19 August 2017
"Seven minutes and nineteen seconds left in the third quarter.”
For football fans, this will immediately conjure up a readily identifiable quantification of time. Time past, and time remaining.
This is where I am, roughly speaking, assuming I didn’t screw up the math (a distinct possibility).
I’m a little over halfway through the third quarter.
Not time to panic, not even close… but time to consider some substantive adjustments to the game plan if I’m behind on the scoreboard.
The calculation is fairly simple, if overly simplified to keep the math easy, based on a life expectancy of 80 (Ps. 90:10), each 20 year period representing one fifteen-minute quarter. A ten year old may be said to be “halfway (seven minutes and thirty seconds) through the first quarter.” An 81 year old, a few minutes into overtime.
At age 52 years, two months and several days, I am little over a minute and a half past halfway through the third quarter.
So the question now becomes… and I leading? Or trailing?
The analogy breaks down somewhat, of course. Football games rarely end as abruptly as life can. While individual players may on rare occasion find their games cut short by injury, the whole game is not generally subject to event-ending medical emergencies, accidents, etc. I’m well aware of the significant likelihood of not making it to exactly age 80, kicking the bucket just as “time expires.”
But as a relative measure, taking note of being well past halftime can be an impetus for “checking the score.”
I’m certainly not getting blown out. I’m not catastrophically, or even chronically, ill. I’m not in jail or in the depths of some debilitating substance addiction that is keeping me gutter-bound and homeless. I’m not third-world destitute. I’m gainfully employed at a relatively well-paying, stable job. I’m a reasonably intelligent college graduate considering grad school. I’m married to a wonderful woman, have a total of five kids and step kids, all living in warm, safe homes. I have a few close friends and a couple of hobbies I enjoy. My problems are first-world: The grocery store is out of my favorite chips; my truck has some annoying electrical issues; I walked a couple of significant blisters on my feet two Sundays ago while hiking a local urban park.
Likewise, I’m not blowing anyone out, either, like, say, the Falcons were at a comparable time in Super Bowl LI. I’m not wealthy, overtly talented, or powerful. I’m not famous for anything, even in this ridiculous age when it seems all you need is a webcam and a YouTube account; “famous for being famous.”
The “score,” whatever it is, isn’t lopsided.
Which begs the question: What is the “score?” And what does that even mean? How does one “score” one’s life?
Far greater minds than mine have contemplated such questions, and I’m certainly not going to stumble upon the definitive answer in an obscure little blog post. In fact, there likely is no one answer. How well each of us “does life” is as unique as we are.
But for me, a little prudent coaching probably means a few adjustments to the game plan. I should get serious about school if I’m going back at all. I’m a little overweight and a little out of shape. There are a few things my diet would probably be better off without, especially to increase my odds of making it to “0:00.” I should be making my retirement calculations more specifically and realistically. I should be making more disciplined financial choices. I should be investing in the relationships that matter, divesting any that don’t.
And there is hope. The score isn’t final yet. Just ask the Patriots.
Maybe I should start by simply getting out from behind this keyboard and………….
11 November 2016
News is, by nature, new information. I can't recall who it was, but some newspaper or website had an advertising slogan: "If you haven't seen it, it's still news."
Unfortunately, there's another common saying: "Old news." And these past few days, that's what we've seen over and over again. Old news. Shocking not a few, even among his supporters, Donald Trump managed to get himself elected President. The reaction among many went something like: Disbelief...shock... sadness... anger... and then a minority took it a step further... protest. Fewer still, but not nearly few enough, went further still: Disruption... destruction... violence. Many of the things they feared Trump would bring, they now bring themselves.
I've been of voting age for nine Presidential elections. I've voted for the winner exactly twice. Seven times in my life I've gone to bed knowing that the person I opposed would be my President for at least the next four years.
After each one of those elections, I did the same exact thing the following morning: I got up, showered, shaved, got dressed, and went to work. I did this because I realized that my well being and that of my family have far more to do with me getting off my ass than what person holds any political office.
I didn't vote for Trump. I find great uncertainty looking into the future, just as I would have in a Clinton Presidency, just for different reasons. My hope for his Presidency is what it always is: That his good decisions would be supported and his bad decisions would be hindered. Yet I cannot help but notice the irony of the clamoring masses in Portland (and other places) smashing windows on new car lots and overturning police cars (while a sympathetic Governor-elect does little to rein in the senseless rabble). The same people who are screaming "WE WILL NOT ACCEPT PRESIDENT TRUMP," just a few weeks ago were mocking Trump for suggesting he might not immediately accept the results of the election. "YOU HAVE TO ACCEPT THE RESULTS, THAT'S HOW ELECTIONS WORK!" they cried. That line served them well when the outcome was a seemingly foregone conclusion. It worked well four years ago, and eight, when the cry was "Obama won, GET OVER IT!"
I find the same irony here that I find in Colin Kaepernick (and a few copycats) kneeling during the National Anthem. "So... you're protesting a country that gives you the freedom to protest?"
Even a cursory study of American history, and I've made much more than a cursory study, will reveal that we've survived some pretty awful Presidents. We'll survive this one, too.
But, if you think our just and proper response to opposing viewpoints is for us to shit in our own nest, well, let me know how that works out for you. I'll be at work.
“From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe and Asia...could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.” ― Abraham Lincoln
19 February 2016
13 February 2016
12 February 2016
04 February 2016
"If you are taught bitterness and anger, then you will believe you are a victim. You will feel aggrieved, and the twin brother of aggrievement is entitlement. So now you think you are owed something and you don't have to work for it and now you're on a really bad road to nowhere because there are people who will play to that sense of victimhood, aggrievement, and entitlement and you still won't have a job." - Dr. Condoleezza Rice
03 February 2016
01 February 2016
"We should welcome to our ample continent all the nations, kindreds, tongues and peoples, and as fast as they learn our language and comprehend the duties of citizenship, we should incorporate them into the American body politic. The outspread wings of the American eagle are broad enough to shelter all who are likely to come." - Frederick Douglas
30 January 2016
28 January 2016
27 January 2016
"The things I saw beggar description… The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering… I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, their develops a tendency to charge these allegations to propaganda." - Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower