Sunday, March 8, 2015

To Thine Own Self Be Perfect

Last week my wife told me she needed some space. Everyone does from time to time and I was okay with that. That is until I asked how much. “6 feet 2 inches to be exact,” she answered. That hurt. She told me I am hypercritical and demanding and driving her ‘nuts’.
Of course you can imagine my surprise and disbelief. I refused to accept such nonsense and demanded an example. Several hours later, with my five o’clock shadow in full beard mode and with the sun coming up I asked if we could take a break. She made her point.
It made sense, now that I think about it. I was getting fewer and fewer gifts over the years. Birthdays, Christmas, Father’s Day, I blamed it all on the economy. Thanks a lot Obamacare. How can any one single person afford cufflinks and major medical insurance? Something has got to give!
Okay, I get it now.
As of today I am a new man. A man that will no longer give unsolicited advice. A man that will see the good in all things. A man who will accept people for who they are, no matter how poorly that is. Some would call this mellowing with age. But in my opinion mellowing is just a sign of fear when you can no longer physically defend yourself. A fear of being bludgeon to death with a two-gallon jug of Cheer laundry detergent when you tell a love one that shirt should really be washed in cold water.
Can people change after so many years? Can I? Better yet, should I? Ignore that last question.
I tried going cold turkey but the stress was too great. I had to find a way to have my cake and still tell the baker what he did wrong. Can I help it if my tombstones will be carved with words of wisdom, and say “continues on back…”? This blog has come in handy over the years as an escape valve. However, it left me unsatisfied. I cannot see the joy on the faces of those I helped so much through my font of knowledge.
One solution I had was telling unsuspecting wait staff. Unfortunately, it left me with too many foreign objects floating in my soup. As a college professor I assumed an ideal position in mentoring the young. For some strange reason, however, I had fewer and fewer students show up to class as the semester rolled on. I started chasing down strangers as a last resort. For all the good I tried to create I wound up with two sore knees and three restraining orders. Ingrates.
As a result of this new lifestyle I found myself with quite a bit of free time. I replaced the transmission in my Oldsmobile. I fixed the leaking roof over the garage. I also put in a sprinkler system in the backyard. On the second day I got even more done.
Although, now that I am a better person I feel a great sadness descend upon me. Just knowing how many people’s lives I could fix if only they let me is a great burden to shoulder. One I am only too eager to fill. My one hope, and their future spouses’ great fear, is that one day my children will carry on the family tradition. One day they may write a letter to the Middle East on how to achieve peace. Or perhaps an email to a TV network with programming tips. At the very least admonishing a friend how to be a better parent. Is that too much to hope for? Is that reaching beyond the stars? Of course you would think that. Oops. In the words of Ronald Reagan, “there I go again”.

Here are a couple of democrats I hope you recognize. I did these without any scaling or tracing. Just free drawn. No comment or critiques if you don’t mind.