Tag Archives: addiction

My Son Eats Cars

car wreck

I came home from work to see a piece of metal sticking out from below the rhododendrons and my heart sank. I pulled it out and saw that it was a muffler, partially chewed. I’d had a long day at work and this was not what I wanted to deal with at the moment. But that’s what being a father is all about.

I found Lawrence in his room, lying on his bed. His eyes were red from crying and I felt so bad for him in that moment and so powerless. He’d been doing so well, I’d been so proud of him. I wasn’t mad, I just wanted to make everything better for him.

“Hey there,” I said, trying to keep my tone light.

He covered his face with his pillow, ashamed. “Dad, I did it again. I’m so sorry. I ate another car.”

“I know,” I said. “I saw the muffler. Come on, sit up.” He finally did and I gave him a hug, although inwardly I recoiled at the smell of motor oil on his breath. “What kind was it?” I asked.

“Does it matter?”

“I’m just curious.”

“It was Corolla,” he said finally, looking at the floor. “I was walking from the mall when I saw it there and, I don’t know, there was something about the look of the headlights that looked so inviting. The next thing I knew, I was chewing on the bumper. I should have given up then, but I knew I couldn’t hide the teeth marks and I was so ashamed and embarrassed, I just gave up and ate the whole thing.”

I gave him another hug. “Don’t worry, we’ll get through this phase. At least you’re off transport trucks, right? And you haven’t eaten a car in months. You’re doing really well.”

He looked up at me and my heart ached at the pain and confusion I saw in his eyes. “It’s just so hard,” he said. “I try, I really do.”

“I know,” I said. “Do you think it would help to get a couple old bicycles, or maybe a motorcycle now and then . . . ?” He looked down and shrugged.

I wanted to say more to comfort him but inwardly, I was dreading the upcoming battle: finding the owner, dealing with insurance companies, trying to explain the whole humiliating situation to unsympathetic insurance agents and police officers. Trying to make it all go away as quickly as possible and protect my boy as much as I could.

He was getting better, it was true, but for the first time, it occurred to me that maybe this was not a phase Lawrence would ever get through. Maybe he would struggle with eating cars his whole life. It was a scary thought, but I knew more than anything that I would love him, no matter what.

“Look,” I said slowly. “Your mother and I talked about this. I wasn’t sure about it before, but maybe I could talk to a scrap yard owner and see if you can go in there sometimes, if you get hungry. They’d be old cars, but it would be better than eating cars out of the parking lot while their owners are in shopping.”

Lawrence looked up and smiled. “You mean it? You’re not mad?”

“Well, this hasn’t been easy on any of us, but I love you and I’ll do what I can for you.”

My son eats cars. It’s not what I signed up for when I became a parent, but you don’t get to choose the challenges that come your way. Like everything else in life, we’ll take this one step at a time, together.

Distortion – Friday Fictioneers

First of all, let me say Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays or whatever, since the next story I do will be after Christmas. Next, let me say I’m sorry that I’ve been bad about reading stories lately. I tend to be very busy these days, but I’ll make an effort. Lastly, this is not based on a true story.

copyright Jean L Hays

copyright Jean L Hays


“Honey, I’m worried.”


“I think you might have a problem.”


“I love you and I just want to spend time with you.”

Emotional blackmail.

She finally looked into his eyes that were snapping like firecrackers. Why was he so angry? She worked hard; couldn’t she relax?

“Fine. I’m going out.”

Ah, peace.

“Can you pick up milk?” she called after him.

She clicked START on her 673rd game of the weekend and the familiar music washed over her mind like a long overdue narcotic rush. Come on high score, she thought, as the colored blocks began to fall.

Minecrack – The Confessions of a Recent Addict

When my good friend Mike finally got me into Minecraft, I went into it like someone who decides to take up recreational heroin. Of course, that was also the reason why I resisted buying it for so long: I knew it was insanely addictive. And now that I have it, it is exactly as addictive as I had expected, although in a good way (unlike heroin, in case someone thought this was a convoluted endorsement of hard drugs). Now, I find that anytime I have trouble writing or am just feeling too tired, the lure of the game beckons me. However, despite the slight loss in productivity, I still don’t feel that lingering feeling of regret when I finish playing, like that sour feeling you get when you eat an entire bag of gummy bears in one sitting (hypothetically). Here’s why:

Here is how I imagine the real Green-Walled Tower.

Here is how I imagine the real Green-Walled Tower.

1. It’s Totally Creative: drool… This is the kind of program I have been looking for for a long time. This is the reason that I want to have a room full of Legos someday. A very long time ago, I had a Lego computer program that was similar, except nowhere near as powerful. After one house, the landscape started disappearing as the computer ran out of memory. But now, I can create almost anything that comes into my mind. And believe me, I can come up with some pretty freaky stuff. The only sticking point is time, since I like things big and you still have to place every block individually. Currently I’m working on a setting from the first novel I ever wrote. It’s a pool, surrounded by five temples, on top of a fortified hill, in a huge city in a deep cleft of a valley. After about an hour or so, I’m almost finished the pool.

Green-Walled Tower - moonlight.png

2. It’s Open-Ended: I’m using both the creative mode to make the aforementioned pool/city, but also playing in survival mode, where you have to find food and not get killed by monsters. It is way better than most games because you can manipulate everything . Currently, I’m at the bottom of an abandoned mineshaft with monsters all around. In a normal game, I’d have to fight my way out to get back to my house and recharge. Not in Minecraft. There, I can block off a shelter, dig it out bigger, make a crafting table and make more weapons and armor, even smelt ore into metals, all while I’m stuck at the bottom of a mine. I can make my own staircases or ladders, dig straight in any directions or basically do anything I want.

The upper room, where the creative magic happens.

The upper room, where the creative magic happens.

I realize I’m late in the game (as usual with technology; I just got a smart phone a few months ago) and that over half the world has already played Minecraft. But to those few out there who haven’t played it, I would just say that it’s awesomely creative and awesomely addictive. I’m still exploring what I can do, but I would like to make stories and set them in a Minecraft world that I create, recording the whole thing on video. So we’ll see. You never know what will come out of the Green-Walled Tower.

Green-Walled Tower - sunset.png

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