a ballad for my friends.

And so the world has changed, for better—worse I can’t tell. The dreams I’ve made may change, and everyone’s habits might change as well. 

I am giving up a lot for a little. Friends to save family, family to save friends. It’s not big, it may be little spent— but what I do to help is to quell.

I may be wrong, it’s hard to tell.

The slightest of possibilities give me the greatest anxieties

I can’t live with the old normal. COVID-19 is horrible. 

Symptomatic or Asymptomatic, it’s true. Can’t take those chances. I couldn’t live with myself, knowing that it could be me killing someone I loved because I was careless by seeing you. 

Pain clogs my veins that I must give normal up because I love you all too much. 

These sacrifices I must make could mean I will not see you for a few years. Until then, I’ll drink fewer beers.

I may be extreme, but please know this was never meant to be mean. 

Somewhere out there Shepard drifts in his broken car, Remy Williams sings with his guitar, and Nigel Hemingway fights for social justice. I never wanted the world to be like this. 

Friends are what make the world connected, and there are other ways to face-to-face interaction. But, as I dream, our friendships will never lose traction. 

And so the world has changed, and I must change as well. And the memories we’ve made will now be made but unforeseen.

And most of all, wherever I may be, may my friends remember me. 

Remember,

“The Zos Knows”

-David Zosel 

If you want to support my writing career, you can make a donation to my Venmo (username: David-Zosel). 

My Name is David, and this is My Michael Jordan Story.

Fierce rain fell that day upon my face as I got off the school bus. The Nike’s on my feet got soaked as I splashed through the puddles on the way to my Mom’s car. As I recall this day in my life when I was nine years old, my Mom had a big smile on her face more than usual. “David, Michael Jordan is going to eat at Aunty Lanny’s restaurant,” she exclaimed.

I screamed like a five-year-old does when they see an ice cream truck. I could only picture that my ears raised high, my eyes grew wide, and my nostrils flared at that very moment.

“Can she get me his autograph?” I asked.
“Lanny said she would try her best, but don’t be disappointed.”

My Mom always told me not to get disappointed, especially around Christmas time, which would be her way of deceiving me to believe that I wouldn’t get the present that I wanted.

“We have to go to Coach’s Corner to buy a card for him to autograph!” I shouted.

My tiny ninety two-pound Mom hit the gas pedal as hard as she could, jerking that stick shift as if she was a NASCAR driver in her 1993 Toyota Camry. Dashing through puddles and drifting into the Apache Plaza Mall entrance, she dropped me off, and I sprinted to the trading card store.

“Hey, Dave,” said Ed.

I’ve known Ed at this point for two whole years of my short life because his store was the coolest. He sold hockey, baseball, Pokemon, and all types of trading cards and nerdy stuff that I loved growing up as a kid. Coach’s Corner was the spot back in the day, and I loved it when my Mom would take me there after school.

“My Aunt said she would try to get me Michael Jordan’s autograph. Do you have his card?”

“Take a look in that bucket. There should be a few, maybe a holographic or two.”

My little velociraptor arms scurried through that bin like a Jack Russell terrier digging for a bone in the backyard.

“Found four!”

“Take ’em there, Dave,” said Ed.

I was not too fond of it when he’d call me Dave, or when anyone else did for that matter. But, he gave me free Michael Jordan cards, so he had a hall pass this time.

He gave me his signature wink and said, “If your Aunt gets his John Hancock, make sure to bring back one for me too.”

“Thanks, Edward.”

I called him Edward because that is what he got for calling me, Dave. Gosh, I don’t like it when people call me Dave at all. It’s not my government name, so call me David, damn it.

Butterflies occupied my stomach as my Mom drove through the rain to pick up my little sister at my Aunty Lanny’s house. As per usual, my sister cried once my Mom, and I got there because she didn’t want to leave her Aunty. Lanny told me we should go to her restaurant to meet him in person.

I was stoked.

The gourmet five-star French eatery was packed wall to wall. There was security everywhere.

Flash photography, cameras, and microphones you name it. After all, it was Michael Jordan.

I remember learning that this is what it is like to be one of the world’s biggest icons. Suddenly, he and his security guards walked by my Mom and me. I screamed so loud to the point where I don’t even remember what I said.

It was probably along the lines of desperately saying, “Michael Jordan, can I have your autograph? I’m your biggest fan!”

Michael turned around, looked at me, and pulled the cigar from his mouth. He whispered to one of his big security guards to open up so he could walk through to see what he had heard. The guards opened up, and he walked out of them like sunshine through a windowpane. When he saw that it was a kid, he laughed.

“Haha, you scared me for a second there. You scream like a girl. Haha.”

My jaw dropped.

He grabbed my cards and asked me what my name was.

I tentatively said, “Da-da-David.”

“My advice to you, play it, cool Dave. I saw you from halfway across the room.”

As he finished signing all of my cards, he said, “There ya are, Dave.” He shot a wink at me, and he and his security posse jolted, disappearing into thin air.

All I could remember is that he called me Dave. It ruined this memory for me. I hate being called Dave. There are very few things that grind my gears, and this is one of them.

Dave. Dave. Dave. Michael Jordan called me Dave. From that point on, he wasn’t my idol anymore and is why I have no major aspiration to meet anyone that I admire because they will ruin the figment in my imagination of what I perceive them to be.

What you should learn from this story is that I hate being called Dave more then I love Michael Jordan. My name is David, and my name is my name.

I wished that is how the story went. But, the last part didn’t happen. I was lying because it made for a better ending, and I wanted you to keep reading. I never met His Airness, but Lanny did or at least saw him at the restaurant.

But, I know for a fact that MJ would have called me Dave because all Boomers and Generation X’ers call me Dave when they meet me.

The chances were so slim that a four-foot eleven-inch eighty-five-pound woman would be able to throw her elbows up to get through a massive crowd of paparazzi, was going to get Michael Jordan’s autograph for me. She didn’t even know how to speak English at that time in her life and was a shy, soft-spoken immigrant from Vietnam, working as a busser. So, just the fact that she thought of me and tried to do something like that was extraordinary.

The real ending of the story goes as my Mom told me that MJ showed up to the restaurant, ate in ten minutes, and then immediately left in his limo. Lanny tried her best, and she ran after the limo for me in the heavy pouring rain to try to salvage the opportunity.

My spin on the story is better than the truth. But, as I was watching “The Last Dance,” the ESPN docu-series on the MJ and the ’98 Chicago Bulls, it gave me this flashback to this very day in my life. I have a memory of Michael Jordan, which isn’t something that most kids get to have. Even though I never met him or got his autograph, I do have a connecting memory directly related to him. And as I wrote this story, I could remember it one way or the other. Depending on my mood or state of mind when I tell it again, I’ll probably tell it one way or the other. Who knows?

And so it goes.

All from when I was a kid, I still have my “Space Jam” VHS and soundtrack, my nine-year-old pair of Air Jordan’s, my Michael Jordan jersey, and my Nike MJ Chicago Bulls basketball. But, the one thing I have and cherish the most is my story of how my Aunty Lanny ran after Michael Jordan’s limo to get me his autograph.

Remember,

“The Zos Knows”

-David Zosel 

If you want to support my writing career, you can make a donation to my Venmo (username: David-Zosel). 

Wearing a Mask is Having Other People’s Best Interest; A Notion We Have Dismissed.

Wearing a mask is more comfortable than being on a ventilator. Take that and chew on it during the following anecdote.

Walking along the roadside, a skinning 15-year-old boy stuck his thumb out in the sunny streets of South Minneapolis. A car pulled up, and not knowing who could it be, the shaggy-haired kid climbed in. They didn’t say a word. They pulled off as the sun rose. It was the summer of 1976, the bi-centennial of our nation, a time where a country’s heart pounded with electric pulses. That boy was my Father.

Fast-forwarding to today, picking a hitch-hiker up is absurd. Our best interest isn’t in other people, and only ourselves. The concept of wearing a mask is in everyone’s best interest. If it keeps others safe during the COVID-19 Pandemic, then it is a no brainer. Just do it, damn it.

The time where American’s looked out for each other now has faded. It sounded like a fable when strangers picked up my hitch-hiking Father to get to Hibbing, Minnesota, in 1976 to help his hockey coach, Jim Baxter, on his summer farm. My Father didn’t have anything to gain; there was no money involved in his work for Coach Baxter. He wanted to help someone because he genuinely wanted to help his hockey coach.

It is time to revert to those habits that our country used to have. The COVID-19 Pandemic has pulled most of us apart in a time where we need to come together. My Father got into the car with eight different strangers during his sojourn, and everything was fine because those people wanted to help him get to where he wanted to go.

It is time to knock it off and come together, so we can get to where we want to go.

It is a time where we need to step up, sew masks, and donate money and food. If we are unable to do those simple things, staying at home goes very far.

We need to all get on the same damn page.

My fiance has sewed over 300 masks to give away to people for free, using her unemployment checks to finance her effort to save the world. She is answering the simple question once asked by John F. Kennedy, “Don’t ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

We need more of that right now.

The generations ahead of us went to war and died at the hands of destruction to keep us safe, so my Father could hitch-hike to Northern Minnesota, and so you could be safe today by only having to wear something on your face. Stay inside and stay away from each other. It is simple, so we should choose to comply. Otherwise, even more of us could die.

If we all wore masks, we could keep our future generations safe like our grandparents’ parents did for us over 70-80 years ago. After all, wearing a mask is better than having to shoot someone in a war.

If we habitually became more thoughtful towards other people’s best interests through wearing masks, our future generations would adopt this mindset. And with that thought, my future great-grandchild will be able to hitch-hike to Northern Minnesota.

Remember,

“The Zos Knows”

-David Zosel 

If you want to support my writing career, you can make a donation to my Venmo (username: David-Zosel). 

James Hong, A legendary Minnesotan You Don’t Know About.

If you’re from Minnesota and grew up here, you know the legendary Minnesotans who have come out of the Star of the North. Prince, Bob Dylan, The Coen Brothers, Judy Garland, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Schulz, Sinclair Lewis, Garrison Keillor, Paul Molitor, and Charles Lindbergh are major icons in their respective crafts.

Hawaii Five-O' actor James Hong named grand marshal of Burbank on ...

If you examine his career, you’d be astonished. He is just as prolific as Bob Dylan. This man is as recognizable as a Charles Schulz cartoon, and his look is distinctive like Prince. He has an iconic voice and as hidden face like Garrison Keillor’s and has crossed oceans like Lindbergh. Chinese American actor, James Hong, is from Minnesota.

No Minnesotan’s have a clue.

Hong has played over 500 roles and has dubbed his voice for even more foreign and animated films since the 1950s. You would all recognize him from “Big Trouble in Little China,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Balls of Fury,” “Blade Runner,” and even so much more. When you rewatch “Kung Fu Panda” and “Mulan,” you will recognize his distinctive voice. But, you would never go and say, “Hey! That guy is Minnesota made! We are proud of that.”

It is perplexing to think that one of the most prolific and iconic Asian American actors has had almost zero recognition by Minnesotans in our recent history.

Hong is 92 and still works as an actor, which is impressive, considering he has outlasted other Minnesotan icons. But, no one seems to notice because of his talented abilities to blend in and stick out, then become so believable as an actor where you don’t recognize him again. This makes a genuinely great actor because that is what that craft is: to be believable. Whereas, when you see Josh Hartnett or Sean William Scott in a film, you see them playing themselves.

He graduated from Minneapolis Central High School and received a degree in civil engineering from the University of Minnesota, making him more Minnesotan then Bob Dylan.

download

Being half-Asian, this makes me proud. I felt it was my duty to honor James Hong, so this legend will never go unrecognized by Minnesotans through my collection of writings in my lifetime.

Thank you, James Hong, for being a pioneering presence for the small demographic of Asian actors in Hollywood.

Remember,

“The Zos Knows”

-David Zosel 

If you want to support my writing to create more content, you can make a donation to my Venmo

Make Time to Waste Time.

When was the last time we could look at the clouds in the sky to debate if we see a pig or space shuttle?

As I look away from the clouds, I recollect walking the streets of Paris with an old friend to the Eiffel Tower after visiting the Louvre. We saw a quaint cafe that looked like nothing we’d ever seen before and ended up staying there for two hours despite our tight itinerary. We laughed and exchanged stories, philosophies, and engaged in very stimulating conversation. Without this subtle glitch in time, I wouldn’t have gotten to honestly know this person that I met a month before this trip. This is where I learned one of the greatest lessons of all when you want to enjoy life: sometimes we need to make time to waste time. Ten minutes later, we were taking pictures by the Eiffel Tower. If we hadn’t lost that time at that cafe, our time at the Eiffel Tower would have been less meaningful.

There was a time in this world where you could get a travel Visa and fly to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower. It isn’t the case anymore due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the accessibility to the world will change forever. Everything is different, from travel plans to daily routines. But, the silver lining is that we can learn to make time to waste time because life needs to go on with a new philosophical perspective.

Film director, Richard Linklater, once said that there is nothing more admirable than being lost in your 20s. It’s true. But, now it is even harder to figure things out as a person in their 20s, or at any age. I’ll ask again when we had the time to look at the clouds and debate what we saw? Maybe now, if we waste a little time, something can inspire us instead of worrying about our current situation. When there is a tragedy, birds will always fly out of the fallout shelter, bringing us hope.

During such a lost time, we all need to find hope in some form or another. Hope comes to us, and it isn’t something that we reach to find. It finds us.

Being lost is admirable, and if you embrace it, please remember that something and someone will come to you.

In my case or yours, if you’re like me at all, which you probably aren’t. Wow, I don’t even know if that sentence structure was correct. But, who cares. When you’re knee-deep in writing a blog post, and your fiance asks if you want to take the dog on a walk, then embrace the interruption. It is beautiful how life’s current itinerary can wait because when you’re on that walk with little Cooper and the love of your life, you can find the sun behind those clouds that look like puppies.

You wouldn’t find that inside. We’re not designed to be sad at home, that is why we need to step out and face the sunshine.

I’m not perfect when it comes to this notion, but making time to waste time has been a philosophy that I’ve been trying to practice and revisit from that one day in Paris with an old friend.

All the metaphors aside at this point in history, whatever life’s interruptions are, bring them on. It’s time to start living in the moment and embracing life’s interruptions.

Remember,

“The Zos Knows”

-David Zosel 

If you want to support my writing to create more content, you can make a donation to my Venmo

Does Isolation Lead to Creativity?

During this time of extreme lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve discovered that isolation breeds creativity. My realization was that with being out in society for so long, I had picked up observations of how the human race functioned. Then going into isolation, naturally, I had taken that information to transform into a creative generating machine or to improve the prowess that I already had.

Albert Einstein Riding Bicycle, 1933 | Vintage News Daily

As I researched my realization, I found that many great thinkers discovered the same philosophy. Albert Einstein cherished his moments of isolation, as he once shared: “Although I have a regular work schedule, I take time to go for long walks on the beach so that I can listen to what is going on inside my head.” Or, as Tesla once said: “The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind.”

Isolation is a double-edged sword when it comes to creativity. If we want to obtain a unique idea, we must lock ourselves away with inspiration to achieve it. To harness this power, we must remember isolation is part of one stage of the creative process. If used unwisely, isolation can hinder, not help, and can stop creative thinking. But, if used correctly, it can be the most potent component of creativity.

Creativity is about individual expression and what we can come up with on our own, so it makes sense that we should isolate ourselves from the rest of the world if we’re to come up with any worthwhile ideas that can result in possible creative solutions.

Our best ideas stem from existing ideas outside ourselves, shaped by historical, cultural, and social exchanges.

Once in the isolation stage of the creative process, our ideas are best created by taking breaks in brief intervals that will allow us to synthesize what we’ve comprehended. In other words, plant a seed, water it, and walk away. Then, come back and check on it. You cannot just sit in a room and think about how you are going to create something or solve a problem by focusing on what the result will be for nine hours at a time. Creativity comes within intervals in isolation.

Isolation helps us to limit the noise of outside influences long enough to make sense of what we’ve ingested, allowing us to peel the petals of the flower to tune our mental abilities on the pieces that we can influence or cannot influence us.

Immerse yourself in the environments, communities, and spaces where you can be inspired most. Then implement what you know through isolating yourself. By only looking to temporarily isolate yourself once you’ve had enough time immersed in the world, the discovery will be worth the time alone.

Remember,

“The Zos Knows”

-David Zosel 

If you want to support my writing to create more content, you can make a donation to my Venmo

Quarantine Album: Be More Kind – Frank Turner

Music can heal the soul at any time of hardship, temporarily or permanently. Frank Turner brings me joy and uplifts me. At this point in history, we’re confused about what is going on during this COVID-19 Pandemic. “Be More Kind,” Frank’s seventh studio album, assuages the feelings that we are going through during this exact moment in history. Every lyric that is sang through this album is refreshingly honest, delivering timeless messages with passionate hooks. What more could you want from a collection of songs?

71xkvELLWbL._SY355_.jpg

In a writer’s words, I wanted to take a crack at summarizing the meaning of the whole album. If you even look at the tracklisting titles of the songs, you already have a sense of how “Be More Kind” relates to our current situation.

We shouldn’t worry if we don’t know what to do because it is like 1933 out there, a year that will live in infamy. During that year, the Nazi Party started its rise, and Adolph Hitler began his terror upon the world. This year is the new 1933 but worse, because of its effect on everything, and the horror of fighting an invisible enemy. We now have begun to fight each other versus the main enemy as we did back then when we became one as a nation in a collective effort to defeat the Nazis. Frank wants us to stop pointing fingers at each other by reminding us to make little changes, such as being more kind. If we can’t make changes, then we can’t make “America Great Again.” He gives a more liberal approach and a positive spin on what that political statement with his signature punk rock twisting hooks. The fundamental message of the album is to be more kind. Simple, but effective, because if we don’t do that, then we will be going nowhere; America will be going nowhere. This is how it feels right now, not only in America but for the whole world. During this time of absolute chaos, we need to put on our brave faces, make sacrifices to help others, and he reminds us that the only way to do this is to be courageous in times of uncertainty.

We can get through this no matter what happens, so why not do it smiling? Do not forget to smile during the small victories of everyday miracles. Right now, the world is singing the survival blues. It feels like the world is going to have a power outage blackout, and the only way for the world to light up is for everyone to find our common ground. But for now, it feels like we are all drowning and barely holding on together on a lifeboat. We need to be reminded during this time to hold on together.

Once we learn how to make little changes with a brave face being kinder, we can someday get it right.

I discovered Frank at my first show at First Ave Main Room in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in December of 2011. Frank Turner opened for the Dropkick Murphy’s. I caught his last two songs, and those songs changed my life. He is now my favorite musician, and I’ve traveled many times to see him. I’ll never miss an opening act again because you’ll never know who you’ll discover.

Please check out “Be More Kind,” as it is the most relatable album to our current day struggle.

Remember,

“The Zos Knows”

-David Zosel 

If you want to support my writing to create more content, you can make a donation to my Venmo