One Thing or Another: Straws and Camels

It’s always One Thing or Another … a lighthearted look at aging, life, and the absurdities of it all.

By Mark McNease

There are shadows overhead for all of us, and we sometimes live our lives as if those shadows will suddenly grow larger and darker as something dreadful finally swoops down to take us away. But we can choose another way.

I can’t name a specific date and time, but at some point the past few months I stopped paying attention to the news beyond what I need to stay informed. Is there a significant natural disaster nearby I need to know about? Has a foreign invader breached our northern shores? Have scientists discovered that drinking eight cups of coffee a day leads to a long life or that it causes permanent memory loss? There’s the local political stuff I want to know about, like who the next governor of New Jersey might be, even though I haven’t registered yet to vote here, and which dismal choice I’ll have to make next year for health insurance. But the overall big picture, the cloud of dread and anxiety that is our current 24/7 news cycle? I just can’t indulge in it anymore. Very little of it uplifts me and much of it depresses me. It’s as if, given the possibility we are not living in the end times, we’ve collectively decided to make it appear as if we are, like that Buck Owens and Roy Clark song I remember from Hee Haw, “Gloom, despair, and agony on me …”

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One Thing or Another: Calamari Wishes and Cashier Dreams

It’s always One Thing or Another … a lighthearted look at aging, life, and the absurdities of it all.

By Mark McNease 

Life is about downsizing now, reducing the number of things someone will have to have hauled off when I’m dead.

Readers of a certain age will recognize the title reference from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Robin Leach’s hit show about the rich and infamous that ran from 1984 – 1995. It was the granddaddy of celebrity voyeurism, the original orgy of window shopping into lives we would never experience, caviar we would never eat and champagne we would never drink.

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One Thing or Another: We Won’t Be Erased

It’s always One Thing or Another … a lighthearted look at aging, life, and the absurdities of it all.

By Mark McNease

“By erasing LGBTQ Americans from the 2020 U.S. Census, the Trump Administration is adding a disgusting entry to a long list of tactics they’ve adopted to legally deny services and legitimacy to hard-working LGBTQ Americans.

 

“The Trump Administration is trying hard to erase the LGBTQ community from the fabric of America, but visibility has always been one of the LGBTQ community’s greatest strengths.”

 

Sarah Kate Ellis, President, GLAAD

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One Thing or Another: Hope, Renewal and a Miracle Cat

It’s always One Thing or Another … a lighthearted look at aging, life, and the absurdities of it all.

By Mark McNease/Editor

A funny thing happened on the way to despair: our oldest cat Jessica defied expectations and lived to meow another day. If you’ve ever had a pet diagnosed with a grave illness, you know the odds. You also know the futility of hope—they might get better with a daily pill, they’ll need some insanely expensive surgery you can’t afford, you’ll spend a few weeks or months believing they’ll recover, then you’ll cradle them in your arms in room #3 at the vet’s office waiting for a syringe of Permanent Sleepytime. read more…

One Thing or Another: Auld Lang Anxiety (So Long 2016)

It’s always One Thing or Another … a lighthearted look at aging, life, and the absurdities of it all.

One Thing Logo FINALBy Mark McNease/Editor

I’ve witnessed the end of a few years in my time, but seldom have I welcomed their passing as much as I welcome the final days of 2016. It has been both a year to remember and a year to forget, the way one allows painful memories to fade. While I wouldn’t trade the year for, say, a wrinkle in time that caused me to jump from 2015 to 2017, I can say without hesitation it’s been a year of cataclysm, change, overwhelming emotion, and degrees of stress I hope to never experience again.

I could write about job loss for the year, the death of one pet and health scare for another. I could write about getting shingles that still itch. I could write about an entire year consumed by political news that went from the entertaining to the grotesque, to the utterly heartbreaking. And that would be just the beginning.

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One Thing or Another: Shingle Bells

[clickToTweet tweet=”New One Thing or Another editor’s column: Shingle Bells. #lgbt #aging” quote=”Make time the gift you give to yourself and others, wrapped in moments of calm and presence. “]

one-ting-treeIt’s always One Thing or Another … a lighthearted look at aging, life, and the absurdities of it all.

By Mark McNease

I don’t know what’s more excruciating, living through shingles or attempting to write a humor column about them. But since I consider laughter a true medicine, and a sense of humor vital to surviving this life, I’ll do my best to smile through the pain.

It seems appropriate to end my Year of Living Stressfully with a case of something we’re led to believe only strikes people over the age of 60. I celebrated my 58th birthday in October, so while I’m not that far from the mile marker beyond which shingles waits for one in every three of us, I still thought I was safe for a few more years. I obviously have not had the vaccine I see commercials for every hour or so (do our television sets know what products to market to us yet, the way websites do?). I also couldn’t tell you until now that I’d had chickenpox as a child. I don’t remember my childhood diseases, only its discomforts, which were many.

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One Thing or Another: Heaven’s Diner

[clickToTweet tweet=”One Thing or Another editor’s column: Heaven’s Diner. ” quote=”I wonder how different the world would be if we met in diners instead of on Facebook or through apps designed for brief encounters.”]It’s always One Thing or Another … a lighthearted look at aging, life, and the absurdities of it all.

One Thing Logo FINALMark McNease

I recently read an article about New York City’s disappearing diner culture. The writer lamented the loss of a sense of community diners gave the city over many decades, falling victim now to ever-rising rents and changing tastes. (The concept of community that takes place outside a smartphone is apparently strange and foreign to many people today.)

This, one day after ending a visit to relatives by having breakfast in a Richmond, Virginia, diner. When we walked into the place I immediately looked around at the colors inside. The exterior, in black and red, had told me I could expect something exceptionally diner-ish. The booths were red and black, the tables yellow. The two waitresses were distinctly post-punk, with tattoos and neon hair. The crowd, as is usually the case in diners, consisted of people who knew each other from years of eating there. Only first names were necessary, if names were needed at all. And each of them – men, women and children – looked as if they’d enjoyed lives filled with grits and hash browns, without a single kale salad from cradle to grave. My kind of people.

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One Thing or Another: Country Mice

One Thing Logo FINAL

It’s always One Thing or Another … a lighthearted look at aging, life, and the absurdities of it all.

By Mark McNease

It’s the morning of the time change, that twice-yearly, incomprehensible turning of the clocks by an hour. We’re told, as if it’s an extra treat for puppies, that we’ll have “another hour to sleep.” This is ridiculous, since most of us inhabit bodies, not clocks, and rather than sleep another hour (something I would relish) we just wake up sooner. So here I am an hour earlier than I would have been yesterday, sitting at my living room desk in the true darkness of the countryside, listening to the few sounds a small, old house in the woods has to offer this time of morning. It’s a house I’ll soon be moving to with my husband and two cats. A house I’ve loved for ten years but only experienced as a weekend getaway. That’s all about to change.

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