Common Sense and Ghost Peppers

Common Sense: Not looking both ways before crossing the road. Not touching a stove eye which is red. Don’t sign anything without reading it first. Don’t eat undercooked pork, or a raw ghost pepper.

Don’t encourage ignorance. Don’t put up with rudeness. Don’t forget to say please, thank you, and excuse me. Don’t be bigoted.

Don’t be sexist. Don’t forget to brush your teeth before you go to the dentist. Don’t forget to vote. Always wear clean underwear. Don’t shoot a motorcycle gang a bird.

Don’t forget to learn as much as you can about everything you can. Don’t argue unless you know you are right. Don’t be stubborn about changing your mind when you’re wrong. Don’t contradict yourself.

Always fasten your seatbelt. Don’t fly unless it’s in a plane. Don’t criticize anyone’s personal beliefs.

Thomas Paine once wrote a book by the same name. Read it, it’s an important part of history. Benjamin Franklin wrote a bunch of good common sense sayings in Poor Richard’s Almanac. Another important book.

Apple Cider vinegar and local honey are good for what ails you. Wear an orange vest in the woods during deer season.

Love your neighbor, and that doesn’t just apply to the people you live near. Have compassion and pity for those with less than you. Try to understand where even the angry people are coming from.

Hug somebody. Get enough sleep……

Life Needs Balance

Life is like a balance scale. You must balance out the things you want with the things you really need. You may never have all you think you need, but then…did you truly need it after all?

As a child and a young man I would often dream of what I could become. What I have become is much different. I would not have imagined this. Nobody dreams of growing up to become “ordinary”. But ordinary is not bad, it is simply what has been weighed out in the balance, through choice and through chance.

After all, free will is what has been given to we humans as our heritage from the trials and errors of our ancestors, and through natural selection, or from God if you will.

We should not fail to exercise it, but we should realize at the same time the moral limitations it puts upon us. We should weigh in the balance that which makes us happy and productive against the idealism of that which we think would make us more satisfied.

Sometimes they are one and the same, but most of the time they are not, and those are the times which cause us to get out of balance, and to hurt ourselves and others whom we love.

As one of my favorite fantasy writers Brandon Sanderson said in his book The Hero of Ages:

“Somehow, we’ll find it. The balance between whom we wish to be and whom we need to be. But for now, we simply have to be satisfied with who we are.”

Appreciation to Dad and Mom

It’s plain to me that we humans cannot understand the point of view of other human beings until we “walk a mile in their shoes” I think it holds true for almost everything. A person doesn’t understand Japanese cuisine until they eat it for the first time, no matter how much it’s described to you. Especially those big old flames that shoot up from those Hibachi grills!

It especially holds true for a person’s point of view as they accumulate years.

My Mom was 20 years older than me, my Daddy was 22 years older. Barely a generation. They were youngsters when they had me, just as Paula and I were youngsters when we married and had children.

I remember looking at them as a little child, and they were my whole world. Everything that came to me, came through them. My food, my clothes, my toys. Everything. They seemed to me as a four year old, which is as far back as I can remember, as almost super human. As I grew older, of course that point of view changed.

As an older child they seemed less super human, and more authoritarian. Always telling me what to do, and when to do it! How irritating that sometimes seemed to me. I didn’t care if it was a school day, and my bedtime, I didn’t think it was necessary to put that comic book down, and go to bed. But, there were consequences if I didn’t obey, so I put down the “Spiderman” comic book and jumped under the covers.

As a teenager, I thought I knew it all. I can’t remember when I learned it all, but I thought I knew it. I didn’t think Mom and Dad were right about anything. I didn’t think they knew much about life. Heck, who were they to tell me I couldn’t stay out past midnight? Who indeed?

As a young adult with children of my own, it seemed to me that Mom and Dad got a little smarter again, somehow. The advice they gave me about the kids was pretty accurate, especially the parts about how to handle them when they were misbehaving! And then, as my children grew into teenagers, and into adulthood and had children of their own, I looked back with new eyes at my parents. I looked back with more respect at how well they had handled my upbringing and that of my brother. I looked back with admiration at the help they had lent me, and the love that they had unselfishly given me…for free.

Now, as I sit here and watch the wind blow through the trees, and the rain start to fall in sheets from the sky, I am just now beginning to understand their viewpoint as “older” adults, as “senior” citizens. I don’t feel any differently then I ever have really, but I think that’s because time creeps up on us so incrementally that we don’t notice the changes that it causes until we walk by a mirror, or start to get up from flat on the floor after helping your little three year old granddaughter build a “block tower” Then you notice.

I just have to whisper a thanks into the air sometimes at night to those folks….thanks Dad and Mom. I appreciate it.