Give Yourself an Ill-Deserved Slap on the Back

Every now and then on Facebook or Twitter, I run across a give-yourself-a-point list like the one below.

I remember my first one. I was maybe twelve or thirteen, hadn’t even broken a bone, much less skinny-dipped or enjoyed a one-night stand.

In fact, I scored a 19.  I had appeared on a local kiddie afternoon TV show where preadolescents celebrated birthdays between Hanna and Barbara cartoons. There was an elephant named Suzie-Q. chained up outside the TV station. That was the extent of worldliness.

Anyway, the list made me feel like a loser.

How bittersweet it must be for Mormons and Liberty University alumni to encounter these lists. Sure, some probably feel righteous, but I suspect that more than a few feel somehow inadequate, inexperienced, left out.

Therefore, in the spirit of solidarity with my inexperienced brothers and sisters, I have compiled a list where they, too, can achieve a low score.


  1. Eaten at Appleby’s
  2. Discarded gum underneath a desk
  3. Jaywalked
  4. Seen a PG-13 movie
  5. Stubbed a toe
  6. Talked behind someone’s back
  7. Farted in a bathtub
  8. Forgot to floss
  9. Ogled natives in a National Geographic magazine
  10.  Dreaded going to school.

How’d you do? I don’t like to brag, but I scored a 0! What a badass!

From Decadence to the Muni in Three Short Steps





Think at last

We have not reached conclusion, when I

Stiffen in a rented house

TS Eliot, “Gerontion”



When I was young, I courted decadence:

a braless lover in her diaphanous blouse,

my amygdala aglow like phosphoresce,

my rented garret drafty in that crumbling Victorian house.


However, in middle age, decadence became passé,

radiators were ditched for central heat,

Man Ray lost out to Andrew Wyeth, and Sunday buffets

replaced sleeping the Sabbath away until three.


Now I am old, our children grown,

and though retirement offers a chance to pivot,

I must admit my wild seeds have been sown

as I stiffly stoop and replace my divot.