My Friend Is Amazing

My friend is a successful businessman, and over the 50+ years I’ve known him, I have seen that he is well and truly a genius. I don’t mean a specialist, like a physicist or a mechanical engineer. I mean in everything about everyday life, he sees all, clearly. It seems he researches everything he encounters, so he can know his position on the subject.

Here’s an example of how he wins in daily life, by knowing what he needs to know: His main office is in a busy, central location. He owns the parking lot behind the building, and it is used for staff cars and cars of visitors for meetings. Often, people park in the lot illegally, because street parking is difficult to find.

One day, my friend arrived at his office to find a big Audi SUV in his personal parking spot. Unperturbed, he parked his car in front of the offending vehicle and went into his office. A while later, police asked for his help. He accompanied the police to the parking area. The first officer asked him if he knew whose car was blocking the way. He said yes, he did know. The Audi guy was pushing the police to act.

The cop asked if my friend could have the car moved. He said no. The owner of the Audi was agitated to say the least. He demanded the police insist the car be moved. When asked whose car it was, my friend acknowledged that it was his own. The Audi owner asked why he wouldn’t move his car. He pointed out that by law he was not obliged to move his car.

One of the two cops knew of the obscure law on which my friend was basing his position. Then, as cops most often say, they said there was nothing they could do. My friend walked calmly back to his office, the cops left and the Audi guy had to wait ‘til my friend took his car out for his own reason.

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We Are But Echoes

In most cases, a son whose father always preferred Chrysler products over Ford and GM is likely to choose to drive Chrysler products. If the parents are Catholic, so will be the children. If the family is Jewish, so will be the children.

What echo might be heard by an orphan or a foster child? In one home, one must toe the line on bathing, bedtimes, wardrobe, etc. In another home, one is left in peace, to read, or smoke, or play with the others on the street. What might that child echo?

Often, the parental example is blocked out by a child. I know of a boy that was born to a dignified, educated family of professionals. He was educated in some of the best schools, in which he wreaked havoc.

In the end, he became a biker, traveling the country and dealing drugs. However, he did echo dignity with which his parents infused him.

It can make for a very unhappy life for one who echoes her parents, although their style is inappropriate for the daughter. It is far better to risk failure by seeking one’s own path to one’s own goals. A person who lives the life they are pressured to live rather than their own choice will, at the time of their death, have not lived at all.

Do not fear failure. When we have a failure, we have not lost, we have learned. We take what we learned in the failed attempt, correct for it, and try again. That is how success is attained. Learn from failures because they are lessons, correct for it, and try again. That is how success is attained. Learn from failures because they are lessons.

You have not lost until you quit. As long as you don’t quit, and persevere through the necessary failures, there’s nothing left but success.

THE SZENTENDRE TRAIN – part 1 of 30

I took the Szentendre train twice each week.  Early Monday mornings I stood at the station near my home and waited for the train to take me into Budapest, where I was an assistant professor of anatomy at Semmelweis University.  Friday evenings I caught a train back to Szentendre.  Between the two short train rides, my life was bland, grey, boring, and repetitive.  In Szentendre I did my grocery shopping in the open market and prepared my meals for the week in the city. I was able to rent a cheaper flat in the city if I didn’t need cooking facilities.  In Budapest I spent most of my time in my flat, and the rest of my time with my students.

Last autumn I began to wonder about my life.  I had been on vacation for the summer, and the return to the routine of city life and work was objectionable to me.  Weekends at home were no better.  Lonely days and nights, some so lonely I just sat around my house and cried for hours.  It took all my will to go to the train station in Szentendre that first Monday morning in September.  The usual scattering of people was there, waiting for the train to Budapest.  I kept my eyes down as always.  I was not in the mood for idle small talk.  My spirit was in turmoil.  I wanted to be left alone, to avoid social contact.  At the same time, I wanted love, affection, attention, and sex.

My husband… my former husband… was a dentist.  He had run off with his office assistant three years before.  I didn’t see it coming, and it put me into a deep depression.  I wasn’t interested in anything, and I simply buried myself in my work. It had not always been so, but I was thirty-nine years old, living alone and longing for love.  I would have settled for any old fool of a lover, just to be touched by a warm, tender hand again.  I was grey.  My hair, my complexion, and my spirit were all grey.  I was a colourless lump of average looking, depressed, slightly overweight middle-aged female meat, and I felt like shit.

Nothing Is Balanced

I live in a seedy little village in the midst of fertile farmland. The nearest shopping is about 20 minutes’ drive away, so I go up and down the secondary two-lane several times each week. Enjoying the quiet, scenic drive, I get to thinking. For instance; although there are vast, cultivated fields lining the highway, there are also massive stands of trees. Deciduous and coniferous trees, growing like weeds by the millions.

I remember being unhappy when I learned that a European country, locked in a horrible war, was suffering through a cold winter. The news said people were breaking up their furniture and their house interiors to burn for desperately needed heat and cooking. At the same time, I’m driving along thousands of kilometers of road, and forests sit idle on both sides, proliferating each spring.

It’s out of balance. One society has none, another society has an excessive abundance.

I know a woman of extraordinary beauty, from flowing hair to tiny feet. She’s also wealthy, thanks to a successful father and a successful ex-husband. Unfortunately she is without intelligence. She’s actually stupid. Somehow, it’s out of balance.

I know another woman, plain, poor complexion, rather square torso and stumpy legs. From a simple, working-class family, she works at a menial job, in a windowless space where she is seldom seen or heard from. She’s bright, intelligent, well read and reliable. She’s out of balance, within herself and compared with the stupid beauty.

Some places are flooded with water, other places can’t find water. Some people are starving in streets or in wilderness. Other people have food available on all sides. Some is free, most is inexpensive. There is no balance.

Any of us could go on at length about imbalance. In fact, there is no balance, ever.

The Victim Is Not The Sinner

David was grumbling aloud. David is an uptight guy. He needs any reason or no reason, but he’s always nervous. Apparently his mother was severely depressed, and it was a burden on David while he was growing up.

David had just given $20 to an old man at the door. The man claimed to be a rabbi without a congregation, and was hoping to create a synagogue. Now David was grumbling. He was thinking, what if the guy wasn’t a real rabbi? What if he just takes the $20 and buys a small bottle of gin and a cheap hooker.

I wanted to give David some relief, if I could. I pointed out that he’d done nothing wrong. In fact, he’d done an  act of gracious generosity, which is a good thing and it was the right thing to do. If the man is a liar, he has sinned. David, however, was honourable, and has not sinned. The victim is not the sinner.

If someone disappoints you, and does something against you, don’t blame yourself. You’ve done nothing wrong. You are the victim and your antagonist is the sinner.

Most People My Age Are Dead

I plagiarized Gloria Steinem for this title. She’s about 82 now, and still attractive. I am finding old age quite fascinating. I’m my own research subject. Throughout my life, I never contemplated or even thought of myself as becoming elderly. Now that I’m here, with eight decades to look back at, it can be fun.

One thing that’s interesting is learning of the deaths of people one has known over the decades. Some of the people who have passed evoke feelings of sadness; sometimes regret sometimes happiness, sometimes satisfaction or even relief. Living an active, varied life for a long time teaches one many lessons through many adventures and more importantly, misadventures.

I’m not concerned at all about my inevitable death. Still, it interests me to not how many people pass away while I live on. My first wife died the other day. She was three years younger than I am. I’ve also learned that two of the nicest girls I dated in high school died several years ago. Also an old friend who I hadn’t seen in years died in ’03, I just learned. He owed me money. I guess that’s why I hadn’t seen him in years.

I realized I could look through obituaries and see who I’ve outlived. There was a new president brought in at a large, international company for which I worked. The new president was uncomfortable that a major client was deeply dependent upon me, and trusted my judgement completely. I guess he feared I’d take the client to another agency, so he set out to oust me. One by one, my clients where bled away from me until I was let go. The group head that had to tell me, thanked me for how I’d elevated his career.

I searched obits for those guys and a few others, and learned that I’ve outlived all of them. I even found out that a false friend that had backstabbed me, died of a massive heart attack twelve years ago.

So on I go, gradually outliving friends and enemies along the way. It’s kind of cool.

Most People My Age Are Dead

I plagiarized Gloria Steinem for this title. She’s about 82 now, and still attractive. I am finding old age quite fascinating. I’m my own research subject. Throughout my life, I never contemplated or even thought of myself as becoming elderly. Now that I’m here, with eight decades to look back at, it can be fun.

One thing that’s interesting is learning of the deaths of people one has known over the decades. Some of the people who have passed evoke feelings of sadness; sometimes regret sometimes happiness, sometimes satisfaction or even relief. Living an active, varied life for a long time teaches one many lessons through many adventures and more importantly, misadventures.

I’m not concerned at all about my inevitable death. Still, it interests me to not how many people pass away while I live on. My first wife died the other day. She was three years younger than I am. I’ve also learned that two of the nicest girls I dated in high school died several years ago. Also an old friend who I hadn’t seen in years died in ’03, I just learned. He owed me money. I guess that’s why I hadn’t seen him in years.

I realized I could look through obituaries and see who I’ve outlived. There was a new president brought in at a large, international company for which I worked. The new president was uncomfortable that a major client was deeply dependent upon me, and trusted my judgement completely. I guess he feared I’d take the client to another agency, so he set out to oust me. One by one, my clients where bled away from me until I was let go. The group head that had to tell me, thanked me for how I’d elevated his career.

I searched obits for those guys and a few others, and learned that I’ve outlived all of them. I even found out that a false friend that had back-stabbed me, died of a massive heart attack twelve years ago.