I’m fortunate to have a monthly newspaper column were I’m given mostly free reign to opine upon whatever I want. I hesitate to call it an award-winning collection of work only because it’s yet to be awarded. That aside, people seem to like these little pieces, or at least have the courtesy to say nothing.
Here’s a sample of some of the . . . of some of them:
Cute spell must be broken – April 26, 2009
“Mark, is part superhero and part jungle cat, with budding lothario tendencies. He’s a boy whose favorite word and general outlook toward life is ‘Charge!’ While getting dressed recently, he pointed his finger in the air to punctuate his declaration that, ‘Today, I will wear my underpants backwards!’”
A refresher on common sense – February 15, 2009
“Marching more than three abreast is acceptable only for Rockettes or when advancing upon enemy lines. When wandering in packs at the mall, drop back into pairs so that faster moving pedestrians might pass.”
Choosing baby names – January 2007
“One common tactic is to search deep into the family tree for a long-lost name to rechristen on the newest sprig. Or you could just sit under a real tree until inspiration drops from above and then decide to name your child Apple, as Gwyneth Paltrow did. (Isaac Newton didn’t have any children so he developed the law of gravity instead.)”
A superhero on a bus – August 16, 2009
“If this had been the opening scene in a movie that wanted to establish what a cold and cruel place the world can be, the bus would have continued to speed away as the distraught woman coughed on its noxious exhaust. The camera may have even caught a glimpse of the dastardly driver in the sideview mirror, laughing diabolically under his handlebar mustache.”
But this scene didn’t play out like that.
Google This – April 13, 2008
“When I type my last name into Google, I am the top Naumovich. The billion-dollar algorithm created by Larry Page and Sergey Brin goes to work and, after scouring through 26,200 pages of results, picks me first. Or rather, it picks the Web site I set up to promote my freelance writing. The one Google loves best.
Pretty cool, huh? Or is it? No, it is. It definitely is.”
Ready for a mid-life crisis – July 19, 2009
“I celebrated a birthday recently. That, combined with some sporadic feelings of ennui, reminded me that I’m about due for a midlife crisis and the subsequent act of rash stupidity that such occasions call for.”
Rules of the road? – February 17, 2008
“Red means stop, but not with the same urgency that green means go. The first few seconds of a red light are a transitional period; it’s a chance for those who are late for work or hungry for dinner to hurry on through. Think of red in this instance as the new yellow, but without all that pretense of caution.”
The Santa Myth – December 16, 2009
“To temper expectations this holiday season, the president should have Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke don the suit and make like Santa. Then, in a nationally televised Saturday morning address, he could figuratively take the country’s children upon his knee and explain how the collapse of the subprime mortgage market produced a rippling effect that has slowed production at the North Pole to a trickle, which will result in lower-than-expected distribution of goods this year. Ho-ho-ho!”
Give a #$!@ sparingly – Sunday, November 11, 2007
“One would imagine that Joe Pesci, an actor so given to swearing that he probably dotes over his grandchildren with a blue streak of “cootchie-*$#@-coo’s,” has a hard time convincing people when he’s really angry. For someone who rarely swears, however, one well-placed obscenity can stop time.”
Don’t be as silly as Plato - October 9, 2009
“It’s not a total exaggeration to say that we live in time when many wouldn’t notice that the guy in line ahead of them at Wal-Mart was on fire unless someone texted them a link to the YouTube video that the cashier was shooting with her cell phone.”
Grit and say cheese – December 23, 2007
Let me say that I love Christmas cards, especially those sent by family and friends with children. I look at all of the happy faces and think, “Wow, I wonder what level of hell they had to go through to get that shot.”
Daddy downtime overrated – August 17, 2008
“I had imagined, after a day or two away, the kids would start to feel the pangs of paternal separation. A few days more, and they would begin to act out. After an entire week, they would surely be crying themselves to sleep each night and wakening to an ever-deepening heartache when they found that their daddy wasn’t there.
If they did harbor any of these feelings, they did a good job hiding them under a veneer of pure joy.”
To read or not to read – August 19, 2007
“Could it be that in today’s fast-paced society, where everyone is hell-bent on multi-tasking for instant gratification, books no longer are the mark of a mind well spent? In this binary age, is the man of letters losing supremacy to the disciple of zeroes and ones?”
Raise the bar on Father’s Day – June 21, 2009
“Mother’s Day has a more storied history that dates back to the feast of Matronalia, the goddess of childbirth. Given that mothers must endure nine months of pregnancy and then grit their way through delivery, which I understand can sting a bit, it’s certainly understandable that the early Romans saw fit to get all bacchanalian over maternity.
Father’s Day, on the other hand, was cooked up in West Virginia back in 1908 by Dr. Robert Thomas Webb. If Wikipedia is to be believed, those early Father’s Days were generally thought of as a joke holiday, an ironic gesture akin to presenting the town drunk with the Carrie Nation Award.”
TV fumbles football coverage – January 16, 2010
“It’s not that I don’t appreciate a little analysis or prognostication; it’s just that such content has become overwhelmed by wise-cracking, catch-phrasing and overall joshing around. This forced joviality and “Come on, man” histrionics are a bit much for a Sunday. People need time for the morning’s solemnity to lift before exposing them to Terry Bradshaw.”
Here’s to you, moms – May 8, 2010
“I’ve heard of certain species that can self-reproduce without male interference and have read credible scientific speculation that the human race could evolve to the point where the Y chromosome is as useless as a father on Super Bowl Sunday. (Of course, a world without dads would beget future generations of kids who never learn to ride a two-wheeler, but that’s hardly apocalyptic.)”
It’s just golf, right? – July 20, 2008
“This genteel sport has somehow attracted the blood-thirst of Type-A people who have convinced themselves that it’s but a short nine iron from the courses at St. Andrew’s to the battlefields of “Braveheart.” Men in neatly pressed slacks are considered fierce competitors. Meticulously manicured courses are described as wicked, brutal and unforgiving. Putters are given incendiary names such as Ignite and Backdraft, I suppose so that you can feel the flames of competitive fire while gently tapping at a wee, dimpled ball.”