“Simplicity is the examined life richly lived. It is asking ourselves what’s important, what matters. We all think that someday we’ll start living. But few of us feel fully alive.”
Yesterday a friend of mine and me discussed the challenges that we all face these days. There is no doubt that our world is changing and the question is are these changes temporary or is it the beginning of new structural changes that will modify our lives. Personally I doubt that what is normal today will ever be normal again.
It seems that in an effort to reestablish what we had that we are looking for magic solutions that most often are flights of fancy at best. Too many of us believe that if we open up oil drilling and recovery everywhere we will achieve energy independence and cheap fuel. The reality is that the oil pumped from North America is oil that will be on the world market and it is doubtful that whatever new oil comes on the market that we would see supply exceeding the rapidly growing demand, we might as well face it we will never see cheap gasoline again. It is also doubtful that we will ever return to really cheap imports, the dollar has lost too much of its value and with trade and staggering debt most of us will no longer be able to have every new toy and every new fashion. I also don’t know how food prices can fall with the growing demand coming from a more affluent third world, a rapidly expanding global population and agricultural lands being lost to drought and non-food crops.
Many of us ignore the impact of global warming through discussion of green house gasses, natural changes and the like. Unfortunately as we talk about it polar ice is melting, once fertile lands have gone fallow due to a lack of rain, and as sea levels rise we are beginning to see shore line creep that may very well have a disastrous effect on coastal cities in the years ahead.
Couple all this with back breaking government debt, an aging population, a shrinking workforce, an unsustainable health system and it does not take much intellectual effort to see that we face major life style changes in the future.
The question will be how well we handle the changes. Will we come together as a people as we did in the aftermath of the roaring Twenties? Will we rally around national solutions as we did in the Forties? Will we find happiness in the simpler life style of the Fifties? Will our inability to overload our time with our toys, trips, and excesses result in our using the time to rediscover so many of the everyday things that we overlook these days? It’s our choice, we can wallow in self pity and fight reality as we find that we no longer have it all or we can find happiness in new behaviors and a return to a lifestyle that had so much to offer in years past.
I have been around a long time often challenged by today’s complexities but I have also found some of the very best things that happened in my life took place in simpler times.
"While our lives are full, they seem somehow less than they could be. They resemble a page crammed with too much type – and the margins get narrower all the time. "
A missionary heard about a native who had five wives.
"You are violating a law of God," he said, "so you must go and tell four of those women you can no longer live here or consider you their husband."
The native thought a few moments, then said, "Me wait here. You tell ’em."
The person who agrees with everything you say either isn’t paying attention or plans to sell you something.
A man entered a stationery store and asked the clerk for a birthday/anniversary card.
The clerk replied, "We have birthday cards and we have anniversary cards. Why not take one of each?"
The man said, "You don’t understand. I need a card that covers *both* events! You see, we’re celebrating the fifth anniversary of my wife’s thirty-fourth birthday…"
To find a fault is easy; to do better may be difficult.
Old Abraham was a poor tailor whose shop was next door to a very upscale French restaurant. Every day at lunch time, Abraham would go out the back of his shop and eat his black bread and herring while smelling the wonderful odors coming from the restaurant’s kitchen. But one day, Abraham was surprised to receive an invoice from the restaurant for ‘enjoyment of food’.
So he went to the restaurant to point out that he had not bought anything from them.
The manager said, "You’re enjoying our food, so you should pay us for it."
Abraham refused to pay and the restaurant sued him.
At the hearing, the judge asked the restaurant to present their side of the case.
The manager said, "Every day, this man comes and sits outside our kitchen and smells our food while eating his. It is clear that we are providing added value to his poor food and we deserve to be compensated for it."
The judge turns to Abraham and said, "What do you have to say to that?"
Abraham didn’t say anything but stuck his hand in his pocket and rattled the few coins he had inside.
The judge asked him, "What is the meaning of that?"
Abraham replied, "I’m paying for the smell of his food with the sound of my money."
I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.
Morty and Sarah had just returned home from a party. Sarah said, "Do you realize what you did tonight, Morty?"
"No I don’t," Morty replied, "But I’ll admit I was wrong. What did I do?"
The worst thing about censorship is *******
"What’s the usual tip?" a man growled when a college boy delivered his pizza.
"Well," the student replied, "this is my first delivery, but the other guys said that if I got a quarter out of you, I’d be doing great."
"That so?" grunted the man. "In that case, here’s five dollars."
"Thanks," the student said, "I’ll put it in my college fund."
"By the way, what are you studying?"
"Starbucks announced this week that from now on new Starbucks employees will be required to go through 32 hours of training.
The first hour Starbucks employees learn how to make a cup of coffee, then the next 31 hours they learn how to charge $4 with a straight face."
In a department store, a difficult customer and a patient clerk were having a hard time getting together. Nothing the clerk provided was suitable.
Finally, the finicky shopper said in annoyance, "Can’t you find a smarter clerk to serve me?"
"No," said the saleswoman. "The smarter clerk saw you coming and disappeared."
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
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.