Notable Quotable:

Notable Quotable:

Remember, folks: whenever a woman says "die for me because you are a man," just look her in the eye and say "my body, my choice."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

See ya, Stinky!

            I guess I was born optimistic.  I sure didn’t learn optimism in this world, but I have learned to refine it, capitalize on it.  You see, I was also born depressed.  In the days before Prozac I suffered a lot of anxiety, for no reason whatsoever.  When I was younger, I managed it by going off by myself and hanging out with my imagination.  As I grew older, I was forced to deal with people more and more.  I had to learn to shelter myself, and I think my innate optimism is how I survived.  No matter how much the present sucked, the future would always be better.  Didn’t know how, didn’t know why, but I was sure of it.  And it is better.
            My life is far from perfect, but I am content.  I’m not deluded, certainly not naive, and it’s just not feasible to hide out in a cave.  So I cope.  My secret?  Positive Mental Attitude.  Yep, good ol’ PMA.  (Excuse me, the seventies just called – they want their cheesy slogan back; the pet rock must be lonely.)  It turns out though, that remaining positive in a world full of negative is not so hard.  You don’t have to lie to yourself, or even chant positive affirmations in the mirror.  A positive outlook is simply a matter of looking around you, and choosing what to pick up and and take with you in your life.  And knowing what to leave outside.  I call it Dealing With the Skunk.
            Don’t ignore the skunk; he lives in your neighborhood and he can make you miserable.  He is the crime and politics and hopelessness in the news.  He’s your nitwit boss and you idiot coworker.  He’s the dumb-ass who nearly creamed you while texting behind the wheel. He’s the litter in the gutter and the hypocrites in church.  Sometimes he’s a member of your family.  Are you getting the picture? You are the only one who can decide how to live near the skunk without getting stink-bombed. 
            So, what do you do?  Booby-trap the yard and tell the kids to play indoors?  Do you nail your windows shut to keep out the smell?  Do you wear hazmat gear to walk the dog?  Maybe you stalk him with an M-16?  You can spend your whole life trying, but you will not eliminate the skunk.  Yet you don’t have to live like a prisoner in your own home.  If you’re smart, you remain aware of him, and you take sensible precautions to avoid him.  Keep your "yard" fairly neat; don’t give him junk piles and overgrown weeds for a habitat.  Don’t leave garbage out for him to eat.  When you do get a whiff of him, you’d be wise to head the other direction.  Stay alert, and know what he’s up to, but you’d best not engage him unless you must. 
            Here’s what you don't do.  You do not invite him into your home to dominate the dinner-table conversation.  You do not let him shed on the sofa and crap on the carpet.  You do not feed him the food you bought for your children.  In short, you don’t waste your precious resources nurturing something that can destroy your peace of mind.  The skunk is a part of life, but he shouldn’t be a part of the family.  Who would want that?  When you encounter the skunk, acknowledge him, deal with him, then leave him outside where he belongs.
            Oh, and cops, ministers, social workers, soldiers, and others among you who devote yourselves to wrestling the skunk on behalf of the rest of us:  Thank you, and I sincerely wish you peace in your personal lives – you need it more than anybody.
            I’m going to watch “Pollyanna” now.  Popcorn, anyone?
            And by the way, Recruit had a good Thanksgiving and is really loving boot camp.  Semper Fi.

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