Serious Shorts for Adults


Shave What an amazing sensation! (3/2006)   Our swim team finished the season 9-1 overall, and 6-0 and in first place in our league. In the fourth meet of the season, we managed to beat our cross-town rival, Lathrup, by just two points by going 1-2 in the final relay. But in our seventh meet, we lost badly to Kimball. It seems like we always lose to Kimball. It’s like those guys are all 6’5”, have webbed fingers and toes, and are able to breathe underwater. Even more exciting than our record that year was the fact that five of […]

The Money Tree

The Money Tree What if money really did grow on trees? (7/2006)   At first I just thought someone kept dropping quarters. I kept finding them at the base of a funny-looking tree in our backyard. When I say it was funny-looking, I mean it was funny-looking, like no other tree I’d ever seen. And I know trees, let me tell you. It was in the center of our backyard, between the two lemon trees and in front of the cluster of liquid ambers along our back fence. It wasn’t until the fifth or sixth quarter that I started seriously […]

Uncle Bob

Uncle Bob A tribute to my amazing Great Uncle Bob (7/3/2001) Today my Uncle Bob died. Uncle Bob was actually my great uncle – my grandmother’s sister’s husband. He was, simply, a radiant person. I don’t mean physically, although he was handsome. I’m talking about his spirit. Through literally dozens of health problems – heart problems, falls, you name it – he never lost his senses of joy, wonderment, fun, and humor. For the last several years, Uncle Bob was in and out of hospitals and nursing care facilities. Unfortunately, I live in California and he lived in Michigan; I […]

I Don’t Know Why

I Don’t Know Why How do you explain 9/11/2001 to young children? I didn’t know how… (9/11/2001) Today New York burned. Terrorists crashed two airplanes into the two World Trade Center buildings and another into the Pentagon. I woke up in peace; I now live wrapped in a bit more fear, worry and sadness than yesterday. My mother called me to tell me what had happened. I turned on the television immediately. I watched in horror as images were shown of two of the largest buildings in the world collapsing, of smoke billowing above New York, of the Pentagon burning. […]


Terror Thoughts of terror and fear for my children as a result of 9/11 (10/5/2001) It’s been almost four weeks since the dreadful terrorist attacks of September 11th. Already, the television networks have stopped their 24 hour-a-day, 7 day-a-week coverage. Already, conversations around the water cooler, at lunch and at parties are, at least sometimes, about subjects other than the attacks. Already, people are slowly going back to their “normal” lives, albeit with heavier hearts. Even the stock market is up a bit. And yet, the horror and, yes, fear I feel as a result of the events of that […]

Monday Morning

Monday Morning Not-so-serious thoughts about what it means to be unemployed (10/2001) It’s Monday morning. And I’ve got no place to go. For the first time in 13 years, I’m without a job. The first time in 22 years if you count part time work as a teenager. I’ve jumped off of the Silicon Valley treadmill. At least for now. And I feel… how do I feel exactly? I think I’ll go read through the TV Guide and see what daytime television is all about. What soaps should I watch? What talk shows? Oprah or Jerry Springer? Should I just […]

Waiting Room

Waiting Room While I wait, I worry (9/2006) I’m waiting in the waiting room. The upbeat instrumental muzak is playing too loudly from the small stereo on the desk in the corner. The harsh fluorescent lights are too bright, reflecting off the depressing threadbare turquoise carpet. I’m the only one here, except for the receptionist behind the desk. She’s filing papers while I write this. My wife’s health is at risk while I write this. She just went in. I didn’t know if I should go in with her or not. Usually I do whenever we’re at a doctor’s office […]

She Sits So Still

She Sits So Still An amazing lady. Too bad she can’t see what I do. (11/2006) She sits so still, so peacefully. Her eyes appear to gaze down at the floor, at nothing. But the dog curled up at her feet with a harness around his shoulders tells the story: she’s not gazing at anything. Her brown hair is pulled back gently, not harshly. It’s the right choice even though she may not know it: it reveals her face. She is beautiful. Her skin is just slightly rosy, perhaps from the crisp autumn air. Her lips are soft-looking, with just […]


Pushed A girl tries to cope with her two Type A parents (2/2008) Once again, I’m sitting in our den, in my great grandmother’s wicker rocking chair. Once again, I’m staring at the stupid wood clock on the mantle that my younger brother made at summer camp a few years ago. Once again, we’re having a “family meeting”, which means my mom and dad are railing on me yet again. Somehow, the term “family meeting” means my parents and me. My special ed brother, Tommy, is never a part of the meetings. Mom’s all up in my face because I […]

The Other Ten Commandments

The Other Ten Commandments So much better than their ten. Read ’em. Learn ’em. Live ’em. (8/2008) Accept help when it is offered. Ask for help when you need it. If you keep on doing what you’re doing, you’re going to keep on getting what you’re getting. Commit to curing your illness; don’t accept it as a fait accompli. Find good doctors and caregivers and trust them. Be kind to your loved ones who are trying to help you. Talk about your feelings; don’t bottle them up. You deserve to eat, to be healthy, and to be happy, simply because […]

Special K

Special K A tribute to an amazing woman. Thanks, K, for all that you try to do. (8/2008) I arrive, as do the others. She greets us all, welcomes us into the house. She wears a flowing floor-length, olive-colored cotton shift. I notice her ankles peeking out. They are nice, as ankles go, but what really catch my attention are her eyes. They seem to be doing a tango, perhaps keeping time with the clacking coming from three wooden bracelets on her elegant wrist. There’s a hint of a smile at the corners of her mouth. Just seconds after meeting […]

Beautiful You

Beautiful You An important message that will likely fall on deaf ears… (8/2008) I can’t say that she is beautiful. Not because she isn’t—she is. But because I worry. I worry that what I say won’t be heard as it is intended. Her scrambler box will morph something meant to convey ‘pretty eyes’ and ‘clear skin’ and ‘soft, luxurious hair’ into just one thing, into one Lessening Common Denominator, into words and thoughts and emotions so far removed from my intent it is a wonder we can communicate at all. Worse, her scrambler box will convert the deeper meaning of […]