Did you know that the word “unique” has negative connotations, and should be avoided in a resume? 

“Unique” is a dismissive word one uses to describe people & things you don’t really feel it is polite to honestly describe, at least according to a friend of my sister.

I wondered what positive word she would use instead, but my sister told me that she just had to consider her choices and make a decision.  

Apparently, she found my tone defensive.

I wonder why. . .


It was karaoke night at the gay bar that TBB found in Nashville this week.  She sang third, her usual Sinatra.

The reception was warm and supportive, and when others sang, she was blown away by the quality.  A group wouldn’t just yowl to something from Grease, instead they would sing intricate harmonies.

This is, of course, an example the power of a good audience. Because they know how hard it is to get up there, they can really support others who take the stage.  And because others are working to go from a good singer to an excellent singer, one feels both the desire to rehearse & do better, and the permission to achieve excellence.

If there is no audience, it’s easy not just to slide along, being just good, and easy to feel pressure not too be too good, not to show off and show up the others. 

A bad audience creates it’s own mediocrity, while a good audience creates it’s own excellence.   That’s what families of excellence have long known, that excellence can and must be developed and fostered,  lifting all by lifting expectations, lifting feedback and lifting the permission to be a as much of a virtuoso as possible.

TBB knows that she doesn’t feel this pressure or permission to be great in her little mountain town, and while that’s nice, it’s not so breathtaking and enervating. 

She is entertaining thoughts of moving to Nashville someday, because what is more uplifting than a place where we find an audience that affirms us and continues to bring out the best in us?

Would that we each find that kind of audience that understands, appreciates and encourages us to develop our own unique and powerful voice.

Those Were The Days

At a Junior High School dance in 9th grade, I begged R. Scott Moore, my reflection — he had all my classes, but was captain of the football team — to play my 45 of Mary Hopkin’s “Those Were The Days,” a new song that I loved.  He thought it was weird, but he played it.  They all thought I was weird, but they didn’t hate me.

Does it strike you as odd that a 14 year old loved a song that goes:

Those were the days my friend
We thought they’d never end
We’d sing and dance forever and a day
We’d live the life we choose
We’d fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way.

Even that young, wistful nostalgia was more understandable to me than actually living the life I chose.

God, I was so old so young. 

And yes, I still belive that Richie Kosian is John H. Garabedian’s brother.  WMEX forever!

Fucking Frightening

It’s about 8:30 on the second and last night of adult Halloween, and instead of being nicely scented, well dressed and as pretty as possible, I am sweating like a longshoreman and in a bit of a self destructive rage.

TBB called around 4:30 on her way back from a technical training, and we talked IT, which meant Information Technology long before Ebay.  I had to talk and cook, though, and I saw my father being freaked as I did it. Even though nothing sensitive came out, he was scared it would,

I got dinner on, though the clock he cleaned last week was wrong.  I was told I should have fixed it.  I have reset it a couple of times, but not yet done everything he thinks I should have done without being told.  It’s like the celing tile hanging out of the cobbled together grid over the bed — it’s not hanging because it’s warped, it’s warped because I let it hang.  My fault.

My brother and sister in law are having a 25th Anniversary “surprise” party next Saturday, run by their children. 

My parents have drafted me as consultant, but while I have consulted long hours, everything I try is futile.  It always gets dragged down back into a big unformed party that the kids are used to. 

That’s fine, of course, their choice, but why do I need to help?

“They have ignored everything I have said,” I told my mother.

“Yes, but you have to help,” she said.

“You mean I have to clean up the messes of people who hate me?” I asked.

She raised an eyebrow.

Tonights drama was that, from her drowsing chair — this week she has admited to losing hours in it — she wanted my father to parade all the silver and trays in front of her to decide what she would assign.

That means my father trying to get stuff, which means me facilitating, always,  And, of course, we can’t get what she wants.

I sleep in the basement with the garbage.  She doesn’t like clutter in her sight, so it’s all consigned to the basement, where I do my best to pack it together so there is a little room to move.  She makes decisions about what happens here without thinking or asking, and then I am stuck having to rebuild tables that my father was ordered to take apart becaise I need a table, only now it’s no longer solid but jittery.

My father understands that my packing means there is less access to crap, and that’s my fault.

Of course, with all the moving things about, this room is now drippng with crud, and I get to be in it.  Yum.

The big drama, though, was my father whining about the clutter in the garage, saying he wanted to start the snow-blower.  Yes, the snow blower that hasn’t worked in over a decade, the one we put $100 in parts into and lots of labour, with me having to take the blows.

It’s my fault there is clutter in the garage, of course, even though I have cleaned it at least six times in three years.  Last time, this summer, I did his workbench, even stringing up a work light to help sort his toolbox.  I did his tool chest three years ago, when I was told to do a brake job in the driveway.  He always wanted me to fix cars so I would be a man, and I have never been good at it, even though I know some dykes who are fabulous.

He has never had a pristine work area, outlines in pegboard and all that, but he is sure that’s someone else’s fault.  Mine.

Now there is a rusted part from my sister’s car filling the workbench, the one he made the dealership give to him, the one he has done nothing with.  Between that and his other dumpings, the workbench I cleaned is a shambles, and you know whose fault that is.

His big complaint was cardboard boxes.  I cut them all down, though I know that in three weeks people will be whining for boxes for Christmas.  Fuck me.

And then there is the scooter that my sister’s friend dumped on us, a beat up ride that had a comparable on Ebay for about $78.  That’s weighed down not only with damage, but also with a long drunken lecture about how I wasn’t doing enough for my mother, how I had to do more and more and more and more. . . .

Well, I got the boxes up and the bags bundled, the scooter moved and the snow blower dug out, all the while wanting to shred the flesh in my face, and singing about the pleasure of death.

And then it’s 8:30PM on adult Halloween, and I am sweating like a longshoreman, my nails cracked, my shoes needing re-gluing,  and in a bit of a self-destructive rage.

What do you think the odds are that the snow blower will get started, or the kids will want my mother’s junk?

Happy fucking death to you, she said, as she reached for the big mug full of rye and ginger.