Archive for September, 2010

Today’s Thursday, and that means it’s time for yet another installment of JCO or JC NO, where I spin the yarn and you decide whether the story I relay is fact (JCO) or fiction (JC NO). To see if you were right, come back next week when I will give you the skinny before delivering the next JCO or JC NO.

SO, last week’s deplorable tale of me poaching food off the tables I bussed as a Fuddruckers’ employee? The overwhelming majority of you suspected that to be true. It is with equal amounts of embarrassment and shame that I confirm that suspicion.

Simply put? It was a vile and vulgar act, one in which I engaged countless times. With little or no dignity whatsoever, I might add. Congrats to theMuskrat, Really?, DCUrbanDad, Eric, Mandy, Mary Ellen, LatifahShay (who, incidentally, is a brilliant artist, as well as a fellow triplet parent — our guys turned three yesterday, Latifah!), Patrick, SeattleDad, WEH, Stephanie, Nadu, Wendy Wisniewski, Lilola, Opus, Debbie, and theDadvocate for getting it right. The people who are highlighted provided links to their websites in their comments. I visit most of them regularly. I hope you’ll check them out, too. Thanks guys, for chiming in, even if it was to voice your belief that such a disgusting act was well within my reach, if not character.


Oh, and a quick note to the Fuddruckers’ legal department — I’m well aware of my rights, and I regret to inform you that the statutes of limitations expired long ago. So let’s all just move on, shall we?

This week’s tale comes from the same era, the summer I spent on Hilton Head Island between semesters at Vanderbilt. I call this one A Pfack of Those D Batteries, Too, Please.

young jco, the amicable hoodlum.

Thanks to my Fuddruckers fable, you’re probably well aware that I was not always the bastion of responsibility I am today. In fact, I was little more than a garden-variety hoodlum, albeit a amicable one. My friends and I fancied ourselves a band of merry pranksters, and much of that merriment was directly proportional to the alcohol we consumed. (On a serious note, I want to make it clear that we were ALWAYS responsible enough to assign a designated driver.)

There were two elements to our alcohol consumption that were problematic to us. (Sadly, neither of them had anything to do with the sheer volume of our consumption.) First, booze costs money. And if I was broke enough to eat cheeseburgers that had touched the dentures of ninety-year-old women, then it’s safe to say that I wasn’t exactly buying top shelf liquor that summer. Instead, I was a Milwaukee’s Best Light man, a putrid manifestation of carbonated alcohol which conjures up images of desperation. If not abject poverty. But the “Beast” was a necessary evil if I wanted have enough cash to put food (ramen noodles) on the table (milk crates bridged together with two-by-fours).

The second element of our alcohol consumption that was problematic? The timing of it. Like most college kids, we weren’t afraid to stay up late drinking. Nor were we afraid to crack open a cold beer on any given Sunday. Yet the governing powers that be in the great state of South Carolina provided a hurdle for us to negotiate during either one of these time slots. For one could not buy beer after 2:00am. Nor could one buy beer on Sundays.

But we had a plan. And though said plan was technically illegal, it wasn’t without its merits. For starters, it gave back to the community by increasing the gross profits of local business owners. It also increased tax revenue — something that, at least on paper, should please every legislator.

Here’s how it’d go down. Anytime my our desire for beer occurred within a forbidden time zone, we’d swing by our favorite convenient store. Back in the day, I was known to have a way with words, so I was always the “decoy.” I’d set up shop at the front counter and chat up the convenient store clerk about any and everything that came to mind. I found that well-intended, open-ended questions worked best, as they could not be answered with a simple yes or no. Answers to them often revealed other rabbit trails of conversation down which I could lead the clerk.

But small talk alone would not provide my accomplices with the time necessary to complete their operation, so, inevitably, I would need to ask the clerk questions about the merchandise that hung on the wall behind the register.

“Say, what all sizes of batteries do you carry?” was a typical inquiry. “Because we’ve got this flashlight at our apartment, and I’ll be damned if we can’t figure out what kind it takes.”

After what always felt like an eternity, my buddies would finally come up to the counter with a twelve pack of Diet Coke, taking great care, of course, to orient the package such that the bar code faced the clerk.

“Anything else?” the clerk would ask while scanning the code.

“Yes. A pack of those D batteries, too, please.”

After a simple cash transaction, off we’d go, my band of merry-making friends and I. With a coupla D batteries. And twelve cans of Old Milwaukee’s Best Light all dressed up like Diet Coke thanks to the ol’ switcheroo my boys had executed as I asked countless questions pertaining to county of origin and tobacco products.

Hey, the way we saw it, we were doing everyone a favor. You see, we paid a premium for the beer as Diet Coke actually cost more than Old Milwaukee’s Best Light. Which, I might point out, meant we were paying more tax, too. Not only did the business owner come out on top, but so did the state.

The only guy who wasn’t a winner in the deal was the poor bastard who thought he was picking up a twelve pack of “Beast Light” and wound up with a bunch of girly soft drinks instead. But we never really ran in to him. So we were relatively okay with that.

What do you think? Did we really empty out a twelve pack of soft drinks and put in a twelve pack of beer inside the cardboard container thus enabling us to acquire beer (albeit at a premium) late at night or on Sundays? JCO or JC NO?

PLEASE NOTE: I am in the process of revamping my site. During the transition, there may be a day or two when you have to access my blog via http://johncaveosborne.WORDPRESS.com instead of http://johncaveosborne.com. This will most likely begin on Sunday. By Monday or Tuesday, however, I will once again be on johncaveosborne.com with a brand new look. If you subscribe to me via my RSS link (or even if you clicked the button to get my posts emailed to you), you’ll need to visit me early next week and get the new feed. Sorry for the inconvenience, but the new site will be a ton better. Thanks for reading! I really appreciate it. -jco-

Read Full Post »

Three Years Ago Today


I barged into the room with a purpose, but couldn’t remember for the life of me what that purpose was until I saw the familiar red banner of the USA Today sports section. Birthday or not, the world of college football stops for no one. I hadn’t planned on watching any of the action that day, but I was such a bag of nerves that I desperately needed a distraction. After reviewing the docket of games, I decided to place a small wager on one of them—a symbolic fifty dollar bet that I was sure to win. For that day was a lucky one—it was three of my four children’s birthday. Auburn catching seventeen points against Florida at The Swamp was my selection.

On the way out the door, I jumped at my own reflection in the mirror, surprised at what looked back at me—a haggard man clad in jeans and an untucked blue button-down with big dark circles under his eyes offset by visible sweat rings protruding from each armpit. Lovely.

I walked the bleached sterile, hallway back to the labor and delivery unit where Caroline had been transferred earlier that morning. It was there she’d receive her epidural and go over the last-minute details of what was to follow. On my way, I pondered the decision I had yet to make—above the curtain or below it during the C-section?

After extensive research on the matter, I learned that above the curtain was a great option because, from that vantage point, you could see an infant’s first moment unencumbered. Below the curtain was also great, because, well, you couldn’t see anything. A C-section, after all, is major abdominal surgery and abdominal surgery meant guts. I’m not into guts. While I desperately wanted to see each child’s first breath, doing so would come with the risk of catching a glimpse of what was moved out of the way to get each child that first breath. Given my squeamish nature, potential fainting spells could not be disregarded. I entered the room undecided.

Randy, a barrel-chested nurse anesthetist with wavy brown hair, was busily administering the epidural shot in Caroline’s spine. I sat down and pretended to be preoccupied with my newspaper, but I guess I wasn’t very convincing as Randy fired several questions my way, though I couldn’t tell you what they were or how I answered them. A few moments later, Dr. Barron, our pastor, came by to wish us well. We spoke about sports, football I think, before he politely excused himself to the general waiting area. Family and friends continued to file into our room. I spoke with all of them but don’t recall much of what was said. It’s hard to make small talk before big moments.

Peggy came to wheel Caroline to the delivery room and instructed me to meet her in the small hallway that separated it from the rest of the floor once Caroline was fully prepped. I had fifteen minutes to kill, and I spent the first few of them staring out the window thinking of everything imaginable, but nothing in particular. It was a gorgeous morning, not a cloud in the sky, which was a shade of blue that bordered on perfection of some significant sort. I wondered how anything could be so beautiful as well as why a sight I had seen countless times in my life suddenly evoked such feelings of grandeur.

It wasn’t that long ago when I was walking the earth alone, hoping to share the love inside of me with my very own family, though I remained skeptical I was destined for such a blessing. But in just twenty minutes, I would welcome my second, third, and fourth child into this world—my first three biological ones.

I put on the scrubs Peggy had given me and noticed a wet smudge on the blue top. I rubbed my eyes and conducted a quick survey of the back of my hand which confirmed what the scrubs had reported—my eyes were moist, but not with tears of anxiety or even joy—but rather tears of resolve. The same resolve that never let me give up on falling in love and having a family. The same resolve that led me to Caroline and Alli. The same resolve that helped lead us through the thirty-six-week maze to where we were at that exact moment. I dried my eyes and made my way to the hallway outside the delivery room.

Once there, I tried to wash my trembling hands in a deep stainless-steel sink, but I couldn’t find the handle to turn it on. There wasn’t one. You had to step on a pedal to get the water to come out. Still shaking, I examined my two soap choices and selected the one on the left. It was lotion. Undeterred, I got it right the second time. The area no longer felt like a small hallway adjacent to a delivery room but rather like a long skinny holding cell, which I began to pace. After a few minutes, the butterflies in my stomach compelled me to sit down on the metal bench opposite the delivery room door. I stared at the opaque glass.

What’s going on in there? What are they doing to her?

Peggy walked into the hallway from the hospital side. “I thought you were already in the delivery room,” I said.

“I was, but I stepped out to get this chart,” she answered while waiving a clipboard as proof. “What’s wrong?” she asked.

“Nothing,” I answered. “Nothing.”

“Promise?” she asked.


“Okay. Hey, I’ll stick my head out when it’s time for you to come in.”

“Peggy,” I said, just as she had turned to enter the delivery room.

“John,” she answered with a smile.

“Everything’s going to be okay, right? I mean with Caroline.”

“Everything’s going to be fine.”

“What about the babies?”

“They’ll be fine, too. You’ve got about five minutes. Hang in there.”

I rested my elbows on my knees and held my head in my hands, staring down at the cold white floor between my feet and tried to think random thoughts. A warm spring day popped into my mind, one with a sky similar to the one I’d stared at ten minutes earlier. It was Alli’s first baseball practice. Her dad and I were standing on either side of her when Alli’s coach beckoned her to practice fielding grounders. She looked up at me, her blue eyes gray with fear.

“John, come with me,” she pleaded while tugging at my shirt. It wasn’t unusual for a parent to take the infield with a child at that age, particularly during the first few practices of the year, but I hesitated awkwardly.

“Rob, you go,” I said with an inviting nod toward her father.

“No, John, you go. You’re good at this stuff.”

I walked Alli to the infield for her very first time and felt so proud to be alongside her—so proud to love her. The image of us in the late afternoon sun—Alli slapping her mitt, me patting the top of the Oriole hat that covered her thick blond hair—froze in my mind, allowing me to admire it from every single angle until a sinking feeling came over me.

How in the world could I duplicate that love three times over? It’s physically impossible to be in more than one place at the same time. I could never simultaneously be with each of the triplets on such an occasion. I’d never be able to love the triplets like I loved Alli. Even if I could, they’d never be able to feel that love the same way because it would be divided by three. It’s not that I wouldn’t try. It’s just that it seemed impossible.

Peggy gently nudged my shoulder—I hadn’t even heard her approach. I looked at the opaque glass and was surprised at the clarity, but I shouldn’t have been. The door was open. “We’re ready for you,” she said, gesturing toward the room our babies would soon share with us. I walked inside and took the seat reserved for me right beside Caroline, immediately noticing the sheet partition that extended up from her chest.

Oh yeah, above it, or below it? I guess it’ll be a game-time decision.

There were more people in the room than I was expecting. In addition to Peggy, there were three other nurses, the nurse anesthetist, three doctors from the NICU, and last, but not least, the leader of the procession, Dr. Saraceno. I held Caroline’s hand and stared directly at her. If she was nervous, she didn’t show it. She flashed me a serene smile, making her eyes wide as she did so. She looked a little out of it, but she was calm. She looked happy. I was, too. It was time.

Lost in our gaze, I almost didn’t notice the sudden bustle of activity that was going on all around us. One of the nurses rushed up to Dr. Saraceno. Our firstborn was about to breathe his first breath. I stood up, still holding Caroline’s hand, looking first at her, then toward Dr. Saraceno who skillfully pulled Samuel Cave Osborne (Monster) into the world. His tiny arms vacillated with surprising speed, but his elbows never left his side. His little red face appeared smooshed, possibly from sharing the womb of his small momma with his brother and sister for so long. He had a tuft of dark hair that went well with his pronounced widow’s peak.

Sam! You’re here!

Peggy cut Sam’s umbilical cord, an act he acknowledged with an ear-piercing scream. One of the NICU doctors carried him away to a sink on the far wall. She cleaned him up before weighing him and depositing him in an isolette off to the side of the foot of the bed. There were two other empty ones forming a row toward us on our right, both waiting patiently for an occupant.

“Baby A, four pounds, nine-and-a-half ounces. Nine seventeen,” someone announced.

The NICU doctor jotted down notes as Peggy and another nurse tended to Sam. I watched as they monitored our perfect little man until a tear clouded my view. I wiped it away and turned my attention back to Dr. Saraceno just in time to see him pulling out John Turner Osborne (Biggs).

Jack! Mommy and I have been waiting for you!

Just after Jack took his first breath, someone handed me a baby blanket with Sam’s footprint and handprint before handing me Sam himself. His eyes were closed. His mouth was open. He was still screaming. I showed him to Caroline who managed to smile adoringly at our firstborn just before he was taken from me. I looked back toward Jack in time to see Peggy cut his cord. Jack didn’t utter a peep. I wasn’t sure, but I thought he yawned. Like Sam, he had a little pear-shaped torso with tiny arms and legs. Unlike Sam, his entire body was still. He had a nonchalant air about him, as if he’d been born a million times before and knew exactly what to expect. He was a little longer and leaner than Sam, particularly his face, but I guessed him to weigh about the same as his brother. His brother. Wow. Jack was whisked away by one of the NICU doctors and cleaned off in much the same way Sam had been, only without all the screaming. He, too, was weighed and then placed in his own isolette.

“Baby B, four pounds, nine ounces. Nine eighteen.”

I turned my attention back to Dr. Saraceno just as he was pulling out Caroline Kirby (Peanut). I was standing again, though I didn’t remember leaving my seat. Dr. Saraceno held our daughter in the air and I fell in love for the third time in two minutes.

Kirby, look at you, pumpkin. You’re absolutely beautiful!

She was tiny, much smaller than the boys. She made a funny face, her lips pursed; the upper one almost touching her nose. Her head was perfectly round and small—smaller than a baseball.

“Baby C, three pounds, five ounces. Nine nineteen.”

As Kirby was placed in her isolate, a nurse handed me a blanket with Jack’s prints, before carefully giving me Jack. I looked at my lean little guy before stealing a glance at Kirby, just as two of the NICU doctors began working with her, one poking and prodding, the other taking her temperature. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the third NICU doctor rushing toward her.

What’s wrong?

“Nothing to worry about John,” Dr. Saraceno reassured. “Every baby under four pounds gets that treatment. She looks great, buddy.”

I looked back at Sam. He was still screaming, lying on his back in the isolate to the right of the foot of the bed. Then I peeked at Jack. He was still lying silently in the middle isolette. I looked at Kirby, but it was harder to catch a glimpse of her with all the latexed hands that continued to assess her. When I did manage to get one, she was still beautiful. She was the closest to me, but the furthest from reach, as I wasn’t allowed to hold her. Each of our babies looked different. Each of our babies looked perfect.

Kirby opened her mouth for the first time, making another funny face as she did so. A scream that started faint and grew ever louder in a perfect crescendo escaped from her parted lips. It rivaled Sam’s, only more delicate. She lifted her itty bitty legs in the air and as she did, I was shocked to notice she was so little that she didn’t even seem to have a bottom—just two tiny flesh-colored sticks attached directly to her back. With her limbs in the air and spread apart, she let out a relatively impressive stream of urine, an act which temporarily silenced her.

If there’s vinegar in there, then it’s official—she’s just like her momma.

“Baby C has voided.”

Voided, hmmm.

Someone placed Kirby’s blanket in my lap on top of the other two. Look at that little footprint! I showed it to Caroline, but she didn’t seem to notice. She gave my hand a gentle pump as she looked alternately at our three babies. I followed suit before feeling something rubbing against my forearm. Unbeknownst to me, three ID bracelets had been secured around my wrist—one for each baby.

Four nurses, three doctors, three blankets, two screams, two parents, two babies held, two boys, one girl, and one new application for the word voided. Entropy had surely never been more perfectly askew.

Sam and Jack stayed with us in the delivery room as Dr. Saraceno sewed Caroline back up. He thought they were probably big enough to stay in the nursery, but wouldn’t say for sure. The nurses closed Kirby’s isolette to keep her temperature stable and took her away for further evaluation—again, standard operating procedure for a baby under four pounds. She would probably spend a “considerable amount of time” in the NICU due to her size, but Dr. Saraceno wouldn’t speculate how long. At that point we didn’t care. Like her brothers, she was out of the womb. Like her brothers, her first few moments indicated nothing out of the ordinary. Our commute was finally over, but the journey was just beginning.

And thus, it was so. The Osborne triplets had begun their reign of Planet Earth. One by one, each of the hospital staff on hand congratulated us and told us how beautiful the babies were. They say that to everyone and everyone believes them. We did, too. They were telling the truth.

Once Dr. Saraceno was completely finished, the nurses took down the sheet. Whether I would peer above that sheet or stay below it had never even crossed my mind. I had merely acted instinctively. Since I witnessed each of our babies coming out of the womb, I knew I had been above it, though I wondered why I hadn’t noticed the things I was scared I might. Love must see only the things that matter.

I turned around and looked out the window that was behind us—the sky was still perfectly blue, just like that day at the ballpark with Alli. I thought of her practice, and then my concern of not being able to simultaneously love three children as effectively as I loved Alli. I breathed a sigh of relief at the knowledge gained in my first moments as a father of triplets—I had absolutely nothing to worry about.

It would, too, be possible to love Sam, Jack, and Kirby—all three at the same time, and all three every bit as much as I loved Alli. In fact, it would be impossible not to. And what’s more, they’d feel every single ounce of it. Because love is infinite. And infinity divided by three is still infinity.

* * *

The preceding was a chapter from my book, Tales from the Trips, which is available for only $9.00 directly from the publisher.

Happy Birthday, guys! I LOVE YOU! Here’s a slide show of some old pics along with a few we took on Monday when we gave them the birthday presents and cupcakes. (Pookie’s with her dad today, and we wanted her to be a part of it, so we did it early.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read Full Post »

Ten Seconds of Goodness

Lovie took Pook to soccer practice the other night which left yours truly in charge of the wee threesome. Only they’re not so wee anymore. Our little guys are almost three!

Monster makes me smile — even when he looks sad and makes a mess.

my little monster

Biggs makes me wonder. Because that’s what this pensive little boy spends a lot of time doing. Wondering. His eyes say it all.

biggs likes to think

And peanut makes me melt. Sometimes she just sits there and looks sweet.

sweet peanut

More often, though, she’s chatting away which usually makes me laugh. But on this night, it almost made me cry. Because out of nowhere, Peanut gave me a gift I’ll never forget — ten of the purest seconds of Goodness I’ve ever experienced. I’m SO happy I had my flip nearby.

Everyone always asks us how we do it — you know — three toddlers and all. But our question is how can we not? We wish everyone had the privilege of simultaneously feeling such unconditional love for three (or more) same-aged children.

monster, peanut, and biggs

Because Lovie, Pookie, and I consider it a blessing — one which leaves us with the following question for all you moms, dads, and siblings of singletons.

How are you content with just one?

Author reserves the right to take this sentimental post down the next time his junior associates engage in shenanigans detrimental to his mental well being. Don’t worry, though. Something will happen within that very hour which will compel him to put the post back up. Kinda comes with the territory.

Read Full Post »

So it’s Thursday, and that means it’s time for the second installment of JCO or JC NO, where I, John Cave Osborne, tell you, (state your name) a story which is either fact or fiction. Should you feel so inclined, leave a comment telling me if you think what I’ve written is legit (JCO) or bogus (JC NO). Then come back next Thursday to see if you were right.

Last week, I told the story of getting busted with some advanced (if not immature) call screening techniques. I received twenty comments, yet only four of you thought that I was lying. Which must mean I’m pretty smooth, y’all, because last week’s tale was, indeed, FICTION. But I really did have a blowhard client who always invited me to come over to his house. And after a few instances of answering his calls at inopportune times, I really did program his number as “do NOT answer” into my phone. But then I thought better of it and put in his real name because I feared that the fictitious story I told you last Thursday might actually come to pass.

Congrats to “the Dragon,” WeaselMomma, TessasDad, and SeattleDad for calling me out.

And, Dad of Divas — you said if it was a JC NO, you’d be giving me the “Mark Twain” award for spinning such yarn, which means not only did you underestimate me, but you’ll also need my address. You know. To mail me my award and all. (Is it a trophy? I love trophies.) Hit me up with an email and I’ll tell you where to send it.

Now, for this week’s installment which I affectionately call — But She Looked Like a Clean Person.

“You act like it’s the worst thing in the world,” I said defensively to Lovie.

“No,” she countered. “I’m acting like it’s the grossest thing in the world.”

“What’s so gross about it?” I asked.

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe that you didn’t even know the woman?”

“True. But she looked like a clean person.”

A cringe of repulsion came across Lovie’s beautiful face, the likes of which I had never seen before. “But she looked like a clean person? Who are you?”

[to my readers] A better question would have been “Who were you?” Because my dear wife was reacting to a story I had told her which actually went down many, many moons ago. (And before you go off thinking the worst, it’s not quite as sinister as it sounds.)

The year was 1989 and I was spending the summer on Hilton Head Island, fully engaged in the noble vocation of Bus Boy for a high-brow establishment. Perhaps you’ve heard of it.


Turns out the pay wasn’t so great. Also turns out that I, like many nineteen year olds, enjoyed partying every night. Which, of course, cost money. And I couldn’t afford to both eat well every day and hit the bar scene every night. So I had a choice to make. And I made it.

I went to the Piggly Wiggly and bought a shit-ton (it’s metric) of Ramen Noodles. Back in the day, you could get five of those suckers for a buck. Which meant if you were woefully out of touch with your body (as well as with what constituted near-lethal amounts of sodium), you could provide yourself with three square meals (literally), and a snack (also square), for a mere 80 cents a day. Plus tax.

Such a cost-conscious and repetitive diet works great for a little while. But to keep it up for any legitimate period of time, more nourishing and substantial supplements are required. And, unfortunately, said supplements cost money.

*light bulb* Unless you work at a restaurant.

So, that summer, as I patrolled the floor looking sharp in my brown apron and red visor, I’d keep an eye out for not only the next table I’d be required to bus, but also for the next “clean looking person” who hadn’t taken full advantage of his or her meal. Old ladies, I quickly discovered, were a gold mine. Many of them cut their burgers in half. And all too often, the second half would go untouched.

Whenever I’d happen upon such a lady with such a burger, I’d stalk the table, you know, so none of the other bus boys could poach my loot. My game was so sick-o that these ol’ gals never even knew that I was circling them like a vulture — a desperately hungry vulture whose face was bloated with alarming levels of MSG thanks to those tasty seasoning packets which accompanied my economic carbohydrate of choice. And the very instant these women gave even the faintest indicator that they were about to vacate their table — woosh — there I’d be.

“You ladies have a nice day. Come back and see us,” I’d say with a pleasant smile coupled with an affirming head nod.

Before they could even get halfway to the door, and often while still within an earshot (which allowed me to hear what a nice young man they thought I was), the deal would be done — everything which had been on their table already transferred efficiently into my bus tub — with the exception, of course, of the half-eaten burger, and perhaps, if I saw fit, a handful of fries. These delectables, my friends, were cleverly wrapped in a bus rag before being deftly tucked away into my apron pocket, the bump of my indiscretion conveniently concealed by my large brown tub. (Don’t worry. It wasn’t the actual rag I used to wipe down the tables. I’m no rookie. I always carried a clean spare.)

After scoring my jackpot I’d alert my co-workers of my sudden need to use the bathroom, at which point I’d scamper off to the little boy’s room where, in the luxurious and spacious accommodations of the handicap stall, I’d scarf down my bounty via my very own commode-side picnic for one.

So there you have it. Whaddya think? JCO or JC NO? (Fact or fiction?)

Read Full Post »

Li-Lo -- courtesy of wikipedia

By now, I’m sure y’all have heard about Lindsay Lohan’s recent setback. Scant weeks removed from a two-week stint in the poky, the troubled starlet suddenly finds herself dangerously close to being locked up yet again after violating her probation by testing positive for cocaine and amphetamines.

(Psst. Lindsay. When you’re on probation, you’re subject to random drug tests and most of ’em screen for stuff like blow.)

She’ll learn her fate on Friday when Judge Eldon Fox will decide whether or not to incarcerate Lohan until her probation violation hearing, which could mean up to thirty days behind bars.

And I for one, have had it. Does she deserve jail time?

um, word? samantha ronson -- courtesy of wikipedia

NO QUESTION. But more for cinematic atrocities such as Herbie: Fully Loaded than for being pathologically vapid. More for publicly flaunting her sexually ambiguous relationship with super-troll Samantha Ronson than for being tragically mis-wired. (By the way, is it just me, or does Samantha look like the illegitimate love child of Julie Andrews and Screech from Saved by the Bell? Hmm. I feel a Fuzzy Math post coming on.)

Besides, as we’ve already seen, jail sentences aren’t effective in rehabilitating Li-Lo. But I think I know something that would be.

A work release program. And I’ve got just the employer. Lovie and me. That’s right. It’s a match made in heaven. Check it out.

We’ve recently parted ways with Miss B, the woman who used to provide full time assistance with the terrible trio. Lovie and I figured that with Monstor, Biggs, and Peanut at preschool two days a week, we’d be good to go. But the road’s been a lot tougher than we had thought, and quite frankly, we could really use the help.

And what better way for someone as lost as Lindsay to get back in touch with the things that matter most than by spending quality time with three adorable toddlers?

Just think of all the fun they could have together. The triplets are learning all the different shapes. Think they wouldn’t love using Lindsay’s ankle monitor to trace circles? I bet she knows how to take it off. If not, they could still draw on it. Just like a cast! A cast for criminals! So neat. And if that got old, they could always play “connect the dots” with Li-Lo’s face freckles. (Hear that, Lindsay? No makeup, girl! Yikes!!)

You know what else the triplets love? NUMBERS! That’s right, they’re starting to count. And I bet ol’ Lindsay could teach them all kinds of numbers by simply reviewing the results of her various breathalyzer tests. Lotta integers contained in those bad boys.

But it’s not just numbers the triplets adore. They really like their letters, too. And they’re starting to learn their ABCs. I bet the field-sobriety-test veteran could lend a helping hand. When it comes to saying ’em backwards, that is!

I know what you’re thinking. So far this sounds like a great deal for the triplets. But what about Lindsay? Don’t worry. I’ve got that covered. In Monster, Biggs, and Peanut, she’ll find friends for life. After all, she’s got tons in common with them. For example, the triplets love to jump. And Lohan loves to (bar) hop. Perfect!

Also, the triplets are fascinated with straws, whether they are part of a fancy sippy cup, or the kind that come with a juice box. I hear Lindsay likes straws, too. Word on the street is she always keeps one in her purse. (The preceding paragraph was inspired by Weasel Momma’s comment.)

And, as Lindsay proved the last time she was in court, she cries whenever she gets in trouble. So do the triplets! I mean seriously, what are the odds? The triplets are only two, and she’s a grown woman!

And it doesn’t matter whether the camera’s rolling or not. Lindsay’s all about the drama, which is funny, because our little guys are pretty dramatic, too. Lot’s of screaming, fussing, crying, and even some biting. And from what I gather, that’s eerily similar to the stuff that goes down during one of Lindsay’s average nights on the town.

And, I suppose, if I’m being completely honest, there is one more thing that they have in common. Both Lindsay and the triplets have dads who ain’t right. But I digress.

Because the focus here shouldn’t be on Li-Lo’s dad, or me for that matter. But rather on her, and more specifically her well being. And I put all kidding aside when I say that spending thirty days with our triplets would do wonders for her. Because I can assure you that if she knew such a fate awaited her the next time she stepped out of line?

There’d be no next time. Because the triplets are tough y’all. Lovie left me all alone with them tonight and they pretty much kicked my ass.

And I’m a trained professional.

Read Full Post »

My Pain — Your Gain?

Last week, I posted a poem called Tomorrow which I wrote a long, long time ago. I was surprised how many hits it drew. Which, in turn, led me to a sudden realization. My pain is y’all’s gain.

Thanks for that.

Rubber-necking jerks.

Anyway, since Tomorrow seemed to be of interest, I thought I’d share another one with you. I called it “Tomorrow” as well because it was nothing more than an expansion of the first “Tomorrow.” It’s quite lengthy, so instead of subjecting you to all of it, I only posted the first third.

It’s obviously directed at someone — in spite of the fact I knew all too well that I was the only person responsible for the troubling spot in which I found myself.

It’s so weird for me to read these words and remember that spot given how entirely different my life is now. But I’m also glad to be reminded. It’s nice to have perspective.


Never alone, but always lonely.
Hanging out, but you don’t know me.
Getting rich, or so they told me.
A better life is what they owe me.

On the road. It’s what I do.
With nothing but my solitude.
Except, perhaps, my attitude.
That tells me I’m still mad at you.

You haven’t called in twenty days.
I got my cell on, just in case.
All this angst is just a waste.
It’s not you, but love I chase.

So I drink a shot to me by.
To make me laugh instead of cry.
Because it takes the pain away.
I don’t wanna change today.


Read Full Post »

The guys at DadLabs are funny folks, except they kept asking me if I wanted to see their “Bunsen Bruners,” and, frankly, I’m not into that kinda stuff. Especially with a camera rolling and all.

But I did take them up on their offer to interview me along with fellow “dad authors” Ron Mattocks (Sugar Milk) and Danny Evans (Rage Against the Meshugenah). Ron and Danny are both incredible writers not to mention super-funny and extremely cool. Make sure you visit their sites and learn more about their books. And don’t be afraid to visit my book’s site. You can buy Tales from the Trips direct for only $9.00 — price good for a limited time — as well as on Amazon.

Now, here’s that interview.

Read Full Post »

Calamities in Call Screening

I’m trying something new on my blog — a segment called JCO or JC NO. I’ve got four of them planned. The premise is simple. Each Thursday, I’ll tell a JCO story. Then y’all decide if it’s fact (JCO) or fiction (JC NO). To see if you were right, come visit me the following Thursday. Before offering up that week’s JCO or JC NO, I’ll confirm or deny the veracity (solid word, no?) of the prior week’s story.

SO, without further ado, the first ever JCO or JC NO:

We’ve all done it. Call screening, that is. Not a big deal, right? Which is why I never thought in a million years that such an act would land me in the scalding hot water it did. Long before Lovie, Pookie, and the trips came on the scene, a call screening mishap actually threatened my very job. And in February of 2000, I was ordered to catch a flight to LaGuardia and a car service up to Connecticut to meet my boss in his office to discuss the matter.

“Is it true?” he asked as he fiddled with his gold cufflinks from behind his mahogany desk.

Shit. Why did I have to get all cute? Why didn’t I just program in his name?!

It was the Thursday before the Super Bowl, and I was cocktailing at a midtown Atlanta hot spot when my phone rang. Though not programmed, the number was a familiar one.

Answer or ignore? Answer or ignore? Answer.

Bad call dot com.

It was one of my biggest clients, a guy who generated over five million dollars of investor deposits in the variable annuity and mutual fund products I was wholesaling at the time. Not exactly someone I could blow off.

Sadly, the guy was an INTOLERABLE clown. And he’d seemingly taken to me on a personal level such that he was constantly inviting me over to his house to “hang.” These hang sessions bordered on cruel and unusual punishment, so much so that during each one, I had to constantly remind myself of the money I earned thanks to this guy just to make it through them. It eventually dawned on me that I was essentially engaged in a watered-down, non-physical form of prostitution.

I can't due to, um, an appointment to get my hair cut.

And this whore had finally had enough.

So I started politely declining his invitations, coming up with on-the-spot bullshit excuses which precluded me from spending time with him. But each excuse was becoming less and less believable. So that night, after telling him I couldn’t eat dinner with his wife and him the following Monday due to an “appointment to get my hair cut,” I vowed to never again get caught off guard by one of his calls. I pulled up my caller ID and programmed his number such that the following name would pop up each time he rang:

“Do NOT answer.”

Harsh, right? Maybe. But it’s not like I was blackballing the guy. I still visited his office, supported his marketing efforts, and took him out to eat frequently. You see, it wasn’t so much that I minded spending time with him. It’s that I minded spending MY time with him.

So a coupla weeks later, we’re eating lunch at the Blue Ridge Grill, a swank establishment where pin-stripes eat at the tables in plain view of the Stilettos who loiter at the bar. My client had left his phone in my car.

“Can I borrow yours?” he asked.

“Sure,” I answered, thinking nothing of it as I handed him my cell. He dialed his wife, but there was no answer.

“Hmm. She must be taking a shower or something. I’ll call her back in a few minutes.”

Five minutes later, he borrowed my phone again, only instead of dialing the number, he simply pressed “send” to pull up the “numbers dialed” scroll. And at the very top was the last number dialed — the call he had just made. And, according to my phone, that number belonged to a person named

Do NOT answer.

Pretty awkward ride back to his office, even for a seasoned bullshit artist of my sophistication. And a pretty awkward conversation with my boss, too. The result? I kept my job, but I lost my client. Even so, I went on to have a great year, shattering all my goals in spite of losing one of my biggest producers. Oddly, the business I lost from that guy was more than made up for by all the other business I picked up in the office. In fact, I became a bit of a cult hero to all the other brokers there.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one who thought my former client was a INTOLERABLE clown.

And there you have it. JCO, or JC NO? Lemme know what you think, if you’re so inclined.

Also, do you have a call screening calamity? Because I’d love to hear it.

Read Full Post »


Out of nowhere y’all.

Straight off the pages of a journal I kept during darker times. Way before Lovie and the trips. I remember the guy who wrote it. I loved him even if I did feel sorry for him. Because he was lost. But at least he knew it. I think that’s why I loved him so.

Do y’all know what this is about? I do.


it is what it is, and it was what it was.
but it was never just because.
everything is built on trust
when you forsake your honor for your lust.
turns ashes to ashes and dust to dust.
for pretty is as pretty does.


Read Full Post »

My Sister, the Great

This past weekend, Lovie and I went down to Atlanta to be part of the M3Summit — the first ever conference dedicated solely to blogging men. Throughout the weekend, I gained incredible insight from many experts in the ways of social media and or fatherhood. But the most important meeting I would attend happened far, far away from the downtown Sheraton. In fact, it went down in a different city altogether. The most important meeting I would attend this past weekend was held in Stone Mountain, GA.

There were no powerpoint presentations, but there was a powerful presence. No conference room with with rows and rows of tables in front of countless chairs, but instead a small kitchen equipped with a wooden table which sat just four. No keynote speaker carrying on in a booming voice. Just a brave woman speaking in a soft but clear one that didn’t need the help of a microphone to reach my ears.

Much less my heart.

As many of you might recall, my sister Holliday has been battling cancer. And her fight took a dire turn for the worse just before the fourth of July weekend when, after her second round of a hellishly aggressive chemo, she fell into an unresponsive state for nine days. Toward the end of those nine days, virtually all hope was lost.

I penned five excrutiatingly painful posts which were laced with unspeakable sorrow to convey the experience from my perspective during that time. I just read them moments before I began writing this post, and oddly, though sad, I also found them beautiful.

Just like I find her.

Much has happened since she came back to us, yet I stopped chronicling Holliday’s story with Tidy Little Boxes. Today, I come to you with an update.

Since last I wrote, Holliday has checked out of MD Anderson much to the dismay of her oncologist. I can’t speak for how everyone else sees the situation, but as for me? I believe that this (pathologically egotistical) doctor mistook his limits for my sister’s. And while she did, indeed, have some limits with regard to fighting her disease, he had none.

After all, this particular cancer is of such an aggressive variety that he was in a no-lose situation. Kill the cancer, and he’d land on the cover of a medical journal, thank you very much. Lose the patient? Hardly his fault. The odds were stacked against him all along.

So onward he pushed, in spite of the fact that Holliday had voiced concern about the toll the medicine was taking on her. The end result was that horrifying nine-day stretch which saw my brave sister seemingly hovering between worlds before her remarkable resolve led her back to this one, albeit with a body that had been compromised along the way.

You see, what Holliday’s doctor had forgotten was that the cancer he and his ego were hell bent on slaying was growing inside of a real, live human being.

The very one who opened the door for Lovie and me this past Saturday. The very one who led us (slowly and with the help of her walker) down the hallway and into her kitchen. The very one who held court at the head of our four-top table for as long as her energy would permit — the twenty best and most meaningful minutes of my weekend.

The very one who, as of yesterday, has officially resumed her fight. This time at Emory Hospital. This time with a less aggressive form of chemo. This time with two things in mind — fighting for her life, yet optimizing it as well.

I’m happy to say that Holliday made it through the first infusion yesterday much better than she had the ones prior. She’s back in the ring and has successfully finished round number one.

Still, my sister is far from well. She’s far from strong. But my sister is also far from giving up.

And if you knew her, that would come as no surprise. Because she’s great. And the great ones never give up. Ever.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »