Making Sense at the Lake — 12 Ideas that Rocked My World

This story takes place in September of 2015 at a place that I call “Discovery Lake”. There are no trails to Discovery Lake, but I had bushwacked there twice before (so I thought I knew how to get there). It took me 2 full days to get to the lake. Day One was a bit […]

Making Sense at the Lake — 12 Ideas that Rocked My World

Phillips: A Short Story from The Tool Series

Photo by Maxim Shklyaev on Unsplash


Where’s Debbie?” asked Tim.

“She went in the house to talk to your mom,” said Oscar Phillips. “Hey, I heard you had a new girlfriend.” 

“Yep.”

“Is she coming?”

“No, Trish had to work.  She’s a nurse.” 

Tim leaned against the workbench and picked at a scab on his index finger.  Oscar sat on the chopper with the sparkling silver gas tank.  Everyone, including Oscar, knew the theme of this family barbecue was to offer him a hand up as he lurched in the quicksand of depression. The radio effortlessly played classic rock; Spirit of the West ushered in the moment. Spirit Of The West “Home For A Rest” – Official Music Video

“So, did Debbie bring home any boyfriends.  To do the meet-the-parents thing?” asked Oscar instantly regretting using air quotes. 

“I remember one guy.   He was really smart, tall and polite.  Debbie was still in college but he was working a full time job.  He had a pick up.  My Mom didn’t like him.  Dad did.”  Oscar straightened his back and bent his neck to crack it.  Oscar feared Tim’s dad Stan. 

“Debbie is like, 10 years older than you?” said Oscar.  

“Yes, 10 years and 8 months apart.  In school Debbie always had a part time job.  I saw her on weekends.  Kind of like visitation rights with your own sister while living in the same house. Basically we grew up in two different families with the same parents.  Debbie was before the accident.”

“Right,” said Oscar.

“She wasn’t perfect or anything but she didn’t cause my parents so many headaches like me.  We never really had any big brother-sister fights.  Never lit the kitchen on fire heating the pizza box in the oven or anything like that”

“Right,” said Oscar.  

His shoulders deflated in a whatever surrender. Depression is usurping his mojo.  It’s a pesky grinding of his tectonic plates causing landslides of conflict between him and Debbie.    

Tim took in the Oscar’s theatre in response to his question.

“What the fuck do you want me to do,” Oscar imitates an exasperated Debbie.

Then nodding to Tim.  “And you know Debbie never swears.”

“So …?” 

“So what?”

“So bro,what … do you want Debbie … to do?” asks Tim.

“I don’t know what I want to do,”  Oscar throws his arms open.  “So how the fuck can I tell her what to do?”

“Dude.  Fake it till you make it.  Ya know, tell ‘em you wanna buy a house.  Or have children.   Or to go for that promotion.”

“What promotion?”  Oscar needed to know.

“I am making it up.  It doesn’t fuckin matter.  They just need to hear that you are the man. They need you to make them feel they made the right decision bro.”  

Tim and Oscar nodded as they sipped their beers.

“Sorry man,”  Tim tried to redirect the heavy silence that was weighing them down,  “I’m just tryin to help.”

‘This family therapy gig is getting old quick,’ Tim thought during yet another awkward pause.  Oscar kept himself busy by thinking, ‘I just need to keep the conversation going.’  But he couldn’t find anything to say so the bottom fell out of the conversation again.  Tim turned around to face the workbench and grabbed a long, red handled Phillips screwdriver.  He spun it in the air, caught it and turned back and looked at Oscar.

“Look bro ….”

Oscar looked at him.

“It has everything to do with you and nothing to do with you all at the same time,”  Tim pointed the red screwdriver handle at Oscar.

As Oscar’s soul mined him for traction, he heard his instinct, ‘Reflect.’

Like a witch Tim says,

“Listen bro, you just need to reflect on, you know, the situation.  But, you have to fuckin swear you will not sit there and stew in your own regret.   You cannot, cannot mire yourself in your own, you know, bullshit.”  

Like the open garage door, Oscar gaped.  Tim was proud of how he used the word mired.  He had never used it before.

“Dude, I can see why Debbie is so frustrated.  Your mojo, your fuckin chi!” Tim extended his neck at Oscar, “Has been sucked out of you like you were a cherry freezie on a hot summer day.  Know what I mean?” 

“If I don’t, Debbie does.  And she isn’t shy about telling me. Daily,” said Oscar.

“Is she right, daily?”

“Is this a yes or no question?”

“Yes.”

“Yes. I mean, sure we had all those immature marital squabbles cuz our parents didn’t orient us about marriage.  I know now that’s nothing personal.  But now we are a fuckin tsunami of feces even before we wake up.  We don’t talk, we argue.  We don’t speak, we yell.  We don’t love, we dread.  It’s real.  It’s horrible.  I want to fix it,” said Oscar with the humility of a porcupine before a gale force wind.   His own words stood him up from the motorbike.  Tim was impressed.  Oscar looked at himself standing as if he just woke from a dream.  He sat back on the motorbike.

Bobcageon by The Tragically Hip reminded the radio of younger times. 

Oscar and Debbie lived in a condo downtown Toronto.  Having recoiled from most of their relationships, Oscar squats at home all day coding; becoming paler, losing valuable hair and gaining stupid pounds so he can be a better punching bag for depression.

His man cave was either: early morning concrete coffee cross legged on the 5 x 10 balcony overlooking the Gardiner Expressway or: seated on the ground in a clutch of red pine trees in the lakeside park across the street from the condo.  In other days, these ‘encuentros’  would have provided better dividends. 

The garage was Stan’s man cave.  Storage boxes stuffed with sentimental anchors among aged yard equipment collected on his shelving unit.  He was a salesman for Global Racking Systems.  One day a client wouldn’t pay for one of Stan’s sales, so the install team took back all the racking and put it in his garage.  

Tim had never seen his dad in work mode.  Stan started out really appreciative of the install team bringing it over and installing the racks.   Then in the flip of switch he was really bossy when it came to the installation.  Then he gave the guys pizza and beers.  It was fun for Tim to observe others caught in his dad’s passive/aggressive jousting.

Tim shuffled his feet on the gritty garage floor painted slate grey, looked back at the racking and realized he was proud of his dad.  He decided he would ask his dad about how to invest in a house.

The earthy air of the garage buoyed Oscar from falling deeper into the abyss of depression.  There was a hint of oily rags coming from the corner.  The ceiling was high enough and the garage wide enough so you didn’t sense you were missing out on the day when you were inside the garage.  

“Lemme see that thing, said Oscar reach for Tim to pass him the red handled screwdriver

“This thing is probably older than you,”  Tim said.

Oscar exhaled laughter,  “You know I am actually named after this fuckin thing.”

“Get outta town.”

“Ya.  My dad is a total tool geek and he insisted my name be Henry Phillips – the guy who patented the cross screwdriver.  He didn’t tell my mom until after I was born.  I’m pretty sure that is why they got divorced.”

“What?!”

“Well not exactly, but it couldn’t have fuckin helped.  Anyway, I was like three.  My mom made sure from then on everyone used my middle name.

“Oscar,”  Tim said.

“Nice to meet ya,”  Oscar raised his empty beer bottle and they both laughed.  Tim wanted to get them another beer but feared breaking the moment by going to the kitchen.

“Guys.”  Stan opened the door connecting the garage to the laundry room with his left hand and held up his right hand carrying two green bottles of beer.  “Do I have any customers?”  

Oscar jumped to his feet.

“Right on.  Perfect timing dad.”

“Where’s your beer Stan?”  Oscar asked.

“Back at the barbecue.  Burgers are gonna be ready in 5 minutes,”  Stan said, closing the door.

“Thanks dad,”  Stan loved hearing those words.  They ferried beautiful meaning.

“Nice and cold, thanks Stan,”  said Oscar as he grabbed a metal scraper with a wood handle from the workbench and popped the bottle caps off.

“Boys, dinners on the table,”  Tim’s mom chirped and then she knocked on the door.  Tim and Oscar chuckled at the backward sequence of it.

ar Oscar imagined that the granite boulder of depression weighing on his shoulders was crumbling into shiny grains of crystalline red, black and silver sand that fell off his back spilling around his feet.

—- Phillips is part of the Short Story Series called Tool by Kevin McNamara

Put Down The Phone – Breathe In

Once again – effortlessly – you breathe. Like you do every day. Now, imagine the clean air entering your lungs. That automatic yet unique breath is integrated into your blood. The agent of integration is the service provided by the alveoli.

The air of your inhale could be the gritty, carbonated exhaust of a transport truck. Or the air flavoured by a bone shaking thunder storm. Or the air fragranced by a beautiful autumn morning as the leaves just pass into the realm of decomposition, releasing a haunting fermented gas that encapsulates the summation of summer and a preparation for what’s to come.

Passing though the lungs that ruby red, freshly oxygenated blood is drawn to the heart where it is pumped throughout your body. The blood circulates up into your brain, fuels your organs, reaches into your limbs. This constantly rejuvenating process brings whats new and removes what has been carbonated. 
This is an amazing natural process happening everyday all day with accuracy and punctuality according to your body’s need. It makes it possible to run for the bus, walk to the store, dance with your wife.  You think about whether there will be a seat available on the bus, what you are going to buy at the store and your dance steps. You don’t think about oxygenating your blood.

However you can think about what message you want to accompany the oxygen as it travels in your body? 
Your message can be you embracing the moment, and inhaling the feeling of well being you want to attract. Your message can be a more specific quality like compassion or persistence.  It is the energy that our mind connects to when you focus on the idea of persistence that will fill your aura. That energy will permeate anything that absorbs energy if your focus has stamina.


Focus on your next breath; inhale the idea of service. 

Breathe in through your nose … and be clear that you want service in your life. That service is a quality you want to radiate. Service is a quality that resonates with your blood cells. After being created in the marrow of your bones they pass into your bloodstream. The cells merge with all the other cells on the mission. The mission is your well being. Each cell is a new recruit in the battalion of your blood ready and willing to be of service. 
Blood cells live a number of months. Compared to your blood cells you are immortal. And their purpose is exactly that: your immortality.

There is a heritage of knowledge passed on from’old’ cells to the fresh ones. The brand newest of cells are reasserting your well being and ready to receive the human ancestral wisdom that you subscribe to. Recognize the alignment of millions upon millions of cells that uphold your human facilities so you can become a university of thoughts, insights and mental projections. Breathe in service so it too gets magically synthesized with the oxygen into your blood. Imagine those blood cells pumped around your body – radiating service.

A Long Strange Trip — STORYTELLER

With explosive power. Man oh man, Forty years already. Where did the time go? Better yet, why did my time go? Today is December 8. A horrible anniversary. I didn’t know until the next day so for me December 9 is just as bad. I hope by now you know what I’m talking about. If […]

A Long Strange Trip — STORYTELLER

Post Pandemic Vision

This global experience of a virus enveloping us the people has made daily life uncomfortable. To those who have succumbed to the virus it has made daily life impossible.

Photo by Alex Alvarez on Unsplash

We can blame lots people. It feels good for a minute but really has no power of bringing light to the situation. It doesn’t accelerate the development of a vaccine. It doesn’t allow me to walk into a store without a mask. It doesn’t change the incessant reports of increases of infections and deaths. Stop.

I want my thoughts back. I want the best of my world back. To pioneer into tomorrow.

The Pandemia we insist on repeating because in the first place we didn’t listen to those who focus in things like this. And because we don’t know the way forward has gotten old. It is tiring.

I am going to wash my hands and wear my mask and keep my distance and eat at home. And when my mind is my own this is what I am going to think about:

My wife challenges me to be the man I want to be.

My version of man is valid

Planet Earth is an example of Grace, Strength, Purpose and Growth.

Marriage needs clear & sincere communication to grow.

As an merging Elder I will provide wisdom to my community.

Are my beliefs up to date with my life?

Protecting half of the planet is the best way to fight climate change and biodiversity loss – we’ve mapped the key places to do it (The Conversation) — Uma (in)certa antropologia

theconversation.com Greg Asner – September 8, 2020 Humans are dismantling and disrupting natural ecosystems around the globe and changing Earth’s climate. Over the past 50 years, actions like farming, logging, hunting, development and global commerce have caused record losses of species on land and at sea. Animals, birds and reptiles are disappearing tens to hundreds […]

Protecting half of the planet is the best way to fight climate change and biodiversity loss – we’ve mapped the key places to do it (The Conversation) — Uma (in)certa antropologia

The Architect, The Blueprint and The Mosaic — Thrive Global

#TheMosaic#WeAreAllConnected#NothingIsAsItSeems#TheMosaicPodcast #TheMosaicOnline #TheArchitect #TheBlueprints HaveChanged #ConversationsWithStrangers I HAD A CONVERSATION YESTERDAY with a guy who started crying and crying. i held the space for him to cry and he cried for over 10 minutes, just feeling safe in the space to let his tears come out. when his tears stopped, i asked if he wanted…

The Architect, The Blueprint and The Mosaic — Thrive Global

Milky Way Rising Over Waves of Sand in Great Sand Dunes National… — Dream Poetry Visions – Future of Humanity

Milky Way Rising Over Waves of Sand in Great Sand Dunes National Park. [7952X7390] [OC] via /r/EarthPorn https://ift.tt/32fATAF from Tumblr https://ift.tt/2DKKO7P

Milky Way Rising Over Waves of Sand in Great Sand Dunes National… — Dream Poetry Visions – Future of Humanity