It’ll all be over at midnight

Today, Friday the 13th, it finally dawned on me why I keep getting calls for a Friday the Thirteenthdeadbeat family: My phone number ends in 13.

Of course! And I had the luck to pick that one, because phone companies in California generally give customers a choice of new numbers. If you pick up a bad vibe from the first number you’re offered, you can request another one.

Thirteen isn’t unlucky everywhere, so California – being multicultural – has a bunch of numbers of concern. Take four. In China, the word for “four” sounds like the word for “death” – definitely a non-starter for the Golden State’s Chinese heritage. In Japan, four is unlucky and so is nine; don’t look for either in LA’s or San Francisco’s Japantown.

Speaking of nine in Mexico, cats are said to have seven lives, not nine, and the unlucky day is Tuesday the 13th. Friday the 13th passes like any other day in San Diego, which has one of the highest populations of Mexican ancestry in More

When road-rage nuts come loose

[Warning: Unladylike language ahead!]


© Michele Piacquadio

The driver in the Cadillac CTS apparently felt entitled to remove my right front fender. At least, that’s how I felt about her cutting in front of me, right behind the car I let in, when she had had a quarter-mile to merge to the left.

I laid on the horn long and loud. Behind rolled-up windows, I called her an idiot. Then I called her a rude, f-cking idiot, mouthing the words straight ahead so she could see them on the fat chance that she ever checked her mirrors. I wanted her to know she had done something dumb. To me, she was only another self-centered, oblivious Real Driver of South Orange County. A half-mile later, I turned into the parking lot at my destination. The Cadillac went straight – or so I thought.

When I got back to my car, there was a note under a windshield wiper, a page ripped out of a pocket-size spiral-bound pad. The irregular handwriting said:

“You drive like shit.

“I bet you do The Zipper.

“I bet you need a hug.”

Three sentences, each one a little cooler. Good. I felt glad to be of therapeutic service. It was plenty creepy, though, to think that the driver was nutty More

You know you’re a grown-up when …

Button HELP

© Марина Панюкова

I ran across some pearls of wisdom while cleaning out the “Documents” file on my computer. Heaven knows how old they are, what precipitated them or when I started collecting them, but they are mine.

Today I offer them to you for whatever value you may take from them.

  • Child-rearing techniques, such as correcting others’ behavior, rarely succeed with adults. (Here’s an example: When I passed through Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix on the way to my dad’s funeral, a little girl plowed right into my legs as I entered a ladies’ room. “I’m sorry,” the girl said. In my brain-fog, I just looked at her, silent. The mother snapped, “She said she’s sorry!” I replied, “My dad just died, and I’m sorry, too.” Obviously, I didn’t give the correct reply; she gave me a dirty look and stalked off.)
  • Whining makes adults seem childish. The better grown-up alternative is finding solutions to problems and applying them.
  • People are far more likely to overlook or to be unaware of your needs than to mistreat you intentionally.
  • Quit applying your personal expectations to others. Instead, actively create the opportunity for them to give you what you need. If they don’t bite, at least you tried.
  • There are times to complain publicly and times to complain privately.
  • Others’ behavior usually is not about you.
  • Work on outgrowing the need to seek validation for every little thing you consider to be a success; we sought our parents’ validation as children, but as adults we know, expect and accept our own capabilities.
  • Assumptions are the worst thing you can do to yourself.
  • Before passing judgment, consider that you truly have no idea where the other person is on life’s path.

Let’s trade: What pearls of wisdom guide you in your life? (To comment, please click on “Leave a comment” under the date next to the headline.)




What day is it?

February 2023