This Is My 250th Story! (Thank You, Dr. R. U. Forereel, For Making It Happen)

As usual, you’re late!” my psychiatrist, Dr. R. U. Forereel, correctly and forcefully noted. “Neil, your chronic tardiness is a sign of, of, of . . . of what? Oh, who knows, who cares? Have a seat, Neil. Let’s get started. I’m waiting with baited breath to hear what comes out of your mouth during this session. Or not.”

Gingerly I settled into the large chair that, from a distance of ten feet, faced its twin, upon which Dr. Forereel sat. This being the Age Of Coronavirus, we both were masked. “Doctor, I’m sorry,” I said. “I try my hardest to arrive at your office on time, but something always seems to come up. Today it was a freak accident. Here’s what happened: When I got into my car to drive over here I very forcefully attempted to push the seatbelt buckle into place. But somehow I misjudged what I was doing and ended up stabbing my private parts real good. Holy crap, Doctor, that hurt! I managed to stagger out of the car and back into my house, holding the damaged goods as discreetly as I could. I hope none of the neighbors saw me. Anyway, the boys and the mighty sword are all bandaged up nicely now. I’m good to go! Actually, I lie. If I have sex before the year is out, it’ll be a miracle. In any event, it’s truly amazing that I’m only 20 minutes late.”

“Your privates will be in my prayers tonight,” said my psychiatrist almost sympathetically. “They deserve better, I’m sure. Now Neil, tell me what has been weighing on your mind since our last monthly session. Don’t tell me everything, of course. My eyes will have no trouble doing their glazing-over thing if you do. So, let’s stick to a highlight or two.”

You see? That’s why I like Dr. Forereel so much: she doesn’t feed me bullshit, she’s more or less honest with her feelings, and she cuts to the chase.

“Okay, Doctor. Yes, something has been bothering me quite a lot. It has to do with my blog. You know about my blog, right?”

She shook her head in disbelief. “Of course I know about your blog. You bring it up in one context or another at almost every session! Neil, listen to me. Even though your blog is dear to your heart, I’ve tried to show you that you actually are in conflict with your writerly side. Writing puts tremendous strains upon you, and they are without a doubt unhealthy. I’m talking about the anxiety that you feel in trying to develop story ideas, and the mental and emotional exhaustion that leave you as limp as your once-mighty sword after you complete each article.”

“Neil, in my professional opinion you should change direction and not look back! Take up some other activities in writing’s place. Knitting would suit you just fine, for instance. It’s comforting, it’s creative, it’s a form of meditation, you know. And maybe it will improve your manual dexterity, so that you don’t stab yourself in your genitals ever again. What’s more, nobody in a million years would miss the trifling essays and attempts at humor that you fill your website with. Cyberspace is overflowing unmercifully with content. You should do your civic duty and help to declutter it. Stop writing, in other words!”

“Doctor, I tend to agree with you. I’m pretty well spent, but I can’t halt just yet,” I said. “You see, my next story will be my 250th. Shit, Doctor, I can’t not publish number 250. Pardon my French, by the way. Two hundred and fifty articles is a big milestone. I’d be tremendously disappointed in myself if I stopped at 249.”

“You’re kidding, Neil, right?” she asked. “There would be nothing for you to to be ashamed of were you to hang up your spurs right now. If you did, you would be demonstrating excellent sense and judgment. And 249 strikes me as such an ideally oddball number. In that sense it suits you perfectly!”

“Points taken, Doctor. But getting back to what’s been bothering me: I’ve been racking my brain to try and come up with a story idea for my 250th piece, but no luck. My mind has gone desert-like. What should I do, Doctor Forereel? Can you help?”

She looked at me long and hard, and took a few seconds before responding. Then she said this: “Neil, I doubt that I’m equipped to help you discover story ideas, unless you’re interested in writing about the deep underpinnings of your psyche that we’ve uncovered at our sessions. But they’re awfully boring, truthfully speaking, aren’t they? Nobody would want to read about them, I’m sure. Let me say, though, that part of your problem, without question, has to do with aging. Let’s face it, Neil, you’re an old f*ck — pardon my French — and writing doesn’t become easier as one’s hourglass empties and empties. That’s true for just about everything, right? Knitting excepted, of course.”

Those final comments brought me up short. Though I didn’t want to be, I was reminded that life is fleeting, no matter how long you live. My jaw sank. My eyes dropped. But my mind awakened. “Dr. Forereel,” I said, “believe it or not, you’ve just presented a fine idea to me. My 250th story will be about the preciousness of life, about how we should appreciate what we have, and that we should do our best to live joyfully. Thank you, Doctor, thank you.”

“Neil, I am delighted to have been of service. And a quick glance at the clock on the wall tells me that our time is up once again. Don’t bump your accessories into anything on your way out. They’ve suffered enough for one day. I’ll see you a month from now. And don’t be late next time!”

(Please don’t be shy about adding your comments. Dr. Forereel and I would appreciate it.)

125 thoughts on “This Is My 250th Story! (Thank You, Dr. R. U. Forereel, For Making It Happen)

  1. George August 26, 2020 / 12:22 am

    Congratulations on your 250th post. That’s a fantastic achievement, and what an inspired idea for an article. Very pleased to see Dr Forreal making another appearance—I’m a big fan—but I do think her advice is a little off this time. There are plenty of people in the world, myself chief among them, whose lives would be poorer without your regular essays. More to the point (pun intended), if you follow her advice, you’d been running the significant risk of stabbing yourself in the genitals with a knitting needle. I don’t want to even think about that!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Audrey Driscoll August 26, 2020 / 12:31 am

    250 is halfway to 500, so you’d better get busy. Forget about knitting. George has a good point about stabbing yourself.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Lynette d'Arty-Cross August 26, 2020 / 12:36 am

    Your mind has maybe gone desert like but mine has gone dessert like – all show and no substance. 😉
    Congratulations on your 250th! And yes, I would like to read another 250. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Henry Lewis August 26, 2020 / 1:59 am

    Does Dr. Forereel do virtual sessions? I could use some sound advice. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  5. sniderjerry August 26, 2020 / 3:50 am

    Hey there Neil, I’ve heard ti said the first 250 essays are the most difficult. So now you can coast.
    Be careful – have a great day. Jerry

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 26, 2020 / 1:02 pm

      Hi, Jerry. Thanks for being such a loyal reader. I think you started reading my stuff right about when I began this website (April 2015). I appreciate it!

      Like

  6. Paddy Tobin August 26, 2020 / 3:52 am

    Oh, I fear I detect a number obsession in there somewhere, the impossibility of ending on 249 when your heart tells you that 250 would be a more suitable, tidier, more refined, a place with a more proper sense of finish, of ending. Of course, you will go to 251 and then the chase is on to find another suitable finishing line – 300 is not really that good and 400 is sort of neither here nor there; 500 has a certain resonance to it but…. Yes, off in the distance there is a more appropriate number! There’s where we will go.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Jane Sturgeon August 26, 2020 / 6:00 am

    Nice of Dr Forreal to offer her opinions and I agree with George. 250 Neil..what an achievement. Keep on writing, buddy and steer clear of knitting needles or any sharp objects.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 26, 2020 / 1:05 pm

      The doctor might be correct about knitting being a good fit for me. If I start knitting a sweater or whatever, I am going to be very, very careful about how I handle those needles. Hi, Jane. Take care.

      Like

      • Jane Sturgeon August 27, 2020 / 3:17 am

        Chuckling, Neil. I’ll lend you some needles, as people keep gifting me theirs. Don’t ask!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Robert Parker August 26, 2020 / 6:26 am

    Congrats 🎈🍾 and the doc is right, knitting is scary, you could put an eye out, you’re better at spinning a yarn. And 250th is a “sestercentennial” you don’t want to end on that note, it sounds weird and nobody knows what it means. Hang in there Neil, lots of neighborhoods still to explore, you still need to explain King of Prussia and Brynnn Mawwr and other Philly area weirdness to people. Why does Schuylkill water taste that way, and what sober person would spell anything that way, lots of topics still to explore.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 26, 2020 / 1:07 pm

      Sestercentennial? Robert, you’re among the small group of people who ever heard that word before!

      Like

  9. ellie894 August 26, 2020 / 6:54 am

    250! Well done Neil! Life is truly both fleeting and precious.
    Take care and keep writing,
    Suzanne 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 26, 2020 / 1:08 pm

      Thanks, Suzanne. For any of us, it’s always interesting to see where writing takes us. It’s a pretty mysterious process.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. andrewcferguson August 26, 2020 / 7:51 am

    Neil, agree with all of the above – especially the knitting needles: yeesh! Robert has a few good story ideas for you in particular. Keep on writing and Keep the good doctor on her toes!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Platypus Man August 26, 2020 / 9:57 am

    A great way to mark your milestone, a very witty and creative post, perfectly executed. Though I don’t think knitting is a very good idea: given your track record you’re almost certain to spike your goolies before the week’s out! 🙂 (Am I allowed to say “goolies” on WordPress? We’ll soon find out)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 26, 2020 / 1:12 pm

      Hi. I still haven’t made up my mind about knitting. Overall I’m not very klutzy, so I think I’d be okay with those needles.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Martie August 26, 2020 / 9:57 am

    I got my morning chuckle complements of the doc and her client.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Paula B August 26, 2020 / 10:40 am

    Congratulations on creating 250 interesting posts despite all the anxiety and exhaustion that go into each one! You are a hardy warrior!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 26, 2020 / 1:14 pm

      I’m kind of amazed that I’ve written as much as I have. But writing keeps me out of trouble!

      Like

  14. Debra August 26, 2020 / 12:02 pm

    Mazel tov, Neil! Sometimes your entries don’t have a point, but one that mentions knitting needles has to have at least two. Thanks for the 250 smiles and words of wisdom.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Jacqui Murray August 26, 2020 / 1:34 pm

    That is a wonderful achievement–250! But your doc had a point about 249. It’s a semiprime, a palindromic in base 82, and a lot more. If you were to stop, 249 would have been a spectacular stopping place. 250–not nearly as exciting a number.

    But I might want to keep this opinion to myself… Except it’s too late…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 26, 2020 / 3:31 pm

      A palindromic in base 82 — Jacqui, you’ve lost me, but I’m very impressed by your knowledge! Thanks for adding your thoughts. I appreciate it very much.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jacqui Murray August 27, 2020 / 6:10 pm

        I confess, I googled it. First, I thought it might be a prime (which would be cool) but it wasn’t. I should have stopped there!

        Liked by 2 people

  16. johnlmalone August 26, 2020 / 7:08 pm

    wonderfully hilarious! I chuckled all the way through 🙂 :)thanks Neil, for a cheerful start to the day

    Liked by 2 people

  17. joebrunostl August 26, 2020 / 10:20 pm

    Once in a while when you write you are able to communicate fairly clearly to another person. That is a big deal.

    Good work so far bud, keep it up.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Ann Coleman August 27, 2020 / 1:49 pm

    First of all, don’t take up knitting. If you can do that much damage with a seat belt, I shudder to think of what you would manage with the sharp end of a knitting needle. So my advise is never, ever, attempt to knit anything. Ditto crochet, because that involves sharp hooks. You’re welcome.

    Secondly, congrats on 250 posts! That’s a huge accomplishment. And while it doesn’t make for an even number, I’m looking forward to reading your 251st post soon.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Marietta Rodgers August 27, 2020 / 3:53 pm

    “My thoughts and prayers are with you and your private parts” doesn’t get said as often as it should.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 27, 2020 / 5:19 pm

      Yes, one never knows what will come out of Dr. Forereel’s mouth (or out of anyone’s mouth, for that matter).

      Liked by 1 person

  20. JT Twissel August 27, 2020 / 4:56 pm

    Congrats! I’m afraid to count all mine … but the number is probably far fewer.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. librepaley August 28, 2020 / 10:19 am

    Congratulations, wow. Maintaining quality and quantity. ‘Your privates will be in my prayers tonight’: witty yet menacing.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. darlenecraviotto August 28, 2020 / 12:54 pm

    250 is quite an accomplishment. But think of how warm you’d be this winter with all of the sweaters you’d have if you’d taken up knitting instead. Seriously, keep writing. We need you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 28, 2020 / 1:59 pm

      Hello there. Thanks for adding your thoughts. In re knitting: decades ago a pro football player (Rosie Grier) made it known that he loved to knit. He went on various TV shows and demonstrated how to knit.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. selizabryangmailcom August 28, 2020 / 3:47 pm

    LOL
    Congrats on 250 !!
    What a send-off, too.
    Nothing beats, for me, reading this line: “Your privates will be in my prayers tonight.”
    LMAO
    The rest was just the cherry on top!!

    Liked by 2 people

  24. candidkay August 28, 2020 / 6:35 pm

    WHERE do you come up with these things? “Your privates will be in my prayers tonight.” Edibles? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 28, 2020 / 9:54 pm

      Hello, Kay. Thanks for the visit. This, I think, was Dr. Forereel’s second appearance on my site. I’m curious about what she might have to say in the future. See ya!

      Like

  25. Alyson August 28, 2020 / 6:42 pm

    Congratulations on the 250 – Quite an accomplishment.

    Ironically I’ve just spent this evening knitting as yes, it can be highly therapeutic and comforting! Perhaps you could do both?

    Liked by 2 people

  26. tylerus August 29, 2020 / 9:20 am

    Bravo! And a great, humorous post, too. Don’t stop blogging–go for 500. You have a gift!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 29, 2020 / 10:27 am

      500? Well, I suppose there’s a chance. Hi Tyler. Thanks for being a loyal reader. Have a great weekend.

      Like

  27. D. Wallace Peach August 29, 2020 / 9:47 am

    But the doc got it wrong in the end. Writing improves with age. 🙂 And if you can knit, you can type. 🙂 Congrats on the 250th story!

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Librarylady August 29, 2020 / 2:53 pm

    Wrong! You don’t run out of story ideas as you age. The longer you live the more stuff happens to write about. Congrats on your 250th. I haven’t counted mine, I’ll have to do that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 29, 2020 / 4:39 pm

      Hi there. Over the last couple of years I’ve slowed down in coming up with story ideas. But enough of them find their way to me to keep me satisfied. Take care, and thanks for stopping by.

      Like

  29. Silver Screenings August 29, 2020 / 5:25 pm

    250 stories! Fantastic! Congrats on this milestone.

    Let’s raise a glass to 250+ more. Cheers! *clink!*

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Annika Perry August 30, 2020 / 11:34 am

    Wow! Congratulations on your 250th Post! You have me in stitches! Here’s to the next 250 …

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Un po' di pepe August 30, 2020 / 1:42 pm

    Congratulations! 250 posts is a huge milestone. I can relate to your concerns (well, except for the seatbelt injury issue), although Dr Forereel is kinda harsh in her advice. Cheers to the next 250! Ciao, Cristina

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger August 30, 2020 / 3:44 pm

      Yeah, I know what you mean about Dr. Forereel. I’m kind of sensitive, and she doesn’t always take that into account when she talks to me. Enjoy the upcoming week, Cristina. Thanks for dropping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. alhenry August 30, 2020 / 6:27 pm

    “My 250th story will be about the preciousness of life, about how we should appreciate what we have, and that we should do our best to live joyfully.”

    Excellent advice Neil! As Joe “our only hope” Biden says: “Stay focused folks. Let’s get to work.”

    Liked by 2 people

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