November 25, 2009

Live Like You Were Dying?

Posted in Just Darn Clever, Top 6 at 11:37 am by Andrew

Their son died when he was 10.
His wife was killed when their daughters were only 4 and 7.
He lost his parents when he was 15.

We’ve all read heart-breaking stories about people losing loved ones under tragic circumstances. For those of us lucky enough to have been spared such anguish thus far in our lives, these stories really hit us in the gut.

It’s difficult to imagine the pain of losing a child or a spouse. And the general theme of such stories is to live in the now…to appreciate what you have…to not sweat the small stuff…to cherish every moment with your family.

And I think we all walk away with those sentiments. It’s such a cliché, but they really do “put things in perspective.” For awhile.

But for how long? We may walk over and give our kids a hug. We may have a great family dinner that night. We may listen more intently as our children describe their day that evening. But do you wake up the next morning and your first thought is to appreciate the small things?

My answer is certainly “no.” And honestly, how could we? It’s just not realistic to live every moment as if it were your last. It makes for a great country song – and every time I hear it, I’m moved practically to tears. So the emotion isn’t lost on me. In fact, even a Folgers commercial this morning choked me up.

But I’m also a realist, and I believe in another saying: “Life is for the living.” Life is broad, challenging and exhilerating. Sure, it includes the times your heart clogs your throat, watching your daughter sing a song in the kindergarten show, seeing your son hit a triple, and witnessing each of them walk down the aisle.

But life also includes doing the laundry, the dishes and changing the litter box. It includes getting frustrated when the kids don’t do what you say, fail to leave for school on time and lie to you about the cookies. That’s life.

So how do we reconcile these two realities? How can we cherish our son’s first date yet stress when he misses curfew? Here’s my answer – those are not opposing realities. They’re one reality…called life.

We need to stop feeling guilty for living, engaging and enduring all the minutiae that life includes. We can’t look adoringly at our children every moment. When the kids break the window, we can’t simply appreciate that they’re cancer-free.

Life isn’t black and white; it’s gray. Black is over-reacting to life’s troubles. White is being thankful for every minute of life. Gray? Gray is showing up 10 minutes late to the school concert because you can’t find your son’s black pants, being moved to tears by his trombone solo, cleaning the cat vomit from the carpet when you get home, and kissing your kids goodnight in bed. Blend together the good and the bad, and it comes out gray. A beautiful shade of gray.

So go ahead, shed a tear the first time your son doesn’t kiss you good-bye before school. Treat that indiscernible finger-painting as a masterpiece. Pull your hair out when your daughter yet again loses her car keys. Life happens, and there’s nothing wrong with reacting to it. Be glad you’re not dying; you can start living like you’re dying when you’re actually dying.

This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for my family and our health. I’m thankful for all the wonderful moments we have together. I appreciate that I have room to grow, to become a better parent and a better spouse.

I can’t wait to sit down with my family tomorrow, surrounded by a true feast, though I’m fully aware of the kitchen stress that must first be endured. That’s fine. I’ll take it.

Life is good, warts and all.

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November 20, 2009

Bye-Bye Oprah

Posted in Just Darn Clever at 11:34 am by Andrew

In the wake of Oprah’s enormous announcement, I too owe it to the public to disclose my future plans. Of course, Oprah made tsunami-like waves yesterday with the news that her show will end…in two years…immediately before her new show starts.

So Oprah will leave us. There will be no more Oprah Show.

(But oh, by the way, Oprah will be starting an entire new Oprah channel, with 24-hour-a-day programming, a line of home decor, frozen foods, department stores and a collection of screen savers, but yes….there will be no more Oprah Show.)

Isn’t the media getting played on this one? Next we’ll hear that Tiger Woods is retiring from golf……this weekend……but will play in the tournament on Monday.

Or maybe Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are getting separated……while Brad goes to the dentist……but will reunite this evening for dinner.

And I heard Bill Gates lost all his money……but then found his wallet under the cushion.

So in the spirit of “all news is no news,” I wish to announce the following pronouncement and declare the following declaration —

I will be retiring from DwyerTime on January 1…2023

Prepare yourselves.

November 5, 2009

The Pink Movement – A Girl’s Only Hope!

Posted in Fun w/Photos, Top 6 tagged , , at 9:47 am by Andrew

Surely you’ve seen it in the sporting goods aisles — the pink baseballs, pink gloves, pink cleats, and pink soccer balls.

pink baseball glovepink soccer cleatspink-soccer-ball

This pink movement has existed in the sports world for several years, and it’s not limited to the basics of baseball and soccer. Even masculine pursuits like boxing, archery and shooting have gone pink.

pink boxing glovespink bowpink BB gun

Granted, it’s easy to scoff at these pink sporting goods, but a second look reveals a very serious issue. Indeed, there’s nothing funny about gender fairness. And by the third or fourth look, you’ll realize this may be the greatest challenge facing our generation. We owe it to our daughters to embrace the pink movement!

How else can we wean girls from their sedentary lifestyles? How else can we draw their attention from easy-bake ovens and doll collections? How else can we teach these fragile beings to run…to throw…to not squint in the sun?

HOW?

Let’s pink their world. You think that’s funny? There’s nothing funny about the fairer sex, dammit. And if we need to spike their drinks by coloring everything pink, by God, I’ll do it!

I’m not alone on this. In addition to the heroes in the sporting goods industry, people aroundpink calculator the world are picking up this pink cross. For example, we all know girls are intimidated by math…even scared of numbers. Fear not, Virginia, there is a pink calculator awaiting your dainty fingertips. Even textbook publishers now offer math books printed with pink ink. 

Religious leaders are seeing the pink light as well.pink crucifix For centuries, girls have been confused by faith, seeking spiritual guidance but finding only confusion. Let’s ease their pain — buy your daughter a pink crucifix, for the love of God!

Clearly, this movement is bigger than pink soccer balls. Consider these heart-warming stories:

  • Harvard and Yale now print diplomas for girls on pink paper, making it easier for these beautiful creatures to transition into the real world.
  • Some communities are paving their streets with pink asphalt so that girls will feel more comfortable driving. Yes Nancy…there’s a path for you in this world, and we’ve made it pink so you don’t get lost.
  • Cities are printing pink ballots so that women aren’t forced to merely copy their husbands’ votes.

This big pink snowball is gaining speed, but our work’s not done. Giant trees stand in our way, and they must be chopped down. That’s not just a snappy metaphor — girls need an obvious, clear cut, downhill path if they’re going to get anywhere…and they need pink road signs. I call upon my fellow patriots to address the following:

The true energy crisis in America is how confused our little ladies are at the gas pump…so many buttons…such odd shapes and figures. It’s time for pink gas pumps, Mr. Exxon. And it wouldn’t hurt to tint the gas, either.

Men, how many times have you come to the aid of a bewildered damsel at the airport, explaining what a “terminal” is or helping them find their seat on the aisle? Airlines must do their part with pink tickets, pink seats…pink airplanes!

Sadly, even the world of laundry — the one refuge where a woman should feel at ease — is rife with questions. Are top loaders only for shirts? Do dryer sheets come fitted or flat? For God’s sake Maytag, throw these ladies a pink bone and deliver some pink appliances!

These are formidable challenges, but aren’t our women worth it? So the next time you’re in Target, realize that the pink soccer ball on the shelf is actually an angel sent by God. Embrace it, buy it and hand it to a poor girl in the parking lot.

She’ll kick it all the way to the Promised Land.