My Life

Confessions of a Possible Super Tramp

Note: The following dialogue took place during what should have been a private, soul-bearing moment at The Church of We Love Everybody Who Comes Through Our Door Unless You’ve Done Something Incredibly Annoying. In days of yore, such a conversation would remain confidential and sacrosanct. But let’s get real. We now live in an age where anything you ever do is subject to being enshrined on the Internet until the End of Time. As such, it’s completely acceptable that the unnamed author of this piece should not be held accountable in any way for sharing the sordid details that wouldn’t have been shared if there was any decency left in this country. And here we go…


Brian: “Forgive me Father, for I have thinned.”

Father: “I’m not actually a Father. Here at the Church of Love Everybody Unless They’re Willfully Insipid, we’ve done away with titles. Just call me Fred. And don’t you mean that you have sinned in some way?”

Brian: “Um, no. I mean that I have been a little thin with my blogging efforts lately.”

Fred: “Oh. Well, I must admit that I really don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.”

Brian: “That’s okay. I’ve been hearing that all my life. You get used to confusion when you grow up in Oklahoma.”

Fred: “Oklahoma? Is that still a state?”

Brian: “Well, it is for now, but if they don’t stop that damn fracking, it may not be one for much longer. Anyway, I’ve been contemplating my recent actions, and I’m wondering if maybe I’m being a bit negligent with some of the blogs and bloggers that I encounter.”

Fred: “There you go with that ‘blog’ word again. What is that? Is it like a ‘bog’, where there’s quicksand and people will eventually sink and disappear forever, like the Tea Party?”

Brian: “Oh. That’s actually a pretty good description for some of the sites I’ve visited. But no, a ‘blog’ is a place where someone can share their thoughts and stories about, well, things that are important to them. Or at least that’s how it’s supposed to work. Some folks haven’t gotten the memo on that, confusing ‘thoughts and stories’ with ‘700 pictures of themselves wearing couture and nibbling on sushi’. It can be incredibly annoying. But we really don’t have time for that.”

Fred: “You’re the one doing all the talking, not me.”

Brian: “You’re the one asking all the questions.”

Fred, sighing: “I think I understand why you might need some spiritual guidance.”

Brian: “And what the hell is that supposed to mean?”

Fred: “No need to take offense. It’s just a phrase they teach us to use when we don’t really understand what our parishioners are trying to say but we want to appear empathetic so the offering plate stays full. I’m also resorting to stock dialogue because the conversation seems to be meandering and what we really need right now is some divine literary intervention.”

There was a knock at the confessional door. (Of course, at the Church of All You Need Is Love Except When It Comes to Paying Bills, they no longer use the word “confessional”, opting instead for the more pleasant-sounding phrase of “Tea Time with Jesus”.)

Brian: “Fred, are you expecting someone? Did you double-book again?”

Fred: “Well, I did order pizza, but they usually come to my side of things when they deliver. Perhaps you should answer. If they start asking about search histories on the Internet, I’m not here.”

Brian opened the door and discovered a smartly-dressed woman, beaming cordially as she stood there in her stylish but sensible shoes. “Hello!” she chirped.

“Goodbye,” said Brian, promptly slamming the door.

Fred: “Well, that was rather rude. Here at the Potter’s Barn, we try to be a bit more welcoming than your standard drive-thru.”

Brian: “She was wearing a brooch. I don’t trust people who wear brooches. It’s like they’re desperate for attention. Now, let’s get the focus back on me and my moment of personal crisis.”

There was another knock at the Tea-Time door.

Fred: “I’m assuming that’s for you. Your site appears to be more popular than mine.”

Brian, sighing: “I don’t understand why it’s so hard for me to get some validation around here.” He wrenched the door open again. “What?”

Chirpy was still standing there in her sensible shoes. As she continued to beam effervescently, she reached out and snapped the knob off the door and threw it over her shoulder, with it ricocheting off a statue of Our Lady of Perpetual Anxiety and then sliding across the marble floor to ding against the base of a statue of Our Lady of Random Plot Contrivances. “There. That should prevent you from being an obnoxious little door-slamming twit until I’ve had my say. Hello. My name is Cathi Wellhart, and I’m the Ghost of the Editor You Really Need to Have.”

Brian: “But I really don’t need an-”

Chirpy Cathi: “Yes, you do. While all of the above random rambling does have a certain charm, it reeks quite a bit of ‘not getting to the point’ and I’m here to rectify that situation.”

Brian: “But I’m known for my random rambling. It’s sort of my trademark.”

CC: “Known? By whom? The thousands of people who have not purchased your books? Let me break it down for you, Brian. Nobody wants to read a 500-page phonebook about that time you screamed in Paris. This is the modern age. We need sound bites and brevity or you lose the entire planet.”

Brian: “What’s wrong with taking your time to tell a story?”

CC: “See? You’re doing it again, with the meaningless diversions. I’m here to make a point, and that point is that it’s time for you to make your point instead of going on for page after page without saying anything of substance.”

Brian: “I really don’t care for you right now.”

CC: “Doesn’t matter. I’m a fictional character invented for the sole purpose of moving things along, and I don’t have actual feelings that can be hurt.” She reached over and yanked on a golden tassel, one that had either magically appeared or was there all along and no one noticed because we hadn’t been looking for tassels that could be yanked. The Tea-Time Hut was cleverly whisked away via an ingenious contraption designed by a bored Franciscan monk 500 years ago while he was serving time in a small Italian village with a population of 17, and that included the donkeys. (For those who relish trivia, this same contraption was also used by the producers of Miss Saigon on Broadway for that infamous helicopter scene, although no one bothered to credit the monk or the donkeys.)

Brian was now standing on a stage, facing a large audience that appeared to be either waiting for him to speak or were stunned to find that they were not at the premiere of Miss Saigon at a dinner theater in Phoenix, Arizona. To clarify matters, a podium suddenly rose out of the stage floor right in front of Brian, complete with a microphone and a laser pointer, should one be needed. A low-paid stagehand rushed in from stage left to plunk a bottle of water on the podium before scurrying offstage to go have a cigarette in the back alley, where he would meet a man named Alphonse and they would eventually get married in a charming ceremony in Málaga, Spain.

Brian turned to Chirpy Cathi. “I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to do at this point.”

CC: “Oh, please. This is exactly what you want, an audience full of people who are hanging on your every word. Of course, they might be hanging because they are hoping you can tell them where the exit door is in this dream sequence, but let’s hope for the best. Now, tell these people what you intended to say when you sat down to write this post.”

Brian turned back to the audience. “Okay. Well, um, it’s just that I’ve been feeling a little bit guilty lately about how I might not be the best blog buddy out there. I appreciate everyone who visits and comments on my own blog, I really do. But I know that I’m not the best at getting around to personally thanking everyone when they do so. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that there’s only so much time in the day, and when you reach a certain number of followers, it’s very hard to do the right thing.”

CC, whispering: “Dude, this sounds rather self-pitying and it’s probably annoying to other bloggers who are in your same position but don’t whine about it. You need to focus.”

Brian briefly ponders, takes a swig of the lukewarm water, then continues: “I just want to say that blogging has been a hell of a ride, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much it means to me when I see the same people show up every day, actually interested in hearing what I might have to say. Actually, I can tell you what it means. It means everything. And I hope you know that.”

The audience leaps to its feet in thunderous applause.

Sally Field Brian hoists the Oscar over his head. “I can’t deny the fact that you like me. Right now, you like me!”

There was another knock at the Tea-Time door.

Brian opened his eyes.

Scotch the Cat was sitting on his chest, one paw stretched forward and thumping him on the forehead. It was 6am and time for kibble.

Brian: “Damn. So that didn’t really happen?”

Scotch didn’t say anything one way or the other. Because cats are wise that way.


Previously published in “Bonnywood Manor”. Slight changes made for this post. Oh, and the photo is of the Catedral de la Encarnación de Málaga. Fred’s Tea-Time Teatro is through the door on the upper right, in case you’re here to deliver pizza…


19 replies »

    • Well, since you brought up Roger, I must share this aside: I can still remember, back in the Stone Age of 1979, when I woke up one morning to my alarm-clock radio, and it was the first time I heard “The Logical Song”. I immediately loved the lyrics, twisting them, as we dreamers do, into a formulation that somehow applied to me. That’s how we often get through it all, identifying, however illogically, with the words of someone else…

      And thank you for noticing that I do spend a lot of time coming up with worthy responses to comments. I really do try, fully accepting the fact that there’s a lot of stumbling and fumbling.. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Did you mean ‘700 pictures of themselves making duck faces while wearing couture and nibbling on sushi’?

    And I totes believe you deserve that award more than Sally.


  2. I feel a little bit like Sally myself when I visit Bonnywood. I appreciate when a comment I make is “Like”ed…a return comment is totally rad!
    Now, play the Logical song! (I dont think those were regular mushrooms on the pizza I snagged from that dude😎)

    Liked by 2 people

    • As requested, “The Logical Song” is now on repeat in my little office. It’s annoying the cats, but then everything does, so screw them. Now, hand over some of that pizza. I need some irregular mushrooms…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Like Holden Caulfield in “Catcher in the Rye,” I find the digressions more interesting than a Hemingwayesque “get to the point as tersely as possible.” Sometimes the best story is in the digressions. Anyhow, I’m glad I stopped by today. J.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I got a vague sense of deja vu from glimpsing the photo you shared. I fully expected a bell tower and a hunched back (is that politically incorrect? Should I say “spine challenged”?) figure clinging to the bell and screaming “Esmeralda” in the same tone that dude used when screechng about Rosebud…I got off track, didn’t I? 😐 blink blink. As you hopefully are aware I ADORE your free writing exercises and no I don’t think you ignored ‘us’ too much. I mean it was the holidays and everyone (mostly everyone. Apologies to those who don’t celebrate in the same cycle as the western world) has lost track of their mojo temporarily. I hope it’s temporary anyway. I’m going to be here regardless, waiting bright eyed (no I’m not related to chirpy Cathy over there, I do NOT know the woman. Swear.) for your next entry. Because although I may vaguely recognize the plot, the effort is the point and you get credit for efforting. Besides isn’t religion (aka churches) rather overrated and full of themselves? Jesus would be appalled…

    Liked by 2 people

    • As usual, you have offered so many branches of pluckable fruit that I don’t know where to start. But I’ll focus on the free-writing angle, as that is most close to my heart. I know that many folks adhere to the Hemingway school of thought, in that one should pare down their writing to the bare minimum. I didn’t go to that school. I think it’s much more festive, and certainly more honest, to capture the entire journey as it plays out. I would much rather see a mind at work, rather than a mind that has been edited to conform to convention. This is why I am so enamored of your writing. I can see your progression from one thought to another and, to me, that’s a delicious thing…


  5. Well, that Cathi sounds like a real bitch but at least she got you to a good place. And really, what can you expect from a person who wears a brooch? 😉
    I’ve a hunch you beat yourself up over your blogging behavior far more than anyone else would, but that’s the way it is for those of us with a conscious, right? You just keep being you, Brian. It’s all we ask for.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That Cathi Wellhart gal reminds me of someone… I can’t quite put my finger on it… even when she handed me a recipe card thtat smelled faintly of Arizona and Minnesota. Maybe it will come to me in a dream.

      And yes, I do fret far more than I should over my bloghavior, but this time around I was much more invested in the story leading up to the mea culpa. I had forgotten all about this tiny treasure until I found it the other day. (By the way, I’m in the process of documenting every blog post I’ve ever written, along with any revisions and re-postings. I know, it’s sheer madness and it’s taking forever, but the compulsion has gripped me, and in the process I’m finding lots of little snippets here and there that remind me why I do this thing in the first place…)


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