December 22, 2014

Our Toast to Jacob. On His Bar Mitzvah

Hello and welcome to all of our family and friends that are here to celebrate Jacob today.

This is the part of the speech where we talk about how long we know some of you, the distances that you traveled from to be here with us today, and how special and important you are to us and to Jacob.

  • We are incredibly lucky to be surrounded by four generations of the most warm and loving family that there is.
  • Many of you have known us since we were children, younger than Jacob is today. Look what we did!
  • We are joined by friends of Jacob’s from his early childhood; friends he doesn’t even remember playing with back then.
  • We have people that traveled from all corners of the country, including friends that we met when we lived in Japan.

We’re still in a bit of awe and denial that our baby boy is 13 years old.

But after the stellar job that he did today leading services, reading from the Torah, and sharing his words and insights with us, we can say that the mix of awe and denial has morphed into pure awe and joy.

As parents, it is said that we have two obligations that constantly tug in opposite directions: (1) to guide, change, socialize, and instruct our children; (2) to celebrate them without question.

Today is without a doubt a day of boundless celebration of Jacob.

Our “number one son,” Jacob is the ultimate family man. What he spoke about today in his D’var Torah, that is 100% Jacob in a nutshell.  Jacob has always put family first, and has the most genuine and sincere love of family. It’s a defining quality of which we are very proud.

Jacob is also a child whisperer; he is amazing around children. His true colors shine with absolute softness and sweetness. Ever since the day Lauren was born, he was the most loving sweet proud big brother. And I’ve never seen a kid so proud and enamored of his little cousins. He has even taken friends home after school to play with them.  He also has consistently shown himself to be incredibly responsible when given the chance.

These qualities all make him an extraordinary man.

Jacob is also our Yankees/Giants/Knicks side-kick, Mike’s fantasy football co-GM, a baseball player, soccer player, ultimate Frisbee player, and tennis player. On the field, he may not be the fastest player out there, but he consistently makes intelligent decisions and executes them; he passes, he shares and he is good teammate.

All qualities we admire.

Sure, he can be a bit stubborn, um . . . on occasion.  But we have heard from many of you that this stubbornness will serve him well in life as he grows.  We’re going to hold you to that!

My good buddy - he Tweeted me once! - and author Neil Gaiman wrote that “The fundamental, most comical tragedy of parenthood: that if you do your job properly, if you, as a parent, raise your children well, they won’t need you anymore. If you do it properly, they go away and they have lives and they have families and they have futures.”  It's bittersweet. But more sweet. We’re certainly feeling that today!

Let’s all raise our glasses.

So Jacob, our son:

We offer you a blessing for you to continue to grow as a person and as a member of the world and of the Jewish community.

We love you.

We are proud of you.

We are confident in the man you are becoming.

We are blessed to be along for the ride. And we will always – always – be there with you and for you.


December 20, 2014

Jacob's Bar Mitzvah

Life is lived every day. But marked with moments big and small.

And I think to myself these things expressed here:

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” – Robert Frost

“Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth, We are happy when we are growing.” – William Butler Yeats

“The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.” – Emily Dickinson


December 15, 2014

This is What I Said At My Uncle Jack's Funeral After He Passed Away on July 4, 2014

One of Jack’s favorite authors (and mine), Haruki Murakami, said “There are many things we only see clearly in retrospect.”  Luckily for us, the things we saw – and felt – together with Jack were clear the whole time. He had an authentic and deep relationship with each of us. The love was direct and present. The experiences of the relationship varied and delicious.

Jack has always been distinctly Jack.

My Uncle Jack was a unique person – rough and brusque but not at all. He worked hard to cultivate that curmudgeon character. But we know better. If he was teasing and poking and ‘stirring the pot,’ it meant he loved you. The harder time he gave you, the more you knew he loved you. And he loved us all a lot. 

Jack shared with me his love of literature. He showed me the power and elegance of a well-crafted sentence.

He called me Kasdan Major, which I loved. He would describe his feelings and actions as “avuncular” (Which I had to look up).

Jack brought a sense of humor that we hadn’t encountered before and it swept us away. Many of you probably know what I’m talking about – it steps right up to the edge of being wholly obnoxious but at the same time is completely endearing.  And its infectious.

He showed us how to taste life – how to live it – with travel, with music, with food, with drink, with music, with games and with friends.

He was an adventurer. He took me camping for the first time.  Taught me how to play poker.  (He valiantly tried to teach me Bridge, but it didn’t take.)  He introduced me to grappa, and port, and taught me how to appreciate wine.  The Vermont trips that he and Joyce planned became one of the central traditions of my life, as I grew from a 14 year old kid hoping to get to stay up late enough to watch the poker game to well, me, now.

He was a man who knew how to Love.  

He told us he loved us eloquently and often and beautifully.  He showed us, with the words he said and the words he wrote and by his smile and how his eyes would get wet with happiness and pride at family gatherings. Yes, we saw. Always with a love we could all feel.  And that will never go away.

I want to share a few things about that.


As I mentioned above, and as many of you know, Jack and Joyce planned yearly trips to Vermont. Jack’s pub quizzes were a thing to behold.  Multimedia extravananzas of impossible to answer questions spanning all things, with music, video, and cheese/herb/alcohol tasting rounds. But because I couldn’t perform well at them, I apprenticed to be the next pub Quizmeister.  He shared it with me.  Now I do it, and I added rules to set the same tone he did.  (e.g., The Quizmeister is judge/jury/executioner on all challenges). I’ve dumbed it down and I can’t compete with the breadth of his quizzes, and every year I still send him my draft and he replies:  

"It looks lovely, but I'm missing the answers, and you know what I'm like without the answers … I like the 'executioner' part. That speaks well for your attitude. Anyway. I'll say Well Done! And wish you and the troops fun at the gaming table~"


At family occasions – Passover at Jack and Joyces, Thanksgiving, birthdays, etc.  He always took the time to say … He always said how much it meant to him that we were his family, his eyes would get wet during family moments.  His joy at being with family was palpable.  And every time I would think – it’s we that are the lucky ones:

His note from last Thanksgiving/Jack’s birthday captures it well – its one part sweetness and sappiness and one part Jack, like many of his notes:

Hi Guys~

Yesterday was amazing. The food was scrumptious and the people -- family and friends alike -- were loving and kind and creative and all that people should be. However, the song and the book that you created for me exceeded anything that I thought could ever happen. Listening to you sing to me and reading the words you put on paper for me brought up tears and I was happy to shed them. You guys have been, are, and will be wonderful! I love you~

* * *

Now to the realities of life: The clothing you got for me (no more clothes, please! Write me a word or two; take me to the movies; give me a book; take me to dinner, but no more clothing!) doesn't fit! The jacket is 'L' and too small! The sweater is 'XXL' and too big. Lisa could wear the sweater and David the jacket -- or do I have that wrong? Get your money back and do something else with it! I'll still love you! 

And always will.


A note from a prior Thanksgiving/Birthday celebration was similar.  This time, Jack and Joyce couldn’t come out because Joyce was under the weather.

I wrote:

Happy Birthday Jack.  There will be another Apple Cake!!

We hope that Joyce is feeling better -- you made the only decision
that was to be made, and I would have done the same.  But we sure missed you guys!


On Thu, Nov 26, 2009 at 1:58 PM, <> wrote:

Not only is Joyce ill on Thanksgiving (and of lesser import (ahem) alo giornato del natividad del tio Giqacomo)), but now the grossest breach of all is about to be perpetrated: the consumption of the apple cake specifically designed with me in mind will be eaten by everyone else, but not me!? How can in-laws, nieces and nephews, guests and other persons be so blatantly devoid of feeling as to eat that which is not intended for them? I almost came without Joyce so as to lay claim to her portion, but she begged me not to leave her. What's a man to do?

Alas. Another cake given to infidels whilst the intendee is ministering to the needs of a weaker being. I smile as I write, but I am very serious when I send with this jocular piece of fluff my love and real affection for you all. You have filled a gap in my life that had no family prior to you. Now it saddens me when we are apart when we should be together. 

Thank you for all your good wishes and Joyce -- as each of you knows! -- wanted me out of her hair and in yours. It was almost like: 'You owe me this, Jack!' and my answering, 'It's my birthday! I get to choose!' Mark this down in your calendars. She was too weak to win the battle!

Much love to all youse guys!



We love you.  

That uniquely Jack voice – we still hear it in our heads and we smile. And those memories we made together, they’re part of who we all are.

We are infinitely better and fuller and more alive people for knowing you – 

As you said in your note: “Now it saddens me when we are apart when we should be together.”  

Me too.

December 11, 2014

A Friend Shared This Poem With Me On My Fortieth Birthday

Men at Forty - by Donald Justice (b. 1925) (1967)

Men at forty
Learn to close softly ...
The doors to rooms they will not be
Coming back to.

At rest on a stair landing,
They feel it
Moving beneath them now like the deck of a ship,
Though the swell is gentle.

And deep in mirrors
They rediscover
The face of the boy as he practices trying
His father’s tie there in secret
And the face of that father,
Still warm with the mystery of lather.

They are more fathers than sons themselves now.
Something is filling them, something
That is like the twilight sound
Of the crickets, immense,
Filling the woods at the foot of the slope
Behind their mortgaged houses. 

December 8, 2014

Jacob's 'I Am From' Poem

I Am From

By Jacob Kasdan

I am from Summit Ave
I am from a nice house
I am from a big red tree
I am from a loving family; some alive and some remembered

I am from Shabbat dinner. Once a month
I am from the New York Yankees and Giants
I am from Mom and Dad
I am from November 24th
I am from almost becoming a Bar Mitzvah

I am from a house with red shutters
I am from baseball, basketball, tennis, frisbee, and soccer
I am from kindness, love, and respect
I am from Judaism

October 29, 2014

The Soundtrack of Life

A musical counterpart to the book lists that are traveling around Facebook.

The challenge is to list ten songs that come to mind that most clearly and powerfully evoke the memories of your youth (well, we're still in our youth, but even younger). For me, most of them will be high school, college, I'm guessing. And its impossible to limit it to ten.

Here are mine:

1. Jane Says, Janes Addiction
2. INXS, By My Side
3. Soul to Squeeze, Red Hot Chili Peppers,
4. Where is My Mind, The Pixies
5. Egg Man, The Beastie Boys,
6. Out of the Blue (and Into the Fire), The The
7. Who's Gonna Drive You Home, The Cars
8. Tomorrow Wendy, Concrete Blonde
9. American Pie, Don McLean
10. Country Feeback, REM

Honorable Mention Five Pack: (I'm cheating here . . . .)

  1. Good Feeling, Violent Femmes
  2. With or Without You, U2
  3. Fast Car, Tracy Chapman
  4. Just Can't Get Enough, Depeche Mode
  5. Plainsong, The Cure
  6. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, Paul Simon

Books of Impact

10 books that I have read that stayed with me.

Here are mine:

1. The Star Belly Sneetches (Dr. Seuss, short story).
2. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
3. Breakfast of Champions (Vonnegut)
4. White Noise (Dellillo)
5. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Madness (Pirsig)
6. Catch 22 (Heller)
7. Native Son (Wright)
8. Cloud Atlas (Mitchell)
9. Any Tom Robbins but esp. Skinny Legs and All and Jitterbug Perfume
10. Kafka on the Shore (Murakami)
*11. Ocean at the End of the Lane (Gaiman)

* Bonus selection. Too many more to list...

October 24, 2014

Lauren's Writing Prompt Story #1: An engineer … who has ... a super power … and a universal language

Lauren shared this awesome writing prompt generator that she uses for creative writing at school. The next evening, she sat on the couch at the computer and pounded this story out.
As I told her after I read it, there is no way I could put together a funny well-told story like this on the spot!
She beamed when I told her she was a far better writer than I, and then asked, as I was leaving:
"Daddy, is there an age you have to be in order to be a writer for The Good Men Project?"
No. No there is not.
* * *
The Story
[Prompt: An engineer … who has ... a super power … and a universal language]
Hi! I'm Ted, and I'm an engineer. Funny story: Um, when I first got the job I had to take a test to show that I knew how to fix things.
The first time I took the test, I got an "F" which means fail. But, at the time I thought it meant fantastic. So, the next day I went in and said, "Hi! I'm Ted the engineer!" They thought I got the job. So, I went along with it and well, look at me now. Now, I know that "F" means fail not fantastic but I have the job.
I know what you're thinking. What did the man who gave me the grade do when he found out I was working. After I "got the job" I went and had a talk with him. Turns out he was the manager. He asked me, "Why should I hire you to work for me." I said," Well, I have a secret that I haven't told anyone. I have a superpower. I can glow and make things glow. To be honest I don't know how to be an engineer, but you can teach me. If you don't, then I won't show you my superpower."
"All righty! I guess I can trust you," he replied.
Over the next years I learned a lot, showed the manager my power (he spread the news so I had to show everyone on the job), and eventually retired. I had fun on the job, but I started it at the age 39 and retired at the age 51. It was hard to leave all my friends from engineering, especially the manager because I had created a good bond with him.
Then, I went home and went to bed.
When I woke up I had a crazy idea. I would make up my own company.
What will my company be?
I will create new languages.
My business has been very successful. Here are some of my words from my newest created language called Aglefloosh - Oxeless, Dertre, and Wuelt, which means: I have to go to the bathroom so bye!

October 6, 2014

Bee-sts: A Story by Lauren and Michael Kasdan (Chapters 1-5 ... Exciting Conclusion To Come!!)


By:       Lauren Sylvie Kasdan
            Michael Joshua Kasdan

Chapter 1: The Invasion of the Beasts

It was a rainy day in the Great Forest of The Bees.  The Bees didn’t like it one bit.  Some of them were trying to fly, but the water on their wings was weighing them down.  Some of them couldn’t even lift themselves off the ground.

From their hive, in the distance, they saw huge shadowy figures, and they were coming closer!  As they approached, The Bees saw that the figures were actually all sorts of large beasts, like Lions and Tigers and Bears.  But it looked as if they were floating in mid-air.  They got even closer.  Amazingly, these beasts had wings!  And they were huge!  They were like terrifying giants to the Bees.

Seeing these Beasts zooming into their land, the Bees, whose wings were working, began to flee out of the hive, leaving the Queen Bee in danger of being killed.  As a first, she was already running low on honey, and now this!  The Beasts soared in, quickly capturing the Queen and taking the hive with her. They then turned their attention to the other bees. Taking to the air, they began to track down, catch, and even kill many of the bees that were trying to escape.

In order to survive, the Bees flew in groups and then split off in many different directions, to try to distract the Beasts.  One group of 27 bees survived and they had a different strategy for survival.  The leader of this troop was a brave and courageous bee that was very determined.  His name was Derek, and it was he who came up with their survival strategy.

Derek was a teen bee, and he was a worker bee.  Derek was not only brave and determined, but he was also very handsome.  In fact, he was the most handsome bee of all, and a favorite of all the girl bees.  More importantly, he was smart and quick on his feet.  As per Derek’s orders, his group of bees flew upwards to the skies.

Chapter 2:  Through the Gates

High above, above the tallest tree in the Great Forest, there was a cloud.  Rumor had it; there was a castle on that cloud.  But no one knew if the legend was true.  The ancient stories told of an old bee, the eldest living bee in the world at age 200.  This bee was named Old Gray.  Derek had heard she was the wisest bee ever to live in the Great Forest.   

His plan was to find Old Gray and to ask her advice about what to do.  Derek led his group through the clouds.  They looked everywhere for Old Gray.  Soon they came upon her castle.  At first, they thought it was a cloud shaped like a castle.  But then they realized it was a real castle. A strange place for a bee to live, anyways.

First, they tried to push the front gates open.  They were locked.

Then, Derek saw a small hole in the door.  No bee of any size could fit inside. Derek looked under the welcome mat, and lo and behold there was a tiny key!  He flew up to the hole with the key in his mouth, and used it to unlock the gate.  They were inside!  There was a giant courtyard, and right in the middle of the courtyard there was a guard bee.  This bee was rather big and muscular.  The total opposite of Derek and his crew.

Derek stepped forward.  “It is important that we see Old Gray as soon as possible.  We have traveled very far.  And there is a great problem in our land.  We need her help!”

“No trespassing of any kind!” the guard bee said in his big, booming voice.

The bees backed up but Derek stood his ground.  “Did I mention that you’re rocking those boots”? Derek said.

“I like them too.  I don’t know if anyone likes them.  Maybe Old Gray likes them.  Do you think I should ask her?” replied the over sized bee.  While these very words came out of the guard bee’s mouth, Derek and his crew hurried by.  Being very agile and silent. 

Chapter 3:  Old Gray

Soon Derek and his group arrived at the castle of Old Gray.  As they flew in through a shattered window, Derek began to remember how he first learned about Old Gray and her castle.

            Every day when Derek was young, he would go to the hi-brary (the library high in the sky).  One day, Derek discovered a secret room of ancient books of legends.  He was browsing the book stacks, and saw a dusty, giant, old book, entitled “The Forbidden Book.” 

Derek was fascinated, and he decided to take a look.  He reached for it.  On the back of the book, there was gum attached to a trigger that would open the door to a secret room.  As Derek pulled the book off the shelf, the room was revealed.  Derek was shocked, and walked in.

It looked as if no one had been in the room in hundreds of years.  It was filled with giant ancient books.  The biggest one was lying open in the center of the room. Derek turned the book to the front cover, and it said: “Old Gray: Told Through Her Words.”  He sat down and began to read.  That night, he read it from cover to cover.  He learned that Old Gray lived in a castle on a cloud and that she was the keeper of generations of wisdom.

Now he was about to meet her!

As he and his group, flew through the castle, they came to the main hall.  It was over a mile long and very wide too.  In fact, it would be the biggest castle ever known if anybody knew about it.  It seemed to go on forever.  At the end of the hall, was a small room with a single old bee sitting on a dusty couch. 

She looked up with kind eyes as they approached:

“I’ve been waiting for you, young man.”

Chapter 4:  The Plan

Derek was surprised, but he flew up to her anyways.

“What do you mean?” Derek asked.

“What I mean by this is,” she said in her old, creaky voice “I can read your mind.”

“No you can’t.”

“Just you wait.”

“Fine.  What am I thinking?” said Derek.

“You think Melanie Blackback is soooooo cute and you want to marry her.”

“Yep.  I really do think that.  Wow!  You really can read minds.  That’s cool,” replied Derek in his high-pitched voice, which was the total opposite of the voice of Old Gray.

“Surely, you didn’t come all this way so I could guess the bees that you fancy,” said Old Gray with a smile.  “Tell me what is going on below.”

At that, Derek told her of the invasion of the beasts, and all the terrible things that had happened, and how he and his team had escaped to seek her wisdom.  When he finished, he looked up, and softly asked, “So, can you help us?”

“I can,” she said, and then went on: “I believe that you should not fight the beasts, nor should you flee in fear.  You must figure out what they want and why they came.”

“But,” said Derek, “how will we get the beasts to calm down?  If we go back down there, they will kill us!”

Old Gray cocked her head and replied, “You must get their attention.  You must convince them to listen to you.”

“How will I do that?” asked Derek.

“You must be confident and strong.  If you believe in yourself and are not afraid, they will respect you.  If you convince them that you can help them, they will listen to you.”

Derek smiled and flexed his arms.  “I can do that.”

Old Gray shook her head.  “Not strong of body.  Strong of mind.”

Derek understood.  He went back to his group of bees, and explained what they would be doing.  They were very worried that they wouldn’t be able to convince the Beasts to listen to them, and they were flying towards a certain death at the hands of their enemies.

Derek listened patiently, like a good leader.  He then began to speak.  He stood before them and explained that he had got them this far: “Trust me.  Old Gray’s plan will work.  I know it!  If you won’t come with me, I will go alone.  If you are with me, come stand with me.”

One by one the bees flew to Derek’s side.  They were nervous but they trusted him.  When the entire group was ready, they left the clouds and flew downward towards their home.

Chapter 5: The Big Bee-Beast Meeting

As they came down from the clouds, Derek’s group was gripped with fear.  They looked all around frantically as they flew – hoping that the Beasts wouldn’t get them.  Luckily, they were able to land safely at the top of the tall tree.  There, Derek yelled with all his might:  “Beasts of the Land, I am Derek of the bees, and we need to talk about why you are attacking.”

The leader of the Beasts stepped forward and looked upwards.  To Derek’s surprise, the Beast leader was a mix of a lion, tiger and bear.  He had the body of a tiger, a head of a bear, and the tail of the lion.  Not only that, but he had huge wings that soon carried him to the top of the tall tree until he was eye-to-eye with Derek.
“Give me one reason why I shouldn’t just kill you all?”

Derek was afraid, but steadied himself and answered: “We didn’t do anything to you.  We have lived peacefully all this time, and this is our land.  We do not understand why you came here.  If we know why you are here and why you are so angry, maybe we can figure out a solution together.”

The Beast leader lowered his head, and Derek saw tears forming in his eyes.  He started to speak, this time quietly:

“Well, we beasts for the past few months have been living with no food, barely any water.  It’s miserable.  Something to our land – everything dried up.  We couldn’t stay there anymore. And the thing is we need help.  We attacked because we need a new land to survive; we knew this was your land, and attacking seemed to be what we needed to do.”

“Why do you come here for help?”

“This is the land that is closest.  It is a good land.” 

. . . . MORE TO COME!

September 6, 2014

Homespun Remedies For The Commuting Blues

(An edited and improved version of this piece has been printed by The Good Men Project and is available here.)


The daily grind of commuting: a cruel fact of suburban life.

The early morning rise. 
The every day repetition.
The soul-crushing delays.

It’s the Dunkin Donuts commercial guy, wiping the sleep from his eyes and muttering “Time to make the donuts.”
It’s Sisyphus pushing the rock up the hill. 
It’s lemmings rushing to the cliff’s edge. And then over.

If you don’t laugh at it, it will leave you a cold twitchy bitter shell of yourself, your pent up aggressions sullying your view of all humanity. 

It’s true.  I shit you not.

With that in mind, we offer a number of sanity-preserving coping techniques.  Today we will cover: (1) expressing rage through social media outlets; (2) aggressive actions against fellow passengers; and (3) various humor-based strategies.

The therapeutic effect of rage is presently under study by the FDA. 

Venting by way of social media is a terrific option.

Mocking tweets are a nice way to start for spouting off.  For NJ Transit riders (like me), @NJTSucks (location: “Stuck somewhere between Trenton & New York”) provides a nice outlet:

 A more ribald option is @FuckNJTransit:

Personally I enjoy using the hashtag: #BadAtTrains on Twitter. But let loose and be creative!

Facebook is also useful for spewing a more tempered anger and frustration, with a dash of seeking solace from non-commuter friends and solidarity from fellow commuters. Facebook posts are also a good way to start commuter games, like Wheel of Train Delay Excuses: “Signal problems,” “The Portal Bridge is down” (Is there really a Portal Bridge??  What is the Portal Bridge anyway!?), “Leaves,” “Snow on the tracks,” “too hot,” “too cold,” “just right but we're stuck anyway,” “broken down train in front of us,” “Amtrak’s fault,” "Monday," and “Total. Fucking. Silence.”

Aggressive actions against your fellow commuters are an unfortunate by-product of commuter range.  Though not recommended or condoned, this method of blowing off stream endures and can take many forms:

·      Physical altercations over with the Talking Loudly on The Cellphone Guy who shares his whole inane life with the whole freaking car while you are trying to read.  Warning: violence is ugly.

·      Disbelieving stares that devolve into verbal wars with the My Bags Are on The Seat Next To Me and Even Though You’re Standing I Am Going To Refuse Eye Contact woman.

·      Dropping of elbows, pushing, shoving as you are being herded like animals towards the just-announced track and through a corridor that is inexplicably ½ the width of a single person.

·      Constant cursing under your breath, such as the repeated and uncontrollable muttering of “Mother. Fucker.”

It is a well-known fact that Humor can soothe the savage commuter.  The possibilities are almost endless.

Pithy commuter inside jokes:

When the train dispatcher’s wife embraces her husband, do you think she thinks: ‘I am being held briefly by the train dispatcher’?”

Artistic outlets: Art can be a terrific way to pass time while silently mocking fellow commuters.  Here, some modicum of drawing ability helps.  The gold standard is this guy, who turned a yellow sticky note pad into hilarious bits of train art, like this:

If you have no artistic talent or creativity, this is why god invented smartphone cameras.  Don’t’ be bashful.  Selfie it up.

If writing is your thing, perhaps try a passive-aggressive haiku:

Hipster blocking the
train door, are you doing it

Woman next to me
Proves it's possible to do
Sudoku out loud.

Before you hang up,
Tell your mom the whole train says
She's right about you.

Playing Angry Birds
When he sets a new high score
He does a fist-pump

She pulls out her book
And nervously looks around
50 Shades of Grey

(Haikus courtesy of @commuter_haiku and

One of my personal favorite categories of humor is Quiet Car Humor:  The invention of and the nature of human interactions in The Quiet Car can inspire funny bits of goodness:

This can range from musings pumped out as Facebook status posts, like this: 

The great paradox of The Quiet Car: It is literally impossible to say ‘Um...Excuse me? This is the quiet car,’ without sounding kind of douchy."

… to full length New Yorker style essays, like this:

“This initiative is an expansion of our Quiet Car program and will be known as Hush Plus. Each car on every rush-hour train will be designated one of the following: Quiet, Almost Quiet, Normal Amount of Noise, It’s Getting Louder, or Insanely Loud.

QUIET CAR: For many commuters, the Quiet Car has never been quiet enough. Now it will be. Sounds once tolerated, such as a cell-phone whisper (“Can’t talk—I’m in the Quiet Car”), will now result in a fifteen-dollar fine or deboarding at 125th Street. Screen swiping on any wireless device must be silent. Passengers with long fingernails and jangly jewelry should think twice before taking a seat in the Quiet Car.

ALMOST QUIET CAR: A car reserved for people who tolerate eye contact. The exchange of a few daily pleasantries will be permitted, although sustained conversation will be banned. Absolutely no jokes are allowed, especially the one about the husband who regrettably misspeaks to his wife at breakfast when he merely intends to say, “Please pass the marmalade.”

NORMAL AMOUNT OF NOISE CAR: The place for old-fashioned face-to-face conversation with colleagues, neighbors, and other acquaintances. Older passengers can rest assured that other riders will not roll their eyes when they rustle and fold their printed newspapers. The Normal Amount of Noise Car will provide a sound buffer, so that you can speak frankly without worrying that your words might be overheard and come back to haunt you in a securities investigation. Here, too, you can safely tell your seatmate that your kids turned out to be total assholes.”

So remember kids: Don't stand in the vestibule, walk up for the station platform, please make sure to have your electronic tickets out and loaded before we leave the station, and Stay Calm and Commute On.