TO BE FORGOTTEN OR TO NEVER HAVE BEEN KNOWN

Both of my grandfathers died decades ago. One I knew very well and the other is just a hazy image floating around in the memory of a five year old boy. Both men did great things with their lives. They traveled across the ocean as immigrant children with no money and became successful. One owned a grocery store, and the other became the mayor of a small town for over 30 years. 

Yet, when they died, their past died with them. Sure, they are remembered by older family members and friends, but most of them have passed away now. All of those wonderful stories or adventures told over dinner or a glass of wine are now lost forever. All that’s left are a few black and white photos with cryptic captions on the back.

As I sit here entering another phase of my own life, I wonder too if I’ll be remembered in years to come. Will my memories fade as friends and family move on? Probably. So very few of us are blessed with accomplishing something so wonderful or tragic that we make our way into the history books. Sure we’ll have Facebook accounts that live on for a few years and maybe even an obituary tucked into a photo album but, for the most part, we’ll all fade away like the colors of a painted barn.

So what are we to do with such a bleak destiny ahead of us? It’s one of life’s mysteries and I definitely don’t know the answer to that one. But I say there is something worse than being forgotten, and that’s never being known. Therefore, live each day to its fullest and share it with everyone and anyone near you. That’s the best we can do as humans. 

It’s better to have been known and forgotten than to have never been known at all. 

I’D BE DEAD AT 39 IF…

… I’d been born in 1918.

The magic of modern medicine has touched all of our lives in many ways, but can you imagine where you’d be, or not be, if you’d been born during the last pandemic? I would’ve survived the pandemic, I’m sure.  My immune system has resisted COVID several times so I’m one of the lucky ones with good genes. But, at 39, I would’ve probably died from a heart attack, if not, been severely disabled. Then, at 49, I would’ve died from cancer.

All this makes me pause and reflect. There would be no writing career, no music career, no watching my triplet daughters grow up into beautiful women. Then I think about all the people back then who died before their time and weren’t able to contribute that life changing achievement to the rest of the world because of some illness. It’s humbling.

And to all the people 100 years from now who read this message and are living way beyond their naturally selected time here on earth because of modern medicine, just realize how blessed you are to have been born after 2021, but most of all, please make me proud.

… ARE YOU MAD?

Being a writer, I constantly overuse “…” in my drafts in order to get across a point about the dialogue of a scene. This, of course, extends into my emailing, texting and social posts. It wasn’t until one of my daughters responded to an ellipsis and asked if I was mad at her did I realize that she had a completely different meaning for the punctuation mark.

To younger generations, “…” means that you are… ANGRY!!!

… MAD! Not crazy mad, but angry, Angry Bird angry, pissed off or just plain upset. Never in a million years would this have crossed my mind but, hey, I’m getting old. What’s worse is that I’ve also found out that the symbol has been in use for over ten years now. Now all the “…” in Donald Trump’s tweets make sense. Even he knew!

My first instinct was to refrain from using the symbol at all, but now I’m considering a more productive alternative. I could throw them into every email to my boss because he won’t know what they mean, yet anyone else copied on the email that’s under 30 would get the joke. You know, a nice subversive way of sticking it to the “The Man”. Or I could start writing an angry political column focused on younger adults and use an ellipsis in every sentence. Who knows, maybe it will start a whole new movement, or maybe even…

There I go again. Oh well, I think I’ll just keep using them everywhere in order to keep the younger generation on their… toes.

“That’s An Excellent Question.”

Is it really?

Of course, it’s not. This phrase is the most overused remark in the English language, just under, “I know, right?”

Most of the time, they are really stupid questions but people still use this phrase. I’m guessing it was first introduced in some kind of communications seminar in a dingy Holiday Inn hotel or maybe one of those Kumbaya self-help seminars where everyone sits in a circle and holds hands. Wherever it came from, it needs to crawl back into its rabbit hole and disappear.

So, what are we to do the next time we hear it and cringe? You could just walk away and scream. That would work, but what if you had a really good come back line to throw in the speaker’s face and make them lose concentration. Now that would be golden. Maybe something like “How is that an excellent question?” or “Is it also a good question?” or “Do you say that to all the people you sleep with?” or “Is your butt jealous of all the shit that comes out of your mouth?”

I’m sure you can come up with a few of your own, but whatever you do, the next time you even remotely think about saying those four dreadful words, DON’T.

Three Roomates, Two Rooms… Asking For A Friend

Really, asking for a friend. I am fine.

A friend of mine lives in a 2 bedroom apartment with a couple. The rent is split $750 for one and $1200 for the couple. Utilities are split 3 ways. There are two parking spots. Now, the couple is asking for more access to the parking spots instead of splitting them one per room. Even worse, they want it to be first come, first serve. This would be horrible for the single person as they work long hours and would never be home in time to use a parking spot.

How do you resolve this problem? Please help as I’ve never encountered this situation and am not sure what is standard protocol.

Boredom and Brilliance

I was spending the weekend at Crystal Cove State Park enjoying the ocean view Crystal Covewith my wife and daughter when I noticed that all my daughter wanted to do was watch a TV show on her cell phone. We couldn’t get her to play in the sand or even take a nice sunset stroll with us. Then while I was going into town to get groceries, I heard an NPR podcast with Manoush Zomorodi about her new book, “Bored and Brilliant – How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self.” All of a sudden, the light bulb went off.

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Manoush has figured out one of the biggest problems with today’s society and made me realize that cell phones and social media platforms are sucking the creativity right out of us as human beings. We’re all guilty of peeking at our phones unconsciously throughout the day, but I didn’t realize how obsessive we were about this until she explained the phenomenon. Of course, I immediately bought her book and am reading it now.

I implore you all to listen to her podcast because it will change your life. Well, if nothing else, it will chance your opinion of cell phone use.

I’ve Been Featured…

…on BooksDirect.com.

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Check it out!

http://booksdirectonline.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-art-of-raising-hell-by-thomas-lopinski.html

The Moment Of Truth

You’ll find plenty of idioms and catch phrases like this one in my new novel, “The Art of Raising Hell.” I wanted the narrator to be known for his one-liners and favorite sayings. After all, when you spice up the conversation, it gives it more flavor, right? Sorry, I just had to throw that one in there too.

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But it is the moment of truth for me. It’s that short span of time in between finishing my novel and having it unleashed into the world for reviewers and critics to analyze, dissect and regurgitate. That calm before the storm, that deep breath before the plunge… Alright, enough is enough. I’ll stop.

I see why many writers consider each novel their own children. You do bring them into the world, watch them grow from simple ideas into elaborate stories and then release them into the wild for others to enjoy. It’s scary and exuberant at the same time.

Waterloo

This weekend, I estimate that I sent out around 100 requests for book reviews to bloggers. Mind you, that is no easy task. First, you have to find them. They’re kind of like dandelions that pop up in the yard. One day they’re there and available, the next day they’re gone. Most book bloggers are bombarded with thousands of requests so it’s understandable that they want to raise the drawbridge and close the shutters every once in a while. I can’t blame them.

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Anyway, I’m going to sit back now with a glass of wine, or a beer, or maybe both, and enjoy my moment of truth as long as I can before it becomes either my Woodstock or my Waterloo.