Declarations of Independence – he’s self-identifying as….

The self-identification phenomenon is truly transformative. There’s the lure. It’s liberating. It’s a “passport” to guises and territories he can only imagine. Embarking, he tips back into his recliner chair and begins to redefine himself – as commissioner of the NFL, president of FIFA, the head of Disney motion pictures, the president of the United States…

A Father Figure Reigns Benevolently (But Anxiously)

In “The Cider House Rules” – the page-turner of the summer of 1985 – the orphanage’s medical director resigns himself to “the feelings of fatherhood,” which “completely ruin one’s objectivity.” Neither “Gray’s Anatomy” nor a text on Cardiology had prepared him for the realization that the heart – his heart – “functioned as much more than a muscle”: the true organ of love.

Recalling Mom’s Figures of Speech

“Tarrr-nation!” was her variation on “Darrr-nation!” which was her version of “Damnation!” which was as close as she ever got to “Damn!” “Tarrr-nation” told me that she had burned her forearm at the stove (again) or – still worse, to her way of thinking – burned our dinner. Jests provoked, “Oh, go sit on a tack.” – delivered with a guilty, embarrassed smile.

Earthly Life and the Longing for Longevity

Macho-preservation instincts, allied with slime-avoidance, in a high-school dissecting class. Biology is not for the faint of heart. A father hopes to extend his life-on-Earth tenure well beyond his seventh decade. He’s already been made aware of what would curtail it, so he seeks a window into his daughter’s life in a lab—for the lab may be her life.

Anger Management, When There’s Good Reason to Be Angry

Resolving to be patient and less judgmental, he aspired to forbearance in the hope of realizing an abiding calm and equanimity. But with airline snafus, mobile phone loud-mouths, leaf-blowers, demon cyclists, high-speed eighteen-wheelers, and smokers, his resolves began to dissolve. Whose behavior modification would relieve the upset double-parked in his stomach?

From an HR perspective, he is not a most-wanted man.

He was employed in a house of cards; he was the lone survivor. But for a numbers guy, he was never sufficiently calculating. Does he have more time than money? His kids are his homeland; his mission, their security. He needs job security. Pride has its prejudice. Does hope have an expiration date? What happens when hope goes on life support?

Mother’s Day remembrance of loss, early-onset anger, pride

His daughter’s unapologetic college-application essay dilated his mind. Neither paean nor plea, the essay was a pitch: a fastball, high and tight; a brush-back on the most inside corner. The words, aerodynamic, with thrusters. Her mother’s early-onset Alzheimer’s brought on early-onset anger – a condemnation, and an assertion of purpose. He buckled up for flight.

Movies, Survival Tales: He Prefers the Clever to the Crass

"America Hustle" has cleavage, but it also has intelligence, wit, cleverness, and soul. "The Wolf of Wall Street" has plenty of cleavage – but plenty of moral cleavage, and crassness, as well. Rather than celebrate an unrepentant scoundrel, root for a character who will do anything to be a good father to his adopted son. Oscar-nominated films depict survival.

Perhaps a different kind of American Idol – the nominees are

AARP cover stories “airbrush” the realities of most seniors. Needed, in awards season, a new set of nominees: Out of the limelight, unheralded performers take on significant supporting roles. Their unassuming decency is not an act. Shouldn’t their talents for decency, humility, and humanity rise to Golden Globe and Oscar celebrity, or American Idol idolatry?

Giving thanks for the kindness of strangers.

Temptation rears its remunerative head. Somebody has got to count centrifuges, right? Is that block of uranium enriched or un-enriched? They’re not labeled like loaves of bread. Now an explorer, a driller – he’s “fracking” into HR substrata, searching for deposits of employment possibilities; a crevice into which he can inject his resume and extract a job.

To Run, or Not to Run: A Campaign for Employment.

Don’t we all want to be taken seriously, even admired? Political campaigns are a form of combat and courtship; warfare and seduction: Mixed Verbal Arts cage-fighting against rivals, 24/7 “speed-dating” for voters’ heads and hearts. He hopes to find someone who has hiring authority, who’s looking for Mr. Right, and sees him as a “match.”

Breaking Sad: A risky gig, for a father who’s risk averse.

He wouldn’t know a canister of Sarin gas, VX nerve agent, or HD blister agent (mustard gas) from a keg of lager or a spray can of deodorant. Will the boots-on-the-ground be attuned to his feats and his feet? and his fears?

A Labor Day Lament, from a Would-Be Worker, Non-Twerker

What would he do for full-time work? Would he do anything, anything at all? Is his resume actually retained, carefully filed, for ready retrieval? Will an opening suitable to his resume ever become open? Will his resume ever be deemed suitable for any opening? And be happily matched? Is his age a disqualifier? His discriminations are age-appropriate.

Father’s Day lingering laments, no mental resting place

A golfer needs a special place to lie. His father measured golf outings in strokes and nitroglycerin pills; the fewer strokes and the fewer the pills, the better the outing. The son was an amateur, taking over for his father (the caretaking pro), on the few remaining holes of his ailing mother’s “back nine.”

Downsizing and Downshifting to Sequester Disappointments

Alzheimer’s, though unforgiving, had not yet confiscated all her recall capacities. Had it? Alzheimer’s plaques and tangles squatted in her brain. Were there still “closets” or “drawers” or “shelves” of memories that had not been ransacked and emptied? Was there something he could have done – funded? – that would have re-booted her brain’s “flashlight”?

Undrafted, this Free Agent is Still Hoping for a Tryout

In the recent NFL Combine, my bench press was an isometric exercise – affirming the laws of gravity and the physics of an immovable object at rest. In the running events, my performance was deliberate, well-considered, methodical – and quite unspeedy. In the NFL, however, I would be a lifestyle model, for nightclubs don’t want my kind.

The Odds of a Higher “Seed” in the Job-Search Game

What kind of numbers can he put up for his kids? Job applications are “seeded” – there is a ranking of resumes. These days, for job-seekers, there are no slam-dunks; there are no uncontested shots. There are plenty of blocked shots. Each job-application cover letter, each inquiry, feels like a fade-away jump shot – from half court, with time running out.

A Sequestration of His Very Own

Favors were always much easier to provide than to have returned. The ancient oven and the lopsided stove served as “storage lockers” for his son’s hockey pads and armour, which were neatly splayed on the oven grates; the tilting doors secured with duct tape.

A Fiscal Cliff, of His Own

His kids inject their appreciation. It’s his steroid of choice. From them he gets what he needs and values most: performance-enhancing hugs.

Fear of Frights

Do we really need computer-contrived end-of-earth extravaganzas in cinema? Aren’t howling hurricane winds and devastating tidal surges scary enough?

Pre-Existing Conditions, and Job-Search Labors

For this 65-year-old cancer survivor, who has paid all his dues and all his bills, the only thing that is past due, is full-time employment. If he was to be utterly, utterly, unguardedly candid, he would submit a resume with this top-of-the-page Goals & Objectives line: “Just a few more Labor days.”

Fatherhood By Degrees

For my children, memories of the grandfather you never knew.