The F Words

“Dad, I know what the ‘F’ word is.”
This took me by surprise. How did a kindergartener even know there was such a thing as an ‘F’ word? I played it cool, though.

A Long Time Ago. Galaxy Far, Far Away.

A Long Time Ago. Galaxy Far, Far Away.

‘OK, son,” I said, “Whisper it to me”. I leaned down, and he put his mouth up to my ear.
“Fart,” he said.
It was all I could do not to laugh. I also breathed a huge sigh of relief.
“Yes, son. That’s it. Let’s not use that word, OK.”
I also told him, “If you ever hear other words that you don’t know, come ask me first. If they’re bad words, I won’t be mad if you ask me. If I hear you using bad words, though, I won’t be happy, and you’ll be in trouble.”
He agreed.

A couple of years later, he came up to me again and said nonchalantly, “Dad, what’s a motherf&%$#$?”
I almost choked.”Where did you hear that?”
“Charles said it.”
I composed myself, remembering our agreement. “Well, son, let’s DEFINITELY not say that again. Remember when you told me you knew that the ‘F’ word was fart?”
‘Well, the part of that word after ‘mother’ is another ‘F’ word, and it’s REALLY bad. I don’t wont to hear it again, but you did the right thing by coming to ask.”
“OK,” he said and went on his way.

The Others

It’s been a long time since I had those conversations with my son. Unfortunately, these days, we all know about THAT word, as it seems to be way more popular than I’d like. However, there are several other ‘F’ words I’ve decided are almost as bad, except they are allowed on network television. Here they are:


40th Birthday

40th Birthday – 2008. Oh my.

Turns out, right in the middle of life, a couple of effin’ ages come at you. The first is 40. For some, this is about the time when the print on screen or paper starts to be tough to read, and the doc introduces you to reading glasses. In my case, these were expensive prescription progressive lenses, a fancy modern name for bifocals.

I also had several other problems. I was out of shape and weighed the most I ever had. Then, soon after turning 40, I faced the possibility of a layoff when the economy crashed in late 2008.

But wait! There’s more!

As soon as your 40’s wrap up, something worse comes along – 50! This happened to me this year. As much as I tried to stop it, there wasn’t much I could do about the calendar.  The good news is that physically, I’m handling it much better. More on that in a moment. The bad news is, I’ll admit, 50 has been tougher mentally than 40. Probably, due to the next F word:


This ‘F’ word is my Jekkyl and Hyde of the ‘F’ words. For many years, one of my personal mantras was “Just dumb enough to try.” For certain pursuits, like chasing a Boston Marathon qualifying time, failure was almost guaranteed. At first anyway. And if I didn’t succeed, it was no big deal. My livelihood wasn’t dependent on my running success. The early failures at qualifying didn’t bother me as much as they served to drive me, and I eventually succeeded.  That’s the Dr. Jekkyl. Good medicine.

But what if the failure IS your livelihood. What if the near-miss layoff at age 40 turned into the real thing at 47 when your employer left town and took away the jobs of several hundred people? Sure that company decision wasn’t your fault, but what about the inability to pull your career out of the ditch over the next three years? Is that failure? This is the Mr. Hyde I wrestle with every <Fart?>-ing day. Is this daily battle going to drive me to success again in my field of the past 28 years or is my head going to explode at the office? We’ll see.

Failure Part 2 – Fiction

NSbook_3D_400x448The other week, my daughter told me I needed a side hustle. I laughed, and thought: “No, I just to do a better job at the one I have.”  See, one other failure over the past two years is my writing journey/side hustle. If you’re reading this, it’s likely because you signed up for the mailing list from some guy with a site called

Yes, he wrote a book. Therefore, by definition, he was an author. But you likely signed up expecting to receive some regular content. Well, news from that guy has been spotty at best. And when he did post something, it was likely about running. Heck, even his book had a little bit to do with running. (If you still haven’t read it, you should, by the way.)

While pondering my tendency to write more non-fiction, especially about running, I had an epiphany of sorts.  This also brings me to the final ‘F’ word of this post, which may be the ugliest ‘F’ word of them all for most people over 40:


50th Birthday

50th Birthday

I mentioned back in the Forty/Fifty section that I was able to physically handle age 50 better than 40. If you’ve followed my writing over the past decade you likely already know what happened – I took up running that December day in 2008 when I first thought I might lose my job after Christmas.

Unlike Forrest Gump, who eventually stopped running, I continued. Then I added more than running to my list of tricks, like swimming, cycling, yoga, and sometimes the dreaded weightlifting. As a result, I arrived at 50 in better physical shape than age 40, possibly even 30.

I also believe my commitment to running and fitness over the past ten years is one of the major reasons I’ve survived the latest rough patch. For this reason, and my propensity to drift back to writing about running, here’s the epiphany part: I realized I wasn’t going to give up running and training, but I still wanted to write. So why not write about what I love doing? As a result, I have started a new blog/fitness site dedicated to fitness after age 40. Just a quick glance around shows a whole lot of people could use this.

The new site is called Second Half Stronger and is dedicated to doing the second half of life better physically than the first. This is the journey I’ve been on for almost 10 years now. It will certainly have a running tilt, but I’ll hit other activities as well as habits, motivation, and perseverance.


So what does all this mean for you, a subscriber or reader of You have two options:

First, do nothing, and you’ll still see the occasional posts here. I currently have several fiction pieces in the works, and I’m committed to finishing the work-in-progress second fiction novel. I’m just not committed to a timeframe yet.

Second, you can go check out the new site at I have a couple of posts so far, along with a product review of my 2018 Father’s Day gift – Bose SoundSport Free earphones.  If Fitness is a dreaded ‘F’ word for you, please subscribe. I’d like to help change that for you.  If you’re already into fitness, I’d like you to subscribe as well. We can learn from each other. On the site, you can also find links to follow my new Twitter account – @2ndHalfStronger.

Currently, new subscribers receive a new ebook I’ve written called Don’t Stop Believin’ and Other Musical Running Lessons. Click on the image below to go to the site and sign up to receive the ebook. Just scroll to the bottom of the page for the subscription pop-up.

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Thanks for reading,


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