High_Plains_Drifterby Joe Buonfiglio

I’m a good writer. However, I am a TERRIBLE human being.

No, I’m not saying I’m a bad person; I’m just horrible at this whole “being human” thing. I wish there was one of those guidebooks for simpletons out there along the lines of Being Human for Dummies, because I really need to get a handle on this whole “life” thing.

Hell, it may already be too late! Here are some examples of what I mean:

I pick a restaurant not based on the quality of the food or the service or even the ambience, but rather if they precalculate the tip for me at the bottom of the check.

I seemingly don’t read and watch the news in order to be informed of local, state, national and world events; I apparently do it to refuel a perpetual state of being pissed off that has evolved over time into some warped kind of entertainment value coupled with an invited embrace of emotional immaturity.

And then there’s nutriment. Food isn’t just a device for necessary caloric sustenance; it’s a coping mechanism … that leads to bad habits … that leads to poor health … that leads to depression … that leads to needing more coping … that leads to more food … that leads to….

Strong drink, doubly so.

You know what else? I’d rather sit in the dark at three in the morning watching some B-movie from the Sixties that I’ve seen a hundred times than interact in “normal” functioning hours with “normal” functioning people in the “normal” activities that “normal” functioning people engage in … … … normally.

In my defense, those old Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns are pretty cool.

Then there’s the world of vocational madness. Two words can send me into a rage faster than a giant-tired monster-truck wannabe pickup tailgating me on the interstate and laying into his The Dukes of Hazzard theme-song novelty horn the whole way: COMPANY PICNIC.

Take your sunbaked deviled-egg nightmare out of my face and get back to kissing the boss’ ass so that I can finish my Bud Light in peace and make it home before the game starts. And for the love of God, tell your fucking rugrat to stop sticking me in the ass with that holiday party-blower before I drop trou and introduce him to Uncle Smelly’s Private Wind Tunnel.

Here’s another gem. I’ll buy my gas at a service station not because they have the best price at the pump or even if they have good doughnuts inside the attached convenience store, but because their bathrooms are cleaner than a hotel’s. And this brings me to the coup de grâce of my quirks d’ persona…

I RATE GAS STATION BATHROOMS.  I’ve done it since I was a kid.

An “A” means a 5-star-resort quality of bathroom cleanliness; most certainly a rare find. “B” means I wouldn’t eat a Twinkie off the toilet seat, but after applying TP to it, I’d be willing to sit my ass down and do my business. A “C” is almost unbearably malodorous and engaging in an inadequate level of sanitary presentation, but I’ll still hold my nose and use the urinal — only! A “D” means that somewhere in the facility, there is actual feces smeared on the wall. I’ll hold my nose, close my eyes and pee, but I’m not touching the sink faucet. The bottle of hand sanitizer in the car will have to do. And then there’s “F.”

An “F” means that I’d rather shit my pants than step foot in that bathroom. An “F” means a stench so overwhelming, a revulsion factor so alarmingly disgusting; Satan himself would shield his eyes in despair.

Now, does the fact that I engage in this potty-critic activity, that I make purchasing decisions based on engaging in this activity, that I make those travelling with me deal with the unpleasant fallout that inevitably comes from engaging in this activity; does this make me a terrible person?

Does ANY of this really make me a bad person?

Okay, yes. Yes it does.

Now if you’ll excuse me, High Plains Drifter is on and I’ve got a Hot Pocket in the microwave.


© 2016 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

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by Joe Buonfiglio

Brexit Tweet

The pic above is a selection from my Twitter page exorcized as if a demon needing to be expelled from a head-swiveling child spewing up projectile-vomited pea soup in alarming quantities.

BREXIT is an abbreviation of “British exit” that refers to the possibility that Britain will withdraw from the European Union. By the time you read this, it will most likely be a done deal. However, at the time of this writing, the UK was just on the cusp of deciding if it should jettison itself from the EU and what many see as its burdensome economic anchor dragging Jolly Old and Associates down into the murky metaphoric waters of the Financial Abyss.

Is the European Union of countries and its tapestry of economic ties really harming the United Kingdom? I couldn’t care less.


Because even though any ripple effect from a poor choice by our former rulers of Stiff Upper Lippians could directly violate Uncle Sam’s wallet at some point, as an “Ugly American,” I tend not to concern myself with “all the way the fuck over there” unless our military has boots on the ground.

No, as a writer, what I am fascinated by is the term “Brexit” itself.

British. Exit.


It’s so delightfully simple that it’s downright sinful.

And that got me to wondering; are there issues I could distill down into more manageable bitesize morsels that would make my own life less complex by merely adding an “EXIT” sign to it?

Were the Brits onto something? Could it really be that simple?

If I didn’t want to pay my taxes, could I just IRSexit?

Instead of dealing with my night of binge burrito-eating horror, could I simply diarrhexit?

If you’re in an abusive relationship, can you just get the hell out of there? Seriously. There’s nothing funny about that. However, if don’t like where you were sent after death, just Helexit.

Don’t like spending Christmas with the in-laws? HoHoHexit.

Not a fan of Dr. Seuss? Ham and Greenexit.

Hate erotic romance novels? 50 Shades of Grexit.

Not enough beer at the party? Pony kexit.

Can’t stand ZZ Top songs? She’s Got Lexit.

You say that you don’t like that I sometimes use foul language in my blog posts. Then take your cue from the late George Carlin and: shexit, pexit, fexit, cexit, cocksexit, motherfexit and tits!

No, not texit. Who the hell wants to leave those. Don’t be silly.

So good luck, my British friends. Keep calm and carrexit.


© 2016 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

All photos are © 2016 Joseph P. Buonfiglio with All Rights Reserved.

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Theater Stage Door

by Joe Buonfiglio

Americans twirl naked in the moonlight with a narcissistic madness as our dance partner; exhibitionists on the stage in a colossal Theatre of the Absurd.

Think that’s bullshit? Consider this…

We Americans live in a country where there is rampant, out-of-control gun violence and our solution to this widespread mayhem is that we need more guns.

Ponder that for a moment.

PROBLEM: Too much gun violence. SOLUTION: Pump more guns into the system.

We live in a country where fast-food products acquired via drive-thru lanes, stuff you’d struggle to barely call sustenance packaged in boxes and plastic-enveloped sugar-water targeted at children and the poor are equated with freedom and our rights, not identified as health hazards crashing our medical infrastructure with illness on a massive scale.

Americans live in a nation where giving even more to the wealthiest of us constitutes some sort of drip-drip-drip downward pathway of improving the wretched financial state of the poor and the evaporating middle class, while “entitling” said underprivileged with financial assistance of any kind is viewed as literally ruining the country.

PROBLEM: Too many of us can’t make ends meet. SOLUTION: Give even more to the richest of us.

We view clean, renewable energy as the enemy, and the dirty energy options as our friends.

Tell me again how Global Climate Change is a pile of horseshit, because your 1% of scientists bought and paid for by the petroleum industry says so and the other 99% of scientists are wrong. Tell me again how many earthquakes Oklahoma had per year before fracking and how many they have now. Explain to me why it’s illegal to disclose fracking chemicals that could track poisoned water back to fracking sites in North Carolina. Whose best interest does this serve?

Our children … or T. Boone Pickens and his ilk?

We see teachers and education as the bad guys creating evil herds of “elitist” pricks who don’t solve problems, but generate an intelligent mindset that is actually the source of our difficulties; and racist, misogynistic education-hating morons as “real” Americans that will cure all the serious dangers we face.

Think the attack on education is just politics; not a bigger conspiracy?

Ask yourself, “Who benefits from a stupid electorate?”

We live in a country where we express “God’s love” by denying rights we consider virtually “God-given” to others simply because they’re different from us, but scream bloody murder if others try to limit the intrusion of religion into the rights of the secular public.

Along those lines, we demand that the “separation of church and state” keep the people’s governmental fingers out of religion’s pie, but consider it a right that churches can place undue pressure on elected officials to shove church dogma and religious doctrine into legislation surrounding such things as what a woman can do with her body or where a transgender person gets to go to the bathroom.

It’s as if we’re okay casting the first stone, but don’t understand that the hurling of rocks, once started, is a two-way street.

We don’t have tunnel vision; we’re fucking myopic! We can’t see down the tunnel past the tollbooth.

It’s all a kind of perverted logic that makes as much sense as me purporting to like slapstick comedy, but thinking you don’t deserve to walk the Earth if you like rom-coms.

Okay, that’s a bad example. You actually don’t deserve the air in your lungs if you prefer romantic comedies to lowbrow humor, but you get the idea.


Now, putting aside the fact that all this would appear to render us a nation of dumbasses that the forces of evolution should have eliminated years ago; it left me considering the possibility that I could somehow personally benefit from being part of a society with this absurdly twisted form of rationale at its core.

For example, could I get away with punching a vegan in the face for not supporting the cattle industry by eating a hamburger at my Fourth of July picnic?

Could I cut the man-bun off a hipster in a show of solidarity for we follicly challenged Americans and not wind up spending the night in the county lockup?

Could I eat a triple-stuffed burrito and fart on all the members of Congress while blaming illegal Mexican immigration?

Could I—  Could I—

Sorry. The lights are flashing here in America’s lobby. The curtain is going up. Sure the show is getting negative reviews worldwide, but my ticket stub is good for one free drink at the local bar … … … or half-price admission to next week’s knife-and-gun show at the state fairgrounds.

Kids under 12 are free.


© 2016 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

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Okay, NOW I’m worried!

tempermentally unfit

by Joe Buonfiglio

Some people say that the political atmosphere in which the current (at the time of this writing) presidential candidates battle is the stuff of terror dreams that keeps thousands of psychotherapists in a blissful state of rock-steady employment. However, I would contend that this metaphoric night-terror is not an aberration brought on by undue stress or even the overconsumption of deviled eggs left out in the sun too long at the company picnic, but rather an all-too real reflection of the state of the American people and their empire in decline. We’re merely getting the politics we, as a society, absolutely deserve for willfully shutting off our brains and welcoming the propagandizing, self-serving punditry to do our thinking for us. We are the Army of the Dumbasses and deserve to be treated as such.

Nevertheless, a new phrase has recently popped into the vernacular of the political arena within this current presidential campaign cycle:


Temperamentally. Unfit.

Okay, now I’m worried.

Look, I’ll leave it to those with cerebral abilities above my paygrade to decide whether the phrase is being properly applied as one candidate describes another as being “dangerously incoherent” and “temperamentally unfit” to be president of the United States of America. That’s not my concern at the moment. No, the more I heard the words “temperamentally unfit” come marching through my TV’s speakers; the more I was forced to ponder them in a blatantly egocentric fashion.

Am I … temperamentally unfit?

Now, I know I’m unfit in myriad other ways: physically unfit; psychologically unfit; hell, I’m even spiritually unfit. But temperamentally unfit?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has been around offering up the latest takes on the English language since 1828. It defines temperamental as being “likely to become upset or angry; unpredictable in behavior or performance; of or relating to someone’s usual attitude, mood, or behavior; marked by excessive sensitivity and impulsive mood changes.”

Holy shit! Is that me? I think that is me! It’s definitely me!

And with that deprecating epiphany looming over me as if a bucket of pig’s blood about to be dumped on Carrie, questions arise.

Am I temperamentally unfit to be a father? If leading by example is the pinnacle of parenting, will my son wind up being a professional slug?

Am I temperamentally unfit to be a husband? My wife might justifiably retort, “Do bears know how to wipe their asses with Charmin ultra-soft bath tissue?”

A writer? Oh my God, am I temperamentally unfit to be a writer?

No way! Sure, I wrote “Is that me?” earlier instead of “Is that I?” And while it calls into question my grammatical aptitude, it unequivocally has nothing to do with my fitness regarding my temperament as it relates to my literary abilities. Hell, being in a state of “temperamentally unfit” is almost the dictionary definition of “writer.” However, I am now stalked as if by Marshmallow Fluff crème in search of white bread slathered with peanut butter by one last question.

A human? Am I temperamentally unfit to be … human?

By the aforementioned dictionary definition of “temperamental,” I sure as shit should be declared unfit. However, as I look out across what passes for the sea of humanity adrift within its own wealth of personality inadequacies, all things considered, I’d say I’m doing just fine. In other words, I am no more “temperamentally unfit” than the rest of you emotionally unstable hairless apes, so fuck it; I’m doin’ okay in the “fit to be human” department…

… which is more than I can say for the politicians in this country.


© 2016 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

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short pants

by Joe Buonfiglio

My wife works very hard and very smart. She’s one of those people who doesn’t just give 110%, she gives 210%. And while generous in spirit most of the time, she has absolutely NO TOLERANCE for indolence-driven “poor me” syndrome, particularly in the workplace. If you’re lazy or content with the status quo as being “good enough,” it’s probably best not to work with my wife. And believe me, if you’re one of those apathetic people when it comes to the quality of your work, you sure as hell don’t want to work for her.

Now, if she sees you giving it your all, but still failing, she’ll go out of her way to not only get you up to speed, but to advance. However, if she sees you not trying, not giving it an honest effort or, God forbid, not giving a damn, but still looking for sympathy; watch out. That well is dry, my friend.

Now, to you, this probably appears as if I’m just trying to suck up to my significant other. I’m not. Even if I desired to pull off such a sycophantic coup, there’s no way it would work. Just the opposite, as a matter of fact.

First of all, my wife can smell bullshit before your steer even comes into view. If all this was just a thinly veiled attempt to use a public forum for some private benefit, I’d be fucked. She’d see through it in a nanosecond.

No, where I’m going with all this is that if she identifies you as a slacker looking for compassion, what you’re likely to hear from her is the infamous, “We’re all adults here, so put on your big-boy pants.”

Big. Boy. Pants.

I’m a writer; filled to the brim and beyond with insecurities, self-doubt and self-deprecation; probably a little self-loathing thrown in for good measure. To hear the tough-love mantra of “Put on your big-boy pants!” when I become the now-proverbial “whiny little bitch” resonates in my mind’s ear as having foolishly provided the perfect fodder for my better half’s ire.

When I start complaining how “that editor is being mean to me” or my now omnipresent Eeyore-mumble of “rejected again” even though I know damn well I spent the week binge-watching Doctor Who and missing deadlines, it’s bound to stoke those fires of disapproval in my beloved and deservedly so. I may want “tea & sympathy,” but I’m gonna get the “big-boy pants” reaction for sure. You can almost hear Tears of a Clown playing in the background as the dreaded phrase reveals itself once again.

I have to admit, though, the last manifestation of the accusatory axiom with me in the crosshairs got me to thinking. Have I been going around my whole life metaphorically dressed as if Angus Young from the band AC/DC, short pants and all? Am I a grown (some say overgrown) man stuck in the first grade of attire, figuratively speaking?

Is it worse than that? Do I act as if Peter Pan determined to never grow up and prancing about in hand-cut shorts and green tights?

I mean sure, Tinker Bell is hot and anyone could be conflicted, but is that an excuse not to “man up” in life?

Can publishers tell that my big-boy pants aren’t on? Literary agents? Producers? The cable guy?

What about the neighbors? That bartender? Can the crepe chef at the food-truck rodeo tell I don’t have my big-boy pants on?

Holy shit! This is more serious than I thought! Not only does my wife know my deep, dark secret of knee-exposure in the symbolic khakis department, EVERYBODY knows! I’m not fooling anyone!

There’s only one thing for it; time to grow up. Yes, by God, I shall wear my big-boy pants in the execution of my chosen vocation. Yes, I will wear my big-boy pants in the pursuit of my various avocations. Yes, I am going to wear my big-boy pants for the rest of my life! Yes, I’m going to finally get my shit together, not blaming others or circumstance for my own shortcomings! Yes, I shall put on those wonderful BIG-BOY PAN

Hold it. The Yankees are on. Doubleheader.

Yeah, I know I’m on deadline for that feature piece, but come on; it’s the ballgame. I’m sure it’s cool if it’s a day late.

Or two.



© 2016 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

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… or Happy Geek Pride Day!

 Geek Girl

by Joe Buonfiglio

As I write this, it is May 25, national “Geek Pride Day.” Now, woe to you who slip and call it national Nerd Pride Day; do so at your own peril. National “Nerd Day” is traditionally celebrated April 16, but in reality, ONLY because social media had extensive chatter on that day claiming it as such. For some reason, it does not appear to be as “official” as Geek Pride Day.

Which begs the question, “Why?”

Perhaps it is because within the general population, there is much confusion as to exactly what the hell the difference is between a geek and a nerd.

And what of “crossover” nerds/geeks?

Are they “Gerds”?


Should they be ostracized from the mainstream of polite society more or less than their “pure” brethren?

While most Americans care less about this than even their collective yawn about the hipster man-bun, from within the confines of Geek/Nerd culture, it is still noteworthy to recognize that all of this confuses the public with greater inducement of dumbfounded headshaking than the North Carolina General Assembly trying to figure out what bathroom transgender people should use.

Perhaps “geeks” have the more colorful of the backstories. Traveling carnival sideshows of the early 1900s would often employ and feature a “geek” performer. In a nutshell, the geek’s job was to create entertainment value for a midway audience by engaging in sickeningly strange acts of nauseating tastelessness for shock value such as biting the head off a live chicken. This unique “specialization” somehow evolved into the less-repulsive nature of today’s geeks and their pride in a given vocational or avocational focus. The word “geek” itself derives from the Low German word “geck,” meaning fool or freak.

The modern “geek” computer programmers and associate techies originally adopted that self-descriptive nomenclature to distinguish themselves as experts in that respective field. However, it expressed not just a superior skillset and knowledge base in the technology arena, but an outright passionate obsession taking it way beyond a mere job into the realm of a culture unto itself.

However, a peculiar bastardization of what it means to be “geek” has occurred in recent years as mainstream society began to usurp the geek technology-based principles. Now “to be geek” can refer to a person with any fanatical fixation with a singular focus designed to make the bearer of the geek label stand out for their distinctive passion. You can still be a coder-geek, but now also a wine-geek, a Harry Potter-geek, a foodie-geek, a car-geek a la Top Gear-head, a Team Fortress 2-geek, a fitness-geek, a book-geek, and on and on. All you need is to be obsessed about “your thing” and you’re a member of Club Geek.

Enter the Nerds.

The earliest record of the word “nerd” being used was when American writer and illustrator Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) first used the term in his children’s book, If I Ran the Zoo, originally published in 1950.

“And then, just to show them, I’ll sail to Ka-Troo. And Bring Back an It-Kutch, a Preep and a Proo, a Nerkle, a Nerd and a Seersucker, too!”

A year after that book was published, a Newsweek magazine article is attributed with the first use of “nerd” in the way we use it today: a probably off-the-charts smart, but socially inept, wash-your-hair optional, tends to be unattractive, still thinks pocket-protectors are cool, sees the 1984 movie Revenge of the Nerds as the best historical-documentary ever, destined to be money-machines in spite of themselves person.

Make no mistake, nerds and geeks are both obsessively passionate about their interests. However, how that is expressed is a wholly different matter.  Both may like the British TV series Doctor Who.  However, where a geek will go into detail on everything from the exact shade of blue that the TARDIS is and how many stiches were in the fourth doctor’s scarf, a nerd will incorporate it into an illuminating conversation on all of sci-fi television throughout history and how it relates to modern astrophysics theory.

A geek exhibits more — shall we say — normalized social skills, although they tend to be garrulously pretentious, especially if you hit upon a topic that is in their core wheelhouse. They crave the micro-world and desire to demonstrate their knowledge of every bit of the component minutiae of their single-minded fixation.

A nerd, on the other hand, exhibits a disinterest, almost a disdain, for the small details of life … such as personal grooming or hygiene or the art of small-talk with the opposite sex or how to do laundry or how to pump gas without it spilling all over the place…. They go about things in a more macro big-picture approach on their topic of personal pursuit. Nerds are happy to talk about the direction time-travel theory is heading and why, or what must be the track evolution is taking.

Nerds can be identified by their introverted nature, particularly outside of being in their comfort zone of likeminded nerds. Geeks tend to be more extroverted, often going on and on and on about some bit of miniscule detail to just about anyone who’ll listen on a topic for which they were never asked about in the first place.

Nerds can tell if you’re “one of them” when you know and use the obscure jargon they embrace. Conversely, for the most part, geeks avoid such clique-esque references finding that as beneath them. Both camps will often talk about the same subjects, but express it in totally different manners.

Geeks find employment in many sectors; as long as they can spout off about what and ALL they know, they’re happy. Sure, it might be in IT, but could easily be in game design or art or bartending. As long as there’s someone at the office willing to listen to them drone on, they’re good.

Nerds are engineers and rocket scientists and, occasionally, tech guys. Period. They only hang out with other engineers, rocket scientists and, occasionally, tech guys.

Geeks can find love with anyone … as long as that “anyone” likes listening to them talk incessantly about whatever they’re into at the moment.

A nerd’s only hope of finding love is with another nerd. That significant other MUST have tape holding together both halves of their broken eyeglasses, too, or it just won’t work in the bedroom … or the kitchen … or the living room when Neil deGrasse Tyson is on TV.

To make matters worse, an intellectual interbreeding of late has rendered the unthinkable: The rise of the GERD (not to be confused with gastroesophageal reflux disease or slang for “Graduate, Earn, Retire, Die”) , or the better-known NEEK depending on which base of cerebral DNA you lean toward. This bizarre amalgam of geeks and nerds leads to mindboggling muddle and philosophic pandemonium.

More and more, the detail-oriented craft-beer enthusiast astronautical engineer and the Bordeaux aficionado web-designer motivational speaker are emerging from the womb of Mother Misfit, a product of an unholy metaphoric fornication; defying classification, evolving into a new species unto itself.

It is the arrival of something novel: the introverted extrovert; the extroverted introvert.

So as we celebrate this Geek Pride Day, remember this: your son or your daughter could be dating — procreating with — one of these new animals at this very moment.




The geek foot soldiers lying down with nerd locals, thus creating a secret Army of the Neeks.

The only hope for humanity?

Travel back in time to kill Dr. Seuss.

Ironically, it will take an Army of Neeks to figure out how to do that.


© 2016 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

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death bench

by Joe Buonfiglio

The wind has gone still.

The outdoor cacophony of neighborhood lawnmowers and leaf blowers and barking dogs and rumbling delivery trucks forming annoyances in and distractions for my otherwise imagination-engaged brain are suddenly silent.

The office clock that incessantly ticks in the background is conspicuous by its abrupt muting.

The labored breathing sounds of this perpetually allergic man aren’t just alarmingly shallow; they’re imperceptible.

In addition, I have writer’s block.

No, you don’t understand. Yes, I am a writer. No, I do not get blocked. I NEVER get writer’s block. To the contrary, I don’t know when to stop writing, not find it difficult to start. “Killing my darlings” editing down is my problem, NOT struggling to fill a page.

Any one of these by themselves is not cause for concern. However, taking into account the simultaneous manifestation of each event, it begs the question…

Am I … DEAD?

At this moment, I gaze upon the framed $25 check I received for the first story I had published in which I was bestowed with actual payment to write. (No, it was not my last check, smartass.) It was many years ago from the publisher of Skylight magazine out of St. Augustine, Florida, for a fun little piece about fictional theoretical formulas relating to the physics of cats titled, “Feline Physics.”

Now I sit in my chilly little office on an unseasonably cold spring day staring at the blank digital page …. dead. My brain appears to have seized up even on the most instinctual level, let alone giving way to any higher functions such as creativity.

Is this the end of the line?

Oh, I could resort to mindlessly pounding on my computer keyboard and banging out some fart jokes, throw out the word “FUCK!” every other sentence or once again flirt with the notion of the masturbatory practices of the Emperor penguin. And believe me; I’m certainly not beyond ANY of that should the spirit move my Muse in such a direction. However, at the moment, those don’t offer any inspiration. It would only be a forced march that you’d all see through instantly.

Even my fallback monkey-fucker witticisms don’t seem to offer a hope of bringing a smile to my face.

An emotionless face.

A face reflecting an impotency of thought.

Artistically dead.


But if I’m dead, where am I?

Am I in Heaven?

No, there’s no beer and pizza.


No. There’s no reality TV.

Am I in New Jersey?

No, it doesn’t smell bad.  Well, no worse than my office usually smells.

So, am I really dead?  I must be, because I never, ever get writer’s block.


Did I just finish my blog post?

Never mind.

Oh, and the office clock’s batteries are just out of juice … … … as, apparently, am I.

© 2016 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.

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