Four Simple Words

 

Early this morning, with sleep still in my eyes,  just as the soft glow of the new day was sliding over the horizon, I met an old friend.  As we met my eyes snapped opened like the shutter on a camera, the surface of my skin tightened as thousands of small bumps sprang forth, my lungs demanded air as I gasped deeply.  My old friend was winter.  The first time this season the temp was under freezing.  Half conscience, I cracked open the door for the dogs. My old friend, winter was right there to greet me. These reactions would have been startling had I not already experienced them earlier in the week.

It was Monday afternoon, at 4pm.  The work day was coming to an end as I scrambled to finish up.  My phone rang.  My initial reaction was “Great, another interruption until I saw the screen “Mom & Dad”.  Okay, that’s a welcome interruption.  “HI”,  “Todd, this is mom, dads been in a wreck.”  Those same feelings assaulted me.  Eyes snapped opened, tightening skin, gasping for a breath. The questions came pouring out, “What Happened?”  “Is he okay?”  “They’re taking him to St Francis, He couldn’t move but he is moving his legs a little now”  My mind took over and raced aheadNOT MOVING???  WHAT???  No, No, No, this is dad!  He’s fine, I’m sure.  Can’t move?  Calm Down, Calm Down,  think about mom.  You’ve got to be in control for her. After talking to my wife Cheryl, I called mom back.  “Mom, Cheryl is getting a ride to the hospital to meet the ambulance, I’m coming to get you.  You are NOT driving into Tulsa.”  “They called and told me St. Francis is on divert.  They are going to St. Johns.  they said dad can move his legs a little but not his arms.”  “Okay mom, I will be there in twenty minutes.”  Gooood, I’m finally recovering from the COLD shock and taking control. Mom needs me right now.

With mom in the car, racing back into Tulsa, Cheryl calls, “They say he is in surgery but can’t tell me for what”.  “SURGERY!” “No way, he just got their,  They couldn’t be yet”  “That’s what they are telling me, There are four other ambulances here and it’s chaos.”  I still doubt it and try to calm mom. A few minutes later the phone rings again. “He is NOT in surgery.  The Chaplin told me  they are taking him for a Cat Scan.” “I am with the Chaplin now and she is going back to get more information.”  Okay, everything is going to be fine.  Dad is not in surgery and I just know he is going to be fine.

Arriving at the hospital, we are sent to the Neurological Surgical ICU.  This should have set off alarm bells but for some reason did not.  When he finally was settled in his room we were allowed back and their was dad.  Flat on his back with one of those neck collars on.  My heart sunk seeing him there but I still couldn’t accept anything other than he was going to be fine.  I NEVER considered there might be no recovery beyond this.

The next day, mom explained that the neurosurgeon had been by.  They might need to do surgery but wanted the results from an MRI they were waiting for.  There were no breaks on the x-ray and CT Scan.  They needed to see the soft tissue.  Shortly after I arrived at the hospital, the doctor in charge of the ICU department came by with a large group of doctors reviewing dad’s case.  She explained that dad had a spinal cord injury.  She said they would be doing surgery at some point to ease the pressure but their was nothing they could do to repair the damage.  It would be up to his body to repair itself.  We should hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.  HE MIGHT BE PARALYZED.

W H A T ?

That cold wind just ripped through the room again.  My mind took over the conversation.  Paralyzed?  NO, you don’t understand!  This is my dad!!! He can’t be!  I forced my face and body to be stoic.  Couldn’t let mom see the turmoil going on inside my head.  I knew she was trying to deal with the same thing, so I had to be strong for her. The next few days are somewhat of a blur.  Dad seemed to gain a small amount of motion in his arms everyday and even more so in his legs.  My emotions rocked back and forth.  He’s going to be fine.  Oh my god, he’s going to be paralyzed.  A rollercoaster ride to be sure.  I broke down a couple of times in front of my wife but no one else. I kept up the confident exterior.

He had two surgeries on Thursday.  Both went better than expected and they actually found LESS damage than expected.  Each day his motion has improved and yesterday they stood him up and sat him in a chair for two hours.  There are no guarantees but with his constant improvement I really do feel, with time he is going to be fine.  Maybe not back 100% but able to function just fine, much to the credit of all the prayers of hundreds, maybe thousands of friends and family for dad.  The road will be difficult but dad is up to it and all of us will be there to support him along the journey.

Now I’m back to Saturday morning with the freezing temps outside.  I’m inside, warm, sitting at my desk. I’m looking at my to-do list from last week:

  • MONDAY  Set up conference call with largest customer
  • TUESDAY   Training session with internal auditors
  • WEDNESDAY   Meeting with Ebsco Safety Team
  • THURSDAY  Presentation at the Tulsa Chamber Meeting

Pretty important stuff.  Right?  Things I need to worry about?

The Chamber Meeting went on without me, the safety team met and left their notes on my desk, the customer actually called us and set up a call for next week and the training session was rescheduled.  Not only did the world keeping turning but nothing really changed, except my dad’s health.

What really happened last week was God gave me a lesson on what is REALLY IMPORTANT.  He is in control right now and he will decide what happens.  With all the prayers, from so many people I think we probably made God jump at all of the noise.  I know we got his attention.  With everything we’ve seen so far, I think he decided we all still need dad and he’s not finished yet.  I want him back the same way he was but if not I still have more time with him and that’s a blessing not to be taken for granted.  Yesterday, I saw a post on Facebook from an old friend in Sioux City.  It was a copy of the obituary of her mom.  She didn’t get more time.

The cold wind, that rocked my world showed me what was really important, my wife who has been by my side every minute, my children both grown and at home who support me unconditionally, my friends, from now and from years passed who stepped up and supported me , my work family both new and old, my mom who takes care of dad, of me and everyone else, and most importantly this week, MY DAD.  Up to this point I have written just over 1,200 words and several paragraphs which could be condensed into four simple, powerful words,

I LOVE YOU DAD

And that is all that really needs to be said.

TODD

A Spark in the Minds Eye

 

The mind amazes me.  It holds this never ending library that stretches as far as one can see with rows and rows of stories.  Much like the warehouse in the final scene of Indiana Jones.  This library holds so much more than printed pages.  The stories have words and pictures, movies and sounds, taste and smells and all are attached to emotions.  My warehouse is controlled by an amazing librarian who has total recall of every detail of every chapter of every entry contained.  They are ever vigilant of what is happening around me at all times.  So as I go through life, oblivious to this endless wealth of memories, they are always seeking opportunities to present me chapters from my past.  The smallest detail might send them running to pull out  a chapter from years gone by.

 

It happened this morning.  It was the smallest thing.  My son had made sure I was up to see the sunrise (as he does every morning…he wouldn’t want me to miss one).  I opened the door to let my dog out and the librarian burst into action.  As soon as the crisp pre-dawn air touched my cheek the librarian pulled a chapter from my past. And as they saw I was paying attention, they strung together a story so intense I had to sit down at my keyboard and share it.

 

This chapter featured a much younger me, full of anticipation for the first day wearing a new jacket for the season.  The first cool day of fall.  I have never been one to relish the summers.  Even with summer break from school, swimming and all of the summertime activities, I was about fall and winter.  With the onset of fall, my senses went wild with anticipation, seeking every detail that spelled the coming of the change of seasons.  The taste in the air of smoke from burning leaves and chimneys.  The sound of blowing leaves scratching the ground as they raced past.  My mind seemed to block out all surrounding sounds to create an eerie silence featuring only the sound of the leaves and nothing else.  As I was older, watching the movie “Halloween”  I was struck by a scene toward the beginning of the movie.  It was a shot panning down the neighborhood street with a strong breeze hurtling leaves down the road as children rushed home in anticipation of that night.  It was FALL for me.  The tingle of my skin as a chilling gust swept my cheek.  I was alive with every one of my senses on overload.

My senses were screaming in anticipation, but anticipation of what?  Of  a bone chilling winter with heavy coats and running noses?  Of the new school year and homework?  Of being cooped up inside because it was too cold to go out?  NO!  That was winter and fall for others, not for me.

The anticipation was for a crisp night, out after dark with friends.  A night taken into another world where I was older and someone other than myself.  An evening of conquest after conquest never knowing what treasures awaited at the next door.  It was Halloween!  It was a night like no other night.  I was able to stay out later and go farther than I normally did, something that was not as dangerous during my time.  It was a night where you could be anyone or anything you wanted.  The planning for that special costume went on for weeks.  Most importantly it was a night shared with friends doing the same thing.

As I lost myself in this chapter the librarian went on pulling the next.

Before Halloween, every year there was a program on television.  It only played once per year but it never failed to happen.  “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.”  I never missed it.  As an adult my parents still call me each year letting me know when it is on.  I can’t watch it today without a tear of nostalgia sliding out of the corner of my eye.  Charlie Brown, as I called it, was the opening ceremonies of this wonderful celebration I had.  It was the beginning.  Even as a child, my librarian had started saving chapters and while watching the show they began pulling out volumes of Christmas past.  As The Great Pumpkin was the opening ceremonies, Christmas was the finale.

As that memory flashed before me, the librarian went on stacking the next chapter before my minds eye.

In this scene a younger me sat on the couch at home.  Stacked around me were several books, a pad of paper and an ink pin.  I was deep in concentration, researching one of the books, oblivious to all around me.  Was I doing homework?  NO,  I was making my Christmas list!  The books were the Sears and Penny’s Christmas catalogs, sorry no Toys R Us back then.  The arrival of these catalogs was always a significant time for me.  My organizational skills already revealing themselves made this an important project of every season.  I carefully studied each page of the toy sections of both catalogs.  I circled each and every item I might like to see under the tree on Christmas morning.  On my pad I wrote down the item, which catalog it was from and the page number to be found.  I wanted no room for error in choosing the wrong item.  I circled everything that I wanted, the drum set (knew that wasn’t going to happen…probably why I have one now), the chemistry set,(probably a good thing that didn’t happen.  I recently saw a shirt that read, “The last words I will say before I die, WOW, I didn’t expect that to happen”) and everything else, even the mini bike. Want to talk about anticipation.  That evening was it.  When I completed the list I copied it for my grandparents and made sure to explain and re-cap it all.  No room for error on such an important project.

My librarian stopped there.  I have memories of Christmas but they are not as strong as everything that led up to it.  It seems the anticipation holds a stronger place in my mind than the actually event that I anticipated.

As the years go by, these sensations and memories grow ever stronger.  The simple sense of a crisp breeze launching a story that repeated itself year after year.  The strange thing is as I age the story changes.  No, not the reallocation of events but it changes from an anticipation of an event to the memory of an event.   In my youth, my mind sparked a flame of anticipation of what was to come.  In my maturity (nice word for being old) it sparked a memory that seems to strengthen with each year.  I smile at the memories and fondly hold on to them but there is also a sense of sadness that it has changed from anticipation to remembrance.  Why is there not anticipation for things more than memories of things? Is it that we have experienced so much more that there is less to anticipate?  Is it that we lose our sense of childhood amazement with time? I do like seeing the sense of amazement and anticipation in my son (when he isn’t driving me crazy over it) but I miss that childhood feeling. That feeling that something big is just around the corner.   That feeling of I can’t wait for it.  Those feelings seem to come less frequent with the years.

I think youthful innocence, imagination and amazement are things to be held onto with passion.  To see the world less with practical cynicism and more with youthful amazement.  My librarian tries to keep it alive, if I would just listen.  I think I will go find out when Charlie Brown is playing this year and figure out what I’m wearing on Halloween.  Maybe the Christmas catalog from Guitar Center and Bass Pro will be here soon.

“Hey Librarian,  Maybe it’s time to open up a few new sections.”

 

Just Saying……

TODD  (Yes, that is me in 1979)

You Owe Me! (NOTHING)

“They just don’t …… like they used to”    “Things aren’t like they used to be.”  I’ve heard this time and time again from people older than myself.  I always questioned if things really were that different or this was just age dreaming of a youth gone by.  So now I’m the person older than..  I will turn 56 this year.  I do not feel older than those around me but the fact is that I am.  So as I look at the subject of my Blog today, I have to ask,  “Have things really changed or is this me wistfully dreaming of a time gone by that never really existed?”  I will leave that for you to decide.

 

Who owns it?  I really don’t know anymore.  Everyone seems to not want to take ownership of anything.  They seem to spend most of their time complaining about why they are unable to take ownership of their lives.  They ramble on and on about how they have no control.

This seems to be a growing trend.  More and more people feel they have no control.  They are the entitlement generation.  Everyone else owes the something.  The problem is that with everyone waiting on what others owe them, there is no one else left to give it to them.  What happens then?  People are spending tremendous time and ability, rationalizing why they are owed.

This was not the case of generations past.  After WWII people adopted “The American Dream” which stated if you worked hard and make a good effort, you could own the three bedroom house with the white picket fence and drive a new car.  It came true for most.  They were able to achieve this dream.  They worked hard, saved their money and took  control of their lives.  The key is “TOOK CONTROL”.  They refused to let obstacles stop them.  Obstacles were things to be solved, not reasons to give up.

Not so now.  Obstacles are an excuse to stop trying.  A reason to stop working and stay home.  What they do not seem to realize is that “home” is that new three bedroom house their parents bought.  Instead of working and saving to buy that home they have spent their time explaining why others owe them that home and living in the tiny one bedroom apartment.

So where does this all lead?  I guess eventually, when everyone becomes a victim and there is no one left to blame, they will get it.  They will realize that the only person responsible, the only person to blame is themselves.  My fear is when we get that far their will be no way back.

Just Saying…

TODD

ps.  What do you think?  Is this really getting worse or is this just the rambling of someone from a time before?  Are things worse than they were then or are they just different, no better, no worse?  I would like to hear from you.  

Everything You Need To Know About Parenting

Parenting  is a difficult job by any measure.  There are no owners manuals or work instructions when they hand you that sweet little bundle of joy.  What they do hand you is a bill.  ???  I thought mom did most of the work and dad made his contribution nine months prior and yet they charge you for your wonderful creation.  That will be a theme you will find continues for MANY years to come.  So how do you know what to do.  Let’s face it, they don’t talk for a while and how are you supposed to know what they want?  Another theme that continues for several years.  So, for all you new parents and parents to be I am about to share everything I know about parenting.

First, let’s look at my credentials.  I have a son and daughter I adopted that were my first wives children.  They are now 42 and 39.  I have two daughters with my first wife, they are 31 and 27.  I have two step-sons through my current wife, who are 29 and 28.  I have a son, adopted with my wife and he is seven.  I will also mention he is autistic.  I also have three grandchildren.

So I feel I should know a thing or two about parenting.  Actually I have the credentials to be considered an expert.  So, you are quite privileged to be handed down my wealth of knowledge and experience.  All of the secrets I had to learn the hard way.  Your step by step owner’s manual on parenting.

Here it goes, everything I know about parenting:

“——————–“

That’s it.  There is everything.  My complete and total knowledge on raising children.  A lifetime of 55 years of knowledge.  Impressed?  I think probably not.  No,  I didn’t sleep through the whole thing.  There are no secrets or tricks to parenting.  Every one of them are different. What works on one probably will not work on another.

What I can tell you is that it is hard.  They will be the most precious thing in your life and there is a good chance they will hurt you worse than any other person you know.  You will always want the best for them but realize that’s not the way life works.  All of your hopes and dreams for them will most likely never happen.  They will have a mind of their own.  They will have their own hopes and dreams which they will pursue.  They usually have nothing to do with yours.

So what can I share with you of any real substances about parenting.

LOVE THEM WITH ALL YOUR HEART

Even when you don’t really like them.  That’s it.  That’s all there is.  There is nothing more.  That is all they need and the only thing they actually want. (You wouldn’t know it by all the things they ask for).   You think it is obvious but think about how many children didn’t grow up with that love and support.

 

So you now have the combined knowledge and wisdom of a father of 7, more or less.  34 years of parenting, wrapped up into one little sentence.  It seems like so little.  It feels like their must be more.  There isn’t.  You will figure the rest out along the way.  I will tell you that your gut instincts are usually right.  You know your child better than anyone else.  From the minute they gasp their first breath you are the expert on them.  Not the doctor or the nurse around them, YOU.

So when they push you right up to your breaking point.  Farther than you have ever been pushed.  Sleep deprived from worry and nothing left to give.  Love them with all of your heart.

 

If you’ll excuse me I need to go and give my 7-year-old a hug.

Just Saying.

TODD

 

The Seven Wonders of the World

The list if the  Seven Wonders of the World was created around the first to second century BC.  The list represented the seven greatest architectural, technological feats of the ancient world.  The original list was:

The Great Pyramid of Giza

Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Temple of Artenis

Statue of Zeus at Olympus

Mausoleum at Hallcarnassus

Colossus of Rhodes

Lighthouse of Alexandria

Since their has been some slight modifications, including the addition of the Great Wall of China. Of the original seven, only the Great Pyramid of Giza still stands.  The Hanging Gardens of Babylon have never been located and many wonder if they ever existed. The remainder have all been destroyed.

Manifesting the ultimate power I posses as author of this blog (well at least of what I write here) I offer you:

Todd’s Seven Wonders of Our World Today

  1. Driverless Cars  Although I am personally not a great fan, having a passion for driving this holds to be one of the greatest advancements of current time.  Personal transportation available to everyone regardless of capabilities.  Accident free commuting.

2. Commercial Space Flight This includes both manned and unmanned flights carried out by for profit private companies.  It has already started.  Private companies will launch satellites for extremely lower costs than government  programs.  Owning and operating a satellite will become available to thousands of companies for the first time.  We will see a communication and new technology explosion as more people have access to these sophisticated tools.  Manned space flight promises a new era in world travel.  With trips around the world in an hour and future flights venturing to manned space stations orbiting the earth and even to the moon.

3.  3-D Printing  We have only scratched the surface of this new technology.  In the future it will change who and of what we make everything.  Individuals will have the ability to manufacture many items out of new materials.  They have already made an automobile using a 3-D printer.  Maybe you will download and print your next house.

4. The Silicon Chip  This small insignificant product pressed out of sand has paved the way for personal computing.  The silicon chip is responsible for launching the current wave of technology.

5. Smart Phones  Everyone has one.  It impacts every aspect of our lives. Smart aps to monitor the traffic, the weather and the news. Multiple ways to communicate.  The ability to surf the web.  It’s hard to imagine current life without them.

6. The Internet  This one should be obvious to everyone.  Facebook, Twitter, Amazon all exist because there is and internet.  It has revolutionized almost every aspect of out lives. It has enabled some of the greatest technological revolutions of all time.

7. The Keurig  I know, I know BUT IT’s my list and I can put anything I want on it.  I LIKE COFFEE.  I like FRESH coffee.  I have a Keurig at home and one at work on my desk.  I don’t even need to get up to get a fresh cup.  Freshly brewed, one cup at a time.  For me that’s a wonder.

So that’s my list.  I think their may be some debate, especially over item seven but for the most part I think people will agree.  If you don’t agree. write me back and tell me what you would change.  I probably wont change anything but I’m sure you will feel better arguing with me.

Just Saying…

TODD

 

INDEPENDENCE DAY

It’s Independence Day.  A day we celebrate the independence we enjoy as Americans.

INDEPENDENCE????

What Independence do we really have?

All of us must follow the laws.  Laws concerning how we drive, how we act in public, what we do on others property and sometimes on our own.  Many of us live is sub-divisions where the Neighborhood Association Nazis control every aspect of your life from the time you cross the entrance sign until you leave.  At our work place we are told how to dress, how to do our jobs and even what time to pee.

You could live somewhere else but maybe not the home you want.  You could quit your job but you have bills and the taxes used to make the laws that tell us what to do must be paid or the tax man will take it all.

So are we really independent?

Yes.  We have the independence to pick the people who make those laws.  We can petition them to change the laws and convince our neighbors to do the same.  We can run to be one of the Sub-Division Nazis making the rules everyone must follow.  You can run for the school board and shape the direction your children’s education takes.  You can start your own company and set your own hours and dress code.

The problem with independence is that it requires an effort.  To be independent you must patriciate in the process and make an effort to influence how that independence looks.  You have the independence to move into the country and live off the land.  You can leave the grid and become self-sufficient.  It’s hard work.  If you choose not to be a mountain man then you must participate if you want to enjoy true independence.

As a society we have become lazy.  We sit around and complain about everything that is wrong, relinquishing our independence without making any effort to become part of the process and make a difference.  Our great democracy was based on individuals stepping up, volunteering their time to make the system work.  To serve their community and country.  Individuals were supposed to be part of the system.  It was never designed for an exclusive few to make all the decisions.

WE GAVE UP OUR INDIVIDUAL INDEPENDENCE.

It is time that the average and not so average Americans stand up and take their independence back.  To shout NO, and fight for what they believe in.  To understand that everyone has the right to independence and the pursuit of happiness.  It’s our Country!  Those brave individuals under General Washington faced overwhelming odds facing the British army to earn our independence.  They gave up their time and money to draft and ratify our Constitution.  They created businesses and schools and cities.  They built the world around them.  THEY.  They didn’t wait for someone else to do it for them.

It’s time for the second American Revolution.  Not with guns and swords but with all of us standing up for what we believe America should be.  To get involved, to run for office, to support those who do run and share our vision.  It’s time for the average American to take back their country.

VIVA the Revolution!!

HAPPY 4th.

Just Saying….

TODD

LEGACY

 

Here lies (YOUR NAME) …….  What follows?  What will they say about you when your time is up?  What is your legacy?

Marriam Webster defines Legacy as follows:

“something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past the legacy of the ancient philosophers The war left a legacy of pain and suffering.”

You are writing your legacy as you read this blog.  Every action and every word contributes to the few short words they will write to define you.  To define your life.   Obviously what they write on your tombstone and in the paper will be kind but what would they write if they were honest?  How would they summarize your life?  As a child, spouse, parent, friend, or co-worker?

Think of those around you.  You are constantly forming opinions about them.  Every interaction creates your concept of who they are.  How they speak, their body gestures, how they listen and most importantly what they do.  Everyone is doing the same thing to you.

You have your entire life, however long that may be to write your legacy.  When in the midst of this journey you rarely think of what legacy you will leave.  When you realize that time is short, that’s when you will care.  The problem is  you have already contributed volumes to your life.  It’s hard to re-write the story in a short time.

What do you want yours to say?  Do you want to be remembered as the kind person that always had a kind word for everyone?  That person that always held the door and said “Good Morning!”  Would you like to be the one they said always took time to help others, always putting them first?  Is it important that they say you were a good parent always showing your love? How about a good spouse, loving, caring and devoted to the end?

It’s up to you.  You are the one writing this book.  You are your legacy in flesh and blood.  You are the person they will remember.  Regardless of your power and stature, you only have control of one thing and one thing only in life.  YOUR SELF.  We really are created equal.  We all have the same power in life and that is the power over ourselves.  YOU control your legacy.  Think about it next time you come in contact with another.

What do you want yours to say?

Just Saying……

TODD

CHANGE

What was the weather like yesterday?  This time of year I can  bet it was different from today.  Did you run onto new road construction on your way to work today?  Are things different at your work now compared to a year ago?  Change has become the driving force in our lives.  For better or worse, like it or not.

The constant, rapid changes make us feel a loss of control over our lives.  Humans typically resist change.  Change brings uncertainty.  What we thought we knew yesterday doesn’t exist today.  As we struggle to adapt to the new norm, another thing changes, never allowing us to relax and truly acclimate to life.  Chaos.

As I mentioned human nature resist change in general.  Our problem is that change is inevitable.  We have no control over it.  What we do have control over is our response to change.  If we accept the common human response to change we are forced to live with chaos, uncertainty and anxiety.  Our environment controls us.  We can adjust our response to change.

We can look at change, not as a disruption of our lives but as a building block to our future. If we were to look at the potential positive outcomes of the changes our anxiety would change to hopeful anticipation. The road closed to one lane will disrupt my life for the next six months, but after it is completion, for the next several years I will have an additional lane to drive in and avoid all the other “idiots” on the road (Not sure when they all became idiots but they seem to be when they are in front of me.  Hmmm might be another thing to look at myself).  The changes at work will take time getting used to but maybe they are part of something that will allow my company to compete and remain in business another ten years.  I kinda like having a job.  In fact the optimist would look at the change as an opportunity to be part of developing these changes into everyday work and personally making things better for the whole company.

As most things in life, it is simply a matter of YOUR perception and reaction.  No one lives in a bubble.  The world constantly intrudes and disrupts for better or worse.  That is LIFE.  None of the outside intrusions can force us to think or feel a certain way.  Our response, how we feel, is a personal decision.  We are hard-wired to resist change and outside disruptions.  We want everything to remain the same allowing us to stay in our comfort zone.  Personal growth requires change.  For us to be any better than we are today, we must experience change.

You only have one decision to make.  Allow the changes in your world to control you or take control and make the changes work for you.

Just Saying….

TODD

Remember the Titans

I was recently browsing the internet for inspirational quotes on teamwork from movies.  I sometimes use these at work.  I ran onto a movie that had not seen in years but rank it as one of my favorite films. “Remember the Titans.”

Now I never look for movies with a message.  I look to movies as an escape from reality.  I don’t want to be “lectured” or “taught”.  I look to be taken to a different time in a different place and escape.  I just want to be entertained.  Some of my favorites are “Star Wars” (the original ones), “Airplane”, “The Untouchables”, and “Tombstone“. No messages, no lessons, just entertainment. “Remember the Titans” is an exception.

“Remember the Titan” has a strong message.  Taking place in 1971, in Alexandra Virginia, “Remember the Titans” looks at the racial divide in the newly integrated T.C. Williams high school.  I’m not saying the movie is not entertaining.  It is one of my favorites.

The most impressive aspect of the movie is that it is based on a true story.  “Remember the Titans” is based on coach Herman Boone and the T.C. Williams Titans football team in 1971. Watching the journey of the players and coaches is inspiring.  The Titans ended the 1971 season with 13 wins, no losses and ranked second in the nation.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time breaking the film down  and offering my interpretation of the film.  The movie is right up front with its message.  They took some liberties with the true story, but the basic facts are represented accurately.  If you have never seen the film I strongly suggest you watch it.  If you have seen it, I’m confident you will want to watch it again.

 

I’ve pasted the movie trailer below.

The music in the film ain’t bad either.

Just saying…….

TODD

 

 

A Digital Hand Shake

I’m offering a digital hand shake to raulconde001.  Raul is one of the newest followers of this Blog.  I do not know Raul.  I have no idea where he lives or what he does.  I only know that he decided to follow the meandering thought I put forth from my keyboard onto this blog.  What opinions, emotions and thoughts have I shared that makes this blog interesting to Raul and the other followers.  I actually don’t find myself interesting enough to follow so why should they?  Do we have something in common?  Are our thoughts completely opposed making me of interest to Raul?  WHY?

I’ve written before on how all of the digital mediums are so impersonal.  I’m sitting alone (my wife and son taking a nap) at the kitchen table, solitary in m thoughts pecking at my keyboard. There is a sense of security about it.  No one to comment on what I am saying.  Others are not around me interjecting their two cents into the discussion.  I see no faces portraying their reactions to what I say.  It’s rather freeing.

Maybe that’s the lure of digital communication.  No feedback.  No judgement.  I am free to say anything I want without judgement.  I am allowed to present thoughts and emotions of my choosing with no immediate response.  They might be my deepest innermost emotions, ones I have not shared with anyone for fear of judgement, free to pour forth without interruption  They may also be a tapestry of my imagination.  A web spun of great detail bearing no place in reality.  There is no one to question their validity.  I can combine my words and sentences in a manner that hurts or inflame others.  They are not here for me to see the pain on their face or face the wrath of their reprisal.  I’m here safe and secure to peck away at my keyboard.

Is this an indictment of digital media?  YES and NO.  I’ve experienced the hurt experienced by words carelessly, or purposely placed on Facebook. It’s easy to sit home alone, as angry thought churn through your mind letting them release onto the keyboard, to be posted on the internet without thought or consideration.  “YEA!  I got them.”  It is not so easy when you face them, look into their face and see a real person with faults and emotions. So the emotions fly and people hurt.  Does the author have regrets later?  I hope so.  I often call Facebook evil.

There is another side, the uplifting stories, the communication.  Our child has Autism.  I can’t begin to express how much the words from a blog called Autism Daddy has helped me.  I’m not alone!  Others face the same things I do in my everyday life.  My wife connects with other Autism parents and shares thoughts and ideas.  We are not alone.  This wouldn’t be possible without digital media.

I met my wife online.  We were both on an online dating site.  We began communicating through the site, not yet to have met.  I am sure I was much funnier and witty without the pressure of meeting in person.  I was probably more charming also.  I found myself racing to my computer when arriving home in hopes of a few words from her.  This went on for a time.  When it came time to finally meet we were both hesitant.  What if we don’t like each other after we meet?  What if I’m not the person she thought I was?  Neither of us wanted our online relationship to end but knew if it didn’t work in the real world, the online world would also end for us both.  We were fortunate.  Things were only better in person and that was over 12 years ago, so I guess everything worked out.

I guess my only conclusion is that digital media is no different from anything else.  It’s not the thing, it’s how we use it.  It is still relatively new so we, as humans are still learning.  It is less personal but if used not in place of human contact but in addition to, it offers much.  If we understand that those on the other side of our posts are people with feelings and emotions the same as us, it has hope.

So for those of you following my blogs, thank you.  Thank You for validating that I have something to say, agree or not.  Thank you for giving me a reason to share my thoughts and hope.  Thank you for finding something I say interesting.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and post these words on digital media for anyone that cares to share them.

JUST SAYING…..

TODD