Real Life

I wish to spark real conversations about life, love, lust, and anything in between

Bullying is and will always be an issue-as long as kids are growing and learning anyway. Every person will experience this at some point in their life whether it’s as a child in school or as an adult online.

But when I hear that someone is bullying my kid I go into beast mode (I have to calm myself down and remind myself that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger). This is a natural reaction whenever a parent feels like their child is in danger-we want to protect them. But can this be taken too far? Of course it can-just like anything else!

Too many parents want to be there to catch their children when they’re falling but if we did this they would never learn how to do things for themselves. If you were there to prevent every little disaster what will your child do when you’re not around?

I’m not saying that “How To Bully 101” should be an elementary elective but we can’t remove everything that’s dangerous from our kids lives. Even if we could accomplish this there will always be another hazard. Instead of removing our kids from the situation we should teach our kids how to handle it.

I was bullied twice in my life and both were in elementary school.

The first was in 1st grade. I lived in the Bronx with my mother and sister. I went to a public school known as CS67. There was this kid that would “invite” me out to the yard where he would beat me up every day after school. Apparently his dad taught him to box and he’d practice on me. Not sure why I never declined. I can remember trying to talk him out of it once but that didn’t work.

I’m not sure how this ended or what ever became of this kid. I’d love to tell you that later that year with all my training I demanded a rematch and was victorious-but that would be a lie. He probably became a professional fighter-glad I could help.

The second time was in 5th grade. We had just moved from Brooklyn to Long Island. I went to Chippewa elementary. There was this kid named Anthony McCrory. He wasn’t a bad kid he just liked to make fun of me. Mostly because of my reaction. I would do what most kids do. My face would get red, I’d get angry and sometimes it would escalate to the point where I’d cry out of frustration.

Whenever Anthony would go into an episode of name calling all I could think about was how I wouldn’t see him in 6th grade because I was moving-I couldn’t wait.

I saw him in a convenience store once (first time outside of school) and at first he seemed like a different Anthony-not the bully that I knew him to be. But then after a moment of small talk Anthony the bully returned.

This went on for the entire school year. Some days were better than others. It never really got physical. Then one day towards the end of the year-the weather was warm-it was that time of the year when we would play outdoor games and have one legged races-we called it field day. Anthony began another installment of bashing my name and I couldn’t take it anymore-my face got red-I lost my peripheral vision and could see only him. I began a chase that lasted for what seemed like an hour but was only a minute or two. I ran like a cheetah zigging when he turned left and zagging when he turned right! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Anthony!

I didn’t catch him. But I felt like I scared the crap out of him. There wasn’t enough of the school year left to find out if my chase made a difference. If I had done that at the beginning of the year I’m sure my 5th grade life would have been much better.

After the chase I felt a little more confident in myself. I also noticed that 2 girls I’d liked were looking at me!

I saw Anthony about 10 years later. A very strange coincidence. It was sunset. I was at the park with my girlfriend. It was almost dark. I could see a guy approaching the park from a distance and my gut told me it was him. All those feelings and emotions came rushing back causing me to panic a little. Then I reminded myself of the chase and prepared for a confrontation that I expected to end in fists. He got within talking distance and asked if I was Nelson. I answered, “yes”. He said, “I’m sorry” and disappeared into the darkness as mysteriously as he appeared. Never saw Anthony McCrory again. Good people make bad decisions-he is a good person.

Whether it’s a bully taking advantage of every opportunity to make your life miserable or a boss at work increasing your workload because he/she knows you can’t say no-having to deal with either or both will only prepare you for tougher obstacles ahead. Trying to remove everything that is tough or uncomfortable from our lives will surely set us up for failure.

I’ll leave you with a great video by Brooks Gidds about How to handle a bully

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The following is a prioritized list of things that I could definitely do without!

Photo by: Pixabay

7. Daylight Savings

It’s great in the fall when you’re young for obvious reasons (More TV time, stay up longer, etc.) but when you’re older and already wake up at 4:30 in the morning it tends to make for a cranky adult.

The sun sets at 4:30 pm for those that live up north! That’s a lot of darkness! I’d rather the the sunrise later and then set later.

Then, in the spring, we “spring” forward as if it’s a great time. Most people just accept the sacrifice to welcome warmer weather but genuinely despise it! I get anxious at the thought of getting my kids used to the changes and putting them to sleep while the sun is still up in the summer.

Who do I have to talk to about putting this to bed?

6. A Crying Baby

I suspect this might be a guy thing. I also suspect that this sound is soothing to a mother’s soul. I know this because when my 2 year old cries I have to cover my ears but Hot Mama closes her eyes and exhales deeply with her index and middle fingers firmly pressed against her temples.

I love my toddler like I love my coffee but when she opens that exhaust pipe I’d rather go bra shopping!

5. The Word “Moist”

I can’t exactly stop the top on what it is about this word but it has to go! No matter the context this word seems inappropriate-or maybe I just have a dirty mind.

4. A Crazy Ex

Photo by: Gratisography

Having a crazy ex isn’t all that unusual. They’re out there. Most people have one and some of us have two. You might be one! A crazy ex that you’ve had kids with because you didn’t know she was crazy until after you left her-that I can do without!

My Hot Mama says, “all women are crazy-not all of them act on it”. That’s scary.

3. Ignorance

I struggled with putting this at number one but life takes priority. I’m not talking about the literal definition of ignorance. I’m talking about the ignorance where someone willfully chooses to ignore what they know is right. An obvious example would be racism. This ignorance is a tricky thing because if you try to help someone, who you feel is ignorant in some way, they may feel like you’re trying to brainwash them or they might get offended. So, instead of receiving your guidance they’ll reject it-sometimes with anger. They might even recede deeper into the ignorance. This is especially true with large groups of people-organized ignorance.

I’ve been ignorant about several things in my life and still am sometimes but I’m willing to learn, admit I was wrong and make necessary adjustments.

That old saying about ignorance being bliss-I say, “Ignorance is blindness”.

2. Judge Dredd Society

This is a place where everything is fair and no one is sad-a place where cursing and drinking alcohol are illegal-a place where whenever a game is played there are no losers and where sex is virtual. I’d rather lose a thousand times and be strong enough to deal with anything kicked in my direction than to win at everything and be weak. There is no strength without pain. It’s good to be positive-it’s also good to be real. There has to be a loser and real sex is better!

1. Death

Photo by: Renato Danyi

“Why must we die?” I ask. Most will answer this question as if death is a normal part of life. One day people will live longer than 100 years and that will be the new normal. There are scientists working on a few ways to prolong life as I write.

They would also say, “there would be too many people on earth!”. I say we will one day inhabit multitudes of planets outside of our solar system and in other galaxies and meet ET! I would like to be alive to see all of this happen. Wouldn’t you?

What could you do without? Tell me about it.

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Marijuana

I need to start by saying I do not promote, sell, condone, smoke, grow, smoke or smoke, wait-where was I? I’m not trying to get all political here but why is it taking, what feels like, an eternity for people to come around on this? Even Canada gets it!

I’m sure I’m not the first nor will I be the last to write about this and by the time some of you read this it will be recreationally legal nation wide. Everyone has done it (I haven’t), does do it (except for me) and will do it (I will not).

Marijuana has been the star of many loved movies like Half Baked, Pineapple Express and the numerous Chechen and Chong movies from the 80’s. It has been the co-star of many movies like Friday, Next Friday and Friday After Next. Not to mention all those features in music videos! Obviously it’s loved and adored by many for multiple reasons but is still condemned by some.

Mary Jane has been been around for a long time (since around 500 BC). And it’s only been illegal since the 1930’s. Apparently a man named Harry Aslinger needed to create a purpose for his position so he aimed his weapon at marijuana. If you’d like to read more about Aslinger I’ve added a link Here.

When I was a kid I knew that my father smoked pot even though he tried to hide it. I can remember being out in front of the apartment building where we lived in Brooklyn and seeing the cops “questioning” him and one of his brothers. That didn’t end well.

We’ve all heard about the many potential health benefits of medical marijuana, from relieving pain to preventing the spread of cancer and about the few recreational benefits as well (not many-mostly causes laughter-which has been known to be like a medicine, so) but most of my sources were from friends that seemed a little too zealous or shady posts on social media that had the same feel. I decided to look for myself and This is what I found. A lot of the potential benefits were exactly that-potential. Because the drug is still illegal in most states there isn’t much funding for research.

One researcher found that people who smoked marijuana on a daily basis had no lung damage. Can’t say that about smoking cigarettes.

Alcohol is legal-it kills. Tobacco is legal-it kills. Painkillers are legal-they kill. Sugar is legal (yes, sugar)-it kills. Marijuana is illegal-it doesn’t kill. Not only does it not kill but no one has ever overdosed-ever!

In a hundred years this won’t matter but what will the future human think about this part of our history if they learn about it? Will they laugh themselves to death the way we did when we first learned it was illegal to own a pinball machine in El Monte, California (true story)?

I’m sure by then it will not only be legal in Canada and a few select states in the US but also all over the world. Maybe then the world will be a better place.

So, with all the research showing the potential health benefits And all the curing possibilities through laughter I’d like to think that more people would keep an open mind towards marijuana.

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‘Tis the season to dress up like someone or something else and scare, be scared and reap as much candy as possible! (Only to later trash it!)

In the spirit of this spooktacular holiday, we call Halloween, I’d like to tell a story-a ghostly story-about a house and it’s family. Read on if you don’t scare easily. Otherwise-well, read on anyway.

It was mid-October. It was chilly by this time of year on Long Island. The leaves on the trees were almost done falling and the sun tended to set early.

I lived in a large 3 story house on Berkshire Drive one block from the seven sisters. The seven sisters, for those of you who are not familiar, were a series of hills famously named because they resembled 7 sisters lying on their backs. If you’re interested read Here. I lived there with my aunt Brenda, who loved to read. She had a book in her hand when she wasn’t doing typical parental chores. I also lived with my cousins Nikki and Melinda and my Sister Denise. We had a dog for a short time but I can’t remember what happened to her. We were all teenagers and did teenage things. We’d have friends over almost every day. There was always someone coming or going.

In order to get into the house you’d have to walk through two doors. The first door led into a mud room. The second door had an old set of metal blinds hanging from the top of the door. Whenever anyone opened or closed that door the blinds would rattle against the door.

This is the house we used to live in:

There were three floors. The ground floor only had the kitchen, a boiler room and the mud room. The second floor had a few bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room with French doors and a stairway that led to a half-finished attic/third floor. The third floor had three additional bedrooms that had no doors and a fourth room that had a door. That door was locked. The window to this room with the locked door faces the front of the house just like every haunting movie ever!

The creep factor of this house was a 10. Netflix has a new show called The Haunting of Hill House. That show reminds me of our house. Mainly because of the room with the locked door.

One night, I was in one of the bedrooms on the second floor. My aunt Brenda was in the living room reading with the television on and the French doors shut. I was listening to the radio (LL Cool J) with the volume down low. My sister and cousins were all out with friends. I heard the door leading into the mud room open and then I heard the blinds hit the back of the second door twice-once when it opened and then again when it was closed.

My first thought was, everyone is home. But I didn’t hear their voices. That’s when I started paying closer attention. A moment later I heard, what sounded like claw marks hitting the floor tiles. Whatever it was it made it’s way through the kitchen, around the corner and went up the stairs. When it got to the top of the stairs it stopped.

I poked my head out the door and glanced down the hallway towards the stairs to see what it was and there was nothing there!

I walked down the hallway to see if it went back down the stairs (I didn’t hear the nails hitting the stairs going down) and before I could fully process what was happening my aunt Brenda opened the French doors and asked, “what are you doing?”

I explained to her that I had heard something. She told me that she didn’t hear anything and that I should go to bed.

This was the only time I’ve experienced something like this. I never found out what it was or if it was even real. I never found out what was in the room with the locked door either.

I saw my aunt Brenda several years ago and reminded her of this and she admitted to hearing something as well.

We all have our own beliefs and stories about happenings like this. I’d love to hear why you think we should believe in ghosts!

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Credits:

-Halloween picture provided by rawpixel.com

Vasectomy-the surgical cutting and sealing of part of each vas deferens, typically as a means of sterilization.

Let me clarify a few things.

First-regardless of what you hear this is a surgical procedure. There will be an incision and sutures.

Second-there are risks involved even if no one warns you.

Third-I have five kids-four of my own and one stepson. (This is this for affect and to show my motivation)

For most men, who no longer wish to have kids for whatever reason, this procedure will be flawless. But for a few that say, “yes, I’ll do it!” There can be complications that you may not be aware of. This story is about one of them.

Pre Surgery Pros and Cons

I created a list of pros and cons to help give you some perspective.

Pro:

-Never having to use birth control

Cons:

-Take day off work (not really a con-more Of a pro)

-Sore

-Ice balls

Notice anything odd about this pros and cons list? Exactly! There’s only one pro! But that one pro far outweighs the cons.

My Friend Scott

“…You’ll ice your balls for a day, play golf the next day and be back at work the day after that”-Scott

I have a business associate, who is also my friend. His name is Scott. Scott, knowing that I have five kids, would jokingly wish that he could refer me to the doctor that did his vasectomy and then would regretfully inform me that his doctor had retired. He had done this a few times over a two to three year span. Every time he mentioned it we would laugh at how many kids I have and “how will you pay for college?” and “that’s a lot of first cars?” and so on. We would end the conversation with me informing him that I couldn’t afford a vasectomy. He’d respond with something like, “you can’t afford not to get a vasectomy!”

So, when I finally decided to get this done (which was only after the wife, aka Hot Mama, gave the green light-because she was done having kids) I called my friend Scott to talk more about this procedure. I wanted to prepare myself. I had to know what to expect. He said, “it’s no big deal. You’ll ice your ball for a day, play golf the next day and be back at work the day after that”. I thought to myself, alright-no biggie-I got this.

My Friend Travis

It’s a simple in and out procedure. You’ll go home, ice balls and rest. You’ll be back to normal in a day”-Travis

Hot Mama’s best friend is married to Travis. Although it started out that way he and I have become better than wives friends (guys that are friends because their wives are). Travis has also had a vasectomy so, naturally, in my efforts to “educate” myself, I asked him about his procedure. He said, “it’s a simple in and out procedure. You’ll go home, ice your balls and rest. You’ll be back to normal in a day”.

Let’s do the math-I have 2 friends that both said they had no problems so:

2 friends + 2 no problems =100% Yes to Surgery

Even the surgeon said it was no big deal and that there would be some soreness and minor swelling.

Great! Now that I had confirmation from my friends and the doc said, “no biggie” I was ready to go!

The Day of Surgery

As with any procedure, no food or drinks after midnight. I Signed in. Waited for a moment before being called in to the prep room. They did the usual testing of vitals and took my temperature, prepped me for surgery and I was off!

I’ll spare you the details of the actual surgery. Let’s just say there were a couple of women in there and it was cold. On my way out of the OR something must’ve went wrong because by the time I sat in a chair in recovery my testicles had grown to the size of a grapefruit!

Post Surgery Pros and Cons

Pro:

-Might never have to use birth control

Cons:

-Take day off work (not really a con-more Of a pro)

-Sore

-Ice grapefruit sized balls

-Didn’t play golf the day after

-Take another day off work

-Intense pain

-Take another day of work (definitely not a pro at this point)

Notice anything odd about this pros and cons list? Exactly! There’s still only one pro but not sure if it outweighs the cons anymore because the cons have grown like the size of my testicles!

he·ma·to·ma
A solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissues

Apparently I had developed a hematoma. Before I got to my car to head home it was so large that I could barely sit and by the time I got home it hurt to waddle! The only position the hematoma would allow me to be in was flat on my back. When I’d get up to use the restroom the pain was debilitating! It felt like my toddler was swinging from one testicle to the other. The only way I could get out of bed was if I took 800mg of ibuprofen and I was still in pain. When my kids and pets were around I guarded my grapefruit like a penguin guards it’s egg.

After missing 7 days of work I decided I had to do something about the pain (without getting addicted to painkillers) so I could get back to work. I noticed the pain was tolerable when the grapefruit was held up and ahead of my body much like breasts, so I made a bra-a ball bra. The only way I could work was by taking ibuprofen and wearing my bra.

I was able to not take medicine after several days but continued to wear the bra for another 2 months. The pain gradually got better. The grapefruit slowly became an orange and then a golf ball.

It’s been four months since the surgery and it’s about the size of a robin egg. I no longer need the support but I still have mild, spontaneous pain. Every day since then I hoped that the procedure was a success because if it wasn’t I’d never do it again.

This was meant to inform not scare. This was my experience and it is rare.

So, should you get a vasectomy? Depends on how bad you want it.

If you decide that you want to go ahead with this procedure do some research and then weigh the pros and cons.

If you’d like to get details about the surgery, have a question or if you want to share your experience comment below.

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Why is it that we all know that there are different types of people all throughout the world but yet we still treat those that fall outside of “normal” as if somehow they’re wrong?

Elementary School

Ahh, elementary school. A time when friendships were pure and your mom still made your lunch. A place for learning, playing and teasing. Yup, that’s right. Kids at this age have no filters. They say whatever comes to mind. Whether it’s a kind compliment about your shoes or a cruel twist on your last name. Kids would say to me, “you’re so skinny”. I Never thought much of it because I was young and naive. Plus, this was elementary school. The place where it all begins.

I didn’t know if I was skinny or fat, tall or short. I only knew that I was 4 feet 11 inches, weighed 76 pounds and that my Irish twin sister, who was 11 months older than me, would beat me up whenever we’d fight.

Middle school

Not much different here except I’d grown taller and my “twin” sister couldn’t beat me up anymore.

High School

In high school I always liked to see myself as a not-quite-as-good-looking Brad Pitt or a Jean-Claude Van Damme without the cool accent but I think I was more like chicken little with better hair.

Even people at church would ask, “when are you going to gain some weight?” Or they’d say, “you should eat more!” One woman poked me In the ribs and said, “you need to get some meat on them bones”. I would get recipe ideas from them that they swore would do exactly that even though I didn’t cook.

Was I crushed? No. Did I want to do myself in? Absolutely not! Did it make me a little self conscious? Yes.

Now

I know I’m going to get a ton of crap for this but I can eat whatever I want and not gain an ounce. The only fluctuations in my weight are from bowel movements (yuk). I’m 135 pounds of man and clothes (140 pounds in the winter-more clothes). I know that there are people out there that wish they could eat whatever they want and not gain weight but I wish that I could gain weight.

Just because someone isn’t over weight that doesn’t mean that everything is ok or that they’re not allowed to be insecure about their weight.

So, the next time you want to compliment your skinny friend think twice. You never know how it might impact them.

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Chippewa Elementary School

It was 1980 something on Long Island, New York. I went to Chippewa elementary school. Like any elementary school most kids at that age were average in height and I was no different. There were a few taller than average and a few shorter than average exceptions but for the most part we were all about the same height.

Oregon Middle School

In middle school (still 1980 something) it was basically the same but there were more than a few exceptions. Seriously, the entire (well almost) school was experiencing puberty so there was a lot of growing going on and not just in height. Every school had clicks including, but not limited to, the Burnouts, the Jocs, the Preps, the Goths and the Skinheads. (I know its probably politically incorrect to classify people like this but hey, it was the 80’s.) Everyone in my click was about the same height.

Sachem High School

In high school things were clearly different. First, it was obvious that all those raging hormones found their place. Second, we had girlfriends and boyfriends! All of my girlfriends were shorter than I was.

At Home

Ahhh, home sweet home. This was the house I grew up in. Well, not this house exactly-actually, it looked nothing like this. It’s been remodeled a dozen times since we moved.

My mom stood at 5 feet 1 inch tall-my dad was 5 feet 7 inches-my sister was 5 feet and 0 inches tall. At 5 feet 8 inches I was the tallest person in our house! And all of my aunts and uncles were average height except for one. My uncle Eddie on my dad’s side was 6 feet tall. But the only time I spent with him was when I was 7 or 8 years old and every adult is a giant at that age. I had a few cousins that were tall but, everyone that I spent most of my time with was short. I was taller than them all. Naturally I felt like I was 6 feet tall.

One Day

It was really more like one decade. And it was from 1999 (Party!) to 2009 that I was introduced to reality. And it wasn’t one incident either it was a compilation of happenings. Things like walking towards another man in anger, who from a distance appeared to be shorter than me (because I was bigger than everyone close to me!) but upon closer inspection I was mistaken. Or, after hugging my 6 feet tall father in-law for the first time and noticing that my head falls under his chin as he says, “love you”. It was this compilation of happenings and many more that brought me to the realization that I had a disorder that had not yet been named-I called it The Opposite of Short Man Syndrome. It comes from having nothing but people that are shorter than you in your life and not having spent enough up-close time with the taller ones. This is not a real syndrome (not yet anyway). I’m sure you all know this. I liken myself to the cow was abandoned by its herd and raised to believe it was a dog. You can find that story here.

Now

My 14 year old son is 1 inch taller than me (really?) and he hasn’t learned what personal space is yet so I get plenty of up-close time with him.

Needless to say the more I age the more I become aware of who I am and more importantly what I wasn’t-6 feet tall.

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