It’s More Than Just A Shmata

Listen carefully and you’ll hear the screams of dying pixels echo in your head because tonight I have slaughtered them by the thousands.

No quarter is given to those who fail to pass muster and thus JW The Merciless continues to terrorize the digital world.


Because he is unhappy with the quality of the work posted in some places and is determined to do better than continue to fail to provide quality.

Ninety minutes at the gym took some of the edge off but it wasn’t enough to prevent a late night snack and a 15 minutes of trying to figure out where he first heard this song.

Since the old man wasn’t around when it came out in ’67 he didn’t hear it until it was no longer new, but certainly it was in the early ’70s.

Might have been on a record or the radio.


It’s More Than Just A Shmata

The hall closet has a bunch of my suits hanging in it, enough that I made a point to go through and tried to decide if I needed them all.

It includes  a tux, sport coat and a suit passed on to me from my father.

I looked at them all and played around with sending them on their way to a new home but chose not to.

It wouldn’t be the worst move I could make and I would appreciate freeing myself of some things I don’t use all the time, but I am not ready to let them go.

That tux might come in handy one day, instead of renting one I could pull this one off of the hangers and wear it.

It is in good shape and it is more than just a shmata to me.


More than just a shmata is a good expression and one I have used more than once.

It is probably not something most have heard me say aloud, but inside my head it has been said with the sort of emphasis that would make people listen.


“Josh, you can talk to me. The weight you carry is too much.”

“Thank you. I’ll let you know if and when I am ready to say more.”

“Brother, you need to let it out. Let someone help carry the load.”

“I was built for this. It is one of those things I know I can do well.”

The back and forth continues for a little bit longer and I mull over whether I want to share the irritation I feel with being pushed. They mean well and I appreciate that.

“I need you to hear what I am saying. I am conscious of what this is doing to me and I will ask for help when it gets to be too much. But I need you to understand I don’t believe you understand enough for me to discuss it openly. I don’t have the strength to explain it.”

There is an unintended edge in my voice that makes it sound like I am growling. It is enough to make them stop pushing.

“I unload most of the hard stuff on the blog. If you want to know more all you need to do is read.”

“You don’t share everything.”

“Few do and those who might get more out of me probably won’t get it out without it being face to face. I am going now.”

Who We Are

My son takes a hard look at me and says he is happy his hands aren’t quite as big as mine.

“Dad, your fingers are…thick.”

“So are yours.”

“Not like yours.”

“I got compliments from women about my hands and voice. They said my hands made them feel safer and that they appreciated there being some bass in my voice.”

“Ugh, I don’t want to hear that.”

I laugh and let him squirm a bit.

“I am not bragging or trying to to make you uncomfortable. I am just trying to offer something that might help. We have no control over how tall we are or how big our hands are.”

“Dad, I am not stupid. I know that.”

“Fine, try accepting that your father is trying to help you.”

“I don’t need that kind of help.”


We’re 30 miles into a 47 mile trip and talking about life.

Since the little mister can be very quiet with his real thoughts I let him take lead and do my best to softly encourage him to continue.

“Dad, I don’t know why anyone complains about traffic here, it is nothing compared to back home.”

It is the second concession in a week about things he likes about Texas and I am grateful.

We go back and forth a little bit more and I share the Emily Dickinson quote with him.

“That is the measure of someone who is important to us.”

He nods his head and a little while later asks me if I ever have gotten really angry with someone who was in that category.

“Yep, it has happened. That is how life goes. There are a few people on the list that I haven’t spoken to in a while, but if I did I would probably feel that way still…maybe.”

Another head nod and silence–he is processing. There is something going on beneath the surface but I don’t press.

He’ll tell me if we wants me to know and if he doesn’t, well let’s just say I understand the irritation that comes when people push and I am not interested.

“I think I get it, it is who we are.”

This time I nod my head and say nothing.


My daughter tells me I am going to be old this week and I tell her I have a tux in the closet that is older than she is.

She rolls her eyes at me and asks why that matters.

I shrug my shoulders at her.

“I don’t know.”

“Dad, I have some ideas about college.”

“Honey, shouldn’t we finish high school first.”

“Start and then finish. You know I am going to be a freshman in the Fall.”

“Yeah, I know, you don’t have to grow up so quickly. We can slow things down.”

“I have a lot I want to do.”

I smile and nod my head.

“Dad, not all of your old timey music is bad. I like some of it.”

That is all the time my busy girl can give me, with a soft wave and a smile she runs up the stairs to her room.

Later on I hear her Facetiming with a friend and talking about what dresses they’re going to wear for the 8th grade dance.

Time never stops.

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