The Every Other Daily Corona: Public Cess Pools

With the reopening of fishing and golfing, I wonder when or if they’ll open up public pools again.  Sadly, for some, I can guess it won’t be anytime soon.  As a child without a pool at our house, we’d frequent these pools regularly during the summertime pissing season.  I wasn’t a huge fan.  Having two public piss stations in our neighborhood, neither of them were too pleasing for me, but wherever my brothers went, well, I was their shadow.

Thinking back, sans the deaths, I would have welcomed the Corona Virus.  With the exception of one pool out of our neighborhood, I always thought of them as a possible death sentence amongst other unnatural disasters.  Having few friends my own age, I glommed on to my brothers and their friends.   They were all four to six years older, and took pretty good care of me, but there were countless times when they may not be present, thus fearing for my life and clothing.  This was after my brother, Greg, witnessed his bicycle being stolen five feet from the fence barricading him between the thief and himself.  Helplessly, he watched his bike and its new owner, bolt cutters in hand, laugh himself off into the distance.

Once, heading nearby to the same Mission Pool just on the next block past the corner of Mischief and Theft St.,  I proudly rode my bike to the pool in my brand new sneakers.  After some swimming and diving into the blue/yellow liquid, making it green, I left after about an hour to find my shoes missing from the locker I had placed them.  Clearly stolen, with no “witnesses”, or confirmed suspects, (all the deviant a-hole thieves working the locker room) holding back the tears, I rode home in my bare feet.  Walking into our house, leaving a bloody trail from the bottoms of my feet, my mother asked where my new shoes were.  It broke my heart to tell her they’d been stolen.  It was the first pair of really nice shoes she’d ever purchased me.  My very own.  No hand me downs.  Tom, my brother, four years older than me, knew some sleaze bag was prancing around with my shoes showing them off to his derelict family.  He saw red.  Enraged, Tom jumped on his ten speed, recklessly riding to the pool hoping to find the culprit.   With a different pair of shoes, I trailed him by a few lengths witnessing, to no avail, him busting into the locker room without asking for permission.  Tom was only around fifteen at the time, but as a varsity wrestler, he could lick most eighteen year olds in the valley.  Although scaring the hell out of each employee, he was forced to leave by adult personnel.  They were ready to call the fuzz.  Knowing nothing good happens when cops enter a scene, he decided to leave without finding my shoes.  If my brother, Greg, or the rest of our neighborhood gang had heard the news, they would have been right there with him.  I never saw those shoes again, but they did lose my business.

On the other side of the valley was an even more sinister pool. This was Park Piss Pool.  It was a piss dispensary.  If the county could have figured out a way to fabricate fuel with this daily yellow mess, the world would be a far more efficient place.  Gallons and gallons of urinary grime and disgust.  However, it wasn’t the contents of the pool I despised the most.  It was a boy, or perhaps man, who was most definitely mentally disturbed and just flat out mean.  He scared any guts I may have had right out of me and countless others.  While trying to drown me or any other child not practicing social distancing with him, he was a menace.  I’m betting he was in his mid twenties.  His name was Glenn B.  He was also unfavorably known as The Park Penis.  Before throwing him out for several counts of attempted murder by drowning, the pencil necked lifeguards would allow us to witness his grand finale.  Looking like a six foot tall bowling pin, he’d make it safely to the diving board, pull down his bathing suit and piss into the deep and now deeper end of the pool.  Then, he’d further amuse himself by doing a whopper of a belly flop directly into the strategic area of his urine, thus creating a tidal wave of yellow terror.   Children would be screaming while pushing each other right and left with fright trying to find a tsunami safety zone.  It was chaos. Before paying to get into the pool area, I’d refuse when I saw he was present. He’d be there most of the time.  I’d stay on the monkey bars most of the time. While utterly baffling to me, they didn’t present him a lifetime ban for his ungentlemanly antics.

My father hated these stories, so on several occasions, weekends only, he’d take us to another public pool on the other side of town……..the West Side.  It was here he introduced us to another world all together.  Since our side of town was predominately white, we hadn’t really interacted with people of color, usually just cheering for them to race for the goal line on Saturdays or Sundays.  Sure, we had a couple of hispanics in our neighborhood gatherings, in fact they were welcomed as a part of our group, but other than that, it was mostly Irish, Italian, German and British white trash.  When we entered the West Side pool, we were outnumbered by blacks.  There was a little staring on both sides, but I never felt anything but welcomed, and not one ounce of threat or violence. I liked this pool far better than the ones in our neighborhood.  Years later, I gave praise to our father helping us not only acknowledge diversity, but embrace it.  It was deliberate. So, I guess sometimes you have to experience ugliness before finding the right pool.  It’s out there.  Just please don’t cough, sneeze, or most vehemently, piss on me when you find it.

***Following the publication of this blog, I was quickly contacted by an actual member of our Spokane Valley community who was disturbed with a memory this blog dragged out of his wet heart which he hoped to be dead and buried.  He had his own tale of Glenn B., A.KA. “The Park Penis”.   Jeremy S. writes, “I’ll never forget him.  He Kicked the living s–t out of me when I was at Park Pool.  I might’ve been in fifth grade.  I don’t remember what I said to him, but it had something to do with him bugging my younger brother, Andrew.  He held me under water and punched me multiple times.  It was frightening!  I remember the lifeguards pulling him off me.  The dude must have been 35 years old at the time of the beat down.  I crawled out of that pool bawling.”

***Yet another Glenn B. story from my brother, Tom.  He writes, “I will never forget that dude.  He would walk up and down the line of everyone waiting to get into the pool and terrorize them.  Shirtless with only tight shorts and cowboy boots, my friends, Joe and Ryan were waiting in line one day and Glenn slapped Joe and Ryan started crying.  True story.  He was a terror for sure.  He also circumnavigated the neighborhood on his custom built low rider Schwinn bike with fake throttle handle grips and long plastic pom pom strings beneath.”

Oh, the wonderful 80’s.


The Right In?

Screen Shot 2020-03-06 at 8.18.49 PMAlthough these are delicate subjects, I may still approach them with poor taste.  Voting during this time is absolutely necessary, and is not difficult.  Providing a “Write In” candidate on the ballot isn’t difficult either, particularly as an alternative to our current President.  Witnessing someone enter “Corona Virus” as a Write In entry for the Republican candidate was interesting. I shouldn’t have been looking at her ballot, but she highlighted it with stars as well as a skull and crossbones.  If I knew her, I would have suggested a Mr. Yuck sticker.  One could discern she, literally, wished this virus to defeat the POTUS.  It didn’t make me laugh, but it did make me think.

I can’t sit at this computer and pretend I know much about politics like I know baseball and people in general.  Sometimes, I’ll humor those who attempt to engage me with banter about politics.  If we agree, the conversation may last a few minutes.  If we don’t, I diffuse the subject within seconds unless I feel, even if I disagree, they may have a valid point.  I must then proceed to enlighten them with a fart….not literally, but in a manner where the conversation can either continue with something a little more light hearted, or end with the slam of the phone.  Actually, we can’t even do that anymore because of cell phones.  They are far too precious, and, more importantly, expensive.  (I miss those land lines. ) Think about it.  If some disgusting cave dweller decides to fart in mid-sentence, you must change the subject, unless the conversation is about flatulence.

For no more than five minutes, I’ll listen to a politician on TV drone on in front of strange mobs chanting their names, and I wonder if they are just following those surrounding them or actually listening.  I may watch for seven minutes, but I can only listen for five.  This is when the viewer should have the right to dub in a fart to change the subject, or else I’m changing the channel.

People have the right to love or hate our President.  It’s an essential part of our Constitutional Rights.  It’s America.  However, it’s not always what makes America good or “Great” again.  The current POTUS is clearly a good politician, but in this case, he’s more of a good magician.  He convinces good people to believe in things that make even my dastardly eyes roll and generate “what the F are you talking about” looks.  This POTUS is a great magician, but he is not, and let me be clear, he is not a good man. In fact, I just think he’s abjectly evil.  That’s just my opinion, and a little over the top to some, but I have the right to my opinion. I’ve witnessed him turn friends into enemies and brothers and sisters who once unconditionally loved one another question that love.  What’s good or great about that?

After doing something stupid, which I commonly do, I will remind my wife that I am a good man, I’m just not a very good wizard.  She laughs and agrees.  I’m also extremely good at apologizing, because I’ve had to do it frequently over the course of my 47 year career as a human.  Can you imagine the POTUS apologizing for anything?  No.  That’s flat out shameful.

Contrition is a valuable commodity.  Embrace it.  (Let’s not even start talking about humility….HA!) Admit when you’re wrong and repent when you are wrong again.  I don’t think that’s in the Constitution, but it should be.  It usually garners some form of respect, for which I have none of for the POTUS.

“Fart proudly.”  That’s a direct quote from Benjamin Franklin.


Youth Group and The Simpsons

In the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy spirit.

That’s how we’d begin the Catholic confessional process.  Then, there was, Bless me Father for I have sinned.

Let thee who is innocent or clear of sin cast the first stone…..or something like that.  In Spokane, Washington, evidently everyone who attends church on Sunday is clear of sin, because after mass, the parish members would be casting stones immediately, both figuratively and literally.  You had the National Inquirer old bags gossiping in the parking lot, and you had the children, including me, actually participating in a rock fight on the church’s property.  The old men would just be smoking.

It’s great to feel free of sin.  Guilt is awful.  I don’t go to confession anymore, but this blog can become my sort of confessional medium.  In addition to confessing some of my past sins, I’ll take the liberty to confess a few of my friends’ and brother’s sins…..without their permission of course.

Growing up in the Catholic church, one of the many sacred and ridiculous items to check off your pious list was to attend Youth Group one night a week.  Depending on the year you were born, these classes would be held on either a Sunday or Monday night when you were in high school.  They were preparing us for conformation…..sort of a half ass way of creating a transformation for children of God to Men and Women of God.  You sat in these two to three hour sessions amongst students throughout the Spokane Valley, also parishioners, led by some poor soul searching man or woman preach to us about Heaven and Hell.  Let’s just say it wasn’t on the 17 or 18 year olds’ wish list of things to do on a Sunday or Monday night.

I blame my brothers for many of my abominable sins.  Their Youth Group sessions were on Monday nights.  So, when I was home watching Monday Night Football with our father, my two older brothers would leave the house heading toward St. John’s for their weekly 6 o’clock pain dispenser.  I’d smile wryly as they’d leave the house.  They’d do it by way of the nearest pizza parlor providing the game on television.  Not only did they skip the meetings, one of my brothers, a senior in high school, had a fake identification card so he could buy the pitchers of beer.  (he is now a reverend, compliments of the Internet) It didn’t take me long to figure out why they were so happy and a little wobbly when they’d return.  I was old enough to figure it out.  I was also smart enough not to rat them out for fear of a severe beating.  You didn’t have to sign in to these meetings, and the twenty something teacher never called our home to ask where they were, probably afraid of the same thing I was afraid of.  I think my wise mother figured it out and didn’t care.  Dad would be in bed when they’d return so there was no time for questions.  We already knew how to recite the Our Father, Hail Mary, The Apostle’s Creed and dozens of other written statements pounded into our head once a week at church.  If there were questions, my brothers would open a bible and pick any book according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John and quickly discern something they hadn’t discussed in a class they didn’t attend.  It was one of their favorite nights of the week.  Now I have to repent for confessing someone else’s sins.  I just recited ten Hail Marys.  That should be good enough to move on to the following paragraph disclosing one of my own.

By the time I was a senior, after attending the classes religiously as a Junior, I thought that was enough.  My brother, the future reverend, was now living in an apartment on the Spokane River.  This became my fortress of irreverent solitude on Sunday nights.  Although Greg, (oops, I said his name) worked weekends, I had befriended his roommate (an agnostic) who was old enough to buy adult beverages.  Instead of going to Youth Group, which became Youth Puke to us, I’d head to their place to drink beer and watch The Simpsons. It was delightful.  I swear I learned more from The Simpsons than anything I’d learn at Youth Group.

It was there I’d eventually receive my certificate of confirmation.  Never getting bed wetting drunk, just a few beers, I’d leave reciting a semi genuine act of contrition and, by grace of God, return home safely.

In the name of The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,





To punish (someone) by dragging them through the water under the keel of the ship, either across the width or from bow to stern.

Surprisingly, I had a gift of drafting students to be my educational assassins.  I think most of them liked me, but learned if they weren’t well behaved and didn’t turn in assignments, they would be keelhauled.  They would also rat others out so them may witness me punishing them.  I didn’t encourage that.

Collectively, we were reading a book and keelhauling was an ingredient to a story both women and children appreciated.  While reading excerpts from of a book to the students called “The Secret Life of Charlotte Doyle”, a girl secretly aboard a ship was threatened to be keelhauled upon disapproval of the sailors.  Her bravery properly developed the respect from the men aboard the ship.  She was willing to go from bow to stern under water without a snorkel’s chance in Hell .  She made it, and was recognized as a true mate.

While teaching English, this terrifically well behaved and bright young girl in my class  who had read the book was the ace up my sleeve when supervisors attended my class to witness if I was worthy of being a teacher for a second year in the district.  When the principal and superintendent arrived to observe, they were questioning students.  I interjected.  I told the one particularly bright student if her assignment was’t turned in properly, she would be keelhauled.  My supervisor didn’t know what the hell we were talking about.  He simply asked the student what that meant.  She described it properly, using references to the book, and not only did it make my principal laugh, the district signed me to another contract.  It was that easy.

Actually, it was never easy.


First Day (The Wooden Arm)

My wooden arm only lasted one day.

School was in session this week for those educators and pupils young and old,  and I began to remember, as a retired teacher, what the first day would bestow upon the students.

As a former middle school teacher, I once entered the classroom on the first day of school acting as if I had a wooden arm.  I don’t really know why.  Perhaps, I just wasn’t prepared and I thought I’d just wing it. (I hate puns….that was purely accidental).  It wasn’t my first year of teaching.  I just wanted to shake things up a bit by providing some mystery on the first day of new clothes, possible friends and enemies as well as their newest teacher.  I developed the idea from some friends of mine walking around at parties similar to the police officer’s antics from Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein. This enforcer was a one armed ornery cuss who would place sharp objects in his arm, such as darts, just to keep track of them. My friends would have to move the fake wooden arm with their, quite capable left, (very scientific flirting) wishfully attracting the attention of girls.  They did attract attention, yet only making the girls stray.  The girls were indeed silent with intrigue.  Emptying my plastic cup of stale beer, I recognized how this could assist me in my professional career as a teacher.

When the, “what the hell did you do this summer?” essay, annually introduced by other teachers, I felt as though it sunk beneath the students’ ears and sailed aimlessly above  their heads like dusty glue only burnout teachers could clinch to themselves taking comfort in their inauguration assignments.

I chose a different route.  Evidently, middle schoolers are terrified of prosthetic limbs.  My wooded arm made its appearance before attendance call.  Stiff angled right arm was also in attendance.  Making myself three quarters present, my students were silent for almost a full period upon my entrance.  Unless you discount middle school day dreamers wishing to be home by the end of my preposterous scene, they would have given me an award for phoniest teacher.

By the end of the period, with mostly silence,  other than a call of attendance, I began looking aimlessly and helplessly for my pencil and pen holder.  Asking if anyone had seen it and describing it as a plastic great white shark with its mouth agape, they turned their eyes to the floor and elsewhere, either trying to help me or wonder when the actual lesson may begin.  The bright students believed in the phony arm, but they also thought I snuck into this school acting as if I was actually a qualified teacher, or just a bum who found some khakis left behind the thrift store along with a button upped collared shirt.

We continued our search for the pencil holder as if we were searching for the Northwest Passage.  Collectively, we became the middle school corp of discovery. One bold student asked me why this was so important to me.  I told her it was a gift holding dark memories for me, yet it was almost critical we find it together.   She was further mystified.  Is our teacher just flat out mad?   “Have any of you seen it?”  Most of them just stared in silence while others provided an awkwardly slow shake of their head.  I then stared at my right arm with disgust, fingers molded firmly for more than a half hour with elbow cocked in one position forming a right angle with my forearm and bicep.  Giving up hope on finding the pencil holder, I took my free left hand and lifted a sharpened pencil and said, not with anger or force, yet with subtle desperation, I have a place for this pencil. I was going to jab it into my wooden arm.

After the gasp, I displayed my proper upper torso and was embraced by the students . Then, I was informed, by my wonderful principal, Ms. Hoffman, who would fly by my room from time to time on her broom, I was never to pull that crap again.  One of my students had a relative who had lost his arm in a boating accident.  Not funny.  I obliged.  Ms. Hoffman and I still laugh about it whenever we speak.  She took great care of me, and was probably the only employer who could stop me in my tracks without being tripped.

The year went well, not without its glitches, and I can assure you, I pissed off plenty of students, parents and administration members along the way.  I can also say I taught them how to respect themselves, others, education and, yes, even a man with two arms,two legs, a full heart and half a brain.  At times, many could say I didn’t do everything the right way.  I didn’t.  That’s the beauty of it all.  I recognized it.  Those who thought they were always doing it the right way, sometimes missed the boat.  That boat could be surrounded by sharks.


Billionaires and Brains

Never having delivered a commencement speech or even remembering one, I have say I will remember these two even though I wasn’t in attendance.

Billionaire, Robert F Smith’s commencement speech at Morehouse college in Atlanta was highlighted by promising to pay off all of the the students’ loans.  Pretty thoughtful.  Just the other day, we finally paid off my wife’s student loans after graduating from Crab Creek College in Zydeco, Louisiana 20 years ago.  What a relief.  At Crab Creek, she learned how to suck the juice out of hundreds of crawfish while piling up student debt.

Also breaking the airwaves once again was (drum roll for my followers, please) yes, the one and  lonely, Matthew McConaughey!!  This graceful man delivered the commencement speech at his former High School where he never officially graduated after forgetting to pick up his diploma.  His message:  “Never negotiate your heart.”  Clearly, brains and integrity are up for grabs to the highest bidder.

He then zoomed off shortly after the celebration in his 2019 Lincoln with diploma in one hand and a bottle of bourbon in the other.

I have returned from my writing sabbatical, and it took Master McConaughey to inspire me.  Who’d have thunk it?




Just the other day, I was asked if today was the lack of talent show at the local middle school. I had to say, I’m a bit sad to miss both teaching and whatever that show was for… talent or embarrassment.  This person inquiring didn’t know I hadn’t been teaching for several hundred years…..or so it seems.

Let me digress.  I’ve been thrown out of bars, one of which my brother owned,  stadiums, restaurants, haunted houses, and even my own 20 year class reunion.  But, I’ve never been tossed out of a talent show.  Perhaps, that’s because I never entered one.  After watching the Gong Show, I just knew better.

Teaching English for roughly 15 years, I was forced to suffer through one hundred and eighty deplorable displays of children attempting to perform in front of their peers, parents, neighbors, and local enemies.  It always ended in a blood bath of boos, followed by the teachers waving goodbye, heading to the nearest bar which ultimately ended in a blood bath of booze.

Some of the teachers would remove themselves from the auditorium before the students were five seconds into their display. I found that somewhat rude.  Once, I tackled a fellow teacher, bound and gaged him, and forced him to watch a dance and song routine which would make a billy goat vomit.  It was basically a pole dance making everyone uncomfortable.  It was essentially similar to a car crash. You didn’t want to watch it, but you did have to gawk.

I hope those brave students received a degree in anything other than talent.  Otherwise, they are screwed.

On a positive note, I did enjoy the piano players actually playing the piano.  Following their performance, I would make it a point to provide appreciation to someone with talent.  Thank God was the only praise I’d deliver.

I would also clap for those brave souls without talent on stage.


Juice Bags

A friend of mine, whose name, Jeremy, will remain nameless was recently cut off by a driver he referred to, out loud, as a “Douche Bag”.  With a momentary lapse of verbal judgement, he forgot his three elementary children were in the back seat.  One of them asked, “Dad, what’s a “Juice Bag?”  I think he got off easy on that one.

As a loyal friend, I’m going to reveal the true story to his wife when his and her boys start calling people Juice Bags.

There are just too many juice bags in this world.  One of them is currently trying to run our country.

Intros and Concussions

Sometimes, the best introduction ends with a  great concussion.

Some of my brothers picked on me.  Since I was the youngest, it was pretty fun for them to  perform acts of unkindness.  Hanging me up from a tree while serving a two year sentence in leg braces was only one form.  Personally, I preferred tamed fighting as opposed to emotional abuse.  Far to0 young to match their wits or humiliation approaches, I chose the barbarian approach…  Fighting.  As one of  my brothers  once said, no one wins in a fight.  So true.  It’s senseless, mindless, and you wind up with a broken nose, concussion, or blood from your opponent causing your mother to do an extra load of laundry.

Not sustaining a broken nose, as I am aware of, the concussions and blood were true, and I deserved some of them.

I love my brothers and am glad I didn’t mess with my six older sisters.  That would have been concussion central.  I love them as well.  They all taught me how to be strong, compassionate, and how to gamble.

We were and are a family, and I wouldn’t choose anyone else to help me along in that pasture of ultimate kindness.  There really was no bullying, just blood and love, and a few concussions.

The Canned Goods

Showing up with a different stolen bike once a week, I remember one of my former students fondly.  After stealing the bikes, I’d catch him and provide a required lecture.  Following my half ass lecture, he always promised to return the bike to his or her proper owner, only to leave with a different bike.  For some odd reason, I couldn’t help but laugh and love this poor soul.  He would actually return the wrong bicycle to someone he had formerly stolen it from the day before.  And, the returned bicycle was usually more expensive than the one he had stolen.

Rarely turning in any assignments, Joe did show up every day on time. He was also kind and respectful to all the other students in our class. Giving him credit for that, I was just glad he didn’t know how to hot wire a Harley.

When Joe graduated from middle school, he would commonly stop by my classroom which had a glass window separating the school from the playground.  Joe was never allowed to enter the school.  He wasn’t dangerous.  Joe was just an affable thief.  I actually trusted him, and he trusted me.  If I left my wallet on the desk filled with a few hundred dollar bills in it, he would leave it alone.  If I were to ride my bike to school, he would have taken it to a gas station, filled up the tires and returned it peacefully.  That’s just the way he traveled, or pedaled.

As a kind and unusual gesture, Joe once tried to convince me that he and his mother baked me cookies.  They were Oreos.  I accepted them with grace, and made certain my other students wouldn’t say a word about his thoughtful offering.

Annually, when Joe was still trying to pass the seventh grade, our school would try to generate food for those in need. Nobody in my class needed food more than Joe. His stolen bikes weighed more than him.  Our canned food drive became a competition amongst the teachers, and Joe made certain we were going to win.  All of the canned food he received the year before our can drive, he delivered to our class in a wheel barrel, probably stolen.  He became the charitable rock star of our class, and we couldn’t help but love him.  We won because of Joe and his sincere generosity.  Pizza was on me that afternoon, but the class all knew who actually provided it.