The Worrying is the Hardest Part

Worry warts may be the worst, but sometimes, they turn a corner, similar to a mole, or skin tag.

My mother worried about everything from my brothers  jumping off a dock to jumping off a tree in the middle of the night.   She even worried about us smoking crack in our treehouse.  Strangely, that was thirty years ago when only my brother, Greg, was smart enough to develop a substance making us crazy enough to jump off a really tall tree.

These days, I only worry about my brothers and sisters…….and my wife, and my friends, and their families, and our country, and the world, and the solar eclipse.

Out of respect to my mother,  I don’t jump off of trees anymore.

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Pious at the Plate

Secretly, I was a pretty decent baseball player until I learned only being successful three times out of ten would get you in Baseball’s Hall of Fame.  I was hitting five hundred in my my math classes, and hitting .400 on the baseball field. My father didn’t give a damn about my batting average compared to my math scores.  Five hundred in math equals an F.  Four hundred on the diamond provides an A.

Recognizing slumps in baseball, your batting average may drop by fifty to a hundred percentage points quite drastically.  While in a slump, I resorted to prayer.

Growing up in the Catholic church, I always prayed for others, but I have to confess, while kneeling in that pew, I tossed in a little extras for me.  Those never worked.

Dealing with two strikes with runners on base is tough for anyone, but with God on your side, going to church every weekend, including standing on each Holiday, should that make a difference in my favor?  I wish you could hear my laughter.  It does not.

Stepping out of the batter’s box with two strikes on me, I did the sign of the cross in front of the umpire.  He called time out and asked me, “Did you just do the sign of the Cross?”

As though I was confessing my sins, I responded, “Yes.”

He then said, “Son, Even God can’t help you in this game.”

I laughed and ended up getting a base hit. However, he was right.  I was praying for a home run..



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King County has recently hiked up their numbers regarding license plate tabs.  My last purchase for tabs was 580 dollars.  There was a time when I was in a cheaper place.

License plates are a tricky issue.  When you are homeless, your car becomes your home.

Years ago, when I was teaching in a land far far away, and during a pending divorce, I was asked to provide my place of residence by the Address Police, AKA secretaries of our school.  I provided my license plate number, model and make of my  car, because I had no proper place of residence.  Even though many people offered me unconditional shelter, my truck was the only place I could properly call my home, since it was my own.

It was only funny to my fellow teachers who appreciated the fact I had become a loser.  The secretary merely shook her head and filed it.

I’m better now.

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Recently, my wife and I were having a sophisticated conversation regarding colors. What is your favorite color?  She loves Dodger Blue.  I told her I love the color gravy.

I will never lose weight, until she tells me to do so.  Does Crayola carry the color gravy?


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In The Middle

Is crying more important than drinking?

Crying counts, drinking is fun, but crying is our reality.  It’s not fun, but it does count.

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The funny thing about laughter is some people either love it or hate it.  I’ve never understood those who hated laughter unless they were absolutely miserable.

There have been times in my life when I was absolutely miserable, but if I could laugh, or find someone to make me laugh, I always felt better, and I knew there was some fun lightning at the end of the tunnel of misery.

My mother told me once laughter can burn calories.  So, I stopped working out and just listened to friends and family telling me stories providing that belly full of laughter.  I now weigh 50 pounds.  By the way, I’m six foot four.


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The Good Fellows in my Life

Sometimes, life is like a blackjack table. The odds are against you, but if you are surrounded by certain people, you have a much better chance of success.

Blackjack is fun, and it may translate to a skill with which you must have the proper others assisting you in the process.  If wishing to win, you may carry a list of characters along with you.  I’ll provide a list of these guys and girls always helping me win.

Marshall Madness, Tall Tale Tom, Shamrock Pat, The Bull Frog, Greg Montana,  Trevor the Budhast, Mystery Aaron, Slippery Vic, and of course, Meltdown Mary and Amazon Britt.

With them by your side, you felt safe and always came out a winner. There were many others.

Medicine Mags, Jerry Mcnuggets, Annie Wee Wee, Get off my lawn Glenn, Politically Incorrect Patricia, and Double Down Dorothy always had my back. Not to mention The King of Fun and Southern Fried Theresa.

They challenged me, but I owned  those tables.  The C Note never gambled, but he’d always buy us a drink. There was also a guy named Walla Walla Russ. Nobody could ever figure out where he lived, and he was always quietly on the run.  He was also the bank.  WWR would keep my chips in his pocket, because if he didn’t, we wouldn’t eat that night or the next morning.

The Bullfrog aways kept me in check as well, and the Yawn just kept us laughing.

I even have neighbors in the witness protection program.  They were known as Scrappy the Stapler, Messy Car Megan, and Johnny Recycling.

With all these wonderful characters surrounding me most of my life, if I walked off the table with no money, I still thought I won.

Lately, I’ve been referred to as Benny Two Times.  I don’t know if the name is in conjunction with the movie Good Fellas, or if my second marriage is working out quite nicely.

I do like to get the paper, get the paper each morning.

I haven’t forgotten my brother, Steve.  He is a sibling who doesn’t require a nickname, nor does he require a false address.  You just always like him playing third base at the table.

I bet on all those characters and haven’t lost yet.

Benjamin Joseph




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Evidently, is creating a spectacle these days notifying customers at grocery outlets they don’t have to pay until they receive the bill at home.  They are eliminating cashiers.

Personally, I love cashiers.  They make purchasing a tomato a little easier than the self check out which also requires proper identification.   If the CEO of Amazon wants to really shake things up, we should be allowed a mute button for the cashiers and customers because, usually, no one  gives a crap about the weather unless you live in a Mayberry barber shop with eighty year old misers.



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24 Cigarettes

Father’s day has passed.  So did my father…..many years ago.

When I was born, he was close to fifty, according to the Bible.

My father was a peculiar and fascinating man.  Smoking cigarettes kept him alive until he was almost seventy.  I miss him, but every father’s day, I think of the 24 cigarette clay mansion I was allowed to create on this wonderful day by my junior ‘high’ teacher before the celebration.

He did smoke, but I think he only used my gift as a paper weight.




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The Fisherman’s Dwarf

They don’t call me a fisherman.  I’m more of a fish monger.  Catching them can be exciting, cooking them is fun, and eating them is delightful.  Perhaps it is a silly metaphor, but it reminds me of the only brother who won’t be participating in a weekend fishing trip.  Exciting, delightful and fun would properly describe him.

Not only younger than my six brothers, I’m also shorter in size, strength, wit, generosity, public humiliation, and I wear a size nine shoe…on a good day.

Heading on this fishing trip with five of my older brothers, one of my brothers wasn’t invited, because we simply don’t like him and find his company disagreeable.  That’s nothing further from the truth.  His excuse for not partaking in our potentially angling mess is excusable. Sadly, he is the one who ties all of our knots and makes fishing, or anything, for that matter,  fun.

They call him Steve.


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