Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Patchwork Cat

One day when I was a little kid, my brothers and I were sitting around the house bored on a gloomy, rainy summer day.  My Mom, being one of those Moms that always had something for us to do, pulled out three plaster cats, the kind you can buy at the craft store, to paint.  She set us up in the kitchen at a table covered with newspapers, a bunch of paint and paint brushes and water to rinse them in.  “Have fun”, she said.

I was five years old at the time, I hadn’t started kindergarten yet and my painting skills were about what you’d expect from a five-year old.  My brothers on the other hand, were respectively three and four years older than me and although still in elementary school, old enough to be able to know how a cat should be painted. So we painted and painted and painted.

My oldest brother painted his mostly black, like a Halloween cat, with some silver highlights here and there.  He spent most of the time on the eyes using yellows and greens and whites and diligently adding all the fine details that you’d see when you look at a cat face to face.  He painted the inside of the ears a mix of black and pink, just like you’d see on a black cat. He painted the claws.

My other brother painted his orange and black.  No, these were not jungle animals, they were cheap craft store domesticated cats.  But he made his look like a fierce tiger with crisp stripes down the sides that ended in sharp points.  He also painted the eyes, although not quite as realistically as the Halloween cat, and the ears and the claws.

I painted mine… red and blue and yellow and green and purple and orange and brown and white and black and…

A red splotch here, a blue smear there, a purple blot here, a red smudge there, an orange stroke here, a green splash there.

Then my brothers teased me.  They teased me because my cat was all different colors.  They said “it doesn’t look like a cat.”  They said “cats aren’t red and blue and green and purple.”  They teased and teased and teased and then I started to cry and I ran to my room.  Yep, I did… I cried my eyes out.  Of course, I was only five!

A little while later, my Mom called me back out.  She said “I have something to show you.”  So I came back out to the kitchen and there was my cat sitting in the same place I had left it.

But it was different.

Around each and every splotch and smear and blot and smudge and stroke and splash, my Mom had painted tiny little lines and stitch marks. It looked like a cat that had been sewn together with little pieces of colored fabric.  She said, “what do you think? It’s a patchwork cat.”  It was amazing and I thought it was the coolest cat in the world at that moment.  My brothers actually kind of liked it too.  Sorry, I don’t have a photograph to show you, you’ll have to use your imagination.

My Mom kicked ass as a Mom.  I couldn’t have asked for one any better.  We lost her to brain cancer back in 2002.  I’m not here to mourn, but instead to celebrate. Not for any particular reason, this story just happened to pop into my head the other day and I thought I’d write it down.  Perhaps one of these days I’ll try to turn it into a real kid’s story and dedicate it to her.  She’d like that.

Wherever she is now, I can only imagine she has a cat with her… a cat that’s all sewn together out of pieces of fabric.

A patchwork cat.

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From ONE to TEN

I once thought that ONE was enough.
Me by myself with only my stuff.
But I met a nice girl and love it was true.
We had a big wedding and then we were TWO.

We once thought that TWO was okay.
My wife and I hanging out every day.
But we drove by a sign that said, “kittens for free!”
We took home a kitten, and then we were THREE.

We once thought that THREE was not bad.
There wasn’t anybody we wanted to add.
But then we decided to get just one more.
A friend for our cat and then we were FOUR.

We once thought that FOUR was just fine.
One cat was her’s and one cat was mine.
One day a beautiful baby arrived.
A sweet little girl, and then we were FIVE.

We once thought that FIVE was alright.
Though space was getting a little bit tight.
But we wanted to add one more kid to the mix.
Along came a boy and then we were SIX.

We once thought that SIX would suffice.
Not a bird or a hamster or a snake would entice.
Then we decided two dogs would be great.
We skipped over SEVEN and went straight to EIGHT.

We once thought that EIGHT would be plenty.
At least it was only eight and not twenty.
Then one of our dogs, she went up to heaven.
Suddenly we were back down to SEVEN.

We once thought that SEVEN would be ample.
Add any more and we’d surely be trampled.
“Would you like two goats” asked a friend of mine?
We took home the goats and then we were NINE.

We once thought that NINE was tidy and neat.
Though we were looking for something to make us complete.
Our daughter liked riding a horse now and then.
So we bought her a horse and then we were TEN.

For now we think TEN is all we can handle.
If we grow any bigger it would sure be a scandal.
But someday we may add some more, I suppose
Then we’ll have to start counting on our fingers AND toes!

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Fine French Cuisine

Those of you who follow me regularly know that I have not yet had the opportunity to be represented on the Freshly Pressed page of WordPress.com.  In my thorough studies of the blog posts that have earned that honor, I have noticed that many are often food related and deliver in-depth instructions and photographs related to food preparation and fine dining in the home. I thought it would be a good idea to write some posts on some of the fine foods that we eat a lot of here at The Brown Road Chronicles.  So, today I’ve chosen four of our most popular meals, all of which have a French influence and all of which can be easily prepared at home with simple ingredients and in relatively short time for those of you who are busy with jobs and children and families.  As with many fine foods from European cultures and especially those from France, they are often difficult to pronounce properly.  Here at The Brown Road Chronicles, however, we encourage you to partake in these recipes with your finest French accent.  We find this increases the pleasure you will experience when you finally get the opportunity to dine.  Enjoy!

1.  Nudlés et Fromage au Robért de Sponge:

An excellent choice for any meal of the day, but we typically prepare this fine meal for lunch and dinner.

Ingredients:
Nudlés au Robért de Sponge
1 Cup Milk
Fromage de Florescent Orange

Preparation Instructions:
In a medium sized pot, boil approximately two cups of water.  Add the Nudlés au Robért de Sponge and boil until tender. Drain the Nudlés au Robért de Sponge.  Add approximately one cup of milk.  Tear open the package of Fromage de Florescent Orange and sprinkle into pot.  Mix thoroughly and enjoy.

Note:  the Nudlés au Robért de Sponge can be replaced with Nudlés de la Elbeaux.

2.  Pinut Butré and Gelée on Wheat Bread

This is a quick meal that can be eaten at any time of the day as a snack or perhaps even as the main course of a bag lunch.

Ingredients:
Two slices Wheat Bread (or bread of your choice)
Pinut Butré
Gelée (Grape or Strawberry)

Preparation Instructions:

Take the two slices of Wheat Bread and set them on a plate or counter top. Using a knife, cover one slice of bread generously with the Pinut Butré. Lick knife. With the same knife, cover the other slice of bread generously with the Gelée. Put the two slices of bread together with the Pinut Butré and the Gelée sides together. Enjoy.

Note: Bread au Wondére makes an excellent bread choice as well

3.  Haute Dauge au Meat de la Mystére



This meal makes another excellent choice for lunch or dinner.  We don’t often eat this particular meal for breakfast as it has been known to cause slight indigestion.

Ingredients:
One Haute Dauge au Meat de la Mystére
One Bunné
Mustard, Ketchup, Relish or other preferred condiments

Preparation Instructions:
Insert Haute Dauge au Meat de la Mystére into Microwave and heat on high for 30 seconds. Do not be concerned if Haute Dauge au Meat de la Mystére has areas that look burnt and exploded.  It will not affect the flavor. Insert Haute Dauge au Meat de la Mystére into Bunné. Add condiments as desired. Enjoy.

4.  Flakes au Maize avec Sucre

This is an excellent choice for breakfast, but also makes a great dinnertime meal when in a hurry.  For example, I had Flakes au Maize avec Sucre as my dinner last night as I was rushing to a meeting I had to attend.  Sometimes it can be less filling than desired, so when I returned from my meeting I had a Haute Dauge au Meat de la Mystére.

Ingredients:
Flakes au Maize avec Sucre
Milk

Preparation Instructions:
Pour Flakes au Maize avec Sucre into a large bowl. Add milk. Enjoy.

I hope you enjoy these fine French recipes and I encourage you to try them at home.  We here at The Brown Road Chronicles certainly have gotten plenty of nutritious mileage from them.  I will tell you as well, I thoroughly enjoyed writing about food and plan on sharing some of our other fine recipes in future posts.  So please keep an eye out.

Next up?  Helpére de la Hambergére.  Stay tuned…

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Looking for the Idyllic Life

This is one of my very first posts and the one that deserves credit for giving me the impetus to start Brown Road Chronicles.  It is one of my favorites and if you have not read it yet I hope you enjoy it.  I have updated it slightly from its original state and added some images. I will let you all know that although I can’t claim to have “found the idyllic life,” I believe the writing of this blog and the soul-searching that has entailed, has brought me several steps closer to whatever I will ultimately discover that it is. Thank you all for reading.

I‘m looking for the idyllic life.  You know, like the people in “Country Living” magazine? There are always folks in that magazine who live in these great old houses out in the country. Houses that they’ve beautifully restored to their former glory. Seems often they are people who spent some years in the rat race of life and decided to get out, and now they are self-employed working from their home, or they’re writers, or furniture makers, or beekeepers or they’re doing something else that none of us other less fortunate, dim-witted people would be able to make a living doing. Occasionally they’re older folks, but sometimes not. Just as often they’re people like me, middle-aged, with kids that they’ll eventually have to put through college, and sometimes (probably in higher proportion than the general populace) they’re same-sex couples. But regardless, it all looks so glorious in the glossy pages of the magazines; the rustic antique furniture; the beautiful, manicured gardens of fresh veggies and flowers; the dining room table all decorated in fancy holiday display; the pet dog sleeping peacefully on the wraparound porch. Can you envision it? That’s what I want… not this working my ass off lifestyle, toiling away every day, only to someday eventually be able to retire once I’m too old for it really to matter anymore. That’s what I want… the idyllic life… straight from the pages of “Country Living” magazine!

Many of you know I have an old farm-house out in the country, 120 years old roughly. I’ve even renovated a bunch of it, so much so that I actually got sick of it for a while and have taken several years off. But there’s still a million things to do. My 10-year-old son’s bedroom has nursery wallpaper in it, leftover from the previous owners. The three season porch (uh… storage room) is loaded with lead paint and windows that let plenty of cold air in… and the list goes on and on. We’ve even got some nice antiques, they’re hard to see sometime because they have all of our stuff stacked on top of them, or they’re covered in clothes like some kind of pseudo clothing rack. We planted a garden several years in a row. It went from about 100 ft. to 50 ft. to 25 ft to zero feet as we realized how much effort it took to keep it maintained. We have the pets too, a dog, cats, a couple of goats and even a horse that we are currently boarding at another farm while we work on getting our horse stalls and pasture fences repaired. There’s enough pet hair in the house to knit sweaters with.  Ahhhh, maybe that’s the idyllic career… cat and dog hair sweaters… but alas, too many people are allergic. Then there’s the overflowing laundry, the broken dishwasher, the……

The glossy, magazine-delivered illusion is that somehow these people have simplified. They have time… free time, and apparently loads of it.  Yet they still have all the monetary and commercial needs that the rest of us indulge in. There’s an imbalance there that I can’t quite grasp my hands around. Is it just some rogue scheme to get us to read the magazine? I suspect that I can’t really make a decent living as a beekeeper, yet still be able to throw lavish champagne brunches in my backyard with fancy tablecloths and fresh picked greens from the garden. Damn you, “Country Living” for teasing me into believing this can be a reality.

There is a great book that I like to read called “A Country Year” by Sue Hubbell. I don’t think I’ve ever read it straight through, but have easily read the whole thing several times over in bits and pieces. Ms. Hubbell (who it turns out was born and raised near me) was at one time a librarian at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She was married to a professor and was living what any of us would likely consider a wonderful, upscale lifestyle. When the grind eventually got to them, they left their jobs, bought a farm in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and started a beekeeping and honey producing operation. Soon after, her husband left her, but she continued to run the business, living what can only be described as an “idyllic” and simplified life in this stunningly beautiful area of the country. The book is broken down into small essays describing her days in this rural community throughout the four seasons of the year; her interactions with nature; her challenges surviving through brutal winters; her relationships with her Ozark neighbors; her developing self-sufficiency. Over time she nurtures the business into one of the largest honey producers in that area of the country, yet it still never drives enough revenue to eliminate her money worries and she describes her income as “below the poverty level.” Now in reality that’s what I would call “Country Living”, it’s just not the glossy magazine kind!

So, I’m now searching for the “idyllic life.” As I look closely the infrastructure is all there for me; a beautiful, loving family, the great old house in the country, the antiques, the pet dog. So, why isn’t it idyllic, like the magazine says it could, or should be? What is missing? I don’t know! What really is the idyllic life? Is it living as a beekeeper with an income below the poverty level, but “stopping to smell the flowers” and living a mostly stress free lifestyle? Or is it sitting hunched in an office cubicle 40-80 hours a week, working towards the weekends and those elusive days off when you can throw those champagne brunches. Or is it having a house filled with stuff… flat screens, WII’s, iPODs… stuff that in the long-term really doesn’t provide anything other than a temporary feeling of satisfaction and success. It’s one of those questions that if you asked one hundred people, I am sure you’d get one hundred different answers. I for one – as the clock of my life rapidly tick-tocks along, as my wife and I watch our children growing up faster than we could have ever imagined, as we see the older generations of our family passing on, as I grapple with the short time we have on this earth – am starting to lean toward the bees.

Problem is… I’m afraid of bees.

… and maybe we better cancel the “Country Living” subscription.

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Dear Men with Bone Crushing Handshakes

June 20, 2011

Dear Men with Bone-Crushing Handshakes:

I am writing as the representative of Men with Girly-Man-Hands.  Let me begin by saying it is our pleasure to meet you.  We understand that you are manly-men.  We understand that you are men of heft and substance, of testosterone filled confidence.  We understand that you think that a solid and firm handshake makes lesser men like ourselves believe that you are entrepreneurial and successful.  We understand that you probably played football or some other manly sport as a youth and you are still grieving the fact that you did not receive a college scholarship.

We can see that you understand this as well. We can see by the way that you lean very far forward into the handshake and invade our personal space.  We can see by the way that you cock your elbow back like you are John Wayne, about to draw a pistol from its holster, then you fire your hand towards us and lean in and wait for us to put our fragile little girly-man-hands out so you can crush the shit out of them.

As the representative of Men with Girly-Man-Hands, I am asking you to please be more considerate, however, of certain men, including myself, whose hands are not made of solid granite.  Although we may look manly, our hands may appear to be regular man-size and we may play the part with our fine clothes and our five o’ clock shadow, please be aware that our hands perhaps have a softer infrastructure than yours.  When you shake our hands and you can hear cracking sounds because our bones are snapping into little pieces, please understand that we are no longer thinking of you as being entrepreneurial and successful.  Rather, at that moment, as you release our hands and our arms fall down like the legs on a rubber chicken, we are mostly just thinking that you are a complete douchebag and we wish you would go away. I am aware this is difficult for someone of your intellectual might to understand and therefore I will give you some time to digest this information before following up.

In closing, although your football coach probably told you to shake hands with the same force that you used to crush the opposing players into the earth, I will respectfully tell you that football coaches don’t know everything.  In fact, most of the men whom you will introduce yourself to in your lifetime didn’t ever play organized football.  Some of the men, like myself, instead played the cello which I understand is not the manliest of instruments, but at least it was not the flute.  I will also respectfully ask that when you are shaking our girly-man-hands in a less crushing fashion, please refrain from leaning forward into our personal space and breathing all over us and showing us the chest hairs bulging out of your shirt.  It is unbecoming and unnecessary.

Thank you Men with Bone Crushing Handshakes for your time and consideration.  I hope we can come to a cordial agreement on this pressing issue. I will follow up with you shortly to address any questions or concerns you might have.  Please look for that follow up via e-mail, rather than in person as I would prefer not to have to shake your hand.

Best regards,

Steve

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My house smiled at me today…

My house smiled at me today. I didn’t actually see her smile, but I know she did. We’ve just had her painted, and I know that she feels good when we take care of her. Her old bare and peeling soffits and trim and window frames and siding are tightly sealed up, caulked and primed and painted. Her wooden sections all match once again, the old and the new, the worn and the fresh, all the same cream color, subtly contrasting with her century old brick façade. A shiny new coat of green paint covers both of her outside doors, a splash of color worn like a spring scarf. Her roof is new as of last fall, the upside of an aggressive hail storm that ripped through our area, and resulted in a rash of insurance claims and a windfall of business to the local roofing contractors.

I stood in front of her today and I told her she looked beautiful and she smiled at me. I didn’t actually see her smile, but I know she did. She smiled because she now knows and trusts me as her caretaker of the last sixteen years. She smiled because she now knows that I have been willing to put my own blood and sweat and money into keeping her solid and beautiful. She smiled because she knows me now as she has known all of her caretakers before me, likely dozens of men and women and even children who have cared enough about her to keep her structurally strong and vibrant and standing proudly for over 120 years. She smiled at me because I told her she looked beautiful.

I do believe that I am her caretaker. Yes, she is the house that protects us from the elements. Yes, she is the place where my family has made sixteen years worth of incredible memories. Yes, she is the only home my two children have ever known and likely will know until they move out on their own. Yes, she is the place where my family has shared smiles and tears, hugs and fights, ups and downs. Yes, she is the place where we have celebrated the miracle of babies born and mourned the deaths of those who have left us. Yes, she is the place where birthdays and anniversaries and holidays have been celebrated. Yes, she is the place that has made us feel content and warm and safe for sixteen years and hopefully many more decades to come.

Yes, she is all of those things and for that I consider myself immensely blessed. But she is also so much more. She is a piece of history that harkens back to the days before automobiles and electricity and indoor plumbing were prevalent. She is a reminder of where we came from, a time when houses were built on the backs of strong men with a meager assortment of hand tools, yet possessing incredible craftsmanship skills. She is a reminder of a time when rural living and one room schoolhouses and fresh food and hard work reigned supreme. She is our personal museum and I am her caretaker and I take that responsibility seriously.

My house smiled at me today. I didn’t actually see her smile, but I know she did. Someday, she will have a new caretaker, and a new one after that and on and on and on. For now though, I am her caretaker and I will continue to do my part to make sure she is still standing proudly for many more wonderful years to come. If I am lucky, down the road, when my wife and I are old and gray and feeble, we will still be able to stand in front of her and tell her that she looks beautiful. I hope that she smiles at us then as well… and perhaps even says “thank you.”

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The Therapist

DOC:  Hello Steve, go ahead and have a seat on that red couch there… so, what brings you to my office today?

ME:  Well, you see Doc… I’m not funny anymore.

DOC:  Excuse me? You’re not funny anymore?

ME:  Yes, I used to be really funny… you see, I write a blog… it’s called Brown Road Chronicles… have you read it?

DOC:  No, I’m sorry I have not read it… in any case, keep going… tell me why you don’t think you’re funny anymore.

ME:  Yeah, okay… well my blog used to be knee-slapping funny… no, it was even funnier than that… it was piss-your-pants funny… and I could crank out post after post, day after day… just totally funny shit.

DOC:  And now?

ME:  Now… I got nothin’.  My goats don’t even make me laugh anymore.

DOC:  Uhhh… your goats?

ME:  Yeah, I have a couple of goats… but that’s a whole separate session.

DOC:  Okay… well, do you have any thoughts on why you are not able to be funny anymore?

ME:  I don’t know… maybe it’s just hard to be funny all the time… to make people laugh.  I think sometimes being an adult just gets in the way.

DOC:  Yes, I’m sure it can be difficult.  Funny comes from deep down inside you, from the core of your life experiences.  We just need to dig deep into your psyche and find the roots of your funniness. I’d like to hypnotize you and bring you back to your childhood and see if we can uncover some of those roots.

ME:  Sure… whatever works Doc.

DOC:  Okay, I want you to just lay back on the couch and relax, close your eyes and just breath… nice deep breaths… feel the air going in and out… you’re feeling very relaxed… breathe… nice deep breaths… very relaxed… now I am going to count backwards from 10 and you will fall into a deep sleep… 10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… good… now you are in a deep sleep… you are back to your childhood, I want you to think of some things that you found funny… tell me about where you are?

ME:  I am in my garage… at one of the first houses we lived in Michigan… I’m young, like early elementary school years.

DOC:  And what are you doing in the garage?

ME:  My older brothers and a friend are recording farts on one of those old cassette tape recorders.  They start the tape by saying, “now you may listen to our collection of farts.”  Every time one of them has to fart they push down the record button and let it rip.  Then every once in a while they’ll play back the whole tape… you know… to see how it’s all coming together… it’s totally hilarious… I have tears in my eyes from laughing so much.

DOC:  Excellent, excellent… yes, very good… farts are funny… that’s very good Steve.  Let’s try to find something else… can you look forward a few more years?

ME:  Okay, now I’m in Pennsylvania, in a grocery store with my grandmother and my two brothers and my cousin… were visiting our relatives… I’m probably in about 3rd grade or so.  Us four boys, we’re in the baking aisle… and we find a bottle that says “Pure Anise Extract” on it.  Of course, we think it says “anus extract”.  We’re laughing our fucking asses off… rolling around the aisle, like hooligans… we keep repeating it… “pure anus extract… pure anus extract” and howling with laughter… it’s totally freakin’ funny…

DOC:  That is very funny… then what happens?

ME:  Then my grandmother comes around the corner and figures out what we are laughing at… she was fucking pissed… she goes ballistic on us… chewed our asses out… right in the middle of the god damn grocery store… that was funny shit though… we still talk about that story as adults.

DOC:  Excellent… very good Steve… now let’s go to your middle school years… anything funny there?

Me:  Yeah…  I’m standing in the kitchen at our house on Long Island, with two of my close friends.  One of them dares the other guy to eat a spoonful of flour… you know… a harmless prank amongst friends… we didn’t have any idea what would happen.

DOC:  Okay… that’s very good… pranks are always good fun… so what happened?

ME:  Well, he puts this gigantic spoonful of flour in his mouth, not like a little teaspoon, but a big soup spoon full… you know how dry that shit is… then he can barely swallow it… mix in a little saliva and it’s turning to cement right in his mouth… we’re like freakin’ out thinking this poor guy is gonna choke to death… he’s like gagging and choking… it was freakin’ hilarious!

DOC:  Did everything turn out okay?

ME:  Yeah, he eventually got it all down…

DOC:  I’m glad to hear that… okay, very good Steve… now, let’s look forward a little more at your high school years.

ME:  Yeah… okay… it’s late on a Summer night… I’m hanging out with my brothers and some friends and we’re drinking some beers.  A few weeks earlier, one of the older guys had stolen this five foot plastic palm tree from an outdoor, tropical themed bar they sometimes hung out at… so now we’re all wasted, and one of us decides we should take the tree and plant it in one of our buddies front yards… we grab a shovel and sneak over there in the dark, dig a hole in their yard and plant this plastic palm tree… right dead center in their front yard… hilarious!

DOC:  I’m not sure vandalism is that funny Steve… so what happened?

ME:  Turns out they didn’t think it was that funny either.

DOC:  Yes, I can imagine… but that’s very good Steve… good, funny memories… finally, how about during your college age years, anything come to mind there…

ME:  Oh man… where do I start?  Okay… I’m sitting outside in my back yard at my house… same house on Long Island… my parents threw this big party every summer… we called it The Hootenanny… we’d sit around all day eating and drinking and playing guitars and singing, swimming in the pool, playing basketball… tons of people would come, friends, family, everybody we knew.

DOC:  Okay, that’s very good… but tell me the funny part…

ME:  Well after most of the guests are gone, the hardcore partiers… you know, all the college aged guys and girls would sit around drinking… and smoking cigars… and then someone decides to light a fart… have you ever lit a fart?

DOC:  Ahhh… fascinating… farts seem to be a recurring theme here… that’s very good Steve.  But uhhh… no, I’m sorry I can’t say that I have ever lit a fart… I’m sure that is quite entertaining however!

ME:  Yeah, it’s freakin’ hilarious… you should try it some time.  It helps when everybody’s really drunk too… so we’re sitting around talking and lighting farts… imagine, you’re sitting in a circle having a drunken conversation with friends and every so often someone lights up a fart… chicks sometimes too… POOF… hilarious… freakin’ hilarious!

DOC:  That is very funny Steve… excellent work… you’ve done very well today… now, what I am going to do is… I am going to count down from ten again… and you will slowly come out of your sleep… 10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… wake up now Steve.

ME:  Whoa… hey Doc… wow, that was crazy… I don’t remember anything… what happened?

DOC:  Well, I’ve learned quite a lot during this session… I think you may have some latent flatulatory neuroses… but in any case a few common themes kept arising during your stories, Steve… those being… well farts… potty humor… uhhh… drinking stories… and well I guess, maybe we can include pranks and jokes.  I also noticed most of your stories involved close family and friends.  So, I think when you are writing, you just need to revert back to some of those adolescent, juvenile things that you and your family and friends find funny… other people will probably find them funny as well.

ME:  Oh… well that’s pretty much what I am doing already.

DOC:  Well… just keep doing that.

ME:  But… but… you haven’t really solved my problem… I’m still finding it hard to be consistently funny… day after day after day.

DOC:  Well, Steve… if you’d like to come back for another session… I’d be happy to see you again… but today we are out of time… I have another patient waiting.

ME:  No… that’s okay… what do I owe you today.

DOC:  Today’s fee is $500.00. You can pay at the reception desk out in the lobby.

ME:  Five hundred frickin’ dollars?!?!?!?  Dude, that is totally NOT funny…

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