Monday, October 04, 2004


As a reviewer whose name is all over the net, I get lots of writers wanting me to read and review their books. I get free books and they get my opinion. Readers may or may not agree with what I write, but I stand behind what I write and that carries some weight.

Last Friday night a writer contacted me to review his book About Nursing Homes. I wanted to know how he found me (it's a good idea to know where and how people find you) and he told me. We got into a discussion and have chatted on AIM from time to time, like this afternoon.

This man isn't much older than I am and he has had a rough year. He died twice after he was diagnosed with cancer and had a stroke. He was a quadriplegic in January 2004 and got out of a nursing home in June. Five days after he got out of the nursing home he met a woman online and he told her everything bad about him: broke, recovering from rehabilitation, twice married...the whole ugly truth of his life. She told him the ugly truth of her life. They were married less than one month later.

He has a simple philosophy about marriage and love. He says people are like restaurants. When you meet someone you look at the menu and if you don't want to take everything on the menu you part and go your separate ways. When you find a menu that has everything you want and the other person finds the same in your menu, you've got a match. This is his third time down the aisle and the ugly stuff is out of the way. Nothing was hidden and they like everything on the other's menu.

I know it sounds simple, but it also sounds and feels right. Too many people settle for less than what they want because they're afraid of being alone. To quote Mike, "If someone really wants you [s/]he would eat his[/her] way thru a mile of horse shit just to see you. If [s]/he is married, he would say screw [him]/her and be with you now. There are three bad reasons to stay in a bad relationship: money, vows, kids."

He also said he was an asshole once upon a time, but he died twice and came out of it knowing what was and wasn't important in life. My hope is that those of you currently in difficult or impossible situations right now don't have to die to figure out what is important to you. Don't settle for less than what you want, need, and deserve. If you're in a bad situation, get out of it. Find a menu that has everything you want on it. And when you find it, get all the ugly stuff out of the way. It will only crop up later. Now is better than later. If the person truly loves you they will accept you in spite of the bad stuff because you're the right person for them, too. Don't waste any more precious time figuring it out. You know what you want; start chowing down and go where you really want to be.

Do you have to die to get it? I hope not.

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