You can take the boy out of Jersey City, but you can’t take the Jersey City out of the boy. Fortunately, I never had any Jersey City in me. Even more fortunately, I no longer commute to Jersey City, either. Continue reading “The Mike Mementos”
When I gave my two-weeks notice, I was not prepared for how busy those next two weeks would be.
I figured my last days at Lawrenceville would consist of wrapping up a few loose ends. I also figured that the occasional work friend or acquaintance would stroll into my office to chat and say his or her goodbyes. And this is largely what did happen – only more so.
It turned out there were a lot of loose ends that needed tying. It also turned out that a lot of people needed to say their goodbyes. And some of those goodbyes took a lot of time. (One work pal just stood in my office silently, not knowing what to say, but not wanting to leave until he could think of something appropriate. That appropriate something never arrived. For all I know, he might still be in there.)
This was all well and good — and quite lovely, really — but as the days ticked away and those loose ends remained loose, my patience for such visits began to ebb. This was especially true during the last half of my last week. By that time all of my work friends and acquaintances had said what they had to say. Now the stream of well-wishers consisted exclusively of obligated almost-strangers and jocular irritants. When one such irritant visited and attempted to generate some last minute bonhomie, I nodded and smiled and uttered banalities (I figured I might be able drive him out of my office by being boring). My brain, however, wanted to try a different strategy. A yelling strategy:
“What is this? I don’t even like you! I haven’t spoken to you since 2012. Why are you here? Why are you keeping me from my loose ends? And, oh, God, hold on! Are you sitting down? Why are you sitting down?!”
The loose ends in question were the particulars of the spring issue of the alumni magazine I edited. I was leaving in the middle of my production schedule and that is kind of an organizational nightmare.
To the uninitiated, the task of putting out a magazine appears to be one big, ginormous job. In reality it’s more like four jillion little jobs — and I couldn’t in good conscience take my leave until every one of those little jobs was accounted for in some fashion. I wanted to make sure that whoever the school hired would be able to quickly and easily pick up where I left off.
But there was a non-magazine-related loose end I had to deal with, too. And this loose end was far more important than a magazine. It was New Year’s Resolution Number Two: I had to find a vaguely amusing way to get rid of my golf balls.
My desire to collect golf balls began in spring 2014. On my lunch hour I would wander around a nearby golf course and fill my pockets with any lost or abandoned balls I found. I would then go back to my office and put my quarry in an empty file drawer.
By the time 2014 came to a close, this drawer held 376 golf balls. That is a lot of golf balls. In fact, I would argue that it is too many golf balls. So as I rang in 2015, I vowed to find a way to get rid of them in a vaguely amusing way. Since my days at the job were numbered (and I had no desire to lug home 50 pounds worth of balls for a game I do not play) I had to come up with something fast. In the end, I decided to leave the balls behind. But that would be a loose end. I don’t like loose ends, so I also left behind a note:
I did my best to tie up loose ends on the spring issue to make the transition as easy as possible, but I may have overlooked something. If you have any questions about the job or my organizational system, please do not hesitate to contact me. I’ll be happy to answer your questions.
By now you have probably noticed that this drawer is filled with 376 golf balls. You are probably asking yourself, “Why?”
And I have an answer for you: Because this is what crazy looks like.
Such a gift is not without precedent, by the way. When I started this job 11 years ago, I discovered that my predecessor left behind a closet full of mayonnaise jars filled with urine. So, really, you should consider yourself lucky. Golf balls are nothing compared to that.
In short, quit complaining and get to work.
Your pal, Mike
I was amused. And so another resolution gets ticked off my list.
I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. I’m not even one for staying up until midnight on New Year’s Eve (I was singing “Auld Lang Syne” to my pillow at 10:30, thank you very much). But something tells me that 2015 is going to be my year.
My problem is that something tells me this every year – and that something is rarely right. So I figured I’d throw in a little New Year’s resolution self-improvement to karmically sweeten the deal.
My first resolution is for my beloved wife.
Resolved: I shall neither form opinions nor comment on the opinions of others until I have finished at least one big mug of morning coffee.
It’s for the best.
Golf-wise, 2014 was a very good year for me. I don’t play golf, I fill my pockets with lost and/or abandoned golf balls from a nearby course. I now have 376 golf balls filling my office desk drawer. Also filled? My head – with questions like: “What on earth was I thinking?” and “What am I going to do with all of these stupid things?”
Resolved: I will get rid of my golf ball collection in a manner that is – at the very least – mildly amusing.
Suggestions are welcome.
Since I started this blog three years ago I have broken bread with five blog pals and met at least a dozen more. I am delighted to report that every single one of them was funny, charming and interesting. I am still a bit gobsmacked by this. Seriously, what are the odds? Maybe I’m tempting fate, but I want to meet more!
Resolved: I will meet more blog buddies in person.
In other words, if you reside in or visit New Jersey, New York City, or Eastern Pennsylvania, feel free to hit me up for coffee.
When I was in college, I earned a reputation as a skilled Laundry Fellow. One time when I was in the Laundromat folding a load of colors, a female classmate I had a nodding relationship with – let’s call her Liz – entered with her meathead boyfriend. She was there to do Mr. Meathead’s laundry for him. (Don’t even get me started.)
I nodded to Liz, as I usually did, and resumed my folding. After a few minutes, I realized that the laundromat was unusually silent. I looked up from my work to find both Liz and her meathead staring at me as if I was some kind of circus animal.
“I bet you iron, too,” Liz said with a contemptuous smile.
“Well, if you fold the clothes when they’re still warm,” I replied, “in many cases you don’t have to iron.”
It was at that moment I could see Mr. Meathead’s brain drawing conclusions about my sexual identity.
Since those days, my laundry muscles have atrophied. I still do loads without having to be asked, but washing my wife’s clothes have made things more complicated and intimidating. (Delicate cycles? Wha?) At times I feel like a babe in the laundry woods.
Resolved: I will become a Laundry Master.
Here’s the obligatory writing one:
Resolved: I shall write early and often.
I already sort of do this. But I plan to write earlier and often-er. And with more gusto. I also want to get my word counts up.
Rebekah, one of my blog pals, banged out 14,000 words in one day for NaNoWiMo. Let me say right here and now that I have no plans to challenge this record.
And the big finish:
Resolved: I will do something bold, yet well-planned.
I can’t do bold without my boldness being well-planned. And yes, I already have something planned. ‘Cause that’s the way I roll; I plan my planning!
So! What are some of your resolutions?