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Clean Cut, Average American Guy.

Technically I will never attain the title of “Clean Cut, Average American Guy”. There’s a few categories where I score above average. Conversely I score below average on one or two items on the list. And of course, there’s the whole gay thing that many believes sets me apart from the crowd. When I was younger I was told by a few people that I stood out like a neon light. One former beau went so far to tell me that I was kind of embarrassing to be around in public. I guess “personal expression” wasn’t really his forte. Or maybe I expressed myself too much. But that was thirty years ago and times have changed.

For a while I had a bad ass side to my personality. Cocky. Edgy. Alternative-ish. I’ve seen things, experienced things, done things that would make most average Americans blush at first glance. I’ve been to paradise but I was lucky to have been to me along the way. At age 48 I’m still a little cocky, a little edgy. I look at the world from a different angle.

But the clean cut, average American side of me has become my modus operandi. I like a beer or two from time to time. I don’t need a fine wine to make me happy. I like hanging out with the other pilots at the airport. I like just hanging out with friends. My radio career-fed tendencies to be out loud and public about my life has waned quite a bit. I don’t need to strut around like a peacock with a big, red beard for my feathers. I don’t want an outlandish mustache anymore. I don’t need to be the shiniest coin in the piggy bank.

For the relatively first time in my life, I’m pretty comfortable with who I am, today, right now, at age 48. I’ve never been really comfortable in my skin. I’ll never be a soldier, I’ll never be a centerfold, I’ll never be the slim jim that’s just a little bit zesty.

I’m just a guy with a dad bod that feels good about where he is today. I am comfortable in my skin, with who I am and where I am today. It’s taken me a really long time to come to this realization.

For the vast majority of my life, my personal quest has been, “what can I change about myself?”. My new quest is “what works now and what can I do better?”. After all these years my baggage is a matched set.

And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

In Public.

I’m at our local Panera goofing around on my iPad. Earl is off on a poker adventure. I’m happy that he’s enjoying his retirement. We’ve found our groove.

As you can see from the photo above, the local Panera is not exceptionally busy.  Three tables down you’ll notice a full table of older adults. They have one or two smartphones among them. I know this because they’re playing all of their videos out loud for the entire establishment. The video sounds ominous with grave sounding music, a deep booming voice and the words “but Hillary…” and “Donald Trump will…”. They occasionally stop their conspiracy viral video broadcasts with discussions about Candy Crush and debates on whether “Welcome to Messenger” means the app has to be taken to the post office for validation.

Honestly, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.

One of the women keeps cackling/wailing/almost losing her dentures because she thinks she can send secret messages to her husband. There was a mention of lingerie. I walked by a couple of times to see what kind of phones they are using and they are definitely not iPhones. Not that iPhones are really all that secure but I can guarantee you, sweetie, that you are not sending any secret messages with your Android device.  You’re on the grid and in just a few moments I’ll figure out what IP address your phone is using and I’ll do something mildly entertaining, at least to me.

I just can’t fathom why people think it’s OK to play their smartphone media out loud in a public place. Last year we had to endure a woman dancing to that Brenda Lee version of “Dancing Around The Christmas Tree” at critical volumes while she danced around in a horrid, ugly Christmas sweater in the middle of a NE Philly Diner. How would people like it if I plopped a giant 1980s boom box on the table and started blasting out some obscure, loud tracks?

Don’t Disturb This Groove, baby.

Technology has outpaced common sense and any sense of decorum by a magnitude of nearly 10. Recent technological advances brings us in touch with everyone and everything. Knowledge can be everywhere.

It’s a shame that we have to endure listening to those that seemed focus on playing games and listen to obnoxious sounds on their devices. It’s like sitting in the smoking section of idiocy.