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Stuff Barry Says (and does)

This blog is in honor of my friend, Barry Johnson, who doesn’t read my blog. I met Barry in August of 1972. I was carrying my gym-clothes in a paper bag. Barry noticed, but never made fun of me to my face. That’s a good way to start a life-long friendship.

Barry turned 55 today. Whenever I see him he suggests book titles to me. This time his suggestion was, “55 and Suicidal.” This is Barry’s idea of an excellent self-help book title. He told me that the fact that there’s no confusing 55 with midlife (which remains possible at 50) makes 55 much more emotionally painful. He also told me that being 55 and past mid-life is liberating because basically his life is over and so he can say and do whatever he wants. And Barry is an expert in eating and so I think this statement had something to do with him being able to eat whatever he wants . . . which is what he has always done except for when he briefly lived in Montana and decided to face that experience by doing a Melon-only diet (Watermelon only one week, followed by Cantelope-only). Barry is no longer an advocate for either Montana or the Melon diet.

Barry has funny ideas. He’s single. He’s a biofeedback practitioner turned real estate agent. He’s a gun-toting liberal. Sometimes he starts snorting uncontrollably when he’s laughing hard.

I think Emerson or someone said that consistency was the hob-goblin of little minds. Barry has a big mind with room for contradiction. He’s also one of the kindest people I’ve ever known. He’s been one person I can count on to make terrible fun of me . . . which he typically does exactly when my ego needs deflating.

It feels like big-minded Barry has been my friend forever. One of my next life goals is to convince him to try a little exercise and a healthy diet. I’ve been doing this for a couple decades and failing, but “Hey Barry” if you’re out their reading this I’m writing this because I love having you as a friend and so you should start eating right and exercising to take care of my own selfish needs.

There. That should do it.

Happy 55th Birthday Barry. Live long and prosper.

My 2011 Letter to Santa

Dear Santa.

You’re probably keenly aware of the fact that if you do a good job at small things, people just keep asking you for more. That being the case, this year I’ve got four major gift requests.

First, please do what you can to eliminate human greed. I think greed has outlived its evolutionary usefulness. If you could poof away greed (while at the same time overlooking my greedy wishes), that would be simply awesome.

Second, as long as you’re eliminating human greed, it makes perfect sense for you to also get rid of the human revenge impulse. Like greed, there are so many basic problems with the revenge concept that it’s really just starting to look like a creative design flaw. Please take the revenge gene up to the North Pole and bury it somewhere no one will ever find.

Third, I’d like every child, everywhere, to feel loved, every day. I’d also like all these children to never doubt their parents or caregivers love for them, but that’s just part of gift 3 and not a new request. I know that’s a lot to ask . . . but hey, it’s Christmas and you’re Santa.

Fourth, would you please wipe away the effects of trauma? It’s bad enough that so many people on the planet have experienced rape, war, physical and sexual abuse, natural disasters, and countless other horrible things, but to make matters worse, they also have the added burden of carrying around physical, psychological, and emotional trauma burdens into the future.  Life is hard enough without having to deal with flashbacks, nightmares, and other unpleasant symptoms.

At the risk of being too demanding, I’d like to request that you deliver these gifts to everyone and not just Christians. I know you’re mostly a Christian icon and that conflicts among different religious groups might make universal delivery rather complex, but if you could take care of everyone I would really appreciate it. Basically, I think universal delivery of these gifts would go a long ways towards fostering a sense of fairness and inclusivity.

Please tell Sandra and the elves hello. I miss you.


John S-F

Theories Video-Shoot 1

Did the first of a series of video-shoots today for a counseling theory-based skills project. I had my Freud action-figure sitting on the table next to me, reminding me how to act. Nevertheless, Dr. Rita still says I was more like Carl Rogers than Sigmund . . . which, basically, I consider a good thing. Carl Rogers with a psychodynamic twist. Or an actively empathic Sigmund. That’s okay with me.