Helpful Hints to Navigate Devilish Smirk


Devilish Smirk Provides a Unique Journey

Your journey’s dependent on the order you ingest my stories coupled with how well you know me in real life and chances are, you don’t. Devilish Smirk is one hell of a way to get to know me.

My circle of friends is smaller than one of Trump’s hands, but bigger than both ears on Jeff Sessions.


Devilish Smirk is a maze of word trails, peppered with pieces to a puzzle (without borders) framing the life I’ve lived.

I began writing when I realized all my pieces were out of place, and none of them had straight edges.

It was both liberating and frightening at the same time.

A few things you should know about Devilish Smirk

Travis Garrod, Devilish Smirk
Words are all any of us have. They matter.

The Little Engine That Did!

Being a writer requires an unwavering commitment to telling stories – your own, and others. There’s nothing easy about figuring out life, much less anything worth writing, but something changes after you start.

Writing enabled me to discover who I am at my core. Nobody can know you until you know yourself.

Avoid and ignore anyone who thinks they do. Those people are the most dangerous threat against our ability to coexist productively.

The ship sailed and sunk, but the train only left the station a minute ago and it’s not scheduled to stop.

I don’t know how I feel about that.

Without purpose, you have no business affecting the lives of others. Those who truly love you, will do so unconditionally.

Words matter more than ever.

Keep yours to yourself if you’re a habitual liar. Not everything stays locked in a closet.

Is that milk on the floor? Are those tears in your eyes?

When someone has no idea what others have been through (or only know a fraction of the details), that’s a great time to listen with an open mind, consider the possibilities, and think.

Like money, words don’t grow on trees. However, words form branches. Branches only go so far as they grow. Every branch sprouts from the same tree, and a single tree has many roots.

Sorry seedling. For whatever reason, you’re here. It’s up to you to figure out how organic or inorganic you are.

Nothing – and I mean nothing – in this country is what it seems. The sooner you start questioning what you believe to be true, the better off you’ll be.

Be best better!

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What a Difference a Word Makes


I was officially banned from a Facebook page today – and called a troll!

Both were firsts for me.

The silly thing is, I agreed with the story on the page and many sentiments expressed in comments, but its followers misunderstood what I posted.

Suddenly, I offended everyone due to a careless, unintentional oversight I didn’t even consider until it was too late.

An overzealous, emotional group misunderstood what I was trying to say and saw me as their enemy. The page admin stepped in, called me a troll, and I was banned without a chance to explain myself.

I saw enough reactions to I understand how my comment went completely off track; all because of one word.

Did I say I agreed with the story and the general sentiments of the page’s community?

The article was about the Colorado Springs shooting at a Planned Parenthood location which left two civilians and a police officer dead. Nine others were injured, including a personal friend’s husband.

The article pointed out unnerving examples of support on social media from extreme ‘pro-life’ Christians praising the shooter, saying the victims deserved to be shot – a disgusting sentiment.

Let me be clear. I don’t agree with that. 

Anyone who knows me, reading this right now, is thinking to themselves, “What the hell?”

I stepped on a social media mine.

The point I was trying to make was the hypocrisy of people who aren’t outraged by the shooting in Colorado are the same people who were outraged when the graphic appeared of Sarah Palin in rifle crosshairs, except Palin wasn’t shot.

Simple, right? Not really.

I didn’t end my statement saying Palin wasn’t shot. I said nobody was shot because that particular graphic didn’t lead to anyone being shot.  

However, there was a crosshairs graphic that did; a graphic that surfaced before the one I was talking about.

What I didn’t address (and certainly wasn’t referring to) was a separate, but related, earlier graphic produced by Sarah Palin’s Political Action Committee (SarahPAC) containing a picture of House Representative Gabrielle Giffords in crosshairs who, subsequently, survived an assassination attempt when she was shot in the head on January 8, 2011.

The followers of this site thought I was referring to SarahPAC’s graphic and intentionally being an internet troll, stoking emotion because, you know, I have nothing better to do.

Yeah, no. Those people are out there, but I’m not one of them. It makes me sick to think anyone thought that was my intent.

The intricacies of the issues affecting us today are deep, and emotions are running higher than ever, no matter what side you take.

Mistake or not, once a group bands together, only perception matters.

My mistakes were pointing out hypocrisy only referencing one easily confused detail of a much larger incident, and forgetting how easily I could be misunderstood. Oops.

Communicating with strangers through social media, even ones with whom you agree, is risky business, and it’s easy to stumble.

The specific page isn’t important. I submitted an apology through the group’s main website and explained the mix-up, but I haven’t heard from them. The admin was much more quick earlier today.


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My first and last pair of Velcro shoes


I was an avid watcher of Saturday morning cartoons. As a kid, I threw a party every Saturday and all of my stuffed animals attended. Being an only child, I had did a fine job keeping myself occupied. I would place them neatly on the couch, which always ended up an unruly pile, and we hunkered down for the morning.

I pretended to feed my guests dry cereal while I ate it like popcorn. Sometimes, I would drink what remained in a can of flat diet Pepsi from the previous evening.

The agenda evolved over the years, but included shows like Super Friends, Scooby Doo, Looney Toons, Smurfs and, toward the end of the era, Gummi Bears. All I ever wanted was a potion bottle full of Gummi Berry juice.

The cartoons lasted for years after the stuff animal parties, but a few of the party-goers still reside with me today, such as the mongoose puppet, a Smurf puppet, Dopey (the dwarf), and the remains of a cloth face from a Raggedy Andy I received when I was born. Add that to the list of things my dogs tore to shreds. I kept the face for some reason, the most in-tact part from the atrocity.

In addition to dry cereal and flat pop, I consumed advertising like air. I still do. I love it. To this day, I can recite more product jingles, PSA’s, and School House Rock anthems than I can count. Thanks to YouTube I can summon, within seconds, my favorite ones and geek out in a completely nostalgic way. Monchichi, anyone?

Over time, advertisements included Velcro shoes convincing me, naturally, that I desperately needed Velcro shoes! Brands such as Zips and KangaROOS, which had a zipper pocket along the side, became so important to have. I wanted them and, eventually, my dad bought me a pair.

Mind you, my parents weren’t as swayed by what was popular. They were practical. The brand I received was Brooks. Still, I was excited. They were Velcro and I proudly wore them to school the next day.

The bell rang for recess and I was on the playground showing off my new shoes. It didn’t take long for a couple kids to take all of the wind out of my sail.

First, I was informed that my shoes weren’t as cool as Zips. I fell down a peg but, in all honesty, I agreed.

Then, they pointed out that they didn’t have a pocket. Ok fine, they didn’t have a zipper pouch which, quite frankly, was a useless gimmick anyway. I wasn’t even carrying around a house key at the time.

NotabullyBefore I could even muster an attempt and pointing out the coolest feature, the teasing about the Velcro started.

“Travis, don’t you know how to tie shoes? You need Velcro because you can’t tie shoes!”

It was official; I was at the bottom of the peg board that I was never able to climb anyway.

In that exact moment, all I knew was that my shoes weren’t on TV and they said I couldn’t tie shoes. The damage was done.

I was defeated and angry. Why couldn’t I have the shoes on TV? I felt stupid and uncool. My dad screwed up! How could he do this to me?

While waiting for my dad to pick me up after school, I noticed an ankle-deep mixture of mud and muddy water. It was the kind of marshy, squishy, stinky stuff that breeds bad ideas and billions of mosquito larvae in Alaska. I jumped in.

When my dad arrived, it wasn’t clear what color or kind of shoes were on my feet. Make fun of me now, assholes!

I hopped in the truck. “What’s going on with your shoes?” he asked.

“I hate them! You bought the wrong kind!” I said.

I was so mad at my dad for what those kids said to me. I could see his disappointment in me and my reaction to the entire situation. I was being a mean twerp, just as those kids were to me, instead of being grateful for my dad working hard to provide for me. Thankfully, he didn’t cease, but I can say he never provided me with another pair of Velcro shoes.


My early theory on aerodynamics


I wasn’t much different than most kids in the fact that I thought I knew everything. 

GradesfortokensIt didn’t matter what grades were reflected on my report cards. After sixth grade, I stopped redeeming good grades for game tokens at Chuck E. Cheese so what was the point?

Despite whatever cerebral short coming I was experiencing, I would fight tooth and nail to defend anything that sounded right because, you know, common sense. That, or I just couldn’t handle the fact that I felt that my stepmom felt that she knew everything.

Naturally, when I professed my theory about aerodynamics and speed limits from the backseat of the truck, my stepmom tried to correct me.

That day, I was playing in a hockey tournament. Between games, we shot over to McDonald’s. We hopped in my dad’s truck – a Ford F150 super cab, something big and bulky. My coach, who happened to be my uncle, also went to McDonald’s in his car – a Mazda RX-7.

I was fascinated by my uncle’s car. It was so cool, so sleek, and so modern. That thing cut through the air like a knife.

We hit the highway, briefly. My dad, ever the careful driver, maintained the posted speed limit – 55 MPH. The RX-7, on the other hand, zipped past.

MoreridiculousAlways pointing out wrongdoings, my stepmom said, “Art’s going pretty fast.”

“No he’s not,” I said, in a matter-of-fact tone, from the backseat.

“Yes he is, Travis,” she said. “Your father is driving 55 and Art just passed us driving faster.”

She had it all wrong.

“He’s not speeding,” I persisted. “His car is going faster because of aerodynamics. He’s going 55.”

This might have been the moment I shot down any hope my dad had for me to be an engineer. He was a land surveyor with a strong math background. He was pretty quiet during this exchange. He let Alice take the battle.

“No, Travis, the shape of the car doesn’t matter,” she explained. “55 miles per hour is 55 miles per hour. He would be next to us, not in front of us.”

What does she know? She didn’t even go to college.

“You don’t understand,” I told her. “Both engines are going 55, but his car is more aerodynamic and it moves through the air faster.” Makes perfect sense.

Exhausted by me, the front seat nodded, pretending to finally get it.

My first text messages in 1992

I wouldn’t buy it. I was convinced that, because of aerodynamics, my uncle could travel faster than us while driving at the same speed. I had no intentions of letting it go and they knew it. I was right and that’s all that mattered.

Needless to say, I never made it beyond intermediate Algebra in high school. In 1992, at college, I had one of those impressive Texas Instruments TI-85 calculators. My friend and I would type messages and pass the calculator back and forth in class. Texting pioneers.


I knew how to share and I showed my dad how good I was


This is my first memory of a secret I failed to keep at my first opportunity. My dad was not happy, but what I did was not nice.

KeepYourBeans_SmallThe occasions were birthdays for two aunts, one from each side of my family. For the occasions, my dad gave cards with cash to both of my aunts. I’m not sure why he divulged the gift amounts to me, but he shouldn’t have. He certainly underestimated my lack of discretion.

He was giving his sister more and my mom’s sister less. Makes sense, right? And generous too. I don’t know any twenty-something who gives cash to a former sister-in-law. Regardless, bad move dad, and right before we left to go to see her.

We were at my grandparent’s house when my dad gave my mom’s sister her card. I was playing in the ‘sandbox’ in the backyard. My cousin, three years younger, was with me. We called it a ‘sandbox,’ but it didn’t contain actual sand. It was more like a box of dirt. It was closer to soil than what you might find on the side of a road. If you dug just under the surface, you would easily discover earthworms. Whatever it was, nobody ever shot a Corona commercial on it.

My aunt, who received her card, came outside to check on the two of us playing in the box of dirt.

I proceeded to inform her, as my father had me, that she, in fact, received less money than my dad’s sister. I didn’t note her expression because I didn’t stop there. I also told her that she shouldn’t be upset because my other aunt was his real sister.

She laughed; I assumed she thought it was cute. While walking back inside I heard her say, “Walt, guess what Travis just told me…” and the door closed. She had a big mouth too.

Soon after, my dad opened the door and charged down the stairs, clearly upset about what I said. I messed up. The message was clear. Just wait until we get home. He returned inside.

SpankingDisclosure_smallBack in the box, my cousin and I continued to unearth earthworms because that’s what we typically did in that box of not sand. I began worrying about the anticipated spanking. I knew it was wrong and shouldn’t have said anything to my aunt. Someday I would learn better, but that day wasn’t the day. We continued to dig for worms as I lamented to my cousin how much I didn’t want to get spanked. She appeared to not care, but she was definitely listening.

Eventually it was time to leave; my dad retrieved me from the worm box. As we walked away, my cousin did it. She said, “Uncle Walter, Travis doesn’t want to be spanked.”

Do you see a theme here?

All I could do was look down and avoid my dad’s piercing eyes as we approached the truck. For the record, I didn’t get spanked that day.