I Want a New Drug

I did write this, but I don’t remember why exactly. For a class I was taking? It was pre-legalization and pre-dispensaries, so there’s that.
Oh, the places you’ll go when you clean out your file drawers.
Alpha-Hendrixanol™ (as advertised in AARP Magazine) Developed by the Pheelgood School of Herbal Energetics
Wouldn’t you like to turn back the clock and regain the joi de vivre you had in your twenties? What if you could recapture the ability to attend concerts at the Fillmore without suffering the ill effects of back pain and second-hand marijuana smoke? Is your answer to these questions “Right on, man”? Then try Alpha-Hendrixanol™ and once again feel the excitement and zest for life you could have felt if you hadn’t been such a pussy and missed going to Woodstock when you had the chance.
Mild side effects you may experience with Alpha-Hendrixanol™ include a desire to wear bell bottoms and tie-dyed T-shirts and burn the American flag. Some patients have reported sudden and aggressive hair growth. In some cases, patients taking Alpha-Hendrixanol™ report difficulty staying awake, while others have observed an inexplicable craving for foods that are salty, sweet, soft, crunchy, sticky, spicy or chocolate.
Other more serious side effects include sleeping on other people’s couches, having indiscriminate sex with people of all genders, and a desire to “tune in and drop out.” Some patients find their speech is impaired to a greater or lesser degree, with uncontrollable outbursts of profanity occurring in situations that are stressful, such as weddings, Thanksgiving dinners, graduation ceremonies, trips to the supermarket, waiting in line at Starbucks, reading the newspaper, walking the dog or brushing their teeth.

There have been some reports of patients sitting on the sidewalk with little hand-made signs asking for spare smiles or perhaps a hug. Patients who experience a desire to take back the park or stick it to the man should contact their doctor immediately.
Extended use of Alpha-Hendrixanol™ may result in patients’ unfounded paranoia and a recurrence of disturbing déjà vu experiences, resulting in hours spent online Googling the names of all the people who were mean to them in junior high. Isolated patients have also tracked down these offenders on Facebook, friended them, and then deliberately unfriended them, just to get even. Patients who experience these side effects should stop taking Alpha-Hendrixanol™, step away from their computers, maybe loosen their headbands a little, and peace out.
The rare patient will feel a powerful urge to macramé plant holders or buy ZigZag papers, while others have reported hearing the lyrics to the Beatles’ “Revolution Number Nine” over and over inside their heads. Some patients have also claimed that they are the walrus, goo goo g’joob.
In extremely rare cases, patients taking Alpha-Hendrixanol™ have gone skinny-dipping in public fountains or baby pools while doing long air-guitar riffs.
Alpha-Hendrixanol™ can cause symptoms that resemble death, but thankfully, these don’t last very long. If you can’t tell the difference, discontinue use and contact your doctor.

(Note: Due to a manufacturing recall, doctors recommend not taking the brown ones.)
And now for another blast from the past.

The Book of Leaves

April 6th, 2020 Closets and drawers have been weeded through and organized. Small repairs have been made here and there as we continue to shelter in place. After years of dreading the task,it was finally time to get out the big box of photos that had been languishing unsorted for decades, probably. On a dayContinue Reading

Books and More Books

  On a whim, I recently combed through my bookshelves and gathered together all the print books, anthologies and journals I have contributed to in some way: either as writer/ editor, beta reader, Kickstarter donor or friend. Some authors kindly added my name to the acknowledgements, which came as a pleasant surprise. The book IContinue Reading

It’s that time of year again.

Nu? So It’s Christmas

September 24, 1919

On this day, the one hundredth anniversary of his birth, here are the thoughts I jotted down to read at his memorial service in 2001. My dad was a teacher, and like many outstanding teachers, he never took time off from teaching. Sure, there were vacations and summers, but he was always on the job.Continue Reading

Bandon, Oregon

 I read this piece at the Octopus Literary Salon at an event that paired published authors with emerging writers. I wrote it in response to my partner’s piece, which touched on smoking, the wind, being young and making mistakes. I didn’t know right away how to respond, so I looked out the window and listened.Continue Reading

On the occasion of my sister’s birthday

It’s April 9th, my sister’s birthday. In what has become an annual tradition–for now anyway–I’m re-posting this edited version. Five years ago, in 2014, I was out of town at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop and missed being here for her birthday. So I put together something special to make up for being away, becauseContinue ReadingContinue Reading

Playlist for March 22: A hip medley

If they allowed me a playlist for tomorrow, it would have to include these three tunes. Thanks for all the good wishes from near and far.  

The Writing Year in Review: 2018

I did this last year and it helped me see that I had been slightly more productive than I thought. Let’s see what happened this past year in my writing life… A look  back at what I wrote in 2018: A number of pieces for Retrospect, which are listed on my Articles and Interviews pageContinue Reading

From Bait Shop to Dive Bar: The Kingfish

I’ve started a new series on some classic old bars of the East Bay. Here’s the first one, published on Berkeleyside: From bait shop to beloved dive: Oakland’s Kingfish Pub and Café has a fascinating history