My Grandpa’s Eulogy

Finally. I’ve challenged myself a few times in my life, but this is something I’ve feared and procrastinated about for years. My procrastination might be going on a decade. In previous posts I’ve mentioned I want to take all the eulogies, wedding toasts, and speeches I’ve given, compile them into a book, and leave it as an heirloom for my kids. Maybe some cousins will enjoy the collection. Maybe a few friends might like it. But my nagging self-doubt says they will all humor me, say they like my stories and speeches and tell me how glad they are I did this, but the minute I’m out of earshot they’ll say, “Don is nuts. Why does he think we care about any of this?”

Is it this difficult for everyone? Yes. I’ve been asked dozens of times to write and deliver eulogies, but I tell myself they’re only asking because they think I’ll have my feelings hurt if I wasn’t asked. Yes. People thank me after each eulogy for being able to take the stories and memories and tell a story they wish they could. But I think everyone who’s ever given a eulogy gets told these same things.

However, reader and friend N.G., and my biggest critic (and biggest cheerleader and supporter) K.K., both told me to stop over-thinking and just do it.

This is me just doing it. I’m going to list my self-criticism and then, below that, is the eulogy …15 years later.

  1. It’s WAY TOO LONG (nobody is going to sit through a 10 1/2 minute video)
  2. The lighting is bad and the audio has an echo. Maybe I should re-shoot it.  As if 10 1/2 minutes aren’t bad enough, my face is in a shadow
  3. I should’ve re-written it entirely to make it present-day. As I recorded it, I messed up tenses and flubbed lines. Nope. I definitely will delete this and re-record it and will only post it when everything is perfect. Ugh. I’m back up to 160 pounds. I look fat on camera. I’ll get back to 150 pounds, re-shoot this, and then post it.
  4. It’s SOOOOOOO self-serving and egomaniacal. Nobody else does this with their eulogies and wedding toasts. I’m sure many people have given great eulogies and they don’t post ’em online. Who the hell do I think I am?

Thank you to the dozens of you who check-in to my Blog every now and then and if you’re a family member, I hope you were able to smile remembering my Grandpa.

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I Love Don Week, Day 2

Before you roll your eyes, you might wonder, “why does Don do this stupid I Love Don Week?” The answers might suprise you.

  1. I’m insecure, selfish, and like getting more than giving
  2. My parents spoiled me my entire life and I’m still living in a world most people grow out of after their 8th birthday where a birthday is the most special thing
  3. I write for, Blog for, create content for, and consult brands and businesses and I tell them how they should use video, content, and social media for their brand and because they want their customers and competitors thinking they do it themselves, this is like a doodle pad where I do fun and funny things to show them I know what I’m talking about.

But if #1 and #2 are the main reasons, well, here’s my list again and a little “Welcome to I Love Don Week” video greeting.

Announcing I Love Don Week 2018

We’re officially TWELVE DAYS away from the start of I Love Don Week 2018. Can you believe it?!?!?!?  Only twelve shopping days. And now, for the official announcement.

The list…

That’s all I got for now but that should get you started.

I Won Father’s Day and What’s Next

A quick video on winning Father’s Day and announcing I Love Don Week. It’s also a reminder that we’re about half-way through 2018 and we all made New Year’s Resolutions and promises to ourselves. Now’s the time to take a look at that list, recalibrate, and make sure we use the next six months to CRUSH IT!

In the (too lengthy) video above I talk this article on the subject of “regret.” I also mention Gary Vaynerchuk and a huge theme he hammers is about looking in an old person’s face and seeing the pain of regret. It’s not about regretting what they did …it’s almost always about regretting something they didn’t do.

“According to psychologist Tom Gilovich, lead author on “The Ideal Road Not Taken,” published in the journal Emotion, our regrets that bother us the most involve failing to live up to our “ideal selves.” Basically, we’re not as bothered by the mistakes we’ve made or the things we ought to have done as we are bothered by never becoming the person we truly wanted to be.”

It’s a GREAT Week When …

It’s a GREAT week when your favorite band, Weezer, gets swept up in a viral campaign and Tweet storm and releases two new songs (well, covers of classic cheesy 80s songs) and then you randomly discover a new band (that’s not actually new, but new to you) and you can’t stop listening.

GREAT new music can even overcome nearly dying in a plane crash (I am probably over-exaggerating that a bit).

GREAT new music can make a business trip better because you can listen to it over and over again while waiting in the airport.

I’ll Blog tomorrow about “nearly dying in a plane crash” but for now, let me quickly, and most likely inaccurately, tell you what happened that Weezer released Toto’s “Africa” and “Rosanna.” As I heard it on the radio, a 14-year old girl in Cleveland (yes, I’m a fanboy for Weezer that includes 14-year-old girls, but in my defense, I became a Weezer superfan in 1995, a full 9 years before this girl was even born and I have a job and was able to afford tickets 10th row, center and she’s probably on the lawn …not sure why I had to throw that in there) …where was I? Oh, yes, a 14-year-old girl in Cleveland started a website and Twitter account basically bullying Weezer into recording and releasing “Africa” and because Rivers Cuomo (lead singer of Weezer if you don’t know, and if you didn’t know that, please leave this Blog and never return …ok …stay …please …but promise you’ll do a deep-dive into all things Weezer) …where was I? Oh, yes, because Rivers Cuomo is awesome, he did it. And now Alt Rock stations are playing it, like, once an hour.

Funny aside. My 13-year-old son said, “hey, Dad, did you hear your favorite band Weezer has new music out doing an old song from when you were a kid?” and my 15-year-old daughter said, “hey, Dad, you’ll be proud to know I have two Weezer songs on my Spotify playlist.”

I am proud.

So, below are the two Toto covers and below that is “Good Kisser” by Lake Street Dive, a band I just discovered, like, an hour ago when I accidentally stumbled onto their cover of A-Ha’s “Take On Me” and I just had to hear more. Good song with good lyrics. Their lead singer is great. The video is funny.

Leave a comment pledging your commitment to Weezer education and saying you like Lake Street Dive.

Sweat and Odor? Solved by Degree Black + White

As I’ve gotten older, my reason for buying things is because they solve problems and improve life.  I’ve developed a greater appreciation for things like vaccines, freon, electricity, and plumbing – innovations that made the world better …forever. Not to mention Bogs, rain boots, gutter guards, and Spotify. Life changing stuff, folks.

Image result for degree black and whiteNext on that list is Degree’s Motion Sense Ultraclear Black + White Antiperspirant. For dudes who wear dress shirts, and with more of my dress shirts becoming “high performance” (which feature a blend of cotton and spandex so they can be wash n’ wear and wrinkle free), regular deodorant (by my lifelong brand Old Spice) doesn’t hold up all day.  Conversely, typical antiperspirants are white, chalky, and tend to make shirts yellowy or chalky in the pit area. I also think there’s something wrong about an antiperspirant that 24 hours later it’s still like clay under my arms and cannot be washed away with water alone.

But not Degree Ultraclear Black & White. It goes on smooth, smells nice, and at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, it still smells nice (yes, I sniffed my own pits …when no one was looking), isn’t like dry plaster under my arms, doesn’t discolor my shirts or leave white residue on dark clothing, and upon arriving home from work and changing out of my work clothes, it holds up for the entire evening (which sometimes includes a workout) and rinses away with water in the shower.

Seems like every store can get rid of all their other brands and styles – this is like B.C. switching to A.D. It’s like when man learned to control fire or came up with the power of flight.

Hooray for science. Life. Changed. Forever.

Dad Diary: Wear Sunscreen

Life is about fooling people and tricking them into things. Right? Like, I tricked my wife into thinking I was a great guy worth marrying, and I fooled her parents into thinking I’d be a good husband to their daughter, but little did they know I had no idea what kinda husband and son-in-law I’d be. Then I kept up the long con, and tricked my wife into thinking I’d be a quality father, so much so, she and I had three children together. I’ve tricked every boss I’ve ever had into believing I would be a productive, reliable employee.

Fooled you all, right?

Currently, I’m spending most of my time making sure my children are fooled into thinking I know anything about being a dad and hoping that somehow, maybe through movies and magazine articles, they’ll pick up some tips about becoming quality people, students, and citizens as they grow older.

In a couple of weeks, I’m going to speak in front of 300+ college students and rattle off some advice, share some wisdom, will tell some stories, and they’ll probably be tricked by my charm and ability to speak in front of people (which, can I be honest, always makes me nervous, and I read from my notes alot, and I’m telling you that because, again, I’m a total fraud – I don’t like speaking in public).

Earlier this week I gave advice to an old friend on their resume, offered another friend some job-seeking advice, and I think I tried to tell my 14-year-old daughter something thought-provoking about team sports, trying out, not being afraid to fail, and enjoying the good and bad, and keeping everything in perspective.

Ha! Right! Like I do any of that. I recently saw a friend post on Facebook that their house was for sale and I won’t lie …their success and my lack-of success shook me for about a whole week.

Who am I to give advice? I’m not. Truth be told, almost everything I think came from a song by Baz Luhrmann called “Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen)”. And I just learned he’s a total fraud, too. He took the lyrics from a Chicago Tribune columnist named Mary Schmich who wrote the words as part of a column in 1997. It gets worse. I’m acting like I know this, but I don’t. I learned it from Peter Economy and his Inc. column about the song and article.

“You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.”

I guess what I’m saying is, if someday my kids read this Blog entry, they’ll know I’m a fraud and I’m just repeating the advice I got from my parents, the advice I read in books, and from lessons learned in the song “Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen). It will be hard for them to know they’ve been fooled, but they’ll also see Baz fooled me, and Peter fooled some people. The only person who’s off the hook is Mary because she wrote the original words.

My advice? Master the ability to trick people and fool them into thinking good things about you. Oh, and wear sunscreen.

Dad Diary: How Dare I?

I have some nerve telling my kids they can “do anything” and should “follow their dreams.”  I have no business telling them to “dare greatly” and “don’t be afraid of failure” when I sit here, day after day, knowing I have a book inside me, and a screenplay that would 100% get made, if only I would write them.

I actually have three slam dunk movie script ideas.

But, those ideas are “in my head” and in my head they stay. It’s that whole “fear” thing, right? I know these are can’t-miss, slam-dunk ideas, but as long as I don’t finish them, write them down, and show them to anyone, well, I can cling to that illusion. I know full well that it’s possible when I finish that screenplay or finish that book, the next steps aren’t going to happen exactly as I dream they will.

What are the “next steps” in my fantasy? In the case of the screenplay (that I’ll co-write with my brother), we’ll approach the Sklar Brothers (who I’ve written the movie for), or I’ll work through my friend K.V. who knows Vance Degeneres, and I’ll have the perfect elevator pitch for the entire plot of the movie with the perfect title. They’ll admire my brashness, like I’m an older Quentin Terrantino, and the idea will be impossible to ignore. Somehow, we’ll sign papers and pitch it to studios and it will get made.

I don’t know how much money a screenwriter gets paid compared to everyone else who works on the movie, but I don’t even care all that much about that. I want my movie to get made.

My fantasy with the book? I’m writing it simply as a keepsake for my family, full of family stories, but the “fantasy” happens when someone outside of my family gets ahold of the book, loves all the stories and lessons, recognizes themselves (and all Americans in the stories) and overnight hundreds of thousands of copies of my book are ordered and I’m a “new voice” in literature.  People will call me a “late bloomer” because I didn’t write my first book until I was 45 years old, but all of a sudden, I’ll become a writer and author and for the next 20 years, I’ll write a series of books based on my experiences – experiences that I’ll just “have a way” of making humorous, interesting, and inspiring.

I wish I would’ve done this 10 years ago.  Nope. I wish I would’ve done this 15 years ago. Nope. 25 years ago when I was 20 years old.

Well. Why. Not. How?

My 11-year-old said to me when I talked about my movie idea, “come on, Dad. You should just do it.”

I should. I will.

 

A Brilliant Diet Idea!!!

I’m into the 10th day of Lent and I’m still 100% compliant with the Whole30. Well, mine is technically “the Whole40” for the forty days of Lent. Check that. It’s actually the Whole46 because I’m going right through to Easter Sunday. Not taking Sundays off. Not ending on Holy Thursday. Yup. Going right through until Easter Sunday.

I’m super Catholic.  What’s that? Yes. Lent started on February 14th and Easter Saturday marks 46 days. Betcha didn’t know that.

Anyway, the whole point is, I’m awesome.

Eating healthy and Whole30 is rewarding and I feel great and blah, blah, blah, whatever, but it sucks. It sucks because I love chocolate chip cookies, Hungry Howie’s pizza, and a thick, doughy, salt bagel with way-too-much cream cheese. Oh, and I love a bourbon drink on a Friday and Saturday night. None of that works on the Whole30.

The Chew-Only Diet

Like a man crawling thirstily through the desert and seeing an oasis, this lack of junk food has me seeing mirages and so I invented the Chew-Only diet.  I keep thinking, ya know, I don’t really need that doughy salt bagel, but if I could just taste it. Oh. My. Goodness. It would be soooooo good. So how about this? I chew it, but don’t swallow?

Hence, my chew-only diet. On the chew-only diet, I can taste anything I want, then just spit in into a Chew-Only Branded spit bucket.

mouth-digestion-2Disgusting? Is it? Reckless? Like, you’re thinking it’s almost like I’m mocking bulimia. OK. I can see I’m bordering on insensitive, but this is different. Before I Chew-Only my favorite meal, I’ll eat my celery and almond butter, some fruit, and maybe a piece of lean chicken and then I’ll grab a piece of banana bread, smother it in butter, chew it, and spit it out. I’ll scoop a big bowl of ice cream. Spoon big spoonfulls into my mouth. Slosh it around. Then spit it out.

Aside from the disgusting chewed food I’ll carry around in a bucket, a bucket I’ll need to hose out and push the chewed food into the garbage disposal, this is the best idea I’ve ever had.

I’ll open a Chew-Only cafe for accepting and like-minded Chew-Only foodies.

“But, Don,” you say, “what if you actually swallow?”  Well, yes, some very small bits of unhealthy food will remain in your mouth and will be swallowed, but only a small bit of food-flavored saliva, and not all those calories and artery-clogging goodies will get into your stomach.

I’ve read that our eating is motivated by cravings. The happiness and joy only happen when my Big Mac and fries are on my taste buds, but everything afterward (an overly full belly, labored breathing, greasy face, regret, sometimes an upset stomach) is crappy.

I could never actually do this inside a McDonald’s (unless they open a chew-only section like restaurants used to have smoking sections) but I know, in my heart, I would be so happy.

Look for my book before the holidays and I’ll tell you when Dr. Oz books me.

Dad Diary: My Lenten Letter to My Children

Paczki | DonutsYes, I had a pazcki for breakfast. Yes, I’m going to eat my favorite fast food for lunch. Yes, I’m going to have an Old Fashioned this evening, but it’s Fat Tuesday, for heaven’s sake. However, tomorrow, with the first day of Lent, it’s going to be a “first-day” of a new life where I take care of myself, my body, and my brain first in order to be a better father, husband, employee, friend, and human.

All religions talk extensively about the greatest gift we have from God is our body. Do most of us treat our body as a gift?  Ahem. My recent adventure onto a scale at my Dr.’s office suggests, no, I treat my body like a rental storage unit (and my cholesterol results suggested I’m a hoarder and that storage unit has every old magazine I ever subscribed to). I look around any mall or grocery store, or theme park, or sporting event, and looking at most people’s bodies, well, I can see most of us don’t treat our bodies like temples and gifts. I’m not breaking any ground there.

I’m going to change that. Starting tomorrow and pray for me that it’s forever.  44 years are in the books on this body I have. Let’s see if I can get 44 more, and make them healthy and fit.  And now, a letter I wrote to the people who love me. They say, if you write something down, you’re more likely to follow through. Let’s test that theory.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” -Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Dad Diary: I Promise to Take Care of Myself

My oldest daughter often frowns when I head to the cupboard or fridge for a snack, or if I take seconds at dinner. When I say I had some fast-food for lunch, she gets on my case. She’s right to do that. As I’ve documented many times on this Blog, I have heart disease coming and going on both sides of my family, Alzheimers is out there in my genes, and all by myself I added Bronchiectasis so I gotta take care of my lungs, too.

Basically, I should be 25 pounds overweight and I shouldn’t eat what I eat.

The commercial embedded below that’s running during the Olympics has really gotten my attention. I take care of my house. I baby my car like it’s a vintage classic. I try to keep my dog healthy. My iPhone is updated and my PCs run at their peak performance level. My lawn is artwork. The kitchen? Oh, I keep up on that and it’s an oasis.

Yet, I neglect me.

Why?!?!?

A good family friend passed away this weekend. He lived a great life. Had a wonderful marriage, three great kids, had grandchildren, and only being in his 60s, just seemed too, too young to leave us.  I lost my Mom 13 1/2 years ago when she was only 59.  My Uncle passed away two years ago this month, and he wasn’t quite 70.  I don’t want to be a guy who people say “to soon” about. Now, I can’t say by losing weight and exercising, and eating healthy will guarantee I live forever, but I can guarantee those things will make the days I have better, and let’s be real – of course I’ll live longer.

I’m writing this Blog a mere 48 hours from the start of Lent, and I always try some life-improving promises and I give up bad things, but this year, I’m going to write a letter to my kids. I won’t give it to them, but I’ll read it over and over again. I’m going to promise them that I’m going to take care of myself.

Part of being a Dad is setting a good example and keeping promises to your kids. I’m going to promise them I’ll do everything in my power to make sure I’m around for as long as I can be.