For the first time I just had the urge to post something on Facebook –but resisted doing it. Because —and this is so weird for me to type — because it seemed “silly.” I can’t recall that ever happening to me. Ever!
I don’t know what this means …but I fear it means something. That something unusual is happening to me. Something pivotal. Like that first deep raspy cough you notice before pnuemonia sets it. Or like the feeling when a fever breaks and you know you are going to be okay.
I feel like this disinclination to post something absurd and pointless on Facebook may well be the first “deep cough” or “fever break,” so to speak, indicating the beginning of the end of my mid-life crisis.
I mean, of course it is true that the trajectory of a mid-life crisis can’t go up and up forever. At some.point it has to decline and resolve itself. After all, the “crisis” part of the term “mid-life crisis” suggests a downward spiral. So, you kmow, one more reason the upward trajectory thing can’t go on forever.
If this is true I am going to start acting more maturely in all kinds of ordinary situations. People won’t recognize me and others will wonder if I died or moved out of the country or was buried alive by someone who had to spend a lot of time around me.
Others may wonder if I am finally starting to grow up and act my own age. And if this “grown-up acting thing” really takes hold of me, still others may simply conclude that I have come down with pnuemonia. Or that my fever has finally broken.
I don’t know what I will do with myself.
Or maybe this means I am going to start really getting into Instagram?
This holiday season be Goldilocks-esque and seek that desireable middle point between two extremes.
Don’t eat too much nor eat too little.
Don’t talk too much nor talk too little
Don’t expect too much of yourself but don’t expect too little.
Don’t expect too much of others but don’t expect too little of them either.
Don’t sleep too much but don’t sleep too little.
Don’t buy too much but don’t buy too little.
Don’t feel too much but be sure to not feel too little.
Don’t think too much nor think too little.
Don’t act too old but don’t act too young.
Don’t love too mucb but be sure not to love too litle.
Don’t eat anything too hot and don’t eat anything too cold. Only eat things at the temperature that is “just right.”
Make sure your bed isn’t too soft or too hard –but “just right”
And don’t try to be too good but don’t be too bad either. Strive instesd to be “just right.”
There is a time to love
There is a time to hate
There is a time to be sad
There is a time to be joyful
There is a time to judge
There is a time to seek forgiveness
There is a time to feel ecstatic and have hallucinations
There is a time to feel paranoid and have cotton mouth
And there is a time to titrate your medications
Bill O’Reilly et al. like to paint themselves as victims of a secular conspiracy to destroy the meaning of Christmas. To hear them tell it, our founding fathers based the Constitution on a mashup of the bible (only selected portions, mind you, none of that keeping kosher stuff) and the Burl Ives ‘Frosty The Snowman’ TV special. So any attempt to reflect the diversity of our country around this time of year is not only unAmerican, but it threatens the very existence of the holiday they are thus compelled to defend.
Maybe if they got out of their studio once in a while, they’ll get a sense of just how well Christmas is doing versus any other holiday. Even here in the godlessly liberal/socialist Bay Area, every mall, business, or residential street looks like an elf’s wet dream, festooned with tinsel, red & green baubles, and enough mechanical reindeer & inflated lit-up snowmen to completely confuse my dog every time I walk her. (Not to mention the fact that Christmas has totally taken over Thanksgiving, and is probably going after Halloween and Labor Day next . . . )
Meanwhile, Bob Geldof has trotted out yet another rendition of his classic/monstrosity (depending on your perspective), “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” this time to raise awareness of Ebola, but continuing in the same vein of overblown rock anthem as expressed by patronizing Westerners. (Apparently, just in Nigera there are 3 times as many Christians as in England, so it seems like they don’t need Geldof’s song to enlighten them.) So in that same spirit, here’s my own overblown anthem in an effort to raise awareness of the existence of other holidays.
Minnesota is probably my favorite place anywhere to freeze my arse off (during the winter, anyway).
The people are pretty close to how they are depicted in Lake Wobegon –but Keillor did embellish a little bit. Not everyone is really above average. But not many seem below average either.
Minnesotans seem a lot like Kentuckians ….they are just as nice but they don’t try quite as hard as we do. They walk faster (because of the cold), talk faster (not sure why….maybe a “Viking thing”), and say “You betcha” a lot. When they talk they sound like a nasally and impatient Southerner — without any of the Southern accent, of course, but with all the friendly and kindly disposition. When you talk to them (if you are from Kentucky), you sound more Southern than you thought you sounded. And Minnesotans are fun to talk to and easy to make friends with.
I guess what I am saying is that Minnesota is a much warmer place personally than it is a cold place physically. And that is saying a lot!
I just landed…you heard me right, “landed!!” Because I flew. I have been flying…high up in the air…at wicked fast speeds ….and flew over 1000 miles —that’s right, 1000 miles!! –and all in just under 2 hours!!
We landed in cold, icy and foggy conditions. Giant wheels came down underneath the airplane at just the right time and the pilots, who were responsible for about 120 lives, calmly and smoothly landed the giant flying contraption and we all lived.
I know I have experienced this very same thing many times. But this time I was really conscious of it and paying attention. And aware of how truly amazing it really is!
And the entire mind-boggling trip cost less than two shirts and a belt I could have bought at the airport.
This flight was much better than any two shirts and a belt I have ever bought.
One man sitting 2 seats in front of me missed the whole thing because he hadn’t flown before and threw up in a complimentary bag the entire flight. He was paying close attention just like me and it must have just blown his mind –even more than it did mine. I hope he tries again.
I met the pilot as I got off the plane. He was about 15 years younger than me but real responsible looking with short well-groomed hair and not a bead of sweat on his forehead. If I had his job I would have looked more like the guy 2 seats in front of me. I wanted to say, “Sir, that was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget.” But I didn’t because I forget to remember a lot of amazing things I experience.
This was certainly one of those experiences! I just said, “Thanks” to the pilot.
And the most amazing part of all is that all I had to do was think about what I was doing for a few minutes rather than taking it for granted.
I would tell you how I am going to get home from the airport, but I doubt you would believe that either.
When life throws you a curve ball, duck. And then get out of the way. And if you find the ball, don’t throw it back and try to hit the person who threw it at you. He may have a knife or a gun. And you don’t want things to escalate. Just let the ball lie and be glad it didn’t hit you –this time. And use your rear view mirror.
When life gives you lemons. Take them. You know what they say…free lemons!
When life is unfair, join the club. It is your turn in the barrel. Get in the barrel and roll down the hill. It’s a shorter hill than you think. And it will be someone else’s turn before you know it.
When you are betrayed by someone you trusted, don’t blame them too much. They are about average. But you can strive to be better than that. And that makes you above average. For the moment.
When someone lies to you, don’t call them out on it in an embarrassing way. Just let them know you know the truth and you know they know that you know the truth. And you don’t have to say anything to communicate that. Stay trustworthy. And make peace with the fact that you can’t trust everyone always. But keep trusting –with eyes wide open and lower expectations. Life is better that way.
When someone talks behind your back about you, step back and watch that person from a distance and say to yourself, “I wonder why that person feels a need to do that… Whatever the reason, I hope he gets over it soon” And keep that to yourself and keep doing whatever you were doing. It’s really not about you anyway. And remember, people do things behind your back because they lack the confidence and integrity to look you in the eye.
And if all these things are happening to you, remember, you are right on schedule –for a Wednesday. Be glad you are participating. Life is better that way. Keep participating, please.
But with a little wisdom, a lot humor and and a penchant for patience, this Wednesday may well be just a little bit better.
And there’s nothing wrong with carrying Pepper Spray. Some day you may need it. But only in emergences.
It is always important to “own” your mistakes.
And only after that try to find a silver lining
Is Chivalry Dead?
Not in Louisville, Kentucky, it’s not.
As I was leaving an event the other night, I walked outside with a group of people including a friend and one of the co-hosts, the lovely Tammy York-Day. I decided to walk Tammy to the multilevel parking lot nearby where we both had parked –as any Southern gentleman would be expected to do.
It was dark out and as we peered into the parking garage it was eerily quiet.
I had parked on the 2nd floor and Tammy told me she had parked on the 4th floor.
“What does modern day chivalry command?” I wondered to myself.
OK. I didn’t really wonder that to myself. What I really thought to myself was “Oh, Sh*t! Am I expected to go all the way to the 4th floor with Tammy and to pretend like I am going to protect her?” I didn’t say this out loud, of course. Just thought it. And then I thought, “I really don’t want to do that. It is two extra full floors up and it is late and I am a little scared to go up there with only Tammy to protect me.” I didn’t say that out loud either.
My mind immediately went into overdrive to quickly come up with an alternative plan. One that was still within the realm of chivalrous but not overly or absurdly chivalrous.
Instead of walking toward the elevator I started up the stairs. I let Tammy take the elevator. It would be harder, I reasoned, for Tammy to expect me to walk up two extra flights of stairs than I needed to for my car. And I figured since her car was on the 4th floor, Tammy would prefer the elevator and she did.
But my real save was I yelled out to Tammy as I said good-bye, “I promise to wait here on the stairs until you get to your car and I will listen for sounds of scuffling or screaming. If you get mugged or attacked just scream as loudly as you can.” I continued explaining my chivalrous plan, “I will be able to hear you because a scream from the 4th floor of the parking garage will carry to the 2nd floor where I will be with my car. Then I will start screaming and from the 2nd floor my scream would be heard at the street level,” and hopefully someone would hear and come to the rescue. Someone other than me, that is.
It was a brilliant, fool-proof, and yet still chivalrous plan.
But as we stood at the stairs and elevator, it became obvious to me Tammy was wondering what would happen if she was attacked then and there. I knew exactly how to calm her worries. I reassured Tammy that even though I wasn’t a tall guy or especially strong guy or even an overly masculine guy, I did have a big vocabulary and high emotional IQ and could use sarcasm —biting sarcasm, if necessary —and “shaming,” shaming from childhood parental wounds, if necessary. I explained I had a powerful “Disappointed father” look I could use on any attacker. And combined with devastating sarcasm, I had a powerful “one -two punch” (metaphorically speaking) that would knock back any attacker who was foolish enough to try to harm her.
Although she didn’t say anything, I could tell Tammy felt safe and secure with a Southern –and chivalrous– gentleman so close by as I stood in the stairwell about a dozen feel away explaining everything (so I wouldn’t have to go all the way up to the fourth floor with her).
As I waved goodbye and promised to wait to see if she screamed from the 4th floor, Tammy knew one thing for absolute certain: That chivalry was far from dead. That chivalry was, in fact, alive and well and flourishing tonight —at least here in Louisville, Kentucky for Tammy York-Day.
When I was a young man and someone said something that offended me, I would imagine my eyes lighting up and transforming into the Incredible Hunk — and mauling the offending person.
But now when I am offended, I imagine my eyes going dim and transforming into Super Guru –and forgiving the offending person.
And then turning into the Incredible Hulk and mauling him