Welcome to The Epic! I am launching this blog as a manifesto for and a guide to living well. The title and motto of the blog are taken from the Epicureans, at least some of whom believed in the notion that not one minute of the future was guaranteed to them and that as a result they had the duty to live life to its fullest every moment.

I believe in discovering fun and pleasurable things wherever I find myself each day and I am told I have a knack for unearthing them. My hope is that by sharing in my pleasures and some of my ways of finding them you will begin to collect all the riches that lie in the moments of your life. They are there. Take them! All our lives should be.....Epic.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Thank You

From the First Five at Boston Common:

Crispus Attucks
Samuel Gray
James Caldwell
Samuel Maverick
Patrick Carr

To the Five Most Recent:

S.Sgt. Kristofferson B. Lorenzo
Pfc. William S. Blevins
Pvt. Andrew M. Krippner
Pvt. Thomas C. Allers
Sgt. 1st Class Clifford E. Beattie

From all the rest of us. Thanks. Today. And always.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Haiku From The Road (at 52)

Some people chase girls
Some people pursue women
I'll just have a drink.

Attribution Note [As Always]: She gave me the inspiration to write haiku. She knows who she is.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Yesterday, I was performing one of my regular errands when I met a new hero. I was standing at the counter of my neighborhood pharmacy picking up some prescriptions when a gent walked in on a similar task. Eighty if he was a day. Perhaps eighty-five. Big sun glasses rather typical for the fellow's age in Florida. I think the government hands them out once you mark a certain number of birthdays. Moving with the deliberate yet unencumbered gait required by lower joints that won't respond to commands in the manner expected from decades of experience.

There, at this little pharmacy in an out of the way town, the man was dressed to the nines. Straw hat with madras band. Pale blue pin-cord suit. White dress shirt. Yellow bow tie. White buck shoes. I almost applauded as he walked in.

As he slowly conducted his business with the counter clerk, I tried to imagine what his life had been about. What his days were currently like. I wondered how old his crisp outfit might be. Finally, as he turned to leave, I introduced myself and said I thought he looked just great. He grinned, saying "Oh, this outfit is just something I threw on to go to the pharmacy." Then he made his way carefully from the room.

When I related this event to my son, the Future Rock Star, he said

"That guy is a hero to us, Dad. Because he never let his age take his youth away."
Precisely. Your youth can't be taken. You can only give it away. My new hero may have only been able to accomplish the one task yesterday of a trip down the street to the pharmacy. But he did that task as well as it could be done. An example to us all.
I hope I see him there again sometime. I want to ask him to lunch. Or to happy hour.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Donde Esta?

The marrow of a strong marital relationship lies in shared and remembered laughter. I am the recipient of many Epic gifts in this way because the Irish Redhead and I have the same sense of humor. Some might call it an odd sense of humor. In any event, one facet of my SoH is that bored M.Lane has a highly refined ability to entertain himself. Particularly on the road. Particularly a long way out on the road.

Ten years ago in San Francisco, for example. I was on a business trip and found myself staying a day after the rest of my party went home. It was a beautiful day and I decided to walk around this wonderful city and head to China Town. After wandering past the twentieth little store selling what looked like dried, skinned chickens, I started thinking of ways to enhance the experience.

Now, I admit, I have always had a bit of a fascination with Tonya Harding. As I strolled about in China Town it occurred to me that it would be a kick to have someone teach me how to say "Do you know where Tonya Harding is?" in Chinese. A willing, although mystified, older woman helped me out with a phrase I could not repeat now to save my life. Thus armed, I spent some highly diverting time asking random people if they could locate the only notorious figure skater in history.

The reactions I got were hilarious. One fellow in a little shop produced a Harding trading card for my perusal but that was as close as I got to the real item. I would have liked to meet her and have a drink or two. I would not have wanted to get her mad at me. When I got back to the hotel and told the Irish Redhead of this adventure she laughed so hard she dropped the phone.

A decade passed. Last week I found myself in San Antonio, Texas. A place new to me and one which I greatly enjoyed. In a free spot of time, I went to tour The Alamo which was very interesting. I had previously sent a text message about my location to the I.R. since she is also very interested in history and in historical places. I had been to a magnificent Mexican restaurant the previous evening and had once again become aware of my rather significant deficit in Spanish which I had also mentioned to the I.R. A few minutes after the start of my Alamo tour, text messages with useful Spanish phrases began arriving on my phone. Such as "Do they sell beer at the Alamo?" [No. Pity.]. "Where is the bathroom at the Alamo?" And, then, this...

Donda esta Tonya Harding en el Alamo?

Now it was my turn to laugh so hard I dropped my phone. We were many miles apart. But very close. Retain the laughs. The funny moments. Even if odd. Approaching our twenty fourth wedding anniversary we still laugh loudly. And a lot. The marrow of strength, indeed.

Post-script: Yes, I asked. No, she wasn't at the Alamo. I read today that TH has married, settled down, and had a baby. I wish her peace and a long history of shared laughs with her husband. She certainly owes herself some quietude.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

From The Epic Valet Box: The Timex Dress Watch

Late night. 1982. A Walgreens store in rural southwest Virginia. A boy from the Wisconsin woods, armed only with a better education than he probably deserved, is preparing to head out on his first paid out of town interview trip. And he has no watch. Not one good enough to wear into the offices of an August Law Firm.

He has insufficient funds to go to a jewelry store to look for a watch but he has seen a display case of Timex watches when out buying tooth paste, shaving cream, the usual things. So, when he realizes at midnight that he has no dress watch to go with his one navy blue suit and white shirt from Lands End he panics. And heads to the only watch display he can remember. Up there in the mountains where he lives.

Most of the watches were pretty awful. But there was this one watch that seemed singular. Lonely among its compatriots. Wafer thin. Plated with several hefty "microns" of real gold. Roman numerals. Black synthetic carbochon on the stem. It seemed to be begging the boy to arrange its escape from captivity. To give it one shot at peeking out from under the cuff of a nice shirt. The boy knew it had to be. The purchase was made, the escape from a rotating plastic display accomplished. For the grand total of twenty-four bucks.

The interview trip was a monumental disaster. Seemingly, the boy was considered too much of an artist for an August Law Firm. But the watch remained. Thirty years later, the boy, now impersonating a man, found it in the back of his valet box. Battery dead as a doornail. The "microns" still glowing in the sultry way of a real gold case. A few dollars spent and it is back in business. Except now the boy can afford to give it the alligator band that it so richly deserves. Because, you see, the boy and the watch have been through the professional wars together. From way back. Before he married a woman that would give him a vintage Rolex, just for fun. It still gets compliments. And, in an odd way, every time the boy puts this watch on, it transports him for a moment or two to to a time when everything was bright and shiny. When opportunity flashed on every horizon. When victory and defeat were just abstract concepts.

It is good to keep things from our past times. To preserve them. And to let them preserve us as well.