It is the unexpected encounters that can easily elude our attention if we are not careful that add the zest to life. It is these nuggets that offer a fresh perspective that often give us a view of how others see ourselves as they share life their their lens. Sometimes it is accurate, sometime it is not. But in either case, they bring—or should bring—a chuckle and a reminder that life is a richly textured fabric. Given that I had just heard a speech the same morning at Toastmaster by a speaker who shared about his being repeatedly mistaken for being “old” just because his hair showed signs of graying despite only being in his forties, I wondered if God was trying to tell me something. It’s a Small World I picked up my fare one afternoon in my taxi—two young men and an African-American lady. The black lady had an American accent—which made sense given that she was from Massachusetts. The gentlemen, though, each had REAL accents—which made sense given that they were from Dubai. Dubai is the most populous city in the small country of United Arab Emirates. I have never been there and I cannot rightly state that I have met anyone from Dubai. I simply know it as a wealthy, world-renowned desert city. One of the guys from Dubai sat in the front passenger seat. He had plenty of energy and was inclined to do almost all of the talking. He conversed with a sense of self-proclaimed authority, a dreamy passion and a delightful innocence befitting a young, 20-something university student. In the course of conversation,... read more

All About Sports … Beyond the Victory!

The idea about watching sports came up this morning during a conversation with some friends and I started thinking—a rare occurrence I hear you say in jest. Sports are one of the greatest pastimes experienced by the American culture, if not the world. From the time we are little, we learn to play games and those games grow, offering bigger challenges and higher stakes. We learn the skills each sport offers. We learn to engage in healthy competition. We learn how to press on through the struggles so as to win the prize and we develop the muscles and agility of our growing bodies. That fascination hangs with us on into adulthood. As adults, many of us will engage in a sport to some level whether it be a a simple walk around the block or joining some community flag football league. But more often than not, we simply watch sports. Sports have become one of the biggest industries in our economy and the impact of the sporting industry on our country is a worthy discussion for another time. The fact remains is we delight in our sports. But why? Why do we hold on to sports with such passion?  Why do we turn on the TV Sunday after Sunday to watch our favorite NFL teams fight their way to a win or watch our prized figure skater gracefully execute each move with poise and perfection? We know someone will win. Hopefully it is our team or our hero, but if not there is always tomorrow. Then we move on to the next game of the season … and then... read more

“A Little Taller, Please”

She was 4 years old—escorted, of course, by mommy and daddy. She told me her name but I could not understand it, so I will simply call her “P” for princess for, in truth, that is who she was…er….is. She boldly told me, as I drove the taxi, that her birthday is not going to be next month because she already had one last month and that is when she turned 4. I asked what her favorite food was in the whole wide world. “Yogurt,” she say—mainly because she had recently had some. Then she added, “Pizza.” “Oh! What kind of pizza?” “FOUR!” Clearly she was fixated upon her age … or she thought that “four” was the answer for everything to which she did not already know the answer. Then came the BIG question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” “Taller,” blurted she without hesitation. “Taller, eh. What should I be when I grow up? At this point, after a moment’s silence, I felt her become introspective and profoundly wise: “You are all ready grown up.” Suddenly, I regretted that morsel of truth as uttered from such a delicately honest mind. I wanted to be that child again, full of vigor and playfulness with an unfettered concept of this thing called “Future.” I suppose, though, that being “grown up” is somewhat of a choice. We can always find a way to play and exhort vigor and idly ponder unfettered dreams. I then had a vision of a creature from Dr Seuss driving a car with its head and body protruding through a hole in... read more

Do You Know Your Secret Name?

I arrived in my taxi cab at the home of my next passenger—an ordinary house in an ordinary neighborhood. Ordinary except that there was no one home. This was  strange as I had just called to say that I was coming and he was expecting me. I knocked and waited. No one. At the moment that I held my cell phone to my ear to call once again and find out what is going on, I heard someone call, “Here I am.” From down the street, a few houses to the east, a man with large, dark sunglasses and a golden brown dog at the end of a black harness came briskly down the street. “Sorry,” he said, “I was just chatting with a neighbor.” and with that, climbed into my taxi … following, of course, lead of his seeing-eye dog. “What is your dog’s name?” I began as we pulled away from the curb to my passenger’s destination. What I found interesting was the response: “You can call him anything you want. I am the only one who knows his real name.” A moment silence ensued as I was not sure how to respond. I sensed the owner’s smile as he explained further. “Actually, it is on purpose that no one else knows his real name.” “But what if I were to accidentally discover it?” “Then I would have to shoot you on the spot,” he smirked. Then with a serious tone explained, “Actually, when he hears that name, he knows it is me.” “…he knows it is me.” There is such an loyal intimacy between a seeing-eye... read more

The Genie That Lives in My GPS

My GPS is a genie. I am not kidding. Well, at least there is a genie living inside it. I am relatively new to the iPhone and even newer to the Google Maps app that, when activated and fed the right information, will politely guide me with step-by-step directions to my destination. It is nice to have the company on a long trip.  It is tempting, though, to kick back, blindly accept the wisdom of this gentle, soothing female voice, relieving me of the responsibility of driving…safely. Recently, I drove to Oxnard, California from my home in Phoenix, Arizona. I got in my car, situated myself in my seat, ensured everything was safely stowed and took that final deep breath as I hit the “Start Navigation” button to begin my trip. I was off. “Go to the end of the street and turn right on 44th Place,” she prompted. “Continue for one quarter mile on 44th Place then turn left on Roeser.” Sweet and gentle. Certainly, for most of the trip she was silent. Even without her guidance, I knew that once I was on the I-10, I simply had to point the car west and when I drove into the Pacific Ocean, I would have gone  too far. Once I entered the entanglement of the Los Angeles freeway system, I was amazed at the accuracy of directions even to the point of ensuring I understood which lane to use to access the next freeway system. I was even more amazed when I noticed that the color of the highlighted route  changed from blue to yellow and then to red. Red, I discovered, means that you are in the midst of heavy, stop-and-go traffic. Well, duh. A simple observation out... read more

Surviving Left-Handedness

One thing I LIKE about being left-handed are all the cliché jokes. One thing I DISLIKE about being left-handed are all the cliché jokes. I hear them ALL the time. “Left-handers have rights too.” “Left-handed people are the only ones in their right mind.” “God made everyone left-handed. The geniuses have overcame it.” They say that 10% of the world’s population are considered left-handed. In other words, look around at 9 other people. If they are all using their right hand, that means you must be the left-handed one. I am not a purist. I do bat, golf, play hockey right-handed—anything with a stick. I fence left-handed. I use scissors right-handed. I throw a ball—although somewhat inaccurately—with my non-right hand. If I were American, I would even place my right-hand over my chest to recite the Pledge of Allegiance because it would be the right thing to do—and, yes, the pun was intended. But virtually everything else known to mankind I do left-handed.  Living life as a left-handed sinister is fun. It is creative. It is extreme. But the crux of being left-handed is this: living in a right handed world. During training, I served summers in the Canadian Naval Reserves. Rifles in the military are made to fire for right-handers and those of us of the “higher persuasion” had to adapt to it—for somehow, even the concept of allowing adjustments for the minorities, eluded the most brazened commanders. Hence, after a round of practice on the firing range, my score was always a hair’s width above zero. The scores of colleagues to my left and to my right?... read more

My Resignation

I signed my resignation the other day. Well, not really, but I really, really, REALLY wanted to. It was not even a real resignation but I wish it were. I am not even sure where I found it. All I know is that as I read it, I found my heart again—even though I did not know my heart had been lost. The letter of resignation read something like this: RESIGNATION I,              [name]              , am hearby officially tendering my resignation as an adult. I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an 8 year-old again. I want to go to McDonald’s and think that it’s a four star restaurant. I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud pubble and make a sidewalk with rocks. I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them. I want to like under a big oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer’s day.  I want to return to a time when life was simple, when all you know were colors, multiplication tables, and nursery rhymes, but that didn’t bother you because you didn’t know what you didn’t know and you didn’t care. All you know was to be happy because you were blissfully unaware of all the things that should make you worried or upset. I want to think the world is fair That everyone is honest and good. I want to believe that anything is possible. I want to be oblivious to the complexities of life... read more
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