Spring is a time for cardinals. Like we have cardinals dining every morning at our backyard birdhouse. Oh, and there's the baseball Cardinals. They gather in Florida for spring training, and the fans start counting down to Opening Day...we hope.
So your boss calls you in. It could be good news, it could be bad news. You've probably had some of each, right? But the best good news is probably words like these: "We're giving you a raise." You're trying to be cool. You try not to leap out of your chair yelling, YES!" But face it, it really is good news. They'll usually give you the reason you're getting a raise, or maybe a bonus: your performance, your longevity, your additional responsibilities, you're married to the boss's daughter.
Gerbils are pretty funny and they're extremely predictable. At least, the one our kids had. He sure was fun. He was a pet. When I checked on him in his little cage upstairs, he was almost always doing the same thing - the wheel. There he was, chugging away, running on his gerbil wheel. If you went back a few hours later...the wheel. If I had spoken "Gerbilese," I would have pointed out that even though he was expending a lot of energy, he wasn't going anywhere. But I think I know what his response would be. He would just run faster on the wheel that was going nowhere!
When my oldest son was younger, he collected baseball cards just for fun. Well, then that changed! Somehow it went from something just to spend your allowance on, to a hobby, to a serious collection, to where it became like a business. It actually helped him get through college! He kept figuring out which ones were going to be valuable, and then he would trade, and buy and sell. I can see why he worked on them a lot. And you know what? He spent many, many hours analyzing and categorizing, and strategizing his collection.
I met a fellow, and he said, "Ron, my name is Bill." I guess it was the mood I was in. I said, "Oh no! I already have enough bills in my life." What's wrong with me? Well, maybe you've felt that way. I mean, what I said was probably true for both of us.
Okay, I wish I had all the time in the world to get to places I need to go. Usually, that's just not possible. I'm moving pretty fast - sometimes too fast. Recently, I was on the verge of being late, and I was driving in a very unfamiliar place. You probably know the feeling of trying to follow directions to a new place, you're looking for your turn, and suddenly you're driving a long way without seeing your turn. This was one of those days for me. And the reason I was driving so far was because I had missed the place I was supposed to turn. And I missed it because I was going too fast. So, of course, it actually took me longer to get where I was supposed to be.
You never knew when my wife was going to have one of her attacks. No, it wasn't a medical condition; it used to happen as we were driving through our neighborhood on garbage night. Suddenly she'd go, "Stop! Wait!" And I'd say, "What's the matter?" And she'd say, "Look at that chair." Actually it was the remains of a chair, broken, pretty gross I thought. And then she'd say, "Hey, let's take it." I think there's a name for that. Garbage picking, right? Yeah.
So after that Super Bowl everybody wanted to talk about the commercials. Great! I wanted to talk about the New York Giants. Yeah, my team that year won the Super Bowl! Who cares about the commercials? Answer: the news, the blogosphere, social networks, gazillions of people at the water cooler! Of course, what did it cost - $4-$5 million a pop for a 30-second ad. Advertisers were hoping we would talk about their commercial and buying what they were selling.
We lived on the East Coast for so long, we've had the chance to frequently visit the beaches there. Oh, man we still love them! One visit, it wasn't just another day with the family at the beach. Nope! See, the lifeguards at Ocean City, NJ suddenly made everyone get out of the water--fast! And you know what I'm thinking. I'm thinking "Jaws"! So I was very cooperative. I got out real fast! Compliant boy, yeah. Instead, it was all about these two children, and those lifeguards had to plunge in and rescue them because they were in trouble out by a jetty there.
Every time I hear anyone mention the first Gulf War, it brings back to my memory an interview with a soldier who was there as they were about to go to war from Kuwait and into Iraq. She said, "You know, we've gotten training when we were in boot camp about chemical warfare. We kind of dozed off, you know, and didn't take notes, It was boring, threw paper wads, whatever. It was just boring stuff." She said, "Now they're covering chemical warfare again, because we're about to go into Iraq where they have them." She said, "We're taking notes, we're asking questions this time, we're staying late after class." I thought, "Wow! What a big difference; same material, same information." What was different? All of a sudden soldiers knew that their life could depend on what they were learning, and they were going to need it, not just know it.