there it is perched on the end of your nose one single, small drop of rain not much to talk about, you might think but consider this consider the word “sextillion” I had to look it up a sextillion is one thousand million million million million million millions or simply put 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 that’s a one with a lot of zeroes after it may I assume we agree that a sextillion is a heck of a big number? okay, what does sextillion have to do with a drop of water? that drop of water on your beak contains more than a sextillion water molecules really, more than 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules of H2O Super Wow! All that sitting on your proboscis Wandering further into the weeds, consider this- where do you think all those sextillion water molecules came from? given that the earth is covered with over 71% water, it’s quite possible that that little water spot on your snout has H2O molecules from every ocean on the planet, and from trees in arctic tundras, leaves in Amazon jungles, and even a few from the lush, green grass of your local golf course. water is constantly doing its thing, evaporating and turning into vapor, floating around the earth in clouds, falling out of the sky as rain, sleet, and snow. Water does a lot of moving around. True, there are places water seldom visits, like the Sahara, and there seem to be more and more such waterless lands lately. But, still, those sextillion molecules in front of your face represent a large amount of your planet. If this is not jaw dropping enough, remember that the human body is, itself, 60% water and every day, all the time, our bodies are losing water vapor, water molecules to the atmosphere. So that drop of rain on your muzzle, besides containing traveling molecules from all around Planet Earth, also contains H2O molecules that evaporated from the 8 billion or so human beings breathing right now. that’s a helluva lot of humanity on your hooter Best to stop here, you might be reconsidering that walk in the rain Moral: Some things are best seen from a distance. tio stib You might also enjoy: Rain, Rain, Come Aain; The Blindside Parables 24 - Almost Heaven
Admittedly, Sam Black had made a few miscalculations over the years. The most recent was his failure to check the lay of the land before burgling a well anointed home. Fondling a diamond necklace, he heard voices below. His hasty exit through a bedroom window did not anticipate the three storey drop from the hillside home. His neck had not handled the fall well and his next vision was St. Peter reading off Sam’s impressive list of failings. “Well, Sam,” Pete had concluded, “to your credit, you never stole handbags from old ladies, but there’s no pretending you’ve been Robin Hood either. We’re going to need more time to evaluate your case.” Meaning: Hang out in purgatory. Don’t call us, we’ll call you. And so Sam found himself in a nether world where time did not exist, the land of permanent, stagnant status quo. Needless to say, this did not suit a man of action. He considered his options. Perhaps he could do something that would raise his stock with the higher powers. Flash: he could stop brother Red from luring nephew Benny into the long line of family ne’er-do-wells. Which was exactly what Red was doing at that moment. For the court allotted father/son weekend, Sam was sharing the facts of life with eager eyed, twelve year old Benny. They were standing amidst the throng of travelers in Grand Central Station on a New York hot summer day. “Benny, my son, what we’re doing here is rebalancing a system of economic inequality, a system that favors the rich over the poor. We’re simply moving assets from one man’s pocket into a more deserving one.” This was Red’s introduction to the fine art of pickpocketing. And the pair stood in the middle of pickpocketer paradise, a teeming train station on a steaming afternoon. No overcoats and excess garments to fumble with. Red picked their first mark, handed Benny a map of New York, and pointed him at a couple wearing Hawaiian shirts with bags slung over their shoulders. There was a noticeable bulge in the man’s rear pants pocket. Benny approached with a concerned look and map in hand, “Excuse me, I’m lost. Can you help me find Central Park?” The couple, who were also studying a map, turned to look at him. Another lost traveler, of course they could help. But before that could happen, a roundish man, indifferently dressed, seemed to trip and fall on his face at their feet. The trio of the lost stared down. Red, who normally double tied his shoe laces, couldn’t believe his luck. Somehow, both shoes had untied laces and he’d tripped over them as he made his move on the wallet. The map readers turned away and Benny was directed to the park in question. Score: Good Guys 1, Bad Guy 0. Sam was beginning to enjoy this. The next mark was an older lady wearing an outlandish feathered hat. Bedecked with sparkling jewelry, she had a very expensive Italian purse under her arm. Benny made the same approach. The woman, not used to being confronted by street rabble, condescended to listen to Benny’s story. She had just begun to provide directions when a frenzied yipping erupted at their feet. The lady’s heretofore silent companion had taken an instant dislike to the man who was reaching for his mistress’s purse. Benny and hat lady watched as the small terrier launched itself at Red’s trouser leg and clamped its teeth on his ankle. Now it was Red who was yipping. “Tiger! Tiger! Bad boy! Stop that!” instructions which the four legged protector finally acceded too, letting go his death grip, and standing back a safe distance to growl. “I’m so very sorry, sir, I don’t know what got into tiger. He’s never done that before.” Bending down to rub the damaged ankle, Red looked up and just smiled, “Think nothing of it, madam. These things happen.” With that, he tipped his hat and disappeared into the crowd. Score: Good Guys 2, Bad Guy 0. yes, Sam smiled, who knew purgatory could be such fun. Father and son regrouped, Red wondering, where did that dog come from? Okay, the next mark needs to be a sure thing. By the guidebook he was studying, the older man with the full grey beard leaning on a cane, was another traveler. He, too, had a familiar bulge in his rear pants pocket. Overweight and out of shape, Red noted, this was going to be easy. Once more, Benny approached with a lost look and map in hand. The man, who Benny thought must be somebody’s grandfather, smiled down at him. “Guten tag,” said the man. What was this, Benny thought, the guy doesn’t even speak English. Then the man’s smile broadened, “Just funning you, boy, I speak English, but my German is much better.” Benny held out his map to ask directions but before a word left his mouth, the man, with unbelievable speed and dexterity whipped his cane around and thrust it into Red’s belly, sending the surprised larcenist stumbling backwards, landing with an ungainly splat on his butt. The old man pointed the cane at Red and said in a cool, steady voice, “let that be a lesson to you. After thirty years in the Berlin police force, I know a few things about pickpockets.” The retired cop turned back to Benny, “My name is Fritz. I’ve come to see your wonderful city. Would you like to share a drink with me, perhaps we can explore together, I’ve heard Central Park is a special place.” Benny and his newly found grandfather walked off together. Red struggled to get up, dusted himself off, and looked up at the heavens. What did I do to deserve this day? If only he knew. Score: Good guys 3, Bad guy 0 Moral, Not all angels have wings. tio stib You might also enjoy: A Season for Adventuring; The Blindside Parables 22 - Life is Like a Broken Egg
You’ve seen them or if your eyes won’t open yet you’ve heard them buzzing into your life at 8 a.m. babbling about how great it is to be working anxious to charge into a new day morning people I groan who started the myth that 3 hours sleep can propel you through a new day it certainly wasn’t me Lifting an aching head from my desk I rub my eyes in disbelief when a morning person complete with bright smile and jogging shoes asks if I’d like to take a quick walk during break I groan head collapsing back onto desk thank god, it’s Friday I’ll have the weekend to recover from morning peoplitis tio stib You might also enjoy: Life is Like a Broken Egg; Control Freaking
Pete is sitting in front of the television, beer and chips in hand, watching the championship football game. He’s been looking forward to this all week. She marches in, stands defiantly in front of the television and blurts, “The sun’s shining and you’ve promised to cut the grass for weeks. It’s time!” Pete considers the options: Adapt: He could negotiate, promise to cut the grass immediately after the game, never mind that it’s already 4 p.m., and darkness will engulf the yard at 6, not to mention this is a double header day. Or, he could offer to do the yard tomorrow, hoping she doesn’t remember that he’s already promised to take the family to the Wonderland Theme Park. Yes, Pete could adapt by trying to negotiate. In this case his options are limited as this is the tactic he used the past two weeks in avoiding the task. Next- Migrate. He could arrange for his buddy, Harry, to call and then tell his wife he urgently needs help fixing a broken hot water heater, back as soon as possible. Of course, the hot water heater is fine, but now the guys can watch the games undisturbed in Harry’s man cave garage. The downside of this option is that the two wives are also friends. They’ll talk, and Pete’s wife will realize she’s been scammed. Pete’s options are now reduced to the final- Don’t be happy. Yes, it may come to this. After reviewing all Pete’s other options and their consequences, he may just have to get out and mow the damn yard or face the continued wrath of his wife. But wait, perhaps there is another possibility- Let’s reconsider “adapt.” Man’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances has been the single most important means of his survival on planet Earth. What is another way Pete could adapt to this crisis? He could call Billy, the teenage kid next door, and offer him twenty bucks to cut the yard, plus a free beer on the side. For an extra ten spot, he could probably get Billy to wash the wife’s car too. Pete smiles and picks up his phone. “Honey, you’re absolutely right. I’m going to take care of this right now.” Moral: In any perilous situation, man has three choices: adapt, migrate, or don’t be happy. tio stib You might also enjoy: The Blindside Parables 18 - Timeman; If, by Rudyard Kipling
The shouts rang out all over town. After two thousands years, the Messiah had returned.
but the arguments had already begun.
“He’s coming to our church first!”
“Why your church, ours is bigger?”
“No way, our church is older, he’ll certainly start with us.”
It was bitter chaos, a dozen churches claimed first dibs on the son of God. Then, someone suggested a lottery. Put all the church names in a hat and draw a winner.
But who would do the picking?
It had to be an atheist or an agnostic. No, not an agnostic, he might try to cover his bets.
Meanwhile, the only atheist around was leaving town. the long haired hobo had his thumb out. He’d been sneered at and spat on until a little girl in a passing car called out, “look Mommy, it’s Jesus!”
Then things had really got nuts.
It was time to get away before the Christians started warring over their pedigrees.
ring over their pedigrees.
Moral: God doesn’t always mean good.
A poem by Shel Silverstein (1930-1999)
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.
Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.
Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.
by Shel Silverstein, 1974
When I start slipping into seriousness, I turn to Shel Silverstein to lighten up. Reading his poems with kids is better than blowing bubbles on San francisco’s BART train.
Want more fun? Watch this link on YouTube-
You might also enjoy: Inspiration
Yesterday I dropped an egg. Actually, I didn’t drop it, I surmise it rolled unseen off the counter. I heard a noise near the floor. In a microsecond, my brain flashed through the possible causes of such a noise. At about the same time, my brain reached another conclusion. The toes on my right foot were also sending signals to my sensory center. Something gooey was down there.
A broken egg!
As I groped around cleaning the shattered shell from the floor and then its contents from my foot, I pondered the symbolic relevance of this event in my life.
Yes, I tend to get lost in my own world at times.
Perhaps, I wondered, my life is like a broken egg. Here I am, marching along unseen by most of the world and then, crash! I splat into eternity, possibly making a mess for someone else to clean up as I exit.
That’s one possibility.
My mind drifted off in other directions. I remembered a structures class where we dropped eggs in specially designed containers from a third story balcony. The object, of course, was to preserve the integrity of the egg. The challenge was to do this with as little material as possible. It’s no problem to put an egg in a big box of bubble wrap and drop it unfazed onto the floor below. The trick is to drop the egg, mostly naked, with the same result. Similarly in life, I thought, there’d been times I’d insulated myself with such things as work and selfish interest so that the rest of the world couldn’t touch me, and I couldn’t touch the people who cared about me because I was too closed off from them.
There have been naked opposite times when I was raw and open, times when I felt that life had run me over and left me for roadkill. Going bankrupt and watching friends die come to mind.
My lesson from these experiences: Sometimes it’s good to overprotect. Sometimes it’s good to hurt. The pain reminds me of happier times.
All this you may say, from simply having an egg hit the floor? Yes, and there’s more.
What if I’m like an egg? A hard, durable shell on the outside and a soft sticky mess inside. My outside, that part of me I show the world, is a lot like the shell of an egg. It’s quite resistant to general pressures, quite strong when grasped firmly. But, the shell has its weak points. It doesn’t do well with pressure applied to a single point. Yes, I have my buttons. I hate cleaning up other people’s messes, such as wiping up their broken eggs. I have no tolerance for fools, which is why politics disgusts me. The egg shell is also brittle. It doesn’t do well when landing on sharp objects. I explode when subject to sharp noises, and am even more violent when subject to the sound of barking chihuahuas.
All this from a broken egg.
My last thoughts on this surprisingly deep self-dialog. How do you crack an egg? I use two hands. Even so, I often make a mess of this simple action, sometimes striking a nearby surface so hard that the shell cracks open and leaves a trail of egg goo from there to the frying pan. (This is a clue to what I usually do with eggs, hinting at my limited cooking repertoire). Sometimes, when my mind is somewhere else such as now, I fail to hit the egg hard enough,it doesn’t crack, waking me from my reverie to initiate another strike on the shell. This usually results in the previously mentioned egg goo trail.
What does this say about my life? I tend to be overly cautious and conservative. Do I lack faith in my creative abilities to expand my egg cuisine? Maybe I’m just lazy.
One of my goals for the New Year is to learn how to crack an egg with one hand. I think this may take quite a few eggs. I’ve heard that gin fizzes are a good use for egg whites and an easy way to forget about life’s deeper concerns.
Like how my life is like a broken egg.
2014, 2016, 2018, 2020
First published in January, 2014, but since I haven’t mastered the one handed egg crack yet, I decided to publish this again to remind myself of goals I’ve yet to attain.
it’s the color of summer
fragrant red roses dancing in the breeze
luscious red tomatoes clinging to the vine
bright red ketchup spurting from a hotdog bun
sweet red watermelon juice dripping down my face
a spoonful of ripe red strawberries oozing over vanilla ice cream
deep red cherry pie
a ruby red kiss at sunset
painful red sunburn
which is why I’m inside writing about Summer
instead of outside enjoying it
the sudden urge for sweet
flooded my mind
with cookie moment memories
the ultimate delight
of warm, chocolate chip cookie
melting in my mouth
licking the spatula
covered with cookie dough
each chewy chocolate nugget
the crazed anticipation
as the aroma of baking cookies
silently owned the house
the timer bell
rushing to the kitchen
eyes wide as the oven door opens
the tray slid out revealing
rows of perfectly formed
golden brown cookies
is there anything better than a warm chocolate chip cookie
washed down with a cup of milk
sure there is, a half dozen warm chocolate chip cookies
washed down with several cups of milk
“Don’t you dare!
Those cookies are for the bake sale.”
Noting my wife’s continuing mental deterioration from rational adult to simple minded child, I was reminded of a piece I saw George Carlin do some years ago. Bless his brilliant and irreverent mind, George has moved on to the great comedy stage in the sky, but he leaves many laughs behind him. I think his piece on “Life in Reverse” is all-time hilarious. Wouldn’t it be great if life actually worked this way-
Life in Reverse By George Carlin
In my next life I want to live my life backwards.
You start out dead and get that out of the way.
Then you wake up in an old people’s home
feeling better every day.
You get kicked out for being too healthy,
go collect your pension,
and then when you start work,
you get a gold watch and a party on your first day.
You work 40 years
until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement.
You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous,
then you are ready for high school.
You then go to primary school,
you become a kid,
You have no responsibilities,
you become a baby until you are born.
And then you spend your last 9 months
floating in luxurious spa-like conditions
with central heating and room service on tap,
larger quarters every day and then Voila!
You finish off as an orgasm.
I rest my case.
by George Carlin, 1937-2008