What Kind of Person Are You?

I’m getting a little weary of these notices on social media asking me to complete a survey to find out what kind of king or queen or politician I might be.

So I’m offering my own version to help you find out what kind of person you might be. Please answer the questions below and when you are finished find your description at the end.

Respond yes or no to the following questions:

1. When I see an empty parking space downtown, I do everything I can to get it, even if means pulling in front of the person who saw it first.

2. I honk my horn whenever I can no matter what.

3. I hold grudges as long as I can.

4. I express anger at the slightest provocation.

5. My mind is made up; don’t confuse me with the facts.

6. I judge people on what they look like.

7. I seldom listen to other people.

8. I believe one should do unto others before they do unto you.

9. I throw my trash and cigarettes out the car window.

10. I believe I know more than anyone.

People

How to Score: If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, you are, indeed, a bad person. If you answered “no” to all the questions, you are a good person. If your answers consisted of both “yes” and “no” you are an honest peerson.

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Go, get set, ready?

Starting Line

Go, get set, ready?

In real races, you can get ready, set, before going.

In the game of life, however, it’s reversed. You must go before you are set or ready. It’s called birth. You are literally protected for nine months or so before being thrown into the world, totally unprepared. You depend on others. If they love and care for you, you are given a good start in the race. If not, you spend time trying to catch up. Sometimes you never catch up.

You would think this obvious description of how every human being begins life would open up insights into who and what we are as a species, but it’s one of those simple truths easy to overlook.

So what does this inauspicious beginning for every human being tell us about what it means to be a person?

First, we are literally tossed into life before we’ve had a chance to figure out what it’s all about. We begin dependent on others, frail, anxious, grasping, yelling. Philosophers who are existentialists say this describes the human condition, the primary situation in which each human starts out.

Second, we often yearn to go back to that safe place from which we came. Some people never get beyond this primal need. Others begin to grow, learn that they can be both dependent and independent, venturing out of the cocoon to risk flight. This is called growing up.

Life becomes a balancing act on a tightrope, learning how to walk, and when to hold on or to let go, hoping there is a net below.

Perhaps if we really understood and felt this truth of how every human being begins life, we would learn to have compassion for one another, realizing how tenuous our lives are and how we are dependent on one another in this strange journey of life.

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Wisdom for Living from a Pooka

whiterabbitwithwatch

Years ago my mother used to say to me, she’d say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be” – she always called me Elwood – “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.

          —James Stewart as Elwood P. Dowd
 
     Next to the Wizard of Oz, the 1950 movie Harvey with Jimmy Stewart is one of my favorite, all time movies. It was a film adaptation of a 1944 play by American writer Mary Chase.  It’s the story of Elwood P. Dowd who claims a close friend, Harvey, a very tall white rabbit who is invisible to everyone else.  Elwood believes Harvey is real but, of course, everyone believes otherwise.
     Elwood spends his days going around town introducing Harvey to people, being friendly, and handing out his business card to invite strangers to lunch.  Elwood is a kind of innocent saint who believes in treating people kindly and with a sense of play. 
Harvey is a Pooka, a Celtic mythological creature taking many forms, who likes to play tricks on people and have fun.
     The more I think about the times in which we live, the more I believe we need a Pooka in our lives, mythical or not, who can help us be silly and laugh at ourselves and others in a kind way.   Laughing at others borders on nastiness; laughing at ourselves shows mature wisdom.   It’s no wonder G.K. Chesterton could write that the reasons angels can fly is that they take themselves so lightly.
     When we can laugh at ourselves, others will laugh with us. 
     When we can stop taking ourselves so seriously, we lighten the load of others.
     When we can play we can invite others to do likewise.
    
 

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Filed under John C. Morgan, wisdom, Silliness, humor, laughter, Celtic, Foolish

A Thin Place

Tintern Abbey 

There’s little roof left on the ancient Tintern Abbey in Wales.   There’s grass on the floor instead of a rug and in place of a strained glass window one looks out to the nearby hills.   Near dusk one can see white doves flying above, angelic.  Cows graze outside.  At night the moonlight streaks through the windows and casts light inside.  If one listens carefully it is almost possible to hear the evening hymns of monks who lived here centuries ago.  At the top of the hill beside the abbey and near the River Wye is what the monks called the devil’s pulpit, a site they believed they were tempted to go and escape the monastic life.  Climbing up the hillside one morning as the light breaks I still quietly under an old oak tree, its branches an overhead canopy.  I sit quietly.  Time itself seems to have stood still: no past or future only the eternal now, the veil lifted..  When I come down the hill and speak with a local resident about my experience, he tells me they have a word for such experiences–thin places, where one can see temporarily through what’s in front of you to some other dimension.  I suppose one could say that without time what you have left is eternity.   All I remember is a deep feeling that the veil was lifted if only for a minute on top of that hillside. Later, I remembered that the poet Wordsworth and his sister walked the same path a century ago and called such moments intimations of immortality.  

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The Day After the Dentist

Dental Office

The best day is the day after the visit to the dentist, especially after surgery.  I have not been looking forward to the time.  I suppose it’s because of a one bad experience long ago while in college when a dentist removed a tooth he shouldn’t have and under unpleasant (read: painful) circumstances.

But I should have remembered Mark Twain’s words that he had suffered many traumas in his life, many of which he never experienced.  All in all, given modern advances in dental care, all I lost was  a tooth or two, not a life.   Although I must admit had I had the view shown in the above photo before the surgery, I would have jumped out the window and escaped.

All things considered yesterday, I would much rather have been in Philadelphia, but the day after it’s not so bad being where I am now. 

 

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Sophie

Originally posted on A R E T E (Live well and flourish):

IMG_2718

Everyone has a story, including Sophie our dog. 

I wanted another dog and my wife called our vet in the hopes they might know of one.  It just happened that someone had brought a dog in to be euthanized because she could no longer handle her.  The first time I saw Sophie she waddled across the floor to greet me, her entire body wagging back and forth. 

It turned out she had a thyroid problem resolved with a pill a day (and her weight was drastically reduced).  She was a mixed beagle, jack russell, but to give her a more impressive name we called her a Jackabee.  When people asked what breed she was they seemed quite impressed with. 

Sophie’s gregarious, welcoming behavior continued.  She greets everyone the same way she greeted me the first time I met her.  When out on a walk, if she spots someone coming the…

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Sophie

IMG_2718

Everyone has a story, including Sophie our dog. 

I wanted another dog and my wife called our vet in the hopes they might know of one.  It just happened that someone had brought a dog in to be euthanized because she could no longer handle her.  The first time I saw Sophie she waddled across the floor to greet me, her entire body wagging back and forth. 

It turned out she had a thyroid problem resolved with a pill a day (and her weight was drastically reduced).  She was a mixed beagle, jack russell, but to give her a more impressive name we called her a Jackabee.  When people asked what breed she was they seemed quite impressed with. 

Sophie’s gregarious, welcoming behavior continued.  She greets everyone the same way she greeted me the first time I met her.  When out on a walk, if she spots someone coming the other way, she insists on greeting them until they pet her.  If they bend over to pat her they get a lick.

Her favorite outing is going to the local pet store and sniffing everything.  The beagles sniff constantly when on a walk (no wonder they can be used to detect bombs in airports).  She also has the “beagle bark,” which makes her sound as if she might be a dog three times her size. 

So why am I writing about Sophie now?   Because some months ago we found out she had cancer and she was given months to live.  She has lasted beyond the original prediction, but this sentence may account for how much she is pampered, knowing time is limited.  Ive often thought how much better the world might be if everyone were treated as if their times were limited (and they are).

Consider this a eulogy before Sophie passes.   She is a great dog, dare I say “soul?”

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