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An Artificial Construct

By Tim Hayes Is anything real?  No, seriously.  Are the things we value so much actually worth what we think?  Sometimes it’s worth wondering whether so much of what we stress and worry and work and cheat and skirt the rules for actually exists. Like money, for instance.  Who has it, who wants it, who […]

The Gospel According to Looney...

By Tim Hayes The hulking animated sheepdog, fur covering his eyes, strides on two feet up to the clock, punches his time card, and heads in to work on a bluff overlooking a meadow full of sheep. “Morning, Ralph,” he mumbles to his co-worker, a harried coyote, also carrying a lunch pail and punching his […]

A Near-Grape Incident

By Tim Hayes The music folder for my high school band weighed a ton.  I didn’t want to lug it around school with me all day, and my locker couldn’t have been any farther from the band room, so I kept it in what I thought was a safe cupboard near the drum section. So […]

The Show

By Tim Hayes Kids today only know megaplex theaters – giant, multi-screen, mall-bound behemoths where patrons get force-fed cold, overpriced, gummy, sub-par popcorn on their way to darkened far-flung rooms, some of which (if not hosting a blockbuster feature) could double as indoctrination cells for prisoners of war. It’s a sad, sorry business, if for […]

The Stupid Fund

By Tim Hayes Welcome back, viewers, to Hour 19 of our 24-hour telethon to cure Stupid!  Our thanks to Tony Orlando for sitting in the host chair for the past four hours while yours truly took some nourishment and a brief nap – now, we’re in the home stretch! So far, our wonderful donors from […]

A Leap of Faith

By Tim Hayes Whistling through my local Target the other day, it immediately became obvious that the start of a new school year – for college students, in particular – loomed, and loomed large. It also became obvious that, with my kids at least, we had made it past those days of racking up hundreds […]

The Mystery of Buck

By Tim Hayes As one plows one’s way through the different phases of life, certain people take center stage and remain there, others capture the spotlight for a time then fade away, then there are the scores of peripheral players who come and go, some making a more memorable – although fleeting – mark than […]

Miss Four of Diamonds

By Tim Hayes Growing up in an urban middle-class neighborhood, boys like me dreamed of getting a mini-bike.  And not a small bicycle, mind you, but a mini-bike – a miniature motorcycle. The noise, the power, the ability to go a hell of a lot faster than your scrawny little knobbly-kneed legs could take you.  […]

Walt Gets Smart

By Tim Hayes Walt sunk a little further into his soft, comfy recliner, feet up, brain down, remote safely clutched in his right hand, a bag of barbecue chips occupying his left.  Just how he liked it. His favorite sitcom glowed from the plasma screen.  Walt had seen the episode at least 11 times, but […]

Tug of War

By Tim Hayes Tug had some free time one crisp autumn afternoon during a four-day sales conference in Washington, DC, and decided to take a walk around the National Mall. Soon he happened upon the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the stark, striking, severe, yet unsettlingly peaceful granite “V” descending below ground level, carrying the engraved names […]

Surf Narc

By Tim Hayes The vacation, years in the planning, had begun.  Our entire family together again at the New Jersey shore.  A rented house that exceeded our fondest hopes, the kids – two out of college, one half-way through, coming in from different cities – all gathered in the same place for a few days […]

Last Resort

By Tim Hayes Julia’s hands hadn’t reached the point of the day where they became sore and tender, but she knew that moment wasn’t far off. She understood that after delivering her fourth massage of the day, it would be time for a break – a light lunch and a half-hour at the indoor pool.  […]


By Tim Hayes Neil turned his head as far as possible, although in this enormous suit and bubble helmet, admittedly that wasn’t very far.  He wanted to get a good look, knowing he would be one of only three people to ever get so close. Michael manned the controls, gauging pressure from the undercarriage, lowering […]

Pap and Circumstance

By Tim Hayes Jim had heard his parents argue before, so this time didn’t faze him much.  Something about picking up the wrong Greek yogurt at the store, which then escalated into “You never listen to me,” which then leapt higher to “If you said anything worth listening to, then I might listen better,” and […]

Mrs. Gorinski

By Tim Hayes One otherwise nondescript Wednesday evening in 1973, Mrs. Gorinski rose from her Formica-top kitchen table, scraped her picked-over chicken bones into the garbage, and walked slowly over to the porcelain sink, wiping her hands on her apron.  She leaned on the counter, looked out the window to the tiny back yard marked […]


By Tim Hayes High above the big backyard of our house flew the brilliantly colored, sturdily constructed pearl of tethered aviation, its tail fluttering at breakneck speed, winds and crosswinds buffeting with unpredictable power. It felt like you had a wild bronco at the end of a rope, trying to keep this kite airborne and […]


By Tim Hayes School is a jungle.  Whether growing up in the city or suburbs or rural routes, friendships can be tenuous, threats can spring up like crabgrass, life carries no promises of calm, peace, or justice.  Those ideals can get crushed to powder underfoot like a dead brown leaf on a chilly October sidewalk. […]

Diamond in the Dirt

By Tim Hayes The community park where the Little League baseball games got played as I grew up featured dirt.  A lot of dirt.  Dirt in the infield, dirt in the outfield, dirt in the dugouts.  Dirt in your shoes, dirt in your eyes, dirt in your hair. When you walked into your kitchen after […]

A Golden Day for a Yellow Lab

A Golden Day for a Yellow Lab

By Tim Hayes As we stepped onto the back patio of a family’s house in Ambridge, PA, one midsummer morning, the litter of yellow lab puppies they had for sale went berserk, yipping and yapping, running and jumping, tumbling and tussling.  A cacophony of noise and energy that enveloped me, my wife, and our kids, […]

Bless You, Mrs. Rita Jean

By Tim Hayes Dismissal on the last day of school.  Hundreds of elementary-age students poured out from their school building, heading for buses or their parents’ cars, bursting with the joy that only the start of summer can generate in a kid’s heart. But one little guy had a different reaction to the end of […]

Grace at the Gas Pump

By Tim Hayes Sitting in the car dealership’s Service Department waiting area, suffering through an overly kinetic Rachael Ray soufflé demonstration on a TV with the volume set for someone vacuuming beside you, I saw one of the technicians waving to me and I gleefully walked with him out to the counter. Did I say […]

Untrammeled Joy

By Tim Hayes People too often make the mistake of trying to record or remember only the big stuff.  Graduations, weddings, vacations – these images get stuffed into photo albums and dominate iPhone directories.  And I plead just as guilty as anybody else on this score. Yet, while those major life events do represent some […]

Cub Scout Lamp

By Tim Hayes It sat there, on the corner of the desk in my bedroom, from the time I was around nine until the day I left for college.  Just a simple little lamp, nothing fancy.  I didn’t even turn it on all that much in those later years. But I liked having it there, […]

Miracles Small and Large

By Tim Hayes The sun hadn’t even begun to sneak a peek over the horizon yet, but under that gauzy, pink-and-beige, pre-sunrise sky, my younger sister and I silently snuck downstairs every Easter morning while everyone else slumbered away. Looking behind couches, under the piano bench, on top of the fridge, and a dozen other […]

Cold Turkey

By Tim Hayes Some contend the best way – and the only way, if you ask the zealots – to drop a bad habit is to just drop it.  Stop it.  End it one day and never look back.  Go completely cold turkey. For a portion of the population, that can work.  Stop eating sugar.  […]

Trading Eights

By Tim Hayes Mr. B, the band director, pulled the door of the tiny rehearsal room shut and sat at the beyond-beat-up public school piano, as I took my place behind a well-worn set of public school drums.  My first-ever sophomore-year audition to make the high school Stage Band – or jazz band, as some […]

Can We Put On Our Big-Boy Pant...

By Tim Hayes We are experiencing a national disgrace.  It’s embarrassing to me, as a taxpayer, a voter, and an American citizen.  The level of discourse on display during this presidential primary season has been so lacking in depth and seriousness, as to be shocking. What’s worse, the level of journalistic diligence and doggedness has […]

Get Off My Lawn!

By Tim Hayes A good friend and fellow professional communications expert posted an article on Facebook the other day about how poorly current college-age journalism students responded to a job opening at a news service.  It made me sad for two days. The article began by explaining how often applicants misspelled the name of the […]

What I Learned Watching ‘Bowli

By Tim Hayes In the 1970s, on Pittsburgh’s Channel 4, a 30-minute cultural touchstone was beamed into homes every evening at 7 p.m.  Its name?  “Bowling for Dollars.” Hosted by local legend Nick Perry – who later served time in prison for masterminding the infamous “6-6-6” Pennsylvania Lottery fix – “Bowling for Dollars” gave local […]

Peyton’s Not-So-Super Ending

By Tim Hayes Peyton Manning – he of the creaky knees and drive-in-movie-screen-sized forehead – had done it.  He had lived the dream, climbed the mountain, and stood tall at the pinnacle of his career and the summit of his sport. He won the Super Bowl.  So, naturally, the first thing he did made perfect […]

Gingerbread Icing

By Tim Hayes Saw another one the other day – one of those announcements about some higher-up who got sacked at some company. “Mr. Doe has left the company to pursue other interests.” HA!  What a crock!  No one – and let me clarify this – NO ONE believes that nonsense. It’s incredible, meaning it […]

The Mid-Life Crisis Jacket

By Tim Hayes Having saved up enough money from my meager college newspaper salary, I strode down the main street of the town, stepping confidently into the modest thoroughfare’s main men’s shop – a man on a mission. A mission to purchase a letterman’s jacket, with a lined wool outerpiece, leather sleeves, in the university’s […]

Eight Wheels and the All-Skate

By Tim Hayes There we stood, my buddies and me and about 60 other kids, on the corner in front of the elementary school on a Saturday evening in January, somewhere around 1971 or ‘72.  Shivering, stomping our feet on the pavement to keep warm, our breath wafting out as steamy billows hitting the frigid […]

Ziggy, Snape, and the Power of...

By Tim Hayes Two giants fell in the same week, at the same age, by the same cause. David Bowie – the chameleon-like musician who first broke into public consciousness as the fictional “Ziggy Stardust” – and Alan Rickman – the classically trained British thespian most familiar to audiences as Harry Potter’s professor “Severus Snape” […]

Gosh, It’s Quiet

By Tim Hayes Gosh, it’s quiet around here these days. Now that all of the holiday hubbub has high-tailed it out of town, now that the riptide of people-traffic in and out of this house has slowed to a trickle, now that the garland and ornaments and knick-knacks of Christmas sit there throwing shade at […]

In the Blink of an Eye

In the Blink of an Eye

By Tim Hayes The slate-gray, indistinct, diluted-milky skies had opened overnight, dumping more than a foot of fresh, soggy, weighty snow onto our house, our tiny back yard, and our relatively reliable Chevy Celebrity. So out I plodded, having laced up my clodhopper boots and wrapped myself in layers of sweatshirts, parka, tossle-cap and gloves, […]

The Happy Plumber

By Tim Hayes The doorbell rang, and as I opened the door on an overcast Saturday afternoon, there stood a guy I wasn’t expecting. Actually, I did expect someone to arrive – a plumber, in fact, to fix a problem with a bathtub spigot.  But this fellow didn’t fit the description.  Plumbers carry an air […]

A Very Griswold Thanksgiving

By Tim Hayes Thanksgiving morning.  A brisk late-autumn wind swirled down the front street, as the kids munched their cereal in front of the Macy’s parade on TV, warm, safe, and dry. Dad got to sleep in a bit, always a welcome treat.  Lashing the soft belt of my bathrobe around my waist, sliding my […]

Forward My Mail to Methuselah

By Tim Hayes When one works as a self-employed entrepreneur, little things take on disproportionate importance and significance. The 15-second commute to work, for instance.  Taking a break and going for a 30-minute walk outside, safe in the knowledge that the boss totally approves.  And the sound of the mail truck rolling up to the […]

Stop! It’s Perfect

By Tim Hayes Back in the day, I and my fellow high school marching band members actually went away for a week to Band Camp – something one rarely, if ever, hears today. Following the after-dinner on-field rehearsal of the main halftime show for that season, a bunch of us gathered on a grassy hillside, […]

Fare Thee Well, City Shoppe

By Tim Hayes “Do I look like a banana to you?!” The small, elderly, besmocked cashier at the checkout line all but shouted this bizarre question at me, her thin, gray, mousy hair trembling with agitation and rage atop her cantaloupe-shaped head. “Uhhh, no?” came my proffered response, hoping that was what she wanted to […]

An Irrational Need for Externa...

By Tim Hayes The diminutive supervisor, who by this point in the conversation had had quite enough of me, pointed upward toward my face and exclaimed, “You know what your problem is, Hayes?” “I have many problems.  Which one is bothering you right now?” I retorted.  Probably not the best career-advancing decision on my part. […]

Wait ‘Til Next Year

Wait ‘Til Next Year

By Tim Hayes A piece of paper, sent through my printer weeks ago, shows a picture of my favorite movie character, Rocky Balboa, crying out in glorious, star-spangled victory.  The headline next to it reads, “Never Give Up.” We’ve all heard that admonition at some point in our lives.  British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in […]

Four Amazing Years

Four Amazing Years

By Tim Hayes This weekend marked Homecoming at my alma mater, of which my wife and I took part, and which has stirred up all sorts of fantastic memories of those first days on campus, way back when. The summer before I left for college, I had to be the most annoying teenager in three […]

The 79-Cent Treasure

The 79-Cent Treasure

By Tim Hayes Art lovers will back me up on this.  Walk through the Louvre, the Vatican, the Museum of Modern Art, any location where famous works of art may be on display, and the view also includes some tremendous and wonderfully beautiful frames surrounding those masterpieces. Yet for nearly 40 years, I’ve been looking […]

The Binary System

By Tim Hayes In seventh grade, it becomes increasingly difficult to stand apart from the crowd, other than when bullies taunt certain kids, making them stand out in ways they’d rather avoid.  Our seventh grade class at St. Joseph School abided by these cruel and crushing rules of budding adolescence, just as strongly as any […]

Mutiny on the Datsun

By Tim Hayes Loyal readers of this column will recall descriptions of my first car, a bright orange Volkswagen Super Beetle, that shuttled me and my assorted crap through college, to my wedding (barely), and even into the first few months of wedded life. There comes a time to put away childish things, however, and […]

Can’t Lasso the Sun

By Tim Hayes At some moments, you can actually feel the hinges turning.  Something elemental changes.  The tectonic plates shift beneath you, and the trajectory of your life begins to arc in a new direction.  Such a moment happened during the summer of 1991, when the phone rang in my little cubicle at the electric […]

Last Call

By Tim Hayes As the calendar page flips to August, summer’s nearly over.  I think Labor Day and New Years Day should switch places.  Things do feel like they get a fresh start in early September, don’t they?  And wouldn’t the end of another calendar year be a better time to honor all who have […]

People Who Just Need to Shut U...

By Tim Hayes Good Lord, it’s hot in this house.  No air conditioning in late July.  Two fans going, and little relief.  Has me feeling a little cranky.  Like I’d really enjoy letting some people have it, who so richly deserve it.  Care to join me? Great.  Here are all the people I’d like to […]

Shades of Grey

By Tim Hayes As one ages, one faces an existential choice.  Do the opinions, assumptions, and beliefs accumulated over a lifetime become rigid, calcified, and inflexible – or does experience lead to a greater willingness to accommodate opposing views on the way perhaps toward dialogue and compromise? It’s a question worth mulling right about now, […]

Atticus, the Watchman

Atticus, the Watchman

Spoiler Alert: This essay describes major plot points in Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. By Tim Hayes Since the line at our local Barnes & Noble didn’t look very long, I strode up to the counter and pre-ordered my copy of Go Set a Watchman, the anticipated sequel to one of my very […]

Wilson Face-Plant

By Tim Hayes The secret of life comes in discovering your limitations.  Once you get those guardrails in place – as long as you respect them – things generally become easier, smoother, even less painful. And trust me, I know from whence I speak. In what could only be described as a well-intentioned, but ill-fated, […]

A Very Transverse Fourth

A Very Transverse Fourth

By Tim Hayes “Do they have the Fourth of July in England?” asked Sister Joachim, my fourth-grade teacher.  My hand shot up instantly.  “Mr. Hayes?” “Yes, they do – it’s the day after the third of July,” I proudly proclaimed, refusing to fall for the crafty nun’s trick question, and earning the snide sneers of […]

A Matter of Trust

By Tim Hayes “Some might have learned to adjust, but then it never was a matter of trust…” – Billy Joel The unease first struck me at a fund-raising event probably 20 years ago.  The venue, a classic and historic museum, hosted hundreds of guests paying top dollar for the privilege of attending this citified […]

The Visible Man

The Visible Man

By Tim Hayes Growing up in a small borough, with its own park, its own theater, its own library, and its own three-block “downtown” business district, we had it made.  My friends and I could walk everywhere, see or do or buy anything we wanted, and never break a sweat making it home for dinner […]

You Can’t Fool Mother Nature

You Can’t Fool Mother Nature

By Tim Hayes Way back before we had 500 channels to pick from, a commercial for some kind of crappy fake margarine ran for years and years, featuring a lady in a floral headdress and a diaphanous white gown – “Mother Nature.” She would bite a sample of the stuff, spread over a piece of […]

It’s Called ‘Schadenfreude,’ P

It’s Called ‘Schadenfreude,’ Pretty Boy

By Tim Hayes Why is it never enough for the good-looking, rich, talented people to rely on their looks, money, and talent to get ahead?  Why do they frequently look for that one more edge, that secret advantage, that smirky way to cheat – you know, just to make sure they win? And why, when […]

A Good Walk Spoiled

A Good Walk Spoiled

By Tim Hayes As the small, dimpled sphere rested on the tee, I raised my rented driver, extended my backswing for maximum velocity, brought the club around, felt it make contact, and stared down the fairway, fully anticipating a gorgeous shot down the straightaway. Then I heard my three friends bust out laughing. “What happened?  […]

Maximum as Minimum

Maximum as Minimum

By Tim Hayes On one wall of my office hangs an enlarged photo of John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert in silhouette, deep in thought during the 1960 presidential campaign. Once Jack Kennedy had been elected, inaugurated, and entrusted with the office of President, a very tumultuous three years proceeded to unfurl. One conflict […]

‘So, Did You?’

By Tim Hayes Lately, much has been written and discussed nationally about an article that appeared in Rolling Stone magazine a few months ago, describing the rape of a student at the University of Virginia by members of a fraternity there. The story has since been proven false.  The magazine asked the Columbia Journalism Review […]



By Tim Hayes In the span of about 20 minutes the other day, I saw someone get shot about five times.  Parts of his face went flying.  Then another person tripped, leading to a hazardous free-fall and a violent landing.  Miraculously, that person survived, only to have a 10-ton boulder land on him.  Then, a […]

Baked Potato

By Tim Hayes So it wasn’t exactly Tom Sawyer and his gang.  We never faked our own deaths, explored in mysterious caves, or floated down a river on a raft.  But we did bake some potatoes.  Sort of. Right behind the houses across the street from mine stood a field.  A miracle of a field.  […]

Good Guys First

By Tim Hayes Over the past two months, a couple of the nicest guys we know decided to hang ‘em up and retire.  One ran a small car repair garage and the other served as our insurance agent.  And I couldn’t feel worse about it. “Wait, what?” I can hear you asking.  “A mechanic and […]

Of Bob and Bill

By Tim Hayes This past week, two gentlemen passed away.  Bob and Bill.  One in South Carolina, one in Pennsylvania.  Two gentlemen who helped to shape a boy, and later a young man, into the person he is – I am – today. Bob was born to schmooze, sell, and raise a little hell.  When […]

Mrs. H. and the Sanctity of th...

By Tim Hayes She stood five feet two, maybe.  Weighed 100 pounds, sopping wet.  But, boy oh boy, you didn’t want to cross her or let her down. Mrs. H., our high school newspaper faculty advisor, took that role seriously and expected us to do the same.  Even though we were printing only four editions […]

Proven Wrong, Thank God

Proven Wrong, Thank God

By Tim Hayes The first time I saw the place, it made me confused, angry, and upset.  Eight years later, I got married there – loving it then, and loving it still.  Allow me to explain. My family had piled into the Chevette and taken the 60-minute ride to visit one of my cousins, a […]


By Tim Hayes High school carries countless inferences for people.  For many, it represented a time of testing and teasing and tears.  For others, it brought brimming waves of temporary glory, all but guaranteed to fade in subsequent years. High school for me still shines as four years of great friends, great times, and pretty […]

Dear Coward in the Cadillac

Dear Coward in the Cadillac

January 18, 2015 Dear Coward in the Cadillac, You won’t remember my face, I’m sure, but if you saw me today the same way you did on that March afternoon in 1974 – as I sailed 15 feet into the air, after being launched by the front end of your speeding green Caddy – it […]

The Scabbard of Narcissus

The Scabbard of Narcissus

By Tim Hayes It always sounded like a safe bet, that you could walk up to just about any person on planet earth, ask them if they knew who Paul McCartney was, and get a positive response. That was until last week, when a cluster of Tweets sent jaws dropping worldwide.  Seems Sir Paul has […]

Spitting Copper

By Tim Hayes One day, while shooting the breeze with an old Safety Department veteran at the electric company where I had once worked, we got to talking about linemen who had suffered accidents while up there among the live wires. My elderly friend told some stories – some hilarious, others terrifying – about linemen […]

Field of Screams

By Tim Hayes Making a living as a self-employed entrepreneur has its advantages.  Freedom, variety, exciting engagements, continually keeping abject terror at bay, to name just a few.  But ranking near the top, for me anyway, comes the dress code. When with clients, of course, it’s business appropriate.  But when working from my home office, […]

In the Studio with Babe

By Tim Hayes Just before Christmas we went to a high school holiday concert, and watching the jazz ensemble play brought back wonderful memories of my days behind a drum set, pounding out the beat with my high school friends on stage. Most people don’t know this, but I was quite the drummer as a […]

The Long Climb Back

By Tim Hayes Every now and then, when business takes me over that way, I make a slight detour and drive through the neighborhood where I grew up.  Sometimes it makes me smile, but more often it pesters my mind and hurts my heart. Because, you see, the old neighborhood looks just that – old.  […]

What Would Abe Think?

What Would Abe Think?

By Tim Hayes There’s an unusual holiday coming up this week.  One like no other.  On October 3, 1863, in the middle of the War Between the States, and exactly 74 years to the day after President George Washington issued a similar declaration, President Abraham Lincoln finally made it official.  After listing all of the […]

Wakin’ to the Mourning News

By Tim Hayes It’s 5:30 in the blessed a.m.  In these darkening days of late autumn, the world outside remains a solid pitch-black, solemn and quiet as an undisturbed tomb.  The alarm clock erupts.  Time to rouse yourself from a sound sleep, toss off the covers, and climb out of bed. Remote in hand, the […]

Emancipation Day

By Tim Hayes Talk about a dream job. Dedicated speechwriter to the CEO of a major Fortune 500 company.  Near-complete autonomy.  Hired by a friend who had lobbied for, and created, the job with no one but me in mind.  Had established a comfortable, productive, positive rapport with the CEO, and had racked up a […]

Blame Me for Boo-Berry

Blame Me for Boo-Berry

By Tim Hayes They say Catholic education has begun to enjoy a resurgence across the country today.  I hope so, because it sure served me well as a young lad. That’s not to say my little parochial elementary school didn’t need to do some breakneck, heavy-handed, guilt-sodden fundraising on a regular basis, however.  Because, trust […]

Dead Unserious

By Tim Hayes The world watches, with increasing anger and disbelief, the monumentally unfunny comedy of errors surrounding the steadily creeping spread of the Ebola virus.  It offers a real-time case study in how botched communication can not only lead to mistakes, but in this case, to people’s deaths. Let’s start with the arrival in […]

Bright Orange Super Beetle

By Tim Hayes It will not surprise anyone who has known me more than 15 minutes to hear that things don’t always follow the well-worn path in my life. This held true when I turned 16, and had no inclination to get my driver’s license.  Our home was in the city, where nothing we really […]

Quotes from the Wayback Machin...

Quotes from the Wayback Machine

By Tim Hayes On the old “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” cartoons, the two characters often would hop into the “Wayback Machine” – an invention of the genius canine Mr. Peabody – to pursue some adventure from the past. That sounds like a lot of fun, jumping into your very own Wayback Machine to relive some […]

The Hozzleberry Rosary

By Tim Hayes Every now and then, you just get skunked.  With no time for adequate preparation, you end up improvising, making do with what’s on hand.  Occasionally you get lucky and it works out, but most times the resulting lack of quality pretty much matches the lack of foresight and forethought. This dictum holds […]

Thoughts I Think I Think

By Tim Hayes Settling into the coming autumn, with cooler temps and a more regular routine taking shape, the mind has a way of calming down, and all of a sudden I’m faced with contemplating certain random thoughts I think I think.  When I think I think about them, that is. Why does such a […]

The Two-Pole Tower

By Tim Hayes In the municipal park where my friends and I spent most of our free time as kids, stood a tower comprising two thick, enormously tall, wooden telephone poles. Some sort of contraption rested at the top of this tower, connected to the two poles, but we could never figure out what it […]

Bess and The Fishbowl

By Tim Hayes The summers between one’s college years can be interesting, to say the least.  Educational, even. There’s incredible pressure to first of all, find a job – then rouse yourself out of bed in time to get to work, deal with the assortment of personalities there, and not burn through your paycheck on […]

Happy (Real) New Year

By Tim Hayes Hundreds of thousands of revelers may pack Times Square on Dec. 31, waiting for that big lighted ball to drop, but that shouted countdown, all the hugging and kissing, “Auld Lang Syne” playing in the background – I always find that hubbub so anticlimactic. Okay, we change the calendar on the front […]


By Tim Hayes In the early summer months of 2004, as we approached our parish church one Sunday morning, it quickly became apparent that something very extraordinary was afoot. About four large coach buses had been parked along the street corner surrounding the block where the church building stood, with many additional limousines standing nearby.  […]

Magic Mud

Magic Mud

By Tim Hayes Major League Baseball Rule No. 301-c leaves little room for misinterpretation. It states that umpires must rub down six-dozen baseballs with mud before each game to take off the sheen and improve the grip.  To put that into context, with roughly 114,000 baseballs used in the majors each season, if each mud-rub […]

The Yogi Splinter

The Yogi Splinter

By Tim Hayes Why do some apparently insignificant events from decades past stick to the brain like Velcro?  The human mind must be wired to insist on closure, a sense that a matter has been settled to one’s satisfaction, before that nagging memory can be released at long last. Or, in my case, maybe I’m […]

An Old Newspaperman

An Old Newspaperman

By Tim Hayes Walking down the Boulevard of the Allies in Downtown Pittsburgh the other day, on my way to a client meeting, I passed the building where the city’s main newspaper is published.  The giant printing rollers can be seen through windows from the first floor, and I could smell the ink from the […]

Turning Violet Around

By Tim Hayes I had been warned about Violet. A longtime employee of a manufacturing company, Violet carried a pretty sizeable chip on her shoulder.  She enjoyed creating havoc.  She had a masterful way of pitting her peers against each other one day, then uniting them in vocal opposition to their shared manager the next.  […]

Rocco, My True-Life Hero

By Tim Hayes Every summer, it seems, we get inundated with movies about super heroes.  Men and women who do amazing things against tremendous odds, while always keeping their humanity and their compassion for other people front and center. But I knew a real-life hero when I was small.  I only knew him for a […]

The Accursed Allen Wrench

The Accursed Allen Wrench

By Tim Hayes A point of pride for me remains that I don’t hate many things, and certainly not many people – if any.  But one thing makes my blood boil, my mouth curse, and my hands suffer scrapes like nothing else. The Allen Wrench.  The most diabolical tool ever devised.  The bane of every […]

Sleeping Out

By Tim Hayes In my 53-plus years on this planet, I’ve lived in an air-conditioned home for only four or five of those years.  Most of the time, it doesn’t pose much of an issue.  But for a handful of days each summer, the lack of climate-controlled comfort can be a real bear. This held […]

Comings and Goings

By Tim Hayes It’s been quite an interesting week for longtime icons and exciting new faces.  A week that, at least for me, has brought the old “circle of life” theme around again and placed it center stage. Last night, the news came that legendary Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Chuck Noll had passed away in […]

Mike’s Lunch

By Tim Hayes It’s astounding to think of how limited one’s universe used to be while growing up. For instance, a bunch of neighborhood kids and I walked to and from elementary school every day – including walking home for lunch and back to school, then walking home at the end of the day again.  […]

The Poop-Out Bus

By Tim Hayes My daughter just successfully completed her first half-marathon last weekend.  Obviously, she got my long-distance endurance genes.  As if.  Allow me to explain. Eons ago, while a freshman in high school, my friends and I signed up to participate in a 20-mile walk all over the City of Pittsburgh to raise money […]

Inch-High Private Eye

By Tim Hayes One of the things I love best about my chosen profession is that I get to meet some interesting people and write about them, their ideas, their achievements.  Rarely does one day resemble the next, and that sense of variety keeps the mind sharp and the curiosity bubbling. Way back in my […]

No Bigger Than the Rest of Us

By Tim Hayes While sitting in the stands at PNC Park during a Pirate game some time ago, I mentioned to my son that, when you’re at a sporting event like we were, the players on the field looked bigger than us ticket-buying grunts in the stands.  He agreed, even though we both knew intellectually […]

But, Why?

By Tim Hayes This past week, a 16-year-old high school sophomore allegedly flew into a rage at the start of the school day, using two knives to stab and slash more than 20 people, mostly other students and one adult. Most of the victims look to be able to recover from their injuries, but one […]