Wednesday, February 18, 2009

'The dissenter is every human being at those moments in his life when he resigns momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself.'

Archibald MacLeish

Friday, February 13, 2009

Well, I got my 10th parking ticket in 14 months today.

Bloody meter maid - she has me pegged. I dashed out of the restaurant on a hot tip, just slightly too late. I guess she may have taken offense at my tossing her last pink slip onto the sidewalk in front of her, or maybe she didn't like me windexing that yellow chalk off my tires, who knows...

Anyways, I'm thinking at this rate, it won't be long til I get towed again, it's been 3 times already. With any luck, this is the sign I'll be parked next to when it happens:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

'A world class runner can usually finish the New York City marathon in a little over two hours. It took Diane DiMarco almost nine hours - well past nightfall-but she did finish the race. In her early twenties, Diane had lost her leg to cancer. Always athletic, she had continued to be as active as could with the aid of a prosthetic limb.

Doubled over and haggard, she seemed literally to drag herself across the finish line. It was another half hour before she recovered enough to talk to the reporter sent from her native Ohio to cover the story. After asking a few brief questions, the reporter moved on to what he supposed was the heart of the story he had been sent to report.

'What statement do you think you've made for physically challenged people here today?' he asked, readying his pen for the stock reply.

'None', she said.

'But surely,' the reporter said, a bit thrown, 'people can find inspiration in-'

He was interrupted by Diane's laugh.

'Look,' she said, I don't mean to be rude, or spoil your story - but I ran because I decided to run. I didn't do it to prove anything - not even to myself. You decide to run. You start running. An hour goes by. Two hours. Three hours. You may be hurting, but you're already three hours into the race. So you keep going. Four, five, then six hours. Now you're really in deep. If you stop now, you've just wasted six hours. It gets to the point where you've got to finish to justify starting the thing in the first place, you know? If you quit once you've crossed the finish line, you've run a marathon. If you quit before, you haven't done anything but run. Faucets run, noses run, pantyhose run. But I finished a marathon. That's all.'

Life's marathons are less about statements, defining moments and inspiration - and more about just hanging in long enough to cross the finish line.

Monday, February 9, 2009

'Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one.'

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Fox Sports ran a poll this weekend on the current Michael Phelps/Bong smoking scenario. They asked, "How do you feel about Michael Phelps smoking a bong?' The results were interesting, considering the repercussions from US Swimming and his sponsors. 22% of the 546,965 respondents said, "I'm dismayed, I can't believe he would do that!' The other 78% said, 'He's 23 years old, can we all relax?'

Personally, I find the whole thing rather ridiculous. You'd think after seeing so many public figures fall, we'd finally figure out it simply comes with the territory. Any one of us, in the wrong situation, at the wrong time, in our particular area of weakness, will inevitably screw up. I'm just waiting for the day it happens to Obama. It will come, it has to.

I guess in some way, we all want a hero or a champion - someone more principled and more noble than ourselves to look up to. To be honest, I'm not sure there's really such a thing. We all come with varying degrees of light and dark, shadow and transparency. And we may as well admit it and expect it in ourselves and each other.

As for Michael, he'll probably need another bong to get through this intact. Nothing is quite so devastating as believing you're a disappointment to someone...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

'Life isn't like a book. Life isn't logical or sensible or orderly. Life is a mess most of the time. And theology must be lived in the midst of that mess.'
Charles Caleb Colton
I was driving down the road today, half paying attention, half not - when I was jolted out of myself to see an extremely large semi backing across two lanes of traffic directly in front of me. It was one of those OMG! moments, like I'm sure must happen when people inadvertently ram into the rear end of police cars (which I'll confess has always been a dream of mine...) At any rate, as I jammed on my brakes, cursing at the semi, it reminded me that there are times in life, even when you have the 'right of way', that the potential wreckage of running into something is simply not worth asserting your rights over.

There are times, and hopefully not too many of them, when smartest thing to do is let some asshole block your path and simply put up with it. Then again, there are other times, when it's equally important to ram or run at something with every ounce of your courage, strength and innovation.

The trick is knowing when to do what. Pick your collisons well.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009

'I can live for two months on a good compliment.'
Mark Twain

Oh, can't we all...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

'Once upon a time there was an ant who befriended a grasshopper. The ant was an industrious soul, working from sunup to sundown, along with thousands of his kin, hauling seeds and crumbs into the anthill. The grasshopper took a dim view of such labour. All the while that his little friend toiled, the grasshopper fiddled away on a grasshopper fiddle.

'You know,' the ant told him one day during his coffee break, 'your fiddle playing's nice, I mean that, but winter's coming and you should be storing away some food. Plan for your future!'

Th grasshopper just smiled and kept on playing his fiddle.

Still the ant slaved away, packing the anthill with tiny morsels to eat during the long hard winter to come. Still the grashopper fiddled and fiddled. Occasionally he bummed a crumb off his friend, the ant.

'I don't mean to be a pest,' the ant said to his friend, 'but you really should be thinking about this winter thing. You'll be hungry. It will be cold. Ice. Snow. The whole nine yards!'

But the grasshopper, either out of indifference or desire to bug his friend, only smiled and continued sawing away on his fiddle. He was pretty good at it.

Summer turned to autumn, and as the last leaf was falling off the trees, and a chill wind began to blow, the ant made one final appeal to the grasshopper.

'Lookit, there's still time,' he urged. 'There are still a few crumbs and morsels out there. Put in a little work now, and maybe, just maybe, you can scrape by through the winter. Now put down that fiddle already and do something!'

The grasshopper's smile faded. 'Put down my fiddle?' he said. 'Man, I'm going to Vegas. I got 12 weeks booked at Caesar's Palace, opening for Wayne Newton. I've been practising all summer. Put down my fiddle? Man, I thought you knew.'

And with that, the grasshopper packed up his fiddle and flew to Vegas and great acclaim and prosperity. But at least the ant could say, 'I knew that guy when he was bumming for crumbs.'

Moral: There are many different ways of being productive.'