As I lay down my weary pen a few thoughts I shall share.

Of tall tales I did not tell but a story of perseverance – ’tis what separates the men from the boys.

My colleagues, this I must say.

Excuses I had – but no one to tend them to.

Measured were my words, for the audience was taken into account and the luxury of anonymity I did not have.

If the pen is said to be mightier than the sword, then the keystroke is more powerful than the cannon, and the internet a great deal more.

For once published it cannot be undone.

Messages were there, though not always clear, for the wise person can see through a clouded prism.

In a sentence he can read a book and in a word, he can understand a complete concept.

Oh, the wise get wiser whilst the fool plateau.

Not a philosopher or a wise man I am, but a man who sees objectively.

As I proceed to the next challenge it is for myself to measure me.

I am to serve as a barometer for myself; will I live up to the standard I have set?

No the ink has not run out and wellsprings have not gone dry, But it is the time that has run out.

Time I lacked and so the pearls of wisdom that spilleth over, to enchant, captivate and exercise the mind in various forms of mental aerobics must come to a halt.

Farewell my dear colleagues, farewell.

How many times can you hear a play without getting bored?

How many times do you have to hear a script before it comes out of your ears?

It’s a script I know by heart, I can recite it verbatim.

It even has a name – it’s titled “He said, she said” and this is how it goes:

Shrieeek… Waaaa… “Daddy he hit me.”

“But she hit me first.”

“Because he poked me”

“But she poked me first”

“Because he called me a name”

“But she called me a name first”

“Nuh uhh”

“Yuh huh”

“NUH UHHH”
“YUUH HUH”

When is this going to end? Nowhere in the job title description of dad did it mention the side gig of magistrate.

So, I begin my cross examination.

Turning to my daughter (Who knows how to stir up a great deal of trouble despite her small size)

“Did you call your brother any names?”

“No”

“Yuh huh” comes the response from the plaintiff.

“Quiet” comes my quick response.

Pasting the sternest face I can muster up and Turning to my daughter again.

I ask,

“Did you or did you not call your brother any names”

A very hesitant “no” squeaks out.

“All I said was you’r ichi but but…”

“How many times do I have to tell you not to call your brother any names? If I hear you calling your brother names one more time I am going to put you in the corner.

Case adjourned.

I wonder if there is a sequel to this screenplay.

Many a time you derive more relief in seeing the light at the end of the tunnel than actually reaching the end of the tunnel, for when you see the first rays of light therein lay the turning point – despair and gloom turn to hope. The first rays of light give you strength to hang on just a little longer, to push yourself just a little harder – to actually reach the end of the tunnel.

More than a few times I’ve asked myself, when is this 30 day challenge going to end already?  It feels like the longest stretch of a 30 day period.

The second question that almost always immediately follows is should I take on another 30 day challenge and what should it be?

I can think of plenty of things to challenge myself with. But I have a lot of criteria that limit my choices, largest of which is – I need something that doesn’t take up any time.

While this challenge was intriguing at the beginning, chore-like in the middle – it was almost agonizing at the end.

Though I do feel I gained a good bit from it, it was not a substantially satisfying amount.

Maybe I should lower my expectations but for the next challenge I want more, something of a tangible difference.

I have an idea percolating in my mind, but for now I am going to keep it to myself though I risk losing the impetus that comes with other people knowing the goals I set for myself.

In the effort to extricate myself from a moral dilemma that I am faced with Thrice weekly I turn to you readers for help.

This moral conundrum manifests itself at work. The thing is it affects me though I am just a spectator.

The players are two coworkers.

The first worker (and I’m using the term loosely) we shall call Hacker and his co we shall call Hackee. As their names suggests, Hacker hacks into Hackee’s computer.

It’s not the sort of clean hack that one takes care to erase his trail. To the contrary, Hacker makes sure to leave all sorts of crumbs and telltale signs of his hack – even notifying Hackee of the impending incurable virus making its way over to his computer.

See if Hackee doesn’t know about it – no joy is derived.

The telltale indication that something’s brewing is when Hacker sports a benign grin which quickly turns into uncontrollable laughter that in a way is very contagious. As hacker worms his way through Hackees files and passwords he delights in the simple crackable passwords that Hackee has chosen.

Hackee’s computer begins resembling a sort of deranged DOS command prompt with long strings of green flickering letters.

As the now defunct computer begins spitting out unintelligible lines of code Hacker smiles smugly with the satisfaction of knowing once again he tormented Hackee.

But as I look at Hackee pitying himself, I feel torn.

So my question to you dear reader is, to laugh or not to laugh?

I fell for it again…

The pictures you see on kids toys packages is truly an art unto itself.

Kids look at the picture and they see the toy come to life – they see this inanimate object moving with glowing colors – nothing of which remotely represents reality. The speed lines they add to cars. The blur lines they add to action figures – they can almost feel the powerful one-two punch it delivers.

But that’s only half the story, there is a much more nefarious form of marketing here at play.

For the child may not need any more convincing of the necessity of the toy – of that he is certain. You can see the gleam in his eyes the wheels in mind turning as he calculates his negotiating tactics. You can hear the determination in his voice as he prepares for battle with his parents.

Ahh, but the child has no money to purchase the super duper one of a kind… He needs his parents to buy him the coveted toy.

That’s where the real marketing comes in when the unsuspecting parents get ensnared in a hopeless web they can’t untangle themselves from

These savvy marketers know what parents really want.

The image of two cherubic kids playing side by side sharing the coveted toy plastered on the package speaks right to every parent’s heart.

As the parents project the image of their own kids onto the nameless faces on the cardboard box they know they’ve roped another one in.

Such was the picture on the easel we bought our kids…

I know I’m a little late in the game but I just bought a GPS for the first time. I am very bad with directions – I mean really horrible.

When I finally concede defeat and roll down the windows to ask for directions the guy usually replies something along the lines of – make a right at the third light stay in the left lane make your fourth left after your second right and you should see the signs to the Parkway – you can’t miss it. I hate when they add that.

I nod dumbly – “did you follow what he said” I ask my wife. “I thought you were paying attention” comes the inevitable reply.

Back to square one.

So the GPS was long overdue.

My next trip was coming up, I knew directions by heart but I eagerly plugged in the GPS.

Ten minutes in to the drive I realize that in my haste I forgot something important. I quickly made a U-Turn back home, the GPS dutifully recalculates and tells me:

Make a right on Main St. and another right. After every block I pass the GPS patently tells me “make a right and another right”.

When was this thing going to realize that I turned back home? After the umpteenth time I was waiting for it to start yelling “Turn back, you moron” but no, it calmly and patently tells me to redirect.

You know, that’s kind of what we do to our kids – we redirect them over and over again. If only we had as much patience as the GPS.  I wonder if I changed the default female voice to a male if I’ll get a different reaction.

Hey maybe I’ll try that.

I was first introduced to the concept many years ago when I was browsing the Hallmark section of a local retailer.

There was a funny card I don’t recall the details, but when I flipped the card over, it read:

“Achieving success by lowering expectations”

It’s the last thing you would expect to see on a greeting card.

But when I read it, it rang so true that I had to contemplate it. I actually went home and concisely thought about it, debated its merits and filed it away in a part of my brain that I rarely have time to visit these days. ( More on that a different time.)

“Achieving success by lowering expectations”

Aside the fact that initially, it sounds positively ridiculous, in actuality, it has more than a kernel of truth to it.

We are always used to aiming for the stars – shooting high. Doesn’t the saying go “Aim for the stars – at least you won’t be stuck in the mud”. Our parents, our teachers, all urged us to think big.

True, we should.

But, beware of where your expectations lay. You may be setting yourself up for failure.

By setting your expectations too high you are limiting your chance for success – success being the accomplishment of your goal.

Measuring success as a percentage of your goal allows you to achieve a level of success, but not true success which is achieving your goal.

By lowering expectations you can achieve success. And we all know, success breeds success.

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