If you were stuck with only one food item to eat for a week, what would you choose? And what would you not pick?
If you were stuck with only one food item to eat for a week, what would you choose? And what would you not pick?
I think I was about six years old when one of my brothers and I decided to run away from home.
Was this foreshadowing?
I have two brothers, and the one closest in age to me had gotten into some spat with my mom. Dad, the Lieutenant Colonel, was at the Air Base working, and I’ve no doubt that it was my brother who had misbehaved. He wasn’t taking the motherly admonishment too well. And there is always that dreaded, “Wait until your father gets home” threat.
Dad was the enforcer.
Now that I’m retired, I’ve been sharing time, and stories, with my fellow retirees. I can tell you one thing in common between us. We are all much happier than we were during the days of our productive employment, even if we were working on one of those lofty, feel-good, society-serving, professional pathways. Things are much better now.
Simply put, we have a lot less crap to deal with.
And the people we used to work with often stymied our ability to live up to our maximum potential, or to serve our target population to that full potential.
We fought the good-fight, but we didn’t often win.
And now that I’m retired, I keep seeing a billion articles about retirement and what resources you need to retire plastered all over the Internet. I’m seeing these as a result of targeted ads, I’m sure, but if you stop and read any of these posts the common wisdom you can derive is that neither I, nor any of my retired friends, could possibly afford being out of the workforce.
We all must be starving to death.
For being a totally artificial construct, time certainly can beguile us.
Lead us into a false sense of security when there seems to be plenty of “time-to-spare.” Yet place us in a state of sheer panic if time has “escaped us.” Particularly for workplace deadlines. Or when we’re dashing across the airport terminal trying to catch that connecting flight. Or maybe when we’re counting the seconds between the contractions a mother endures during childbirth.
A new life blooms that will soon be “ticking away” the hours.
I had several ideas for writing this morning, but then I came across this word. “Ul·tra·crep·i·dar·i·an.”
Of course, I love words, love finding new words, and I had to drop everything and look this one up. If that was the goal of the person using this word in a comment on a web posting, well Mission Accomplished.
Before I checked, just looking at the word makes me think of something big or extreme (ultra), and something creeping (crep – the Urban Dictionary says creps are shoes). “Dar,” by itself, is used as an acronym, but has little meaning of its own that I could find. “Darian” is the Greek name meaning “gift,” but I doubt there is any hidden gift here. And the suffix “ian,” by itself, means to have the same qualities of something.
Back around the turn of the century, there was a famous Orloy Trotter Horse in Germany who was acclaimed for being able to perform arithmetic and other intellectual feats. The horse’s name was Clever Hans.
After a formal investigation into his skills, a psychologist claimed the horse was smart, but only in the sense that it paid attention to the reactions and body language of his trainer. The trainer, it was said, had no idea the horse was eyeing him for the cues on how to respond to the ongoing tests.
Well, this story is not about Clever Hans.
Warning: I have a bit of a sarcastic, sardonic, and cynical sense of humor. I think a lot of people do, but some don’t, and they may not get my attempts to poke fun at things. That’s ok, but I just wanted to warn the reader that’s where we’re headed today, down sarcastic, cynical lane. 😊
Disclaimer: And while I’m poking fun at a business conference below, understand that I’m not really trying to belittle the people who made their presentations. They were all very nice people and some were incredibly smart folks. That doesn’t mean we can’t have a sense of humor about the topics being presented and the terminology they used.
Ok, so yesterday I was having a little fun with some new words and phrases coming out of the business sector. And I ended that post by mentioning something else I did once at a work conference. Something I thought was rather amusing, and you can do this too the next time you’re at one of those oh-so-boring meetings.
Things are a little different in the world of being single. When you go out in public, you’re often the odd man or woman out. And I particularly note this to be the case when you go to a dining establishment. Even more so if the place has an ego.
Yes, businesses have egos too. They like to craft an image to promote youth, beauty, and affluence. If you’re eating there, you must have money, the food must be gourmet, and you must be part of that “elite” class that expects, and gets, the best service.
A while back I wrote a piece called Experimental Writing. I have taken that post down with about a hundred others, but the point of the piece was that everything we write and put out here for the world to see is a bit of an experiment.
We learn through trial and error what works and what doesn’t. What people like to read, and how they like to read it.
And while my background has me well trained in technical writing, and formalized legal writing, my academic training did little for teaching me what I think is truly important – the art of storytelling. That’s one of those things I’ve been learning on my own.
The feedback from the WP community is great.
So yesterday I attempted to write what was supposed to be part two of a short series I started playing with about current societal gender roles and the concept of being “conscious” in those roles. And because of my fascination with word usage and origin, I was poking a little fun at the evolution of the slang word “woke.”
To tackle the controversy surrounding this single-syllable, yes, believe it or not there are folks fighting over ownership rights to a slang word, I had to discuss the concept of “cultural appropriation.” Something that I think has become a bit distorted. Grossly distorted, in fact.
What I ended up with looked a little bit like a cross between editorializing and a legal brief, and I’m not sure anyone would have gotten the type of humor I tried to infuse it with, as I respectfully called Bullshit on it all. 😊
It was a lump of coal. And as a dear heart once told me, intelligence only goes so far.
She’s right of course.
Realizing that this was probably not my only failure at composing, I thought I should take a moment to thank all my followers out here in WP land. I greatly appreciate your visits, you trying to digest the meanderings through my mind, and your insightful comments.
You give me courage. You give me strength. You give me the will to get back on the horse and throw something out there for the world to see. Accepting the risk of whether it will fly or falter.
So, thank you all for being here, and please come visit again. You help me to grow as a writer, and I’m eternally grateful for that.
Photo: Back in the saddle, somewhere in time and space.
I’ve been seeing a lot of articles and postings on the Net lately about Millennials. And a lot of it is very derogatory and carries an overall tone of blame. Blame for what? Apparently, there is a blame game now where if it looks like you’ll be delayed in reaching some of society’s dictated milestones, such as marriage, children, and owning a home, then you are defective.
In fact, people falling in this category are more than just defective. They are downright utter failures. And those in this generation acquiring a higher education are also called fools for racking up student loan debt.
Of course, if you visit the pages like LinkedIn, the general tone is that if you’re having difficulty achieving the American Dream, regardless of who you are but especially if you’re a Millennial, it’s because you are incompetent and lazy and simply haven’t learned to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. It’s also assumed that you do not know how to prioritize your purchasing power and always spend beyond your means.
If you were only like the commentator who walked 20 miles to school each day, uphill, both ways, and forwent buying so much as a candy bar until they could afford to buy a falling apart car with the money they earned mowing lawns and doing other odd jobs until they became a self-made . . . blah, blah, blah . . . judgmental bigot?
I find such types of gross over-generalizations to be pretty ignorant.
Me: “Hi, how’s it going”
Hiker: “Just great. Beautiful day.”
Me: “It sure is, absolutely gorgeous.”
Hiker: “Well you have a good day Sir.”
Me: “Thanks, you too.”
A brief interlude as I was passing a fellow hiker on the trail.
It seems I’ve been hearing this word a lot more lately. “Excuse me Sir.” “Hello, how are you doing Sir.”
I kind of want to look behind me to see who is standing there.
And it’s not that it’s bad. It’s very respectful. I’m just not used to hearing it, and why now?
This all seemed to start a couple of years ago, right after I turned 60. Even saying that sounds weird to me, because I sure don’t feel old, or older. In fact, I don’t think 60 is considered old anymore. But suddenly people are calling me Sir.
When I think of the word “Sir,” I think of my father. The Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force. I think of esteemed people having earned that title by some trial by fire. More akin to the titles of professor or doctor or judge.
I find it a bit ironic because it seems like when I was younger, I as always sounding like Rodney Dangerfield – “I don’t get no respect.” I was working hard to try to earn it. Still didn’t always get it. My work was sometimes plagiarized too, so I didn’t get the credit for it.
But now, apparently, just by virtue of having aged, people are very respectful.
I guess I’ve reached “Sirdom.”
It was almost magical. Happening overnight. I’m not sure what exactly changed. I’m retired now so no one is looking up to me for being a professional. Perhaps it’s the gray in my beard? That same beard that earns me the extra security checks at the airport 🙂
Of course, somehow, I also ended up on the senior mailing lists so I get offers all the time for some type of age-related service. Long-term care insurance. Reverse mortgages. My favorite was the funeral insurance. Their tag line being, “This will be the last insurance policy you’ll ever buy.” Nice.
I think it’s great that we respect our elders. They have so much offer in the form of wisdom. And in some ways, it is amazing to see so many circles of the sun. I just don’t feel like I’m an elder at the council fire. And I’m not sure I have any wisdom to offer. Yet.
Whether you’re a “Sir,” or a “Mam,” or any variation thereof, I salute the divinity that is within you, and respectfully wish you a wonderful day.
Photo: That’s Sir Me, somewhere in Wyoming. Jesse, the border collie, belonged to the person whose home I was visiting. I miss my old buddy, Taz, and I’ll probably get another dog someday myself. Maybe I’ll name him “Sir.” 🙂
I can’t really explain time.
Right now, I know I’ve let days slip away without posting to my blog and it’s time to start writing.
Writing is sort of an addiction. I love it. And I am writing in my mind all the time. But some days there are simply other things I need to do with my time, either to keep up with the mundane parts of life, or to find inspiration to bring stories to life. Or maybe I should say, bring life to stories. Creative time.
Of course, it’s not “my time” to begin with. How could we possess something so ethereal?
Time has a way of standing still yet slipping by at the same time. Especially when I’m with the people I love, or when I am taking time out in nature. Time’s simply gone or was time there to begin with? The true measure of time never really existed. It is artificially set. Having no more substance than turning hands on an arbitrarily numbered dial.
While time is an arbitrary concept, at least in the physical world, time is limited for us. So, sharing that finite time with others is perhaps the greatest gift we can give. Maybe we’ll have infinite time to share in the spiritual world.
For some reason we decided to define time by motion. One day is equal to the time for the Earth to complete a full rotation on its axis. To do that, the Earth is moving, rotating, at approximately 1,040 miles per hour.
In addition to its own rotational speed, the Earth is zipping around the sun at about 66,660 miles per hour. A full rotation around our star takes what we’ve defined as a “year,” some 365 days in double rotational motion, more or less.
What’s more, the sun and our solar system are orbiting the Milky Way Galaxy at somewhere around 450,000 to 500,000 miles per hour. This galaxy is huge. It takes our sun about 225 to 250 million years of motion to complete that journey around the galaxy’s center – that’s called a “cosmic year.”
And if that’s not enough motion or time for you, our galaxy is moving in relation to other galaxies and is on a collision course with the Andromeda Galaxy. These galaxies are moving toward each other at the rate of 252,000 miles per hour!
Are you dizzy yet?
And while time is an artificial concept based on motion, I can’t even tell you where I am at any given moment in time. For I, and all of the atoms in my body, are in constant motion.
You see, under particle theory in quantum mechanics, anything, including us, have multiple probabilities of being in multiple places at the same time. It is not until a measurement of some kind, often an observation of effect as opposed to seeing the actual subatomic particle, is taken that a “real” and yet temporary placement of anything or anyone can be defined.
My new goal is to be unmeasurable, so no one can place me anywhere at any given point in time. I will remain in eternal motion. How could I not be?
Actually, I’m really just having my morning coffee 😊
Photo: My morning cup of coffee catches the first rays of the rising sun.
* This is a piece I posted on LinkedIn a couple of months back. It seemed appropriate because the story originated there, but no reason not to share a bit a humor about social media here as we continue our Earthwalk . . .
Ok, so postings on LinkedIn sometimes careen off the finely paved highway of a career-oriented social media network. There are countless political posts, good morning photos, clichés and miscellaneous other postings by connections that are used to generate profile views, likes, or that serve as just plain attention getters. It simply comes with the territory. Leave expectations outside the door when you foray onto these pages, because there are also times where there is clearly a drunk driver behind the wheel with a stuck accelerator and no brakes rocketing towards that “bridge out” sign at 140 miles per hour.
This morning I was greeted with one of those uplifting messages designed to start everyone’s day off in a positive frame of mind, particularly if you were returning to work after the three-day holiday. The post was simple enough.
Post: “Peace Dances in the Heart of Every Human Being.”
Now there is an inspiring quote that picked my heart rate up a notch along with my morning cup of java. But it was one of the replies that really caught my attention.
Response: “I have not experienced this perspective. There are those who carry bloodlust and predatory darkness in their very beings as reflected in their actions, words and raptor-eyed huntings, or even seemingly random inactions. Their hunger walks life eternally through and with time.”
I didn’t quite expect to see the words “bloodlust,” and “predatory darkness” this early in the day. After all, the divide and conquer rhetoric of politicians was just beginning to generate the usual wave of hate-speech responses, name calling and tantrum throwing. I re-read the whole response, and I have to give this guy a little bit of credit. I mean “raptor-eyed huntings,” now that’s creative writing. And “Their hunger walks life eternally through and with time.” That’s poetic, not necessary uplifting, but definitely poetic.
I wondered if this guy wrote novels for a living, or, perish the thought, he was so cynically jaded as to make my own touch of cynicism seem bleak and dismal in comparison. Or maybe, this guy was just pitching a bit of sardonic, very, very sardonic, humor into that dance of the heart. I certainly hope this gentleman’s life is not so horrid as to have never experienced peace of mind, another heart’s love or the dance and laughter of life.
At any rate, a fine good morning to your sir; and may you dodge those raptor-eyed, blood-seeking demons eternally stalking you in the never-ending empty dark void that fills your soul : – )