Skip to main content



By Tim Hayes As a professional writer, I place a special priority on the proper use of the King’s English.  It’s how I’ve made my living for more than three decades, raising a family on it. Most words we all use in life float by, unremarkable, unnoticed, serving their purpose and quickly forgotten, tossed down […]

Spinning Beach Ball of Digital...

Spinning Beach Ball of Digital Death

By Tim Hayes You’ve seen it.  Hanging there, suspended in space and time.  Rotating, revolving, silently mocking you and your foolish plans.  Ha-ha!  Bathed in the primary colors of the rainbow, seemingly full of fun and mirth.  As if. But you know better.  Oh, yes.  You understand.  This is nothing to toy with, even though […]

I Don’t Think So

By Tim Hayes “Is this really necessary?” I asked my boss over the phone, one Sunday morning. “Yes, I expect you in here this afternoon,” came the unmistakably unsympathetic reply. “How about after dinner?  We’re having people over this afternoon,” I pleaded. “The pitch is tomorrow.  We’re not ready.  Get in here as soon as […]

Stencils No More

By Tim Hayes From behind the louvered doors of an inset bookcase in our dining room, my sisters and I would occasionally pull out a reference book.  Not to look up anything of interest, mind you, but instead to draw all over it. Actually, that’s not right.  We wouldn’t draw on the book itself.  First, […]

Have We Met?

By Tim Hayes In the late ‘90s, December posed a special challenge.  Three kids under the age of 10 and Christmas on everyone’s radar.  My wife and I would make at least one, usually two, trips to the only store that to this day can wrench me from a dream state into wide-eyed alertness at […]

Happy Accidents

By Tim Hayes Dock sat, unmoving, nearly unblinking, on the spare rollout sofa bed in his sister’s cellar in Atlanta. The ‘70s-era Sears color TV, the ones that served as a monstrous piece of furniture, complete with sharp-angled heavy wood casing and channel knobs the size of baseballs, flickered over in a corner of the […]

Bell & Howell & History

By Tim Hayes It must have been a birthday party.  Whether one of mine, or that of one of my sisters, it really didn’t matter.  We all had the same experience. Staring into a set of blazing, blaring, iridescent super-bright white lights – eyes watering, squinting, pleading for help that remained an eternity away – […]


By Tim Hayes On a scorching late August morning, our high school marching band’s drum section, yours truly included, gathered under the limited shade of a withering tree at band camp, to work on our cadences – the drum patterns that the entire band marched to during parades and when coming onto or off of […]

West View Days

By Tim Hayes It came around every late May or early June.  A day of deliverance.  A day when school took a backseat, even though it fell on a school day.  The annual school picnic. In Pittsburgh during the 1960s and ‘70s, the public school districts held their annual picnics at Kennywood Park, an amusement […]



By Tim Hayes My parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents gathered in the modest home that Friday evening – ostensibly to celebrate a cousins’ second birthday, but really just to be together after such a shattering day.  November 22, 1963. John F. Kennedy was murdered just after I had turned three.  Obviously, I have no personal […]

Progress Hurts

Progress Hurts

By Tim Hayes Walking through the storied Oak Grove of Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), my college alma mater, this past week, the inevitable came to pass. I had known this day would arrive for more than a year, but hoped against hope that it might somehow get postponed indefinitely.  But there it was, plain […]

Troubled Water

Troubled Water

By Tim Hayes We filed into the musty, ancient classroom, smelling of floor wax, chalk dust, and crushing boredom.  The room, not me and my fellow fourth graders, that is.  The last class of the morning, right before lunch, and the mental and physical energy in the room had sunk nearly as low as our […]

Stop Digging

By Tim Hayes If it’s true that in space no one can hear you scream, then it is just as true – if not more so – that in business or politics, unless you have a distinct and compelling message, no one can hear you at all. Our society drowns in information.  Want proof?  Check […]

The Joys of White Noise

The Joys of White Noise

By Tim Hayes Imagine about 30 people sitting practically elbow-to-elbow in four rows of desks, most of them either on the phone or talking to someone in the room, with two men at the front of the pack, screaming for – or at – individuals standing beside them, while phones rang and general aural mayhem […]



By Tim Hayes One week every summer, from age 9 to maybe 12 or 13, I stayed at my aunt and uncle’s house about four miles away as the crow flies – but at least four thousand light-years away when it came to the dynamics of that house versus mine. I grew up with two […]

There She Was…Smiling At Me

There She Was…Smiling At Me

By Tim Hayes This Monday, July 10, marks our 35th wedding anniversary.  This essay is adapted from a column first published back in the early 1980s when I worked as a newspaper reporter, which tells the story of that day – and why, 35 years later, she still knocks me out. * * * About […]

Gone Batty for Fireworks

By Tim Hayes As with any true-blue American, our family loves to watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July.  Just as John Adams wanted us to. In a letter to his wife, Abigail, on the eve of signing the Declaration of Independence, July 3, 1776, he wrote that the occasion should be commemorated “with […]

Beefsteak Blossoms

By Tim Hayes In the moderately sized backyard, shovel sliced into earth across the rear corner, off to the right.  The heel of a tennis shoe-clad food pushing the blade into the ground, to reveal the black soil beneath. Before long, a 10-by-10 foot patch had been cleared, then tilled carefully, before planting began on […]

Grass Stains

By Tim Hayes There’s a great quote that I can’t seem to find on Google.  I don’t remember where I saw it first, many years ago, but for some reason it has stuck in my head all this time.  It sounds like something Mark Twain might have said, so I’m going to go with that […]


By Tim Hayes We recently attended a lovely wedding of two lovely young people in a lovely little church, followed by a lovely reception in a lovely facility.  The whole experience was, well, lovely. Then I asked where the happy couple would be honeymooning.  And all the loveliness of the proceedings proceeded to crash into […]

The Hand of Truth

By Tim Hayes Gosh, wouldn’t it be nice to control every aspect of the reality affecting your life?  To simply brush away the tough stuff, the uncomfortable moments, the annoying people and obligations? Yep, it sure would be nice.  If only it were even a tiny bit possible or feasible or sustainable.  But it is […]

Seventh Avenue Stroll

By Tim Hayes We had driven from Pittsburgh to New York City, checked into our hotel, situated right on Times Square, and had dinner at the Carnegie Deli before the big show. Total tourists, but there for the best reason of all – our daughter and her high school chorus were performing that night on […]

Friends are Everywhere

Friends are Everywhere

By Tim Hayes Another day of shining sunburst broke through the hotel window, another day full of promise and potential during a week in central Florida with my son, Chris, following our beloved Pittsburgh Pirates around during Spring Training 2017. We got up and ready to head out, jumped in the rental car, and started […]


By Tim Hayes The first time we met, I didn’t even know he was in the room. Sophomore year of college, sitting in a small auditorium in an administration building at the far corner of campus, listening to the new editorial staff of the school newspaper describe plans for the coming year.  As a raw […]

Taking One for the Team

Taking One for the Team

By Tim Hayes We all know one.  The dad who misses the first inning of a big game to park the car and walk to the field from a distance.  The lineman who sacrifices his body to protect the quarterback so that the team can score.  The mother who spends that Wednesday shopping and cleaning, […]

Newsprint and Maple Syrup

By Tim Hayes One of the best experiences of high school never took place in our high school. It would happen four times each academic year, 75 miles away from the high school building, when a bunch of students working on the school newspaper would pile into one car and drive to the tiny headquarters […]

Narrowing the Gap

By Tim Hayes Each of my kids had braces.  Each of my kids needed to have their wisdom teeth pulled.  Retainers, tightenings, chipmunk cheeks, twilight sedation, and some loopy re-entries when that happy juice started to wear off. We did our part – more than our part, if you ask me – helping one local […]

The Truth Always Wins

By Tim Hayes We’re hearing a lot about what’s real and what’s fake these days.  It’s a ridiculous argument. There may be things you’d like to be real, that you wish were real.  But that’s not reality.  Something either is actually, verifiably true and real, or it isn’t.  And the truth always reveals itself.  How […]

88 Little Keys

By Tim Hayes She couldn’t have been older than second or third grade when it magically appeared in their house.  Made of dark wood, with gleaming gold pedals and a playing surface of shining white, just waiting for her.  Only her. So she clambered up on to the padded seat, marveling at this gift, so […]


By Tim Hayes Negotiations had hit a snag.  The two sides needed to walk away from the bargaining table for a while.  Good thing, because their respective mothers had begun calling them to dinner anyway. I had three shoeboxes full of baseball cards, purchased at the local family-owned corner store, quickly looked at, then unceremoniously […]

The Right Girl

By Tim Hayes “Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she’ll give you a baby. If you give her a house, she’ll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she’ll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she’ll give you her heart. She […]

Betcha By Golly Wow

By Tim Hayes Back in the day, long before music got downloaded from a computer and billed to a credit card, back when a weirdly shaped chip of plastic snapped into the big hole in the middle of a 45-rpm record so that you could play it on your family’s stereo, getting your hands on […]

An ‘Alternative’ Biography

By Tim Hayes I was born on a sultry summer morning in Baton Rouge.  Mother enjoyed a crisp autumn sunrise in Seattle that same day. Life on the plains was hard.  Tending crops in the rain forest, and all.  But Father, being a jeweler, always knew what to do.  I used to walk the long […]

Kitchen Table

By Tim Hayes “Oh, no.  We can’t take this.” Astonished, dumbfounded, shocked, we spluttered in reply to the St. Vincent De Paul guy, “What?” “We can’t take this table,” he said, within two seconds of laying eyes on it. Our kitchen table, a simple, round, wooden-topped table with solid wood chairs surrounding it.  We decided […]

Long Division

[This story has been dramatized and adapted from actual events.  It is shared on this commemorative weekend to show how some attitudes from a half-century ago have changed and improved, but that we still have a lot more work to do.] By Tim Hayes An otherwise typical Friday morning.  “House Party” with Art Linkletter flickered […]


By Tim Hayes After six years of Catholic education, one learns that some things never change.  The playground will always be made of asphalt.  Up at the rectory, Father will always be shy one healthy sense of humor.  And the dress code will always be business casual – blouses and skirts for the girls, and […]

Sky Chair

By Tim Hayes The first time I noticed it, we were carting a nine-month-old baby to the pediatrician.  Our firstborn, fussing and crying in her little car-seat contraption in the rear of the station wagon, just a couple of weeks after we had moved back to Pittsburgh, our hometown, following an eight-year career-building sojourn all […]

Talent Show

By Tim Hayes Every year, like clockwork, the three brothers got the nod. Grandma’s basement, in front of the washtubs.  Showtime. Down the stairs they came, three cousins of mine, bathrobes cinched tight, aluminum foil crowns perched atop their close-shaven heads, each carrying a decorated shoebox – gold, frankincense, and myrrh – and singing “We […]

Fightin’ the Fogey

By Tim Hayes The doctor stood in front of the exam table, where I had just returned after having X-rays taken a few minutes earlier. “Hmmmm.  Hmmmm.  Yeah, I can see it now.” “See what, doctor?” “You have arthritis behind both kneecaps.” Arthritis?  Me?  How has this happened?  I thought my knees were just a […]

An Inconvenient Gift

By Tim Hayes Deep in the recesses of my wallet, back where the kids’ old middle school pictures and expired AAA cards dwell, you’ll find a little sheet of paper from a small spiral notebook – the kind you could hold in the palm of your hand. In blue and red marker, with letters of […]

Matchstick Memories

By Tim Hayes The room sat in near complete darkness, except for a bright cone of light directly above the workshop space where Adlai sat, hunched, special magnifier goggles strapped to his head, tiny tools in his hands, making repairs to a miniature rolltop desk the size of a salt shaker. The tiny piece of […]

The Snow Globe

By Tim Hayes When someone poses the question, “What’s the matter?” it most often gets misinterpreted.  The question does not mean, “What’s the problem?”  The literal definition equates to “What’s the situation?” That’s what makes this particular question so crucial, so vexing, and so difficult to answer today.  What, exactly, is the situation?  What, precisely, […]

Random Ramblings

By Tim Hayes Things I thought while thinking about other things (I think)… Whatever happened to slow songs? At the past three wedding receptions we’ve attended, whether a DJ or a live band provided the music, not one slow song got played.  Just fast, frantic tunes, one after the next, for hours on end.  I […]

The Sister Dorothy Mysteries

By Tim Hayes On a balmy afternoon in June, it felt like the weight of the world had lifted.  A grueling slog had, at last, come to an end.  The daily grind of living up to expectations, the mounting pressure, the seemingly unobtainable had finally been obtained. Kindergarten was over. No more suffering under the […]

Just You Wait

By Tim Hayes Late summer in the late ‘70s.  High school band camp, at a wooded facility atop the Laurel Highlands of southwestern Pennsylvania.  Everyone had hiked to the very peak of the mountain hosting our week-long retreat one warm, humid evening for a bonfire and cookout. Way back when, the marching band at my […]

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 […]