Monthly Archives: January 2011

The world according to Bob Maue

My dad would be 94 years old today. In honor of his birthday, I’m remembering some of my favorite Bob Maue quotes:

1. If you keep watching Batman, you’re going to turn into a moron.

2. Why don’t you play it slowly until you learn it, and then you can play it fast?

3. Take the spoon out of that glass, or you’re going to put your eye out.

4. (In “sympathy” for my falling down the stairs): If you didn’t wear such dumb shoes, that wouldn’t happen.

5. (Also in “sympathy” for my falling down the stairs): If you wouldn’t come down the stairs in your stocking feet, that wouldn’t happen.

6. The sun is over the yard-arm. (Meaning it’s past 5:00, and therefore, cocktail time.)

7. If that guy had a propeller on his head, he could fly. (Said about a certain former pastor of our church, who will remain nameless out of respect.)

8. In response to my mom’s question, “If Ann-Margret came to the front door and asked you to run away with her, would you go?”: I’d have to think about it.

9. Jesus Christ, why can’t you let the clutch out slowly? (After about 5 stalls in a row, as I was learning to drive a stick shift in the Knoebel’s parking lot.)

10. While you’re up, get me a beer, would you?

I miss you, Daddy.

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Filed under Family, Funny Things, Gratitude

The blame game

I’ve noticed a common theme running through my life this week, woven through the books I’ve been reading and real-life events.  The theme of trying to assign blame for tragic events…a school bus accident (fiction), a teenager’s death from cancer (fiction), a shooting in Arizona (real life.) As humans, we have a need for someone to be at fault for things that happen. Because something inside us believes that if we know who’s at fault, we can figure out why it happened, and then we can figure out what we need to do to keep it from happening again. And then when we figure that all out, then no one we love – or anyone, for that matter (well, the good people anyway) – will have anything bad happen to them anymore.

But the fact is that not everything we want to know is knowable, and not everything we want to prevent is preventable.

There is risk that comes with living. Each morning when we walk out the door, we take a risk that we could be in the wrong place at the right time (or is it vice versa? I can never figure that out.)

I’ve heard the following causes this week for the shooting in Tucson: lax gun laws, lax state reporting of gun ownership, political rhetoric (aka vitriolic speech), parents who didn’t do enough, community college faculty and staff who didn’t do enough, state police who didn’t do enough. And it’s likely that all of those things were contributing factors to the events of last Saturday.

But there is no one cause. No one to blame. It’s complicated. And random. People suffer from mental illness and don’t get help, because they can’t afford it, are ashamed of it, or don’t recognize it in themselves. Parents do the best they can. The police do the best they can. Reporting agencies do the best they can. We all do the best we can.

Each of us makes choices every day. Hundreds or thousands of choices. As adults, we have the God-given right to make our own choices. We can drink, smoke, take drugs (or not take drugs), drive under the influence, drive over the speed limit, keep our vehicles in good working order or not. We can walk outside the crosswalk, wait longer than we should to investigate that cough/lump/headache, and put off until tomorrow the difficult conversations we should have today.

And we all have to live with the consequences of the choices that we make. Other people have to live with the consequences of the choices that we make. The part we don’t like is that we have to live with the consequences of the choices that other people make.  But that’s the way it works. You can’t have one without the other.

And the part that we really don’t like is that we can do everything exactly right and bad things will still happen.

It’s just the way it is.

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Filed under Current Events, Recovery

Undecking the halls

Is there a sadder annual chore than taking down the Christmas tree?

When we trim the tree, there’s such hope. Not only “hope” in the traditional Advent kind of way. But hope for the season. That all the presents will be perfect. That all the children will be happy all the time, even on long car rides. That everyone will get along. That all of the food will be ready at the same time. That you will take advantage of the long university break and work out every day and clean closets and figure out how to use an iPod. That your sister will make apple pie for New Year’s dinner. (Never mind.)

Actually, I usually start the holiday season with fairly realistic expectations. I know that, like most things, there will be good and there will be not-so-good. That nothing is perfect. That much of how it all turns out will be out of my control. (Imagine that, something being out of my control.)  But somewhere along the way, I get sucked into the Christmas vortex. My expectations rise.

And, as usually happens in life, there was good and there was so-so and there was not so good.

Not every gift was a delight. Some will never be played with and will be taken to Goodwill as part of next year’s pre-Christmas toy purge.  (And one or two didn’t even make it through Christmas morning without a tiny-but-important piece being lost.)

Feelings were hurt.

Situations were uncomfortable.

People got tired and cranky.  (Mostly me.)

Kids got bored and crabby and threw french fries at each other in the car.

But there was lots of good as well. Laughter with family and good friends. Long days with no plans and no goals. Cookies and carrots that magically disappeared after Christmas-eve bedtime, much to a 4-year-old’s amazement. Presents that delighted. Reconnections with people I don’t see very often.

And now it is over. The tree comes down and the decorations go back into storage. Until they come out again, bringing with them the hope of next holiday season.

When everything will be perfect.

 

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Filed under Family