Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Waning gibbous moon

“The waning gibbous moon is just past full and illuminated generally from the left.”
--Anonymous

We are in the midst of a waning gibbous moon. "Gibbous" means "rounded or protruding" and comes from the Latin word meaning "hump." I had a hunch that I would eventually be led back to writing about “humps.”

Every day on the train home, we pass through BNSF train yards and I see this one train car that has “DO NOT HUMP” on the back of it. I know it is just a railroad term for a car that should be treated with care because of a fragile load (rail cars are sometimes rolled down a hump to form a train). Still, it makes me giggle sophomorically like Beavis and Butthead every time I see it.

But I digress.

I like that an almost full moon is called a waxing gibbous moon and a just past full moon is called a waning moon. I’m not sure why. It just sounds cool.

I’m not sure why dropping your pants and wagging your butt at someone is called a full moon, however. I don’t suppose anyone refers to the practice as giving someone the gibbous.

Obviously it is a slow blog day.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Tides


I am always fascinated by the ebb and flow of life. It is a fluid thing, moving in and out like so many breaths. Always things coming and always things going -- people, jobs, possessions, emotions, thoughts, memories. Try to grasp it and it slips nimbly through your fingers. So most of the time you stand on the shore and watch it.

Even watching, though, you are part of it. Breath in, breath out. When you are a child you hold your breath and wonder if by doing so, you can freeze time in cubes to be thawed out later. At least that is what I wondered.

Everything we value, flows. Words flow, music flows, love flows, emotions flow and thoughts flow. Or they should. Funny that when something doesn't flow we say it is blocked. We have writer's block or we are emotionally blocked. "Go with the flow," should be our mantra (unless you are a salmon, because in their world only dead fish go with the flow).

But I can't help but feel a little sad at the tide-like nature of things. Everything eventually seems to slip away into the horizon. No matter how many times you write "forever" in the sand, the waves will ultimately erase it.

So I write my messages and seal them in this bottle and cast them into the tide. I suppose they will wash up on some one's shore and mean something before they drift on.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Walking man



And the walking man walks. Doesn't know nothing at all.Any other man stops
and talks but the walking man walks on by, walk on by.
--James Taylor, Walking Man

I am a walking man. I am not a running man. I do not enjoy jogging. I do not think it is a physical limitation. I will walk on a tread mill or elliptical machine for an hour, but I can never bring myself to run. I do not like to run. The only reason I have ever embraced for running is if someone is chasing me.

I may have liked to run when I was a kid. I remember dashing around the playground. But when I hit 7th grade I learned to hate running. It was Mr. Ackley and 7th grade P.E. that was the straw that broke this running camel’s back.

Mr. Ackley had been a mediocre jock in college. And like most mediocre jocks with miniscule brains, he majored in physical education. When he realized he was never going to turn pro, he took his jock degree and became a junior high P.E. teacher. And because he was bitter about his own failure, he took it out on the 12 and 13 year old puberty bound boys in his P.E. classes.

P.E. was traumatic to me on more than one level. The first challenge for me was that you were required to take gang showers in the locker room. I was a shy kid who grew up in a family where nudity was a private thing. Stripping down in front of 20 or 30 kids was humiliating to me, especially at age 12.

The other challenge was P.E. itself. I have never been a natural athlete. I would always try hard at sports, but I just didn’t have that raw talent that some boys had for hitting balls, throwing footballs or making jump shots. I even sucked at tether ball. Mr. Ackley looked at boys like me with the ultimate disdain.

Mr. Ackley had this rule: the last kid out of the locker room to get to the gym for role call had to run two cross country laps once we went outside. A cross country was once around the play field and then a lap around the school’s outside track. Every one in class had to run one cross country. I dreaded them. I developed a phobia about running cross country laps. I thought I would be coughing up blood by the end of them. And I was usually dead last in finishing them. I’d get berated by Ackley or his assistant every time.

It got to be mini phobia of mine that I would be last out of the locker room and have to run double laps. I started wearing sweater vests so I could unbutton my shirt in the class before PE and strip quickly. It didn’t help that I had this English class right before PE with a teacher who wouldn’t let us leave until she dismissed us regardless of whether the bell had rang or not.

I was never the last person out of the locker room, but sometimes Ackley would punish the whole class for some infraction and we’d all have to run double laps. Instead of enjoying running as exercise, I learned to hate it as humiliating punishment. Thanks Mr. Ackley. You were a great role model.

So that's why I am a walking man.

Monday, July 23, 2007

I do not get 'My Space'


I do not understand My Space. Oh, I understand what it is, but I just don't understand why it is. Okay, so maybe it is something a kid can be part of and share crap with their friends using that texting language they have created to mock the English language. But why is anyone over the age of 13 creating a My Space page? And why are businesses creating My Space pages?

So you will probably tell me it is a dating tool or a marketing tool to reach young people. And my response to both is that it is just wrong. There are so many avenues to create a Web page that doesn't require you to list your favorite books, music, astrological sign and slap it all together like a ransom note. I have yet to see a My Space page that doesn't make me think of a bad acid trip.

My Space also reminds me of the Jehovah Witnesses or Mormons. If you pop in to just look, they want you to join. And once you join, you join forever. Who knows, maybe someday My Space will be considered a religion. Bad as it is, at least Blogger offers the potential to be creative and share it without requiring people to join and sign on as your friend.

I guess I'm just cranky because a local transit agency just launched their own My Space page which is obviously targeted at the youth market. They even have their own You Tube video. So far they have 60 friends. What kind of geek becomes a friend on a transit My Space page? The pisser is that you can bet someone is going to pressure me to start up a My Space page for my agency. And I'll be forced to come up with this cutesy profile for our buses and trains.

I refuse. This monkey won't dance this time.

Friday, July 20, 2007

First impressions


I admit it. I pretty much lock in an impression of a person when I first meet them. And once it is locked in, I don't let go of it very easily. Most of the time, I am pretty dead on. It does save time. I don't have to "get to know" a person before I realize I don't want to.


Case in point, I was standing at the train platform this morning waiting coincidently enough for a train. There was a guy standing there talking on his cell phone loudly. That was strike one in the first impression scorecard. He had an East Coast accent…I’m guessing New York. That was strike two. Finally, judging by the conversation he was sharing with everyone within 100 yards, he was one of those guys that is an expert in everything. Strike three, he’s out of there.

The guy finally got off the phone and immediately struck up a conversation with another man who was obviously not the astute judge of character I am. So as the train pulls up, the blowhard who I’ve nicknamed in my head, “The Talking Sphincter” begins pontificating to the other man about the number of cars on the train and why the equipment is arranged in a certain way. I listened and shook my head. I work for the agency running the trains. And the guy was so full of BS that if you squeezed his head there would be brown stains on the ceiling.

So I quickly file this guy as worthless and eliminated one more person on the earth I need to be concerned with. Judgmental you say? Overly critical and petty? Maybe. But I’m willing to bet most of you would be ready to set yourself on fire if you got stuck sitting next to the guy on the train and he started explaining how he invented electricity and sliced bread.

Life is too short to endure boring and pompous people. It’s as simple as that.

Wait, where are you going? Come back. I really am pretty interesting.

Shoot. There went another one.



Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mister Cellophane



Cellophane
Mister Cellophane
Shoulda been my name
Mister Cellophane
'Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know
I'm there...
--Mr. Cellophane, Chicago, the musical
Ever now and then I get these bouts of invisibility that are seriously exacerbated as I age. Last week I was meeting with my boss in her office when my cell phone rang. It was my boss’ admin calling to see why I wasn’t showing up for my meeting with my boss. I told her I was sitting right next to my boss in her office which was right across from her desk. She said, “Oh, I looked in and didn’t see you.”

I am invisible.

I think my gray hair is partially responsible. Or maybe it is the wrinkles around my eyes. Perhaps it is the spare tire around my waist. I stand in line for coffee and the 20-somethings behind the cash register look right through me to wait on the 20-something geeks who work for Amazon.com next door.

It does not bother me so much that I am invisible when I ride the train to and from work. Most everyone is invisible on public transit. And perhaps it is better that I am invisible as I sweat on the elliptical machine at the gym.

Still I wonder when my photograph began to fade. I think it was when I turned 40. I cringe when I think how transparent I will become when I hit 50 next year.

Perhaps invisibility is the reason many people start dressing eccentric chic as they age. Maybe that flash of color or odd hat will catch the attention of the visible world. I did see the old Asian woman in the plaza this morning doing Tai Chi with a Stihl Chainsaw cap on. But maybe I could see her because we were in the same invisible realm.

I suppose it isn’t just aging that makes people invisible. The mentally ill and the street people are invisible. I think that is why many of them shout out there presence. Ironically, the louder they shout, the more invisible they become.

Invisibility is funny that way.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Galileo, Galileo


Bohemian Rhapsody is one of those classic songs out of the 70s that everyone knows but no one has a clue as to what the words really are or mean. It was written by Freddie Mercury and performed by the rock group Queen. It’s the kind of song that comes on the radio and you can’t help but sing along. But be honest now, do any of you know the words (without looking them up on the Internet)?

The introduction is simple:

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see
I'm just a poor boy
I need no sympathy
Because I'm easy come, easy go
Little high, little low
Any way the wind blows doesn't really matter to me
To me


And so is the ballad portion:

Mama, just killed a man
Put a gun against his head
Pulled my trigger now he's dead
Mama, life had just begun
But now I've gone and
thrown it all away
Mama
Didn't mean to make you cry
If I'm not back again this time tomorrow
Carry on, carry on
As if nothing really matters

Too late, my time has come
Sends shivers down my spine
Body's aching all the time
Goodbye, everybody
I've got to go
Got to leave you all behind and face the truth
Mama
I don't want to die
I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all

But then the opera breaks out:

I see a little silhouetto of a man
Scaramouche, Scaramouche
Will you do the Fandango?
Thunderbolt and lightning
Very, very frightening me
(Galileo) Galileo
(Galileo) Galileo
Galileo, figaro
Magnifico
Until I looked up the lyrics, I thought they were singing, “Gotta moose, gotta moose will you do the Fandango?” But apparently the real lyric, Scaramouche refers to a boastful character from an opera.

Now the next stanza:

I'm just a poor boy and nobody loves me
He's just a poor boy from a poor family
Spare him his life from this monstrosity
Easy come, easy go, will you let me go
Bismillah!
No, we will not let you go
(Let him go!)
Bismillah!
We will not let you go
(Let him go!)
Bismillah!
We will not let you go
(Let me go!)
Will not let you go
(Let me go!)
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
Oh, mama mia, mama mia
Mama mia let me go
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me
For me
For me
I always thought they were singing, “Miss Miller, No, we will not let you go.” The actual lyric, "Bismillah" is an Arabic word recited by Muslims as part of their daily prayers. That makes much more sense than, "Miss Miller."

The rest of the song is pretty clear cut.

So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye?
So you think
you can love me and leave me to die?
Oh, baby
Can't do this to me, baby
Just got to get out
Just got to get right out of here

Nothing
really matters
Anyone can see
Nothing really matters
Nothing really
matters to me
Any way the wind blows

So what does it all mean? Some think it is a Faustian battle for a man's soul. Still other's think it is about AIDS (though the virus wasn't known when the song was written). I have my own theory. I think it means absolutely nothing. But it is pretty catchy.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Thunderbolt and lightning


Our heatwave took a nosedive yesterday and created a brief symphony of thunder and lightning around Seattle. Along with it came the flurry of e-mails and conversations about not talking on the phone, using stereo headphones or walking around with a long metal pole as long as lightning was a possibility.

It struck me (a thought, not lightning) that we have become a nation of worriers. I'm of the ilk that if lightning is going to strike you it will be as random an event as winning the lotto and it doesn't pay to spend too much time worrying about it.

Television news feeds our worrywart natures. Tess and I were watching the evening news last night and they ran a segment about thieves breaking into houses using a new method called lock bumping. They said they wouldn't show us how it was done for fear of tipping off thieves, but the reporter was carrying around a rubber mallet and a key blank that hadn't been cut at the hardware store. It was pretty evident that lock bumping involves shoving the key blank into a lock and whacking it with a rubber mallet to "cut" key to the right shape and then open the lock.

The reporters interviewed a chubby locksmith who named three locks that this wouldn't work on. All of them cost more than $150. Tess immediately jumped up to check our front door and declared we needed a bump proof lock. We've lived here two years and no one has bumped the lock. I'm assuming even if we did have a $150 lock they'd just kick in the door if they were real determined. But I'm willing to bet that chubby locksmith is laughing all the way to the bank now that he has planted the bump proof lock seed in a few thousand fearful minds.

My point is, ignorance is bliss. If we put all of our energy into worrying about the multitude of things that could go wrong, we aren't likely to get out of bed. Common sense is the best preventative medicine. Worrying about lightning striking you will just keep you from appreciating how beautiful it is to watch.

That is just the way I feel.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I feel like an itty bitty worm on a great big hook

Shandi has been writing about TED.com, a site that chronicles an annual meeting of great minds coming together to talk about a variety of innovative thoughts. One of them spawned www.wefeelfine.org, a site that searches the blogisphere for phrases that contain “I feel” and snatches them into a huge database of emotions. You can sort the database by gender, locations, age and weather.

I of course went to the site and searched in the categories of males between the ages of 40 and 49 living in Seattle for something that was snatched from my blog. I discovered that I apparently have never used any variation of the phrase, “I feel” in my blog.

I’m not sure how I feel about that.

I also discovered that, of the universe of males between the ages of 40 and 49 living in Seattle, very few can string together a coherent sentence. But most of them write about their feelings (albeit badly) on cloudy days. In Seattle? Go figure.

I do feel a bit put off that nothing from my blog caught the attention of this social experiment. I suppose if they had called their site http://www.butidigress.com/ I’d be all over it. I guess I don’t feel like beginning sentences with “I feel.” It is a given when you write something that it is your feeling or thoughts, so why say, “I feel, “ or “I think?”

After all, they are just:

Feelings, nothing more than feelings, trying to forget my feelings of love. Tear drops rolling down on my face, trying to forget my feelings of love. Feelings, for all my life I'll feel it. I wish I've never met you, girl; you'll never come again. Feelings, wo-o-o feelings, wo-o-o, feel you again in my arms. Feelings, feelings like I've never lost you. And feelings like I've never have you again in my heart. Feelings, for all my life I'll feel it. I wish I've never met you, girl; you'll never come again. Feelings, feelings like I've never lost you and feelings like I've never have you again in my life. Feelings, wo-o-o feelings, wo-o-o, feelings again in my arms. Feelings...

That felt good to get that out.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Decisions, decisions, decisions...


I was watching the History Channel yesterday while I was working out on the elliptical machine. They were rerunning the World War II series from HBO: Band of Brothers. It is a pretty decent series that was created by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. It is more about the human condition than about war.

Anyway, this particular episode featured a First Sergeant who was saddled with a commanding officer who couldn’t make a decision for the life of him. Actually he couldn’t make a decision for the life of his men. He froze half way through a frontal attack on a town held by the Germans. His men didn’t know what to do. Finally, the CO was relieved of command and a decisive young Captain was sent up to take over. They charged ahead and captured the town.

I do not consider myself an indecisive person. In fact, I consider myself a pretty decisive person. I make decisions all the time in my job. It’s one of the things that make me an okay manager. I don’t hem and haw about things.

I guess the question is, do I make the right decisions?

No always. But the art of decision making is simply to act. If it is the wrong decision, you make another one to correct the course. It’s not rocket science. It’s not even honors math. When faced with several courses of action, choose the best one at the time. The important thing is to keep moving and not be frozen by indecision.

Oh, and be sure and run in a serpentine pattern, too.

Where in the blue blazes?


I mentioned in an earlier post that the Fourth of July used to be right up there with Christmas for me. I was a born pyro. Fireworks were banned in Idaho when I was growing up, but everyone ignored the law then, too. When safe and sane fireworks were legalized, I was about eight or nine years old. I'd save up allowances and buy the most expensive fireworks assortment I could afford. Though none did much more than shoot out sparks, we would ultimately figure out a way to alter some to provide a more satisfying explosion at some point in the display.

Piccolo Pete's were a prime example. They were this tube you'd light and the firework would issue a ear splitting shrieking sound that begged for an explosion at the end. It quickly spread through the kid community that all you had to do was use pliers to pinch the tube near the save and sane certification seal at the bottom of the tub and the puppies would blow up nicely at the end of the whistling sound.

Despite the modifications, most of our fireworks were pretty much a bust. You could burn through a whole box of them in about 10 minutes and feel pretty much gypped. I can't tell you how many times I had to endure my parents going on about how the fireworks they had when they were growing up were much more spectacular...roman candles, cherry bombs, silver salutes and of course firecrackers. Even if you could get hold of those types of fireworks from the Indian reservations around the state, you still risked encounters with the police if you set them off in your backyards. So I never really fulfilled my fantasy of setting off real fireworks.

Now I live in Washington. Most of the cities here have banned fireworks period...even the safe and sane variety. However, the prohibition is about as effective as the one they used to have on alcohol in the US. Most people ignore it. We begin hearing the explosions in our neighborhood about two weeks before the Fourth. By the actual holiday, it is like a war zone. We generally just sit inside and ignore it.

But something hit me this past Fourth of July that made me decide to give in and play with fire, too. Maybe it was those neighborhood kids setting off firecrackers who I yelled at and told me to "...shut up old man." I was going to show them who the old man was.

So on a whim I convinced Tess to stop at one of the few firework stands left in our community. I was expecting the cones and Piccolo Pete's of my childhood. Instead a discovered mega fireworks assortments of rockets, shells and the long coveted Roman Candles. I resisted the neighborhood fireworks kit that promised $1000 value for $699 and settled on the $39.00 family kit. I through in a couple of six packs of Roman Candles and stood in line to pay for them listening to the burly fireworks employee trying to foist a $300 assortment of skyrockets on some guy. The guy said he was trying to cut back from last year, but I could tell his resistance was fading. I paid for my own little modest stash before I could hear how the sales pitch turned out. I'm betting the fireworks salesman won out.

Tess eyed me speculatively as I sat in the car salivating over my selection. "Where are you going to set those off," she asked.

"In the backyard," I said confidently, as I mentally tried to picture where I could place them without setting fire to our fence, the tool shed or the neighbor's house.

"Aren't they illegal in our city," she asked with her best teacher's voice of authority.

"Everybody is doing it," I argued. She smiled tightly and shook her head, muttering something about it being a guy thing.

When we got home, I ripped open the fireworks package and lined up my treasures just like I had when I was a kid. But this time instead of Blooming Ground Flowers and Dragon's Dancing, the fireworks had names like Thermal Blaster and Missiles of October. For the first time in years, I felt that impatience for it to get dark so I could start lighting up the night skies.

Dusk had barely fallen when I called out to Tess that I was read to start setting things on fire. She threw on a Mariners sweatshirt and came outside.

"Just don't set the house on fire," she cautioned.

I nodded and lit my first fuse. The satisfying sizzle triggered my backward run reflexes and I scrambled. In seconds balls of fires shrieked to the sky. I was a man possessed. I had a new firework in place an instant after the last one was a smoking, blackened corpse. I saved the the Roman Candles for last. My parents had been right. They were pretty darned cool.

Finally, the big guns were gone and I was down to a pack of Morning Glory's. They were one step up from a sparkler. Still I felt this surge of nostalgia. I handed one to Tess who up until this point had watched, garden hose in hand waiting for the fence to spark up in flames. Soon we were both writing our names in fire using Morning Glory's as flaming pens. We giggled and ran around the backyard oblivious to the growing number of explosions coming from the neighbors who obviously had sprung for the $300 assortment of assault fireworks.

But we didn't need the Shock and Awe bombardment to make our Fourth complete. I hugged Tess as the last Morning Glory sparked out. It was great being young again.

Friday, July 06, 2007

I am Timacus


I have always been an avid movie watcher. I have loved escaping into a good film for as long as I can remember. We couldn’t afford to go to the movie theaters much when I was a kid, so many of the early movies I watched were on our console black and white television. I don’t even think my parents bought a color television until after I left home. I remember being shocked when I saw the Wizard of Oz in color for the first time. I had assumed the yellow brick road was gray for years.

On the rare occasions when we did go out to a movie as a family it was usually a drive in. My brothers and I would put on our pajamas and pile into the family’s old 1936 Chevy. Once we got to the drive in, we’d go play on the swing sets and jungle bars until it got dark enough for the movie to start. Then we’d pile back into the car and pass around a grocery bag filled with popcorn my mom would pop ahead of time. I’d usually fall asleep before the movies ended and wake up being carried into the house.

My favorite films were epics involving sword fighting. I enjoyed films like Spartacus, Ben Hur, and the Vikings. My brothers and I would act out the films for weeks after seeing one. My father made us wooden swords and we crafted shields out of old garbage can lids. We never seemed to get tired of chasing each other around the yard whacking each other with the wood swords screaming, “Oden,” and “Vahalla!”

I also remember being fascinated by an old Disney movie called Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow. It came out in 1963 and starred Patrick McGoohan. He played a 18th century reverend in England who lead a band of smugglers who dressed like scarecrows when they moved their merchandise. I wanted to be the scarecrow. I made a scarecrow mask out of an old burlap bag and rode around the neighborhood on my bike with it on head calling out that I was the scarecrow. I think the burlap gave me a rash.

I was an odd child.

Patrick McGoohan also starred in another Disney film that came out in 1964 called the Three Lives of Thomasina. It was about a little English girl and her cat. I had a crush on the little girl. I think it was my first crush on a film character. Several years later I had a crush on Dr. Zira, the chimpanzee scientist in the Planet of the Apes.

I told you I was an odd child.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Let's get liquored up and set things on fire!


I am not particularly fond of holidays in the middle of the week. It’s like having two Monday’s in one week. Oh I suppose you could say it’s like having two Fridays, too. But that just means you don’t feel like doing anything for two days that you have to make up for on the two additional Mondays.

There is a certain logic here somewhere.

I think all holidays should be on Mondays or Fridays. I think it would improve productivity because you’d have less people calling in sick to stretch the midweek holiday into the weekend. It would also help the economy by providing consistent three-day weekends for every holiday that people could party hearty on.

The Fourth of July is an odd holiday anyway. In theory it is supposed to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence from England. But technically, the Declaration of Independence wasn’t officially signed by most members of the Continental Congress until August 2. Celebrating the 2nd of August apparently didn’t have the same ring to it as the 4th of July.

Regardless, I think most Americans think that the 4th of July is just another excuse to get liquored up and set things on fire…often themselves. Ironically most of the holidays celebrated in the United States seem to be an excuse to get liquored up and set things on fire. We even celebrate other country’s holidays just so we can get liquored up and set things on fire (St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo for example).

Shoot, I think we need to create a new holiday called, “Get Liquored Up and Set Things on Fire Day.” It could be held on the third Monday or Friday of whatever months we don’t have another holiday scheduled in to get liquored up on and set things on fire. They may already have this holiday in many of our southern states, but I am suggesting making it a nationwide thing.

Don’t you wish I was in charge of the country?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Oh my goodness


I started thinking last night about whether or not I am a good person. I mean, I want to believe I am a good person, but how do you measure such things? Because it seems human nature to want to believe you are a good person. I imagine even Hitler thought he was a good person.

But history tells us otherwise.

I know that ‘good’ is a moral term. I am not a religious person, so I cannot measure my goodness in the number of times I go to church or pray. Though I personally do not think those things define you as a good person. Proclaiming yourself a good person does not make you one.

I wish I could measure my goodness in the number of friends I have…or the good friends I have. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people who has forged a great deal of lasting friendships in my life. So that adds to my insecurity about what kind of person I am. But whether they knew it or not, I cherished the friends I had. Then again, if I was a good person, they would have known I cherished them.

As you age, judging who is a good person becomes more difficult. It does seem easier to judge who is not a good person though. Time unfortunately has taught me to assume the worst about a person so as not to be surprised. Assuming that most people are not good makes it easier to cope when we discover that a beloved leader of our community is exposed by scandal or the quiet neighbor is a mass murderer.

I suppose goodness can be measured by good deeds. However, not all of us can discover miracle cures or save the world. I try to treat people with dignity. I say, “Thank you” and “you’re welcome,” “please,” and “excuse me.” I buy Girl Scout cookies and donate my money at the check out stand for various foundations. I don’t litter, I recycle and I use public transit. But will the little things save my soul?

It is in the quiet times in the middle of the night that my doubts are the worst. I stare at myself through the judgmental eyes of others and cower in my lack of goodness. The fingers point and remind me of things I don’t do:

“You don’t volunteer your time.”
“You don’t call your mother.”
“You don’t give enough to charity.”
“You haven’t sacrificed enough.”
“You don’t work hard enough.”
“You aren’t thoughtful enough.”

SHUT UP VOICES!

“You don’t appreciate the voices in your head enough.”

It is hard to reason with voices in your head.

Eventually I take comfort that I at least know good people. I know my wife is a good person. I know her character. I know that she is a wonderful teacher who actually cares about her students when others burn out and go through the moves. I see her always trying to do the right thing even when it is not the easy thing. I see her give of herself. So it is easy for me to see that she is a good person.

So maybe since she is a good person and loves me, then I am sort of a good person. At least she makes me a better person.