MLMM Photo Challenge — The Ugly Reality

E44E6FAD-2C57-4B60-B142-B735C4F0D11D“Oh my God, Samantha,” Eric said. “Your Halloween costume is amazing.”

“Thanks, Eric,” Samantha said. “I’m so glad you like it.”

“How long did it take you to put on that makeup? And how did you get your eyes to look that way?” Eric asked.

“To be honest with you, Eric,” Samantha said, “I didn’t put on this makeup. I took off the makeup I usually wear.”

“I don’t understand what you mean, Sam,” Eric said.

“It’s really quite simple, Eric,” Samantha said. “This, what you see, is who I really am. We are all phantoms who put on a totally different face for all the world to see. We all put on our masks so that others can see us as we want them to see us. None of us is, deep down inside, who we appear to be.”

“That’s not true, Samantha, Eric said. “I’m a what you see is what you get kind of a guy. Now please stop this nonsense. You’re kinda freaking me out here.”

“Oh, Eric, are you really that naive?” Samantha asked. “Do you actually think you’re the person inside that you try so hard to get others to see?”

“Yes, of course,” Eric said. “I am who I am, nothing more, nothing less.”

Samantha reached out and grabbed Eric’s hand and led him inside the house to a large mirror in her bedroom. “Take a hard look in the mirror and tell me what you see,” she commanded.

“What the hell are you talking about, Sam?” Eric asked. “I see my reflection.”

“Close your eyes and open up to your true soul,” Samantha commanded. Eric felt a strange sensation overwhelm his body. “Now open your eyes,” she said, “and see who you really are under your mask.”

Eric slowly opened his eyes, looked in the mirror, and began to scream.29E4B2C2-0176-424C-903C-DFC75FE58224

Written for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge. Top photo credit: Kaia Pieters. Bottom photo credit: Google Images.

Share Your World — Coffee and Climate


Time for another series of Share Your World questions from Melanie. Here goes:

If you drink coffee, how do you like it best? Hot, cold, iced, with cream, with sugar or black as black?

I do, indeed, drink coffee. Only hot coffee, only black coffee sweetened with one packet of Splenda.91AC3DFE-3D90-4FA1-A8D3-84E94D02B5D9

In your opinion, what’s the greatest invention of our age?

I’m using it to respond to Melanie’s SYW questions: the iPhone.94C25DF7-A8B9-4F49-8EBA-4B671FB8D0AE

Global warming? Reality or myth?

Global warming (aka, climate change) is reality. The Bible is myth.Once upon a time

Are you an explorer or more a home body?

I used to be an explorer back in the day. Now that I’m retired (and old), I’ve become more of a home body.DB8ADFC3-4E20-4196-96B8-FA8D97D53972

What were you grateful for this week?

Hmm. Other than I’m still alive and well (as are my wife, kids, and pets), I can’t honestly think of anything else. But maybe that’s enough.C0CAC0E9-781C-4507-8991-576E84794DFD

My Wife Made Me Do It

D82C1499-2879-42FC-AA11-613DAD40B630There are certain marital duties and responsibilities that every husband must fulfill. Today, I fulfilled one of the more important ones. I spent most of this morning sitting on the sofa next to my wife and watching the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on TV.

At her direction, last night before we went to bed, I set the DVR to start recording at around 3 am local time in order to make sure that it recorded not only the wedding ceremony itself, but all of the pre-wedding pomp and circumstance, as well as the post-wedding festivities.

Once we woke up this morning, I accompanied my wife as she sat, transfixed, taking it all in. We had our morning coffee on the sofa. I excused myself to prepare breakfast for the two of us so that she wouldn’t miss a hat or a dress. I brought our breakfast meals into the living room because eating in the dining room would have been too much of a distraction.

And I have to admit, I enjoyed watching the whole megillah. It served as a very satisfactory — even entertaining — diversion from the day-to-day reality of the real world in which we commoners live. I put down my phone, didn’t read my newsfeed, didn’t read the newspaper, and, for a while, anyway, I didn’t think about our imbecile of a president, gun violence in American schools (and all across America), the state of the world, the erosion of democratic principles in our country, and the destruction of our planet.

So I want to thank Harry and Meghan for permitting me a few hours of non-political R&R and a brief respite from the craziness that is swirling around us all.

And, of course, I want to thank my wife for making me do it.

One-Liner Wednesday — Happily Ever After

5C992C14-C039-41C5-A1E8-9027E2683E74“There was never a ‘once upon a time’ and there will never be a ‘happily ever after.’”

Jon Meacham,
Presidential historian and author

Last time I checked, I was living in the real world and not inside a fairytale. That said, I do believe that we’ve each had our own personal “once upon a time” experience. It’s something in our lives that caused us to go through a metamorphosis from who we were once upon a time to who we’ve become today.

For example, once upon a time I was 6 feet 1 inch tall. Now I’m only 5 feet 11 and 1/2 inches tall.

On the other hand, when it comes to “happily ever after,” I have to go with Jon Meacham. That really is fairytale fodder.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t be living a relatively content, even a happy, life. But happily ever after? Come on, really? Shit happens, people. Real life has its ups and downs, its highs and lows. And just how long is “ever after”?

You may think I’m jaded or cynical. But I’m simply a realist, a pragmatist. Can you honestly say that you believe in “happily ever after”?

If so, let me introduce you to one Donald J. Trump. That should bring you back to reality real fast.

Written for today’s One-Liner Wednesday prompt from Linda G. Hill.

Life’s Illusions


Jake was under the impression that there were certain givens in life. Aside from the givens of birth, death, and taxes, that is. Givens like hard work will be rewarded, love conquers all, time heals all wounds, and a whole host of other trite platitudes that Jake accepted as life’s givens.

But as Jake grew older and more and more cynical, one might even say jaded, he learned that those are all illusions. Well, except for birth, death, and taxes, which are all too real.

Jake did work hard most of his life until his company moved the bulk of its jobs, including Jakes, to China and India. He suddenly found himself unemployed and uninsured. Even his pension plan ran out of funds due to poor decisions by management.

Jake was deeply in love with the woman of his dreams. Or was that just love’s illusions he recalled? Shortly after he lost his job and ran out of money, she walked out on him. He found out that love doesn’t, in fact, conquer all. Losing one’s dignity, for example. Another shattered illusion.

That all happened more than two years ago and, despite the passage of time, the wounds still seemed quite fresh to Jake. He was hurting, broke, homeless, and alone.

The good life, Jake thought, was just an illusion. All of Jake’s illusions about what life was supposed to be had been shattered. Yet, despite the hurt and disillusionment, he was still alive. He was still breathing. His heart was still beating. And he knew that his reality, as bad as it seemed, would persist. Somehow, in some way, he would survive.

After all, where there’s a will, there’s a way. At least that’s the illusion Jake chose to embrace.

This post is for today’s One-word prompt, that word being “illusion.”