Barry Cadish
Portland, Oregon


My first float

November 13th, 2013

My first floating experience at the Everett House Healing Center in Northeast Portland began with a tour. First the locker room; onward to the co-ed showers, steam, and sauna rooms; outside to the hot tub filled with naked bathers; inside to the adjacent building where my float tank awaited.

I was not anxious. I was not scared. After inserting earplugs and dabbing a few cuts on my fingers with petroleum jelly (to protect from stinging salt water), I turned out the light, entered the tank, and closed the door to start my 90-minute event. I floated immediately in 10 inches of water kept at skin temperature. It’s literally pitch black inside so it doesn’t matter if your eyes are opened or closed. You can’t see a damn thing! (Claustrophobics take note: the 7ft. x 4ft. tank actually feels bigger on the inside.)

It was tough to get comfortable at first, as I tried to figure out where to place my hands: folded on my stomach, along my sides, or under my head, as if lying on a hammock. I put them on my stomach and after a few minutes, my face began to tighten – really tighten – as though my skin was being pulled taut. Into the shape of a Hershey’s kiss. And I like Hershey’s kisses!

Soon thereafter, the sensation shifted. Now it felt like a helmet was on my head. And not just any helmet mind you, but a helmet worn by ancient Romans. Sure enough, I found myself on a chariot with (I kid you not) Charlton Heston as he battled Stephen Boyd in the great chariot race from Ben-Hur. That image lasted a few minutes until my left leg twitched and my chariot ride went…poof!

I got comfortable fairly quickly, but here’s the weird part: I really thought a blanket was on top of me. I swear, I didn’t feel the water at all. Until my head rolled to the right. And salt water got into my eye.

After the stinging pain subsided, I soon found a comfy position and drifted from side to side, sometimes brushing against the walls, thinking of nothing in particular. No deep thoughts. No epiphanies. No grand plans for my life. Or yours.

Honestly, I panicked only once. When I couldn’t find my penis. But it was there where I left it. Albeit smaller. No doubt from the Floatation Tank Salt Water Shrinkage Effect (FTSWSE).

Even though there’s no concept of time inside the tank, I had a feeling my 90 minutes was up. As I sat upright, I heard a knock on the tank, signaling my float time had ended. I showered off the salt water and took a quick sauna with one other person. He seemed nice enough. For someone who looked like he just escaped from the circus. As the Devil Boy.

I showered off the sauna sweat and then took a quick dip in the hot tub. Opposite a young naked woman. She smiled. I smiled. Then she got the hell out of there.

Finally, it was time to go. I had a ton of energy and the pain in my leg when I usually sit in the car was gone on the drive home. Now, after my first floating experience, I’m left with an insatiable urge to:

  1. Bless people. Hundreds of them. Even if they haven’t yet sneezed.
  2. Invest heavily in my 401(k). Using only coins. Chocolate coins. Wrapped in gold foil.
  3. Take up surfing. The web. All 1.47 billion pages. In a weekend.
  4. Help the homeless. Mainly with their signage. So their cardboard messages can always be read clearly.
  5. Play professional football. As a starting nose tackle. Literally tackling opposing linemen by their noses.
  6. Drive fast. Unbelievably fast. Through endless rows of corn.

Don’t ask me why.

Walk the talk

January 22nd, 2012

I was perusing Craigslist and came upon an ad for Portland Walking Tours. They are looking for  part-time tour guides. People who “have leadership abilities, charisma, a sense of humor, great communication skills, and an obvious love of Portland.”

That sounds like me. I took a Portland underground tour several years ago and wondered what it’d be like to lead one. They wanted to know why I’d be perfect for this position. This is what I told them:

  1. People think I’m funny.
  2. Often hysterical.
  3. Seriously.
  4. I love Portland.
  5. I’ve lived here almost 27 years.
  6. I’m practically a native.
  7. I can point.
  8. I love to walk.
  9. I really love to talk.
  10. I can point/walk/talk at the same time.
  11. I am tall, so tourists can easily spot me.
  12. I don’t have onion breath.
  13. Or doggy breath.
  14. I know directions N, S, E & W.
  15. I can also point in those directions.
  16. I don’t need a microphone.
  17. I am fairly loud.
  18. I enunciate well.
  19. I know the difference between their and there.
  20. Example: “Hey folks, look over there!”
  21. I know the difference between then and than.
  22. Example: “It rains less in Portland than in Houston or Miami.”
  23. Then it rains more in Houston and Miami?
  24. Yes, it does.
  25. So there.
  26. I don’t mind when it rains.
  27. In Portland. Or Houston. Or Miami.
  28. I own comfortable shoes.
  29. These shoes are made for walkin’
  30. I also own boots.
  31. They are not.
  32. I led a progressive happy hour last year.
  33. We walked everywhere.
  34. Six bars in seven hours.
  35. I love quirky artifacts, buildings and other things.
  36. Saint Cupcake bike rack is fabulous!
  37. Peculiarium? Not so much.
  38. I’m pretty quirky myself.
  39. I know where the raptors hang out downtown.
  40. It’s supposed to be a secret.
  41. I found it.
  42. How? By walking.
  43. I went on a Portland underground walking tour a few years ago.
  44. I wondered what it’d be like to lead one.
  45. I included all five things you asked for.
  46. I follow directions.
  47. I will not call you.
  48. I promise.

They must have liked something I wrote, because they called me for an audition. Cool. I mean, VERY COOL! I’ll let you know how it goes.

It’s what it is.

August 5th, 2010

Mrs. Brekke, (pronounced BREK-ee) my high school English teacher, wore large glasses like the ones pictured here. She was a big woman, tall and lanky, nice skin, with lips that puckered every time she smiled or talked.

It’s as though she sucked on a huge lemon wedge before every class.

She was a nice lady, as I recall, who put up with our ongoing class antics on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis. But the incident that stands out most was a particular grammar lesson she was trying to impart. The lesson? Discerning between the possessive pronoun “its” and the contraction “it’s” for “it is.”

Frankly, the English language can be a pain in the ass. It’s amazing anyone can master the various parts of speech, synonyms, homonyms, and assorted vagaries that confound and confuse us. For example, why is “tough” pronounced as tuff, when “through” is pronounced as throo? Why not thruff for consistency? Distinguishing between “your” and “you’re” causes problems as well. Even the words “then” and “than” are used interchangeably (and wrongly) in everyday writing. To wit: If your brain can’t separate then from than, then you’re in more trouble than you think. But I digress.

Mrs. Brekke tried valiantly to help us eleventh-grade students understand the difference between “its” and “it’s.” I think she gave us a few examples and then, after several rounds, wanted to see if we “got it.”

She looked at Dave who sat behind me.

“Dave,” she said, in her high-pitched lemony voice. “Can you use the possessive pronoun ‘its’ in a sentence?”

Without hesitation, Dave blurted out, “Its glasses are huge.”

“Great example,” I thought to myself. Our laughter couldn’t be contained, and drowned out Mrs. Brekke’s pleadings.

“What? What did you say?” she asked, as we continued to cackle.

“It’s not important,” Dave shot back.

Barry talks art…and it ain’t pretty

May 8th, 2009

Has it really been three months since my last post? If so, my apologies. I need to be more diligent about this whole blogging business. Which means getting down to the business of blogging.

I spoke last time about how lame I was (and still am) when it comes to drawing out my ideas. Truth is, I suck terribly at sketching much more than a doodle. I cannot even draw a straight line with a ruler. I cannot color within the lines. I cannot paint or mold clay in a way that resembles anything more than…a pile of clay. I don’t do art well at all. In fact, I look at a Jackson Pollock painting and see, well…paint running down a canvas. This is art? In fact, you (yes, you) can create your own Jackson Pollock-type painting right here. Right now. It’s so easy, even a writer can do it. But I digress….

Anyway, by default, I wrote. When I discovered I had a knack for advertising concepts and subsequent advertising copywriting, my career began to take off. While a student at Advertising Center, I was surrounded by people who could draw exceptionally well. We called them budding art directors. Trouble was, they spent most of their time drawing up their ideas instead of thinking about them. One class project, for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art comes to mind.

I can’t remember the exact assignment, but I do remember all these art director wannabes comping lovely picture frames, vases, semi-nude models and other assorted art-like images. One person in class drew a beautiful picture frame with detailed scrollwork all around. But there was no…idea. We didn’t know what the hell her concept was and the instructor pointed it out. As a result, I believe she withdrew from class shortly thereafter and was never heard from again.

So I can’t emphasize enough that concept is king in this business. Spend your time on formulating the idea instead of making pretty pictures that make people scratch their heads and say…huh?

Which is my usual reaction to Jackson Pollock.

Barry Talks Trash vis-a-vis Advertising.

January 26th, 2009

In my previous life, I counted garbage for a living.

No, I didn’t rummage through curbside cans sitting outside random households. As a junior administrative assistant for the City of Los Angeles, I added up the “dump slips” from the previous days collections around the San Fernando Valley.

Evidently, they wanted me to “count” how much garbage was collected from two-man trucks (one man drives; the other lifts and dumps) vs. one-man trucks (one man drives; the truck’s automatic arm lifts and dumps) thereby determining which mode of refuse collection hauled ass.

The dump slips are in and…one man and his truck were more efficient!

And so was I. My day began at 6a.m. and four hours later, I was finished counting. So what’s an overly-efficient L.A. city employee with four hours left in his workday supposed to do?

I did my homework, of course.

I was taking two advertising courses simultaneously. A concept class, at Advertising Center, taught by a copywriter at Daley and Associates, plus a copywriting class, at Otis Parsons (now simply Otis), taught by a senior copywriter at BBD0/West.

So there I sat, diligently “drawing” out concepts on everything from potato chips and roach killer to security systems and steaks. I use the term “drawing” very loosely. You see, I can’t draw. Even my stick figures are lame. To prove it, here are drawings I did of my magnificent family for our 1999 holiday card. See? Lame!

Anyway, I had the worst looking ads of anyone in the concept class. Why? Because I spent most of my time thinking about the idea. And that, boys and girls, is today’s lesson: concept is king. In my next blog, I’ll talk about how my  student TV script for Sizzler steak was my entree into advertising.

But now, I must take out the trash.