After several minutes of careful introspection, I think we need to ban the word “lean.”

Lean has so many pejorative connotations, such as how harsh economic downturns are often referred to as “lean times.”
Lean directly correlates to body image, especially among women who starve themselves and/or develop eating disorders to maintain the lean physique that our judgmental society expects.
Leaning indicates an inclination, but is non-committal. If you’re leaning one way, you can just as easily revert to normal perpendicularity and then lean the opposite way, bending to the will of the strongest gust. To lean is to be an equivocal, tentative, unsure, mealy-mouthed, disingenuous, vague, obsequious, ineffectual, servile, little toady.
Also, lean is often paired with mean, which is not nice.

Bracing for the big thaw

This is my first post since Halloween, and a lot’s happened since:

my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary;
our Movember team raised another $15K;
the Christmas season came and went, and I barely noticed it (more about that later);
I appeared on Michigan Public Radio to talk about Dad 2.o; and then
Dad 2.014 amassed 84 million Twitter impressions and globally out-trended the Super Bowl on Super Bowl Sunday.
On top of all that is coldest, snowiest, polar vortexiest winter I can remember, one that has left me with a fleeting memory of whatever grass looks like. And it has recently occurred to me that the huge snow fortresses on either side of my driveway are a remarkably apt allegory for the way I’ve lived my life since the turn of the millennium.

It’s been a slow build, but a build nonetheless. It began when I started losing jobs, the first of three, in the fall of 2000. Then my marriage ended, I moved away from my friends and family, and (in what was very nearly the coup de grace), I had a heart attack.

So much of these last 13+ years has been about loss that it’s been increasingly difficult to invest emotionally in much of anything. Why be vulnerable and love something, even something as precious as life itself, when it’s all destined to go away?

Protect yourself. Be genial, be kind, be who you need to be for the people who love you and depend on you, but keep your heart locked away, under a layer of frozen insulation.

I think that’s a pretty shitty way to live, so I’ve decided not to anymore.

And the first step, I think, is laying “Laid-Off Dad” to rest.

I spent ten years with LOD as my nom de blog, but I don’t see the value of identifying with those three layoffs any longer. (It’s just so last-decade, y’know?) So I’m changing my blog name and my Twitter handle, and for the first time in a very long time, ending something on my own terms. It feels glorious.


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