WDP — Speaker in the House

Have you ever performed on stage or given a speech?

Back in my working days, I used to write articles that would be published in various business and industry publications. As a result, I would periodically be invited to speak at conference and seminars to make oral presentations on one of my papers or on related topics.

Another part of my job was to demo our software products to prospective clients and to discuss how they would affect their internal administrative processes. Often this required me standing in front of a large group of people and doing my song and dance. Not literally, of course. I can neither sing nor dance.

I was a pretty effective speaker, even if I do say so myself. Well, with one big exception. I was the speaker immediately after lunch at a large annual conference in front of about 400 people consisting of both clients and company associates. I spent most of the morning practicing my presentation in my hotel room. I had a light breakfast at around 7 am and a large carafe of coffee. I decided to skip lunch to do one last run through of my presentation.

The time came. I climbed onto the stage, stood behind the podium and started my speech. Next thing I knew I was in an ambulance being transported to a local hospital. Apparently about three minutes into my presentation, I passed out and took a dive off the stage, which knocked me unconscious.

Turned out, drinking five or six cups of coffee and skipping lunch was not such a grand idea. My blood sugar had dropped, and I fell like a tree onto the hard wood floor. Fortunately, I learned from that experience and never had another calamitous incident like that one.

I retired at the end of 2016 and have not had an opportunity to get up on stage and to make a presentation since then. Which is probably a good thing. A very good thing, I think.

Written for today’s WordPress Daily Prompt.

SoCS — What’s On Your Plate?

For this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, Linda G. Hill has given us “on your/my plate.”

Back in the day, when I was still working, I had a lot on my plate. Between managing my team of product consultants and software developers, working with installation managers, sales people, senior executives, prospects, clients, and vendors, as well as caring for and providing for my wife and kids, my plate was constantly full. Sometimes overflowing.

And I loved it. I thrived on the pressure of meeting deadlines, fulfilling client expectations, demoing our software solutions to new clients, running meetings and webinars, closing new business, and finding a balance between work and family. It all gave meaning to my life. It defined who I was.

And then I retired. For five decades I had defined myself by my work, by what I did for a living. I woke up one day and that was all gone. Not only did I not have all of those job responsibilities anymore, but my kids were grown up and out on their own.

I felt a sense of panic. Who was I if my identity was my work and I was no longer working? I remember telling my wife that my plate was now empty and I didn’t know what to do with myself.

But the good news is that my plate is still full. I’ve got grandkids who give me tremendous joy. I’ve got my blog, which enables me to interact with fellow bloggers from around the world. And I’ve got a wife who is happy to keep adding things to my “honey do” list.

So, in spite of my early fears that upon retirement my plate — my life — would be empty, the reality is that what’s on my plate today, in retirement, is just fine. I can now define myself by who I am, not what I do.

Now how about you? What’s on your plate?

Fandango’s Flashback Friday — July 22nd

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 22nd) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally posted on July 22, 2017.

May Your Life Be Filled With Likes


An irritating tap, tap, tap on his shoulder awakened Stanley from his dormant state. Without opening his eyes or looking up, he practically screamed, “WHAT?!”

“Stanley, you’re asleep at your desk.” Stanley sat up abruptly upon hearing the voice of his boss. “Are you not getting enough sleep?” his boss inquired. “Are you ill?”

“No, no. I’m fine.”

“Then why are you sleeping at your desk?”

Stanley let out a deep sigh. “I have a wife and kids who are always demanding my attention. I have a dog and a cat that need to be tended to.” Stanley looked up at his boss and continued. “I have books to read, TV shows to watch, meals to eat, personal hygiene to take care of, and sleep to get.”

“Yes, Stanley, we all have those demands on our lives, but you also have this job,” the boss said. “And we need you to be awake and alert when you are here at the office. We need you to do your job.”

“But I also have my blog,” Stanley said, plaintively. “I have posts to write, comments to respond to, and other bloggers’ posts to read and comment on.”

Stanley’s boss couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“So I stay up late most nights,” Stanley explained. “Sometimes the whole night,” he continued, “to keep up with my blog.”

“I can understand that, Stanley, and I appreciate your honesty,” his boss said. “So I’ll tell you what. I’m going to make it easy on you. You’re fired. This way you can spend all the time you need to pursue your blog, which is clearly your priority.”

“What? Wait! No!” Stanley wailed in protest.

“I’ll have Helen from HR call you, Stanley’s boss said. “May you life be filled with likes, Stanley.”

This post was written for today’s one-word daily prompt, “Dormant.”

Share Your World — June 6, 2022

It’s hard to believe that it’s already June, isn’t it? Well, it is and it’s also the first Share Your World prompt of the month. Here are Melanie’s questions.

When you were a kid, did you eat the crusts on your sandwich or not?

I did. My mother refused to cut off the crust, claiming that the crust was the healthiest part of the bread. I still don’t know if that’s true.

Are you a fan of musicals? Why or why not?

Live, stage musicals are okay. Some I’ve really enjoyed. Others not so much. But I’m not a fan of movie musicals.

Is it difficult to do what you do (for a living, hobby etc.)? If you’re retired, what you ‘did’ previously for a job can be substituted.

I’m retired, but when I was working I had a lot of roles, from managing a large call center to system design to tech sales support. And all modesty aside, I was damn good at my various jobs. Were they difficult to do? Well, if I could do them successfully, how hard could they have been?

What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to? (Doesn’t have to be a rock concert either).

I’ve been to so many live rock concerts that it’s hard to pick just one. That said, Jackson Browne recorded his live album, Running on Empty, at his concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, on August 27, 1977 and my wife and I were there. So that one definitely stands out. Billy Joel is great in person and I’ve been to no fewer than four Eagles live performances and they were all outstanding. Oh man, I could keep going, but suffice it to say that I probably suffer today from tinnitus for having gone to hundreds of rock concert over the years.

Looking back over your life, what is one thing you’re grateful for? One thing you really regret?

I’m grateful for having met and married my amazing wife. I regret that I was too self-absorbed when my parents were still alive to take the time to hear their life stories.

Fandango’s Provocative Question #152


Welcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration.

By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.

What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

I remember when I was still working, one of the most frequent questions I would be asked by people I met was, “What do you do for a living?” They wanted to know what my job was, how I earned my money in order to feed, clothe, and shelter myself and my family. I’m not sure if the question was a way for the questioner to assess my social status or what, but I thought it would be rude to say, “That’s none of your damn business.” So if I knew I was unlikely to ever again see the person who asked, I would often make up an unusual answer just to watch his or her reaction.

Anyway, my provocative question for you this week is this:

What do you do for a living? If you are retired, what did you do before you retired? If you’re currently unemployed, what did you do before becoming unemployed?

And since I have no way to verify, you may, like I used to do, make up an answer.

If you choose to participate, write a post with your response to the question. Once you are done, tag your post with #FPQ and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments. But remember to check to confirm that your pingback or your link shows up in the comments.