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About "Us"



eslyes.com is my FREE site containing 1,600+ original stories, plus exercises and audio, for English learners and English lovers worldwide. Plus, links to both of my e‐books (only 99 cents!) containing 500 short stories each (see homepage for the various links to purchase these e‐books). All material on eslyes.com is Copyright Mike Carlson, All Rights Reserved. Any unauthorized duplication, distribution, or use of any or all material on eslyes.com is an infringement of copyright and will subject infringer to civil and/or criminal penalties.
I was an ESL instructor (BA English, MA Education) for 24 years in Pasadena, CA and Brooklyn, NY. I currently work part‐time as a proofreader. A Brooklyn resident, I ride the B and Q regularly and cross each NYC street warily.   —Mike Carlson, October 2017


A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT...
      You know, we're all the same, and we're all different. We all have our pride, probably too much of it. We're all bullied at one time or another, yet bullies at other times. We all dislike liars and hypocrites, yet we all ARE liars and hypocrites. We've all done and said stupid or mean things, but also really nice things. We've all asked for forgiveness, but refused to forgive. We all have problems, especially regarding money, health, love, and happiness.
      So, I'm like you, and I'm not like you. I was born in Brooklyn, grew up in the South, and moved back here to Brooklyn after 30 years in Los Angeles. I was a low‐handicap golfer for years, and I'm twice divorced. I'm surviving in the big city. I play Mega regularly (or: stupidly), but when Mega went up to $2, as Powerball did, I "wised up"—and now play HALF as regularly. I love watching baseball and golf, and I enjoy reading different news apps and listening to various podcasts on my iPhone. When the weather is nice, I enjoy taking walks on Emmons Avenue, people‐watching as I pass the busy restaurants and the fishing boats.
      Every day, I'm thankful for three things: electricity, indoor plumbing, and soap.
      During a brief chat a while back, an elderly neighbor observed, "It's not easy being old." I said, "It wasn't easy being young, either." He nodded. Like many of us, he and I live day to day, enjoying the wonderful things that come with being alive, dealing with the usual small and unusual big problems, doing our best, and hoping for the best.
—Mike Carlson, December 2019

AND…
      Well, here it is December 2020, and many of us have survived a tiny little bug that has brought the whole world to its knees. And many of us are mourning those who didn’t survive. And many of us are worrying about those, including ourselves, who didn’t lose their lives, but instead lost, or are losing, their livelihoods. Will 2021 be the light at the end of this tunnel, or maybe even be the end of the tunnel itself?
      And if we do conquer Covid‑19, it’s the inventors, STEMers, researchers, medical people, first responders, etc. that we will owe lifelong gratitude to. But will we erect statues to any of them? Will we see them on the front page of newspapers and magazines week after week? Will talk shows have such persons as guests year after year? Will they receive corner offices and C‑suite perks? Will the publishing world be flooded with their best‐selling biographies? Will TV shows and movies about them abound? Will we survivors pester them for their autographs and selfies? While we enjoy the tranquil period between ‑19 and ‑20, will we pay one‐hundredth the attention to them that we pay to entertainers and athletes and internet celebrities, or even (especially!) to our own mirrors?
      Of course not. Because that is our nature. We beg for a cure or an invention or an improvement to that invention, and then when we get it, we carry on as before. No good deed goes unpunished, or long remembered. Human nature is always, What have you done for me lately?
      For us humans, convenience and comfort are king. We blame the energy companies, among others, for ravaging the earth and causing global climate change, but who among us has forsaken the power sources that operate, warm, cool, and light our homes, workplaces, transportation, and entertainment centers? Who among us has refused to buy anything and everything that is made of or from plastic? Many of us will not quit such convenience and comfort until forced to do so. We have no problem with going down with, let alone causing, the sinking ship as long as we can eat well and drink well and be entertained well on the way down. Better to live comfortably now and into a short future than to live into a long future that involves sleeping in caves and trying to keep warm by standing around a small open fire. Supposedly, the Polynesians lived on Easter Island for several hundred years before they destroyed its livability, and moved on to another island. We are several hundred years into destroying Earth’s livability; there is no other island to move on to. Technology brought us to this point. Can it save us in the nick of time? Are cold fusion and unlimited fresh water but a quantum computer’s calculation away? Can technology deliver a global UNDO button?
      Last year I dropped (but now am undropping) the FOURTH item that I’m thankful for every day: capitalism. Where would we be without the incentive to create and/or improve things that enrich our lives AND our wallets? How often do we thank the inventors, the thinkers, the curious ones, for developing, for example, the modest paper clip in the first place, and then improving it with various sizes, materials, and even, like potato chips, ridges? Without capitalism, where would love, money, and power, the three things that drive our universe, be?
—Mike Carlson, December 2020

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© 2021 Mike Carlson.  All rights reserved.  www.eslyes.com  michaeleslATgmail.com

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