Archive for May, 2014


An Abundance of Riches

I’m sure you’ve heard the term, “When it rains it pours,” but you may not be familiar with the lesser known declaration, “I have an abundance of riches.”

I suppose calling out, “When it rains it pours,” could be used to positive or negative effect. You could complain about how life heaps challenge upon challenge upon you, overloading you, weighing you down, or you could, I suppose, look on the bright side of things, and say that good things come in twos and threes and then, “when it rains, it pours.”

On the other hand, declaring that you have an abundance of riches can hardly be misinterpreted. In my case, after a long dry spell, a veritable 12 year desert drought, I’ve had an abundance of people expressing an interest in dating me lately. I’m inordinately busy, however, and not especially free to commit myself to one special person so I’m learning, in early middle age, to take it slow. What can I say? I’m a slow learner. . .

I’ve recently developed a crush on a guy I’ll call Kevin. We’ve met “accidentally on purpose” several times at a local coffeehouse and are slowly getting to know each other, and I’m enjoying the romancing going on, but I have to admit, there’s an something I can’t quite put my finger on. I think he might be somewhat emotionally unavailable. I don’t have too much experience dating bisexual men, but I do believe he has a child from a previous relationship (This is as yet unconfirmed. He kinda muttered something about having a child). It’s not a complete deal-breaker, but at the same time, it doesn’t bode well for developing a serious, committed relationship. One thing I’ve learned is that I’m marriage material, and I’m not going to have a fling just for the sake of having a fling with a handsome man. And he is a handsome man.

Now the difficulty is that there are two or three other people on the horizon expressing an interest, tentative though that interest may be. Juggling has never really been my forte, and I have school and a trip abroad to Ireland planned over the next month so my motto, at least for the time being, is: “Slow and steady wins the race.”

Meanwhile, consider me a rich man.

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Once A Jew

One of the ways my Bipolar illness manifests itself is in religious ideation. Before I started at Northwestern, in what you might term a previous incarnation, I got a master’s degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago, and I distinctly remember one time walking in, on an emergency basis, to the student health center at U of C, and asking the Jewish psychiatrist whether she was my mother. Her response? “I think we might need to go to the hospital.”

I couldn’t articulate or explain at the time that I believed I had been Jewish in a former lifetime, that I may have been exterminated in the Holocaust, and that some of my mental problems might stem from previous life traumas.

For those who have been following my blog for a while, I’m clearly identified as an Irish Catholic, an identity that’s as much an ethnicity as a religious affiliation, but I must confess, there’s something about Judaism that draws me in, beckons me, compels me to pay attention to that which is at the root of all our modern society. Plus, as a gay man, I understand what it’s like to be marginalized, and Jews have certainly been marginalized over the course of their long and storied history.

During my very first Fiction Workshop class taught at Northwestern, an instructor named Goldie let me know that even some Orthodox Jews subscribe to the belief system of reincarnation, that reincarnation is not completely at odds with the idea of waiting for the Messiah. Just writing the word reincarnation makes me wonder what is meant by the term? How can a person reincarnate himself over the course of his own lifetime, or does he have to wait for successive lifetimes to correct the mistakes he has made this time around?

I know I suffer greatly from Jewish guilt, guilt that I haven’t been kind enough, generous enough, smart enough, hard working enough, a good enough son, a good enough dad to my two dogs, an Akita and Beagle. There’s a saying that the Catholics have confession, and the Jews have psychoanalysis–I guess I’m the lucky one, I have both.