Monthly Archives: February 2013

Chicken Wings, White Bread and Peer Pressure (pt.2)

When we last left our hero, he was entering a night club when suddenly his face was “smooshed”.  He turns around to face his assailant, and is grabbed by a rather large friend and escorted outside the “club”…..That’s where our story picks up.

Ok, I have machismo, and I like to think that I don’t get scared of much, but that night…THAT night was pretty scary.  I guess it showed on my face, because the next thing that I remember was a NEW guy suddenly standing right next  to me.  He had one of those hooded gray sweatshirts and his hands were hidden inside the pocket in the front .   His hood was pulled up; hanging loose around his face.  He spoke to me and said,  “Hey man, what’s your name?”  I answered, “Tyrone.”.  I was half expecting him to try to throw a punch, so  I worked my Vulcan/Jedi/David Blaine mind magic on him and mean mugged him with the meanest face I could muster… He didn’t swing.  Instead,he responded, “Don’t worry, man, from now on…you’re my cousin.”  He accented his resolve with a “click, click”  sound as he pulled one of those shiny little pistols out of his sweatshirt pocket and cocked it back.

By now, most of the people that had been  INSIDE the club were standing around outside; waiting for the show. I didn’t really care about many of the onlookers though.  It was another sound that had my interest.   I distinctly remember the sound of car trunks opening and closing all around the place.  Let me fill you in on another country town fact.  It’s  NEVER a good sign to hear trunks opening and closing  when a fight is about to start.  That usually signals guns.

Yep, right on the money!    Guns were coming out all around me….most of them were really fancy lil pistols, some not so fancy.  On the not so fancy side,  my friend had taken a few minutes to go to his truck and get out a 22 rifle that was belonged  to his Dad.  Amongst all those pretty, shiny pistols, the best he could do was a RIFLE?!??! A freaking  rifle?!?!?!  He was waving it around now, screaming “Who’s messing with my boy?” at the top of his lungs.  I’m not sure if you are a gun person or not, but I know HE wasn’t, or he wouldn’t have been advertising that he was defending us with what HAD to be his  Granddad’s old squirrel hunting rifle!!!

So now, you have this crowd of about 35-45  people, most with pistols drawn.  The crowd included one maniacal best friend waving around an old 22 rifle and shouting at the top of his lungs, one new found “family  member” with a criminal disposition, looking for a reason to start a shootout, and one teenager hoping that all those bladder control exercises wouldn’t let him down, and wishing that he had at LEAST bough his big brothers’ nun chucks with him. (Hey, I didn’t own a gun…..)  To make matters worse, it seemed like everyone out there was either threatening to do something to me or daring someone to do something to me.  ( I mean, maybe it was just me, but  if they were REALLY concerned about my welfare, wouldn’t they have dared someone to shoot THEM instead of me?!?!? I’m just sayin’…)   I remember doing the math in my head, and thinking that “the odds really aren’t looking too good for the home team tonight”.  (That’s the actual quote, b.t.w.)

Anyway, eventually cooler heads prevailed…sort of.  Once I was able to get my best friend calmed down we were able to sneak off in the confusion.  I had contemplated running across one of those big empty fields, jumping clumps of dirt and possibly running into some kind of feral animal, but that would’ve been embarrassing, and I couldn’t let THAT happen.  There WERE still girls there, after all. (Don’t think it didn’t cross my mind, though.)  Now, understand, there was no “one minute we were there and the next we were gone, David Copperfield”  moment…we just kind of slowly faded into the background and eeeeeeased our way to where his truck was, and left.  Discretion really was the better part of valor on THAT night.   Thus ended the second scariest night of my life.  And you know what?  All of this was over a book that I let my girlfriends’ sister borrow; a book that she subsequently lost and told her boyfriend, the “Fish Guy”,  that I wanted to fight him over.  I told you she was the evil twin.

Tune in next time for part 3


Posted by on February 8, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Chicken Wings, White Bread and Peer Pressure (pt.1)

This is a really long story, so I’ll divide it up into parts for easier reading.  As always, true story.

Let’s talk a bit about peer pressure.  I’ll start it off with a bad example of handling peer pressure; featuring yours truly, and I’ll follow it up with a good example, featuring my daughter.

      Here’s a little more background on me for you.  Most of my teenage life, I was a lightweight.  In fact, even when I joined the Air Force, I was 5 ’10”-ish and I weighed in at a WHOPPING 128 pounds…sopping wet and WITH boots on.  Suffice it to say, that I never really injected much fear into anybody’s heart when they saw me coming.  So, for that reason, the guys that were bigger than me, which to me, seemed like 99% of the population, chose to test my resolve… fiercely and often.  Honestly though, I don’t know if it was because of my lack of size or my over abundance of “smart mouthedness.    Okay, so it was probably more about the mouth than anything but it didn’t really matter though, ‘cause either way, the results were typically the same.  When presented with the inevitability of a brouhaha, my fight or flight instinct kicked in at full force…and for the most part, a few  of  factors would always determine which one prevailed.  Here they are (in no specific order).

1)      Whether or not there were girls there….(DUMMY!)

2)      Whether or not I could ease off into the sunset without being seen.

3)      Could I take him?

4)      Did I have enough backup in case I couldn’t? (see rule 3)

5)      Would I be willing to fight the guy AGAIN when he would come after me in a week or so when he caught me somewhere by myself?

Those were my standard rules of engagement. (Don’t laugh fellas, cause if you think about it….those were pretty much  your rules too.)

I can remember one night in particular.  When I was about  sixteen or seventeen I was dating a girl that had a  twin sister.  Her twin would prove to be an evil twin. Trust me. You’ll see.

On this night, I went out with my best friend and his girlfriend of the week at that time.  We were just walking into a night club. Now if you’re from the city, you probably have a more glamorous idea of what I mean by “nightclub” than what a nightclub is where I’m from.  In fact, they weren’t even night clubs exactly, they were just reconditioned houses and barns and stuff with a DJ.  To put it in perspective, I even remember buying “chicken sandwiches” that were actually just fried chicken pieces; wings, thighs, legs and such, nestled in the middle of a folded piece of “light bread” (white bread); with a couple of dashes of hot sauce for added flavor.  That was pretty much the fine cuisine of the places we frequented.  Aahhhhh….the memories.

Anyway, the year was somewhere in the ‘87/’88 time frame.   This night, we found ourselves going into a place called The Hayloft, and yep, you guessed it, it was an old reconditioned barn, but it didn’t SMELL like one, so, for us, it was like being in a HOT nightspot in L.A. or something.  Besides, the strings of Christmas lights (it was June) hanging around the place gave it a particular “ambiance” for kids like us.    It was smack dab in the middle of NOWHERE and NOTHING; surrounded by big empty fields.  So if we didn’t have the money to get in…doggone it, we could just hang out in the parking lot and tell everybody that we didn’t WANT to go in….(That’s called “ballin’ on a budget”).  However, that night, we had a few dollars, so we paid our money and went in.

At that time, there were a BUNCH of really wild dances that were popular, but I can’t remember many of the names of them.  If you can remember the hot ones from the late ‘80’s that required a lot of flailing of the arms and such, that’s what we were probably doing.   So, when I felt a hand it me hard across the right side of the face, I thought it was just a MC Hammer dance move gone horribly, horribly awry.   I didn’t think much of it.   After I took a couple of steps to the left to see where it had come from, and that’s when the truth became obvious, and I had some decisions to make.

There was a guy, in the middle of the dance floor, screaming LOUD at me.  At least he LOOKED like he was screaming.  It was hard to hear what he was saying over the music, so  I could just see his mouth opening and closing.  I remember for a split second laughing to myself thinking,  “Wow, that dude  looks like a fish trying to catch his breath.”  It would’ve been comical…if he hadn’t been clearing a big circle on the dance floor, and daring me to come at him.  At that point, there was no question about his intent in my mind anymore.  It wasn’t a misplaced MC Hammer arm flail; he had intentionally “smooshed” my face.  (Definition–Smoosh:  1) verb;   to place the palm of one’s hand to the side of another’s face and apply force in a pushing motion” 2)noun:  Not quite slapping;  primarily  meant to embarrass.  )

I didn’t recognize him, so just then, I had no reason to believe that his beef with me was all THAT serious.  Besides, when I did the math in my head, it looked like he might’ve only had me by about 5 or so pounds, so I thought I could take him.  (Rule 3…CHECK!)   It was a risk, but a calculated one.  So I turned to go at him.  I couldn’t lose cool points while girls were there. (Darn rule 1!  Did I mention that I would ALWAYS do stupid stuff if girls were involved?)  It was on!

I spun around to go straight at him, when a big hand grabbed me by my right elbow and spun me around.  It was one of the few other friends that we had in the place that night; all 6 foot something and 200 plus pounds of him.  He shook his head from side to side and started pulling me towards the front door. (Rule 4…..failed.)   I knew things couldn’t be good and wouldn’t be getting any better  from that moment on.  I mean, I had all the clues.    It started with the DJ scratching the record to a halt with a loud SKRITTTTTT, starting to pack up his crates which allowed ME to start  hearing stuff.  “Fish guy” intended to do me some serious bodily harm….all 128 pounds of me.  DANG!  What made matters worse though, was that apparently, he wasn’t alone.  He had a LOT of his friends there and they didn’t like us…rather, for the MOST part, they didn’t like CHRIS.  I was just hated by association.  Remember when I mentioned that Chris’ latest girlfriend was his “girlfriend of the week?   Well, before her, quite a few of those guys’ girlfriends had been various girls of various weeks for Chris and none of their boyfriends had very many pleasantries to exchange with us as a result. (Rule 4 DOUBLE failed…..darn CHRIS!)

So, we head outside, and that is when it REALLY starts to get interesting.  They pretty much shut the club down because of the upcoming fight, and remember, we are in the COUNTRY; nothing but big open fields.  Security was nonexistent to say the least.  I really have a hard time remember names, but I remember the security that night (as most nights) was the owner of the club;  some really big old fat man that looked like he had eaten one, or one hundred, too many of those fried chicken on white bread sandwiches, so I couldn’t look for him to bail me out of this mess.

(TO BE CONTINUED)…..Dunt…dunt…dunnnnnnnnn

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Posted by on February 7, 2013 in Uncategorized



Part of the process of preparing to write my book Daddy’s Doing Hair?!?!?  was to reach out to women to ask how their childhood relationships (or lack thereof), with their fathers shaped their lives as an adult.  I asked them to provide me with a one page write up about it. Some of their responses were stories of overcoming, of  learning self reliance, and of sheer force of will.  Many of them contained passages about strong mothers.  Some were heart wrenching stories of feelings of betrayal, abandonment and lifelong scars.  One of them that I interviewed even said that she is scared to have children of her own, because she is afraid that she will abandon them… her father did her.   Mind…..blown.

I gathered a few things out of my interviews.  As men, and potential Daddies, we have a huge amount of influence over the lives of our daughters.  I’m not sure if most of us truly know this or, even sadder to accept, if we even care.

Case in point.  The write up that I’m including in this post.  It’s called “Puerile Father”.  Now, I’m not one that easily  admits publicly that I don’t know what a word means, but the word puerile sent me STRAIGHT to  One of the definitions is :  childishly foolish; immature or trivial  Wow…Is THAT the description of fatherhood that we want??  Read the write up below, and let me know what you think about her point of view.  Also, if you’d like to share your story and possibly have it included in the book, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

Puerile Father

I can’t ever remember him being regularly around really, I have oddments of memories that may or may not be real. As you grow older your mind melds what you want to be real into thoughts and false memories that seem to erase the past…I guess that’s what I did or maybe it’s real I guess I will never know. Granted I have spoken to him numerous times and for a brief period I thought that I would actually have a dad in my life. I say dad because the cliché goes, “any man can father a child but a real man is called dad” or something or other.

My earliest encounter that I can remember was Houston, Texas going to a carnival. Through the eyes of a perceptive child I knew things between my father and mother were strained. They did not act like the parents on television or in movies they were distant almost choking at the sight of each other, I’m not completely sure that a three year old should pick up on such raw emotions but I did. He owns his transportation business so he is always on the go, I guess that’s where I get it from I’m never content with anything. My mother says I’m just like him, impetuous and quick tempered I’ve got a foul mouth and even nastier mood swings. Unexpectedly I inherited his love for art and ingenuity and I excel at anything I’m determined to do, but I guess my father wasn’t so resolute in keeping a family.

I remember him picking me up for a Panamanian convention in Charlotte; I suppose the thought connecting with half of my heritage would be a bonding experience. Well after four hours of wandering alone in a Charlotte mall because he forgot to pick me up after shopping I felt the bonding was doubtful. Discarding me in a room with three Spanish speaking women I did not know also put a damper on the evening.  However, I suspect one of the women was one of his many girlfriends kept during his marriage to my mom.

My experience with my father continued into my high school years as he attempted to build a relationship with me over the phone via guilt, manipulation and intimidation.  But, I am my father’s daughter so his attempts were unsuccessful. My father tried to instruct me to think and act as he felt a “good daughter” should nonetheless, his attempts were frustrated by my obstinate resolve to be my own person separate from him. I never felt a need for my father to be in my life in order to dictate who I should be, bearing in mind that he was not qualified to be a parent…competent or concerned.

My mother raised me to be an intellectual, articulate woman with no hate in my heart towards my father, my distance from him comes from the observations of his chronic unreliability and pettiness. A lack of father figure has affected me greatly, but I opt not to be a victim. The trust issues I have with men have beleaguered me since my mid to late teens, all the same, I desire to take control of my personal happiness and that does not include feeling sorry for myself in regards to my father or lack thereof. In a way I have had a father in my mother who is the strongest woman I know. As a single parent she was father, mother, friend and confidant and the struggle of raising a daughter in a changing world was a task she tackled with poise and charm.

I have never felt hate towards my father, mostly sadness and bitterness because he has truly missed out on the woman that I am becoming. Regardless, my path to greatness will be dictated by my inner strength, passion and determination to succeed with or without a father-figure will be what propels me to the future.

(V.C. Greenville,NC)

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Posted by on February 5, 2013 in Uncategorized


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