Dahl-er

Word-plays don’t make us smarter. They make us sound wittier (at the risk of sounding corny). If I had a dollar for every witty comment I’ve conceived, I’d have lots of dollars.

Sadly, wit costs more than it earns. Witty people are risk-takers! Employers don’t seek out wit. Open-mindedness and willingness to receive ideas, direction, and company objectives—these are employee-possessed ideals. Wit is a characteristic that materializes after employees are comfortable and stable in their careers. Wit is a spawn of experience, intelligence, and confidence. “Nubbies” either don’t have it yet or they keep their wit under wraps.

Witty people find clever ways to express themselves. Let’s explore. There’s the “one-liner,” aka “the zinger.” This type of witticism is intended to awaken or criticize the un-witty. The intended target either gets it immediately or deciphers the insult incrementally. By the time that the full weight of the zing is felt, there’s a sense of bewilderment. It’s often too late to respond (or the response is too late to have relevance).

There’s another way for a witty person to express themselves. The “way-homer” is so clever that the target doesn’t even realize the impact until they’ve headed home. Like a time-bomb, it detonates suddenly and without warning. The target hadn’t even considered that there’s was even anything to dissect. They had no reason to ponder the meaning of the criticism because it was packaged and delivered seemingly without malice. It’s weird how our subconscious mind is at work while the rest of our mind is processing normal daily functions.

There’s the “afterthought.” Similar to the “way-homer,” the impact is not felt immediately. But thinking about it for hours afterward can be relentless. In this case, the injury is not in the insult itself, but in the delivery and the intent. This one can unleash insecurities about why it was crafted, the relationship with the person who sculpted it, or even how embarrassing it is to be targeted. It is personal.

Quite the conundrum! We can explore how words could be used as weapons, but let’s instead consider the power of words. Since the beginning of time, the energy encapsulated by articulation could enlighten. To be able to describe something with detail speaks to how evolved we’ve become. The French have numerous words that mean love. Also, the Inuit have developed various ways to represent snow. Our experiences drive the way we communicate. Like artists, our palate is as colorful as our landscape. The world around us provides the stimulation through experience, to describe, and to convey precisely how we feel.

And yet some believe that “less is more”—that “silence is as powerful;” for “the evidence of things not seen” (nor heard) produces something spiritual. Alas, it is the spirit of our words that emit emotions, translate intent, and convey definition to our thoughts. You can feel “a certain way” or you can express your feelings.

As children learn to speak, their minds are ripe for literacy. To hear, to repeat, to read, to write…all of these are manifestations of a developing mind. With practice, developing minds craft new ways to understand the world and master the use of communication; wit grows.

And true wit can manipulate words, deconstruct them, and build upon them. To be witty is to innovate. There’s a responsibility that comes with this talent. Some call it charisma. Others channel this charm in other creative ways. The world around us is looming with examples.

Word-plays are what makes donuts on Sunday holy. Word-plays make the teachers of creatures preachers; the need to lamas the llamas ; or the opportunity to dance the salsa while eating salsa.

The punchlines and the rhetorical questions riddle us and ignite our imagination. Philosophical and practical, our inquiries become problematic and pragmatic. It doesn’t even matter because our responses matter less, couldn’t matter more, and are empty of matter meaning that they are matter-less.

If you understood this, you are either incredibly smart or incredibly stupid. I suppose its not the latter. I’d be some sort of jerk to even imply. But what kind of jerk would I be? Hopefully, no jerk at all. But time will tell.

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Thinking Out Loud

I’m watching a Jack Ryan episode. I pay close attention, not to my misunderstandings of the directors portrayal of Middle-Eastern conflict, but to the civilian equipment used by the military forces. I think back to a proposed boycott of FordMoCo because they manufactured American Police Cruisers that are relied upon by cops who sometimes miscarry justice. I wonder if the miscarriages would still occur if equipment was not available.

Then I think about a meme my friend posted on social media this morning. It warned that we are all portrayed as evil in someone else’s story. I think about narratives. I think about my perspective. I think about how I may never know the perspective of my adversaries (and how I may never know the true perspective of my allies).

I think about how I sat in church while still reflecting on the unfulfilled fantasies from the night before. The unkept promises made in good-faith, the promises that I want to make that won’t see the light of day, and the promises I can’t make because I know better…they consume me.

Living without regret. Staving off guilt. Guilty of regretting. Regretting not feeling guilty (and not meeting someone else’s expectations). I am thinking out loud. But no one hears me.

Writing it down or recording it for others to hear is meaningless when no one reads it; when no one hears it. Hence, it’s my own voice that reverberates. The vibrations are numbing my senses. The numbness hurts. Lack of feeling is not always a good thing. Crashing into things just to feel is what we do sometimes.

I think about what is said, what is meant, and what is implied. I think about the actions that don’t match words—the disappointment pawned as deception, projected upon us by others who don’t share our per-view.

I think about the larger pictures now. I think about nations so full of themselves that they have no room for anyone else. I think about gluttony, self-righteousness, and arrogance. I think about the subtle differences between ignorance and arrogance. I think about the variations between the Latin roots and the true meaning of words —the connotations and the denotations; derivations and the deliberate disregard for the decisive decisions that divide us.

I think about our option to defer our wants. The things that we “need” first that too often prolong ever meeting the goals; the goals too often reshaped and then became intangible, and the irrational excuses that never materialized…all of the excuses that we develop that merely explain (not excuse) why our dreams are deferred.

Redefining our why? Dissolving our fears! Realizing what truly brings joy into our lives.

Watching my son play an outdated gaming system, I discover that the algorithm responds to his actual motion rather than intended outcome. The algorithm never accounted for his fear, his anxiety, his hopes or his dreams. Being the better player was never about skill or drive. It was about finding the sweet spot that the programmers engineered. I begin to wonder how I overlooked this all along. I wonder how many other systems are powered by emotion. I think about how popular these systems are. I ponder how the intent and the actual responses are not calculated into the equation.

I’m hyper sensitive. I watch the minivan in front of me. I see the boat stuffed into the cargo area. Seats removed, hatch wide open, driver intent on making his recreation a reality whether or not he has the trailer, the safety equipment, or anything else to qualify his desire to set sail. No limits. No excuses. No regrets. Doing means something!

Thinking out loud…

Hearts Don’t Lie

The heart is the organ that gets all of the honor and glory for keeping the body alive. Despite the brain operating in concert with the heart and the lungs, the heart owns our feelings, drives our will, and is held accountable when the brain makes rational decisions. It’s a travesty if you think about it.

Lungs are impacted by both the heart and the brain. Even though the lungs are paired, they are impacted by the conditions that they have no control over. And yet, poor breathing conditions impair the lungs, the heart, AND the brain. Over time, the decision to live in polluted communities or even smoke, vape, or breathe fire will wreak havoc on our quality of life.

Alas, our bodies are no circus attraction! Tattoos, piercings, dyed hair enhance our appearance, but they don’t make our heart beat any better. Skin is an organ too! But it also falls victim to the brain.

Come to think of it, the brain and heart work together AND against each other from time to time—mostly on matters of Love.

“The Heart Wants what the Heart wants…” is a ridiculous excuse to make bad decisions. This may merely be a euphemism for other organs that we won’t discuss here (except to say that they cause the most life-altering circumstances).

Darn it! The heart isn’t even the same shape as what we traditionally market on cards, candy boxes, and plush gifts. Those bulbous hearts actually represent other explicit body parts (that we also will not discuss)!

It’s so easy to get distracted while pondering the importance of the heart…and more specifically that the heart LIES. Yes, yes! It lies, it’s lied to, and it is manipulated by the other organs in what can only be described as a coup d’etas!

Alright, alright! Maybe that’s a little too enthusiastic. Charge it to my heart, and not to my head. (Do you see what just happened there?)

Please consider this matter when emphasizing how important your heart is to making day-to-day decisions. It can be stressful. And THAT is not good for the heart either.

Ami Ego

Mon frère?

Mon ami??

je parle français dans ma tête, mais je parle entièrement ma vérité dans une autre langue

mon ego a mûri et je reconnais que mon énergie se concentre au-delà de moi

mon frère n’est pas mon ami, mais être mon propre frère c’est être mon propre meilleur ami

un jour où je cesse d’être, sache que je n’ai pas eu de meilleur ami que l’ami en moi

être mon meilleur ami et être mon propre frère c’est avoir un alter ego, et ça me va

ma santé mentale sera remise en question, mes actions apporteront des réponses, et ce que je laisserai sera ma preuve

J’aimais plus que moi-même, et l’amour de moi était assez grand pour deux; parce que l’amour de deux est supérieur à un

peut-être que je parle français, mais je pense en anglais.

il est peut-être perdu dans la traduction, ou peut-être devrais-je parler en espagnol

mon ego était juste mon amigo

Doing Things I Said I Wouldn’t

Eating left-overs

Harboring guilt

Sitting in the dark

Judging others wearing leggings

Wearing pajamas all day

Ignoring ashy elbows and bushy eyebrows

Compensating for the other parent

Buying a brand new car

Surrendering debt

Reconciling…

Hoarding old polo shirts

Raising my voice to children who choose poorly

Doing things half-assed (for fun)

Dedicating myself to something meaningless

Debating religion and politics at the dinner table

Letting myself go…

Caring too much

Caring more for myself

Caring less

Binge-watching

Mid-day napping

Asking for opinions

Ignoring good advice

Equanimity

Regretting

math for the empath

Caring about someone does not give you ownership over their condition. Caring about someone means that their condition impacts your feelings. But try not to get too bent out of shape when the people you care about make decisions that are upsetting to you.

Their decisions are theirs. Your decisions are yours. Caring for someone is YOUR decision. If caring about someone hurts you, it is your decision to continue to have those feelings. Caring is not easy. It may seem inherently instinctual. With it comes a gamut of emotions ranging from happiness to sadness. Hurting is natural. But recovery is a decision too. It’s natural but requires effort.

It hurts to care sometimes. If someone else’s decisions hurt you, you have a decision to make.

Stop caring in order to stop hurting?
Stop hurting to feel better?
Feel better for self?

These hurt feelings will drive other decisions that you need to make. But demanding that they change their behavior to satisfy your feelings is an indication that your heart may not be in the right place. Decide for you, not them.

Caring more for others than yourself has another name too. It’s called love. And it’s the reason that love hurts.

For the visual learners:

🤗 ~ 💗
💗 ~ ❤️
💗~ 😔
💗~ 😠

🤗(❤️~😔~😠)=💗
🤗(💗)=💗

🤗 = 1

Guilt

Lately I’ve been feeling guilty—which is ironic because I am unapologetic. I wake up in the middle of the night having experienced hopelessness in a fantas(tic) world made up by my subconscious whims. And yet I am well rested. My reflections suggest that I should have done more in this world so that I can feel more empowered in my dreams.

Why do I feel guilty? Is it because of the crimes I’ve committed in the real? Oh my crimes are not against humanity. My crimes are against self. The delicacies that I’ve consumed, or the indiscretions I’ve endured—either way I felt secretly entitled to experience a life that is neither secret nor privileged.

My guilt stems from indulging in those wonderful prohibitions—those things that I’ve convinced myself that I’m not supposed to have access. When I look around, everyone else is reserved and conserved and absurd in their properness. So I pretend to be like them to satisfy an audience that does not exist.

I nurture my plants and groom my pets with the upmost empathy, but I care less for my self because I pretend it doesn’t matter. I sneak a peak at the chocolates that are hidden away, but I’ll deliberately eat one olive to taste the bitterness of abundance. Is there such a thing?

My guilt is not enough to condemn me. There are no handcuffs or trials awaiting my soul. Nope. Just sleep. As the sun rises, I recognize the missed rest that was taken by the busy dreams and hopeless nightmares that medicine won’t remedy.

My guilt is heightened by indulgence in the midst of a pandemic. The divot in my couch exposes excessive emptiness, motionless consumption of junk news, junk food, and fiction because I will not step outside to smell the freshness of ungroomed gardens or the stench of unremoved trash.

My guilt is wriggled with inability to move amidst the protests. My struggle to remain still when the earth has been shaken. The battery on my phone runs low because the charger is upstairs. That alone should be enough to motivate me. But upstairs is where the bed resides! And that ascent will be rewarded with another remote and an empty glass of wine. No! The guilty pleasures are for the others! I shall stay put (with my limp phone) and my aroused (emotions).

I’m not guilty. I’m fat! Glutinous and unkept. Unexercised and oozing with ideas. Ponderings and anxiety hanging on my follicles like foliage from my fangs, which only get brushed once a day now, by the way. My liberties are wasted on what I don’t want to do rather than on what I should be allowed to do.

Those entitled and “privileged” people who show off their skills are flaunting their own guiltless follies while I watch in disgust. My guilt is doing everything the opposite of what they’re doing wrong. But that doesn’t make me wrong, right?

As I wake up, my dry knuckles scratch the crusty mucus from my moist eyes. No make-up for this face because black and white selfies can’t reveal grey hair any more than color photos can expose bad breath. Day 100 of a lock-down when everyone refuses to calm down, sit down, or slow down. My obedience is surely someone else’s disobedience. Therefore my guilt is their pride.

I don’t know. Pass the butter.

[Common] Sense for Sale

This public service announcement is brought to you by rational people in an irrational world who are trying to make sense out of the decisions made by people who do not have common sense.

Below you will find a list of warning labels created because someone demonstrated that their injury could have been prevented if they had been warned. Books have been published using these and any MANY other warnings for pure amusement, but it must be noted that the individuals who need these warnings often overlook them.

As you read these warnings, please consider the circumstances by which these warnings were created. Think about other products that might warrant similar warnings. Pay homage to those who were insightful enough to conceive these warnings in time to save lives; and mourn those who weren’t fortunate enough to heed this warnings. And finally, accept the challenge to find similar warnings that are in dire need in these troubling times.

Please share this with a friend. And remember, it has never been a case of how it will end; only how we will start over.

Dream With Me

Last night, I had a dream that was magical and fantastic. I was surrounded by my teacher friends who’d lost their jobs because the schools were no longer needed—not because society had learned all that it needed, but because the virus prevented us from returning.

We were forced to revisit our failures and improve upon those ideas that were abandoned too soon. We were asked to share spaces with doctors and lawyers. But those spaces were small and shrewd. Unlike the other professionals, we were excited for the opportunity to reinvent ourselves. Around us, we saw prototypes that were near-completion. Automobiles, electronics, furniture—all with the most interesting architecture—stretched the imagination. What could the designers have been creating? How would these products meet society’s needs? Why weren’t they completed? The educators were brought in to answer these questions. The doctors and lawyers were there to facilitate the applications of these projects.

The world as we knew it had ended. The politicians served no purpose because the government was ineffective. There weren’t tax monies to budget for because the income-earning electorate no longer had jobs. Democracy had crumbled in lieu of individual’s needs to recreate. Trust had been lost, but panic was abandoned. Individuals resurfaced from the ashes as sloths, eyes wide open but slow to recover.

Surreal approaches to rebuild had all but failed. Everything was new. New ideas, new relationships, and new approaches to build a world that should not resemble anything like the past world.

As educators, we toured the facilities hoping to identify the missing components. For it was supposed that we taught the last generation. We had the best connection with the youth. We held their hands through multiple curriculum evolutions. We taught them to think and to imagine, and we were the last ones to speak to their imaginations before they were quarantined with their families (who had previously abandoned their development). Those children never returned. Those children became an incarnation of their own dreams—incomplete drawings on scrap paper, science projects, and book reports, essays, and class notes, love letters, and prom invitations; class trips postponed and spring breaks un-refunded, graduations cancelled and college applications never sent. We were there when all this happened. We felt it. Their pain hurt us too to our core.

We would carry a torch. We would rediscover those souls through the evidence they’d left behind. As we searched through the rubble, our passions re-ignited every time we uncovered a gem. Alas, they never left. They are watching and waiting patiently to be energized as if they’d been playing a game of “freeze-tag” and knew that we were coming for them.

Hands extended, we will find them. We will find them.