Posts Tagged ‘success’


Boxes are piled everywhere.  Tape being pulled from the roll makes a screeching sound that is now beginning to echo throughout the emptying house.  Through the window of the back door, two dogs watch confusedly, as movers move in and out of their home.  You can smell the cigarette smoke clinging to the workers as they pass by you weaving in and out of the crooked towers of boxes.  Deadlines:  must meet deadlines.  A small lingering anxiety lurks just above the Phillips’ House.  Moving day is here and you cannot run from yourself today.  Couches are gone; you just ate a chicken breast while dipping it in hot wing sauce.  You are trying to eat everything in your kitchen which makes for very random combinations of food.  For mid morning snack, you had olives meant for martinis and shredded cheese from a bag.  Delicious.  You next think about putting warm water and rice in your mouth and holding it there until it softens just to get rid of the rice you have acquired over two years.

Why do you have so much vegetable oil?  These are the moments you curse the invention of Sam’s Club.    You think to yourself, “How many children are starving to death right now that would love to have the vegetable oil excesses that you have in your pantry?”  Will I be arrested if I go out back and pour the vegetable oil into the yard?  It is a vegetable… 

The second you see them pack up your treadmill you think, “damn, I could be running right now.”  The following second you spend trying to remember the last time you used the treadmill for running and not just hanging clothes on while you ironed. 

All is not lost.  You have a plan, and your plan is stellar.  You are going to put your pregnant wife, Shepherd Dog, Blue Heeler, and three legged Chihuahua right into the middle of a three day road trip.  To make things easier, you have a 33ft RV that when actually placed on the road feels 50 feet plus.  Your RV has been nothing but a source of excitement between your pregnoid wife and you, but you think to yourself, “that’s just because we haven’t spent enough time in it….yeah, that’s it.”  You ask the truck driver packing your stuff up for advice on pulling a trailer and the advice he offers you leaves you wanting.  His answer, “Don’t piss the truck drivers off.”  The second he says this, you think of the movie Joyride where an evil and vengeful trucker takes his wrath out on a couple drivers. 

Luckily for you, your wife is pretty good at being pregnant.  Yesterday, she watched the packers loading things into boxes and fell asleep because of how hard the work was.  Later, you overhear her say to the neighbor, “I know I look like I just woke up, but the movers are here and it has been exhausting.”  At this moment, you flash back to earlier when she was sleeping next to you.  She was snoring and the movers actually tried to work in silence out of fear of a pregnant woman, which I understand.  The movers are here to do a service for you and you appreciate them for it.  When one of the mover’s phone rings, she apologizes profusely.  You say to her, “no, it is okay, you are working hard.”  She replies immediately and without thought, “Sir, I have been pregnant, and she deserves some quiet while she sleeps.”  You realize at that moment the following:  All women who have bore children are naturally against all men who haven’t. 

All women who have bore children are naturally against all men who have not.  What a great sentence.  You take another bite of your chicken and this time you dip it into mayonnaise.  You do this because you have two jars of mayonnaise, and you have to get rid of it.  You think about leaving a box of random noodles (you find six boxes of angel hair pasta), mayonnaise, and vegetable oil on your neighbor’s doorstep and then running.  You wish that your wife was here so you could watch her pregnantly trip over boxes and try and fit through areas her belly won’t let her smoothly travel through, but she is not, because she has abandoned you for girl time with friends.  All friends of women who have bore children who have also bore children themselves are natural enemies of all men who have not.

You look down and dip your chicken into vegetable oil, because you have to get rid of it…

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I have spent the last few blogs documenting some of my father’s abilities. I am not going to come back to you now and tell you that those things were not necessarily the truth about the big guy, because they are absolutes. Actually, if he were to come here and tell you, he would admit that the things I am writing about him are points of pride for him. Not only this, but I also think he is surprised I came out of my childhood able to put together groupings of words that form readable sentences. Somewhere in Albuquerque, NM, the man is sitting at the table remembering the days when I was right there to torture, and on his face is that little smirking smile of nostalgic satisfaction.

He is everything I have described from the earliest blog where I talk about his driving issues, to the last blog where I, to your horror, at least the 15 of you who read it, exposed the “television to my cranium” incident of 1984ish where my dad let it slip that on the level of importance list, his son falls somewhere below a 1970s television. Of note, the television still sits on Lane Andrew Phillips’ shelf at home as a constant reminder of an unfinished job.

Born in 1950, and the son of a Sailor, my dad is as old school as they come. Some things he does deviate from a complete stereotype, but they speak more to his reckless disregard for society’s expectations. For instance, the man cannot stop wearing socks with sandals. I think worse still, the man wears ugly sandals that no one wears. Even the company that makes the sandals hates them; they feel guilty about selling them. If you bring up to him his cheesiness, he will remind you that the problem is not him, the problem is people caring about what other people think about them. The problem is that people get so caught up in nonsense that sandals have somehow become an issue that says more about a person than the fact that the person has a 9 to 5 job and can pay all of his bills. Lane Phillips would look you in the eye and tell you that you are petty and weak. He would tell you that the second you can shed your desire to be accepted by the cool people, you’ll be free. On Father’s Day, I offer up to you ten facts about my dad.

1. Not a huge hugger. On the rare occasion we do hug, I have seen him sneak away to wash the hug off of him.

2. He has used his pinky finger and spit to clean my face off before a family picture. During this occasion, I got the distinct feeling he cleaned my face off quickly, but was actually trying to rub the skin off of my face.

3. He lives by a code, and one of the points of his code is never to trust a child. I have seen him break this rule once and it cost him dearly. He asked his son, me, to put a truck into neutral so he could use his motorcycle to pull the truck up a driveway. He said to his son, “Do you know what neutral is? Son, this is a very important question, because the truck will not move if it is in gear, and then I risk the possibility of causing damage to the motorcycle. . You do! Great, when I tell you to, put the truck in neutral and let me know when it is ready.” 500 dollars later and a new clutch for his motorcycle, and the cat was out of the bag; I had no clue what neutral was. I just got in the truck and jiggled some stuff, but definitely did not put it into neutral. Ooops, my bad.

4. He has weak thumbs and cannot hear out of one of his ears. That being said, he could still kick my ass in a fight.

5. Very involved in his son’s high school extracurricular activities. On one occasion, Lane Phillips came home from work and asked his son how track practice was. When his son brought up the fact that he did not participate in, nor would he ever run track, Lane Phillips mumbled something like, “that’s because you are weak and walked out of the kitchen.” It was the thought that counts.

6. My father actively hates, has hated, or will soon hate everyone he comes into contact with.

7. Unforgivable sins to my father in order from most unforgiveable down:

a. Wearing a baseball cap backwards. If his son were to come home after breaking curfew, escorted by the police and in cuffs, and had his hat on backwards, he would be yelled at for the hat being on backwards. In his mind, catchers are the only human beings allowed to wear their hat backwards, and oddly enough, if you played catcher, you could wear your hat backwards when dressed in everyday clothing. I think he does this so that if he is ever throwing together a pick-up game of baseball, he doesn’t have to ask a lot of questions. He can just grab the first guy who wanders by with a backwards cap on. It is much simpler this way.

b. Communism

c. Crying over physical pain.

d. Disagreeing with him regardless of topic, issue, or actual correctness

8. Lane Phillips will only stop on road trips at Denny’s. If he is ever forced to eat outside of his comfort zone, he will order fried shrimp. If he had a chance to give one and only one piece of advice to the world, it would be, “stick with fried shrimp, you can’t go wrong there.”

9. Lane Phillips does not like to be in places where there is even a small probability that he will have to be around other people. People annoy my dad. People are the worst invention ever.

10. Lane Phillips believes that all kids are inherently evil and should be treated as such. All kids want to ruin your life; they are plotting to right now. . If he had a chance to give one and only one piece of advice to the world, it would be, “Kids are great to have around as long as you remember they are trying to destroy you inside and out. Economically, spiritually, physically.”

All of these facts aren’t saying that he isn’t a great father, because the dude is amazeballs. I love him, but it makes me feel icky to tell him, but that’s his fault, right? So instead of calling him and saying something mushy, that would make him continue to question his decision not to finish the job the television started, I wrote these facts. I wrote these facts because I love him…and I’ve said it before, I am definitely my father’s son.

I just wanted you to know because I have been holding it in for years.


I have a degree in English, but it is a track of English that centered itself on 17th Century Literature.  This means that almost all of my English electives were spent in Shakespeare, Milton, or survey courses of the great writers of the era.  It was an awesome time and I really got to know some great professors.  However, I do not write this to brag, I write this to tell you what it qualifies me to do.  After receiving this four-year degree, I left college with great confidence that I could either be a waiter or an officer in the Marine Corps; I chose the latter.  Luckily, my wife has a degree in History, so our combined potential for success as is measured by monetary value is nil; this is not how I gauge success, however. 

You see the cool thing about a bachelor’s degree in general is that they are almost worthless.  Now couple that with it being a bachelor of liberal arts and you have your own license to irrelevance.  This is not to say that I don’t love my education, because I do.  It has given me a unique ability to smugly reference mundane quotes from the lesser read Shakespeare plays or sonnets.  Also, it has allowed me a certain pretentious ere of self righteousness when I say things to smarter people than me. 

I remember when I told my father what I was going to major in.  He, being a supportive and always positive individual, was quick to explain to me that I was “wasting my time,” and he continued with, “but that fact alone isn’t too surprising.”  That’s as close as you get to “I like it” from my Pops.  Well with all of the graduations, there are equally great commencement speeches.  It had me thinking about my dad’s comments to me on life and education.  I believe graduates of today are getting the shaft because they didn’t get to hear a commencement speech from my father.  So I offer it to you.  Pass it along to any you know getting ready to start life after school.  This is what I imagine it would be like if he were given the opportunity to speak.

Kids.  And I intentionally call you kids, because that is what you are to me; you are children.  It is not meant to insult you or make you feel inferior to me, albeit you are young and uneducated on the hardships of life, it is meant to let you see who you are.  You are children.  What makes you this, you ask?  Children all have one motivation.  It pervades everything they do.  Initially, it is not a bad thing.  We, as parents play on it so that we can solicit good behavior through incentive based training.  It is simple; children all seek the most immediately gratifying route—what is the most rewarding course of action with the least work and time required to reap the reward.  Those of you who shed this first will be productive.  Those of you who don’t, will not.  I don’t care if you believe me or not.  I expect you won’t, because you are children and you know everything.  For years my own children have relayed one important lesson to me:  given advice from a man like me, mature, aged, learned in the ways of hardship, struggle and adversity, you will discount the advice as jaded cynicism.  Fine, you are children and you are unbridled in your foolishness, I accept that. 

You’re here today to get your degrees and run off into the real world, but you wanted advice, right?  You asked me to be here.  Don’t just sit there, I asked you a question, but don’t speak into my left ear, I can’t hear shit out of it.  Well I already alluded to everything you need to know.  You want to pursue your dreams, great, go do it.  I am not here to kill your desires.  I am here to say one thing and that is, BE PRODUCTIVE MEMBERS IN SOCIETY.  Do your best to not leech off of others’ production.  I know you are all a bunch of liberals and that you are borderline communists.  Fine, I accept that, you are young and unbridled in your foolishness, but please remember this.  Even communism relies on the productivity of its citizens to succeed.  For a communist society to have any lasting power, every member must contribute in some way, shape, or form.  While you kids hide behind communism as a way to prop yourselves up, you’re missing the point.  Run from the idea that the world owes you something, because the world has a weird way of kicking you right in the ass while you wait.  I have given my son the same advice since he was old enough to piss me off, and here it is.  “Get a haircut and find a job.” 

I have raised productive kids; none of them are rich, but they are productive.  I don’t believe any of them feel like I shattered their dreams, but the fact is, none of them call me for money.  They have homes and families and kids and all of things that matter.  If you ask me why they are successful I would tell you that it started when they stopped whining and started doing.  They became productive.  I didn’t raise robots.  My youngest daughter is an insane liberal, but she is a productive and insane liberal.  My middle daughter writes romance novels about gay men, and I have read them and they are great.  She is not rich, but she is productive.  My son somehow developed a backbone and some balls and became a Marine….so far, so good.   They married productive people—people who all do great things with great attitudes.  They are not perfect, they are productive.

And here is another secret.  Don’t stop being productive.  You get older, your bones hurt and you want to stop.  I promise you this:  when you stop producing, you will stop living.  So, go on.  Get out of here.  Go and do.  Don’t waste your time standing around here, leave!   If you want to be a socialist, great, go be productive while doing it.  Remember that sometimes we do what we have to do, so that one day, we can do what we want.  The road we want sometimes doesn’t marry up with the road we have to travel.  Suck it up, be a man, get a haircut, and find a job…I just want you to know this, because I have been holding it in for years….