At last I have a plan for old age

When I was young, I played a lot of video games. I started on an Atari 2600 and eventually moved onto an Atari 5200, a Nintendo, PC gaming, online gaming, and a great many coin-operated arcade games.

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I stopped playing video games about ten years ago, opting instead to use my time to write, read, play golf and poker, and do other things. Now that I have kids, my desire to play has waned considerably.

If given the choice of playing with Clara and Charlie or some nonexistent enemy on a computer screen, I choose my children every time.

But I didn’t stop loving video games. I just found better and equally enjoyable ways of being productive. But I’ve often thought about when and if I will play video games again.

Now I know. 

Author Dan Kennedy said something on stage recently while hosting a Moth StorySLAM in New York. I can’t remember why it came up, but he said that his plan for old age is to play video games. He said it facetiously (I think) and made a joke about it before moving on, but I found myself sitting there, thinking, “Yes. That could be my plan for old age. Play lots and lots of video games.”

I have no intention of every growing old or dying, but there may come a time when I have to slow down a bit. When I have more time on my hands. When the desire to sit slightly more often overtakes me.

When that happens, video games will be waiting for me.

It’s brilliant.

At last I have a plan for my late nineties and early hundreds.

Call of Duty 56.

I can’t wait.

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The Moth: Secret Bedroom Move

The following is a story that I told at a Moth StorySLAM at The Bitter End in New York City in 2013. 

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The theme of the night was Space. I told a story about secretly moving my bedroom to the basement when I was a child.

I finished in second place.

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Bathtub interloper

The boy heard the bathtub beginning to fill, and while our backs were turned, he climbed in, clothing and all.

He was pretty proud of himself, as you can see. 

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PowerPoint presentations, game shows, skinny dipping, and now The Oscars: Quirks of the many book clubs I have attended

Last week I attended the meeting of Sheltering Trees, a book club in Wallingford, Connecticut. The members of the group (more than a dozen ladies ranging in ages from their twenties to their seventies) were kind enough to read Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, so I joined them for their discussion.

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As expected, it was great fun. Book club events always are.

After having attended the meetings of more than 100 book clubs over the past five years, I’ve discovered that every book club has its own traditions, rules, quirks, and eccentricities.

I’ve attended a book club meeting that opened with a game show created by the host, played by the other members, and was based upon the book they  read.

I watched a book club choose their next book via professional presentations that included PowerPoint presentations, heated discussions, and carefully chosen clips from New York Times reviews.

I attended a book club meeting where two of the women disappeared in the midst of the meeting, only to be later found skinny dipping in the pond.

The latter was my own book club.

I could probably write a book about my adventures attending book club meetings. I probably should.  

The book club that I met with last week ends their meeting by rating the book on a 1-10 scale, and these scores are averaged, giving the book a final score. These women  take this rating process very seriously. In addition to assigning a number, each person also gives a reason for their determination. Members not present who finished the book can email in their rating and rationale. One of their members was in Korea but still took the time to email a score and a paragraph explaining her thinking. 

As the author, it was both fascinating and a little terrifying to listen to these women, who pull no punches, rate my book. I offered to leave to allow them to be honest, but they insisted I stay. “Don’t worry,” one woman said. “we won’t be careful of your feelings.” Two of my ladies in the group assigned my book a perfect ten, which causes the rest to burst into spontaneous, uproarious applause.

These women take their perfect scores very seriously.

I also had my share of eights and nines from the group, and my book ultimately received an average score of a nine, which I was told is very good.

At the end of the year, the book club meets for an award’s night of sorts. The members vote on the books read during the year in categories like best and worst book, best passage from a book, best and worst male and female character, best discussion, best cover, and more. They run this awards gala like the Oscars. Members vote, and presumably one member (unless they also enlist the services of Price Waterhouse) collects the votes and places the winner’s names in Oscar-like envelopes for the dramatic reveal. 

No book is read for that December meeting. It’s simply a review of the previous year’s books.

The women were kind enough to invite me and Elysha to their awards celebration, and if the date is open, I’m going. This book club is comprised of an interesting cast of characters (they always are), and I suspect that the evening will be highly entertaining.

Maybe it will be the final straw that pushes me over the edge and makes me want to write that book.

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Charlie!

My father-in-law takes great photos. Charlie’s cuteness helps, too.

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Priceless moments at an ATM

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The dark is coming.

My two year-old son has become fond of looking off into the distance and saying, “Uh oh. The dark is coming.”

I worried that I’m living in a Stephen King novel. Or one of the Terminator films. I hope he doesn’t know something I don’t know.

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Little old ladies on a plane

It’s subtitled.

It stars two women in their late seventies.

It’s about something that thousands of people do everyday.

And yet it’s compelling and sweet and revelatory and brilliant.

You should watch.

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Anything but a banana

My two year-old son was wearing monkey pajamas. My wife asked, “What do monkey’s eat?”

“Apples,” he said confidently.

“No…”

“Blueberries?”

No,” Elysha said. “I’ll give you a hint. It’s yellow.”

“Yellow Babybel cheese?”

“No,” Elysha said.

Charlie paused a moment. Really thought. Then answered. “Red Babybel cheese?”

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Czech edition of Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend

I haven’t received a copy yet, but a reader in the Czech Republic sent me a photograph of my Czech edition of Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend. It’s the twenty-first language that the book has been translated into, and I love it. I think the cover is beautiful.

One of my favorites. 

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