Things I’m Trying: WordPress Extension for Chrome

Has anyone else run into an issue with editing a WordPress blog entry in Safari on a Macbook? I’ve created many “Categories” over the years, but when I click in that box to pick a “Category”, it won’t scroll down. I’ve Google’d about the problem, but found nothing quickly …so maybe it’s not an epidemic.

Then I thought, hey, I’ll install Chrome on my Macbook and use the web editor there, instead, and I discovered that Chrome has a WordPress extension. It’s cool, I guess. I’m writing this entry within that editor and lo and behold, it doesn’t show any of my categories.

So, the Chrome extension is good for a quick and dirty blog entry, but still lacks a few bells and whistles. Well, maybe I’m only missing my “Categories” now that I think about it.

Oh, and I can’t insert a photo from a URL. Bummer.

Follow me @donkowalewski.

Things I Have: Bronchiectasis and How I’ve Been Doing it All Wrong

Must …exercise …again.

When my Mom was alive, she was one step shy of being a medical doctor – and that “one step” was 6 short years of medical school and training. Other than that, she was our family doctor …well, a nurse practitioner, at least. If she was still around, I’d know way more about my lung condition, Bronchiectasis, than I know because she’d probably spend a million hours trying to help me.

Luckily, my wife does a lot of that and keeps an eye on me – much better than I keep and eye on myself. And also, my sister helps me as well.

So my sister sends me an article about eating with a lung condition and I’ve kinda messed things up these past few months. I’ve been eating mostly a “mucus free diet”, but I’d also been cutting out fruits and that’s probably what’s been messing me up.

I need to make a conscious effort to add back in citrus (I love grapefruit) and apples, and so what if apples aren’t tasty in the winter (and expensive). Those are big additions for a guy like me with lung problems. Oh, and exercise …despite how it makes me raspy and tired, and does serious damage to my ego when I realize a 30-minute brisk walk at my local church (where 70-year-old ladies race by me) can lead to a restless night sleep …I need to do it.

Anyway, this is a “thank you” blog to my two nurses, and a “hey, read this” to the few Bronchiectasis sufferers who’ve found my blog and for others who might still find me.

Here’s two really good articles.

12 Ways to Keep Your Lungs Strong and Healthy

and

13 Best and Worst Foods for Your Lungs

Things I Wonder: Is This Haiku Presentation App Any Good?

I’m trying to make a great little presentation on my iPad and this Haiku Deck looks pretty cool …for FREE. And it says you can embed your presentation on a blog. If you can see the presentation below, the developer wasn’t lying.

Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

Or did this work?

http://www.haikudeck.com/p/DKotJfHJwH/resolutions-that-stick

Well, neither worked from my iPad, but that’s not vital.

Things I Did: Quit My Job and Got a New Job

The IKEA Effect: “We don’t put effort into things because we love them. We love them because we put effort into them.”

If you see someone walking down the street looking like a guy with alot on his mind, well, that guy might be me. See, about a month ago I heard about this really amazing product and cutting edge technology and I thought to myself, “wow, someone’s going to learn about this and how to sell it and they’re gonna write articles about that guy and how he was part of a revolutionary moment in that field.” And I had lunch with the guy that invented it and has been perfecting it the last three years, all while running two other divisions of his business at the same time. And, a friend of mine I’ve known since childhood thought of me when he saw this idea and had similar thoughts as me, so he arranged that lunch and said great things about me and we were all caught up in a whirlwind of enthusiasm and positivity and lo’ and behold, I quit my job and took a new job selling this amazing product (I plan to tell/blog about it in the future once I get my sea legs).

Seriously, that was five weeks ago. In that span of time, I accepted an offer, gave a resignation, and then spent a marvelous 10 days in Maui relaxing with my family while I was out of work and celebrating a new chapter in my life. Now, my challenge is to make sure this isn’t one of those short chapters in a book …ya know, those 4-page chapters where nothing happens except some character is introduced doing something odd and disconnected from the rest of the book like, say, working in his basement on his computer hacking into mainframes and then he sees an irregularity in a sequence of data and makes a note in his journal and then …bam …new chapter and we rejoin our main characters. The book eventually will get back to that character, but sometimes not. Sometimes we just learn that what he discovered was relevant to the over-archging story, but his character wasn’t relevant. That’s what this is …someway and somehow, this awesome cool thing is going to succeed and I don’t plan on being a nameless, faceless character used briefly to advance the story.

Anyway, what I’m alluding to is …I want to think I’ve written a final chapter in one book (aka my former career of 16 years) and started a new chapter in my new book (aka my new job …you’re all getting my analogy, right?).

It’s an odd thing changing a career at 39 years old when you consider I had spent 16 years doing the exact same thing, albeit for 3 different companies. I certainly had entered a “comfort zone” of sorts. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. In the old days …like 30 or 40 years ago, that’s exactly what people wanted to find …a “comfort zone” with benefits, a pension, and a place they could happily work for 25 or 35 years and then retire, knowing their job would always be there and each year would carry with it a cost-of-living increase and maybe a promotion here or there.

I also think most people like to think that, hey, if they were to see something amazing they’d know exactly what they would do when said amazing thing presented itself to them. I like to think I know exactly what to do, too, and I think I know what I’m doing. But …I’m wondering …does everyone who leaves “comfortable” feel “uneasy” at first as they start writing their new chapter?

What’s the point of this blog entry? Is it to tell you I have a new job? Is it to brag that I’m a “risk taker”? Or is it just some attempt at communal bonding with other people who changed jobs-slash-careers? It’s probably a little of all three. And a fourth point …to share some great quotes my wife sent me during my first week (oh …just for the record, I’m exactly 6 days into the job) and these quotes couldn’t be more perfect. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. And, I also thank you for reading …I need to blog more and that motivation comes courtesy of my sister who started her own blog and she’s been a blogging MACHINE and it’s impressive, humbling, and inspiring. My family and friends have come to know me as the “blogger” in the family and while it’s perfectly OK for a family to have two bloggers, I just don’t want to someday be referred to as “the guy who used to blog about stuff.”

Again …read and bookmark my sisters blog. Thanks for reading mine. And here’s those awesome quotes.

“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.”  ―C. JoyBell C.

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” –Theodore Roosevelt

“Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four Cs. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.” -The Walt Disney Company

 

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”  -E.E. Cummings

Things I Think: Surround Yourself with Inspiring, Motivated, and Good People and Try to Be Like Them

I’m flattered when people say things to me like, “I really liked that blog post,” or, “you’re toast was really funny,” and it truly humbles me. Because what they don’t realize is it’s not me, it’s them. Maybe I’ve been lucky all my life, or maybe I just have a good judge of character, but I’ve managed to have lived a life surrounded by some pretty amazing people. Despite how amazing some of these people are, I sure tried like hell to screw things up on more than one occasion and act like, well, some kinda monster.

But luckily, even when I was doing stupid stuff (mostly from the age of 16 to 23), good people were still impacting me and even though it took a few years, the good stuff they did rubbed off on me.

Lately, I’ve been thinking alot about all the good people I’ve tricked into being my friend, tricked into hiring me, tricked into training me, and, oh, let’s say tricked into marrying me , and I’m starting to think if I take all the little bits of greatness from each of them, and try and add it to my own personality resume, I could really make something outta myself. Lessons from my father, my grandfather, and uncles …mixed with wisdom of my mother, patience of my grandmother, steadiness of my brother and sister, and brains of my wife, not to mention the countless friends and all their talents and coolness …well, if I could mix these all into a pomegranate flavored smoothie of influence, just think of the person I could be.

Hint: I’d be an awesome person.

Now, imagine I stop living life with simple conversations of, “what’s up,” and, “hey” when walking the hallways of my office, or meeting with people and discussing the weather, and instead I tried to figure out what makes them awesome and learn from them. What if I just started meeting people and immediately finding the very best things about them without looking for the worst or for a reason I shouldn’t trust them …and if I kept adding that into my character?

Great googly moogly, you’d be talking about a really good dude.

So, where will I, and where will you, find these great people? If you watch the news or listen to talk radio (or read Facebook everyday), you start to think the world is full of arrogant, judgmental, hypocritical, loud-mouth blow-hards …and you’re right …if that’s who you’re  looking to surround yourself with. If you do, you’ll become an arrogant, judgmental, hypocritical, loud-mouth blow-hard who thinks you need to repeat the same old tired lines and arguments about the same old issues and themes.

Erase those people from your consciousness and insert, instead, motivating people doing great things who say nice things and are helpful and it’ll rub off on you …and me. I did that today, in fact, and I was humbled. Everyone made “nice” and “friendly” look effortless. I want to be like that. And …from now on, I will.

So …basically, what I’m saying, if you’re an awesome person and you have incredible qualities, let’s hang out.

Things I’m Doing: Being a Jerk (but the good kinda jerk)

I don’t mind that my daughter is texting me at work while she’s home sick. In fact, I kinda enjoy it. It’s nice to text back and forth with her and she’s getting to be such a big girl. It’s been a nice nine-and-a-half years of actual verbal dialog, but I know those days are numbered. Eventually, all I’ll get from her is eye-rolling, sighs, one- and two-word answers, and text messages …if I’m lucky.

Recently, against my better judgement, someone (way too) generously got her an iTouch and her life as a text messager has begun.

However, when I handed her the iTouch I said I don’t mind text messaging but I expect perfect grammar, spelling, and syntax (and I wasn’t really sure what I meant by “syntax”). I don’t think that’s too much to ask. I read too many articles about the erosion of these skills among our teens and collegians, and my Mom was a stickler for writing properly. I’m not perfect, mind you, but I enjoy a well written piece of literature and I’ve been known to write some ‘OK’ stuff from time to time …and I know how to use an adverb quite deftly.

So, I told my daughter that if I see that she can communicate properly with me, I’ll feel okay about her heading off into middle school and high school and will look the other way when she’s LOLing and WTFing and telling her “frnz” she’ll “C U L8r.”

Here was our exchange this morning. I’m proud to report she fixed it and resent me a message that was properly written. So proud. Oh, and she’s feeling much better.

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Things I Think: Social Media Makes Life Better

For anyone who ever argues the social media is not an awesome thing, allow me to demonstrate why those people aren’t using it right. About a week ago, in a pinch, the fam’ decided to go Up North (what Michiganders call anything north of Flint) for some winter fun, and we don’t have ice skates for kids. But I know that tons of my friends have kids who play hockey so I asked on Facebook, “hey …anyone have a pair of size 11, 13, size 2, and size 8 skates?”

Lo and behold people came out of the woodwork saying we could borrow theirs, or they’d sell me theirs, and voila! …we had skates for the weekend.

Exhibit B … Wednesday I got it in my head that I wanted to hear some old P.M. Dawn …I mean, bam, right at bedtime, I got a P.M. Dawn tune stuck in my head and rationalized this was one of my all time favorite groups (duos) even though I didn’t have their CDs in my music collection. P.M. Dawn, for those who don’t know, is (are) an awesome transcendental-sounding R&B group from the late 80s.

I went to Facebook saying, “I sure do love me some P.M. Dawn but can’t find much about them on-line and don’t have any of their CDs.”

Less than 24-hours later, I met with reader C.K. and she pulled P.M. Dawn’s debut CD from her purse and I’ve been listening to it non-stop ever since.

OK. wait, before you think I use social media like a pan-handler, here’s a better example.

Lastly, I’m sure we all think we keep-in-touch with friends and family we want to keep in touch with, and we don’t with others who’re not A-list material. Me? I’m the opposite …I wish I could keep-in-touch with more of my family and friends but with kids, and work, and hobbies, and my international spying and espionage, it’s tough …enter Twitter. One of my coolest cousins, J.M., is on Twitter …an unlikely place I thought I’d connect with him, but we’re connected. He’s as funny and interesting as ever, and we Tweet at or DM each other quite a bit and I’m pretty happy to say we’ve reconnected and it’s great. And he lives in Wyoming. He lived 1 hour from me for a decade and it took him moving to Wyoming for us to hang-out and shoot-the-shit all the time. And we do it with Twitter.

The same thing is happening with my Uncle R, who has lived in Boston my whole life, and whom I certainly didn’t know all that well …now, due to the power of Facebook, I’m naming his cats, he’s reading my blog, and we “talk” (interact on-line) all the time. Again …it’s great.

Yes, you could argue that if we were really “close” and intended to be “close”, well, why wouldn’t we just call each other every few weeks. Um, because …I’m convinced nobody does that. I’m also convinced we become “close” to people in our proximity …neighbors, co-workers, immediate family, families at school or church. It’s accessibility to people that makes us close. If that immediate proximity were to change, admit it, how many people in your “circle” would you keep in touch with?

What I’m saying is, Twitter has put J.M. (and Uncle R) back in my circle and this is a great thing …because they’re both great guys. And surrounding myself with great and good people, like my cousin and Uncle, help keep me on the straight-and-narrow and make me a better person.

So there. I don’t actually know who I’m throwing this in the face of, but I’m throwing it in someone’s face. Bam. Booyah! Zing! Pow! Wap! Social media is great.

Thanks for stopping by again and reading a blog post I wrote. Next up …365 New Year’s Resolutions.

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Things I Wonder: Are These “Signs” or Just My Imagination

You can skip the first 7 paragraphs where I ramble on about “signs from above” and my own inadequacies for a story you won’t believe, but it really happened.

I hate to admit this, but aside from the passages I was forced to read (all Old Testament) in 9th Grade religion class, and the parts that are read to me each week at church (and the passages written on signs at sporting events), I haven’t read The Bible. I feel like, I’ve seen The Ten Commandments, The Greatest Story Ever Told, and quite a few Bible related shows on The History Channel and Discovery, so I’ve got a pretty good handle on what’s in there.

Something that’s always fascinated me is how Saints and Prophets say they spoke to God (or God spoke to them) and many people throughout history claim to have seen and spoken with angels. Like, Noah was told by God to build an ark. Moses chatted up a burning bush. An angel appeared to Mary in a dream. I often think to myself, well, if that ever happened to me, well, you can bet I’d take some action and if more people spoke with God, more people would believe and do great and amazing things.

But, we’re supposed to have faith and trust these things happened to other people. Many of us, however, take the “I’ll believe it when I see it” approach. We want a glowing entity to appear at the foot of our bed and say, “Don, go build an orphanage.” And we swear, if we got a sign like that, we totally would – even though I think some people would say, “it was all a dream” and not do it.

What if “signs” are actually happening to us all the time? I think they are and most choose to ignore it (just like, at certain points in my life, if an angel had appeared at the foot of my bed, I might have pretended to be asleep …I’m not proud of that, but I can’t deny it). For example, what has inspired me to say, “Don, in 2013, I’m going to read the Gospels?” Why did I decide to pick up and start reading Rediscovering Catholicism? Why did I raise my hand and volunteer to coach soccer and be a part of a committee at my children’s school, and how come both are more fulfilling to me than almost anything I’ve ever done?

Mere coincidence? Or gentle, inspiring nudges from my Guardian Angel, or angels, or God himself? Do I have a choice, now, to keep following my “gut” and my suspicions that someone is trying to tell me something, or just chalk it all up as a series of incredible coincidences and unexplainable random things.

All of the above has happened. And a year ago, on a Sunday, while chopping wood, completely out of the blue, a thought jumped into my head to call a friend (a new friend) and just say “hi” and see how he was doing. I had the idea, “hey, that guy and I should have coffee and hang out. I should really call him and see how he’s doing.” Mind you, I am lucky to have many friends and I didn’t think this about anyone else, just this particular guy who, truthfully, I’d only known for about 3 or 4 months. But, I didn’t call him. And 48 hours later, he committed suicide. Now, I’m not arrogant enough to think a simple phone call from me would’ve changed anything, but why did I think of him, someone I barely knew, over and over again while chopping wood …and nobody else? Was it a “gentle nudge” I ignored?

“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? That’s because I am afraid and it gives me courage.” -Gandolf the Great (The Hobbit)

Which brings me to something that happened last week.

One night, at 1:30 a.m., I woke up out of a dead sleep to the smell of toast. Plain as day, as I lay there in bed, I smelled toast. My wife was fast asleep next to me, and I tried to rationalize that I must’ve been dreaming about toast and if I just relaxed, I wouldn’t smell it. Or, maybe, I feared, “toast” wasn’t really “toast”, but something was on fire downstairs. A stray Christmas light, perhaps, or maybe we’d accidentally left a scented candle burning. So, as the “man of the house”, I went to investigate. I walked around in the dark, flipping on lights, flipping off lights, trying to trace the smell of toast, and found nothing. And then I went into the kitchen and there it was …the smell of toast and coffee. I can’t explain the toast, but I can explain the coffee …I grind coffee fresh every night before bed so that in the morning (when I wake at 6ish), the whirring blades of my burr grinder don’t wake up my entire household. But the toast, I can’t explain.

The coffee beans, coincidentally, were “100% Pure Maui” beans, which my Dad had just given me as a gift a day or two earlier. These are his favorite beans and he orders them by the box-load every couple of months, and he generously always orders a few (dozens of) extra bags for me. I love that. I love that because it reminds me of when I was in college and would go home on the weekends, or when I was first married and didn’t have kids and my wife and I would go back home, and on Saturday and Sunday mornings we’d wake up and have coffee and talk for hours around the kitchen table.

And my mom …would have toast. My mom loved a piece of toast and butter and a cuppa coffee. Way back then, if I’d sleep in, when I would wake up, the first thing I would smell would be toast …and coffee.

When I wandered, last week, at 1:30 a.m. into the kitchen and smelled the fresh ground beans and unexplainable scent of toast, I was immediately transported back to my childhood home and weekends spent visiting. It was as if, in the darkness, I could’ve turned on the kitchen overhead light and I would’ve seen my mom sitting there, reading a book, eating a fresh, bakery slice of toast with butter, and drinking coffee.

You can say, sure, it’s mere coincidence. Maybe a spider or moth flew into the heating coils on my furnace and sizzled up (and that smelled like burnt toast) and it’s all a coincidence. And normally, I’d say the same …I’d say, “well, there’s certainly a rationale explanation for that.”

But this time, I don’t want to “rationalize it.” I want to think my mom stopped by to say Merry Christmas (she LOVED Christmas) and to let me know she’s OK. And this time, I want to think she was sent to say “hi” so that all these crazy (are they “crazy?”) ideas floating around my head aren’t so crazy. Maybe, because I was so troubled about the children from Newtown, she just wanted me to know and to let everyone know, hey, we Grandmas are up here and we’ve got this.

Maybe.

Yes, a message would be alot more clear if she had actually appeared as a ghost or angel and handed me a note, or if she’d appeared to me in a dream, but maybe God doesn’t work that way and we’re supposed to take his subtle messages and gentle nudges and connect the dots ourselves.

Will I pay attention? Will we all pay attention?

Things I Did: Caught Santa on Video

My 6-year-old had a great idea …set-up a camera and catch Santa on video. Luckily, my very expensive, top-of-the-line flip-cam has a motion and sound activation setting (allowing it to double as a security camera), so we decided we could do this. We tried a couple of different places around the house but we worried that if Santa knew we were trying to catch him on video, he would consider that “naughty” and might skip our house all-together. The decision was finally made to hide the camera in the tree …Santa would NEVER see it.

What follows is amazing. My children and I have analyzed this about a dozen times and here’s what you’re about to witness and hear.

:05 …Santa opens our fireplace doors (audio)

*** turn your head to the left (the camera was on it’s side) ***

:05-:17 …Santa walks across our family room to the tree (audio footsteps)

:17-:20 …Santa steps in front of the camera and squats down to get presents out of this bag.

:20-:25 …Santa puts presents under the tree (there is some debate here on how Santa works …some theorize he arrives at your house with all the presents wrapped …others believe he wraps them magically and at lightning speed under you tree as he pulls them from his bag).

:25-:31 …Santa is done putting presents under the tree and stands up and turns to leave.

:31-:35 …Santa can be heard eating cookies and drinking milk (audio plate and glass being lifted and set down).

:35:40 …Santa walks back to the chimney and you can hear him whisk away and the fireplace doors close behind him (audio footsteps, fireplace doors).

Our BIG regret is putting the camera on a branch that was too high. As you can see, only a foot or two lower and we would’ve seen the man in red. Or is it even possible to catch him on camera? Part of me thinks he knew the camera was there the entire time and purposely kept himself just out of sight.

There’s always next year.

Things I’m Doing: #26actsofkindness, #26aok, #26acts, 26 Acts of Kindness

I wish I could fly through space like Superman in reverse of the Earth’s rotation and go back in time and change things from last week. But I can’t. I wish I had words or deeds at my disposal that could make the parents, siblings, Grandparents, teachers, neighbors, friends, everyone in Newtown, and the entire world feel comfort. But I don’t. I wish I had 100,000 or 500,000 or 10,000,0000 readers of my blog so that when I wrote something from the heart, it would ripple through the blogosphere, Interweb, and the cosmos like the most viral thing that ever went viral. But I have 12 readers on my best day.

Luckily, someone who does have access to a great many followers, fans, and readers has come up with a wonderful and beautiful idea …26 Random Acts of Kindness for the next 26 days to honor the 20 children and 6 adults killed in Newtown.

In the wake of the Newtown shooting, my Facebook News Feed was solemn for only a few hours before it became a battle ground for blame and name-calling and misguided “solutions.” All I could think of when I heard of the shooting was, “how can I make this world a better place,” and, “who needs a hug, because I sure need one (many) and I’m ready to be giving some?”

Most of my Facebook friends were like me (sad, confused, searching), but a few others jumped right to “angry”. I actually un-Friended two people (one a right-wing extremist and the other a left-wing extremist) on Facebook. I had considered un-Friending both in the many months leading up to the election, but I didn’t because I felt like it’s not a bad idea to see what the extreme viewpoints look like. But the ignorance on display right after the shootings made me too sad and too mad, so I won’t be Facebooking with those two anymore. Keeping negative people around will only destroy your spirit.

Here’s my favorite quote from one of the clergymen who spoke before the President spoke last night.

“Let us be childlike, but not childish.”

I’m like most people and I ask, “what is the answer?” Is it part of the American culture and our American tradition, a nation wrestled free from England through a bloody war,  a nation still nursing visible scars from a war fought between ourselves for individual freedom, or the two World Wars we helped end by military might? Is it partly because our fictional heroes are quick-draw cowboys in black and white hats, G.I. Joes, and boxing champions? Are we disposed to violence? Or is it because we have too many guns and not enough laws to keep them out of the hands of evil and mentally confused people? Are schools, malls, stadiums, airports, and movie theaters not safe enough? Do we not teach enough morality and values in schools, in our homes, and in our churches? These questions don’t have answers. Whatever the “reason” or “answer”, it’s a fact …America is violent and we can get pretty angry.

For today, I vow that I won’t be angry, violent, condescending, or sarcastic. I will be the exact opposite of “angry” or “violent” and I will commit to @AnnCurry‘s “26 Days of Random Acts of Kindness”. You never know who you might be crossing paths with and whether they’re having a really bad day, bad week, bad month, or maybe a bad couple of years, so a simple smile might be a start. Holding a door. Looking across a restaurant and paying for a stranger’s lunch. Sitting uncomfortably on a plane without an armrest because the person next to you is using it. Giving up your seat to someone wherever you might be. The list and the inspiration can go on and on and on and if we’re lucky, maybe 26 Acts of Kindness can create a tidal wave.

I leave you with this nice story from my old high-school friend Matt, who posted this on the evening before the Newtown tragedy, and I felt it was touching and heartwarming because we’ve all been “Lewis” at one time or another in our lives, and Lord knows I’ve pretended not to notice a “Lewis” at least once or twice – and I’m ashamed of that. I’m not saying the Newtown shooter, or the Columbine kids, or the Aurora Batman theater shooter wouldn’t have done what they did if they had been loved, helped, or listened to, but I can tell you it wouldn’t have hurt if someone had been kind to them.

Thanks for reading and thanks for joining me, and many, in#26ACTS. Tomorrow I’ll talk about “shaking the tree” for the goodness of all.

Matt’s Story:

I tell this story with respect. It’s humorous, but I mean no offense. I took my daughter to her school’s “fun night” where all the city’s elementary schools could send their kids. I stayed with her a while until she found a friend, but I got the times in my head wrong and ended up staying the whole time, sitting against the wall and playing Sudoku. There was a kid in the corner wearing sweat pants and a shirt that was too small. He was big. Not just big, but kind of lumpy looking. He was by himself, and I really felt for him.

Anyhow, he saw me looking at him and started to head my way. God help me, but I could imagine a guy with a tuba playing notes, walking behind him as he ponderously came toward me. He asked me what I was doing, and I told him. He asked if he could help, so I said, “sure.” I thought maybe he was some kind of rain man math genius or something, but he wasn’t, and he kind of messed up my Soduku puzzle. Oh well, I was glad to be company for him.We chatted an he said his name was Lewis. His parents were out shopping and had left him there. He had a friend somewhere, but that friend had run off. We talked about video games for a minute (he likes all the Lego games, but Pirates of the Caribbean was his favorite).It was getting time to go, so I told Lewis I had to go find my daughter. He said he’d come along. As we were walking, he said “I sure am hungry and could go for something to eat. Yup, sure am hungry.” I told him I had given my daughter all my cash or else I’d buy him something. He said, “we better find her, then.”

Both his shoes were untied and I told him to tie them. He said, “I know, I like them that way.” I told him he was going to fall and break his noggin’, but he just shrugged.

Lewis and I found my daughter making crafts in the cafeteria. I borrowed back $2 from her and gave them to Lewis, who ran off after a snow-cone. He diligently returned, inhaling the icy mess. It was bright red, and he said, “it’s like the ocean after a bloody battle.” He still had the other dollar and said he was keeping it in case the one snow cone didn’t hit the spot.

Meanwhile, my daughter came over, distraught that I had taken the money back from her, because she and her friends now wanted candy. I said, “Sorry, I don’t have any more money.” Lewis looked at her and then at me and motioned for me to take the extra dollar back. He would sacrifice.

Later, it was time to go. Lewis followed me into the gym as I was trying to find my daughter. The last I saw of him was his big body standing in the frame of the door, looking for me, and then he got lost in the crowd. I tried to find him to say goodbye, but lost track of him.

Godspeed, Lewis. Godspeed.