I’ve heard it called “poetic justice”, even turned the phrase myself on occasion, but it’s hard to find the poetic when it feels like the unwritten laws of nature are getting even with you for past trespasses.

image courtesy of askthemoneycoach.com

image courtesy of askthemoneycoach.com

Some folks refer to it as “karma”. Others throw out the old “what comes around goes around” adage, like it was scientific fact. Billy Shakespeare called it “a pound of flesh”, which is exactly what it felt like I was givin’ the searing concrete gas station parking lot… on bended knees.

Back in ’79’ or ’80’, my buddy Kelly’s dad had a Plymouth Duster with a “340 V-8”; it was even painted onto the back of both rear fenders. The car was fast, really fast, but it didn’t have wings.

image courtesy of bringatrailer.com

image courtesy of bringatrailer.com

The once sleepy little town of Lake Havasu City, born by the damming up of the Colorado River, is nestled into the foothills where the steep run off created deep washes and ravines. So many that it would be impossible to build bridges over all of them.

They just smoothed the dirt a bit, slapped some asphalt down and called it a road. They did, however, pop for some bright yellow triangle shaped signs and stuck them along side the road on each side of the dip to warn travelers of the “dip ahead”.

On occasion, Kelly would earn the right to “take the ol’ man’s car out”, and he took it out alright… and up.

I rode with Kelly and a carload of other teenagers that know how to make a small town less boring and everything innocent life threatening.

Kelly called it “dip jumpin'”, and we flew through the air in his dad’s Duster just like Bo and Luke did in the General Lee on Dukes of Hazard.

That feeling of anxiety and expectation in your guts and bowels right before takeoff is unforgettable. So are the relief and gratification of not dying after the Duster finally quit bouncing off the earth.

No one was the wiser of our reckless “dip jumpin'”, until Kelly’s dad, out of town on business, put two and two together, but couldn’t put the pieces of his front end together that were scattered like Humpty Dumpty.

Now, “dip jumpin'” Kelly’s dad’s car wasn’t my idea, but in hindsight, it could be that the universe holds me guilty as an accessory.

Our youngest daughter used to hit curbs in my car like Chicken Little does the panic button. I’ve had the fiberglass front spoiler fixed time and again.

I never gave much thought to the air dam behind it that it was attached to. I hadn’t given much thought to Kelly’s dad’s Duster in decades either. Not until after I’d limped my car into Yuma, halfway between Phoenix and San Diego.

I’m fairly certain God didn’t punish us for trying to fly like Evil Knievel and angels. It could be that it’s just a fallen world and folks lack wisdom, especially teenagers.

I do believe that God takes bad things and makes them beautiful. He calls it redemption.

Since wisdom has great value… maybe so does poetic justice.


There was a song that bounced it’s way up the charts back in the eighties by a group called The Gap Band. They had a few big hits, but I think their biggest, and my favorite, was titled, “You Dropped A Bomb On Me”.(click here for a trip back in time)

you dropped a bomb on me

image courtesy amoeba.com

I don’t go out of my way to listen to that song these days, although I should, but I’m still astounded how our brains work and amazed at how an old song from decades back can be prompted by something not remotely related, like say… a little birdy.

It’s a rare occasion when I expose my skin to the vicious rays of the sun. And when I do, it’s not for long. Some of us have to learn the art of moderation the hard way. That’s what makes the unfolding events what the bookies call, “A long shot.”

I was taking in some sun, watching the birds, and the time, pondering the possibility of hummingbirds having bird ADD. They were eating, but seemed to be constantly distracted and couldn’t resist a little horseplay… or whatever birds call it. Maybe bird foolery.

The world of the sky in nature looks like orchestrated chaos. The crows, the blackbirds, the birds of brilliant color, and the wrens, they all dance across the sky like shooting stars.

There’s just something about looking up… I think it’s designed by God. The simple physiological act of raising our chins from slumping, it somehow lifts our spirits as well.

But even on a good day, things can go south… and not just for the winter. We’ve all had those days, the ones where things seem to be cruising along just fine, and then calamity, of varying degrees, gets dropped on us.

The bombs come, but how we deal with them, I think, has everything to do with how long the shelling continues, at least the way we perceive it spiritually.

All of us, at one time or another, have scanned the sky, pondering our difficulties, and have, maybe not verbally, but at least in thought, told God, “You dropped a bomb on me”. I’d also bet that it’s not a few of us that have even shook our fist at the Almighty.

There are big bombs and miniature bombs, but all of them can have an effect on us when we feel like we’re the target. It’s about perspective.

The older I get the more my perspective parallels The Serenity Prayer; “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

I’ve had bombs dropped on me my entire life, just like all of us, and I used to seethe with anger and hatred.

The bird reminded me with a ghastly test… he dropped his bomb from his rear cargo door about ten feet up. I nodded, giving him kudos for his pinpoint accuracy.

I also sang him a song as I was heading to clean his bomb off of my shoulder, “You dropped a bomb on, (Duh-duh-duh-duh, baby) You dropped a bomb on me.”


It was sorta like the perfect storm, without the perfect part… the storm either. You might say the stars were perfectly aligned, but there was only one star; the one closest to our planet, daring me to live a little.

What the day was missing was the easy-to-loathe antagonist, except he didn’t exist, but have no fear, there was a problem… there’s always a problem.

For as much as technology solves, there’s a small percentage of problems it creates, and that’s where our story began.

There was a time I toiled in the elements; rare frigid days and dreaded heart-stopping heat. Since the golden days, construction has changed a bit. It’s become more automated and with a whole lot more pre-manufactured components being used. Computers do the calculating, so the installation methods require a less qualified person, generally speaking.

Sometimes when you’re giving folks instructions on how to accomplish a task, the look on their faces say a whole lot more than their lips can muster. That particular scenario has been dubbed “A deer in the headlights” look. It’s kind of a blank stare, like the person operating their soul cage stepped out for a lunch break.

That’s the look I got from both guys I was trying to explain how to accomplish the not so monumental task. I slowed down and gave it another shot, but they’re eyes told me that their minds were still out to lunch.

That’s when the not so heroic, not to mention frustrated, hero reared his not so pretty head. I was transported back to a time and place I loved… I’d forgotten how just how much.

As youngsters we stripped down to shorts and built a tiny piece of America, daring the ol’ sun to do it’s best, or worst. It took a couple of decades to figure out that we’d actually lost that battle.

The gratification from using your hands and mind to change a community and silhouette of a sunset is unparalleled, even when stacked up against writing.

live a little

The roof I did my time on… again…

I stood on the roof rafters, still only and inch and a half wide, one under each arch of my tennis shoes, mocking gravity like I did as a young man.

I cut pieces of lumber on angles coupled with specific degrees to meet them together with precision that looked like art work. I recall as a kid thinking what a shame it was to cover up a meticulously framed house with roofing materials, stucco, siding, drywall, and paint.

When I climbed down off that roof I was dirty, sweaty, like I’d literally stepped out of the shower with my clothes on. I was also, what my uncle Buck used to call, plum tuckered… but I felt good.

I guess it’s like riding a bike or swinging on a swing. We get so old and distinguished that we forget the basic gifts from God, and that some of the most gratifying things in life require we take a step out of our comfort zone… and really live a little.


Seeing all the bums and beggars sprinkled at every other major intersection in the city has had the same effect as working or working out; with enough time and reps, the skin gets strong, hard, calloused. Kinda like almost every single person sitting behind the wheel of their car, stopped against their will, reading the signs of the beggars with a calloused heart. Me too.

There was a time when someone begging on the corner was a rarity. If they were there, times were tough indeed. They looked more like beggars back in the day.

a calloused heart

image courtesy of photo bucket.com

Back when begging was about as rare as a solar eclipse, compassion came easy, immediately, and with a willing hand. A person’s gotta have big heart and desire to wrestle a wallet outta your pants or shorts or purse, that while fighting with the seatbelt strap that’s pleased as punch to slow you down when you’re trying to move quickly.

Funny how long it takes for the traffic lights to change… until you need a few more seconds.

I don’t dive for my wallet much these days. The beggars, in majority, have changed like the lives of Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind. Not to mention the lives on the giving side that seem to have adopted the attitude of Rhett. We might not say, “Frankly, my dear… I don’t give a damn”, but our actions do it for us.

In fairness, it’s hard to give a hoot about folks that don’t fit the mold of the stereotypical beggar. It’s not uncommon for the person holding the sign to have better tennis shoes than the ones wrapped around my feet.

Not only that, but it’s becoming common place for the folks looking for a handout to be young, fit, and sportin’, not just cell phones, but smart ones.

She was different. She didn’t look so different at a glance, but something inside told me she was. The middle-aged woman wasn’t standing strategically in the shade to shelter her from the record-setting Arizona heat.

I don’t avoid eye contact, even if I’m not going to give anything to folks waiting for a handout, especially the ones that are young, strong, and with knees that are light years better than mine.

The woman’s eyes were desperate, scared… and for good reason; she was caught in the crosshairs of an angry Arizona summer day.

Without thought, I snatched my wallet out, knowing I had only the big bill I keep folded and tucked away that I keep for emergencies… preferably mine.

My hand touched hers when she reached through the passenger side window to grab the cash. Her hands were hard, dry, calloused… like my calloused heart… just moments before God reminded me of His willing hand and compassion on me.


I was driving down the road, (not trying to loosen my load), listening to the radio. I would have needed an extension ladder to reach up to the level of mellow I was toolin’ in. Only God knew the ghastly weakness hiding just under the heartthrob from the seventies.

I was contemplating all the recent changes in life, my radio tuned to the 70’s station cinched it like a sailor’s knot. A song came on that I had to listen to in secret, or at least enjoy inside only when I was a kid.

The artist was one of those that men and boys didn’t listen to. It might not have been against the law, but telling a brother or buddy that you like that guy could get you beat up, punched in the gut at minimum.

The singer was one of those heartthrobs whose pictures from the magazines ended up on the bedroom walls of young girls like he did on my big sisters.

I never told anyone as a kid that this particular song gave me a lump in my throat and squeezed the juice outta my eyeballs. That would’a been suicide.

When Bobby Goldsboro’s “Honey” came on I smiled. Funny, after all this time, when he got to the part where Honey dies, I still get a little sad.

a ghastly weakness

image courtesy of photo bucket.com

Even in a state of melancholy, I tend to drive like a bat leaving Lucifer’s house. I turned left and headed north at about ten miles an hour over the legal limit. The old guy, (relative term now-uh-days), cruising in the lane next to me, sporting a maroon Chrysler 500 floored it… then proceeded to cut me off.

Heat was rising under my collar, and not just from the Arizona summer, till after he got in front of me. He then slowed to twenty miles an hour less than what he had been doing to cut me off. Presto – my Achilles heel, Kryptonite, weak link, bent nail, whatever you wanna call it, had come back to pay me a visit. I suppose to see if I’d grown up, matured, or come to my senses.

After we turned left and I wheeled around the “speed-up-to-inflict-my-will-upon-you” artist. He was ranting and raving, I assume cussing, at me… Nuclear explosion.

It was the worst version of myself that hit the brakes while rolling my passenger side window down. Now, I’m not given to cussin’, but I wasn’t bashful about inviting the guy to pull over. He rolled up his window, slowed then turned… leaving me driving along with veins pumping poison.

It doesn’t take as long as it used to for me to become smothered in regret. It’s almost instant. I was amazed at how I could go from the peaceful easy feelin’, (another Eagles plagiarism), to that monster that finds it’s fuel in pride.

It’s a ghastly weakness that works like Kryptonite. You’d think I’d be all about showing the world all the grace and mercy shown me… maybe next time.