MLK Day

May I start by saying Martin Luther King Jr day meant nothing to me as a teenager, only that it was a wonderful thing, since there was no school, providing me and my idiot friends the opportunity to slam down beers,

And burn down smokes in the woods all day. The holiday, and the man, they weren’t

Real, in the sense of having any meaning to me. I think to appreciate a life like Martin Luther King Jr’s, and how he lived it, requires a change in perspective, which can only happen when

The time comes

In your own life when you’ve collected at least a few kernels of wisdom so that you can be receptive to what this man did for our country. That he was fearless in his faith, and that he was a hero. And it feels like we

Need some of that heroism now. We’re

Lucky he set the example, but we need to follow it. And we need to

Understand that more importantly than what he did and when he did it, is how he did it. He didn’t

Teach those who believed in him how to make pipe bombs.

He didn’t order anybody to get on a bus with a bomb taped to their chest. Martin Luthur King Jr taught peace. His belief in peace and love made him powerful; a gentle power that all the greats seemingly understood. In the

End, he was murdered by ignorance, but what he preached and how he inspired are gifts he left to the living. Honor. Integrity. Courage. Conviction in his cause, proven by action. But most impressively—and you either believe this or you don’t, there is no middle ground—he was a shining example that peace will, in the end, always, defeat violence. It

Really will. Just as good always beats evil, and that love trumps hatred and fear. And we can play our part, and it’s not that difficult, by adopting his values and virtues:

Kindness. Equality. Truth. Passion. Compassion. But it’s time to wonder

If his teachings have been forgotten.

Now, today, he’s up there shaking his head at the racial tensions poisoning our country. It’s just so stupid. I sometimes think that if every black person woke up tomorrow morning and their skin had magically turned fluorescent

Green, and all the white people woke up and were bubble-gum pink, would people still be racist? “Welp, that guy’s green now, Willie. Fuck it, I say we still hate him.” I understand the issue’s more complicated than that, but it’s an equal level of stupidity.

Just do ONE thing today for good old Martin Luther: do something nice for somebody. A family member or friend works fine. Be bold. Kindness. Give it a shot. Its powers are

Real.

Posted on January 16, 2017

3 Awkward Teen Memories

Teens. The smartest and most awkward of creatures. To write them well, you have to be one. To write them satisfactorily, you had to have been one. Below is a sampling of my times as one of these wonderful creatures.

a graduation photo that couldn't get any more awkward

a graduation photo that couldn’t get any more awkward

The gym. 8th grade. The game is European Handball, which is basically running around and throwing balls like Europeans. My best friend and sworn nemesis (I don’t want to name names, so I’ll just call him “Garrett Yaralian”), gives me a look that says there’s no way I’ll block his shot. Oh, really? I guess you forgot I’m the best goalie in town, son, I say back at him with my look and he shoots. I miss it completely. I might as well have been waving at gnats. His team, and my team somehow, carry him off in a whirlwind of glory. I sulk off, cursing Europe.

 6th Grade. Dating this hot chick, went by the name of Jen. Running from my house to the basketball court down the street, high as the wind. I’m saying to myself, “If I make this shot, I’ll marry this girl.” I burst onto the court and launch up a prayer, a half-courter, maybe even longer. I remember watching it as it took to the air. My eye stayed right on that ball, there was nothing but the ball. It went in, it wasn’t a swish, but it was an absolute no-doubter. She dumped my ass less than a week later. But 15 years later, I married her. I plan on dumping her ass someday to even out the score.

My parent’s house. Sophomore year high school. I’m hosting a party. The girl I like is there. Beirut, which you numbskulls call beer pong, going on in the backyard. Most likely DMB or Sublime jamming out of a hand held boom box. People laugh, people talk, people look at the driveway every so often checking for parents or cops. I go inside to look for the girl. She’s making out with my buddy on my mother’s loveseat. I go outside and launch a piece of deck furniture halfway across the lawn. The world has ended. I am unaware at the time of the future Family Guy episode where they spoof One Tree Hill by putting Chad Michael Murray near a lake looking at the ripples in the water while a voice over sings, “High school is such a serious thing. These problems matter.”  View it here

Posted on February 11, 2016

5 Things Guaranteed to Happen When it’s Dad’s Morning with Baby

Bentz Bday Facebook1.    Baby wakes up 45 minutes earlier than she does on Mom’s morning. Why? I don’t know. But Dad’s gone an entire day careful not to accumulate any bad karma and it still happens so….

2.    The look of disappointment on baby’s face when she peeks through the crib bars and realizes it’s Dad’s morning, not Mom’s, which Dad’s actually good with because it’s a step up from the full-grade meltdowns of months past.

3.   The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode that’s airing while baby drinks her bottle is either the one where Martian Mickey comes to Earth and promptly loses all his space pets and needs normal Mickey and the gang to round them up, or the one where that bastard Goofy is calling for Baby Red Bird the whole time. (It doesn’t really matter which of the million episodes you get stuck with, it’s what kind of mood you’re in, and if your baby wakes up early and only wants her mom and Mickey calls for his Mouse-Ka-Tools one too many times, you feel like going inside that TV and giving that mouse the beating of his life.)

4.    Dad dresses baby for the day in one of those onesies with a million snaps and pants that are super tight around her ankles, and she of course dirties her diaper the moment everything’s on just right and pretends it’s just a coincidence.

5.    In her high chair, baby holds out her arm and drops a piece of waffle or a blueberry on the floor, on purpose, while looking Dad straight in the eye. Dad pretends he’s a strict parent with stern eyes, but she wins the stone-face-killer stare-down every time, which is sort of impressive. She’s figuring out the game of life by testing the limits, and though he’s tired, has butt paste on his hand, and that goddamn Hot Dog Song is on repeat in the background, Dad, still pretending to be mad, couldn’t be happier.

Posted on February 04, 2015

30 Days To Magnificent Weight Gain

bentz blog foodThe last month has been a whirlwind—scary and glorious all at once—and I’m not talking about creatively or professionally. It’s been a whirlwind of overeating.

30 days ago. Weight: 182. Begin a new habit of getting a bagel and 2 cream cheese packets (oh, and a sugar cookie) from the Barnes & Noble where I write. Separate myself from previous routine of eating fruit for breakfast.

25 days ago. Weight: 183.  Tweak my hamstring over-exerting myself on my nightly run when my iPhone shuffles to Pompeii. Opt not to put together a nutritional plan of food intake while sidelined. Instead drive to McDonalds and spend over $14 on a bag for one.

20 days ago. Weight: 185.  Christmas, 3:30pm-1:00am: a succulent type of beef, grits soufflé, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, rolls, none of the salad, cheese cake, a little bit of some other type of cake, ham sandwich, Sun Chips, mashed potatoes, cereal, mashed potatoes, Fruit Roll-Up (Fruit Roll-up, for Christ’s sake, it’s midnight, I’m 33 years-old!), popcorn, Twix bar, juice box.

15 days ago. Weight: 188.  Hamstring feels okay, but too cold to hit the pavement. Opt to consume upward of 3,500 liquid calories on New Year’s.

10 days ago. Weight: 190.  Drop a fistful of popcorn (Have you ever sprinkled it with Parmesan cheese?) and each piece lands on belly; none make it to the lap or floor. Notice that my pajama shirt does not cover entire belly. Mull over diet plans while nibbling on Haribo gummy bears.

5 days ago. Weight: 194.  Limit myself to bottled water, fruit salad, turkey on rye no mayo, one serving of delicious chili. Lie in bed wide awake, observing like an innocent bystander my willpower battling growling belly. Growling belly convinces weak man to submit to the dark cloud that is late night hunger pangs. A frenzy of kitchen activity ensues for the next 45 minutes.

Today. Weight: 193.  193!!! No clue how it happened, but lose one pound despite no diet and no exercise other than walking from one sitting place to another. Feel tremendous about the dropped pound. Feel unstoppable. Ready to take on the world after I finish this blog post and this Reuben sandwich.

 

Posted on January 15, 2015

3 Things That Mattered Tremendously in Middle School

1. Disproportionate Body: When puberty began its assault I was under the horrifying impression that my head was distancing itself from my shoulders at an alarming pace. My neck was so long to me, in fact, that I refused to wear any upper-garments that didn’t at least partially mask this abnormality. Apparently the most logical solution, of course, was to wear a yellow turtleneck year round.

2. Kissing: A glorious occurrence now, but what a wondrous source of pubescent anxiety! Should I go left or right? Am I using my tongue, and if so, what the hell do I know about using my tongue? Should I take out my orange and blue orthodontic rubber bands and clean the Doritos out of my teeth before go time? And on top of all that, you’ve got to deal with High School Tommy saying that you might as well “grab a knocker” while you’re at it. It’s too much!

3. Enormous Zits: Who gives a crap now, but we all remember the sheer horror of waking up in the morning with Mount Vesuvius growing out the tip of your nose. If you have the nerve to show up at school on those days (because I recall faking sick once or twice thanks to the nighttime emergence of a few real dandies), you know, not assume, that everyone is staring; the teachers wondering if you know how to wash your face, the students wondering if tears will be shed whenever you muster the courage to pop that sucker.

Looking back, it was all so stupid, wasn’t it? But we’ve got to remember that silly stuff matters to middle schoolers. They’ve got a lot on their plate. That’s why the next time some awkward thirteen-year-old gives you the stink-eye at the mall, it’s best just to let it slide.

Posted on September 04, 2014