Love Is Irrational

db33b6302134a87d1b260e7ef99792e2aae348ba7551ed5eab93be3bb633434cMy Featured Blogger this week is Don White of Walking the Path. I know little about Don except that I like him. I mean, a lot. Oh, and although age and experience don’t necessarily guarantee wisdom, they’ve most definitely produced wisdom in Don’s case. I mean, a lot.

Walking the path

Don and Jo 1967

(2-minute read)

I love my wife. Why? I don’t know; I just do. I can tell you why I like her or admire her. I have reasons for those, but love seems so irrational. This August, we will have been married 56 years. You would think that I would be able to answer that question of why.

About a year and a half ago, I was in the room with my wife, and suddenly, my brain felt like it was beginning to shut down, and I became worried that I was having a stroke or something. As it progressed, I started thinking I might be dying. Since I care for the household finances, I worried my wife, Jo, wouldn’t know what to do. On top of the dead body in the living room, she would have the problem of not knowing where the money is to…

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Playing the Field

My Real Memoir

By age 16 my infatuation with girls had gone malarial; no net could contain me. I flirted shamelessly with anyone and everyone I found attractive. I never mentioned other girls to my pen pal Judy, for example. Why? Because she was cute and I wanted to keep that option open—even though she lived 1,000 miles away! (See birthday poem above.)

I did have a girlfriend. Sort of. But Kelle and I would savor one another only to run off and sample the other flavors in the candy store.

On a chilly night at Huntington Beach (our wheels were petpetually turned toward the ocean), I took a romantic walk with an “older woman,” a pretty Latina named Valerie. We kissed. Again and again. I knew that, at 18, she was “experienced,” so my hands began to wander. But Valerie said, “No, don’t spoil it. You’re my knight in shining armor.” (See yearbook quote above.) Years later, due to my youthful passion for dating girls of every ethnicity, my adult daughter accused me of “virtue signaling.” But honestly, it was more like “variety signaling.” I simply wanted to try all the candy in the candy store. Not very PC, I know. Add it to my well-stuffed “Mitch’s Mea Culpas” folder.

When adorable pink-cheeked Helen asked me to the Valentine’s Day Dance, I showed up with a huge sunflower I’d found in a field. I started to pin it on her, saying, “Let’s be different!” But then, in response to her look of unbridled terror, I brought out an actual corsage. Once we figured each other out, we got on famously. A remarkably talented singer/actress, Helen would eventually be the leading lady in a whole array of stage musicals. She would also, later that year, become the leading lady in my buddy Marc’s life!

Kelle and I started dating again after she and I were cast as a down-and-out married couple in a heavy drama Waiting for Lefty, our school’s official entry at SoCal high school play festivals. Our ongoing attraction soon intermingled with conspiratorial pride as our play scooped up prize after prize.

And then she was cast as Louise, the lead dance role in our school’s production of Carousel. Entranced, I watched from the wings as she leaped and spun, and thought, Why am I dating anyone else?

So naturally, I asked her to the Prom. And it was truly magical. The sweetly stunning Kelle and I danced and laughed until they closed the doors to the ballroom. And then we extended our night by exploring L.A.’s Little Tokyo until it too closed down. When a droopy-eyed shopkeeper asked if we’d just gotten married, we laughed. But I remember looking at her and thinking, In a different version of our lives, maybe. It was the most perfect date we ever had.

And also our last.  

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Courage Demands Gratitude

Memorial Day (

Dear Americans, while we enjoy our Memorial Day, may we not fail to remember those whose sacrifices paid for it. Those soldiers, firefighters, police officers and others whose sacrifices have secured the lives and freedoms of Americans and non-Americans alike.

“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened.”

~Billy Graham

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Only Love…


“If I have prophetic powers, and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and have the faith to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” ~1 Corinthians 13:2

Only love can unbreak us.

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Mockery Cuts Deep

Mocking Girls

The Wishing Map is a full-length fantasy that is being posted episodically at this site. To read the previous episode, click here. To read the entire novel, begin here.Wishing Title 2 (logo only)

Gina and her brother Zack had completely alienated one another. And now they were facing separate disastrous Back to School nights. Alone.

Gina looked for Birdy, her best friend, the minute they arrived, but couldn’t find her. Now she and Dad were at the Minzer High School Registration Table under a banner that said, “Go, Settlers!”

“Sort of a mixed message, isn’t it?” Dad mused.

By the time they reached the classroom of the infamous Biology teacher “Mr. Trip-to-Hell” (Mr. Trippifel), Gina had given up hope of finding Birdy. Dad and Trippifel hit it off, which was annoying, so Gina wandered out into the open quad.

“Hey, Dore. How’s ‘thy husband, thy keeper, thy sovereign?’” shouted Treece Vondermeuller, referring to Gina’s massive meltdown at Middleton Middle School last spring. Treece had never forgiven Gina for not getting sick so she could take over the lead role in The Taming of the Shrew.

A swirling eddy of guffaws began to build around Gina.

“Dude, that was wicked weird!” said Lexi Beckler. “Why didn’t you just get off the stage?”

“She did, she said, ‘Thanky!’” chortled Travis Mellon, who’d had a crush on Gina since God said, “Let there be light.”

More people, more guffaws.

Gina melted Travis with a look-laser. And then, with all the verbal firepower she could muster, she started blasting: “Actually, I’d quite forgotten about that. I’d also forgotten how caught up all of you are in your petty little existences here. Personally, I’ve got a destiny to fulfill, and it’s not in Middleton, it’s in a whole other world! But you wouldn’t know about that, would you?” (She knew she should stop, but some alternate reality version of herself had taken over.) “Because you don’t have anything better to do with your insignificant little lives than hang out here in Podunkville. Frankly, I feel sorry for you because—”

“Hail, Queen Gina!” a familiar voice shouted.

Gina whirled around, too shocked to reply.

“Hah-hah-hah-hah!” Birdy continued. “What an ego freak, huh? Gina did that visiting royalty bit at Middleton Mall yesterday, and they were all, ‘Oh, sorry, your highness!’ and ‘Yes, your majesty!’ It was a total shrieker! We told everyone she was this princess from—where was it?” Birdy shot Gina a look.

“Um, Princess J’nah of Frenga?”

“Yeah, right! Totally hilarious!”

Birdy had just thrown Gina a life preserver. Now she went on, blasting, snorting, and hooting until snot came out of her petite little nose! And then, as Gina watched in wonder, her best friend diffused the bomb like a world-class demolitions expert:

“I totally fell into these college guys’ potato salad at the beach in California this summer! They were so cool about it; they even wanted to help clean me off — in my bikini! Hey, Treece, “remember when your top came off at Wild Waters last month. Wow! That must have been crazy, huh?”

Treece looked like one of those old cat clocks, frozen plastic with only her eyes moving back and forth.

The crowd was laughing uncontrollably now.

“Yeah!” Treece screeched. “I guess we all have embarrassing stories, huh? Well, gotta go!”

As the crowd dissipated, Gina whispered, “Where did you learn that, Birdy?”

“Sunday School.”


“You know, ‘Let the one who is without sin throw the first stone?” Listen, Gee, I don’t know what you’re looking for, but you’d better find it soon.”

Birdy stared into Gina’s eyes, forcing her to focus. And then she dropped the bomb: “We’re moving to California in two weeks. My dad’s gonna be partner in some medical group there, which means I have to spend the rest of my life with a bunch of stuck-up So-Calies. So can you please be real just for once!” Birdy’s sun-freckled cheeks were streaked with tears.

Stunned, Gina embraced her soon-to-be-gone-forever best friend.

Now she really was alone.


Thoughts: Have you ever so alienated yourself from others that you felt completely alone in the world?

Ten Kingdoms of Ismara (

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Unintentional Irony

Irony: it’s everywhere we look. Except when we’re actually looking for it. Which is rather ironic, actually. Humans are the most ironic creatures on earth–and probably in the rest of the universe, for that matter–both intentionally and unintentionally. As Deteriorata, a spoof of the famous inspirational poem Desiderata, puts it: “You are a fluke of the universe. And whether you can hear it or not, the universe is laughing behind your back.” But with a loving smile.

Click on any image to enlarge it, or to begin slide show.

Some Thoughts on Irony

“I quote others only in order the better to express myself.”
~Michel de Montaigne

“Irony is wasted on the stupid.”
~Oscar Wilde

“I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.”
~Steven Wright

“It was growing late, and though one might stand on the brink of a deep chasm of disaster, one was still obliged to dress for dinner.”
~Georgette Heyer

“People who didn’t need people needed people around to know that they were the kind of people who didn’t need people.”
~Terry Pratchett

“Beauty is in the eye of the nearsighted.” ~Mitch Teemley

“You could write a book about things that you can’t find on-line.”
~Maggie Stiefvater

“So, now I’ve been to see a drug counselor who told me I need to lay off the drugs and talk about my feelings, and a shrink who heard what I had to say and immediately put me on drugs.” ~Libba Bray

“Listen: our culture is saturated with irony whether we know it or not.” ~Barbara Kruger

“I once saw a forklift lift a crate of forks. It was way too literal for me.” ~Mitch Hedberg

“Physician, heal thyself.” ~Luke 4:23

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Telephone Solicitors

I don’t like telephone solicitation. But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it. I mean, robocalls–meh. But I took real pleasure in having this conversation with an actual live solicitor:


Telephone rings

Me: Hello?

Solicitor: Hello, I’m from Hearing Solutions.

Me: Who?

Solicitor: Is there anyone in your family who may be hard of hearing?

Me: What?

Solicitor: This is Nathan calling to help.

Me: “Satan calling from hell?”

Pause – Dial Tone

Me: Heh-heh.

Phone Clipart 1585

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Aging Gracefully

Featured Image -- 80810

e79ddc5c480d4ac70d41ca041b58c773My Featured Blogger this week is Scarlett Carson of Scarlett’s BPD Corner. Diagnosed with BPD, graphic artist and writer Scarlett has learned to make lemonade from lemons by exploring life, our world, and the power of hope through her extraordinary gifts.

Scarlett's BPD Corner

Oh, to age gracefully. How many times have you heard this term? It seems that we hear/read it more and more these days, as people seem to be obsessed with physical beauty, cosmetic surgery, non-invasive procedures, etc.

How many times do we see celebrities be praised for how flawless they still look when they are older or put down for how older they look than their age? Don’t body shame, body positivity but that is okay. Especially if we don’t like the person. However, if the people of the opposing political wing do it, they are evil and low.

People rejoice in seeing people looking not that good and not youthful. Like that is a crime. It’s not. Life is like that sometimes and they probably just decided to not enhance themselves surgically or in some way along those lines.

So many people who are praised, just enhanced their appearance…

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Just Mitch

My Real Memoir

God believed in me. Even though, by my teens, I’d decided he didn’t exist and had come to consider believers rather simple-minded. Still, I could be tactfully dodgy. I told my pen pal Judy I believed in God, but when she pressed, I admitted that by “God” I simply meant “the human race.” I’d read The Diary of Anne Frank and wholeheartedly agreed that “in spite of everything, people are truly good at heart.”

Somehow, I’d managed to squeeze atheism, snobbish intellectualism, naïve idealism, and an overwhelming desire to make myself into something other or more than I was all into the same overcrowded psyche. I attended Young Americans and Up With People! concerts, and occasionaly suppressed my gag reflex because I so desperately wanted to believe thinking happy thoughts could save the world. When the Summer of Love broke out that year and our radios blasted “All You Need is Love!” I told myself, “This is it! My generation will put everything right!”

But deep down, I knew that up-up-with-ing people and singing about love wasn’t enough, that real love and peace had to come from somewhere–they had to have a Source.

Enter my friend Joe.

I wasn’t a bigtime sporto. In P.E. class, the moment our coach appointed baseball captains, they would hold “choose-ups.” Team Captain One would say, “I choose Bobby Awesome.” Then Team Captain Two would say, “I choose Dave Superjock,” etc. And so it would go, until there were only a few guys left. I was nearly always one of those guys—the creamless of the crop. In fact, I was frequently the last guy.

Now, Joe and I were, as he wrote in my yearbook, “argue partners” (above). I argued against the existence of God, and he argued for it. Constantly. So I was stunned when, as baseball captain one day, Joe chose me first. I mean right off the bat (note clever baseball reference), even though there were a whole bunch of guys standing there who could actually hit a ball!

For some reason, Joe, who always signed his name “Just Joe,” believed in me. And somehow that changed everything. I started playing baseball like a guy who could, well, play! And finally, on my last at-bat, I hit an actual, gen-u-wine, bona fide homerun!

Luck? Nope, I knew better. When I asked him why, Joe said, “I believe in you, Mitch, because God does.” And that, he explained, was why he always signed his name “Just Joe.” Because God believed in him, and being the person God made him to be was enough; he had no overwhelming need to make himself into something other or more. He was “Just Joe” and that was enough.

I laughed it off. But Joe had planted a seed. And even though that seed would lie dormant for years, just to see what it would look like, I altered my grandiose signature in a letter to Judy (above) to…

“Just Mitch.”

My Real Memoir is a series. To read the next one, click here.

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Do You Have Unfinished Business?

Thought for the Week

Man-hanging-on-a-branchTom and I have been friends for many years, and I love him to a fault. Which is convenient since he regularly confesses his faults. He’s a sincere but weak believer who is sick of his own weaknesses and moral lapses, sick of himself, really. And he has been for as long as I’ve known him. I regularly pray for his progress, however gradual. But I sometimes fear he’s stuck in the rinse-and-repeat pattern of: 1) feel bad about self, 2) announce to the world that you are human feces, 3) gather “you’re not that bad!” responses, 4) bolstered by responses, feel better about self for awhile, 5) repeat cycle.

I understand Tom’s need for approval (although I’m more comfortable in my fur, I too crave petting), so I’m often among his encouragers. But in doing so I fear I may be contributing to the cycle. So in response to one of his “I’m a piece of crap!” announcements in which he expressed the desire for God to finally just end his worthless existence, I took a different tack. Being careful to identify with him (easy to do), I wrote:

“Tom, unfortunately, or rather fortunately, God is not in the escape-provision business. He tends to keep us around until our work on others and on ourselves is done. Ironically, it seems that the people who have “everything to live for” are the ones he calls home. The rest of us have too much unfinished business to complete to take an eternal holiday just yet. As a reminder of this, and of why it must be so, I regularly recite James 1:2-4 to myself:

Consider it all joy, my friends, when you fall into various trials. Remember that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.

“So press on, Tom. Finish your business, no matter how long it takes. It’s worth it. Infinitely worth it. Love, your equally-unfinished brother,”


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