daily smile

Personal Charity in Santa Monica

Posted on Updated on


I moved to Santa Monica 40 years ago when it was pretty much a holdover from the Age of Aquarius.  You could eat free at the One Life café and pay whatever you wished.  You could hang out indefinitely at the Pooh House on Main Street sipping coffee and playing chess.  Third street mall was a disaster area of vacant storefronts.  It is now occupied by trendy boutiques, an Apple Store and even a Tesla Showroom.  Santa Monica was a quiet hippie town then.  I used to go for walks in the evening.

Every once in a while I would talk with one of the locals, someone I would meet on the street.  Like the very Arabic man, around five feet tall and stocky, who talked the best word salad I had ever heard.  Totally schizophrenic but friendly, with the warmest smile in the world.  He always wore some kind of blanket over his head and body, a dark face and scraggly beard peering out from under his cowl.  We would exchange two or three totally meaningless sentences, and then I would give him a few dollars, sometimes five.  I always looked forward to our brief meetings.  And then he disappeared.

Around a year later he came back, this time missing one eye.  Otherwise he was just like before, perhaps a little more bedraggled.  Then he disappeared forever.


I lived right on the Ocean, in an apartment that right over the beautiful Pacific Ocean.  I could walk to all the restaurants on Main Street a few blocks away.  One night I decided to walk over to the Pioneer Boulangerie for dinner, a few blocks away.  On the way a man walked up to me and told me that he was hungry and could he have a few dollars for some food.

He was not very well dressed, and he was obviously not a man of culture.  He didn’t smell too good either.  But I didn’t find that out until later, in the restaurant.  I declined his request for money and instead offered to take him to dinner with me.  Seemed like a good idea at the time.  He accepted.

The two of us rapidly became a topic of discussion for our fellow diners.  The waiters and management had no idea how to handle the situation.  I was a regular customer, but my companion certainly wasn’t. They brought dinner, mostly because they didn’t know what else to do.  I asked my companion why he was not eating, since he was so hungry.  “I’m an alcoholic and I have no appetite.”  At that point I lost my appetite as well and we both left.  I gave him a few dollars.


It was Saturday morning and I was living in a ground floor apartment.  Three bedrooms for $315 a month in 1970 in rent controlled Santa Monica.  There was a knock on the door.  A young man, very nice looking, who asked me for some help.  His car was being repaired a bit south, at the repair garage at Nielson and Brooks.  He was short twenty dollars and could I lend it to him.  Sounded good to me, so I offered to walk with him to get his car so we could pay for it together.

We headed south, walking together on Main Street in the beautiful Santa Monica sunlight.  We actually got around half a mile before he admitted that there was no car, no repair, and that the entire story was a scam.  We parted company and I walked home.


It was a beautiful Santa Monica evening and I was strolling on Wilshire Boulevard, a few blocks from the ocean.  A nice looking young couple walked up to me.  They were obviously homeless.  They asked me if I could help them.  They seemed interesting, so I started asking them a few questions.  Like where were they from, did they have any local friends and so on.  The young man did his best to answer.  He told me that they could not apply for any kind of aid because they had no mailing address, and that they were broke and hungry.  Suddenly, for no apparent reason, the girl started in on me.  I was just like all the others, nosy and stingy, nothing but a lot of questions, and that she had known all the time that I wasn’t going to help them.  She was one angry woman, letting out her frustration and disappointment and futility, all directed at me in a surprising loud and strident tirade.

I had just been to the bank that afternoon and had a bunch of twenty dollar bills in my pocket.  I pulled out one and gave it to the young man.  Then another, and another.  They both became very quiet.  I don’t remember how many twenty dollar bills I gave them, maybe six or seven.  This was 1970, and twenty dollars was a reasonable amount of money.   I was having fun.  Then I said to the young man, “Let’s talk”.  I said to him very quietly, “get rid of her as fast as you can”.  Then I walked away


There are always opportunities for charity.  Most are anonymous, like Red Cross or Good Will.  I strongly prefer the personal kind.  Might as well get a little fun out of it.

Stranger Than Fiction!

Posted on Updated on

Toughie the Ghost Cat

clip_image002He showed up on Halloween, the last of our trick or treat visitors for the night. At least that’s what we thought when we heard the scratching at the door. But it wasn’t a tot. It was the toughest, roughest tomcat we had ever seen, huge and mean and downright unpleasant. He didn’t ask to come in. He just walked in as if he owned the place. That’s when we made our mistake. We fed him. “What a cute kitty”, said Margo. Was she wrong.

We named him Toughie. We had wanted a pet for a long time. But Toughie certainly wasn’t our pet, or anyone’s pet. He was strictly a loner. He stayed with us two days and then vanished. During that two days we developed a mutual affection. I learned to pet him and even spar with him, which he loved. After a few painful and bloody lessons I learned to put on a thick coat and heavy leather work gloves during our sparring sessions. He was one ferocious animal. He was scary even when he was being good. He was a monster when enraged.

Toughie was also the clumsiest cat I have ever known. A complete disappointment to anyone who thinks that cats are naturally graceful. When he jumped down from the back of a chair the whole house shook. He would walk along a shelf knocking off memorabilia as he progressed. We learned to clear all the shelves when he was visiting. But we always welcomed his visits.

After that first two day honeymoon we didn’t see Toughie for a while. Then he came back, covered with new scars. It was wise to keep away from his scars in our sparring sessions. He would go for my face when suitably annoyed.

But we loved him. More than that, I developed some kind of weird spiritual connection with Toughie. He would come to me in my dreams. We would be fellow alley-cats, prowling the local alleys and backyards in search of food, sex and trouble. We found a lot of every one. These were very unusual dreams. I found out what it was like to be a wild animal, aggressive and totally amoral. A hunter of mice, rats, other cats, small dogs, birds, whatever. I tasted the blood of the prey, felt the excitement of the hunt and the kill. I can feel the pounding excitement right now as I tell you about all of this. These new tastes and habits started to affect my waking life. I became much more aggressive at work, got a promotion. More aggressive in my marriage with a lot more fighting. Margo was not pleased.

I really missed Toughie when he was gone. Whenever he came back I became alive. We had become close friends, both in our sparring sessions and in our shared dreams. I loved him truly. He was the brother I had never had.

Toughie visited us three or four times. And then he disappeared for good.  He was gone.  I found myself prowling the local alleys and back yards looking for him. I even put up “cat missing” posters. No response. Even my dreams of Toughie stopped. I grieved for him.

And then, one night, there he was in the most realistic dream I have ever had. I could see everything in fine detail, smell the smells, hear the sounds, and feel the thrill of the hunt as we coursed through the neighborhood together. Then the sharp crack of a .22 and Toughie’s scream as he fell to the ground dead. I woke up sobbing, filled with grief. Margo asked me what had happened. I told her. She told me to stop being an idiot.

Early the next morning I woke up to a scratching at our door. A soft scratching, but unmistakable. I opened the door despite being terrified.  I had to know. There was nothing there. Well maybe something, but so fast and so blurry that it seemed like my imagination.

The next night we were awakened by the crash of knickknacks falling off our mantel. We figured that there had been a small earthquake. Not true.  No explanation.

Then the dreams came back. Not all the time, just occasionally, like Toughie’s visits. We would go prowling together and I would taste blood and thrill to the chase. We actually talked with other, not quite in spoken language but clear enough to exchange thoughts and concepts. Enough to know that Toughie has a mission. He wants to teach many people what it’s like to hunt, to taste the prey’s blood, to feel the excitement of the night prowl and the nocturnal adventures of the alley-cat. So be in touch with your dreams tonight, and listen carefully for the faint scratching at your front door.

Welcome to the TrueFortune’s Blog! “Your Path to Well Being and Better Living” with Dr. David Lee

Posted on Updated on


It’s a time to focus on what’s good about life and to be inspired to new heights! Sign up for our daily messages and we’ll see that your day gets off to a good start! Have You Smiled Today?

TrueFortunes Cookie Messages



#livehappy – Universal truth… we all want to be happy.  We all think we know how to do this.  So that’s what we do.  We do the things that we think will make us happy.

Sometimes this works.  A lot of the time it doesn’t.  Because the usual roadmaps to happiness are biased.   They are misleading.  I’ll be happy if only I make enough money.  Or achieve enough success.  Or win that tournament.  Or get those awards, have a huge house, learn enough skills, and own his and hers Maserati’s.  We live in a society of money and power, fame (or notoriety) and scientific progress.  We grow up immersed in this broth of wealth and prestige and progress, so we naturally believe in these principles. 

It’s a mistake to pursue happiness, even though it’s our constitutional right.  Happiness firmly resists pursuit.  But it’s possible to set up your life so happiness is likely.  Like tending a garden.  You don’t prepare the ground, toss in seeds, and get instant results.  You have to maintain an environment that is conducive to growth.  The same for your life. 

There are definite steps you can take to bring happiness and peace of mind into your life.  They take time and determination.  Stay tuned in for more information.

Your task is to find happiness and peace of mind in a world that is increasingly full of challenges.

My task is to help you in this difficult endeavor.  We can work together. 

– David Lee

clickhereYour Path To Happiness Begins Here!