and Fourteen years later…


I woke up, fourteen years ago this last Sunday – February 22, 2001 in a different world than the day before. It was the first day of this long ordeal you have been following.

See, those of you who have been following this journal,  or have only known me the last ten or 12 years or so have no idea about my former life. The above thingy? That was my third car (or ours). I had just sold the Corsica, but we had two vans (my wife and I) – the first one that she “had to have” and the second one that she “had to have” because the first wasn’t good enough.

Me? I bought the ’99 Mustang GT convertible because my wife used to withhold sex for months at a time as a means of control and I finally decided that going fast in a hot car was almost as good.

Sometimes it is actually better. There was this time out near San Simeon once where…

Anyway, unlike what would ensue in the months and year or two to come. On the day before I had walked into Prima Publishing to my executive’s job where I answered only (if at all) to the VP, the COO and the CEO (so like never really except to report my successes and ask for a raise). I had a small but loyal staff of hand-picked employees who were amazing and I had just invented “eGuides” which was going to revolutionized online gaming strategy (and a lot of other industries…as they had sen to patent my invention)  and make me a rich guy.

We owned two houses and had perfect credit, having paid down all our debt. When I went on to the lot at Roseville Ford they checked me out and the salesman came back beaming “Mr. MacDonald, you can have any car on the lot!”

I chose the Stang having no idea that two years later I would be out-jockeyed by a clever repo man hwho got the claw into it by a nice bit of sleight-of-hand.

But by then I was ruined.

The crash hit those of us near the top creative element the way a major league baseball strike hits a top hitter. It is irrelevant that you batted .346, drove in 117 runs and hit 32 home runs last year – your industry is not playing any GAMES. There are no paychecks for you – not now – not for a good long while.

And my wife? Well she just got the divorce thing going and I had given her all the ammo she needed the month after the lay-off: I went to a 28-day program and admitted I had a problem.

Or as Bugs Bunny would say “What a Marooon!”

Still in love with my wife; devoid of any future in my industry, shacked with a now public “illness” that everyone says is a “disease” but treats like a moral failure (do not let any one kid or lie to you – EVERYONE treats it as a moral failure or a failure of will no matter what they say). And I was 11 years away from learning what the real enemy was: a mental illness and getting the simple treatment/cure).

Good luck with that Mac. Oh…and one more thing? Don’t whine…it’s …um…not manly.


So I learned not to whine, not to blame and how to live in some of the weirdest, roughest and most bizarre of circumstances (including living in the “MacShack” two doors down from my Ex-wife and my two former houses). I’d go out at 4 a.m. when I could not sleep to get some air and see her boyfriend sneaking out of my former house. Just shake my head.

I was no better- at all. I lived with several women and broke their hearts because I drank. I mean I wouldn’t for a time – but mental illness always trumps all.

Anyway – I wasn’t always homeless, poor, unemployed with no credit etc… and the irony is that was when I was full-blown in my addiction.

Now I am addicted to nothing (oh..well, possibly coffee?) eat healthy, and I am saving myself for marriage (haha- wow).

And last Sunday, Feb. 22, 2025 -14 years later to the day- Janine Shafer walked through the door of the Starbacks at Grand and Broadway in Oakland. And I almost laughed outloud (and I think she kinda did).

“Yeah…it’s you.”

“Yeah..c’mere and give me a hug.”


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