Category Archives: mental health

Body Image Advice for Truly Ugly People

Mickey nude

Yes, I, of all people, should probably not be trying to give advice to ugly people.  I have some wisdom about ugliness to share, but only by participation in the world as a member of that class of people that ordinary folk would really, really, extremely importantly not want to see naked.  I am not Boris Karloff’s Mummy unwrapped, but I am in no way pretty under my clothes.

So why would anybody with six incurable diseases, one of which is a skin disease that involves reddish pink bleedy spots, ever contemplate becoming a nudist?

Well, horrible as I am, I have had a lifelong yearning for a life lived naked.  I recently found an online quiz thing that asked the question, “Should you become a nudist?”  Here is the result it gave me;


So, apparently, I have nudist tendencies.  I have been concealing a long-standing desire to throw off all my clothes and walk around naked all the time.  And I have been doing it all my life.  But I am not some mentally ill pervert, or even an exhibitionist.  I just have an innate feeling, as I suspect most people do, that I was meant to live a more natural life wearing only the things that God clothed me with.  When I think of myself naked, I try to think of myself more like the boy I have drawn here to picture the feelings I have about nudity;


There is a certain innocence and rightness involved in being nude.  I don’t generally push it in people’s faces.  I don’t plaster a bunch of naked pictures of myself on the internet.  Some nudists do.  I see a lot of naked people on Twitter now that I have written articles for nudist blogs and joined a couple of nudist websites. But they are not Playboy magazine nudes.  They are more often than not the slightly overweight, blobby sort of people that look like oddly bulbous stacks of uncooked pancake dough.  They are the kind of unfettered and unashamed personal body images that go a long way toward making me feel better about my fat old blobby-spotty self.  If people like that can be proud of their naked form, then my bugged-out eyes help convince my stupid head that I could do it too.

I have been to a nudist park precisely one time.  As chronicled in this blog last July, I visited the Bluebonnet Nudist Park in Alvord, Texas.  I have been naked in the presence of other naked people.  And it really is a liberating experience.  Being seen naked by naked girls is not nearly as soul-crushingly embarrassing as I once believed.  Especially since being a nudist is in no way about sex.  In fact, lewd behavior of any kind gets you kicked out of a nudist park faster than if you were doing the same thing at the Ballpark at Arlington for a Texas Rangers baseball game.  (Most of those lewd dudes, admittedly, were fueled more by alcohol than hormones.)  Those people at the nudist park did not look at me, scream in horror, and run away.  They looked me in the eye, smiled, and talked to me as if I were the same as they are.


So my advice to sincerely ugly people, based on my own experiences as a bug-ugly human being is… become a nudist.  Learn to accept your whole ugly, horrible self as an ordinary human being with no artificial veneer.  Do not cover up who you actually are.  Then, you may begin to see that what you always thought of as ugliness and horribleness is really beauty and grace and healthy human-ness.

Leave a comment

Filed under commentary, empathy, goofy thoughts, healing, humor, mental health, nudes, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Mickey and the Mother of Invention

Cool title, right?  No? It needs a lot of further explanation?  All right, here goes.


“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist of creating out of void, but out of chaos”—Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Whether you prefer the stealer of Tesla inventions or the author of Frankenstein for invention quotes, you have to admit they are both right.  Those of us who think creatively try with all our might and mind to take the wreckage life has given us and make something new.  Preferably we make something that is good for us and improves our situation.  But sometimes it turns out that it only makes matters worse and creates monsters of the mind.

Buster 3

When I was ten, I was sexually assaulted by a neighbor boy who was older and stronger and decidedly crueler than me.  It split my world into pieces.  I retreated into fantasy worlds and lived in my imagination far more than the real world.  The monster in my memory was locked away in a tightly sealed forget-me box.  I repressed the memory successfully until I was twenty-two.  My creativity and inventiveness turned to fantasy art and fanciful fiction.  I worked at having a good sense of humor, being a tough athlete on the high school football field, and trying to force people to accept me as the brainiac weird kid who always knew the answers in science class and could do practically anything except successfully talk to girls.

Surprisingly my greatest invention would turn out to be me.  I reinvented myself.

I would’ve never believed when I was young that I was made to be a teacher.  I lived inside my own head.  How could I be a teacher and control a classroom and make people listen to the various shards of nonsense that I was completely full of?  But, through gradual problem-solving, I learned to be an effective public speaker.  I learned how to be an engaging presenter.  I did a few magic tricks.  I told more than a few jokes.  Some of them were even funny.  I learned how to put ideas in front of children in visual displays and organization charts.  I learned how to teach people to read.  And more than that, I learned how to teach people to learn.

I honestly don’t think I would’ve learned to do all of that if my childhood psyche hadn’t been broken and hidden away in brain boxes when I was ten.  I might still have been an artist.  But not the teacher and story-teller I ultimately became.  Without the mountain to climb, a boy can never become a mountain-climber.  Without a star to see and study, he can never be an astrophysicist.  And without a brain filled with broken brain bits, a man can never learn how to put himself back together again, let alone teach others how to do it.  All the king’s horses and all the king’s men are no help with this endeavor.


Have I now explained my terribly tilted title?  Does this help you see how I have sung the songs taught to me by the Mother of Invention?  Probably not.  I am a rather dense little goof and the work of making me into me is not yet finished.  I crashed and burned again a couple of years ago when I had to retire from teaching.  I had to invent myself again as something new.  I am certainly not done hitting the metal work with a big black hammer.  But, perhaps, you can see the tool-marks on this blog and learn something from it too.

Leave a comment

Filed under artwork, colored pencil, humor, imagination, insight, mental health, Paffooney, self portrait, strange and wonderful ideas about life, teaching

Downloading Darkness

I just finished a novel project last Thursday, completing the manuscript of Recipes for Gingerbread Children.  But being the excessively creative goofball that I am, this was not a stand-alone project.  The companion book, The Baby Werewolf,  is an incomplete manuscript of a comedy horror story about a boy with hypertrichosis, sometimes known as werewolf-hair disease.  Both books happen in the same period of time in 1974 and share both characters and events.  The boy, Torrie Brownfield, has lost his mother.  His father has brought him back to a small Iowa town where he himself was once a boy, to live in the same house where the boy’s father and uncle grew up.  The uncle, hiding some dark secrets of his own, requires that Torrie be raised in hiding up in the attic.  But this only lasts until a local farm boy,  Todd Niland, discovers Torrie’s sad existence and becomes his friend. This is a much darker story than I have tackled before, and I am no stranger to dark humor.  It is significant, though, that both Todd and Torrie are gingerbread children from the book I just finished, and even though some sad, dark things come to light in that book, they are not nearly as sad and dark as what is present in this next project.  So I had to find some inspiration before trying to re-ignite the novel forge for The Baby Werewolf.

That led me to watch the video Donnie Darko for the very first time.



Oofah!  What a strange, horrible, yet beautiful movie!  Richard Kelly’s first film is an incredible artwork that makes your soul sing darkly.  Talk about listening to dark rabbits from the future… really, I mean, no one told anyone they should talk about about dark rabbits from the future… but this film does with a twisted elegance and ironically terrible beauty.  It discusses the sex lives of Smurfs, raises alarms with old women wandering aimlessly to the mailbox in the path of oncoming cars, and fires teachers from their jobs for discussing the short stories of Graham Greene.  There is no way I can explain in a witless-wordless movie review.  You must simply watch the movie for yourself.

Remember this musical masterpiece?  “Hello, Darkness, my old friend… I’ve come to talk with you again…”  Yes, I am entertaining the darkness again because I will be depending on her to help me write this book whose theme is going to be, “Everyone dies in the end, but the real life depends on how we deal with that fact.”

Yes, people who know me, I mean really know me, including the facts behind what I can’t actually say in this blog because the innocent must be protected, will probably worry that I am undertaking a writing project about monsters and depression and suicidal thoughts and child abuse.  I do have scars.  But I am at peace with the hard parts of the life behind me.  And from great pain and profound suffering, beautiful things can be made.  So don’t worry.  Downloading a bunch of monster-movie darkness into my stupid old head is not going to hurt me at this point in my life.  And if I can’t write it now, it will never be written.

dscn5093 (640x480)


Filed under artists I admire, artwork, battling depression, Depression, feeling sorry for myself, forgiveness, horror movie, humor, mental health, movie review, novel, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

The Boogendorfer



This is not actually a picture of Boogendorf, this is Toonerville where the clocks are wrong and a giant Mickey Mouse lurks in the foothills beyond.

Today I mean to justify my existence before God and everybody.  Apparently in the modern world you have to be certain things in your basic foundation to justify getting travel visas, citizenship, and a basic right to continue to exist unmolested.  We apparently elected a new leader, the Mad King of Boogendorf, to make sure all Boogendorfers are suitably qualified to live in Boogendorf.  So this is a brief photo essay to justify my case for why Boogendorf should accept me as a citizen and not execute me outright.


First of all, I am not one hundred per cent crazy.  You can tell from this photo, can’t you?

This kooky dorfleflop can’t be any more than 65% crazy because his pin head is not large enough to harbor more than 65 out of every 100 truly derfy and sanity-stealing notions.  (What is a dorfleflop, you say?  Well, dorf is a German word for town, and dorfleflops flop in a dorf and think they belong like everybody else who has flopped there before.)

But using the Mad King of Boogendorf as a measuring stick (an orange measuring stick with an extra-long tie), that is clearly not crazy enough by half.


What’s the deal with the clocks always being wrong in Boogendorf?

I have always heard it said, “It takes a village to raise a child”.  And I think that saying I heard is probably true.  I was raised by the village of Rowan, Iowa in the 60’s and 70’s.  I learned to draw there.  And I can draw real cartoon human beings.

Of course, one must be careful to note that if you could actually draw real cartoon human beings they would be alive after that, and that would make you like God, able to create life from nothing more than pencil, pen, and paper.  And in Boogendorf there is only room for one God.  That, of course, is the Mad King of Boogendorf.  So I guess that is a disqualifying quality too.

And that saying about a child raised by a village is a saying somehow connected to Hillary Clinton, and Hillary Clinton was defeated (I have also heard disgraced, demoralized, and denounced) in the last election by getting more votes than the Mad King of Boogendorf.  So I am judged lacking by my upbringing too.


I am also undeniably guilty of playing with dolls.  I mean, I collect them, I comb their hair, dress them in different clothes, take them apart and repair them, and pose them for pictures.  That can’t be normal.  But is it abnormal enough to make me qualified to be a Boogendorfer from the village of Boogendorf?  Maybe if I plated them in gold or something, or had enough money to go to “golden shower” extremes?  I guess I don’t understand how to be Boogendorfy enough to live in Boogendorf.  The “Boo” in Boogendorf proves that you have to be pathologically afraid of things more, just like other Boogendorfers are.   I am sure the average Boogendorfer is afraid of people who play with dolls.  Especially if those weird people don’t own any guns and don’t like to kill stuff.  That just ain’t natural.  You even need to give guns to little girls to make them safe against those evil anti-Boogendorfers.

So, I guess I am doomed to live a life outside of the walls of Boogendorf (and they are really great walls, too).  I should be grateful that the citizens of Boogendorf have only rejected me and not used their sacred second-amendment rights to execute me.  For now, I am simply not a Boogendorfer.




Leave a comment

Filed under angry rant, cartoons, humor, mental health, politics, satire

The Car Radio Keeps Me Alive

Today I had to deliver my daughter, the Princess, to her high school in the rain.  It is hard enough make the circuitous trip to the west in order to go south and then east again through all the construction and roadwork going on with stupid people who are somehow allowed to drive a car and carry a gun in Texas even though they don’t know what a turn signal is for or that a speed limit sign shows the maximum rather than the minimum speed you should go at every red stoplight and corner without there being rain to obscure vision and make the mangled pavement slick.  You have to be able to concentrate and perform like a virtuoso while driving to make it there alive.  I would simply not be able to do it without the car radio.


Driving the family car in Texas

The radio keeps me calm and gives my brain the power it needs to overcome obstacles.  The jump across the river with the man-eating fish in it alone requires an energized brain and a cool head.  I listen to oldies on the radio with KLUV in the mornings.  It is how my children have come to love Don Henley and the Eagles as much as I do.

For the last seven years of my teaching career, I had to learn the hard way that music is critical to driving well, and driving well is the only way to stay alive on the mean streets of Dallas.  I had a morning commute of 40 minutes, 30 miles, and 45 stoplights one way to my teaching job in Garland.  I drove it starting at six in the morning to avoid traffic.  But after school, I often had to labor for three hours through rush hour traffic on the way back home.  I learned to switch the station to 101.1, the classical music station.  Listening to Mozart and Beethoven not only makes you smarter, it makes you calmer.  Calm enough not to get out of your car at the stop light and beat the guy in the car ahead of you with the detached bumper of your car that he knocked off while cutting in front of you because he was in the wrong lane to make the turn he needed to make and didn’t realize until 15 minutes into the wait for the red light to change enough times that our cars actually had a chance to make it through the intersection.  Yes, that is a run-on sentence about road rage.  And road rage is real.  But in real life I didn’t beat him to death because of Mendelssohn playing on the car radio.  It only played out that way in my head while the radio soothed my brain and prevented my hair from catching fire.

I owe my life and sanity to the car radio many times over.  And I am resigned to the notion that I will probably need it many times more before the curtain closes the last time.



Filed under angry rant, classical music, feeling sorry for myself, grumpiness, humor, mental health, Paffooney


Truthfully… for a fiction writer, a humorist, a former school teacher of junior-high-aged kids, telling the truth is hard.  But in this post I intend to try it, and I will see if I can stand the castor-oil flavor of it on my tongue.


  • The simple truth is, I rarely tell the unvarnished truth.  And I firmly believe I am not alone in this.
  • Yesterday I battled pirates.  (While this is not literally true, it is metaphorically true.)  They were the scurvy scum o’ the Bank-o’-Merricka Pirates who are suing me for over ten thousand dollars despite my efforts of the last two years to settle 40 thousand dollars worth of credit card debt.
  • I hired a lawyer, but in spite of what he told me, I expect to lose the lawsuit and be wiped out financially.  I also believe Donald Trump will win as President.
  • I am a pessimist.  And it helps me through life.  I am always prepared for the worst, and I can only be surprised by happy and pleasant surprises.
  • My son in the Marines has developed an interest in survivalist gear and chaos-contingency plans.  We are now apparently preparing for the coming zombie apocalypse.
  • 20160424_180244
  • I like to draw nudes.  I have drawn them from real-life models who were paid for their participation.  But no bad things happened.  It was all done with professional integrity even though I am an amateur artist.  Chaperones were a part of every session.
  • In high school I identified as a Republican like my father.  In college I became a Democrat (Thanks, Richard Nixon) and voted for Jimmy Carter.  I argued with my father for eight years of Ronald Reagan and four years of George H.W. Bush.
  • My father has now voted for Barack Obama twice and will vote for Hillary this fall if he is still able.  We spent most of our conversations this summer exchanging “Can you believe its?” about Donald Trump.
  • Blue Dawn
  • I have been collecting pictures of sunrises for three years now.  I stole the idea from my childhood friend who now lives in Florida and takes beautiful ocean sunrise pictures over the Atlantic.  But I do it because I know I don’t have many more sunrises to go.  I have six incurable diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, and COPD.  I could go “BOOM! …dead” at any given moment.  I believe in savoring it while I have it.
  • I was sexually assaulted when I was ten years old.  I can only tell you this particular truth because the man who assaulted me and inflicted physical and emotional pain on me is now dead.  It is liberating to be able to say that.  But I regret forty years’ worth of treating it is a terrible secret that I could never tell anyone.
  • Telling that last truth made me cry.  Now you know why telling the truth is not easy.

  • I really do love and admire all things having to do with Disney.  And when I was young, I really did want to find a picture of Annette naked.  There was no internet back then.  That quest helped me learn to draw the human form.  I know how bad that sounds… but, hey, I was a normal boy in many ways.  And I don’t draw her naked any more.
  • Finally, I have to say… in all honesty… I don’t know for sure that everything I have told you today is absolutely true.  Truth is a perception, even an opinion.  And I may be wrong about the facts as I know them.  The human mind works in mysterious ways.  I sometimes think I may simply be bedbug crazy.
  • (P.S.) Bedbugs are insects with very limited intelligence.  They cannot, in fact, be crazy or insane.  Their little brains are not complicated enough for that.  But it is a metaphor, and metaphors can be more truthful than literal statements.

Leave a comment

Filed under commentary, Disney, drawing, feeling sorry for myself, goofy thoughts, healing, humor, mental health, nudes, Paffooney, pen and ink paffoonies, pessimism, strange and wonderful ideas about life


Sometimes the only thing you really want out of life is just to get by. You get tired of always having to climb the danged highest mountain.  You get tired of trying to swim the danged deepest sea.

16750_102844509741181_100000468961606_71393_6278100_nSometimes all you want to do is doodle-bop!…  To draw in pen and ink and post your derfiest doofenwacky doodles so you can just make your way through another danged day.

Cody 1

You aim a lot for different, and undeniably original… because no one thinks like you… certainly no one who is real and has a real brain.  You are gifted with an “other-ness”, a sing-songy simpering something that makes you want to doodle and do what no man has done before.  (Does that sentence exist anywhere else in all of literature?  Even if there is some alternate dimension with infinite monkeys typing on infinite typewriters?  What’s a typewriter, you say?  Danged millennials!)


I really can’t help it, you know.  I was a middle school teacher for 24 years.  That sort of thing has mental health consequences.  And if you wring the sponges in your stupid old brain hard enough and long enough… doodle-bop! comes out.


Turtle boy’s magic iron of irony!!!

And you have to wonder why some of the stuff that is in your stupid old head is even in there.  Why is it that sometimes the words “Argyle socks are filled with rocks” are drifting through the vast empty spaces in the logic centers of your brain?  There has to be a reason for everything, doesn’t there?


I do believe I have made myself chuckle at least a dozen chuck-tacular times in the chuck-a-tational crafting of this cheddar-cheesy post.  But it only really counts if I can make you girlishly giggle or guy-like guffaw with my word-munching and cartoony paffoonies.

Wild Ride

The terror-filled cartoon car chase that is life as usual.

You may have noticed that everything is black and white, even though it doesn’t have to be.  Good versus evil, hot versus cold, everything can be divided up simplistically… but the really profound part of simplicity is vibrating reverberations of complexity that lie just underneath.  Words have meaning, even though they are just a bunch of crooked squiggles marked on a page.  (Yes, I know… “or typed on a computer screen”.  Danged millennials!)

4th Dimension

And so, this is my doodle-bop!  Probably not the doodliest or the boppiest doodle-bop! I could have bopped… but there it is.  I have made it through another sorta creative post without losing my mind…  Honest!  I did not lose it.  It is merely temporarily misplaced for a moment.  It will be back in its proper place tomorrow… probably.

Leave a comment

Filed under blog posting, cartoony Paffooney, goofy thoughts, humor, imagination, irony, mental health, metaphor, Paffooney cartoony, pen and ink, pen and ink paffoonies, strange and wonderful ideas about life, wordplay