My Young Life: Innocence Lost

Early Grade School

I grew up on a street called Magee Street. It was a picturesque neighborhood of classic 50’s and 60’s lifestyle. All the dads kissed their wives goodbye in the morning and went off to work. All the wives stayed home and got the kids ready for school and then settled into housework and running errands. Most of the kids went to Lawndale school which was a public school and all of the Catholic kids went off to Presentation in nearby Lawncrest.

I remember being in the car with my dad one day and a kid named Mark Simpson was being pulled around in a wagon by his sister Linda. Only thing was, he had a cast on his leg.

“I always see that kid running out in the street all the time.”

“Well he’s not running now.”

“He got hit by a car. That’s why his leg is broken. He better watch out or he’ll get killed one day.”

I listened to my father’s words and watched in silence as Linda pulled her little brother down the street until they vanished from sight.

We lived in a time of basic rules. Say Thank you. Respect your elders. Stay off of other people’s property. Look both ways before you cross the street.

We also lived in a time of no bicycle helmets. No one wore seat belts. (Some cars didn’t even have them.) No sunscreen. No organized sports for everybody. Children ran free to go anywhere unsupervised. Just be home in time for dinner. I played by the railroad tracks. We’d ride our bikes miles from our homes. We had no cell phones. We developed keen senses of direction and distance. Everyday we thought of new ways to have fun by putting ourselves in some sort of isolated danger.

But we were fine. Young people live by the “I” words. They don’t know it, but they do. Immune. Indestructible. Impotent. When you’re young you think you’ll live forever.

Grade School

I think I was in 4th Grade when I became a Safety.  You wear a little white belt like the kid in the picture above. You also get a nice shiny silver badge to pin on it. (My sharpest memory of being a Safety was when I was doing poorly in school and my father said he should rip that belt off me and beat me with it. Fucking piece of shit thing to say to a child. But he was a rage machine back then.

Your job is to stand on your designated corner and put your arms out and block the little kids from crossing the street until it’s safe. I don’t even know how I became a Safety. Maybe someone just elects you. Maybe they didn’t have enough kids who wanted the job. But each morning and afternoon, you’d go to your assigned corner and protect the little kids.

I remember one time I was holding a soft pretzel in my hand and I put my hands out to stop the little kids. As I was waiting for the traffic to clear one little kid on my right took a bite out of the pretzel in my hand in front of his face. Too cute!

Mark Simpson and I worked the same corners. We weren’t really friends, but he lived up the street from me. I think my sister Janice maybe sometimes hung out with Linda, but I’m not sure. I think Mark may have been a grade behind me. On cold mornings his mother would whip up a few thermoses of hot chocolate for the Safetys. We’d finish up getting all of the kids to school and then all head into an office in the school and sip hot cocoa together. A little warm repose and reward for keeping the little ones safe on their way to and from school.

Fels Junior High

I was in 8th grade. I remember walking down the hallway early one morning. The school was oddly quiet. My friend Jimmy Hunsinger comes around the corner and says the following words:

“Did you hear? Mark Simpson was coming home from chess club, and ran out in the street around a bus and got hit by a car.”

“Oh my God. Is he okay?”

“He’s dead.”

‘What?”

I just stood there frozen. My face, a grimace of mute protest.

You cannot process that kind of information when you’re a 12-year-old boy. Your friends can’t die. Kids don’t die. There must be some kind of mistake. What kind of horrible lie is this?

But it was true. He ran out in the street around a stopped bus, and a car coming by the bus on the left side took him out. Apparently the trauma to his head was so forceful that he was hemorrhaging from his brain and he died on the way to the hospital.

Word quickly spread throughout the school and the neighborhood.

I remember my friend Michael and I went to his funeral service. (Closed casket) Everyone was dressed up in suits and ties and girls were in their Sunday best. This kid named Paul Berger was standing to my left in the pew, and he was playing with the zipper on his jacket because he was obviously bored. I told him to knock it off and be still out of respect to our fallen comrade.

After the service the family came to us and thanked us for coming. I just remember Mark’s sister’s face was almost unrecognizable to me because of how scrunched up it was from crying nonstop. Her face soaked with tears as she hugged us both. We here alive and had been through a few scrapes of our own but nothing compared to this nightmare.

Later we went to the Simpson’s home to pay our respects. This is some grown up shit here. Death puts everything into perspective. Especially when a child dies.

What Michael and I found odd was that nobody really looked broken or sad there. It was like a forced family reunion over grim circumstances. Everybody was eating and drinking. Mrs. Simpson asked us if we wanted to go up to Mark’s room. I had never been in Mark’s room let alone this house before. Like I said, we didn’t really hang out together.

He had a typical young boy’s room. It was neat and clean with all sort of boy memorabilia about the room. It felt weird to be looking at his stuff and touch his things. I picked up a little model car he had made. I thought they should give all of this stuff away to other kids because Mark will never come home again.

But of course I didn’t say anything about it.

As darkness fell over the neighborhood in those days, the clouds soon clear and people go on with their lives. Kids playing and going to school and just normal everyday events happen. Life goes on. The world continues to turn and some of us are not in it anymore. Some day that day will come for me and everyone I know. But we all hope it comes in old age and asleep in our beds when death comes to scatter our days. Not as a child.

I suppose the biggest ironies of this story are: My dad’s black prophecy about Mark getting hit and killed by a car. Him being a Safety and protecting other little kids from getting hit my cars, and then darting out into the street and taken by that very thing.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am EST.

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Eliana – Part 1 – Third Time’s the Charm

Another tale of one man’s journey navigating his way through the dating scene in Philadelphia.

I met Eliana on Tinder. She is a very cute Filipino girl. Pretty, early thirties, fine boned with lovely slender legs. But she is very busty. That is rare for women of Asian origin. But if you ask her she will say she is Pacific Rim, not Asian.

We chatted for a bit on Tinder and then we decided to meet. She is a chef, so she works a lot of odd hours. We tried to figure it out between our schedules, but it was a struggle. She seemed nice and ready to date. I liked her.

She met her husband when he was in the military. He clipped her young and married her. He is of Austrian origin. Western European. He probably wanted her because she was sexy, exotic and young. She has a son who works as a flight attendant (probably gay) and a daughter who works in pharmaceuticals. I’ve seen pictures and her son is a nice looking boy and her daughter is smoking hot. Filipino and Austrian makes very good-looking girls.

They made those kids right away so it must have meant that the sex was fire. She cracked them off a year apart. They were married for a while. Her son lives with her out in Westchester. Her daughter is in college in California. She said her ex-husband is an asshole that eventually became verbally abusive. Eliana seems very sweet so I figure it’s his personality flaw not hers. Normally that is the case. Probably a military narcissist and she eventually became not good enough for him. They lived in Florida back then. The daughter is the little princess in dad’s eyes and can do no wrong. Eliana describes her as the spoiled brat. Dad probably loves her because she looks more like his side of the family. The son doesn’t like his father and says he’s an asshole just like mom. I figure military dad doesn’t like his son because he think’s a gay kid couldn’t have come from him and it’s mom’s fault. (Just speculating)

We scheduled a date to meet for lunch in the city. She has a brilliant car. it’s a Chevy Volt. Mad technology. But she’s afraid to drive into the city. She doesn’t know the city well and she says she’s not good at parallel parking. Typical Asian chick. (Sorry) We made a date and then I bailed because I had a cold. I was sniffing and sneezing and mostly coughing all of October 2016. She didn’t like that but I stayed in touch with her because she seemed nice. She was patient and forgiving, and understood.

We were supposed to meet up again. It was a Thursday. My partner Achilles at the salon got sick and asked if I would run the salon from 10am to 8pm. That’s a long day but I don’t mind it. It’s a fun job and I get to chat with the ladies and write this blog. So I had to bail again.

I could tell she was perturbed and my credibility was slipping. She had been in a shitty marriage, then she dated a guy for a few years and he was crap too. Apparently he was verbally abusive too. Her son is very protective of his mother. He always advises her on these losers. But he told her she needed to get out there and date again. I haven’t met him but I like this kid.

His mom is hot and she needs to meet a nice man.

So finally I make another date with her. Some time had passed and I didn’t know if she would be still interested. But she was and I begged her to meet me again in Philly again. She told me her son had told her to take the train. He knows she’s not good with navigating center city and the whole parking thing. That’s a challenge for anybody I know coming into the city. Finding a spot is hell and the parking authority is a vicious bunch of robbers. I swear they must be paid some sort of commission for ticketing cars because I have never met a more motivated team of employees that will run down every expired car in the city to write them a ticket. Who would want to do that job? “How was your day, honey?” “Good. I hurt every person I touched.”

She agreed to meet me and I told her to come to Racheal’s my favorite breakfast spot. It was afternoon but they make deadly sandwiches and I figured it would be quiet spot we could chat. The owner and staff know me so it would be a safe haven.

She parks in a lot and arrives on time. I wasn’t even there. Apparently she can get down here in 30 minutes. Good to know. Normally I am at the spot waiting for the girl but she is there wondering where I am. I’m sure she is already apprehensive because I ditched two times before.

I scamper from my apartment and head through Rittenhouse Square. I get there and she is there waiting for me. She is wearing a long coat, but she is wearing a light dress. We meet and she is sweet and beautiful. She looks like her pics, which are very close to the stock photo I have posted here.

She says since she is from the Philippines and lived in Florida so she owns a lot of light clothing. I ask her if she’s cold and she says no. Her ample bosom is very visible and I assume she is sending me a message. Her breasts are beautiful and she is really showing them off. Her dress is low-cut and they are very visible, which is distracting but lovely. I’m a leg man but they are tantalizing.

She is wearing boots but I can see that her legs are well turned and nice. She looks good. She seems really comfortable with her body and her sexuality. That could work.

I ask her if she wants anything to eat and she says no. I suggest we walk in the park. Rittenhouse is beautiful this time of year. The crews are busy putting up all of the Christmas lights and the tree. We walk through the park and chat. We get to know each other. I like her. There is something about her that gives me a sexual charge. Most women I meet don’t do that for me. But this one has a certain something. I can’t tell what it is. It’s not that I can’t tell, I just don’t know why I want her that way. She just exudes a certain sexuality. Maybe that’s what pulled her husband in. I totally get why he fell for her, because she has that thing.

She is distant a little bit. She talks and is social but keeps her physical distance from me. I find that confounding but I like it. It makes me want to reach for her more. We walk the park and get to know each other. She thinks I’m not that into her but I am. She says things like,  “You want to run away from me but I don’t.”

Sounds like rejection and esteem issues. Dismantle it before it’s begun. (Red Flag)

I think this is a sweet woman who has been hurt by a few losers and is gun-shy. Being around her I get a good vibe. I think she is very sexual. I have dated a lot on this odyssey and many of the women I have met give off a zero sexuality vibe. That’s probably why they are alone. Eliana has just chosen to lock herself away to protect her heart for a while. I may have the key to that lock.

Like any good sword fight in the park there is always a good thrust and parry, as my father would say, and I can feel there’s chemistry.

It’s windy and cold. The leaves dance around our feet in Rittenhouse Square.  My island girl doesn’t like the cold but says she is always warm. But the December day is taking her. I pull her close and kiss her. She pecks me back. I know she wants more but she’s guarded. That’s okay. I’m a very patient man.

We head back to Rachael’s. They must think I’m a gigalo. But I love that place and they are good at keeping my secrets. It’s warm in there and we sit at a table in the back.  We look at the menu and decide to get some food. They won’t come to the table, you have to go to the counter. She wants the ham sandwich, I go with the roast beef. She asks what the difference is between imported ham and domestic ham. The chef says the imported ham is more expensive but he doesn’t know where it’s imported from. I find this annoying but at the same time I want to know the answer. I vow to find out what the difference is. I know domestic is round and imported is rectangle but that’s all. It’s really funny. No one in my life has ever asked that question. But someone should have.

While I was ordering she was rubbing my back. It was distracting but I know this babe is electric and likes me.

We eat our sandwiches and they are terrific. Normally Rachael’s is my Saturday breakfast go to but these sandwiches are slamming. She is happy and grateful. I like her and she turns me on. It took awhile but we finally met. Many of the women I have met on the dating scene are incredible bores but she’s fun and sexy.

I walk her to her car and we sit in the vehicle for a moment to warm up. We kiss. I kiss her again. I can tell she is holding back to protect her heart. But I kissed her more and she became a little more passionate.

Eliana is a great lady. She is a hard-working self-made woman I respect. I want to see her again.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 9am EST.

 

Michelle – Chapter 14 – Paradise Lost

“Well it looks like you’re not going to marry me or give me kids so…”

It’s Sunday night. I’m checking in with all of my readers and that’s when I final edit all of my blogs for the week.

This is when it’s do or die on this forum.

Michelle has been my best work because I adore her, and our story has been so fun.

We’re approchaing the end but it’s not really the end. I know we have both enjoyed the ride, but the ride has to end.

But It’s never over. (Jeff Buckley)

As my beloved Jeff Buckley once said, “She’s the tear that hangs inside my soul forever.”

I have lived long enough that a Michelle in you’re your life never ends. She can go away but you never forget who she was. Neither does your sisters. They all have met her at the amazing holiday parties and adore her. My beloved brother in laws love her for how amazingly hot she is.

It doesn’t matter. Michelle belongs to herself and she is her own, and as much as a man I am, she is and always will be a woman that stands alone.

Let’s begin this chapter…

I’m sitting at a dark bar in Rittenhouse. A vodka martini, straight up with a twist rests on the marble bar in front of me. I tap the ash off my cigarette into the crystal tray. A beautiful tall blonde glides into the bar. She sits besides me and orders the same. We chat. She laughs. I take her home. We make love. It’s beyond wonderful.

I love her.

I will always love her.

I open my eyes and stare at the ceiling as the dream fades from my mind like a wraith.

Michelle and I had been living together for about a year and a half.

We had some good times and some not so good times. This is a dating blog, so I will protect those still in my life, so I will let the network executives at Netflix shred my life accordingly when phicklephilly becomes a series.  But I will always protect Michelle. Anyway … every relationship is like that. We had settled into what every couple eventually becomes. You go to work. She goes to work. You come home, eat, watch TV, and go to bed. She’s a light sleeper. I snore and get sent to another room. Repeat.

Domesticity.

Sometimes we’d have a few words, but it normally only happened when we’d been drinking and there would be some sort of misunderstanding. It would all be forgiven and forgotten the next day. No big deal. I can honestly say I’ve never been really angry with Michelle. I know what real rage looks like. I have an ex-wife for that.

Michelle and I were always lovey. She would come to me in the morning and say, “Did we have ‘maddy mads?’ and I would always say no because I knew it was just a drunken misunderstanding over how I some how won scattergories

One day I was sitting on the loveseat just chilling out in the living room. I think it was a Saturday.

Michelle enters the room.

“We need to talk?”

Can everyone in the entire world agree, that that statement never leads to a fun conversation?

I don’t remember what words were used to explain why she needed to talk to me, but I do remember this part:

“It doesn’t look like you’re going to marry me and give me kids, so I’m going to move out.”

That was it. She dumped me. I don’t know what questions I asked her, and it doesn’t matter now. But I do remember saying to her that I would make it easy for her to go. I wouldn’t be an asshole or be mean about anything.

It didn’t take long. She got her brother and his friends to come and move her stuff out.

It’s eerie when someone you love leaves you.

There is a carving void.

I walked back to the bedroom after they cleared out all of her stuff.

The bedroom was empty. I guess I forgot that the bed was hers. There othing left but a cracked window.

Funny thing was, she only moved two blocks away into a third story walk up. Things were quiet for a while, but I think we both just missed each others company. I don’t remember how much time passed, but we eventually met up on Chestnut street for a drink.

Then we started having brunch together every other weekend. Back then, Lorelei had not yet broken free from the clutches of her mother, and still lived with her. So the weekends when Lorelei wasn’t with me, Michelle and I hung out. We didn’t have any random hookups. We were better friends than lovers. I really believe that. Technically, we only were a couple for two years. 2008 to 2010, but we were drinking buddies and pals for the other five of those. Michelle would still take me to her corporate party every year. Hell, I took her to my family’s annual Christmas party for a couple of years after we split.

We got it right. But we got it too right. We set the bar so high when we began, and there was such mad euphoria, we just couldn’t sustain it. You can’t live like that forever. No rock band has ever been able to do it, why would we be able to? We tried to make house with each other because we loved each other but our dynamic destroyed that. We are meant to love. Clean and clear but impaired by wine and fun. Every supernova burns bright. When a star goes supernova it burns so bright across the sky. Super bright. But what happens after that? It burns out. No one can burn that bright forever. My father always said, “Stars will shine.”

But even stars die.

It isn’t something you plan to be or who you want to be, it just happens. Two people meet and something happens and it’s just electric. What fucks it up is social norms. One of you is old and one of you is young. The passion is there and there is a commonality. You have one thing in common. A common attraction, and somehow it works if the man is a gentleman. If he listens to her. If he understands her plight. If he truly loves her and let’s her know she is safe for the first time in her life. The most beautiful bird he has ever seen, has been controlled by fools and caged and pushed, instead of letting her do what she is best at; Fly. Emerge from your egg. Fly beautiful bird, fly! Most men aren’t secure enough in themselves to let all of their birds fly. I’m a dad. My lovely little dove Lorelei is going to fly high soon.

Hopefully I’ve been a decent father.

I’m not saying any of this for a pat on the back. I don’t give a shit. I just want to live a simple uncluttered life. But I know the truth about some things. I know Michelle felt safe enough to love me and safe enough to leave and pursue her life goals. Right or wrong doesn’t matter. There are things she wants and she should have them. Life is longer than you think. I want her to discover it all. I always described her as the “Emerging Michelle”

She has cracked through the shell of her understanding, and her wings are dry. She needs to find her way, and fly free.

Michelle will always be my high-flying bird.

 

She always said: “I have so much fun with you, that when the day is over, I wish we could do it all again.”

 

 

 

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Marigold – 1997 to Present – Good German Stock

I’ve known her since she was 21 and now she’s a mom!

I met Marigold when she was only 21 years old. That was back in 97 when she worked for me as a teller in my bank branch at 10th and Snyder Aves. in South Philly. They would sometimes send her to another branch to help out, so I didn’t see her all of the time. She always seemed smarter and sharper than her peers. I really liked her. (Tall blonde. Good legs.)

We would sometimes go to lunch and it was always nice to spend time with her outside of the bank. Marigold eventually left retail banking for a better job. I remember she always dated high-end wealthy or affluent men. She wasn’t a gold digger or anything like that, just knew how to date a better class of men than most girls her age.

We kept in touch and would occasionally meet up for lunch or drinks to catch up. At one point I was living in New Jersey and she was living in the Fairmount area for Philly. I was married back then. Years later I was working in Philadelphia, and she had moved to New York. So that kept us apart except for the random visit. I later moved to New York for work and she was then living in Newark, NJ with her boyfriend of several years. That was just a few train stops beyond where I was living at the time. So we got to hang out every once in a while.

I remember attending her bachelorette party. I was the only guy invited. Just me surrounded by a bunch of women. It was awesome! She and her fiance married at city hall but then had a big reception down in the Bowery of NYC. I took my then girlfriend Jackie, who was a second generation girl from Haiti. She was a lawyer on Wall Street. She wanted to get married and have children so badly, I think she scared me off. Lorelei was enough kid for one lifetime for me.

I eventually moved back to Philly and took a job at a local digital publication. I didn’t see Marigold as much as I would have liked to, but we always managed to get together at least once or twice a year. Then she moved out to Lexington, Kentucky. Her husband is a professor at the University of Kentucky, so out they went. he’s a great guy. Everybody loves Don.  Men and women alike. He’s so cool that he’s never minded me hanging out with his wife. Cassandra works as a financial broker, so technically she can work anywhere. I have known Marigold twenty years now, and I’m sure hasn’t been a fan of living out in the midwest. She’s a city cat like me and probably misses living in a metropolis. I would bet that at some point they’ll come back.

She has a little son who is now six years old and two daughters that are about two and a half. They are fraternal twins. They all have white blonde hair and look like the perfect little Aryan family. They’re all really cute. I think the son could have used a bit more discipline to keep his behavior in check, but he’s not my child. I know for a while about a year ago, cassandra was losing her shit having three little kids to take care of everyday. That was real challenge for her. I think it aged her.

I was down at our shore house a few years ago to see my father and she visited with her son. She wanted to meet my father that I always spoke of fondly to her. She wanted to see his train collection and also wanted her son to see it. It’s pretty spectacular. I’m glad she finally got to meet my dad. Her life with her father had always been a challenge. I believe he was bi polar and struggled with alcohol. I remember even in her twenties she was taking care of him. Writing out his checks to pay his bills, etc. that must have been a lot for a young girl to bear. I may have fucked up some things in my life, but I was always capable of taking care of my daughter. Girls need strong dads. I may not be the strongest father, but I was consistent with Lorelei. I also wasn’t a crazy asshole like her mother, so that’s part of the reason Lor has decided to live with me.

I am writing this because I am about to go see her and her daughter tonight. She’s visiting Philly for a couple of days to see everybody, and this must be my night.  I will finish this piece upon my return.

I got to their hotel at 5pm. They are staying at the Courtyard at Marriott. It’s a nice hotel right near City Hall. Originally that building was built in 1926 as a government annex to City Hall for over 60 years. In 1990 it was acquired and renovated by Marriott. The marble floors and three chandeliers in the main lobby are all original. It is the largest Courtyard Marriott in the world.

Just thought I’d give you a little Philly history there.

I go up to her room, and her little daughter is on the carpet playing with her maryjane shoes. She’s so cute and social. I know it’s been a stressful drive up from DC today for Marigold. They were down there visiting with Don’s family for the holidays. Marigold is happy that she only has the one child to look after for the next couple of days. She is relieved that her husband and his family will get to spend time with her son and other daughter. Three little kids are a handful, but getting a break and only having to look after one is much needed on her part.

I hand Marigold a skinny joint. She’s delighted. She hardly ever smokes weed so she says she only needs a tiny bit to get lit. She excuses herself and heads to the bathroom to toke up. I’m just chilling on the couch sipping a glass of wine. I tell her to run the fan in the bathroom to draw out the smoke. I hear the fan go on followed by coughing.

Moments later, Marigold reappears, smiling. “Thanks, I needed that. Do my eyes look stoned?”

I assure her she looks fine. We get her little one in the stroller and head downstairs in the elevator. I’ve decided to take them to Zavino at 13th and Sansom. It’s a small place but we’re in a nice little booth in the back. I had called ahead to hold a table and they were very accommodating. They take the stroller and hang it in the back.

We settle into our seats and order some wine. I know they all love pizza and that’s why I brought them here. It’s really good brick oven pie here. They have this location and a bigger one out in University City. Their happy hour is pretty solid. We got two pies (they’re small) eight bucks a piece and the wine was only five bucks a glass. For a nice place like this in midtown village, that’s a good deal.

We had a nice dinner without incident. Her daughter was well-behaved. The food was great and the service on point. I was happy to see Marigold and share this moment of repose with her. When we finished, she insisted on paying the bill. I left the tip. I walked her back to the hotel and we called it a night. It was a great two hours to catch up with my old friend. She said she couldn’t wait to snuggle up with her little one, smoke a little more grass and fall into the arms of Morpheus.

I love Marigold like a sister.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

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Alice – 2012 to Present – The Cute Recruiter – What Now?

I got a text from Alice the other day. “Did you hear what happened?” That doesn’t sound good. “Keila resigned. Please don’t say anything.”

 

I got a text from Alice the other day. “Did you hear what happened?” That doesn’t sound good. “Keila resigned. Please don’t say anything.”

I call her. She’s clearly upset. She says that Keila calmly walked into the office and said she was giving her two-week notice. Alice was stunned, but probably not entirely surprised. They have been working together for about two years now running this start-up. I never felt that Keila was the right candidate for the job. I like her and think she has a lovely heart, but it just never felt like a match for her skill set. But Alice felt strongly about bringing her on board and making a go of it.

They did well considering it was just the two of them, and the occasional intern. Alice always seemed under a great deal of pressure from the investors. She’s incredibly driven to have this business succeed. But I think she saw this coming. Keila wanted a raise, equity and then took a vacation during a financial crisis. That’s not what your partner does after you’ve given her the greatest job she’s ever had.  Maybe Keila thinks that the company is going to fail and wants to get out now before Alice has to let her go.

I don’t personally believe that. Alice will fight tooth and nail to keep her company afloat. I suppose the only upside to all of this is the biggest expense many companies face is staffing. With Keila gone, Alice will save a ton in payroll. This is such a shame, but Alice will prevail.

She actually took the high road and is having a farewell party for Keila. I’ll be attending that event with Church this week, so we’ll see how it plays out. (See: Church – 2012 to Present – Brand Ambassador)

On a lighter note, Alice called me the other day and asked if I’d be a reference for her to get a cat. “You need a reference to get a cat now?” was my response. Apparently you do. I told her I’d be happy to give her a good reference. Great thing is, Alice is so nice I won’t have to lie.

The lady from the shelter called me today, and I gave her the lowdown on the ruthless CEO I know from the IT recruitment firm. I told her about how long I’ve know Alice, and what she has done for me personally and professionally. I described her as a well-mannered, church going, grandpa loving, nephew adoring, all around super lady. There was no way that I could fake any of that, because it’s all true. Alice is truly one of the best people I know. She is a hard-working dedicated businesswoman, but she always makes time in her life for family and friends.

Keila gave her a glowing review as well. Now if Alice’s new landlord just gives the green light, she’ll have her cat. I hear he’s a big fat orange guy. May even have a little Maine Coon in him. If she gets this cat (and I believe she will) he’ll be in the hands of a loving companion.

I spoke with her today and she says she texted her new landlord and he replied “I said I’d let you know when they contacted me.” What an asshole. I’m sure it’ll work out for the best. She also said she was moving into her new apartment here in the city and her parents were helping her move. She also complained that she had terrible cramps and that 2016 was definitely not her year. (Love her mettle!)

I’ve been hearing that term more and more lately. “This is going to be your year.” I think that gives people a false sense of hope for success. I have found that there are high and low points in every life. Having suffered from anxiety and depression most of my life I know that it’s best to fly in the middle. We all have good years and bad years. A bad year would be one of grinding poverty and not being able to keep a roof over your head. A good year would be, “Netflix had decided to pick up Phicklephilly as a TV series with a three-year option.” (Not happening yet)  Every year has its ups and downs. I’ve learned to just enjoy the day you’re in right now. There will be ups and downs, but it all shakes out in the end.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

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My Family – Lorelei – 1996 to Present – Life with Lorelei

She’ll always be the apple of my eye.

One of the joys of my life is my daughter Lorelei. She lives with me here in Philly and it’s great. She is twenty now, and has lived with me for almost two years now. She has a very sweet and chill disposition. Lor is very unobtrusive. She works as a food runner and hostess at a restaurant here in the city. She seems to like it well enough. They serve some vegan cuisine and she likes that because she’s vegan herself. This is a choice she has made on her own.

She usually is home from Monday or Tuesday night until Thursday or Friday. Then she’s gone. She goes and stays at her boyfriend’s mom’s house the rest of the time. Mostly weekends. Which gives me a break. Not that I don’t want her there, but I still enjoy my solitary life and it’s nice to just be at one with the bat cave and Netflix.

She has been into something called flow arts lately. Actually, she’s been doing it for a while. I got her a hula hoop that lights up with LED and strobe lights in it. She has gotten really good at it and does it at concerts and festivals she and her guy attend. They’ve been together two years now and they seem happy. They like to do all of the same things, so that’s good. He’s a good kid and he’s good to her. I approve.

She also recently got a flow wand. This is a little more complex. It’s about a foot and a half long. It has strobe and LED’s in it as well. It’s on a string that is threaded through a hole in the upper third of the wand. She swings it around and it appears to be floating. The way the lights are programmed, when it’s swinging vertically around her it leaves these trails of images in the darkness. Like Pikachu, or flames, or signs of the zodiac. It’s really cool! She’s had it for a little over a month and has become very proficient with the wand. Recently, she was even in a music video performing her hooping. You can actually watch that video at the bottom of this blog.

Sometimes, she’ll come home and we’ll just chat. It’s really nice. How many dads get the opportunity to sit down and just shoot the shit in a real way with their daughters? There’s none of the sanctimonious “How was your day?” crap. What we talk about is real. Life. Work. Family. Life challenges. Friends. etc. It’s a rare thing, but I get to do it at least once every other week. What kid even wants to be around their parents at that age? So I feel lucky. We have a solid honest connection. I know I’m doing the best I can as a father, and she chooses to be here with me. She won’t always be with me. But at least I have this time with her.

Lorelei recently changed up her hairstyle. It’s long on the top, but shaved on the sides.

Sort of like this, but longer on the top.

Image result for blonde hair long on top shaved sides

Well, she’ll pull the long hair up onto the top of her head in a hair tie. Then she’ll ask me to come in with my electric beard trimmer, and shave the sides. I have a good eye and a steady hand, so I’m sort of her part-time barber. I’ll go along the sides and shave it all down so that it’s even. “We’re like a Latino family, Daddy. Doin’ each others hair.” She says, I laugh. I wonder where she got her sense of humor?

There are just some simple moments that happen on a weekly basis. Trish brought up a wooden chest for Lorelei to put her clothes into. (See: Trish – 2012 to Present – The She Wolf) She was dressed really hot, so maybe she had just come from a date. I’m in my office in the back room typing away. Music is on, and the next thing you know Lorelei and Trish are in my room. Trish is digging into my candy, Lorelei is hooping and looking at herself in the mirror. We’re all laughing and talking. It’s great. I’ve got a roof over my head, my daughter is happy and healthy, and I’m pals with my neighbor.

Life is good.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

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Duncan – 1997 to Present – Blind Ambition And The Sin of Avarice

I have known Duncan for a long time. Nearly 20 years. He is originally from Northeast Philly like myself. I met him back when I was in retail banking. I was selling mutual funds at a branch in South Philly. He was my underwriter. So I would procure the clients, and sell to them, and Duncan would put together the hypotheticals and make recommendations. So he was my back office support person assigned to me. He had followed a girlfriend to Charlotte, North Carolina a few years before. Our headquarters were there.

We became friends shortly after he saw that I had written, “The Green Manalishi with the Two Pronged Crown”, on the auto reply on my internal email. It’s a Judas Priest reference and he got it. We started talking and got to know each other and our mutual of all things heavy metal.

He had family in Pennsylvania and would come up and visit occasionally.

Over the years he would come and stay at my house and we would plan his visits around heavy metal concerts. We’ve seen AC/DC, Motorhead, Ronnie James Dio, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Cinderella, Iron Maiden, and many other bands on several occasions.

When I got divorced he dumped his girlfriend who had gotten heavier and lazy. I bounced around the banking industry for a few years, and dated a few women. Some crazy, some not so crazy. I don’t remember if he dated much after he split with his girlfriend. Here’s the thing, Duncan is a good-looking, fit guy, but he has absolutely no game whatsoever. He works out, but doesn’t eat all that well. The boy needs more fruit and vegetables.

He always had around five dogs. They were his buddies. He lived on a remote road and had a big yard for the dogs to run around in. Always the dogs. So while I’m working in and out of banking and consulting, Duncan is taking all of these courses to become a CFA. (Certified Financial Analyst) He meets a woman in one of the courses he takes at night and they get to know each other. I think she was married before or in the process of getting a divorce.

So they hook up because they are both sporty and good looking. They eventually get married.

One thing about Ducan that is his biggest flaw is that he has no coping mechanisms in place. He has to control everything, and everything has to be about him and meeting his needs. Kind of like my dad. So after two days with the guy you’re ready to escort him off the property. You have to do the activities he wants to do, and eat the food he likes to eat. That shit doesn’t work long-term with any relationship. But he only visited a couple of times a year so I didn’t mind. We had good times for years.

Duncan was driven to be what he wanted to become and put off family until he felt he had reached a certain level in his career. “When I pass this test, or when I get that license, we’ll try to have kids.” Well, he put it off for too long and the window was closing on his wife’s ability to reproduce. They tried for a while but nothing was happening.  She finally did get pregnant but at some point lost it. It was painful physically and emotionally for her. She didn’t want to go through it again, and that was it.

Duncan’s wife came from money and had no real concept of it. I remember him telling me she had over one hundred thousand dollars in revolving debt. She kept promising to pay it down, but I don’t think she ever did. He only found out about it when they were doing a refinance on the house and she couldn’t be on the loan because she was so upside down with her credit card debt. Duncan always kept all of their finances separate. She liked to blow money on frivolous things, and Duncan was always frugal.

With any hope of gestation off the table, she started going out on the weekends with her soccer buddies. Many of them were younger and she would stay out late and party at the bars and clubs. Duncan used to smoke a bunch of weed when he was cool, but was never really a drinker. He doesn’t go out anywhere. He’s not social at all. He doesn’t really have any friends. I think I was his best friend for many, many years.

He did cut me off for about two years once when I first returned to Philly from New York. I don’t remember why. Some trivial shit. But out of nowhere he started texting me again. When I asked him why he cut me off, he literally said he had no recollection of doing it. I remember exactly where I was when he cut me off. Saying, “we had a good run, but it’s over.” But I was just happy we were back. Even if he lived fifteen hundred miles away.

Duncan is telling me he’s getting fed up with his wife going out all of the time. But she probably was bored with him by then. I know if I were a woman I wouldn’t stick around. He’s got to be 48 years old by now and he still acts the same way he did back in his late twenties when I first met him. He hasn’t evolved as a man at all. Still the same guy. But he gave up weed years ago.

So after about a year of her going out he finally says he’s going to divorce her. They were married for eight years. He worked his ass off for the bank. They own him. Scooter is married to his ambition. He spends so much time working that he has amassed a small fortune. But of course his loser family all have their hands in his pockets. He had to go on their mortgage or they would lose their house and have to go bankrupt because of their reckless spending.

They split up. He’s on his own with his house full of dogs again. He tries to date some woman at his office and she’s not interested. He has to go to therapy for his divorce. Not because he’s sad that it ended but because he’s so angry that he failed. He started dating some older Asian woman at his tennis club. He says he’s never getting married again. But he bought her $5000 earrings last Christmas. He makes killer bank now. They have been together for a few years now. I refer to her as Yoko because I hardly ever hear from him anymore. They’ve come up to the area twice, but the first time I really didn’t feel like hanging out with them. Then around last 4th of July, they were supposed to stay in the city but ended up staying out by his parents and I never saw him.

One of the last conversations I had with him this year was him telling me that when he sells his house in the Spring 2017, he will be worth a million dollars. Maybe then he’ll finally be happy.

But I doubt it.

UPDATE: Duncan text me over the holidays that he was on the train with his girlfriend on their way to Warminster to see his family. He sent me a photo of a 1.75 bottle of Grey Goose being held by her in a liquor store. He said it was for me. No warning. No planning. Just has a bottle for me and am I available in the city tonight. I already had really important plans with a lady, and I wasn’t going to be around. I told him I’d be available Saturday night and Sunday. I got a text later from him saying he was on South Street, and where could he take his girlfriend for dinner. I told him Serpico or Ella. I never got a thank you or another word from him. He said later that maybe on Sunday he could see me because he was visiting his cousins. At this point, I wished he just left the bottle on my front steps and left. Because it’s all about “Mr. I have no coping skills.” So I think I’m done. (Still love him though) Too much has gone by and he’s so locked into his old Asian granny of a girlfriend that I won’t hear from him for a long time. I liked him better when he was a pot smoking clerk. At least he was fun back then.

Bitter?

Yeah. Table for one.

(But… Stay tuned. There is more to come in the future and will be glorious.)

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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