2nd Cup of Coffee, 4/3/19: 6 TREMENDOUS WAYS TO MAKE ‘LITTLE THINGS’ INCREDIBLY BIG

“Somebody needs to do something!”

We’ve all heard it and we’ve all said it.  All around you and me, social interaction has become antisocial, if not scarce.  It is hard to not notice how decency, good manners, courtesy, mutual respect, and public decorum have all but disappeared.  In their place, people routinely say and do things that would’ve gotten their mouths washed out with soap–or gotten them socked in the chops.

Why isn’t anybody doing anything?”

Once, we had parents willing to grab us at age 2 – 3, give us a hard stare, and make it clear we children were NOT in charge of our home and family.  We weren’t beaten nor did we consider ourselves abused by being occasionally popped on the pants to remind us we weren’t the boss.

Once there were dads and moms dead-set on reminding us mouthing off to any adult was the same as sassing them.  Respect for authority was expected.  It was The Rule that governed all of life.

Once we had parents who took seriously the task of training us as tots how to act in public.  We usually threw a Walmart or restaurant or church tantrum once.  Remember why we never tried that again?

“Someone needs to do something!”

Correct.  The question is “What?” and “How?”  In a world where its become increasingly necessary for free citizens to go armed, is there a way to climb back up on that nobler, better path?

Glad you asked.  Here are 6 ways to make some little things BIG again.

Tip your server well; tip with cash, and hand it to him or her, with a personal compliment.  This takes a little planning.  Yet often when tips are included in the use of credit cards, the server may or may not receive their entire gift – or someone else conveniently intercepts it.  Put yourself in their position; treat them as you’d want if you’d just given excellent care and service to someone else.  Food service employees are usually paid below minimum wage, since their bosses figure they’ll make tips.  Great theory, right?  Only problem:  many diners don’t tip, and even more don’t tip well.  If the service isn’t good, use your judgment about tipping.  Rewarding lackluster or rude service doesn’t work, either.

Return your shopping cart.  Sure–grab someone else’s, too.  “Oh, right!  Like taking your buggy back to the RETURN CARTS HERE rack is going to turn our social ills around?”  You’d be surprised.  Remember how irate you get when you’re pulling into Kroger or Safeway, see an open parking spot three spaces from the entrance, and start to pull in when confronted by a shopping cart parked right there in car-scratching country?  Uh-hunh.  The Grinch has nothin’ on you.  This is a tattered remnant of that old rule:  Put Things Back Where You Got Them.

Pick up the trash.  Once again, back in the day our parents taught us not to throw trash on the ground.  And when we saw any, to pick it up and toss it in the nearest garbage can.  Ask yourself how it makes you feel when you’re sitting in your car at a stoplight, or next to someone parked at a store, and you see the person in an adjoining car toss a scrunched lunchbag out in the street or parking lot.  A few choice thoughts, maybe?  Who wants to have to clean it up?  Out for a walk, or headed into a store or place of business, it only takes a few seconds to grab up that garbage cluttering up everyone’s world.  Besides, it’s downright neighborly.

Hold the door for the person behind you – and say “Thank you” to those who do it for you.  “Seriously?”  You bet!  I know we were raised to do this, and learned it by example.  Everybody did it.  Now?  You’ll like as not be sneered at, called a name, or looked at funny as they purposefully open the other door and walk in.  So be it:  make the effort.  Enough others will appreciate it that it will make the day for you both.

Let someone into your lane.  Oh, I know.  I hear you saying, “…EXCEPT for the jerk in the kidney-colored minivan who knows the lane is running out, and still tries to force his or her way in!”  Karmic retribution, right?  But as a rule, The Golden Rule being practiced on the highway is a pretty good way to begin restoring a foundation of Good, Right, and decency to our daily lives.

Make a habit of doing small, kind acts; they have a ripple effect.  No.  You likely won’t ever see them.  But if you and I and him and her over there keep doing this, we’re bound to begin noticing the cumulative effect.  “What kind of small, kind acts?”  Be creatively thoughtful.  You’ll notice things that you know you’d appreciate if they were done for you.  Start there.  Compliment a harried young mom on her cute baby.  Pay for a couple extra cups of coffee at your fav restaurant for someone who may need one and can’t pay for it.  Mow your neighbor’s lawn.  Go online and greet somebody who’s been on your mind.  You’ll think of something…

So.  There you have it:  6 TREMENDOUS WAYS TO MAKE ‘LITTLE THINGS’ INCREDIBLY BIG again.

Well, and coffee, yes.  Without saying.

Work?  Sure.  Anything worthwhile takes an effort.  And you may wind up doing it alone, even being laughed at.  No question, it will take time.  Yet you keep doing the right thing long enough, and soon others begin to recognize its value.  Soon you’ll have company.

And that, friends, is how we begin turning things around.

© D. Dean Boone, April 2019

 

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2nd Cup of Coffee, 3/30/19: SWEET FUN – THE SEQUEL (Okay, the answers…)

You got the clues yesterday, and I promised you the answers today.  I will not keep you in suspenders.

THE CANDY GAME ~ The Answers

 

1. Another planet in our solar system: Mars

2. A famous street in New York City: 5th Avenue

3. A part of the galaxy: Milky Way

4. A series of small hills: Mounds

5. A nutty happiness: Almond Joy

6. Worker bees make this: Bit-O-Honey

7. A town in Pennsylvania: Hershey

8. A famous English author: O Henry

9. A “Peanuts” character: Peppermint Patty

10. Sly laughter: Snickers

11. Twin letters: M & M’s

12. An infant of a famous baseball player: Baby Ruth

13. Absolutely nothing: Zero

14. An endurance race: Marathon

15. Greasy digits: Butterfinger

16. A day employees are glad to see: Payday

17. A famous trio: 3 Musketeers

18. A large orchestra: Symphony

19. Happy laughter: Chuckles

20. A little overweight: Chunkie

21. A thing-a-ma-jig: Watchamacallit

22. Noise at a car wreck: Crunch

23. What a married couple does: Kisses

24. What good friends give: Hugs

25. Disintegrating celestial body: Starburst

26. Fox baby and common feline: Kit Kat

And last but not least, the one that gave you fits . . .

27. The Trinity:

           .

.

.

.

.

 Lifesavers

 

You’re welcome.

Hope this brightened your day a little.

 

© D. Dean Boone, March 2019

 

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2nd Cup of Coffee, 3/29/19: SWEET FUN

THE CANDY GAME 

Each of these clues describe a candy bar.  See how you do.  Answers tomorrow.  Have FUN!

1. Another planet in our solar system:

2. A famous street in New York City:

3. A part of the galaxy:

4. A series of small hills:

5. A nutty happiness:

6. Worker bees make this:

7. A town in Pennsylvania:

8. A famous English author:

9. A “Peanuts” character:

10. Sly laughter:

11. Twin letters:

12. An infant of a famous baseball player:

13. Absolutely nothing:

14. An endurance race:

15. Greasy digits:

16. A day employees are glad to see:

17. A famous trio:

18. A large orchestra:

19. Happy laughter:

20. A little overweight:

21. A thing-a-ma-jig:

22. Noise at a car wreck:

23. What a married couple does:

24. What good friends give:

25. Disintegrating celestial body:

26. Fox baby and common feline:

27. The Trinity:

 

 

  from 2nd Cup Files

© D. Dean Boone, March 2019

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2nd Cup of Coffee, 3/27/19: 9 SACRED RULES FOR CREATIVE WEIRDOS

I’m always digging through old files and finding neat stuff.  You know–like being allowed to dig through your grandpa’s

‘That Drawer’ out in his shop.  That’s where these little jewels came from.  The files, not the shop.

It’s tougher than you know to not embellish each of these, but striving manfully, I push on through the yammering distractions to present them to you.  It’s up to you how you apply them to your own experience.

Enjoy.

9 SACRED RULES FOR CREATIVE WEIRDOS

1.  Always do more than you need to do.

2.  Try new things.

3.  Teach those observing your work more about what you know.

4.  Make your work into play.  Find ways to make staying at it fun.

5.  Work when others either aren’t or won’t.

6.  Take breaks; rest whenever you need to.

7.  Always be creating.  ALWAYS.

8.  Make your own inspiration; don’t depend on anyone else for that.

9.  Love what you do, or leave.

© D. Dean Boone, March 2019

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2nd Cup of Coffee from TIME TRIALS, 3/14/19: A SHOWER’S NO BIG DEAL, RIGHT?

A shower ranks right in there with your broom and dustpan.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  EVery morning, and sometimes in the afternoon following sweaty work or exercise.  Boring.  Repetitive.

Showering and getting presentable is part of a normal morning ritual, almost overlooked in its sameness.  Regular.  That makes you all the more curious why I’m writing about it.  Glad you asked.  I remember what it was like to wish I could take one.

I got up this morning, checked on a bruised rib from moving furniture two days ago.  I did a light workout with weights, followed by stretching, then took a warm, soapy, full-body shower.

In 2001, I could do none of those things.  I’d had four abdominal surgeries, three of them emergent small-bowel resects in a desperate attempt to outrun the speed at which my diseased small gut kept dying.  I was infusing thick, nutrition-and-vitamin/mineral-rich food through a large-bore IV Hickman catheter, surgically-inserted through my upper chest into my subclavian artery.  Though infusing this total parenteral nutrition around the clock, my weight-loss plan was working:  I kept losing a few ounces every day or so.

It was working too well.

I was starving to death.

Catheters, IVs, and NG tubes make for lousy hygiene.  The routine of medical care creates stains and strange, unpleasant odors.  If you can’t get out of bed, it’s impossible to do a decent job even of combing your hair.  A shower?  Don’t make me laugh!  In fact, don’t make me put strain on my 8-inch-long wound at all!  And to add insult to stay sutures?  Women I didn’t know – aides – kept promising me they’d be back after doctor’s rounds to give me a sponge bath.

I’m pretty sure they scoured the entire hospital, looking for the uglie—ah, least attractive CNAs they could find.  Although, cutting them some slack, if I’d been forced to bathe a patient looking like I did, I wouldn’t have blamed them for drawing straws to see who’d be the loser today.

Even after I went home and was under home health care, showering was an ordeal.  I couldn’t get the wound wet, but the wide, spandex-elastic girdles I had to wear whenever not showering needed laundering.  You guessed it.

“So, I can’t get the wound wet.”  Definite shake of the head.

“But I can’t stand this funky hair and — well, you know.  What am I s’posed to do?”

I think we kept Saran Wrap in business for about 6 months.  Every time I’d take a shower, I first had to carefully remove the armor – which in itself was a little frightening – and then wrap myself in clingy plastic wrap.  What takes a normal biped a few minutes will take a patient recovering from major gut surgery the better part of an hour.  For months after being released from the hospital that last time, I had a hard time even looking at a QuikTrip burrito.

“Pssh.  Wouldn’t take me that long to wrap MYself.”  You haven’t walked this journey.  I wasn’t doing it to slim down–I’d already lost the weight and was trying everything imaginable to maintain the 165 pounds I had left.  Did I mention the chronic fatigue that goes along with losing all but a few inches of your small intestine caused me to need to sit down once or twice while getting the shower?

That was then.  Though years in the past, the memories and experiences live vividly in my mind and in my nervous system.

So, this morning?  I awoke normally, clicked on my coffeemaker which is always prepped the night before, checked on a bruised rib from moving furniture two days ago.  I did a light workout with weights, followed by stretching, then took a warm, soapy, full-body shower.  Other than being sore and working through that, it took me about 5-6 minutes.

No Saran Wrap.

And you know?  A burrito sounds kind of good right now.  And tacos.  A LOT of tacos.  Supreme.  With sour cream . . .

What?  How can I eat so much?  That’s another story for another time.

© D. Dean Boone, March 2019

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2nd Cup Freewriting From Years Past (3/9/19): HERE’S TO ALL THE ALMOST-WONS

If Batman was a writer, FREEWRITING would hang in a prominent spot on his utility belt.  That’s how underrated a weapon freewriting is in the writer’s arsenal.

Freewriting can be triggered by anything.  A taste suddenly reminding one of a long-forgotten refreshment . . .  An old, yellowing picture commemorating a youthful event . . . The obituary of someone you once knew but don’t recall . . .  A rusting car out in a country field reminding you of countless afternoons at play after school . . .  A scent on the breeze you don’t remember the name of, but that instantly brings a face and time to mind . . .  A voice . . .  The way someone looks walking away from you . . .

It’s called ‘freewriting’ on purpose; there are no rules.  Time and space are immaterial.  Fiction and facts can be tatted together in such intricate lacework even the writer may not in a later reading fully understand the ebb and flow of its literary tide.  A writer’s developing character can be the actual author of freewriting, shocking the writer by his or her emotive power and intensity.  Only later – perhaps after years – will that character’s force of will and personality be seen and blended into earlier works involving them.

Well.  If you’re looking for structure and boundaries, freewriting isn’t for you.  In that world, anything goes, and as much winds up a crumpled habitue of one’s wastebasket as—only to have it apologetically retrieved, smoothed, and reread.  No rules, remember?  Freewriting is, well, free.  Sometimes in the creative miasma of orbiting ideas, pieces of phrasing phabric, and hurriedly-jotted mysterious prompts on sticky notes attacking all at once, a writer’s mind can become stuck – like a blender or garbage disposal with too much stuff jammed in at the same time.

Consider freewriting a writer’s scream for sanity!  Or a decent plot or something . . .

With that in mind, here is a snippet I found buried on a single page in one of my ubiquitous steno pads.  Think Christmastime from years past . . .

FREEWRITING

Here’s to all the 2nd Place Lovers.

All the ones who loved enough to back off and disappear in plain sight . . .

To the really great guy in the butterscotch plaid flannel shirt and worn jeans sitting alone in a truck stop outside Omaha, creased-and-laughlined face bowed momentarily over the chicken fried steak special, unfortunate enough to be hated and dismissed because back when it would’ve mattered he was too decent and nice . . .  How long, God?  I mean, how—-

“More coffee?”  Gratefully, he raised tired eyes to the young man keeping every traveler properly caffeinated, held out his cup, and thanked him.  “You’re welcome; my pleasure.”

The guy sat there for a few seconds before his racing thoughts caught up with him.  I know where he’s been trained.  If Chick-fil-A’d been around back then, it’s where I’d have worked.  Too ‘nice’ or ‘pretty’ to work anywhere normal!  He knew he was just feeling sorry for himself.  He’d worked hard at the normal teenage jobs, some of them rough and dirty; had a few of those across the years in between, too, but was having a hard time even enjoying his delicious meal.  The stupid canned Christmas music didn’t help.

  How long, God, do I go on believing for the best, while those for whom I overcome my resolve never to try again, and reach out to, always have a reason to ultimately back away and find somebody else?  Why do I always wind up being the opening act for someone else to step in?  What of my choices?  What about my joy, the desires of my heart You say you’ll fulfill?

To the terrific, classy, jeweled past-her-prime woman in light lavender and black with the tired, professional’s smile, matching shoppers with designer fragrances at Dillard’s to make ends meet, because the man she gave her heart to all those years ago decided on somebody, anybody more exciting, younger and slimmer.  Again . . .  How long, Dear God, do I keep on being too late for this, or too early for that?  I’m always too—too something!  I open my heart,

leave it ALL out there on the field, so to speak–yet it’s never enough!  I’M never enough! You’re GOD!  I know You can do anything, anytime.  Can’t You make something – someone – work out for me, too?  You said all that time ago that it’s not good for man to be alone.  Well, it’s no stinking holiday for a woman, either!  What about me, Lord?  When does happiness stri–

“Oh, yes.  Each of these featured new holiday fragrances are on special this weekend only.  Feel free to sample them.”

strike me?  I’m tired of having only my mirror for company.

 

And that’s where it stopped, those years ago.  Yeah, just like that.  It’s the nature of freewriting, the nature of a writer’s notes.  It’s unwieldy, unorthodox, naked, raw, and jagged.  And not always grammatically correct – depending on the writer’s frame of mind.  Characters tend to pack their own luggage.

So, there it was, scrawled in green, lamenting two lonely seniors:  one seated by a truck stop window with icy winds scudding snow in wintertime swirls through his heart; the other several thousand miles away, in a controlled-climate, professionally-decorated environment, yet with her heart just as icily withdrawn and guarded, as if standing calf-deep outside in a Midwest winter snowdrift.

Freewriting.

© D. Dean Boone, March 2019

 

Categories: Common Sense, Wisdom | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

QTMs for 3/8/19: WHO THEN TELLS GOD?

i secretly think my plan for this life trumps God’s.

i secretly think my plan for this life trumps God’s.

i secretly think my plan for this life trumps God’s.

i secretly think my plan for this life trumps God’s.

i secretly think my plan for this lif

i still secretly thin

i stil

Okay.  So, at what point do I stop contending with the Almighty that my plan for this life was better than His?  When do I quit moping over what and whom I’ve ‘lost’ and get my focus back on the extra life God’s granted me, and how best to use it?  At which juncture do I recognize He has textural richness and vibrant colors and as-yet-unknown sounds to add to my paltry talents–creative dimensions Earth has not, cannot see or sense or feel?

And when does it again kick in that GOD’S afterburner makes The Orville’s quantum drive seem like a child’s pull toy?

That God can and more often than we know does do what He does all at once, and faster than thought?

That nothing – NOTHING – is impossible when God’s involved?

That to relax my imagined grip on the controls of my journey (I know, “as if”, right?) and trust Him is Ultimate Wisdom?

When?

© D. Dean Boone, March 2019

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2nd Cup of Coffee, 3/1/19: REMEMBER ‘CAT’S IN THE CRADLE’?

She sat in IHOP, ignoring the most precious things in her life.

A young mom, she’d brought her two daughters, Sevenish and Threeish, to sit eating all-you-can-eat pancakes, while she hunched over her phone, 13 or so inches in front of her face, with Someone Somewhere else.

The girls knew.

Their occasional tentative “Mommy?”s were rewarded with irritated, preoccupied glares.  Sevenish receded into studied quietness.  Threeish finally hopped down, walked over to her mother, and, standing on tiptoes, pursed her lips for a kiss.

It was grudgingly given.  Obvious, exasperated sigh.  Obligation fulfilled.  Sorry; I was distracted.  What were you saying?

I’m a writer.  I could have easily made this up; but I didn’t.  This tableau played out over the 30-or-so minutes as I ate breakfast seated in the booth next to them, trying to concentrate on a continuing chapter in the life of one of my characters.

Will Sevenish Pinkpants-Whitetop and Threeish Redpants-Whitetop attain adult years believing, deep within their core, that despite their brilliant and hopeful smiles, everyone else is of greater importance than they?

Will Mommy in later years suddenly come to, sitting in her recliner, wondering why the girls never come by?

Will she like the answer?

© D. Dean Boone, March 2019

Categories: Common Sense, Tell-A-Story-Make-A-Point, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

2nd Cup of Coffee for 2/26/19: JUST KIDDING… and KIDDING… and . . .

Kidding is NOT for cowards nor the weak of knees.  Raising children has always been the reserve of rank amateurs; by the time we’ve kind of got a handle on it, we’re grandparents – and we have a whole new rulebook.

Now, in a world seemingly overrun by ‘adult’ children, the task is all but impossible.  Look around.  From supposedly serious presidential candidates to committee members to state and local honchos, they almost all seem to be merely adult-sized versions of spoiled, lying, pouting, troublesome, demanding 13-year-olds.  They certainly act like it.

In one vital area, however, they in no way resemble well-behaved boys and girls raised by conscientious parents.  When caught in lies and confronted by them, they wiggle and obfuscate and lie some more.  It’s bad enough to watch a kid do that; with good parents, justice is usually swift and certain.  It’s a sign of bad things when nationally-ranked political types openly duck and dodge, constantly preying on each other, spending years and millions of our money to try to stay out of prison.

This was in this morning’s mail.  It triggered these thoughts and more.  See what you think.

 

After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve.

And the first thing he said was: “Don’t”.

      “Don’t what?” Adam replied.

      “Don’t eat the forbidden fruit,” God said.

      “Forbidden fruit?”

      “We got forbidden fruit?  Hey, Eve…we got forbidden fruit!”

      “No way!”

      “HeeYAH, way!”

      Don’t eat that fruit!” said God.

      “Why?”

      “Because I am your Father and I said so!” said God, wondering why he hadn’t stopped after making the elephants.

 A few minutes later God saw his kids having an apple break and got seriously ticked.

      “Didn’t I tell you not to eat the fruit?” the First Parent asked.

      “Uh huh,” Adam replied.

      “Then why’d you do it?”

      “I dunno”, Eve answered.

      “She started it!” Adam said.

      “Did not!  It was– where’d it go?

      “Did too!”

      “DID NOT!!”

 Having had it with the two of them, God’s punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own.  Thus, the pattern was set and it has never changed.

Yes, there was more to it than that.  Disobeying God right out of the chute had consequences.  Big, far-reaching ones.  However, there’s reassurance in this story.  If you’ve persistently done your best to love your children, guiding them in God’s wisdom both by teaching and example, and they’ve been deaf, dumb, and blind?

Don’t be so rough on yourself.  If God Himself had issues in handling His children – 0f whom there were only two – why should it be a shock when you have a few issues, too?

© D. Dean Boone, February 2019

 

 

 

 

Categories: Encouragement, Humor - Lighten Up, Tell-A-Story-Make-A-Point, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

2nd Cup for 2/1/19: WHEN EGO HITS THE WALL

What others see as losing is sometimes the best possible win.

The story went like this . . .

Last year I entered a marathon.  Did it right.  Shocking white top, Deep Purple Haze Adidas silk blend compression shorts, and Adidas UltraBoost  STs in Clear Mint /Aqua.   

The race started.  If you know anything about my health history,  immediately I had last place totally locked in.  Dead last of the runners. It was embarrassing.

The guy who was in front of me, second to last, was making fun of me. He said, “Hey buddy, how does it feel to be last?”

I replied: “You really want to know?”  His eyes sneered and his eyebrows shot upward as he vigorously nodded.

Then I dropped out of the race.

There are plenty of ways to win.  In this way, I won by wisely stopping an activity in which my ego had foolishly involved me.  I also won by helping someone I’d never met learn there are times to stifle.

Enjoy your coffee.

© D. Dean Boone, February 2019

 

 

 

 

Categories: Common Sense, Humor - Lighten Up, Tell-A-Story-Make-A-Point | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment