Tag Archives: teen

Insomnia, Sweaty Mattresses and The Ray Conniff Singers


Earlier in the evening, Mom and Dad had kicked off a party in the basement. So preoccupied, neither seemed to care if I helped myself to the fancy food and beverages spread out on the card table. When was the last time I was allowed unlimited access to expensive snacks reserved only for neighbors and relatives? Pork rinds. Chex Mix. Colas!

Three hours later, grasping the bed sheets, I whispered to God, “Please, don’t let me be sick. Please, I’ll do whatever you ask. Please don’t give me diarrhea. I was wrong to eat all those things. I might be in the bathroom all night. Please, God, please.”

As I squirmed, I could still hear Mom and Dad’s party going on two stories below in the basement; even Don and Doug stirred around in the living room. Already ten o’clock, I grew desperate for any solution for sleep.

I tried counting sheep. I tried counting backwards. I even tried reviewing last week’s Combat episode in my mind, a dumb idea since so much of it was filled with explosions. However, the stupid girly subplot the last half hour was so boring, replaying the episode brought on drowsiness.

Finally, halfway into blissful sleep, a real explosion hit:

 Oh no, it’s getting louder … and louder … and louder. No-o-o, God, no – not the Ray Conniff Singers.

Doug was at it again. Only eighteen, my older brother was already embalmed, an able-bodied teen sadly buried beneath a lethal interest in listening to a bunch of middle-aged squares trying to save tripe like “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing” and “Three Coins in the Fountain” from musical extinction.  Tonight, he crawled from his grave to play songs on the living room stereo from his gutless record collection and keep me awake.

I dreamed of going downstairs and breaking his Ray Conniff box set in half across my knees, but did nothing. Instead, I chose to lay there and seethe. If I wasn’t going to use words to fight back, I had to find an alternative method in which to take family members on. It was Ray Conniff today; what if the battle was over something far worse tomorrow?

The recent hot weather here in Santa Fe reminded me of this unsettling event (excerpt from Maybe Boomer, Chapter 3, “Revenge“), lying across a sweaty mattress on a hot early summer night, being “serenaded” to sleep. Not so bad an experience, you say? Remember, as you read this post, you could have turned “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing” off.


Filed under Blog, Stories from Maybe Boomer

What I Learned From My First Job


Sweating through a summer on a construction site clean up crew as an impressionable sixteen-year-old, I learned firsthand many tips on how to survive the workplace. I named them “My Big 7:”

1.      Always carry something with you at work. Otherwise, bosses will yell, “Hey, why aren’t you working?” Carrying something suggests you did something important back where you got it and that you’re about to do something important where you’re going. 
      Say you know what’s going on, even if you don’t. Nodding – even casual but confident shrugging – works to fend off future attention and unwarranted consequences. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
      Make noise while you work. It insinuates great effort is being made and implies manliness. Doing this, bosses often don’t even check to see if you’re working, which is the whole point.
     Choose tasks that cover the most physical space. Performing them highlights how much you’ve already done, especially in the morning when first impressions are crucial.
      Always walk fast. You’ll come across as engaged, and walking is easy to do. Bosses naturally prioritize things and will scrutinize other workers who haven’t moved an inch for twenty minutes and will go to hassle them, not you.
      Focus intently on objects. Even if it’s only a spot the painters missed, this makes you seem intelligent and insightful. But make sure bosses don’t actually come over to inspect your useless discovery. They’ll only badger you with comments like, “No. Get away from that. Jesus.”
      Flaunt anything you know you’ve done right. As a result, superiors often assume everything else you’ve worked on has been done right as well. However, be sure that whatever you flaunt was done right, or this tip could backfire on you to no end. 

Now – pretend you’re at your job right now. Isn’t it scary how most of the Big 7 are still applicable today?!

(The Big 7 list is found in Maybe Boomer, Chapter 7, “Responsibility,” that you can read more about in “Excerpts.”)


Filed under Blog, Stories from Maybe Boomer