OMGabe

by Gabe Berman – the author of Live Like a Fruit Fly

Berman & Garfunkel

The universe seems to have a mind of its own. 

 

And it’s own, incalculably unpredictable agenda.  Even with small things which may seem meaningless at first. 

 

Innocuously, an old Clapton song made a deep footprint in my mind as I was getting in the car earlier this morning.  I searched for it on Spotify but I must have “mistyped” because a Paul Simon album I haven’t heard in at least ten years popped up. 

 

So I played it on the way to Starbucks.

 

And I was crying in seconds.  

 

My dad loved this album and always smiled when I surprised him with it at home or in the car. But I didn’t reflect on this with words.  I felt him. I saw him so clearly. Driving. Fingers tapping on the steering wheel. Singing along.  Graying hair, like mine now. And if it was the summer, I’d turn his heated seat on when he wasn’t looking.  

 

So what does this all mean? 

 

Was it divine serendipity or blind coincidence coming out of chaos? 

 

In this moment, I couldn’t care less. 

 

I’m just so grateful for a such a strong memory of him happy and healthy. And I’m so grateful it’s lingering with me as I sit here with an iced coffee while writing to you.  

 

And with that, maybe we can all go a bit easier on our loved ones today.  Yep, they can stress us out at times, but trust me when I tell you that it all ends. And all we’ll have left, when they’re made available to us, are our memories.  

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  Without you, my words would have no purpose.  So, thank you.  

 

– gb

 

“Calling old friends on the corners, just to lay our prayers upon them.” – Paul Simon

 

LiveLikeAFruitFly.com

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Love Looks Like This

This is Fernando. 

 

I just met him outside of Starbucks. 

 

He’s a sweet gentle man. 

 

He grew up in Italy during WWII under Mussolini and is shocked by what’s happening here. In America.  His home for the last sixty years. 

 

Beautifully though, he’s waiting next to me now as his wife shops next door. They just celebrated  their 64th anniversary and he told me to make sure I find a good one.   

 

He also told me that he used to be a carpenter but broke his back on the job and had a big surgery in 1995.  

 

He misses work terribly. He misses being able to do things around the house.

 

“I used to do everything,” he said with a thick Italian accent. “Now I can’t do nothing.” 

 

He sat there silently for a moment. Then he took an audible breath, looked out into the distance, and smiled.  He said, while still looking out passed our immediate surroundings, as if there was a movie camera out there waiting to catch his last lines, “But we thank god for life.” 

 

And then, of course, he told me about his grandchildren.  

 

Perfect.  

 

Just perfect.  

 

 

pick up my books here:

love looks like this 

 

Your Title Sucks

“Don’t tell anyone, but I slept in this,” I said to the girl ringing me up at Starbucks.

She smiled authentically in her glasses and blondish ponytail with some sort of pointy tattoo sneaking out by her shoulder.

I was in a day old, white v-neck t-shirt, orange basketball shorts and flip-flops. And sunglasses. At 8:45 in the morning.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been in a Starbucks this early. It’s been awhile since I’ve been anywhere this early.

About a month ago, a good friend of mine broke his femur and now that he’s ready to go back to work, I drive him there and pick him up everyday (my lobbying to get him to sell all of his guitars and Star Wars memorabilia so he never has to work again has, up until this point, failed).

“And by the way,” I said to the glasses girl who was now pouring my coffee, “I wore this all day yesterday too. Right here actually.”

“I don’t think anyone would ever know,” she said kindly. Not trying to be kind, but actually kindly. Personably.

“I look like a homeless prostitute,” I said.

It quickly occurred to me that I maybe should have censored that joke. But it was too late. It already jettisoned out of my mouth on autopilot.

Thankfully though, instead of rushing me off the line she said, “But I’m sure you smell better than a homeless prostitute.”

“How would you know what a homeless prostitute smells like?” I asked.

“Maybe they smell terrific in the morning,” I added cheerfully.

And now I sit here writing this on my phone from a table in front of a Starbucks.

Like a vampire immune to the sun, listening to the early morning people speak. As their words fall out of their faces on autopilot.

As the wind passes through the palm trees.

As I scratch my ankle after a mosquito landed.

As I think of my father and other lost loves.

As I’m grateful for the life flowing through my body.

As I feel a little fear creep in through the back door of my mind.

As I’m caused to remember, thankfully, that enlightenment abides underneath my fear and underneath all other feelings as well.

As I think about who might be reading this right now. And how I wish that person well. And how I send them love. Whoever they are. Without exception or expectation.

And, as I realize why I’ve been moved to write so randomly this morning. To tell whoever might be reading this that underneath all of their stories, especially the one entitled, “I’m Not Good Enough Yet,” enlightenment abides there also.

Fully.

Fearlessly.

It’s who you really are.

I promise.

So, with that, go easy on yourself this morning. And go easy on others too.

love/thanks,

gabe

livelikeafruitfly.com

Today’s Serendipitous Little Lesson

This is me waiting at the Apple store while my friend’s phone was being fixed.

The linebacker looking guy who helped me moments before was abnormally calm for working at a store where people usually scramble like it’s an ant colony shaken up by a mischievous school boy.

I asked him, “This place never gets to you? Never stresses you out?”

He gave me the are you kidding me face and said, “Not after my last job. I was an MP.”

Military Police.

Life is perspective.

So, dear reader, in this moment, let’s take a breath together, abide in perspective and receive a bit of calmness.

Thank you.

– gb

WinTheWarWithYourMind.com

Calling All Heroes

If we save our country from the clutches of vile forces posing as Christians on Election Day, republicans won’t even think to thank us.

And that’s okay. We’ll still do it for all of us. Them included.

But if we can’t save us, they’ll be so ecstatic as they watch the Constitution burn. And we spiral deeper into authoritarian rule. In the name of Jesus.

Jesus, who said, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Please vote with your heart.

Thank you.

– gb

Violated By Fox News

My friend recently had surgery and I just brought him to the doctor for a follow up.

We’re in the waiting room.

Fox News is blasting on the TV.

I nicely asked the woman at the front desk to change the channel or at least lower the volume.

She isn’t allowed to. The doctor literally mandates everyone must watch Fox.

And there are no controls on the TV.

I considered unscrewing the coax cable, which is easily in my repertoire, but I didn’t want to make my friend more anxious.

I literally feel treaded upon.

They just called him in to see the doctor.

I’m in the car now waiting until he’s done.

“Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”

– George Orwell 1984

What’s Our Fate?

A snapshot of what America has become:

Yesterday I was leaving the shopping center where I get my haircut.

A woman, who was in rough shape, was about to walk in front of my car so of course I waved her on and smiled with my foot firmly on the brakes.

My window was open.

Instead of walking by, she approached me and told me a horrible story that sounded too rehearsed to be true (but what do I know for sure) so I dug into my cupholder for a some change to give her.

Meanwhile, the woman in the car behind me, honked her horn aggressively at us.

I tried to give her the friendly “I’m sorry” wave, but she kept on honking as I found quarters pennies etc.

Selfish child.

Of course, like goddamn clockwork, devil’s advocates will jump on this post and jump down my throat with variations of, “Gabe, I’m disappointed in you. Maybe the woman was rushing to the hospital to visit her dying mother who, whatever whatever.”

Ok, maybe so.

But, I seriously fucking doubt it.

She was calm but annoyed. Feeling entitled. Zero compassion or patience. As long as she has hers.

Kindness will save us.

And the lack of it will be our demise.

livelikeafruitfly.com

In Love We Trust

Does Donald Trump make you want to kill yourself?

This isn’t a joke – on the night of his election, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline received two and half times more calls than it normally would have and I literally went to bed feeling like Anne Frank.

I was filled with a fear that most of us, thankfully, have never felt before. What’s going to happen to us? What’s going to happen to non-whites and non-Christians? To women? To gay people? What’s going to happen to this country of ours?

If you think I’m exaggerating, go click on the news.

There are children, probably as you read this, being ripped out of the hands of mothers who are legally seeking asylum at the border. These mothers are told, by government officials, that their kids are being taken away just for a quick shower. But in actuality, they aren’t being returned. They’re being taken away and detained. Some, like dogs in cages.

The comparison to concentration camps in Nazi Germany is almost too obvious to make but there it is just in case

Just two days ago, it happened while a woman was breastfeeding her baby. In America. The land of the free and the home of the brave.

What’s next?

As with everything, we’ll have to wait to see how it all unfolds.

But we can do it together.

And we can remember, together, that love prevails.

Regardless of the fear we may feel, we will live with love in our heart.

They can take away our health insurance. They can deport us. They can intervene with our reproductive rights. They can kill the environment. They can put the interest of big business before the well being of powerless people. They can treat animals abysmally in slaughterhouses. They can alienate the global community. They can make the rich richer and the poor poorer. They can persecute me because of my skin color, gender, religion and sexual orientation. They can destroy this country which hundreds of thousands of people died to defend. They can even cart us away to detention camps.

But we’ll live and die with love in our heart.

They can’t beat us.

We will never lose.

Because, for us, love prevails.

We will see to it.

Together.

Because united we stand and divided we fall.

Thank you, as always, for trading your time for my words. And please remember, you are loved. And, with that, you are love.

– gabe berman

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK

www.LiveLikeAFruitFly.com

Soul Food

Anthony Bourdain.  

I used to worry about his health.

Every time I’d serendipitously find that show of his, he’d be eating like a goddamn teenager.

Some sort of third-world meat, followed by more meat, with noodles, beer and sake.  Voiced over deliciously with subtle smugness and a side of self deprecation. And then, of course, a nightcap with old restaurant friends in a place like Okinawa or some other city he seemed to have the keys to.  

 In the morning, as you know, he’d wake up, eat an egg based seafood dish in a market that looked like it was in Blade Runner and after the next commercial, he’d get a new tattoo and then head over to a barbecue where no one knew english but spoke wine well.  

And there I was on the couch, always thinking variations of, “Jeez, how does that bastard stay so thin?  I just hope it doesn’t catch up to this guy.”

But now, none of that matters. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. Now, I just hope he enjoyed every morsel and every drop.

It’s sort of the same with my Dad. In our family of four, he’d eat enough for a family of four and I’d plead with him to be more careful with his weight.  I was so scared it would lead him to an early grave and we’d fight about it constantly.  

But here I now sit, late one night in June, the month of my dad’s birth (as well Anthony’s), and I’m just so glad he got so much pleasure from his bagels cut into three slices and his swiss cheese and onion omelettes because it ended up meaning nothing.

Brain cancer doesn’t give a fuck about your diet.  

 Imagine if I could have known how it was all going to end? Imagine if I could just get back the time with him I wasted fighting about food?

But the truth is, I knew how it was going to end.  Not exactly, but I know how it ends for everyone.

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.  

You’d think that, and that alone, would make us want to be more kind.  More kind to ourselves, more kind to others, and more kind to animals.  But it doesn’t.

We live selfishly, as if we’re all that matters, with almost no love for our neighbors.

And maybe this lack of love we feel in the world, although not self-described on the inside that way because it feels more like an overwhelming, undefined darkness of not-enoughness, pushes us to eventually pull our own plugs. Regardless of how great we seem to have it on the outside.

What does this have to do with my dad dying and how I handled it before, during and after?

Nothing.

Thankfully nothing.  

I was a good son.  

But, as you know if you’ve read my stuff, almost everything gets traced back to my dad nowadays.  

And I know that he knew that I was just looking out for him.

As he did for me.

As we should for each other.  

With that said, it’s been awhile since I’ve written anything so I thank you for trading your time for my words. And, if you’re one of the few reading this right now, I know you have nothing to learn from me about kindness.  I’m sure you’re already there.  So, thank you for that as well.

love/thanks,

gb

pick up my books here – livelikeafruitfly.com

Meet Joe Black

I have sort of an ethical question. 

Maybe you guys can help me out. 

It’s a bit embarrassing, but I’m just going to muster up the courage and ask it.

So, here it goes:

Is it wrong to choke an old white lady to death in front of Whole Foods?

No, right?

Okay, good.  

Because, not only was she a racist, and not only did she call me a self hating jew to my face, but, get this, her mouth was filled with a white, pasty, bird shit substance.

I mean, c’mon, if you’re going to hit me with your pro-Trump, anti-Hillary, hate fueled idiocy, can’t you at least have the common courtesy to swallow the fucking free sample of cream cheese first?

For the love of god lady, you’re gross.

And I can hear what some of you are thinking right now. 

“Gabe, she was an eighty-six year old woman. You could have just been nice and let her off the hook.” 

NO!

It’s directly her fault, and directly the fault of others of her ilk, that 12 million people just lost health care. And her fault that net-neutrality was just killed. And her fault that we dropped out of the Paris Climate Agreement. And her fault that social programs are being fleeced to give more money to the wealthy. Etc etc etc to infinity.  

No one gets a free pass if they hurt others.  

No one.  

– gb

P.S. “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it..”

 – Albert Einstein

www.LiveLikeAFruitFly.com

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