Archive - January 2015

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The Curse of Our Thumbs
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MLK
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My First Blog – the dreaded new year’s resolution! 12/31/2014

The Curse of Our Thumbs

opposable thumbs - good or bad?

The Curse of Our Thumbs

A giant evolutionary step in humans becoming the dominant species on the earth really has to be the opposable thumb (I say that with a wink and a nod to those who think there was no such thing as evolution).  For the sake of this little ditty, let’s agree it was an evolutionary thing.  I think we need to pare out some grand themes, it is a blog not a treatise on the evolution of man.

Save the comments.  I know there are many things that could be the defining moment.  For example,  fire and the wheel are arguments that could be pointed my way.  I love fire, it cooks my food and warms the cockles of my heart.  The wheel, what can a guy say?  I love my car, so I assume we can all be thankful for those two big steps.  I am certain that had Grog had no thumb, he makes no wheel (Boom! – Trump card).  Our thumbs open doors, literally.  Grog sports a flipper or a gnarled claw and we are a footnote in a journal written by alien archaeologists as they visit a planet with no intelligent life.

There are people, like Roger Waters, who is not a fan of our evolution.

“Then some damn fool invents the wheel –  Listen to the whitewalls squeal –  You spend all day looking for a parking spot – Nothing for the heart, nothing for the pot.”  — Roger Waters (from the song Me or Him on RADIO K.A.O.S.).

I would guess that there is probably someone out there who hates fire.  Ice man?  Maybe Smokey the Bear?  I don’t know it is hard to picture a real human who does not benefit from being warm.  Dang, I am rambling again… but I was looking for a reason to quote Roger.

My point is this:  Our supposed greatest physical asset has become one of our greatest enemies.  Yes, we can still open doors, build fires, and make tires, all thanks to Mr. Thumb.  That said, I also must scold our flexible digit because he has stunted us in our emotional growth and intellectual growth.  I think it is fair to say the thumb has become self-aware.

Our thumb is why don’t we talk anymore.   Seriously… We don’t have to!  Our thumbs are in cahoots with the cell phone companies that have dumbed us down to WTF, LOL, LMFAO and MUSE (OK… I made that one up).  A cool thing about talking is inflection.  Other things that I thoroughly enjoy are sarcasm, compassion, pace, timbre, poetic license, and just good ol’ slang.  The thumb is inflectionless, has no sense of humor, doesn’t give more than grunts and pokes.  It’s in direct opposition with so many of life’s simple pleasures.

Please understand that I love my thumb.  This is source of great conflict that only my mother, my therapist, and god understand.  Had I been born a few decades ago we would have hitch hiked across America.  I was raised on The Fonz who, if we are not too cool to admit, moved the thumb back into our collective conscience.  Yes, the thumb told the lions to finish off gladiators and the thumb let us know if the movie was going to be good (or at least artsy).  From that standpoint I am certain that the thumb has done me a solid.  But now… oh lord… now the thumb has forsaken me.  I will see you later becomes a vague reference to Saved By The Bell and now my friend thinks they will see Slater later.  Spell check and typos have teamed up with blunt words to make me look like an ass.  There I said it.

While our thumbs don’t totally suck, I believe they have ruined our front-brains.  We can still fight, forage for food, rut, and cry like a baby when that fight gets us punched in the face but we cannot clearly elucidate a point regarding love.  We cannot affirm our fellow man, we can barely arrange place to meet when we sell some crap on Craigslist.

But it’s not hopeless.  It is not too late to reclaim our relationships, let our other fingers do some of the work, and even, dare I say, use our mouths.  Let’s talk, grab some coffee and remind our thumbs of their place.  To quote the Fonz, Aaayyyy.

Let’s Go!

SIDE NOTE:  No real thumbs are quoted here to protect the innocent.

“hey just checking if we are going out tonight” — The Thumb
“why r u bailing on me” — some alleged friend’s thumb
“no I have to stop somewhere and wanted to check on your schedule” — first thumb
“Oh, I see I am just an event on the schedule DON’T BOTHER” — second overly-sensitive odd thumb

MLK

I attended the Pathfinder Awards ceremony on MLK Jr. Day. It is an event that recognized people in my home town who display a willingness to include, grow, and make Mankato a better place for all people. It was very well done and all of the recipients were gracious and worthy. A young high school girl who set up a prom for developmentally disabled children in her school, a teacher who built a science curriculum for student who struggle learning English, and a business who works with local refugees to employee these individuals displaced from their countries all shone brightly. The amazing thing is that none of them are public speakers, none are charismatic leaders, none have access to key legislation, they are just doing.

The keynote was delivered by Rev. Dr. James Washington. His resume is amazing and intimidating. He probably knows more about human rights than all of the rest of us combined. He changed his presentation after seeing the things being done at a grass-roots level. While he could have quoted his books, dropped names, or even talked down to us, he chose another path. He simply focused on making a difference in a little way every single day. He burst into song, he referenced people in the room and he was engaging.

He talked about his goal of eliminating racism and sexism and ageism and homophobia was unrealistic. He reminded us, through self deprecating comments, that we can only leave the world a better place.

Don’t be silent, don’t accept the status quo, make a difference on action at a time. His call to action including a statement that our instant media generation often forgets. His call to action was so simple yet so far off our radar that I had to pause and reflect on my plans. I consider myself open and caring and willing to grow. He said “first seek to understand, then seek to be understood”. Bam. There it is. We post on Facebook, we dogmatically lecture others, we think we are explaining. We are assuming that our audience it at the same level emotionally, intellectually, spiritually. We assume they have the same life experiences and are starting from the same place. I was embarrassed for myself.  We will discuss this at length another day.

Time to move forward with this information. Time to be the change. Time to be better. Time to make it better.

Let’s go!

 

My First Blog – the dreaded new year’s resolution! 12/31/2014

 

My First Blog – the dreaded new year’s resolution! 12/31/2014

It is that time of year where everyone has high hopes, big plans, and certain doom. I don’t say that because it is not possible to grow and change; it is hard to live up to crazy expectations we set for ourselves. I think instead of my plan to run a marathon, learn the guitar, start a new brand, and fix a pile of financial history I should Instead set realistic goals that become habits. My resolution is to practice chords 3 days a week, hit the gym 3 days a week and just write for a while. I think if I give it to the universe there will be an answer. Of course this will only work with help from friends and family AND…I have to do things I have not done before. Let’s go!

 

 

 

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