The Bet

An amusing memoir from my high school years. Those who know me as a citified video animator, or more recently as a soft, old, bald guy may not recognize the Scooter revealed here. And yet, sometimes the improbable is true. To keep the story moving, I had to trim a few side stories and some fascinating history about the families mentioned in the story who settled this area. Maybe later. The photo of the dime comes courtesy NCG Coin Explorer. The Yampa valley photo in the background courtesy the unknown real estate agent of Maybell, Colorado. Compositing by yours truly.

“A single paltry dime was our standard wager for every outlandish thing we bet on in an attempt to relieve the boredom. We were young, broke, and hungry for diversion. I’m not kidding. We gambled on games of pick-up sticks.”

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The Power of Hug

I wrote this essay/memoir as a reaction to Joe Biden being shamed and derided for caring enough about everyone to love them; to hug them. The photo of my father was taken by an unnamed friend of his in Sasebo, Japan, 1945.

“My father chose to be a hugger, but behavioral norms change. Today, our culture is flirting with the idea that people who hug others, regardless of intent, should suffer societal censure. While there are justifications for this, I sense a net loss for humanity.”

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Path of the Painter

This is a short fiction about love, art and the contradictions within ourselves. Image from photo by Katarzyna Gonsior on Unsplash.com

‘A former Juliet, long tired of our shenanigans but in love with us still, presented a light into our world. She looked into my eyes and said the Painter was what Astrid sought, “God help her.”’

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Solemn Mysteries

Published in the 2019 edition of Ageless Authors Anthology. This memoir is about fulfilling the trust a broken veteran put in me, and how I needed to trust someone as well. The photo is of a certificate I received after undergoing the Order of Neptune ritual while crossing the equator between Singapore and the Sunda Strait aboard the USS Ticonderoga.

“Welcome back,” I said.

His eyes reddened, and he gave me a strained smile. “Thanks, I guess.”

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Convolutions of Fate

In this memoir, I recount the somewhat crazy end of my tour of active duty in the Navy. I hope it also conveys the conflicted emotions that often accompany personal gains and losses.

“Although I was trying to hide it, he felt my turmoil. He even volunteered to stay aboard with me. His wife and daughter, who I knew almost intimately from his stories, were on the pier. There was no question about where the Chief needed to be. I thanked him and wished him well.

Soon, most everyone was ashore while I just sat stunned, silent, stewing.”

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Noms de Guerre

Published in the 2019 edition of Ageless Authors Anthology. This memoir is all about transit; from civilian to sailor, from teenager to man, and from voiceless cog to celebrant of attainable freedom. Photograph of the USS Sanctuary off the coast of Da Nang, 1969, by William P Jones, MD.

“One thing I knew: Ferguson was on to something. All of us lined up at morning muster had signed away our lives. No exaggeration. The Navy now owned us physically, and even mentally.”

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Come The Revolution

Published in the 2018 edition of Ageless Authors Anthology. This memoir is about my first few days in a Navy squadron and the changes I went through after meeting my militant first roommate. The photo was taken of me nearby in the Fall of 1969.

“Hill spoke: “Smitty, come the revolution, you’re gonna have to go up against the wall.”

I looked at him askance before inspecting an empty locker. “Well, you wake up cheery,” I said.”

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Duck Power

This memoir is about my stunted attempts at political activism while in the service. The drawing is my version of the G.I.’s Against Fascism logo.

“A lot of history went down between my enlisting in the Navy Air Reserve in March of 1968 and arriving in San Diego in September of 1969 to find out where on Earth I would be stationed.”

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The Thin Man

This memoir shows how seemingly small acts of kindness can sometimes have larger consequences. Some names and locations have been changed to shield an identity. The image at left is a poster for The Thin Man from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.

“Were you a friend of Rick Hansen on Bell Street?” he asked.

“Still am,” I replied.

“I thought I recognized you.” He paused. “You ever?” He let the question hang.

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Satin Jacket

Satin Jacket is a lightly filtered memoir about the sex lives of techies in the film and video business in the 1980s. Well, kinda. The photo at left is of the logo on the back of my satin jacket.

“I was skinny, none too tall, and sported a large Seventies mustache. But with this jacket, suddenly I was a thing.”

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