Month: March 2022

Tomorrow

My electric can opener died on Friday afternoon. I was making dinner and needed to open a can of diced tomato. I put the can in the proper place, pushed on the lever and there was a noise like a falling rock, a buzz in the device and the can did not move. I have no idea how long I’ve had that can opener but a long time. No worries, I went onto Amazon, looked up electric can openers, compared several and bought one. It arrived the next day.

Welcome to the Twenty First Century. Well, sort of.

I was eight when Disneyland opened in 1955. And we went. In those days you were likely, even at eight, to be in a dress, shoes and socks and on your best behavior. It was an event. I clearly remember the Home of Tomorrow by Montsanto when it opened in 1957. Long lines, but inside. Well. Wow. There were video phones and ovens that cooked stuff in minutes. It was all very plastic and very bright.

Even back then I was a huge Sci-Fi fan and my mom found me the Lucky Starr series written by Asimov under the name Paul French. Asimov writes in a conversational tone, you feel like you’re right there. Lucky wasn’t his real name, it was David or Peter or something, but Lucky he was. And he had all kinds of cool future stuff, a rocket ship, computers, maybe even a robot–after all this was Asimov. At a time we were talking about video phones, and microwave oven and flying cars, Lucky had his tool belt. And the tool belt came with his own personal force field. In one adventure it let him go close to the sun to solve the problem.

So here we are in the twenty first century, twenty years in actually. We can get things we want overnight. If you live in a big city, even that same day. We don’t have flying cars, but we do have video phones and microwaves and computers and rocket ships, even a space station.

I’ve forgotten much of the Lucky Starr story, but that tool belt with the personal force field–that’s my yard stick for when we have made it into the twenty first century. Sadly, we are not there yet.

Ethnicity

The town of Savannah may dye their fountain water green–and BTW, have the third largest St. Patrick’s Day parade after New York and Chicago.

Chicago may dye the whole river, but here, we dye our hash browns green.

You may think of Ireland and the ‘Forty Shades of Green’, or maybe you think of the rolling hills. If you’re old enough you think of John Wayne in THE QUIET MAN.

If you are young enough you may think of the pubs and Guinness. You may remember ‘The Troubles’, the Easter Uprising, for good or bad, Ian Paisley, the right reverend and Northern Ireland politician.

We have an Irish Terrier–a Glen of Imaal also known as a Wicklow Terrier. BrindleBlue and as defiant as any member of the Sinn Fein, the Irish lives deeply in this little one.

Me? I remember discussions about the ‘black’ Irish who were horse thieves because when ever Mom was angry with Dad that was what his family was– Black Irish and horse thieves. I remember stories about Great Aunts Fanny and Alice. And an Irish great grandmother who burned all the Chippendale furniture because she was mad at her husband. I remember the smell of Irish Soda Bread and corned beef and cabbage. I remember stories about being from Co. Mayo which was a haven for the Irish League–those who wanted the English gone and the elimination of their plantations.

I remember my granddad teaching me the sign of the cross in Irish:  In ainm an Athar agus an Mhic agus an Spioraid Naoimh.

Dad always said–at least once a year–that on St. Patrick’s day there were only two types of people in the whole world, “those who were Irish and those who wished they were.”

When Watts exploded in 1965, with all the social upheaval and activism, I remember telling my Dad that we Irish blew it. We melted right in with the pot. We lost our ethnicity. But the truth is….where ever you go there is something Irish. We were in Ukraine in 2006 arriving in Odessa and one of the first places we found was an Irish Pub complete with Bushmills and Jaminson’s behind the counter.

There was a recent program through the Great Books positing there is no single unifying culture group called the Celts that emerged from Central Europe and spread westward and ended up on the furthest small piece of known land. The Celts were an amalgam of music, arts, poetry, spirituality, war and economics put together as warriors rolled across the continent.

Trust the Irish to absorb, appropriate, and meld. To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day involves good food, good drink, and good cheer. To have that as your heritage is awesomeness!

Time

A remarkable thing happened last night, well, early this morning. I turned over in bed, opened my eyes and looked at the clock. That is not the remarkable thing. What was remarkable was the digital readout was 1:59. And something in my not quite awake brain clicked. I lay, mesmerized, waiting, watching. And then suddenly the readout was 3:00.

Remarkable! I closed my eyes but sleep did not come. How astounding… One hour gone. Where? I’d never see it again.

Time is a grown up thing. It was what adults do. We all measure our lives in milestones. Do we recognize the milestone at the time? A milestone for me was the measurement of time, and when it expanded, when I could tell someone ‘oh, that was weeks ago. I think I was six. Then the little guy at the back of my brain must have put up a post-it note because the first time I said ‘months ago’ I smiled. Another milestone.

Time is immutable. Clocks are a human construct to get us in sync. Clocks are controlling. Time just simply exists. Clocks belie the basics of time.

Bugs me when someone says ‘that’s a waste of time.’ By whose standards? How do you know I’m wasting time? How dare you judge my use of time?

When I was a Manager of Labor Relations and doing some cool work in organizational development an employee came into my office with an issue. I clearly remember saying “I’m not sure I have time, I’ll get that on my calendar” [because that was what you said to deflect] And the employee’s response was ‘if you wanted to do it, you’d do it right now.’ He left my office and I could feel the heat in my cheeks. He was totally and absolutely right. What he wanted done wasn’t interesting. It wasn’t challenging. But, hot damn, it was my job. I dropped what I was doing and worked on his issue. At that moment, my time belonged to him.

Time is not a commodity, although I say my time belonged to the employee, that wasn’t true. That was the best use of my time to accomplish my goal of doing my job well. Doing my job well, got me raises and promotions. Using my time to my benefit is what is important.

Time is a straight line. Even tho I love science fiction, I don’t believe in time travel. I don’t want time travel. Not only would it be confusing–the rules would have to be ironed out absolutely and there is no way in this universe that would happen! You only get to go this way once. Sometimes I get too involved, too harried to remember to value time. Recently I found a prayer attributed to John Cardinal Newman, it reads, in part:

I have a place in God’s counsels, in God’s world, which no one else has;

whether I be rich or poor, despised or esteemed by man,

God knows me and calls me by my name.

God has created me to do Him some definite service;

He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another.

Time is like that, created by God, given to each of us. Use it well.

Now I have to go turn the three clocks in the house, not connected, to the right hour.