It's better to love because it makes you better than other people, which is extremely satisfying.

I have friends who didn't like the new Star Wars film. Despite admitting that there were moments of enjoyment while watching the movie, they nitpicked it to death after the fact and declared the whole thing a failure.

I think they're crazy. 

I embraced my inner child (which is admittedly a sizable part of my interior) and adored every bit of the film. It made me feel like a boy again. It brought back memories of sitting in the carpeted aisle at The Stadium in Woonsocket, Rhode Island in 1977 and seeing Star Wars for the first time. My heart soared at the appearance of Han Solo. I felt absolute joy upon seeing the X-Wing fighters fly into battle for the first time. I experienced genuine heartbreak at moments that will go unmentioned here in case you haven't seen the film yet.

But I didn't try to argue with my friends about the greatness of the movie. I didn't attempt to convince them that they were wrong. I didn't defend my opinion in any way. 


I'm always extra happy to discover that I love something that someone else cannot.

Never be embarrassed about the things that you love. If you adore the music of Justin Bieber, then the world is a little brighter for you than it is for me. If you think Taco Bell makes the best tacos in the world, then you have inexpensive, readily-available, world class food available at thousands of locations across America. 

Lucky you. 

It's a wonderful feeling to know that you're living in a bigger, brighter, more beautiful world than the next person. 


Four things to consider before dating a coworker: An office romance with my future wife.

Jackie Zimmerman of Time’s Money section writes about four things to consider before dating a coworker.

The last coworker who I dated was my wife. When we started dating back in March of 2004, she was teaching in a classroom one door down from mine. A friend and colleague now teaches in Elysha’s old classroom, and though Elysha’s been gone from that classroom for more than five years now, I still think of it as ‘Elysha’s room.”

I still leave school almost everyday through that classroom’s outer door, even though it often means going out of my way to do so. Before I push that door open and step out onto a wooden ramp, I always pause and purposefully recall something about those days long ago when Elysha and I worked together and spent so much of our time side by side.

I remember so I won’t forget. I remember because I was one of the best times of my life. I remember because it makes me smile every time even though is also often makes me sad, too.   

Some couples could never work together. Many couples, perhaps. Elysha and I loved working together. It made my days brighter and better. I’m always hopeful that someday, we may be able to work together again.


In reading through Zimmerman’s four suggestions, it looks like Elysha and I did well when we dated (and married) as coworkers.

1.  Avoid Getting Involved with the Wrong Person

Zimmerman’s suggestion pertains to dating people in positions higher up the corporate ladder. Though I always thought of Elysha as unattainable in every sense of the word, we were both teachers when we started dating, with no power over each other.  

2.  Know Your Company’s Policy Before the First Date

Before I dated Elysha, I had dated another colleague at the school and had already checked with my principal to be certain that there were no policies against it. He told me to make sure that if things didn’t work out, we ended our relationship amicably.

Not exactly a policy, but a good suggestion.

Thankfully, I have always been highly skilled at ending relationships. I’m friendly with almost all of my ex-girlfriends. In fact, the colleague who I dated before Elysha remains friends with me to this day, and in July, I will be the DJ at her wedding.

Still, I thought it was important to keep my principal informed when I was dating someone at work, so on April 1, 2004, as he crossed through the school auditorium, I told him that I was dating Elysha.

“Ha ha,” he said. “April Fools.”

“No, we’re really dating,” I said. “I’m serious.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he said, walking across the auditorium and out the door. “You and Elysha dating. Right.”

I have no idea when he realized that I wasn’t joking, but he was the person who married us two years later.   

3.  Consider the Worst-Case Scenario

Zimmerman suggests that you take careful stock of the person you are considering dating. If you break up, is this someone you can trust? Someone who you want potentially influencing your career? Could you still work together afterwards?

Honestly, this wasn’t even a consideration when Elysha and I began dating. She practically moved into my apartment immediately, and three months later, we had an apartment of our own.

Six months after that, we were engaged.

Even before we started dating, on one of those late night phone calls that people who are falling in love tend to have, she told me that if we ever started dating, she knew that we would never break up. 

A bold move, I thought at the time. And my heart soared.

I had also known Elysha for almost two years before we started dating. We began as colleagues and eventually became friends. Close friends. So I knew her well. I knew we would never break up, but I also knew that if the unthinkable happened. we could remain friends.   

4.  Remember that During Business Hours, Work Comes First

Despite one lunatic claim that this wasn’t the case, Elysha and I always took our jobs seriously and never placed our relationship ahead of our responsibilities. When you’re a teacher dealing with students and their futures, this is not hard to do.

That said, it doesn’t mean that our romance didn’t find ways into the workplace. I purchased her engagement ring online with a committee of fellow teachers after work one day in a first grade classroom. I plotted my proposal with a colleague in the office of our curriculum specialist. I was known to leave her notes on her desk during my lunch hour, and at least once, I sent three dozen roses to her classroom.

One dozen per hour for three hours.

We kept our relationship a secret from our students for quite a while, but one day, after Elysha’s students saw a fairly innocuous note from me on some chart paper, one of them asked, “Are you and Mr. Dicks dating?”

She admitted it. Happily. Over the course of a school year, your students become as close to you as any of your friends or family. At least that’s the way it’s always been for us. Letting them in on our secret was so much fun.

I guess I really, really, really love my wife.

I had a dream that I was living in some alternate reality. I wasn’t married to Elysha or anyone else.

I was standing by a stove, looking at a serving dish, and I realized that I would never feel as good about that serving dish without Elysha in my life. That serving dish would always been a dull, lifeless representation of itself if I wasn’t with my wife. 


Then I looked around the kitchen and saw that everything in the room was as dull and lifeless as the serving dish. A second later, my mind saw beyond the kitchen and I knew that the most beautiful objects and the most majestic vistas on the planet would never shine for me again because Elysha was not with me.

Then my eyes returned to that serving dish. That simple, ceramic serving dish, sitting on the counter beside the stove, that I knew could be so much more if Elysha was standing with me. Beside me.

I have a lot of nightmares. Post traumatic stress will do that do you. But I have never felt more hopeless and sad in a dream before.

99 reasons that I love Elysha Dicks

Today is our seventh anniversary. Please forgive me this indulgence.

Here are just some of the many reasons that I love my wife as much as I do.


1. The way she sleeps on folded hands

2. She once yelled at a 90 year-old woman who was cheating in Scrabble

3. The way she is like a mother and a sister at the same time to Clara

4. She once skipped school to play The Legend of Zelda

5. Many of my friends consider her to be the ideal wife

6. She is one of the finest teachers I have ever known

7. She asked to stop talking to watch The Simpsons on our first date

8. She makes me a better storyteller

9. She loves Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Paul Simon and Patsy Cline

10. She feels bad about the spiders she kills 

11. She tells me what to put me on my plate in a buffet line

12. She asks me when Hard Knocks is starting again

13. She can navigate any mall flawlessly but almost nothing else 

14. The way she disappears for two days when she reads a book

15. Her senseless fear of aliens

16. Holding her hand

17. Listening to an audiobook with her on a long drive

18. The new set of parents that she has brought into my life

19. She looks beautiful in a baseball cap

20. She way she puts her hand on my shoulder after a nightmare

21. She knows me better than I know myself

22. The way she plays with infants in her lap

23. The way she runs her hands through my hair while I'm driving  

24. Her aggressive response to people who cut in line

25. The way that my friends have become her friends

26. Her infinitesimal lisp

27. The way she reads her childhood stories to our children

28. Her undercover streak of unrelenting nonconformity

29. Watching her dance

30. The way I knew she was pregnant with Clara before she did

31. Her complete and total lack of jealousy

32. The way she has never told me what to wear

33. The degree to which she hates people who hate me

34. Her love for Battlestar Galactica

35. The way she fills our home with music every evening

36. Her ability to react quickly and without panic in an emergency

37. The partnership we share in writing, storytelling and creativity

38. The way she looks in her green Smith tee-shirt

39. Her lack of concern over what others think of her

40. Her inability to watch any scary movie

41. The way she wraps gifts in magazine photographs

42. Her Buffy the Vampire Slayer fandom, including the soundtrack

43. The way she looks while wearing a headband

44. Her astounding patience

45. Her “good rice and chicken” dinner

46. Her fierce love of her grandmother

47. Her ability to name almost any song on the radio within three seconds

48. The way she cried when I asked her to marry me

49. Her harsh but frequently necessary criticism of my writing

50. The way she said Charlie’s name for the first time in the delivery room

51. Her timeless beauty on our wedding day

52. Our “South Park is better than The Simpsons” talk

53. The way she looks in a knit cap

54. The extreme diversity of her friends

55. The way is takes about 15 minutes to become her lifelong friend

56. The fact she has not poisoned our dog or cat yet

57. Her untapped, underutilized and yet remarkable design aesthetic

58. Her camera-ready-but-still-natural-looking smile

59. The way she sneezes multiple times, every time

60. Her willingness to eat ice cream for dinner

61. Any cookie or cake that she has ever baked

62. Watching her dance. I repeat because it is my favorite thing

63. She is in the black in career winnings in poker

64. The way she wept when upon receiving news of my first book deal

65. Her love for a Patriots game on a fall afternoon

66. The way she weeps uncontrollably during year-end school speeches

67. The way everyone seems to love her almost as much as I do

68. Her universal and unfailing support of me

69. The way she has never made me feel guilty about being away from home

70. Those moments in life when she is uncommonly proud of me

71. Falling asleep on my shoulder at the drive-in

72. Her unwarranted confidence in almost everything I do

73. Her love and attachment to yet independence from her parents

74. Her rejection of senseless tradition

75. Her tears on our wedding day

76. The way she stretches in the morning as she wakes up

77. The way she looked on the beaches of Bermuda

78. Her lack of investment in trends and name brands

79. Her embrace and love of Christmas

80. The way her former students still love her years later

81. The way she sings to our children at night

82. The way she barely grips the toothbrush while brushing her teeth

83. The way she speaks to our children the same way she speaks to adults

84. Her unwavering defense of my quirks and eccentricities

85. Her genuinely violent yet laughter-filled response to tickling

86. The way she walks when she is tipsy

87. Her grudging acceptance of my last name

88. The way every wedding I attend makes we want to marry her again

89. Her unparalleled, unjustified acceptance of me in every way

90. The inexplicable pleasure she feels in bathing our children

91. The fact that we have never had an actual fight

92. Her talent for filling stockings with perfect presents at Christmastime

93. The way she dances with our children in the kitchen

94. The affection she feels for her own childhood

95. The way she folds a shirt

96. Her reference to me as a “manly hunk of man meat”

97. The frequency at which she changes her order in a restaurant

98. Her rejection and abhorrence of snobbery in every way

99. Agreeing to marry me on the steps of Grand Central Terminal

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