Category Archives: conformity



“Do you ever feel like a comic strip character?” This was the topic of conversation at lunch with a friend last week.

“My secret self is Olive Oyl; who are you?”

When I first approached this train of thought, I was alone at my desk, wondering what I wanted to write about and the thought crossed my mind about playing cops and robbers as a boy. Or Cowboys and Indians. Or Alley Oop.

So who am I when I make that first call to a prospect or when I answer a call from a troubled client or write up an order for my favorite customer?

What hat am I wearing when I ask a lady for a dinner date?

Is there a cape in my imaginary closet?

A sword?

A turned around collar?

A Wonder Woman swim suit?


Our lives begin with affirmation.

By the time we are eighteen months old we have mastered the challenge of scientific observation and established our most basic methods of coping with fear. We know to act innocent or guilty, we are aggressive or pleasant, we push and we pull.

For the next couple of decades we will be creating our personas, aping lines from songs, the latest styles and speech patterns and our most private thoughts will be linked somehow to the need for approval either for protection from violence or for good vibrations as saluted by Mike Love in the sixties.

And if from all of this there emerges a goal for defining our true selves chances are we shall all benefit from this, including the servant.

If that goal is totally self-serving everyone wins but the servant.

This is a time of year where we all join hands.

Accept the Love and Pass it On.






To Scotty,

Juan Valdez is the name of a Columbian Coffeehouse chain, the Central American equivalent of Starbucks. The handsome face that is their logo does not resemble the original hero of the Chicano movement.

When you asked me about him my brain went into recovery mode as I tried to remember and talk at the same time.

In the sixties I was studying to become a psychotherapist. The students who were my friends were your age and because of the Viet Nam war were overwhelmingly liberal. This movement soon became fueled by Communist Party interests.

Among these groups was the Chicano movement. Those who had been born in the late forties quickly took up any rebellious cause and the world changed. I was one of those people, for no other reason than to be connected with those who were becoming my new circle of friends.

I saw what was happening but winning the approval of others was more important to me than how to cast my vote. All that changed when I got to our fellowship. At first my attitude about life was motivated by the same need to belong that had made me into a champion of liberal causes.

When after my divorce, I experienced the dreadful new awarenesses that only divorced people will ever know, I realized for the first time in my life that I would have to become my own man and to stop nodding heads with everyone.

Anything else ya wanna know about Juan Valdez?