Joseph E Bird

Let's talk about reading, writing and the arts.


January 2019

coffee shop behavior

As I’ve documented many times, I’m prone to the occasional social faux pas in food service establishments. I think Meagan Briggs wrote the following piece just for me.

Thanks, Meagan.

A Starbucks Script: as told by baristas


garbage in, garbage out

It’s not like you asked for all that junk.

You know, all that useless stuff that’s cluttering up your garage or your basement.

It didn’t start out that way. At one time, it was an organized collection of useful items, things that you might be able to use some day. Maybe some of that’s still there, but there’s no denying you’ve got shelves full of junk.

And now when you walk into the garage, where at one time you envisioned a woordworking shop, or the basement, which was going to be the place where your hobbies came to life, you’re filled with dread. You know that your once-cherished workrooms are wasted and probably will be forever. Because you’ve allowed too much junk to enter, and you’re never going to be able to get rid of it all.

It’s the same thing with people.

Why is the world such a mess?

It begins with us. It’s been happening for so long, we no longer recognize the junk of the world. It’s in the television shows and movies we watch, the books we read, the social media posts, the screaming and yelling that masquerades as free speech. And we take it in, one piece at a time until our lives are overflowing with useless clutter. No, it’s worse than that. Unlike the junk in the garage, the garbage in our lives affects everything we do.

Instead, maybe this:

whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable.
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy,
think about such things.

find a way

If it is important to you, you will find a way.
If not, you will find an excuse.

— Ryan Blair

Our Fathers


Most are not leaders of nations.
Most are not creators of wealth.
Most are not icons of art.
Their names will not be written in the annals of history.

But without them, we would be nothing.

Their fathers worked with pride as pipe-fitters and welders and electricians.
Their fathers mined coal and dug ditches and toiled with dignity.
They did what was necessary to provide food and shelter and clothes.
They did what was necessary to provide hope for a better tomorrow.

Tomorrow came, and it was better,
and the sons and daughters of the fathers went to school
and became teachers and writers and lawyers and engineers.
They became fathers and mothers themselves
and likewise provided for their families.

They did all of this without the need for attention,
without the need for adulation,
without the need for self-aggrandizement.

Fathers persevere and sacrifice.
They do what needs to be done.
They are good and honorable.

No, not all fathers.
Some abandon.
Some abuse.
Some give up.

It’s not about gender roles.
Sometimes the mother is the father.
Sometimes she is both.

It’s not about being the breadwinner.
It’s about being strong for the family.
It’s about providing direction to those who wander
and encouragement to those who strive.

Now they rest,
their work less strenuous,
their lives less demanding,
and they sit quietly,
content to let others lead.

They have lived simply.
They have lived nobly.
They have given their all.
They are our fathers.

copyright 2019, joseph e bird


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