I’ve been on the Paleo diet for 50 days now. Five years ago I gave up cigarettes. Three years ago I stopped drinking oceans of booze. Now I’m a teetotaler that drinks less than the average American male on a weekly basis. At the time of this writing, I’m determined to shed the excess pounds and fat from my body.
During the pandemic, all I did was write my blog and my books. I was no longer running around working 55 hours a week at some horrible sports bar anymore. But sitting around and eating and drinking will make you fat.
I started walking back in 2020 and as long as the weather was nice I’d try to do 5 miles a day a few times a week, but I didn’t lose any weight. I’m sure my respiratory and cardio were improving and I was getting good circulation and moving my muscles but I still looked out of shape.
I was always a skinny kid and recently saw a friend of mine from back in 1980. He’s 60 years old and looks physically the same as he did when he was 20. That could be just his genetics and physiology but the guy looked great. He lost his hair and shows the lines of age but physically he looked the same. I knew I could get back to at least close to the size I was when I was 20.
I’ll be 60 years old in August 2022! But there’s no reason for me to be flabby and carrying extra weight. Cigarettes and booze are basically gone. What’s missing? That’s right. My food intake. I looked at what I was consuming on a daily basis and knew that it was the key. You are what you eat is such a valid statement. There are no fat and out-of-shape animals in the wild. Why? Because they’d be killed and eaten by something else. Humans don’t have to worry about food anymore. We’re surrounded by it everywhere. The media is always waving delicious tacos, pizza, and burgers in front of our hungry eyes. I needed to make a change. A life change. Not to lose weight and look better for some younger attractive girl I was dating, but for me.
You don’t need drugs, alcohol or cigarettes. You can live a perfectly happy and healthy life without them. They’re a luxury. But all addictive. You don’t even need candy or coffee. But the world loves all of the above and can’t live without many of them.
But you do need food. You don’t eat… you die. There’s no way around that. So I turned to Paleo for the right reasons. Paleo is based on the original diet of our ancestors. Lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. That’s it. Eat all you want. It’s probably the easiest diet in the world and the most simple in its design. No refined carbohydrates… but vegetables contain carbs and you can eat them. Because they’re the good carbs. Not french fries or bread or any fried stuff. Cut out the sugar. No desserts, donuts, candy cake, muffins… nothing! No caffeine. You don’t need it. People become addicted to caffeine and crave the free lift it gives them. An apple contains far more nutrients and more good energy than any cup of coffee on the planet.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love the smell and taste of coffee. Who doesn’t love a nice warm cup of coffee with a nice dessert or donut? It’s amazing. But I’ve never been a person who needed coffee. For some reason, I’ve been blessed with a natural get-up and go. Just sunny energy that emanates forth from within. I love it. I don’t need sweets, caffeine, nicotine, or booze. I actually enjoy being clean and eating properly. My guitar goes straight to the amp. Nothing in between the thought and the sound.
It’s not a hard diet to do. I have scrambled eggs and bacon each morning. Lots of lean protein. For lunch, I’ll have a little salad with some chicken. For dinner, I’ll have chicken, pork, steak or fish with some sort of vegetables. Spinach, broccoli green beans… anything veggie works. How about eating fruit for dessert? There’s sugar in fruits. They’re sweet and delicious. But they’re filled with natural sweetness. Not all that processed sugar and high fructose crap that’s in everything else.
I used to know a guy who stopped drinking booze and has been sober for 5 years. He’s 300 pounds! Why? because he stuffs his head with all of the wrong foods and doesn’t get any exercise.
You don’t need to go to the gym unless you want to really build muscle. Most of us just want to look good and for our clothes to fit properly. I see this girl I know on Instagram working out like crazy in the gym. She’s 30 and does it so she can eat and drink all she wants and still remain fit. But here’s the thing. All the working out in the world won’t change your face or your personality. In every other photo on Instagram, she has a drink in her hand. She’ll always attend a lot of weddings over the next few years but always be a bridesmaid. Because no one will tell her she’s a functioning alcoholic. It’s a shame.
But none of this is my concern. I don’t see any of these people anymore. They need to find their own way. But you really are what you eat. You can exercise all you want but if you’re not putting good healthy whole food as fuel in your body you’re going to be a fat load. Take it from me. You can not smoke or drink and walk all you want. If you don’t change your diet and let your body function the way it should, you’re kidding yourself.
I miss carbs like a long-lost lover. I love nothing more than to stuff my head with pizza, cheesesteaks, burgers, fries, tacos, and wings. I love all of the things that are bad for me. But I had to let them go. Not forever but I had to lay off all of that processed food. I want to look at all of those foods as the occasional treat, not the food I live on. It’s just not good for you.
I hope by the time you read this I’ll have been on a balanced diet for the last 8 months. But it’s not about losing weight. It’s about eating right and taking care of the vessel that houses your soul. I’d like to be around for a while and get to live off my social security and travel a bit. Take good care of your body. It’s the only one you have and it will wear out. Try to slow that process. You’ll thank yourself for it.
“Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.” – Dean Wormer, Animal House – 1978
July, 2022 – 25 Pounds of fat…GONE!
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Back in ’13, I was sloshing through life smoking cigarettes, drinking booze, and eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
But then I met Annabelle, and everything changed. I stopped smoking and went on the Paleo diet to look better for my new girlfriend.
I went from a 36″ waist to a 32″ waist in about two months. It was miraculous. I never slowed down with my boozing, but the ciggies were gone and so was the fat off my body. It was great.
But what I later realized was, that I didn’t do it for myself. I did it to look good for a 26-year-old girl whom I just met at age 52.
I was never in love with her. I was in love with the idea of being in love. The rush of new love and romance. That dopamine drop I got from falling in love was better than any glass of liquor or drug you could ever take. It’s a euphoric high.
But it’s not healthy. I simply traded ciggies and fatty junk food for something else. All for the wrong reasons. I didn’t realize any of this at the time, but it’s just a weird cycle of events that one can spiral through at the onset of a new relationship.
The relationship only lasted 9 months for obvious reasons. We had nothing in common. She had no idea who she was or where she was going. And she was too young for me and from a world that was different than mine. The fundamental things that make for a good relationship between two people just weren’t present.
I didn’t mind that she was gone, but I didn’t like that she kept coming back every month for these little drunken hookups. It never allowed either of us to heal. It just kept the wound open and I had to put a stop to that. So I cut her off for good.
It’s all well documented in the series on this blog, and in my first book, Phicklephilly: One Man’s Journey to Find Love in Philadelphia.
So, once she was gone I went back to smoking cigarettes and eating and drinking whatever I wanted. But I remained active and never really gained the weight back.
But in 2018 I gave up cigarettes for life. I was just sick of them and no longer enjoyed any part of it so I ended it. But in the first part of this series, you can see how I traded it for the JUUL vapes. I like them and at least nothing’s burning, there’s no carbon monoxide, there’s no mess, no dirty cigarette smell on me and my clothes and house, and no dirty ashtrays. Just a cleaner vice. (For now!)
Then in 2018 I had the health scare and cut out the consumption of the “oceans of chardonnay and the lakes of vodka” I consumed like I was in Motley Crue in the 80s. Now I consider myself a teetotaler. I probably drink less than the average American now and it’s great. Like cigarettes, I’m just not that into it anymore. I like feeling good and being clear and sober.
I used to write this blog drunk all the time in the beginning. The booze helped loosen my mind and my tongue to release all that content from my brain. But now I only write sober and hardly drink at all anymore. It’s great!
Now here we are in 202o-2021 and I go from running the sports bar on 11th street and 18th street on weekends to sitting at my desk all day writing my blog and my books during covid. This goes on for the rest of 2020 into 2021.
I’m writing my blog, which I’ve monetized, there are book royalties that roll in, and I write freelance commercial articles for companies across the country. So there are a few revenue streams but I still want something to do once my year and a half of being on the dole runs out.
The first retail place I drop my resume off hires me the next day. Spectacular. Any fear that I’d be too old or not able to find work after the pandemic vanished. I’ve got the gift of gab and a myriad of talents, so off I go again into a new vocation and social chapter of my life. I have no fear about anything now. I have no one to impress. I’ve had a colorful life and I just want to keep living and feeling good.
They gave me a couple of T-shirts to wear while working there. But I quickly realized the only ones that fit me comfortably were XL. Extra-large? Really, Chaz? You’re 5’9″ and have been a relatively slim guy your whole life.
But I haven’t been slim. I’m supposed to be, but my boozing and poor diet kept me looking bloated and paunchy. I could hide it with a black button-down shirt and a blazer, but there’s no escaping what your body really looks like. I’m not fat. I’m just out of shape and carrying too much weight for my sized frame.
So I decided to go back on the Paleo. It worked like a charm back in 2013. But I did it for the wrong reasons. I did it to look good for some young lady. You have to do things for yourself. Not someone else. That never works. You’re lying to yourself. You have to eat right and exercise and live right because you want to look and feel healthier for YOU. You should look like you’re supposed to look.
It’s pretty hard because you don’t need cigarettes. That’s a toxic poison. You don’t need drugs. You don’t need booze. You can live perfectly well without any of that. But you must have food. If you don’t eat, you’ll die. And that’s why it’s so difficult for most people to lose weight. We’re surrounded by food in our culture and so many of the things that make us fat or are bad for us taste soooooo good!
But you have to discipline yourself. Cut out the refined carbohydrates, sugar, and caffeine and you’re on your way. Fish, lean meat, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. All foods found in nature are all you need to be healthy. (Sure you need some carbs, but you can always add them back after you’ve turned your weight around)
By the time you read this, I should have already achieved my target goals months ago, but I thought it important to talk about these negative elements that have been in my life for so long.
I’m happy to be free from them and living the healthy happy life I’m supposed to be living and should have been living for my entire adult life.
It took a long time working through my anxiety, depression, and self-medicating to survive. But don’t get me wrong, I had a great time doing all of that bad stuff for years. I wouldn’t trade any of it, because it’s all been a part of my journey.
But I’m happy to say, I finally added the final piece to my health puzzle and it is now complete!
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It was life as usual for me in 2018. things were good and not much had changed in the last year.
I didn’t get out as much and preferred a quiet life at home. Some of my friends and drinking buddies had moved on to other cities and careers. Bartenders moved on to different positions and the big drinking and social life was over.
I had cut loose most of the detritus in my life. All the crazy girls were gone and I rarely saw anybody from my old life in media.
I hadn’t been feeling well lately. I had some aches and pains that I was attributing to middle age and work.
I was trying to drink a lot of water. I would drink maybe 80 oz a day. I figured that was good.
But no matter how much water I drank I began to notice that my urine was more of an amber color than the usual healthy yellow.
I had also had diarrhea over the last day or so. Loose stool and yellow bile.
I called out sick from work because I just felt like garbage. I figured it was simply a stomach flu.
But in a day my mind brought me around to what was happening to me.
I pre-gamed with a cocktail or two before I would go out at night. While at the bar I pounded 5 to 6 glasses of wine. Then maybe stop somewhere else and have a nightcap. Usually a Manhattan. Then home. Grab a rock glass and pack it with ice. Crack open a can of seltzer and start pouring in the vodka.
By then I had no idea of the dosage of vodka I was imbibing. The only way to get an accurate measure would be to see how far down the vodka was in the bottle. If a lot of the vodka was gone out of the bottle, well then I drank a lot.
I went online and looked at the signs of alcohol damage to the body.
I stopped drinking that day.
I had an uncracked half-gallon of Nikolai vodka in my room. I gave it to my daughter Loralei and told her it was now the house vodka and she could have it and share it with her friends. I also gave her a 6 pack of spiked seltzers.
I still had all of the expensive bottles of booze in my room.
They always say throw away all of the booze in your house. But my life doesn’t work like that. I’m not going to drink that fine liquor. I have no triggers. I’m just going to stop buying gallons of vodka and pouring it into my body. I don’t know what demon I was trying to drown. It was like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.
From what I read and saw, my liver was struggling to break down the alcohol because it was overworked. Hence the yellow bile in my feces. My kidneys were also struggling. They couldn’t break down the blood properly to purify it.
I was toxic.
I also read all I could about alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal. I went to the grocery store and loaded up on fruits, vegetables, and vitamins. A multivitamin, Vitamin E, B12, Melatonin, and Milk Thistle.
Google all of that. Find foods that are antioxidants.
I did all that and braced myself for the worst.
I had some trouble sleeping but that was it.
Within two days I felt so much better. By being completely sober I gave my body a chance to heal after years of abuse.
In a couple of days, everything went back to normal. Regular and healthy urinary and bowel function.
I have a strong immune system. I’ve written about it before. I not only bounced back, I felt SO MUCH BETTER!
My appetite returned with a vengeance. I suppose it was resetting from getting over 1000 empty calories a day in pure booze. I was so ravenous for food about a week after I stopped drinking.
After a few days, I realized the reason I was drinking the way I was. It was because I was stuck in an old nightly ritual I used to NEED to turn off my mind. I had so many problems in my past life I had to have something to make them stop.
The quiet darkness. Like a silent shroud over your day. You huddle down in your bed and wait for them to come. The cycling thoughts and fear that you’ve allowed into your life. My anxiety and depression… like shadows, were my only company.
But all of those things have been banished from my life in the last few years.
It’s like cigarettes. I once did it for happiness and then to relieve pain, and then it was just something I was simply doing out of habit and no longer had a use for it.
So I dumped it.
Booze for me was the same thing. Once I could sleep unassisted, I was better. I felt clear. Happy. Sharp. Better physically.
It was like I was ingesting insecticide into my system every night and suddenly stopped. The body wants to be well. Once I stopped hurting myself, my body went right to work on repairing the vessel.
I even went to an AA meeting.
That was an eye-opener about a lot of things. The people that are in there are there for a reason. Alcohol is the one thing they should never do again.
Alcohol makes them crazy.
They drink and it changes them chemically. It destroys who they are and everything around them. They’re at a point in their lives where they can no longer even have a drink. But like I said… it’s a spectrum. It’s not black and white. Everybody’s physiology is different. Some people change when they drink. Others not so much. I just did it out of habit and to soften the world a bit at night.
I heard all of the horror and heartfelt stories in that AA meeting.
But when I left the meeting I knew I wasn’t like them. I’m not an alcoholic.
Abstinence isn’t the solution for everybody.
I enjoy the occasional drink now, but that’s it.
I’m so glad that dark chapter of my life is over.
Tune in next Tuesday for the 3rd and final chapter in this little series.
Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly.
I could write a whole blog regarding this subject, but I’ll keep it focused on this forum.
I had my first taste of beer when I was a kid. My dad let me try it. It was so bitter I spit it out on the kitchen floor. I agree that you should let children try things they’re curious about. It demystifies those things. People always want the forbidden and the taboo. If you just let them try it and show them that it’s not bad it removes the desire.
Everybody reacts differently to drugs and alcohol. It’s not black and white. Nothing in life is. As my daughter says about sexuality and mental health, it’s a spectrum. I’ve always agreed with her. No one is either crazy or sane. No one is either sober or an alcoholic.
It’s a range. A long winding, grey area.
I know I’m going to piss a few people off here but that’s not the purpose of my words. I’m writing this because I want to tell you all about my experience with alcohol.
I’m going to open with this. Alcoholism isn’t a disease.
Disease: A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of part or all of an organism, and that is not due to any external injury. Diseases are often construed as medical conditions that are associated with specific symptoms and signs.
When I think of diseases I think of the big ones.
Allergies & Asthma.
Crohn’s & Colitis.
Stuff like that. They happen. But alcoholism isn’t a disease. It’s called that because so many “normal” folks are afflicted with it. It destroys lives indiscriminately. Yale to jail. Top to bottom.
It’s a disease you have to BUY.
You don’t just catch it. You have to willfully do it. You have to go to the bar or a store and pick up a bottle and decide to drink it.
That’s not a disease. That’s your mind and body vs. alcohol. Everybody’s different.
But this piece isn’t about that. That’s for another blog. Not mine.
This is my brief story. I’m going to keep this as short as possible because it could eat up my whole blog if I go on too long about this subject.
I’ve always suffered from anxiety and depression. That coupled with low self-esteem and being an overachiever is a perfect cocktail for alcohol consumption.
I remember the first time I caught my first buzz from alcohol. I was out on the fishing pier one night in Wildwood, NJ with my friend and bandmate, Wolfie. We had a 6-pack of Molson Golden Ale and I had maybe 3 of them. I was 17 years old.
I walked back out onto the boardwalk when my very first buzz from alcohol hit me.
It was beautiful.
I felt exhilarated, euphoric, and indestructibly confident.
I couldn’t believe the power of this bitter elixer. It made the weak strong, the tired energized. The sad, happy. The loser, confident.
I went home and told my mother about my experience. She had also suffered from anxiety and probably some depression her whole life. I explained to her how good it made me feel and it also made my anxiety, (Which was really bad back then) simply vanish.
“That’s great, but don’t ever let it become a crutch.”
“What do you mean, Mom?”
“Don’t rely on a drink to carry you through something.”
Those words stuck with me my whole life.
I love to drink. It’s fun. It feels good. It’s a wonderful social lubricant.
I’ve had my ups and downs with booze. Many of us have. The fights. The drunken misunderstandings. The brilliant hilarious nights. The random hook-ups. The crazy sex. The bad decisions. The great ones. The bed spins. The vomiting in inappropriate venues.
I’ve experienced all of that stuff.
I drank beer and wine. When I got to California I started getting into sipping Jack Daniels.
I enjoyed beer and cocktails in the ’80s in my 20s. I went into banking. Having a few drinks after work was just something everybody did.
Happy Hour. What a lovely name for something that involves people, booze, and lasts two hours instead of one.
I think during my very unhappy marriage is when my drinking escalated. My wife wasn’t much of a drinker and certainly didn’t like my drinking.
I would sneak nips from a half-pint of Smirnoff’s Vodka hidden in my garage.
I can see it all very clearly now. My social drinking had now become a band-aid over the pain of my domestic life.
My drinking didn’t end my marriage. Turns out we were simply incompatible as people on so many levels. I should have never gotten married. I know now it’s not an institution I can belong to. This shark needs to be free to swim and roam the oceans.
With my wife gone, I was now free to drink all I wanted whenever I wanted. I could listen to the stereo, rock out to my music, and drink my Ketel One and tonics.
I was never one to drink in the morning or during the day. As much as I loved to drink, I always had strict rules regarding time. I would only take a drink after 5 pm.
Sure, I’d have the occasional glass of wine at a brunch or something, but no more. The real drinking happened at night. In a bar or behind closed doors and drawn blinds.
I was writing a book back then so I would just disappear from my sad life into writing and booze.
I didn’t even realize what was happening to me or why I was doing it. A former artist and musician, reduced to a branch manager at a bank. My marriage is already over. The only one in my family divorced. And then there’s dividing up all of the assets I had worked so hard to construct. Then the child support begins. $600 a month of your net income vanishes from your account every month. For 15 years! Do the math. It’s a financial nightmare that seems without end. I missed my little daughter. My little family was destroyed. Ruined.
When you begin drinking it’s for fun. It makes you laugh and feel happy. Later, it can be used to extinguish pain. Alcohol numbs you to the point where for that night you no longer care and have no worries about life in general.
But you might as well throw gasoline on a fire to put it out.
The booze kills the pain. But alcohol is a wicked mistress. You love her and she’ll fool you at every turn. She’s a beautiful and sexy girl. Doesn’t cheat on you. Won’t ever disappoint you. Always there for you. Comfort. Forget your problems. “Don’t work through them, honey. Just drink me in. That’s it, dear.”
I drank like that at night for the next 10 years.
I had no problems with my drinking through the 2000s. It’s just something we did after work.
Let’s jump to the Spring of 2018.
I quit cigarettes. My daughter lives with me. She’s happy. I’ve left corporate life. I have a nice little job I like doing. Child support is long over. But I continue to drink as if I’m covering some sort of pain.
But I’m not sad anymore. I have wisdom. I fought through anxiety and depression over the last 50 years without therapy or medicine. I’ve won!
But I continue to drink out of one directive. It’s simply a ritual. Just like smoking became. But one far more deadly.
I think I thought at the time I needed it to fall asleep. I did. Because I could no longer fall asleep without alcohol. My body needed it to shut down. I knew what I was doing was wrong but I never really addressed why I was doing it. It simply became a function of my evening life.
Everything was good in my life. This became a dark secret.
I could be out at the bar having a few drinks but the minute I got home I just kept going on my own. Alone in my room drinking vodka and club soda. One after the other. I never counted. I just did it until I could sleep and off I went.
But my will is strong. I can drink like that and get up for work the next morning with Metallica Metallicano problem. Never call out and I’m never late. Am I doing this to overcompensate for my drinking? Probably.
If my mind wouldn’t race at night maybe I could stop drinking so much in the evening.
Two to three times a week I would go to the liquor store and pick up a 1.75 bottle of Nikolai or Wolfschmidts vodka. I wasn’t quite at the level of drinking as Guns n Roses bassist, Duff McKagen, but I was working on it.
My older sister said I was a functioning alcoholic. Normally that would be correct.
But not in my case.
Was this something I was simply stuck with from my old life, for the rest of my life?
Time would only tell.
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It’s not a significant birthday. It’s just the year before you hopefully make it to 60. I suppose that’s a milestone. I’m too old to care about my birthday and haven’t for many many years.
As my father said, birthdays are for little kids.
Each year is a milestone when you’re growing up. I understand turning 18 and 21 and even 30. But beyond that, just stop it.
I see all of these silly twenty-something girls celebrating their birthday weeks and it’s so juvenile and ridiculous. We get it. It’s your birthday. Another year of you doing the same stupid stuff with a drink in your hand in every photo on your Instagram. Come on, ladies!
But I turned 59 and really didn’t pay any attention to it. But my friend James took me out a few days before and we had some lovely cocktails at 1 Tippling Place and he bought me a bottle of Creege Isle for my small collection. (My collection is getting smaller because I rarely drink anymore. I’ll probably end up regifting that bottle away.) But I appreciate the sentiment.
On my actual birthday, I was surprised that my daughter took me out in the morning for a healthy smoothie at a place I’d never been. It’s a new spot called Playa Bowls up at 18th and Chestnut. I love that I’m writing about smoothie shops now instead of bars and drunken antics.
I went to work and was home by 6 pm. My daughter then suggested she take me out to dinner. Again, I was surprised. She doesn’t have to do anything for her old man for his birthday, and she knows I no longer care about such nonsense, but she wanted to do something for me.
We were going to go to the Korean BBQ spot just south of our house in Rittenhouse but soon discovered they were closed on Mondays. Thinking quickly, she suggested we hit Tio Flores down at 16th and South streets.
I had never been there and at the time I was only about 3 days into my Paleo diet, but I figured what the heck It’s my birthday and I’m happy just to be spending time with my daughter.
She’s lived with me for the last 7 years and it’s been great. We co-habitat well and we’re chill people who give each other their space. In the past when she was growing up we’d hang out on the weekends and spend the whole two days together. But once you live with someone it becomes more casual. So any time I get to hang out with her now it’s a blessing. Because I know someday soon, my little bird will fly away. (As she should!)
The dinner was delish and we loved our tacos. She got a vegan version and I went with the chicken. It was amazing and we had two rounds of margaritas. (They were strong!) So that was a great birthday thanks to my daughter.
I will say, that getting 40+ happy birthday wishes on Facebook was nice. I would say it was equal to getting little cards from people when you’re a kid. But once you “like” them all and thank everybody for the “love” you’re over it.
That was Monday. On Wednesday, my daughter asked if I would go with her to the eye doctor at Will’s Eye down at 8th and Walnut. She’s been suffering from a stye she had somehow acquired from maybe wearing her mask too much and sweat and bacteria building up in there.
A stye is a red, painful lump near the edge of the eyelid that may look like a boil or pimple. A stye can develop after the small glands that line the eyelid get plugged. Styes are often filled with pus. Sometimes a stye can form on the inner part of the eyelid. In most cases, a stye will begin to disappear on its own in a few days. A warm washcloth applied to the eyelid may relieve pain and discomfort.
My daughter is a night owl. She does all of her best creative work at night. I’m the opposite. I’ve always been a morning man who likes to be up and active during the day. She made the appointment for 8 am and that is super early for her. But she wanted to get in there and get it over with.
She got up and got ready and we took a Lyft down there. We were right on time and they took her in immediately. She’d been suffering from this for months and it should have been gone by now. She’s had it looked at by several doctors in New Jersey, but it was time to let a seasoned professional from Philly take charge and get this done right.
The doctor was on point and did what he needed to do. I was able to sit with her during the operation which I was happy to do. At one point he was really going to work on her and even though they had numbed the area, I could see she was feeling some stress. So I reached out and placed my hand on her foot and spoke to her.
“You’re doing great. You’re almost done. Just focus on your breathing. It’ll be over soon.”
She later told me that it helped and since I’m her dad, and I knew it would. It’s what we do. Look after the well-being of our kids no matter how old they are.
Once it was finished, we headed out and went to a very popular breakfast spot in mid-town village called Green Eggs. It truly is a magnificent breakfast spot. She’d been brave and I was hungry so I said, my treat! She was down for it and we had a lovely breakfast together.
So this was the third time I got to hang out with my daughter that week and that felt great. So even though I say I don’t care about my birthday anymore, it was nice to spend time with my daughter and celebrate my BIRTHDAY WEEK!
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When I got back to Wildwood, NJ I would write letters and sometimes talk to Ashley on the phone. One night I had been drinking while I was on the phone with her and the conversation turned to sex.
Ashley became enraged, that I was gone from her life and all I wanted to do was talk about how great our sex had been. She yelled at me and told me she never wanted to speak to me again. She was peevish, ex-lover spurned with jealousy and rage.
I was fine with that. I was already seeing someone else by then.
Philadelphia, PA – 2008
25 years later, I’m living in Rittenhouse with my girlfriend, Michelle. One day I go on Facebook, and I have a friend request from Ashley! I was happily surprised to hear from her after so long. Facebook was still pretty new back then and people were reconnecting with all of their old friends from the past. Whether that’s a good idea or not, I don’t know. I’m going to say it’s a good thing. I’ve been able to chat with many of my old friends and it’s nice to see some of them after all of these years.
But after about a week or so, Ashley writes me a message that I’m not being a good Facebook friend and she’s cutting me off. I didn’t understand what that meant. I guess I was supposed to be more attentive on this social media platform. It seemed weird to me at the time, but after all that time I didn’t care. She just seemed crazy. Mental illness is an insidious thing. I’ve met enough crazy people here in Philly, and I just don’t care anymore.
Philadelphia, PA – 2020
Here we go again. We’re all in lockdown due to the global pandemic. Out of the blue, I get a message on Facebook from Ashley. Now it’s been 37 years since I laid eyes on her.
She and I would message each other on Facebook. It was nice to chat with her again after all of these years. We had a shared history from a long time ago when we were young and free in L.A. in the early 80s.
She had been to school and became a chef, married for over 30 years, had no children and had been living in Italy for many years. It was fun to catch up.
But after a short period, I started to notice a very angry tone in her messages. She seemed bitter and preachy about certain subjects. I’ve been around for a long time and have a wealth of life experience. I can pretty much read people through the written word as if I’m listening to them in person. It sounded like when she’d get mean in her messages, she was drunk.
I think she searched my blog looking for some heartfelt story about her and there just wasn’t any. I wrote about a bunch of wild things that happened to me and the boys when we got to LA but never got around to writing about her.
She gave me a really hard time about some of my posts. I felt violated and insulted by how corrosive her words were about my blog. So many cruel, words. It hurt, but I’m accustomed to trolls by now. I’m sure it was just her drunken bitterness coming forth from a life not lived. Just silly, juvenile, embarrassing behavior from a middle-aged woman.
It’s a shame when you find out a person has lived over half a century and hasn’t ever evolved as a person.
I have a low tolerance for drunk people even though I have a high tolerance for alcohol. (Not anymore, thank you) But she seemed drunk and rambled on in some of her messages. It felt uncomfortable and I felt bad for her. When I looked on her Instagram it was just a bunch of pictures of locations where she lived. She seems lonely. That’s the vibe I got. No kids, married for 30 years and has almost no info or photos of her husband.
I suppose what happened to her is that she’d sadly lived a life that’s been unfulfilled. She speaks and acts as though she hasn’t grown as a person or matured as an adult. She was still pissed about me leaving her back in 1983!
We spoke on the phone one morning and it was lovely. But she wanted to chat so much on Facebook messenger that it started to feel like too much. She said, “Promise me we can do this every week.”
Who says that? Promise me? I’m not making any promises to some 60-year-old woman who lives on the other side of the planet. I haven’t seen her in 37 years! Anything we ever were was finished a long time ago.
I also noticed how she would message me on Facebook, and if I didn’t respond, she would delete them all which seemed juvenile and weird. Sadly, Ashley’s never matured as a person and hasn’t evolved through the years. I can’t relate to any of that nonsense.
I think poor Ashley’s bored in her life and where she’s ended up, and has turned to alcohol for solace. But that never works. That’s just a band-aid covering up your real issues.
I spoke to my daughter about it and she said it all seemed kind of weird after all of this time.
I would have been happy to chat with her ocassionally on messenger. That would have been nice. But I don’t want to be in constant touch with someone and have them sending me clips of a bunch of music and songs I have zero interest in. It all seemed juvenile. I guess if you marry too young and don’t live a full life, you kind of get stuck behaving a certain way. I don’t know how her husband has put up with all of this childish behavior for so many years. I’d have divorced this woman/child years ago. But that’s his life, not mine. I don’t know the man.
So, at one point she sends me a message about how it’s been great talking to me and hopes I have a nice life. I saw it and didn’t respond. I could tell it was just an attempt to get my attention. But I simply don’t care. I feel nothing for this person.
There were a few more drunken messages that were later deleted. I’m assuming she writes a bunch of wild things when she’s half in the bag, and then the next morning when she’s sober, takes them down.
I figured she’d wait until the end of December of last year. If she hadn’t heard from me, she’d cut me off for the third time.
Had she just reached out to chat and behaved like an adult, we could have remained friends, but she hasn’t the ability to do that. I’m thinking possible bipolar and alcoholism at this point. But I’m not spending any time thinking about it at all. I’m too busy.
I was promoting some of my stuff on Facebook the other day, and I noticed the message chain from her was gone. I thought, “This is it.”
I searched for her on Facebook. She didn’t cut me off or block me, but she had unfriended me. So silly.
So, 3 strikes and it looks like I’m out.
But… like I always say. No matter what happens, good or bad… at least I got a story out of it…
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One day I somehow acquired tickets to a David Bowie concert out in Anaheim. (It may have been the Glass Spider tour) We were on our way to the show when my van suddenly stalled. I had never had any problems with it before, but this was the worst thing that could have happened at the very worst time. I remember a truck full of Mexicans was kind enough to push my disabled vehicle off the highway.
We missed the show, but I got the van running again. Ashley was incredibly disappointed so I made it up to her. I took her to a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant. It was the very first time I tasted veal.
On another occasion, we were out partying in a bar somewhere and were on our way to her house. I was on the freeway when the cops pulled me over. They said I was swerving, but I know that I wasn’t. I think they saw the New Jersey tags on an old 1969 VW minibus and decided to stop me.
They took me through a sobriety test which I passed, but when I blew into the breathalyzer, I failed. I remember Ashley telling me that while this was happening, one of the officers was hitting on her. “What’s a nice pretty girl like you doing with a loser like him?” the cop said.
So, they arrested me and took me to jail. They photographed and fingerprinted me and tossed me in a cell with a couple of drunk guys. I remember sharing a cigarette with one of them. It was a rare bonding moment with another inmate. Odd thing was, I wasn’t even scared at all. I was only 21 years old when all of this happened.
I guess one of the cops took Ashley home and they left me in the can to chill. I got my one phone call and spoke with my roommate. I told him where I had some cash hidden in the apartment. He hopped in a cab and came to bail me out.
The cops told us where the van was impounded, but said not to get it and drive it because I could be stopped again. Which would make my current infraction even worse. We agreed and left the precinct.
We immediately went to the impound lot and got my van out. I drove my roommate and me home and we were fine.
I called my father and told him what happened. He was cool about it and was just glad I was okay. I had left a grand in my bank account back in Wildwood, NJ in case of emergency. This was that emergency.
I had to go to court, plead no contest, pay the fine, and attend classes. (All of it seemed like fee income for the city of LA and a waste of my time.) After all of the negative experiences in LA and the feeling that it didn’t matter where you were in the world, it really came down to who you were at that given time in your life.
No matter where you run to in this world… there you are. You make or break the place where you live. I was fed up with all of the phoniness of LA and didn’t see any point in staying out there anymore. I wasn’t going to become the next heavy metal god and was really feeling despondent about my life there. It had all become very mundane. (I’ll write about the deeper parts of this decision in some future post)
My roommate and I eventually decided to pack it in and return to New Jersey. I was tired of LA and missed my family and friends. I was just done with the whole scene out there.
Of course, Ashley was heartbroken that I was leaving, but I had to go. There was nothing I could do. I wasn’t staying out there. She was, and our relationship was over.
I guess that’s how I was back then. My whole existence was about survival and dealing with my anxiety and depression. But I thought nothing of just doing what I needed to do to survive. I know now that I broke some young hearts back then. I never intended to hurt anyone intentionally, I just kept moving. But I see now I was running in circles.
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Yesterday I began the two-part saga of hanging out with my friend James. Thanks for tuning in for the conclusion!
The Lyft arrives and it’s a five-star driver with a pleasant personality and a clean car. I’m safe and on my way to see James. Based on my calculations I’m less than 15 minutes away from his house. But for some reason I guess I was traveling during a surge period and this ride is costing me $17! What the heck?
But I let it go because it was my mistake that got me here and I’m happy I’m safe and in an air-conditioned, clean vehicle to my friend’s doorstep. I chat with the driver and he points out all of the hot spots in town on our way there. Noted. I’ll pass these recommendations onto James when I see him. He’s single now and should get out in the real world to hunt and not so much on these dating apps.
He drops me off and I knock on James’s front door. After a few minutes, I hear a window opening above my head. I look up and James is sticking his head out the window. “Didn’t you get my text? The door’s open. I’m just out of the shower.”
I go in and head for the kitchen. He has a jar full of those peanut butter-filled pretzels on the counter and I munch on a few of them. Nothing’s changed since I was here last. Several pieces of furniture are gone, but he’s set up a turntable and some speakers next to the 50 plus liquor bottles in the corner of the room. He wants to install a bar of some type to put his collection into but he’s just been too busy. But it’s been a productive busy. Lots of interesting dates and the obligations of running his talent agency.
I think about the last time I was here. Lethal cocktails, beers, burgers, and dogs. I loved it all but at my age, none of the above loves me back anymore. I was under the weather for 2 days after that last time. That won’t happen again, right?
James comes down and starts making cocktails. I’m petting one of his exotic cats. I like the grey and black one that resembles a tiger. James thinks that cat is an a$$hole but I like him because he’s so handsome.
James gives me one of his famous Manhattans. It packs a punch but is delicious. Are you supposed to use 100 proof rye whiskey in that drink? Probably not, but I can’t say no to a freshly made quality cocktail that’s made with authentic ingredients right down to the brandied berry on the toothpick. Plus… they’re free. Free always tastes better than paid for. James makes really good cocktails and never scrimps on the quality.
So I tell him about the last few weeks of non-stop commercial writing assignments, my encounters with Lin, and my harrowing trip to get here today. Then it’s his turn.
His life now that he’s single sounds like my life when I started this blog back in 2016. Non-stop dates, events, and oceans of alcohol.
He’s hungry, so he whips up some tasty little frozen chicken nuggets. James is the king of hot sauce and dipping and he brings out the plate of snacks. He’s telling me about all of his dates in detail, (which I love because I’m now living vicariously through my young apprentice) and we munch on the chicken while sipping our potent beverages. (I even ripped off a few little bits and fed them to his cat which he enjoyed!) James told me that could give the cat diarrhea later but I figured a few little scraps wouldn’t hurt him. Cats have far more robust and septic digestive systems than humans or even dogs.
The next couple of cocktails I consumed were whiskey and coffee liqueur based and they were delicious. But I was already buzzing from my first Manhattan. Did I know that these venomous drinks were a recipe for a hangover tomorrow? Of course, I did. But did it at any time cross my mind during this social visit with my friend? No, it did not.
So, it turns out I was right about his motives for the evening. It was number 2. Strip club. Okay, James. Whatever you want buddy. You’ve never been there and you should at least see what it’s all about.
We’ve been chatting for a few hours and through several cocktails and I’m fine with it. It was probably around 10:30 or 11:00 by the time he called the Lyft to take us to Delilah’s.
Delilah’s describes itself on their website as “a landmark in Philadelphia for over a quarter-century. Over that time Delilah’s has established itself as the premier entertainment destination for business travelers, celebrities, and uninhibited Philadelphians alike.”
That sounds great, but that’s never what any of these kinds of places are like. Even using the phrase, “gentlemen’s club” is abhorrent. You can hang whatever title you want on any of these joints and they are all just strip joints, plain and simple. It can be big, and fancy with tall stripper poles and lots of fancy lights, stages, and music, but it’s all the same stuff.
A den of iniquity full of sleazy, sweaty losers who are looking to escape reality. A place where these losers can flash some money and get the attention of a few desperate, damaged women in skimpy outfits. The last time I was here, was for my friend Duncan after his divorce. I don’t go to places like this because I never need to. I can meet real women in the real world. Places like this are gross and so are the men who frequent them.
I used to know a guy that was addicted to these scum holes. He has no personality or game of any kind and has blown thousands of dollars at places like this. He’s always been a sleazy loser and this is the only way he can ever get the attention of fit young women. He has to pay for it. Pathetic.
The women who work there are usually all mentally damaged in some form. What girl chooses to end up in a vocation where she has to parade around in her underwear for a living and be nice to a bunch of gross losers while they stuff dollar bills in her bra or thong? No little girl ever dreams of being a stripper when she grows up. She’s been damaged by someone along the way. It’s so sad.
We arrive and go inside. We’re both in good spirits due to the amount of distilled spirits flowing through our veins and just being together. James pays our cover which was $10 each. We have to go through a vigorous security process similar to getting on a plane. Maybe worse. Patted down by burly security guards, put your keys, wallet, and phone in a tray while you pass through a metal detector to enter the club. I whipped out my vaccination card but nobody cared. As long as I wasn’t packing any weapons they didn’t care if we were patient zero and carriers of covid and ebola!
We walk up to the first bar as you enter the main area. The last time I was here I prefer to sit in the back because it’s quiet and a bit more remote. But James has never been here before and he’s dazzled by the energy of the place and all the female pulchritude.
Within 30 seconds two attractive blondes in skimpy outfits were upon us.
Have you ever walked onto the property of a used car lot? What’s the first thing that happens? Right… you are immediately accosted by some sleazy used car salesman who descends upon you like a desperate starving vulture.
That’s what it felt like. These girls are looking to maximize their earnings each night and we are simply ATMs. They charm us with their wiles to figure out our emotional PIN, and their job is to separate us from our cash.
These two hapless souls were all over us from the minute we got to the bar. We barely had time to order a couple of Stella Artois. James picked up on the vibe immediately, and we got our beers and headed to the back away from these cute piranhas.
We take our seats at the end of one of the bars and enjoy the show. The women that work at Delilah’s are better looking than the gals that work at some of the other clubs in town. This is the premier place, right? But as I said, it’s all the same trip in every one of these places across the nation.
James seems to be getting into the spirit of things though, so I’m happy he’s having a good time. He’s never been here so being newly single again, he’s glad he can go where he pleases and do what he wants and doesn’t have to answer to anyone anymore. He doesn’t have to get permission from his girlfriend to go live the life he wants.
I tell him since I wasn’t entirely sure we were coming here tonight I didn’t prepare. (I never prepare because I never go to places like this.) When you go to a strip club you should always bring plenty of cash because it’s king in these joints. Cash for lap dances in the private rooms and lots of singles for stuffing in G-strings.
So against my better judgment, I head over to the ATM. Now, when I used to go to the Gold Club down in center city with Johnny R before I cut that alcoholic loser off, I knew to never use their mac machine. Here’s why… Strip clubs know they have a captive audience full of drunk, horny losers. They exploit every inch of that real estate. Crappy drinks are overpriced, the girls are money-hungry jackals, and the fee to use the mac machine is usually jacked up. They know you don’t want to leave to get more money. You want that lap dance from that hottie who’s been teasing you for the last hour with promises of love and maybe other things in the back room.
The Gold Club is a place where sexual stuff can happen. I’ve witnessed Johnny R get all kinds of favors from the girls there in the back room. It’s a low-class place and the staff isn’t as pretty as at Delilah’s so they’re more apt to give a few favors for the right price.
The ATM fee at the Gold club is around $6. Which is twice to three times what you’d pay at an average ATM anywhere else in the city. But dudes pay it and probably don’t even notice they’re getting hit with the fee. Being drunk and horny clouds their vision. But, here I am at Delilah’s, the “classy” joint in town and I’m about to take money from their ATM. I figure, what the heck. I’m only going to write all about this later and it’ll be more informative to my readers if they know the real deal.
So I go to the mac machine and put my debit card in. I choose to take out $80. I get my four twenties and receipt and head back to the bar to see James.
I pull out the receipt from the machine and show it to him. He doesn’t notice it at first, but see if you can.
Yea… a horror show. A $16 fee just to get your money out of that thing! That’s highway robbery!
I’m a cheapskate anyway when I go to these kinds of hellholes, so seeing this I knew I would NOT be spending much money in this dump. I wouldn’t anyway, but wow. Just wow. It made me wish that I was the owner of that ATM. What a cash cow!
James laughs in surprise and whips out a neatly wrapped stack of $100 in one-dollar bills he has to have gotten from his local bank of account. I laughed at his planning. Well done, James! You came prepared. You’re a regular boy scout!
I gave him 2 twenties and he reluctantly counted out $40 in one-dollar bills to me in exchange.
He’s been chatting with probably the prettiest, fit dancer in the place and tells me he’s going off to get a lap dance. Good for him. He needs to experience this place to its fullest. But I think he’s in for a rude awakening. We all know what happens and NEVER happens in the champagne room at Delilah’s.
While he’s gone two really cute Hispanic girls approach me. They’re both adorable and alluring. I haven’t seen them in here all night, nor have I seen either one of them dances on stage. They both proceed to cut right to the chase. “Give us $300 and you can come in one of the back rooms and have s*x with us. (Gotta watch the words I use here. Google Adsense flags anything sexy on my sight now. If I want to earn ad revenue on here, I gotta keep it clean) I graciously decline their offer, as tempting as these two lovely sirens are.
James returns 15 minutes later, and I ask him how was his “lapper” with the brunette.
“Sucked. She sort of writhed and hovered over me, and there was no touching.”
“Welcome to an upscale gentleman’s club, James. You can get tossed for touching in this place.”
I can tell James is disappointed with what we’ve experienced thus far. We throw back a few beers and the good news is, neither of us was drunk. I tell him that even though I had to let my friend Johnny R go because of his multiple addictions and failure, the guy was right. He never wanted to come to Delilah’s. He always preferred the Gold Club in the center city because he liked its authenticity. It doesn’t pretend to be a classy joint like this place does. It knows it’s a sleazy strip club and it does it well. The girls are average and very friendly, the day shift is a little scary, but at least they’re truthful with what they provide and what they are.
By the end of the night, we were approaching the 2 am witching hour and last call. James was determined to spend some money apparently and stay in the spirit of things. He was crumbling up bills and tossing them onto the stage. At one point he went to the edge of the stage and just laid out money along the edge. It was all one-dollar bills but he seemed to be enjoying himself despite the grinding disappointment of this place and their ilk.
He encouraged me to do the same so I placed 2 bills on the edge of the stage. God, I hate these places but I love James, so who cares. We had a fun night out. I took a LYFT home and he was within walking distance of his house so he headed home.
When I get home, I notice my clothes smelled of cigarette and cigar smoke and I reek of cheap perfume. Hopefully, a hot shower will wash the stench from me, but sadly the women that work there can’t wash off that kind of a shame.
And the best part? I got a colorful story out of it, and when I checked my wallet the next morning I still had most of my money! I had $38 in ones and $40 in twenties, so at least I didn’t get fleeced last night!
The only thing is, I didn’t have a migraine the next day, but all those rich cocktails did give me a headache for the rest of the day, and my stomach has been a little shakey for two days.
I’m getting too old for this rich life, but I’m having fun doing it. I think next time we go out, I’ll stick to spiked seltzers, lots of water, and some good food to sop up the booze.
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It’s been a helluva year coming through another year of covid. We were all quarantined for months and had little freedom. Some couples grew closer, and some broke apart. A guy I used to work with told me back on March 14, 2020, that he had just broken up with his girlfriend because she was an alcoholic. Months later I saw on Instagram that they had gotten engaged! I have another friend who had been in a relationship for 7 years and wanted to break up with his girlfriend for a while, but then covid hit. Keeping them together for another year. He dumped her a month or so ago and has finally been freed from an unhappy union.
I’ve been helping him with all of his dating app profiles and even hopped back on Tinder myself for a minute. I’m glad he’s getting back out there after 7 years because he’s obviously been unhappy for some time, and now he can live the life he wants. He’s been going out on some interesting dates in the last few weeks and it looks like he’s well on his way to getting back in the game. He’s only 34 years old and has plenty of time to figure out what he wants in his life going forward.
On the other hand, I deleted the Tinder app from my phone after 2 weeks because it just doesn’t seem like something I want to be bothered with anymore. At my age and experience, it feels like all that dating app nonsense is just filled with a bunch of leftovers and losers.
I’m not saying everyone on there is a loser, but it just seems silly for someone of my age and level of the game should waste time swiping on a bunch of old ladies wishing they could recapture what they lost in their collective divorces. The profile all read the same to me. I’ve covered this subject extensively in previous posts, so I’m not going to go into it here.
I’ve decided that at 59 years old I’d rather just be alone and live my life here in Rittenhouse and not be responsible for anyone else’s happiness anymore. I don’t answer to anyone, and come and go as I please. I don’t think it’s fair to anyone that I get their hopes up and for them to think that they could maybe have a future with me. I’m just over it.
That could change, but for me being in a relationship is exhausting. If you’ve read this blog and my books you’ll know I’m a spectacular date, but a lousy boyfriend and an even worse husband. I just like being single and living my life on my schedule and pace. I’ve been in several relationships and fallen in love a bunch of times, and there’s nothing like that feeling when the dopamine drops and I fall in love. (or the idea of love and not the actual person) As I said, it’s not fair to any woman to have to deal with me.
This may all seem surprising coming from the guy who used to write a dating and relationship blog every day, but it’s how I feel now. My life has had so many interesting chapters and decades. But I’m not in my 30s or 40s anymore. I’m not even in my 50s anymore! Turning 59 in August might as well be turning 60. Who cares at this point.
But I’m not dead and the old horse can still get up and run and pull the plow if needed!
I’ve talked to several of my friends and they all think I’ve maybe got one more bullet in the chamber to take a shot at love again. But I don’t think so. Especially after the last year. I’ve become accustomed to being on my own, and just writing my blog and working on my books.
I decided that if I meet someone and it’s random, or we connect in some organic way out in the world, then maybe. But beyond that, I could care less.
My whole life I’ve been driven by my libido and desire. It’s a tiring lifestyle. I don’t regret anything and I’ve had a great time. I’ve done so many things and I now know what’s important in my life. My health, my family and friends, creating stories, and whatever I have to look forward to in the future. I feel good and I just did a nice 5-mile walk today around the city and it felt glorious. Just to feel the sunshine on my face and know that it’s “all systems go.” I just finished a 3-week gruelling binge of writing commercial articles for several businesses. The money’s great and I’m still learning so much about writing and generating good content. It puts food on the table and fills each day with a sense of accomplishment and gives me purpose.
I couldn’t be happier.
I think what happens to people is, they reach maturity or some form of it in their twenties. They get a good job, get married, and crack off a couple of kids. It’s traditional and falls in line with what they know and what their parents did, and what society reflects upon them.
But that’s never been for me. I’ve done all of that and all the stuff, money, and responsibilities that come with that just didn’t suit me. I’m happiest when I’m creating something and growing and evolving as a person. I think you have to always be growing and changing. Not changing like you need to become someone different… just getting better. Always build and refine your soul into the best person you can be.
I see so many people get stuck at a certain age and they just stop growing. This became apparent to me when I would run into one of my old crew before covid. So much has changed in the last year, but most of these people remained the same. All they want to do is the same stuff and haven’t seized this opportunity to look inward and learn something new or change their lives.
Covid and isolation during the last year have taught me so much about myself. I guess I kind of figured all of this out in my 40s and 50s but it’s now more clear to me than ever. I’ve watched so many simply circle the drain of their existence that I can no longer have them in my life.
There was a guy that attached himself to me several years ago when I met him in the hospitality industry. The guy is 53 and is an absolute disaster. It’s so sad. I can’t imagine reaching that age and being so clueless about myself and the world around me. I have an acute sense of the ways of the world and a strong sense of identity… now more than ever.
I had tried to cut that guy loose back in 2018, but he kept contacting me and would show up at my job. I didn’t know what to do with him even after it became clear to me that he suffered from mental illness. But once covid struck, it was easy to pull away and let him go forever. It was a relief that I no longer had to deal with his madness anymore.
There was another guy I was friends with for many years since my days at the Inquirer back in 2012. He was an interesting character that I saw a few times a year because he lives up in Northeast Philly. But I realized over the last 10 years this guy hasn’t changed or improved himself… or his life at all.
I have nothing in common with him, so after years of grinding disappointment, I cut him off. He’s just not a person I want in my life anymore. He’s a loser and will always be a loser. If he was going to become anything other than a drunk, it would have happened by now. So there won’t be any more stories about Johnny R in Phicklephilly anymore. You can search for his stories on here if you want to read about our former adventures, but he’s gone for good.
It became clear to me that I could no longer waste my precious productive time on some of the detritus in my life. The covid pandemic made this clear to me. You find out who your friends are in a crisis. I haven’t needed anyone, but the people that I value have all shone brightly in my world through this pandemic. And for that, I’m very grateful.
But just like always, I’m a bit long-winded when I tell a story. This post was supposed to be about someone I met recently. (Don’t get excited. Nothing’s happening.)
This post started about how I don’t want to date anymore and how things may go for me in the future. It sort of dissolved into what you just read above. But…did it dissolve, or did I just need to get that out of my system when I sat down to write something new?
You know, you’d figure the last thing I’d want to do after generating a couple of dozen articles over the last few weeks for multiple corporations would be to write on my first day off in weeks.
But here I am, tapping away and spreading the word. But I suppose this all needed to be said. I’ll try again after this to write about the person I recently met. It was the old fashion way, which I like.
I’ve not finished dating. I don’t even care if nothing comes out of this. It’s just nice to know that if this lion spots a nice gazelle, then it’s still game on.
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When I was a kid I was a picky eater. I liked certain things but most of the stuff my mom served at dinner I didn’t find appetizing. My mom hated to cook but made my sisters and me three square meals a day for over 20 years.
She used to say, “I’d rather clean endless dirty dishes rather than have to cook.” But she always made sure we had a hot balanced meal every single night for dinner.
I liked breakfast and lunch as a kid. What kid wouldn’t like to eat Cap’n Crunch, toast, bacon, and orange juice every morning? I think that’s why to this day, breakfast is my absolute favorite meal of the day. Everything else is to simply quell the pangs of hunger in my stomach for the rest of the day.
Albert Einstein once said, “If I didn’t ever get this empty feeling in my stomach every few hours I’d never work.”
Someone once said to me, “I live to eat, but it seems like you just eat to live.” She was right. I love my daily breakfast, but other than that, food to me is simply fuel. It’s just something I have to get out of the way to continue my day. It almost feels like an interruption.
I have an acute sense of smell and taste and can enjoy the taste of many foods, but I only require a simple boring diet. If I could just take a pill and be full, I’d be fine. I think there’s too much focus on food in our culture anyway. All those endless dumb pictures on social media of what everybody is out drinking and eating. We get it. You like to go to restaurants and have somebody cook for you. You do it all the time. You probably have a lot of revolving debt.
Anyway, the one food I hated as a kid was Brussel sprouts. Now, as I said my mom hated to cook. her role as wife, mother, cleaning lady and the overall servant was placed upon her when she married my dad. If you hate doing something, you’re never going to be any good at it. That’s a simple fact of life. People are good at things they like, right?
My mother had a few favorite dishes. She loved sweet potatoes, lima beans and I suppose Brussel sprouts.
I hated Brussel sprouts. That gross sauce on them. The leaves on the outer portion of the sprout, and the hard yellow interior. All gross to me. And the taste? Ecch!
So on one particular evening, I just couldn’t eat any more of these awful things. So I came up with a plan. I would create a distraction at the table, do a quick sleight of hand, and get one of those Brussell sprouts off my plate, into a napkin, and my pocket.
I got at least 4 off my plate without being caught that evening. I thought this was a great plan and would attempt to pull this move every time they were served from now on.
But like many of my plans back then, I was good at closing the sale, but not maintaining the account after I closed the deal. Where I usually failed was in the aftermath of the deed. There was no follow-up. I’ve pocketed the sprouts, got them in my pocket, had my dessert, and was away from the table.
What I should have done is go upstairs and flush them down the toilet to destroy the evidence. But for some stupid reason, I just shoved the napkins into some plastic cups I had in my room and forgot about them.
This poor follow-up had already failed during one of my other heists. So, a day or so later when my mom was collecting laundry or stripping the bedsheets she must have noticed the wadded-up napkins in the 7-Eleven Superhero cups in my room. She discovered my Brussel sprouts crime and thwarted my plan for any future campaigns.
I didn’t get in trouble for the act. I think my parents and sisters found it funny. My middle sister still laughs about it today.
But, to be honest, I’ve had Brussel sprouts prepared well in a fine restaurant as an adult, and you know what? They’re pretty good! I’ve also begun buying bags of frozen petite Brussel sprouts and I sautee them in a pan with some seasoning. They’re a wonderful, chewy, satisfying vegetable full of nutrients.
Let the master describe my feels towards some foods as a kid. Enjoy!
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