Calm Political Spirits

It’s President’s day. I don’t know where to begin about the fact that it is President’s day. What to say, right? Let me start with my recent Facebook post:


“Yesterday I was mocked. Kind of unbelievable, but not unexpected. A simple question of mine was, apparently, offensive enough to warrant such a response. Let me say, for the record, if your political posture is such that it requires you to knock me down (which didn’t happen) with mockery, I’m not impressed with you, your opinion, or the person you support.
Grow up, learn how to have a civil conversation, and then we can revisit the matter at hand.
I am a flawed human admitting my mistakes every day. This is not to say I am perfect – far from the fringes of perfection. We can have vast differences in matters regarding politics. But, I will tolerate only so much of this hatred and divisiveness … Where ARE we? Have we lost the ability to meet somewhere in a place called kind, pleasant, and meaningful where friends pull up chairs to talk with one another? As I posted below in a reply, “Dirty conversational air floating around these days making it so hard to breathe normally anymore” …”

Here are some of the wonderful comments that followed:

Though we agree to disagree everyone is entitled to their own opinions(even though mine is right). Just kidding. 😂😂😂 Hold on to your own beliefs and no one is able to take them from you my friend!😘 – CH

It will only get worse from here on. But to change it will take an enormous effort by us to keep positive no matter what. – MF

Dang, sorry it went that way. Hopefully there will be growing tiredness with dissension and we will more and more seek common ground. – KE

Remember that those who hate really only hate themselves. But they have to deflect that hatred on others because they lack the ability to effect a change or accept responsibility for their own actions. – BP

Our glorious earth spins about 1,000 miles per hour. We don’t feel this motion because the speed is constant. If we lived on a herky-jerky ball of rock instead of an enormous, smooth moving river stone floating through space, “feel it we would” in Yoda speak. So fortunate are we to colonize a still, calm world … well, the perception of such from space, anyway.. Did I mention today is President’s day?

Our collective heads are spinning faster than 1,000 miles per hour. We feel it because the motion isn’t constant. It’s one side pulling against the other in an adult playground game of who-can-be-the-less-adult tug of war. We expect to see a principal – an overseer of rules – monitoring activity over near the edge of the grass, but notice no one. Who we see are all the elected from an elementary school of privilege where we, the uninvited, must sit idly by and watch through a fence erected through years of our indifference.

This is where we choose to take our stand these days and I don’t see it improving. Shouting through the holes in the fence, but not at the ones who deserve the wrath. We go to social media .. and yell at each other, apparently. I say we, politely so, because I will never, ever call out someone personally. Above is as close as I will ever come to a personal attack on anyone. That was a bad day for the other gentleman – I am glad to grant him a “bad day”.

Facebook, especially, is full of you-are-wrong-and-I am-right political memes, commentaries, opinions, jokes, stats, pictures, and insults. More friends are lost than found. This isn’t the fault of Facebook. Mark Zukerberg invented a format for us to share ideas, loves, and dog pictures. Sure, he’s made a-gazillion dollars and probably has his political leanings – agree with or not – however, he has no culpability in our decisions to click the “post now” or “like” thumb icons.

We stand in solidarity behind the fence, yet argue with each other. What good is it to stand in the mud outside a wire fence, screaming insults among ourselves, when imps are playing unending, monotonous, irresponsible, rather expensive games on a field tilted, unfortunately for all of us, in their financial favor?

Yet, we have this day, President’s Day. A day set aside to honor George Washington’s birthday. The day became known as Presidents Day when it became part of the 1971 Uniform Monday Holiday Act. Pretty much an act to give federal employees a three day weekend. Way to go, George! Up to Me? Just give all guys named George the day off, and all the residents in the state of Washington, too.

The Presidency. Just don’t see us celebrating that office the way we used to, regardless who is sitting in that beautiful oval room. There will always be a narrow, focused segment of our wonderful fence claspers heaping unfounded praises upon the person duly elected to this great honor. As well, detractors dug in a few feet away, holding on just as tight, will immediately dispell those claims of praise and establish their own imaginary parameters of truth.

This is where we are. We can do better. I say let’s shut down the school. That way the playground swings, teeter-totter, and tug rope are all ka-put. No more games. No more fences. All of us on the same level, less-expensive playing field where we play by the same rules. We can learn how to have winners and losers again. Rich people and poor people (who can be cared for and looked after) hugging each other with no animosity or disdain. We can be less angry with each other and quit trying to decide who always right or wrong.

I decided recently that I like coconut and scallops. Way off topic; however, if I can do that, President’s day, 2020 can go a lot smoother for all of us if we decide to calm down a bit from our need to be right all the time politically. The earth will still spin. We won’t feel a thing because it is constant … as our calm spirit should be all the time.

Two Days from Love

February 16th, today, is two days from love. The consequences of vased floral arrangements are partially, if not fully, in bloom. Deep red, sweet chocolate strawberries, once nestled in the finest paper linens, have been kissed and consumed. Cards done. Exchanged, as inside words – from the hands of lovers – caressed plans for wonderful futures and reflected on one magical moment of first sight when all of time and space stopped ….

February 16th, today, is two days from love. The consequences of not receiving any acts or gifts of love or kindness are in full bloom. Chance meetings never happened. ‘Right place, right time” paradigm absent as some among us shuffle through their lives realizing it hasn’t been. Some by choice, others hoping a connection – a love – someday would write “I love you” in a glittered, $1.99 drug store find and slide it under their door. No chocolate strawberries or flowers necessary. Just that.

Two very different ways to look at today. We either want more, or desire less, depending upon our perspective. Seems a bit redundant to write it that way, but here’s what I mean:

Today is an after-effect of the love day. I’m allowing yesterday as a honeymoon/hangover period. All the wine and food needed a day to graciously find its way to the exit door, figuratively speaking😉. The “I love you” moments, hopefully, have continued, but maybe not with the intensity as before, or the “just another day-in-the life” ticks push forward into vanilla skies with no chocolate drizzle for those less fortunate. Both similar deep-breaths from that day 48 hours ago…

…When juices flowed, mixing with artificial stimuli creating magical scenarios rivaling only the greatest dime store romance novel covers. Engagement ring bells tolled, restaurant menus were filled to capacity with dilated eyes staring across wine goblets and rose-filled vases, while variations of “The Story of Our Love” were shared all across social media platforms. This was a wonderful day to be sharing love, indeed.

Until the realization that life has to be normal again. An after-effect of the love day.

That day, nobody came to the door singing a valentine’s day song. The mail arrived early, so at least some of those bills could be paid and ready to go by Saturday morning’s pick up. Probably NetFlix was steaming a favorite t.v. show – watchable in 22 minute blocks; So, it’s likely a whole season’s worth of shows could be watched by the time eyelids become bricks around 11:00. It gets tiresome. Being alone. Especially on these romantic holidays. Year over year, desires wane and expectations lessen with each knock that isn’t heard on my door and every date not accepted”.

These words are living in all of our communities today. Some wonderful people are living wonderful lives, perfectly happy being alone, while others don’t want to be, but are. There could reasons, known or not, why a suitable partner hasn’t appeared in that AHA moment for them. We know as much about love-connections – and genetics behind match-making – as we do about socks disappearing in the laundry. To give up, or not give up? Refine the search, or settle with available? Wear two sock that aren’t really compatible because who really looks, anyway? Simply, push through another all-red holiday of mushy-mush and kissy-kiss, find some friends who will belly up to a bar for a few martinis or brews, and go back home to check the e-mail, facebook, and snapchat thing.

And realize that life has to be normal again tomorrow. An after-effect of the love day.

I’m not down at all on the February 14th day celebration. May sound like it, but no. If you’ve managed to get this far without clicking out of what seems to be a depressing post, congratulations! Your rewards check is(n’t) in the mail. The older, and higher, my age number goes, I get a bit more cynical in my opinion of these holidays. Love is a real thing. So is the “Wow, the big day’s over, now what?” let down.

I guess the whole point of all this is: Don’t lose sight of what’s normal, predictable, and steady. These special celebratory days are nice for the moment – and for those who are fortunate enough to be in a situation to celebrate them. Normal and steady can also mean being alone – happy or not – and this is also a reality for a lot of our neighbors.

This post is one day shy of President’s day, 2020. Another day to celebrate and THREE days from love. There will be no attempt from this writer to tie in Valentine’s Day with President’s Day. Nobody I know loves politics these days.

With that, my sincerely hopes that love found you hopeful in some form this weekend.

Doug

The Equation for Infinity, Life, and Our Cell Phones

A camera selfie in the mirror is infinite. To put this image into simpler, easier to understand language:

It’s infinitely more difficult to take a cell-fie than I thought. The little bubble eye-patchure thing is positioned in the upper 7th section of the phone just about where impossibility meets impatience. Granted, I don’t own the greatest and latest, but c’mon now! This should have been an easier task. Point, click, and shoot. Not to mention, although I will, last Thanksgiving a relative set the count-down-from-ten clock … an added ten seconds to my life I can’t get rid of in my phone. My “take this pic, and shove the backward ten numbers I can’t figure out how to disengage up your, well … ” Samsung, hip-hugging, pocket-inserting device which is the subject of a woe today.

More like a “whoa!” … said I, when settling into a familiar red booth, patting one of two empty pockets where said phone should have been.

It began as a morning of hope after a relatively good 7 hours sleep without neighborhood sirens, bodily interruptions, twisty-tie sheets jammed in my face, or pillows acting as suffocating murderers. Yesterday’s long blog in the hopper – thankfully so, as it was a day long project ending five hours later than projected. A bit surprised at the 9-degree temperature, though, due to the unseasonably warm February weather lately. With no expectation of an unordinary day, my hopeful self opened the familiar glass doors to a cafe of warm tea and friendships.

One friend was already quite comfortable looking sitting behind the steam of her second mug of coffee. Two others, under warmer circumstances, would have already been seated and served. With this, I had the rare, coveted choice of “inside or outside” booth-butt placement with the added bonus of being able to change my mind at any time. Having made a choice, I readied my posture … bent knees, tilted torso, momentum forward …

…then, “Whoa!!” I realized I left my cell phone at home. 🤦🏻‍♂️🙄

Of all the infinite problems an individual universe could visit upon someone, leaving a cell phone 4 miles away – in a familiar safe place – isn’t one of the unsolvables. It’s simply one of the classic “d’uhs” normal human-people stub their day on every once in a while. I didn’t recognize it as such until later. The moment I felt pockets as empty as wordy words without w’s, I knew my morning booth breakfast time was setting up to be more than one bacon strip short of a two-thousand calorie good time.

My leg twitched constantly. Righthand-smacking, a consequence of boredom, developed a red mark on the outside of a right thigh that didn’t deserve the abuse. Constant tapping, of what I believe to have been a Chopin Nocturne, on the table in front of my two friends (one new arrival adding to the mix) contributing to the vacancy of sanity in my head at the time. Head bobbing, not in agreement to anything, but in sync with the already metronomic twitching going on under the table … all of which, together, provide a symphony of laughs for the other patrons enjoying their breakfast fare.

At no time did I pay more than a few minutes attention to any conversation during the hour-and-a-half visit with my two friends … and this is a sad commentary on my life.

My phone was safe. I, clearly, was not.

Ok. Maybe that is overstating the problem a bit. It was a small wake-up. I was shocked how much not having my cell phone by my side changed how I thought – almost immediately. Granted, above assumed some literary license and I had fun writing, but it’s not too far from how I felt.

Mostly, the “what if” feelings crept in. What if someone important is calling me? What if I am missing an important text? What if there is a comment to a FaceBook post I wrote earlier? What if … this and that.

What if ….I missed important conversations with two really good friends because I was too worried about a cell phone missing, but safe at home? A question that never entered my mind until later.

It began as morning of limited hope. I can end the day with infinite hope having learned my lesson. Find your friends and a cafe. Not sayin’ to forget your cell phones at home, just maybe keep them in your pocket. This prevents a whole lot of twitching, patting, tapping, and metronomic nodding in public places and possibly saves an opportunity with friends that may never present itself again.

Leaning Overcoming Valuing Exceeding

Forty-five days since the beginning of 2020, we’ve arrived. February 14th. The day celebrated by a two-semi circled coming-to-a-point red symbol representing a feeling of eternal bliss. Credit to Pope Gelasius for declaring this day so in the year 496. Every year since, thanks to this fine pointy-headed gentleman, societies have been strapped ,err.. burdened, err… blessed with celebrating a minor holiday relative to dates set aside for giving thanks and starting nations. One-thousand, five-hundred, twenty-four years of knuckle dragging the glass of countless candy counters, eye-scratching over card covers, and sniff-snorkeling the classiest carnations. Yeah, thanks so much to Sir Gelatin, or Gelasuis. Whatever.

I’m not down on this day. Sounds like it, but not. Thinking maybe Pope G. was a bit lonely, though. Maybe if he had some extra minutes (and encouraging friends) to think it through, a few slurp-sips of timely wine ounces headed up into his brain may have been able to change his mind … and, by extension, our forced buying habits on this, the most cherished love day of all. Ah, there it is …. the word: LOVE.

The word “love” produced 18 Trillion results in .54 seconds. That’s trillion with a “T” in Google. Took me more time to say it. Here’s the copy/paste: “About 18,180,000,000 results (0.54 seconds)” … Geesh. Tell me, again, how unimportant you think love is to people? Not that you ever said it, but really? … In 1980, Midnight Star released a song, “Searching for Love” … They ain’t kidding!:

I am searching for love, searching for love, searching for love
I am searching for love, searching for love, searching for loveSometimes in my life, I feel that I may have
Everything I need
But deep down inside of me, my heart ….

Source: Musixmatch. Songwriters: Belinda Bo Watson. Searching for Love lyrics © Sony/atv Songs Llc Dba Epic/solar, Sony/atv Songs Epic/solar Obo Midstar Music

So, now 45 days in, we’re left with a (presumably) dead Pope, candy, cards, flowers, … and love. Carving out the first three, for obvious artificial reasons, I’ll focus on the last – one letter at a time.

L

LEANING I’m a dog guy. “U” wouldn’t find this surprising seeing as how this is the only letter missing between our Doug & dog identifiers. Cat, Iguana, or pony didn’t seem right when pushing oversized pencils across inappropriately small lined paper, so I knew early on I would grow up to be a dog-man. Elementary school was great for drawing goldfish and stick horses, but there was nothing like a real dog welcoming home a tired pre-teen just off a bouncy, long bus ride from school.

Two legs or four, those first few moments were fresh and new. Suddenly, not so heavily worn were the paws of a friend waiting all day by the bay window, or the small canvas Keds tucked under a one-piece crayon scraped desk. An embrace between great friends. Love found a way through.

Hard times and rough patches are the large pencils in our adult lives. It’s certainly difficult to make things write a lot of the time. The paper is too small – if available at all – and drawing anything that makes sense to anyone else is … well … nearly impossible.

So what we ended up with is a long, bumpy ride on life’s bus to where-ever town … that place looking smokin’ hot in our fantasies until cold-showered by reality. Exiting the bus, we are searching for the one welcome home. The one real lean on me. The one who waits by the door with a hot cup of tea and an embrace saying, “I missed you. Come on in.”

O

OVERCOMING. Sometime around early spring of 2007, a well respected OB-GYN diagnosed stage 3 cancer in my mom. In my limited understanding at the time, this meant her cancer was a bit more serious than that “little small dot” was expected to be. This disease is sneaky. Mom accepted the news -tragic as it was – with full acceptance and a classic head tilt of resignation.

Those of us not in half snapped hospital gowns, partially torn bandages, and cheap paper thin sheets stood in the hallway half-stunned. We, the supposedly still healthy ones, were challenged more by the news than my mom who, by any reasonable standards, was merrily on her way thinking of someone else’s need by then. That’s how she rolled – or coped. Never quite sure.

Five years of treatments. I’ve told, and written, of her journey before and never tire of the story. Pain, for sure. Surgeries. Relapses. Never too far away from it. Travel. Rashes. Other ailments and problems due to the chemo and drugs. On and on and on ….. Her motto every day? “Today is my new normal!”

She died in March of 2012. I never asked her if that motto was original. I’ve also avoided googling it in fear it wasn’t. For me, it belongs to her. It is what I will always love about her. Overcoming her days of pain with optimism and hope … even when facing the most challenging of little, small dots that grew into monsters she fought so bravely to keep away from those of us she loved.

V

VALUING We have a True Value hardware store in town. I don’t visit very often for blatantly obvious reasons. One, hammers and I have an unfriendly business relationship. I’ve offered my thumbs as a contract bargaining chip without my prior consent too many times, so I temporarily halted negotiations. Two, if one more box of odd-sized brads, nails, tacks, or small pointy metal spears ends up on a shelf in my basement, my house will become the third magnetic pole. Finally, PVC cement smells so ridiculously sweet, I’m afraid the temptation to buy more under the ruse of building a gargantuan PVC playground would be too great.

This is the true value I place on not going into True Value. Sure, they’re silly words, but I do recognize the importance of not doing things that are not valuable. Ok, grammarians, I get the double negative no-no🤫😉🙄, however, you understand my mind-blowing, humbly proud genius here, right?

We need to love ourselves, and/or others, enough to value our time. If not, why do it? True value. Hold hands if asked, a meaningful hug, small dinner at home with the kids, time alone reading or playing an instrument, anything that helps us complete our picture of “full and valuable me”. Love is valuable. Try to not leave it on the bottom shelf of life where no one will see it.

E

EXCEEDING. In sales, if you under-promise and then over-deliver on a consistent basis, you’re as good as a ten-legged horse in a potato sack race. Promise $200, give ’em $100 … you’re a fool. Say, “I’ll bring ‘ya $50 by sun–up tomorrow”, and then deliver $100? You’re a hero riding a white stallion with four normal legs… maybe sporting a fancy black saddle with gold sequins emblazoned with a large “A” (for awesome), and …. well you imagine whatever you want from here.

Take this smooth ride into town – thankful it isn’t a long, bouncy trek – with your head touching the bottom of the highest cloud. This horse you ride is trotting you on a path well-deserved.

This attention to a career path has led many to great successes. Some continue to ride their great horses years after understanding the basic UP-OD principle. Translated, they love what they do, and it shows through constantly exceeding expectations of others.

My guess is Pope Gelasius leaned over, quite auspiciously in his wooden, creaky throne, to a random red cloaked Vicar and whispered, “Vicar, my man, we have not a day set aside to honor the greatest emotion among us – that of luuhve!”. He then, in quiet repose, must have retreated deeper into his thoughts. “I do believe, fifteen-hundred years in the future, a man will love dogs just enough to write a blog (note to self: I have no idea what a blog is) .. about what love really is on the very day I hereby decree a holiday”.

“Vicar! …. MORE WINE!!”

She Reads, Still

“Sitting outside, gazing down at the same page year after year, she is silent in her moments. Her right index finger always expecting to reveal the magic of the next page, but at no time given that opportunity. Not once will the casual breeze across her bangs unsettle those finely placed. Locks of gentle hair, solidly cast in youthful pose, will rest upon the head of this child forever. A child who will be ever so content reading, day and night, the greatest words she will ever see.”

I pass this statue almost every day. She is tucked into a little alcove over, in, and around a few small trees, knee walls, sidewalks, and parking lots. Don’t mean to say she’s hidden from view. Not at all. She’s there for the viewing. I am one-hand wrestling with car key rings attached to body parts – while circus juggling supplies, personal hoists, and cell phones with my other – shuffling by blindly … day after day. This is what I, and others, do to satisfy the busy minutes tick-tacking away under our feet. Yet she reads, still.

What does she think of us? Never looking up, she must begin to see us only through words spoken in passing. Dialogues we have with ourselves, perhaps, when a bad day is appeased by overtly self-proclaiming, “What the (bleep) just happened ?!”; Or, when we take solace in another’s equally miserable, temporary, hollowed-out-like-a-charred-marshmallow, mud-rack of an existence. In either case, she hears all of it. She must.

She partakes, also, in the auditory joys of our happy quotational exchanges as well such as the Friday heading-out for the weekend “Yeahs!”, accompanied by the almost always, “I hope you have a wonderful weekend … because Monday will be here before we know it.” I’m positive both warrant a reaction: her hard shell will not, but her soft heart will provide a response. Warmer months providing a recess from inside activities, kids find her to be a vessel of their happy words of play as they scamper about playing four-square and other make-up games in their fancy imaginations.

This girl about us, of happy and sad beginning words, sits. This girl is about us. What does she truly think of us? We can know the answer based on what we know about ourselves. The words inside her forever future are the rusty nails and gold crowns passed through her ears. These treasures and toils of our own doing sit with her still. She will, by the very nature of her existence, keep them in harbor to never set them free upon the seas of our audible, moving world. So we must look at ourselves, through her, to know what she thinks of us.

She may think we are too busy to care about her. Our words of “this to do”and “that is more important” are heard as “I don’t want time with you now” as her head remains steadfastly down. We don’t see little angel tears start to drizzle over sad cheeks framed around a disappointed smile. She wants this moment for her play while we want multiples upon multiples for our more adult work-stuff … and insist on walking by. Still.

She may think our things are more important than our thoughts. Flowery out louds, disguising our intended “I must have”s and “I need more than you”s, rush to her for a refined discernment – that which she, in her innocence, is narrowly capable of doing. For she only knows what is truly hers: an open book, stool, and passers-by who are in search of the next best instead of seeing the best in their midst.

She may think we are living in the future fuss, not the present pleasant she senses all around every day. The “I’m not sure where I’m to be tomorrow”, or “When was that? I forgot .. Too much to do lately” pitter-patter of adulting language so much in the uncertain wind surrounding her. She listens to the words. They are as unsteady as the source from where they came, but must come to rest on her bare shoulders … soon to fall into her heart and remain still.

By contrast, she may think we are the most wonderful of creatures by our acts of love. We talk of “Going home to see someone we love” and “Caring for one another”. Our words travel upon arrows of kindness to targets of need while we walk by her with bags full for food banks. The young chatter of children, stepping up into a bus – yards away – headed out to visit local nursing homes, saturates the air with words any future would welcome. She remains still and blessed.

She may think we are loved ourselves. The moments of unknowns between two, sitting on the small wall nestled in behind her. “I’m here if you need me”, “Yes, I know”. Could be two adults speaking words necessary after a tremendous loss. Possibly two children, unspoken, in a gentle embrace during recess. She is there as a silent witness to the magic. Still. There.

All of these words she must, by design, keep silent. These treasures and toils of our own doing sit with her. Thousands of words. Every passing fancy we believe to be only ours is never just that when passing such a gentile soul.

In her we see how we treat others … and ourselves. This little, innocent girl is about us. We see people we are too busy to care about. We let thinking about things get in the way of thinking about the moments. Our futures have become our nows. However, we are capable of so much love – for ourselves and others. We have magic in our words.

She reads. The words in her still book always true for her. She could be anyone you pass by, anytime, anywhere. Don’t be too busy to say, “hi”. You could give that soul an opportunity to turn over a new page … opening up their treasure chest of rusty nails and gold crowns they’ve been silently sitting on for years.

If you need someone to talk to, she’ll … still … be here to talk to. I hear she’s a pretty good listener.

A Please Read

It’s outside what is considered normal for me to write a blog such as what I am about to do. My fingers hurt as I type, but these words are necessary … and I am not viewed as normal, anyway.

This will be a very short announcement.

In light of the difficulty in communicating “Two-point-three-billon-plus-one … oh, and the two and three are actual numbers whereas all the others are words” when responding to, “What is your blog address?” … I’ve decided to re-domain this blog.

WordPress, my host, and I have been diligently chatting, via little-square-box, and all necessary other boxes are checked. Nothing will be changing except my domain address going forward. Email notices should still be arriving to all subscribers, but you will notice the new address, not “2.3 Billion Plus One”.

I am sad to let go of my baby. He’s just to big to hold … and a mouthful to say. I am still in ownership of same, just maintained as a secondary domain.

Once I receive word http://www.DougHugs.com is clear, it will be my new site address going forward. Quite possible this has happened already. Same content. Same goofy me. Much, much easier to say and pretty much within normal as I can be for now.

Idowatotab'it

I invented a new word. “Idowatotab’it“.

Six vowels and an equal number of consonants alternate quite nicely, one after another, when glossed over the tongue. I encourage you to give it a go if you haven’t already. See … how fun, right?

Why this word … Ido-wato-tab’it?

As with all things, necessity breeds all things necessary in a life open to what is, necessarily, needed for all things to make sense; Therefore, I had to come up with a catch-all word to cover all the non-sense things happening in order to make sense out of all of the things I didn’t understand. Einstein struggled with his Theory of Everything. I have Idowatotabit. We’re pretty much the same I’m-man-concept except he had over-sexed hair and an accelerated IQ – accompanied with space-time fussiness – while I struggle with why bugs don’t walk in straight lines. I’m still working on that.

Too many times I’ve walked away – like last night, for example – without a feeling of “I had that”, or “Wow, I figured all that out”. Consider the problem of math. Simple math. Theoretically, simple math. The following problem appeared on my split Facebook screen:

Find three consecutive numbers such that when twice the first is subtracted from the third and the difference increased by 8, the result is the same as the first number, increased by 4.

I had slight interest in the answer to this problem at first. I DID care about the pocket 9-J of spades I was nursing in a hand of free texas holdem over on the left side of my split screen. The math involved figuring out pot and implied odds, after a Jack, Deuce, and Two hit the table on the flop with two aggressive players yet to act after me, was infinitely more fascinating. However, after a few subsequent peeks, my math geek third eye couldn’t help but consider < x+(1+x)+(2+x) such that when (2+x)-2x = y + 8 = x + 4 … > This was quite satisfying knowing I had, necessarily, come up with “3” as x … the correct answer in a relatively Einsteinly, non-theoretical short amount of time.

What should have more obvious to me is the Queen jumping off the table that was turned over as the 4th card, joining the Jack, Deuce, and Nine. This was a quite hazardous card for player A (me) staring down at 9-J. While I was over playing right-screen footsie with x and y, players B & C were actually paying full attention. Oh, I was clicking in chips because of my two-pair … no worries there … but the math I should have been executing there was otherwise detained.

Final card. Ding! … an Eight!…. Uh Oh. I had 9-J. Still had 9-J. On the board: Jack-Deuce-Nine-Queen-Eight.

Give me a bit of leeway to historize this particular game on this particular day. I was in a position to make the final table of nine players. The cards hit the table with over 350 players and had less than 10% remaining, including this guy who sometimes worries about quarters not lining up in neat, organized piles (that’s for you, John). Faced with possible elimination after dominating the chip stacks for forty-five minutes prior, I lost the math early in the hand and failed to make the correct bet sizes early (lingo for “I slopped the bucket”).

Player B … big bet after I checked knowing I was probably no good with only two pair. Player C folded. Ok. So it’s up to me. He, She, a dog or llama (online … didn’t know who it was – just an icon) has me all-in if I made the call. I knew what I was up against. A “10” I knew I was up against a straight. I knew, as sure as I knew the answer was “3”, that I was beat. So what did I do?

Yep … made the call. And lost all my chips. Why? Because bugs don’t walk in straight lines.

WHY? Because I had to know I was right! and …

WHY? What other way possible is there to come up with a catch-all word to cover all the non-sense things that happen in order to make sense out of all of the things I don’t understand? …Walking away, head down … not sad, but frustrated. Solving a sixth grade math problem (did I mention quickly?) while creating an adult problem for myself seems to be the split screen in life. The solving one, but creating another paradigm all of us face. I suspect, when considering the ever popular Stress–energy–momentum pseudotensor. Einstein himself found no solace at times between this idiomatic rock and hard place. The 9-J of his time.

Not dejected, but thwarted, I began my trek away from the very computer where
“I had that”, but didn’t. I started talking to inanimate objects, kicking my emotional self for third-eye wanderings, woefully cursing the curse of understanding quadratic equations, and then I stopped. Halted by a wondrously, wonderful, overwhelmingly syrupy word!

IDOWATOTAB’IT

My escape key from the emotional straight jacket paradigm. And, may I suggest it for your use as well?

Say it slowly with a forward hand gesture and a rich, deep Italian accent … With all the fervor and angst you can muster … Got it?

I don’t know what a Stress–energy–momentum pseudotensor does. I hope, for all bugs everywhere, there isn’t one walking around tomorrow, minding its own business, walking in an arc of distress seeing as it will not end well for either of us. For me, bug parts attached under my shoe I’ll need to clean and, well, spattered bug parts under my shoe for it. The solving one, but creating another paradigm all of us face. Even bugs.

Eewe, Ido-wato-tab’it anymore.

.