THE SCENE: Pre-dawn on a rainy Sunday in the disheveled office of Detective Drake Marlboro of the Seattle Police Department, 9th Precinct. For the past 3 hours, Marlboro, a chain-smoking, grizzled, no-nonsense gumshoe has been interrogating a middle-aged man with no fashion sense by the name of Tim Jones. Jones was picked up on suspicion of maliciously harassing innocent civilians by posting offensive commentary on the web about parenting, politics and other topics. Detective Marlboro suspects that Jones is holding back the truth. And so our story begins…
It was another dark and stormy night in Seattle. The clock on the wall read 3:04 am. And there Tim Jones sat – if that’s even his real name – sticking to his story that all he could be guilty of might be hackneyed writing. But there was a problem. The guy’s story just didn’t add up. I’ve been a detective for 30 years. I knew it was just a matter of time before he would spill the beans. I was going to crack this case before that snake Lieutenant Jaworski in Homicide could spell “collar.” I was sure I was close.
Jones was fidgeting with his plastic Casio watch – the guy had as much class as a cubic zirconium unicorn. He was looking confused and anxious, wanting desperately to flee the confines of the cold, windowless interrogation room so he could return to the cushy comfort of his suburban living room recliner and watch another episode of The Big Bang Theory he’d TIVO’d. Not tonight, fella. Not ‘til I get some answers.
I offered him a cup of coffee. “Thanks, but I don’t drink coffee. Do you happen to have any Diet Mountain Dew?” he asked a little too eagerly. What law-abiding adult in Seattle doesn’t drink coffee – and asks for a teenager’s soft drink instead? Now I knew he was a two-faced liar. I was done playing “good cop,” waiting for his innocent, deer-in-the-headlights façade to crack. This had gone on long enough. It was time to tighten the screws. I lit another smoke.
Our girls are grown and living far from home now. So a few months ago, my wife and I decided, somewhat impulsively, to sell our suburban house and move to a quirky but lovely island 75 miles from the world we had known for a quarter century. We now live in an idyllic setting on Camano Island, overlooking Puget Sound and snow-capped mountains. Ah, the island life.
Camano Island has a well-earned reputation as a haven for artists (one reason my artist wife was drawn here). In our brief time in this new community, we’ve met dozens of people. The one constant among them: They are all exceptional people – which is starting to get on my nerves.
Seriously, it’s really starting to annoy me. Apparently, in order to live on this island, you must be the next Picasso or Santana or Hemingway – and you must swear an oath to spend at least 30% of your time volunteering to protect the rain forest or bottle-feed orphan kittens. Don’t ask me how I managed to sneak past the island’s security. Some border guard must have called in sick the day I arrived.
Everybody on this island seems gifted in some way. If you haven’t published a book of sonnets or are unable to play the lute, you’re viewed as, well, a bit of a disappointment. Last week, I met a novelist, a painter, a sculptor, and a quilter – and that was just in the checkout line at the grocery store. By contrast, my biggest artistic achievement was playing Frère Jacques on the recorder in the 6th grade orchestra. Not to brag, but I totally crushed it.
If there is one thing I’ve learned as a parent, it’s that in the end, your kids will crush your dreams, ignore your advice, join a biker gang, and blame you for everything.
But if there is a second thing I’ve learned, it’s that you need to be positive. As you know, outside of my immediate family, I am considered a parenting expert. My latest book, A Positive Parent’s Guide to Loving Your Child, even if They’re an Evil, Twisted, Unmotivated, Narcissistic Demon Seed Hellion Who Will Never Amount to Anything is helping millions of frustrated parents around the globe deal with their challenging child. The key? Remain positive at all times.
This week, I dip into Dr. Tim’s Mailbag, to share how you can successfully apply my powerful patent-pending positive parenting process to help your own challenging child blossom to almost one quarter of their God-given potential. Read More…
Few things reveal more about the kind of man you are than how you dress. Fashions go in and out of style, but some things are timeless – like Members Only jackets. They are as embarrassingly out of fashion today as they were when first introduced in 1980. Speaking of fashion, another timeless trend is wearing shorts. Some men prefer to wear them all the time. I am one of those men. And I’m not embarrassed to show my legs in the dead of winter, no matter what my wife says.
I have always been a pioneer of haute couture. I’m not sure where I cultivated my “road less traveled” fashion sense – perhaps it was my private school education, which required me to wear the same grey wool pants, grey shirt and black tie to school every day for twelve years. In ninth grade, while my classmates were wearing their straight-legged khaki slacks on a Saturday night date, I was stylin’ in my room in my purple corduroy bell bottoms. The fact that I never had a single date on Saturday night during ninth grade is strictly coincidence.
Throughout my youth, my fashion sense grew ever more avant-garde. Take my exotic collection of Far Eastern apparel. Strutting down the street in my lime green Nehru and silver Capricorn medallion, I left people speechless with envy. I could tell by the way girls shyly averted their glance as I approached that they knew I was not like other guys.
Now I wear shorts. And not just when I’m mowing the lawn, wearing my “Support your right to arm bears” T-shirt. I wear them while jogging, doing errands or even clothes shopping for, well, shorts.
In order to succeed in life, you have to compete. Some say life is a zero-sum game. And they’re right, of course. There are winners and there are losers. And nowhere is this truer than in the game of your spiritual quest. It’s not enough anymore to be “good.” You have to be the best.
I am widely regarded as an expert on competitive spirituality. Not to brag, but it’s just a matter of time before I overtake the Dalai Lama on the footpath to enlightenment. The Dalai Lama once told me over a latte at Starbucks, “My religion is kindness.” Well, I’m here to tell you: My kindness is better than yours, Dalaiman.
In order to achieve spiritual supremacy, you have to demonstrate your supremacy. Oh sure, it can sound arduous. You’re probably asking yourself, “What do I have to do? Go on a 2,000 mile trek across the Gobi Desert? Fast for a month in a cave? Climb Mount Everest wearing nothing but a toga and sandals?” Slow down, Skippy. Those journeys are way more hassle than they’re worth – plus you’d almost certainly miss out on Opening Day of Baseball.
No, my tactics for achieving spiritual superiority are far less taxing. Many can be achieved while lying on the couch. You see, most people behave passive-aggressively. Outsmart them by being aggressively passive. They won’t know what hit ‘em.
Recently I turned 35 years old, and by recently, I mean 25 years ago. But more recently, I turned 60 – this past month. When you turn 60, you start asking yourself uncomfortable questions like, “How long has that mole been there?” You ponder your own mortality and your legacy and how is it that AARP got your mailing address so quickly.
Lately I’ve begun asking myself challenging questions: What have I done with my life? What do I want to do with the limited time I have left on this planet? Did I have breakfast yet? Where did I leave my car keys?
I wonder about the impact I’ve had on the people in my life. What might these people say about me if they spoke at my funeral? It got me to imagining, which got me to worrying…. a lot…. about what they might have to say:
My earliest childhood friend, Danny: Yeah, Timmy and I were tight – until he destroyed my purple bicycle. I loved that bike. You son of a bitch. When you rode it into that pond and wrecked the frame beyond repair, from that moment on, you were dead to me. You hear that, Timmy? You’re DEAD TO ME!
My first grade teacher, Miss Kelly: I remember Timothy, yes I do. He was a rather chatty young lad. An unhealthy need for approval, if you ask me. As I recall, he had the worst penmanship and he was a very slow reader. Took him forever to get through the book Fun with Dick and Jane. And every crayon drawing he ever did always included a rainbow. I privately wondered whether he might be gay. Read More…
Visit Snopes.com, the myth-busting web site and you will discover that a lot of things you always thought were true were in fact LIES!
If you’re not familiar with Snopes.com, it’s a very informative website with a singular purpose: to validate or debunk incredible claims, warnings, and tall tales that circulate around the Internet. The site examines claims such as the infamous urban legend that told us that “for every person you forward this email, Bill Gates will donate $1 towards life-saving brain surgery for a five-year old girl named Tabitha.”
Just last week I discovered to my great relief that, according to Snopes.com, swallowing a watermelon seed will NOT cause a watermelon to grow inside you – unless, of course, you also consume Ortho plant fertilizer mixed with large doses of Miracle Gro potting soil, drink two gallons of water per day, and sit under a sun lamp with your mouth open for 30 minutes a day over two months. But even then, it probably won’t be edible.
Every day, people send me well-intentioned emails, passing along what they naively believe to be informative news alerts about some health scare or consumer safety risk. Almost always, these dire warnings turn out to be false – and I know this because I often verify the falsity of these ridiculous claims at Snopes.com – usually about 5 minutes after I’ve forwarded the well-intentioned dire warning email to 1,500 of my closest friends with an email subject line stating: Important dire warning: Pass this along to 1,500 of your closest friends!
Here are just a few of the email tips I received in the past month, all of which turned out to be completely without merit:
- Flossing your teeth with cat intestines releases pheromones that will make you irresistible to women – FALSE! (Although in fairness, I did become instantly irresistible to my cat, Buttons.)
- Eating a diet consisting of nothing but broccoli and tuna fish for four months will enlarge your penis. – Totally FALSE! (Don’t ask me how I know, but I do. )
- Using cell phones while fueling up at a gas station leads to brain cancer in mice – FALSE! (As to why mice were using cell phones at gas stations, well, that’s a question scientists are still hotly debating.)
This past week the nation celebrated Martin Luther King Day. The iconic civil rights leader would have been 86 this year. On a swelteringly hot day in August 1963, Reverend King delivered one of the greatest oratories in American history – his famously inspiring “I have a dream” speech, which he delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
While I don’t claim to possess Mr. King’s eloquence, I too have a dream. And it’s very personal. With your permission, I would like to share it with you today.
I have a dream, too – By Tim Jones
My fellow Americans, like the great Reverend Martin Luther King, I, too, have a dream.
I have a dream that one day there will be peace throughout the world, and that people of all races and religions will walk hand in hand, free from hatred, distrust or fear, united in a common belief that all men and all women are truly created equal in God’s eyes – with the possible exception of people who like Duck Dynasty.
I have a dream that one day I will be able to look out my window and see little white boys and girls playing with little black boys and girls and I’ll be able to shout out with joy and happiness, “Hey, you kids, get off my lawn!”
We continue this week with Part II of VFTB’s Year in Review for 2014. If you missed Part I, don’t worry, you didn’t miss much. A couple of wars, a few natural disasters and a political scandal or two – pretty much a replay of 2010 through 2013. Check it out here. Let’s continue now with Part II. Don’t skip ahead to December and spoil the surprise ending, okay?
July: In world news, Somalia sweeps again at the 2014 World’s Worst Nation Awards, barely beating out North Korea and Syria for most corrupt, morally bankrupt authoritarian regime. Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke remarks, “It’s an honor just to be included in the company of such illustrious dictators.” He ends his press conference by thanking the great people of Somalia and announcing that all homosexuals will be executed at dawn for acts of treason against their loving supreme ruler.
August: In health and wellness news, nutrition experts say “Goodbye kale. Hello cauliflower!” proclaiming cauliflower to be the world’s most healthy snack. Critics suggest that nutritionists look up the definition of the word “snack”. Praising the vegetable’s many health benefits, researchers believe it may help fight cancer. Critics say they’ll take their chances with the cancer-fighting properties found in a slice of pepperoni pizza and a can of Pringles.
As has been the proud tradition of this Pulitzer-Prize-denied publication since 1952 – except for 2012 (when the Mayan Calendar predicted the world would end, so I figured, what was the point) – it’s time for VFTB’s Annual Year in Review for 2014.
In keeping with one of the hottest trends of the year, here’s your chance to binge read the important news stories of the past twelve months which you missed because you were too busy playing Candy Crush. Every week, I scour the hot stories, mainly by watching The Daily Show. There’s a lot to get you caught up on, so let’s get started.
January: A Gallup poll shows that for the first time in history a majority of Americans (55%) now favors legalization of marijuana. Pro-pot proponents postulate this number would have been even higher had several million stoners not been too high to locate their phone when the pollster called.
National retailing giant Target admits to a massive security breach in which hackers steal credit and debit card information, exposing more than 70 million customers to risk of identity theft. In a PR move aimed at stemming customer outrage, the retailer hurriedly announces that for the next month Target shoppers will be eligible for a free soft drink upgrade to 20 ounces (with a credit card purchase of $50 or more). Critics say that in retrospect Target should have offered 5% off dish towels, too.
February: This month sports stories become the main event. The Seattle Seahawks rout the Denver Broncos 43 to 8 in Super Bowl XXXLVMMXIVXXIVVXIX (okay, I could be off by a couple of V’s), thus proving after decades of futility that Seattle is no longer the Biggest Loser Sports City in the country. In a private ceremony, Seattle officially passes the crown of desperation to Cleveland. Read More…