For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin–real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.
Alfred D. Souza
I had breakfast today with a friend who is retiring next week. We had talked over the months about life after a full time job and the choices that people can or must make when they retire. In my friends case she was fortunate to have many options because of her wisdom and talent. One of her many talents is photography and retirement provides her the opportunity to turn professional and make some pretty good money. In her mind she has two choices, she can turn pro and take the pictures others tell her to take, or stay as she is and take the pictures she wants to take. She has chosen the latter. All I can say is great! Just think what it will be like when she gets to see all that is around her as she looks for the next shot. There is discovery around every corner, things that will trigger a new thought, a new feeling, and even an occasional new path.
As I have thought more about her plan I realized that those same doors are there for us all, all we have to do is choose and then walk through. We can try to be what others think we should be, where we only see what is there and never see what is around the corner. We can take a job doing the same thing we always did or take one that lets us see what we have missed. We can choose to go to where retired people go and do the same thing most everyday, with the same people while wondering if this is all there is. Or we can do things we never did before and go places to see what we missed in the past. The great thing is that we don’t have to lock ourselves in to one thing or the other. If doing one thing is no fun we won’t have to do it again, if it is us fun we can come back for more. And we can do things that mean something, both of ourselves and for others.
One of the ways to measure the quality of the rest of our lives is contained in this poem by Emily Dickenson.
If I can stop one Heart from breaking
I shall not live in vain
If I can ease one Life the Aching
Or cool one Pain
Or help one fainting Robin
Unto his Nest again
I shall not live in Vain.
My friend Carolyn sent this to me, it was too good not to pass on to you.
Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country.
Here are last year’s winners…..
1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole i n it.
4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.
9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.
10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 PM instead of 7:30.
12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 pm traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.
16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River .
18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
The difference between ignorance and apathy? I don’t know, and I couldn’t care less…
The new inmate at the mental hospital announced in a loud voice that he was the famous British naval hero, Lord Nelson. This was particularly interesting, because the institution already had a ‘Lord Nelson.’ The head psychiatrist, after due consideration, decided to put the two men in the same room, feeling that the similarity of their delusions might prompt an adjustment in each that would help in curing them. It was a calculated risk, of course, for the two men might react violently to one another, but they were introduced and then left alone and no disturbance was heard from the room that night.
The next morning, the doctor had a talk with his new patient and was more than pleasantly surprised when he was told: "Doctor, I’ve been suffering from a delusion. I know now that I am not Lord Nelson."
"That’s wonderful," said the doctor.
"Yes," said the patient, smiling demurely, "I’m Lady Nelson."
True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it be lost.
Charles Caleb Colton
I couldn’t find my luggage at the airport baggage area, so I went to the lost luggage office and told the woman there that my bags never showed up. She smiled and told me not to worry, because she was a trained professional and I was in good hands.
"Now," she asked me, "has your plane arrived yet"?
There is only one success–to be able to spend your life in your own way.
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies.
The editor is somewhat senile.