As someone who hosts a podcast, and has interviewed a number of people with whom I disagree, one might think I enjoy arguing. I don’t. I hate it. I get nervous and all riled up at any sign of confrontation. That’s why my Facebook page is normally free of politics, and instead is filled with instances of me acting like a dork. I’m just better at being a clown, which is why I usually prefer to joke around and let bygones be bygones whenever possible.

I especially dislike when those arguments I have are with friends. It never feels good for me to argue with people I like. But sometimes, when a friend is being ignorant in public, a public smackdown is very much in order. Still, I don’t like the way it makes me feel.

That’s what happened tonight.  A buddy of mine posted a meme on Facebook that I felt was casually sexist.  It criticized a female politician for what she was wearing instead of focusing on the arguments she was making.  I chimed in, was met with mocking and curses, and it was on.  Each of my replies became more curt in the process.  Not only was I trying to keep up with the mob, but another friend of mine was texting me encouragement.  Whenever I said I wanted to drop out of the conversation, he would go check out what was being said, report it back to me, and tell me I needed to say something back.  Like an idiot, off I would go.

The physical reactions I get during a heated argument are unpleasant.  My chest tightens up, my eyes blur, and I start to get dizzy.  My heart pounds as if I were working out.  I joked with my friend that I’m too overweight to play around with my heart, so I should just relax and eat pizza instead. Seems to me a better way to die.

I’m happy to report that I finally did stop the argument myself.  I informed my buddy that I was unfollowing comments on his post, and would not be replying any longer.  He seemed to be trying to start back up with me by tagging me repeatedly so that I would get a notification, but I resisted the urge to go back and see what he was saying.

Shortly thereafter he deleted his post, and admitted that he had been wrong on a few counts.  While this argument would not have caused me to throw away our friendship, I was still glad it was over.  Ultimately, I have to know to be smarter than to argue on the internet, especially with friends.  I certainly could have handled the situation better, and besides, I don’t need the physical stress of trying to quickly craft the perfect cutting replies.

It’s been several hours now, and even though it ended peacefully, I must admit that I’m not entirely over it.  I can still feel a bit of the tension in my shoulders.  Again, that’s on me.  But I think I understand a bit better the draw of nicotine.  I personally don’t smoke, but I still think I could use a cigarette right about now.

Fine Dining

I was at a one of my favorite diners recently, and ordered a sandwich platter.  The platter comes with my choice of two sides. I could have had a salad, coleslaw, or a few other options. But I chose french fries and applesauce. Seemed like a nice combo to me.

The waitress, who I had not dealt with before, seemed irritated by the selection.  She put her pad down, let out a grunt, and said, “What is the deal with guys and applesauce?” I was a little surprised by what felt like a rebuke.

“I didn’t know there was a deal with guys and applesauce,” I said.  “What’s the deal with women and complaining?” I figured I’d give it right back to her.

She smiled. “No! I’m serious! All the time guys come in here and order applesauce for their side. Do you just not want to eat a piece of fruit? You want it mashed up for you like a baby?”

Like a baby? Ha! Now I was laughing. “Where on the menu does it say I can order a piece of fruit with my sandwich?” I paused, and looked again at the menu. “I see salad. I see coleslaw. Rice. Baked potato. Show me ‘piece of fruit’ and I’ll order it. But all I see related to fruit is the applesauce.  I’ll have the applesauce, please.”

That was the end of that. She went and put my order in, and a couple minutes later, brought me a bowl of applesauce. I thanked her and, as she walked away, I said, “Oh! Could you bring me a bib?”  She walked back toward the kitchen, grinning.

I think I’m in love.

Lost Dog

It’s the middle of the night and I’m browsing Craigslist when I see someone is selling their 3-month-old Beagle.  This puppy’s face is so damn cute, I instantly fall in love with her, and before I know it, I’m emailing the owner with a bunch of questions.  I want to know why they are getting rid of her, stuff about her medical history, and all the other basic queries one might have in this situation.  


The face that stole my heart

While I’m typing, in my head, it’s already a done deal.  It almost doesn’t matter what the owner replies with.  I’ve calculated it, and spent the money I don’t really have to spend on this dog.  I’ve already picked her up and taken her home with me.  I’m visualizing the Facebook photos I’ll share, the walks we’ll go on, and all the hours spent romping around the house.  I’ve even got a new name picked out:  Lucy.  Me and Lucy are gonna be best buds, and I can’t wait for everyone to meet her.  

Then, the reply comes from the Beagle’s owner…and it’s clearly a scam.  This woman says she lives in Cameroon, works a lot of hours for an international conglomerate or whatever, and needs to ship her dog back to the United States.  But do not worry, because if I’ll only cover the following fees, jump through a couple legal hoops, and then await transport, this beautiful dog will be mine!  I know it’s bullshit right away, but still I wanted to respond in the hope that, somehow, it would all turn out to be legitimate.  I fought that urge and didn’t bother.  The whole situation is a punch in the gut.

I close her stupid email and sit there moping.  I’m almost crying.  An hour before, I wasn’t even looking for a pet, and I’m not looking for one now, yet there I was feeling teary-eyed and alone.  

While the dog in the photo may well exist somewhere, it’s certainly not Miss Cameroon’s to sell, and thus not mine to buy.  I’ll never post those pictures to Facebook, we’ll never go on those walks, and the hours we would’ve spent romping around the house will probably just be replaced by late-night television and snacking. 

It’s 6:30 in the morning and I’m sad at the loss of a dog I never had.  Crazy, that puppy love.

Dear Mr. Korbus

Faithful readers may recall that I posted a remembrance of a friend I had growing up named Leo on the page here late last year (you can find it by clicking this link).  Leo was older than me, as well as being mentally challenged, but he was also a kind and generous person whose death affected my buddy Adam and I greatly.  To this day, we think and speak of him often.

It turns out that Leo’s cousin found that blog post of mine recently, and wrote me a kind message in reply. I haven’t seen or spoken to her since that day, so it was nice to hear from her. The thoughts she shared mean a great deal to me. If you have a moment, I’d like to share part of that email* with you now:

Dear Mr. Korbus,

I just saw the heartwarming piece on the internet that you wrote about Leo. Leo was my 1st cousin and I am probably the cousin who greeted you at the funeral home. My name is Patti and I made the funeral arrangements and helped my Uncle during this horrible time as did my other 1st cousins.

I and my family appreciate your friendship to Leo and we loved your kindness in coming to the funeral home and sharing your memories with us.

It has come to me in all the days that followed Leo’s passing that he was very much loved in the neighborhood. More than one would ever know. In spite of any of Leo’s problems he had a heart of gold and was constantly wanting to help people or give things away. I loved him and miss him. To know he had friends like you and your friends and that you still remember him gives me the pleasure of knowing that his life meant something. Sometimes people were unkind to him but to know how many lives he touched makes me feel at peace.

Thank you again.

Seriously, how great is that?

I was overwhelmed as I read her email, and though my head was swirling, I quickly responded.  I told her how wonderful it was to hear from her, and that I have never forgotten the warmth and kindness she showed towards Adam and I at the funeral home those many years ago.  I told her that, while Adam and I do not live as close as we once did, and haven’t seen each other in well over a decade, we do use Facebook to keep in touch, and Leo seems to be a part of each and every conversation we have.  Truly, we will never forget him.

We all get beaten down by life from time to time.  Hell, I know I’ve had my share of days where I just want to sit down and cry for a while.  But I have to tell you, hearing from Patti brightened my day, and really made me feel good about myself again.  I know that the relationship I had with Leo was special, but receiving her email reminded me just how much it all meant to his family, too.

I’m all smiles today, friends.  Don’t let anyone ever tell you that kindness isn’t magic.



*I edited only for clarity, and removed some names to protect the privacy of the family

A Packrat’s Junk Drawer

I am something of a packrat.  I hold on to stuff that many people would call junk, but that I’ve attached some measure of sentimentality to.  I have movie tickets from nights out with friends that date back decades.  The ink has faded off to the point where I can’t make out the film titles anymore, but still I keep them.  I also have a pencil and scorecard from a mini golf outing that I used on a date.  The relationship never went anywhere (perhaps Putt-Putt wasn’t an ideal first date location) but there’s no way I’m getting rid of those souvenirs.  I even kept an envelope a friend sent me a collection of Canadian candy in.  Why?  I don’t know, it doesn’t make any sense.  It’s just special to me.

Tonight I  was rummaging around and came across a couple of my old work ID badges.  In case you’d like to take a look, I’ve snapped a few pictures so you can see how I’ve changed over the years.  Personally, I think I look slightly more like a manatee than I used to, but I’ll leave it up for you to decide.

img_1494This first one was from Convergy’s, where I did internet tech support for At&t broadband internet service.  I was at that job about 3 years, and it closed shortly after I left.  But I met some great friends there.  People I still keep in touch with.  We had such incredible times together and so many laughs, both in and out of work.  Honestly, it was some of the best times I’ve ever had, and occasionally I miss it.  Technically, I was supposed to turn my badge in on my last day there, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I’m pretty sure I remember this picture being taken, and I don’t think I was ready.

img_1495A few years later, I was back at a customer service related job, this time working for the local cable company.  Here I did sales and service for the television and telephone products.  One of my old supervisors from Convergy’s ended up having made their way over as well, so it was nice to see a familiar face.  But I was never happy here.  I didn’t feel like I fit in.  Even the fact that employees received free cable packages couldn’t do it for me.  While I didn’t end up staying long, I still managed to hold on to my old ID badge.  I don’t remember this photo being taken, but I do remember losing the badge the day after I got it.  I ended up finding it later in a mud puddle at the curb out front.

img_1497Finally, here’s a badge that doesn’t really fit into the packrat motif, because it’s the one use at work today.  The photo you see here was taken early on in my week of orientation at Maritz Research nearly 7 years ago.  I haven’t worked anywhere as long as I have here.  This place has burned me out, pissed me off, and made me sick to my stomach.  But there’s other days I enjoy it immensely and know how lucky I am to be there.  The schedules are flexible, and it fits really nice with my preferred nightowl lifestyle.  Do I think about leaving?  All the time.  But would I miss it?  Absolutely.  Some of the supervisors have been great, and I still hang out occasionally with one or two who have left.  Best of all, I work with a lot of terrific people, and count a couple as some of my best friends.

So those are a couple of my old work swipe cards from over the years, and one I use now.  Look how I’ve changed!  Funny, that.  I see myself in the mirror everyday, and I still think I look the same.  I’ve definitely gained some weight, but am happy to report I can still fit into the Maritz shirt from 7 years ago.  I think I’ll wear it again on my last day.

Do you have odd little keepsakes you have stowed away like a squirrel over the years?  If so, I’d love to hear what you’ve kept and why.  So, if you stumble across this post, and feel like sharing, please leave a comment, or email me at

Be seeing you.

7 Plans I Have To Own 2016

I’ve been meaning to return to the blog here and write down a few things I plan to do to own 2016. I know I have to make some changes in my life, and sometimes writing it down helps to make it official. So, we don’t have to call these resolutions, or even plans, exactly. They’re just a few things I want to do or change about my life as the year goes on.

1) Get a new job
The place I work now has become pretty stressful, especially over the past year or two. I’ve worked in customer service jobs for the past 15 years, and while much of it has been great, and I’ve enjoyed the comradery of my co-workers, much of it has really become stressful. I dread going into work lately, and literally was on the verge of a panic attack when I started getting dressed today. It’s not any one thing causing it, it’s that I think I just need a change. Unfortunately, the job market kind of sucks right now.  Still, I’m keeping my eyes and options open.

2) Read more books
I do a fair amount of reading each day, but it’s mostly articles online. Not enough, maybe, but likely more than the average person. What I’ve really slacked off on lately has been reading books. I’m a bit of a bibliophile, and because of that, I end up buying a couple dozen books for every one that I read. So my “to-read pile” is just getting ridiculously high. I’d like to make a dent in that as the year goes on, and, more than that, I want to read books (and articles) that educate me, as well as challenge my viewpoints about the world.

3) Write more
I know, I know. I’ve said this a few times on this blog recently, but it really is something I want to do. Truthfully, I do feel like I have done a better job of it lately. True, until this post here, I hadn’t written anything in nearly a month. But, before that, I was writing somewhat regularly. I don’t feel any pressure to pump out a blog every day, or even every week. But if I can put something down two or three times a month, at least, I think I’d be pretty satisfied with that. As much as I’d like to write a few opinion pieces, I may want to focus more on personal stories and “confessional” type writing. This is Confidential Korbus, after all.

4) Make time to meditate
It’s not exactly a secret, nor is it something I talk about regularly, but I have suffered with a fair amount of clinical depression and anxiety in my life. I’ve seen different doctors, been on and off medication, and yes, even read a bunch of the so-called “self-help” books. In my mid-twenties I began to study Buddhism and got into meditation, specifically Samatha to help calm my mind and, to a lesser extent, dabbled in Vipassana as well. I feel like I got a fair amount out of it, too. But, like a lot of things throughout my life, I didn’t keep up with it, and eventually I fell out of practice altogether. Though I definitely do not see it as a substitute for medical help, I’d like to get back into a routine with it, if not daily, at least a few times per week

5) Eat less
Hard as it may be to believe, I was once in decent shape. Granted, it was many years ago, when I played organized baseball, but still! It happened! Though there were small signs of mental illness at the time (I always called them my “quirks”) as I got deeper into my teenage years, they began to take on the form of weight gain. Eating was something I did when I was lonely or sad, or even when I was happy. I ate when I was celebrating, I ate when I was bored. I just ate, period. Even now, when I go to a restaurant, I look at my dinner like a challenge: eat it all, regardless of whether you are even hungry or feel full. Just a couple weeks back, for instance, I was halfway through a burrito at a local Mexican restaurant when I could feel myself hitting a wall. Instead of asking for a container to take the rest home, I pushed myself to finish everything. It was stupid. I was so uncomfortable that I could barely get back to the car afterward. In 2016, I want to stop looking at food like a challenge, like it’s some obstacle to be overcome. Instead, the challenge will be to slow down. Pace myself. And, by all means, not to be afraid to ask for a take-home container.

6) Do more yoga
As a treat for myself around my birthday a couple years ago, I bought a DDP Yoga DVD set. Right away I took to it, and I actually enjoyed it. Within just a few days, I could feel results. For one, I felt stronger. My knees felt better. I seemed to have more energy. After working with the program regularly for a while, I took a weekend off. That weekend turned into a whole week. Next thing I knew, I hadn’t done my workouts in months. I still haven’t. But that laziness ends now. I’m going to clear a space in my bedroom, roll out my mat, grab my yoga block and strap, and get back to work. My goal with yoga isn’t actually to lose weight. I simply want to feel better. If I lose a few pounds as a result, great.

7) Take walks
I spend a lot of time inside.  It’s way past time for me to get out more.  And while I can’t say I live in a nice neighborhood, it is an area I feel safe in both day and night. This little community I call home has a lot of side streets with cute names, and a longer winding road that circles them. All of which provide plenty of room for walking. There’s a park area nearby, along with a playground, and there’s a few interesting characters that plod along around here as well. There’s Teddy, an older gentleman who I kid is an aging mobster responsible for “taking care of business” in the neighborhood. He doesn’t know it, but I refer to him as Capo di Teddy. There’s also a man who I just call “the Philosopher,” for no other reason than that he walks along with his hands clasped behind his back and his head down, as if lost in thought. I don’t know what my nickname will be once I start taking more regular walks, but I hope it’s something cool.

So, there it is!  Are there more things I’d like to change?  Yeah, probably.  But I think these seven things provide a pretty solid foundation.  I’ll be pleased to make progress on all of them as the year goes on, and hopefully continue developing positive habits further on into the future.

How about you?  What are you doing to own the new year?  Leave me a comment on the blog, or drop me an e-mail to let me know.

How I Found Out My Rabidly Anti-Gun Control Friend Actually Supports Some Gun Control

A friend of mine, who I’ll call Chase, proudly proclaims himself to be very anti-gun control. Whenever there is a highly publicized story of a mass shooting, for instance, Chase is one of the first people I know who will say we need more guns, less gun control, and will seemingly share anything on Facebook that makes it appear that President Obama is a gun grabbing tyrant in disguise.

In the aftermath of the San Bernardino massacre here lately, the subject of gun control came up once again. This time, in an effort to back up his ongoing point, Chase posted a meme that included a quote by the actor Samuel L. Jackson.

“I don’t think it’s about more gun control,” Jackson said. “I grew up in the south with guns everywhere and we never shot anyone. This [shooting] is about people who aren’t taught the value of life.”


I verified that the quote was real.  A few years old, but real.  And while I may take some exception to his statement that they “never shot anyone” despite all the guns around (Tennessee, where Jackson grew up, has long had among the highest murder rates in the country, and it’s safe to assume that at least some of those murders were shootings), I decided to reply to the post.

“Even so,” I commented to Chase, “I’m kinda worried about people who don’t know the value of human life having lots of guns, aren’t you?”  Surely, I thought, he could be sympathetic to that.

“They shouldn’t have ’em to start with,” he said, and intimated that that is what the government has been pushing for.

Could it be true? After all this time of anti-gun control Facebook posts, and saying that more people need more guns, was Chase really in favor of at least some limited form of gun control? He seemed to be, even if I’m not sure he knew it. I told him I agreed, and stated my opinion that this is one type of restriction it sounds like we both support.

That’s what gun control is to me. It isn’t about confiscating weapons from law-abiding citizens. It’s about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous people. In two quick Facebook comments, then, I found out that even my rabidly anti-gun control friend does, in fact, seem to support some measure of gun control.

So, it turns out, does Samuel L. Jackson.

In the same interview from which the quote in the meme was pulled, Jackson, speaking about the 20 children and 6 adults gunned down during the Sandy Hook massacre, acknowledges that certain restrictions on guns, such as closing the “gun show loophole,” and requiring increased background checks, could help reduce gun violence.

“We need to stop deranged people from getting access to guns,” he said.

I agree, Sam. I agree.