Sunday, October 24, 2010

Where is the 409?

I’m not obsessive about cleaning. If its true we come from dust under my bed alone would be mankind’s new beginning. I wouldn’t even want God to take it on. He would have to rest on the eight-day and throw the workweek completely out of whack.
My wife on the other hand likes to keep the place presentable, more so when I tick her off. But you see I’ve changed and the house is a freaking wreck. To get things back to normal I have to man up or start to piss her off again.
Before we were married I’d make her so mad she would clean the tops of the cans in the pantry. She’d take them out, one by one, wipe them down and put them back with labels facing the front. The molding on the ceiling shined, fans, windowsills, cabinets, all where spotless. When the dog saw her open a roll of paper towels he would run to the corner of the room, fall to his stomach and put both paws over his eyes. And, it was her dog.
I did look into her actions and friends said it’s a way a gaining control over ones surroundings, to focus and possibly get passed it while not beating the hell out me, which she wanted to do but would have gotten her arrested.
“Let’s see, beat the hell out of my boyfriend and get arrested or have a fragrant smelling house? Hmmm. I really, really, do want to beat the hell out of my boyfriend.”
She went with the smell of spring.
I once thought a great joke would be to clean the entire house from top to bottom then go fishing or play golf when her family had a birthday, let her come home and have nothing to do but think of me but realized that’s what cleaning the house was about in the first place. It was, to not think of me.
Well, what’s a man to do now that he’s changed?
I am no longer a work in progress and have the perfect relationship. She does her thing… and I do hers. The dishes are washed, crumbs aren’t in the sofa and the Campbell Soup labels stare me in the face. But now I’m not doing it fast enough. My change has come with consequences.
I just might have to go fishing this week. Her cousin that I don’t like is having a birthday.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I haven’t written about politics because I figured you didn’t want to hear more mundane views, but with the economy, the banking disaster, the bail outs, the threat of Iran, Health Care and climate change, I feel compelled to jump on the soap box and take sides on something so vital to our health and well being and say, “Damn! They have some hot chicks in politics these days.”
Today we have female politicians that look like Sarah Palin, Barbara Bachman, and Michelle Obama, ladies who take care of themselves and know looking good is important. I have to admit, I wouldn’t run from Mary Landrieu at a crawfish boil if she sucked the heads and pinched my tail.
Well now that they’re in, the first thing the good-looking politicians should do, is to get rid of the ugly people. The homeless will always be here. They need to get rid of the homely. Actually, they’re starting with themselves.
Scott Brown the senator from Massachusetts posed semi-nude for Cosmopolitan in 1982. That, I am certain got him more votes then not and when the girls talked about it on “The View” and conveyed how hot they thought he was, I’m sure millions of women goggled the image and saw for themselves he would be an upstanding senator.
Posing for cheesecake photos wouldn’t work for female politicians. It’s a double standard.
I wonder what would happen if Sarah Palin asked an up and coming female republican to run along with her for president. A fiery redhead would be ideal. I would call it, “The Mary Ann-Ginger Ticket.”
Hillary Clinton should run and choose a hot blond, female democrat to run along with her. Hell, the whole staff could be blond and we can call them Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends.
I like my politicians to be attractive. They don’t have to be but it’s a plus and with television it’s almost certain that they look good. Not necessary “hot” but good.
Look at the work done on older politicians. I can’t blame them and if they go under the knife, especially while they’re young, we won’t notice the difference, because the trick to plastic surgery is to start young and hope you don’t live long enough to look like you’re stretched tighter then a dollar in today’s economy.
I hope I live long enough to see Sarah Palin at eighty and the on going tweaks to her face she would have had done. I guess I could compare it to Joan Rivers. You see I’ve never seen an old looking Joan Rivers. I know Joan should look much older but without seeing a transformation backward I have nothing to go with.
Hot politicians are here to stay and maybe those young ladies, in the “Girl’s Gone Wild” video will not he hampered by the decision to enter politics and continue to raise there top and yell very enthusiastically, “Woo! Woo! Par-ta! Woo! Woo! Girl’s Gone Wild.”
May it never come between them, their hotness, and being a pillar of their community. This is Louisiana; if it doesn’t, the dead guys would give 'em the vote.

My one act play is a finalist in a competition.
If you would like to read it, I'll send it to you.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Maybe it's a higher power.

In the last three weeks I could have given Austin Powers a run for his line, “Hey baby.” Lately, my mojo has been kickin’ ass.
Three weeks ago I wrote about radio and someone noticed. Two week ago my doctor told me my colon was cleaner then a saint’s before they enter politics.
Then last week, after gloating about the blog awards, I was called and offered a job in broadcasting that I couldn't refuse.
Now this week, Point of View published one of my articles, and the piece about the movie, “Eat, Pray Love.”
Dang, I’m having a good week, to the 2nd power.
Now I’m scared.

Radio takes focus. To have a good joke pop in the brain, travel to your tongue and complete the process, understandably, is exhilarating. It’s to throw a strike or find the perfect word that puts the period at the end of a great sentence, to lean back from the keyboard, fold your arms and smile. It’s to reach over, grab the glass and take a sip.
It’s that sentence I want to find. It’s that story I what to tell. Does my brevity have a place along side fiction? We'll see.

Seven things about myself was something I had to get to, since Donna Hole passed it to me.

1. I’ll list the arts together, go a step further and say I like a good show. Being in one is even better. I once played the lead in a musical and the character; “The Mute,” won the “People’s Choice Award.” (True story)
2. I like history, reminiscing with family, and get a kick out of learning things about the past that I didn’t get the first time. “Really? No kidding? No wonder that happen.”
3. I’m a morning person. I like to get after it, and can get an edge on my fellowman without screwing him over. “A new day and what it may bring,” I find that kind’a cool.
4. I like hamburgers, with cheese, no tomato, but add ketchup.
5. I had to take remedial English in college and later owned a magazine.
6. I regret not learning about computers.
7. I fall asleep on my back with my hands folded on my chest. People will look at me when I’m dead and say he looks like he’s sleeping.

The POV stories.

For those interested go to and listen M-F, from 9am- 3pm. Click on "listen here" and it plays the audio. I will not sound like you would think and will never look like people think I sound.
People never hear red hair.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I had a dang good week.

I was quite flattered recently to receive an award that considered me versatile. I only thought I was funny. Donna felt differently and now my posture is better while writing.
I was then presently surprised to be given a star, because in Kittie’s eyes, I deserved it. Well Kitty, I’m going to honor you in the next metaphor blogfest and say, “I wish I could travel like Kittie Howard on a bad day.” I’m putting that star on my monitor, top, right corner.
For past weeks I’ve been perplexed trying to figure out what to do about the Simplistic Award from Summer. Getting the Simplistic Award and then putting those squares on the blog could go against simplicity. Summer’s Blog has a great name but I could never call my blog, “My Inner Fairy.”
Wait a second. I have a gold star on my monitor.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

I’ve read blogs where support doesn’t come from those close, and look to other blogs for reassurances. I’m one of those. I’ve seen the eyes roll, heard “whatever” and wonder why the hell do I even tell them, yet still continue. I’ve also seen stated that writers are fearless. I now feel emboldened knowing I’m a versatile star that keeps it simple.

This week I’m going to figure out how to get URL’s and badges on Hy Hatt.

I might even throw something in that moves. Naa.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


In the last two weeks I have spent more days in doctor’s offices then I’ve spent in the last twenty years. I never get sick. I have a two thousand dollar deductible.
You see, I fractured my foot twenty years ago and it recently started to screw with me. I wanted to find out why but the doctor would have given me a blood thinner. Being 49, I was scheduled to have a Colon-o-stick it up the what’s it… and I wouldn’t have been able take the medicine for my foot.
With my family history of colon cancer, mother, father, and “prodding” by my siblings to have the procedure, I hobbled to the hospital on a broken foot.
While lyin in the bed, turned to the left, it came to me.
“I could save two grand by sticking my foot up my ass.”


The bad news is I have 30 to 40 more years to live.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Was I a writer then?

That morning I wrote one-liners, a time when my story arcs went from the first word to about the fifteenth, unless I could say it quicker. Brevity is what I lived for.
The morning was routine. I pushed the buttons and played the hits, cranked the volume, sang along, talked time and temperature, and remember saying the days would be getting cooler. The fall festivals were coming up and that Labor Day I had visited The Shrimp and Petroleum Festival, even commented, it was that weekend’s crustacean station.
About 7:45, anticipating the 7:50 break, Dr. Don Thomas from C-107 FM, opened the door and said, “Larry, a plane just hit one of the twin towers.”
I was puzzled and sure I had that expression on my face, when I said, “How the hell could someone hit that thing?”
He said, “Really. I don’t know,” and went back into the other room, separated by a big window that allows us to see each other. Dr. Don now had the television turned to the news. There was the tower, burning.
At the 7:50 break I mentioned the incident to the listeners and said we’ll have more news as it develops. I knew the AP wire would have the information any second and I went back to playing the hits with my eyes glued on the television through the glass.
A few minutes after 8 o’clock in between two songs, I had to give the ID, “The New 96.7 THE BUZZ, KBZZ, Morgan City, Houma, Thibodaux, and when I turned off the microphone Dr. Don opened the door and said, “Larry, Another plane just hit the other tower.”
“What? My god. That’s not an accident.”
He said, “I know. We’re being attacked.”
My colleagues were now getting to work, filled with anxiety from hearing it on the way. Everyone was congregating on our side of the building, perplexed, amazed and bit scared. There were now close to ten people in Dr. Don’s control room watching the footage on TV.
When the initial shock wore off even sales people pulled together to get the disc jockeys in the building the information to inform listeners. All the announcers were called to come to work. It reminded me of what we do when a hurricane hits but this was different. This wasn’t an act of God, something crazy Cajuns laugh at.
After each song I gave another report trying not to be an alarmist. Then, about 8:40, the plane hits the Pentagon. That rattled everyone. South Louisiana could be a target for terrorism. Much of the oil in America comes from our area. Hit us, you hit the energy supply.
The music stopped completely and as the information kept rolling in I’m sure more televisions than radios were on that day, but radio played its part, maybe just to get away from the horrible pictures.
Fun had no place. For days information came to us but how could I talk of the lives lost then say, “If you’d like to go to the movies this weekend be my 6th caller.” The whole nation was in shock.
I got off the air at 3pm and had a weird idea. I rolled up all the AP wire paper, its long and short lengths, ripped off the printer, with my notes on the edges, edit marks and things to say, put a rubber band around it, and told myself, I’m going to keep this and in ten years I’ll look at it again. When I got home I threw it in my box of memories. It’s still there, with an at least nine-year-old rubber band. I saw it when I moved four weeks ago.
I have a MS that I’m 99.9999% ready to query, a WIP with two chapters completed, and I want to read my 9/11 notes and maybe find something in there.
One-liners were much easier.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

You're just not good enough. (repost)

Busy this weekend. Good busy.

I recently took part in my community’s Big Read and read the book “The Great Gatsby.” A week later in a book discussion we talked about the themes of betrayal, infidelity, excess, the roaring 20’s, how the rich behave, escaping the past, and other literary staples that have made the book stand the test of time but what caught my attention was the theme, “I’m sorry, you’re not good enough.”
The fact that “rich girls don’t marry poor boys” is a hard lesson learned by a poor boy in love but is there a harder lesson learned by a rich girl who marries for love and lives poor?
I wasn’t good enough for someone when I started my career. She was beautiful, funny and charming and I’d like to think I was at least one of those since she did date me. I wanted to take her for a ride, to the top, then the bottom, over and over again.
She didn’t say to me I wasn’t good enough but I knew deep down she was waiting for something better. She wasn’t going to wait for me to “make it.” She went on to marry the son of one of the biggest grocery chains in the south, a move well played. I wonder if she stays up at night thinking of me? Just kidding.
I’ve also been on the other side. Since my early 20’s crush I’ve run across women who thought the world of me but didn’t think they were what I wanted. In one scenario, it was her mother. I thought her family was freaking crazy and I didn’t want to get involved with a bunch of nut cases that scared the hell out of me, even though this time she thought I was the person who was handsome, funny and charming. Here’s the bitch, I was unaware of the fact that with her I wouldn’t have had to make it to the top. I could have been me, mediocre.
She ended up leaving her crazy-ass family, knowing they weren’t good enough either. She also believed in the next guy, his ability, and started a business with the gentleman who really loved her and is now rich. For me, another lesson learned. I’m still working on my career.
I have a friend who is good looking, funny and charming, who, years ago, was crazy about a woman, willing to do anything for her. She kept telling him she didn’t want to have a boyfriend, just a friend, a close companion, a guy to do things with, and he hung in there and gave no pressure. He was madly in love and just willing to be by her side. She must have known and had one of the best excuses that keeps us men at bay, “I’ve just gotten out of a relationship.”
“Hey! Honey! You’ve been my friend for six months. We’re technically dating, throw the dog a bone or better yet, let me throw you one and get this over with.”
But he didn’t. He kept on until he realized he wasn’t good enough.
All people want to be held close. I don’t believe people when they keep dating you, then talk about just wanting a friend. Was she getting over on him? Was he not rich enough?
But love conquers all, right? Tell that to the woman who married for love and is dreaming of the life she could have had, had she held out, went with her brain instead of her heart and got the house, the clothes, the trips, or even the feeling of showing one’s entire family they’re not good enough.
I can only speculate on women holding out for love or marrying for money. I would think it‘s the way the girl was raised. I would bet the farm that if a woman loved me and another man the same, the brightness of gold would diminish the glare from my red hair. I don’t blame them.
Love and money, or lack of it, plays into such an interesting way man and woman form a relationship. Throw youth into the mix and holy Christ, innocence and lack of intelligence rears its ugly head.
I once saw a young couple in the French Quarter begging for money. I was sitting across the street by the Joan of Ark Statue. They couldn’t have been more then teenagers, dirty clothed, street urchins, and I was amazed at the fact that as they begged they would hold hands in-between accepting change from passers-by.
For a long time I wondered if they were in in love or just in poverty. I couldn’t tell.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Guilt, it plays a part.

I had an Irish Catholic upbringing brought on by a fiery red haired mother, a McCleland, who went to Ireland, found our roots, brought back a guilt shillelagh and beat us when we didn’t want to do something she thought was appropriate.
Mother Mary, how dare her, made us do things together, go places, see stuff, attend boring family functions like my sister’s dance recital, my brother’s ball games, and go on outings to see my grandparents. I can still hear her, “I’ll be damned if you don’t go. For Christ’s sake Larry, we are a family.”
“Then let him go. Better yet, he already knows how this will play out. Tell us now and save everyone the agony.” That’s what I wanted to say.
One of her favorite guilt trips, I lovingly remember, was when my grandparents were 60 years old and my mother was 40.
“Your grandparents are getting older. They’re not going to be around forever. Its Christmas.” (Insert one: Easter, Thanksgiving, Arbor Day,) You don’t know this son, and believe me, they would never tell you, but they have been extremely good to us.” Which brought more guilt for grouping us together and paralyzing the siblings as a whole.
My grandfather died at 84, my grandmother at 95 so for thirty-five years, in my eyes, each Christmas was “Grammy's” last. My mother is now 76, thirty-six years after realizing life is too short.
I’m very glad my mother bored me to death but the urgency might have been extreme, so at what age should one realize something so important as mortality? I would guess when maturity kicks in, which happens through age or incidences in one one’s life.
I wait for the day us baby boomers say 100 is the new 90 and Mother Mary, still hanging in there, keeps telling me I never call.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Livin' like celluloid

The movie, “Eat, Pray, Love” is getting a lot of attention and it made we wonder which one I do best.
Oh, I can eat. At “all you can eat” Chinese buffets they post my picture at the entrance and when I enter, the owners pull me aside to sternly go over the rules. It’s amazing how slow they talk when losing money is involved. On dates I would quietly tell the woman I was with, “He wanted to make sure we had a good table.”
I once returned to a Mexican buffet and when I walked in, two scared little Mexican kids threw their hands up and ran into the kitchen. Their father walked out a moment later and handed me a large, felt, sombrero loaded with food and told me to just take it and go. I asked, “Are you giving me the hat, too?”
He said, “Si’ Si’, you take all, and please, you a never come back.” Pulling out of the parking lot, I noticed he was still at the door waiting for me to leave. I could swear he had perspiration on his forehead. That date suddenly got a headache and asked to be taken home.
Now “love,” I can look at two ways.
As a teenager I was the red haired kid with personality so I longed for a girlfriend growing up. I had plenty of pretty girl friends that thought I was funny but they hung out to be comforted while they cried about their boyfriend.
Then at twenty, when women wanted a humorous guy, I succumbed to quantity and not quality, possibly to get even or catch up for lost time, so in those cases I wasn’t good at love, or maybe through the years falling in love felt too good. I got married at 45 to the right one.
Now let’s look at “pray.” I’ve had so many ups and downs in my “careers,” that I’ve prayed long and hard. I’d ask for this job or that, often to make more money to try and make ends meet, so I can continue to keep trying. I was stuck on a prayer for a long time in my thirty’s, I called it the “Please Prayer.” I would say an Our Father and then say, “please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please,” it went on until I got tired.
I learned to use the power of prayer early in life as an altar boy, but it was a bit deceptive. I was good at it and won awards but not because I had the calling. I looked at it as another way to be on stage. I’d ring the bells. I’d carry the cross. When the priest wasn’t there, I would get on the altar and pretended I was in the movie “The Ten Commandments,” and could part the Red Sea. I would put on the black and white cassock and surplice and extend my arms pretending I was Charlton Heston and summon the Lord.
“Behold the power of God. I am the way, the truth, and the light, and get your paws off me you dirty stinking ape.” OK, I did mesh up the movie dialogue, which made the other altar boys think I was a Looney tune, but it was fun, talking to the Lord directly.
I don’t know which of the three I’m best at but I do know I’ve eaten, prayed and loved with abandon.
I now pray just before I go to sleep. I don’t ask for anything. I’m just grateful I have supper with my wife.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I need your inner Simon Cowell

This drama stuff can be fun. For this week’s exercise I thought I would delve into why Katie would do such a thing. I hope you make it to the end.

(Ending of last weeks High Drama/Blogfest)

“Honey, this guy didn’t learn his lesson. He met you at sixteen. You’re in high school. He’s twenty-three. He shouldn’t even be near a school.”
“He doesn’t molest little kids, mom!”
“No, he molests big kids!”
“I love him and I’m going to help him! I don’t care what you say.” Katie got up and opened the door. “He’s good to me!”
“But he’s not good for you!”
“Why do you want to be this way? Look… There’s more... I’ll just tell you the rest, later.” The door slams shut.


I met Katie when she was 8 years old. I, being the husband who slept through my wife being told her teenage daughter was in love with a sex offender. I got the news the next morning.
“I swear, Jay, I thought I was going to kill them both, but I was so freaked out, I felt relieved she wasn’t pregnant. Can you believe that? I was relieved?”
“I know what you mean Honey. Thank God. She’s only screwing the felon.”
I was glad I slept. When this idiot, in all his wisdom, told the mother of his girlfriend he made her little girl wait to lose her virginity to a rapist out of nobility, I think I would have hit him. Not for me, for my wife and every person who has ever seen the innocence in a little girl’s smile.
That night no one could have convinced Katie he was the wrong man and that her life was on no simple path. I could have told her not to do this and that loving a guy who has to inform the community when he moves into the neighborhood isn’t worthwhile, or that people will look at her strangely and think she is completely out of her freaking mind, but she would have said, “You’re not my father.” She lived with her “real dad” to attend High School with her friends and she wasn’t about to let him in on the secret. He still doesn’t know “the rest,” that we found out later. I’ll get to that. Her father, I’m convinced would have hurt that man.
No, Katie was well on her way to her style of thinking when I got there. Weird isn’t it?
At 8 she was the typical little girl, a few inches taller, brighter then most, good in school and had the cute little girl antics that would win your heart. She would twirl like others with her arms extended wide, singing, hair flowing outward, but what caught my attention, was that she would spin so fast, out of control and fall down hard on purpose. Like a crazed ice skater, she would spin and laugh always faster than the others until she couldn’t stand. She would then stop. Looking like an intoxicated child. She’d go four or five steps in one direction, then back, and finally fall, sometimes on the pavement scraping her knees or elbows, or slamming into the side of a car, anything close. She didn’t care about being hurt. She seemed to get off on it. When the dizziness wore off, she’d get up and do it again, wildly laughing, smiling and always till she couldn’t control herself. Again, and again, she threw caution in the wind. My thought? “That girl ain’t right.”
I noticed she had an appetite for more with everything she did, and needed more and more to feel whole, so much so that when she and her slightly older brother, Kent, was still living with their mother, I had an idea.
“Watch this buddy. You wanna mess with your sister?”
“Yea. What are you going to do?”
“I notice you sister doesn’t like being left out, and if she thinks we have something and she doesn’t, she’ll want it. I bet I can get her out here just by shaking the silverware.”
“No you can’t.”
“I think I can. Where is she?”
Kent snuck around the corner, went down the hall and came back with a grin. “She’s in her room,” he whispered.
“Is the door open?”
“Yea, but she ain’t gonna do it.”
“I bet she does.”
I grabbed the silverware draw and gave it a shake, real hard. The clinks and clanks of the metal reached the room. Kent and I waited, Kent covering his mouth trying to be silent.
About five seconds later, Katie came around the corner, smiling, her shoulders swaying from side to side, “Whatcha ya’ll doing?”
We cracked up. It was hilarious. She was so innocent sashaying through the kitchen. She knew something was going down and she wanted whatever it was.
As time went on I moved in with Becky, Kent and Katie. We would have breakfast in bed on weekends and we would jump around on the bed, bonding. I mentioned to Becky that Katie didn’t understand that I wasn’t her father and she was hugging and jumping on top of me, playing like any young girl, but I started to feel uncomfortable. I’ve seen what can happen if a boyfriend is accused of inappropriate behavior. A few days later Becky mentioned it to her.
“Look Honey. When you’re playing and wrestling with Jay you’re going to have to put some shorts on. You’re not going to be able to play in a nightgown. OK?
Katie, confused looked at her mother and said, “But mom, he doesn’t have to worry. I’m just a little girl.”
“I know you are honey, but you’re getting older and this is what we’ll have to do from now on, OK.”
“OK, Mom.” She understood what Becky meant.
I eventually married Becky and she mentioned that of her three kids, the oldest daughter being married and out the house, Katie, now ten, never seemed to be satisfied, always wanting more of something or things weren’t just so, weren’t correct, the right size, color, weren’t exactly what she asked for, or fell short of what she expected. I thought this was odd. Not having kids of my own I didn’t know any better and that some children are this way. “She just didn’t understand the world yet,” was my thinking. “She’ll grow out it.”
One afternoon sitting at the dinning room table with Katie, she was complaining about something, I don't remember, when I thought of telling her the story about how to look at life. There was a glass of iced tea on the table and it was half full so off I go about how to look at all things relevant.
“Katie, do see that glass of tea and that it’s filled half way up?”
“Yea, I see it.”
“Do you think that glass is half empty or half full?”
“I don’t know.”
“No. What do you think? Would you say that glass is half empty or would you think of it as being full?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, here is how you should look at things.”
I’m now on a roll. I have her attention and I’m laying it down thick. I tell her everyone in life has to look at the bright side, find the good in all situations; there is a silver lining behind every cloud and if you can think of life this way, you’ll have disappointments but only a few and the world will be a much happier place. Hell, I impressed myself.
When I finished my spiel I said triumphantly, “So Katie, do you understand what I’m saying, about how to look at things? Is that glass half empty or half full?”
She looked at me, then the glass, and thought for a moment. She shook her head and said, with a you are one stupid ass smirk, “I don’t even like tea anyway.”
That spoke volumes.
I watched her grow older from afar. She stayed with her father one summer at 13, because Becky wouldn’t let her go on the Internet and talk to a boy 19 years old. That fall she moved in, along with Kent, to attend High School with their friends. We spoke to them often and had them on weekends and although she had the discipline to attended school and make good grades, we heard how, “Kent, was a Prince, and I have to do house work, and I don’t have good make-up. I don’t have anything I need and everybody hates me.”
One weekend we were picking up the kids and Becky mentioned that when Katie gets in the car it’s the same every week. I said, “I bet you by the time we turn the corner she will complain about three things.”
“You’re on,” she said and the two wonder kids jumped in the backseat.
“Hello, my lovely children, how was your week?”
Kent sums up his in one word, “Fine.”
Katie, disgusted, said “Dad wouldn’t let me go Samantha’s.” Becky and I looked at one another and the corners of our mouths turned up.
I said to the back of the car, “What about band? How’s that going?"
“The band director doesn’t know anything. He hates us. He has us playing stuff from the Wizard of Oz. That’s so lame.”
Becky shakes her head from side to side and I hold up two fingers.
We’re almost to the corner and it looks like I’m going to lose the bet so I stop at the stop sign but a car isn’t coming. I know Becky will think I’m trying to stall, so I take one last shot. As I turn the corner I say, “Maybe you should have played the Wizards of Waverly Place.”
“Oh God, Kent watches that show. Dad won’t get me a TV for my room.”
In time I understood what Becky meant. Nothing ever seemed good enough. We even imagined her going to friend’s houses and saying, “I’d love to eat with you. My mother doesn’t give me food.” “Oh, I have to wear these clothes. My parents bought me garbage bags.” Or, “Yea. We went to see Brittany Spears. We had back stage passes but it sucked, she didn’t let me sing.”
Katie had everything she needed but not everything she wanted, poor, unloved, Katie. Deep down I knew, one day she would meet a son-of-a bitch who would tell her exactly what she wanted to hear and on the table her glass would be half empty… with iced tea.

(Thanks for your time, Simon.)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hi, Drama. Let’s get in a Blogfest/Giveaway.

I usually go for the joke but this week, all laughing aside. This wasn’t my young life. When I was a teenager I couldn’t get laid in a monkey whorehouse with a pound of bananas. I did have a first cousin who made a dumb decision and do remember the After School Specials.

The pounding on the door awoke Becky Rolland. It was the loose glass actually, that higher pitched rat-a-tat making that distinctive noise in an old house to create urgency. With her husband next to her, children came to mind. “Christ, what now?”
Slipping out of bed she went to the front, peered out the curtain and on the porch was Katie, the seventeen year old and her boyfriend, her daughter’s first love, the guy who says exactly what a young girl wants to hear.
“Mom, let me in! We gotta to talk!”
“My little girl is pregnant,” raced through her mind.
Becky opened the door and allowed them to enter. Dressed in her robe she tied the belt tighter and pulled the chain on the lamp. The young couple took a seat on the sofa and Becky, uneasy, sat on the edge of the chair a few feet away. Katie explained.
“Mom, I haven’t been truthful. Please don’t be mad. Cade is going to get arrested if you don’t say he lives here.”
“Um, run that by me again.”
“I know. I know. We lied. He’s been in trouble and he is older than twenty.”
“Damn it, Katie."
“Please, Mom. I need your help. He got his girlfriend pregnant when she was sixteen, but he was only twenty then and they were in love.”
“Wait. Wait. Hang on a second. He did what?”
“He got his girlfriend pregnant and went to jail but he didn’t register when he got out.”
“When was this?”
“Three years ago.”
Becky's eyes traveled to the skinny, wormy, undeveloped piece of crap and imagined grabbing him by the throat, pushing forward and crushing the back of his skull against the wall behind the sofa, but the question came to mind.
“Are you pregnant?”
“No. I’m not pregnant. I’m smarter than that.”
“Katie, you were sixteen last week.”
“But Mom, I love him.”
“And, I love your daughter, too.”
Becky glared at Cade and felt her hands clinch but Katie interrupted.
“Look Mom, I know what you’re thinking. We didn’t have sex till after I made seventeen. I promise.”
“That’s supposed to make me feel better?”
“That’s true, Miss Rolland. She wanted me to, but I made her wait.”
Becky looked at Cade with a piercing contempt that rattled him, “I suggest you not say a word and get out of my house. Katie, you stay right there. I’m not finished with you, yet.”
Cade immediately got up to leave and looked back. “You coming?”
“Mom, I knew you wouldn’t understand!”
“Honey, this guy didn’t learn his lesson. He met you at sixteen. You’re in high school. He’s twenty-three. He shouldn’t even be near a school.”
“He doesn’t molest little kids, mom!”
“No, he molests big kids!”
“I love him and I’m going to help him! I don’t care what you say.” Katie got up and opened the door. “He’s good to me!”
“But he’s not good for you!”
“Why do you want to be this way? Look… There’s more... I’ll just tell you the rest, later.”

To read others in the High Drama Blogfest:

To read my work in this months POV Magazine:

Monday, August 2, 2010

I'm not stupid, I'm new.

“Where once she had little girls, she's been supplanted by Beyonce, Gaga, and Rhianna.”

I read that on Dateline Hollywood, she, not being the average American mom losing her tween daughters, but J-Lo, who might take Ellen’s place on American Idol, some say a much needed career move. Her last movie didn’t do well and she lost her record contract with Sony. I’m sure she’ll be fine since that kind of thing happens in show business. “The hard part is staying there.” Celebrities say that when things aren’t going well.
How does a writer keep an established audience? I’m not stupid. I’m new. I would think a writer could be over shadowed by the latest young phenom or readers could mature. It certainly seems it could happen to YA writers, as with J-Lo and little girls.
At a writer’s conference, I heard a remark about subject, content, and the “next big thing.” The speaker, a published author, said, “Whatever is going on now, in two years you’ll read about it.” My thought was to write a vampire book within the Tea Party. I’d have clan of middle aged white guys drinking blood with Viagra chasers, the women constantly tired, but always giving in to lust because, “them little devils are so damn cute.”
I could delve into YA and do a story about a young man in the hood who is an outcast because he wears his pants too high. He falls in love with the vicious gang leader’s sister who has no arms and strives to keep her pants up. My two MC’s become entwined in a love story, Romeo and Juliet, a West Side Story with hip hop music. Actually, It couldn’t be a musical because the cast would have to use one arm to keep their pants from falling to their ankles. Jazz hands could not be used in the extremely way off Broadway hit, “Pants On The Ground.”
I know. I could pen a mystery about a lawyer, who for some reason doesn’t want to sue, struggling, because it’s against his nature, a Gulf Coast story where BP’s billions are everywhere and the third-generation legal eagle won’t take advantage of all the money floating around. He loses his father and brothers and finally his wife and kids. Widowed Granny is the only one on his side. It’s not pretty.
Yea, I’m putting my ear to the ground, pedal to the metal, nose to the groin stone, or something like that. If I start writing about the presidential election now, in 2012 I’ll know if that writer was right.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I've been Out-ed

I received in the mail recently a letter asking if I wanted to buy a subscription to Out magazine, a magazine highlighting the gay and lesbian lifestyle. It took me aback.
The first thing that came to mind was “Why the hell would I get this?” Then, “Did someone do this as a joke?” Which led to, “My God, how many women does a guy have to sleep with to prove he’s not gay?” And finally, “I’m married.”
I walked into the kitchen and said with a chuckle, “Hey Honey, look at this. It’s a notice to buy a subscription to Out. What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Well, let’s see Larry. You get Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Men’s Journal, and GQ.”
I thought for a moment and said, “Wow, if I was looking to sell gay magazines I would have sent this, too.” Actually, I think it was the Details magazine that put the publisher over the edge but my wife wouldn’t have thought of that.
I used to be hooked on current events. Thus, I had an enormous array of “infomo” periodicals, ever letting my goss-sip-o know what’s going on in my Shangri-La. (Did that sound gay? If it didn’t, throw three snaps back.)
It came from doing radio. I had to know when a celebrity, politician, or everyday knucklehead got his ass in a crack so I can belittle them the next morning. Plus, I like to be in the know.
The Details and the Men’s Journal are only 10 dollars a year and if I can get three jokes every 30 days for less than buck, I’m good.
Men’s Heath is my favorite, tons of useful stuff, fitness, relationships, cuisine, two or three photos of sexy women, the picture in the educational sex video ad in the back, all done with humorous and thoughtful headlines and stories I can read in the bathroom. Men’s Fitness was because I like Men’s Heath so much I could get through it in less than a month and it was added inspiration to keep me exercising.
I love to read. Or, is it that I crave knowledge? If words are close I’ll glance at them. I’ll tilt my head to be nosey.
Are we what we read?
I’ve been reading Men’s Health for so long, I should be fit enough to be on the cover. I guess I’m I not reading hard enough?
I read newspapers to get the news, billboards to see manipulation, plays to study dialogue, shampoo bottles when nothing else is there, and street signs from far away to see if my eyes are going bad. I’m a junky.
I do a comedy bit on TV where I get footage of light up signs with the letters missing and end up spelling something unintended. When the “S” is out at Shoney’s it could be a strip club called “honey’s.” When the “Ch” is out on Chick-fil-a, it’s “ick-fil-a.” When the “C” is out at Tony’s Canal Gas, it’s…you get the picture.
With theatre and radio I became enthralled with the spoken word. I studied accents, fluctuation, and the obligatory emphatic pause. Now it’s the language as written. Are two of my worlds colliding? I hope, coming together.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The latest tattoo.

I was talking with two female art students here at the museum about tattoos. One said, “I want to get a bar code on the back of my neck.”
The other piped up with, “Don’t do that, a binary code is the latest thing.”
Knowing all tattoos become outdated I said, “I wouldn’t do either. My grandfather is still pissed off he got the Dewey Decimal System on his arm.”

They didn’t think it was funny.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Does pretty sell books?

I was once a model, a kid with long, wavy red hair and freckles and as with anyone’s look, it got me jobs and took them away. I auditioned for the movie “Pretty Baby” with Brooke Shields. The character’s name was “Red Top. When I had to look Italian, no one called. It was then I learned my look was important.
As a teenager I was in a Popeye’s Fried Chicken commercial. It was August, outside in New Orleans but the setting was winter in Pittsburgh, so everyone wore overcoats. It was extremely hot and uncomfortable. The director, with a feminine voice and lots of large hand gestures, kept telling everyone, “More teeth please, I need more teeth. This is TV. You have to look pretty, people.” It was then I learned it is better to look good than to feel good.
In college, a girlfriend who was an art student, asked me to model for her class. I was flattered. I thought finally I might be considered good looking. The art class drew what was below my waist. I was thrilled I got to keep my shirt on.
Sitting on a table, leaning backward with my open legs dangling, I knew one day I’ll laugh at this. It ended up looking like most I guess. No one called.
I’m a glutton for punishment. In my chosen profession I have to fight with pretty. Something I, and many struggle with. I’m old and a lot less cute.
It is true, Danny Devito is a major star but he’s an actor. I’m screaming, commercials, modeling, hosting, news anchor, and damn sure the music industry. I remember a voice teacher in 1978 at my performance arts high school told us about something new called a music video. I thought, “Aw crap, not something else you have to look good for.” It ended up ruining the careers of very talented musicians and creating many with nothing but a pretty face. All singers do have nice teeth or at least get them when their career kicks in.
To be an anchor at Fox News is the holy grail of being told you’re hot for television and these 9 and 10’s must be backing it up, they’re the number one news network. I thought the show Ugly Betty was a nice comment, looking into the heart and soul of a young woman as beautiful people surrounded her.
I have my picture on this blog. For me it’s shameless self-promotion. Some use drawings or cartoon characters to remain anonymous and I would think some use someone else’s picture. It’s a mystery and I’m OK with that. I follow because I like your work.
From an early age I was made to worry about the “look.” It was a little easier when I was in radio.
Does being pretty actually sell more books? I would like to agonize over a back cover. I am a glutton for punishment.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hanging at the bottom of the food chain.

I’m going to gloat, so here is thy alert.
I jumped into a summer musical, “Return To The Forbidden Planet.” The role of the mad scientist, a combination of Shakespeare, Star Trek and Spaceballs was started by a local celebrity, an entertainer, one time national spokesman for Chevrolet, and a writer of a staple Cajun Christmas song that sells every year. He wasn’t ready with a week before opening. He was sorry. Most were, but understood. It was a tough part and I was asked to fill in.
I did a telethon with this gentleman years ago and he kept calling me Larry Wyatt. I said after the third time, “It’s Larry Hyatt buddy, but at least we now know who is a bigger star.”
The best way to get me to do something is to compliment me first. That’s what the director did, possibly since we don’t do this for the money and it being community theatre it’s about entertaining you. I know the mission. It’s what I live for, being an overweight starving artist. I pulled it off and now the gloating is over.
What troubles me is a couple of the younger cast members.
In our town, as in plenty of community theatre’s summer shows, the cast is made up of theatre and music students who have gone to New York or L.A. to study, come back to perform, not remembering this is community theater, the idiots, and when the show doesn’t go exactly as planned, they meltdown.
My thought, “Boy I hope they become stars, because one day they’re going to kill themselves.” This backstage drama was going on for weeks, and understandably upsetting the cast members, creating an atmosphere that shoots the shit out of the whole reason to do this.
At first I thought this frustration was because of the embarrassment of appearing with amateurs, who do this for the love of theater, the chance for community, and the excitement of appearing on stage. Then I thought maybe, they’re getting their ass kicked in New York and they realize up there they have to hang with the cannibals, now doubting their ability.
Life’s a bitch and hanging at the bottom of the food chain should be rewarding.
I was once an entertainment director and performer in a club called Illusions. I was basically an impersonator. Not a female or Elvis impersonator, there I drew the line.
I would white my hair and sing Frank Sinatra, put on glitz and be Elton John, black my skin and become James Brown, or invent characters, all to entertain the crowd. I called it theatre in bar. It’s so original. It was once called vaudeville.
I surrounded myself with actors and actresses, dancers and comedians. I called up everyone I worked with to put on a show, the show, and my show.
I met with a few I worked with from the theatre department at Nicholls State, the local college. Most of them snubbed me. They were the elite theater people who didn’t think my stupid little barroom act was anything they wanted to get involved in. I was second rate until they realized performing is learning and not every theatre dream happens when you reach twenty-two years of age and graduate from college with a (say it through your teeth) theatre degree.
When those ass hole students did speak to me and realized that at least I had a gig, they asked to join. You know what I told them? I told them, the elite “theatre people,” I would be honored to have you join us. I can certainly use someone with your talent.” I’m not crazy. The show must go on.
I didn’t say to them that humility is a bitch but I hoped they got it. Young people don’t realize that many before them had the dream and that many before them were going to set the world on fire.
One of my favorite quotes is, “I’m not gonna stay here. I’m going to make a name for myself, I’m going to be somebody.” I hoped they did, knowing their drive. Three years later they put an ad in the paper for theatre lessons. I hope she instills humility in her students.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Downtown, in a coastal city of Louisiana.

My wife of 24 years died in a car wreck two months ago. I was devastated.
I lost my computer job last month when they outsourced to Mumbai.
I got evicted six days ago I couldn’t pay my rent.
My son lives in Minnesota. We haven’t talked in a decade.

I was staying at a friend’s house, but all I could do was cry.
So I drank, too much, and got in an argument.
It’s hot outside, but cooler under this bridge.
I didn’t know grass couldn't grow here.

I’m so overwhelmed; I don’t know what to do.
I read the front page and it gave me some news.
There’s been oil in the gulf for 60 days, and things are extremely bad.

Fuck that. I want my wife back.

Here’s the end of the wallet story.

Two days later, I asked the girl at the counter, “Did a guy come in and get a wallet.” She looked uneasy.
“Um, yea, they come and got it, a while ago. Well, um, somebody come and got it for him. It’s your wallet?”
“No, I’m the one who returned it.”
“Whew, I thought someone took ya’ wallet.”
“Did it have the money it?”
She was offended.

Monday, June 14, 2010

You think you have nothing to say.

I didn’t have a post this weekend because I was finishing a play I wrote for The Houma Terrebonne Le Petit Theater’s, One Act Play Writing Competition. It’s due next week but wanted a few people to tell me what they thought. I thought about posting some of the dialogue, but I thought it would be taken out of context, so I figured I’d miss a week, but just when I didn’t have anything to say….

On the way to the office this morning, I stopped at my usual convenience store to get a cup of coffee and noticed on the ground, a man’s wallet. I picked it up, looked around the parking lot and I saw a guy getting in his car, jumping into the driver’s seat. I held the wallet up for him to see. He gave a weird expression and I took that to mean it wasn’t his.
It was a black, nylon, threefold wallet, and I had an 80’s flashback when I ripped open the Velcro to see if there was any money was in it. (It could have been empty and I would have tossed it.)
It had money, plenty of money. I saw 20’s that looked a half-inch thick. I closed it, brought it inside and asked for a manager, thinking, “Boy, I would really love this money.” What amazed me was from the time it took me to see the money and close the wallet, no more than two second, I imagined, stuffing it in my pocket, paying my rent, buying my wife a gift and getting a hair cut, but that’s as far as I got. I had to at least give it to the store in case he comes back, and who knows, someone other than the driver could have seen me.
I asked for a manager and it took awhile, so as I waited, I looked into the wallet for an ID. I saw all that money again and a Louisiana Food Stamp card. I read the name and closed it.
“Damn, someone else who is broke.”
The manager still wasn’t there so I looked to the back of the store, I saw the owner and told her. She said bring it to the front.
On the way back to the front of the store, a possible reward entered my mind. “Yea, that’s it.” The manager was now at the check out and I explained what happen. I told her the person’s name that I read on the card, and she said she didn’t know him by name, but could know his face. I thought about giving them my business card and let the person who lost it know who the good Samaritan was. I didn’t. I sure could have used that money.
Driving away from the store, I thought, if they don’t ever come back, the store gets the money, and they’ll likely spilt it between them. They know me from going in there each morning. I’m sure I’ll find out what happens. Now, all I’m hoping for is Karma.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

LCN-TV Summer Line Up

I work in Louisiana producing television shows for LCN-TV, “The Louisiana Superstation,” a network that airs on cable systems throughout the state. Our niche is Louisiana’s music, cuisine, politics, outdoors, sports, documentaries, entertainment, etc. You can catch us worldwide, at Here’s our new summer programs.

“Barataria” Bay Watch - The opening has extremely beautiful women in bikinis, running in slow motion, on the beaches of Louisiana. I know it’s been done, but our cast will be covered in baby oil. This is television, and the sludge that is now on our coastline wouldn’t look good, but the metaphor might hit home. Since no one is on the beach because of the crude oil, for one hour, each week, the characters will just keep applying baby oil.

American Idle- This would be a political show with BP executives and the federal government, sitting at a table, discussing feverously, about what Louisiana is facing. The conflict would be exceptional, finger pointing, pundits from both sides, democrats, republicans, all fighting, talking at the same time, no one will hear a thing, and nothing gets resolved. It could be a great cliffhanger for the next episode. Again, where nothing gets done.

Dancing in the Bars, “Not”- This is a music/dance show featuring Louisiana musicians in the nightclubs along the Gulf Coast. The bands play a great show, each week, but the club owners can’t pay them because “not” one person is dancing. We’ll eliminate a bar each week when they go out of business.

Buffy the Oil Industry Slayer
- A young environmentalist named Buffy, along with her BFF tree hugger named Muffy, and their male friend, hot, young, withdrawn, and disheveled, Scruffy, takes on the oil industry and it’s plot to take over America. As added conflict, Scruffy has carnal thoughts of Buffy, but Buffy is to driven to notice. Scruffy, confides in Muffy, who is secretly in love with Scruffy, but her dog is also named Scruffy and she can’t get past that.

Cooking with Earl- This is a cooking show out of New Orleans and a take on how my father, a New Orleanian, would say the word “oil.” When used in a sentence, he would say, “For Christ’s sake, Larry, you didn’t buy any cooking “earl” to fry the fish.” With that said. The host of the show, a guy named Earl, (for the people who don’t get the joke) will go to the Gulf of Mexico, skim the surface of the water, heat it, and cook the food in the oil and residue. He’ll give you tips such as, “for added flavor, “burr-al” the crabs along with a brick,” and basic tips on how not to kill yourself or at least, how not to get the runs.

The Deadliest Catch- This is a fishing show. That one’s self-explanatory.

Cost- This is a drama that follows a three-generation, Louisiana fishing family on welfare. The older generation will reminisce about the good ole’ days and the middle aged will talk about the present hardships while trying to keep the family together. The younger generation will want to give up, sell the business, and move way up north, to Shreveport.

This is a political show where the residence of Louisiana, get to voice their opinion on how the spill is being handled. It will be produced at different location in the state and as the show progresses everyone becomes hoarse from constantly screaming. Then in the last five seconds of each episode, when everyone can’t speak a word, we’ll show a clip of an official saying. “We’re doing all we can.”

ESPN-BP- This will be a sports show where BP keeps the ball rolling back and forth from taking the blame and blaming it on everybody else. In an “I’m gonna sue you and be a millionaire” segment, you’ll have a chance to call a friend and ask, WTF.

And finally,

A Charlie Brown/Melancon Christmas- This is an animated cartoon, holiday special for the end of the year, a tearjerker that will make everyone cry for our coastline, just like State Representative Charlie Melancon did on national television, and captured everyone in the state of Louisiana’s feelings.

God bless the families of those lost in the explosion.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Man With "Rep"

Growing up a short, funny, redhead dude, in desegregated schools, I now and then got my butt kicked. It taught me how not to treat people. It molded me into a mild mannered adult who is a bit cautious. So, as an adult, when only for two weeks, being known as a bad ass was a cool feeling. All the less empowered should have it, at least once.
I was working in a night club as an MC/Entertainer, when the owner and one a the bouncers, who everyone said was a “real bad-ass,” came into the office while I was filling out winner’s sheets for a Hawaiian Tropic Beauty Contest. When I heard them enter, I was standing by the desk. (Steve is the owner, Joe, the bad ass and it’s not their real names.)
“Look, Joe. I don’t care. It’s no ones fault.”
“But Steve, It wasn’t me. I didn’t do it. I was just trying to help.”
“It doesn’t matter, Joe. Things like that happen, but your job is fine."
“But Steve, I didn’t do anything. I was trying to help.”
“It’s OK, Joe.”
It was getting heated and making me uncomfortable. I was now pretending to ignore the commotion, looking down at the desk and writing.
“Steve, I didn’t do it!”
“It’s OK. Joe. I have too much to do right now and it doesn’t really matter.”
“I didn’t do anything, that’s bullshit, Steve!”
The next thing I know, Steve and Joe have each other by the throat, pushing each other around the room and into walls. Things in the office are being knocked around and falling to the floor, so I drop my pen and try to calm the situation. Before I could, Steve punches Joe in the face, and Joe storms out with a big whelp on his eye.
Steve and I, who are very good friends, start to wonder, “how the hell did that just that happen.” I finish the winner’s sheets, take the stage, announce the winners, and a lovely lady in a bikini gets a trip to Hawaii to be a beauty queen.
When I left the stage, this is the story that got back to me.
Joe, after being punched in the face, went toward the front door and ran into another bouncer. He said, “Steve and Larry are assholes, they just jumped me in the office.”
“Yea, Steve and Larry.”
“Larry Hyatt?”
“Yea, Larry Hyatt.”
“No shit? Larry Hyatt?"
Joe then went to the doorman. “Steve and Larry just jumped me in the office.”
“No shit, Larry?”
“Larry Hyatt?”
Joe then went to the parking lot and told the head valet, “Steve just jumped me in the office,” that, the valet believed.
I was now a bad ass in the eyes of my peers, but wait there’s more. The next weekend I was off of work and a bunch of the employees went to another club in the next town. It was the first time I didn’t have a show in months, so I was having a great time watching other people on stage.
I was standing in the audience listening to the live music when Steve leans over and asks if I have a problem with the Thibodaux Police. Screaming over the music I say, “Not in Thibodaux, but I am wanted in ten states for unnatural sex acts.” Steve laughs and says, “OK, but there’s a cop staring at you.” I turn around and the police officer leans into me and says. “Excuse me, can you please step outside a moment?” I was confused.
I follow the cop toward the door, checking my pockets for something illegal someone might have put in there, and my friends all go along, wondering what the hell did Larry do now. Outside, the cop says, “I’m really sorry, but we’ve been told you people from “Illusions” are known to carry guns. Do you have a weapon on you?” My jaw drops and the group cracks up laughing. The cop, thinks me, the actor/entertainer, who couldn’t beat himself out of a wet paper bag, carries a gun. I said, “No man, I don’t have a gun,” and I went back inside, a few inches taller, being one badass mother. For two weeks after that, I brandished a banana that I carried in my sport coat. I had a “rep” and it felt good.
Until you’ve been beat, bad, because of the color of your skin or the way you talk, you cooked dinner with too much salt, you found yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, you’re a child, or any number of reasons people get hit, you might not understand the allure of being a bad ass. For the real bad asses in the world, be careful, you may run into a guy who’ll brandish his banana.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I recently did a play where a cast member gave me, Where The Red Fern Grows. This week, “Apalachicola”

With a loud crack, all the students but one, jumped, when they heard the 5th grade teacher slam the ruler on her desk.
“Now that I have your attention, let’s begin. Good morning class. Today we’re going to study Florida, the 27th state. Can anyone tell me where Florida is?” The class sprung to life.
The smart kids in front, stiff and rigid, heads held high, politely raised their hands, a bit smug from the years of self-reliance. The unprepared ones, knowing such an easy question and wanting to be called upon, waved wildly, and in the room you could hear, “Pick me! Pick me! Miss Renfro, pick me!” Yet Brian, still staring out the window, didn’t raise his hand, fixed on what was going on just yards away.
Noticing, the teacher wanted to engage the lackadaisical student.
“Brian... Brian!”
“Yes, Miss Renfro.”
“Young man, will you please tell the class what you find so interesting, outside of that window?”
Staring out again, he said, “Um, It’s the clouds, Miss Renfro. That’s what it is. I’m, uh, looking at the clouds.”
“Well, you do seem to have your head in them. Tell me, Mr. Wilkins, where is the city of Apalachicola?”
Brian turns to her, his mind still not all there says, “I think it’s next to, um, half-a-glass-a-cola?”
The classroom erupts in laughter.
“He’s so stupid.”
“Brian is whack.”
“That boy, he crazy.”
“You know he ain’t going to be smarter than a 5th grader.”
Brian’s attention, now back to where it belonged, closed his eyes and starts to feel the flush of embarrassment on his face. “I’m such an idiot,” he says to himself, and sinks down into the desk.

Walking home, books in hand, and a map of Florida folded in his back pocket, he got from the school library, he tries to forget homeroom and what the 27th state did to him. He sees the only person his age he cares about, Sophie, a neighbor from across the street of his Shreveport, Louisiana home.
“Not a good day today, huh Brian?”
“No, it sure wasn’t. But now I do know, Apalachicola is 80 miles southwest of Tallahassee, and has over 2000 people living in it, and is named after Indians, American Indians, not the ones from Turkey.
“Well, I thought it was funny, what you said today.”
‘Thanks, but I wasn’t trying to be funny.”
“It was funny, anyways.”
“Yea, I guess it was; Half-a-glass-a cola.”
They walked down the suburban line of houses, upper-middle class, most with two stories, but Sophia lived in an odd dilapidated place, no curtains or things that said a lady lives there. She asked, “Brian, what was it that had you so fixed on outside?”
Brian got excited.
“You’re not going to believe this. Principle Young was talking to Mayor Roy and they were really going at it. They were moving their arms around and pointing to each other’s face. I heard Principle Young say, "You know those cemetaries are not to be distributed.”
Mayor Roy then said, “I don’t care if a thousand ghosts are going to get in my way, that land is mine.” The mayor pushed Principle Young and stormed off in my direction. When the mayor passed the window, he saw me lookin’ and it gave me a scare. That’s when Miss Renfro asked me the question about Florida.”
“Why didn’t you say something?”
“I couldn’t. My mind was racin’. All I heard was Apalachicola, and then I thought, Coke-a-cola, then I thought, half-a-glass-a-cola. It just came out, Sophia.”
“Yea, I say dumb stuff like that when I get nervous. One time, in church, I was supposed to say “Jesus Saves” and it came out, “Jesus shaves.” My daddy laughs about it all the time. In the morning, I can hear him in the bathroom.
Brian asked, “Do you think he’s alright, Principle Young?”
“I don’t know. Maybe we should just see what happens,” and both were now in front of their houses.
“Well, I’ll see you later Brian.”
“See you later, too, and don’t tell anybody what I said. OK.”
“No, I won’t.”
Brian walked into his house feeling much better and felt relieved that the Apalachicola incident was behind him. His mother, always happy to see her only son was waiting in the kitchen and asked how his day went. He gave the always “fine,” threw his books on the table and went into the living room, turned on the TV and started to play some video games. Just as he grabbed the joysticks, he heard a knock on the door and wondered what Sophia wanted. He got up, opened the door, and it was Mayor Roy.
“Hello, Brian. Is your mother home?”

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cat, Dog, Rat.

My wife had four children when I married her, which I knew would make me fifth in line, a place I accepted because my wife is worth standing in a long line for. (I’m glad they didn’t have a dog or I would have been sixth.)
Lately, I’ve been going home and finding people in my house that I don’t know. They’re the teenage friends of my wife’s daughter, who moved into the house. What I don’t understand is why, when I walk into my home, these friends don’t acknowledge me?
I open the door and see four young adults. I say cheerily, “Hello everybody. How ya’ll doin’?” No one says a word. One is texting, the others are watching television, and the smart one, uses her feet to kick crap out of the middle of the floor so I can pass.
“What are you people up to?” I’m trying to get a reaction.
“Oh, nothin’.”
That’s when I think, “Then do nothin’ somewhere else and get out my living room. Your parents didn’t teach you manners for Christ’s sake?” For those, whose parents didn’t teach them manners, they get one pass, and for those that I intimidate, too bad, it’s my house.
Actually, I would love everyone, young and old, to throw their hands in the air and run like little children to the door when I come home. “Oh, Larry! Larry!” is what I want to hear, but it isn’t going to happen. I’m at the point, where I’ll settle for, “Oh, you’re home. Did you bring food?”
“Word” to the idiots, acknowledge people when they walk into their home.
“Cat. Dog. Rat.” That’s what my mother used to say to me. “Your friends don’t know how to speak, when I walk in, for Christ’s sake? Cat. Dog. Rat. Say something,” which is where I get this. I’m passing it on to future generations.
Here’s another one. My mother used to always want to know the last name of my friends. Go figure. Often, I didn’t get that far before I went to their house, and not knowing the last names ticked her off.
“I’m going to Joe’s house.”
“Joe who?”
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?”
“It’s Joe.”
“He doesn’t have a last name, for Christ’s sake?” It would infuriate my mother.
I didn’t get his last name, not because I was hiding something, I just didn’t ask before I went over to be intimidated by his dad.
My sister once said, “Larry, make up a last name, just to keep mom quiet. Go ahead and lie.”
Each last name after that was Lie-la, an Italian friend, Lie-o-so, and my favorite, a Polish guy, Lie-in-ski. My mother bought it; my sister laughed.
My point is: Understand age, acknowledge authority, respect your elders, and instill it in your family. I don’t want you to think I’m old and cranky or that I’m being difficult, but I guess I am. Then again, it’s being difficult in my own home.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

This week, I'm taking verse more seriously.
I work above a museum, downtown, and it can see all kinds of things.

Evening at the Museum
Larry Hyatt

Two women, sit comfortably, legs crossed,
On a bench in the park,
Waiting to start.
The night shadow poking its head,
A stench, knowing the queue will get their fate when dark.

Scantly clad, even obscene,
Smoking, trails, rising to the street light,
Trying to get away, like so many young girls,
Childhoods stained by awkward moves,
But remembered through opened arm twirls.

Small talk, girl talk, boy talk, sex talk,
They’ll whisper, then holler,
All for the dollar,
Metered time for only the boy.
“Stay and play. I’ll blow your mind.
Whatever. I won’t decline.”
They’ll hear it again, and again, in the night,
The low guttural sounds, of his unspoken joy.

One of two women,
Comfortably, standing on a street corner,
The park bench taken,
The love there bending forward,
Hands griping her waist.
She waits for another self,
To hear that sound that lets her go.

But, no.
The night is long,
Then comes desperation,
And to run, futile.

They need each other.
Two women,
Comfortably, sitting on a bench in the park,
Smoking, coughing, trying to hide,
Lighting a pipe, no desperation now.

But the museum can see them.

Two women,
Comfortably, sitting on a bench, in the park,
One waves her hand and runs for cars,
The other works the bars.
The bench, now not taken;
The park, alone and dark.

The museum’s eyes close.
It condones.
While two women,
Finally, go to their homes.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I think I'll try verse.

I've been looking over verse lately and thought this week's exercise should have some. The arts and politics do collide so together shouldn't be discussed at a cocktail party. Especially, at a fund raiser.

How do you know there’s too much government?

When you go to buy a Popsicle and they don’t give you the stick.

You buy a bigger candle and it doesn’t have a wick.

You’re paying too much health care and it still means you’re sick.

You buy a Gillette razor and in the package you get Schick.

The jobs they are a fleeting but the stimulus is on.

The farmers they are hurting and still it twists their arm.

It doesn’t know it’s own self and keeps conflicting harm.

It’s big; it’s enormous, it’s like the mastodon.

It’s twelve trillion dollars; I’ll never earn that much.

For future generations, I hope you find a crutch.

You can’t yet feel the price tag, you wouldn’t know as such.

It’s up to us to H.E.L.P. them now, so please no matter what side you’re on, Honor, Educate, Lead and Prosper,

In God we all should trust.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

There's Free Money On The Ivory Coast

Oh man, I am stoked! I just got an e-mail from someone on the Ivory Coast who invited me to take part in a business proposition that involved 20 million dollars. It’s a sure thing. Imagine me getting my hands on that kind of money.
I have actually, imagined it, even more millions when I pretend to win the lottery.
I’ve gone through the expressions, jumping up and down, I’ve imagined the sounds of joy when telling my family, I come up with their reactions and think of the things we would all do. Everyone yells, screams, hugs, kisses, we drink champagne, good God, the things we would do and now it’s possible.
Married people from what I hear fight over money. My wife and I don’t have that luxury but I’ll be glad to spar a bit when this Ivory Coast deal goes through. It reminds me of the time we had an argument over money we didn’t have.
We were talking about winning the lottery. I don’t remember the amount but it was the mother load and I said, “If I win, I’d give money to everybody who has ever been nice to me. I’d call people up that I haven’t seen in years and tell them I won the lottery. I’d tell them to take this money for helping me out, way back when I didn’t have anything.”
She asked, “What if it was only a small amount?”
“Then I’d give people small amounts.”
“Like hell you will.”
“Well, I’d have to give something to my family.”
“We would give some to the kids.”
“Well, what about your sisters? If they won a million dollars, you wouldn’t expect to get some money?”
“Hell, No!”
“Well Honey, if my brother or sister won a million dollars, I’m expecting some cash. Whatever they want to give me is fine. But I’m expecting something.”
“They don’t owe us anything,” she said.
“Maybe not you, but they owe me. Damn it,” and I think she took it as if she has never done anything for my family, which she has. Years ago, she calmed my ass down.
I could see where this was going. We were arguing over money we don’t have. How screwed up is that? So we agreed that if I ever won the lottery I would give her 70% and keep 30% to do with what I want.
With that settled I am now able to calculate what my exact winnings would be from the Ivory Coast deal. Let’s see, 10% of 2o is 2 million, multiplied by 3, equals, it’s a shit load. Ball parked its 6 mill, enough to do some damage on the debt of all the people I hold dear.
My mother gets a million. If I know her she’ll leave her money to my sister, brother and me which will eventually come back and go to the three nephews, and my stepchildren. (I got my wife’s kids covered with my 30%, too. I’m not crazy.)
My sister and brother get $500,000.00 a piece.
I have one uncle who will say, “Keep the money” and an aunt who gave me seven hundred dollars to go out and find my fortune when I was 20 years old. I’ve never forgotten that. She gets $500,000.00. She’s been married to a remarkable man who has five children who became my wonderful cousins. They will get a $100,000.00 each, which comes to 1 million, which I hope they will share with their children. I don’t see them often through no fault of their own but after I give the money, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at the next reunion.
I will give the next million to my wife’s two sisters and brother to be split however they want. Her family is like mine. Blood is thicker than water and with money in the mix we’ll see how thick blood can be. I do know it will be used wisely and given to the lower generation and their grand kids.
With the older generation, my generation, and the lower generation getting the trickle down and my wife still having the 70% I’m ready to surprise the old friends with my last million dollars.
I have three friends who have always believed in me and will get $100,000 each.
I have four colleagues that have made me shine and will receive $50,000.00 each.
I have ten people I have worked with in different capacities through the years that will get $20,000.00 each and $100,000.00 is left for stray family members, drinking buddies, and black mailers. (I’m not a Boy Scout)
With the last $200,000.00 of the Ivory Coast money I’m going to throw the biggest outdoor concert this town has ever seen. It will be on a beautiful autumn day in September, possibly my anniversary and I’ll open the show by flying to the stage in a helicopter, getting out and announcing the biggest acts of the day, acres and acres of land will be filled to capacity with people yelling and screaming as I give back my 30%.
I know I have a few bucks left and the rest of the people will have to grovel for it. You see, I’ve gotten a bit cocky owning all this money. It’s awesome. So where is the Ivory Coast, anyway?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Identity Theft

I’ve learned that a person’s identity and how they are perceived is
important and knowing one’s self and what you want to convey is entirely up to you.
I’ve done things in the community that has formed opinions and believe me, people do remember what touched their lives.
“Hey, man, are you still on the radio?” is what I get in the grocery store by someone I haven’t seen in many years.
“Do you still do those plays?” is something I get from closer friends who know I’m not on the radio.
“Are you still on TV?” That’s what I get from people whom I’ve met in the last few years and at points in between I get:

“Damn! We sure got drunk when you owned The Abyss.”

“I remember when you did those skits on stage at Illusions.”

“That Navi-Gator Magazine, that was a pretty funny magazine.”

And the big one,

“Whatever happened with that Steve-O shit?
(When you finish, Goggle Larry Hyatt and Steve-O. Don’t do it yet you’ll be there in one minute.)

All those things were all part of my identity and things publicly that I’ve conveyed. A golf buddy told me that I should run for political office. He didn’t know my secret identity so I took it as a compliment.
I have a friend who didn’t want to relinquish his non-profitable business after thirty years even after he had divorced his wife and lost his kids by sticking with the losing proposition. He felt giving up would have been a sign of weakness, his identity, that of a donut-maker, the person who got up early and made the donuts, a worthy profession.
He once confided in me that he could have sold the business for an exorbitant amount of money but he didn’t because he didn’t know how to do anything else. He learned how to mix dough at an early age, from his father, and throwing it in a fryer was something he did with perfection before he doused them with a mixture of flavored sugar that he had made himself and was proud of. He felt no one should take that away. It was “his’ donut, the donut that had the perfect mixture of yeast and cinnamon and would rise to the perfect height. He knew he was the “Donut Man.” When seen in a grocery that’s what they called him. I loved his donuts.
I have a family member who is a drug addict and his identity is that of, go figure, a drug addict. No one wants to let him in their house because after years of knowing he has a monkey on his back he can rationalize stealing the television you watch every day by coming to the conclusion you won’t miss it. To me this is a person who doesn’t care how he is perceived and doesn’t know his own identity or perhaps he does realize the induced rationalization and has to get it while the getting’s good. Either way, you’re not watching American Idol in your living room this week.
What about the identity of a person of a perceived, distinguished position and liaison, such as a board member in a small town community to which some find isn’t much but can be held dear by those who’s own self identity is in question? To “hob knob” with the communities elite and walk amongst those that have discretionary income is an identity on to itself. I’ve met these, the people who forget the mission but enjoy being apart of something bigger then one’s self. Non-profit boards are unpaid positions, do it for the mission and of course, court ordered community service.
It seems to me that government employees and community board members go hand in hand? Communities with Kiwanis, Rotary, The Chamber; all intermingle and want each to do well and want each member to join their group and that’s good because these groups always seem to produce “The Most Useful Citizen.” My town acknowledges a person for this award each year through a contest in the newspaper. I would love to be considered the most useful citizen even years after the fact.
In the grocery someone could say, “Hey Larry, I remember when you were the most useful citizen. What have you been up to? Oh Wow! That’s not useful. So tell me, are you still on the radio?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Used, Abused and Tattooed

I don’t have a tattoo. It’s entirely too permanent.
My friend in high school got a tattoo on his shoulder of a big rainbow. Little did he know 10 years later the gay community would make rainbows a battle cry. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
I’ve got a young family member who is 19 years old. She’s got the word “love” tattooed on one shoulder and the word “peace” on the other. Then in her young and unfaultable wisdom she had the word “one” printed on her right wrist, and “love” written on her left, an ode to her boyfriend with which she can extend her arms and show the world her feelings. It also happens to be a sell line for a chicken finger’s place called, “Raising Cane’s.”
“Raising Cane’s, One Love.” It’s on all the television commercials and radio jingles. What the hell was she thinking? He broke up with her about three months later, that act of love not being good enough but good enough to earn chicken fingers for life from the owner of Raising Canes.
A guy I know got “Comedy/Tragedy” tattooed on his forearm, the happy and sad face masks he associated with Mardi Gras. Little did he know there’s a gay bar in our hometown, called The Drama Club that uses the same logo on billboards everywhere. Go figure, not there's anything wrong with that. Here’s another tattoo story
I went on a business trip with a librarian who was one of the sweetest people you ever want to meet, very nice and enthusiastic about her job and would say things bright and cheery such as, “Hey Larry it is so very nice to see you again. I’m so glad you’re with us. How are you today?”
Others on this trip thought the same about her. She came off as such a good girl and very friendly, the kind you wouldn’t mind spending a six-hour flight with. You know the type, bubbly.
At dinner, sitting in a booth, her across from me next to a mirror, I noticed her shirtsleeve gathered haphazardly up her arm and in the reflection, a tattoo of a naked lady in a provacative pose. The lady’s arm was behind her head lounging back, with her legs open. When I saw it, I blinked real hard and it didn’t go away. So, I blinked again. It was still there and I thought, “Oh, you naughty librarian, you.”
Of course in the tattoo world they have the obligatory comic strip people who seem to be obsessed with body art.
I read a study on tattoos that said the shock value is waning and that people with four or more tattoos and piercing is more likely to do drugs and illegal activity. I guess it’s getting harder to freak the shit out of your neighbor but people will keep trying. I tend to agree only with the shock value of the study and not the drug analyses. I remember when a man piercing just one ear put the neighborhood on edge.
The last ten years saw an uncommon, likeable, increase of women with the lower back butterflies, abstract art, and words written right above “the goods.”
I ask again, what were they thinking? I would think they only expected a few intimate men or possibly the people on the beach to admire and ogle the top part of their ass, and imagine, as Opra put it, “the Va-J-J.” But, the thing that always comes back is the fact that the tattoo is not coming off without substantial work.
If I want to remember my life when looking in the mirror I look at scars. The one on my lip when at a bachelor party I got drunk and fell into the bumper of a car. The one on my knee when I crawled under a fence to get to a cigarette machine a twelve year old boy should not have tried to get to, my eyebrow that as a first grader I slipped on a cowboy shirt that my mother told me moments before to pick up and clean my room, and those were just the physical.
Next time you have the chance, look deeply in a mirror and see all the tattoos of time, they’re there, staring back with all the colors of the rainbow and all the colors of life, which is basically black and blue. Look through the black and blue, see the permanent pictures, it is the pictures that life has tattooed on you.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I'm Sorry, You're Not Good Enough

I recently took part in my community’s Big Read and read the book “The Great Gatsby.” A week later I took part in a book discussion. We talked about the themes of betrayal, infidelity, excess (they drank constantly), the roaring 20’s, how the rich behave, escaping the past, and other literary staples that have made the book stand the test of time but what caught my attention was the theme, “I’m sorry, you’re just not good enough.”
The fact that “rich girls don’t marry poor boys” is a hard lesson learned by a young man in love but is there a harder lesson learned by a rich girl who marries for love and lives broke?
I wasn’t good enough for someone when I started my career. She was beautiful, funny and charming and I’d like to think that I was at least charming because she did date me. I wanted to take her for a ride, to the top, over and over again.
She didn’t say to me I wasn’t good enough but I knew deep down in my heart she was waiting for something better. She wasn’t going to wait for me to “make it.” She went on to marry the son of one of the biggest grocery chains in the south, a move well played. I wonder if she stays up at night thinking of me? I’m kidding.
I’ve also been on the other side of this situation. Since my early 20’s crush I’ve run across women who thought the world of me but didn’t think they were equal to what I wanted them to be in my life. In one scenario it wasn’t that the girl wasn’t rich. It was her mother. I thought her family was freaking crazy and I didn’t want to get involved with a bunch of nut cases that scared the hell out of me, even though this time she thought I was the person who was handsome, funny and charming. Here’s the bitch, it made me unaware of the fact that with her I wouldn’t have had to make it to the top. I could have been me.
She ended up leaving her crazy-ass family, knowing they weren’t good enough for her either. She also believed in the next guy, and his ability, and started a business with the gentleman who really loved her and they are now rich. For me, another lesson learned. By the way I’m still working on my career.
I have a friend who is a triple threat, good looking, funny and charming, who, years ago, was crazy about a woman, willing to do anything for her. She kept telling him she didn’t want to have a boyfriend, just a friend, a close companion, a guy to do things with, and he hung in there and gave no pressure. He was madly in love and just willing to be by her side. She must have known and had one of the best excuses that keep us men at bay, “I’ve just gotten out of a relationship.”
“Hey! Honey! You’ve been my friend for six months. We’re technically dating, throw the dog a bone or better yet, let me throw you one and get it over with.”
But he didn’t. He kept on until he realized he wasn’t good enough for her.
All people want to be held close. I don’t believe people when they say they only want a friend. Was she getting over on him? Was he not rich enough?
But, love conquers all, right? Tell that to the woman who married for love and is dreaming of the life she could have had, had she held out, went with her brain instead of her heart and got the house, the clothes, the trips, or even the feeling of showing one’s entire family they’re not good enough.
I can only speculate on women holding out for love or marrying for money. I would think it ‘s the way the girl was raised. I would bet the farm that if a woman loved me and another man the same, the brightness of gold would diminish the glare from my red hair. After my experiences I don’t blame them.
Love and money, or lack of it, plays into such an interesting way man and woman form a relationship. Throw youth into the mix and holy Christ, innocence and lack of intelligence rears its ugly head.
I once saw a young couple in the French Quarter begging for money. I was sitting across the street by the Joan of Ark Statue. They couldn’t have been more then teenagers, dirty clothed, street urchins, and I was amazed at the fact that as they begged they would hold hands in-between accepting coins from passers-by. For a long time I wondered if they were in the beautiful world of being in love or were they just in poverty. I couldn’t tell.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

If walls could talk.

I find it fascinating when someone on the “Antique Road Show” has an item they don’t know anything about sells for an unbelievable amount of money, lots of money, plenty of money. I enjoy sitting on the couch waiting for the dollar amount to pop up on the screen. It’s a game I play. “How much is that piece of crap worth?” Fifteen hundred dollars? Wow! What? 35,000 dollars for a stool. I’d love to get 35,000 dollars for my stool.
Collections are always fun too. It lets me reminisce about things that I had that I didn’t save. I couldn’t save a dollar to save my soul but isn’t it interesting that somebody was wise enough to save a collection of love letters from “Joe Blow,” a person that they didn’t know anything about? Their grandparent’s parent did and now it’s worth a lot more then they ever thought it would, which makes me think of what someone told me about value.
He held up a pen and said, “This pen is worth a buck. I’d sell it to your for seventy-five cents if you need to use it, but if president Bush walked in and used it to sign his name I could get at least 10 dollars for it.”
Old coins are something like that but if you put 19th century nickels in a snack machine you’ll only get a bag of chips.
Things passed down intrigue me because it’s an heirloom. That’s a three-dollar word, “heirloom.” Say it again. I won’t write it, just say it.
Taken from Wikepedia:

In popular usage, an heirloom is something, perhaps an antique or some kind of jewelry, that has been passed down for generations through family members. “Loom” originally meant a tool. Genuine heirlooms were almost unknown by the beginning of the twentih century.

“Tools” weren’t handed down in my family, into it they were born.
I own a few antiques, a bed I got from my uncle that he died in, the TV set he watched, one of the first ever made, which is an old bulky, tiny screened, black and white that I gutted. I even put a portable TV in it and played some old fifties TV shows. When the Three Stooges came on I could feel the presence of my dead uncle watching along with me. It asked me to pull his finger.
I also own a really cool, wooden, portable bench. I’m told it’s from the 19th century. I paid seventy dollars for it about 20 years ago. It really is cool. Closed, it looks like a guitar case but when you open it, it folds out and becomes a bench. It’s heavy to carry and I don’t use it much but it really is amusing to walk into a crowded outdoor setting with people sitting on the ground and in I walk with what people think is a guitar and proceed to open a bench, then sit on it towering above everyone’s head. I get a kick out of it. I think I’ll use it this summer.
I’m a history buff and I’ve always liked the phrase, “If walls could talk,” which makes me wish antiques could talk, too. For something to be in a place for an extremely long period, collect dust, take in time, and repeat what it saw, would be worth $35,000. Oh, wait. That’s what old people do. So, listen to them.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Brother can you spare a dime?

Are you the type of person who doesn’t ask for anything? You have that feeling that if you accept something from someone you owe something in return and you don’t want to be indebted. Or, you just don’t want to bother someone because their act of kindness that should make you feel good inside would only fall short because you felt they had gone to some trouble, over you, and that would make you fell like a nuisance.
So, possibly you’ve developed an “I’ll make it on my own” type of existence. “I’ll do without,” is what you tell yourself, “If I can’t afford it, I don’t need it,” as if it’s a penance, to do without and show the world you're on your own.
Have you ever then swallowed your pride and accepted a gift or money for the baby’s dippers, or rent, or Christmas for your kids? How about that yearbook or class ring for your kid or that present you wanted so much for someone you love so dear?
When did those feeling of not asking for anything begin to emerge?
For me it began when I was thirteen years old, my parents had divorced after separating twice and I was happy just to see my father, a weekend day, and a situation that had him missed quite often. He had a very good job and the courts had him paying child support for my older sister and I. My brother had reached eighteen and past the threshold for giving money because of one’s sperm.
Every two weeks the child support check was due. I remember it was one hundred and eighty dollars every two weeks for two slightly teenage children living with their single parent mother. The exact cost is seared in my brain because often my sister or I had to ask for the check.
We would take turns asking so we could even out the uncomfortable humiliation that we knew was inevitable. We knew he would write the check it was just that at that point we both learned that it wasn’t fun asking for something even though it was ours and even deserved it.
We would never do this as the first thing when he picked us up on Saturday, we knew we would spend a great day together doing the things that kids love to do, going to a skating rink, seeing the latest movies, or eating at fast food restaurants and we didn’t want to spoil the time. My sister and I enjoyed the cool things we got to do with my father and because my mother couldn’t afford it and had to work on Saturdays we never wanted to make waves. That’s a divorced fathers luxury if he chooses to take it.
My mother hated asking us to ask for the check and we were mature enough to know she needed it but still, I’m sure she felt that he should remember. That fact that it cost him less in the long run should have reminded him. He had mayonnaise, ketchup and bachelor crap in a refrigerator, inside a trailer with minimal furniture that wasn’t in the best part of town. He couldn’t have been paying more if we weren't living with him but that is only thinking in hindsight. Sometimes we’d even lie and say we forgot to ask for the check. My mother knew and this went on for two more years.
I was now fifteen could drive and although the every weekend pattern of going to his former home had subsided because of our age and changed lives I still relished his company very much.
It was one Saturday that we were in his new home with his new young wife, my day with him had come to an end and it was time to ask for “The Check.”
We were sitting at the kitchen table; talking I guess and I said it was time to get back home. As I got up to leave I was thinking to myself, “Please, dad remember the check, remember the check, remember the check.”
Walking to the door in the process of saying goodbye he said, “OK Son, well, it was great to see you. You’re always welcome here”
As he hugged me I said, “I love you dad.”
He said, “I love you too, son.”
Now, next to the door I had the feeling I would not hear the much-anticipated words, “Oh! Here give this to your mother,” I turned around and said, apologetically, “Mom asked me to ask you for the check.”
He gave a ‘tis” sound, shook his head and walked to his desk which was in the room next to the foyer. He abruptly pulled his checkbook from the right top draw, and started writing the check. That’s when I heard the words that changed my life.
In a mild disgust he wrote down the amount of $180.00, and then, as he wrote out, on the check, the obligatory words, “one hundred and eighty dollars” he said without picking up his head, “Sometimes I think this is the only reason you come here.”
My heart fell into my stomach and I blinked real hard and when I opened my eyes he was singing the last part of his name. It felt like a gut punch as he pulled the check away from the stub and handed it to me.
Not wanting to take the hit, I said, “I’m sorry Dad, Mom asked for it”
He said, “Aw, don’t worry about. You kids are good kids.”
He walked me to the door, we hugged again and I left. All was forgotten except the fact that when I got back to the car I swore I would never ask anyone for anything again.

Some moments are defining in ones life and that was one for me. I don’t mind accepting gifts from people. I enjoy getting gifts. It lets me know they like me and as some might say I need to be liked. Plus, I like having more stuff.
Acts of kindness toward me thrill the hell out of me and when I accept a gift I don’t think that person has an ulterior motive. Although you should be careful of the people who give you stuff and then constantly tell you about it.
I once heard my father who has given me many gifts since then, complain about my mother’s father who he said “would give you the shirt off his back.” My mother’s father would have. But, the end of my dad’s complaint was “But he’s going to let you know about every time.”
Now I don’t remember my grandfather ever throwing any acts of kindness into anyone’s face. Maybe that was my father’s self-consciousness of leaving his wife and three kids but I certainly understand the concept and that’s the freaking rub.
I can accept anything you want to give me whole-heartedly, ever so accepting, graciously wanting, and extremely thankful, but don’t throw it in my face. Don’t you realize that I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t need it? That I haven’t deep down dug into my soul and ask you because I think first you might have what I’m asking for and second you might give it to me, and now third you won’t need it back anytime soon?
Of course you have to know whom you want to loan things to and whom you don’t and the first rule of lending to a friend is don’t. But please consider this, most people don’t want to ask and most really don’t want you to give it to them.