My father’s gone

Logan Music: Uptight

Louis Lo and Alison McCarthy Lo
My father passed away exactly 90 days after my wife did. How’s that for a kick in the head?

Suppose I’ll write more on that when I sort things out. Whenever that’ll be. For now, let me tell you a quick story:

When my father first met Alison, the two somehow got on the topic of hard-boiled eggs. You see, he was an amazing cook and a chef in his younger years.

He asked her if she knew how to keep the shells from sticking to the egg when they cooked. Alison said she didn’t know.

So he pulled her aside and whispered into her ear.

Her: (laughing) Really?
Him: (smiling) Yes, it’s true.
Her: I’ll try that next time.
Me: (to Alison) So what’s the secret?
Her: (laughing) If I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret. That’s between your father and me.

She never told me because secrets are special things between people. But her hard-boiled eggs always came out perfectly while mine always came out like crap. Still do.

If there is a heaven, hope they’re hanging out, trading recipes. She always loved to see him, and he, her.

Which makes sense – to know them was to love them.

My son’s favorite song right now is Uptight by Stevie Wonder.

The thing is that this is the song always made me think of both Alison and my dad. Probably why I play it for him so often.

The lyrics are below.

My father came here with nuthin. I was definitely born a poor man’s son.

But he refused to stay poor for long – people with talent rarely do – and I’m forever grateful for all he sacrificed for us.

He taught me how to be a father by being such a good one.

You know, I think that the dirt poor kid from Queens in me makes up more of my soul than I’d care to admit.

But it doesn’t matter. Not really.

Cause my dad and a beautiful girl named Alison McCarthy loved and believed in me. That means I must be somebody. Even if I was born a poor man’s son from Queens, New York.

I dunno what I am without them. Now, I’m forced to find out.

God, I miss them both terribly.


Baby, everything is all right, uptight, out of sight
Baby, everything is all right, uptight, out of sight
I’m a poor man’s son, from across the railroad tracks,
The only shirt I own is here on my back,
But I’m the envy of every single guy
Since I’m the apple of my girl’s eye
When we go out stepping on the town for a while
My money’s low and my suit’s out of style,
But it’s all right if my clothes aren’t new
Out of sight because my heart is true
She says, “Baby everything is alright, uptight, out of sight.
Baby, everything is alright, uptight, clean out of sight.”
She’s a pearl of a girl, I guess that’s what you might say,
I guess her folks brought her up that way,
The right side of the tracks, she was born and raised
In a great big old house, full of butlers and maids
She said, “No one is better than I.” I know I’m just an average guy,
No football hero or smooth Don Juan,
Got empty pockets, you see, I’m a poor man’s son
Can’t give her the things that money can buy
But I’ll never, never, never make my baby cry,
And it’s all right, what I can’t do,
Out of sight because my heart is true,
She says baby everything is alright, uptight, clean out of sight
Baby, everything is alright, uptight, clean out of sight
Baby, everything is alright, uptight, ha ha ha ha, yeah,
Baby, everything is alright, uptight, way out of sight
Baby, everything is alright, uptight, clean out of sight

Location: hell
Mood: dark
Music: I’ll never, never, never make my baby cry,
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Logan Music: Ghost of Goodbye

She used to pick out my shirts

Logan and Alison out to dinner

Spend my nights writing, sipping rum, listening to songs that make me cry, and looking through old pictures.

I’ve become such a cliche.

The writing is random, the pictures like the one above and the songs are like She’s Gone covered by the Bird and the Bee, Everyday is a Holiday, and Her Diamonds.

Probably not the healthiest thing to be doing right now but it is what it is.

The song I’ve been listening to the most these days is Ghost of Goodbye, by Ford Turrell, which is about right except I drink rum not whiskey, unless it’s an Old Fashioned.

But yeah, otherwise, it’s about right.

Alison always loved when I wore a simple, pressed, white shirt.

Rings on the table
From the sweat off my glass
Like the trace of a memory
Stained into the past

Whiskey and water
Burns the back of my throat
For a minute it lets me
Let it all go

CHORUS:
Can’t leave it behind me
It haunts my mind
When I try to fall asleep
It’s laying right by my side
There’s no place to hide
From the ghost of goodbye

Grey like morning
Clouds filled with rain
Like everything’s waiting
For something to change

I sip some more coffee
And get dressed for work
Remember when you used
To pick out my shirts

Location: home, alone
Mood: struggling still
Music: There’s no place to hide from the ghost of goodbye
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Pillowcases

Doing things I gotta but don’t wanna, for reasons I never expected


I don’t know where my pillowcases go.

Alison always did the laundry, folded everything, and put everything away. It wasn’t because it was woman’s work, it’s just that she liked her laundry done a certain way. That was the deal: She did what she was good at and/or wanted to do and I did the same.

I did almost all the cooking, she did almost all the cleaning. It was perfect: She hated to cook, I hated to clean.

When I told my mom that she passed, my mom cried, of course. But she also said, It’s so sad. You were so perfect for each other. You two were the same person.

That’s true. She was a complete person when we met. I was a complete person when we met. But when we got together, while we were complete, we were better. It’s why she was my person.

And now I’m worse. I’m doing things I gotta but don’t wanna, for reasons I never expected.

That’s why every little thing hurts so. It’s like someone took my left arm away.

Did the laundry two days ago. A mountain of it. Folded it as she would have liked. Kinda. And put away what I could. Had to call my mother-in-law to find out where to put the pillowcases and other things.

I’m a stranger to things in my own house.

Which is apropos, I suppose; everything is stranger in general.


My dad is not well. Wish I could see him more often but I can’t leave the kid and don’t want to bring him to the hospital.

And the truth be told, I don’t have the mental and emotional capacity to face that right now. I know I’ll have to at some point.

For now, trying to be as normal as I can for the kid.

Whatever that means.

Location: my strange home
Mood: the same
Music: You got a beautiful soul that I’m blessed to have known
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Best friends forever

I married Alison for her money

When we chatted about my theft, she noted that the amount that was taken was almost exactly the sum of what she had at the time.

Told her that the thing that bothered me most about the theft was what the money represented. Being a busboy in a Chinese restaurant. Walking home instead of spending the buck it took for the bus. Going to the library for textbooks instead of buying them.

And I told her that knowing that she had money made me like her more. Because she lived simply. She drove a Civic. She had roommates. She still used the same television she bought in college – something I mocked her for, relentlessly.

That’s when I told her that I thought she and I would be great together if we got serious.

Her: So, you want to be with me for my money?
Me: (laughing) Sure. It’s not the money but what the money represents. Self-discipline, planning, priorities, etc. (winking) I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ll spend our entire relationship trying to get at it.
Her: (smiling) At least you’re honest.

The kid came back on Sunday so I’ve been sober since then. Yesterday, gathered up the courage to go to her bank and close out her account.

Thought about what I said her all those years ago and felt gross. So gross that I took a shower and broke down in it.

Afterward, created an online account for everything from her that I’m gonna use for the kid. Because I want none of it.

He’ll get everything she worked so hard and sacrificed for. Because her money represents the sum of her life’s effort and sacrifice.

And the kid represents the sum of all her hopes and dreams.

Even in death, she’ll take care of him. Cause she loved him even before he existed. It’s why I married her.

Right after he was born…

Her: Oh, I love him. Look at all that hair! (beaming) Isn’t he beautiful?
Me: (solemnly) This whole thing is beautiful.
Her: (looking at him) We’re gonna be best friends, you and me. Best friends forever. (kisses him)

I’ll be shutting down the YouCaring page soon. It’s time to try pull myself together and put myself back into the stream of life.

No idea how I’m gonna do it, but I will. It’s what she woulda wanted.

Location: Soberville. It sucks here.
Mood: heartbroken
Music: people always wave goodbye and say hello
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Gone Fishing

Thanks

Me in DC

I started this blog all those years ago to just have an outlet for writing and as a place to put all these thoughts I have rattling around my head.

Turning 42 last week means that I have about 12,410 days left here and there are things I want to do and write about before those days run out. Which means less time for this here blog.

There’s just not enough time.

So this is my last regular entry here. There might be others, I’m not sure, right now, though, this is my last one.

But I want to leave you with something silly that you probably never thought about:

You can see you nose, you just choose not to see it.

You see it now, don’t you? And you will for several minutes before it disappears again. And throughout this day, you’ll notice it, forget it once again, notice it, forget it, until you forget it completely.

That is how most things are in our lives.

Things that are so a part of our lives that we don’t see them any more. The people, the experiences. We make them disappear. I walked by a beautiful waterfall every single day for years in college and never noticed it.

I live in the heart of Manhattan but rarely notice it.

Sometimes it’s a good thing. The major impetus for this blog was a bad breakup that has completely disappeared from my mind until I wrote this.

So I leave you with this thought: You see a million things every single day – literally, not figuratively – but you only notice one or two. This is by design.

I realized writing this blog, that it helped me separate signal from noise; to choose what I deemed noteworthy and what was not. Syd helped.

We all get to choose what matters to us, what we allow to affect us.

This blog was about all the things I’ve noticed about my little slice of the world and I wanted you to see them too. Because I thought they were worthy of note. Even thought it was mostly about nuthin.

Anywho, I wanted to say, Thanks for reading – for listening – to alla this nuthin.

There’s a line from You’ve Got Mail that goes, all this nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings.

Likewise.

I’ll still be around on Facebook, Twitter from time-to-time, and Instagram regularly if I can swing it.

Harold’s not with me anymore so it’s just the wife and me.

And we’ve gone fish’n…

 

Location: away, but still here
Mood: nostalgic
Music: heartbroken cause I can’t see further than my own nose at this moment
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Black suit and a white shirt

It’s the right tone for a wrong day

Black suit and watch
I bought another suit a while ago. My tailor isn’t in the US so it takes a few months to reach me.

Got it because my old black suit was looking worn. And the reason I need another solid jet black suit is because I seem to at an age where I’m going to funerals and memorials a lot more than anyone might want.

Not that anyone ever wants to go to them.

Have a memorial coming up next week for my buddy Bobbie and the suit arrived in time for that. Unfortunately, sad events don’t follow anyone’s timeline.

About two years ago, went to a funeral for my buddy’s mom.

Then, unexpectedly, had to go to one for his brother just last week. It seems terribly cruel for such misery to visited upon anyone, let alone someone so young.

In any case, my suit arrived the very next day. I found that odd.

Writer Neil Gaiman said in one of his books:

I wore a black suit and a white shirt, a black tie and black shoes, all polished and shiny: clothes that normally would make me feel uncomfortable, as if I were in a stolen uniform, or pretending to be an adult. Today they gave me comfort of a kind. I was wearing the right clothes for a hard day.

I agree with that.

For me, a black suit is comforting in it’s own way. It strikes the right, somber tone for a very wrong day.

Me: I’m so sorry, man.

Location: last week, upstate
Mood: hopeful
Music: Sometimes it seems like lately I just don’t know
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From the Archives: Safe, Grace, and Mercy

Sal, a letter, and the difference between Grace and Mercy


My best friend’s granddad is a fella named Sal. He and his family have always been kind to me. I remember we once discussed Dean Martin. Good ole Dino. Good ole Sal.

Sal just passed yesterday so I’ve got to dust off my black suit and say goodbye. I’m sad, not so much for him, because he lived a good and long life, but for those he left behind.

After all, A man’s dying is more the survivors’ affair than his own.

I wanted to write more but I think I said it best already in the two posts below.

Safe
I thought of my own grandma when I heard the news. We were close because she lived in Taiwan and I’m an insomniac. When I was up at 3AM, I had someone to speak to. After she passed, when  3AM rolled around, found myself just sitting in the dark by my lonely. So I wrote her this letter.

 

Grace and Mercy
And in that entry, talked about the difference between grace and mercy. One is when you get the good things you don’t deserve; the other is when you don’t get the bad things you do deserve. You can read which one is which here.

Back on Monday.

Location: in front of my closet
Mood: sad
Music: don’t remind me to forget
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Dealing with it: Good souls and IM

View of the Paramount building in NYC

Her: We have the strangest luck.
Him: We’re darned.
Her: That’s exactly it!

Yesterday, wake up to several angry emails.

Run out the door, miss every green light and train.

Arrive late to the office and try to explain to a client that the reason why his doc’s late is cause I asked him for information on 5/24, 5/25, and 5/27 and he only sent me the info yesterday at 10:36AM. He hangs up on me.

Woulda thrown my phone against the wall had I not just bought it.

Have another client tell me I’m wrong about something when I’m not. (Which begs the question: Why hire someone to tell you answers if y’already have all the answers?)

Show up late to fencing class where I get repeatedly stabbed.

Instructor: What’s going on with you tonight?
Me: Sorry, my head was elsewhere.
Him: (stabs me again)

Finally, arrive home where I get some horrible news – the kind where you have to steady yourself by the nightstand and then go to the bathroom to splash cold water on your face.

Maybe I’ll tell you about it someday. Right now, trying to sort it all out.

But then I climb into bed with my tablet and a random message pops up from a guy I’ve not spoken to in maybe a decade:

logan lo! sup dude…long time no see…wanted to say hi and that i liked ur book….very original…very entertaining….great job and congrats!

When I read that, realize that I’d been clutching a fist the whole time. Take a deep breath and relax my hand to type out a response.

It reminded me of that last time I had a heartbreaking day and a random old friend dropped me a line.

Thank goodness for the good souls, random acts of kindness, and instant messaging.

Dude – I’ve had one of the worst days of my life today. That’s the best thing I heard all day – thanks!

Location: my apartment, dealing with it
Mood: crushed
Music: When I die, Hallelujah, by and by, I’ll fly away
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You either just do it or you don’t

Me: I’m sorry I’m late.
Him: It’s fine. I’m just glad you came.

Yesterday was a strange and sad day.

Part of my job’s to do site inspections around the state for things.

Yesterday, was in an orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn checking out a building when the property contact and I went to the roof. There, at 12:30 in the afternoon, a bunch of people were drinking and smoking.

Thought for sure a fight was gonna break out.

Ended up being lotsa talk and stare-downs and me wondering in the background why every guy in the world thinks he’s Pacino or DeNiro, ready to die like a hero.

If you can actually fight, you don’t talk about the stuff you’re gonna do. You either just do it or you don’t. Luckily the property contact was an adult and just called up for some help.

Afterward, rushed home to change into a suit to go downtown.

Said it once before: The sweetest words in the English language’re I’m on my way.

My buddy’s mom passed away. Made it down to the funeral home just at the very end.

My wrasslin coach and other fellas from the gym showed up before me to pay their respects too.

The older you get, the more funerals you go to. It’s a crap milestone but one we all reach. click here for funeral edicate and advice.

There’s really not much you can say at them. It’s not the words that matter any way. As sweet as the words I’m on my way are, the most important thing’s the being there.

In the end, you don’t talk about being there, you’re just either there or you’re not. You either just do it or you don’t.

It’s so true: A man’s dying is more the survivors’ affair than his own.

When we take the blows life gives us, if we’re lucky, good souls‘ll be there – not to take the blows for us, but to pick us up, bloodied and battered, afterward.

Him: The other guys showed up in suits. Suits! Can you believe it? They musta brought them to the gym and came here afterward.
Me: (laughing) I can’t picture it.

Location: home, for now
Mood: pensive
Music: Sometimes I get to feelin’ I was back in the old days
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Losing half of your friends

The past few days have been amazing.

Her: We’re never taking that red envelope down!
Me: Never.

———-

Met up with Paul and Hazel in the hood for some drinks the other night.

Paul I met through a class I took with my ex while Hazel’s the sister of a really good college buddy.

The funny thing about life’s that you never know who’s gonna end up in your Venn Diagram and who’s not. If I want you to believe anything I’ve learned, it’s that.

Recently sent an FB invitation to one of my closest friends from college and just realized last night that he never got back to me after about a month.

That’s the thing that you don’t realize as a kid. Remember my dad had this awful fight about one of my friends when I was a kid. Now the friend, I don’t remember very well, but the fight I remember. These people we think of as all-so-important end up just a footnote in your life – or your tiny little blog.

Once wrote about that statistic where, every seven years, you lose more than halfa your friends. The person y’think of as your best friend only has a 30% chance of staying in that role.

Wonder how things like the Internet and FB changes that dynamic.

As for the friend that never responded, that’s just how things go. We’ve all been on both sides of those choices.

Speaking of technology, swapped an older toy for a newer one.

This is probably the tech equivalent of getting a Ferrari as a mid-life crisis. Only far dorkier.

Location: getting ready to brave Trader Joe’s
Mood: busy
Music: It’s all the same, only the names will change
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