Monthly Archives: October 2017

About Boring People

Some people are boring: they don’t talk about anyone but themselves, they don’t notice anyone but them, they keep telling you what they want, when and how they want it and they usually want it right now, no matter what you’re doing or wanting or needing for yourself.  Some boring people talk all the time, talk and talk and talk all the time, and don’t every let anyone else say anything. Other boring people keep telling the same stories over and over again. Now, if these people who tell the same stories are old it might be because they truly are forgetful: some people forget so much that they are sure they haven’t eaten breakfast this morning, when indeed they ate something just a few minutes ago: those people aren’t boring, they are ill, and something has de3stroyed their memories. These people are sad, and when you know what’s going on with them, you can feel sad for them too.

But, really, you can also feel sad for the bores that talk about themselves all the time, or just plain talk all the time; the bores that keep saying, “Oh, just one more thing I’ve got to tell you!” long after you’ve already told them three times that you have to go to the dentist at two. The bores that don’t put any feeling or animation in what they are saying, so that when they’re describing a trip to Disneyland or to watch polar bears in Alaska or somewhere in Europe, they make it sound as though they were telling you about a parking lot down the street or something really silly and simple like how to open a jar… all of these bores have one thing in common: something has bored a hole into them, so they feel empty. That’s why they have to keep on filling themselves. Some of them are so empty that they need you to fill them up, and that can be very hard indeed.

To be continued…

 

Friendship

Being friends with someone used to be a very careful business: not only because there were liars, cheats and con men back 50 or 100 years ago, but because a friend was someone who wasn’t from your family that you could count on as though they were family. A friend was someone you could tell your secrets to and he or she wouldn’t either use them against you or spread them around everywhere just so this “friend” could feel important. A friend was someone who would remember your birthday and other special days, but a friend would not remember these days because he or she could get something romantic from you, but just because you mattered

Because friends matter to each other as much or more than family; friends help each other because they care. Friends do their very best to be trustworthy: keeping their promises, being there when they say they will instead of four hours too late. Trustworthy friends will do what they say they will do, and if they cannot, they will apologize.

Real friends will not get you into trouble: they will not tease you into doing something dangerous, stupid or illegal; if they see that what you’re doing isn’t good for you or anyone else they will do their very best to tell you, gently, in ways that don’t hurt you but will help you understand. Real friends help you if you get yourself into trouble, too, but the best friends are the ones that help you stop being in trouble. They will call your parents or talk to your teacher; they will even call the police if they know you are doing something really, really wrong. And these best friends will still love you even though you tell them you will hate them forever because they stopped you from hurting yourself. 

One person’s definition of a good friend is, “Someone I can call at three in the morning and they can help me change the tire on my car.” That’s the kind of thing real friends do. They care, and they act like it.

War

In Washington, Oregon, California, Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and so many other places just in the United States a great many people have lost everything: their homes, sometimes their pets, their families, because of fires and hurricanes, Some people have lost absolutely everything; some have lost only part of their house or lost their house but they all got out alive. Many people say, “How terrible! It’s a tragedy” and it is, it truly is. 

But you can learn from other peoples’ loss and grief.Look around your room, your house, your yard. Look at things carefully, and think, “If my house had been in the firestorm, this would be gone now.” “If my house had been in the path of the huge hurricane, this would be gone, or broken, or really blown away. My toys, my books, my game devices, the bed where I slept last night: they would all be gone!”

This is not to make you depressed, truly, but it will make you think of what’s important. Would you really miss your computer games most, or would it be the book your grandmother gave you when you were ten, just before she died? Would you miss your bed, or would you miss being told, “Good night, sleep well!”? And if only you survived, who would you miss the most? 

Now: take all these sad feelings, all these worried thoughts, and realize: people who are in war zones have to do this almost every day. Bombs, like hurricanes, fall where they will: sometimes one house will be destroyed but not the one right next to it. Soldiers shoot guns and sometimes they hit what they wanted to hit or need to hit, but sometimes a bullet can kill someone standing right next to you. Look at the places where a firestorm has hit, or a hurricane, and then look at pictures of WWII: they look the same!

Then understand: you can’t stop hurricanes very well, and sometimes there isn’t much you can do about fires, but you can always stop war, if you really want to do so. Always.

Doing the Same Thing Again

As others have said: “Doing the same thing again and again and each time expecting results if the first sign of insanity,” and that is unfortunately so. A great many older people were brought up with the maxim: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” What the maxim didn’t say was: “If at first you don’t succeed, step back, study the problem, and learn what you need to have or to do to make things different.” Yes, you are always “allowed” at at least three mistakes when we are just beginning to learn something. After all, no one is born automatically knowing everything.

Our body knows how to breathe by itself; it knows how to sleep without us; it knows how to see and to taste and feel. This is because your body has all the memories of all of your ancestors, both the human ancestors and the animal ancestors: they all made many, many mistakes before they learned the best way too. But the most intelligent animals worked things out: they stood back, studied the problem, and then did things a different way.

When an elephant calf falls down in a ditch and you see a movie of that, you can see that the mother and the other members of the family rush to help the little elephant, but they also stand back when they see the matriarch, the elephant queen, come closet to help: they know she is more experienced, and can see another way, a different way. Sometimes we all get used to doing things the hard way because that is the way our family, our friends, or  people on TV do it: we think that their way is our way. But we can always look and look again.

When we’re having trouble with something again, it helps a lot to look, really look, at what we are doing, and how, and why. Only then can we move away from what we or someone else did before, and see if something works better.