Monthly Archives: March 2015

EVERY EASTER . . .

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Every Easter, my brother, two sisters and I would get up early to hunt for the candy Easter eggs that the Easter Bunny had hidden in our house.  The Easter bunny also brought us each a large chocolate rabbit which he left on the kitchen table in plain view.  I often wondered whether the Easter Bunny liked kids eating chocolate models of rabbits.  I assumed that this did not bother him or else he would not keep bringing them every Easter.

We were not allowed to eat any of the eggs or chocolate until after church and lunch.

Church!  That was the downside of Easter.  Thinking about it, church was the downside of every Sunday.  Our parents made us go.  We knew that if we did not go to church, then we would go to Hell.

No one ever explained the connection between Jesus and the Easter Bunny.  If there were passages in The Bible about the Easter Bunny, then we never learned about them in Sunday School.  I assumed that the Easter Bunny was one of Jesus’ pets that Jesus made big and magic.  Jesus did this because he knew how dull church was, and the Easter Bunny made it a happier time.

PRIORITIES

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The more minor something is, the more attention it gets from The System.  For example, police have constant traffic and parking ticket campaigns.  These campaigns get more attention than crime.  Is that because tickets bring The System money and crime does not?

A friend told me how he received a speeding ticket on his way home one time.  When he got home he found thieves had broken into his house.  They stole the usual cash and jewelery, and other items that had sentimental value and could never be replaced.  The police never caught the thieves or recovered any of his property.

Where were the police when the thieves broke into the house?  The police were looking after their priorities.

Yesterday at the North York Center food court, I saw a security guard making sure no one had his or her cell phone or computer plugged into a food-court electrical outlet.  “It’s against mall regulations,” I overheard him lecture some students.  This security guard’s  electric-plug patrol was happening as I was leaving the food court to take the subway.

The subway entrance has two doorways leading to it: one doorway from the mall and one doorway from outside.  Mall security guards patrol the subway entrance.

How thick the cigarette smoke was when I walked through the mall doors to the subway!  Three homeless, drunk, old men had come in from the outside, and were drinking and smoking.  They had been in there for some time because of the amount of cigarette smoke in the air.

Where were the security guards?  They, like the police, have priorities.

BILL MARS

I used to work in social services with a man I will call Bill Mars.  (Not his real name.)  Bill Mars was out-of-this-world! when it came to avoiding work.  What a master!  I was junior to him, so I had to go along with his choices.

Part of our job was helping people with various problems—or at least point them in the right direction to solve their problems.  If Bill Mars could not find a way to avoid contact with people, and he had many ways, then he had a favorite line he would use.  His facial expression never changed while he was working.  It was always long and dour.  He kept the same facial expression whether people were emotional, or calm while explaining their problem.  When they finished, he would say, “So?  What do you want me to do about it?”

His question always confused people because they thought that we there to help them.  We were, but not according to Bill Mars.  We were there to avoid work.

How amazing the lengths Bill Mars would go to avoid doing any work!  He used so much energy finding ways to get out of helping someone with a problem.  He would have used far less energy simply doing the job.

The only time I saw Bill Mars working was when he made coffee for our boss.  He would smile around our boss, too.

It has been years since I left that job, but Bill Mars came to mind recently watching how a librarian avoids doing anything.  Her method is simple:  she stares at her computer screen, or looks off somewhere in space where nothing is happening.  In other words, she avoids eye contact.  Even when she walks from the office to the Reference Desk, she looks in directions where nothing is going on.  If she does not see it, then it isn’t there.

I do not know her name, but I call her Bill Mars.  When you see Bill Mars at the Reference Desk, you know that she will only see her computer screen or some obscure place in the air.   You also know that if she has to help you, then she will avoid getting up from her seat.  She will make you wait when you walk up to the desk to ask her something.  I presume she is hoping you will go away.  Other librarians will get up from the desk and deal with a noisy person or some other problem that requires intervention.  Not Bill Mars.  She sits there staring somewhere safe pretending nothing is happening.

The screen went blank on a computer I was using.  Other librarians get up to see whether they can solve the computer problem.  Usually they do.  Not Bill Mars.  I reported the blank screen to her expecting her to get up and investigate.  As usual,  it was a long time before she looked up at me to find out why I was bothering her.  I told her.  She remained seated.

“Find another computer to use,” she said, “and you don’t have to worry about it”  Then she returned to gazing at her computer screen.

Bill Mars would not get up from her chair if World War III happened in front of the Reference Desk.  Wait a minute.  Perhaps she would get up as long as she did not have to do anything.

Librarian Bill Mars does not look anything like the man I used to work with except for one thing—a fat ass.  Both have a fat ass.  I wonder why.

MY IMITATION REPERTOIRE

I am building up a repertoire of things to imitate.  So far I can imitate a table, chair, ceiling, floor, door, and a window.  Presently I am working on imitating human beings.

What a challenge learning to imitate a human being!  I may not have enough ignorance to do so.  How do I find the nerve to believe that what I believe is true?  Which religion do I choose as the right one, or should I choose various religions when imitating various human beings?  The same applies to political beliefs.   Am I capable of believing that one political belief is right and the rest are wrong?

Tables, chairs, ceilings, floors, and doors do not fight and kill each other over their religious and political beliefs.  They have these beliefs, but keep them private.

Notice I did not mention windows.  Windows do not have religious and political beliefs.  Windows do not have any beliefs.  They keep themselves clear so we can see through them.

The one human trait I easily learned is imagination.  How much fun I am having with this one!

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS?

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“Where do you get your ideas?”  It’s a common question from wannabe creators.

When asked this question Dr. Seuss and Kurt Vonnegut gave these answers:

“This is the most asked question of any successful author. Most authors will not disclose their source for fear that other less successful authors will chisel in on their territory. However, I am willing to take a chance. I get all my ideas in Switzerland near the Forka Pass. There is a little town called Gletch, and two thousand feet up above Gletch there is a smaller hamlet called Uber Gletch. I go there on the fourth of August every summer to get my cuckoo clock repaired. While the cuckoo is in the hospital, I wander around and talk to the people in the streets. They are very strange people, and I get my ideas from them.”                                                 – Dr. Seuss

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When someone asks me this question, I reply, “Everywhere!  Look around you.  Things surround you that once were, or still are, ideas.  Think how much fun it is playing with and mixing up these ideas!”

WHERE DO IDEAS GO?

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Where do ideas go once we think them?  Do they go to a used-idea dealer to be fixed up and sold again?  Do ideas go to a retirement home to be with other retired ideas?  Do our used ideas go to a waiting room somewhere and hope that someone will think them again?

Perhaps it depends on each idea.  Some may choose the dealer; some may retire; and some may choose to wait to be used again.

The next time I have an idea, I am going to follow it to see where it goes.

THE MEANING OF LIFE

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What is the meaning of life?  Do fleas ever ponder this question?  What about cows?  Do cows wonder what their lives mean?  (A cow once told me, “McDonald’s gives my life meaning.”)

Human beings are the only earthlings who ponder this question.  Why?  Abraham Maslow’s  Hierarchy of Needs provides the answer: 

  1. Biological and Physiological needs (air, food, shelter);
  2. Safety needs (protection);
  3. Belonging and Love needs (family, relationships, work groups);
  4. Esteem needs (achievement, status, reputation); and,
  5. Self-Actualization (personal growth and fulfillment).

Human beings are the only earthlings who are able to get past need Number 3.  Most earthlings only focus on Numbers 1 an 2.  Getting past Number 3 gives humans the luxury of not worrying about food, shelter, and protection.  Humans have the time to think, “Why are we here?  What do our lives mean?”   Humans constantly concerned about food, shelter, and protection will not care why they are here or what life means.   Their only concern is survival.

Survival.  How incredible that life survives no matter what!  A simple thing such as plants growing through cracks in concrete reminds us of this.

I asked Life about its meaning.  Life answered, “Survival.”   Life means survival.  No matter what we believe about the meaning of life, life goes on.  It always has, and it always will.  Amazing!

MY MAGIC WAND

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I love writing with a pencil!  I use an old-fashioned wooden pencil.  It’s the same type I used when I was a kid.  In this age of computers and electronic gadgets, there is something magic about a wooden pencil.  I think of it as my magic wand.

Every so often I have to stop to sharpen my pencil.  This gives me a wee break, from writing, and I marvel at the picture that pencil shavings make.

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When I finish a draft in pencil, I may do second and third drafts depending upon what my inner editor says.  Most times I just do one draft, and revise when processing the words on a computer.

I also use my pencil to draw and doodle to warm up before writing, or simply to have fun.

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When I pick up a pencil, my magic wand, I become a child.  I am playful, spontaneous and full of wonder.

TOMORROW . . .

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TODAY . . .

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Today.  Today I am grateful for writing Yesterday.  Today I am less likely to believe in yesterday.  In other words, today it is harder for me to long for yesterday; today it is harder for me to forget how good life is; today it is harder for me to forget how happy I am—all as a result of writing Yesterday.

Today my problems are not as bad as they were yesterday.  Today I know that it will all work out no matter what happens.

Today I do not regret anything that ever happened to me.  At times I could not see it, but I have benefited from all of my experiences.  Obviously a Wisdom far greater than mine was at work, and for this I give thanks.