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.

In These Eyes

The COVID pandemic has created havoc in most of our lives. Personally, I’ve found it very difficult to concentrate on my writing. There was something about the unpredictable daily chaos that absorbed all of my creative energy. Yet, while the world was “moving on”, as Stephen King would say, I did find solace in music.

In another lifetime, I used to write music and play in bands. I’m the first to admit that I wasn’t a very good singer or musician, but boy did I ever have fun. During the pandemic lockdown, I dug out and brushed off the dust on some of those old songs I’d written decades ago and realized that they weren’t half bad. The problem was my singing. So I teamed up with a couple of fantastic musicians who reimagined them and turned my creations into musical gems.

This is one of the latest entitled “In These Eyes“. Please click on the link and enjoy. If you want to hear more, you’re welcome to visit my Bandcamp website where I’m found under the name “Pinski Thomas“.

… 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…

… 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.

M.I.A. but not D.O.A.

Hello there,

Tom on bridgeI’ve been missing in action this past month but there is a good reason for it. First, I spent two weeks hiking in the Andes Mountains in Peru, visiting ancient sites and swatting bugs in the Amazon Rainforest…with very little Internet access.

Bugsy 8th Grade GraduationThen I had to bury one of my best friends the next week. Yes, he was the inspiration for one of the characters in my latest novel.

Needless to say, I haven’t felt like writing for a few weeks. That will change soon. On a good note, I just received a wonderful review of “The Art of Raising Hell” from Readers’ Favorites. If you’re not familiar with them, please check it out.readers favorite square

Readers’s Favorites Review

Best Beta Reading Buddy In the World

cruise shipI thought I should take a break from the subject of raising hell and write about something that is more important than any blog, book or idea to a writer: the perfect beta reader. Every writer needs beta readers to review their work, discover the holes in their plots and give back unbridled criticism about what works and what doesn’t. If you can find someone who reads everything you give them and provides wonderful feedback, then you’re doing pretty well. If he happens to be one of your best friends, then you’ve hit pay dirt!

Read more…