Navigating life with a faulty GPS

The word befuddlement comes to mind when I think about how I made it this far in life. Having five incredibly close calls with death, and an equal number of concussions, I decided my guidance system was either broken or possessed by a thirsty demon. No matter what course I was on, I always ended up with a drink in my hand.

When I was in my 20’s, my only goal was to outlive my dad who didn’t make it to see his 30’s. But once I turned 30, I achieved my only goal in life and had no idea…


There are bigger things at play than work

Flaming saute pan in an industrial kitchen
Flaming saute pan in an industrial kitchen

Chaos brought life into existence, meaning life is inevitably full of chaos. That fact is beyond our power to change, but what isn’t beyond our power to change is how we think about things, how we see things, and how we choose to let things affect us.

This is the story of how my mantra manifested, and how it helped get me through so many hard times in an industry known for being laced with stressors: the service industry. I do hope it finds and serves you well.

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Full disclosure…


They can be used for good but aren’t always harmless

An office cubicle filled with balloons
An office cubicle filled with balloons

My immediate thoughts on pranks go as follows: They can be malicious, hurtful, and grudge-inducing, but if done right, they can have positive outcomes.

Shake Those Dressings Kid

My first job was as a bag boy at Publix and I was so ready to excel that I would’ve said yes to anything. In my first week, a stocker (one of the guys in charge of stocking items on shelves) told me that the salad dressings needed to be shaken. So, being the hard worker I was, I started shaking the salad dressings and putting them back on the shelf. I was 16 years old…


It depends on the body count

Photo taken at night of a group of Black Lives Matter protesters peacefully protesting
Photo taken at night of a group of Black Lives Matter protesters peacefully protesting

Daunte Wright lost his life only miles from where George Floyd lost his. They were murdered by the same group of thugs that terrorize so many people across this nation. Change is something that seems so far away.

While America was focused on the judicial system trying to prove that Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd, something the entire country can watch on video, another black man has lost his life. Already the attacks on his character have begun.

Negligent

The police officer who pulled the trigger was on the force for 26 years and is now on administrative leave. Imagine being…


Managing stress through a pandemic and unemployment

I never imagined I could be sober for one month, let alone 15, and especially not during a pandemic amid my first experience with unemployment. Getting through those first few months is something I will forever be proud of. Of course, back in those days, I was still employed, and my first thoughts after hearing the word corona, were still “Yes, please.” Followed promptly by “Wait NO, I’ll blackout and die.” Ah, the good ole days.

Early Sobriety

During the first month, I wasn’t sure if sobriety was something I was going to be able to maintain, as the cravings were at…


My struggles in the bathroom and how I fixed them

Four people spelling out the word poop with sparklers in a long exposure photograph
Four people spelling out the word poop with sparklers in a long exposure photograph

You know the saying “you can’t trust a fart”? Well, I can’t trust a wipe. I’m like a 35-year-old baby who still gets diaper rash because he can’t properly clean himself. I don’t know if my poo-pincher is broken or what, but sometimes I just can’t wipe enough to get clean.

I check the toilet paper after every wipe to see if I’m sanitary, only to be met with failure each time. This goes on until I give up and jump in the shower to spray myself out. …


It looks awfully familiar in here

The cutest tabby cat you’ve ever seen sitting atop her cat tree staring into the camera.
The cutest tabby cat you’ve ever seen sitting atop her cat tree staring into the camera.

What cat-parent hasn’t thought about what life would be like if you had the schedule and responsibilities of a cat? The answer is none, everybody who even gets near a cat has those thoughts.

Cats are able to spend all day sleeping, chasing random (often non-existing) things around the house, and getting what they want simply through the means of acting out.

We spend 40 hours a week chasing things (often non-existing things like happiness through wealth) and then come home to cause a ruckus until we get what we want, which is nearly always food or sleep.

While having…


And they’re shit without a story

A few years back, I started writing down every other thought in my head in the hopes that someday I would be able to use one or two of them for something. I came to find there was a problem with this; my every other thought was shit.

But really, what are thoughts written down without context or setup? They’re shit. They don’t mean anything because they don’t stand for anything yet. They’re like road signs in the woods; they don’t lead anywhere. …


Questions to ask yourself in the initial moments of your post-blackout mornings.

Young man passed out on the floor of a house-party
Young man passed out on the floor of a house-party

Hey, You. You’re Finally Awake

You just woke up from a blackout, congratulations! I feel like I need to note that I am not congratulating you on blacking out, but instead for rolling the dice with your life and coming out alive.

Now that you’ve done the hardest part (waking up), you can get down to answering some of those questions that won’t stop nagging at you through your pressing nausea.

“Why is one of my front teeth jutting backward into my mouth?”
“Where am I?”
“Keys, wallet, phone?”
“Why do I keep doing this to myself?”

Some of those questions are more common than…

Mike Stanley

Dragging myself through this journey by the ink in my pen and the life in my limbs. As a wise man once said, “this is how my bio ends.”

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