf dust.

Also true story: If it bothers you, I can show you where the rake and the leaf blower are.

I’ll get it done. Just not in time to be yard of the month.

I’m not whining about all the things I have yet to get done. Or the things I didn’t get done when I was flat on my…well you know.

Okay, I may whine a little about the flu, it was nasty business.

The thing is though, sometimes your body knows better than you do that you need to slow down.

This is not a discussion about me begin over-committed, or involved in too many projects, or trying to get it all done. Well, maybe it is in the sense that there was once again a realization that I can’t do it all.

I may or may not have mentioned, I’m too lazy to go back and look it up, that with my current project, I have my next six performing/directing/producing projects lined up. These take me through September of next year. And there are some gaps I’ll likely fill. So combine that with trying to find the paid writing jobs, keeping this blog going five days a week, trying eat right, trying to find some time to get to the gym…and oh yeah…the job that pays the bills…well, you get the idea.

So, it was like my body said “slow down Skippy.” It was like it knew that I needed a break.

I can’t say I was thrilled with the method it chose to slow me down. I would much have preferred a week at the beach.

Then again, my body has also seen my bank balance.

Saturday morning as I write this, I’m easing back into things. I’m working on writing, working on taxes (much worse than the flu), and working on graphic designs.

Yes, I’m parked in my desk chair. Consider it progress that I’m upright.

I can’t, or at least won’t, promise that you’ll get four more posts this week. I won’t apologize for that.

After all, love means never having to say you’re sorry.



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What the Friday: Looking Back to Look Forward

It’s Friday, and at the day job I have coined the phrase “Every time somebody pisses me off, my retirement plan gets its wings.”

Nothing new, it’s just typical, and it’s part of the plan.

Also part of the plan this week has been the statement “It will have to wait until after my show opens.” A Red Plaid Shirt opens with River City Community Players on March 15 and all, or at least most of, my non day-job time is devoted to that.

Don’t judge. Give me a dry yard and a day off and I’ll address that. Until that happens, sorry, not sorry. Enjoy the water feature.

What also wasn’t planned this week was hearing that one of my mentors had passed. In high school, I wrote for, and eventually edited the school newspaper. In doing so, I also had the opportunity to work with the editor of our local paper, both in production of the school paper, and later as an employee. It has probably been forty years since I’ve seen him. His daughters were also close friends. We did choir and some theater together.

As life often comes in full circle, I worked with one daughter on my first stage production, Anything Goes, with Giles Little Theater. I’m delighted to announce that I have once again been cast in Anything Goes, with The Theater Company at Fort Lee, running May 17 – June 2.

Mr. Kane was the first to teach me about layout and design. Because of his generosity, and endless patience, we took the school newspaper from mimeographed pages (look it up, it will do you good) to a four page newspaper spread. I learned skills that I still use today. More than that, though, Mr. Kane hired me to work part-time for the paper, and encouraged me in my (then) journalistic pursuits. Their home was always open to many of their children’s friends.

It made me think about the other mentors who poured into my life in high school and in college. Parents of one friend who made sure I made it to every away football game…for five years. Parents of another friend who gave me my second job during one of my summer breaks. I don’t know if they realized how much they were teaching me at the time.

I’m fortunate enough to also be Facebook friends with my high school Spanish and Creative Writing teachers. I apologize to my Spanish teacher for not being fluent and to my Creative Writing teacher for those years when I didn’t call myself a writer. I’m endeavoring to fix both of those.

I will admit that thinking about the times at Mr. Kane’s home, and thinking about the things that he taught me, that my screen got a little blurry on the morning that I found out the news. It didn’t help that I also had the Carpenters Pandora station playing in the background.

Of course, remembering how Karen, Olivia, and Linda used to fight over me is always emotional.

They all longed to be Close to Me.

I digress.

Thinking about these folks, and all the memories that I have, reminded me once again that I have stories to tell, and that I have a calling to tell them.

Not just a desire. A calling.

There are stories that need to be told. I need to be about the business of telling them.

Before you head into the weekend, here are some other things you should read. Don’t argue with me here. Just read these, it will do your good. Then, honestly, form your own opinions.

Why Did Evangelicals Flock to Trump? Existential Fear.
A.J. Nolte @ The Bulwark
If we disaggregate the polling data on white evangelicals from the 2016 primary to look at regular church attendance, rather than evangelical self-identification, it becomes clear that those who regularly attended church were less likely to support Trump than those who self-identified as evangelical but were not regular attenders.

The Age of Infanticide: The Senate Will Not Even Protect Babies Born Alive
Albert Mohler
Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, the author and main sponsor of the legislation, said, “I want to ask each and every one of my colleagues whether or not we’re okay with infanticide. It is too blunt for many people in this body, but frankly, that is what we’re talking about here today… Are we a country that protects babies that are live, born outside the womb after having survived a botched abortion?” Sasse described the legislation as an “infanticide ban” that would have protected the lives of innocent newborns who survived an abortion that failed.

Here’s How Strokes Happen When You’re as Young as Luke Perry
The New York Times
The actor’s death leaves middle-age Americans wondering how it could happen — and whether it could happen to them. Here’s what scientists know.

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