Q&A or Proof That Tom is Back Despite the Lure of Addictive Distractions

Whenever a vow is taken there are always skeptics. In the universe, when we – as evolved beings – attempt to take on a challenge or chart a course there are those within said universe (and voices within our heads) that are understandably unconvinced. Losing weight for sure this time? Right. Sure. Going back to school to become a nurse? Come on. That trick never works. Blogging again after a sustained break?

Never gonna happen. I know you too well.

But I made a vow on Sunday (or was it Saturday? Some days the beers run together). And this right here is proof that I mean it. This is to show the skeptics are wrong! So, each and every one of you who said to me, here in my own head, that Tom will never stick to it this time, get ready for … the Q&A!

Tom, in the last 12 months you’ve posted on your mostly-weekly blog exactly nine times. Only twice in the year 2021. What kept you? What kept you away?

Madden Football.

No, really, hear me out. It’s silly and troubling, to be truthful. In November of 2020, when the surge of the pandemic began to peak in what we all knew would be the worst of it (winter months, indoor activities, close quarters, no vaccine yet), I decided to give myself a hobby to while away the hours normally spent outdoors working in the yard or drinking on the deck. Now, mind you, one of my all-time favorite hobbies was once playing video games – specifically simulation football games – but it is a hobby I mostly gave up years ago.



I have an addictive personality (surprise!) so when I immerse in something it can be all-encompassing. If I can combine strategy, creativity, character development, and endorphins into a hobby – like by, say, building a simulation football franchise that spans decades – well, then, all my spare moments soon become dedicated to such a thing. It’s fruitless. It appeases me and only me. It’s addictive and I quit doing it years ago because #life. Don’t get me started on my City of Heroes years.

So, when it came time to put pen to paper I generally chose, say, the 2027 draft process instead. Levone Otis, by the way, is a stud. Just got him to a 99 overall rating at RB. And he’s only 24.

See, pointless.

Was that admission therapeutic?

Absolutely. But wait’ll I tell you about the development of Super Bowl winning QB Branch Solomon.

We can’t wait.

How did you break the spell?

I read “A Promised Land,” by Barack Obama.

Whoa! I thought you hadn’t read anything in a while? That’s a heavy book. 700 pages or so?

701. After reading “Born to Run” last year I took 6 months to read Kurt Andersen’s “Evil Geniuses,” which was a good book. I just didn’t make the time. So, when I opened “Promised” I told myself “Tom, you’re gonna read this in 30 days. Go!” I did. Well, 35 days. It did two things: it reminded me that a good man with a great heart and solid commitment to principles and work can get far, and it showed me again that I can do anything if I make the time. So, I decided to make the time to read again. And write.

What did you pick up after “A Promised Land”?

I have a bunch of books I downloaded last year that I still want to get through. “Start With Why,” about leadership. “Democracy at Work,” by Wolff. Pinker’s “Better Angels.” “One Summer” and “The Body” by Bill Bryson. “The Uninhabitable Earth,” which I haven’t gotten around to yet. And Michelle’s book, too. “Becoming.”

Are you sticking with your reading schedule?

Mostly. Not today. Not on Saturday. Writing instead.

How’s the workplace?

The busiest 12 months in our 21-year history. Our best 5 or 6 months, ever, have happened since last September/October. There are the usual challenges, and a labor shortage, but we’re rolling and, I think, we’ve hit a tipping point.

Still planning to take the store over?

Yes. We’ve targeted next June. All things are subject to change, and I love being the #2 man in the organization, but I’ll be ready when the owner is.

Anything else new to report?

Sure, life is always moving. I recently returned to church after taking the pandemic off. Like most people we’re experiencing the hottest summer we can remember, and that presents physical challenges in the swamp-cooled showroom. I’ve been trying various powders to combat that. The bank my wife works for got bought out. What she does there – handling core hub stuff for all the branches – is already centralized and automated by the parent bank so she’s about to be let go from the best job she’s ever loved. My closest friend was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of June so he’s in a daily battle with that (and winning, in my opinion). And I lost Spencer Carter for the ’34 season with a broken collarbone, so we’re thin at WR for the playoff stretch.

You really need to put that game away, Tom.

I really do.

21 thoughts on “Q&A or Proof That Tom is Back Despite the Lure of Addictive Distractions

  1. I have an addictive personality (surprise!) so when I immerse in something it can be all-encompassing.

    You talkin’ bout me? ‘Cause I get addicted to the endorphin, serotonin rush of reader feedback. But that only last a few days and I have to put up another post. The only way to break free of this “do-loop” positive feedback cycle is to stop entirely. Which…voila…no blog posts in 2021.

    But I’m lurking again and I’m starting to feel the need for another adrenaline rush…like a hit of morphine….cocaine…only safer and easier on the body.

    I dunno. The keyboard is within reach and oh, so close. And f*k, YOU’RE back so.,..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do it! Each of us, in our own way, must find our (mostly harmless) pursuit of that rush, that exhilaration that reminds us we’re living, breathing, thinking (and sometimes social) beings. The simulation football thing feeds my strategic/creative/organizational needs (you should see my notes/binders!) and combines them with one of my true passions (the game of football). The only drawback is that it is a solitary activity with no external interaction or feedback. It’s a drawback, I mean, to some. I’ve always liked to mix in that kind of personal outlet in my journey (whether it’s private journaling, storyboarding 100 issues of a comic I’ll never create, or playing Dragon Age/City of Heroes/Madden), it’s a total immersion without outside pressure. It’s also a total time-waster but, hey, it’s our time to use as we choose, eh? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True, it is our time to waste. But I ponder: Is my ego so desperate I need this type of feedback? However, I admit it sure FEELS like I’m accomplishing something when I post and get feedback from my blog…even more so than when I accomplish something at “my paid job…”
        Hmm….it is my time to waste after all…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Absolutely is! And, we all need the downtime and creative outlet. And the feedback. Like it or not we are all social animals in need of assurances from our fellow flock. I like being called Pastor Tom, and I liked the celebratory applause and hugs I got when I finally returned to “church” my birthday weekend. And I like breaking for a 70-yard touchdown. And drafting a star. And saying “Tom” six times in one post.

        I could go on.

        You, my friend, should!


  2. One down, twenty-four to go.
    Does your store accept crypto?
    What’s the most expensive appliance in the store?
    Why do you think you’re so busy?
    Labor shortage? Anything to do with the latest Quit-Culture?
    What’s your favorite dessert?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Generally speaking I don’t eat dessert. If I’m still hungry, and the meal is a good one, I’d rather have a second helping of it than feed the sweet tooth. So, say, on Thanksgiving, my favorite dessert is mashed potatoes and gravy with some turkey swirled in. On lasagna night, it’s another (crisped) corner piece. On taco night it’s a quesadilla.

      You get the point. 😉

      For the rest of your very stimulating and alluring Qs, you’ll have to wait for the next A!

      (Okay, two more: No crypto. $3500 at the moment, but we sometimes have the $10k ones. 😁)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not a gamer so I’ll have to take your word about Madden’s addictive properties. Sorry about your wife’s job ending. It’s hard enough to find one you actually don’t despise these days. I’ve been meaning to read Barack’s book. Glad to know it’s a good read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He’s a really good writer! And it’s not braggadocio, as some ex-presidents’ books might be. He’s humble but, in my opinion, great. The best we’ve had. He would have been even better if not for the maniacal forces bent against him (read: Mitch McConnell).

      There’s some good news on the wife’s job front I just found out last night. Not a fix but an opportunity. We shall see!

      As for addictions, there are worse ones. Just gotta balance the fun stuff back with the need stuff and I’ll be right as rain. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. But it’s so fun! Sigh. Yes, ma’am. 😊

      Just found out last night that they’re probably gonna push back the closing of that department to as far back as March/April, which is good news, and they’re giving her a shadow opportunity at a branch to see if she’d like to stay on in another capacity. Keep grinding, keep that chin up, and keep a rosy attitude and things seem to work out okay! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well that news about your Mrs. really sucks! Sorry to hear that and about your addition to Madden Football, maybe you need counseling? Or a support group…no never mind that could turn into a group of guys playing Madden together…even more addicting.

    But, your going to church Brother Tom?! Glad to hear it, really. I should try it sometime, I haven’t been to church in over two years. Maybe it’s time to go back, if Brother Tom did it, so can I…..wait Sundays there NHRA racing….hmmm…lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welllll…as you might (not) remember – since I’ve been away so long – my “church” is a Sunday morning drinking session at a local Irish pub with our best pals and gals. 😁

      But, yes, I highly recommend you do that. Just put the race on above the bar! 😏

      As for the football simulation thing, it’s really a salubrious thing feeding my need for a quiet, pressure-free, strategic, and creative outlet. Balancing that time (and need) is the key, however, and I admit I’m rather off-balance right now. I’ll adjust.

      See, I’m my own private counselor, too. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So Tom talking to Tom is really a “thing?” lol

        Church….ahhhh, now I remember. I think I can somewhat understand that religion, and maybe partake as well. Yes, the races above the bar would be pretty sweet, Guinness and the Quarter Mile, a great combo!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It is a well-known fact that when “church” began it was simply called “football church.” Obviously, once the season ended but the tradition did not we had to lose the descriptive. 😉

        And, yes, it is a thing. 😂 Isn’t it, Tom? Yes, Tom, it is. 😁


    1. Moderation is the key, damn the fates! Thanks, Mona, it’s good to be back at it. The Cowboys look good, with Dak back. I see them flipping the script from last year and putting together a 10-win season. And, let’s face it, 10 wins probably wins the NFC East. Playoffs?! Yes, playoffs.


  5. At least Madden football is less expensive than, say, a console game or a pinball machine at the corner bar. I don’t think I have an addictive personality but there was a time when there was a pinball machine at a place just a block from my office and during lunch or when I’d get stressed I’d go and plunk a few quarters into it. Or more than a few. I can’t tell you what it is but there’s something very soothing about pinball to me. We got a Wii console a few years ago and of course I picked up a couple of pinball games for it and I have to set a timer or I could wile away days playing the virtual silver ball.
    All that’s getting away from the important stuff, though, which is that I’m sorry to hear about Mrs. C’s job and also sorry to hear about your friend with cancer. I’m coming up on seven years as a survivor and would be happy to offer whatever advice or just general support I can. Heck, I’d donate my headwrap with the eyeballs.
    And I always had faith that your comeback was genuine. Hey, we all need people in our lives who have faith in us. It’s how we keep on keepin’ on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christopher – and I say this without a hint of insincerity – you are one of the finest humans on the planet. I really appreciate your kindness and faith, in me and in others. I see it. Daily. It would be an absolute better world if, somehow, your perspective could be spread. But not like a religion. You know how religion and I get along. 🤷

      I appreciate the kind words, for me and for my friend. I thought about your own battle when I spoke about Dylan’s plight. I know he’ll beat it. Just like I know I’ll beat my opponent in Madden later today. If I allow it. I better not. So much to do. Maybe if I set a timer?

      Liked by 1 person

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