All posts in Uncategorized

How baldness made me a better man

I was 13 years old when the nun told me I would be bald.

It was a bright spring day and we were outside St. Joan of Arc Church. Our eighth-grade class was getting ready to go inside to practice for our confirmation as Catholics.

Out of nowhere Mother Tarsilla barked a laugh and said, “Mark, you’re going to be bald like your father.”

This was jarring news, especially since I was just entering adolescence and Mother Tarsilla, the head nun, virtually never spoke to me. I don’t remember if my classmates reacted, but I have always remembered those fateful, stunning words.

Turns out she was right, although for the wrong reason. Yes, my father was somewhat bald, but I would become even balder. The baldness gene comes from a man’s maternal grandfather, and my mother’s father was very bald. (He was also very grumpy, a trait I work hard to avoid.)

But Mother Tarsilla’s words and my baldness shaped my life, for good and bad.

Lesson 1. Watch your words.
The nun had no need to tell a barely pubescent boy that he was doomed to be bald. Why be mean when it’s not necessary?

Others ask WWJD — What Would Jesus Do?

When I’m tempted to make a cutting remark, I try to stop myself and ask, “WWMTS – What Would Mother Tarsilla Say?”

Then I do the opposite, especially when younger people are involved.

Lesson 2. Come to terms with your baldness.
I noticed my first gray hair when I was 29, the day before my first child was born. To get a gray hair at such an early age was shocking, but now I treasure my remaining gray hair. If not for gray hair I would have no hair at all.

In my rebellious late teens I had a full head of long blond hair that reached my shoulders, but it started thinning seriously in my early, early 30s. I quickly went to the comb-over, parting my hair farther down the side and sweeping the strands over the bald spot.

But the bald spot kept growing and the comb-over became more and more troublesome to maintain.

It looked and felt ludicrous. When walking on a windy day I would pretend I was a tacking sailboat as I crossed the street to keep the wind from getting underneath the comb-over and blowing my hair straight up, uncovering the incipient chrome dome I was developing.

Finally, late in my 30s I went to a hair stylist — $10 more than my trusty barber – and asked him to take away the comb-over and let the baldness be free.

I never felt so good. I was free of the comb-over’s quirks, the amount of time needed to build it in front of the mirror, and the fact that it wasn’t working. It was a liberating experience made even more so by the compliments I got from men and women.

Lesson 3. Don’t let haters get you down.
Some people feel obligated to make bald jokes, and I always smile even though I’ve heard them all.

Trust me, there hasn’t been a new bald joke in 30 years. But it’s important to smile and shrug off the remark. Otherwise, people think they got to you and they make even more bad bald jokes.

Instead, I turn the bald wisecracks to my advantage. I own a convertible and I tell people I am “hairodynamically” equipped to drive it.

I also congratulate myself for not pointing out my critics’ protruding love handles or other apparent flaws. Remember: WWMTS — What Would Mother Tarsilla Say?

And when I see longhaired young guys I sometimes point to my head and urge them, “Grow it while you got it!”

Some bald guys take an extra step and shave their heads regularly, but this seems like too much work. Too many razor nicks on the naked noggin, too. I like my low-maintenance hairstyle, three strokes of the brush – one to the left, one to the middle, and one to the right – and I am good for the day.

I know a few bald guys who resent their baldness and bristle whenever someone comments on it. Why? It’s like being angry about your height or your eye color. It’s something you were born with. You can’t change it, so make the best of it.

I’ve also encountered a couple bald guys who snort when they saw a fellow baldy covering up with a toupee. Most folks can quickly spot a toupee, which is a sign of a man’s insecurities.

I never wanted a toupee and I never felt threatened by a guy who wore one. I figured women also would wonder about a guy with such needs and he would be one less competitor for me.

Lesson 4. You’re more than your hair
Speaking of women, there’s no doubt that a good head of hair helps a guy get noticed. But a good sense of humor and other attributes will quickly overcome the hair handicap.

In the end, other things count for much more than hair, which can be here today and gone tomorrow.

What this content creator does

•Write blogs and website copy about heating, ventilation, air conditioning and plumbing for companies in New York, Alabama and Florida. (Job tip: 10,000 HVAC techs will be needed in the next few years as current folks retire.)
•Edit an expert”s blog about healthy ways to age. (Ugly reality: “Sarcopenia” is not our friend. It’s the condition where our metabolism slows as we age. But you can do things to slow sarcopenia’s advance.)
•Write an e-book for an insurance lawyer on hurricane preparedness. (Often overlooked: Many people die or get hurt after the storm passes; they get careless or make bad choices.)
•Ghostwrite content for a website focusing on mental health. (One common suggestion from experts: Almost all of us could benefit from more sleep.)
•Write about agri-tourism in Sebring, Fla. (This area, still much like old Florida, has farms, wineries, distilleries and more, offering visitors a blend of modern amenities and classic experiences visiting farms, rivers and woodlands.

I might be able to boost your web presence. Please contact me markobrienusa at 

I write about plumbing and create content for plumbers web sites

If you’re in the plumbing business, I can create interesting, informative content for your website and help convert readers into customers.


I clearly explain plumbing issues to people who want help dealing with drain clogs, bathroom remodeling, water heaters, pipes and all the other problems that a homeowner may confront. I’ve written about these topics and many others — water hammers, plumbing myths, spring plumbing tips and plumbing suggestions for old homes, among others.


This will establish your site as a great source of valuable, trustworthy information and show that your company is a great choice for someone in need of a plumber. It will separate you from your rivals and increase your business.


I use on-line research and interviews with clients and their customers to present fresh, relevant content that will convert readers into customers. In addition, this content can be converted into an email that you can send to your customers and others in your target audience.


Please contact me at




Suit yourself

Let me tell you a quick, upbeat anecdote that can inspire folks who are fighting gravity and weight gain.

I recently was assigned to write several web pages about making alterations for men’s clothes — which amused my wife because I can’t even thread a needle.

Fortunately I had the help of an expert tailor to explain the ins and outs of altering men’s clothes, which can be very complicated. She told me that on occasion she has altered clothes for people who lost large amounts of weight — 60 pounds or more.

She even was able to take a man’s single-breasted coat and turn it into a double-breasted coat after he lost a lot of weight.

What an inspiring coat for that man to wear — a tangible result of his amazing accomplishment and a great example to include in the web copy.

Adjectives – handle with care

Here at our stock includes adjectives for all occasions.

Our supply includes “best,” “finest,” “most awesome,” “coolest” and many other superlatives.

However, we seldom recommend using these adjectives. They reek of sales spin and don’t give your readers the facts they want for making smart decisions.

Numerous studies show that blog-readers like only a helpful serving of adjectives – and no excess exclamation points, please!!!!

Readers visit business blogs to learn facts, not to wallow in hype.

They like some adjectives, but only factual, specific adjectives that tell them the car is royal blue or the equipment is energy-efficient or the two-story house includes a heated swimming pool.

They don’t want to wade through lots of excessive, uninformative adjectives that make them feel they’re being manipulated.

Just give them the facts and the precise adjectives they need, and readers will consider you more trust-worthy.

Content creation, factual writing, business writing, writing hype, readers want

Talking or writing, keep it short

You will lose your audience if you insist on rattling on in your speaking or your writing.
If you’re speaking, you need to make your points in 10-18 minutes. Otherwise, the audience loses  attention and you lose a great chance to spread your message. Scientists find that many listeners lose focus and tune out speakers after 10 minutes. TED talks, which showcase major league speakers, are limited to 18 minutes on the theory that this is enough time to explain the essence of your subject.

Writing on, Carmine Gallo has more thoughts and information:

“The 18-minute rule also works because the brain is an energy hog. The average adult human brain only weighs about three pounds, but it consumes an inordinate amount of glucose, oxygen, and blood flow. As the brain takes in new information and is forced to process it, millions of neurons are firing at once, burning energy and leading to fatigue and exhaustion. Researchers at Texas Christian University are finding that the act of listening can be as equally draining as thinking hard about a subject. Dr. Paul King calls it “cognitive backlog.” Like weights, he says, the more information we are asked to take in, the heavier and heavier it gets. Eventually, we drop it all, failing to remember anything we’ve been told.”

The same goes for writing. Don’t waste time and pixels on matters unnecessary to your story. If you do, your audience will move on without you.

Get the full details at Gallo’s post:

Check me out

Do you need a strong creator of interesting content whose writing will draw readers to your website and encourage them to want to do business with you?

I have more than 30 years in journalism, public relations, marketing and social media. This combination of fields helps me tell your story effectively and build your audience, whether you’re dealing with computers, healthcare, science, human resources, lodging, even cowboys and the cattle industry. I have ghostwritten books on management, social media, marketing and other subjects, so I can write knowledgeably and well on just about any business topic you have.

Please check these samples and contact me ( if you think we will be a good fit.

I wrote most of the copy for this website:

I wrote much of the copy on this site, including all of the “Practice Areas”:

I wrote all the “niche” items and found 25-40 keywords per entry for SEO purposes for this site:

Here’s a travel article I wrote to promote a rodeo:

And, just for fun, read this one about bird-watching:

I’m fast and reliable, and I meet deadlines. Always. I’m comfortable writing from material you provide me or from my own research and interviews on topics you assign.

Thank you.

Learn when to post on social media

Here’s a great source showing you the best times to post on various social media:

Guys, get game! Write better

Bad writing costs business billions of dollars per year — from poorly written memos to unnecessarily complicated instruction booklets to expensive marketing materials that fail to connect with the audience.
But it also hurts guys in the dating game.
A recent Wall Street Journal report about a study found that 87 percent of women were turned off by bad grammar and poor writing in profiles men posted on the dating site.For the ladies, grammar even ranked ahead of teeth as a deal-breaker.
So, fellas, work harder on your writing skills if you want to win a woman’s attention.
Women should, too, although grammar and writing skills aren’t as important to men looking for women. Only 75 percent of men listed these talents as must-haves for a woman.

No, I won’t write a profile for you. But I will write a great brochure, blog series, web copy or news release that builds positive attention for you and your business.

Contact me at

50 ways to get personal, build business

Few companies maximize their websites by showcasing the people who are, in fact, most of their assets.

I’m referring to the “About Us” portion of websites.

Fortunately, Mary Stribley has dozens of ways to make your “About Us” very attractive to readers interested in your products and services: