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Mostly humor essays. Benkissam@gmail.com

If a gym teacher can do it, so can you.

Photo by andreas160578, Pixabay.com

Maybe you’re like me and you’re sick of all the guru writers selling “Six Weeks to Six-Figures, Writing Stuff You Love!” advertisements you see online.

I can’t teach you how to be a six-figure writer.

But I did just pass my two-year anniversary of full-time freelancing, so I thought it would be fun to see what advice I’d give to myself if I were just getting started. I hope these tips help.

1. Learn How to Hear Your Own Writing in Your Head

Learn how to hear your own writing in your head through the eyes of your audience—or in this case, your clients.


Humor

My genitals did not agree

funny running story
Source: Unsplash.com

My career as a runner lasted only three years, starting at the end of high school when my PE teacher let me borrow his copy of Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. I devoured that book in two days and was hooked from that point on.

Born to Run is about the Tarahumara, a group of indigenous people who live in the Copper Canyons of Northwest Mexico. They eat mostly plants, wear tiny corded sandals, drink massive servings of corn alcohol, and run fifty to one-hundred-mile races barefoot several times a week. …


Source: Mike Tinnion, Unsplash

Musings on writing, achievement, and effort

Everyone on the path is working hard. Hard work is not special. Stop tweeting about how hard you work. Stop taking selfies at your desk for Instagram. You’re showing your hand and inviting others to comment on or influence your process.

Worst of all, you’re making the work about something other than developing your craft.

#

Resist the urge to document or broadcast all your progress. Remind yourself there are people in Silicon Valley getting paid six-figures to make you feel like you’re missing out.

#

Go to sleep tonight—just tonight—with the validation that you did what you set out…


Source: Pexels.com

The time HIV/AIDS marked the spot

I wasn’t worried about getting my STD results — at least, not any more than the average person. My decision to get tested wasn’t a panicked response, and I had no lesions or sores to speak of. But I got tested anyway because it’s the right thing to do. As far as I knew, this was maintenance, a formality. I was about as worried as when you go to the dentist.

At least, that was how I felt on day one.

Three days had passed since my test, and I was getting anxious. The doctor said they would call with…


Source: Pixabay.com

Spoiler: choose hers

I don’t have a strong opinion about gun ownership, other than the fact that people who do have strong opinions about it tend to be a little too intense for my liking. I think if you want to own a gun you should own a gun. I also think if you shoot someone with your gun then you should maybe have it taken away. But I‘ll still probably want to know who you shot or why you did it before I make up my mind.

Only once have I ever taken sides in the gun ownership debate. …


Humor

The time we joined a wine club for 3 days

Source: Markus Spiske, Pexels

Readers please note: this humorous story references alcholism, which is a serious medical issue. If you need help, contact the National Helpline.

Three years into a relationship is never a good time to learn something new about your partner. That, at least, is the logic I was living by when I told my girlfriend early on in our relationship that I can’t really drink alcohol. The way I said it may seem a tad blunt, but I knew from experience that it had to be this way.

“I don’t really drink,” I told her. “But if I did, I could…


Why men shouldn’t treat dating like baseball

Source: Unsplash.com

Cliche as it sounds, there’s some truth to the adage that men treat dating like baseball. You know, that whole thing about how a player can fail two out of three times for the duration of his career but still retire a hall of famer. Most men would be so lucky. The majority of us boast dating averages that barely qualify us for a supporting role on a double-A ballclub — one where the team’s primary stadium sponsor is a chain of local gardening franchises and has a mascot called the SeaDogs or the SkiDoos or maybe even the SkiDogs.


Humor

The time my aunt defended my make-believe OCD

Source: Neonbrand at Unsplash.com

There have been some notable Thanksgiving dinners in my family. Like the year Aunt Carol hired a catered meal service, misread the directions, and reduced balsamic dressing on the stove thinking it was gravy. My dad, drunk by the time dinner rolled around, said he couldn’t taste a difference.

There was the Thanksgiving when my cousin Shep, in the middle of a love affair with all substances mind-altering, performed a striptease that almost killed the elderly neighbor lady who joined us that year. I still remember her painted-on eyebrows nearly touching her hairline as Shep’s fingers dangerously thumbed the waistband…


4 amusing truths we forget too easily

There’s an old story about Pablo Picasso that’ll help you find your purpose. While sketching a picture at the park, a woman approaches him and begs for a portrait. He agrees. Less than a minute later, he turns the portrait to show her. It’s a few crude scribbles that might resemble the outline of a woman.

“Oh…it’s, well…beautiful! You really captured my essence. How much for it?” she says (more to be courteous than anything. She’s expecting he’ll just give it to her).

“Five thousand francs,” Picasso says.

FIVE THOUSAND? The portrait took you one minute — and it’s just…

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