The Secret




Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.

You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines.

“Time”, Pink Floyd


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Lyrics © T.R.O. INC.

First time I heard those words, I was 14 or 15 years old. I didn’t grasp the significance of them back then, obviously.

I sure do, now.

I recently wrote a post about commemorating yet another birthday, and I alluded at one point to how getting old scares me a bit, so I should probably explain myself. You may not want to read on unless you’re really happy today, because this one’s a bit of a downer.

I see my folks, they’re getting old
And I watch their bodies change
I know they see the same in me
And it makes us both feel strange
No matter how you tell yourself
It’s what we all go through
Those eyes are pretty hard to take
When they’re staring’ back at you

“Nick of Time”, Bonnie Raitt



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First of all, and I know this is going to sound so shallow, but have you seen what old people look like? With their wrinkled up faces and age spots on their hands and turkey wattles on their necks? I know, I know, I’m sorry, I really am, but I just can’t envision myself looking like that. Not me. My hair is definitely grayer, and there’s less of it than there used to be, but I’ve accepted that, more or less. Those other cosmetic changes are gonna be much harder to face.

But, it’s not just the looks; it’s the health. I dread what the future holds for this steadily deteriorating shell I walk around in. Will I get slowed down by arthritis? Will I be felled by a debilitating stroke, like my father, and bedridden for the last years of my life? Or will my worst fear come true, and Alzheimer’s slowly and mercilessly steal my mind, piece by piece?

It’s stuff like this that, whenever somebody says getting old “beats the alternative”, makes me think, “Are you sure?”

And, yeah, I know, none of those things may happen; I may just get hit by a truck, instead.

But, I’m the kind of guy who thinks, my life has gone pretty well so far, something’s gotta happen sometime to screw it up. The Law of Averages dictates that the scales eventually have to tip the other way.

What can I say? It’s how I roll.


Truthfully, though, I think the worst part of getting older is how everyone else gets older. So, the older I get, the more funerals I’ll be attending. Funerals of friends and family members. People I’ve known and loved for years, for decades, for pretty much my whole life. I want to keep them around forever; I don’t want to say goodbye to any of them, and it will seriously break my heart when I have to. I am really not looking forward to that part.

I mean, I know that’s all just part of it; we’re born, we live, we get old and die. That’s how this thing works. It’s never bothered me as much as it has lately, though. I know, I should probably just shut up and accept what’s coming, because it certainly doesn’t come only to me.

Just feels like it, sometimes, that’s all.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

“Time”, Pink Floyd


Published By
Lyrics © T.R.O. INC.

On the bright side, though, friends, (yes, there is one) I am working towards reconciliation of these issues, because I know a life lived in fear and dread is really no life. It’ll just take some time for me to reach the state where I can believe what singer James Taylor said years ago:

The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time

“Secret O’ Life”, James Taylor

That’s the goal for me. Hope I attain it. Sooner, as opposed to later.

Hey, I Was Just Thinking…


This is how my mind works. You have been warned.


Whoever made up the rule that we have to say, “Bless you”, to anyone who sneezes? I’m no priest; I’m not qualified to bless anybody. Besides, are sneezers any more worthy of blessings than the rest of us? I guess people with severe allergies must be the most blessed folks on Earth.

Instead of “Bless you”, can’t I just say, “Good job,” or “Nice distance on that spray,” or “Next time, look away from my lunch, if you don’t mind”?


Okay, you’re in a restaurant, you’ve placed your order, and just before your waiter/waitress walks away, you hear, “All right, then, my name’s Jody/Buffy, if you need anything.” At that moment, are you ever tempted to ask:

“What’s your name if I don’t need anything?”

Because, why else would they even say that?

I don’t know, maybe each waiter/waitress/wait thing has a secret identity, which will only be revealed to you if you don’t need anything. So, next time, tell him/her/it you don’t need anything, and see if you find out the Secret Identity. Wouldn’t that be cool?


Or, how about when you pick up some food at the drive-thru of your favorite fast food joint? (By the way, why do we drive through a drive-thru? Someone needs Spell Check, I think.) You place your order, and the cashier mumbles back something that sounds like, “Okay, your total is gonna be $25.97 at the first window.”

At that point, do you try to negotiate? “So, how much is it at the second window? How much if I come inside? How much if I tell you my girlfriend’s paying for it? Wait, baby, where you going, I was just…come on, sweetie, get back in the car, I didn’t mean…HEY! COME BACK HERE!!!”

Side note: I have some relatives that are perfectly suited for working a drive-thru, because I can never understand them, either.


What is the deal with all the commercials on TV now for prescription drugs? As often as I see them, I can’t help but think, man, we must be in terrible shape in this country. I especially like the ones that help with ED, when they talk about men with erectile dysfunction or premature…..issues.

Are you kidding? All the other things you just freely come out and say on television, but you can’t bring yourselves to say…you know, that?

What really disturbs me, though, is when they start listing the side effects of taking the prescriptions. I mean, I know it’s a CYA kind of thing, but Jiminy Cricket… I always end up thinking, you know, I’ll just take my chances with the illness. Of course, at the bottom of the list is always…death.

I’m sorry, but personally, I don’t consider death a side effect. More like an end effect, you know? I mean, if you experience that, there ain’t much anyone can do for you at that point.


Other important issues:

Is it true that the distance to the next roadside rest stop is inversely proportional to the need to go?

Shouldn’t the times when traffic is heaviest be called Crawl Hour?

Can we put a stop to the madness of using redundant phrases like tuna fish sandwich and hot water heater?

How is it, a fitness machine can help you get totally ripped, but then again, so can a joint? Which way sounds easier to you?

I’m developing a new TV series about a University of Texas graduate who becomes a police detective in Hawaii. His catchphrase will be, “Hook ’em, Dano!”

That one was for you, J.

True story: Driving in Dallas one day, my wife and I passed a business with the intriguing name, “CONDOMS TO GO.”

My wife looked at me, and said, I swear to you, “Well, I hope they’re to go!”

Good one, dear.

I tried to imagine what a store named, “CONDOMS FOR HERE” would look like. It gives a whole new meaning to, “Cleanup on Aisle 5!” (Premature issues, and all…)  I mean, do you have to step over people as you browse the store? (Oops, sorry, don’t mind me, carry on…) Do the store personnel ever get in trouble for asking,”May I help you?” And, how late would they stay at work, sitting in the office and watching security footage?

And, would the store sell both “New” and “Gently Used”?


Please do not encourage this behavior. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

The 0.05 Cu. Ft. Cell


This one is kinda long, just so you know, but I need to say all of it.


This is how depression sometimes feels to me:




Sometimes, life gets so overwhelming, I can literally feel The Weight of Everything. My shoulders slump. My sides hurt. It actually feels like the boulder is about to flatten me.

I get to thinking about all the mistakes I’ve made and continue making in my life, couple that with all the many ways I feel inadequate as a human being, and finally, contemplate all the wrong there is in this world, and how truly hopeless it all seems, and that big rock is almost too much to hold. It’s a chain reaction of negativity that, unfortunately, is easily ignited.

This, also, is how depression sometimes feels to me:




I’m at the bottom of this deep, dark pit, and I can see light way up above me, but I have little hope of making it to that light, because it’s just so far up, and the climb looks almost impossible.

And nobody knows I’m down there, because I don’t let anybody know. How screwed up is that? But, when you’re depressed, you have a good (you think) explanation, which I’ll get to later.

It’s been determined that the average adult human brain takes up 1400 cubic centimeters, or .05 cubic feet.

Doesn’t sound like that large a prison cell, does it? I’m telling you, though, when you suffer from depression, it’s plenty big enough.

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to My Life.


I was diagnosed with clinical depression back in 2003, and have been taking medication for it ever since. I don’t know for sure if it’s hereditary, but some members of my family on my father’s side were and are afflicted with it. Tragically, it drove one of my uncles to suicide.

It is one tough mofo of an adversary, I promise you.

Initially, my therapist told me that depression usually manifests itself in men as anger, not sadness, as with women. That made sense to me; the first time I visited her, and she asked me why I was there, I told her I was just mad all the time. Everything and everybody just pissed me off; in fact, I was hoarse when I got to her office, because I arrived really late, due to one road closure after another, and I was yelling the entire trip (windows closed) at anyone and everyone who was in any way responsible for those closures.


That was pretty much how I rolled, though; anything could set me off. I didn’t like anyone, either. It was like this t-shirt I saw recently that read, “I used to be a people person, then people ruined it for me.”

I knew that needed to change, especially because it was causing tension at home. I was giving my dear wife a lot of grief she didn’t deserve, and I needed to stop. I wanted to stop. I knew I had to do something. And I needed some help to do it.

Now, folks, here’s a great thing about depression:

It has no use for logic or reason.

I mean, after all, let’s think about this a minute; I’ve had a pretty good life. I was raised in a loving home. I got a college education. I’ve got a loving, devoted wife, a nice home, decent health, decent job, money in the bank, never been in jail, never gone hungry, never gone homeless…exactly what the hell have I got to be depressed about?

See? Logic and reason. Depression gives that the finger. It says, “I don’t need no steenking reason!

Which, of course, makes me even more depressed, because I feel like I have no right to it. People whose lives are in the gutter, people with some terminal illness, yeah, depression in them would make some sense, at least. But me? Gimme a break, pal.

Yet, I still get depressed: Over my health, over growing old and looking it, over my numerous faults, over global warming, over all the unspeakably inhumane ways we treat each other, over the specter of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton becoming President, over no particular thing at all. I descend into the pit. The boulder becomes heavier.

And, yeah, I know I’m not the only one thinking these things, but see, that’s another wonderful thing about depression:

It talks smack to you.

“Everone else has it together, what’s your problem, dude? Do you see anyone around you screwing this up as bad as you?”

And, many times, I don’t.


OK, Men, here’s where I need you to pay a little more attention.

Years ago, I was at a meeting (not that meeting), and the conversation got around to being depressed. As I was the only guy in the room, one of the women turned to me and said, “I don’t know, do guys get depressed?”

I was shocked. It never occurred to me that would even be a question. I thought, wow, we must really be good at hiding this.

Now, mind you, not all men get depressed, any more than all women. But, since women feel more comfortable sharing things, you just don’t hear about the men. For one thing, depression is viewed as a weakness, which MEN MUST NEVER SHOW, being the mighty defenders of Truth, Justice and The American Way that we are. Depression means we’re weenies, and getting help for depression is even more weenieish, am I right, guys?

Well, let’s consider, for a minute, the late Mike Wallace, the outstanding reporter for 60 Minutes. He was regarded as the toughest journalist out there, never one to shy away from the hard question, never one to avoid confrontation, never one to back down from getting at the truth. Tough guy. A MAN.

Guess what, fellas: he got depressed, seriously depressed, to the point of contemplating suicide. Admitted as much on, of all things, 60 Minutes.

Guess what else: He got help for it, then did an ad on TV saying it’s okay to ask for help.

Here’s three things you really need to know about depression right now:

  1. It’s NOT a weakness.
  2. You CAN’T just “snap out of it.”
  3. You CAN get help for it.

Listen up, guys. You want to do something manly? Something that takes big, brass balls? Get help for your depression; it’s available. I mean, you wouldn’t believe how many resources there are online for you.

Don’t know for sure if you’re depressed? Go to,, or whatever medical website you prefer, and read up on the signs and symptoms, and find out where you can get help. (Ladies, you look, too, for your man or for yourself.) I also highly recommend

Now, understand something, mis amigos. I got help, but I am by no means cured. Depression is treatable, not curable. I still have my occasions of irritability and anger. I still have my days of total pessimism and bleak world view. I still visit the pit. I still feel the weight. Those things aren’t going away. But they’re more manageable, now.



Now, let’s get REALLY serious.

Thinking about suicide? Brother, I’ve been there. Many times, I’ve ruminated on whether the world would be much better off without me in it. Usually, it’s just a fleeting thought, but I’ve had at least one Hamlet Moment in my time, believe me. I’ve had that hopeless, useless, worthless feeling more times than I wish to remember.

You know what brings me back, every time? My wife. And my two cats. Silly? Maybe, but…

As bad, as terrified as I may feel sometimes about going on living, I feel infinitely worse about leaving them. I picture my darling wife trudging, as through water, through a house where everything she looks at reminds her, in some way, of me. I think of those precious cats futilely scouring the house, looking for Dad, not comprehending that he’s gone, forever…

and I just can’t. I just can ‘t.

Do I like admitting this to the world? ABSOLUTELY NOT. It’s a part of me I’d just as soon keep private, thank you. But I think of Mr. Wallace, and then I think of the last moments of comedian Robin Williams, putting that belt around his neck, completely bereft of hope, his pain and anguish going all the way to the marrow, and…

This could go one of two ways, in other words. The first way, while more painful, is still the better option.

Really, it is.

My wife and pets are my lifeline. If you can’t come up with any lifelines in your life, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, open 24/7, at 1-800-273-8255, and let THAT be your lifeline.

And to one person in particular, (you know who you are) remember all the people who love you, including me. We are all here for you.

You’re not alone, I swear. There’s a way out of that f*****g prison cell.

Honey, We Need to Talk…


My new driving job takes up a lot of my time; I’m on the clock twelve hours a day. So, I don’t get as much blogging time, lately. As a result, you may not hear from me quite as often as before.

Believe me, though, I’ve not run out of material. I have some things to say regarding events of the past couple of weeks, but this is not the time to just spew out something from a place of raw emotion. I need some time to choose my words carefully, and to speak from a place of reasoned, rational, but no less passionate, conversation.

I believe, at this point, that’s the best approach for us all.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not overlooking the urgency of the matter.

It’s obvious we are long overdue to have a serious conversation about some issues in this country that have gone past simmering and reached the boiling point. We all need to come into this conversation openly, having dropped all preconceptions and prejudices, to ask some tough questions and be willing to hear the answers, to speak honestly and without fear of reprisal and, most importantly, to listen closely.

It’s just that, as vital a role as emotion plays in the dialogue, it can no longer dominate. We all see where competitive yelling has gotten us; can we all agree, it’s time to employ a different method?

I’ll be back soon, I hope, to share a few things for us all to think about. Meantime…

“…oooh, I’m drivin’ my life away…”