It’s The Jacke Wilson Show! Episode 4 – The Worst Thing I Ever Did (Part Two)

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ONE…ONE ONE…ONE ONE… IT’S THE JACKE WILSON SHOW!!!!!

Episode 4 is here! I’m back to my four a.m. silent-house stage whisper. You didn’t think that afternoon voice would last forever, did you? Luckily I have a good microphone and an up-close personality. Or you can use it as white noise, to drift away to dreamland. I’m good either way.

In this episode we wrap up our look at “The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Done” and veer into my psychological battle with my old officemate, the “real” Jerry Seinfeld, which might be the worst thing I’ve ever done, or maybe it’s the worst thing for him. (The Blood Cake (A History of Jacke in 100 Objects #3)) for those keeping score.) And we look at Christmas in Munich, give a quick shoutout to Little Pickle Press, preview a forthcoming guest (I’m working on it!), describe some night-time country-road driving (and an encounter with some UFOs), and detail the time my big sister invented a language and I struggled to keep up. Disasters everywhere. Ah well. It’s the Jacke Wilson Way.

You can stream the show here:

 

Or directly download the mp3 file: The Jacke Wilson Show 1.4 – The Worst Thing I Ever Did (Part Two)

You can also find previous episodes at our Podcast page.

And subscribe to the whole series at iTunes by following this link:

SUBSCRIBE TO THE JACKE WILSON SHOW ON ITUNES

Let me know what you think! Thank you for listening! Continue reading

Today’s Comments of the Week: The Foxes (And Some Good News for Jacke!)

I’m very pleased to announce that my post The Offering (A History of Jacke Wilson in 100 Objects #26) has been selected for WordPress’s Freshly Pressed showcase feature. Hooray! There it is, right between a terrific post about the new black stormtrooper in the next Star Wars installment and a post from Longreads (a wonderful site, by the way) about the essays of Charles D’Ambrosio. Pretty good company! I feel a little out of place, like maybe the invitations got mixed up in the mail and I got one by mistake. But I’m enjoying the party anyway!

With each Object I hope for some kind of connection with readers (that’s the goal, after all), but I never know what will resonate and how. Continue reading

Thanksgiving Week 2: The Elders

Oh boy. I’m really having a good time with Thanksgiving this year, but that’s no surprise. It’s my favorite holiday. Since yesterday was our day of giving thanks to the kids, let’s take things old school and bestow some gratitude on our elders.

Here are a few excerpts from stories about the generations above me.  My big sister, my older cousin, my old boss, and of course, my father and grandfather. Formative influences on me, but don’t blame them for that! All life errors are my own.

(Seriously – my thanks to all of them. Enjoy the stories!)

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Thanksgiving Week 1: Kids

I’ve got a big December planned here on the Jacke Blog. So I’m taking a breath and celebrating my favorite week of the year. Thanksgiving! Time to bring in the harvest, start up a fire, watch a little football, and keep the kitchen bustling.

So today I’m giving thanks for children, who make all this work more fun. I love putting together a big Thanksgiving feast while the boys and their cousins are watching movies and playing video games. So awesome.

Enjoy the week of holidays, kids!

And here are a few stories to remind us all of the glory of kids: Continue reading

It’s The Jacke Wilson Show! Episode 3 – The Worst Thing I Ever Did (Part One)

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ONE…ONE ONE…ONE ONE… IT’S THE JACKE WILSON SHOW!!!!!

Oh, people! Episode 3 of THE JACKE WILSON SHOW is now available! This one is full of heartbreak and agony. Yes, that’s right, it’s The Worst Thing I Ever Did… confessions of real-life people as submitted by you, the readers. Also includes A History of Jacke in 100 Objects #15, The Coffepot, about what might be the worst thing I ever did. Let’s share the pain!

(We ran out of room on this one, so we had to stop. Plenty more worst things coming in Part Two. It seems our cup overfloweth with longing and regret here at the Jacke Blog.)

Oh, and I have a happy story sprinkled into the mix. We needed something to cut the misery!

Do you have a Worst Thing I Ever Did to share? Let us know! You can leave a comment or send me an email at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com. Anonymity strictly preserved. (Read more about our call for The Worst Thing I Ever Did at our previous post. We’re not just going for confessions – we’re exploring why we think these are the worst.)

Enjoy the show!

Download the mp3 file: The Jacke Wilson Show 1.3 – The Worst Thing I Ever Did (Part One)

Getting better, I hope! You can also find previous episodes at our Podcast page.

And subscribe to the whole series at iTunes by following this link:

SUBSCRIBE TO THE JACKE WILSON SHOW ON ITUNES

Let me know what you think! Thank you for listening! Continue reading

The Offering (A History of Jacke in 100 Objects #26)

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And then something happened that changed everything.

I wish I could start the story that way, because that’s how it felt when it happened: startling, vivid, breathtakingly transformative. Even now it makes my heart race, the moment when I looked down and saw what I saw on our front porch, and the follow-up moment when I pulled the car out of the garage and saw what was there. But you can’t be jolted out of a world without there being a world to be jolted out of. That’s an awkward way of saying it, but I’m a storyteller, not an expert in metaphysics. Bear with me.

And then something happened that changed everything.

We’ll get to the something. But first, you have to know what the everything was.

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We were renting a house on a cul-de-sac in northern Virginia. The purplest part of a purple state, in the section of territory that, viewed on a map, looks like it was carved out of D.C. Someone probably fought a war over this patch of land, once upon a time. Historic battlefields were everywhere, replaced now by highway interchanges and big-box stores. Progress marched along. Even decent old brick houses like ours were being torn down in favor of ersatz palaces with fake-stone facades, their walls rising up from the very edges of the small-sized lots.

One nice thing about living in a purple state was that my vote mattered. What was less nice was that my next-door neighbors put up an Obama sign and the kids who lived across the street shot it up with their BB guns.

We had left New York City so that our toddlers could play in a backyard. And now this? Young political activists? With guns?

I had not moved to the suburbs so my kids could be caught in the crossfire.

But we had signed a twelve-month lease, so what could we do? We settled in and kept the blinds pulled. Our kids could play in the backyard. Away from stray bullets.

Since we were renting, there were a few things we had to do to convert the house to something suitable for our family. We took down a hammock after it caused too many problems. (Hammocks are lovely for grownups. They can propel small children halfway across a backyard.) We drained the hot tub on the back deck out of similar safety concerns.

Inside, there was a pull-down ladder to the attic. I loved the attic: it was huge and roomy, and we could stash plenty of clutter up there. The one downside was that the owners had left a few things of their own: a metal rack holding some coats, a letter jacket, and a wedding dress in plastic, and four or five boxes of trophies and other knickknacks. I knew I should have been grateful that they had not left those things in the house itself. Instead I was irritated and tempted to throw it all out.

What were we paying for? Dammit, we were renting a house. We were not renting a storage unit.

It was an unreasonable position, but there it was. Those items were a reminder that we did not own this house, and I did not like how that made me feel.

It was frustrating, for example, that the owners had not trusted us with the remote control to the automatic garage door opener. Every time we entered or exited the garage, we had to park the car, get out, punch buttons on a key pad, and get back in the car. In rain. In snow. In wind. With the kids asleep. With the kids screaming. Every single time it was a pain, and every single time I thought about how temporary and transient our lives were.

Twenty addresses in twelve years. It’s one thing to live like that when you’re poor and living in dirty old apartments. The life of the struggling writer. Paycheck to paycheck, meal to meal, crummy surroundings, cold nights spent under the covers on a hand-me-down futon. It’s living! It’s living free! Hello, Bohemia! But this? Rent at this place was a sizable expenditure, and it was for a house, with a finished basement and a backyard. This was a place for grownups to live in.

And we were grownups, whether we liked it or not, because parents have to be. Granted, I was a baffled, confused parent, a father with no idea what fatherhood meant or how to handle it, with zero strategy other than the single tactic that as a 35-year-old man, I could present what seemed to small children like wisdom and authority. Eventually they would figure me out. For now, I faked being an adult. And it worked: faced with a three-year-old and a one-year-old who believed in me just as they believed in Santa, their optimism and expectations overcoming what was in front of their very eyes, I pulled off a great con, day after day after day. I bluffed them.

So then: a grownup I was, or appeared to be, most of the time. But this house did not make me feel like a grownup. It felt as if the real grownups – the ones with the stuff in the attic, and the ones in possession of the automatic garage door opener – had gone somewhere and left us in charge.

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On a morning that spring I went to retrieve the kids, who were playing next door at the neighbors—the Obama-sign neighbors, not the camouflage-wearing junior soldiers of fortune. I left via our back door, walked across the deck, and headed for the gate that separated our two yards. Even from here I could admire their house, built to appear in Architectural Digest, which was literally the wife’s dream, or perhaps I should say vision. She had acquired two dogs, not because she wanted dogs particularly, but because their butterscotch coats matched the house and would look fantastic in the photo spread.

Her husband had told me this one day with a heavy sigh. I nodded as if I understood, but I felt like I was from another planet. Our house had two rooms that had no furniture at all, and a third that only had two beanbag chairs. Maybe Architectural Digest would have a Minimalist issue we could get in on.

I hopped down the steps and walked around the waterfall that no longer worked, hopefully through nothing my kids had done. And then, as I passed the back of the hot tub, I heard something strange. It sounded like growling.

I stopped in place, afraid to move until I heard what it was.

More growling. Like someone’s loud stomach, except more feral. It was an animal sound, there under our deck, behind the lattice woodwork.

Continue reading

Brush with Greatness: Harry Shearer and Me!

On Tuesday I launched into yet another high-flying ode to creative freedom and the indie spirit. I railed against the curtailing powers-that-be, those nattering nabobs of negativism, wherever they may reside. I talked about my own experiences with indie publishing, and I cited the example of Martin Short and Harry Shearer, who found the freedom to create the all-time classic Men’s Synchronized Swimming sketch (“I’m not that strong a swimmer” and “I know you, I know you”) when SNL just let them go shoot the damn thing (which Harry contrasted with the rounds of meetings that had marked his experience in L.A.).

And then…a surprise! The comedy god and national treasure Harry Shearer stopped by! And he tweeted this helpful reminder: Continue reading