Lessons from my blind rescue dog.

—Wherever you are, find the dog-people.

—The only things in life that matter are people and food. Although not necessarily in that order.

—You learn everything you need to know about a person by the way they talk to you.

—When you are blind, friends are very important. If you hang around the wrong ones, you’ll get lost.

—Food tastes SO good.

—But not broccoli.

—If you do enough of the things that scare you, you won’t be scared of those things anymore.

—Out of all the animals on the earth, humans are the only ones who can be cruel.

—Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you will end up peeing in the house. So just remember, if you DO pee indoors, try not to walk through your own puddle.

—There is no such thing as a little triumph.

—Being afraid is okay. Everyone gets afraid. But being afraid doesn’t have to slow you down. You can be afraid and be strong at the same time. In fact, sometimes the strongest creatures are also the most


—If you DO, however, walk through your own ginormous puddle of pee, and your feet become wet with puppy urine, whatever you do, DON’T climb onto Dad’s bed with your pee-feet and put your paws on his pillow and root around like you are searching for exotic truffles.

—There is no value in celery.

—Or spinach.

—Life is far easier if you have a bad memory.

—Follow the voice of someone who loves you and you will be okay.

—The most valuable possession you own is your trust. But trust has a shelf life. So give it to someone fast or it will spoil.

—Children are always nice to blind dogs.

—People in hotels do not like it when you sniff their butts at the communal coffee machine.

—If someone loves you, they will prove it…

“We’re experiencing a slight flight delay,” the captain said over the airline intercom. “No big deal, folks.”

We have all boarded the plane. We are all crammed in this passenger cabin like No. 9 sardines.

“…This delay should only take 30 minutes. Again, no big deal.”

The passenger next to me is a guy from Hoboken, New Jersey, named Bill. Evidently, Bill from Hoboken has serious sleep apnea.

I know this because he fell asleep and is currently snoring so loudly I can feel the vibrations in my molars. Every few seconds, Bill stops breathing. So I nudge him. Whereupon Bill snorts in a Warner Bros.-cartoon-like snore so intense you would swear Bill is faking it. But I assure you Bill is the real deal.

The captain speaks overhead. “Howdy, folks. Just want to keep you informed. Nothing to be alarmed about, we’re just having serious electrical problems with our doors.”

Serious problems with the doors. I’m thinking doors are somewhat important to basic airline safety. If you do not have doors,

you have giant holes in your airplane. How is this “no big deal”?

“…So we’re just waiting on the airline mechanic,” the captain adds. “Should take another 15 minutes. Again, no big deal.”

No big deal. An airline pilot could be told by a neurosurgeon that he has an inoperable, fatal brain condition, and he would reply, “No big deal.”

Most airline pilots were military pilots in a previous life. Some of them were fighter pilots. Therefore, nothing short of nuclear war is a “big deal” because they are not normal humans. Military pilots were the kids in your neighborhood who rode bikes with no hands. You probably did this, too. But your military pilot did it on the roof of his house.

Meantime, Bill from Hoboken is currently on an apnea roll. He is snoring so noisily that everyone is directing hateful stares at me. I smile…

Richmond, Virginia. I was in a coffee shop. The loud TVs were delivering what passes for American news.

Prince Charles recently had his portrait painted by British artist Jonathan Yeo. The painting features a violent red-and-pink background which, many critics feel, makes the prince appear as though he is burning in hell.

Caitlin Clark made her WNBA debut, breaking ESPN viewership records, spurring TV network corporate officers to commit to giving themselves huge raises.

Season Three of “Bridgerton” is here. “Bridgerton” is Netflix’s hit romantic-comedy series about attractive people wearing attractive period costumes and somehow this is important national news.

I sat at the cafe counter wondering what it means to be an American in today’s media-centric world. When did headline news become all about celebrities? Why do we care?

I asked the coffee-shop guy what he thought it means to be a modern American.

He wore a flat face and said, “This is my first day working here.” Then he walked away.

As I was leaving the cafe, the TV headline read: “IMPORTANT BREAKING NEWS: Kansas City Chiefs

Kicker Disses Taylor Swift.”


Have mercy.

So anyway, many Richmond local friends agreed that I should visit Saint John’s Episcopal Church, which wasn’t far from the cafe. Saint John’s is—according to historians—maybe the most historically important meeting house in the United States.

I made the trip to Saint John’s.

When you first see the old church, you are immediately struck by a strong, patriotic feeling, deep inside yourself. That feeling was located somewhere near my bladder to be exact. Because at the time, I had to go like a Russian racehorse.

I asked the lady at the visitor’s office about restrooms, I said it was urgent. She said the bathrooms were locked today. God bless America.

Thus, I hurriedly finished my historical church tour whilst squeezing my legs together because the nearest public restroom was a mile away and, as…

LaGuardia Airport, New York. I was waiting for a plane while my wife was at Starbucks purchasing $12 coffee.

Twelve bucks for coffee. I wish I was joking. My father would be rolling in his grave.

My old man could squeeze three dimes out of a quarter. Whenever we went to McDonald’s, he backed his truck into the drive-thru so the cashier would be on my side.

I’m just grateful my old man was gone before they came out with artisan bottled water. He would’ve never survived artisan bottled water.

There was an announcement overhead. An airline employee with an unintelligible, spit-intensive French accent was announcing that our plane terminal was changing. He was difficult to understand. But the spittled message came through: Our new terminal was now located on the other side of the airport.

Everyone looked at each other with The Look.

You know The Look. It’s a look of dread. A look you exchange with fellow humans during times of distress; times when you realize that a major institution views you, personally, as livestock.

You see this look a lot at the DMV.

“We have to walk across the whole [deleted] airport?” remarked one New Yorker.

“Are they [deleted] serious?” said another.

“Those [deleted] [deleteds].”

LaGuardia International Airport is not small. It’s about the size of a rural voting district. It’s not easy to go anywhere in a hurry.

And so it was, hundreds of passengers hurriedly gathered our baggage, roller luggage, backpacks, carry-ons, grandmothers, etc. And we schlepped across the airport like the Children of Israel.

Ours was not a fast-moving group. We had a lot of baggage. One lady was carrying a Yorkshire terrier in a travel kennel. At one point, the lap dog and I made eye contact. If the dog could have talked, I think it would have said, “I haven’t peed since Nebraska.”

We crossed one moving walkway after another until we…

“Sir,” said the flight attendant. “Your accordion is not going to fit in overhead storage.”

At the time I was actively trying to shove a carry-on case the size of a Buick Skylark into the overhead bin, while weaving a tapestry of colorful expletives such as had seldom been heard at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport.

I was on my way to perform my one-man trainwreck in Virginia. I had my instruments.

Nobody else on the plane noticed me struggling with my instruments. Most passengers were busy playing on phones.

Have you ever noticed how eerie it is, watching hundreds of people stare at screens?

Fact: One of the leading causes of injuries in the world is walking into objects while staring at one’s phone. Objects such as walls.

The passenger in the seat next to mine was maybe 13. He was playing on his phone.

“What’s in the case?” he said.

“An accordion.”

“A what?”

“It’s also called a squeezebox.”

“I’ve heard of those, they’re basically big squirt guns, right?”

You have to worry about our nation’s youth.

“No,” I pointed out. “An accordion is a musical instrument.”

“Oh,” he said. “Do you play music?”


just the accordion.”

The airline attendant came by and made me check my accordion and guitar. They strapped my banjo to the wing.

“The accordion is weird,” said America’s Hope for the Future.

“Why do you say that?”

“That’s what people say.”

“Who’s ’people’?”

“I don’t know—everyone.”

“So you’ve met and spoken to all 7.9 billion people on earth?”


He went back to playing on his phone.

Times have changed. My grandfather played accordion. My uncles played. My father didn’t play accordion, but he played the horses.

In the 1950s, over a million accordions were manufactured and sold. You couldn’t visit an American party, reception, or bar mitzvah without someone’s nephew Sal playing “Polka! Polka! Polka!”

Sadly, by the 1970s, accordion sales dropped into the…

Blessed are the lonely. For they shall find love. I don’t know how it will happen. But I know it will.

Maybe you don’t have any family. Maybe you don’t have many friends. Maybe your loved ones have abandoned you. Just hang on. You will not be lonely for long. Your life is about to change. I know this for a fact because I had a V8 this morning.

Blessed are the librarians, for they shall change the world. They might not change YOUR world. But they will change the world for a child. I was one of those children.

Blessed are the confused, for they shall find clarity. I don’t know what you’re confused about. But you need an answer, and you need it fast.

Maybe you feel pressured into attending college. Maybe you’re confused about marrying your girlfriend/boyfriend. Maybe you have some news to share with your parents and you’re afraid they’ll disown you. I swear, this will all work itself out. Give it time.

Blessed are the English majors, for they shall not deliver pizzas


Blessed are the introverts, for they shall be seen.

Introverts are the ones who don't dance at parties, don’t speak up in class, who refuse to play office politics (which is why they don't get dates, high grades, promotions).

But an introvert is a lot like a hole-in-the-wall restaurant with world-class fried chicken. Sooner or later, Guy Fieri will visit them.

Blessed are the black sheep of the family, for they shall be comforted. Black sheep are the ones who never fit in. The people who never seem to measure up to other people’s standards. Whatever those are.

But black sheep are beautiful. And a black fleece doesn't show dirt like the white ones.

Blessed are the dog rescuers, for they shall spend 1.4 billion annual American dollars on dog food, and receive a hundredfold return on their investment.

Blessed are…

I was a young man. Four of us guys walked into an average Florida Panhandle Waffle House before sunrise. We did this every morning before heading to a construction jobsite.

Our routine never changed. First we visited the gas station to buy newspapers, scratch-off tickets, and Gatorades. Then we went to Waffle House. And we did most of this in silence because that’s just how guys are.

Guys aren’t big talkers. Especially at breakfast. They keep conversations to a minimum in the mornings.

Many women, of course, manage to discuss every biographical event since middle school. Whereas most males use two-word sentences to discuss the importance of a strong bullpen, then they clam up until their next birthday. Like I said: that’s how some guys operate.

Our waitress was young, lean, a happy person. There were traces of tattoos climbing her neck, and she had a sweet face. She couldn’t have been taller than five foot.

Four of us piled into her booth. She doled out silverware and menu-placemats. She took our beverage

orders then announced, “Four coffees, coming up.”

Old-school waitresses are a dying breed, but Waffle House never seems to be short on them. I have traveled a lot during my halfcocked career as a writer; Waffle House always has great service.

Elsewhere in the world, food service workers are not always so amiable. And believe me, I am not being critical because I once worked in food service.

I’ve worked kitchen duty, manning fryers, scrubbing flat-tops, washing stacks of filthy dishes that were roughly the same height as the Space Needle. I’ve also worked front of the house—bussing, refilling glasses, and serving customers who INSIST on having their salad dressing served “on the side” only so they can dump the whole thing on their salad three seconds after you deliver it.

I read somewhere that one one out of five food service workers develops a drug or…

Miss Mona left the Bethany Assisted Living facility to do some shopping with her daughter Linda today.

Miss Mona was born in 1929.

The first thing she did was return some items to a major retail store. It took eight minutes to cross the parking lot.

When they arrived at the return desk, two high-school employees were busy filming a TikTok dance video on their phones. They didn’t expect customers. They asked Miss Mona to hold on until they finished.

Miss Mona happily sat and waited as they danced.

“I loved dancing when I was their age,” the elderly woman said, “the dancing we did was at the USOs. I was 16 years old and we couldn’t get nylons because nylon shortages during the War. So we girls used ink pens to draw lines up our legs, that way it looked like we were wearing nylons.”

The employees gave her store credit. Miss Mona browsed the store. Her quad walking cane squeaked on the linoleum.

They passed the electronics department. Hundred-inch TV screens blaring in

full HD. Macintosh laptops, Ring security cameras, tablets, Rokus, iPhone 15 series. The world has come a long way.

“I remember when we got our first radio,” she said. “I remember our first TV, I was a senior in high school. Milton Berel was on TV. I think he’s dead now.”

They left the store and went somewhere for lunch. Miss Mona ordered a hamburger. She was surprised when her food came.

“When did hamburgers get so big?” she said with a cheery laugh.

Americans just eat more than we used to. Since the 1950s, American restaurant portions have increased by nearly 82 percent.

“Well, good for us,” said Mother Time, picking at her fries with brown flecked hands.

“When I was a girl we didn’t never have enough to eat. Mama said I was so skinny I could dodge raindrops.”

Miss Mona saw a…

I receive a lot of questions in the form of emails, private messages, subpoenas, etc. Sometimes these messages are kindhearted. Other times, the messages are not. I have saved such messages in a special folder which I will address.

ROBERT, Indianapolis: Just a little constructive feedback, Sean: Why are you always calling it a column? They are blogs. You’re posting these on Facebook. Come on, this is not a column. Quit calling yourself a columnist and admit you’re just a Facebooker.

COMMENT: Thanks for the constructive feedback. As you read these words, other readers are consuming these words via their local newspapers.

I speak of faithful readers, such as Rita (72), who reads my work in the Charleston City Paper and writes: “I dislike your irreverent humor.”

And John (59), who reads my words in San Diego’s The Paper: “I am canceling my subscription.”

The truth is, I call this a “column” because Merriam-Webster defines a column as “waste matter discharged from the rearmost orifice of male bovine.”

No. Sorry. That’s the definition for “constructive feedback.”


Clearwater, Fla.: You once wrote that Detroit is a “city with all the charm of a nuclear holocaust.” I’m a fifth-generation Detroit native. I live in Florida now, but my kids still live in Bloomfield Township and I’m offended. We love Detroit.

COMMENT: Very few retire and move to Detroit.

GARY, Jonesboro, Ga.: I’m a Pentecostal preacher. You tell a lot of Baptist and Methodist jokes, but you always leave us Pentecostals out.

COMMENT: The Pentecostal pastor tore his clothes and prayed loudly one Sunday, with these words: “Oh Lord, without you we are but dust.” He paused for dramatic effect. And a child’s voice said, “Mama, what is butt dust?”

DONALD, Aiken, S.C.: I like your work sometimes. Other times, you completely miss the mark. I’ve made a decision not to read you anymore because I just can’t deal with the irregularity.

“I am a little old woman who lives in an assisted living facility…” her email began.

Her following message was about the length of “War and Peace.” She is a woman who is as sweet as Karo syrup. But—and I mean this respectfully—brevity is not her strong suit. Reading her email took me three or four presidential administrations.

“I had a baby when I was fourteen…” she wrote.

The 14-year-old gave birth in the singlewide trailer that belonged to an aunt. The delivery was in secret. Nobody knew her son existed. Least of all her immediate family.

Finally, the aunt put the child up for adoption. It was impractical for a girl of 14 to raise a child. This was a different era.

The goodbye between mother and son was almost too much to bear. The 14-year-old held her infant in her arms when officials came to take him away.

Over time, the girl grew into a woman. The woman grew into a wife. The wife had three kids. The wife’s husband made decent money.


moved into a nice house. Her children did pretty good in school. Her offspring grew up to be successful and handsome and beautiful and well-off and happy. Fill in the blank.

But the woman had a void in her heart.

“A child is a piece of you, physically. Like an organ. People who’ve never had kids can’t understand.”

She dreamed about her son. Every night. Without fail. In her dreams, she could see him. She watched him grow. She saw saw his smile. She heard him speak. Once again, she cannot explain what she means. But she tries.

“It’s like a radar,” she explains. “My soul was sending out a radar signal, and I think God was sending me radar signals back.”

I took a break from reading the email. I still had 78,000,000 words left to read before finishing her story.

So I’ll…