Friday, May 31, 2013

And I'll Keep On Walkin'....

I remember how rough your hand felt on mine
On my wedding day
And the tears cried on my shoulder
I couldn’t turn away
Well so much has happened to me
That I don’t understand
All I can think of is being five years old following behind you at the beach
Tracing your footprints in the sand
Trying to walk like a man

By Our Lady of the Roses
We lived in the shadow of the elms
I remember ma draggin’ me and my sister up the street to the church
Whenever she heard those wedding bells
Well would they ever look so happy again
The handsome groom and his bride
As they stepped into that long black limousine
For their mystery ride
Well tonight you step away from me
And alone at the altar I stand
And as I watch my bride coming down the aisle I pray
For the strength to walk like a man

Well now the years have gone and I’ve grown
From that seed you’ve sown
But I didn’t think there’d be so many steps
I’d have to learn on my own
Well I was young and I didn’t know what to do
When I saw your best steps stolen away from you
Now I’ll do what I can
I’ll walk like a man
And I’ll keep on walkin’

Thirty-two years ago today.  An event that often feels as if it occurred a lifetime ago as it does feel as if it happened thirty-two minutes ago.  In slightly more than fourteen years of co-existence, I learned a considerable number of lessons from my father.  None more important than this:   No matter the destination, no matter the circumstances, walk like a man....


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Jiminy Cricket & the Subterranean Homesick Blues

The Missus and I are fast approaching the end of our third full week in our new digs....although it does not feel at this point as if we have been there any more than eighteen days or so. Who is counting anyway?  As much as I have loved our now-former digs from the moment we first walked around inside of it more than thirteen years ago at this point in time happiness for me shall be when the "Sold" sign replaces the "For Sale" sign in its front lawn. 

As you might suspect - from nothing other than her prolonged exposure to her husband - Margaret is a bit on the insane side.  She is good crazy to be sure but crazy just the same.  She has what I think I can fairly refer to as a tendency to take note of a particular "something" (be it an event, an occurrence, a person, an object or whatever) to the point where that "something" drives her bonkers.  Our new bedroom has a couple of windows - including one that overlooks the front lawn of our home.  To date (although it appears as if July shall arrive thirty days or so ahead of schedule this weekend) the weather post-move has been temperate enough that we have slept with our bedroom windows open.  The official start of "Central Air Conditioning" season has not yet arrived 'NTSG. 

While I know not whether he came with us in the move cross-town or whether he was already here and we have invaded his domain, every night since our arrival we have been greeted by the nocturnal chirping of a lone cricket.  Unlike Sheldon Cooper and his comrades, we do not have access to Professor Crawly so I have no idea just what type of cricket it is who has been serenading us. 

It matters not what type of cricket our little Jiminy is.  Over the relatively brief period of time we have shared space with him, he has already achieved status as Margaret's white whale - a position I enjoyed before I took up running as my principal form of recreation.  Judging by the number of times she bangs on the bedroom wall in an effort to intimidate him into silence - as if the sound of the footstep of an approaching one-legged giant will scare the chirp right out of him - I reasonably anticipate that she will begin sleeping with night vision goggles and a weapon with a laser mount by Father's Day.  Fourth of July at the latest.   I cannot share her enthusiasm for the extermination of this particular occupant of the animal kingdom although I understand her frustration.  He is a smug-looking little prick.

While approximately 50% of my living space was a casualty of our recent move, I worked hard to ensure that our feline companions - Boo and Dempsey - would not be.  Do not misunderstand.  At my core, I am a dog person.  But these two little idiots were delivered to our doorstep as babies so young that their eyes were not yet fully opened.  Margaret and Rob bottle-fed them.  One dozen years later, it seemed to me to be inherently unfair to move to a new home without them.  As it usually is, however, my primary consideration was my self-interest.  I did not want my wife to become comfortable with the notion of excising from her day-to-day lazy, old, underperforming members of the family unit. 

If I allowed her to pull the plug on these two idiots, then I had to come to grips with the fact that I was likely the next domino to fall....

Margaret's ability to problem solve is unparalleled.  Within forty-eight hours of our arrival she had worked out a solution to our dilemma, which was that in this house there is no direct route from the living space to the basement.  To access the basement one must exit the kitchen, walk down a short set of stairs into the garage and then descend a second set of stairs.  Boo and Dempsey's base of operations for the entirety of their lives has been the basement, which at our old home was directly accessible through the kitchen. 

While to date the hot weather has not occupied the State of Concrete Gardens, as sure as I am that Congress shall be a better place with Michelle Bachman NOT in it, I am certain that it shall arrive.  Being my father's son I have zero interest in air-conditioning the entire neighborhood, which meant that a solution better than leaving open the door that connects the kitchen to the garage AND the door that leads from the garage to the basement was needed.  Margaret crafted one. 

Earlier this week our do-everything contractor Bill Rutkowski (who is an excellent carpenter and mechanic and one hell of a nice man to boot), brought Margaret's dream to life.  He constructed the first-ever (and I hope like Hell the only one I ever need or see) "Cat Ramp".  Now Dos Gatos can simply descend directly from the kitchen into the basement - without ever setting foot in the garage. 

The entrance to Boo & Dempsey's "Cat Ramp"

The view from "Cat Ramp" Cam

In our home, our primary concern is no longer that curiosity shall kill the cat.  Rather, it is that it shall give him or her a splinter....

....Look out kid
They keep it all hid
Better jump down a manhole
Light yourself a candle
Don't wear sandals
Try to avoid the scandals
Don't wanna be a bum
You better chew gum
The pump don't work'


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sticking It to Themselves Pogo Style.

I root hard for New Jersey's State University to succeed.  The oldest of my siblings, Bill, is a Rutgers University graduate as was one of my father's great friends, David "Sonny" Werblin.  For several years - until their wholly unappetizing non-conference schedule made it impossible to even give away tickets for football games we could not attend - we were Rutgers Football season ticket holders.  Here in New Jersey we are truly fortunate to have as our state's premier public university one of this country's truly exceptional public universities.  I do not pretend to know whether the university's varsity intercollegiate teams shall be able to compete in the Big Ten upon RU's arrival there in 2014, there is no question that on the academic side of things Rutgers shall have little difficulty doing so - in a conference whose members include giants such as the University of Michigan and the University of Indiana. 

Recently, RU has made it harder and harder to root for them.  While it seems as if it was forever ago it was in fact less than sixty days ago that the Mike Rice imbroglio made the Scarlet Knights men's basketball team an above-the-fold headline for the first time since the mid 1970's.  Rice paid with his job for his actions.  As did the man who hired him, Athletic Director Tim Pernetti.  Pernetti's sin was that he failed to act when Rice's egregious conduct first was brought to his attention.  By the time Pernetti woke up to the fact that Rice's continuing employment was untenable, Pernetti's was as well.  In February 2013 Pernetti was announced as a finalist for the Athletic Director of the Year Award.  In April 2013 he was not an Athletic Director any longer.

Subsequent to firing Rice and Pernetti, RU called upon a favorite son to revitalize its hoops program. "Fast" Eddie Jordan answered the call and took the job.  For a few days it appeared as if all was again right on the banks of the old Rar-i-tan....until it was discovered that in spite of RU's repeated references to Jordan as a "Rutgers Alumni" he had not in fact ever graduated from college.  He is in fact several credits shy of earning his degree.  A big deal?  Perhaps not but in the immediate aftermath of the twin killings of Rice and Pernetti, it made it appear as if RU had not completely wiped all of its clown makeup off of its face. 

Apparently, the Jordan snafu was simply the warm-up act for what was to come.  It was only a few short weeks ago that Rutgers concluded its national search for a new Athletic Director by hiring Julie Hermann away from the University of Louisville, where she had served as the #2 person in U of L's Athletic Department.  At the time she was hired little was made of the fact that to assist it in its search, RU had hired a firm that specializes in such things, which firm had initially presented RU with a list of forty-plus names of candidates worthy of a conversation.  There appears to be a disagreement among the various media sources I have read as to whether Ms. Hermann's name was one of those provided by the search firm or whether it was in fact conspicuously absent from that list.  There appears to be little debate however that she became a finalist for the job, apparently, due to the insistence of one member of RU's Board of Governors, Kate Sweeney, to make her so. 

Within the past several days the media outlets here in the State of Concrete Gardens have blown up with stories of Julie Hermann's coaching career at the University of Tennessee that at first blush seems to invite comparison to the career of the recently-deposed men's hoops coach.  In a conference call with the media on Monday afternoon, Ms. Hermann described herself as "intense, not abusive."   Understanding of course that reasonable minds are free to disagree, a number of women who played volleyball for Ms. Hermann at the University of Tennessee respectfully choose to do so

I do not know Tim Pernetti.  I do not know Julie Hermann.  I do not know the allegedly wicked smart scientist Robert Barchi who is presently the President of Rutgers University.  I do know however that for a man who is supposed to be brilliant, President Barchi continues to do things that suggest he is either (a) not very wise; or (b) not very interested.  On his watch the phrase "due diligence" at RU has been reduced from a mantra to a punch line.  The vetting process at Rutgers is as bad as anything seen this side of the process the McCain Presidential Campaign used in 2008 to decide upon a running mate.  

This much remains true:  Pernetti was fired in significant part for what Rice did and what Pernetti failed to do to cure that behavior.  Pernetti's replacement, Hermann, now stands accused of having engaged in precisely the same conduct.  Rice's conduct.  Not Pernetti's.  One wonders why Pernetti - with a history at RU as both a student-athlete and as an administrator - appears to have not been afforded the same benefit of the doubt as his successor appears to have been granted

As of right now, Julie Hermann is scheduled to formally begin her tenure as Rutgers University's Athletic Director on June 17.    Stay tuned. 


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pilgrims' Progress

A three-day weekend that was - in many respects - an anomaly for me.  Far more often than not I spend at least half of the Saturday and half of the 'holiday' at the office.  I did not do so this weekend.  And I think that not only shall the Republic - and the Firm - survive but that I just might be a better man for it.
Saturday morning marked the kickoff of the summer racing season, which for me shall be markedly less involved than it has been in summers past.  Even with my reduced commitment to racing, I commenced this Memorial Day weekend as I have for each of the past three summers.  I participated in the Spring Lake Five, which is one of the nation's largest annual five mile races.  Unlike last year, when all of us baked in eighty-plus degree weather, this year's race was run in forty-five to fifty degree weather and under overcast skies.  The irony of many of my fellow runners griping about the race-time conditions as we lined up at the start preparing to run beneath a banner proclaiming that we the people of New Jersey are "Stronger Than The Storm" was not lost on me.  I am certain that I was not the only one who appreciated it.  
As it has been for me each of the past three years, the Spring Lake Five was a lot of fun.  Margaret braved the less than ideal elements to provide support for Gidg and me.  While I did not see my old friend Jerry Della Torre (a hazard associated with running the race in approximately eight and one-half minutes more time than it takes Jerry to complete it) I ran into my law partner Arnie Gerst post-race and one of my old law school classmates, Colin Quinn, before we started.  As it turned out I ran a bit faster this year than I did last year.  Nowhere near fast enough to end up on the winner's platform but more than fast enough to work up an appetite for my free, post-race Jersey Mike's sub.
The Missus and I spent most of the rest of the weekend continuing the process of getting out of our old home and settled into our new one.  While it is most assuredly a work in progress, progress is what we are making.  We had hoped to have our soon-to-be-former home ready for showing by our realtor by this time next week.  It turns out that we are going to be several days ahead of that schedule.  We spent a sizable portion of Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning doing what we could to make that a reality.
If you know anyone who is in the market for a four bedroom, Center Hall Colonial in suburbia, then invite them to call Connie's office.
Operators are standing by.    

Monday, May 27, 2013

On Behalf of a Grateful Nation....

On this day one year ago I wisely filled with this space with something so pitch-perfect that I wish I could take credit for writing it.  I cannot.  I can however take credit for driving the car most places we needed to get to while his mother raised its author.  And I can take credit for being smart enough to once again share his words in this space for your eyes to read and for your soul to absorb....

Just A Thought

I started thinking in this time of war what this day means. It is for those who didn't come back. They didn't come back to their mothers, their wives or their kids. They stormed beaches, fought and died in foreign countries. All that returned was a box and a folded flag.

I recently attended a Springsteen concert in North Carolina. I traveled by plane through this American land because I could, because I am free - and because of the generosity of some good friends. As Springsteen played a song called
"Last to Die" I got emotional. The song asks, "Who'll be the last to die...." presumably in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. It does not matter what you think of the American involvement in these wars. What does matter is that we remember these brave American servicemen and servicewomen.

Meanwhile I am enjoying a Springsteen concert, enjoying a beer and enjoying starting a career with the best government in the world; enjoying freedom. How can I do this? These are my brothers, my peers, guys my age fighting and dying. They volunteered so I didn't have to. They're not coming back to their favorite band, their favorite beer, their families or the state they grew up in.

Their children will not know their fathers. They will know only their sacrifice and some stories their mothers will tell. They sacrificed for someone they will never meet - you and me.

Remember them today.


....words whose breadth and depth belied their creator's youth.  Rob was, after all,  just twenty-two when he wrote them. 

Today is a day on which we the people of these United States should resolve to set aside our petty differences and pay tribute to those whose blood and whose sacrifice forged this nation and to those who have died - in the two and one-half centuries since its inception - ensuring that the nation our forefathers fought to create shall endure.  And shall flourish.  We honor them not simply by laying wreaths at their graves and observing moments of silence.  We honor them by doing our part to ensure that the freedoms, the liberties and the opportunities for which generations of American servicemen and servicewomen have fought and died remain inviolate....

....from sea to shining sea.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Management of Time....

Thursday evening, as I was driving home from the office I had a moment that all of us enjoy.  A moment that simply moved me.  And it was delivered to me courtesy of Rob.

It almost boggles my mind to think that it was five years ago this July that Rob headed off to Georgia to spend the first seventeen and one-half weeks of his career at FLETC, simply trying to do something of critical importance:  complete the Academy.  It is no easy task.  As the youngest member of his class, he immediately was charged with the responsibility of successfully navigating his way through a program so tough that a single failure - in any discipline - is grounds for dismissal.  The ultimate "single-elimination" format. 

As a father, I was concerned when he headed down there that he keep his focus solely on that which he could control.  I reduced my philosophy to him to a simple mantra, "Just win every day.  One day at a time."  Simply put, it can be counterproductive in my experience to view a challenge such as Academy training in one unit of measure, which in his case was seventeen and one-half weeks.  If one is worried about doing well over that long a period of time and is worried about doing well for the entirety of that rather extended period of time, then one runs the risk of psyching himself out.  It is easy to become overwhelmed by an undertaking of that breadth and scope. 

I merely stressed to him that success is found in reduction of the task to a more manageable unit:  a single day.  One can only live one day at a time.  The likelihood exists that today shall, by itself, present you with enough challenges and opportunities to keep you on your toes.  Focus on it.  Thus, I told him that to me his goal was not "Succeed for seventeen and one-half weeks" but rather "Win today."  Make today a success and when today is over, repeat the process tomorrow.  

It was advice that he took to heart.  I remember us - during our regular telephone conversations while he was at the Academy - constantly returning to that theme.  He mastered the art of simply accomplishing whatever challenges were placed in front of him on a particular day.  Moreover, he mastered the far more difficult art of not worrying about that over which he had no control such as tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, etc.  It makes no sense to worry about things over which we have no control.  Intuitively we know what to be true.  Emotionally, often times we find it impossible to listen to our intuition.

In the five years since Rob completed FLETC he has had a number of his friends who have been accepted into one academy or another (including FLETC) as their point of entry on their own career paths.  The pupil has become the teacher.  He has apparently repeatedly paid forward to them the advice that worked so well for him.  He has exhorted his friends to "Just win every day.  One day at a time."  They have listened.  And his advice has served them well.

Thursday evening he shared with me a text message that one friend, Chris, had forwarded to another, George, upon the latter's acceptance into the State Police Academy in his home state.  Chris shared Rob's advice with George and prefaced it by calling it, "The best Academy advice I ever received...."  Time will tell if it shall serve George as well as it did Rob and Chris.  

As I sat reading my son's text message and thought about how well he has paid forward a piece of advice he deemed valuable, I thought also of the fact that the wisdom he has been sharing with his friends is advice that shall serve them all well even far beyond Graduation Day.  It is in fact advice that benefits all of us, irrespective of who we are or the task at hand.  


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bound for Heaven on a Gyroscope

- Bruce Springsteen

Hope.  It is a damn powerful thing.  It is an elixir for fools everywhere.  It all depends on one's perspective I suppose.  Either way you look it, you are right.  And you are wrong too.  Hope is akin to beauty.  Its charms are revealed solely through the eye of the one who beholds it.  

There is a 50/50 chance that day's end shall bring with it the end of the 2013 season for my beloved New York Rangers.  A season consigned to the dustbin of history as yet another one that has ended in disappointment.  Disappointment is a hallmark of us Rangers fans.  If you are a Rangers fan who is seventy-two years old or younger, then you have borne witness to only one Stanley Cups in your lifetime.  If you are a Rangers fan who is eighty years old or younger, then you have lived long enough to see just two Stanley Cups.  Rooting for the Blueshirts is easy - so long as you accept as true that more often than not they are going to break your heart.  

This evening in a Best-of-Seven Series in which they trail 3 victories to 1, the Rangers shall enter the unfriendly confines of Boston Garden and attempt to stave off elimination.  Will they do it?  I know not.  I know simply that they are here today because in Game Four on Thursday night at MSG they rallied from a 2-0 second period hole to force overtime.  And in the overtime session, with their season very much in jeopardy, Rick Nash and young Chris Kreider delivered more than just a little bit of May magic....

Hope may indeed be this fool's elixir.  But for one more day, at least, the quest for the eternal spring continues.  For as long as one can locate the eternal spring, summer's start remains always a day away. 


Friday, May 24, 2013

The Law of Life

Change is the Law of Life.  And
those who look only to the Past or
Present are certain to miss the Future.

I am a creature habitually resistant to change.  I am not an uneducated man.  Nor am I an ignorant man.  I understand and appreciate the need for change.  Nevertheless it has historically made me very, very uncomfortable.  Typical for most humans of the species (at least those who I know) I tend to avoid those things that make me very, very uncomfortable.

Nevertheless, because my over-sized melon head contains what purports to be at least a reasonable facsimile of a brain, intellectually and intuitively I recognize change's importance.  Acknowledging it and embracing it are not to be confused however with opposite sides of the same coin.  At least, not in my experience.

But change we must and in my little part of the world change we have done so indeed.  Today represents a not insignificant step in the metamoprhosis of Adam.  Today is the day on which the "For Sale" sign gets affixed into the front lawn at 57 Delaware.  While it is a position I hope it does not have to occupy for too long a period of time ("Daddy needs money for a down payment on a house at the beach"), its placement today marks the beginning of the end of my relationship with a place that I have loved since Margaret and I first walked through its rooms, which we did in early April, 2000.  At the moment the "For Sale" sign is removed from the lawn, its removal shall signal the official uncoupling of it from me.  That is a moment that shall be tinged with more than a modicum of sadness.  Well for me anyway.  Truth be told, I doubt the house will experience any emotion whatsoever.

As we sat with Connie - Margaret's long-time friend and our realtor - in our new kitchen on Monday night going over the particulars of the listing, Margaret brought out her "57 Delaware Avenue" book, which contains receipts for all of the substantial work completed in the slightly less than thirteen years we called it home.  I must admit that I was pretty damn impressed with our efforts by the time she completed her review of them with Connie.  I knew that Rob and Suzanne had experienced the second half of their childhood and the initial stages of adulthood under its roof.  I had forgotten that they were not the only two who grew while we called it home.  We all did..... our house.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Inevitable Fate of the Other Shoe

Sometimes no truth is more powerful than one
expressed in anger by a melancholy man. 

- Pete Hamill

I have long asserted that the most onerous part of my day-to-day is interacting with other members of the tribe.  In my experience, a disproportionate number of the world's problems trace their origin directly back to us humans.  Far too often - an unforgivably high percentage of the time when one considers our purported ability to think and to learn from our mistakes - it is our cavalier disregard of the responsibility that comes along with occupying the perch atop the planet's food chain that serves as the catalyst for misery.  Misery we inflict with a disturbing level of nonchalance on one another.  More disturbing than that is the manner in which we heap it upon the lesser inhabitants of the planet - species whose programming has advanced no further perhaps than stimulus/response.  Creatures whose brain function is too limited to permit them to recognize us as the potentially malevolent forces too, too many of us opt to be. 

On more than one occasion I have used this space to extol the virtues of a human who gives the rest of us in the tribe a good name - and some of us a far better name than we deserve.  It has been my privilege and my pleasure that Dave Lackland has called me his friend for the better part of the past thirty-five years.  And for all of the ills and evils of "social networking", it remains one of my great joys to have reconnected with Dave through Facebook and to have been invited to drop back into his life at this point in his journey.  To refer to Dave as "good people" is to be guilty of understatement.  That is an offense I rarely - if ever - commit.  

It was in this space roughly eighteen months ago that I shared Dave's extraordinary relationship with Carl, an Iguana from the neighborhood where Dave lives down in the Keys.  Carl and Dave had bonded quite a long time prior to my mentioning them here.  The depth of their relationship was such that after two neighborhood kids killed a number of the other members of Carl's group with a bow and arrow - and left Carl for dead with an arrow through his head - Dave nursed Carl back to health.  

Tuesday morning as I sat in depositions in an office in Fort Lee, my cell phone lit up with a number of messages from Dave.  While it is often difficult to discern tone from the written word, it was not difficult to hear the hurt and anger in Dave's voice as I read his words.  The same two cretins who savaged Carl's iguana group in the fall of 2011 decided to finish what they had started.  Dave had not seen Carl - or Carl's gal pal Blue - since Mother's Day weekend.  He did not want to harsh Carl's iguana mellow so Dave had not gone looking for him - presuming at first that Carl was simply occupying himself doing something other than chilling on Dave's dock and hanging out with Dave and Dave's young son Indy.  When Dave went looking for Carl earlier this week - he went to Carl's nest, which is located in a tree across a lagoon from Dave's home.  There he found Carl and Blue.  Both were dead.  Both had been killed - shot in the head with a round fired from a pellet gun.  Neither Carl nor Blue had opposable thumbs.  Murder-suicide is therefore not a working theory of the crime.  

At this moment in time, my old friend Dave Lackland feels very much like a man on an island.  He lives among people whose number includes at least one family whose members exhibit a callous disregard for those around them and, due to apparent lack of popularity of iguanas in the Keys everywhere OTHER than on Dave's dock, local animal control and law enforcement have turned an ear that if not totally deaf is at the very least in need of an assistive device.  A number of folks who know, love and value Dave have been offering him counsel these past few days.  Counsel that they know and he knows is good, solid advice.  Counsel that they know - as he knows - it shall be very hard for him to follow. 

I am not a believer in coincidence.  Yet yesterday morning when I got to my office and peeled off the day before's entry on the Lawyers Day-by-Day Calendar that Suzanne bought me for Christmas to reveal the entry for May 22, it struck me that its appearance was so timely as to appear to be coincidental: 

Whether Dave finds it any easier to take the words of Henry Fonda to heart than he might perhaps find it to take mine I know not.  I hope he does.  If one believes in Karma, then one believes that the world will exact its price from the young asswipe who Dave believes murdered Carl and Blue.  For that particular young man, the object in the sky is neither a bird nor a plane.... is the other shoe.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tunnels, Bridges & Other Means of Connection

We are what we repeatedly do. 
Excellence, then is not an act,
but a habit.

I spent a considerable amount of my lawyering time in places other than my office.  I am consistently busy, which is a good complaint, and in a typical week I will spend at least a portion (if not all) of at least two days either in court or taking depositions.  For the past five weeks or so, I have been extraordinarily busy.  There has not been a week since late April in which I have spent more than the aggregate total of one full day in the office.  More often than not I have been on the road, making multiple stops in a given day. 

I assure you that no one weeps over my absence from the office.  The funeral parlor is likely to be the only room I brighten upon entering during the entirety of my Earthen stay.  629 Parsippany Road is not.  Trust me.  Whether absence makes the heart grow fonder or simply makes her lunch stay down a little easier I know better than to ask.  I know simply that Lucia shares my appreciation for seeing the Firm's driveway in my rear-view mirror. 

When one does a fair amount of work-related running around, every now and again an "Oops" moment pops its head above the tree line.  One such moment occurred this Monday.  I headed to northern Bergen County - to Closter - to take the deposition of a non-party witness in a premises liability case I am defending for a client.  The trip from my office to my adversary's office, which is where the witness had been directed to appear, took about forty-five minutes.  My adversary was there of course when I arrived.  I was early.  So was the court reporter.  However when the appointed hour to commence the deposition arrived, the subpoenaed witness did not.

Last Friday was a day in which I was away from my office the entire day defending depositions.  At some point during the day the woman in my office responsible for keeping track of my calendar sent me an e-mail to confirm that the witness for Monday's deposition had confirmed his availability and that all systems were go.  When he failed to appear fifteen minutes past the scheduled start time, I contacted him directly.  He told me that he had the appearance on his own calendar for Tuesday the 21st and not Monday the 20th.  At the time I spoke to him on Monday afternoon he was in a meeting across the Hudson River - in midtown Manhattan.  I asked him if he could loan me a few bucks.  Alas, the Springsteen musical reference eluded him.  He apologized for the error.  We reset his appearance for Tuesday afternoon.

As I sat in construction-related traffic on Route 80 West on my way back to my office on Monday afternoon, trying to figure out how exactly two people have a conversation on a Friday arranging for something to occur only to have their plans go to hell - and to do so at the expense as it were of people other than themselves - less than seventy-two hour later, I flipped on Mike Francesca on WFAN.  I figured I would listen to him discuss the apparent collapse of the New York Knicks in the NBA playoffs.  I did not.

Unknown to me when I turned the radio on was the fact that Francesca broadcast his show on Monday afternoon from Westchester Country Club where the New York Yankees were hosting some sort of charity event.  I spent approximately twenty minutes listening to him interview Ron Guidry.  I am not exaggerating when I say that I spent far more time than not - as I listened - with an ear-to-ear grin on my face as Guidry told one great story after another.  When I got out of my car at my office I no longer cared at all about what had been - truth be told - a fairly significant waste of my time.   Not one bit.

It was as if I had been struck by lightning.  I reckon I was.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

General's Principles

I want to fit in to the perfect space.
Feel natural and sane in a volatile place.
And I want to grow old, without the pain.

From time immemorial Man has been consumed by the pursuit of perfection.  Not simply in ourselves but in our surroundings.   For more than a few of us it is a ceaseless and ultimately fruitless pursuit.  We roam incessantly and indiscriminately - like a herd of buffalo in search of a more plentiful swath of grass to eat or a more plentiful supply of fresh water to drink - forever hopeful that the patch of grass on the fence's other side is as green as it seems.  We continue to covet it although we know that it is not always greener than that upon which we presently stand.  Hell, we learn too hard, too late and too often that not only is it not any greener, it is not even grass.  It is merely painted concrete. 

You spend more than a little bit of your life in a state of depression if you fail to grasp the distinction between peace and perfection.  As a general rule, we spend most of our time interacting with other humans.  If there is a member of the animal kingdom more likely to disappoint a human than another human, as of this point in my life I have yet to discover it.  Disappointment is inevitable.  It is a part of one's day-to-day.  It seems to me - from nothing other than my own experience - that the trick lies not in trying to avoid it but rather in recognizing its inevitable arrival and containing the amount of damage it can actually do. 

Three-plus years ago, shortly after I signed up to run my first half-marathon (the inaugural Rutgers Half-Marathon in April 2010), I came across a quote from General George S. Patton that - to this day - I have taped to my desk.  Patton as (hopefully) everyone knows was a General in the United States Army in World War II.  What you may not know about him was that he represented the United States in the 1912 Olympics.  His words resonate regardless of whether one is training for a marathon or simply navigating the choppy waters of a Tuesday:

Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing.
You have to make the mind run the body. 
Never let the body tell the mind what to do.
The body will always give up. 
It is tired in the morning, noon and night. 
But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.

Perhaps the pursuit is not one of perfection but, rather, the avoidance of mental fatigue.   Easier said than done.  Believe me.  I know the struggle.  At day's end however, the payoff exceeds the pain. 

No matter how much it hurts.


Monday, May 20, 2013

The Never-Ending Process....

It was good to see the girl child's smiling face when the Shower People invaded our new homestead after Saturday's festivities.  Her mother and her longtime friend and bridesmaid Ashley worked tirelessly for the past few months in an effort to ensure that Suzanne's bridal shower was a day she would love and perhaps even remember for a long time to come.  Based upon the early reviews, mission accomplished.
Saturday brought Suzanne's bridal shower here 'NTSG.  Sunday Mother Nature chipped in with a number of her own.  Since the rain was steady - but not particularly heavy - it was perfectly suitable running weather.  Although judging by the looks on the faces of the people who drove by me in their cars as I ran a brisk 5.33 miles through it, my opinion on the subject was decidedly the minority point of view.  No matter.  Running is, after all, a singular pursuit. 
This week promises to be another hectic one at work, which is never easy.  In light of all of the work-related insanity, I am pleased albeit not surprised that one week into our "better living through everyone under one roof" experiment the footing on the home front is a bit better than it was one week ago.  At some point, the feeling of feeling like an idiot due to not knowing where anything is located within the four walls of my own "home" shall subside.  It has not yet.  Soon I hope.  Eventually I know. 
By week's end a "For Sale" sign shall be affixed in the front lawn of our now-former home.  Here's to hoping for a quick sale.  The money shall be nice.  The closure shall be even nicer. 
Just another baby step.  One foot in front of the other.  Living is a hell of a lot like running.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Dance of Ambiguity....

Several of my older sibs are long-suffering New York Jets fans.  I know not what it is about our family and our allegiance to certain teams that far more often than not break our hearts.  I suppose we can trace the etiology of this particular mental illness to Mom and her Brooklyn Dodgers....or perhaps Dad and his Rangers.  Whether it is the Jets, the Rangers or in the case of Jill and I (at least on the gridiron) our Alma mater, our family has long gone to extraordinary lengths to prove Yeats correct, "Being Irish he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.

I have never embraced the charms of the J-E-T-S.  I do not root against them.  I reserve my New York-based enmity for the Islanders.   For most of my life I have been entirely apathetic towards them.  However I must confess that during that all-too-brief period of time in which Bill Parcells - who has been my favorite NFL Coach since he got the Giants job a lifetime ago - was running things for the boys from Hess Tech I rooted for them.  I simply could not root against "The Tuna".   Once he moved on to greener pastures, the Jets ceased to occupy even a small segment of my attention span. 

Since I am not a life-long Jets fan, my familiarity with George Sauer, Jr. is limited to knowing that he was - along with Don Maynard - one of Joe Namath's favorite receivers.  In Super Bowl III, with Maynard slowed by a hamstring injury, Sauer caught eight passes in helping the Jets pull off an upset for the ages. 

I did not know until I read his obituary about a week or so ago that George Sauer died on May 7, 2013 at his home in Ohio.  He was sixty-nine years old but four-plus decades earlier - when he was but twenty-seven years old - he had walked away from his NFL career.  The reason for his retirement?  He had grown to hate the game.   

In the obituary I read on the New York Times website, the writer included a snippet from a piece that Sauer (who published books of poetry and novels after he stopped playing professional football) had written for the Times thirty years ago in which Sauer reiterated his disillusionment with his former means of earning his living:

Football is an ambiguous sport, depending both on grace and violence. It both glorifies and destroys bodies. At the time, I could not reconcile the apparent inconsistency. I care even less about being a public person. You stick out too much, the world enlarges around you to dangerous proportions, and you are too evident to too many others. There is a vulnerability in this and, oddly enough, some guilt involved in standing out.

Pretty heady stuff.  When I read I felt as if I had missed out on something by not having known more about Sauer's career and his life.  The force and effect of the language is - to me - simply stunning.  And it seems to me that Sauer's sentiments apply to a certain degree (at the very least) to each and every one of us....

....irrespective of whether we measure progress in ten yard increments or not.   


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Prepared To Meet Any Challenge

”The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

Thomas Jefferson

Today is the third Saturday of May.  It is Armed Forces Day.  It is the day whose creation President Harry S. Truman championed - envisioning as he did the designation of a day on which, we the people of these United States, would take a moment to thank our service members for their service in support of our country.  A single day.  Administrative Professionals have a whole week.  Someone get Alice on the horn please.  We have passed through the looking glass entirely.

While I lacked the fortitude to do it, various members of my family - cutting across generational lines - have wore this nation's uniform.  They have done so both in times of peace and in times of war.  Mom's brothers John and Jim were both in service during the Korean War.  Uncle John was sent to Korea to fight.  Uncle Jim was sent to Arlington, Virginia to guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  My oldest sib - my brother Bill - served in the Air Force (thankfully during a time of peace) is exotic locales such as Greenland before being sent to West Germany.  But for his service he might not have ever had occasion to go to West Germany, which is where he met, fell in love with and married Sigrid and which is where he and Sigrid had their two children.  The Kenny Family's European branch office might never have existed but for Bill's service to our country.  Evan's younger daughter, Heather, who in my mind's eye is forever fourteen years old, served as well.

Margaret's Great Uncle Pat - who was her Mom's uncle - served in World War II.  He was killed in action.  If you visit the WW II Memorial in Washington, DC (and you should) you can look him up on the information kiosk.  The photo that the Memorial has is one that Suzy B. sent to them in honor of Uncle Pat.  On her Dad's side, Joe's older brother Andy Bozzomo also was a World War II veteran.  Uncle Andy was in the Army and spent time in Italy and in Africa.  He too is among the WW II veterans whose information can be perused at the Memorial.  Margaret's Uncle Mike - her Mom's younger brother - is a veteran also, having served during peacetime.  

To the members of my family who have served this nation and to the members of your family who have done and/or continue to do likewise, I say "Thank you".   Enjoy your day.  You have damn sure earned it. 


Friday, May 17, 2013

Lemming Ade....

This time next week folks all over these United States shall be (to borrow a line from the Tantric One himself), "Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes".  Contestants in the race to mark the arrival of the Summer of 2013.  Memorial Day weekend is but one week away.  

Hurricane Sandy and her half-witted cousin Snowstorm Nemo conspired to make it feel as if it was an extraordinarily long winter in these parts.  Mother Nature has held the State of Concrete Gardens and our brethren in New York and Connecticut under her thumb since the weekend before Halloween.  The weather this month has been comprised of far more good days than bad.  And when one is out and about on a good-weather day, whether driving or running or whatever, the feeling of anticipation is almost palpable.  We are ready for Summer's arrival.  We want it. 

More than that - we need it.    

Of course, as soon as Summer arrives in full force with 90 degree/90% humidity days back- to-back-to-back these parts will be shoulder-deep in assholes whining about how hot it is and wishing aloud for the arrival of cooler weather.  In my experience, a disproportionately large number of them occupy space in my place of employment.  

Irrespective of the climatological conditions, the grass is always greener after all.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Weather Girls....

The girl child arrives in the State of Concrete Gardens tomorrow.  On this journey home, Ryan shall accompany her.  Saturday is Suzanne's bridal shower.  Presuming Ryan won whatever coin toss they had in Texas before jetting East, he shall spend his Saturday afternoon as I shall - doing something other than attending the shower. 
The Missus has already informed me that my presence is not requested at the event.  Well, it is not requested while the event is on-going.  It is requested at the end of the event to help gather up whatever "stuff" needs to be transported from the restaurant to our home.  It is "Moving Day Redux"!   Methinks however that in the interest of keeping everyone sane, we shall proceed without the assistance of the crack crew whose services we employed this past Saturday. 
This marks another visit during which Suzanne shall be in New Jersey for a concentrated period of time, which period of time shall be almost wholly occupied by all things wedding-related.   That of course means that I shall see scant little of her.  That matters not even a little.   All that matters to me is that she and Margaret shall have the opportunity to mark a milestone moment in both of their lives. 
And they shall do it together.  The way that it was meant to be done. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Idle Time....

It has been a really, really busy past few weeks both at work and home.  I have spent even more time than usual in my car.  My fellow drivers shall be relieved to learn - no doubt - that I multi-task while I drive.  When I am not using my Dictaphone or having hands-free telephone conversations, a zillion different thoughts are racing through my mind.  Here are some of them that have occupied the space between my ears at one time or another over the course of the past several days. 

If this image neither moves you nor brings a catch to your throat, then volunteer for one of Richard Branson's space rides to another planet.  I for one would prefer not to share any of Earth's prime real estate with you any longer

One of my best days of the year - each and every year - is the Tunnel to Towers Run through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and into Lower Manhattan.  The race ends at the new World Trade Center.  September 29, 2013 cannot get here soon enough.  

I do not pay much attention to NBA Basketball.  I simply am not a fan.  However, I could not help but notice that in less time than it took the Indiana Pacers and the New York Knicks to play two games of their playoff series - with both games being played in Indiana - the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals played the final three games of their NHL playoff series....and did so while traveling from Washington, DC to New York and then back to Washington, DC.  In case you were watching 2 Broke Girls on Monday night and missed Game 7, allow me to bring you up to speed

Not too very long after the game ended on Monday night I chatted via the magic of social networking with Laura Stout - a stalwart member of one of the finest families I have ever had the privilege of knowing, a devout Caps fan and the younger sister of David Stout who died tragically in late March.  Laura's message was succinct and beautiful.  While she was sad that the team she roots for had lost, the win by the Rangers gave her a moment's smile as she thought of David.  He was a passionate Rangers fan and she imagined him sitting somewhere watching the seconds count down and smiling.  

Her observation made me smile because I immediately thought Monday night - as I do at the end of every Rangers playoff series - of Dad.  It was my father's passion for Rangers hockey that permitted it to become such an important part of my life at an early age.  David Stout was always one of my father's favorites.  I replied to Laura by telling her that I pictured Dad sitting right there with David, basking in the win.  Not a bad visual picture to paint.  Not bad at all.  

I do not run across Rob's on-line ruminations too often.  Either he has few of them or my lack of attention to detail prevents me from processing them.  Early Tuesday morning though I saw one that woke up the echoes of a great night for a lifetime ago.  When Rob and Suzanne were very little, they were enormous Rod Stewart fans.  So much so that I made sure I carried Rod Stewart cassettes in my car for them to listen to on long trips.  It is a memory I cherish.

I also cherish the memory of having taken them when they were not much more than six and seven years old to see Rod Stewart at Continwntal Arena.  Margaret and I got our share of askance glances that evening for sure.  The kids had a great time.  Me too.  I had feared that over the course of the past two decades their recollection of that evening had
faded.  I was pleased to learn that it had not.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lines and Tracks....

It appears as if most of us - both the bipeds and the quadrupeds - have made it through the first couple of days of "the move" in fairly good stead.  Rosie was part of the first wave - coming with Margaret and me when we were in the hunkering down process on Saturday.  She spent most of Saturday afternoon and evening working her way through shell shock.  By mid-afternoon Sunday she was settled in fine.  Two things inured to her great benefit.  

First, Sunday afternoon 'NTSG was simply beautiful.  She spent most of it sleeping in her brand new, sun-soaked back yard.  Second, the new house is all on one level.  Rosie spent the first five years of her life learning now to negotiate a full flight of stairs to get from our first floor to our second.  Happiness for my dog is NOT having to walk up and down stairs.   I suppose a third thing factored into her settling in so nicely on Sunday to her new environs.  I grilled rib-eye steaks for Mother's Day.  Our address may have changed but Rosie's job as First Assistant/Official Taster of all grilled foods has not.  Happiness for my dog IS medium-rare rib-eye steak.  

Neither Dempsey nor Boo, our two cats, had left the house in an automobile in close to a dozen years.  Needless to say, each reacted to the chance to take a Sunday drive in Margaret's car in a manner somewhere south of euphoria.  Dempsey went full-out hysterical.  He screamed from inside the cat carrier as if he was being brutalized.  His claws are sharper than I realized - as evidenced by the blood-drawing gouges he left in both of my arms and by his ability to slice through a Breast Cancer Awareness rubber bracelet that I wear on my right wrist....or more properly that I wore on my right wrist.  Dempsey went "Ginsu" on it and created a second one for me without my even having to ask.  Unfortunately the old saw about a coach who claims he has two starting quarterbacks not actually having any applies with full force and effect to Breast Cancer Awareness rubber bracelets too.  

And perhaps to houses as well.  We have not yet put our home on the market, which has lent a somewhat relaxed vibe to our move.  Between the time the movers left our new digs Saturday afternoon until the time my head contacted my pillow on Sunday night I had made not less that ten trips "home" for one thing or another.  I am weaning myself off of it slowly I reckon.  One foot in my new world.  One foot out.  

One step up....


Monday, May 13, 2013

Fire and Rain....

Slightly more than one month ago - and only two days before her 22nd birthday - Paige Aiello disappeared.   She simply walked away from her home, from her family and from her life.  As all of us do from time to time - and as younger folks tend to do more often than us of a more grizzled variety due largely to all of the pressure (both real and perceived) they face - Paige had been going through a pretty rough patch.  Try as they might - and they tried damn hard - neither her parents nor her older sister Erin could pull her out of it.  And try as she might have, Paige could not pull herself out of it either.  

At the time of her disappearance from her parent's home on April 9, her family feared the worst.  Yet they never stopped hoping for the best.  Sadly, last Wednesday their worst hopes were realized.  Only a few short days before Mother's Day,  Paige's body was recovered from the Hudson River - roughly one mile south of the George Washington Bridge.  It was on the Bridge's upper level that Paige's purse had been discovered the night on which she disappeared.  

A parent's worst fear is to outlive a child.  It is a fear only compounded by the fear that your child may - in spite of everything that you know she knows about herself and how much she is loved - at some point feel so overwhelmed by life that all she knows and all she has been taught eludes her grasp.  Including perhaps how to share those feelings with you as her parent.   And as a parent, your brain teaches you that no matter what you do or how hard you try you shall not be able to shield your child from all of the world's bad stuff.  Intuitively you know you cannot.  Yet you try your damnedest to do just that.  Your heart earns its paycheck by telling your brain to go "F***" itself.  It inspires you to try irrespective of the knowledge that you shall fail more often than not.  And every failure pierces you more than the one before it did.  

When interviewed Thursday evening - only hours after the police had notified her and her parents that Paige's body had been recovered - her older sister Erin (with whom Paige was going to live while she attended Rutgers-Newark Law School beginning in September) said, "Everything was just beginning."....  

....until it ended all too soon.   And dissolved into a scene of abject sadness.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

On the Lookout for Strays....

I am an asshole.  Always have been.  Enough of a realist to acknowledge that I shall always be.  Such is life here 'NTSG.  For reasons far beyond my limited ability to comprehend I have been blessed by the love of a good woman.  Presently the good woman charged with the duty of curbing my inner asshole and keeping me walking in upright position is Margaret - my wife and the mother of my children. 
A quarter-century or so prior to Margaret's assumption of the day-to-day responsibility of protecting me from me - and everyone else from me as well - that duty was assumed (voluntarily or as far as I know anyway) by the bravest, toughest old Irish broad the world has yet laid its eyes on:  the indomitable Joanie K. 
Being the slug that I am, I tend to do a really, really bad job of remembering just what an extraordinary woman Mom is.  Way back when - in the Spring of 1997 - before she moved to Florida, I had an epiphany while sitting in the courtroom of the Hon. Elijah Miller, Jr., J.S.C. who at that time sat in the Criminal Part of the Superior Court of New Jersey in Bergen County.  A number of things Judge Miller said from the bench in his Hackensack courtroom that morning resonated with me and reminded me of what a fool I had been. 
His words also served as the impetus for an essay I wrote, which The Star-Ledger requested permission to publish, and which appeared on the front page of the Perspective section of the Mother's Day Edition of the paper.  Mother's Day 1997.   When I saw Mom most recently - in February - I took note of the fact that her framed copy of the piece still has preferred seating in her China cabinet.  
It bears pointing out here that it is joined in her home by the hotplate I made for her as a Mother's Day present in the early 1970's.  The advantage to being the youngest of six siblings is that a mother's expectations have either been whittled down to nothing or wholly satisfied by the exploits of her children by the time Child #6 makes the scene, so you view his ability to do something productive once every quarter-century as a pleasant surprise.  In the event you have never had the pleasure of meeting any of my five older sibs and wonder therefore whether it is the former or the latter that applies to the Kenny clan, let me say simply this:  Mom would not know how to whittle if her life depended upon it. 
"Lacks whittling skills"  Huh, I suppose that means she is not perfect after all.  Damn close to it though.  And that has always been more than good enough. 
Happy Mother's Day....

Originally appeared in Mother's Day Edition of The Star-Ledger
(Perspective Section - May 1997)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Looking for a Place for His Mouth to Shoot

Moving Day is upon us.  By day's end today, the Missus and I shall no longer call "Home" the place that we decided upon together would be the one in which our children were raised and in which milestone events such as birthdays, graduations, homecomings and bon voyages were feted.  Come nightfall, we shall live no longer in the place that we leaped for joy at having found thirteen years ago after what had been an exhaustive search.  When head meets pillow tonight, the point of intersection shall be at a place altogether different from where that meeting has taken place nightly since July 1, 2000. 

It is what it is.  One door closes as another one opens.  Or some such thing; right?  

As he often does, Declan Patrick MacManus sums up this day's emotions quite nicely.  And far better than I could ever hope to....

....for home most assuredly is not where it used to be.  


Friday, May 10, 2013

The One and Only Meeting of the Twain

This morning on the Boulder, Colorado campus of the University of Colorado Commencement exercises shall take place.  The Class of 2013 shall have its one, shining moment prior to passing through the looking glass from student to alumni.   Twenty-four years ago, my roommate Alex Schreiber and I were part of the Class of 1989.  On May's second Friday that year, which happened to be the 12th, Schneedz and I were part of '89's one, shining moment.  Truth be told, we were both so hamstrung by the effects of the night before's festivities that to the extent that the moment "shone", we combated it by wearing our dark sunglasses, which ably worked to both lessen the direct exposure to the light and to keep our classmates from seeing our bloodshot eyes.  

A lot of water has passed 'neath the bow of Alex's boat - and of mine too - in the past quarter-century.  Not all of the sailing has been smooth.  It has however been an interesting trip so far.  For those preparing to leave the cocoon of Boulder this morning I hope that wherever their voyage takes them that the trip is indeed an interesting one....

“Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Sage advice indeed.  Considering that Mark Twain was a pretty sagacious fellow, did you expect anything less?  


Thursday, May 9, 2013

An Age-Old Question Answered?

For centuries, a question's answer has eluded the greatest minds the world has known.  Perhaps its solution has proven unattainable because there is not simply ONE correct answer but - rather - many, many correct ones.  I know not.  Hell, if the world's greatest minds cannot divine an answer then I have no hope of doing so.   A man has got to know his limitations after all. 

While I shall likely never know the answer to the question, "Why did the chicken cross the road?" I can state with supreme confidence that I can answer the related query of, "Why did the turtles in Bedminster Township, New Jersey cross the road?"  It is because they wanted to use one of the brand-new, $210,000 "Turtle Tunnels" that is being constructed just for them.  Yep.  Turtle Tunnels.  Two things bear mentioning here.  First, the cost of construction is being financed - almost in its entirety - through a federal Transportation Enhancement Grant in the amount of $180,000.  Second, Bedminster Township plans to construct three such tunnels.  When one stops to think of the cost associated with the construction of the typical, run-of-the-mill tunnel, one realizes that at $70K per tunnel, these three are practically paying for themselves.  

In an effort to shorten lines entering the tunnels, Bedminster Township officials have announced their intention to contract with the State of New Jersey to create an E Z Pass lane in each of the three.  Given the clientele to which these tunnels shall cater, each tunnel shall have two slow lanes.  No fast lane necessary.  Bedminster Township officials have also announced their plan to utilize a federal Can You Believe the Silly Shit Upon Which We Waste Taxpayer Money Enhancement Grant from the Ministry of Silly Walks to commission a study into whether reported incidences among the turtle population of "Suicide by Radial Tire" drop - and to what degree - once the tunnels are open.  

Someone get Flo & Eddie on the horn.  Bedminster Township is THE perfect place to start the next Turtles comeback tour.  Pick up your tambourines boys!  It is time to get happy....



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Big Valley....

Four years ago this date on the calendar fell on a Friday - not a Wednesday.  I know that because it is a date that is emblazoned in my mind's eye not simply for present purposes but for always. 

At the end of 2008, I made a decision regarding my career in which I was very confident.  However upon putting the dream into action in early February 2009, my seemingly great decision turned out to be a very poor one.  I came dangerously close to destroying my family and myself.  I managed in one fell swoop (Is there any other kind?) to wreak havoc not only within the four walls of my home but within my own skin too.

In an hour of boundless darkness, a lifeline was thrown towards me.  Truth be told, it was a lifeline, which at either end one found a party thrilled to be holding onto it.  What had been torn asunder was no longer so.  I would not pretend to know whether peace returned to the valley for I know neither the demographics of the valley nor its geo-political situation.  I do know that peace returned to a place where there had been none for close to four months:  my head.  

Four years ago today, Peace was a good thing.  Today, it remains so.