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by David Todd McCarty | Monday, December 28, 2015

Why I Still Love John Denver:
And Don’t Give A Shit If You Do Or Not

There is nothing worse than abandoning something you love because it falls out of favor, isn’t the latest thing, or just isn’t considered cool anymore. I’m not talking about shit going out of style. We all look back and groan at hairstyles, clothing options and music tastes. I’m talking about not running with the herd. I’m talking about standing up when it’s easier to go along.

It’s hard to say no when everyone else says yes. It takes a lot more strength to be a person of integrity than to go with the flow. But ultimately, I’ve found, you get a lot more respect. It doesn’t even matter if you’re right or not. Having the strength of your convictions, or even just pride in your own weird preferences, makes for a stronger person. It’s better to be wrong sometimes, than risk never having an original thought.

Most people are sheep. It’s not always their fault. Stupid people don’t always have the mental fortitude to buck the system and I’ve got news for you—they’re happier people for it. It’s no fun bucking the system. It’s much easier to hide out with the herd.

But if you’re like me, you’d rather sit on the outside and be eaten by wolves than huddle with the masses.

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by David Todd McCarty | Wednesday, December 2, 2015

I wrote the following piece almost ten years ago. It says as much about who I was then as it does about the changes in the world since then.


I was raised with the firm belief that honesty was a thing to be valued. Telling the truth was the most important thing a man could do. It was, in fact, what separated the good people from the bad, the honorable from the dishonorable. But over the course of the last 38 years, I’ve begun to change my mind.

The truth, I have discovered, is highly overrated.

When you’re young, it’s acceptable to tell an inappropriate truth. Sometimes, it’s even considered cute.

“What’s wrong with your face,” you may ask a severely burned man at the bank.

The question “Are you a man or a woman?” is directed at the unfortunate looking person in the checkout lane at the grocery store.

Even the cable repairman might be greeted at the door with the news, “My Mommy isn’t wearing any panties.”

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by David Todd McCarty | Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Everyone wants to be home for the holidays, even if only in our dreams, or so says the old carol. Thanksgiving and Christmas are especially difficult times to be away from home. Our thoughts are packed with memories and emotions that at times, quite literally, define who we are, and where we come from, or at the very least say a lot about what we wish were true.

Nostalgia is defined by the dictionary as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.” The word is actually a Greek compound, consisting of νόστος (nóstos), meaning “homecoming”, a Homeric word, and ἄλγος (álgos), meaning “pain, ache”, and was coined by a 17th-century medical student to describe the anxieties displayed by Swiss mercenaries fighting away from home.

It’s literally a longing so strong that it causes pain. Now that’s powerful stuff.

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by David Todd McCarty | Friday, November 20, 2015

We have a saying in the McCarty family: Often wrong, but never in doubt.  No one has ever accused a McCarty of not having a strong opinion. Even in the face of insurmountable odds, we’re sure we’re going the right way, have the right tools for the job, and understand clearly how to achieve the goal at hand. That’s not to say we haven’t ended up at the bottom of a cliff, or on the wrong side of the barrel of a gun in the course of our efforts.

But we’re confident, not stupid. We realize we get it wrong as often as we get it right, but that doesn’t stop us from believing wholeheartedly in our vision of success. Which is to say, I come by it honestly, and I’m aware of my limitations in rare moments of reflection.

We’re an old Irish clan, so it should come as no big surprise that we have big ideas and strong opinions. We come from an island of Kings. Kingdoms with no power and no wealth. Pride is what we had instead of land and riches.

My family, originally known as the Mac Cárthaigh clan comes from County Cork, which is one of the oldest clans in Ireland. The motto on our coat of arms is, “Nothing is Difficult to the Brave and Faithful.” That’s pretty cocky if you ask me.

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by David Todd McCarty | Thursday, October 15, 2015

 

My wife Jane thinks it’s silly to talk about having a fire in the fireplace.

“Where else would you light a fire? The sink?” she’ll say.

I guess she has a point, but it sounds strange to simply say, “I think I’ll start a fire” then walk into the other room.

I grew up with a fireplace and I have one today. It’s glorious.

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by David Todd McCarty | Friday, October 9, 2015

 

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats. It was the second time I’d heard the song, but the first time I didn’t look up who it was. I was on my way to get a haircut in my rental car, so I was listening to the old fashioned radio instead of satellite. It was a local alt rock station, which to some is still just corporate rock, but I’m almost fifty years old, so it’s often all new to me.

At first listen, it seemed like a strange style of song to be on this station. Kind of bluegrass, a little country. Even for a station that plays bands like Mumford and Sons. It definitely had a throwback sound, and I was digging it.

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Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

I am haunted by waters