The Parental Avoidance Plan (PAP)


Do you have parents who are difficult to deal with? Do your parents continually nag you about doing things that you do not want to do? Are your parents needy of your attention? Do you have parents who tell you what to do most of the time and get angry at you when you do not do what they think  you should do? Do your parents get in the way of your enjoyment of life?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions (and especially if you have answered yes to all of these questions) I would recommend that you continue reading. It does not matter if you are 14 or 38. If you live with parents who are anything like what I have described above, this plan might be exactly what you need.

I cannot take credit for being the inventor of this plan. This plan is currently being implemented in households all over the world. In kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms, garages, hallways, bathrooms and backyards everywhere. A friend of mine who is 38 and is yet to find a way to move out and get away from his needy and controlling parents swears by this plan. The inventor of this plan, who is now 17 years of age and lives with nagging and controlling parents, is a master at it. For a low fee he teaches other people all over the world about how to implement this plan for themselves.

This plan has become so effective that there are several variations of it now in use. There is the Spouse Avoidance Plan (SAP), the Boss Avoidance Plan (BAP), the Family Avoidance Plan (FAP) and most recently the Work Life Avoidance Plan (WLAP). But lets stick to the Parental Avoidance Plan (PAP), since this is what I want to tell the world about.

The PAP saves those who live with difficult, unhappy and controlling parents so much time and energy. Before this plan was put into use, people living with difficult parents had no choice but to be continually tormented by nagging questions, manipulative behaviors, constant demands and unreasonable consequences. Parents were like a heavy weight that would keep their children way down. But now with the PAP, Children Of Needy And Nagging Parents (CONANP) are finally finding a way to live without the stress caused by more difficult parents.

I realize that by exposing PAP to a larger audience, I might experience some anger from CONANP who have been using this plan to avoid their difficult parents. They may feel like I am exposing their plan to a larger audience and as a result their parents will find out. I can understand why this would upset these CONANP, since living with needy, nagging and demanding parents can be a terrible drag. I understand why they would not want me to give their secrets away. Please know that my intention here is only to make this plan available to more CONANP who are currently stuck living with unhappy parents.

Since we all know that the end result of being a CONANP is often a lifetime of anger, addiction, anxiety, broken relationships, general unhappiness and isolation- my hope is to provide these poor souls with an alternative. By freeing more CONANP from parental bondage, my hope is that the world will become a less violent and eventually happier and more enjoyable place for all.

So here it is. For those of you who choose to implement this plan my hope is that the PAP will provide you with the mental health you will need to create your own independent and fulfilling lives (and not end up like my 38-year-old friend who is still totally dependent on his parents).

The Parental Avoidance Plan.

1. Speed- Rush in and rush out. (The idea here is that when parents are home and you need something that is outside of your room, you must be fast. Otherwise you run the risk of one or both of your parents seeing you and thinking of something to nag you about. If you move quickly, your parents may not see you and if they do see you they will not have the time to think of something to nag you about. When speed is involved, parents have less of an ability to figure out what is going on. This is one fundamental advantage of being young- you are much faster than your older parents.)

2. Stealth- Be quiet and avoid detection. (When living with unhappy and difficult parents, this should be your mantra: Be quiet and avoid detection. At all times, try not to be seen. Remember that when your parents are talking with you or when you are stuck having to spend time with your parents (in a car, at a dinner table, et cetera- less is more. Do not engage too much and try as hard as you can not to be seen. Become an expert at being a ghost. The moment CONANP are seen by the parent- the parent will latch on and not let go until all of their child’s energy has been drained. This is one form of control.

3. Ignoring- Keep head down. No eye contact. Pretend not to hear them yelling at you and just keep walking no matter what. (This step of the plan is meant to be immediately implemented when both Speed and Stealth have failed. Keep in mind that this part of the plan takes practice and endurance and will not be easy to achieve at first. However the more you practice it, the better you will get at it.)

4. If all of the above steps fail and you get caught in your parent’s web- just smile, nod your head and WAIT IT OUT.

*For further elucidation of and support with implementing the PAP I recommend taking the on-line PAP course created by the 16-year-old that I mentioned above.

The Man Who Fell On The Moon (A Rough Sketch For A Film)

*This is a rough sketch for a potential film. Please excuse any grammatical or editing errors. The sketch has been edited several times but think of this more as “thinking out loud” rather than a work with any literary merit.


As he fell through empty space, surprisingly there was an absence of thoughts in his mind. His mind was a reflection of the empty space all around. Everything felt still, except for the fact that he was falling. He could not recall a time his mind had been this quiet ever before. Funny it should happen this way. As he observed the passing darkness all around, there was no fear. You would think that a person would be terrified in this situation, but he was not. There was no struggling to hold on. He allowed space to do with his body what it wanted as he quietly watched through the narrow window in his space helmet, things that no one ever gets to see.

As he fell through space, he was tumbling like a t-shirt in a dryer. Around and around and around in slow motion. Maybe it was the tumbling motion that lulled his mind into a thoughtless state. As he tumbled he could see the immense glow of the moon, the distant stars, black holes, celestial spheres, expansive darkness and a luminescent blue tennis ball sized object, which was earth. It was impossible to feel fear while observing enigmas such as these.

And then, as if it did not matter at all, he lost consciousness.


He had come to outer space with the man in charge of the space expedition, Jack Gilbert. There was only two of them. The intention of the mission was to commandeer a defunct satellite that had been puttering through the solar system since 1978. It was called ISEE-3, and it was the first human-made object to ever pass through the tail of a comet. In 1981, its battery shut down leaving it stranded in space. It was able to putter around in space for all this time because its orbiter was able to maintain power from solar panels that were mounted on its backside. The satellite was making a rare passage close to the moon, which allowed NASA to send two astronauts into space in a final attempt to get the satellite’s thrusters working again. It was not viewed as a difficult mission. The astronauts would not be going far into space and the ISEE-3 satellite was not technically difficult to work on since it was developed during a time when toaster ovens were smarter than spaceships.

Jack and Jonathan (who were referred to as the Two J’s) would need no more than two or three days to get the thrusters working again. Simple and by the book. The Two J’s would be back on earth watering their gardens and sleeping in their beds by the end of the week. This is why it was such a surprise when those working in the NASA Ground Station suddenly heard Jack yell: “Oh fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Jonathan!”

Still no one is sure exactly what happened but a final theory has been settled on just to give people a false sense of resolution. Some still suspected that Jack had been somehow involved, since he and Jonathan had a tumultuous working relationship. It has been concluded by NASA that what occurred was a freak, unpredictable and tragically consequential equipment defect. After much investigation what was found was that the cables bracketing the astronaut’s space suit to the spaceship were split by a particular, random and unpredictable atmospheric pressure. It was one of those very rare things that occasionally happens. It is impossible to protect against such things because we never imagine they could happen until they happen. The final line of the NASA investigation read, Jonathan was in the wrong place at the wrong time. 


It was the impact of his spacesuit slamming against the moon’s surface that woke him up.The lack of a gravitational pull had caused his fall to happen slow enough that no bones broke. There was pain but no fracturing. His spacesuit provided enough cushioning to allow him to survive a fall through space. He was the only man who had ever survived such a fall.

“Fuck!” This is what he said upon awakening.

He looked around. He was confused. He couldn’t figure anything out. He had not been educated to comprehend such things as this. It was impossible to know how much air was left. It was impossible to know where he was.

Despite having just fallen through empty space, it was not difficult for him to stand up. The lack of gravity helped to pull him up. There was an immense amount of pain in his body but he could not feel it. He was aware of some degree of fear arising in him as he wondered if he was dead. He was never one to be fooled by by a belief in a traditional God or After Life but suddenly he felt terrified that maybe he had been wrong. Maybe all of those crazed Evangelical Christians he saw on TV were right all along. What happens now? Was this my punishment for not being a believer? Is this some sort of purgatory? He could not help but think such things.

He forced himself to look around. A vast expanse. Miles and miles of large, round craters. Above him was darkness blanketed by stars. Everything was silent except for the silence. The silence made the sound of an electrical humm. He could hear ringing in his ears. There was nothing alive around him. He was frozen in  uncertainty. His nose itched and he tried moving his mouth and nose to relieve the itch. It worked for a second or two. Every time the itch returned he wanted to take off his helmet and use his hand to relieve himself, but he knew this was not an option. He moved his nose and mouth around again and again. As he waited for some sort of solution to come to him, he could feel his heart beating in his neck, lower chest and stomach.

It took some time for him to realize that this was not some kind of After Life. He was much worse off than that. While he was wiggling his nose and mouth to relieve himself of the itch, he realized that he was on the moon.


Before deciding to go anywhere, even though there was nowhere to go, he reviewed in his mind how he had gotten to where he was. He had been working on ISEE-3’s main thruster unit. Next to him was Jack who had been holding various wires in place. There was then a loud rubbing sound and some smoke. As he went towards the part of the cables that were smoking they broke apart, sending him tumbling into dark space. At first he panicked and he could hear Jack screaming. All of the controls in his helmet immediately went out. There was no more voice communication, no more digital reading on his helmet’s window screen. Everything went dark and the panic seemed to have subsided once he realized there was nothing that he could do. He remembered feeling a peace that he had never felt before as he tumbled around through space watching the moon, the earth and noticing the ISEE-3 getting further and further and further away. And then that is it. No more memory beyond the memory of this incredible peace.

Next thing he could recall was regaining consciousness on the moon. Once he had finished reviewing the past he thought again about what he could do now. There is something about the human mind that will continue to search for solutions, especially when there are none. He felt thirsty. The itch on his nose moved to the side of his face. All of his training as an astronaut had not prepared him for this. For the first time in his life, he had no idea what to do. When a person does not know what to do, the only choice is between remaining still or moving. He decided to walk on the moon.


Before becoming an astronaut, Jonathan worked in an old McDonald’s that was converted into a laboratory for restoring and archiving old NASA space photograph’s. The organization was funded by NASA and run by an older man who went by the name BB Gun. BB Gun had worked for NASA for decades and liked to talk to others about how there was no one who had seen more of the moon’s surface than he had. “I have seen every spot on the moon at least once. I know every mountain range on the moon by heart. I feel like I have walked those mountain ranges many times before.” Jonathan was fascinated by BB Guns talks about the moon. He would describe endless wide-open spaces filled with craters and mountain ranges of incredible depth and distance.

BB Gun was also a self stylized conspiracy theorist. He didn’t believe that anyone had every walked on the moon before. “It was all a set up. In 2006 when NASA admitted that it had lost the only raw footage they had of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s first moon walk – I knew that the whole thing was a bunch of shit. Now that most of the people who had originally watched those studio produced images of men walking on the mood were dead or senile, NASA finally admitted that they had no real proof of men walking on the moon.” In order to better deal with BB Gun’s conspiratorial and trouble making views, NASA decided to put him in charge of the photography archival project where he would spend his days looking at old space photographs in an old McDonald’s in Mountain View, California. BB Gun didn’t mind, since he wanted as little as possible to do with what he called, “That bullshit space organization.”

BB Gun taught Jonathan how to archive the millions of space photos that had been reproduced from the originals. It was the old photographs of the ISEE-3 satellite that stimulated Jonathan’s first thoughts about space travel. BB Gun called the satellite a spacecraft from the disco era. It looked something like an old Sony walkman with solar panels. Jonathan was fascinated by the fact that this relic from the distant space age was still lost out there in space collecting data about solar wind. NASA was interested in being able to collect this data and the moment Jonathan heard that the satellite would be coming close to the moon’s orbit within the decade, he decided to become an astronaut.


As he stood there looking out at the wide open, flat space all around him- the thought came to his mind that he could be the first man to every really walk on the moon. Inspired by the thought, Jonathan decided to walk towards nowhere. As he took his first steps he was surprised by how strange it felt. These were not normal steps. With each step, the boot of his space suit did not land directly on the moon’s surface but instead it was like he was bouncing off the tension created by the open space between his boot and the moon’s surface. It felt like bouncing up and down on a trampoline as he walked unsteadily. Each step was difficult to take since there was nothing to hold on to. It was like learning how to walk on water. When he lost his balance, which happened several times, he would fall to the ground and then bounce back up into the air. Walking on the moon is more like bouncing than it was walking, he thought to himself. Walking for fifty feet would be impossible, he thought. But he realized he could try to swim through space.

He dove forward and tried to breaststroke his way through space in the same way he flew in childhood dreams. He was able to go forward for a few feet but then fell flat onto the ground. He stood back up and tried to do the same thing again but experienced similar results, although he was able to breaststroke his way forward several more feet. He felt like a fool and laughed when he realized that he had wondered if anyone could see him. What a ridiculous thought. He had always worried about other people judging him. He decided to breast stroke his way forward again and this time it worked.

He swam through space. Who would of thought that a grown man in a spacesuit would be swimming his way through space. He laughed so hard that he fogged up the window of his helmet. Through the fog he could see the white gloves and arms of his spacesuit rowing through open space in front of him. Where were the expansive mountains that BB Gun had spoke of? He felt determined in his hallucinations. In the distance was nothing.

His arms grew weak and his body tired. He stopped breaststroking his way through space and landed flat on his stomach with his space helmet causing his head and neck to arch upwards (just as if he was laying with his head up on the arm of a couch).

This is how he slept every night in his bed. On his stomach with his head turned towards one side. His wife had often told him that he should learn how to sleep on his back or side. That it would be healthier for him to do so. He tried several times, even had her wake him up if she noticed that he had returned to sleeping on his stomach. No matter how hard he tried he was not able to get to sleep laying in any other position. Sleeping on his stomach, as unhealthy as it may be, was the only way he could feel comfortable enough to fall asleep. As he lay in the same position on the surface of the moon, memories of sleeping in his bed and holding one arm around his wife’s chest returned to him. Up until that point he had forgotten all about his past life. The shock from his current situation caused him to forget most things. Now as he lay dying, memory to return to him.

When the mind is allowed to roam free, it is strange what images that it pulls up. Events in a person’s life that were once lost forever, return in the time it takes to sneeze. Like images being pulled from a void, these scenes from a life once lived create feelings that we thought were long gone. He saw himself as a younger man, 22 or 23 dressed in a black shirt and pants and wearing a black beanie. His hair was long and he had a goatee that was shaved at the sides of his mouth. He was standing by a large red wall, just standing there staring off into space. He looked lost but felt alone. He could remember that feeling of existential loneliness that he felt in his youth like it was yesterday. He was waiting for someone or trying to fill his loneliness by watching other people. His entire life was in front of him and he felt so alone. For a moment he could remember what it felt like to be that young.

The moon’s surface looked like the ash colored lava rocks that he had walked on in Hawaii. He remembered walking across the lava with his mother behind him yelling for him to be careful. The image of the first girl he had sex with returned to him. She was sitting on the beach in her bikini, her body still 18 years old and she was smiling at him while he watched her blonde hair blowing in the light breeze. He then saw an image of his wife working in the garden. She was naked, just like she always was when she worked in the garden, and she smiled at him. He could feel her smile radiating through his body. He never appreciated her smile like he did now.

He felt guilty for not being able to appreciate her smile more. He did not wonder if he would ever see her again. Instead he hoped that he had been good enough to her that her love for him was still strong enough to last for the rest of her life.

The air was running low. He was not able to take deep breaths anymore. Too much of his air supply had been used up while imagining that he was breaststroking his way through space. He would not try to walk anymore, instead he would stay still on his stomach. He stretched his arms out by his side in order to feel more comfort. He tried to find an easier position to keep his head. Everything was silent besides the pulsations in his ears. He wondered if it really could be possible that he was the first man ever to touch the moon. BB Gun would be impressed. He thought of BB Gun sitting in front of old photographs of the moon inside that old converted McDonald’s. Then his memory ceased to generate any more images. His thoughts dissolved. He felt ready to sleep. In front of him he could see the horizon line between the surface of the moon and dark space. He remains there, still staring at the horizon line.

Open House

I was on my way home from work when I noticed the sign. It was one of those signs that looked like it had been placed there by a tired real estate agent. There was not much care taken in the planting of the sign. The sign was hidden behind a few wilting plants and in blue sloppy letters it said: OPEN HOUSE with an arrow point away from the E. There was nothing else on the sign.

I was intrigued.

I left work early that Thursday afternoon. It was not even 2pm yet and I was ready for bed. I had nothing that I needed to do. I had a lot that I needed to do but that is what made it feel like I had nothing to do. Normally I worked till six or seven every weekday evening, but that afternoon I was trying out a different approach to living.

Why not go to the open house? This is what I thought as I drove past the second OPEN HOUSE sign.

It was not that I was interested in buying a new home. I was content where I dwelled. I just wanted something different to do. The work/life monotony of suburban living can induce a kind of amnesic state that unkowingly envelopes a person in a warm, predictable and comfortable tree-lined womb. If I went home that afternoon I knew I would drink a glass of white wine, water my plants and go to sleep. I wanted something different to do. I wanted to shake off routine, if only just for a few minutes.

I followed the direction the arrows pointed towards.

I drove my 1988 green Volvo down quiet, lower-middle class suburban streets. All of the front lawns were dying. The homes looked defeated, as if all the art had been drained out of the inhabitant’s lives. It was mid-afternoon but most of the homes seemed to already have television sets on. I was still feeling ill from all the white wine I drank the night before. White wine was the best medication I had found to temporarily inoculate myself against the various unpleasant feelings that came from the life I was living.

As I drove I wanted to have a glass of white wine with me. Few pleasures were as satisfying as driving around with the windows down, music on, a glass of white wine in my right hand, a cigarette hanging from my mouth and no where in particular to go.

What was the point of writing fiction any more? It no longer matters. Maybe I am the one who has outgrown it or maybe I have become too comfortable in my life. Writing is a solitary labor. No one cares if you do not do it. It doesn’t matter to anyone. When was the last time someone said to you, “Hey when is the next story coming out?” Never. Maybe I just do not have the energy or vigor to push myself any more. Maybe it is more satisfying to spend the free time I have keeping my house clean, watering my plants, reading and strumming my ukulele in the backyard. These are the things I thought as I followed the arrows.

Sign after sign appeared. The same OPEN HOUSE sign with an arrow pointing away from the E. Just as I thought that I had come to the end of the signs, another would appear. All of the signs looked tired and bored. They were leaning towards the ground, which made it difficult to know if I was going in the right direction. Fortunately, I have always possessed a good sense of direction. When I was a teenager I led a group of 11 other teenagers out of the woods after being lost for 3 days. Its a long story.

Until this point in my life, I have always followed in the direction that I felt like was the right direction to go.

When a person feels tired and bored in their life they think that everything and everyone is tired and boring. This is what I thought about as I drove.

Just as I was beginning to doubt my sense of direction, a final sign appeared. This sign was also leaning towards the ground but it did not say OPEN HOUSE on it. It just had a solitary arrow pointing towards a long, narrow driveway. The Volvo was hesitant to go forward. It jolted back and forth, not wanting to move. I pushed down on the accelerator harder than I normally would. I yelled out. I apologized to my car for my insistence that we go all the fucking way. Once I said sorry for using such physical and verbal force, the car stopped resisting.

At first I was startled. I thought that what I was seeing was not really there. I tried to remember if I had smoked any marijuana or drank any wine that morning. I had not. I then wondered if I was suffering heat stroke. Had I drank enough water earlier that day? I thought I had. I forced myself to look at the house in front of me. I was experiencing difficulty breathing. I wished I had a glass of white wine. Everything I had ever believed was put into question.

There was an open house in front of me.

There were no walls. There was no roof. The house was wide open.

I looked around for other signs of life that could validate what I was experiencing. All I could find were weeds, wilting plants, trees, squirrels, birds, bugs and discarded beer cans. No people.

I am not sure how much time passed between my arrival and the moment I realized I was twiddling my thumbs. I stopped right away. My father reprimanded me about doing this as a child. Only the bored and lazy twiddle their thumbs son.

I got out of the Volvo and walked. I walked towards the open house like I was approaching a large dog that I was not sure about.

How? This is what I thought as I walked.

The open house looked like people were currently living there. All the signs of a home lived in were there: couches, chairs, beds, televisions, tables, plants, bookshelves and various other pieces of furniture. There were potted flowers around the open house and there was also a swing hanging from a tree. Everything looked incredibly normal, except for the absence of walls and a roof.

How? I said it out loud this time.

I’ve read a lot about people losing their mind. Is it now my turn? I said this out loud also.

 I stood where I felt like the front door should be located and I yelled out.



I yelled out one last time and waited for a reply. Nothing.

What the hell. I said this to myself. I decided to walk in.

Hello? I did not yell out. I was trying to be polite.

Everything in the home looked as if it was well cared for. It was not what you would expect from a house without walls and a roof. The carpets looked like they had been recently vacuumed. There was no dust accumulation on the furniture, television or tables. The pillows on the couch and chairs looked like they had been artfully placed. No cobwebs. On the coffee table in front of the television there were magazines, a few art books and several television remote controllers. On the side table beside the couch there was a small clock that I noticed was no longer working and a few books stacked neatly beneath a reading light.

I walked through the living room and into the kitchen. There was a clean, modern sink with only a coffee cup in it. On the counter next to the sink were sponges, dish soap and a sign that said, A Clean Sink Is The Heart Of A Loved Home. The granite counter tops reflected blue sky, tree branches and sun.

The sun and the moon and the trees all spend their days hanging out. Why don’t we? This is what I thought as I looked at the kitchen table with four chairs around it. There was a stainless steal refrigerator. I noticed some desiccated leaves on the kitchen floor, which had fallen from the tree branches that hung above. Beyond the kitchen sink and counter, a backyard with a dying lawn, potted plants and flowers, sun chairs and a pool. Looked like a nice place to rest.

I used the toilet and felt uncomfortable being exposed as I peed. The bathroom was surprisingly clean. It was the kind of clean that I strived for in my own bathroom. I got some pee on the rim of the toilet and cleaned it off with toilet paper. Unlike most people- I have manners. I flushed the white porcelian toilet. The bathtub had a DWELL magazine in it. It looked as if someone had left it there to read the next time they took a bath.

I walked through what seemed to be a hallway. There were several bedrooms all around. All of the beds looked professionally made and the surrounding areas were tidy. At the end of the hallway was a larger king sized bed. The bed had a nice comforter and a plethora of patterned pillows. The space looked like it was the resting place of whoever owned the open house. Beyond the bed were weeds, plants and a few dehydrated trees, which dropped leaves onto the bed. Bugs flew all around. There was an old wood fence in the distance. I could feel the heat from the sun on the top of my head.

I sat down in a comfortable chair besides the bed. I looked around. I could see a toilet, shower, sink. Must be the master bathroom. This is what I thought. Beyond the bathroom area I could see all of the contents of the entire home spread out in front of me. It was as if I was sitting in the far corner of a carefully curated field of furniture.

I took off my shoes and got into the bed. Some of the pillows fell on to the floor as I made myself comfortable in the bed. The sheets and the comforter smelled clean. I strived for this smell in my own bed but was much too lazy to be able to achieve it on a regular basis. I pulled the blankets up over my body and looked towards the sky. There were no clouds, just branches and leaves. I could hear a few bird sounds. There was a warm afternoon breeze. I took a deep breath, noticing that I was not having trouble breathing anymore. It would be nice to have a glass of white wine right now. This is the last thought I remember having.

There was a loud scream followed by another loud scream. It sounded like a woman’s scream. There was another scream, which sounded like it was coming from a young girl. I was startled out of my deep sleep. It took me some time to figure out what was going on. When I heard, What are you doing here?, shouted forcefully in my direction- I sat up quickly. I threw the blankets off of me. There was an older lady and a young girl standing at the entrance of the room. There were walls. There was a roof over my head. I stared at the lady who looked like she was ready to attack. Then I realized that I was sleeping in someone else’s room.

Get out of here! What do you think you are doing in my bed! I am calling the police! She kept shouting things like this at me. I was still confused as I put my shoes on while telling her how sorry I was, how confused I was, how I did not understand how any of this was happening. I did not make things any better for myself when I asked her how the roof and ceiling got here all of a sudden. She called me crazy and the young girl started crying. I tried to reassure her that I was not a threat and that I was leaving right away. I am leaving now, I am leaving, Please do not be afraid. This is what I kept repeating as I walked past the lady and the young child.

I walked down the hallway and out the front door. Where did the front door come from? This is what I thought as I walked out. I could feel my heart beating in my stomach as I walked quickly to my car. I wanted to get away before the police arrived. As I was about to get into my green Volvo I heard the lady’s voice, shouting in my direction. I turned around and looked at her. She was standing in front of the house, which now had a front door, walls and a roof. The house was painted white.

Sir! Sir!! Excuse me, but were you here for the open house?