Friday, June 26, 2020


You are seventeen years old today! Happy birthday!

What a summer it has been so far. And what a Party Month ahead this will be--surely the most unique Party Month that I can imagine any of us going through.

I can't say everything has been wonderful during these months of quarantine and uncertainty. But you have borne up through it all with patience and love. 

Thank you for being my Marvel movie friend. Thank you for engaging with me at any level of intellectual or pop-cultural discussion. Thanks for your enthusiasm and excitement.

Thanks for your band involvement. You've helped draw me into a new world of community and people that I didn't have. 

Thanks for being my daughter. You've pushed me to be a better father and helped me be a better friend to you and your siblings.

Things are starting to change for you. This senior year is a big transitional year for you--as well as for mom and I. I have confidence in you however your future begins. Don't be afraid of what is coming, because you are strong and confident and able to take on whatever it may be. And we are standing beside you when you need it and slightly behind you when you ask for it. But we are there, watching, cheering you, celebrating you in any and all things.

Be happy! Have fun! Remember that you are loved and be not afraid.

Monday, June 15, 2020


This week (Friday, apparently) marks two decades of working at my office. 

While attending a weekly Zoom meeting with my department members and friends, Lynda surprised me with a celebratory set of balloons, a wonderful card, and two dozen (!!) Krispy Kreme doughnuts (donuts?). It had been secretly coordinated by my great friends who wanted to mark the occasion and delivered the gifts during the meeting. Everyone had such nice things to say and they were terribly complimentary. I was reminded again that everything you say will be remembered and repeated to you eventually. So make sure that what you say is done with a smile. 

It was wonderful and embarrassing, and lovely--and I was attention-sweating the whole time.

Twenty years of anything is noteworthy. And (these days) twenty years in the same company is downright miraculous. Lord knows that many of the people reading this right now cannot say the same--and most of my loyal readers were definitely some of my colleagues and friends who have worked with me along the way.

Simply put, I'm luckier than I should be allowed to be. 

I've been part of lots of good, stimulating work. And I am still engaged by the work all these years later. Happily, I've learned my way into the job and most of the time these days I can actually feel like I have finally learned how to do it pretty well. Right now I'm engaged with very exciting new work that is equal parts interesting, daunting, and (I hope has the potential to be) important. These projects tend to take a while to complete, so I'll be neck-deep in it for quite a bit of time to come. But when it is done, I hope to look at the completed work with happiness.

I can't say much more without wading into violations of corporate policy . . . and wouldn't THAT be a spectacular way to start a 21st year? So I'll bring this to a close by saying thank you to everyone who has helped to get me here--lots of former and current work friends, my wife who can share my work stories and bounce back her own. Many of the happiest, funniest, most impactful moments of my adulthood have been in and around my work and the people I've shared it with. 

It's been much more fun than you can expect a job to be.

Sunday, June 14, 2020


Family is a difficult business. You know no one so well and no one knows you so well. You do love one another . . . if you’re lucky. But everyone knows how to drive you crazy. Even the simple act of playing a game can lead to hurt feelings. And the hardest thing about family is that everyone knows you so well, and they never let you change. Old assumptions, old traits, old patterns are remembered, repeated, relived. Jokes can cut; the words can sting.

How do you hold onto the love when the daily grind of living wears you out? Especially in these quarantine times when we cannot escape one another. Trying to find something diverting to do on the weekend, playing a game. But all the expectations never go away. Old memories are resurfaced. Hurt feelings that don’t deserve frustration and disappointment. All overwhelm what should be fun and exciting.

Friday, June 12, 2020


It's been almost two weeks since my last post and . . . well . . .

This year just keeps going, huh?

When I started this COVID section of WWYG?! I was doing it because this was an unusual aberration in my routine. Working from home, kids driven from school, a virus pandemic trembling the national/global landscape in historic ways. Something you might want to blog about and comment on from time to time. 

And the numbers in my "at home" blog titles just kept ticking higher and higher. Everyone's counter started on a different day but mine has now reached day 92.

But that isn't what this is about.

Because while COVID is a real presence that hasn't gone away and definitely isn't done with us and we are for sure going to see some renewed waves of its presence in the coming months . . . other events have raised up their hands and said, "Hey, remember us?"

Because on Memorial Day George Floyd was murdered by Minnesota police for being black. And before him Ahmaud Arbery made the unfortunate decision to try and be healthy outdoors in Brunswick, Georgia. And also Breonna Taylor forgot to keep one eye open in the middle of the fucking night. And on, and more, and my God . . .

So, hey--COVID? Take a seat over there to the side and let's, unfortunately, ignore you for a minute (It's not like we aren't willingly ignoring you for the love of the almighty dollar anyway.) 

But anyhow, we've got some other stuff to talk about.

Because African Americans in this country have been shit upon for so long that I am unable to lay it out for you. First--because I am so embarrassingly privileged and unaware of the issue I have no business trying to do so. But also because it takes a historian's dissertation-level of thought, detail, and researched care to do justice to the level of injustice and inhumanity suffered by African Americans in the United States for centuries.

This is not the place to talk about the minuscule improvements that you might want to cite even within my particular lifetime. Any such token examples do not eliminate the ongoing systematic and psychological and unconscious inequality placed upon African Americans every hour of every year in every space of public living.

So--in no particular order.

NASCAR announced yesterday that it was banning the Confederate flag from all of its races and official events. This is a good and simple thing that should be accepted and we all move on. (Though I know we won't.) NASCAR's history is deeply rooted in Southern culture. But whatever someone might say about the Confederate battle flag also being rooted in Southern heritage . . . stop. They are correct. It IS rooted in an intentional history of inequality, racism, terror, and intimidation. 

This flag was always the symbol of a misguided vision of some racist Americans' view of the Constitution. It was used after World War II to symbolize a region's inability to reckon with its segregationist past and its inability to accept the change demanded by the Civil Rights Movement. It has become the symbol of white separatists who carry it alongside the fucking Nazi swastika. Remove it, get rid of it, be ashamed of it.

In the continuing ripples of the George Floyd protests, statues of Confederate individuals are being torn down. No longer are people content to debate and wait for consensus on these statues that dot communities large and small across the United States. It is ugly and angry. People are uncomfortable. And that is how it needs to be. The history of these statues is as tied to segregationist racism of the 1950s and 1960s as the Stars and Bars and the Ku Klux Klan. Stop hiding from this ugly truth and listen to people who have their own ugly truths to express. Give these protesters the honor of their humanity and hear their pain. Learn what these statues mean to THEM. And consider why they must be removed from places of community honor.

HBO Max pulled Gone with the Wind from its streaming library. I'll admit that when I first heard about this, my immediate and unconscious reaction was negative. And that only exposes me to the internal honest work that I need to keep doing to make me live up to everything that I've typed above and try to think about myself. Luckily, one of my former coworkers posted this YouTube video on Facebook the day that I heard about this story. And I watched it. And I find it persuasive in its absolute obviousness. I regret my blinkered gut reaction to the streaming decision.


Where does this conversation end? I don't know but you can't end it right now. 

We've got to open our ears and hear. We've got to open our hearts in love. Until we do those things, nothing will, nor should stop. Why should any people stop fighting for the equality that we always say should be theirs?

Tuesday, June 02, 2020


There are some days when I start my work hours with a pit of anxiety in my stomach. Either I'm worried about getting things done properly. Or I find that how I imagined the work to be more complex than it is turning out to be. Or any number of other workplace scenarios.

Most likely you can relate in some way to this problem.

How to fix it? 

Generally, by getting started.

Beginning the tasks, no matter how confused I may be or how wrong I might misunderstand. Or how badly I didn't anticipate the issues before me. By getting started, I start making sense of the problem. Or at least I better understand what the problem actually is. And I start figuring out how to fix it. Or I begin asking others for advice on how they can help me fix it.

But beginning something is definitely preferable to imagining how bad the work might be.

Monday, June 01, 2020


Today was one of those days where you feel like you're swimming through molasses the whole time and nothing is going as fast as you want it to.

Technology--naturally--was my biggest nemesis today.

Because my job and Zoom are my two pandemic overlords, they decided to work together over the weekend and today to make things hard for me.

It started yesterday when I was trying to launch my family Zoom call. (Since the quarantine started, my siblings and my parents have been chatting on Sunday via Zoom. I had set up last week's scheduled chat and was trying to launch it when I got an error dialogue pop up window telling me that I needed to update my program to a newer version. I initially thought it might be a phishing attempt since I had been using Zoom for the last several weeks at work with no problems at all. But I couldn't get the update to install and we had to quickly pivot (workspeak!) to a different solution to get the family call up and running quickly. All of that worked out and I made a mental note to check Zoom again today once I started doing work.)

This morning I didn't react quickly enough and had to pivot again for my work-related team status. And so what else could I do but launch "Teams" to get THAT meeting done. But I limped my way through it and then quickly reported the need for a Zoom update through my company's service IT portal. 

When I heard from a service person who was able to help, I only had a little over an hour before my NEXT Zoom meeting this afternoon. And while I did get help updating some overdue Windows platform fixes, those updates DID NOT fit my Zoom issue. So I had to download the Zoom app onto my phone and slink my way into this afternoon's department meeting with no video capability and viewing information through my small phone screen. Not optimal!

Luckily, my helpful IT representative had said he would check back in on me this afternoon to see if the Windows update solved me problem. And when he called me back, we was able to remote connect into my laptop and update Zoom accordingly.

So . . . here's hoping that for the rest of my Zoom meetings this week and over the weekend--not to mention for many, many months to come--I'm all up-to-date and ready to go.

Still, navigating through these problems isn't so much like swapping out some futuristic circuits in Star Trek and more like . . .