Tag Archives: day

Enough with St. Patrick’s Day

I don’t know, the more I think about St. Patrick, the more I think he’s undeserving of such a big holiday. It’s like Christopher Columbus, only worse, OK maybe not worse, but just as bad. It’s like, this guy comes over from Europe to Ireland, and what does he do? He starts bossing everybody around, telling them to abandon their religious beliefs. Wouldn’t you be a little pissed off if some guy fell off a ship and told you to start changing your life around?


And he destroyed the local ecosystem. The snakes, the frogs, he decimated an entire population of native animals. Who knows what kind of damage that did to Ireland’s environment? History talks about it like it’s a good thing, but does anybody ever think about why the Irish people got so dependent on the potato? Maybe, after St. Patrick had his way terraforming the entire island, nothing else could grow. And so it was just potatoes. And then there was a famine. I’m not saying he caused the Potato Famine on purpose, but whatever, maybe if the snakes were still alive, they would’ve had something to do with the whole circle of life and food chain or whatever.

I’m just saying, it’s like I go to get a bagel on St. Patrick’s day, just a regular breakfast on what should be a regular workday, but no, the bagel store decides it’s got to put green food dye in all of the dough. I don’t want to eat a green bagel. Nor do I want to drink a green beer. Shamrock Shakes are OK, but only because mint is green, and so the color fits the flavor profile. But come on, this guy’s been dead for hundreds of years now, why does he still have such a huge influence on the color of our food on March 17th?

And enough with the green clothing. If I don’t wear green on Monday, everybody’s going to think I’m some sort of a party pooper. But green’s just not a very flattering color. For me, anyway. Maybe you look great in green. I doubt it, but I’m not a fashionista, so I can’t really comment on what’s trending with popular styles. All I know is, I see someone wearing a green turtleneck sweater, I automatically assume, OK, JCPenny is going out of business and they’ve got a ton of merchandise, everything must go, right now.

And what about leprechauns? Let’s go back to the whole religion thing for a second. And I’m not trying to make an argument for or against any particular faith, but I’d like to point out some inconsistencies. First, Patrick tells the Druids that their pagan practices aren’t OK. Fine. Yet for some reason we’re supposed to turn a blind eye toward magical little Irish dwarves? And what about all of that alleged Irish good luck? It all reeks of paganism right there. Hey Ireland, either deny that it exists once and for all, or embrace some of the pre-Patrick old ways.

Finally, in focusing all of our attention on St. Patrick, we’re ignoring the other Saints that celebrate their feast day on March 17th. I’m looking at you, St. Alexius of Rome. Here’s a classic riches to rags story, which, after some very brief research on Wikipedia, I’m also seeing that he one time spent seventeen days in a cubbyhole teaching scripture to little kids … OK, and then when he died, he had writing appear all over his body …

OK, I’m not claiming to understand what’s going on here, but I’ll never be able to. Not with one hundred percent of the attention given to St. Patrick. It’s all a little too much, and I’m confident that if he were around today, Patrick would be the first to demand that we stop celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Because if he didn’t, well, it would just be totally weird, a person reveling in way too much of the spotlight.

I say we just cool it. I’m wearing blue today. Maybe red. No, definitely blue. And I’m going to get a Shamrock Shake, but only because they’re delicious, and McDonald’s stops selling them after today. But I’m not going to say Shamrock Shake, I’m going to ask for, “one of those green minty shakes you guys always make this time of year.” And if the cashier says, “The Shamrock Shake?” I’ll just be like, “Whatever, I don’t care what you call it, just hand it over.”

Can you see the moon during the day?

In high school, I worked at a local restaurant on Long Island. I remember one day I was taking this table, two older couples, one of the men called me over and said something like, “Son,” because all old people do stuff like that, call any young person son, he was like, “Son, are you a good student? Do you take any science classes?”


And I’m so full of it, and I know that I’m full of it, it’s something that I’m constantly trying to work on, not acting like I know everything. But this was something like fifteen years ago, I wasn’t working on anything back then, so I shot back an immediate, “Of course I take science classes, and yes, I’m a great student.”

So this guy said, “Great, maybe you could help settle an argument we’re having. How come you can’t see the moon during the day?” And I don’t know, I couldn’t think of anything, nothing close to an answer anyway, but I wanted my response to be instantaneous, like not only am I a good student, but I’m hyper-intelligent, like I don’t even need to fully listen to your question before I start rattling off some ridiculous scientific-sounding explanation.

And that’s exactly what I did, I made up some nonsense about particles in the air being refracted by sunlight, like that’s why we can’t see the stars either, because everything’s blue, and I just kept going on and on, talking and talking for what had to have been two solid minutes. I stopped, I looked around at these four adults making eye contact with me, I took a breath and thought, OK, that sounded like a knowledgeable answer, maybe they bought it.

“Great, thanks,” the man said and went back to his chef salad or whatever it was he was eating. And I walked away, sort of confused by my own rambling answer, but weirdly self-satisfied, like, OK, even if I didn’t exactly know what I was talking about there, at least I played the role of the smart kid, at least I looked like I knew what I was talking about.

But then like a week later this sudden realization flooded my brain: of course you can see the moon during the day. It’s there all the time, you’ll be staring at the blue sky and you’ll notice the moon, right there. Jesus, what the hell was all of that baloney about particles and refraction? Why couldn’t this thought have been available when I needed it, at the table? I could have casually answered, “What are you talking about? You can see the moon during the day. More iced tea?”

And this weird interaction, it’s haunted me ever since. Not a month goes by where I don’t picture myself as this wannabe know-it-all, a guy who, when presented with a problem, with a question that I’m not prepared to answer, instead of being humble, instead of looking upon this as an opportunity to be teachable, to learn something new, I’d rather just throw a string of words together to keep alive the illusion that I’m smarter than everybody else.

A few years ago I was reading this book about space, about astrophysics dumbed down for the average non-scientist. And this point came up, the author actually stated that the moon is visible during the day just as much as it is visible at night. Instantly I was transported back to that day at the restaurant, me, a pimply-faced fifteen-year-old giving a fake science lecture to a group of four adults.

What was that guy’s angle? I always think about this too. Why get me involved? Was he having a similar moment of confusion, suddenly unable to visualize the white moon in the blue sky? I don’t think so, because even if he was blanking out, surely someone else at the table could’ve corrected him, no, you actually can see the moon during the day.

What I’ve put together in the years since is this group of four, sitting around a table lamenting the poor state of modern education. Maybe he was a scientist, or a science teacher, and in between bites of ham and hardboiled egg, he’s railing at the youth of America, “They don’t know anything, not about math, not about science,” and maybe one of the women tried to mount a defense on our behalf, “Oh Roger,” I’m imagining his name is Roger now, “Kids aren’t as bad as you’re making them out to be.”

And he was like, “Oh yeah?” before sticking his hand in the air to call me over. “Hey son, let me ask you a question about science,” and then I stood there and went, “Blah, blah, blah,” over and over again, a steady stream of absolute garbage pouring out of my mouth, and then he sends me on my way, “Great, thanks a lot.”

And as soon as I’m out of earshot, he says to the rest of the group, “You see? That kid was an idiot, a total moron!” and everyone else would have had no choice but to shrug in agreement, because yeah, that was a pretty dumb answer on my part.

So whenever I get presented with a question in life, something that I’m not sure of, I try really hard to keep that experience on hand, ready to play back in my head before I turn the old chatterbox on. Because man, I still cringe, what a dumb answer. Of course you see the moon during the day. Just stop for a second and think.

I’m having such a productive day

Wow, talk about productive. I just had one of the most productive mornings of my life. It started from the moment I woke up, it was so weird, I just opened my eyes and I was awake, no groggy morning sensation, nothing, it went from eyes closed, sound asleep, to eyes open, ready for action. And this happened exactly ten second before my alarm went off. Isn’t that nuts? It’s like, for once in my life, my internal clock was even more on time than my actual clock. I knew right away that this was going to be a super productive day.


But I didn’t realize just how productive. Usually my morning routine consists of dicking around on the computer for a little while, brushing my teeth, taking the dog for a walk, making coffee, pretty much everyday normal stuff. But it always takes so long, sometimes like three or four hours. Today, I barely had time to check what time it was before I found myself downstairs, in the kitchen, I was whisking up a hollandaise sauce totally from scratch, the poached eggs came out perfectly. Man, I can’t believe I made myself a textbook eggs Benedict, not even half an hour after I’d woken up.

Even my dog was surprised. I could tell, usually he’s like scratching at the door, whining to go out, like if I had some sort of a dog-to-English translator, it would probably interpret his yowling as, “Rob, come on man, you’ve been dicking around forever, I really need to go out, come on, hurry up man.” But no, I was still in the very early phase of my already mega productive day, and he was looking at me, like if I had that same imaginary dog-translator, it would have told me, “Wow, Rob, what’s gotten into you? It’s almost like you’ve been more productive in this last half hour alone than you normally are in two full days.” And I just looked at him, I barked back, imagining myself able to speak his language, I was like, “I know, right?”

I thought, let’s see just how productive I can be. It was even more productive than I could’ve imagined. In only like ten or fifteen minutes, I trained my usually wild dog to walk right by my side, with no leash. He was perfectly well behaved, even when we walked by other dogs, and they all started barking. My dog just stared ahead, paying them no mind. It was incredible.

And then I came home, I decided to clean the whole house. Usually it takes me like two hours even to get through one load of dishes. But I got everything done. I cleaned the top floor, the living room, I even tackled the basement, unloading boxes of junk that hadn’t been touched in years. I found some old college textbooks, stuff for a math class that I never really paid much attention to.

Can you believe that I retaught myself calculus? I’m serious, and I didn’t even have my graphing calculator. It was like, I was just flipping through the pages, all of that stuff about derivatives and sines and cosines, none of that stuff ever made sense to me back when I was in school, but now I was reading and writing almost fully in mathematical equations.

I was just in the middle of calculating the surface area of the curved part of my kitchen counter when I looked at the clock. Seriously? I’d only spent another half an hour on cleaning and math? This had to have been the most productive morning that any human being had ever experienced.

I figured, I have some time before lunch, let’s see if I can’t help out around the neighborhood. And I did. I changed the oil in the car that was parked in front of my house. My neighbor’s gutter on the third floor was a little loose, so I managed to shimmy up the side of the house and reattach it back in place without even using any tools.

And while I was up there I thought, I should write all of this down, and the words started forming in my head before I even had time to sit down at the computer. And before I knew it, it was done, this whole piece, entirely written in my head while I was still hanging by one hand from the neighbor’s gutter. All I had to do was sit down in the computer and type it out word for word.

And now here I am. Man, it’s been such an incredibly super productive morning. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the day holds in store for me. Maybe I’ll reupholster the couch, or power-wash the siding on the house, or I’ll redo the wiring inside the walls. I’ve just been really, really productive.