Word And Deed

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I had a very strange epiphany the other day. After a friend of mine sneezed and I said, “Bless you,” it occurred to me that what I had offered, purely out of habit, was a religious sentiment (albeit an abbreviation) to an Atheist who, nonetheless, said quite naturally, “thank you.”

Though neither one of us was particularly startled by this seemingly normal exchange, I thought about it for a second and asked if I had offended him. He, not surprisingly, answered, “no.”

But then I thought about another conversation I had had with a stranger on the telephone. It was just a solicitation and meant nothing at the time until I recalled that she ended the call by saying, “blessings.” I thought it odd and, honestly, uncalled for but then wondered if she expected some type of response from me. Was I supposed to say, “and to you, too” (or whatever the standard Christian response is)?

I certainly meant no disrespect but, rather, was quite taken by surprise because, in my life, that’s just not something people say to one another. It also goes back to that much disputed custom of wishing anybody and everybody a merry Xmas during the month of December. I’ve never understood why people find it necessary to make the assumption that you’re Christian or that you need THEIR acknowledgment. I know it’s meant to be a friendly greeting but, then, so is the much safer and non-religious “hello.”

Whatever the intended message or meaning is behind the words, it would be so much easier if people just acknowledged one another with a brief nod or a pleasant smile!

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It’s Payback Time

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For all those wasted hours spent with my ear to the phone, here’s a brand new spin on how I think answering the phone should really go:

If you are canceling my upcoming doctor’s appointment and expecting me to reschedule it (because something came up for the doctor) after making me schedule it months in advance, please press 1.

If you are about to tell me that your _________________ repairman will be here between the hours of 8am and 6pm, please press 2 and I will return your call with my hours of availability between the hours of 8am and 6pm.

If you are trying to sell me car insurance or health insurance, refinancing or leasing options, cheaper long distance rates or airline tickets, or wanting my vote in the next election, please remember my number because it’s payback time!*

*~#<%>^€*£+¥ (LOUD BEEP SOUNDED)

The Write Way

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It’s hard for anyone under the age of 40 to understand how things used to be. They never had to get up off the couch to change a channel on their tv; they never had to fight over the one phone in the house that was attached to the kitchen wall; they never knew how much a stamp cost or how big a deal it was when the price increased (usually by a cent or two) and they never had to carry around gigantic copies of their MRI films. Today, everything is conveniently stored on computers. Doctors can view your entire medical history with the click of a mouse.

They don’t even hand out illegible scripts anymore.

I’ve always liked writing*. I’ve written numerous music books and a series of YA stories. Even as a young child I remember writing absolutely everything down – my favorite foods, my favorite songs, my favorite outfits, my favorite movies… As a bored middle-schooler, I often created detailed polls for my classmates to vote on – and, yet, I still managed to graduate (ONCE, at the end of my senior year, not every few years as kids these days do – starting with Kindergarten).

Much like my Mom tells me how she likes the feel of a good book in her hands (I’m a proud 3rd-generation-Kindle-r myself), there’s just something about holding a freshly sharpened pencil (with a working, not chewed up, eraser) in your hands and knowing that there’s an infinite world of possibilities lying at the tip.

So whether you’re an academic, an artist or just a doodler, a simple pencil and a blank piece of paper can add hours of entertainment and great accomplishment to your life without the need of an electrical outlet!

*Hope you’ve enjoyed my first 100 hellomuddahhellofadduh blog posts…

Note To Self

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It seems like such a simple and obvious notion – to make time for yourself. But how many of us remember to do it or make the effort to rearrange our busy schedules?

I often find myself, at day’s end, not having completed my mental ‘to do’ list. It’s partly my fault by becoming distracted by other obligations. But there are, after all, only 24 hours in a day. Moreover, 6-8 of those hours (if we’re lucky) are spent asleep so that leaves…

See? I almost did it again. I certainly don’t have the time it takes to do math. What matters most is the quality of our time spent – even with family and friends, it’s not so much the minutes or the hours but the actual together time – without preoccupation or interference from any outside sources.

So: “note to self” – I will always be at my best, for others, when I am at my best for my own self. And, sometimes, that means having to take a moment to look up at the stars or to smell the roses or to hear my sons voices on the telephone. Then, and only then, can I be my very best ME!

Separate But Equal

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Here’s a little bit of a conversation I overheard Mom having with her sister on the telephone the other day:

Mom: “Who told them they can sing?” – that would be Mom (who is tone-deaf) discussing a performance on a TV singing contest that she did not even watch.

Mom: “Why can’t they wear more clothes when they dance?” – that would be Mom giving her opinion of a performance on a TV dancing contest that she also did not watch.

Mom: “They don’t write songs like that anymore…” – that would be Mom’s take on any Broadway musical written before the 1950’s.

In my Mom’s world, nothing is as good as it used to be. All the ‘real’ singers and dancers have mostly died (a few, like Tony Bennett and Baryshnikov, are the obvious exceptions). So for her, and possibly for many others of her generation, the caliber of talent of today’s artists is in no way equal to that of their predecessors. But, hey, you can’t please everyone and (as my Mom has often been heard saying): “That’s what makes horse-racing!”