Happy Boo-day To You

I’ve noticed recently that time has stopped mattering so much to me.

I came to this conclusion when slipping into a comfy pair of pajama pants at 4:30 PM, when I’d just gotten home from picking the kids up from school. The sun was shining brightly through a scattering of clouds, giving me pause for a few seconds. It’s not like it’s the middle of December and the sun has already set; we’ve got a good 90 minutes before it sinks below the horizon this time of year. In the end, I just shrugged my shoulders and put ’em on, which is kinda pathetic in the sense that it means I’ve got no life – obviously I was neither expecting company nor planning on going out, settling in for the evening when it was still technically late afternoon. At the same time, it made me feel a bit rebellious. Sorta like James Dean. The only things missing were the motorcycle and the cigarette dangling from my lips. And the jeans, I suppose, because I doubt very much ol’ JD ever rode while wearing pajama pants. It was more like I was channeling the essence of rebellion.

It’s liberating not being a slave to the clock. I used to wait until 5:00 to pour myself a drink. Now, if 4 PM rolls around – or, I daresay, 3:45 – and I want a gin and tonic, then I’m heading straight for the liquor cabinet. And I’m probably wearing pajama pants, too.

Screw convention.

The same applies to showering, shaving, going to bed, waking up. Granted, on the weeks when Rusty and Audrey are with me, there is by necessity some semblance of a routine. I can’t be quite the free spirit I am on the kid-free weeks. But there is a lot of room for flexibility, even then. This laissez-faire lifestyle suits me. All my life, I’ve been the most organized and scheduled person in the world. It feels good to let loose and ignore the clock. Being divorced and unemployed gives me a ton of freedom, and I’m happily gobbling it up.  I guess that’s why freelancing appeals to me so much. I work when I want to work, instead of being boxed into some 8-to-5 corporately defined window of productivity. Man, if I ever do end up in a “real” job again, it’s going to be quite an adjustment.

Speaking of, I finally heard back from Matt, the Groupon recruiter I’d been working with, on Wednesday morning. The news was not good. Though he called me “a very talented writer,” he said the writing committee “went in a different direction” and “chose another candidate.” I was pretty surprised – not because I think I’m the bee’s knees or anything (what the hell does that even mean? Last I checked, bees don’t have knees, and if they did, they’d be small and inconsequential, anyway – hardly worth the buzz), but his feedback had been very positive throughout the process and he loved several of the jokes I’d used in my sample write-ups. It was a real disappointment, not because I am in love with Groupon (although, as fate would have it, I purchased a Groupon that very morning – $12 for $25 worth of vinyl at a record shop in Portland) or took it as a personal rejection. It’s just that, I had been *this* close to having a bit of financial security, with a steady gig that would have guaranteed me a salary close to what I was earning before. I’d have been able to breathe more comfortably, but now I suddenly find myself back at square one, relying on unemployment checks that barely cover the basics, and watching my cash on hand dwindle away to nothing. I experienced a crisis of faith that day, and wondered for awhile, “what am I going to do now?” I was in a pitiful mood, feeling sorry for myself. Not a pretty picture at all. Luckily, I have a supportive group of friends who reminded me that this was just a minor setback and it doesn’t mean I have to give up on my dream. So, of course, I won’t. I’ll just redouble my efforts and try that much harder. I’ve always been good at bouncing back from rejection – sometimes it just takes me a day or so to find my groove again. There are other Groupons out there – I just need to find them. Or a “real” job as a writer. One way or another, it’ll happen. Mark my words.

But onto funner topics. Yes, I realize “funner” ain’t a word. Ain’t ain’t, either. But they both should be.

The other day I wrote about my ghost-hunting friend, Steven. And this picture that he showed me. I won’t go into the whole story again, but basically he was given a photograph that purports to show the spirits of a baby’s grandparents who were hovering, transparent, in the background during the child’s first birthday. The grandfather had died not long before, and promised that he wouldn’t miss his grandchild’s first birthday. Steven sent me a copy of the picture, and here it is.

Check out the transparent figures to the baby's right.

As I stated in my last post, I am not saying this photograph is real. Steven is the first to admit that you can never fully trust a picture that was handed to you by another person. As much as I’d like to believe, this one seems too good to be true. But who knows? I refuse to declare it an outright fake. I have seen, with my own eyes, things that could not be explained, as anybody who read about my ghostly encounter can attest. Here are the facts that were presented about this photo: it was taken on a disposable camera that had never been used before, which means the image can’t simply be attributed to a double exposure. Furthermore, the camera was purchased after the grandfather passed away. Family members insist the man in the photo, clearly wearing glasses, is the grandfather. The other figure is harder to make out (because a friggin’ chair is hiding her face), but they’re assuming it was the grandmother. Either that, or gramps is tapping some heavenly bodies in the afterlife.

I leave you with that. I won’t say any more about the photo – you can make up your own mind about its authenticity. If nothing else, it’s intriguing to look at. And now, just for fun, let’s get interactive! I’m curious about whether or not you believe in ghosts, and have set up a fun little poll. Feel free to click away, and please let me know what you think about the picture.


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

16 thoughts on “Happy Boo-day To You

  1. Spirits or not, what I want to know is how you score a groupon for vinyl records and all I ever get are stupid day spa offers!


    1. Mike – look at ALL the deals on the page. Right next to the spas, on the right hand side, you’ll see several other deals to click on. That’s where you find some of the best ones (and where the record store one was).


  2. OK. Spirits. Put me down as a definite “yes.” However, I am hoping that they have better fashion choices on the other side. I mean, Grandpa is still wearing that old sweatshirt and baseball cap? And glasses? Do they have optometrists there? I was hoping that physical ailments and irregularities (like myopia) would be taken care of. Am I stuck with frames for eternity? Crap.


    1. Supposedly you can project yourself as you were best known, which is why people who died long ago are seen in period dress, and why gramps there is wearing a ball cap.


  3. Is it a little strange that I enjoy stay-at-home mommy-ing for the same reasons (sans the afternoon cocktail because *apparently* Children’s Services doesn’t look too kindly at that)? So sorry to hear about the Groupon bit. You ARE indeed the knee of the bee (?) and I’m sure good things are coming your way!


  4. “I’ve noticed recently that time has stopped mattering so much to me.”

    I can so identify with your feelings, Mark. When I was unemployed (for about four months), I felt the same way. Not having a job made me so unaware of time. But I kinda liked it.

    “It’s liberating not being a slave to the clock.”

    You said it!

    Sorry to hear about Groupon, but I just KNOW that the perfect job with be coming your way. Keep the faith, bud!

    Now, about that ghost picture…..WOW!!!!!!!!!!! I got chills looking at it!

    “Family members insist the man in the photo, clearly wearing glasses, is the grandfather. ”

    Yup, I believe it! TOTALLY!


    1. It’s a pretty impressive picture, huh? Fun to imagine that it MIGHT possibly be real! And if I never see another clock again for as long as I live, it’ll be too soon.


    1. Heh. I actually was rather fond of Pooh Bear as a child. I probably shouldn’t admit that “out loud,” though. I’m not talking the movies…I mean the original books. My own kids were amazed to learn that Winnie The Pooh had originally been in print.


    1. Very interesting! I have to say, I rather like “the snake’s hips.” It might be worth it to try to revitalize that particular phrase. “Well, aren’t you the snake’s hips?” Hmm…
      Thanks for the link! And I didn’t catch the Fandango Groupon. Too bad, I’d have snapped that up.


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