When the children were younger, I told them that if doing something embarrassed them, then they shouldn’t do it. Simple solution from my point of view. You never have to worry about embarrassment if you just don’t do whatever embarrasses you.

The spousal unit quickly and vociferously informed me that I was not being reasonable. But dearest, whatever could you mean by that? She looked me straight in the eye and said, “That’s not fair. You don’t get embarrassed. You do anything, and it doesn’t bother you.”

Is this true? Do I suffer from a lack social anxiety? Or is it just that I do not possess the common sense to know when they’re laughing at me instead of with me? Tell you what…I probably just don’t care. Even if they’re laughing at me as the butt of some joke I don’t understand, I am still bringing them joy.

I remember once—sounds like I’m sitting on the front porch with a glass of ice cold lemonade in one hand and my fingers gripping the top of my overalls in the other—this time the spousal unit and I were waiting for a prescription in a Tulsa, Oklahoma Walgreen pharmacy. It seemed that it was going to take a while, so we wandered through the aisles doing some window shopping.

Of course I gravitated to the toys. And what to my wondering eyes should appear. But a pink, rubber, self-inflating whoopee cushion. Chrissi just stared at me with eyes wider than I had ever seen, begging me with her look not to do what she knew I intended.

I let her rip. She had been in the next aisle, and when I came up to her, there was another customer a few feet away. So I first a little quiet one out. Then the “Big One.” The woman tried not to look. The muscles in her neck strained as she attempted not to laugh. But when I did it again, she couldn’t stop herself.

And of course, the wife was mortified. I don’t get embarrassed. I thought it was grand. Chrissi, not so much. Especially when she went up to the window to pick up her meds. Every time she talked, I squeezed the little rubber bag. I’m surprised I made it out of there alive. As you can imagine, I bought my new toy and brought it home. It broke soon after, and I am willing to bet money that it was intentional sabotage perpetuated by the Loving Wife Mafia.

Mine looked very similar, only that pink rubber that smells bad.

WHAT I’M UP TO

WRITING: Still typing up edits on Slipping the Cradle (first in the Lonford Universe series), started writing second chapter on Bishop (first in the Dark Histories series), finished typing up and doing the line edits for the short story titled “The Forum” which is a possible far future in the Lonford Universe but has societal and cultural commentary about today’s world.

FICTION: The Tengu’s Game of Go by Lian Hearn. Fourth and final book in The Tale of Shikanoko series. Halfway done with this book. Not getting as much time for leisurely reading as I would like.

The Tale of Shikanoko #4: The Tengu’s Game of Go. By Lian Hearn.

NONFICTION: The Storm Before the Storm by Mike Duncan. About the end of the Roman republic–not the empire, but the government that came before.

The Storm before the Storm. By Mike Duncan.

TELEVISION: The Boys. Competed all eight episodes in two weeks. Do not, I repeat, do not let your kids watch this series. There was some good stuff—a unique way of looking at super heroes—and some bad stuff that had me fast forwarding because it did not seem germane to the story.

MOVIES: Watched Exposed this week. A different sort of movie. Stars Keanu Reeves and Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049). Reeves plays a detective in this 2016 film investigating the circumstances around his partner’s murder. It was slow in parts. It was no Oscar contender. But there were enough interesting aspects that I wanted to see it all the way through. Two seemingly unrelated stories moving separately but that came together at the end, and I realized how intricate they were to each other. At one point, I was thinking it was Jacob’s Ladder-esque.

Exposed. 2016 film starring Keanu Reeves and Ana de Armas.