Home » Articles posted by Joe Smith

Author Archives: Joe Smith

Joe Verses the North

Last year, I moved from Winston-Salem, NC to a small town about 40 minutes or so north of Pittsburgh. I’ve always lived south of the Mason-Dixon line, so the move up north was a bit of a gut punch to my sensibilities. The first thing I noticed about living up here is how different northerners are from southerners. I don’t just mean personalities, I mean every fucking thing is different. The people up here are (for lack of a better word) harder than the people down south. Seriously, it took me all of about a week to figure out why these fuckers won the Civil War. I think it may be the unreasonably cold winters here that toughens these bastards up. The men here are manly men, and the women are too.They pee standing up, I’ll bet. Image

Having mentioned the unreasonably cold winters, did you know it can fucking snow in the middle of June? I didn’t. I do now, but I didn’t. There should be some sort of pamphlet that you can pick up at the tourism board that says it snows about eight months out of the year here. Just something like a little F.Y.I., it doesn’t have to be anything special, just something that says, “Hey! If you like freezing to death in 26 feet of snow, you’re going to love October through June!”  They could even go a bit more subtle, and go with “There’s a reason our women have hair on their balls.” Something. Fuck.

The other thing I noticed is that the north seems to have a monopoly on names with heavy “Ch” sounds, and names that are missing vowels and shit. A name from the south might be Davidson, Johnson, Harris, Brown, or Smith. A name from here could be Dloubek, Czczeknik, Obleckski, Obernich, or Kpusta. Where the fuck did these people come from that hated using vowels? Buy a vowel.  Hell, buy two, they’re on me.

Also, they don’t have regular sweet tea here. What the fuck, people? The war is over, it’s okay to carry a few regional customs across state lines. Get your shit together, and put some sugar in your tea. Who wants to drink unsweetened tea? A typical exchange in any restaurant here goes something like this:

  “Sir, can I get you a drink?”

“Sure, I’d like a sweet tea.”

(Looking around as though I’d just asked for the head of the queen on a pike) “Sir, we don’t serve sweet tea. I can get you a raspberry tea. It’s sweetened.”

“True. It is sweetened. It also tastes like fucking raspberries. An easier way to get sweet tea would be to just dump some sugar in regular tea while it’s hot. The heat will dissolve the sugar, and what do you know?! You have sweet tea!”

“I can bring you some packets of sugar for your unsweet tea.”

“Thanks, but no thank you. Do you have Coke?”

“Pepsi okay?”

Yes, Pepsi will be fine. While you’re at it, can you find me the reason I gave up the sun and sweet tea, and friendly people to move up here to this fucking Klondike?

Morning Shift Assholes

I know this is going to come as a tremendous shock to any of you that are familiar with me at all, but people tend to irritate the fuck out of me. Most recently, it’s been the cast of freak show rejects that work the morning shift at my work. I generally work the nightshift, which is why I haven’t been able to spend more time with the greatest group of readers around…(the Hey Joe’s Geniuses). Anyway, the shift rotation at work is laid out as follows: Midnight 11pm – 7am, Daylight 7am – 3pm, and Afternoon 3pm – 11pm. My department rotates shifts each week. I trade my daylight shift each week for midnight. I can’t handle daylight. There are just too many things present on daylight that irritate the everloving fuck out of me…upper management, for example. Another example is the rest of upper management. Finally, there’s the daylight assholes. These freaks show up anywhere from 6am-6:50 am every morning. They are always smiling like they’re actually happy to be awake at that time of day, drinking something (moonshine, or vodka probably) out of a 56 ounce coffee mug.


I just don’t get how an entire shift of people can possibly be so fucking hard to look at…

Where was I? Oh yes…so the freakshow people with their ridiculously large coffee mugs show up, and they are laughing and smiling like our jobs don’t suck. This further supports my idea that they are actually getting hammered with whatever is in those tanks they keep showing up with in hand. Like just the other morning, one of these beauty contestants had the nerve to come over to me and say the shittiest thing I could think to say to a midnight guy; “Good morning! It’s a beautiful day outside!” To which I responded, “Because now, all of you are in here.”  He turned around to his buddy Igor or Lurch (I think that’s his name), laughed like I told a killer joke and followed with “Man you crack me up every morning!”

Yeah? Really? I’ll tell ya what, I’m bringing donuts in for you unfortunate, happy bastards tomorrow. We’ll see if I’m still funny. For those that don’t understand the reference, or maybe you’ve forgotten…


Just Give Me My Coffee, Honey Boo Boo…

For those of you that know me relatively well,(or not at all) it will come as no surprise that on most days of my life the only thing that prevents me from being a mass murderer is iced coffee. Seriously, I drink the shit like it’s going to kill me if I don’t. I don’t necessarily do it merely for the taste, I do it because of the caffeine and sugar. It keeps my energy up enough to allow me to bitch about the things that need bitched about. Bad drivers, for example, or  morning people…or the person that sells me my iced coffee (in this case).

Each day I struggle with whether or not it’s going to be worth the effort of getting out of bed, suiting up, and saving the world. I know what you’re thinking…”You expect me to believe that you save the world every day?” The answer is an emphatic “Fuck yeah, how else would you still be here reading this if I didn’t?” Damn…get with the program. Anyway, Yesterday was a bit different. I work the midnight shift this week, so instead of waking up, and going to work, I’m waking up, and coming home from work. On my way, I like to stop at the store near my house and buy a half-gallon of iced coffee. For whatever reason, the management of said fine establishment decided to throw me a change up from my routine yesterday. In lieu of the hot girl that normally works 7-3, they threw in a sub…I mean a fucking sub…like a German U-boat. The kind of shit that’ll wreck your day. As I approach the checkout lane, I immediately realize something is amiss…the light fragrance of heaven is replaced by something in the neighborhood of old, and desperation. Already…I’m a bit nervous. This isn’t going to be the exchange that I look forward to starting my day with. Once in line, I see the issue. Apparently, through some oversight, Miss September has been replaced with a lady I can only refer to as “Honey Boo Boo fucked up”.

This trainwreck in Express Aisle 3 is staring at me with her “good eye”. I think… She starts up a conversation with asking if the iced coffee is all I need. I’ve never wished so bad in my life that I had an entire shopping list in my pocket to hand her, so I could say “Nope…I’m gonna need you to run and grab the rest of it though”. Unfortunately, the surprise change in casting for this little nightmare left me unprepared. “Yep.” was all that I had.This is the trainwreck’s cue to begin a soliloquy on her grandson, and something about a car. I try to look interested, but I’m pretty sure by about 9:15 when she’s halfway through her fucking life story, I fell asleep. When I woke up, she was staring at me…or not. I can’t really tell when people that need a front end alignment on their eyes is looking at me. I wasn’t sure what she’d said, so I hand her my debit card. she’s still staring at me (I think) when she swipes my card. There was a bit of an awkward silence between us. To break it up, she decides to strike up another conversation. At this point, she’s holding my card hostage, forcing me to continue to stand there in Not-so-Express Aisle 3, and interact with her. It was a strange conversation. Something about do I need a bag. I told her no, and she returned my card without having to get a SWAT team and negotiator involved. By this time, I’d been around this lady long enough to be convinced that she isn’t actually even looking at me. I look around, and find that I’m the only one in the store except her, and some guy rearranging the magazines two aisles over. I take my coffee, and begin to leave. Then it occurs to me that tomorrow, I may have to go through this shit again…I started to ask the Aisle 3 trainwreck if she would be there tomorrow, but left it alone.

Hey Joe! Presents: Fun With Hitchhikers!

Hello! I’m back…this time for good. The ride is over, and I’ve exited the vehicle. It’s time to get back to doing what I do: helping you get the most out of bad situations you’ve created for yourself! Tonight, I’d like to discuss a dying species: the hitchhiker. Hitchhikers are far more scarce these days than in the 60’s and 70’s, but if you’re fortunate enough to find one, I can help!

The general arrangement between driver and hitchhiker is this: “Hey Bro, you’re headed (pick a direction), I’d like to share your vehicle space, while offering nothing back except the vague aroma of marijuana from my jacket. You won’t kill me, I won’t kill you, and you can drop me wherever you want, or where I need to get out – whichever comes first. Deal?”

Now that the basics are covered, let’s begin…Image

1. The Short Trip – This particular move is one of my all-time favorites! Essentially, you pull over to the side of the road and allow the hitchhiker to approach your vehicle. As is always the rule, when the handle is reached for, pull the vehicle forward several feet, and stop. Repeat until no longer amused. Once the derelict victim rider has entered the vehicle, pull the vehicle forward a couple feet, and stop again. Do this several times,totaling around 15 feet before explaining that sometimes the vehicle “Needs a little push” in order to get moving again. Ask him to oblige. Once he exits the vehicle, and begins to walk to the rear of the vehicle, simply accelerate back into the lane, and leave.

2. The Heist – This one occurs whenever you happen to pick up a hitchhiker on the highway near a bank. As stated before, perform necessary pull forward maneuver, and allow bum car-less asshole rider to enter vehicle. Explain that you’ll take him wherever he needs to go, but you absolutely HAVE to stop by the bank first. Upon arriving at the bank, reach into back seat, and grab backpack. Go inside, and ask if you can use the restroom. As you are about to exit the bank, put on ski mask. Run to the vehicle, and accelerate away at break-neck speed. Remove ski-mask,and calmly ask passenger for a destination while speeding away from the bank.

3. The Narcoleptic – Simple enough…Once useless piece of garbage homeless transient passenger is allowed to get in, make small talk. Be extremely friendly, and offer a bit of information about yourself like the fact that you are narcoleptic. Explain that it’s okay though, because you only fall asleep when excited like those goats on Youtube. Ease onto the highway. (Begin irritation mode.) Start following the car in front of you a little too close. Continue making small talk as though everything is fine. Make some derogatory statements about the driver in front of you, and their ability to drive. Follow lead car for a couple miles, and announce that you’re going to pass them. ease off the accelerator, and allow several car lengths between you and the lead car. Quickly swerve into the passing lane and accelerate as you are passing the other car, allow your head to drop as though you’ve fallen asleep. Immediately jerk your head up and scream “Oh shit!” as though you’ve just woken up while driving. The shock of it should cause your head to drop again. Continue rapid waking-sleeping sequence until past other car.

4. The Sunday Driver – Another of my favorites! Once loser from Loserville idiot pothead passenger is inside vehicle, explain that he’s in great hands in your vehicle! You’ve NEVER had an accident while transporting a passenger! Ease onto the highway. Continue to give safety tips to the passenger about road safety. Explain that by never exceeding 13 miles per hour, there is about an 87% chance that should there be a collision, both you and the passenger will escape unharmed. Turn the radio onto the local bluegrass station, and explain that it just doesn’t get any better than cruising with good friends, and listening to some good music.

If none of these options prove to give a satisfactory result, let me know about it. Write me at ask.heyjoe@gmail.com, and I’ll give you some other suggestions!


The Captain is Back at the Wheel

Seems I’ve been away for so long…

Life for about a month or so has been absolutely nuts for me. Would I relive it? You bet your ass I would. Who doesn’t love a rollercoaster? Anyway, effective tomorrow, Hey Joe! is back on track. Enjoy the tune!

The Hardest Night

It’s been interesting to be me for at least the last year or so of my life. I left 10 years of my life behind to work for a company that I knew little about. I knew it paid well, and had incredible benefits, but that was about it. A year later, after working there quite literally night and day essentially non-stop, I know three times as much as I did a year ago: we get paid well, we have incredible benefits, we work ridiculously hard hours, we don’t seem to age (this is really weird), no one seems to know exactly what we make, and the Vice President drops by from time to time.

The last week of nights, have been well…hell. I work with some pretty impressive individuals, and not to toot my own horn, I do my job excessively well. Apparently, that’s a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed by management. On Monday (Sunday night), I was shadowed for an entire shift by the owner’s son. Working that closely with someone that hasn’t ever seen you work is a bit nerve-wracking. He had some kind of high tech tool that he was using to report my every move back to the office.The seven and a half hours he shadowed me felt more like 14 weeks. It pissed me off that they would spring a surprise like that on me. Even my supervisors weren’t aware that it was going to happen till they showed up for work, and he was in the building. My anger response: to set records for the shit that I make. I crushed every other shift, essentially on my own. It was by far, the hardest night I’ve ever worked at this job. Why? Because in order to report my movements, wherever I walked, he walked. My pedometer read 13.6 miles.

I tried to kill him.


Hey Joe’s Top 5 Love Songs (All Genres)

I read somewhere that people like lists, and the top (whatever number) lists especially. That being the case, I thought I would take my top 5 lists, and take the number 1’s and make them a list of the top 5. Confused yet? No? Good! Let’s do this!

5. Norah Jones – Turn Me On (Adult Contemporary)

This made number one on my list of sexy songs. I think it goes without saying why..

4. Survivor – Can’t Hold Back (80’s Rock)

I love how well written this song is, and it’s pretty upbeat to be a love song.

3. Kiss – Forever (Rock)

I liked this song the first time I heard it. I’m sure I’m going to catch some shit from Tom Nardone for putting this at only number 3!

2. Travis Tritt – Drift off to Dream (Country)

I’m not much for country music, but this song is incredibly well written, and very well performed. The lyrical imagery is impossible to top.

1. The Five Satins – In The Still Of the Night (Oldies)

Probably my favorite song of the era.

Top 5’s are hard for me. There are so many incredible songs available to choose from. These are the best in their category in my opinion. If you disagree, leave me your top 5 list in the comments and we’ll discuss! Tomorrow night, Top 5 songs that make me feel like taking over the world! Tom Nardone, I’m sorry!

Ovulating in the Play Area

Today I went for dinner at Chic-Fil-A. I don’t eat there often. Primarily because it’s always crowded. The one closest to my house is around 20 minutes away. Today I found myself sitting next to a glass wall beside the play area while I ate. Typically, I don’t give a shit what’s going on in there. Those places disgust me. They are a mosh pit of germs that I want no fucking part of.  Today, as i was sitting, questioning the glass wall’s ability to contain the funk on the otherside, it occured to me what I was seeing. Amongst the 5 or 6 kids small enough to be playing in there, was what appeared to be an entire junior highschool. I’m not talking about smaller kids. The boys looked old enough to drive, and the girls were wearing bras…or should have been. I know it comes as a terrible shock, but I was more than irritated that the few little kids weren’t able to play because the casts of 90210 and Saved By The Bell were taking over the place. As I watched, the invaders began to play very aggresively close to the small kids. The smaller ones backing against the wall in an attempt not to get hurt by the idiots that were where they shouldn’t be in the first place. The teenagers parents? No where to be found.

I went apeshit.

I swung the door open to the germ cesspool, and screamed at the kids involving themselves in the aggression. I told them that they were too old to be in there in the first place, much less behaving the way they were around the little ones. 

One girl, with a set of double D’s told me she wasn’t too old. I told her if she was grown up enough to wear a bra, she was too grown up to be in there.

In other words, if you’re old enough to create children, keep your big ass out of the play area.

Lazy Mother HELP!

Hey Joe,

You can call me Jade.
I’m an eighteen year old daughter of a lazy mother. Currently in college, I am worried about my little sisters and father that I have abandoned at home. I feel selfish and guilty for leaving, because now all of the chores and responsibilities are left to my father. When I come home to visit, my father’s eyes are a bit redder, a bit more sunken in, his back is a bit more slumped, his hands are a bit more shaky, and his face is a bit more wrinkled. It hurts me so much to see him slowly deteriorate in front of me. He is becoming lifeless, humorless, and quiet. My mother quit her job and has been unemployed for a while now. She claimed that she “needed a break”..but from what? After work every day, she would resume to watching television in her room.

What frustrates me the most is that my mother constructs this illusion to her family and friends that she is being an ideal  mother! She impresses them by calling them up on days that she actually does the laundry or actually picks up the kids from school. (Which are very rare occasions). She would be admired and pampered with compliments and sayings from her friends, “How do you do it?!” Well…quite frankly, she doesn’t do it. She doesn’t do anything!

When we bring her faults to her attention, she would quickly become offended and walk away, denying any evidence of her laziness. Her defense being, “Remember that time I cleaned the house for you?” or “What do you mean I don’t spend time with you, I just took you all out to the movies last weekend!” Money is her tool of manipulation, as she buys my sisters games and toys for their affection.

Today, my father is putting my mother back through school, carrying on with all of the housework, and serving as the only source of income to the household. He has threatened to get a divorce from my mother multiple times in the past, but she pulls a guilt card on him, saying “what about the kids? We need to stay together for them” It’s a tough situation because although my dad is frustrated with her, he’s not heartless. If he were to get a divorce, she would have nothing…no money, no family, no job.

I want this family to mend somehow! I don’t want my sisters to grow up having a mother that won’t be one. It’s scarring to have a mom that is in plain view, yet you can’t seem to reach her or connect with her. She just turns her back, teasingly, as she continues to engulf herself in the fictional dramas of the television screen.

I don’t want to lose my father. I don’t want his health to fail him. But at the same time, I don’t want to lose my mother either, and I would never want that for my sisters.

What should be done? What can I do?

3715 – Revisited

Burning through the breaking dawn

And steel-strewn fields of clover

His plane has crashed, his hopes are gone

The fairytale is over

The hands of fate that once took part

No longer agents of chance

End the lives before they start

To find their new romance

The stranger in the old land

Lets go this dream of his

Never having kissed her hand

Such tragedy  is this…

3715 – a poem

Cast off the trappings of here

Leave behind that which you’ve known

Let go of all that is near

Take the first plane, and go home.

A stranger in the old land

knowing that here’s where it starts

Feeling fingers of fates hand

Push together two lost hearts

Watching life beginning anew

for the first time feeling alive

together till their lives are through

letting go, and letting love drive

Together two hearts are one

after all the time that’s past

loving, laughter and fun

in a love that’s meant to last

You Can’t Get There From Here…(The Grieving Parent)

JoelYou Can’t Get There From Here…(The Grieving Parent)

A very heartfelt blog from a friend of mine, after his son was stillborn…

1 Plus 1 Equals Sex

Hey Joe! This advice column is the shit! Anyway look man, I have a problem. I was wondering if you or the Joe’s Geniuses could help.

A couple years ago, my wife convinced me to go back to school (college). I decided to take up welding, because my dad owns a garage and he’s always needing something welded on, or cut off. I’ve taken all of my classes with the exception of college trigonometry. I fucking suck at math, so I’m not sure how I’m going to get through college trig. Here’s the problem. I can’t graduate until I pass trig. My wife has said I’m not getting anymore sex till I pass my first test. Can you or the geniuses tell me a way to convince her that this is cruel? Is there any medical problems you can think of to help me make my case? PLEASE HELP!

Thanks man!


She also said if I get an A, she’ll have sex whenever I want till the next test. How’s that not fucked up? She knows I suck at math.

The Importance of Mother’s Day to Superheroes

Mother’s Day is Sunday. Yes. This Sunday, like tomorrow…Go buy a card. Hurry Up! You can finish reading this when you get back!

For those of you still with me, I thought since everyone else is going to blog about Mother’s Day, I’d remind everyone that Mother’s Day means something a little different to each person. Mother’s Day to my mom, for example gives her a chance to regret not using birth control on the FIVE kids before me. Honestly, it took her five times to get it right. Hey, at least she got it though, right! Thanks Mom, for not giving up!

Have you ever thought about Mother’s Day from the point of view of a superhero? No? I guess it must be something only us superheroes do. Anyway, Mother’s Day (although awesome for me) isn’t so great for the other “super”heroes. Allow me to illustrate.


The Batman movies were pretty cool. I loved that they showed so much behind-the-scenes stuff like how the Batsuit was made, and how Batman learned to fight…unfortunately, they left out the parts where Albert tries to launder the Batsuit.


Sadly, it’s still causing a bit of a rift between Bruce and Albert.


Iron Man

Without his mother teaching Tony Stark the importance of being physically fit, and eating right, things were pretty bad initially:


Luckily, he joined Weight-Watchers and got that shit back under control.

Okay, you’ve got me…without my own mom I wouldn’t have ever been able to go from this:


to what I am now:


Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there. There should really be a supersuit for every single one of you. And to my own mom, Thanks for being the wrapper around 6 pounds and 7 ounces of awesome!

Missed Possibilities

Hey Joe! Have you ever thought about making this an advice blog? I think you should give it some thought. That way I can quit emailing my personal problems to you. Do you remember a while back, I’d emailed you about getting a friend request from a girl that I had a huge crush on in school? I ended up accepting the request, and we talk every now and then which is nice. Anyway, the other night, I was messaging with her on my phone, and things took a turn toward the sexual side. It wasn’t sexting, or anything that graphic, but I think it could’ve been. We both talked about things that we enjoy (in bed), and she’s actually a bit more of a freak that I would ever have guessed! She’s fucking hot too, dude! After the other night though, she won’t return my texts, or messages on Facebook. I’m not sure if I did or said something, but I’d like to see where this thing goes. Not just because of the sex, but because I’ve enjoyed having her back around. What should I do?

The Teen Sex Question

Hey Joe! I love the title of your website, it’s like the Jimmy Hendricks song. I always did like that song, which is kind of how I found your website. Anyway, I’ve been reading the things you put on your site, and I have to say I love your personality! A lot of people would be a lot happier if they just said what they meant the way you do. I’m sorry to be using your personal e-mail this way, but I have kind of a difficult question, and I’d like a straightforward kind of answer. I don’t think you know how to not be straightforward, and since we don’t know each other personally, I feel like I can ask you without being judged. I hope I’m not mistaken about that.

My question is this. I’m worried that my teenaged daughter and her boyfriend are either having sex, or are planning to have sex.  She’s only fifteen, and I’m not sure that this guy is “the one”. The problem is, I’d like to talk to her about it, but I’m afraid to bring it up for fear of either embarrassing her, or having her shut me out of her personal life completely. What would you do?


Worried Mom

Getting Married

Hello! I am 36 years old and have an 8 year old daughter. I am getting
married in less than 2 weeks to a guy that I’ve been dating a little over a
year. A first, my parents gave us their blessing. A few months later, they
got upset with me because we had bought both of our daughters twin beds and
set them up in the house we will be sharing after we are married. They
decided to “fix it” by buying both girls a bedroom suite with full sized
beds. This was done without asking. It caused my fiancée and I to break up
for a short time. When we talked things out & decided to move on with our plans, my parents decided that they don’t approve of the marriage and wouldn’t support it in any way.  My mom has told me everything from what a bad mom I am being to telling me that I don’t love him – I just want someone between my legs. She digs every chance she gets and tells me that
she doesn’t think the marriage will last 2 years. She has deemed him
“controlling” and feels that he will keep my daughter and I from visiting.
They are not coming to the wedding and this is very hurtful. So here I am
two weeks before what is supposed to be a happy occasion. I’m confused and
hurt and really don’t know what to do. Should I give in to my parents and
call off the wedding? If I do this, I’m losing a guy that I see as my best
friend. If I marry him, I’m going to be giving up my family.

Thanks for your time

**I don’t mind if you use my first name.

Sent from my iPad

Emerging from the Ashes

Hey Joe, I could use some male perspective here. I have a 1 yr old baby but last year right after I got out of the hospital from having the baby; I learned my husband had cheated on me. I already know what everyone is thinking, but that’s not why I am writing. It began with someone he considered a good friend when I was 7 months along. Essentially, the short story on that is that he had  a serious breakdown during my pregnancy and decided to hide it because he knew I was nervous about being pregnant and labor etc.. I can almost even understand why he’d hide his breakdown.. but not when it lead to something like that. You’re thinking he confided in her and she reeled him in.. nope, he didn’t tell her anything. Instead, she played the damsel in distress and he ran to her aid when she threatened to kill herself. That’s how things got too involved, but – we’ve gone through this in depth and discussed everything. We’ve been more open and honest with each other than we have been through our whole relationship I’d say. Our fights are more fair, our time together is more precious and we don’t take each other for granted. We are getting stronger and we’re doing quite well. The problem comes in with my self esteem. I used to feel confident, almost cocky, with my looks (I had gotten into really good shape before the baby) but the double whammy of the terrible event and the giant baby (over 9 pounds) caused so much devastation. I don’t know what to do to get my confidence back. I feel like a shell right now; I’m a good mom and I’ve already lost nearly 50 of the 65 pounds I gained during the pregnancy but I constantly feel deflated and subpar and I worry all the time that my husband doesn’t see me the way he used to. I’m sure this is more my problem than his, he probably feels the same about me he always has – but I don’t. I realize nothing I did caused him to do what he did, but I can’t get past it. Help 😦

– emerging from the ashes


Hey Joe! I’m kind of surprised more people haven’t written to your advice column! So far I think what advice you have given has been right on the money. I was kind of hesitant myself to write in, because of how close to me this issue is. Please don’t publish my name or e-mail. If you want, you can call me “Unfaithful”.

Here’s what happened. Before my husband was deployed, we had been trying hard to get pregnant. Each month as his deployment was getting closer, the pressure got worse. When we had just about given up hope, I finally got pregnant. It was wonderful! Shortly after he left, I began bleeding, and eventually lost the baby. I didn’t want to tell him, because this was his first deployment, and he was stressed enough as it was. I was devastated for about a month. With my husband being gone, I had kept a lot of the anguish to myself. Fortunately, I’ve always been good friends with his older brother. His brother and I were commiserating when something unexpected happened. We had sex. It doesn’t stop there though. We continued our little fling for a couple of weeks. Then I missed my period. Oh shit. Each time I talk to my husband, he asks about the baby. I tell him about the one I’m currently carrying, so he doesn’t know any different. The thing is, I feel horrible about this, or as the case may be whorable. I can’t tell him the truth now, because I’m not sure when he’ll be home. Do you think I should keep it to myself? I haven’t even told his brother anything yet. What should I do?


Fighting for Sanity

20130512_200508For the past couple of years I’ve been losing sleep. A lot of sleep. At first, it wasn’t so bad. It took me a little longer to finally fade away into the land of dreams. Eventually, it got so bad that I had to seek medical help. I attended a few sessions at a sleep disorder clinic. They watched my nightly routine from cameras all around the room, and monitored the changes in my body though a massive number of small wires glued into place all over my body. They monitored my heart rate, breathing, my eye movement, leg movement, anything they could possibly think of to monitor – they did. It was determined that I suffer from insomnia, and that I stop breathing when I do sleep. A double whammy to say the least. Over the course of a normal night’s sleep, the average person gets around two hours of REM sleep. It allows the mind to have the down time it needs to reset itself, and allow you to feel refreshed in the morning. Over the course of my night, I get 15 minutes. That’s it.

My mind never has enough time to reset. It never shuts off, and I almost never wake feeling refreshed. There are a few monumental problems with this scenario. First, is that I have a very active lifestyle. I have kids that are always on the run, and I have to keep up. At work, I walk between 7 and 10 miles per night, while pushing pallets of incredibly heavy ceramic. Doing so with no energy is impossible. I had to find a way to handle this thing, because it was getting bad fast.

I began to look into alternative energy sources. At first, I was using everyone’s go-to: coffee. The problem with coffee, is that caffeine is easy to build a tolerance against.  What started as a cup each morning, turned into cups all day. Then it turned into cups all day, mixed with the occasional shot of espresso. Then cups of espresso. Then entire pots of espresso. Finally, I developed a solution that seemed to work: supercoffee. I would make a pot of espresso, discard the filter and used espresso grounds, and run the liquid back through with a new filter and more espresso. It was like rocket fuel. I had the energy to go finally. I could feel my heart pound, and I feel like the Incredible Hulk all day. I knew I couldn’t use this stuff for long, because anything that made you feel that way can’t be good for you. By this point, I was only trying to get about 4 hours of sleep or so per night. With everyone else in bed, I began to use the extra hours in my day to learn about sleep, and the effects of sleep loss.

What I found out, was I was killing myself. The supercoffee was exhaustive to my heart. The strain of never resetting my mind was putting extra strain on all of my systems. I had begun to lose my short term memory, and began to develop some remarkable personality traits that I hated; primarily, the one I referred to as Jekyll and Hyde syndrome. One minute, all was right in the world, the next minute I would want to burn it to the ground. Seriously, just that quick, without warning. I began to worry about the safety of those around me. I had become a danger. This wasn’t working. I needed a plan B that didn’t involve stimulants.

I began to read constantly. Looking for answers. What I found shocked me. I was reading a book on meditation, and realized that much like regular coffee wasn’t enough to do the trick, regular meditation wasn’t going to either. I created my own form of meditation. I call it Systemic Meditation. The way it works is simple. I would lay in bed at night, and close my eyes as normal. then I would visualize my heart beating. Then I would focus on slowing it down. When I couldn’t feel it beating anymore, I knew it had slowed. Then I went to work on my brain. The brain took a lot more work. It was like trying to work on a motor while it was running. I began to visualize lobes, then folds, then synapses, and eventually dendrites firing like spark plugs. I started shutting them off. I’d imagine the spark firing, then flickering…and the next thing I knew I was waking up the next morning. So far it’s been a success. My short term memory has taken a hit from the years of abuse, but it’s beginning to return. My body is beginning to respond as well. Last year I lost 27 pounds that I had managed to put on over the last ten years. I’ve always taken pretty decent care of myself, so to see the weight begin to fall off was a remarkable thing. The best part of all, Hyde is gone. I don’t even write under that name anymore. It’s been a rough couple of years, but there is a bright light getting bigger at the end of the tunnel now.

What I love…

It’s about that time. I feel like I need to share what I really love in life. Two things: I love Snatch, and I love Star Wars. I love Snatch Wars! Now you can too!

Reposts are coming…

I apologize in advance for the reposts you’re going to be seeing in your feed. I will be republishing some of my previous posts to include a language indicator for the posts that include profanity. This will allow my Facebook followers to read the posts they choose, based on content.


New links!

For those of you that were following via twitter, you’ll need to update your feed from @jcorysmithbooks to @heyjoeonline. Also, I have set up a corresponding Facebook page for those of you that would rather follow via Facebook.


If you drop by the Facebook page, click the like button!

Life Lessons from the Playground


Today was a beautiful day here in Pittsburgh. It was a little over 70° and the sun was shining bright. It was the perfect day for the park.  I took my boys out for a day of outside time. First, we went to the baseball field where we took turns batting and fielding the ball. My three year old only wanted to bat, because that was the most fun, but he had to field if he wanted to bat.He tried to argue that he was just three years old, so he shouldn’t have to catch it. I made him do it anyway.

After that, we went to the playground. There were lots of kids there, and I watched them all interact from where I was sitting.After just a short time, my thoughts became introspective as they have a tendency to do. You can learn quite a bit sometimes from just sitting quietly, and paying attention.  I watched all the kids crowd around the big sliding board ladder. One by one, they’d go up, and fly down as fast as they could.  Every once in a while, a kid would get to the top, and get scared. Their mom would inevitably have to come and get them down. The big slide opened my eyes the most of any piece of equipment on the playground. It taught me that everyone wants to make it to the top in life, some even badly enough to push their friends out of the way to do it. It taught me that sometimes more than one person in a group can get to the top, but seldom do. It taught me that sometimes, when you finally get to the top, it’s scary and you won’t know what to do. Mostly though, it taught me that it’s less important to worry about climbing,and more important to remember to enjoy the ride.

The swings were pretty busy too. The kids actually had to line up and take turns for all but the one on the end. The ground beneath it had worn a lot lower, so the kid trying to swing didn’t have anyone to help push him. He was doing okay on his own anyway though. Sometimes that’s how it’s going to happen. Sometime in life, you may not have anyone on your side, behind you to push you. You’re going to have to work harder than everyone else to get to the same level they are on. If you try hard enough though, and stick with it, you’re going to be okay.

The jungle gym was a favorite of mine growing up. Apparently it’s not as popular today.There were only a few kids on it today. A pretty big kid with a sleeveless shirt and a mullet was on the top, claiming it for himself. He wasn’t going to let my boys play until he realized I was watching. Suddenly, the “King of the Hill” wanted to find somewhere else to play. Again, that’s the story of life, isn’t it? It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been at the top of your game, if you get careless with your mouth, someone will come along, and show you the way out.

Finally was the merry-go-round. I know you’re thinking I’m going to say “what goes around comes around” but your wrong. What I learned from that was much more valuable lesson even than that. I watched a kid spin his little brother (not my kids) so fast that his brother fell off and got hurt. I think he may have either sprained or broken his elbow. What I took from that was that regardless who they may be, if you push someone too hard or too fast, you can expect them to fly of the handle unexpectedly, and someone’s gonna get hurt. Possibly badly, even if it is someone you love.

What I took from our day out today:

1.  You’re going to be asked to do things you don’t want to do in life. If you look hard enough to find it, there’ll be an excuse not to do it (“I’m only three years old.”). Go ahead and do it anyway, there’s probably a lesson to be learned in there somewhere.

2.  Don’t be so busy trying to get to the top in life. It isn’t where you’re going that matters. It’s if you’ve enjoyed the ride. Besides, sometimes the top is scary, especially if your mommy can’t help you.

3.  It’s a good idea to learn to push yourself. Get yourself moving, and stay that way. If you can, you might be in a world of your own.

4.  If your fat, mullet sporting, sleeveless shirt wearing freakshow of a kid ever tries to stop my kids from doing something they have a right to do, expect him to come home crying. To state things a bit more diplomatically, sometimes there are obstacles in life. Sometimes they seem insurmountable. Surround yourself with the right people, and even the largest obstacles are not a problem.

5. People do things at the speed we are comfortable with. Going too fast can sometimes cause people you never want to hurt to get hurt. Slow down a bit. Life’s short, but it doesn’t have to be rushed.

And finally…

What goes around comes around. 🙂 You didn’t see that one coming did you?

A Little Help from My Friends

Last night, I went to the movies alone. I’m okay doing things alone I have to, and I think that any well-adjusted individual should be.  As I was leaving the movies, I had gotten a text message from a good friend, Tom Nardone. Tom was worried about some things that I had told him I was planning to do. He told me he was in either way, but was worried about me in the end.  I have to say that it isn’t often that I get support like that from my friends. Most of the time, it turns into an arms-length transaction. Sort of as if to say “Do whatever you want, but don’t get me involved.” I think it’s that way for the majority of people. “Do what you will, it’s your problem though.”

I have to say that I’ve been fortunate. I don’t just have one good friend like that. I have four. These guys are like the U.S. Marines of friends. They are the first ones there when I need them, and they are the last to leave…in fact, they never have left.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that good friends are hard to come by. I’ve only done it four times in 35 years. If you find somone that is willing to give their everything to protect yours, hang onto them tight, and don’t let go. Thanks Tom for putting things back into some sort of reasonable perspective for me. You are absolutely one of the four.

“Auto-Erotica” (as promised)

1970 Chevelle, Joe's Ride

The night was scorching hot. He’d heard a song on the radio that made him think of her. It had been a while since they’d done anything wild together. It was going to happen tonight though.  Tonight, she was wanting; and he was in the mood for giving.

He opened the door, and walked outside. She sat waiting, and wanting. She was the sexiest thing on four wheels, and she was all his. He slid his fingers along her smooth hood as he approached the door. He knew exactly what she needed, and tonight he was going to give her all that she could handle. He opened the door and slipped inside. He felt the leather seat rubbing gently against his back. He pulled out his key, and slid it in. She began to purr from under her hood. The sound of it always excited him. He knew what was coming soon.

He was sweating already, so he slid the registers open, and felt her breath on his skin. It was warm at first, but after a few minutes, began to cool. His skin prickled as it did. He eased his foot onto the pedal and listed to her purr turn into a rumble. She was ready, and he was willing. As her cool breath continued to lick his skin, she began to drip underneath. It was almost time for action. He put his hand on the wheel, and could feel the gentle vibration of her motor beating like a heart. He revved the engine again to hear her rumble. He reached out a hand and found the radio volume knob. He rolled the knob between his fingers slightly, until he heard her begin to sing to him in Paul Stanley’s voice. “I’ve got a body built for sin, and an appetite for passion. I can see the road to ruin, and I’m looking for some action…” With that, he let her have what she’d been waiting for. He released the clutch, and hammered the pedal.  Her tires tore at the pavement in lust, her engine roared, and together they began to move.  He gripped the wheel tight in one hand, but kept the other on the shifter lightly, being careful not to force it. His heart began to thunder in his chest as the two of them charged down the road. He’d never pushed her  this hard before, but she didn’t seem to mind.  Ahead, there were curves that made his wonder how much she would be able to handle before losing control. He eased off the pedal, and he heard a low moan of disappointment. He hammered down again, and she responded immediately. When they got to the curves he held on tight, pulling her first one way, then the other.  Beneath him, he felt her writhe through the curves with the grace of an expert. Why wouldn’t she? She was built for this. They rode on together for a while, pushing each other harder and faster than the other thought was possible. Finally, he eased off of the pedal, and he listened as her wild heart slowed to a rumble, then again to a purr. He pulled back into the driveway, and turned the key. He sat still for minute, letting his own excitement fade, never taking his hand off the wheel. Finally, when he felt he could, he opened the door, and got out. He stood beside her for a few minutes, listening to the ticking of the engine as it cooled. She got what she was wanting tonight, and so had he. He slid his hand from her top, and down her hood slowly as he walked towards the house. When he reached the door of the house he turned and looked back. There was a small puddle under her, coming from the air conditioning condenser. She’d given what she’d taken tonight. There was no doubt about that. He smiled, and walked inside.

Race for the Cure (names request)

As I’m sure by now you are aware, I try to support most things that help humankind.  My favorite event of the year is coming up his weekend: the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure! (to breast cancer).I’ve ran for the last 10 years. I started because my niece had asked me to run with her one year. While I was waiting to start the race, a man and his little boy walked past. The kid must’ve only been 5 or 6. Both had paper signs pinned to the back of their shirts. The man’s said he was running in memory of his wife, and gave her dates of birth and death. The kid’s was much simpler, but enough to wreck my world. His said:

“I run because I miss my mom.”

I ran that year, heartbroken and devastated for that kid. After the race, I caught up to him and his dad in the drink tent. I told the kid how sorry I was about his mom. No kid should ever have to lose their mom in such a horrible way. I also made him a promise: that I would run every year for the rest of my life because he misses his mom. This is my tenth year running, and I’d like to ask all of you that read this to give me the name of anyone you would like for me to run for also. I’m adding names to the shirt I plan to wear. This is my first year running solo, but you’re more than welcome to be part of “The Second Base All-Stars” with me. Just list as many names as you want of people affected by cancer that you know in the comments. I’ll make sure they get on the shirt.

Please reblog this, I want as many names as possible. Every woman matters…every single one.

What Inspired Me to be a Writer

I was asked this the other day by certain beautiful counterpart of mine. I didn’t answer her at that time because I really had to stop and think about it. It came to me last night at work. The honest answer? The Sims.

Yes, those Sims. The ones created by Maxis. For those of you who have known me the longest, and were around when I wrote “Taking the L” and “Krahne”, you’ll remember that my earlier writing had a certain brutal quality about it. I haven’t gotten fully away from that sort of writing as anyone who has read part one of “The Cinder Plant” will tell you. I have to attribute about 90% of my savagery to the Sims.

Let me explain. When The Sims was first released back in 1999, I was one of the first people that I knew to own it. I loved building their houses, furnishing them, and even creating my people the way I wanted them. Life was good for a while…until I realized that Maxis had created the possibility that your Sim could die. Suddenly, the game took on a more sinister role. The game allowed me to create scenarios that would most likely never happen in real life, and watch how things played out.  I began to plot against my characters. I wanted to see how they would handle what I would do to them. For example, your Sim might need to pee. He’d start waiving his hands and yelling “Tay yo mah!” Whatever the hell that means. Sometimes I would tell him to go. Sometimes, I would make him piss himself just to see what the game would have him do next. He would cry, and want to shower.  When I realized that you could have a hand in your Sim dying, shit got ugly. I killed everybody. It was like if Stephen King was death; people were killed in such paranormal ways, they would literally haunt the house. I would have the entire neighborhood over for a pool party. Once everyone was in the pool, I’d delete the ladder, and watch them turn into tombstones around the pool. If I was feeling particularly psychotic, I’d create an island in the middle just large enough for one person to stand, and put the ladder leading onto it. Then I’d see who made it out alive only to die on an island. I wouldn’t always kill them though. Sometimes, if I had an annoying neighbor that wouldn’t leave so I could go to bed for work, I’d put the game in build mode. Then I’d put the neighbor inside a glass room with no doors with the urns inside. Then I’d switch to play mode, and wait for 2 am for the ghost to haunt the neighbor. He’d get scared, and run away (magically through the window).  No matter what situation I came up with, the Sims had an answer. That answer always was based on what would keep them alive the longest. Now when I write, I create these horrific situations, I imagine my Sims, and see how my characters get out of them. Sometimes they get out unscathed, more often than not, they don’t. It’s just how it happens! I hope this answers your question. Thanks for asking!

Losing My Religion

This is a difficult post for me. I suspect that I’m going to be viewed and treated differently by many of you after you read this. 

I was in Maine once, getting a couple books autographed by Stephen King at a small meet and greet booksigning he arranged. I’d introduced myself, and asked what the secret was to winning over readers. Immediately he told me “Just tell the story how you mean for it to be. Don’t water it down.  If your characters swear, let them swear. Yeah, it’s going to piss some of the readers off, but if you try to bullshit people in your writing, they’re going to hate you for it. They’re on their time, reading your stuff. You owe it to all of them to write honestly.” He told me a lot more, but that’s the part that covers what I plan to tell you. It’s not about the characters though, it’s about me. And God.

I grew up in the worst part of the U.S. for an intelligent kid to grow up in – southern West Virginia. For those of you that have never been there yourselves, it’s a nightmare of a place to be. The economic situation there is miserable, the education system is an atrocity, and dental care is damn near non-existent. In short, it was everything that I’m not. Two days after I turned 18, I moved out of state. This was not early enough, however. Before I could manage an escape, I had been forced to attend church for 13 years. Despite all of the other markets crumbling, it would seem that there were plenty of places around to sell you your own personal brand of religion.

Having had God force-fed to me for so long, it was difficult for me to ever consider anything else was even a possibility. God made the Earth, if you worshipped God like a good boy, you got into Heaven.  If not, you burned in Hell for eternity. End of story. Well…normally that would be the end.

After moving a couple hundred miles away, I began to realize that the world, and life in general were way bigger than any ill-informed kid like myself could understand. When I started college, I met people from every background imaginable. All of whom would impact my world view, and eventually send me on my way to my “awakening”. I made friends with a guy that helped me get a recurring summer job at a funeral home. Looking back, that job did more to open my eyes to life than anything I’d done up to that point.
It was while I was dealing with the dead people that a couple things became brilliantly clear to me: 1. Death is going to happen, and more often than not, unexpectedly. 2. People have a hell of a hard time letting go of their dead. 3. Religion is often the only thing that makes the entire situation bearable.  Sounds like common sense, right? It’s all it took to change my entire view of everything I’d been taught in church.
That death was going to happen was a no-brainer. It’s when you combine the other parts that it gets interesting. It’s generally unexpected, people can’t cope, and religion gives them something to hang onto to help them cope. That started sounding like one hell of a business model to me. If you take something that is incredibly difficult to deal with, and find a way to make it managable, people will buy. Offer them hope of seeing their dead loved ones again when they die, as long as they play by the rules, and the masses will come in droves. All you need to do then, is pass the collection plate.

Rewards are often not enough though, to convince people to do what you want. What do you do then? Simple. You create a consequence. Make it horrible. Make it the worst thing anyone of your time could possibly imagine. Make it being burned all over. Even worse, make it being burned all over for all of eternity. Who in their right mind would rather burn for all of eternity than get to see their dead loved ones, and live in Heaven forever? The kicker- no one can ever dispute that it happens this way, because you have to die in order to find out! It’s brilliant! (Pass the collection plate.)

This truly became my way of thinking. Once I added in that the events in the Bible were oral history for six or seven hundred years before even being written, my ability to go back to seeing religion (organized, anyway) as anything but a magic show was doomed. The more stuff you have to do to worship the way they tell you, the higher the production value and the more you feel like you are getting your money’s worth.

I still believe in something. I guess it’s God. I don’t really know what I believe any more. I know that I won’t be taking part in any organized religion anytime soon though. I know I’m sad that I feel like I won’t ever be able to believe as easily as I once did. I know I wish I could. Anyone have any recommendations, or have any insight that they can share that may help?

Summertime Girls

Once again, summer is almost here. It’s a beautiful day here in Pittsburgh, and the Summertime girls are out in full force. YES! and NO! I love Summertime girls.


They wear their cute little summer clothes, they smell great, and always seem friendly. Those are all wonderful things! Unfortunately, there is a drawback to Summertime girls…the cavemen they’ve decided to get busy with in the off-season. They get dragged along with their hot counterparts to the parks, the malls, and the eateries of America. I think they serve mainly as a human leash to protect the rest of civilization from the rock-eating troglodyte offspring they’ve managed to sire. You’ve seen them out together; she could be a runner up for Miss Universe, and he is one of the Geico cavemen.

At some point or another, they decided that Sloth from “The Goonies” was cute enough to create a miniature of. They did, and now everyone has to wonder how the hottie in skin tight yoga pants, looking like an angel in the summer sun ended up with Ugg and Sloth. The only thing I can come up with is that without the constant light and warmth of the sun, their judgement as a female must wane considerably in the off-season. It’s the only possible thing I can think of. What do you think?

Mrs. Howe

Mrs. HoweShe passed away today. I’m so very, very sorry that she’s gone. She and Mr. Howe were wonderful people. The first day I ever met them, we were in a church. They were an older couple, she was in her 80’s and he was like 3 or 4 hundred I guess. We hit it off the very first day. She’d gone to the ladies room, and when came out, her dress was tucked into the back of her panty hose. My own grandmother had done that once, and I couldn’t help but smile as I told Walt to let her know what she’d done. I didn’t want her to be embarrassed. Walt said she wouldn’t, and that she’d been showing her ass in public as long as he could remember. I only hope he meant that figuratively.

She told me I looked very handsome that day. I told her she looked like a princess in her dress, and then I told Walt that one day I would steal her away from him. He told me not to bother, she wasn’t a very good kisser anyway.

A few years back, Walt died of pneumonia. Mrs. Howe managed to keep going. How she did, I’ll never know. Walt told me that on the day they met, he knew he would marry her.  He did. They loved each other until the day he died. She’s missed him terribly every day since, and so have I. Now today, she’s gone too, and I miss them both terribly.

I learned a lot from the Howes. I learned that there is such a thing as love at first sight. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. I learned that most things in life aren’t worth the hassle. You need to save your strength for the things that are worth fighting for. I learned that there’s no reason in the world why an arrogant young punk can’t have two funny old bats for good friends. Most importantly, I learned that good friends are very hard to come by, and impossible to replace.

I never even got that kiss. It’s okay though, my buddy said she wasn’t a very good kisser anyway.

Goodbye Mrs. Howe, you were a beautiful old bird. I really hate to let you go.

%d bloggers like this: