A collection of distilled sarcastic wisdom, numerous photographs, discussions of books and stuff to learn and more stuff to think about from a retired economics professor turned blogger and photographer.
One of life's greatest mysteries and one of its most enduring and stubborn problems is seeking to learn why we stay on dead center and let things go for days, months, or even years that we know we should do, we should have done, we must do, but we don't ever take care of. Like a car stuck in neutral, we don't go anywhere. We repeat the same habits, the same mistakes, the same behaviors day after day after day. Since we are having fun with lists, our task today is to come up with another list of 25 reasons why we don't ever take care of the things we need to take care of or change the behaviors that have plagued us since we were teenagers. Here is my list of reasons.
The toilet paper holder has been broken for a couple of years so fixing it is not a high priority item.
I like a messy desk and a messy office so that I can spend an hour or more every time I need to find something.
I keep a sloppy and illegible list of passwords so I have to experiment for a half hour and call tech support every time I need to get on a website and get a new password.
My cell phone keeps going dead because I don't like to bother to keep it charged.
I like to keep old newspapers littered around in case I need to look up something.
The washing machine has gotten a bit temperamental but it is still working, more or less, and I don't have time to see about getting it fixed.
I have this bothersome pain in my whatever but I don't have time to go to the doctor and it will probably go away anyway.
It's easier to keep doing everything the way I have always done everything than it is to worry about having to change anything.
I like to eat only certain foods and I am not about to change my eating habits for some diet guru who thinks he or she knows what to tell me to eat.
I know my tires are thin and out of alignment but I should be able to get another 20,000 miles out of them before I have a serious blowout or a crash.
I know I should have started doing my taxes some time before the deadline for mailing them in.
My furnace filter looks kind of black but maybe it will last another month or two.
I know I have an exam tomorrow but I know I can't pass it anyway. I'll just complain to the teacher that the exam was totally unfair.
My wife was supposed to send back my book club books that I didn't want a month ago but she never got around to it.
The kitchen sink faucet is dripping but not too badly and besides, how am I supposed to know how to fix anything and I certainly can't afford to call a plumber.
I like being on dead center because then I don't have to worry about doing anything different or new.
I have learned to successfully ignore all of the pleas, requests, gripes, and unconditional orders I have received to do this or that bothersome and irksome task, just as I have split this infinitive and don't want to bother to go back and edit it out.
I don't want to continually have to be worrying about making this or that change, eating less of this or more of that, not drinking that but drinking this, seeing the doctor about a dozen body glitches; I'm comfortable not worrying about anything and just continuing the way I am.
I like being on dead center. I get uncomfortable if I have to think about making changes.
I know I'm still overweight, so don't bug me about it. I see fat people everywhere I go and they are all still alive.
I'm no worse off than anyone else I know.
Perfectionists are just a royal pain because they continually brag about how much better they take care of things than I do. Besides, how can you get any work done if your desk is spiffy clean and unlittered?
I know perfectly well what I should do and some day I will get around to doing it so please quit bothering me about all of my shortcomings and imperfections.
I don't keep a To Do List; I keep a Do Nothing List.
I love being in neutral. Life is steady and predictable that way.
So there we have 25 reasons why we should live life in neutral, with our posteriors set in cement, so to speak, and the car stalled permanently in our driveway or garage so we don't ever have to worry about straining ourselves to make changes or to do anything we really don't want to do. Perhaps you can extend this list by at least two dozen more entries.
Task Number 123: Make a list of 25 reasons why you are stuck on dead center and keep postponing making the changes that you know are essential in your life. Good luck, have fun making out your list, then feel a tad guilty for being slothful, but keep going. We still have to come up with 242 more ways to nag you into becoming a charming, well ordered, thin, and delightful person. So don't give up, yet. The Curmudgeonly Professor.
This photo was probably taken in the summer of 1954 after I finished my Master's degree at Montana State and my wife and I and son Russell were on our way to Fort Collins CO, 65 miles south of Laramie WY where this photo was taken, to start my first job at then-named Colorado A & M. I am standing at left holding son Russell, born November 1953, my wife Velna, her sister Joyce holding baby Phyllis, Velna's mother Pearl, Velna's brother Frank and sister Evetta. Front left, Velna's sister Beth and Joyce's daughter Shelley. Imagine, 61 years ago!
My wife Velna, center back row, with her sister Evetta, left, Beth, front, and brother Frank on an Easter Sunday long ago during Velna's high school years.
Easter Sunday 1963 Ann Arbor Michigan Student Housing with a mouse. I was finishing my doctoral dissertation. Children Russell, Jim, Carolyn, and Ronald. A rare picture that I am actually in. I have no idea who came along and took it for us.
After an interruption to take inventory on where we were on April 1, and another interruption to steer you clear from the pitfalls of April Fool's Day, we are back on track with our week of gifts we can share with others. The gifts we are concerned with are gifts that cost no money, but gifts which take a few minutes of our time, some thoughtful consideration, and a lifetime of commitment to the principles we are teaching by example.
One of the best gifts we can give others is to set a good example. By setting a good example, we are laying the groundwork for others to watch how and what we do with the hope that others will emulate our deeds because they feel motivated to go along the same path that we are on. By setting a poor example, people all too often find a weak-kneed excuse for them to follow our errors with the idea that they saw us do it so it must be all right if they follow and do the same thing. The first path leads to a clear conscience; the second path leads to tears and regrets and perhaps worse penalties.
Among the most important characteristics we and others should choose and emulate and never deviate from is the characteristic of honesty. All too often we are stunned when we learn of a prominent politician or business person who has committed fraud or graft. Why people think they can get by with acts of deceit and dishonesty is beyond me. Some may get by for a time and think they are home free but, sooner or later, their despicable and dishonest act will catch up with them and bring not only themselves down to embarrassment and failure, but they may also cast a wide net of heartbreak across families and businesses and others who have been affected.
During my long years of teaching college, one of the most tragic and difficult problems I faced was the problem of student cheating. The pressure to pass exams, to get admitted to certain academic programs, to go on to graduate school, to hold on to scholarships, simply becomes too great some times and students crack. They may think that just this one time won't matter. Or, they would get by with cheating a time or two and then make cheating a regular and successful, they tragically think, practice. In an exam room filled with 400 students, you know some acts of dishonesty are going on. Today's electronic devices with information storage make cheating all the more possible if that is what you choose to do. My standard policy always was if you get caught cheating, you flunk the exam.
Many students plan to go on to graduate school and obtain an MBA, a law degree, or go to dental or medical school or seek some other professional training. My roommate when I was an undergraduate student got caught doing something he shouldn't have done and I ended up taking his textbooks and class assignments down to the jail where he stayed a few days while everything was sorted out. That little stint cost him his lifelong dream of going to veterinary school and he ended up going back home and milking cows the rest of his life. The risk of having a stain and a blotch on your record of integrity is just not worth the temptation to cheat, ever.
Another issue we would run into occasionally at school was the issue of inflated and dishonest entries on resumes, claiming degrees earned that were never earned or schools attended that were never attended. One professor I knew many years ago forged his department head's signature every year to certify that he was still making progress in completing his Ph.D. degree at a major university. Of course, he was finally caught and lost his job. Sadly, he had received several all-university teaching awards at the school where we were teaching. Some politicians and other public figures seem to think they are above and beyond honesty and integrity and that they can fill in anything they want to on their resumes. Sooner or later these dishonest lies are discovered, and the price paid for cheating can be devastating.
Honesty has no substitutes. The only white lie permissible is if your wife asks you if you would like to go to the fabric store with her or if she asks you how you like her new outfit. Other than that, honesty does not permit fudging, shading, rounding up or rounding down, embellishment, deliberate misrepresentation, snitching funds from the office till, cheating on exams, lying about accomplishments on resumes, taking anything without paying for it, denying guilt when you know perfectly well you are lying about it, or any and all other misrepresentations of fact and breaches of integrity. One of the most wonderful gifts you can give those near and dear to you and to your business associates and to anyone else is to be known as a person of absolute integrity. You would rather lose a deal than to misrepresent its terms. You would rather miss out on something than wrongly claim you were entitled falsely to something. Once you have earned someone else's trust and admiration, you want to treasure this trust and admiration among your most precious assets, worth far more than money or a new boat or a 12 bedroom house or a job promotion or anything else.
Task Number 92, which admittedly I got a tad long-winded writing about, and which I will hear about from my editorial board (my wife) who wants me to shorten these posts, is to set an example of honesty. If we never follow another task I have outlined, by applying honesty to all of our actions, to all of our choices, to all of our business and personal dealings, we will accomplish more goals and see more results than we can possibly imagine. Good luck, keep going, the Curmudgeonly Professor.
Anyone know when this photo was taken? I have no date. The awful floral living room couch was still there, so that should be a clue. What are they so happy about? Who told what fib? Or joke? We need to know.
After finding and resurrecting two photos below of our sons on the carousel at the 1964 New York World's Fair, I looked around to see what else I could find. Here are three other gems not seen for 50 years. We were living in State College PA at the time where I was teaching at Penn State. We camped in New Jersey so we could go to the World's Fair. Too bad the world fairs are ancient history and no one holds them any more. Four of our five children are in the photo: Russ, oldest; Ron, next; Jim, and Carolyn. Kim came along after we moved back to Laramie.
I just discovered these two photos yesterday. They were pitch black and, therefore, had never been developed since they were film photos. Thus, I had never seen them until I used some editing software and discovered, much to my surprise, that the photos were at least recognizable. Our oldest son Russell is in the top photo, our second son Ron is the towhead in the middle. Ordinarily, these two photos would have been deleted. However, these photos also show the value in saving even mediocre photos since they may prove to be of infinite nostalgic value after lying in obscurity and coming to light 50 years later after our memorable trip to the New York World's Fair in 1964.