Treading Water in the Sea of Status Quo

turning slowly
round and round I go
treading water
in the sea of status quo

where to go 

the simple truth

I just don’t know

but a voice, deep inside of me


don’t give up, there’s more to be

I sigh and paddle, straight and true
into a world forever blue
perhaps I’ll meet something, someone new

maybe even you

tio stib

The Blind Side Parables 30 – Hocus Pocus

Danny was sure he’d finally found the path to success. After all, if you believed the ads, thousands before him had trod the same road and made millions, why shouldn’t he?

So, he signed on, paid hundreds of dollars, and waited for his personal “Path to Life Success” program to arrive in the mail.

Two CD’s. that was it. Not impressive he thought, but again, maybe this success thing wasn’t that complicated, reminded of the thousands who’d already triumphed.

He started in, breezed through the CD’s in short order, wondering whose idea it was to have a sultry female voice do the narration. But, then there came an equally distracting male voice that was beyond hyper. What kind of drugs were these two on?

Lesson One” Know yourself.

Okay, a sound idea in principle, but not something that was going to jump out of a bathroom mirror at you. Danny did the work on personal budgeting, then made a list of his close friends. Both exercises took little time as, after paying for the “Personal path to Life Success” his bank balance was in the low three digits. This dispiriting reality matched with his friends list, which came to five, and he probably shouldn’t have counted the mailman.

Lesson 2-Set goals

Danny liked setting goals. He did it every New Year. Setting goals was never a problem. Doing the work to make them happen was. So, he wrote them down again, get out of debt, lose weight and get in shape, learn new skills that would get him a better job than elementary school janitor. he put in a few things that he never believed would happen, find a girlfriend who actually liked him, get a new car that wasn’t twenty years old, and go on a Hawaiian vacation

Lesson 3-do the work

Danny knew the course, his path to life success, would finally come down to this. the problem was those two animated cheerleaders on the CD’s were not living with him. They weren’t there to remind him that watching Monday Night Football instead of putting together his submission to community college wouldn’t pay the same dividends. His four actual “friends’ weren’t any help either. Ben, the barman at the local sports pub, could only occasionally emit more than one syllable. tony, the janitor he worked with, only spoke Spanish. And Mr. and Mrs. McCarty, the old couple next door, well, between his dementia and her fondness for daytime soaps, not much help coming from that direction.

Lesson 4-forget the hocus-pocus

After the third time listening to his “Personal Path to Life Success” CD’s, Danny slowly set them on the table and shook his head. No, he wasn’t really an idiot, he just acted like one most of the time. Fortunately, his “Personal Path to Life Success” program had been bought at a 50% early bird discount. Now, the money he’d saved would pay for his first semester at community college night school.


get organized
be disciplined
keep treading on

this is how you get things done

grind on
don’t stop
don’t pause for breath
for failure would be certain death

it takes hard work and lots of sweat
to reach the goals that we have set

but let’s skip all the hocus pocus
because you, too, may hav noticed

that when the race is finally run

this kind of stuff just isn’t fun

tio stib

The Blind Side Parables 29 – the Last Stop

The weathered face tipped its hat, passed by. The conductor smiled, guy must have fallen off a lot of horses, He thought, watching the old cowboy stiffly clamber off the train.

The cowboy clutched the fleece collar tight about his throat as the icy wind slapped his face. He lit a cigarette, scanned the white world surrounding him.  The snow was gray, flecked with soot and ash, adding to the somber stillness of a sky reluctant to give up night.

He blew a cloud of smoke into the frigid stillness, damn, how could it be colder in southern Oregon than in eastern Montana.

Horns honked and lights flashed as the half dozen passengers who’d exited ahead of him scurried for their rides. He looked around, side tracks filled with empty boxcars, a neighborhood of vacant warehouses, a place prosperity had years ago passed by, like so many other dying towns.

hauling a beat up suitcase, he trudged towards the unlit station, plopping down on the sagging slats of an ancient wood bench.

He leaned back against the station’s peeling paint. Winter’s hanging on here too, he thought, looking up at icicles hanging from the drooping roof. . He stretched the leg that always ached when the temperature dropped and inhaled the cigarette.

His body shivered again. Damn, it’s cold here, and not a sign of life. He’d written, told her he was coming, but she’d not written back. He knew letters were out of style, had been for a long time, but he’d never owned a phone. It had been awhile, her wedding day, the last time they’d seen each other. A lot going on that day, they’d barely talked before the newlyweds set off for Vegas and he drove back to work in big sky country. 

He blew more smoke, chuckled, that pickup had died in Idaho and he’d had to hitch the rest of the way.

Something must have come up. Didn’t she have kids now, twins?

He propped the aching leg up on his suitcase, sighing with relief for the small comfort gained. He heard a familiar noise to the left. Another train coming, heading south.

Then he remembered her, saw her on that hot July afternoon, remembered chasing her on the beach, hearing her delighted screams as they splashed, laughed, as waves lapped around their bare white feet.

 He smiled, remembering catching up with her, both of them out of breath.

She’d looked up at him, thrown her arms in the air and simply said,


He’d never forget the joy that one word gave him as he picked her up and hugged her, that last moment of happiness before her mother, his wife, had died.


She flashed through the station and burst out onto the platform.

It was empty, no one in sight, only the end of a freight train receding in the distance.

Damn! she cursed, stomping her boots on the worn wooden platform. the twins had been sick all night. Gary had worked an extra shift at the mill, they needed the money. He’d come in after midnight and collapsed on the couch in his work clothes, never uttered a word, fast asleep.

It was three a.m. when the girls finally dozed off. She’d crashed, slept right through the alarm.

She remembered the letter. He was arriving on the early morning train, the train that had passed through nearly two hours ago.

“Damn!” she cursed again, “why don’t you get a cell phone?” 

“You Barb?”

She looked down to see a boy with an armload of newspapers staring up at her.

She stared back.

“He said you might come, said you’d be a woman with pretty blond hair. here,” he reached out a hand with a folded piece of paper.

“Where is he? Where’d he go?” she replied, absently taking the note.

the boy pointed to the train nearly lost in the distance, “I think he hopped that freight.”

The boy went inside to load up the paper box

She stared out at the empty landscape, threw up her arms and screamed,


the white paper floated onto the dirty snow.

Moral: Timing is everything

tio stib 


I told myself things would be so
I made this promise years ago

yet, in the waining of my days
that youthful zeal has lost its gaze

the hopes, the dreams of star crossed eyes
buried under life’s goodbyes

but I was loved
held heart close
by angels whom I treasured most

for when I came to be
another promise made to me
a force beyond what I could see
has filled my life with ecstasy

tio stib

Fantasyland is Closed Today

there are dreams 
and there are fantasies

the first, possibilities
the second, delusions

but what is the difference?
what is the line that, once crossed
leads to a spiraling descent into
frustration, depression, 


What is the difference between fantasies and adventures?

in the beginning, perhaps nothing
somewhere along the way
you begin to hear a voice
a stirring
a thought

a question?

and, if you stop and pay attention
the voice gets louder

you open your mind to see
the sign in front of your life

Fantasyland is closed today

tio stib

Waiting for the world

another project out the door
another time I’ve said

no more

and as I sit and catch my breath
there comes a sense of creeping death
for even though I’ve done my best
placed my work above the rest
crossed the t’s and dotted i’s

standing clear before my eyes
the naked truth won’t be disguised

in the flood of current books
mine won’t entice a second look

in a day
perhaps two
I’ll start fresh
begin anew
write some more
it’s what I do

because the world’s unlikely to come through 


holding my breath
is turning me blue

tio stib

The Blind Side Parables 28 – Passwords

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Moral: When computers start changing passwords just to mess with us, it’s over.

tio stib