If I Could ….

Much of the fan mail I’ve received of late expresses concern for my mental wellbeing. The comments range from, “Are you okay?” to “Dude. I think you’ve finally lost your last marble.”

No such thing.

The truth is I’m crestfallen over the state of the Republic and disappointed in the amount of nonsense we seem willing to tolerate, to accept without question or even skepticism. But I’m not depressed or in some state of blind, ideological zealotry. I just don’t know why we no longer trust our senses.

Nevertheless, I’ve elected to give myself something of a psychic palate-cleanse, a sort of cranial sorbet, if you will.

Time Out

One of my favorite things to do is to arrive at my desk in the morning, armed with nothing but a cup of coffee. I love to sit and start to write with no preconceived topic or direction. Following Ernest Hemingway’s advice — “Write the truest sentence that you know” — I’ll just start typing, letting my mind and my fingers go where they will.

On the day that yielded this piece, rather than starting to type, I began by going to, to which I subscribe. I happened to find a piece of music called, “Belly Button Whistles”. When I see a title like that, I listen. And, so, I did.

As I listened, I was taken by the whimsy of the title, by the atmosphere of the piece, by its random suggestiveness, and by what I took to be its invitation to be equally whimsical and random. I wrote the first line that came to mind: “If I could be a sweet delight/I’d be a Tootsie Pop.” The rest took care of itself and ended up in the video that follows.

The Moral of the Story

Sometimes, when you’re preoccupied by everything, it’s best to think about nothing. The healthiest, most prudent thing you can do is shut the world out and let your mind wander. And the most therapeutic thing you can to is to let yourself wonder. That’s what I did.

If this video makes no sense to you, that’s okay. Sense, in fact, may be a distraction or a red herring, an undertaking unnecessary and quixotic. And it’s entirely possible the time we spend trying to make sense of things is wasted.

The longer I live, the more I’m convinced few if any things make any sense at all, at least to me.

Roll it:


Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brien
I’m a business owner. My company — O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) — is a B2B brand-management and marketing-communication firm that helps companies position their brands effectively and persuasively in industries as diverse as: Insurance, Financial Services, Senior Living, Manufacturing, Construction, and Nonprofit. We do our work so well that seven of the companies (brands) we’ve represented have been acquired by other companies. OCG is different because our business model is different. We don’t bill by the hour or the project. We don’t bill by time or materials. We don’t mark anything up. We don’t take media commissions. We pass through every expense incurred on behalf of our clients at net. We scope the work, price the work, put beginning and end dates on our engagements, and charge flat, consistent fees every month for the terms of the engagements. I’m also a writer by calling and an Irish storyteller by nature. In addition to writing posts for my company’s blog, I’m a frequent publisher on LinkedIn and Medium. And I’ve published three books for children, numerous short stories, and other works, all of which are available on Amazon under my full name, Mark Nelson O’Brien.

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  1. Hello Mark, I’ve read a few of your articles. This one I was drawn to due to its title, not to mention the image of the Tootsie Pops. I must say I have not had one in awhile as I have chipped a tooth here and there over time, but haven’t put them off completely. As to the article itself, I love to write, wondering if what I write makes a difference with all that is going on in this world. I have seen the worst of many things and situations, but I still hold a positive place in my heart that things can’t get any worse, yet it seems that they do. At that point I let my imagination run away to a better place. Then I write.

  2. My friend, I am always so intrigued by your writing. This piece drew me in with the opening reference to Tootsie Pops as truth be told, they are my evening pleasure. Two each night to be exact. The video and vibe of “If I Could…” took my mind space to the Beatles “I Am the Walrus” meets Twilight Zone in a really cool, funkadelic, yet thought provoking kind of way. In a world of “Why nots”, sometimes our mind gets in the way.

    • Thank you, Laura. My sons played and coached basketball at Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford, Connecticut. When I went to their games, I’d always go to the snack stand and get two chocolate Tootsie Pops. Always chocolate. One for each half of the game.

      I’m trying to get out of my own way. I’m going to take your comments as motivation and inspiration.

      I’m grateful to you, my friend.