There’s this woman on Wells Street, yelling at some guy that she doesn’t love him anymore, and I’m not wondering if anyone is going to record and post her tirade. I’m wondering how many people will join in the fun.
Life holds few guarantees for any of us, but we all can count on this one: Our worst moments absolutely will be recorded for the amusement of strangers who have nothing better to do than salivate over someone else’s misfortunes.
Lose your temper, drive into a lake, fall in the mud…whatever fate throws at us will carry the extra sting of sharing on anti-social media. Send an ill-conceived text, fail in your attempt at humor, forget to disconnect from Zoom…this is how you will be remembered forever.
“Yeah, Ed cured cancer and saved forty-million lives, but remember that time he got up at the end of the meeting and his pants were unzipped? Man, that was priceless.”
“So sad that Audrey died after saving all those children from a burning building. I wonder if the funeral home will show the video of her falling into that vat of peanut butter. That was one of my favorites.”
“It’s so great that all the foster kids are putting together a 50th anniversary party for Jane and Elmer. Hey, remember when they were on Wells Street and she yelled at him that she didn’t love him anymore?”
Millennials might find this hard to fathom, but there was once a time when we could screw up, recognize our mistakes, and move on with our lives. Yes, it’s true!! I could walk into a light pole without anyone knowing about it, telling the world what an idiot I am, or replaying it in slow motion for eternity.
Once, I wore a black shoe and a brown shoe to work and, hard to believe, nobody took a photo of it and sent it to all our clients. Of course, they would have needed to buy a camera and get the film developed and then find a FAX MACHINE to share it all, but what a hoot that would have been. Amiright?
I keep wondering how this will end, if it ever does end. How long will it be and how many shares does everyone need before we all get bored with the whole thing? When does the day come when we all just lose interest?
“Naked guy sliding on ice while holding a python? Nah, seen that already.”
“Three piano movers falling into a pothole? Lame. What else you got?”
“Some rando walking into a light pole? BFD.”
So far, I have been both impressed and depressed by the attention spans of our friends on anti-social media. I would have expected this stuff to be yesterday’s news by now, but somehow these videos keep popping up.
Our only hope is the people who own all those cloud servers. One day, like people who get tired of paying for “temporary” space in storage facilities, the companies hosting our online lives will decide to clean house. We’ll finally come to the point at which so much crap is being stored on the internet that they decide to clear the server farms.
We’ll all get a chance to keep our old posts, of course, but the people who own our data will insist that we pay for the storage. Then, and only then, we’ll all decide we don’t really need to save that clip with the woman screaming on Wells Street.
We’ll all still have embarrassing moments, of course, but it might actually come to pass that those moments won’t redefine our lives.
BTW, I'm not actually admitting here that I ever walked into a light pole. If I did, though, and If I decided to fess up about it, you'll be among the first to hear about it if you click here.
Did I Mention the Labor Pains?
We know why you’re in a panic right now, with pulses pounding and flesh clammying as the clock counts down to H-Day. Last year, we showed you how to transform your quarantine into the best Halloween you’ve ever had, but now the little monsters are coming back and you’re afraid that all is lost.
Oh, ye of little faith. Did you really think we would leave you to be devoured by the demon children of the candy corn? Did you really worry that you might have to give up your secret stash of Heath bars while your own offspring stumble back home with bags of popcorn balls?
Not only have we developed the perfect strategies for maximizing your returns this year, we’ve even disguised our wisdom to make you look like good parents and good people. Get ready for a typhoon of treats and all the virtue signaling you can handle after you teach your kids…
Honor your Mother and Father. Start with the basics by reminding Junior and Little Missy that they owe you for the roof over their heads, the food they eat, even life itself. Foraging for full-size Hershey bars for mom is really the least that they can do after all your heartache and sacrifice. And the labor pains. Be sure to mention the labor pains.
Be prepared. Santa makes a list and checks it twice, and Chad and Buffy should do the same. If they forget whether dad wants the Almond Joy (which has nuts) or Mounds (which don’t), they really don’t deserve to go to college, do they?
Thrift is a virtue. That costume from 2019 is still in prime condition, even if Baby Barney has grown a foot since then. Yes, he’ll be uncomfortable for a few hours, but he’ll learn a lifelong lesson about saving money for more important needs—like paying for his own damned college.
Recycling can save the planet. It’s important to recycle, especially when it comes to candy corn and Mary Janes. Make sure Timmy and Tammy save the planet by coming home every half hour with whatever they’ve collected. After mom separates out the keepers, all the dreck can go back into her candy bowl to be recycled to the next little goblins who come to the door. Planet Saved!!
Rules aren’t just for the little tykes, though. It’s equally important that parents model their own best practices to achieve maximum bragging rights. Mom and dad can signal their virtues all day long by following these critical protocols:
Children must be independent. Even if your children are too young to walk the mean streets at night, they must approach donor doors on their own. Yes, dad can spot the one Snickers bar in a bowl full of wax lips before little Amy finishes saying “or treat,” but this is a task Amy must complete on her own. If she is well trained, she’ll grab the Snickers. If she brings home wax lips, you are a failure as a parent.
Be Protective. Trick or Treating is great fun for the kids, but we all know the candy they bring home isn’t really good for them. It’s critical that parents protect their children from the sugar highs, insulin lows, cavities and flab that result from too much candy. The best of the best parents take care to selflessly ingest an extra share of the booty in order to protect their progeny from overindulgence. So brave.
Create a Thanksgiving Masterpiece. No matter how much we love our Halloween haul, we’ll still have leftover sweets in mid-November. Make the best of it by melting down the remnants to create a tantalizing new confection for your Thanksgiving hosts. Be humble, though, when it comes to taking credit for your masterpiece. Between now and then, be sure to go to a fancy bakery in your neighborhood and steal a carry-out bag with their name on it.
Finally, show your kids the importance of sharing by setting aside a pile of Heath, Hershey and PayDay bars for their grandparents. After intense research at Dad Writes, we’ve determined that feeding gramps and granny is the best way to ensure family unity and successful parenting.
After gorging for a few days on Halloween candy, nothing hits the spot like the latest insights from the crackerjack goobers at Dad Writes. Subscribe now and you’ll never miss out on the incredible wisdom only this site provides.
I Can’t Wait for “Some Day”
Does anyone want to give me $1,000,000 for my Beanie Babies? $999,999.99? I’m willing to make a deal here, people, so don’t delay.
Included in the long series of bad advice I’ve followed over the years is, “Save these. They’ll be worth a fortune one day.” When I was a kid, and a young adult, and a not-so-young adult who should have known better, I was a sucker for stories about somebody who found an old piece of junk in the basement and it turned out to be a $Zillion antique.
I was just like that guy, by which I mean that I had a basement, too. Clearly, I was already halfway home on the road to untold riches. All I needed to do was squirrel away a ton of items that I could uncover in the future and cash in for a condo on Easy Street.
And so I saved essentially everything with any kind of potential, which meant essentially everything I ever owned. Baseball cards, comic books, old toys and games, movie posters, stamps, coins…you name it. I’m just waiting for that absolutely guaranteed day when, “They’ll be worth a fortune.”
Mad Magazine? Got it. Actually, I have pretty much every issue from most of two decades. Fantastic Four? Spiderman? Sgt. Fury? Membership card from the Merry Marvel Marching Society? Step right up and make a deal. 100% rare, rare, rare McDonald’s Teenie Beanie Babies from 1999 Happy Meals? You bet, and they’re still in their original containers, waiting for a happy, and teenie, new home.
Proof sets? Yup. Stamps? Of course, even that defective one with the airplane flying upside down. (J.K. Just my luck to get the stamps that were printed correctly.) I even saved that “Treasure Chest” volume of “Real Men’s Entertainment” that my Uncle Louie gave me when I was a teenager, but only for historical research purposes, of course.
Now in my dotage, I’ve been looking for ways to cash in on my booty—not that booty, the other one—and I’ve discovered the tiny, minute, infinitesimally small flaw in my plan. It turns out that everyone else read the same story about that guy who found a one-of-a-kind baseball card in his basement and they started saving all their crap, too.
Even worse, the hotshots in the collectible world have moved on from real stuff to “non-fungible tokens” and crypto. The hot markets for all my collections peaked roughly three minutes after I started saving them.
As I like to tell my kids, learn from my mistakes. Toss all your Beanie Babies and stamps and coins and all that other flotsam from your youth. The hottest new collectibles are Blackberry charging cables, rotary phones and serving platters shaped like fish. Also on the rise among collectors: spark plug gapping tools, floppy disks, and any appliance in avocado green.
This list of collectibles is 100% guaranteed to do as much good for our readers as my own list did for me. In the meantime, how about $500k for those Beanie Babies? $35.95?
Dad Writes subscribers get all the best investment advice and retirement planning strategies, plus unbelievable fashion tips. Doesn’t that make you want to click here to join our merry band?
When Do We Get Desperate Enough?
“Do you have homes like this this in America?” Menguez asked. Our guide was showing us his town, including the base of the cinder block home he was building for his family. Inside, it would be smaller than my room at the hotel, but it would fulfill a life dream for Menguez. Unlike most people in his village, he would soon be a homeowner.
Of course, I said yes, we have many homes like this in America, although I didn’t mention that the American homes usually have electricity and running water that his home might lack at first. He wasn’t looking for examples of the chasm between my life and his, though. He lived in that gap every day as a guide for traveling Westerners. Rather, he wanted someone to share his pride as he moved up in his world.
I’ve been thinking about Menguez lately as I work on a family genealogy project, retracing my grandparents’ first foothold in this country and the momentum they created for their children and, ultimately, me. They were tougher than I am, survivors, willing and able to live on nothing until they could put a few bucks together to rent an apartment within a mile of the immigrants’ market on Maxwell Street in Chicago. According to the ship manifest, each of them presented the legendary $5 at immigration when they got off the boat and they found a way to get from Ellis Island to the West Side of Chicago.
Our family history in the United States is nothing special, really. Morris and Anna had children who grew up and got married and had their own children who grew up and continued the line. We’ve all accomplished a few things, failed at others, and we’ve woven our stories into the national fabric. Being “nothing special” is very special in this country, though. In the day-to-day, it’s easy to forget how far ahead we begin this race.
Easy to forget, but then you spot a photo of Menguez and his future home, and it all comes back. Our lives are graded on a curve, but the curves are not the same in every country, in every time. Each of us tries to ride up our own curve unless, like my grandparents, they get desperate enough to make the leap to a new world and a new curve. Yes, they were looking for better opportunities beyond the golden door, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t giving up something in the bargain.
How desperate do you have to be to release your grip on everything you know, almost every person you know, for a new start? How rough does life need to be before the dice are worth rolling? For my grandparents, it seems, the tradeoff made sense. For Menguez, maybe not. He was on an upward arc at home, building for his future. His ambition might lead him to come here—maybe he has already made that leap—but his hard work was paying well for him without crossing an ocean.
That wasn’t the case for my grandparents, although their exit from Tsarist Russia might have been driven more by politics than economics. Whatever the reason, they were desperate enough to jettison the only lives they knew and set the foundation for all of us who followed.
Sometimes, it turns out, desperation is a good thing.
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CV Diary 25: Joe Stalin was Right
Shortsighted business strategies, really confusing political calculations, and the decisions we’ve already made are high on my list of unfavorite things this week.
*So it turns out that Stalin might not have made this observation, but we haven’t completed our research to identify the true author of the quote. Subscribers will learn the source as soon as we find it, which is a great reason to click here to subscribe.
Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.