When the Gift Arrives, Be Sure Not To Miss It

Early last Monday morning, at 6:08 a.m. to be precise, the following email landed in my inbox: “Let me know what you think of the book. – J.”

What book? I immediately assumed my dear friend J., whom I haven’t seen or spoken to for quite some time, had made a mistake. Surely this email was intended for someone else. Perhaps my name popped up from her contact list as she typed in a name that started with a G or C and she hadn’t noticed. That’s happened to me. So I promptly typed the following reply: “What book?” It seemed more appropriate than, have you lost your marbles?

I went to send the reply email, but a millisecond before clicking the send button, something gave me pause. It couldn’t be, could it? Continue reading When the Gift Arrives, Be Sure Not To Miss It

Escalators Don’t Stop When You Get Off

My posts thus far have been more philosophical than directly practical (although I’d argue they are deeply practical in many respects). So I thought I’d throw in a few directly practical posts from time to time in case no one remembers to teach Vera some very important lessons that apparently have been overlooked in many households. The first one involves the all-important matter of escalator etiquette. Continue reading Escalators Don’t Stop When You Get Off

Bursting Our Bubbles

We live in bubbles. Perhaps not all of us. But certainly the vast majority of us.

I was reminded of this fact this past week when I read David Brooks’s column in the New York Times. Brooks, a preeminent columnist for one of the world’s preeminent newspapers, was seeking to understand the motivations beyond supporters of Donald Trump. Here is what he concluded:

[M]any in the media, especially me, did not understand how they would express their alienation. We expected Trump to fizzle because we were not socially intermingled with his supporters and did not listen carefully enough. For me, it’s a lesson that I have to change the way I do my job if I’m going to report accurately on this country.

That’s a startling admission. David Brooks, who presumably has to have his finger on the pulse of the country if he is to do his job well, admitted, “I have to change the way I do my job.”

Why? I think it’s because he forgot we all live in a bubble.

It’s easy to forget. And it’s easy to forget that we need to burst our bubble from time to time. Continue reading Bursting Our Bubbles

It’s Not About the Stuff

The world spends a lot of time and effort trying to convince us it’s about the stuff. Entire industries — indeed, entire economies — are based on this premise. In a myriad of subtle and not-so-subtle ways, we’re told we should acquire and accumulate. And in that acquisition and accumulation we will find satisfaction, meaning and happiness. But nothing could be further from the truth. Continue reading It’s Not About the Stuff

Memories are iffy. Take good notes.

I remember two things from first grade (which was my initial exposure to formal education since our school district didn’t offer kindergarten):

  1. being the only boy who wore shorts the first day of school; and
  2. losing my Mickey Mouse watch on the playground (or it may have been Donald Duck, I’m not sure).

Everything else is a blur.

The first was a source of embarrassment, which is ironic considering my year-round Colorado uniform these days is shorts and sandals. I got over the embarrassing thing. The second memory was traumatic as well. That watch was so cool. Losing it meant my world had come to an end at an early age, or so I thought.

So, you might be thinking, what’s the big deal? I survived. Yes, I did, although that doesn’t mean there wasn’t deep scaring. But probably not.

The big deal is this: you can’t trust your memory. The danger lies in not being mindful of that fact. Continue reading Memories are iffy. Take good notes.