Cherie – Chapter 7 – Lion and the Scorpion – Part I

“Do you want more children, Cherie?”

After our epic 10 hour date last Saturday, we decided to go again this weekend. This would technically be our 4th date, but it felt like our 7th. I knew I couldn’t top last week, but I wanted to come up with some fun activities to do with my latest lady.

I looked online for any happenings. It was Halloween weekend, so I figured there must be something fun to do. The pumpkin event at Headhouse? No. Mini Golf in Northern Liberties?  Fuck Northern Liberties. The weather was supposed to be nice. Maybe we could get on the big red double-decker bus and tour the city. I know the city pretty intimately, but it would be fun to get the official tour and be out in the fresh air on one of the last warm days of Autumn.

I go online and buy a pair of tickets. $60. Not bad. Here’s how it works. You go to 5th and Market Streets. The buses run every half an hour. You give them you ticket, and get on the bus whenever you want. That ticket is now good for the next 24 hours. The bus tours around the city and stops at 15 different landmarks. There are even tour guides on every bus telling you what it is you’re looking at. One of the best parts of this tour is, you don’t have to stay on the bus the whole time. You can get off at any number of stops at any time. Why didn’t I ever think to do this with Michelle when we were together? (See: Michelle – A Brand New Day) You chill on the tour, hop off somewhere. Grab a bite. Have a few drinks and then get back on. You could literally eat and drink your way around the whole city for a day. All the while learning things about our fair city. It would be like having your own personal driver and tour guide, while you get hammered all over the city. Genius.

But it wouldn’t be like that with Cherie. She’s a different cat all together. I tell her to meet me at 5th and Market at 1:30pm. I’d like us to start the tour around 2pm. So I have we have this thing called “Cher-time.” I always allow her an extra half hour before we’re supposed to meet at a proposed time. She’s driving down from Pottstown. There could be construction, detours, weather, etc. I’m hardcore about the clock and being on time as you well know, but I’ll make an allowance here. Because it’s she who is driving all the way into the city to see me.

So, I ordered the tickets and printed them out on Friday night. Within an hour, I get a text from Cherie, that she is having babysitter issues, and she won’t be able to get down to Philly until 4pm. That throws a wrench in things. If it were summertime, it wouldn’t matter if we got on the tour at 4pm, because it stays light until after 8pm. But this time of year it’s starting to get dark at 6pm and it’s getting colder at night.

I call the Big Red Bus Company. I tell them my dilemma. The really cordial guy who answered the phone tells me those tickets can be used at anytime. They’re only activated when I actually present them and step on a bus. I was afraid they would expire or I somehow wasted $60, but no. I can use these tickets for another future date, with Cherie!

She doesn’t know any of this is happening, it’s all behind the scenes. I think she’s just a little sad she can’t get down here sooner. I tell her I have everything under control. She says that she loves a man in control.

I like her words.

She’s on her way down and texts me that there is a detour up around 307, because of some rowing event. I tell her not to worry, and just take her time and be safe. She later texts me from 23rd and Cherry. I tell her I’m waiting for her at 21st and Pine. Somehow she gets a little lost, but finally gets to me. I hop in the Saab and off we go. I tell her about the bus tour thing and initially I could tell she was sad that it was too late to do it. I’m looking at her sweet pout lip. I tell her not to worry because we can use them anytime. She’s happy about that. I tell her it’s another day of dating that’s already paid for. I told her if we’re up on the top-level of the bus it may get a little chilly but we can sit in the back of the bus and cuddle to stay warm. She says she’s down for that for sure. I ask her if she has a problem sitting in the back of the bus. She laughs and tells me she does not. It’s not racially insensitive if the person you are with is intelligent and you’re dating her.

I don’t really have a plan at this point. It’s 5pm now. She drives up to a parking lot back out at 23rd and Cherry streets, It’s pretty deserted. She pulls in. There is no attendant. There are some signs up that say weekend permits only. It almost appears we could just park here and nobody would even know the lot is so empty. But being the honest person Cherie is, she pulls up and leans out the window. She starts putting cash in the machine. I glance over at her. She’s half way out the window because she didn’t pull close enough to the machine. Her shirt rides up her back and I see a horizontal patch of lovely brown skin. Framed above her jeans is lacy turquoise underwear. Is she doing this on purpose?

We pull in and she picks this isolated spot. It’s still light out but dusk is approaching. We’re chatting and catching up. But that slowly turns into dreamy kissing. This goes on for a while and becomes quite passionate.

It’s getting dark and Cherie seems to have no interest in going anywhere or seeing anything around the city. She’s content to stay here and be with me. So I start to feel like something is about to happen in the moment of passion. I feel like a teenager again. Making out with a pretty girl in a car in the dark. And then it happens.

The C-Block. The CB. Doesn’t a Police vehicle pull into the lot and circle around and park about 30 feet away at my 10 o’clock position? Just sits there. Motor running. Headlights shining outward. I can’t believe this is happening again. Cherie says the cops can’t see what her hands are doing below the dashboard. She also notes that the idea of law enforcement parked there while things are happening in here heightens the thrill.

It has become clear to me at this point that Cherie is very interested in me. I’m happy about this. I have been on this dating odyssey, and it’s as if I had to go on all of those dates for this woman to be delivered to me. I’ve learned much on this journey. But like she once said to me…” Be careful for what you wish for.” She’s intelligent, funny, easy-going, beautiful, fit, and on the right side of thirty. I think I just checked off every box on my list. Now it appears there is only one box left that needs checking.

But not in front of the cops.

I suppose some of you may be wondering why I don’t just take her back to my apartment and throttle her. I didn’t want to mention this before but I have a 19-year-old daughter. She lives with me. When she came to me during her senior year in high school, I was single. Technically I still am. I don’t want to start bringing strange women into the house just yet. I haven’t even discussed it with her. If she were sitting on the sofa and I just came rolling in with some young chick, and took her back to the bedroom, that just wouldn’t be cool. Maybe when I know the place is clean, and my daughter is away for the weekend for sure. I’m sure the situation is the same for Cherie. Her son is 6 years old. It’s just weird bringing a strange man into mommy’s bed. I have a lot of will power and am a very patient man. I’m not worried. We’ll figure it out.

Anyway, we’re getting antsy. Cherie suggests we take a walk. I agree. It’s a nice night. This way the police sitting there for the last hour doing nothing will see that we are clean upstanding citizens. Not some interracial couple that has to hide their forbidden romance in some vacant lot on the outskirts of town.

We walk a ways. So I figure maybe I’ll take her somewhere and get her something to eat. But she has other plans. We walk a few blocks and end up on this small street with very little on it. We get to the middle of the block and she stops. She just wants to hang out and make out. I can’t believe this is happening. When I think of all of the drinks and dinners I bought for these other women, and felt nothing, this little vixen just wants to play with me. This goes on for about 45 minutes. It’s a deserted street. We’re right in the middle of the block facing each other. So I can see if anybody is walking up the street or if a car is coming. She can do the same in the opposite direction. Again, I feel like I’m 17 years old and I’m out at night with my 14-year-old girlfriend, Anne. We’re just holding each other and chatting and kissing and gazing into each other’s eyes.

Feels like love to me.

From the very first meeting we just sort of clicked. I thought she was great chill girl. She liked that I was a white gentleman that made her laugh. Yes, I did gather more intel on this date. Her son’s father clipped her when she was 17 years old. He was in his 30’s. He was white. She said they waited until she was 18 to have sex. I agreed with that idea. (Avoid those pesky statutory rape laws.) Apparently he was married and has 4 other children! She says she was not the home wrecker. They bet in a bar but I didn’t push her for details. I asked her to describe him. I didn’t know what to expect. She simply said. 5’9″ okay looking. A douchebag. Also she seems a little sore that he doesn’t spend as much time as he should with his son with her. But he does pay child support. So kudos, buddy. But put some more time in with your boy, asshole. You only get one chance.

They’re only children ONCE.

But here’s the best part of all of that. She works in a pediatrician’s office as one of her two jobs. She says she loves children. She wants to be a doctor that practices pediatric neurosis when she finishes her education. That’s awesome. So I’m assuming, young woman, loves kids, already has one would probably want another one or two to round out the dinner table. Based on these stories you know that my last 3 relationships all ended for that reason. I already have been married. I have a child. I have paid over $125,000 in tax-free money to someone who is not a nice person and hurts those around her. My ex-wife has already burned through her second marriage and has another kid.

But I digress.

Oh sure, I could get married and have another kid and live happily ever after. Sure that could happen. But based on my track record, it’s a sucker’s bet. If I did that and somehow fucked it up again. My child support payments would be coming out of my Social Security checks. No. Just place the gun in my mouth and gently curl your finger so that everything I ever was ends up on the wall behind me.

So I pull the trigger. The lynch pin in this lovely, seemingly perfect romance. Because this way I don’t have to say my last 4 relationships ended for the same reason. I can still say 3, because this beautiful flower that has grown between Cherie myself in the last few weeks will be stomped into the earth under the hob nail boot of reality. Doomed from the start. Destroyed before it could ever flourish.

“Do you want more children, Cherie?”

Tune in 2 weeks from now for the chilling conclusion to this deal breaking tale!


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Tales of Rock – Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzy Osbourne, front man for Black Sabbath, and later day marble-mouthed father figure, was the central figure in one of the most legendary rock star stories of all time: He ate the head off a bat. He has since claimed that he thought the bat was fake, it having been thrown on stage during a concert. That actually sounds like a pretty reasonable assumption to make–though the decision to rip even a fake bat apart with his teeth ratchets the reasonableness meter back a bit. One assumes he had his reasons. Were his “reasons” a garbage bag full of drugs? The answer is lost in the seas of time.

Somewhat less gloriously, Ozzy also once drunkenly took a leak on the Alamo, or more precisely, on the memorial across the street. As would be expected, this action pissed off Texans, a car rental company and dead soldiers everywhere. He was actually banned from San Antonio for a decade, and suffered repeated nighttime visits by the ghost of Davy Crockett. To his credit, Ozzy did later apologize profusely for the incident, although the whole thing makes us wonder what other sacred artifacts Ozzy peed on in his day.


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5th Grade

“I’ve never raised my voice or my hand to my daughter, Lorelei.”

1973 – Philadelphia, PA

When I started writing this blog some poser took several shots at me about how vacuous my work was, and I was new to writing a blog. I took it hard. She said how I objectified women and missed the point. She told me how I needed to get to myself. I placated her and knew at that time I was a new writer. I was just trying to find my way.  She was mean and told me I sucked.

I was just trying to create again after 10 years and wanted to tell my stories. It really hurt me and gave me a lot of anxiety.

I was new to this and was super sensitive to writing again, especially in a public forum.

I took her negative comments to heart and felt the pain of maybe not going on.

I had no idea where this journey would take me. But I pressed on with the support of friends.

It was a mean attack and I knew I needed to armor up. She said I needed to show my real life on phicklephilly.

Loyal readers, I know you follow my blog and know what’s going on in my life, but I have been wanting to reveal some tales from my past that I want to tell…. so here we are.

Back in the early 70’s when I was in grade school. I wasn’t the best student. Was I smart? Sure, plenty. But maybe I was ADD and didn’t know it. Maybe not. But I had a very creative and artistic mind. School bored me. I would talk in class and get in trouble for causing a disruption. I wasn’t a bad kid, but just a bit of a clown.

My teacher, Miss Brown sent a note home to my mother about my talking in class. This pissed my mother off. I can see this now as a parent but when you’re a kid you don’t see anything but what’s right in front of you.

Miss Brown was a nice lady. Think about this. She was a twenty-something black woman teaching fifth grade in an all white school (except for the black kids they bused in) in an all white neighborhood in the early 70’s. I should have behaved myself and paid attention and been a better student just out of respect of this woman’s achievement.

My mother asked that the teacher let her know on a weekly basis if I was talking in class. She even employed my sister April to deliver the messages each week. Because she knew I wouldn’t do that. I’m not falling on my own sword for anybody.

My mother said if the note came back and it said that I was talking, she would slap me right in the mouth.

We got spanked as kids. I got it the most from both parents because I was the boy and got into the most trouble. Most of my lickings came from my father. But we’ll save that for a different post.

First week note comes home. Didn’t talk in class. All good. I’m on my way to becoming a model prisoner.

Second week, note comes home. Says I did talk.

Mom takes me upstairs. Makes me sit on the edge of her bed. I’m nine years old. I’m crying. I’m afraid. I’m just a little guy. She’s bigger and stronger than I am.

If you hit anyone in this world as an adult you can get in a lot of trouble. You could be arrested and/or sued. But it’s perfectly okay to hit a child that belongs to you. Nobody can do a thing about it and you won’t get in trouble. That child can’t defend himself because that would be a problem. If I waited for her to go to bed and then snuck in there and beat in her skull with her iron, I’d be institutionalized. And please those thoughts never entered my mind. I’m just making a comparison here. I loved my mom and I knew what I was doing wrong in class I just couldn’t help it. I was just being a dumb kid.

So I’m trying to cover my face and I’m crying my eyes out in fear, and my mother just holds down my hands and with her free one slams me across the mouth as hard as she can.  She gets up and walks out of the room. I don’t know if she said anything.

I bet she wished she could have done that to my father a few times for all the shit he pulled over the years.

Later my dad comes home and sees me.

“What happened to your lip?” (I had a fat lip by then.)

“I talked out of turn in class and mom hit me in the mouth.”


He didn’t say anything else.

I stayed out of sight until dinnertime.

Nothing else was said about it and the notes immediately stopped to my teacher.

I don’t know if my behavior improved in class after that. I don’t remember much else from that period of my life.

I know other boys in my neighborhood got spanked by their parents. Boys are tough rambunctious souls. My friend Michael and his brother Jimmy both got the belt from their father. The sick cycle of violence and corporal punishment trickles down into the children. Jimmy would beat up Michael to disperse his rage. Michael in turn having no one to act out on would kick his dog Greta. He loved his dog and would cry after kicking her but told me had nothing to do with his anger and helplessness at the hands of his captors.

My other friend Wayne and his brother Dale would be chased through the house by their mother and beaten with their Hot Wheels tracks. Hot Wheels were these beautiful little metal cars by Mattel. The tracks were in three foot sections and were orange in color. He told me his mother would leave in the purple connecting piece in the end just to give her weapon of choice a little more bite.

Michael and I would laugh about this because although we were both being physically abused in fairly traditional methods, Wayne and his brother were being beaten with their own toys!

I remember seeing her chase them through the house with the track when we were over there sometimes so I knew the struggle was real. I wondered later would this sort of punishment develop into some sort of S&M fetsh during auto racing events for Wayne?

Of course I know these things because boys share things when their together. I remember Michael saying that his parents hit him because they loved him. I agreed. How sick is that? They beat us because they cared about us and if they didn’t that would mean they didn’t love us. Crazy right?

But our parents were good, decent people who came up in their own struggles during a different time. I remember my mom telling me her mother had a cat o nine tail that she would go after her four sons with. That’s like a real instrument of torture. Where the hell did she even get that thing?

She told me one day her brothers got tired of the beating/whippings and two of them took it out into the woods and buried it. Buried it! Just to make sure it was never found or somehow ever came back!

My mother once told me she was doing the dishes with her mother and her mom told her something and my mother who was around 18 at the time, smirked and did a “hrph” in response. Her mother, my Nana, simply backhanded her so hard in the face it dropped her to the kitchen floor.

Rage much, Nana?

I would bet you this week’s paycheck that every kid that became a bully and picked on me or anybody else was being physically and mentally abused by their parents. Mostly their fathers.

It’s just so sad. It definitely screws you up as a person and leaves and indelible mark.

Here you are this person trying to live your own messed up existence and you’re blessed with this beautiful little life form you call your child. You get the power to download all of your fucked up shit right into that pure little vessel and ruin it.

My father worshiped his father. His father didn’t give a shit about him. He’d rather be down at the tap room drinking with his buddies. I never worshiped my father. For the most part I was afraid of him. My mother and I were both victims of his wrath.

I suffered from depression and anxiety. I expressed it in my art and music. I would say my father suffered from OCD and high anxiety but in reality all of the people closest to him suffered. I treated my anxiety by throwing up and walking towards the things that scared me instead of running away. I never took medicine for any of my defects. I just worked through them and beat them all.

I used to be at war with my demons. Now we’re all on the same side.

My father had high anxiety so he would use rage to dissipate the fear. It actually works but you never fix the problem and evolve as a person. He was a very good man but had some fucked up wiring in his head his whole life.

Sad thing is, if you don’t evolve as you get older, your weaknesses and defects come in and take you. You’re done. You belong to them now.

My father never smoked or drugged or drank a lot, because he said he never wanted anything to own him. (Addiction) Addiction can be managed by some but not many. Little did he know that he was already the property of his OCD and anxiety and never fixed himself. Poor thing.

My mom had her own stuff from her childhood too. But she didn’t talk about it much. I think her dad was a good looking fair haired man who worked in sales. (Sounds familiar.) I also think he was a drunk. Times were tough during the Depression.

I told you I was going to get to all of me in this blog.

Thank you for sticking with me and riding out the journey. There are plenty of stories and the stuff from California will blow your mind. I promise.

I’d like to hear anybody else’s thoughts and comments on the subject of child abuse.

Let me close with this statement. If you are bullied by anyone even a parent you don’t have to become them. Embrace their good qualities, not their mistakes, because then history will simply repeat itself and we won’t evolve as a species.

“I’ve never raised my voice or my hand to my daughter, Lorelei.”


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Tales of Rock: Swedish Metal Fiasco – Ghost – Part 3

Ghost is a Swedish heavy metal band that was formed in Linköping in 2006. In 2010, they released a 3-track demo followed by a 7″ vinyl titled “Elizabeth”, and later their debut full-length album Opus Eponymous. The Grammy-nominated album was widely praised and significantly increased their popularity. Their second album and major-label debut Infestissumam was released in 2013, debuted at number one in Sweden and won the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Album. The band released their third studio album, Meliora, in 2015, to much critical acclaim and high record sales, reaching number one in their home country of Sweden, and number eight in the United States. Its lead single, “Cirice”, earned them the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.

Ghost is easily recognizable owing greatly to its eccentric on-stage presence. Five of the group’s six members, its ‘Nameless Ghouls,’  wear virtually identical, face-concealing costumes. The most distinguishable member is its vocalist, called ‘Papa Emeritus’, who wears a prosthetic mask of skull face paint and appears as what can be described as a “demonic anti-Pope.”  Each album cycle has brought about a change in the band’s appearance. Though the vocalist is always portrayed as roughly the same archetypal character, there are slight appearance changes, and even altered personality traits from former versions.

All of the band members’ true identities were kept anonymous until 2017, when five former members revealed themselves, four of whom filed a lawsuit against the lead singer Tobias Forge, marking the confirmation of his true identity.

Church and I get to the venue around 8:45 pm. It’s hot as hell this summer. They check our IDs at the door and stamp our hands. We go through security like it’s a fucking airport. I have to take out my keys and show them to the nice lady who is patting me down and I just pretend she’s fondling me for a second.

Then I see my adorable young friend Emily! (See: Emily – 2015 to Present – Super Baby Sister) I forgot she works here at the Fillmore. I love little Emily. I give her a hug and I feel all of the rage that I had bottled up for the last four days simply drain out of me. I’ll have to bear that in mind on the next occasion I’m angry. Simply hug a cute girl.

Church and I hit the bar. He gets a coke because he’s not drinking. But buys me a vodka and tonic. Free drinks always make me feel better. We walk around and check out the venue. He’s never been here before. The Fillmore is one of my favorite places to see a show. It’s an old refinery that’s been converted to a concert hall. So it’s very spacious. They have a big open lobby area, then there is a bar called the Foundry as you get inside. To the left is the main concert area. And again, that’s very spacious as well. There’s a huge long bar in there as well. It’s just the perfect place to see shows. This is a general admission show so there is no seating. Church tells me the show is sold out, and the place is packed. But not the bar area. So I’m happy to just sip my drink and I’ll watch from the back.

The show starts and the band comes out and hits it. Ghost is the antithesis of Catholicism where they worship the devil. They are lead by Papa Emeritus whose costume is similar to that of the Pope. Ghost had been to Philly before opening for Avenged Sevenfold in 2013. That lineup consisted of Papa Emeritus II who has since been replaced with Papa Emeritus III.

Ghost’s tour to the smaller venues is an amazing show as their light show is one of the best I have seen. The lights enhance their songs perfectly. They stay with the Catholicism theme using a thurible during one of their songs. Giving sacrament by using two ladies from the audience to give communion wafers and wine. Ghost has really reinvented their sound with Papa Emeritus III. The older songs do sound better with the new Papa. Hearing “Cirice” live reinforced the Grammy Award as it a perfect song. The Nameless Ghouls wore masks that would represent Moloch as well.

Like I said before, I don’t know anything about this band, but they rocked out and the guitar work was solid. I didn’t know any of the songs but near the end, I was swaying and tapping to the music. If Duncan were here he’d be head thrashing. I always wonder why most people I see at concerts just stand there. I always move with the music. Maybe because I’m a musician.

All in all, I had a good night and didn’t spend a bunch of money. So by the end of the night, I was happy again, and making plans to see Emily one of these days for a Sugar Baby night of drinks.

But like I said in the last chapter of this trilogy. Never again will I get roped into someone else’s plans. NEVER AGAIN!

Church wants me to go to Las Vegas to see Billy Idol at the Hard Rock casino in October to celebrate his 9 months of sobriety. Never happening. I love Billy Idol, but that dude is sixty and I don’t gamble and why would I spend that kind of money to go to something I have no interest in? Church needs to pull himself together and do whatever he needs to do, but my life is magical enough without going to Vegas.

I’m happy with my life the way it is. I’ve done so much and lived so much. I continue to live in the now and feel life’s energy. I get my energy from people and I love that. I am full, and they keep pouring it on.

I’m fine. The daughter is fine and we’re hitting on all cylinders. She gets it and of course, so do I. I’m surrounded by some empty lost souls. I’ll help them but that shit gets tiring. Let go of the bars of your prison and walk out.


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Tales of Rock: Swedish Metal Fiasco – Duncan – Part 1

“You should come up! We’ll rock out and you can see your family. No one ever laid on their deathbed and said, ‘I should have spent more time at the office.”

My buddy Duncan reached out to me a couple of months ago. He’s the one who works all the time at the bank in commercial real estate in North Carolina and makes tons of money. He’s completely driven by succeeding and earning, so he’s lost all site of the little things in life.

But I thought there was still hope when he sent me some music clips from a Swedish heavy metal band called Ghost. I thought it was pretty good, but I’m not thrilled with metal in general anymore. I’m just not that angry. I enjoy music that’s a bit softer now as I’m well into middle age.

A few weeks later he texts me that Ghost is playing at the Fillmore here in Philly. He says he’s buying two tickets and flying up to see them with me. I’m thrilled that I’m going to spend time with my old friend. I wouldn’t care if we’re going to see the Wiggles, I’m just happy to hang with my buddy.

He also tells me he’s staying up here a couple of days because his sister is getting married on Saturday. Ghost is on Thursday so I figure I’ll take off a few days and do stuff around the city with him until Saturday. It’ll be awesome just like the last time he came up.

I was hanging in a bar with my friend Church having some food and drinks when that text came through. Church says he loves Ghost. He wants to go too. I figure the more the merrier. Church buys a ticket on Stub Hub, and now we’ll all go rock out.

Three days before the show, (I’ve already asked for the time off) Duncan texts me that he’s not coming up now. He states that it will cost him $1000 for everything round trip and he just doesn’t want to spend the money. (This clown will be a millionaire by the time he’s fifty years old in two years!) What the hell?

He says it always costs him that much with air fare hotel, transportation, etc.

“Dude. Listen to yourself. You’re close to being a fucking millionaire.  A thousand bucks is like piss in the ocean to you!”

“I just don’t want to spend that much money on anything right now. Got to stay focused.”

“What about your sister’s wedding?”

“I’d rather do a longer fun filled trip and spend a thousand dollars rather that a quick up and back for a ‘questionable’ second wedding.”

“Oh, come on! This was your idea!”

“I’m emailing you the tickets now.”

“You suck! Church already bought his ticket.”

“Well you can bring someone else, or sell the ticket or give it away.”

“I think you’re making a mistake. Dude, you work a lot, you like this band and can totally afford to take a break and come up and enjoy the show. Live a little!”

“I would have really liked to see this band with you, they are good but a little different than what we’re accustomed to listening to.”

“You should come up! We’ll rock out and you can see your family. No one ever laid on their deathbed and said, ‘I should have spent more time at the office.”

“You sound like my mother.”




Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am EST.

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