Ramblings of a Former Madman

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Hi! I’m Jim. Father. Author. Former Madman.


I’m a career nuclear physicist, transitioning into an author and public speaker. My tongue-in-cheek humor permeates my entire being and life. It needs to. Without humor, much of my life would unfortunately look simply like a Greek tragedy. At least it’s a comical Greek tragedy.

Fortunately, humor makes for a better memoir, and it may well make a better movie, in case some sick bastard wants to make a movie from my book. A comical horror movie doesn’t sound like it would draw crowds.

I have a B.S in Physics from the State University of New York (graduating Magna Cum Ego), and an M.S from the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering, earned at their Applied Physics laboratory in Laurel, MD.

I served as an officer aboard a US Navy nuclear-powered submarine, earning two Navy Achievement medals, my most prized one reading, “Lt. Spina has surprisingly demonstrated the ability to manage his perpetual folly and avoid mistakes which otherwise could have deployed nuclear warheads.” (That’s apparently a big deal.)

Illustration of navy man riding on a torpedo.
Basically, just avoiding doing this.

After my patriotic service, serendipity led to an Honorable Discharge from the US Navy. Jobless, I joined the commercial nuclear energy workforce, (somehow) progressing in my career to become the V.P. of two large nuclear power facilities, ultimately becoming the company’s VP of Corporate Nuclear Operations. Wisely, I demonstrated the same invaluable NAVY skills throughout my skyrocketing career, never melting down a nuclear reactor under my tenure. Not on my watch. (That’s worthy of mention.)

After retiring as a Corporate Executive of a Fortune 500 company, I diligently committed myself to sit on my derrière and reflect upon my deliriously fantastic life and career. Unfortunately, a “situation” occurred which rudely and viciously disrupted my long-awaited, ponderous reflective time with myself. I reluctantly decided afterward, with some encouragement, to write a book about it.

I completely underestimated the effort of writing a book.

Particularly this book.

Writing a memoir is precisely what well-recognized author Mary Karr proclaims it to be: “Nobody I know who’s written a great one described it as anything less than a major-league shit-eating contest.”

Amen, Mary.

Additionally, since ignorant stigma has characterized my topic as shameful and cringeworthy, confession makes it the hardest of subjects. But I figured, “No one is going to buy this book anyway, so how much of an outing of my secret will it really be? Realistically, if my whole family buys one, (which they won’t) that’s four, plus the ten I’ll buy myself – that’s fourteen books total, and I’m 72% of the market.”

If any of you are thinking about writing a book to aid in your recovery from trauma and help others, don’t. I highly discourage it.

Hire a psychiatrist, an astrologer or start practicing yoga and meditation. Afterward, become a Life-coach to help others (for a nominal fee), sharing your wisdom and keen insights. Damn, I wish I’d done that. That would have been fun, lying on a couch, spinning a wistful yarn about some dubious, terribly damaging childhood trauma and the cruelty of an unjust society. Stretching out on the floor and pretending to achieve Nirvana, while jamming in my head with my ear pods blaring “Stairway to Heaven” would have been magical.

But no, not me. Always the hard way.

A good friend told me, “Jim write a book. You must write a book. It’s an amazing story, so horrific, so painful for you.”

Hmmm. Bastard. I still resent him for that advice. In his defense, who do you go to for sage counsel with, “Dude, I totally F’d up my life, everybody thinks I’m an asshole, and I’ve lost all meaning and purpose in being here. Any thoughts?”

A book was probably a good idea, now that I think about it.

I’m not a self-appointed teacher, guru or divine prophet, destined to go forth and educate the lost masses on the deep mysteries revealed to me. I didn’t title the book How I Became Holy Spirit Junior, Anointed to Free People from their Quiet Lives of Desperation.

I’m just grateful that my insatiable 41-year obsession, compulsion and desire to drink has been lifted. I hope this book in some small way, inspires and offers hope to those still suffering. If by no other way than a reader committing to himself, “No way in hell am I going to do what that asshole did. Holy shit.”

I would really like to do more writing, (not of the “throw yourself on a flaming bamboo spear, goring yourself to death” genre). I have a dozen damn hilarious books in me on different topics, all rife with satirical humor, ranging from “What I Learned in The Military” to “Save Yourself for Your Future Spouse.” I’m praying not to get typecast into “The Ex-drunk Who Almost Killed Himself Boozing for Forty Years” author. I’m out of books on that. Once is more than enough on that topic, so I’d be a shamed and outcast one-book author.

In the meantime, I intend to start enjoying my retirement and serenity. I intend to write, as well as broaden my perspective of this huge world through extensive travel. I’m a fan of growing by embracing the radical change of the unknown. I’ll journey to obscure, even unchartered territories equipped with clean water, modern plumbing, electricity for my five USB chargers and the Internet.

I love reading as well. I enjoy books on science, history, philosophy, psychology, spirituality and Meta-Physics.

(I threw that last topic in there – It’s the best damn topic in the intellectual world. Though completely undefined, somehow it makes people who embrace it sound brilliant, informed, spiritual and reflective. Just check it out on Twitter.)

Oh, saving the best for last, I live in Maryland and truly enjoy quality time with my two adult and (hugely) successful daughters and my four gifted grandsons.

I hope you find something of value for you on this website. If you just need a laugh, enjoy reading a blog.

Ramblings of a Former Madman

Join my mailing list for satirical musings, gripping stories, indelicate but often hilarious commentary, and (questionable) life advice.

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