MONKEY TRAPS

Want to trap a monkey? Put a banana in a cage with a hole large enough to fit an outstretched hand but too small to fit a closed fist.   Donkey Kong will grab the tasty treat and refuse to let go.  BAM!  You’ve got yourself a monkey….and you didn’t even have to climb a tree.  Easy right?

yellow banana on hand
Photo by Kimona on Pexels.com

 

 

Now, how in the world would you catch a human? The exact same way!  Have you ever heard of car dealers offering a free vehicle by way of stick-to-itiveness?  It looks like this:
(1)  A group of contestants place their hand on a coveted vehicle for as long as they can stand it.
(2)  Short 10 minute breaks are provided periodically – leaving insufficient time to accomplish bathroom breaks, eating, sleeping, stretching, etc.
(3)  The last “man” standing wins.

Sounds easy, but most people will tell you it wasn’t worth it. And why would they?  It’s a monkey trap.  It’s not like they competed for a few minutes, not even a few hours, try keeping your hand planted in one spot for a FEW DAYS!

Do contestants get a few moments of fame? Yup.  But who’s the real winner here?  Sure, the attention goes to the contestants, but the SPOTLIGHT is on
(1) The car dealer
(2) The sponsors
(3) The media outlets

Many of the so called “winners” don’t even get to keep the car; they just get to ride it around until the lease runs out. My point?  Just like the monkey – we REFUSE to let go, even if we get the short end of the stick…or should I say banana?

We aren’t far removed from President Trump’s campaign trail. What was his strategy?  To let roll off his tongue whatever words were necessary to dominate the press.  He in turn got lots of free marketing.  He made it very noisy for competing voices to break through and deliver an alternate message (you know…the stable kind).  The media became the monkey and it couldn’t let go.  Voters only knew one title, “Crooked Hillary” – so they voted Trump.  The media loved all the ratings during the campaign, but they didn’t get to keep the car.

Enter the perfect storm. Coronavirus + Donald Trump.  This here is the ultimate monkey trap, and MOST hands are stuck inside.  Turn to the media outlet of your choice and you will undoubtedly find a headline or two, or five, or twenty-five about the virus and or how the president is reacting to said virus.

You know what’s crazy? We can turn it off and tune it out.  Really!  The ENTIRE globe is thinking about this math problem.  Unless you are the one coming up with the cure, maybe consider letting everyone else do the thinking on this one.  You can go solve other problems.  Be of service.  Educate yourself.  Organize your garage.  Do some spring cleaning.  But DO NOT live in fear.  I’m not saying be reckless or clueless – but you can pull through just by following the CDC guidelines and recommendations from local leaders.  Or maybe that won’t be enough.  MAYBE YOU WILL DIE – in which case you can revisit this post.  But, either way, you will die, so holding onto this banana is no way to live.

THE CHALLENGE: Let go.  Get your hand out of the cage.  Stop giving attention to the car dealership.  You could be mastering your craft in order to buy your own car in cash and while you’re at it, fill it to the brim with bananas.

 

CUSTARD CURES

Imagine with me for a moment that the world was coming to an end, or that society was saaaay….upside down.  Envision people running to and fro crying out that nobody could tell them what to do or how to live, not the government, not a prophet, not God himself, that all that stuff is just madness. 

Image that all the while, people failed to stock their shelves with the necessities of life and failed to plan ahead.  Imagine they purchased the fruit, but not the fruit tree (and only after the Fudge Rounds were sold out).  They bought the bread, but not the flour to make the bread.  Imagine that it was like Black Friday every… single… day…, but instead of toys, people were buying toilet paper…and LOTS of it.  Not for friends and neighbors,  but for themselves.  Imagine there was no toilet paper left on earth, as if there were a deadly plague going around.  Surely the children of Israel cried out, “Who needs Moses when there is all this toilet paper?!”  Not that the world is coming to end or anything.  But, lets face it, your life is (sorry fam)…and probably not from the virus that’s making you scoop up all the Scott and Charmin anyway – so stop dwelling on it.

Besides, I’d rather have dish soap.  Yeah, yeah, TP can wipe the brown custard like substance off your crack (as well as being a useful fire starter).  But dish soap is much easier to store, can wash a virus off my hands, can wash my clothes (not to mention dishes), can ALSO remove the custard like substance from off my crack – and even BETTER than tripple ply Cottonelle (it’s called a shower people), and Dawn does a darned fine job at shining my jewelry… in case the virus DOES kill me (Who doesn’t want to look their best in a casket anyway?)

Today my beloved wife scraped her knees when my lazy dog played dead between her 8.5 minute per mile feet.  My thoughts in order were:
1)  I hope she’s okay
2)  That was embarrassing
3)  Life goes on

(Sorry if my stoicism offends you.)

Yes, people are dying all around you from COVID-19, but it doesn’t mean you won’t scrape your knees today. People are dying all around you for a plethora of other reasons too (and having birthdays ruined).

Today, someone is likely to die from a vehicle collision, cancer, heart failure, snake bite, spider bite, shark bite, and even choking on a bagel bite.  Someone will fall off a ladder, slam their finger in the car door, loose a finger at the saw mill, and accidentally poop their pants while searching for toilet paper on an empty Walmart shelf.  You are not immune from any of them

THE CHALLENGE:  Worry about the stuff that matters!  Be a responsible citizen, Coronavirus is indeed the “F” word, but don’t stop living your life because others are dying. While you are on lock down, put the Fudge Rounds away and try learning something new – like how to be self sufficient. Maybe try baking a loaf of bread or learn how to grow something edible. Just in case, you know, the world decides to come to an end.

ONE LOVE

The heart is a universal symbol of love. Do you remember Valentine’s Day back in grade school? Who didn’t hope that their secret admirer would present a candy heart with an even more deliciously flirty phrase?

bunch of heart shaped assorted color tablets
Photo by Emily Ranquist on Pexels.com

But where did this whole heart as a symbol of love thing originate anyway? Sorry to disappoint, I’m not here to tell you that.

What I do want to get off my chest (hah!), is the fact that the heart has four valves. But I bet you already knew that. The real question is, can you name them? Oh, you were too busy flirting with candy hearts during that lesson? No problem – I’m not here to grade your homework either.

What happens if one of the valves in your heart ceases to work? In an effort to not get all “cardiologist” on you, lets (for simplicity’s sake) agree that you’re dead, departed, cold, stiff, asleep, checked out, neutralized, sayonara…you get the idea.

In life, there are multiple “valves” that we need to take care of. I personally like to keep it simple “MIND, BODY, SPIRIT” – if you want to sound a bit more “uppity” (like you were paying attention in class) you might say “INTELLECTUAL, PHYSICAL, SPIRITUAL.” You can slice your life’s heart into as many chambers as you wish (apparently a cockroach has 13). For example, you might include “personal, professional, and family” as some or all of your categories. It’s up to you.

You only get to die once.

THE CHALLENGE: Once you’ve sliced up the chambers of your life you need to keep the valves flapping. You can’t just have one love. A balance must exist. Heart failure will result if blood doesn’t flow. Blood, in this case, is time and attention. It’s commitment and planning. It’s a beautiful thing to have your life in balance and harmony. Now go flap whatever valve you’ve been neglecting!

Who Shot Me?

Want to appreciate military history? Or just life in general? Try playing paintball. You will see “bullets” flying at you. It will make your heart race. You will get shot, a lot. You might get a bruise. The best part is, you won’t die. It is perhaps the “realest” make believe you can engage in. I tried it for the first time last week and got blasted in the face, arms, finger, shoulder, leg, and butt.  I had 9 lives and 900 laughs.

paintball

During game time, the opposing teams are enemies and the players feel a degree of aggression. In the field of play, it is best to let your rounds remain anonymous. There is no time for chatter. The mask can’t come off. The action must continue. But off the field, it was nothing but jokes and laughter as we reflected on how each round played out.

“Who shot me in the back?”

“Hey, that was me that shot you in the face!”

“Awww man, you got me in the leg.  That one is going to leave a bruise for sure!”

Let’s apply this to life. Suppose there is a hereafter. I wonder – will we have a similar post game analysis? Will we let our guard down? Will we laugh at how we won or lost? Will we realize that the “round” that struck us right between the eyes – wasn’t that serious after all? How would knowing you are not really dead-dead change the way you interact with others? Might this lead to 9,000 random confessions?

“Hey, I was the one who stole your car.”

“I was the one who lied to you.”

“That was me who started that rumor.”

THE CHALLENGE:  If the actions of another human being are debilitating you, STOP! It might just all work out in the end.

Photo by Clauzemberg Jardim

 

Mind Your Mice

It was a sunny afternoon, bad day for the mice.

mice

My kids jumped out of the car onto the sun baked asphalt. “Awwww, Dad look!  Baby mice!” Sure enough, three blind mice (the fourth was squished by a car).

I found it rather ironic that we were in the church parking lot. I had a chance to be the good Samaritan and save these helpless vermin. We could have easily used a piece of scrap paper and relocated them to the relative safety of the nearby shrubs. I made a decision to let nature take its course.

“Don’t worry kids, mama mouse will run back out to collect her litter.” We glanced back after crossing the parking lot. Three mice dancing in the hot sun, but no mama. I stuck to my decision.

Ten minutes later I ran back to my car for a pen. The mice were a bit more mobile but still needed rescuing. The odds were stacked against them – blind, no fur, no footing, rolling around in a parking lot, and there was not a cloud in sight. Again, I stuck to my decision rationalizing that they were just “pests” and we were in a residential area. Then the inevitable happened, a car pulled up and pancaked the remaining three rodents. In the moment, I second guessed my decision not to help.  But this is precisely the lesson I was willing (if not aiming) to teach my kids, that death is real. That nature is foul and therefore – foul is fair. That there is a cycle of life and something would eventually eat those mice dead or alive. That parents need to take responsibility. That there are hazards all around us and if we aren’t careful we will face bunny’s dilemma. That not all decisions are easy.

THE CHALLENGE: We often give up on our goals long before we give birth to them. What happens after we “give birth.” When you launch your project do you behave like mama mouse? Do you drop your litter off in an unforgiving environment? How many projects have you started in a stillborn fashion? Now is the time to do it right. i.e. Don’t start a diet in a bakery. Go attack your dreams even if YOU are the one who feels blind…just don’t forget to mind your mice.

Photo by Mark Seton