Monday, March 06, 2023


They say that you emulate those with whom you surround yourself. If you don’t want to be a bum, don’t surround yourself with bums. If you want success, surround yourself with successful people. That’s assuming you can find any successful people who want to hang around a bum like you.

As I was a lonely child, I surrounded myself with imaginary friends. And so I found, over time, that I became imaginary too. I invented and reinvented myself until I had boiled away the original me. I developed a passion for the arts, especially writing, or as I call it, being a professional charlatan. And being an imaginary charlatan, I managed to do it in an “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” fashion. I’ve independently published books that few outside friends and family will ever read. I’ve acted a few small roles in wonderfully fun direct-to-DVD films. I draw well but never practice enough to master it, and I can croon drunken karaoke with the best of them. I’m one of those people who start projects full of fire and vinegar but eventually run out of steam, no matter what.

The most important job of a charlatan is to be one unto yourself. You’d think I would have sought careers that appealed to my nature, talents, and abilities. Instead, I chose various professions that were the exact opposite. I served a few miserable years in the army. The government awarded me a medal for Least Distinguished Service While Still Receiving an Honorable Discharge. Now I am an electrician, which sadly requires me to stay constantly grounded in reality. Otherwise, things might catch fire or explode.

One of the joys of being a charlatan is filling your children’s heads full of nonsense. When he was young, my poor son argued with his miserable, spinster, battle-axe of a teacher that Cinco de Mayo was a day of mourning for all the mayonnaise lost on the Titanic. I understand that correcting mistaken children was her job. What ticked me off was that she did so with so much unbridled rancor. Kinder teachers have chastened my daughter over the years for less grievous offenses. Still, it was a grim day when she discovered that Pennsylvania is not where they make all the pencils and that that skyscraper on Sixth Avenue is not called the Umpire State Building. Also, it’s not where the Major League houses its umpires. Yet, for some reason, they still love me. Their future therapists will sunbathe in front of their beach houses and love me too.


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