Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I’m not sure of the emotional dynamic that is driving me this morning, but I couldn’t sleep for thinking about this.  I’ve left jobs before, but always with the single-minded obsession that I’d have another one.  This time it’s like walking a plank; I’m stepping off the end and I’ve no idea what’s beyond. With varying degrees of success, I’ve worked for others since I was about 13.  Some of it has been unpleasant, but some of it has been amazingly gratifying.  In neither case was I prepared for what happened, and comforting as it may be to think myself blameless for the former and wholly responsible for the latter, the reality is probably somewhat less comforting.    However, I have a few ideas that seem important for me to share with y’all because you’re my friends, and I feel somewhat fatherly toward many of you.

In all things, never do less than your flat, level best.  Whether it’s working or playing, loving or fighting, hold nothing back.  At the end of the day, if you can look in the mirror and say, “You did your best,” you should await the results in peace. 

Love money for what it is and what it can do, but never make a god of it, or love it for its own sake.  Money won’t buy happiness, but neither will poverty.  I’ve been broke and miserable and fairly well off and miserable, and being broke makes it worse.  Money will not make a man good or evil; it will only unmask the good or evil he already has in his heart.  Work hard and honestly for your money, but never for a second forget that if you spend part of your allotted span earning a dollar, whatever you trade that dollar for becomes the symbol of that minute of your life.  The money for which you trade the minutes of your life may be used to build temples or whorehouses.  It’s your choice, and rightfully so, but give a moment’s thought to what legacy you are leaving to your children.

Companies, especially big ones, like to pretend that money isn’t a motivator.  Such insanity is part of the unique form of brain damage that comes from excessive exposure to professors.  Working for wages does not make you a prostitute.  Only selling your principles for favor can do that.  Working for wages makes you a producer, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Let your employer stay a few dollars ahead of you.  Do this by making sure you do just a little more than you are paid for.  When the time comes, and it usually does, for you to tell him to kiss your grits, you want to make damn sure you don’t owe him a nickel.  Years ago, I read a proverb titled, “Alaskan Philosophy,” and I’ve found that the further from it I drift, the more stupid and screwed up my life gets.  It is simply this:  “Live each day so you can look every man square in the eye and tell him to go to hell.”  Telling people to go to hell is NOT the objective!  The objective is to make certain you have dealt with all men fairly, and have taken advantage of none.  At the top of the list of those with whom you must be on the level is the one who looks back at you from the mirror.  That sucker will kick your butt if you don’t, and if you don’t have that kind of relationship with him or her, you have greater problems than you know.
Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”  Believe it.

If you run into someone smarter than you, don’t get mad at him. It ain’t his fault.   ~Cowboy proverb.

Never get so damned smart you can’t learn something from every person you meet.  ~My dad

Read.  Read at least a few minutes every day.  Start with something that interests you, but as you grow, branch out. Read things that challenge and stretch you.  Five years from now, you will be the same person you are today with the exception of the books you read and the people with whom you associate.  Goethe said, “A man’s mind, once stretched to fit a new idea, will never return to its former size and shape.”  (He also said “Where they burn books, they will burn men.”  True dat.)

You can’t interfere with folks’ right to be stupid.   ~My mom

Being open minded does not mean accepting any damnfool drivel that happens to blow through your ears.  It means listening to the ideas of others and evaluating them honestly and fairly.  Have your own values and standards, know what they are, and live by them.  If you find something better, change, but never, ever let anyone bluff or bully you into changing your mind without a good reason.  And in your own dealings with others, remember that all you can do is offer your opinion; it’s up to them to pick it up or leave it lay.  This is at the heart of The Gospel.  We all have the right and obligation to exercise our agency, and that agency starts with what we think and believe.  God offers us His testimony and His wisdom, but He doesn’t jam it down our throats, and when people who claim to be His servants start jamming things, don’t hesitate to put a stop to it.  Don’t judge the Gospel by some of the idiots who profess to teach it, but remember you can go wrong by being too skeptical as readily as by being too trusting. 

Most folks’ idea of religion has about the same relationship to the Gospel as education does to intelligence, i.e., none to speak of.  ~Me (because I’ve used it a lot and don’t remember where I got it.)

Never let school interfere with your education, your job with being productive, nor a relationship with loving.  ~Me

You can spend all your love making time, or you can spend all your time making love. ~The Eagles

The only person who never made a mistake never did anything.  Always – always do your best to do what’s right, but understand you aren’t perfect, and you’re going to screw up.  You will hurt yourself and those you love. You will blow opportunities.  Don’t let it make you afraid to play the game.  Do your best, learn from your mistakes, and keep slugging.  God will forgive you if you ask Him sincerely, but it’s not that easy for people.  Forgiving yourself may be one of the toughest things you’ll ever do, but few things will contribute more to your personal growth or the satisfaction you take from living.  You are an amazing, stunning being, “wonderfully and fearfully made.”  Wallow in it, and be thankful.

Finally, don’t be stupid.  May Our Father in Heaven bless you all and keep you safe.

Your pard,

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