Why I need a new phone

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BEACH HOUSE

I.

In the summer,
we’d do cannonballs
at the public pool.
freedom for two bucks
an extra dollar for ice cream
jackknives and coffins
biggest splash wins.
extra points
if you get kicked out
when all the girls are watching

II.

look! there are my toes
wriggling in between the sand
and sand
in between my toes
and you, oh mom,
in your sun hat and black aviators
reading books in Hebrew,
waving at me
eating watermelon
with juice all over my face
I’m so in love

III.

at paradise cove, at two p.m.
you could see dolphins
if you wanted.
Me and you, brother
we’d bury each other
up to our necks
where the small waves broke.
the sun reached its summit
and we couldn’t afford more freckles.
So we smeared sunscreen
on each other’s backs,
then let the water
wash it all away.

IV.

twenty minutes
after killing tuna sandwiches,
we’re on our boogie boards
paddling,
swimming,
holding on for dear life.
wave crests crashing over our heads
our tiny, little heads
“Twenty feet, at least”
I scream over the water to no one.
you got scared,
and went back.
so I followed.

V.

castles in the sand
we dug wells,
captured sand crabs
that I wanted to take home
to start a farm
name them silly things
like Herbert and Roger and Nancy and Sherbet.
when the tide got high
you took the cup
let them all go,
like Moses freeing the slaves.
I was so proud
and so sad.

This is my Dad

tennis with Jack on Sundays; a twenty five year old mustache that was cut off; the luckiest backgammon player I’ve ever fucking seen; hits the treadmill level 13, speed  3.9 three times a week; afraid of dogs, cats, or anything that can jump up past his waist (though he claims he once had a dog for about three weeks); wavy, Hungarian hair; pink nose; smart enough to win Jeopardy; loves television; sad to see 24 end its run; he hates Larry King and news anchors – all of them – but because he loves television so much he’ll sit through it if we’re watching.

He know three great Jewish jokes, and is a master at telling them; he’s been to India twice and wants to take us there; he’s never been to Auschwitz and hates Germans; I’ve seen him make three things in my entire life: toast with cream cheese, matzo brie, and tuna with celery.  My brother Gil says my Mom and Dad are getting older now. “You’re away now and don’t see it,” and now he’ll ask them if they want tea or a sandwich or some cut up fruit.

He wakes up every morning at 6:15 for his first shower of the day, shaves his face (my dad has no neck), and suits up. Black for court. Gray for the office. Always pump. On Friday he has no clients – so he’ll wear a twenty seven year old pair of Levis and an orange Ralph Lauren polo I got him as a present when I was thirteen. He ends all his emails with love, always Aba and I think it’s the double lower case which makes me soft inside every time I read it.

At 7:20 every morning, has a cup of regular French Vanilla coffee and a wheat bagel smothered with cream cheese. Sometimes he puts the coffee in a paper cup, sometimes he doesn’t. But he wraps his bagel in a napkin and rips off a mouthful before the front door. The impact of his large teeth, the softness of the bagel, and his tough hands cause one sixth of the cheese to get smeared into the napkin. A quarter of the cheese will not make it into his mouth – it will smear into the paper napkin, or onto his shirt. In which case my dad will utter, “Fuck” or “Goddamn it” himself, without anyone of us hearing a word.

How to Catch a Fire

That last post left me with a slight pang of emptiness. So here, on the eve of 5770 in Jew Years, are some things to think about when you’re riding high on airplanes. If I have time I’ll  make a wallet sized graphic you can take with you and give out to strangers.

  1. Be real. Be yourself. Be aware that you’re alive and breathing and existing RIGHT NOW. Strive for authenticity. Pursue truth and the ‘who the hell am I’ question with unbridled intensity. Be fucking real. Be you and everything will shine!
  2. Be honest. Be honest with yourself. Be honest with others. Harder than it sounds, I KNOW. I had stomach pains for years because I wasn’t.
  3. Connect with the Spirit. Some call it God, Jesus, the flying Spaghetti Monster. Those in the know know that there is an intangible,  sensational force that exists in everything. Me, you, your shoes, the keyboard, this monitor, the letters in this sentence. Engage with that power.
  4. Burn a fire under it. You’re creative. You’ve got ideas. Light a fire, devote some of your creative passions to PRODUCING and bringing to life that seed in you. This is hard. But there ways to do it. Write down what you need to do to accomplish that goal. Write down what you need to CUT OUT to accomplish that goal.
  5. Be kind to others. Our biases and fears fill our hearts and make us automatically draw perceptions of others. Some are right. Some aren’t. All are unfounded. That person who looks like a complete weirdo/idiot/asshole could be a neurobiologist saving lives every day. Either that or they own a bike shop and can fix your flat. The point is, we all have gifts and talents. Imagine a world where we unconditionally loved and respected others?

My thoughts and prayers are with you Healey. I love you with all my heart and will pray for a healthy, quick recovery.

I’m moving to Atlanta, GA to finish ad school. I miss SF, but SF will have to wait.

Happy New Year everybody. I gotta go. My mom is putting on her makeup and staring at me in the face. Man. I love being home.

To Friends of Soren (by Dave Gordon)

Reprinted via Dave Gordon from FB. friend, copywriter, man of wisdom.

To Friends of Soren
(This was the speech I gave at Soren Hellner’s memorial. I hope it brings you some comfort in this sad time.)

————–

I hate spicy food. And whenever Soren and I would go to get Mexican food or Indian food or really any type of food (it could have been McDonalds) he would he ask for it to be spicy.

Say we were at a Thai restaurant, the waiter would laugh when Soren asked for it to be really spicy. Soren would convince the waiter that he used to live in Thailand and that he could handle it.

When it finally came, the smell of it would make my eyes water, but Soren would dive into it.

Then he would try and convince me to have some “Try it, it’s good for you.” He’d say with a mischievous smile.

It’s good for me? How exactly would searing my stomach lining be good for me? Maybe you’re suggesting that these toxins that you drench your noodles in will somehow condition my body better to fight off infections?

But, looking back, I don’t think that’s what he meant. I really think he was teaching me about trying something new and different and to welcome the unknown.

This is how Soren lived his life and it is one of the many lessons he taught me over the two years I was blessed to call him a friend. But it wasn’t the most important. You’ll have to wait for that.

Another lesson he taught me was to be passionate about the things he loved. Among other things, he was so very passionate about FCKopenhagen, his football team (soccer to us silly Americans). He even would carry around 2 computers on the days when they had games just so he could watch it while working. And when they won, he would smile for hours, so happy for his beloved FCK.

But, conversely, he also taught me how to take life a little less seriously. When I was stressed out, trying to get everything finished for class, he would calmly laugh and say “One game”. That, of course meant foosball. And yes, I’ll admit it, he was better than me. And every game he won, he’d smile and say “Good game, Gordo”.

He also taught me a lot about Denmark. I always thought the Vikings were from Norway. “Nope” he’d smile about his proud heritage. The Vikings ruled most of Europe at one time… but then they gave it away for some vodka or something he’d joke. So maybe that’s where he got it?

And clearly, he taught me how to dress. Some people may not realize this, but whenever the opportunity arose, whether it was someone’s birthday, a going away party, someone’s graduation, it didn’t even have to be his, he’d wear a suit. He’d walk through the crowd at the party, smiling and saying he just felt like wearing the suit.

Strangely enough, Soren also taught me how to dance. Stick one hand up in the air and put on the biggest smile you could. I think it was because he didn’t like dancing. Because whenever he got uncomfortable, he would smile and laugh. This is something I’ll always remember, instead of running away from something that bothered him; he would welcome it with that trademark and unmatched smile.

That, I think was the very most important lesson Soren taught me. To always smile. Whether you are in a new environment or new situation, smile. If you’re meeting someone new or you’re nervous about a presentation, smile. Even if you’re scared or sometimes a bit sad, smile even wider. Because that’s really what Soren was all about and why I’ll miss him so much – his everlasting optimism and his great smiling heart.

So while we are here today, mourning and missing such a beautiful person and my best friend, we should try and smile. It’s what Soren would want. And it’s good for you.