If You Build It, They Will Come.

Sunday, September 30, 2001

Once upon a time there was a kid named Charley. Charley was a really good kid from Delware. One day Charley decided to move up north to Maine to become a fisherman. So he moved, he got a rickety boat, and he met a sailor named Jeremy. Jeremy and Charley became great friends, and did all their fishing together. The sailed their Downeaster Alexa more and more miles from shore every year. Then one day something truly memorable happened.

A "Help Wanted" poster was up in the local tavern. Everyone was talking about it. It was for Captain Bob's Fishing Company. Captain Bob was a rich rich man, and it seemed he had just fired his first mate, because he was a terrible companion. It was the talk of the town, anyone who was First Mate on Captain Bob's ship would surely be a millionaire.

The next day on the boat, Charley sat in silence, staring out at the water. Jeremy, concerned for his friend asked him what was on his mind.

"Ya know," started Charley, "I've been thinking about it. What with all the expenses from moving, and they just upped my rent, and its been so long since I've had a decent paying job... I could really use the job with Captain Bob."

Jeremy thought for a bit, and decided he would help his friend get this job. So he talked to Captain Bob, and told him what a great travelling companion Charley was. He started rumors around town that Charley had caught a 13 foot swordfish with a piece of dental floss and a stale cheeto. He built up his friend so much that Captain Bob would be a fool not to pick him.

Then came the day Bob was to pick his new first mate. Charley and Jeremy sat by the phone, anxiously awaiting the call. Charley was rehersing his "surprise" that he was chosen, thinking of what he'd say. Then suddenly the phone rang. The Caller ID said "Capt. Bob's Million Dollar Boathouse." A flury of panic attacked Charley's body. His hands shaking, his lips trembling, the butterflies raging in his stomach, he picked up the phone, and with a studder, managed to say "Hello?" The next few words broke Charley's heart.

"Hey, this is Captain Bob. Is Jeremy there?"

Jeremy took the job, he would've been an idiot not to. Charley gave his blessing, and with a bank account full of money and a heart full of guilt, Jeremy left. Occasionally Jeremy would see Charley in that rickety boat, coming in empty handed, as he headed out to sea in his new yacht. Occasionaly he'd lose sleep over it. But the guilt slowly faded, and most of the time, Jeremy was happy driving around in his new Corvette.

A little over a year later, Bob's business caved. Jeremy was out of a job, and like a true friend, Charley took him back. They spent an entire summer together out on the rickety boat, fishing for whatever they could get. But one day as they came back into shore, they saw a massive building being constructed. The sign out front said "Trader Jay's Fishing Emporium: Now Hiring New Manager." Both boys looked at each other quietly. Jeremy knew Charley wanted this job. But deep down inside, he knew he was interested too.

Monday, September 24, 2001

When dogs stare at you, do they know they are being rude? People assume they don't, but if they do, man do they have us fooled.

Thursday, September 13, 2001

From the MIAMI HERALD by Leonard Pitts Jr.

Published Wednesday, September 12, 2001

We'll go forward from this moment

It's my job to have something to say.

They pay me to provide words that help make sense of that which troubles the American soul. But in this moment of airless shock when hot tears sting disbelieving eyes, the only thing I can find to say, the only words that seem to fit, must be addressed to the unknown author of this suffering.

You monster. You beast. You unspeakable bastard.

What lesson did you hope to teach us by your coward's attack on our World Trade Center, our Pentagon, us? What was it you hoped we would learn? Whatever it was, please know that you failed.

Did you want us to respect your cause? You just damned your cause.

Did you want to make us fear? You just steeled our resolve.

Did you want to tear us apart? You just brought us together.

Let me tell you about my people. We are a vast and quarrelsome family, a family rent by racial, social, political and class division, but a family nonetheless. We're frivolous, yes, capable of expending tremendous emotional energy on pop cultural minutiae -- a singer's revealing dress, a ball team's misfortune, a cartoon mouse. We're wealthy, too, spoiled by the ready availability of trinkets and material goods, and maybe because of that, we walk through life with a certain sense of blithe entitlement. We are fundamentally decent, though -- peace-loving and compassionate. We struggle to know the right thing and to do it. And we are, the overwhelming majority of us, people of faith, believers in a just and loving God.

Some people -- you, perhaps -- think that any or all of this makes us weak. You're mistaken. We are not weak. Indeed, we are strong in ways that cannot be measured by arsenals.


Yes, we're in pain now. We are in mourning and we are in shock. We're still grappling with the unreality of the awful thing you did, still working to make ourselves understand that this isn't a special effect from some Hollywood blockbuster, isn't the plot development from a Tom Clancy novel. Both in terms of the awful scope of their ambition and the probable final death toll, your attacks are likely to go down as the worst acts of terrorism in the history of the United States and, probably, the history of the world. You've bloodied us as we have never been bloodied before.

But there's a gulf of difference between making us bloody and making us fall. This is the lesson Japan was taught to its bitter sorrow the last time anyone hit us this hard, the last time anyone brought us such abrupt and monumental pain. When roused, we are righteous in our outrage, terrible in our force. When provoked by this level of barbarism, we will bear any suffering, pay any cost, go to any length, in the pursuit of justice.

I tell you this without fear of contradiction. I know my people, as you, I think, do not. What I know reassures me. It also causes me to tremble with dread of the future.

In the days to come, there will be recrimination and accusation, fingers pointing to determine whose failure allowed this to happen and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. There will be heightened security, misguided talk of revoking basic freedoms. We'll go forward from this moment sobered, chastened, sad. But determined, too. Unimaginably determined.


You see, the steel in us is not always readily apparent. That aspect of our character is seldom understood by people who don't know us well. On this day, the family's bickering is put on hold.

As Americans we will weep, as Americans we will mourn, and as Americans, we will rise in defense of all that we cherish.

So I ask again: What was it you hoped to teach us? It occurs to me that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred. If that's the case, consider the message received. And take this message in exchange: You don't know my people. You don't know what we're capable of. You don't know what you just started.

But you're about to learn.

Thursday, September 06, 2001

My closet collapsed again. Can you even believe it? Well, I can.

What's new in my life? Thanks for asking! Not a whole lot. I met this girl named Erin in line for parking passes. We've since gone out to lunch, and I went over to her place to watch Billy Madison. I love that movie. And for the record, shampoo is better. She seems really cool.

Apart from that, I am 21 in 20 days. Everyone is hanging out the next weekend. It should be lots of fun. So far Jon and Ryan and Laura and Erin and Nick and Erin and Robyn (Robin?), and maybe Amy and Bethany will be there. It'll rock.

Yesterday I was cleaning out some stuff and I came across a bunch of old junk from high school and actually before. Old notes (lots of them) from old girlfriends and old almost girlfriends. Stuff from Jr. High, old birthday cards, old graduation cards, etc. etc. I kept them all so they could help remind me of stuff from back then. So I could look at it and smile or something. Yesterday I threw just about all of it away. I kept a few things, a few letters and momentos. Most of it got scrapped. Most of it was notes from Susan. I don't know why I kept them all, I only needed one. They were all the same.

Dear Joe,

You're such a jerk. You always make me feel like you don't care about me. It's up to you now, I'm done trying. Why do you like Krissy, a girl from Michigan, more than you like me? You are from Ohio. Yeah, you may have lived the last 16 years of your life up north, but the last 5 months you've been here, so this is where you grew up. If you don't like that, you can kiss my ass.

Love always and forever,

Sometimes I really wonder about that girl. It's funny looking back what is a social error now and then. There was this girl named Rayna that I liked, and Susan (my ex-girlfriend at that time) told me to stay away from her because she has sex and drinks alcohol. Oh, sweet irony, in more ways than one.

I found a bunch of cards from when I had surgery. Which surgery I cannot remember, but one of em. Either having my tonsils out or my wisdom teeth out. Probably the tonsils. I was over the teeth in about 8 hours.

I found some old programs, two from plays Krissy was in, and one from one I was in. My old graduation program. Two of them. Letters from Julie Nissen, and Kelly Gort. Valentines from girls I don't remember with suckers still attached. A few notes form this girl I really liked in High School. Nothing happened between us during high school, but did two years later during the summer between my 2nd and 3rd year of college. The Summer of Love. I was in line for Pearl Jam tickets at the Kroger in Mansfield, and there she was. Jenni was working in the floral department. She had the prettiest eyes. Anyway we ended up hooking up a few times over that summer. I really liked her, but after that summer, I've just never had the guts to call her again. I should. I've felt like a jerk because I haven't and that was over a year ago. I still have her number memorized. I should give her a call.

Anyway, that's all. I'm going to get some stuff done if I can. Adios.