It may not always sound like it, but I am reminded daily of how lucky I’ve been in life. Drawing comparisons with other folks is a sure path to stress and pain, as there will always be some folks who seem to have it better, and many who don’t. Each of us starts out with the same set of rights, but what we do with them determines the direction our life will take. I feel I’ve been fortunate in several ways, the primary being the set of high-quality tools I was issued at birth. The mind/body that I was given out of the gate oh, so many years ago, is a good one, with a nimble, curious mind, and a body well able to cope with in whatever environment I found myself .
I must confess I haven’t taken the care of it in a way that perhaps I should, but then, I tend to avoid anything that contains the word “should” as a reason for acting in any manner. But, for the most part, it (my body) has always been capable of handling whatever I asked of it, even excelling at much of it. And I am more than happy with how my mind has performed; as far as I can tell, it has served me well. Sure, there are problems and issues that need to be considered and handled on a daily basis, but all things considered, I have to say, I’m a lucky guy…..
And of course, no soap, radio.
I have seen this little phrase, in this exact form, in several places over the years. The first time I saw it was in a science fiction story, one of an anthology put together to appeal to teenage readers (my daughter had it checked out from the school library). The story was pretty cute, and had some interesting characters in it. But mostly, the tone of the tale was intended to put a lesson into the reader’s mind, a lesson on how life’s problems can be handled. The lesson is most simply put to say: Life can be strange, so think outside of the box to find answers to questions that don’t fit into normal patterns. When dealing with issues outside our normal range of experience, it’s important to learn that not all knowledge is found in books, or in school; life itself is our most important teacher, and doesn’t always give the lessons in a format we can immediately fathom. So, you see, you must learn, learn, and learn some more; and, of course, no soap, radio……
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” — Philo
Such compassion and empathy! Who was this Philo person? A-googling I will go…..Well, here we are…. from Wikipedia,….James C. VanderKam writes: “Although many of Philo’s writings have survived, little is known about his life. We do not even know when he was born or when he died. The few facts about his life come from occasional hints in his own books and a small number of external references (e.g., Josephus mentions him).”
Ah, okay. Now I remember seeing some other examples of his quotes elsewhere, on previous pearl diving expeditions. This particular quote shows a great deal of insight. Each of us exists, alone, in our own little bubble of perception, and struggles alone with coming to terms with reality. For some, it is a long, drawn out affair; these are the folks who resist change the most, for change is the primary characteristic of reality. One cannot stop change, so learning to flow with those changes becomes a coping technique of primary value.
I’m not sure what it is in human nature that makes it so hard for some people to deal with the changes that are thrown at us repeatedly; nor do I understand why it is so difficult for them to learn how to cope with it. It seems crystal clear to me that learning to accept, period, is one of the best tools we have to deal with the vicissitudes of life, and is easily recognized as one of the first lessons that needs to be learned. As long as one learns to deal with change, living the life we choose is not unreasonably difficult to achieve. But when one fights against the current of time, life becomes an unending struggle just to survive intact. As always, the choice is ours…..
“This is no time for consensus government. It’s a time for leadership. The average citizen doesn’t know what the stakes are in Vietnam.” — Richard Milhouse Nixon, February 11, 1965
Excuse me? No time for consensus government? I was under the impression that consensus government was what we already lived by. I don’t recall any major changes to the Constitution for at least 75 years, or more, and that is what it promises to us. But Nixon, like many, or even most, of what we now are calling the 1% (I like the one from an author whose name slips my mind; he calls them the beloved ruling class…) actually believe in what he said; the rules are for other folks, not the elite. Moreover, it is how they act, and we, the people, have now allowed them to put their preferences in writing, thereby running an end-run around the Constitution to take away most of what we thought were our rights. We, or many of us, have forgotten that we only have those rights that we can defend; we gave up that defense to our leaders, trusting that they would honor the bargain. But they never had any intention of doing so, and we are now reaping our harvest of despair…..
“The people came to realize that wealth is not the fruit of labor but the result of organized protected robbery.”– Frantz Fanon
“Rapoport’s Rule of the Roller-Skate Key: Certain items which are crucial to a given activity will show up with uncommon regularity until the day when that activity is planned, at which point the item in question will disappear from the face of the earth.” — Dan Rapoport
I’m amazed. I didn’t know this had been documented sufficiently to become an accepted natural law, on a par with the Murphy syndrome. But, I can testify to its veracity, because, believe it or not, this happened to me in my youth, before I had matured enough to either shave, or consider girls as other than cootie-bearing demons.
I’d gotten a pair of roller skates for Christmas, the old fashioned metal clamps that fastened onto the shoe, and required the Roller Skate Key to tighten them enough to stay on for more than two strides and a fall. Within two weeks, the key disappeared, of course, and wasn’t seen for two years. On the day I found it in some place or other, I looked for the skates, as I could now see myself, much older and more physically adept, sailing away down the sidewalk to the park.
Well, you know the rest. There was only one skate in the back of the closet where they had lived for the last two years; no way to tell when or how the other had made its escape. So, like the mature young man I was, I tied the key to the remaining skate. and tossed it back into the abyss that was my closet, never to be seen again. By the time I might have found the other skate, the technology had advanced, and shoe skates had replaced the old metal contraptions, no key required…..I guess I wasn’t the only one it happened to….
‘It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information.” — Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
Now, there is something I could wish; to hear what Oscar would say in today’s culture, wherein we are drowning in information, a great deal of which is useless, both generally and specifically. In fact, one of the fastest rising job markets today is for people who know how to manipulate the information that is available in such staggering quantity. It has become a very valuable skill to be able to sift and organize all the data that flows across the Internet Cloud.
A lot of folks my age (61) and older are having a hard time adjusting to the new pace in society; they’ve been out of the loop long enough that learning what they need to learn to deal with computers is a task they are unwilling to take on. Some, like myself, have been waiting all our lives for this technology to reach the stage it is at today; I grew up reading about the technology, in science-fiction stories, and in Scientific American, and as soon as possible I jumped on that wagon with glee. It is a source of amazement to me that this laptop I’m using to write this has more computing power than there was in the entire world when I graduated from high school!
Learning to be adept with computers is a skill that everyone now needs to learn at an early age, or they just won’t be able to keep up. And, if you stop to think about it for a moment, you can realize that a computer is merely a very sophisticated hammer; just another tool we’ve created to assist us in our constant quest to control the universe around us, and as such, can be learned by even the most resistive student…..in fact, it can be regarded as a “must-learn” skill set…..
“Buy a rifle, encrypt your data, and wait for the Revolution!” — .sig of Travis J.I. Corcoran (TJIC@icd.teradyne.com)
Yesterday, I wrote a little poem to make a point. When I looked at it today, I thought to myself, “What were you thinking?” I suppose I’ve seen worse, but I can’t recall when. Just a bit too trite and smarmy for my taste, and just another example of why I don’t usually try my hand at traditional poetry. Oh well, I guess I’ll stick to haiku; I feel much more comfortable creating them, and they all seem to come out better. But, meantime, we come to the end of another morning session of exposition, so I’ll bid thee adieu for another day….. y’all take care out there…..
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.