The Keys To Happiness

Vincent Truman

Vincent Truman

One morning not too long ago (ie, this morning), I was waiting for the bus to take me to my office for another eight hours of having my very soul sucked out of me, when I saw a car pull from an alley, followed by a sound that sounded like keys hitting the pavement.  I looked in the car’s wake, only to find that keys had in fact hit the pavement.  The keys must have been sitting on top of the car, or perhaps on the trunk, and had been whisked off when the driver turned out of the alley.  Even though my bus was nearly upon me, I ran to get the keys and pocketed them.

As I made my way to work, my soul begging me to find another vocation, I examined the keys.  There were at least 18, strewn across two sets of interlinked key holders, along with a bevy of little cards I see people scan at various places to get discounts: Planet Workout, Workout Palace, Workout-a-GoGo, Mr. Workout, Workoutapalooza Inc. and, of course, Binny’s Liquors.  As if that wasn’t enough, there was also a beepy thing that people use to get into cars (I am sure there are proper terms for these things, but as I have neither need for discounts or cars, I don’t know them).

I channeled Sherlock Holmes long enough to instinctively sniff the keys.  They were neither covered with lint, nor did smell like someone’s pants, so I figured they belonged to a lady (assuming the keys were kept in something relatively clean, like a purse).

At work, I put out as many notices as I could think of: on Craigslist, on Chicago’s EveryBlock forums, on Facebook (both my own page and others dedicated to my neighborhood).  ”Found a set of keys; contact me to identify” was the broadest clue I thought to leave.  I received a couple of inquiries but I – or rather they – came up snake eyes.

Once at home, I sat and looked at the keys.  What could I do?  Put up signs around the neighborhood?  Since I am to be on the move during most of the weekend, I hated the idea of the keys languishing in my home while someone, somewhere cultivated a horrible sense of panic.  Looking at the keys again, my eyes fell on the beepy thing.  The beepy thing!  I reasoned that, if the driver pulled out of an alley, they probably lived in that alley (or, you know, at least had their garage there).

With keys in hand, I walked up and down the alley in question, hitting the beepy thing at intervals.  Oddly enough, the perfectly times responses had nothing to do with a car.  I pressed the beepy thing, a child screamed.  I pressed the beepy thing, a dog barked.  Finally, I hit the beepy thing, and a car started to honk inside a garage.  I hit it again; the honking stopped.  Again, it started.  Again, it stopped.

Counting the houses from the end of the street, I made my way to the front of the house where I was met with a locked gate.  Knowing I was close to my prize – or rather, someone else’s prize – I waved down a neighbor or two who had come to the window to watch this strange fellow pace in front of the house in question.  They all spoke Spanish.  Like a scene out of “Lost In Translation“, I did my best to communicate, through simple words and simpler mime (pointing at me, the keys, and the house, mainly), I had someone’s keys.  Eventually, the point got across and one older lady started yelling at the house.  ”Clara!  Clara!”  Clara emerged, speaking Spanish rapidly with the older lady.  And then Clara’s daughter emerged, ran down the stairs, shook my hand, and took the keys.

There is an odd perception out there that atheists are non-caring, non-compassiate people who are cold and unfeeling.  I’m afraid I did nothing for the cause, as Clara, her daughter, and all of the assembled friends repeated how blessed they were.

But that’s fine.  At least the woman has her keys again.


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An Introduction to “Featherstone”

"Featherstone" by Vincent Truman

“Featherstone” by Vincent Truman

Location: Dr. Featherstone’s office.  

A doctorate certificate hangs on the wall, as does a series of drawings depicting violent acts of nature.

Dr. Featherstone, an Englishman, sits behind a large desk, surveying the couple sitting before him.  He looks dapper but unkempt.  Grey stubble outlines his chin.  A mop of grey hair appears to have had several run-ins with a brush, but remains victorious against design or part.

Thomas and Jayne Philpott, both American, sit attentively, although they are literally the picture of unhappiness: arms crossed, legs crossed and pointed away from each other, no eye contact.


So you two are married then?

Yes, that’s right.  Five years.

My condolences.
There are basically two kinds of people who come to marriage counseling:
those that want to repair their relationship and those that use counseling as a
justification to end it. Unfortunately, there’s usually one of each
in every couple, which takes up a considerable amount of my time.
Anyway, congratulations on taking that first step in realizing you probably
married the wrong fucking person to begin with. Good morning.

Excuse me…

Yes, Wife?

Jayne. It’s Jayne.
Don’t you have our names? I’m Jayne Krazen.
This is my husband, Thomas Philpott.

Featherstone doesn’t answer. Or blink. Or move. 

This is my husband’s and my first time doing something like this and
I’m a little, you know, trepidatious. So could you not use language
like that?

Like what?

The profanity. It’s not really necessary.

So you’re saying the words I choose impact your marriage?

No, of course not.

She’s not saying that.

(curtly, to Thomas)
I can speak for myself.

(nods agreeably)
Ah. So you’re simply trying to control how I talk, are ya?

No, but –

No, but ‘don’t use certain words.’
‘Don’t use certain words but 
I’m not trying to control how you talk.’
Sounds funny, that. Still, all relationships are
based on compromise, so all right.
I’ll tell you what, love. I won’t use ‘language like that’
if you don’t use any… let’s see now… verbs. Not that I’m trying to control how
you talk or anything. But, you know, no verbs.
Ix-nay on the erb-vays.
Now we’re working on a level playing field.

You’re twisting what I said.

(makes buzzing noise like on a gameshow)
‘Twist’ is a verb. Negotiations break down.
Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.
Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.

Are you finished?


“Featherstone (An Appointment In One Act)”
(c) 2014 Vincent Truman

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TED Talks… Loudly

TED Talks... Loudly

TED Talks… Loudly

Watching the famous TED TALKS series on youtube and related media, I have come to learn a great deal about the world around me.  From topics as diverse as mental illness to  nerdcore comedy, I have gained a profound understanding of the world around me in twenty-minute increments.

Nothing is so impactful, of course, as experiencing a TED TALK in person, which is why I am glad there is a fellow named TED in my neighborhood who, often without a clear audience, gives lectures on a regular basis.  This is one such lecture, entitled, possibly, “Slow Down.”


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What Divorciverssary 2.0 Means To Me

Divorciverssary 2.0

Divorciverssary 2.0

If marriage was the biggest step I ever took, getting divorced was the greatest amount of little steps I had to take.

On May 24, 2012, I appeared in court by myself to dissolve my marriage.  It wasn’t what I wanted to do, but since there was no saving the thing, I took full responsibility in putting the thing to rest.  At that point, despite having friends I never knew I had (ie, people who stepped up and were especially king), I felt largely alone.  There was no contact with the person who was my wife in the morning and ex-wife in the evening.  I presumed if she wanted to know the divorce was final, she’d contact me.  I think she presumed I would report in like a good dog.  Neither happened.

A year later, I rather forced myself (and friend Melissa, whose divorce was finalized within hours of mine) to have a Divorciverssary.  It was largely an excuse to gather friends who had been so nice to the two of us on our respective splits and thank them.  It was also an attempt to further own the mourning process, which seemed to drag on and on well beyond what it should (in fact, there is no timetable for mourning the loss of a loved one, even if it is at the hand of the clerk of the court).

In 2014, Melissa and I celebrated Divorciverssary 2.0, with many of the same friends and many more.  The differences could not have been more stark.  First and foremost, there was no talk about our respective exes.  Different factions of friends blended together and drifted apart like some human jazz combo.  Perhaps most importantly, both Melissa and I had new VERY significant others on the scene.

So what did the second anniversary of my divorce mean?  It meant living instead of surviving.  It meant, instead of focusing on the end of a chapter, celebrating the continuation of the story.  It meant divorcing oneself from any unhealthy element in one’s past and moving forward.  As such, it was a party for everyone, not two people who lost their marriages.  Everyone in attendance had lost something – sometimes multiple somethings – but they were all standing and happy.

And, by the end of the night, fairly drunk.

Not bad.




Video: “Happy Little Me”
From the CD “Roulette”:

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That’s Motivation!: Encouragement For The 21st Century





















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Vine Compilation 1

Vincent Truman's Vines

Vincent Truman’s Vines

Per Wikipedia: “Vine is an online app that enables its users to create and post short looping video clips. Video clips created with Vine have a maximum clip length of seven seconds and can be shared on Vine’s social network, or to other services such as Twitter – which acquired the app in October 2012 – and Facebook (and other) social networking services.”

This is a compilation of my favorite Vines from late 2013 and early 2014.  This compilation includes “How Food Works”, “Let’s Ride The Christmas Train”, “Say My Name” (from “Breaking Bad”), “Truth or Dare with Jack Nicholson”, “911 Knock Knock Joke”, “Old Jew Advice”, “Taking Up Cutting”,  ”I Miss The Ex-In-Laws” and “DIY Cybersex.”

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Single Again For The First Time 20: 20 Things To Know About Divorce

Vincent Truman

Vincent Truman

The “Single Again For The First Time” podcast series was devised by me a year ago for two reasons: (1) I wanted to help, in a small way, to draw a road map for those who are approaching, experiencing or surviving divorce, certainly one of the more brutal personal earthquakes an individual can endure, and (2) I wanted log my own experiences, going to potentially embarrassing lengths (some have called it ‘brave’, but I prefer to think of it as ‘essential’), and, with that, create some art, some budding flower amongst the landfill of my marriage.  I have come a long way in that year, which itself was following a year of the painful separation and loss of my best friend, leading to me standing in front of a judge, asking for a divorce I did not want, and stumbling, sometimes recklessly and often ill-advised, through the remainder of that year.

In the podcast series, I laid out every reason I could think of why my marriage went ka-plooey; some of the reasons could be placed soundly at my doorstep, some at my former spouse’s.  I lived through all five stages of grief on videotape, and even found a sixth (“well that happened”) and, even more recently, discovered a seventh (“overall, I’m glad that happened”), in which the loudest memories were of the really lovely, odd moments that we shared.

I’ll share one: we were walking down the alley towards our apartment and heard a SHHHHH sound behind us.  As we looked back, we saw a rapidly approaching rainstorm bearing down on us, looking like a grey curtain in the distance.  We laughed and ran home as fast as we could.  It was small, insignificant, almost too easy to discard over time.  However, memories like that, I am happy to say, have survived intact.

In a recent podcast, I felt the urge to dabble in humor to be unavoidable.  In “Anniversaries”, my present day self takes a call from a younger version of me, anxious to get married and also get burritos at El Cid, a nearby restaurant my ex-wife favored.  Although it dipped its toe into darkness, the video was great fun to perform.  And it hit me.  Great fun to perform.  I was no longer suffering; I could spin the events of the past into a humorous one-person duet.  I liked that.

For the twentieth podcast, I was inspired to lighten the mood even more by playing an elder psychologist making a vlog about what one could expect from a divorce.  Although it too waxes a little dark, it is the lightest and most fun of the series.  And it my pleasure to share this – and the road map to a much nicer clime – now.

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