Tag Archives: wizards

Wizarding Ain’t Easy


A wizard selfie taken at Mad Ludwig’s Castle in Bavaria.

My quest to become a wizard began when I was but a kid reading comic books.  It got a boost when I became a middle school English teacher and realized the fundamental truth of the universe, human beings know practically nothing at all… about anything.  The only path to wisdom is the way of the fool.

So, I embraced it.  It made it so much easier to teach and manage a classroom full of teenybumpers to realize the only thing that works when they laugh at you and make fun of you, is to be able to laugh at yourself and make fun of them right back.

I learned along the way that things that hurt you and make you suffer cause wisdom to happen.  You walk under a ladder and the painter accidentally drops a paint bucket on your head, and you realize that walking under a ladder is a bad thing to do in the future… not simply because of superstition either.


Drawing and painting wizards is something I began to do too.  I find it fascinating to try to draw a wrinkly old face and attempt to put some kind of intelligence in the eyes.  I can get vapid and stupid really really well.  I think I know what that looks like in the eyes of another far better than I know what wisdom looks like.  And how do you know it is wisdom, anyway, and not merely constipation?  Can you see understanding and intelligence in the eyes of another?  I think you can.  But looking into the eyes of young learners for so many years and searching for those things, I realized that the best you can do is guess.  You could easily be wrong.

That is what wisdom is.  Make your best guess, but remember that you are probably wrong.  It is possible to do great and powerful magic in the world if you are a wizard and you have wisdom.  But it will not be easy.  And you must work hard.  And when you have to decide whether to speak or stay silent, the wise man is always silent first, giving himself time to think before he speaks.

“Are you a wise man, Mickey?” you ask.

“…” Mickey says.


Filed under humor, Paffooney, photo paffoonies, wisdom, wizards

Wisdom of the Mickey



MickeyOne must end the year on a note that is either upbeat or regretful.  A heartfelt, “Meh,” just won’t cut it.

So here are a few particles of wisdom from the dustbowl of Mickey’s imagination.

The world is getting brighter… also hotter.  If we continue to chill on the topic of global warming, soon we will be fricasseed.

Ima mickey

You should definitely pay attention to your teachers.  They are mostly old and cranky and undervalued, and it makes them sad when they realize that no one really listens to them.

I learned this from the poet Dylan Thomas, “Rage! Rage! Against the dying of the light!”  He cursed death, and then he promptly went out and drank so much liquor, he died at a very young age.  Thank God I have lived to be old.

You are also pretty much stuck with the face that you are born with, so you better get used to it, and it has many varied uses… especially in the comic sense.

And I would also like to re-iterate the wisdom of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery;


It is a bit of a disappointment to an artist to realize that what is essential is actually invisible to the eye… but I know it is true.  Truth resides in words.

The only wisdom I truly possess is the knowledge that I am a fool.

Since I was a mere stupid boy, and before I grew up to be a mildly stupid man, I always yearned to have wisdom.  And wisdom comes through experience and pain.  Now, years later, I realize what true wisdom is… I’d have been better off without all that pain.


People are a lot like rabbits, except that they are not.

They can never eat too many carrots… unless they do.  And then their skin can turn orange.

There is no beast as noble as a rabbit… except for practically every other beast.

Turtles are not as noble as rabbits.  When you challenge them to a race, they cheat.


People really ought to be naked more.  It’s true.  If you can strip yourself down to only what is fundamentally nothing but you yourself… you begin to know who you really are.  And it is not shame to let other people see.  Oh, wait a minute!  You thought I was talking about being literally naked?  Oh, no!  Metaphorically naked only!

One should be so opaque and obtuse that other people can see acutely right through you.  It is the only thing that makes nonsense into sense.

And we need to sing and dance a little more than we do.  A good song is healthy for the soul, no matter how badly you sing it.  And even if you are old and arthritic like me, dancing a good jiggity-jig keeps the bones loose and the heart thumping.

Everyone needs to dance with their children.  And talk to them.  You can learn more from them than they can from you.  They have more recently come here from the hand of God.  And they know things that you have forgotten… and will need to remember before you return to Him.



I hope my anti-wisdom has not seriously screwed everybody up.


Filed under humor, Paffooney, wisdom, wizards

Mickey is Retired

Dr Seabreez 3Okay, I have discovered that retired means re-tired… You now have to get tired all over again.  I live in a modest little suburban home in the suburbs of Dallas.  It is a place where kings and queens have their castles, but we are separated from them by castle walls.  While many don’t work in this city because they are wealthy enough that their money makes money, I have to get by on less and less of the pension I have earned because expenses keep going up.  I am smarting at the moment because the school’s clarinet teacher forgot to send me a bill for two months.  Suddenly I owe her $120 dollars, and it is over-due.  And she’s mad at me for being a dead-beat that doesn’t keep up with his bills.  But that’s a big lump of heart’s blood to surrender all at once.  I will squeeze it out of my budget by the end of this week, but I am already cancelling my medical bills before the visit to the doctor in order to get the dog her medical check-up.  I feel like she could at least be a little less grumpy about it.  I have paid $72 dollars already.  Doesn’t that at least earn a partial thank-you?

I recently painted the upper portion of the outside of the house, though the rain stopped me from putting on a needed second coat.

I recently painted the upper portion of the outside of the house, though the rain stopped me from putting on a needed second coat.

I have spent serious amounts of thought and energy on reducing expenses and living a simpler life.  I am doing all my own maintenance on air conditioning, house paint, and minor repairs.  I have stopped buying most of the optional items and even reduced the expenses for things like food and gas for the car and… toilet paper (something you really don’t want to run out of at the wrong time).  But you see, I had to retire because my health was too poor to continue teaching daily.  At this point, I am not really well enough yet to either do sporadic substitute teaching, or working at Walmart part time as a greeter to smile at the people coming and going with a big goofy grin to keep them from realizing I am watching them for signs of theft.  (I really don’t want to work for Walmart if I can help it because they still hate my car, but who else hires doddering old retired fools like me?)


I guess that what it comes down to is that in retirement, I have taken up Daffy Duck’s purported profession of being a wizard.  I write, I read, I collect wisdom… and I use it to try to do magic, making money out of books and making people laugh.  Wizarding is not a lucrative field.  People really don’t pay much for wisdom any more.  I have gotten some attention and created some smiles with my work here on this blog, but it doesn’t generate much of anything beyond smiles and good feelings and people going “Hmmm, is that right?”  I’ll take it.  I’m satisfied that I have done my bit to make this world a better place.  And I enjoy the freedom to write and think that retirement provides.  But at the end of the day… I am still tired all over again.


Filed under humor, Paffooney, wisdom

The Truest of Magicks

Okay, life is like this; you are born, a lot of dumb stuff happens that you are mostly not in control of, you suffer a little bit, you are happy a little bit, and then you die.   That is a pretty gloomy prospect, and most of us spend our entire lives obsessing over it, examining it with microscopes, doctoring it with needles and potions and chainsaws, trying to make it last a little longer, wailing and complaining about our sorry allotment, and wasting what little time we have.  So what secret exists that could ever make a difference?  Could ever open up our eyes… even just a tiny bit?


The secret, as far as I can tell (and I am certainly one of the dumber and more random among you because I am cursed with insight and wisdom won through suffering and making huge mistakes), is reading the right books.

Eli Tragedy

I am not alone in this sort of thinking.  There are those who believe that if you gather the best books together into a personal library and read them, they add experiences and knowledge to your life that you would not otherwise have.  (Of course, one must acknowledge, especially if you read fiction, that most books are filled with lies and misinformation, and some, Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus leaps to mind, might leave you stupider than you were when you started.)  It deepens, broadens, and intensely colors the experience of life.


People who read books a lot… really read them, and re-read them, and collect them, and study them, and think about and write about them… are called wizards.  Wizards are wise men.  It is what the word means.  Being one does not make you better than anyone else.  In fact, wizards are generally weaker than normal men.  It comes from all that ruining of eyes and fuddling up brains with too much thinking.  You don’t want a wizard to back you up in a fist fight.  You will certainly lose.  And you don’t want a wizard to tell you how live your life.  They are not good role models.  But if a wizard tells a story, you should listen.  Because if you really listen, and the wizard is really wise, you can expand the borders of your life, and push on nearer to immortality.

Ice Alchemist


Filed under humor, Paffooney, wisdom, wizards

Dungeons and Dragons

Back in 1982 I first started dungeon mastering for my younger brother and two sisters.  We bought a family set with both the red book and blue book.  It was the beginning of a lifelong love of storytelling games.  You can’t give fanboy dynamite to an Ubernerd and not expect some kind of big old explosion.

The thing that caught me so completely was the way that you could share the development of the characters and story, everybody at the table adding their two cents until you had a whole lot more than six cents… More like priceless.  And you never knew for sure how it would turn out, no matter how much you planned the plot and plotted the plan.  Events could turn out entirely opposite to what they should have, and inspiration on the spot could alter the essential course of a campaign.

In the beginning it was all about wizards.  The original game featured power that left wizards weak and vulnerable in the beginner levels, but fearsome with fire-balling ferocity after only a few levels of experience.  My brother’s wizard, LeRoy became powerful enough to make himself the king of all of Balindale.  When the dungeon master raised up armies of undead and ogres and undead ogres to bedevil old LeRoy, the bearded Lord of Balindale could simply summon meteors from the sky and burn them to the ground.  If I presented him with rival wizards who had armies and kingdoms of their own, he pulled a fast one and used his diplomatic dipsy-doo to make them into allies… even the evil ones.  He convinced them to sign treaties with him and eventually to accept him as their sovereign lord.  Thus the Wizard Ganser from mighty Gansdorf was tamed and turned.  When the evil Morgo refused to cooperate, Ganser and his army helped to invade and destroy the Kobold Kingdom.


So stories came to be dominated by wizards and wizard personalities.  And then I began recruiting former students to play the game.  The personalities changed.  Goofy Gomez chose to be the wizard, the typical classroom clown who could never do anything straight.  Armando Coronado, a particularly destructive personality, also took up the way of magic with Asduel the Sorcerer.   So in some games, Asdok the Bumbling made jokes and got his fellow adventurers into situations where only the last minute appearance of a kindly, all-powerful Titan could keep them from being roasted in a pot with carrots and potatoes.  In other games, Asduel the Merciless burned cities and castles, made orphans into servants and slaves, and generally frowned quite a lot when the dungeon master  suggested that some Non-player characters needed to be spared or the over-all adventure would be lost for all players.


So, because of the power of wizards, we all learned that stories could be easily unbalanced and abused by the personalities in them.  We learned how important it was to learn to work together.  When Hogan, the Knight of Tol Arriseah, and Sin Gard, the fighter of the many magic swords got sick of old Asduel, they let the bullywugs and locathah of Eary Marsh first take him prisoner, and then roast and eat him with carrots and potatoes.   And when Asdok the Bumbling set fire to the base of the tower in which he was trying to wring the treasure from the top, trapping his little thief friend, Artran the Halfling up there with him in the body of the ugly girl he had turned him into with a polymorph spell, they allowed him to take a ride in the tower-turned-skyrocket into another dimension entirely.


Dungeons and Dragons taught us that the difference between good and evil can be learned.   We learned that hitting your problems with a sword or dropping a fireball on top of them did not always solve them.   We learned to negotiate, to feel what others feel, and how to become a different person than the one you are.  I truly believe that the most important lessons you can learn about life can be learned playing D&D.  Morality, camaraderie, and cooperation are not really taught in school, but they can be taught in D&D.

And now I play Dungeons and Dragons with my own children.  How better to get to know them and mold their characters?  How else can you let them learn why you shouldn’t blow up your neighbors or slay your uncle with an axe except in an imaginary world where the ultimate oops can be fixed with a lawful-good cleric who knows a convenient raise the dead or resurrection spell?

So now I can officially post my Paffooney where Samosett the girl archer and little Prince Robin have murdered Unkel the Magical Ogre to get his chest full of treasure.  Oh, I shouldn’t forget Boffin and Bimbur the dwarves.  They are the ones that brought the group through the Wilderness of Zekk to find Old Unkel’s tower.


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