The other night after my son was in bed, I heard him call out “Dadu!” That’s my name, so I said “What?” “Can you and me have a snuggle?” he asked. I crawled up into his loft bed, and he told me that sometimes when he’s sleeping by himself he gets worried, so he wanted me to come up and sleep with him. I asked him what he was worried about, specifically. He didn’t want to say, so I started telling him that I love him more than certain stuff. Like, “I love you more than ice cream,” and “I love you more than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick,” and cetera. After I’d listed a few things, he said, “Do you love me more than your computer?” Ouch. josh barkey: more than your computer

The first and last bit of erotica widely accepted by the Christian Church was published around three thousand years ago by a guy named Solomon Davidson, and through clever use of metaphor explored things like genitalia, orgasms, and maybe even oral sex.

Or, y’know, it could be just a list of details about plant and animal biology…

josh barkey: christian erotica

6 Daily Steps to Your Maximum-Utmost Life

  1. Wake up. Be grateful for what you have that’s good. Express that gratitude. Out loud. To the appropriate good-things-givers (Note to Atheists: you might be kinda screwed, here. But I’ll accept your gratitude by proxy, if you feel that’ll work. I take checks and money orders).
  2. Figure out what you don’t have that you want (and actually need). 
  3. If there’s something you don’t have but want (and actually need), then make one decision and take one action to move toward getting it - assuming it’s possible. If it’s not, you gotta let that go.
  4. Open your eyes to what someone else wants and needs that you can help with, and then make one decision and take one action to move toward giving it to them.
  5. Eat some good food with someone you love.
  6. Do a little dance, make a little love. Get down tonight.

There’s just no way I could understand what it feels like to be told from childhood that the face you were born with has to be “embellished,” or it won’t be attractive to anybody. I’m just a guy living and writing in a shed in the woods, sometimes not even bothering to put pants on until mid-day (if at all). Who am I to judge anyone else’s experience - especially a woman’s?

I do feel that women are being manipulated, though.

josh barkey: i like your face
Okay, so here’s the situation - you like someone. I mean, you liiike someone. A lot. And for the sake of this particular hetero-normative blog post, we’ll say you’re a guy and you like a girl. Now, you and I both know she doesn’t like you back. Not the way you want her to. It’s not exactly something she said - it’s the nonverbal clues, and the way she keeps telling you how great it is that the two of you can be such. good. friends. So, deep down in your emotions, you know exactly where she stands. But you certainly don’t stand there, so you ignore those emotions and you convince yourself that you ought to just tell her how you feel, because I mean… who knows, right? … josh barkey: lying to girls

Most of your life, you’ve operated under the guiding principle that for you to be wonderful and loved, you’re going to have to DO something, or several somethings. You’re going to have to take actions that will demonstrate you are wonderful to the world-at-large, so that the world-at-large can be a gigantic mirror that will show you who you are - someone who is wonderful, and loved. But that’s backwards.

Mirrors are always backwards.

You don’t have to do anything, because you are already something, and that something is wonderful and loved. So wonderful and loved, in fact, that it requires no explanation, proof, or affirmation. It just is. You don’t have to fight for it, demand it, or hope for it any more. But you’re free to accept it. So, accept it.

josh barkey: Wonderful and Loved: A Manifesto
To me, this feels like yet another instance of people trying to take the easiest path of all - the path where you find someone who’s doing something that you aren’t doing and don’t want to do, and you yell at them before bothering to learn their story. It’s an opportunity for sexist men to yell at her for being a girl. It’s an opportunity for enlightened individuals to yell at the sexist men for being useless human beings. It’s an opportunity for learnéd historians to yell at all the fools who are still ignorant about Teddy Roosevelt’s conservation efforts. josh barkey: Girls with Guns: a ten-dollar opinion

…today’s story is the last one: True Testicle Story Number Five.

The summer of 2001 was my last summer as a full-time piecework treeplanter, before I became a foreman. I was working for a company called NATA, and one morning I found myself in the dinner line next to one of the owners of the company, who I will call Tough Ardell (as opposed to Nerdy Ardell, his brother - the other half of the unofficial acronym). For some reason, Tough Ardell reminded me of Ron Howard. He was tall and cool and charismatic. So naturally, I wanted him to like me…

josh barkey: the testicle story
Self-portrait, in the key of chicken.

Self-portrait, in the key of chicken.