What does your (Wo)Man in the Mirror say about you?

It’s been over a year since I’ve blogged.  I’ve been having a tough time shaking the sense of guilt I feel about using my time blogging (for leisure) versus reading one of a myriad business, productivity, news, financial, technology, etc. articles at my fingertips courtesy of the web.  I almost feel as though there’s so much to consume, I ought to consume as much as I can.  But I can’t deny the awesome way I feel when I click “publish” on a draft.  And then there’s the even better way I feel when friends ask me about my next post because they genuinely enjoy what I have to say and/or how I say it.

So I’m taking another step off the curb.

The other day I stumbled upon a clip of Michael Jackson’s hologram performance at the Billboard Music Awards.  And when I say stumbled I mean I was overwhelmed by reposts on Facebook.  I’m a big Michael Jackson fan – I literally still get a little faklempt every time I listen to “Off The Wall,” my personal favorite, because I tend to drift off thinking about how sad a life it was he led, and then selfishly, how much more we could have had from him had he had some help along the way.  But this hologram performance, the 15 seconds I saw of it, was weird.  Weird in a bad way.  It wasn’t Michael.  It was an idea of Michael. Did this capture who he was a performer?  Would his fans be comfortable embracing this gimmick?  For a man who was seemingly never comfortable in his own skin, this seemed the ultimate in exploiting that.  And I can’t imagine anyone who loved him wanting to see this.  Because he was an incredible performer.  And this did not do him justice.  And I don’t think anyone would say otherwise.

I recently posted to Facebook looking for recommendations of surgeons (not for me).  And while I got what I was looking for, I also got the added bonus of connecting with folks I hadn’t been in communication with for some time.  One of my friends shot me a note with a recommendation and a “how’re you doing?”, “what’re you up to?”  We traded emails and the conversation ultimately shifted to a former friend mine, who was actually the way we’d been connected.  As it turns out, he now is a former friend of my friend as well.  And he was no longer a friend to either of us because we both felt we’d been wronged by him.

In the time since the demise of our friendship, there’ve been variations of the story that have emerged.  And while history takes its toll on the story’s accuracy, one thing remains, and was reinforced to me this day.  For the second time, I had a friend tell me they heard his story and didn’t believe it for one second, less because he’s a shyster (although there may be veracity to that), and more because I am a good guy.  A man of integrity.  Someone who would never lie, cheat or steal.  Someone who honors the words he speaks and the commitments he makes.  And this is super important to me because that’s how people know me.  They can rely on me, trust me and never have to doubt my intention.

How do people know you?

They say don’t lie, because it’s easier to remember the truth (less to remember).  But how about because it’s the right thing to do.  Honor the truth, who you are and what you speak. And people will see that in you.  And it’s a great feeling.  World… it’s on.

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Did you hook up last night?

I was checking out at Whole Foods a couple of weeks ago and the young woman working the register sounded nasal — I figured it was allergies because according to NY1, the pollen count was through the roof.  As I usually do with most everyone I meet, I started chatting with her and she volunteered, apropos of allergies, how she hadn’t been afflicted until this year, when she turned 21.  She, even as a child, used to make fun of her mother for having allergies.  It would’ve been easy to see at such a young age that she didn’t have much of a future in comedy.  Needless to say, karma had now returned the favor.  And the conversation continued…

“Thankfully, I’m not allergic to anything.  It’s been 41 years and I’ve never had to deal with allergies.”

“You’re 41?  My mother’s 41, too.”

Gulp.

“You don’t look 41.  You look more like you’re 35.”

I assume this was meant as a compliment.  How about 34 so I can at least be on the up-slope of 35?  Or possibly an “I look good for my age?”  I guess I’ll have to bite my tongue until I’m 50.  Thirty-five has to look much better then!

Forty-one from my perspective looks like crow’s feet that are more pronounced, a gray chest hair or seven, and a current bout with bicep tendonitis and tiny rotator cuff tears in my right shoulder (being rehabilitated with the incredible support and the awesome know-how of the great folks at Spear Physical Therapy.  Shameless plug).  The doctor opined my injuries were age appropriate.  Age appropriate?  Age appropriate sounds as if I should be hosting a canasta game every Tuesday in my bungalow.

Who’s in?  I’ll provide the cheese danish and prune juice!

Speaking of aging, on Saturday, April 20th, I went to a very unofficial SUNY Binghamton (now, the more prestigious, Binghamton University) 20th college reunion in the City.  It was appropriately held at a dive bar that served drinks and beers in plastic rocks glasses and mugs — it was only until some of my friends ordered prosecco that glassware made an appearance.  And when I say appropriately held at a dive bar, I’m not referring to living college life for a night, it was more an homage to Binghamton.  I loved Binghamton.  I love the friendships I made and the experiences I had.  And I wouldn’t trade any of it to have gone to any other school — allow me my blissful ignorance —  however, when one of my friends suggested Binghamton was the best place to go to school, I had to set her on a more defined, straighter path to “actually, not even close.”

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 4.55.49 PM

Would you rather live in our fraternity house…

Again, while I consider these folks friends for life, and cherish the times we had,   CLEARLY Binghamton, and all that goes along with attending the school like, say, living in Binghamton, slightly lessens the overall experience as it compares to schools like Florida, Texas, Michigan, USC, UCLA, UNC, Alabama, Duke, Wisconsin, Duke, Cornell, Texas, etc., etc.  (My apologies if your school wasn’t listed.  I didn’t have the space.  Or the time.)

Or theirs?

Or theirs?

Anyway, I’ll admit I was nervous at the prospect of seeing faces I hadn’t seen in years (in-person) as well as remembering names.  I brushed up a bit on Facebook, but it still seemed a daunting task, even for  me.  I’ve always been the guy who knows and is able to identify everyone, and then share that vital information in an inconspicuous manner so as not to call attention to the fact names have been forgotten.  Of course, I was just creating this anxiety for myself and it turned out to be much ado about nothing.  Everything flowed as if it was 1993.  Being able to turn from one conversation to the next, as if the relationship never skipped a beat.  Certainly a lot had gone on in twenty years but the vibe, at least for me, was the same.

The next morning, I found myself recapping the reunion similar to the “morning after” in days of yore, with one of my buddies who wasn’t able to attend.  He quizzed me as if we were 20 again.  “Who was the hottest chick?”  “Did anyone hook up?”  And finally, harnessing a shred of maturity, “who were you happiest to see?”  The truth was I wasn’t happiest to see anyone in particular.  I was happy to see everyone.  I was happy to see everyone, all together, in the same place.  It was more an opportunity to flashback to a time when there was little, if any, of life’s stresses, always a fun time to be had and a wonderful sense of camaraderie.  Fast forward to 2013  and everyone seemed to be in a great place in their lives — I’m pretty sure I didn’t have really in-depth conversations with most of the group but the chatter seemed to indicate so.  It was a very comfortable environment, made even more comfortable by the fact we were doing what we did way back in the day.  I’m already looking forward to a 25th because I don’t think I’ll be able to make the second unofficial reunion on Labor Day weekend.  Regardless, for me and my fellow classmates,  world… it was, and is, still on.

Epilogue – Saturday, May 25th, approximately 4AM.  I’m tossing and turning in bed.  I can’t breathe because my nose is stuffed.  My sinuses and teeth hurt.  Such is life.  But at least I made it twenty more years than that woman at Whole Foods.

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My hazel-eyed girl

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I recently volunteered to help out at the 10th Anniversary celebration and benefit for Behind the Book (BtB), a non- profit organization that enables writers to share their work and encourage reading at underserved city schools.  (A WSJ article about … Continue reading

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Ay. Yo. I stroined my grain.

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I went to the gym yesterday morning for the first time in 3 weeks.  While for some that might be a welcome break, for me it was a long, torturous layoff.  I’ve been in a gym groove for some time now, … Continue reading

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I had my first shift on Friday.

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A friend who preceded me in being shown the door at our previous place of employment, who also volunteered at the 9/11 Memorial site, said “I’d be a perfect fit” to follow in her volunteering footsteps.  Fast forward 2 months, … Continue reading

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Nice is cool and cool is nice.

Many years ago I was at a wedding.  During the cocktail hour I was hanging out with a college pal.  He wasn’t really a pal but I don’t live in a world of acquaintances,  everyone is my friend.  However, in this case, pal, … Continue reading

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You don’t say. No, really, don’t say.

I know I owe you a blog post or seven on the first half of my Jumpstart program, since it was all I talked about for days,  but I’m fast forwarding to the second half.  This past Monday, my colleagues … Continue reading

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