Tag: humor

Do, or do not. There is no try.

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“Do, or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda

For anyone seeking inspirational guidance or motivation, there is no shortage of information out there to help an individual or group pursue a desirable goal or achievement. That information may come in the form of famous quotes, one liners from movies, written works, slogans, or music. There is also no shortage of individuals or groups willing to offer guidance and/or motivation. They might be professionals (speakers, authors, educators, etc.) who receive a fee for their actions or they might be family members or friends seeking nothing more than the enjoyment of helping or watching someone succeed. Those same friends or acquaintances might even be on the same journey or endeavor. Your running club, the gang at the gym, your writer’s group, or your classmates. There is also a third person offering guidance or help. Yourself. Wait, that’s the first person. And yes, that’s my attempt at writer humor.

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“I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor.” – Thoreau

I’m thinking about this subject for a number of reasons. I have numerous friends at any given time trying to elevate their lives and I am always respectful and supportive because at any given time, I am usually trying to do the same. Currently, I’m writing, refocused on my health, and recently agreed to pursue a professional certification at work. The writing has no end goal other than finish, then start the next, then finish, and repeat. The focus on health is for no other reason than I want to be around for some time. The certification is another story. I don’t need the certification. I have many years of experience, a degree, and have always taken on more responsibility than originally asked. I’m at that stage of my career that is comfortable and secure provided I perform and remain relevant. Due to some added job responsibilities, I felt I needed to study up on some new things as well as refresh my memory on others and in doing so, was offered an opportunity to take a course leading to certification. I have plenty of motivational sources for writing and my health but the certification effort will be solo and with that, so will my motivational source. No worries there.

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I’m also thinking motivational speak this weekend because I am trying to be there for my son. Last August we were dropping him off at college and here it is already finals week. His first year of college is almost over with and I have been sending him short texts offering words of encouragement as he crams for finals. That is probably all I can do at this point. He’s endured hours of motivational speak from both me and my wife. I say motivational since most of it was meant to be encouraging but some of it was more facts of life type speech. I won’t call them lectures. More of a life talk and that is always harder but my wife and I have not wanted to sugarcoat anything with our kids.

Fifty percent of the kids he graduated with last June that are going to college, will not finish. At his orientation for college last year, the staff let us know that approximately twenty percent of the freshman class would not return for their sophomore year for a number of reasons. Facts of life. Through research of our own, along with what my son has learned this year from others, there are certain classes in the program he is in that will weed out students from continuing in the program. After next week he will have completed four of them. There is another critical one next semester but I’m confident he will do OK. He is on an academic scholarship that demands a certain GPA be maintained in addition to being in a program that demands a specific GPA be maintained for all classes taken related to the program. My son is well aware of this and well aware of the consequences should he not meet those requirements. The program GPA is what it is and there is nothing mom and dad can do about that one. The financial scholarships are what they are and cover a good portion of his costs. The rest is being paid by student loans and Mom and Dad. We’ve made it clear that we will not make up the difference should he lose his scholarship. This is a partnership in my mind between the school, the government, my son, and my wife and me and there are expectations for each vested party. One of those Dad things I say to him all the time is there is no practice life. This is it and what you do or don’t do counts. Or maybe I’m repeating something I heard in a movie or song, or something I read or some other life lesson I try to share hoping he makes the connection and seriousness of it all. That and reminding him to enjoy himself and make memories in the same conversation. It all seems to be a contradiction of sorts.

My son gets all this. He budgets and balances his time. He reaches out for help if he needs it and he crams when he has to. That impresses me. No safe zone, no sugarcoat, no bullshit. He is realizing something now that takes others years to even conceptualize. His hard work in high school only gave him the opportunity he has now in college. Nothing more. The rest is up to him and only him and that demands more hard work.

There are a lot of inspirational quotes or passages I could share with him this weekend. Most of them I have already shared. My personal favorite is something many attribute to Nelson Mandela but is actually a passage from a book by Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.” 

In classic tasteless fashion, as can be so prevalent in my household at times, I opted for words of encouragement that were not so profound but still offered some motivational insight:

“Time to nut up or shut up.” – Tallahassee

Photos courtesy of Pixabay and GoErie

 

 

 

The Case Of The Missing Spoons

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Because real life offers us a treasure trove of writing ideas…

I was first alerted to this mystery one day in spring when my son tweeted something about our spoons disappearing. We had all been taking turns doing dishes throughout the week and my wife and I laughed when we read it thinking my son was just being funny about a chore he loves so much. Like I often do with many of the funny things my kids say, I jotted it down in my notebook. Nothing wasted.

As the past few months have sped by at an incredible pace, our weekly chores have remained the same. Throughout my dishwashing rotation, I have noticed something: the spoons are disappearing. Spoons! Are you fricken kidding me?

I can understand socks disappearing. We’ve lost many. Two socks enter the washer, one sock leaves the dryer. I’ve never investigated the handoff between the washer and dryer because I have solved this mystery after a little bit of research along with a visit to a chat room hosted by a whistle-blower from an unnamed sock company. Greed within the textile industry is the driver here. More specifically: a secret collaboration between sock manufacturers and cotton growers. They’ve developed a GMO cotton that once part of a fabric, dissolves after so many cycles of washing and drying. It has something to do with the way biodegradable surfactants (just the anionic type) in common laundry detergent mixes with water, coats itself to the suspect sock, and then dissolves the sock once heat is applied to it in the dryer after some magic number of cycles. And where does the dissolved sock end up? Check your lint trap.

You’re probably wondering why only one sock ends up missing. Because only one sock is made from the GMO cotton. If they did this to both socks, we would become suspicious. We’ve just accepted the fact that one sock will eventually go missing and the sock manufacturers know it. This is limited to only cotton socks. I have wool socks I’ve had for years and have never lost one. Besides, the wool industry is a bit more reputable. I would explain this conspiracy to my wife but she would think I’ve gone off the deep end. She still has her “bag” of socks without partners… waiting, as though the lost sock will return someday. That bag continues to grow.

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OK, back to the spoons. We have three sets of silverware in our Rubbermaid silverware holder. Since we have more knives than anything else, I counted the knives and it appears we bought two sets that serve 4 and one set that serves 6. 4+4+6=14? We have all 14 knives that match their unique sets, and 4 mystery knives. These sets, whether a 20 piece set or 30 piece set contain the following: two spoon sizes, two fork sizes, and one knive. What does this mean? It means we should have 14 small spoons, 14 large spoons, 14 small forks, and 14 larger forks (OK, for you uptown culinary types, that’s teaspoons, dinner spoons, salad forks, etc. etc). You get the picture.

Evidently I am not in tune with what we have or don’t have as of late. Maybe it’s because at any given time, some silverware will be in the drawer and some in the dish drainer (yes I know these sets are really stainless and called flatware… well at least at Walmart). With all the dishes, silverware, and utensils clean and put away, I went to get a spoon this morning to stir in my cream for coffee and it finally hit me. We are missing spoons. We have 5 teaspoons and 7 dinner spoons. That’s 12 spoons when there should be 28 (14 + 14 for the mathematically challenged). 16 spoons are missing! I’ve searched the usual hangouts such as the kids’ rooms, lunch pails, cars, trucks, other drawers, etc. and no spoons. Where are the damn spoons?

I would bet that some of you reading this now fancy yourself a sleuth. Maybe you are a mystery writer or watch too much CSI. You might even be trying to solve this mystery with your newfound knowledge of why our socks disappear. Why spoons? Is their unique curved shape susceptible to foul play? Maybe, just maybe, the silverware companies have conspired with dishwasher manufacturers to melt the spoons. I’m an engineer and work with metals on a daily basis, it’s not possible. The melting point for certain grades of stainless steel is 1325 degrees Celsius at the lowest. This is magnetic so most likely a 400 series stainless and it melts at an even higher temperature. This is not happening in a dishwasher.

So maybe, just maybe, the silverware companies have conspired with dishwasher detergent companies to have some wonderful chemical reaction with only unique curved shape stainless steel that magically melts it during the hot water wash cycle then the melted stainless is reduced to some liquid that rinses away. I’m not a chemist so I couldn’t argue that one way or the other but it just sounds plain stupid. Besides, our dishwasher has been broken for a year, hence, a non-factor. I am the dishwasher. So is my wife and so are my kids. The spoons are not dissolving.

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So what’s left? Are we accidentally throwing away silverware? Are we a victim of spoon thieves? Do I buy a metal detector and scan everyone leaving our kitchen? Why isn’t someone taking the steak knives, or paring knife, or Ginsu knife, or spatula or my collection of chopsticks? Why just the damn spoons I ask?

Is this mystery destined for the cold case files? I think so. I’m stumped and have wasted too much time on this nonsense already today.

I have a better solution. I want a reset. I think I will venture over to Walmart, buy two or three brand new 20 piece sets, identical sets, and bag up our existing silverware and drop if off at Salvation Army. Maybe with the bag of partner-less socks.

Until next time…

B

 

 

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