Monday, January 28, 2013

Memory Lapses

I just walked into the kitchen, but something isn’t clear;
I’m talking about the reason that I even came in here.
Was I hungry, was I thirsty, did I come in for a drink?
I’m sure there was a reason, so give me time to think.
Should I look inside my cabinets, should I open up a drawer?
I’m searching for a clue to tell me what I’m in here for…
I once heard that a goldfish has absolutely no memory at all. I read that each lap around the bowl is a totally different experience. Now, I can’t speak for the goldfish, but I certainly can relate to it.

At one time or another I have found myself in every room of my home with no clue as to why I was there. This includes a walk-in closet and my laundry room, which accounts for the many small loads of wash I have done over the years.
I have found that the memory lapses are not limited to indoors. The most obvious places I can think of are the large parking lots at malls, outlet stores, and some large grocery chains. I have no problem remembering why I am in the lot…the problem is remembering where I parked my car less than an hour before.
When I was young I remember listening to Bob Hope sing his signature song, Thanks for the Memories. Now that I have entered my Golden Years, I can certainly understand why he chose it.
I must admit that I didn’t help myself when I bought a Mazda Miata. I am driving a car roughly the size of a half dozen nested shopping carts. I needed a plan that would enable me to find my car once my shopping was completed.

I started finding landmarks that would show me in which row and how far down that row I was parked. I started noticing that my car was right down from the “K” in Kroger or something written on another storefront. As long as I remembered to mark the spot where my car was parked, everything else was a piece of cake.
My memoir, Mr. Joe: Tales from a Haunted Life, is coming Sept. 1, 2013, from Bettie Youngs Books.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Smarter Than What?

Give me phones with larger numbers
Give me apps that don’t confuse
Give me something I can understand
And something I can use...

 Well, it’s been almost five months since I got my new smarter phone and I still haven’t used all of my minutes. Wait, maybe the 450-minute limit was per month and not for the life of the contract. Either way I am safe for a while.

The good news is that I finally understand one of the extras that came with my phone. I never knew why they included an earphone until tonight. I was walking into a carryout and saw a woman going on and on about her love life. She was talking about what an idiot her boyfriend is.

The answer was even clear to me. I have had the habit of talking to myself for many years. I’m not sure how long I have done this, but I know it’s been a while. This is the perfect solution.

I put one end of the attachment in my ear and the other end of the cord into my shirt pocket. Voila!  Problem solved. Now, I am free to ramble on and on about anything that’s on my mind. I will no longer be considered a crazy old man who talks to himself. I am now the senior citizen who is constantly being called for his opinion and expertise.

That’s one hurdle down with several to go. Next, I am going to try and master the square app. I will let you know how that works out.

My memoir, Mr. Joe: Tales from a Haunted Life, will be published in 2013 by Bettie Youngs Books (


Sunday, January 13, 2013

“You Ought To Write a Book”

Over the course of my lifetime I have heard that said many times. Whether it was said to me personally or to someone in my presence, it always seemed to be meant as a compliment.

Most of the times the storyteller would beam and say, “Well, maybe someday I will.”

So, at what point does writing a book go from being a dream to becoming a reality? What makes a person choose to undergo such a huge project? I can only answer the last question from my own experiences. I did it out of ignorance! I had absolutely no clue of the time and energy required to complete something like that.

I had been telling my sister stories from my years working as a school custodian. I have always had the knack of storytelling and the good memory that needs to go with it. Fortunately, my sister’s talents include the ability to put my stories on paper without skipping a beat. Jane has proved herself so good in that respect that sometimes I can’t tell where I stop in the book and Jane begins.

I now realize more than ever that this project needed Jane as much as it needed me. I needed to tell my story to someone who would understand me. I needed someone who could put my thoughts and feelings onto paper--even when I couldn’t put them into words.

Jane and I have spent the last six years writing Mr. Joe. It hasn’t always been easy and it wasn’t always pretty, but it was definitely worth it! We are both very proud of how this book came together.

My memoir, Mr. Joe: Tales from a Haunted Life, will be published in 2013 by Bettie Youngs Books (

Friday, January 11, 2013


I’ve been having fun posting my experiences—and even occasional poems--on Facebook. Now, with a book coming out in the spring, I have decided to try my hand at blogging.

I’ve enjoyed my sister’s blog, So Write! and I hope I can entertain you and make you think with Mr. Joe’s Sweeping Thoughts.

I’ve chosen the name for two reasons: Sweeping refers to my career as Mr. Joe, a school custodian; it also implies a wide range of topics.

I have topics in mind, but not all of them are related to Mr. Joe: Tales from a Haunted Life. I would also like to encourage you to express your opinions and suggest possible future topics by leaving comments here.

Thank you for your interest. I hope to share many posts with you through my new blog.

 Joseph Barnett’s memoir, Mr. Joe: Tales from a Haunted Life, will be published in Spring 2013 by Bettie Youngs Books (