Monday, August 06, 2012
I learned a valuable life lesson on my morning walk a few summers back. Each morning I would pass a college aged woman standing at the bus stop. She was dressed in a fast food uniform and as I passed by I would greet her with a cheerful “Good Morning!!” She would turn around and smile and we’d both go about our day. One morning in early August I heard her voice say “Excuse me sir?” I thought maybe something had fallen from my pocket so I stopped and turned around.
“I wanna thank you for saying hello to me every day,” she began.” I’ve had a rough summer and I’ve had a lot on my mind and when you walked by every morning and smiled and said hello it made my day bearable. I’m going back to school on Wednesday and I wanted to make sure I thanked you. You made me feel that someone really cared enough just by saying hello. ”We both stood there a bit uncomfortable for a few minutes and I actually had a tear or two in my eyes. I mumbled something like “Thanks,” or “God bless you,” and went on my way.
That life lesson stuck with me. I can’t tell you how many times I have watched a grumpy cashier or servers turn their face into a grin when I’ve simply said. ‘Hi, how are you this most amazing day?” They will tell me they are fine or well or whatever and then the grin breaks out. “Thank you for asking!!!” I say it with sincerity. I genuinely do care.
What comes around goes around as they say? The other morning I was running late and needed some water to wash my BP pill down with. I swung into a long line at a fast food place to get a bottle of water. After what seemed like forever and my anxiety level rising higher and higher each moment because I just knew I was going to be late for everything for the rest of my natural life, I reached the window. A hand reached out with a bottle of water. I fumbled for my wallet and the person said “Apparently you have a new friend John, because the person in front of you paid for your water. Have a good day.”
When we were kids there was a chant prescribed mostly as a negative. It went “I’m rubber, you’re glue. Anything you say bounces off me and sticks on to you.” So maybe, just maybe we turn it around. And anything I say bounces off me and sticks on to you, especially the warmth, love and affection.
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
I consider myself a live and let live sort of guy. As a small business owner living in a very tight economy, I know you have to watch every nickel and dime and maximize every opportunity to generate revenue. It means you stay competitive in the market place by offering your customers a better pricing structure. I get all of that.
I was a team player when Spark started posting ads for feminine hygiene products. Yeah, I know the demographic states that most subscribers here are female and yes this is free web site, and yes I’ve met some very cool people, and no I don’t want it to go away. I realize they have to generate revenue in some form or fashion. I grinned and bore it. (GIRANIMAL is bore the plural of bear?) It speaks to the success of what these fine folks have accomplished. It’s like the old song from the 80’s by Billy Squires’, “Everybody Wants You.” Way to go Spark Team!!!
However, (There is always an however isn’t there?) when I went to read my email this morning I received a notice from Spark People suggesting I “ditch my current mascara,” and use a product “as seen on The Doctors.” I could save a ton of money and my eyes would be more dazzling and brilliant in 60 Days. Oh yeah, free shipping also!!!
I ran, or what resembles a run for me these days, a sort of herky-jerky waddle, up the stairs and shouted to Joan “What brand of mascara do we use?” She assured me that we were well within the guidelines suggested by The Doctors. (Joan DVR’s The Doctors and Doctor Oz while she’s at work.) I breathed a sigh of relief and came back to my computer only to see an add on my personal page that asked what type of tissue did I use? I use what Joan buys. She handles the money. (I tried to buy a monkey one time. That’s when she took the checkbook away from me.)
Chris, thank you for being concerned with my well-being and overall health but at 6:30 AM I was a bit overwhelmed by all those decisions. Thank goodness I don’t need probiotic yogurt! I for one would gladly pay a fee for this site. I believe, as someone once said, it separates the contenders from the pretenders. Until then I’ll have to limp along worrying my eyes look okay.
Gosh, I hope I don’t have to deal with lip gloss.
Joan kissed me on the forehead and told me my eyes dazzle, just the way they always have in the past.
Monday, July 30, 2012
I had just finished reading some really good insights from Sparker JENNKFIT about how advertisements (even the ones here at Spark.) are often misleading. JENNKFIT was writing about an advertisement which said you could get a bikini body before the end of summer by exercising five minutes a day. I saw the add myself. An attractive, svelte model ran along the beach, the waves cascading behind her. She had that look of happiness……. All in five minutes per day!!! Sign me up, lol!!! If we were on Facebook I’d say “Everyone who has fallen for these ads at one time or another hit “like.” There would be a lot of “likes.” We all have this hidden belief that the magic formula is right around the corner. Sure it takes hard work, dedication and sacrifice, but come on dear friends, who wouldn’t want a bona fide short cut to all of that if it were legitimate? It’s like the Holy Grail of weight loss. No one I know enjoys suffering. Click your heels three times and……… Let’s come back down to earth. It’s awfully frustrating to work so hard and see so few results. It’s why we will believe almost anything. It’s why we choose to give any slim hope a shot. Remember how frustrating it was when you realized there were no short cuts. Yeah……… Me Too.
As I pondered this my phone rang. On the other end of the phone was my gym manager. She didn’t want to “put me on the spot,” but she had a question for me. Had I been on an elliptical machine a few Saturdays ago when a member had a verbal joust with one of the trainers? Yup, I had. I know both very well. They are dedicated, healthy and for the most part intelligent people, but like you and I they can be swayed by all the pressure and hype that comes with maintaining your healthy appearance.
The person on the machine next to me was “getting it.” She had sweat pouring down her face; she was breathing hard and making me look like a slacker. Oh, yeah, she was close to nine months pregnant. The trainer suggested she might slow it down just a bit because her face was red and her breathing a bit erratic. She told the trainer to mind her own business. As she dismounted the machine she stumbled and appeared dizzy. The trainer moved in to assist her. She sat her on a couch, took her blood pressure and called the EMT’s. After a while they phoned her husband to come fetch her as we say in the south. She wasn’t allowed back until she had obtained a doctors release.
Two days later my fellow gym member had “never felt so humiliated in her life.” She phoned the gym manager demanding not only to be allowed to work out as she determined but she wanted the trainer fired. My view was the trainer acted professionally. She explained to the member what her concerns were and did it calmly. If there were any epithets’ thrown around it came from my fellow road warrior.
Now, I’ve never been pregnant, not even close, but I can tell you I have acted that irrationally myself, in the past, when someone told me to dial it down a notch. How dare they??? Later on, when I processed all the info it dawned on me it wasn’t how healthy I wanted to be it was how I wanted to look – Running down the beach, grin on my face and people murmuring in amazement. I’d do anything to feel that.
I look amazing. I am handsome, healthy and sexy. So are you, just as you are. Now have an amazing day you healthy, happy, sexy person --- Just the way you are
Sunday, July 29, 2012
I’ve had a busy week or so. Some days it seemed like I barely had time to catch my breath and then off it was to the next exciting experience. (Honestly, there were days I wished my life had not been so exciting!!!) So, to those of you who were concerned about my absence and inquired about my well-being I simply say “Namaste.” I honor you for your concerns and love but I’m ok, just super busy. I had little time for Sparking. Next week proves to be a bit lighter.
I am one of those people who often wake up long before I get out of bed. I lie there plotting my daily activity. Some days I am pumped and amped, yet there are others I lie there wondering if a gremlin snuck in late at night and moved my clock forward a few hours. Out and about is the very last place I want to be!! It dawned on me that whether I am excited about the day or full of dread, the first mental step I take each morning is going to determine the success or failure of that day. My father passed away March 9. His last coherent words to me went like this: “I’ve lived a good and long life but gosh it went by so quickly.” My dad was 88. That’s a long, long time. Yet those years flew by and as he lie on his death bed I could tell there were some days he would have liked to have taken back. Unfortunately we don’t get do-overs. Today is THE day and when it’s gone it has either been spent profitably or it’s been wasted. It all begins with the first step each morning. I’m not talking about dancing around the house singing Climb Every Mountain. My day is split about 50-50 into things I look forward to doing and things I’d rather by-pass. My attitude determines how my day will unfold whether it will be one for the books or one I’d rather forget. When my foot hits the ground there is always a mental traffic cop waving me forward. “Right or left, John?” he asks. When I greet my day with anticipation I find my exercise goes well, I eat in a healthy manner and I feel alert and relax. If I face it with dread, well I don’t need to go into detail, do I?
Take a moment tomorrow, before your foot hits the floor and ask yourself which way you’re turning. It won’t only help you but may inspire the very first person you run into. Ya never know, do ya?
Friday, July 20, 2012
The story goes that there was a ladder suspended in space and time from a thin rope. On the ladder were twelve people, eleven men and one woman. As the ladder twisted and creaked under their weight the rope began to break. The group decided that one person would have to jump off the ladder so the other eleven could survive. The woman raised her hand and jumped while the men applauded her action.
It most often goes unnoticed. In the midst of life’s activities the small day to day sacrifices are made to keep a relationship whole and flourishing. In most cases it is the woman in that relationship who gracefully acquiesces and sacrifices so the relationship can thrive.
So on this hot July morning, so similar to the one we experienced thirty eight years ago, I raise my glass to my wife, my friend and my partner and wish her a most happy anniversary and a sincere thanks for the love and sacrifice she’s shown me.
Happy Anniversary Joan
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