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Chasing The American Dream

March 30, 2008


Jerry : You know, life is amazing. I just lost a job and five minutes later get another, same weekend, same money.
Kramer : You know who you are? Even Steven

Jerry : Played cards last night.
Elaine : Oh yeah? How'd you do?
Jerry : Broke even.
Elaine : You always break even.
Jerry : Yeah, I know; like yesterday I lost a job, and then I got another one, and then I missed a TV show, and later on they re-ran it. And then today I missed a train, went outside and caught a bus. It never fails! I always even out!

Elaine : Do you have twenty bucks?
Jerry : What for?
Elaine : Just gimme twenty bucks.
Elaine takes the money and throws it out the window.
Jerry : What the hell was that?
Elaine : Let's see if you get the twenty bucks back.
Jerry : You know you could've thrown a pencil out the window and seen if that came back.
George rushes out, J+E follow him. J puts his hand in his pocket.
Jerry : Elaine ... look! A twenty!
Elaine : Oh my God.

Rachel : Jerry ...
Jerry : Yes?
Rachel : I've been doing a lot of thinking.
Jerry : Aha?
Rachel : Well, I don't think we should see each other any more.
Jerry : Oh, that's okay.
Rachel : What?
Jerry : Nah, that's fine. No problem. I'll meet somebody else.
Rachel : You will?
Jerry : Sure. See, things always even out for me.

George : I'm back in business, baby!
Jerry : George, I wouldn't get too excited about this stuff, you know, things have a way of evening out.
George : Hey! ( to Elaine, who doesn't look too cheerful )
Jerry : Elaine, don't get too down. Everything'll even out, see, I have two friends, you were up, he was down. Now he's up, you're down. You see how it all evens out for me?

During the last two weeks, unlucky me actually found money. Last week, I found a $10 bill in a parking lot. So I’ve been discussing this Seinfeld episode with my friend. We both agreed that unlucky me would likely break even and lose $10. But this week, I found a dollar bill sticking out of a parking meter of all things. Could my luck really have changed around or was the ax just waiting to fall. I was again reminded of the Seinfeld episode.

It’s weird but lately, I have actually been looking on the ground for money. But in the back of my mind, I’ve also been thinking of how I might end up breaking even. Hah, I should have known, for today, history repeated itself (for the life of me, I can't find the post about locking myself out of my apartment).

I had just finished running 5k and it was really hot out here as it usually is. I decided to rest in the park before going home. So I plopped down and shut my eyes for 15 minutes. One of my last conscious thoughts before dozing off was to check my pockets before leaving just in case either of my apartment keys fell out. I awoke abruptly and realized how thirsty I was. I needed to get home quickly. I walked maybe 20 steps before that “key” thought re-entered my head. I immediately reached into both pockets. Problem. One key was missing. And just like last time, it was the darn apartment key. I had the stupid gate key but not the apartment door key. Why couldn't it have been the gate key I lost?

No big deal, right? Just go back to the spot and find the key. But what spot? I didn’t mark it. It was a huge field. I tried but it was like trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack. I looked for 30 minutes. Nothing. Then all the panic thoughts set in. I have no phone, no wallet, I don’t know the landlord’s number, I don’t know anyone’s number. Who remembers numbers anymore? Who locks themselves out of their apartment more than once in a lifetime? I remembered the debacle from last time and decided I wasn’t going through all that waiting and wating for hours shtick again. Nope, this called for drastic measures. I was gonna break a window to get in. I had two options. Bedroom or living room. I decided living room because that way, no one would see me do it. I drummed up a million scenarios of how I’d tell the landlord. None of them were very plausible. Maybe I’d just settle on the truth?

Then thankfully, panic gave way to reason. I remembered there was a locksmith next to the Laundromat I go to. It was only a 15 minute walk. I was dying of thirst but had no money. That’s the damned problem with running. You want to run light and not be bogged down with too much baggage. So I run with basically nothing. Smart, huh? I made it to the locksmith and although no one was there, they posted a 24-hour phone number. The Laundromat let me use their phone and I got a hold of Frank The Locksmith. He met me at the Laundromat and drove me to my apartment. I was amazed at how quickly he opened the deadbolt and the door lock. Less than five minutes. Scary almost.

I was just happy that I got in. I knew there would be a heavy price to pay. Indeed there was. Frank gave me the bill. $155 cash only. And THAT, my friends, is my way of breaking even.

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March 24, 2008


I thought I had this whole L-I-F-E thing figured out. This goal of mine. The chase. I wrote the ending to the book a year ago. It all made sense. The book, the chase, Life. But that was then. Something, or should I say someone, changed all that. I think.

I thought I figured out that what I’d been chasing in this so-called life was happiness. I finally learned through numerous failures that I could be content or happy on my own without that special someone. The journey took me through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows without question. But I’d made it and didn’t look back. Until last week.

Last week caused me to delve further into the definition of happiness. So what happened? Yeah, I met someone. Details omitted at this point but suffice it to say, I felt something I hadn’t felt since CBG. That’s a large statement because despite having four ‘relationships’ during the past 4 ½ years, I never had that feeling with any of those women. Sex, yes. True FEELINGS, no.

We can’t control our minds and how we feel. It just happens. The feelings are there or they’re not. And those feelings are there in your mind 24/7. It’s like your brain swells with thoughts of that person. You wonder what they are up to. You picture a smile, a moment, a memory and it’s inescapable. It makes you feel content. It makes you feel fulfilled. Honestly, I forgot what that feeling was like. I didn’t miss it and didn’t think I needed it to be happy. Now I’m not so sure.

I AM happy. I concluded correctly. But now I’m asking myself, am I fulfilled? And is that part of happiness or something separate and distinct? Can we be happy yet unfulfilled? I think so, but I’m obviously not sure. I think it’s like icing on the cake perhaps. I liked that feeling. I definitely felt happIER even if it only lasted a week. When that feeling dissipates, especially not of your own volition, it’s deflating. It leaves you feeling empty and feeling as if that lost feeling needs to be replaced.

So what now? What of the book, the chase, life? Well, as Fagin once sang in Oliver, “I think I’d better think it out again.”

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March 18, 2008


The boys from Augustana are back. This one's gonna be a huge hit folks. Enjoy.


March 10, 2008


I’m sure there are others, but here are a few things I like better in Belgium than the good ol’ USA. Most are food-related, of course.

· There’s no ‘rush, rush, rush’ when you go out to eat. Belgians believe in relaxing and enjoying the dining experience. Turning over of tables does not exist. Dinners last two hours. It’s a nice concept.
· Speaking of dinners, coffee is always served with a little treat. A cookie, a piece of chocolate. It’s a nice touch. Why don’t we do that?
· Smart cars are and smaller cars in general rule the road. They beat the heck out of those silly Hummers. Are our egos bigger such that we need bigger cars?
· Maybe we have to have stricter airport security here, but it’s nice not to have to take off your shoes, put your liquids in a clear plastic bag, and remove your laptop from your carry on bag. It sure makes the lines move faster.
· Airport prestige clubs are actually prestigious. It’s all self-serve and there is a great assortment of beer, wine, soda, and food. The Admirals Club in JFK had nothing but a bowl of pretzels and a bar that you had to order drinks. Lame.
· Sandwiches or broojes are served on crusty bread and not that soft square-shaped stuff.
· Mussels. They’re 10 times the size of the one’s you get here. Not sure why that’s the case.
· Chocolate. Duh.