Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Power of Love

Its' a curious thing, love. I"ve heard it described in many ways about different kinds of love. The new relationship kind of love, the love of fellow human beings, the love one acquires over ages with a spouse, and the love a parent has for a child. The last one is special. It requires no thought. It is a connection with no strings attached. It is extra-special in the early years of life, when that love cannot be contained and the parents wear their love for their child for all the world to see. I know this because I know many young parents who now have the digital age to show their love to everyone that passes their way. Oh sure, the pictures are cute, and funny, and touching. The WWW world has created an expressive outlet for the love these parents have for their children. Now me, on the other hand, can only express the love my Mother had for me through stories.

I think the first picture of me was taken when I was around 4 years old. My Mother used to tell me I was one of the ugliest babies she had ever seen, so they didn't take any pictures of me. She related a story of how, when I was born, I was so ugly that a lady came to my Mother, gave her a silver dollar to give to me, and said, "Well, you know what they say, the good looking ones never amount to anything". My other enjoyed telling that story to anyone and everyone when my name was brought up. Cute little story, but it doesn't stop there. My Mother was forever bending the rules of parentdom by placing me in potentially precarious places.

When I was 17, my Mother had me come into the kitchen and help her with something. I thought cool, Mom needs help with something that only I can help her with. You would have thought that I should have known better by now. You see, we had a very old refridgerator and she had me open it. She told me to look over on the inside wall, there was a little hole in the side with a little rubber collar around it. She told me there was something stuck in there and her fingers were too small to retrieve it. I said, "okay" and proceded to stick my finger in the hole. As my hand went forward, I noticed my Mom backing up. It was too late. I got the shock of my life from that little light socket in the side of that fridge. My Mother howled with laughter and said, "Damn, I can't believe you did that. I can't believe what an idiot I have for a son". I thought, "Great, my Mom, who is supposed to love me, almost electrocuted me".

I know that last bit sounds unbelievable, but it really happenend. My Mother was always looking for a laugh and was willing to risk her children to that expense. I have no doubt about my Mothers' love for me, or any of my brothers or sisters. She just showed it in her own unique way. Yeah, the power of love came in the wattage variety in my house. I am not sure how my Mother would have used the digital age for her own unique varity of love, but I am sure it would have been funny, and potentially dangerous. Man, I miss my Mom.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Oh, The Plans I've Made

I have many things I want to accomplish, and I am not certain they will get done. My mind wanders from project to project like a male dog in a fire hydrant factory. These items are catogorized as both everyday projects and life goals. You would think that life goals would be the tough list, but you would be wrong. The tough stuff is the everyday stuff. You know, like wanting to finish the basement or building a big tree house. I even fantasize about building a 2 story deck over the roof of my house with a slide, but I am not sure I can officially count that as a goal as my wife would veto that one right out.(Yes, I know I am 48 years old, but I still want to have fun)
But it is good to have goals, isn't it? I mean there is more to life than just work and television. Yeah, I watch way too much TV, and that is part of the problem with my plans and goals. I try to plan my exsistence around work and TV. I know that I waste too much time in front of that seductive, mind-numbing screen, but I cannot help it. I am an American. There's my excuse. I let time go by as my mind goes to mush watching all those shows. 24, CSI, NCIS, L&O, Monk, Psyche, The Mentalist, History Channel, Discovery, FX, MSNBC, SciFi, and many others conspire to extinguish my aspirations. I know, I know, I am a free self-determined human being who could choose remove the remote, but my will-power has long been taken from me.

I remember growing up in North Dakota getting only a couple of TV stations. As a pre-schooler I would watch Captain Kangaroo on our black and white TV set. I am sure it was then when the demon of the tube first grabbed my soul. Then, when I was 16, I came to live with my sister and brother-in-law in Kansas City. The full transfer of power to the demon box became complete as I was first introduced to cable TV. I thought I was in heaven, but I wasn't. Aspirations, goals, and dreams were set aside for the box that educated me to mediocrity.

Okay, things really aren't that bad. I haved traveled to Europe and around America. I have seen some pretty spectacular things. I have experienced many joys. But I still want to accomplish more. It is time for me to turn off the set and start anew. I am not sure if all my goals and aspiartions will get finished, but at least I have them. By the way, I just checked with my wife, the 2 story deck with slide,,,it ain't happening. Oh well, I can cross that one off my list. How's your list comming?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Sound of Wind

It's a warm spring-like day in KC today, and as I sit out on the back porch the the gentle wind rolls through the trees. There is an archaic word for that. Zitherism, the sound of wind through the trees. The word iself seems to roll off your tongue.

I used to really like days like this when I was young. It was my one escape from madding crowd, also known as my family. Nature provided a catharsis for me, a time-out from the whirling wakes created on the sea of everday life. I would lay out in the back yard and listen to the lazy breeze as passed over the plains of North Dakota. No cars, no people, no noise, except for what nature was providing.

I remember one particular day when I was sitting on my grandfathers dock along the slow winding Sheyenne river. Oh, I did have a fishing pole in hand, but I am not even sure if it had bait. But I do remember how perfect that moment in time was. A gentle breeze, the slow Sheyenne, the sun, and me. A peaceful, clear, almost silent time. It was as if you were quiet enough nature itself would take you into its' arms and carry you off with the breeze.

Living in Kansas City it is hard to re-create that type of moment. I can't, but I can get reminded every now and then when the weather is perfect and wind cooperates with the correct amount of zitherism. It is kind of funny how something like wind can remind you of something from your past.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


A duck walks into a bar... Jokes, they make most of laugh, but real humor lies in truth. Okay embellished truth. People who know me know that I never let truth get in the way of a good story. I strive to find humor everyday, even when I am at my most ticked-off state of being. Humor is the one goal I have to find. Oh sure I can find the humor in the most juvenile way, but that is too easy. I usually find the humor in the people I see everyday. Their stories, actions, and moments weave a thread of humor that my mind bends into a humorous experience. Many times I cannot share these internal epiphanies of comedy, the timing has to be right.

I went out to the local IHOP for brunch this morning and was seated next to a booth with a mother and small child. This child, a little girl, noticed two very large people walk in. As they walked by, the little girl said, "Mom, Mom, we better order in a hurry". When the mother, not understanding asked why, the girl said, "cause what if they want pancakes too"?

Now, I am not one to usually condone humor that belittles others, but this girl was precious. She was seriously worried there would not be enough pancakes left.

In relating humor, I enjoy telling stories where I am the dupe of the story. People laugh and I get the enjoyment of making an ass of myself. Unfortunatley for me, that is becomming way too easy of a mark. Daily, I make gaffs that no ordinary person should make.

In my church during the service, we have a Passing of the Peace with those seated near you. I usually Pass the Peace with my wife first by turning toward her, giving her a quick kiss on the lips and then extending my hand to others to wish them Peace of the Lord. Well one day, my wife was on the other side of the of the church when the priest asked us to Pass the Peace. Yep, you all have guessed what happened. The older lady sitting to my left was quite shocked as I leaned in to kiss her. After the service, I tried to explain to her what had happened, but she just smiled and walked out. I am sure she still tells her relatives and friends how this creepy guy at church tried to kiss her.

Well my point with that story is humor, even when it embarrasses me, is something to be cherished, enjoyed. And as Dudley Moore said in Arthur, "Sometimes, I just think funny things".

So a duck walks into a bar, orders a beer and says, "Can you put this on my bill"?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Today is a square-root day, 03/03/2009. It should mean something, but it doesn't. Our human lives are just as chaotic today as they have ever been. I work in chaos. I try to order things daily but the more I try to control, the more becomes unravelled.

I went to work today with expectations of starting slowly. showing up at the hospital, having a large cup of coffee, then slowly work into the day. That didn't happen. Oh sure the day was by no means a catastrophe, but I wanted so much more. I wanted to communicate my very own randomness upon my co-workers and patients. Okay, I was able to achieve some of this, I am usually good for at least 1 laugh a day. It was not enough. Not enough pithyness, not enough humor, not enough intelligent, thoughtful, conversation. But Randomness ruled the day (again).

I felt bad for one of my co-workers who was not feeling well. She usually is pretty good company. I enjoy having conversations with her, she has made me laugh more than once, but not today. Today I worried for her, wanting her to be her normal self.

Another co-worker's son was given a black eye today in day care. My co-worker took it better than I thought she would. She even posted his black eye all over Facebook. I hope he thanks her later for that!

The patients are always interesting/challenging/touching or any combination of these. It amazes me daily how many people have a story to tell. I work in a radiology department and just when I think I have heard it all from a patient, they throw me for a loop. I had one patient today tell me in the middle of a procedure that I should buy a car from her nephew, a car salesman. When I told her I wasn't much of a car person, she said,"What kind of man are you?" The nurse in the room laughed, and truth be told, so did I.

Okay what does this have to do with my topic? Nothing, yet everything. Life is filled with randomness that cannot be rehearsed, nor controlled. It is what it is, and although I prefer the known world, I seem to thrive in randomness. Don't you?