I often think about all the milestones that mark a life, all the real significant moments that go by with hardly any thought at all.
For instance... a 48 year old ... this very day, this very minute, may be at the exact mid-point of his or her entire life. It's like... "Wow! Ninety six years, and this is the exact middle!". And yet... it just goes by and there's no thought to it at all. We don't even know it. It's hugely significant in a "lifetime achievement" kind of way. Every one of us goes through their mid-life point in time, and not one single one of us can
****This was originally written in September of 2006, when my daughter was nine years old...
My 9 year old daughter forgets things all the time. She'll forget her binder, she'll forget her glasses, she'll forget to clean up after herself. Basically, if something was supposed to be done, and she was supposed to do it, there's a good chance she'll have forgotten it. "But I forgot!" is usually the phrase I hear just before the reprimand comes. I can't be alone in all this. There must be a billion other parents who hear the same thing. Every day.
Why am I sure of that? Because I used to say it all the time when I was her age. It takes effort, but I have to remember that. I said it so often, my sister nicknamed me “Coma”. As a matter of fact, I said it so many times, I even developed a theory for it that I tried, unsuccessfully, to use to my advantage. It went something like... "But if I forgot, then I wasn't thinking about it. I can’t be disobeying if it wasn’t even in my mind. So how can I be faulted for not doing something I wasn't even conscious of?" Not bad for a little kid.
The fact that I thought it up in the first place though, probably means I needed to because I forgot so often. It helps me now when my daughter forgets something. I know I have to teach her responsibilities, but it helps to keep in mind that she's 9, and 9 year old kids will do that. It's been that way forever. Or at least since I was 9.
*** I’m putting a disclaimer here, as I probably should with most of what I write. It would be easy to challenge that my premise doesn’t cover every single aspect of life. So here goes… disclaimer…. my premise doesn’t cover every single aspect of life. I know there are situations people are not to blame for. This is just one person’s opinion for what I think covers a wide swath. I understand there are exceptions.
Sometimes, it’s hard to be honest with someone. Maybe you don’t want to hurt them, or you don’t like confrontation, or you’re embarrassed, but whatever the reason, it can be difficult to be honest with others at times. And if you’re good enough, sometimes, you can get away with that lack of complete honesty.
However, by far, the most difficult person to be completely honest with, is you. Lying to yourself is easy. And if you want to believe it bad enough, you will. It can even become second nature.
Self-deception happens because you don’t want to believe certain things about yourself. You do something inconsiderate, ...
Let’s talk about things that really tick me off. Why? I’m not sure, except it feels better if someone else knows them. Especially if I can get someone to jump into my emotional stew along with me.
For a couple of these things, my own lack of insight keeps me from understanding their reasoning. I’m sure there are reasons. And even though I recognize that, my perspective is just weird enough to amuse myself, so I’m sticking with it. With some of the other items, they aren’t amusing at all. They just tick me off.
One last note…I’m sure, if I thought harder, I’d discover this is just a partial list. I should put a “#1” after the title, because there will probably be a “#2” sometime in the future.
Here we go…
Issue #1 – “Frozen Butter Patties”.
(I started writing this in 2007. It's now 2020. I hope I didn't rush things)
As a noun, it’s just a little line. As a verb, you hurry through a moment. Those two kinds of dashes are related in a way that I consider almost tragic.
Most people don’t think of the dash as anything except a small, insignificant little line.
And yet, it represents the most important thing ever known to man.
Something I wrote one night way back in 2003, after getting back from a camping weekend with my daughter Marlee...
I got back a little while ago from “My Weekend With Marlee”. The big annual once a year “Father/Daughter” tent camping weekend. The Marlee part was great. The weather part… well… part of it was pretty bad, a little was really nice, and the rest was hot and sticky. But the Marlee part overshadowed the weather, so it was okay with me. Considering the point to the whole weekend is to completely devote time just between dad and daughter, it was a wonderful time.
We arrived about 5 PM on Friday, and we were lucky. It was pouring. But since I’m such a fantastic forecaster, I deemed it might start raining even harder… and not stop. So we decided to make the most of it and started setting up camp in what I would consider only a slight downpour.
Because of my amazing forecasting talents, I had thought ahead and had taken a “groundcover” to put under the tent to separate the dry tent from the soaking wet ground. I positioned the groundcover down in just the right spot.
Next was the tent. Of course, by the time we went to put the tent down, the ground cover was soaked. So we tried drying it off… in the downpour. That took half the towels we had brought with us. And it only took half because we had brought extra. It also only took half because we eventually gave up trying to dry off the groundcover in the pouring rain. We now have the tent down on a soaking groundcover that’s there to keep the tent from sitting on a wet ground. Nice!
(Something I wrote back in 2013. When I was much less mature. Okay... who am I kidding...)
I enjoy a pastime called “Curb Jumping” which is a very close cousin to “Cliff Jumping". And as you know, cliff jumping is extremely dangerous.
I, being the dangerous man I am, fit the profile perfectly. Particularly since, being in New Haven CT, the only real cliffs I come across are curbs, which tend to mitigate a lot of the danger.
However, I still must feed my wild side, so every so often, I'll put on my helmet and gloves and get all my line and rope and footwear and everything on and go jumping.
Obviously, in a city like New Haven, finding a good curb is pretty easy, although the steeper ones... 6... maybe 8 inches... are a little harder. Of course, when you're dangerous like myself, looking a little harder for the big ones is worth it, especially when you have a reputation for danger.
Most likely, people look at me in awe when they see me on the weekends. I see them pointing... speaking under their breath, waiting for me to jump. Sometimes, I'll stand there... breathing deeply.... gathering myself on the edge of a particularly high curb... stoking the anticipation. Some onlookers laugh as they try to hide the fear they feel inside for me.
And then.... as they wait... holding their collective breaths.... I raise my arm.... my signal that I am about to leap.... the adrenaline rushing through me.... silence around me.... they stare.... I am so dangerous to them.... and then... I leap. A rush of air inevitably hits my face as I leave the confines of mother earth. Ploop.... I hit the street and raise my hands in triumph!
The onlookers are, as always it seems, speechless. I have done it again.
I once had a free-for-all, heart racing, crazy, fishtailing spin out, from one side of the highway to the other and back, going sixty five miles per hour, while trying to avoid another driver who had just had an accident. I remember the violence in my car, my hands flying across the wheel trying to regain control. My coffee, and everything on my front seat and storage compartment, flying past my face and around me. I ended up regaining control and driving home without a scratch.
I know, in my heart, that I could have easily died that day.
Very often, when you’re involved in a car accident, you cross over from a point of trying to avoid having the accident, to acknowledging it’s going to happen. Although I never stopped trying to regain control of my car, I did reach that point where I knew I was going to hit the cement barrier separating the other side of the highway from mine, and I just could not see any way I wasn’t either going to hit it and flip over, or hit it and fly over to the other side.
And yet… I didn’t. I don’t, to this day, understand how I didn’t, but I did not.
Now, I’m much more spiritual than I am religious, but in the direct aftermath of that event, and even to this day, it just completely feels like God slid his hand between that cement barrier and my car, cushioning the blow, and redirecting my car the other way.
So I wonder…
Cats have nine lives.
But people, …people just die.
Now, I understand that there are always exceptions to what I’m about to propose, including newborns and the very innocent young, but could it be that maybe, just maybe, humans have a certain amount of lives too, like cats, and we actually use up our lives before we die?
No one ever really counts how many times they’ve almost died. We never know how many of our own lives we’ve used up. I’m sure there were times you didn’t know just how close you came to dying, so you didn’t know it was one of “your times”. We probably aren’t aware of some of them, since they’re not always as dramatic as a car accident. The cancer scare, the silent heart attack, the time you had that surgery and didn’t die of a blood clot, or that time the peanuts didn’t kill you. Maybe it was that time your intuition told you not to argue with someone, not knowing he had a gun and would have used it, or the time you were eating lunch in your car and started choking. You coughed it up and finished your lunch. All of those times could have gone the other way, but they didn’t. Maybe you used one of your lives, and just didn’t know it.
All those times when someone well-liked and respected passes away, and the family is crying and wondering why bad things happen to good people… maybe it doesn’t have as much to do with how good or bad you are, as much as how many of your own lives you’ve used up. Death happens to all kinds of folks. There doesn’t seem to be any correlation between whether or not you’ve led a decent life. Could it be that there’s a certain amount of times humans can be in a situation where they probably should have died and didn’t, and when those times are used up, THAT’S what determines when we die?
Maybe it’s as simple as those who don’t use up their lives are the ones who die of old age.
Did you ever see the movie "Pay It Forward"?? Neither did I.
However, I do love the idea.
Whenever I do a favor for someone, I never ask for anything in return because… it's a favor. I usually tell them something like, "Just do it for someone else in the future".
Imagine... if you pay a favor back, it stops there and that's the end of it. But if you pay it forward... it never stops. Unless someone gets a little selfish and stops paying it forward.
Anyway... I love the concept. Now you must like it too. Because I've been hypnotizing you as you've been reading. Bring me some ice cream.
I wrote this a long time ago.... around 2005 or so. Obviously, I'm catching up on some old writings...
It has been a long time now that I have been stranded on this island that is my office. Many suns have risen and set, many moons have lit my nights. I wonder if I will ever escape.
Yesterday was interesting albeit as usual, somewhat dangerous. The unknown, along with the clutter, seems always to be like that.
I was working my way through what seemed like a large field of debris, searching for nutrients of any kind, or maybe some coffee, when I suddenly came upon a clearing. It was unusual, to say the least. As I looked across the vast wasteland that has become my tormentor, there stood in front of me a large mound, approximately 7 feet wide, 3 feet high, and 4 feet deep. It looked unnatural and I approached it with caution. It seemed almost a living being, yet so long left dormant. The mound was covered with more debris and as I approached, I could feel my heart drum a harder, faster beat within my chest. I stared upon this mound, so covered from time past, and felt the evil within. It could only mean danger. I reached my hand out, barely touching the edges of dust and cobweb soaked clutter, so long ago lost to sunlight. It lay there silently, almost daring me to come closer. I did so. With trepidation and a rising sense of danger, I moved the dust cloaked edge of debris a little more. No response. I did it again, my rising caution screaming out. Nothing. I wiped away more of the remains to find a smooth brownish textured layer underneath. What kind of aberration could this be?? It looked man made. I wiped away more, my anticipation and curiosity almost making me throw caution to the wind. I stared aghast, amazement running through my veins as I gazed upon something I could never have imagined. There in front of me was a long ago forgotten desk. A chill shot through me as I contemplated the meaning of this new discovery. Someone had been here before. As the dust slid and lifted, I could see file folders with vaguely familiar names of cases not yet finished. I slowly opened a drawer. Wow, I thought to myself... paper clips. Sticker thingies. A stamp! I could write for help!!
Suddenly my hand rubbed against a small hard lump. Caution and fear once again shot through me as I jerked backwards. No movement. I slowly reached for the object again. It was gray with small button-like buttons. I pressed one. Suddenly from across the island that is my office came voices from under a large pile of 3-ringed binders and industry magazines!! I rushed over, my legs churning, held back against the currents of debris. Hacking my way closer, I shoved the dust covered binders aside, hoping to find someone alive. As I moved a baseball cap and a can of Slimfast, I saw a glow. My eyes stared in wonderment. No... I would find no one alive this day. That was too much to hope for. However, there would be communication. The AM/FM CD Tape player glowed its' digital glow as sound from a long forgotten band called "Train" wafted through the air. I barely remembered them. I have been on this island that is my office too long.
Some day log, I will get off this island that is my office and be set free to enjoy life as it should be. For now though, I continue on, exploring the dark danger-filled corners and long forgotten file cabinets, answering the phone, doing reviews, and the occasional wholesaler-sponsored lunch.
David S. Chorney
This is something I wrote wayyyy back when my daughter was first born. Must have been sometime in 1997...
A bunch of people who saw the pictures I sent of my new born daughter Marlee, commented on them. It made me think. I need a plan for when she wants to date. So far, I jotted down some ideas…
No make-up, no earrings, and no dates until she’s 30. In-home schooling too.
Every boy who wants to even talk with her has to pass a written and oral exam plus I interview his parents by gun point.
Salt peter must be present in his diet, and he must offer to do 50 hours per week of community service work around MY house until he’s known her for 7 years or until he dies, whichever comes first.
He must go through a metal detector. If he has an earring, a nose ring, or any other piece of jewelry, he must ASK me to tear if off him.
He must be a big fan of Perry Como. I am NOT a fan of Perry Como, but if HE is, I’ll feel better.
He must be regularly contributing to an IRA and know the difference between a bond, a stock, and a mutual fund.
His car can’t have any dents or dirt on it. If he ever sits outside and beeps for my daughter, he will either be shot, or he will stay sitting outside and beeping for the rest of his endangered life.
If his jeans EVER fall below the point where his hips start, I will tear them off him so fast he’ll think he forgot to get dressed, and kick him back outside.
He must insist on calling me “Sir”.
If he ever even tries to come into actual physical contact with my daughter, he’ll wish he was being slowly eaten by dogs.
He must naturally enjoy bowling, sunsets, puppy dogs and helping out in senior citizen homes.
He needs to speak at least three languages fluently, know how to write a business plan, know how to create a DNA model with Tinker Toys, and do fractional square roots in his head.
He must make me laugh. Hard. He must make Marlee laugh.
He must bring a bouquet of flowers for my wife and roses for Marlee. If he brings RED roses for Marlee before he has known her for at least 9 years, he will eat them.
He must be on time. He can be up to 30 seconds early, but he can NEVER EVER be late for my daughter. If he IS late, he should only consider ringing that doorbell with a finger he is not fond of.
Okay, that was off the top of my head. I will formulate the other 75% of my plan when I’m not feeling quite as relaxed.
I, like many other artists, would like to think I’m a good artist. I’d like to think that someday, my artwork will be considered precious collectibles for those lucky enough to collect some when the prices, way back when (today), weren’t stratospheric. And even though I do like being honest with myself, I still like to fantasize, so let me. Don't be a killjoy.
By the same token, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no good art. There’s also no bad art. There is just…. art. That’s not the same as saying there is no successful or unsuccessful artist. At least monetarily. Ask any starving artist… they’ll tell you… there’s definitely a difference. Successful art, at least in a monetary sense, is the stuff that becomes precious collectibles. But art, in itself, is neither good nor bad. It’s just a representation of something from within. Now… maybe if you want to be nitpicky, you could say that bad art is when an artist represents something from within, and it got WAY lost in translation. But really… only the artist knows that. And if they haven’t destroyed this bad art already, then they’re probably going to rationalize that it really DOES represent whatever it was they wanted to represent ("My painting, 'Girl Getting Of Horse In Field' looks like a potato because it was an introspective look at her relationship with her mother during her dark years").
But really, there is no good or bad art. Just art itself. And each piece of art connects somewhere inside with potential viewers. Some art connects with the artist him or herself, and very few others. And some connect not only with the artist, but with a huge amount of the viewing public. It is the art that connects with huge numbers that is usually considered “good” art. But I contend that it’s neither good, nor bad. It just happens to connect to more.
Art is not made to connect with as many as possible. It is made to represent something the artist sees or feels, either from within, or in life itself. How many it connects with is something totally different. It’s nice when it does connect with many, but maybe all that means is that the artist, emotionally, was more aligned with others than maybe a different artist might have been.
There are tons of critically acclaimed artists that die broke. Being a monetarily successful artist, doesn’t mean they were better or worse. Just more aligned. And any artist who is true to him or herself, won’t change what they do just to sell more art.
Okay…who am I kidding…of course they will. Maybe. Sometimes. For some. Those who create art for a living... do have to make a living after all. It's fun not to starve. And support your family. But you get the picture.
David S. Chorney
This is where I'm supposed to write something about myself. I still have some hair left. I am still undecided which I like better, photography or painting. My four major food group are seafood, melted cheese, pasta, and Advil. I love the hunt of a finished piece of art. All quotes, essays, stories, and any other written piece on this website, are original and written by yours truly, unless otherwise noted.