Dear Dan,

So I got this tattoo last Christmas eve. I know. I know. It’s going to be on my arm forever. That’s the whole point.

I got a semicolon. A semicolon is used when a writer could have ended the sentence, but chose to pause, and continue on. You are the author and the sentence is your life. Danny boy, you put a period on your sentence. The tattoo is to remind me of you. Like I’m going to forget? Not likely.


I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety all my life. The tattoo also reminds me of what suicide does to the ones left behind.

As a kid, whenever something “tragic” would happen to me at school, I’d remember back several years before and tell myself that I got through that; I’d get through this. What happened to make me think, at 12 years old, that my life was over wasn’t nearly as devastating when I was 16. At 20, what happened when I was 16 didn’t shake my world any longer. That thing that happened at 12 wasn’t even on the Richter scale. Every time I think that I can’t continue, I remember the lessons of my adolescence and know that tomorrow, the pain will ease just a bit. The day after, it’ll be just a slight bit better than the day before.

The semicolon reminds me of that as well. Life is a story; don’t put a period on your story. It’s to be continued. The grammarian in me would have preferred the symbol be an ellipse, but …

A semicolon symbolizes solidarity with people who share the same struggles. The tattoo artist that did mine has done a number of them. Even though I have not seen anyone else with a similar tattoo, I know they are out there.

But the best thing? The very best — our brother lives across the street from where I got the tattoo. It was such a lovely warm day; he was sitting outside and saw me when I exited the shop. I walked over and he said, “Got a tattoo, did ya? Nik has a lot of tattoos.”

I told him what I got (it was still covered until I could get the recommended salve) and he gave me a quizzical look. I told him, “Yes. It shows my deep commitment to the use of proper punctuation.”

I heard you laugh.

I love you and miss you.

Hello, birthday boy!

Dear Dan,


Happy birthday! I’ve spent much of the day thinking of you. Most of the thoughts have been good. Positive, gentle and funny memories are in the majority now. I can laugh and smile when reminiscing with others who knew you. The only tears come when I think of how you left this party way too soon. Wherever you are, I hope you are happy, at peace with yourself , and having a terrific day.


I love and miss you, bro. Forever and always.

Happy birthday

Dear Dan,
I wish you were here. I miss you every single day.

Please help me out today. I hate driving the Turnpike. I especially hate driving it in the rain. Add to that, it’s just over a week since A’ndrea had her accident while driving the Turnpike in the rain.

Mom is nervous and that’s making me nervous. There were problems with A’s laptop, so I wasn’t able to get it yesterday and have to wait until 8:00 to get that and leave. I’ve never driven Philly alone. But if I miss a turn, I do know how to do the “get off, turn around” thing and that never adds to my stress level. Funny, but needing to get it right the first time does. I guess that’s a little of my OCD kicking in.

Anyway, if you could just hang out with me today, I’d really appreciate it. I’ll watch my speed and you keep asshat drivers away from me, K?

Love you, bro. And I hope there’s a big party for you where you are. Happy birthday!

Make that comment or no?

When I was planning a trip to Ireland, one of the guidebooks talked about tourists commenting on “The Troubles.” It said that the people of Ireland — North or South — would not be interested in discussing the problem, especially with a tourist. If you were from outside the country, your opinion was irrelevant because your “theories” would never have to stand the test to prove them. If you were from inside the country, you didn’t discuss “The Troubles” because your neighbors already knew your opinions, so what was the point?

Recent events in my town have reminded me of this bit of advice. I feel the same way now about what is going on here. I don’t post my opinions of Facebook and not because I’m afraid of losing my job. I don’t post because — seriously — what’s the point? I agree with freedom of speech, but there’s also the freedom to keep my mouth shut and to also ignore a post someone else writes. I am exercising both freedoms these days.

Long ago, on message boards and chat sites, I decided to read the boards without logging in. If something riled me, I would have to take the extra steps of going back, logging in, finding the post and then responding. That gave me the extra time to say, “Is this worth it?” The answer was mostly “no.”

Do I have an opinion on the events and whether people would or would not have done A, B or C? Of course I do. Is that reason enough for me to add to the plethora already on Facebook, Twitter and other similar sites? Do you want to hear my opinion? No, and no, you really don’t. Not on that topic anyway. Trust me.

Adding to the “durm und strang” just to throw in my two cents doesn’t seem to me to be the wise move. At least not if I want to maintain friendships that should last longer and should be more important than a controversy in which I am not directly involved.

The irony that I’m expressing this opinion here is not lost on me. But it’s my blog and I can be ironic if I want to. Just my opinion.