Sunday, January 25, 2009

Be-Bop Emporium

What would you change in your life if you could? I'll give you a second to chew on that. Pretty straight-forward question, all things considered, and tick-tock my friend, that's our lives rushing by, so what did you pick?

Okay-you have me. That's (obviously) a trick question. We cannot change anything in our lives to this moment in time. No matter how hard I try, I cannot undo the cross word I said yesterday to a colleague nor can you take back your 'Gee, You're Number One in my book!' hand gesture that you offered that obliviot driving the DeVille as if the deed to the road were in his glove box (bad news, sunshine, the GM folks hate to talk about it, but it is).

The trouble is so often tomorrow is shaped and defined by today and yesterday (and we can only control one of those two--as for tomorrow, see yesterday in terms of management). I can regret what I said yesterday but I can only resolve it by working harder today to NOT do it again (I'm not at work so I'm feeling pretty good about my chances). I'm not sure what to tell you about the DeVille Dunderhead, except grow old gracefully, buy one yourself and cut off some other driver. (I'm starting to see why no one wants to hire me as an advice columnist).

Far too often, though we talk about freedom of choice, we yearn for freedom from choice. We like NOT having the unlimited horizon of possible paths and prefer much of the time to trudge, head down and morose mealy-mouthed wordlessly whispering about how we can't do otherwise, when we always can change today (which is the only way we can alter tomorrow). I'll bet one of the top ten phrases of the day across the country is "there was nothing I could do."

That Hapless Hostage from Hades stuff is starting to get old, doncha think? Here in the Land of the Round Door Knobs, we just inaugurated a young man as our President who ran on the simplest of beliefs-we can and must change who we are and how we are. Even if you didn't, and don't, believe in yourself, enough of us last November believed in him that things did change. We did that. Meanwhile.....

All across the USA and around the world, for reasons very smart people have gone crazy trying to make me understand, we are in the throes of an economic bad patch. I don't know if it's a recession, depression, a market adjustment, a catastrophe--the words have all lost their meaning as I've watched more and more of us surrender any sense of control, and with it, responsibility for what becomes of us.

It's been a tough couple of years, at least in the USA. Remember what we all argued about from the White House to the State House to the chambers of City Hall on September 8, 2001? Neither do I. Life has seemed more often than not like a fever dream since then, at as many levels as can be comprehended.

If this were a movie, we'd have long since demanded our ticket money back and headed for the exits. But it's not, and we didn't. So today, the last Sunday of January in this year, 2009 (before Common Era), what are you going to change in your life so that tomorrow, the last Monday of this month, is different and better (don't confuse the two terms, they are not interchangeable and that's by design)? Sort of look like the question I started with today, doesn't it? Yeah, except it's better.
-bill kenny

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