The Muzzy Meter

Grateful is a feeling that seems to pop into my consciousness on a more consistent basis as I roll into the AARP era in life. Sometimes, I feel as if I was in a plastic bubble tumbling down a hill, memorable life moments in nonstop rewind fashion in vivid Technicolor whirling through my mind. Then everything quiets down and darkness descends. I wonder, am I back in the comfort of the womb? Do I get a mulligan, a do-over and soon will I be rocketed into the world as a whole new person or animal? Would I be male, female, Chinese or a mongoose? Or is it because, oddly enough, my mind becomes much clearer and I see things better in the darkness. Now I’m not going to get all macabre or Stephen King on you, even though it is October in Salem. It’s just that I rarely sleep the night through and my senses seem to be magnified 100 times over while I take in what’s occurring around me. It’s 3am. The fridge seems to hum louder than in the day. Then all of a sudden it stops and now I can hear footsteps on the sidewalk pavement passing by the bedroom window, a mere 5 feet from my Tempur-Pedic pillow, which obviously is another in the long list of wasted expenses in life.

It then dawned on me, good choice of words because I’ve been up since well before daylight hit, that this week many nice things happened to me. No, I didn’t hit the lottery or land an agent who sold my next novel to a bigshot publisher. It’s just I’ve been treated so well by people and I just want to thank them both individually and collectively for taking me in like a stray cat and nourishing me with food, drink and other acts of kindness, so much so, that it makes one want to return the favor via this public forum.

There’s Joe and Cathy, owners of Brodies Seaport which invitingly sits at the entrance to Pickering Wharf. One cannot find better down to Earth or harder working people than those two. Every time my wife and I stop by, they make us feel so special, taking an interest in our lives, sharing their experiences with us, while overseeing their busy restaurant which also has great live music during the weekends. The pet-friendly outside patio is an awesome people-watching perch and the knowledgeable, always alert wait-staff make you want for nothing. I’ve tried everything on the something for everyone menu and have never been disappointed. Ok, I do every now and then, but that’s either because there’s nothing left of my clam plate or steak tips. Who doesn’t like a warm smile, great service, awesome food, and a lively atmosphere? Their daughter, Katie, who tends to the bar like a whirling dervish, always knows what to pour me, like she can read my mood or mind. I’m so fortunate that within a few months of moving to Salem I have found a place that feels so down home.

Another establishment I frequent is the Naumkeag, which is located by the “Bewitched” statue. Again, it’s the people there that make you want to come back. Matt, one of the co-owners, an Ohio native, has that wholesome Midwestern persona which makes you feel so comfortable. Full disclosure, my wife is from Michigan, so I may be a little partial to things. Back to Matt, he has become a true friend. Once he found out that I was a novelist he volunteered to host my 2nd novel “The Knockoff Bag” book release party in November[date to be determined]. Fittingly, the menu at the Naumkeag consists mainly of ‘comfort’ food, and it changes seasonally. The bar seats about 12 which gives it a cozy feel and often I and others in my party find ourselves conversing with everyone else in the bar area which makes for a festive experience. This past Monday, the Phantom Gourmet was filming there and I’m told the segment will air within a couple of months. I, and so many others are pulling for Matt with the hope that his restaurant receives a positive review. I’m giving Matt and his staff a great review, no matter what. It’s a great place–contemporary, nice soundtrack, with a more mature clientele, like myself, that appreciates being treated with class and sincerity. Barry, who mans the bar is a top-notch server and is so entertaining it pains me to leave.

Switching venues away from eating and drinking, I’d like to extend a well-deserved thank you to Amy at Social Focus which is located in downtown Salem. If it wasn’t for Amy and her diligent team my website and blog would still be a far-fetched dream. She coordinated the whole process, which wasn’t an easy task because I am far from savvy when it comes to technology and social media. She answered all my questions, no matter how trivial, with the patience of a saint, made countless suggestions and ensured that the entire process was done in a timely manner. I have received many compliments on my website design and I couldn’t be more satisfied with Social Focus. I highly recommend their services. But the best part of all is that my website is always going to need updating, and every book launch will need a different marketing campaign with Amy ideally providing the optimum strategy for me to reach my vision. So we will continuously stay in touch!

Life is always evolving and I look forward to every day. Balancing the past with the future can get tricky at times as we get older. But we can pine for the days of yore while anticipating the days ahead.There are all forms of relationships-spousal-family-acquaintances-neighbors-work colleagues-business-and friends. Some we have no choice over. But with most we get to choose! It’s Joe, Cathy, Katie, Matt, Barry and Amy, nice people who months ago I didn’t know, that make me earnestly root for the future. And for that, I’m so very grateful!

The Muzzy Meter isn’t 100% accurate but it’s all I have and I don’t feel the need to attach a disclaimer to it. This edition was from the heart. I can’t guarantee future versions will be in the same light. Like I wrote earlier, life changes and so does one’s opinions. For example, I used to love Robert De Niro films, the hard-hitting drama’s, I mean. But once he achieved comedic success in “Midnight Run” his career turned, and not for the better. Except for a recently acclaimed serious supporting role in “Silver Linings Playbook” he’s been in one over-rated comedy after another with each sequel getting worse and worse. It’s like he’s become a caricature of himself. I feel like I’m watching the demise of an American icon. And it’s not like watching a paunchy 42-year-old Willie Mays tripping over himself in centerfield on a grainy highlight[or should I say lowlight] film. This is in High Def right before my eyes. Robert De Niro’s rank on the Muzzy Meter I’m afraid will never get back to it’s lofty level. You knew I couldn’t go through an entire blog without at least one closing rant did you?

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