October 2013

Therapist Shopping

by Bill Brenner October 31, 2013 Mental health

A few months ago my therapist retired and moved to warmer environs in the south. He said I was managing my OCD well and that I didn’t need therapy until the autumn. Mood music: That last appointment was in the spring, with the season’s increasingly long periods of daylight, the environment I function best in. Now it’s late October, with shorter days, and the seasonal issues are starting to kick in. Sunday I started getting…  [Read More]

Red Sox Player Jonny Gomes: Profile in Fortitude

by Bill Brenner October 30, 2013 Inspiration

I’ll be honest with all you rabid sports fans: I’m not much of a sports guy. While my peers were playing on various ball teams in high school, my recreation was listening to heavy metal, going to concerts and getting into trouble. In adulthood, I’m always happy when the Boston sports teams do well, but I don’t stay up late to watch games or banter with colleagues about sports. I still have an admiration for…  [Read More]

For Those Mourning Colleen Ritzer

by Bill Brenner October 24, 2013 Grief management

I didn’t know Colleen Ritzer, the 24-year-old Danvers High School math teacher found dead in the woods behind the school this week. I also don’t know Philip Chism, the 14 year old charged with murdering her. But I’m affected by this tragedy all the same. My first job as a reporter 20 years ago was at the weekly Danvers newspaper. Andover, Ritzer’s hometown, is where my kids go to school. It’s a town I know well as…  [Read More]

Erin Cox Case: The Rush to Judgement Is a Two-Way Street

by Bill Brenner October 23, 2013 Communication skills for the crazy

Some say criticism of North Andover School administrators in the Erin Cox case is a rush to judgement. No one knows what information was revealed behind closed doors, they say. And based on comments from other teens at the drinking party, Cox wasn’t the innocent, good friend the media has painted her to be. On someone’s phone there’s video of Cox drinking and puking, they say. Maybe that’s true. But the rush to judgement is…  [Read More]

The Beatles’ ‘White Album’ and Charles Manson

by Bill Brenner October 22, 2013 Communication skills for the crazy

I’ve been listening to The Beatle’s White Album a lot lately. I played it relentlessly in my younger years, admittedly out of curiosity. I had just read Helter Skelter for the first time and wanted to hear the songs Charles Manson used, along with the Bible, to brainwash his followers. Mood music: It’s been several years since I listened to the album; most days I prefer classic heavy metal. But I’m currently reading Manson: The Life and Times of Charles…  [Read More]

The Power of Admitting Ignorance

by Bill Brenner October 21, 2013 Fear and anxiety

I’ve often gone through my career feeling like an impostor. I work with some ridiculously smart people and know many more in my industry. They seem interested in my opinion on things, and I try to deliver. But many times I don’t know the answer. So I sit wondering how the hell I got here. I know people who can bullshit their way through the answer to a question, but I lack that special talent….  [Read More]

Lies in North Andover Teen Drinking Case?

by Bill Brenner October 18, 2013 Uncategorized

I’ve gotten a few messages since writing about Erin Cox, the North Andover High School senior punished by school administrators after driving to a teen drinking party to pick up an intoxicated friend. They suggested that I fell for a fabrication weaved by the girl’s lawyer, that she was in fact drunk and I should be prepared to rewrite my post. Mood music: The feedback I received is that the girl was in fact drinking…  [Read More]

Depression Takes Another Friend

by Bill Brenner October 17, 2013 Depression

Thomas John “TJ” Leduc was a constant companion during my childhood in Revere. I swam in his pool and slept over his house. The first time I was weirded out by the sight and sound of Boy George, it was during one of those sleepovers, when we were eating popcorn and watching Solid Gold, puzzling over the girl on the screen who sounded like a man. Mood music: TJ had a sunny personality that was…  [Read More]

North Andover School Policy Trumps Common Sense

by Bill Brenner October 16, 2013 Communication skills for the crazy

Friendships between teens is a tricky thing. Sometimes your friends are up to no good and the right decision is to stay away. Helping friends steal hubcaps off cars or start fires are examples that come to mind. But when a friend drinks too much at a party and has the good sense to call you for a ride instead of choosing to drive drunk, you should help them out, even if the party might…  [Read More]

Binging a Path from Hilltop Steakhouse to Augustine’s

by Bill Brenner October 15, 2013 Compulsive behaviors

Many of my friends and family are sad to hear about the planned closing of Hilltop Steakhouse on Route 1 in Saugus, Mass. I’m not gonna lie: I never understood the affection people had for the dining experience there. I always found the food mediocre at best, particularly in later years. But I did do my share of binging there because it was close by and affordable. And I can’t argue the place’s significance as…  [Read More]