The Return To The Hookah Man


It has been over a year since I have returned from my journey to see the figure on top of the mountain. My life has changed. I am no longer the selfish being I once was. But I am more troubled now than before I went on my quest to find him.

It is because of these troubles that I am returning to see him in hopes of finding answers.

Reaching the 3 paths at the base of the mountain was much more difficult than the last time. The jungle surrounding had become overgrown, almost completely hiding the opening.

Faced with the same 3 choices as before….I chose differently this time.

I picked up the candle and headed into the mountain. With just this single light as my guide I weaved my way through the darkness. It was a difficult trek with many obstacles but my persistence and confidence carried my to the top where the temple awaited me.

Upon exiting the mountain, I walked up to the temple, sat Indian style in front of the Hookah Man and placed the remainder of the candle in front of me. As I looked up he began to speak.

“Seeking me a second time does not increase your chances for enlightenment. Taking the harder route to see me, does not increase your chances for enlightenment. Why take the journey when I have nothing else for you? Trying to fill the void before death?”

He exhaled a large plume of smoke with a smirk, and waited for my reply.

I obliged with more honesty than I knew I had in me.

“No. I accept my fate. I have changed my selfish ways but do not deny your truth. I am here to ask of others not of myself.”

“Very well. Ask. Then I will decide whether it deserves an answer.”

“Will there ever be an end to the horrendous violence that occurs?”
I asked.

“The human race and violence are like the wet part of the ocean…they go hand in hand. Look at the history of mankind…rarely is there a significant event without violence. Your question is too broad for a specific answer.” He flippantly answered.

“Ok……but the violence in our schools? Ever since Columbine it has gotten worse…now children in elementary schools are dying…”

“Columbine?? You do not know your history. The ripple of Columbine did not begin that wave.” He interjected.

“Ripple…wave….you lost me. I’m not a riddle guy.” I replied.

“Imbecile. A wave does not start out as a wave. It begins as a ripple that grows. …a pebble or small stone dropped into calm water creates a ripple that creates another and another, the farther the ripple carries the larger it gets, creating the wave that has to crash somewhere. The Columbine you speak of was a large ripple that created the wave that crashed in Connecticut. NOW your kind is fully aware. But the pebble that started the ripple was in Bath, Michigan in your year of 1929. Learn your history…your kind keeps repeating it.”
The Hookah Man retorted.

“So God is teaching is about guns by repeating history?” I confusingly asked

“God, government, guns, games, movies, laws….all symbols of blame for the human race. The ripple works for good as well….not just evil. Placing blame is easy….creating change is not. Look at another mark on your country…segregation. Tell me the ripple there.” He asked as he inhaled.

“That’s an easy one. Rosa Parks. She refused to sit at the back of the bus. She ignited change.” I confidently replied.

He smiled and exhaled…. Then spoke.

“You know the one who got the recognition….but she was not the first ripple…..the first was Irene Morgan in 1946, then Sarah Louise Keys in 1955, them Claudette Colvin nine months before Rosa Parks…..one pebble….3 ripples, then the wave crashed and created positive change. The change is not complete….even today in your world, but the ripple effect still grows. Know your history….your kind DOES learn from it.” He kindly answered.

I looked at him. Things were a bit clearer but the fog of his answers remained. He saw that in my gaze and added to his last statement.

“Your kind feeds off 2 things. Fear and change. You must be able to face the fear and create the change. Be the one who creates the ripple. If your effort is worthy, another will follow. And another. And another. Soon your small ripple will create the wave of change that will help to solve the problem.”

With that he reached into a small bag around his neck. He pulled something out of it and dropped it into my outstretched palm. He then placed his hands upon his lap and turned to stone.

I opened my palm and looked at the single pebble he placed into it.

I looked up at the stone figure, smiled, turned and made my way back down the mountain.

Sequel retrieved from the archives of good2begone

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The Quest For The Hookah Man


Jaded. Bitter. Indifferent. Wronged.

That was what I felt on the day I decided to leave it all behind.

It took 9 mistakes for me to do 1 thing right. Nothing ever went my way.

Have to be at work by eight…get a flat tire at 7:45…

Favorite show comes on tv….transformer get hit, knocking out the power.

The list goes on. I couldn’t take it anymore.

All my life I had heard about “The Hookah Man”

-rumors
-myths
-legends
-dreams

Envisioned in different forms but basically the same principle. Find him and ask what the meaning of your life was, and the answer will be given.

My quest was to find him. I was done with the way things weren’t working our for me.

My belief was that he sat on top of a mountain, overseeing everything. He smoked off a hookah pipe, meditated, prayed, and waited for someone to come to partake in his knowledge.

I knew he was waiting for me. I went in search for him.

I searched every corner, angle, length, width and depth of our world I could find in my journey.

After what seemed like months, I came to a 3 pronged crossing at the base of a huge mountain.

Path A- led to a long rickety old rotted wood walkway around the mountain. At the top stood a temple.

Path B- led into the mountain. A small tea candle was at the entrance. I guessed that would be the light if I chose this path.

Path C- was the road I stood on. It led up the mountain on a gradual slope that also reached the temple.

Reasoning told me I might as well stay on the path that got me here. It ended up at the same place anyway. Up to the top of the mountain I went.

I reached my destination with little struggle. Inside the open temple was “The Hookah Man” exactly as I envisioned him.

I walked inside. He motioned me to sit in front of him. He took along pull from his hookah and said, “Speak of why you have searched high and low to find me.”

“Naturally, I only have one question. What is the meaning of my life?”

He scoffed at my question and shook his head. He paused to regain composure then answered.

“Your kind amazes me. You spend your time in the realm you have been given, and you spend it worrying about yourself. More money, more recognition, more me, poor me nothing ever good happens to me… Quick solutions to lengthy problems are the norm. Forget about the next guy, it’s what about me. The easy way is the only way”

He continued, ” You knew I was waiting for you. I knew you were coming. I always know when someone is coming. They always take the same route. 3 paths are given for a reason. The 2 you chose to disregard are paths to enlightenment. Each have difficulties in traveling but upon arrival here, the traveler is released of their selfish “me”
encompassing ways. Those 2 paths are never chosen. Fear of not reaching the goal of the temple wins out. You were no different. The answer to your question…..there is no meaning. You are born. You live. You die. The answer may have been different, but your selfishness will not allow any other.”

I reply rather stunned,” So that’s it? What kind of God are you? I come all this way and you give me I live then die?”

A long drag is taken off of the hookah. He exhaled and says,” You came here to ask one question. I gave you 1 answer. Had you taken one of the other paths to reach me, all your questions would have been answered. Even the ones you didn’t even know to ask. I have been here for centuries. I sit and wait for a being to enter my temple from the enlightened paths so I may pass along the vital information AND so I may be released to another realm. CENTURIES! I was the first of the selfish to come here. I will stay here until the unselfish one arrives to show ME the way to enlightenment. Your question is answered to the best of my ability. You may take the information I have given you to alter your destiny…or live then die. I have nothing more for you….”

He looked at me….through me…exhaled a large plume of smoke, and turned into stone.

I stood staring at the statue for a long while. Contemplating……pondering…..
Then slowly turned around and made my way back down the mountain.

From the archives of good2begone…..

The Reluctant Angel-Part 2


Something awakened in the distant echoes of Angel’s consciousness. He couldn’t put words to the collaboration of new sensations that he felt but his mind brought one to the forefront-

Peace.

For the better part of his life, Angel searched for this feeling….yet it wasn’t a feeling.

He couldn’t grasp or touch it.

He just…knew….that he had reached it.

He pleaded for the ability to keep his eyes closed and maintain the ability to experience this…..realm of peace.

But,

Like all things, good and bad, that occur with eyes wide shut, they come to an end.

Angel opened his eyes, expecting to see the flawed popcorn ceiling and lint covered fan that are representations of his apartment.

What he saw, caused him to fall out of the chair he was sitting upright in, and to re close he eyes tight.

Before opening his eyes…again. He convinced himself that he must still be sleeping and his mind shifted into nightmare mode.

“Just ride it out….” He told himself. “just ride it out.”

As he continued to repeat the phrase under his breathe, he felt a tap on his shoulder.

He did his best to ignore it but the tapping continued.

He reluctantly began to opened his eyes. The nightmare wanted to talk to him.

He repeated the phrase, one more time, then opened his eyes to face to constant tapper.

“Ride it out.”

Angel uprighted himself in the chair and looked at the boy who inflicted the tapping.

He couldn’t have been older than 8, but it was hard to be definite of his age because of the bloating of his lips and body and extreme blue coloration.

The boy tilted his head, pointed at the exit wounds in Angel’s chest and asked-

“You get shot?”

Angel replied-

“Huh?”

The boy asked again-

“Shot…pew pew pew.” With his enlarged blue fingers using a gun motion.

Angel slowly looked down at his chest and looked at the blood stained shirt he was wearing. He lifted it up to reveal 3 small exit holes. For the moment, he had no recollection of the events. He looked back up at the boy who was awaiting an answer.

“I don’t know….what happened to you?”

The boy shrugged his shoulders and simply answered after a coughing fit that brought up murky water-

“I go swimming to catch robot that fell in lake…..” He said as he held up a small toy robot and continued.

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“I catch robot….but I forgot I can’t swim….wanna play?”

He started coughing again, then reached into his mouth and pulled out a piece of seaweed.

“Tastes icky….here.” He says and hands it to Angel.

The seaweed feels real in his hand. Limp. Soggy. He flicks it and the remnants of lake water and saliva that covered his hand, and wipes his hand on his shirt to dry it.

His hand comes up blood red.

He looks at it, wondering when this nightmare will end.

The boy gets disinterested and sloshes away.

“Maybe if I pinch myself real hard it will jar me awake.” He thinks and proceeds to grab portions of his skin with his index finger and thumb.

He twists and tugs in his arm as hard as he can. He shuts his eyes tight, mutters “hmmph” and let’s go when he can’t handle it anymore.

Then opens his eyes.

And is startled by a large man covered in a dark oily substance, laughing at him.

He looks up to look at the man in the face, but he has nothing but a neck.

Angel scales his eyes back down his torso. The head is laughing from underneath the bulging right arm that holds it.

“I tried that too,” the head stated as it chuckled, “you’re really here. By the looks of it…you got murdered. That sucks.”

Angel replied,

“Yeah, I’m here until I wake up. What happened to you?”

The face on the head smirks.

“Wake up? You should wake up and realize you ain’t gonna ‘wake up’. Have you seen you.” He says as he reaches his dirty left index finger out and at Angel’s bloodied chest.

“This hole is right where your heart…was.”

He pokes his finger through the hole and into where his heart should be then pulls it out.

“No one wakes up from that. Me? Oil rig accident. Tension rod snapped. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time…took my head clean off. Now I am here…like you waiting for my name to be called.”

Angel tried to grasp what the headless man said and managed to utter one question.

“Called for what?”

The head replied with another chuckle-

“Transition…wow…you are totally clueless, aren’t you. No worries, got nothing to do but wait…you go ahead and keep trying to wake up, though.”

As the large man finished his statement, a voice came over the intercom,

“CONNELLY….BUBBA CONNELLY…PLEASE COME FORWARD.”

“Hey! That’s me. Gotta go, kid. Keep your head up.”

He said as he placed his head between both hands and raised it up and placed it onto his neck.

Angel watched in disbelief as “Headless Bubba Connelly” walked up to the front of the room and greeted the man who wore an oversized grey suit and immaculately shined shoes.

Before leading Bubba down a corridor, the man looked over at Angel, tipped his fedora and put up one hand and motioned for Angel to wait.

Angel began to get up to confront the man in the grey suit before he disappeared again.

Before he could, he legs went numb and he collapsed back into the chair. His eyes rolled back as the images of his death rolled into view, as if watching a movie.

A tear rolled down his cheek, as he watched his body fall and the life he once had end.

A thought slowly ran through his mind as he watched his eyes go blank-

“Wrong place….wrong time.”

As the thought finished it’s journey, the peace that had felt when was convinced he was dreaming….returned.

And he waited for the man in the grey suit and the immaculately shined shoes to call his name.

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To continue the story press “here“.
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Images retrieved using Google search.

Continued story from the mind of-

Good2begone.

Ominous


“From the cab stepped a tall old man. Black raincoat and hat and a battered valise. He paid the driver, then turned and stood motionless, staring at the house. The cab pulled away and rounded the corner of Thirty-sixty Street. Kinderman quickly pulled out to follow. As he turned the corner, he noticed that the tall old man hadn’t moved but was standing under the streetlight glow, in mist, like a melancholy traveler frozen in time.”

The Exorcist (the novel not the flick)

Author-William Peter Blatty

om·i·nous
ˈämənəs/
adjective
1.giving the impression that something bad or unpleasant is going to happen; threatening; inauspicious.
“there were ominous dark clouds gathering overhead”

synonyms: threatening, menacing, baleful, forbidding, sinister, inauspicious, unpropitious, unfavorable, unpromising

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The Selfless Shine


He sat on the front stoop in front of the apartment complex attempting to gather his jumbled thoughts and place them into some sort of order.

He just sat there, headphones on to drown out the noise of the world.

He didn’t even notice the old man in the dingy grey suit, until the sun cleared from behind the clouds and the reflection off his immaculately shined shoes shook him from his self imposed isolation.

He looked up at the old man and spoke,

“Can I help you with something? I don’t give to the homeless, if you want money just move along.”

The old man laughed and replied,

“If you judge by appearance alone, all your trials will be lost, young man. I actually thought I could help you with something.”

The young man smirked and quickly retorted,

“I’ll bite….what could YOU possibly help ME with?”

“For starters, those headphones you are wearing were made to carry audio from the player to your ears.”

He reaches down and lifted up the end of the cord, which was not plugged into anything. And continues,

“You prefer to listen to the noise within your own head instead. Solving ones troubles with a troubled mind, only creates more troubles. Why don’t you lay your troubles on me, and allow me to give you suggestions through untroubled ears?”

The young man looked at the end of the cord that the old man held, then up at the old man, and then down at the stoop. He moved over from the center and motioned the old man to sit next to him.

The old man handed him his cane, and gracefully hiked up his grey slacks, a bit, by the knees to not wrinkle them when he sat down. He made a simple request to break the silence.

“Please remove the earphones. You won’t hear me with those mental silencers on.”

The young man pulled the earphones off and let them rest around his neck.

“Thank you,” he replied, “Now what’s the trouble?”

The young man paused…..

Then frantically regurgitated his troubles,

“I just don’t feel like I’m good enough….I try and try…but it’s not enough…Just trying to KEEP up brings me down. What do I do??”

The old man smiled and patted the young man on the shoulder, and calmly replied.

“It seems to me the issue at stake…is you. The world has not placed its weight upon you…..you have placed it firmly on your own shoulders and wish to solve its burden alone. You are restricted by your own self worth. You have set standards for yourself that YOU can’t keep. Therefore, not enough is the goal you constantly reach. To unbind yourself from self you must do things to improve self. The only way to improve self is to get out of self and do for others.”

The young man stared at him blankly and answered,

“That’s great. Could you repeat that in English, please….”

The old man sighed and said,

“Using words only you will understand….you suck at being you because you is all you think about. If you help others, you will in turn help yourself. Thereby redefining ‘enough’. Get it…got it…good.”

The old man saw the light turn on, as the young man’s expression and composure changed. Without giving him a chance to speak, the old man stood up, straightened out his grey slacks, grabbed his cane, and spoke before leaving him to ponder the lesson.

“Your life is not about what you can get from it….but what you can contribute to it. Time to stop sitting and start living….enough is enough.
Good day, young man.”

With a tip of his fedora, he walked off down the block, cane tapping in front of his immaculately shined shoes.

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________
This was part of a continuing story of a character created by me. For the original story press “here“.

The Gotta Have


One word carries a lot of power. Nations and economies have been built upon it. Wars have been based upon it. It has been relied upon, lost, gained, believed in and blamed.

One word. 5 letters.

“Faith”

I am a definition guy. I thought I knew what it really meant. I looked it up to be sure. I ended up with more questions than answers.

Dictionary.com defines the word with 3 definitions.

faith[ feyth ]
noun
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.

So what this tells me is I need to have confidence or trust in a person ( a god), or thing ( teachings of religion i.e. the Bible), and believe in them even though they are not based on proof.

Huh?

I grew up as an occasional holiday church goer…..and that was forced.

My exposure or experience with religion came from Sunday morning TV, which I endured until cartoons came on.

I would watch these guys preach in front on thousands of people in the audience and millions worldwide about the teachings of God and the Bible in their expensive suits.

They would prance confidently about the stage, sweating and fervently relaying what the book was saying to them.

There would be cheers and “hallelujahs” and “amens” from the audience. Their faith would be strengthened.

A handful of these big name preachers were later ousted by sex scandals and misuse of church funds and the like.

My faith was weakened.

Yet, still, I would pray. Even though I didn’t know why. I would listen to people when they would speak of “God”, even though I couldn’t tell you why.

I wanted to believe….but why?

In my teens, my Dad got sober through the program of AA. He found a belief in a “higher power” and stayed connected.

My Dad was and still is my hero….faults and all.

He stayed sober until his death from cancer at 12 years sober. I blamed his higher power, and the morning he passed away I told his higher power what I thought-

“You allowed my Dad to be sober for years, get his life back, be the man he wanted to be for his family…and then take him away with this? How dare you! I am done with Gods. You leave me alone and I will leave you alone.”

That was more or less what I said.

The next 5 years were very dark for me.

Is it because I was faithless and angry?

I don’t know.

In 2006 I got out of jail and rehab and started over in a place I had never heard of and joined AA.

For the next 6 years I worked the program, got connected with a higher power, stayed sober and regained my faith.

I still don’t know what I believe my faith is in….but its something.

During my first few years of being in AA, I got the religion bug. I went to various churches of various faiths and tried to find where I fit in.

I went to the library and read various books on various faiths and religions to try to find some sense on why it worked for many for not for me.

I found a lot and disregarded a lot. There is so much information based on that 5 letter word that it was and is hard to get a handle on it.

My findings were that religion is not for me. I have tried honestly, dishonestly, forcingly and willingly to give it a go….and I just can’t.

AA taught me about believing in a “higher power”. That worked for me for a long time.

Until, once again, things started to happen that I couldn’t understand.

My bosses wife had 2 strokes. She was 24 years old, sober for roughly 3 years, mother to 2 small boys, going to school to be a nurse.

She is now 25, living in a nursing home.

How does this happen?

My wife at 8 years sober, works at a prison as a drug and alcohol counselor. Last October she had her life anonymously threatened by an inmate. He then threatened the lives of our family the next day.

Our lives have changed.

And faith is supposed to carry us through…..

I left AA a few months ago, but I had quit working the program long before that. Still sober.

Do I blame my leaving on God?

No.

I just can’t listen to people talk about faith when I see faithless things going on everyday.

I have to have confidence and trust that everything will work out the the way it should.

Even though I have no proof that it will.

That, it itself, defines faith.

The Shine Part 2


If you would like to read Part 1 press “here

The old black man in the oversized suit with the tie knotted in a perfect Windsor and the immaculately shined shoes walks the streets of the city and watches its inhabitants with open eyes and a heavy heart.

His cane taps the littered sidewalk ahead of each careful step that he makes.

He stops and watches money and small baggies change hands on the corner in front of the closed down theater.

He inhales a solemn breath and exhales as he walks up to them and by them, only acknowledging them by a slight smile and a tip of his fedora.

As he continues down the block, he passes a small group of teenage girls, each in tears, as they read a story in the newspaper about a young male tv star who has died from an overdose of the same substance he just saw change hands.

“I can’t believe it,” one sobbed, “he was so talented. How could God let this happen to him?”

Once again, the man passed in silence with a tip of his fedora.

As he reaches the square, he sees a man in a very expensive suit on a pedestal, waving the Bible around like a sword, condemning the verdict of a trial.

“JESUS WILL RETURN AND MAKE HIM PAY! ALL OF YOU WHO AGREE WITH THE VERDICT WILL PAY! CAN I GET AN AMEN?” He shouted with vigor.

The small but growing crowd of onlookers clapped and yelled in unison,

“AMEN!!”

The man on the pedestal, stopped his sermon for a moment when a bright gleam caught his eye. His words stuttered as he noticed it was just the sun shining off the shoes of the old black man who was passing by.

The man with the shiny shoes, looked up at the man, tipped his hat, and moved on, cane tapping in front of each step.

The pedestal man was dazed for a moment but quickly returned to his adoring masses.

He returns to the park. The place where he finds he peace and sits on his favorite bench to rest a spell.
He takes off his hat and pulls a bright white kerchief out from the inside pocket of his oversized suit to wipe his brow. He then carefully places his fedora back onto his head and leans back to relax.

As he looks out among the pathways of the park, he sees a site that brings a real smile to his face.

The newspaper writer and the shoe shine boy, walking side by side, engulfed in deep conversation.

“To you, I’m just a poor kid, trying to get by. You see me as a shoe shine boy. I see me as a kid who wants more than money. I want knowledge. I get that by talking to people and cleaning their shoes. I’m happy….are you?” The boy confidently states.

“…Sure I’m happy…I guess…but I have deadlines to meet. Stressful deadlines. If I can’t meet them I will be shining shoes right next to you. You can’t possibly understand.” The writer retorts.

“Not much chance of that,” the kid replies, “you just paid me to shine your shoes and are confused at why I’m happy to do it….you better stick to writing.”

He chuckles and looks away from the writer and over to the bench and sees the man in the oversized suit watching and smiling at him.

“Look, there’s the man you have been bugging me about. Maybe, he can help talk some sense into you.”

The two walk over to bench. The old man motions for them to sit down next to him. Each take their place on either side of him.

He looks at the boy and then at his shoes and says,

“Here sits the boy, who fills my heart with joy. He shines my shoes, and takes away my blues, and makes my time here something to enjoy.”

He then looks at the writer, puts his long and bony arm around him and says,

“Here sits the writer, who lives for the check. He needs approval for happiness, but is always a wreck….not quite as poetic but fitting none the less. How are you young man?”

The writer sighs and replies,

“My Father said he wanted human interest not human fiction. He says every homeless guy claims to be the son of God, but no one believes he is here….now.”

The old man laughed a hearty laugh and replied,

“Your writer instinct led you to fudge your facts. I stated some “claim” I am the son of God….and some “claim” I am a son of a bitch. I made no personal stake in any claim. Your human interest story should have been on the boy here who has a passion and vigor for the good in people that has not been seen in a long time….instead, you wanted to claim fame by being “the one” who met and interviewed the supposed son of God…..no wonder your Father didn’t buy it…I don’t think mine would have either.”

“Must you always leave me with more questions than answers?” The writer asked.

The old man stood up and straightened out his wrinkled suit and looked at the writer square in the eye and spoke,

“That is not my purpose. The answers you seek are within the questions I leave you with and within yourself. Intertwined within each other. Untie the knots and see them both for what they are and not for what your society wishes you to see, and YOUR purpose will be as apparent as the shine on my shoes. Find your purpose….and you will shine. Just as this boy does.”

The boy beamed and gave the old man a wink.

The writer continued to stare and process the words he was hearing.

“I must go now my friends. It is unfortunate, but to be able for me to talk the talk, I must walk the walk. For it is with the walk that I can see what I need to see.”

He tipped his fedora to the two on the bench and walked away. His cane tapping in front of each step.

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The Essence Of The Shine


A couple of weeks ago I wrote a fictional story called “The Shine“.

It is the story of a reporter who is looking for a human interest story to save his job.

He stumbles upon a “homeless man” who has immaculately shined shoes.

In the story, he meets the kid who shines his shoes. This kid learns from the homeless man how to be a better person.

Today I came across a story on ABC news while surfing the web.

I couldn’t have planned this if I tried….

Shoeshiner Donates $200,000 in Tips

A lot of us talk” about what we’d like to do to help others, if we only had the time or the money. How much we could do to make the world a better world, “if we only had … ”

You should meet Albert Lexie. I did. He is one of the most impressive human beings I’ve ever met and I’ve met a few folk over the years.

Albert Lexie is 71. He is a shoeshine man. It is the only job he has ever had. He started when he was 15. Albert is the kind of man you might see at the mall and walk past. Or get a glimpse of him on the street and avoid making eye contact.

Albert has been described to me as “developmentally disabled.” He is painfully shy. There is a childlike innocence to this kind man.

But Albert Lexie has donated more than $200,000 to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. It’s his tip money. For the past 36 years, Albert has taken every dime of his tip money from shining shoes and donated the cash to the charity of his choice. He got the idea watching telethons.

We interviewed several people at Children’s Hospital about Albert. Most had tears in their eyes and a smile on their faces. As one person described it, “Albert has only one skill: shining shoes. And he gives it everything he has.”

Albert considers that “one skill” a gift from God. Albert is a man of faith and says it demands that whatever gift or gifts God gives him, he is obligated and rejoicing for the opportunity to share it.

Albert’s only regret: He is not able to open a large chain of shoeshine shops across the country, which would enable him to give more. He has one shoeshine cart a friend (customer) built for him. It was an upgrade from the shoeshine box he carried on his shoulder for years.

So, 1 skill PLUS 1 shoeshine box PLUS 1 shoeshine man EQUALS $200,659 and counting.

Albert shines shoes at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh every Tuesday and Thursday. He leaves his home before the sun comes up, usually about 4:30 a.m.

He doesn’t own a car so he takes the bus. Ninety minutes and two bus rides later, Albert arrives at the hospital to use his one skill to make a living and make life better for people (children mostly) he will never meet.

So what’s that about you don’t have the time or the money to help someone else? Two words and one thought. Albert Lexie. Serve where you stand.

Coincidence?

Luck?

Doesn’t matter.

Keep blogging.

Never know what might happen.

It’s goood2begone.

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It’s better to be like Albert Lexie.

The Shine


“You are a human interest reporter and the last 3 stories I have gotten from you do not hold my human interest!” The editor screamed.

“Dad, it’s not my fault…this city sucks and doesn’t have any interesting humans living in it.” The reporter retorted.

The editor sighed, calmed down a bit, and looked at his young reporter son dead in the eye and spoke.

“Look son, you think just because you work for me that I am supposed to let this mediocre writing slide by? When you are here…you are a reporter, not my son. Go find me a story worth printing and give me a reason to pay you for it!!”

The young reporter stomped out of his Father’s large office and out of the building, determined to find something worth writing about.

The kid was just a few months out of college with his journalism degree in hand when his Father hired him.

Sure he barely graduated, but as the old saying goes, “A ‘D’ still gets the degree.”