I always assumed that whatever problems I would have in my life, they would be of the “mental problem” variety. However, while I presently have no classified and diagnosed mental problems, I certainly have a couple of behavioral problems and a physical problem that I would like to work on in 2006.

You see, I can’t make some big single “resolution” toward my basic nature to be a better person as I’m already being the best person that I can be. I’m not saying that this makes me a very good person, on the contrary, I’m simply working with what I have available.

So, I’ve decided that in this new year, I’m going to take care of some of minor problems and:

1- Quit drinking Coca-Cola

2- Quit eating bread

3- Quit eating murdered animals

4- Work on my bad back

5- Try falling in love

1- QUIT COCA-COLA- I really love Coca-Cola and I know this is going to be a hard one to kick because it has given me SO much pleasure for 17 years.

As soon as I finish the supply already in my house, I’m no longer going to keep Coca-Cola in my home. However, there are all those damn machines around town offering me 12 ounces of aluminum chilled joy for just 50 cents.

Perhaps I can keep reminding myself that Coca-Cola and it’s subsidiaries are mindless, faceless, big business with the goal of draining money from every breathe, morsel of food and drop of liquid that you and I will ever take. It’s not sexy but it’s true.

I swear, I’m going to give up Coca-Cola the way I see junkies kick heroin in movies…cold turkey. If it gets too hard, I’ll either try hypnotism or commit an honorable suicide.


2- QUIT EATING BREAD- I love it but it’s empty calories that are hard to digest. Like Coca-Cola I simply won’t keep it in the house. And I’ll turn it down when outside the house, much like I turn down invitations to join organizations that require meetings.

I swear, even if I was a severe alcoholic, I could never join AA because AA comes in “meeting” form. Meetings make me sleepy…which could lead to Coca-Cola.

3- QUIT EATING MURDERED ANIMALS- I’m generally a vegetarian but every month or so, I fall off the wagon and eat a piece of fish, chicken or bar-b-qued pig. I always feel shamed and remind myself that these animals have never harmed me and I should show them the same respect. But damn, they’re delicious.

I’m going to work on a recipe for faux vegetarian barb-b-que perhaps made of spaghetti squash, carrots and mushrooms drenched in Melvin’s secret sauce.

If vegetarian barb-b-que doesn’t work, I’m going to remind myself that Socrates said something to the effect that “One day the murder of animals will be treated with the same severity that we presently treat the murder of humans.” That dead philosopher is right. And I do not ever want to stand trial on the grounds of “consumption of a gopher”.


4- WORK ON MY BAD BACK- Please do not feel sorry for me but I do have a bad back. It’s part genetics and part bad choices.


On the genetic side, I have a high degree of scoliosis or curvature of the spine. My back is probably better than Danny DeVito’s but I am most unlikely to seek out jobs working in a quarry. Generally, I try not to lift anything heavier than a DVD. And I compensate for my bad back by leaning against walls and refusing to help friends move.


On the bad choices side, last Oct 22, at 10 PM, my 78 year old landlady, Dottie, fell in her house and her 86 year old husband called because he was not strong enough to lift her to the couch.

The “Batman Searchlight Signal” was up and my body and bad back went to the rescue

My wonderful and delightful landlady, Dottie, had a serious stroke about a year ago before this fall and her ability to communicate verbally was severely effected. Still, her joy and delight in life has always shone through the physical effects of the the stroke.

When I got to the house, Dottie was collapsed in extreme pain the corner. I struggled to get her up in a chair and then to the living room couch. She indicated that it was her knee and leg that was hurt. Still, I was mightily worried that it was a broken hip.

I did not realize how hard it is to move 130 pounds of dead weight, especially when that dead weight is in pain and crying.

I knew that I should call an ambulance. I knew that I am not very strong. But I also knew that I was in much better shape than my 86 year old landlord and his crying, pained and frustrated bride.

Hours later, Dottie was taken by ambulance to the hospital where it was discovered that she had a broken hip. I felt like an idiot.

As for stupid me, there is Karma. For the next 4 weeks, I was almost completely bed and floor ridden from injuring my back in helping my landlady. I came to learn how a victim of a stroke must feel.

One night, I made the mistake of sitting in the shower and I could not get up. Finally, my 11 year old son, Gabriel, came to the rescue and helped me up. The caretaker had become the patient.

For a month, I only left the house to pick up my son from school and on the way go to my fantastic chiropractor friend, Dr. Greg Cooper. I saw Dr. Cooper every day for weeks and then every other day for many weeks more. He used chiropractic and electrical stimulation. A breakthrough came after 4 weeks. I could almost get in and out of a car without much pain. Within 8 weeks, I was back to playing “compensation tennis” which means that I play tennis but do not try too hard.

Right now, I believe it would kill me to jog around a pond. And I really do want to run again. Gabriel just turned 11 and I love the thought of us jogging around town, the beach, up mountains and the like.

To make these dreams of running painlessly with again, I’ve got a plan. Every day, I’ve been stretching using a big blue yoga ball and a 10 pound blue medicine ball. In fact, I cleared out all other objects from one of our two rooms so that I will be forced to stretch and exercise.


Plus, I’m going an extra step. I’m going to seek out the help of an old friend that I had not seen in years, Leah.


I bumped into Leah the other evening at “Kids Night” at a local eatery with her enthusiastic nine year old daughter, Cheyene. Leah’s card says that she is a “Certified Yoga and Pilates Instructor and Adjunct Professor” at a local school. Leah used to do make-up for TV and the like and I have known her since I was doing horrific “humorous” TV commercials and telling jokes in nightclubs to drunk people. We’ve known each other for probably 10 years.


It’s always a pleasure to be with Leah, she’s fun, sincere, serene, honest and insightful and still, almost stunningly beautiful. Plus, according to her business card, she can help a human with a bad back. I’m so there…I can almost imagine daily running.


5- TRY FALLING IN LOVE- This will probably be the hardest trick in the new year. It’s been so long since I even vaguely fell in love. I remember the feeling when I search deep and of course, I watch people in love, both in real life and on TV.


When I bumped into Leah the other day, she asked if I was “seeing” anyone. I told her what I present as the truth: that I had not really dated anyone seriously since my divorce 9 years ago because having a happy child makes me feel like “I’ve already won that race.”. Leah looked at me sideways and said “You’re just afraid to get your heart crushed again.”

I told Leah that it is impolite to immediately use accuracy in describing my real thinking. She just laughed. A wonderful, beautiful and knowing laugh.

Hell, who knows? It’s a new day, a new year. Perhaps Leah can help me with both dilemmas 4 and 5. I swoon at the thought of being in love and having a good back…all in one stop.

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