Contemplating Life Lessons in Starbucks


Hidden Opportunities

When I was fired from my job and thrown into a vat of Béarnaise sauce, I thought I would come out gloppy and sticky.

And I was right.

That happened fourteen years ago.

Since that event, I’ve begun a whole new and better life.

What I did not expect was that the Finnish gross domestic product would diminish by 1.3% and I would be happier than ever.  While no one would ever voluntarily choose economic hardship, I have no regrets investing in the Silli Herring company.

Sometimes, when the things we fear the most happen, we feel like the Lord has anointed our heads with a polo mallet.

For it is not what life brings to you, or has Amazon leave at your front door, which you can return within thirty days, that can make all the difference.

In the following pages, you will find true-life lessons that will help you cope with the inevitable misfortune of having your car towed, often when you least expect it.  These lessons will also help you create a sandwich you love.

By following these three simple lessons-“the three lessons,” I call them-you will be able to make the hard times into difficult events.

Lesson 1

Dogs playing in a dog park.


The other day I was pawning my mother’s arch supports when a man came up to me, visibly shaken and knitting some argyle socks.

“I need to speak to you,” he said.  “I am near the edge.  I’d like to be near the freeway.”

“Yes,” I said.  “How can I help?”

“No one can really help,” he said, twisting his face into a balloon poodle.  “The government replaced eminent domain with ballroom dancing classes.  I worked for years to live close to the freeway.  And now, I can only learn the Cha Cha every other Tuesday.  I’ve got kids.  They’re disappointed I’m not taking Samba lessons and they really want to move from the dog park.”

He turned away and said, “I’m thinking of ending it all by sitting next to an accountant,”

I said, “Wouldn’t your kids miss the dog park?”

He turned around.  “Well, they do enjoy playing fetch.”


Too often when someone asks: “How are you?” we respond with an automatic: “Who wants to know?”

By sharing your problems with others who have encountered true suffering and brushed their teeth faithfully, you’ll be able to move forward; sideways on weekends.

Simply by taking time to listen to the problems of others, you’ve wasted your coffee break.

Lesson 2

Heart shaped cityscape with meandering dotted lines leading to the caption “I am here.”


I was over fifty years old before I found peace in my heart.  I was on the operating table when the surgeon found peas in my heart.  While the anesthesia was putting me under, I suddenly thought back to a spiritual dialogue in 2017.

Reverend A.H. Grigoryain’s consultations were hard to take.  I once asked him, “Reverend, where can I find peace?”

The reverend answered, “Quick! Look behind you!”

I turned around and he bashed me in the head with a candlestick.  Then he spoke about what really matters in life.

“Love,” he said.  “And a large deposit in a Swiss bank account.”

In my previous life as a bacon sexologist, I took for granted the fancy vacations, elegant homes and solid gold hot dogs.  I helped define the American “pursuit of happiness” and the Chinese “pursuit of Albert Schneiderman.”

However, once I let go of my obsession with success, I could say the word “Kleenex” in public without embarrassment.

Since I left my former life, I have found happiness in small, everyday experiences and keeping my cholesterol under two hundred.


Put your hand on your heart-in a restaurant, on a subway, on a bus.  Then, put your hand on the heart of the person sitting next to you.  If they don’t object, take their wallet.

Delicately ask your heart, “Are you beating?”  If your heart answers, consult a psychiatrist.

Lesson 3

Automatic door in a grocery store lobby opening to a parking lot.


My father was a shrewd businessman who made his money by what’s called now “stealing.”

Because he had given me so much when I was young, I didn’t know how to ask for help.  I was dyslexic so I asked for “PLEH.”

Just the other day I was picking up my dry cleaning when a lady came in and asked for a veal parmesan Frappuccino.  The barista worked hard to grind the meat and make the foam.

He gave her the drink.

She walked away and crashed into a brick wall out of gratitude.

Seconds later she came back.

“What’s the matter?” he asked.

“You forgot the veal,” she said.

He explained that he worked hard to make the drink.  He went on to clarify that they were in the New Jersey state gaming commission and they only know how to make passion fruit martinis.

Yet, she was very understanding.

To show his appreciation for her compassion, he cosigned a loan and taught her to yodel.


Be humble and ask for help.  But not from a guy named Frenchy.

Find a way today to help someone try on some gray slacks.


When my bubble of privilege burst, I became horrified that my podiatrist would cancel my appointment.

But that bursting of my bubble opened my life up.

It freed me to become the Rockettes.

This new world is an inspirational universe full of love and empty of self-checkout lines.

My desire is that my hard-won life experiences will help you understand the voice coming from the drive-thru speaker.

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