On fixing the world

It’s been said that somewhere between accepting the world as it is and wanting to blow it all up and starting all over there is room in there for a meaningful life. The world can be a scary place, can’t it? It’s difficult enough just trying to navigate in these United States, but to leave our shores and end up who knows where? Holy smokes. In a foreign country in a foreign tongue using foreign customs? It’s enough to make you want to hide under the bed, if you’d like to look at it like that. Or maybe, just maybe, you could look at the world as a giant classroom where you’d be able to pick up all these new ideas, these new customs and meet with all of these interesting people. In short order, you’d probably find out that you had more in common with these total strangers than you could have ever imagined. Maybe it was a good idea that you didn’t stay under that bed. You would have missed out on a lifetime of memories.

The fault, my dear Brutus, lies not in our stars but in ourselves, that we are underlings. Shakespeare’s Cassius is reminding Brutus that Caesar was born a Caesar and that they were mere men, underlings that had to do Caesar’s bidding for him. Those, like Cassius and Brutus, are the catalyst for fixing the world, not the Caesar’s, not those of privilege. These are the ones who step up for the little guy. In their eyes the world is broken and with enough might or enough men, dammit, they’ll fix what needs fixing. I spent years studying Shakespeare in school and I learned a lot from those stories. But I also spent a lot of time with my grandfather who taught me God don’t make junk. Lacking the polish that the great writer had with words, they still sent a pointed message.

The problem with fixing the world is that, first, you have to see it as broken. Again, I was warned by my grandparents not to travel down that road. The hardest thing you’ll do in your lifetime is living up to your own potential. That alone will be a full time job. These peoples are always trying to fix the worl’ and they can’t even shave themselves without making a bloody mess o’ things. Point taken. How many people have you bumped into in your travels that were going to save the world and you knew right off the bat that these people couldn’t find their rear end with either hand?

Before we start fixing the world, maybe it would be in our best interest if’n we fixed ourselves. King Solomon, in his infinite wisdom, often talked at great length about The Great Architect and what He had accomplished in the short time it took to put the world together. It could have been a week or it could have been 10million years, depends on who you ask. But there is an order, a specific order, to all things. The seasons. The planets. Time. Everything exists with everything else like a hand in a glove. And if you listen closely enough you can hear that there is no ticking clock in the universe, yet, everything is in order as it was, is now and forever shall be. How could we, as mere humans, seek to improve on that? Not that there aren’t those out there who haven’t tried. Good grief. These people have even gone on to say that they were shown the Way by the Great One Himself. Those blasphemer’s are usually looking for some kind of meal ticket and some sheep, excuse me, a flock to attend to and when their bellies are filled they usually load up the carpetbag and get outta Dodge.

Fixing the world? It’s not broke. Do some of the people need fixin’? Yes, they do. But look, when that Great Architect created everything, He gave it to us and only asked one thing of us—that we love one another. And we haven’t done a very good job of that. But that, we can fix. At least, that’s the way I see it. God bless. MLProko (2011)  www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on August 17, 2011 at 3:10 pm  Comments (1)  
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On forgiveness

• Forgive and forget (American axiom)

• Forgive and remember (Irish expression)

• Irish Alzheimer’s: forgetting/forgiving everything but the grudges

It’s my memory. It’s not me. Me? I’m as nice as a piece of pie. But it’s my memory. My ma used to say that it would be the death of me, my memory. She said it was a curse to remember so much. Maybe it had something to do with being Irish. Or Russian. But I always knew when someone helped me, when they came on board and when they said ‘no.’ She said that I remembered what most people would try to forget. I shrugged it off as some ranting from the original ‘worry-wart.’ Sooner or later, it was the memory that almost did me in. Almost. Turns out that I wasn’t through with my earthly journey yet. And, in all fairness, I think there was something that I was supposed to do before I was called home. Both times the grim reaper came a-calling, he waited ‘til I was asleep. He’s like that. The original coward, that’s his edge, to get you in your sleep. But still, both times I told him to go scratch his behind but not in those exact words.

I did my damnedest to get my house in order; changed my lifestyle, changed my habits and I started loving life again. But, y’know, we’re all wired a specific way—some are hard-wired and there’s not much you can do to change that. I used to work 15 hours a day, I rather enjoyed it, and then I started writing 15 hours a day, again, because I enjoyed it. But that forgiveness thing—I just couldn’t get my arms around that one. I did forgive myself for beating myself up when someone slighted me (I was unable to do that before) but to forgive the offender, no, I couldn’t do that. That’s probably a shortcoming on my part, so if that’s the least that I have to apologize for, then so be it.

Each and every one of us (men AND women) has a set of rules that we must live by and each set of rules is as individual as the person who makes them his/her own. Not that these rules are carved in stone although we’d like to think that should be the case. No, we make rules that we have to live by and we expect that others are doing the same. In due course, we find out that it has only been us that have been living by our stringent rules that others [and these are in the majority] have neglected to put in place. To them, life has always been a picnic or a day at the beach—just one long volleyball game followed by beer and hot-dogs. Then and only then, do you get to take a long hard look at the paces that you have put yourself through.

To keep a tally sheet on those who have helped you and when and how takes an awful lot out of you. If they’re your friends, then they will help you without being asked. If they don’t, then you just picked a fair-weather friend and that’s no ones fault but your own. My grandma used to say if you lend a friend $50 and you never see him again, you got off cheap. And that forgiveness thing? Just let life take care of them. If they’ve been cutting any corners, life will eventually even out the score and believe you me, when life hits you, it’ll hit you like a train. Not that you’re wishing these people any ill-will, but what goes around, comes around. Let life do the rememberin’ then you can start with the forgettin’. At least, that’s how I see it. MLProko (2011) www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 5:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On intelligence and education

We’ve all seen them, the smart ones in the class. It usually starts around grammar school, probably more with the girls and then an occasional boy or two. The gifted ones. Smart as a whip. And they’re good at just about anything. Studies. Music. Maybe sports. Language. Everything. And the teachers love them and speak of them in exceptional epithets like the teachers had anything to do with their mental capacity. Hardly. That’s the way these kids were—exceptional. They were like that before they even got into a classroom.

Then, we have the also-rans. Kind of average in intelligence, more or less average as far as studies go and kind of so-so as far as sports go with the exception of the occasionally gifted athlete. But some of these kids are also gifted in their own right. They have a sense about how things work. No, not scientific and not mechanical. No, they can see how life works and how the machinery that drives life works. Their acumen is in dealing with humans in human endeavors. These are the people persons. Is there one group mentioned here that’s any better than the other? No and not’s not the point of this column/essay. Both groups come with their pluses and minuses.

It has been said that knowledge is education in action. All of your education isn’t worth a hill of beans if you can’t use it in the real world. Sad is the individual who aces all the tests in school and can’t find a job later or maybe he can find a job but this poor fop can’t even carry on an intelligent conversation with, I don’t know, anyone. There must be a practical application for what we have learned along the way when it comes to our education. The writing courses, the history courses and the Shakespeare that I studied were all beneficial to a writing career but, quite honestly, I was interested in all of those subjects when I was 14.

An education in our society is a must, a more rounded education is even better. But you must also realize that an education does not signal the end of your learning time. I had the privilege of going to school with some pretty bright people—bright from a school point of view. There was one in particular, he never really made it in the outside world. He’ll tell you with a certain degree of satisfaction that he has never been to a library since school and has never read a book cover to cover since graduating and that was over 40 years ago. However, you listen to him talk and he has all the answers. You’d think this guy should live up in the Himalayas where we could all take a pilgrimage from points all over the world and have him enlighten us. Oh yeah, and somewhere along the line, he also forgot to get a job or collect ONE paycheck. But boy was he good with those schoolbooks.

Churchill once said that anything worth learning could not be taught. Sir Winston knew that learning was an active, not passive, process. A lot of what they teach in school is memorization [passive] and that’s why most people can’t ever remember what they learned in school. It’s just the way we’re taught. Each and every one of us learn different things at different times. What some of us had difficulty with earlier came quickly to us when we got older. The trick is to keep learning, to keep the brain working, to pick up and expand on new ideas and use every drop of talent that the Creator blessed you with. At least, that’s the way I see it. Take care. MLProko (2011)  www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 4:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Spider’s Touch

John Sprat (his good friends called him ‘Jack’) was a decent guy, a hard-working guy, mostly likeable, but deep down he was a poor soul, you know, just a guy, an average guy who just couldn’t seem to get out of his own way. The fact that he had dreams and always spoke glowingly about the future was a testament to his faith and to himself. The diminutive little twirp would not be denied his piece of the American dream and one day, hopefully, he’d figure out what that was.

Sitting at his desk for over 40 years, his boney little body propped up on a column of Chicago phone books, he had one eye on the ledger that he was working on and the other eye was on the horizon. Something was out there, something grand with his name on it, something not yet figured out but it was his—he knew it, he wanted it, he could taste it, but what it was was anybody’s guess. IT would be delivered this evening and a spider would do the bringing.

Having just finished a dinner with his more than significant other half, his wife was the polar opposite of Jack. Well over 6 feet tall and tilting the scales at 300 lbs., she was loud, rude AND obnoxious, berating her husband for all to hear. Sprat just sat there looking out the window at a disappearing horizon and thought about what might have been. There must have been a time when he did love her but those days and those feelings were long gone and, judging by her size, you had to figure that she probably made a meal out of those, too.

The drive home was a lesson in misery, just like his dinner. When will this end he asked himself. He put the key into the front door lock and as his wife walked by him carrying four gallons of ice cream, a spider ran across her feet, not just a spider but a Tarantula—big, black and hairy. John silenty jumps backwards. His wife freezes. What was that? He knows she hates spiders and if he tells the truth, he’ll have to hear about this the rest of the evening. It was a grasshopper, my love. The hairy spider stops and looks at Sprat and keeps on walking. His wife walks in the door and promptly goes to work on one of the gallons of ice cream as she barks at Jack to take out the garbage. Walking to the garbage cans, he looks up at the moon just as a cloud passes in front of it. He tilts his head a little. I’ll be damned. I think the moon just winked at me. Back inside the house, as Jack gets ready for bed in his room, he peers out the window as another cloud passes in front of the moon. It did, it did wink at me. And as the cloud passed the moon, he noticed a soft smile on the face of it.

The following day was all blue skies and green lights for our friend. The software that Sprat had designed to help himself do his accounting procedures was being picked up not only by the Federal Reserve Bank but also by the General Accounting Office in Washington, D.C. to the tune of some $50million. And the software that he had designed for sewing machines to help little old ladies sew these ‘doilies’ in hundreds of different patterns had just gotten the good Housekeeping Seal of Approval which meant not only more cash but boxes and boxes of doilies for everyone on his Christmas list. Them and their mothers. It seems that Mr. Sprat’s ship had finally come in. The sad part was that he would have to keep it to himself knowing full well that his wife would take whatever good fortune he had and turn it inside-out and upside-down and he was tired of listening to her berate his dreams and his few accomplishments. Nope, he would keep this to himself. He had the man in the moon to thank and that little spider too and no one else.

The following day, Sprat put his pants on the way he always had, one leg at a time, except now he was worth close to $60million. But he decided to go to work anyway. After all, his boss had been good to him over the years, giving him holidays off and all excepting when he had to work on Easter if it fell just before Tax Day. He relished in his new found dream and its success and managed to keep the news of his good fortune to himself for about a month until one day he came home from work and saw his neighbors gawking over the fence at his rather large wife standing by the front door with a broom in her hand, beating something on the ground. Look at the size of that thing. I’ve never seen a spider that big. It looks like a tarantula. Ha! And now he’s a dead tarantula! Sprat bends over and picks up the lifeless body and turns to put it in the garden while his wife is screaming at him in front of the neighbors. With that, a huge wind comes along and drops a tree on their house. A little while later another wind comes along and knocks a telephone pole over on their garage completely destroying the man’s 1955 Nash Rambler. But our friend knows why his fortunes seemed to have changed and the reason weighs just over 300lbs.

A few weeks later, Sprat gets home at the same time, removes a box from the car and stows it in the corner of the garage. He puts his key in the front door and then she starts in on him. Oh God, when will this end. Later that evening, after she has thrown the garbage at him, he looks up at the moon as a cloud passes in front of it and smiles. I swear he winked at me again. Then, he removes the box from the garage and takes it to the basement.

The following day, Jack Sprat is out of the house bright and early but he’s been up since about 3:30. That night, he puts the key in the door and smiles at the silence. As he opens the door a tarantula exits the house and runs across his shoe. Jack bends over to pick him up. No you don’t. Come on, we have to go find the others. He walks into his wife’s bedroom. She’s as dead as a doornail. He gets the box from the corner of the bedroom and rounds up all the other tarantulas, all 12 of them. The police surmise that Mrs. Sprat had somehow knocked over the box that Jack had kept his pet spiders in and they had done her in while she was asleep. No charges were filed against the diminutive bookkeeper and, yes, he was allowed to keep all of his pets. You know the best part about this whole situation is the silence in that house and as Jack looked up at the moon a couple of nights later, he could swear that the man-in-the-moon was smiling. And then, he winked at Jack.   MLProko (2011) more at  www.mikeproko.com.

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 4:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On your internal compass

True north. That much you know about a compass, it always points true north. In scouts, we always had access to a compass and we never worried until one day the compass was lost and we got a quick lesson in using the sun as our guide. We were taught if you just keep your wits about you, you can usually weather any kind of ordeal. But what about your internal compass? If that also points true north, what’s with all the anguish, all the turmoil and all the sadness that goes on in our lives on a daily basis? That may be the paradox: where our internal compass is pointing as opposed to the direction in which we are heading. One points in one direction but our actions and our ego points us in another.

Having learned most of what I know, good and bad, from my grandparents we were taught as we approached puberty that if you removed your ego from any decision more than likely you’d probably make the right guess and attract the right people to your side. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ignored that advice only to have everything blow up in my face. It’s almost comical, it really is.

You see, all this stuff was explained to all of us at a very early age; most of the good stuff was back then. Someone somewhere took the time to explain these little rules to us along the way and then, I dunno, maybe we had hair growing in or over our ears back then but we got to a point that we stopped listening. Maybe that’s the way it is with generations: each one has to make its own mistakes. All you can do is stand back and wince because you know what’s coming down the pike at them.

Or maybe a little common sense could be in order. You’ve known the difference between right and wrong since you were a wee one. Then you know the difference between good and bad. Then you know what is just and unjust, what’s black and what’s white and on and on. And yet, even if we set our path to ‘true north’ we are somehow off a couple of degrees. So why all the fuss? It all depends on what you want to settle for.

More than anything else, what we settle for will usually determine how close we come to ‘true north’. That settling stuff we learned at a young age. That’s good enough or that’s close enough or that’s as good as it’s going to get—all of these are excuses not to hit the mark, so you end up off your mark by not all that much and you’re o.k. with that because you were told to settle. The down side to that is that a little here and a little there over time becomes a big deal. Now you find yourself out in some kind of wasteland not knowing how or why you got there. Maybe it’s too late to start all over? That is never the case.

You know where you want to go and you know how to get there. So go. And to heck with the nay-sayers or with the corner-cutters. This is not where someone else wants to end up—this is where YOU want to end up. If the others would like to stop by later and drink their wine from one of your golden chalices, that’s fine. And if you decide not to let them in, that’s fine too. After all, you are the one responsible for your own journey, just you and your compass, the one that always points true north. You want to settle for something, try that. Settle for true north. And in the end, you’ll like where you end up. At least, that’s how I see it. Take it slow. MLProko (2011) http://www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 3:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On taking charge

I had been in the hospital a little over a month. My doctor originally thought that they had caught the stroke in time. They hadn’t. There I stood in front of my doctor twisted like a pretzel. After a brief exam, he pointed at a chair and had me sit down.

Tell me what makes Mike Mike? I was thrown off by the question. I think he knew it. No, what makes you tick? What is it that makes you YOU? I thought for a second, looked over at my wife then back at the doctor. I’ve never been afraid of doing the sh•• work. He looked at me and laughed. What? I said: You know, the sh•• work. I’ll do whatever it takes to finish the job, even if includes the sh•• work. Again, he laughs. That’s funny. I never heard it put like that before. I stood to leave his office and he stands, shakes my hand and says Take charge, Mike, take charge. I deadpanned him. What I mean is that you know you better than anybody, better than the doctors and better than the therapists. You know what you’re capable of doing and what you’ll have to do. Do it. Take charge. Don’t listen to anybody else. He turns to my wife and whispers I love his attitude. He’s going to do all right with this. It’ll take some time, maybe a little longer than we figured, but he’s going to do all right. Dr. Thomas Freedom. I love that man and I’ll never forget him.

Take charge! Simple enough. There is an elegance in simplicity. That’s what makes it so difficult to understand, it’s too simple. Take charge. That’s just way too simple. Think back on the times you just kind of let things happen to you instead of taking charge. Now, turn the clock back. Now, turn it back further. Kind of disheartening, isn’t it? Take charge. Isn’t it always easier when someone else can take charge? Y’know, then, we can just kind of sit back and enjoy the ride. I guess in a perfect world that would be how everything would work itself out—all for one and one for all. But in our world, the world of today, that’s not going to cut it. If you’re going to let someone else do the driving, sooner or later you’re going to have to pay the freight. And then it hits you; all you had to do was take charge.

Kathy was a girl that I had met at a golf course one day and she was selling hot-dogs. She, too, was a stroke survivor. She was trying to do the best she could with one good hand scurrying around on one good leg but you could tell that some of her customers were not pleased. When the crowd thinned out, I introduced myself to her and told her about my strokes. First off, she was surprised that I was able to play golf. Then, she told me about her stroke; hers was a result of child-birth, which I found out was pretty common. Then, her husband walked out on her. Again, this is pretty common. Depressed and with an infant, she had to go it alone. She did almost no work in rehab, wanting instead to get home and start fending for her newborn. All of this happened 10 years before I had met her. I asked her what her doctor said about her condition and she told me that this was as good as it was going to get. I think she wanted me to feel sorry for her. I didn’t. What I did was explode, damning the doctors AND her husband. I told her that 10 years was nothing, that she could get better if she wanted, but she’d have to change and start taking charge. I think I blew her away. I didn’t see her for another 8 weeks, actually I thought I’d scared her off. Then, one day, this woman walks over to me and it’s Kathy. She tells me that her son tricked her into taking a Tae-Kwon-Do class with him and she was using muscles she forgot that she’d had and that she’d never felt so good. And she looked great.

It’s all about taking charge. It worked for Kathy and she started 10 years late so it’ll work for you. This I know. Thanks, Dr. Freedom. Thanks for the tip. Who knew it could be that simple? God bless you, my friend. MLProko (2011)   www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On commitment from the little guys (us)

[Based on ‘On Commitment from the Big Dogs’]

Commitment. Once upon a time it meant something. Once. There are a lot of words that have lost their luster and their meanings over the years. Beautiful words. Words that would inspire a nation, words that would heal all types of wounds and words that would give solace to an already battered public. But ‘commitment’ was one of those special words that not only conveyed an idea but a message, too. Look it up in any dictionary and you will probably see trust, keeping, obligation, bound, pledge and word. If ‘commitment’ has lost its meaning, what about the words that are used to define it. What about their meanings? That’s where we come in, my friends. Just because some words no longer mean what they used to, it is up to us to recall the strength behind its meaning and give them new life in our lexicon.

There was a poll taken back in July, 2011 that said that 14% of the American work force thought that the company they worked for was ethical and treated their workers fairly. 14%?? Am I missing something here? 14%?? Is this something to be proud of? Is this something that we can run up the flag-pole and wave at the rest of the world? We are getting it from our elected officials. We are getting it from business. We are getting it from every conceivable direction and our heads are spinning as a result. But we can change all that and we can start the change now. This has nothing to do with liberals or conservatives, nothing to do with republicans or democrats either. What it has to do with is a commitment from the little guys. US. And we can do it in the simplest of ways—on a one-on-one basis.

Contrary to the opinion of others, last time I checked, we were still in charge of this country. We elect our politicians and we can unelect them. We buy the goods and services that big business spits at us; if you don’t like what you’re getting, don’t spend your money on their products. You want to get someone’s attention, just stop showing up with your money. When in doubt, boycott—you’ll get the answer that you’re looking for. There are those times when you can’t see the forest from the trees and that’s where we are now. People are running around trying to get their piece of the pie before everything if flushed right down the drain. Whoa, horse. Wait a minute now. There were those who came before us that wouldn’t appreciate that kind of talk or thinking. There were those who believed in America’s greatness and those who knew her soul—and that was in her people; not some Ivy league clown that would sell out her future for a mere bag of silver coins. America’s strength and her spine has always been the people, from the north to the southern border, from the ocean on the east coast to the one on the west, we have a people here that you can’t grow anywhere else in the world. Now, what we have to do, one by one, town by town, state by state is recommit ourselves to that greatness.

Some of us, many of our parents, most of our grandparents and all of our great grandparents came from somewhere else because this was the place to be. It still is. It just needs a little housecleaning, that’s all. Y’know, take out the garbage and clean up the yard a little. They used to say that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second best time is now. I can’t argue with that. At least that’s the way I see it. MLProko http://www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 3:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On Faith and Religion

  • I think highly of your Christ. It’s your Christian’s that I don’t like. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. (M. Ghandi)
  • The problem with writing about religion is that you run the risk of offending sincerely religious people and then they come after you with guns and machetes. (Dave Barry)

            There’s nothing particularly difficult about writing about religion per se, but in this day and age, when we seemed to have lost our sense of humor, few things are more personal to people than their religion. And that’s the way it should be: PERSONAL. And yet, all over the globe, on any given day, you have people invoking the name of God when they commit an act of terror, when they exterminate millions and when genocide seems to be the topic of the day. If religion is supposed to be personal, why do we chuck reason out the window and let the clowns that run the Church decide who deserves God’s favor? When America was attacked on 9-11, our president tried to project an aura of calm but that did not prevent him from saying that Islam was a religion of evil. Y’know, just call me stupid but I didn’t think those attacks had anything to do with Islam; the nuts that flew those jets into those buildings were whack-jobs who just happened to be Muslims. If they had been born and raised on Chicago’s Southwest side, they probably would have been Irish Catholic. So what? A kook is a kook. You have to remember that the people who run the various churches are just like the people who run the various governments—with the same bias, the same prejudices, the same likes and dislikes that the rest of us share. To think that these people cast aside all their phobias just because they run things is delusional and ridiculous. And they ask us to trust them by putting our faith in them.

  • Real faith is not contrary to reason. (Samantha Eddy)
  • A faith that stands on authority is not a real faith (Emerson)

There is a fundamental difference between faith and religion that is quite basic: faith is a trust in God and His promises where religion is an allegiance to a particular dogma and its teachings as interpreted by the hierarchy of that particular religion. The first is based in Heaven; the second is based here on earth. The first is based on love; the second is based on fear. People in the church just like people in the government rely on fear AND fear of the unknown to keep them in power. Normally, when they lose their grip on the power, the guy that’s standing right behind him will tow the line just like his predecessor and his before him; so much for embracing new ideas and changing with the times. In short, they are insulated from the rest of us; old men with even older ideas about life, death, salvation and whatever else you want to throw into the stew-pot. Not that I’m advocating change; change just for the sake of change is dangerous. But you should be able to take a step back and ask yourself if these folks are serving your needs as best as they can. It should be a personal decision on your part, you know, just like your religion. You can take some solace in the fact that most of your free thinkers do not have a church background but their words can still move millions: If God didn’t exist, man certainly would have created Him because He’s the only thing that keeps us all from going crazy. (Lord Chesterton). I’ll second that.   MLProko (2011) www.mikeproko.com.   

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 2:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On what if?

What if you could do it all over again? Would you? Or would you do the same thing but earlier? Or later? What if you had spent more time in school? Or less? What if you had hooked up with so-and-so? Think your life would have turned out differently? Darn right it would have. These people who live in the constant state of ‘what if’ and ‘if only’ are there
country-cousins of ‘ifa, coulda and shoulda’, ‘ceptin’ I don’t recall this thing we call life being a multiple choice contest. You make your decisions and let the chips fall where they may. Then, when the dust settles, you get to play again. It usually takes some time to get the hang of it and we all seem to do the best we can. The sad ones are the people who regret that ONE decision that everything seemed to hinge on. Not only is that sad, it couldn’t be any further from the truth.

One decision? Pick one, any one and you have to figure that your whole life would have changed at that point. Old friends? Gone. Wife? Gone. Kids? What kids? Everything would be different. Job? Maybe you would have been miserable. Health? Maybe you would have died 20 years ago. You can’t just change one thing. That coin has two sides to it. The whole dynamic changes, the entire paradigm shifts. But, you can take that one decision and then just tweak the answer a little until the results are what you had in mind all along. Nobody
says that you’re not allowed to do that. You have to feel sorry for the ones who get so wrapped in their own misery that they can’t see that they have a choice as to how they’re going to interpret whatever it is that just happened to them. You know what they say about lemons and lemonade.

Whatever the universe deems to any man at any point in time is for the good of that man at that point in time. (Marcus Aurelius) But that was then. What are you going to do about now? What about the new decisions that you will make? Will it be the ‘same old same old’ way of thinking or will you make an effort to introduce a ‘forward thinking’ dynamic into your life and make the change that you’re looking for? This might just be the opportunity that you’re looking for. NO, WAIT! This IS the opportunity that you’ve been waiting for. Get out that crystal ball of yours and let’s see what the future holds for you now.

So, you’ve decided to change the dynamic, to shift the paradigm. What happens? First off, your brain changes its plasticity and how you see things will also change. You go from being a victim of circumstance to being equal to or superior to any and all circumstances. Now, instead of being the ‘reactor’ to a situation you are the facilitator. You might be thinking about a grand dream or something as simple as helping others—whatever it is, you now notice that there are all kinds of people lined up to help you. And each person that you bring into your ‘vision’ will have their own idea about how they can be of service to you. This type of thinking tends to multiply and it keeps doubling. You are getting help from complete strangers and then you start to notice all of the other opportunities that are also coming your way on your journey. All of this keeps building. But something in you has changed along the way. Your thinking has changed and your brain has expanded. Even if you do go back to your old haunts and see your old friends, you can no longer be contained. You have seen what you’ve been missing and now you know what you’re capable of. And it all started with that one single decision.

What if? You already know that answer. You helped create it. And you had it in you all along. Make it happen. Don’t stop. Do this. God bless. MLProko (2011) www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 2:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On Humor

It was fun growing up then, back during the 50s and 60s. We still had the remnants left over from our parent’s generation: The Three Stooges. The Marx Bros. W.C. Fields. Kramden and Norton. These cats were responsible for the way two or three generations of boys would look at and deal with their problems. Wouldn’t it have been a lot easier if, instead of being punished in school, someone just woulda hit Miss Battle Ax in the face with a pie made of shaving cream? And even today, who wouldn’t want to grab one of the hoy-polloy and just give ‘em the side of your foot in the keister.  These were the guys who taught us how to look at life, they taught us how to laugh, more importantly, they taught us not to take ourselves too seriously. They also taught us that every one of their hair-brained schemes to make some easy money wasn’t worth the powder to blow it to hell. Yes, the world around us may be tragic but even the most cynical (especially the most cynical) still need a good chuckle to get through the day. What happened to our ability to laugh at ourselves? WE seem to have lost our sense of humor. Oh, you can’t say that anymore or, God forbid, you should say that. The Church will boffended or this group will be offended or someone somewhere is going to be upset. FOR SHAME. It might be rather telling to point out that in a time when being ‘politically correct’ is the norm that mental illness is at an all-time high. Don’t be in a hurry to think that the two are not related. This bears some looking into. I know what Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine and Dr. Howard would have to say about that and yes, Doctors, I do concur. Nyuk. Nyuk.

The best humor is always the humor where we can make fun of ourselves. People will always laugh the hardest when the well-intended hero becomes the foil in his own story. Why? They can all identify with a guy like that, the poor clown who can’t seem to get out of his own way. Curly was always a ‘victim of soicumstance’ and that’s why most of America (males
only) thought that the chubby one was the funniest out of the three. His heart was always in the right place but if the house was going to fall down, you had to know that it was going to fall on Curly.

Groucho was the ring-leader of the Marx Bros. and as the sun, all the planets (Bros.) revolved around him. They would engage in their mayhem, again at the expense of the rich and famous, and he would do his best to keep his ‘animals’ in line. And that never happened. He always wanted the girl and usually by the end of the show they were all run out of town most of the time with the police in hot pursuit. WC Fields really never wanted the girl, a job or riches. All he wanted was a drink and to be left alone. It was funny to see how many people would go out of their way to prevent him from getting neither. And that would become his mission, to foil the foilers. In the end, he usually did.

I’ll share a story with you on humor. When our daughter was about 12, The Phantom of the Opera had just opened in Chicago. Sara wanted to go and I was lucky enough to have my older brother find seats in the 1st balcony, center, 1st row. Sara was mesmerized. She had dressed up for the occasion. So had I. I even wore the tie she had just bought me for my birthday. As we were milling around during intermission, we were getting all these looks from the theatre-goers. I told Sara not to mind, that she looked like a beautiful little princess. She looked at me and said no, dad, that’s not why they’re staring. I don’t think they’re used to seeing someone show up to the theatre wearing a Three Stooges tie. Oh, a night at the opera! Nyuk. Nyuk. MLProko (2011) www.mikeproko.com

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 2:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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