Mean what you say
February 26, 2021
We have too many high sounding words and too few actions that correspond with them.
Ray’s Daily first published on April 26, 2005
Abigail said this centuries ago, however it has only been lately that I have noticed how prevalent the problem has become. To me it is almost as if we have adopted George Orwell’s Newspeak as our primary language. I remember when commitment meant an obligation, today I find it just as often means something like “I definitely will do it” leaving out the part about “If I have nothing better to do.” Too many times we have to get more volunteers than we need since we know many will not honor their commitment. It is the same thing with the word prompt, it use to mean something like punctual, today it just as often means sometime that same day.
The sad part is that it seems too many of us have accepted the fact that words have lost their precision. Many of us just accept the fact that people may or may not mean what they say. It is almost as if the politicians and others who look us straight in the eye and say “everything is fine” often enough have conditioned us to believe what is said not caring excessively about accuracy.
I wish I was wrong. I wish people would do as they say, honor their commitments, and return to integrity. What ever happened to “My word is my bond,” “You can take what I say to the bank,” and “You can count on me”? Honesty, commitment, and reliability all take work, work that is an investment in ourselves, others, and the world around us. So let’s start a Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say movement and let us stamp out Newspeak wherever we find it.
Of course I don’t mean you, and I don’t mean me, I mean that other guy behind the tree.
Our major obligation is not to mistake slogans for solutions.
Edward R. Murrow
A kind-hearted motorist saw a man struggling to change a tire alongside the highway, and pulled over to see whether he could help.
The man had a very red face, and a dark smear across it where he’d wiped off sweat with dirty hands. His tie was undone and his shirt collar askew, and it was clear he had also wiped his hands on his once-white shirt.
Close to him stood an immaculately neat woman who was speaking in quick, agitated tones.
“Hello, there,” said the motorist. “Say, I’ve changed a lot of tires ….. maybe I can help here.”
“You sure can,” the man with the flat tire replied wearily. “My wife is an expert, too. If you will just do all the arguing with her about how this tire ought to be changed, I will concentrate on the dirty work and get the job done.”
“I think the one lesson I have learned is that there is no substitute for paying attention.”
GOD’S THOUGHTS ON LAWNS
GOD: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there on that planet Earth? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these green rectangles.
ST. FRANCIS: It’s the tribes that settled there, LORD. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers “weeds” and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.
GOD: Grass? But it’s so boring. It’s not colorful. It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It’s sensitive to temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, LORD. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.
GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, LORD. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it — sometimes twice a week.
GOD: They cut it? Do they then bail it like hay?
ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly, LORD. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.
GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?
ST. FRANCIS: No, Sir. Just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.
GOD: Now let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?
ST. FRANCIS: Yes, Sir.
GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.
ST. FRANCIS: You aren’t going to believe this LORD. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.
GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It’s a natural circle of life.
ST. FRANCIS: You better sit down, LORD. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.
GOD: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?
ST. FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.
GOD: And where do they get this mulch?
ST. FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.
GOD: Enough. I don’t want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?
ST. CATHERINE: ‘Dumb and Dumber,’ Lord. It’s a real stupid movie about….
GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St Francis.
It is terrible to grow old alone – my wife has not had a birthday in ten years.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the man who thought he was dead, when in reality he was very much alive. His delusion became such a problem that his family finally paid for him to see a psychiatrist.
The psychiatrist spent many laborious sessions trying to convince the man he was still alive. Nothing seemed to work. Finally the doctor tried one last approach. He took out his medical books and proceeded to show the patient that dead men don’t bleed. After hours of tedious study, the patient seemed convinced that dead men don’t bleed.
“Do you now agree that dead men don’t bleed?” the doctor asked.
“Yes, I do,” the patient replied.
“Very well, then,” the doctor said.
He took out a pin and pricked the patient’s finger. Out came a trickle of blood.
The doctor asked, “What does that tell you?”
“Oh my goodness!” the patient exclaimed as he stared incredulously at his finger……. “Dead men do bleed!!”
She said, there are easier things in life than finding a good man…like nailing Jello to a tree, for instance.
She also said: I was on vacation in Las Vegas, playing the slot machines.
It was my first time in a casino, and I wasn’t sure how any of the machines operated.
“Excuse me.” I said to a casino employee. “How does this work?”
The worker showed me how to insert a bill, hit the spin button, and operate the release handle.
“And where does the money come out?” I asked.
He smiled and motioned to a far wall before saying, “Usually at the ATM.”
The ingredients of happiness are so simple that they can be counted on one hand.
Happiness comes from within, and rests most securely on simple goodness and clear conscience.
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.
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