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Perspectives and Just Plain Sick Analogies September 25, 2014

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Normally when my brain is this tired I avoid writing altogether, but today my brain tells me if I don’t write, it will punish me horribly in my sleep. I’ve been punished horribly enough in my sleep this week. I’ve also been punished horribly enough by three cats who keep wrecking my horrible sleep, thinking they have some divine right to be fed at one a.m. instead of four a.m. like they normally are. Mentally this cannot go on without consequences. What consequences I’ve no desire to find out.

So here I am again, writing for therapy. That’s my wife’s term for everything I write. Supposedly it all reveals things about myself that she well knows, being my wife; but others do not and perhaps have no business knowing. She’s somehow wrong and right all at once. That’s why I love her. That’s why men love women, isn’t it? They can be something we never can, wrong and right all at once?

Am I loopy right now? Yes. Yes, I am. I blame it squarely on editing ISO documentation at work today. It’s one of two things I’m writing about in this entry, at personal risk because my employer does not like it when its employees blog about it unauthorized. I’m safe if I keep things as general as I can, and this first thing I can keep fairly general.

It may piss you off, but at least I shouldn’t get fired over it.

It’s an analogy that occurred to me near the end of the day about editing ISO documents. I’ve blogged about them before, so click the link if you need to bone up on what they are.

Editing them is like operating on malignant cancer:

* You don’t know exactly what you’re getting into until you start,

* It’s always worse than you expect, and

* It takes an absolute freaking miracle to get it all.

If that analogy offends you, I understand, and I am sorry; I know people who have or have had cancer too and I know there is no form of income-producing work whatsoever that is literally on par with the pain and suffering of cancer. The analogy offends ME, for crying out loud. Yet at the end of a day of editing the damned things it is the only one that is apt, at least in my world, in my place; and if you have to deal with them at your place of employ, I’m sure you understand me too.

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Here’s the second thing, and this one’s a little riskier because I have to get more specific: My employer is adding a social media piece to its customer support. This is more than just another job responsibility. This is a whole new staff, lock stock and barrel, whose mission it will be to address our customers in the world of Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and yea, so many others.

I worked with our customer support department for many years before transitioning to auditing dealer support. I still get their emails. I thought my boss would like to see the one about this. I added the comment that if I were 25 I’d go for it in a heartbeat.

“Good grief–this job is PERFECT for you,” she emailed back. “Why do you think you’d have to be 25?”

I emailed her back my two major misgivings. First, the job description and its requirements sounded very entry-level to me, enough so I suspected I’d have take a cut of a third of my current pay just to get a sniff at it. Second, the job description and its requirements sounded, as much as job descriptions and requirements legally can, like they were looking specifically for young people.

“I don’t think they’re looking for 50-year-old ex-English majors who won’t get on Twitter as a matter of principle,” I wrote.

She offered to ask for me what the salary range was and let me know while she didn’t want to lose me from her department, she did want my work to be my happiness, and this looked very much like something that would make me happy.

I thanked her, but told her something I’ve been thinking for some time now but never put into words until right then. I’ll tell you the same thing:  Whoever said “Age is nothing but a number,” is a liar.

Things change. Perspectives change. And well they should. If they don’t, why do we age at all? What’s the point of aging if we don’t learn from living?

More pointedly, what’s the point of aging if the only lesson we get from living is “Do what makes you happy?”

I’m not discounting the value of happiness in one’s work–just pointing out that in doing one’s work, the older one gets, the more he realizes he’s not working entirely for himself. The older one gets, the more he realizes other people depend on him to do exactly what he’s doing right now, and if what he’s doing right now is not his happiness, then by God he’d better find a way to make it so. A determined mind can make any drudge a joy. A creative mind can make that joy useful and productive for all. An intelligent mind can use that joy to elevate both the job and himself out of drudgery. By fifty, we should know this intuitively, instinctively, especially in a country like our own that affords us the freedom it does.

When running out of time, it’s better to work within reality than to chase rainbows. Even if that reality leads to a just plain sick analogy from time to time, because the work gets a little unpleasant.

Flash: All work is unpleasant from time to time, even that which you love. Better to deal with it than run from it.

I’m flying in the face of pop logic, I know. But it’s the simple truth. We could use more of that these days.

With that, I’ll put my loopy brain to bed. G’nite. 🙂

An insomniac spelling lesson March 11, 2013

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Daylight Savings Time.  Hate it.  H-A-T-E it.

The clock says almost three a.m. now.  My head says almost two a.m. now.  Can I sleep now?  No, because my head is confused, and when my head is confused my brain turns on to deal with it, and when my brain is on, I can’t sleep.

So I try to tell my brain to shut up and shut off.  You don’t want me to write what it tells me back.

This morning, after telling me back that thing you don’t want me to write, it reminded me I never put up an entry to this blog yesterday.  So here I am, up doing that.  It’s why the blog’s named what it is, right?  Heck, this time I beat the name by a good fifteen minutes.  An hour and fifteen minutes, compensating for DST, that thing I H-A-T-E.

It reminded me we’re halfway through L-E-N-T.

I didn’t think this year I was going to write much about Lent, and so far I haven’t.  I’m concentrating on facing my prejudices about how others see my faith, and while it makes for spiritual growth, it’s also a hard read simply because it’s so difficult to write about faith in God without pissing someone else off.  Two things we never argue with those close to us, the old saw says:  politics and religion.  For many the same reasons.  Two sides of the same coin.  We know what we believe, we know why we believe it, we don’t want it questioned; and when it is we get defensive and angry because now you’re not just questioning me, you’re questioning GOD and how dare you question GOD.  

It’s a rare soul who can listen to another speak of God in unfamiliar terms without feeling that edginess creep in.  You may be feeling it now just reading this.

I think part of it is the too-natural tendency to take one’s religion and confuse it for faith.  Most think faith and religion are also two sides of the same coin.  They can be, but more often they’re not.  Faith is the belief itself.  Religion is how one chooses to express it communally.

For some, a religion becomes their faith, and must be practiced to the letter, without question. There is no why, there is only what.  So when another asks why, the automatic response becomes “how dare you.”   At best, they walk away; at worst they get violent.

Repeat many times over, and the violence becomes war, and you get where we are today–more and more blaming religion for all the world’s problems, and by extension faith, in spite of good solid logic to the contrary.  Atheism grows in acceptance for much this reason.  I mentioned in last week’s entry that the “countercultural” religion now has its own counterculture against it?  There it is.

I am not one of the “new” counterculture.  I believe.  I have my reasons which I’ve written about before and don’t feel the need to bring up again.

But part of me “gets” non-belief very well, enough so that it pushes me to try and at least understand why so many don’t get what I believe.

And that out of me and into print, now I’m sorely tempted to go back to sleep.  But I think you get why I can’t. 🙂

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New entry of “Reed’s Story” up.  It’s a long one, but IMHO worth your time.  Of course I think it’s worth your time, I wrote it! 😀   Feedback welcome as always.  Thanks.

Sister, can you spare a dime? July 30, 2012

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We’re back in the broiler in the land of Oz (and I don’t mean Australia)–another week of 100-plus temperatures.  At least this morning the chance of rain looks pretty good.  I’ve been getting up and walking at the same time as this blog’s name to make sure I don’t use the heat as an excuse to wimp out.  I could write a whole entry on the weirdness of my neck of Olathe, Kansas, at three in the morning.  You’d be surprised who’s up and what they appear to be doing.  But that’s for another time.  Right now I’m at work, my boss just got here and I have maybe forty minutes to get this entry written and posted before the real world takes over my life as it must.  So here you go.

Ok, first the allegedly shameless self promotion:  Blessed Are the Peace Frogs, my latest and greatest, is now available on Kindle at a fraction–a fraction!–of what you would pay for the tree-killer version.  Plus, blunt truth, it’s better edited and, thanks to the rules one must follow to be part of Kindle Direct Publishing Select, it’s even more fun.  Let’s just say Mac MacCracken does not take kindly to his “riffs” being censored, although he’ll oblige you begrudgingly.

What else can I say?  It’s there and I hope you read it.  Three years went into it.  I’m not getting any younger.  There’s a drought, food prices will be going up soon, would be nice to have a second source of income.  I don’t ask for too much, do I? 😉

Oh, now there’s a story.  My employer forbids I write about my actual work, but there’s nothing in the Employee Guide that says I can’t write about funny things at work:  A couple weeks ago in our parking garage I dropped a dime.  I didn’t pick it up, I was in a hurry.  A kindly lady in a different department noticed I dropped the dime and picked it up to give it back to me, but by the time she did that I was at the door (I walk very, very fast when I’m in a hurry).  So she resolved to wait for me to walk by her desk, which isn’t too far from mine, and give me the dime back then.

Well, it was a busy week, and I didn’t walk by her desk at all, and apparently this kindly lady has an exceptionally well-developed conscience–so well-developed that she decided to send me the dime, taped to a letter explaining why she was sending me the dime, via inter-office mail.  This simple act of kindness blew me away, as genuine kindness will–such a rare thing–so I found time to go to her desk and thank her and let her know it was utterly unnecessary, she could have kept the dime.

Upon which one of her coworkers butted in, “I told her to keep it, there’s a drought! She’s gonna need it!”

Maybe you need to have been there?  Screw it; I think it’s funny.

Now go take on your day.

When all else fails, give ’em a slice of life March 26, 2012

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Sorry I missed putting anything in here last week.  I started something and didn’t get to finish it, because the part of me that hates myself declared it stupid and worthless and told me to stop wasting my time.  So I did.  It’s still sitting in my WordPress dashboard in case I change my mind, and I probably will, because I don’t always listen to the part of me that hates myself.  It’s just sometimes I have to acknowledge it’s there to make it go away.

I never really explained why I changed the name of this blog to “The Three A.M. Blog.”  I gave you an esoteric reason, that “Delusional Thinking”–apt a title as that ever was–is also a fairly serious academic subject not worth wasting a serious researcher’s time on some silly vanity blog that at most five to ten people read at a time.  But there’s a concrete reason, too.  It’s called “cats.”

As this entry spells out, with pictures, we have four of them, two ladies, two gentlemen; all technically sexless but you can’t take away that stuff with a knife.  The ladies are Junebug and Peaches.  The gentlemen are Carlos and Bill.  Carlos is the baby at two, all the others are four.  You can read the linked entry for more about them.

Because they’re older cats, we can’t just leave food out for them any more, lest they eat too much and get fat and barf all over the house; so they have set feeding times of twelve hours apart.  My stepson feeds them when he gets home from work at three-thirty in the afternoon.  Hence by three in the morning, they get hungry again, and they come wake me up.   So, not always happily, I rise and perform the ritual of opening the Sacred Can and mixing its contents in with the Holy Omega 3 Dust and dividing it amongst the Blessed Bowls with a sprinkling of the Dry Life Enhancement, and distribute it amongst them accordingly; and about fifteen to twenty minutes later, in humble gratitude, they offer me a part of themselves, a token of appreciation from their very bodies that I scoop from their altars before its fragrance reaches too high into the heavens.  And then I shower and write until about 4:35 or so when it’s time to wake my wife up.

Such is life for me.  Now go take on your day.