OMGabe

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

Archive for the tag “writing”

La La Love


“And how amazing was La La Land,” I asked my friend on the phone last night while we were going back and forth about movies.

To my surprise, she said with surprise, “You liked La La Land!?”

“No,” I said with confidence. “I loved it. It’s probably one of my favorites ever.”

“I just didn’t feel Emma Stone in that part,” she explained.

“I hear ya, but I wouldn’t have cared if she was played by a goddamn rhinoceros. It was the way he loved her. That’s all that mattered to me. I couldn’t breathe from him.”

And with that, right there, as I heard myself say those words, I figured out why I loved La La Land so much.

We think we miss being loved. But the truth is, we miss giving love more.

At least that’s the way it is me.

love/thanks,
gb

www.WinTheWarWithYourMind.com

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The Little Things Are Huge (that’s what she…)


My dad would be so proud of me right now.

Am I getting married? Nope.

Have I become a success? Nope.

Did I stick up for someone who was being taken advantage of? Nope. Not yet today.

I’m just getting the five thousand mile check up on my car.

He loved this shit.

I’d call him and say, “Hey, I’m just sitting here getting my oil changed.”

And he’d say whatever he’d say and I’d hear him smiling on the other end of the phone.

These are the little things you miss when you lose someone.

Things you thought meant nothing at the time.

Now they mean everything.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.

love/thanks,
gb

P.S That’s “Munchkin” with me in the photo. We’re chillin together at the Toyota dealer. His mom is some double cane using, decrepit old lady. She’s wearing a Cosby sweater. I feel for her. Right now she’s reading the newspaper. Talking out loud about Trump and Clinton. Trying to get me to take the bait. I won’t. She just said, “We should get Roosevelt back.” Roosevelt turned Jews away during the war who were fleeing Hitler. And now I hear my dad saying, “There’s three sides to every story. Your side, my side and the truth.”

Live Like A Fruit Fly

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It All Just Bubbles Up


Everything is happening at the same time.

The band at the beach club jams out a groove heavy, heartfelt version of Ain’t No Sunshine.

Kids splash around in the adjacent pool.

Middle aged men and woman, making up the majority of the audience, drink “pain killers” from their sand chairs.

An old woman taps her foot to the beat in her wheelchair.

A young girl, around three or four, walks along side her daddy. She uses her palms to shields her ears from the music.

A first aid crew from the pool sprints to a cabana in the distance – never a good sign.

The woman standing next to me is pregnant. Very pregnant.

After shooing it away a half-dozen times, this bastard of a mosquito lands on my ankle and I swat it to death. I bury it in the sand and I’m not exactly thrilled with myself.

Like an undulating ocean, thoughts enter my head, thoughts leave my head. Enter my head, leave my head. Enter my head, leave my head.

“I wonder what’s going to happen to me next,” bubbles up.

See, the thing is, we think we know what’s going to happen, but we don’t. We make plans, sometimes down to the very last detail, and then life unfolds as it will.

The only thing I know for sure is – the Doobie Brothers had it right. The guitarist just belted out, “Without love, where would we be now?”

In the weeds.

In the weeds at best.

love/thanks,
gb

P.S. The band closed the show with Good Lovin and a super spunky hippie chick grabbed the hand of some teenaged boy who was sitting by himself and they danced together in front of everyone. He has Down’s Syndrome. I still feel his smile. And I’m pretty sure it won’t leave me for quite some time.

Check out my new book here:
The Right Isn’t Right

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My True Love

It burns like a bitch.

Suntan lotion in the eye.

The worst.

But yesterday it stung sweetly.

Because it’s a sign of the upcoming summer.

Ahh, summer.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Is there anyone in your life who is simply in love with love? Love Looks Like This

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Another Helping Of My New Book

Every year I swear to myself I’ll never do it again, but here I am in Starbucks sending a “Happy Thanksgiving” text to every person in my phone before I meet up with my family for dinner.

I certainly don’t give to receive, but how dare some people not take the two seconds to text back.

I should just delete them. Because what’s more cathartic then a good ol’ house cleaning of the contact list?

Nothing.

Except for maybe an hour long foot rub for $23 at one of those Asian foot spa places. Although, let me say this: RUBBING MY FEET FASTER WILL NOT MAKE THE HOUR GO BY FASTER – PLEASE SLOW THE HELL DOWN BEFORE I VOLCANICALLY EXPLODE WITH ANXIETY! And while you’re at it, stop yanking my toes like I’m one of those old cigarette vending machines. Who does that feel good for? Nobody, thats who.

Just rub. Firmly. And for the love of God, slowly. Thank you.

A few people texted me back already and a few of those few people said they were thinking of me today because they know how hard it must be on the holidays without my dad around.

I thanked them sincerely but the truth is, I miss him so much more on the regular random days. Like while I’m having coffee by myself in the morning. Or when I see his beloved boating magazines in the bookstore. Or late at night, while flipping through channels and stumbling upon Goodfellas.

Or when I want to text my good friend Danny, and have to scroll passed “Dad” in my contacts to get to him.

That happened a few minutes ago.

I just can’t bring myself to delete his cell phone number from my phone. Actually, I can’t even consider it.

Here’s what I will consider however: eating a giant turkey leg. I’m usually the strictest of vegetarians but my dad lived for those damn turkey legs and tonight, for him, I’m going to get all Fred Flintstone on one of them. If not both of them. In each hand. At the same time.

And later, when I’m in the bathroom, dying of stomach convulsions, he’ll look down on me, sarcastically call me a shmuck, and then smile.

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The Pan

My shadow moved with precision on the bathroom wall as I flossed my teeth and I focused fully on my ghostlike projection as if it was the most important thing in the universe at the time.

I breathed it all in as if a great answer might be revealed out of the subtlety of the absolute mundane.

But no answer was revealed.

Because the attention I brought to this moment, is the answer.

http://www.LiveLikeAFruitFly.com

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Free Range Thoughts

The problem with gratefulness is that it invariably leads to sadness for me.

Here I am, having coffee while watching cherry blossoms undulate in the wind, and I just feel grateful.

Grateful for the coffee.

The wind.

The cherry blossoms.

My eyes.

And grateful just to be able to feel grateful.

And thats the part that kills me.

There are millions of people, many millions, as well as other animals all over the world, who are suffering so badly as I type this.

Starving children. Raped women. Migrant farmers. Cows in corporately controlled slaughter houses.

And here I am wondering, “Are those marigolds or cherry blossoms. Is ‘marigold’ even a word or am I making that up? Goddamn, this is good coffee.”

Sadness sets in and lingers like rats on a ship.

Until I remind myself, once again, that it would be doing a greater injustice to those who are suffering if I didn’t allow myself to feel grateful for what I feel grateful for when I can.

How dare I squander the miracle of being a non-sufferer?

So, I allow myself to continue to feel grateful for what I feel grateful for.

And just now, while writing this, I’ve decided to also feel grateful for suffering that ends. If history has shown us anything, it’s that anything can change at any moment.

And from my perspective, it seems as though good prevails.

Eventually.

Thankfully.

thank you,
gb

P.S If you dug this, please share it with your friends so they can dig it too.

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Let My People Go

Looking for Jews, I scrolled through the contacts in my phone.

It was time, once again, for my annual “Happy Passover :)” text message.

I zipped through the A’s, B’s and C’s, but when I got to the D’s, my heart sunk into my guts and I nearly asphyxiated.

I saw “Dad”, and for the tiniest of micro-seconds, the impulse to text him shock-waved through my body as if he was sitting at the kitchen table reading the New York Times and eating a burnt bagel sliced into threes.

But reality kicked in and caught up with me towards the end of that quantum time wrinkle.

I breathed a solid breath and skipped ahead to the R’s to find my dad’s best friend.

If anyone knows what it’s like to miss my dad, it’s him. They were pals since the second grade.

We chatted back and forth a bit and it was, to say the least, really nice. He’s kind of like a conduit for me. And I have to level with you, tears are now on my cheeks as I type this.

He wished me a Happy Passover and I resumed my messaging in alphabetic order.

For those of you who don’t know, or need a refresher course, the holiday is called Passover because the Angel Of Death passed over the Jewish homes when carrying out the tenth plague.

But I got news for you, he’ll be back. For all of us.

I’ll try to live as kindly, forgivingly, gratefully, gracefully, lovingly and thoroughly until it’s my turn.

Maybe you can try as well.

We owe it to our loved ones, lost and current, and we owe it to ourselves.

thank you as always,
gb

www.LiveLikeAFruitFly.com

www.WhereIsGodWhenOurLovedOnesGetSick.com

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I Do All Of My Own Stunts

I listened to Charlie Parker as I cooked dinner tonight.

Jazz isn’t out of the ordinary for me, and it’s not like you can listen to anything else after watching Whiplash on demand.

So it was me, and Bird, and the sound of sizzling Brussels sprouts drenched in sriracha sauce. All I needed was a glass of Cabernet and it totally would have been a scene in a movie.

It surely felt that way.

But right now, my life feels like what happens to characters after a movie ends. The credits roll, and in the theater you’re like, “I wonder if he became a famous musician after all of this? Do you think he got back together with that girl?”

And the person you’re with says, “It’s just a movie. Nothing happens with them next.”

And you’re like, “I guess you’re right.”

But you still think about it silently on the car ride home. And again before you go to sleep. “He really was a great drummer. Maybe he got a gig at the Blue Note. And I hope he stabs that J.K. Simmons bastard to death.”

And then you start worrying about him in jail after he kills his teacher. “I wonder how many push ups he could do?”

And then you start thinking about The Shawshank Redemption. “His first night in the joint, Andy Dufresne cost me two packs of cigarettes. He never made a sound.”

And then you fall asleep.

So, I’m like a movie character after the credits. Guy gets his book published, lives on the beach in Florida, guy’s father gets sick, guy moves back to New York, father dies. And then the movie ends and you turn to the person you went to the movies with and whisper, “I wonder what he’ll do next.”

I’m kind of just waiting. Seeing which way the universe will unfold. Listening to jazz. Writing this to you. Yes, you. The person reading this right now.

After I ate, I was interviewed by some blog-talk radio station and then I sat back in front of the TV. Not much else to do with this continuing blizzard outside.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was on. A true story about a writer who at the age of forty-three, suffers a stroke that leaves him completely paralyzed. Completely paralyzed except for his left eye. Which he blinks out the alphabet with.

I turned it on during a flashback scene. His father was sick and he was shaving his face for him. They jokingly mock each other back and forth and then his father says, “I remember what I wanted to tell you – I’m proud of you. I’m proud of you.”

Coming out of the flashback, voiced over, the writer says something like, “Praise from my father. We’re all children, we all need approval.”

Jesus man, what are the chances of “coincidentally” turning the TV on right at this scene? It really is like I’m in a movie.

I remember my dad’s scruffy face so well. I rubbed my face against his right after I watched him take his last breath.

And on the couch tonight, watching this movie about this guy who can only live through memories, I decided to feel grateful. Really grateful for everything.

My breathing. The heat that kicked on in the house at that moment. Etcetera etcetera.

But then I started to question it all. Once again. Is it okay to feel grateful after realizing and re-realizing the abhorrent suffering of others?

I guess the answer is yes. Anything that causes you to feel grateful is okay in my book.

And maybe that’s the answer. The answer to the question I’m always asking myself. What’s the best way to live this life of ours?

In appreciation.

In appreciation of all the little things. Always.

Because the big things just seem to happen. With or without our approval, asking for, or understanding of. They just seem to happen.

Listen, I know I’m not saying anything new here. We’ve all heard the “be grateful” rap before.

And I honestly had no idea I’d end up talking about this when I first opened my laptop. I was just thinking about that kid in Whiplash and I just wanted to write about how much I miss being young. Being young with myriad possibilities.

Alas, such is life.

And what happens to me next in this movie I’m in?

Who’s to know really.

Maybe the pages have already been written by the great scriptwriter in the sky, or maybe it’s being written as I go. Maybe it’s a quantum combination of both. No one knows for sure and be wary of anyone who professes they do.

Here’s one possibility for the next scene though: A woman found my book Where Is God When Your Loved Ones Get Sick? on Facebook and she fell in love with it. It turns out that she’s friends with Robby Krieger, the guitarist from The Doors, and since I mention his old band a few times in that book, she’s giving it to him this weekend.

Maybe he’ll tell the world about it and I end up living happily ever after.

I’d like to see a movie like that.

thank you for trading your time to read this – it really means the world to me,
gabe

www.WhereIsGodWhenOurLovedOnesGetSick.com

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Keeping My Mouth Closed – Not Likely


My friend doesn’t have cancer.

I was standing right next to him when the surgeon said, “All of your pathology finally came back. All of your nodes are clear. You don’t need chemo or anything.”

Tears of relief spontaneously squirted from his face.

He hugged the surgeon, wiped his eyes, and then hugged me.

Now lets go back a few weeks.

He doesn’t have a car so I drove him to the grocery store. He’s sixty-four and I wanted to save him from catching busses in this glacial weather. Especially with surgery looming in the near future.

“What’s wrong with this fucking place?” he screamed in the middle of the pet aisle.

“What happened to the damn kitty litter? What the fuck are they doing here? ” he continued down this path to a complete coronary.

Because he was so stressed about the possibility of cancer, understandably so, I said nothing other than offering to take him to a different store.

However, it wasn’t just his health causing him to boil over. He tends to get angry at non important things often. As most of us do.

Today, I was hoping he’d have a more evolved disposition in the grocery store.

But people don’t change. Even after dodging a life threatening bullet, they don’t change.

There was only one bag of the type of kitty litter his cat likes and he totally flipped out again (just an FYI – cats shouldn’t have the right to give a shit about what they shit on).

I said nothing.

I said nothing for maybe about a second.

I considered allowing the universe just to unfold as it will. But since I’m part of the universe, I had to unfold as I will.

“Jesus man, after everything you’ve been through, you’re still going to let these little things ruin your day?”

Life is so bizarre.

And how we treat it is even more bizarre.

with love and gratitude,
gb

www.LiveLikeAFruitFly.com

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