What Are You Laughing About?

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a great start.

It’s early for me to be up and writing. Okay, it’s the same time I always get up, and I used to write this early every day. That was before I spent two months getting a taste of what retirement might be like. The verdict is in. I like it, but the bank isn’t so sure. And my wife, who always sides with the bank, can’t wait to see me leave for work again. Oh well. It’s been nice.

When was the last time you had a really good belly laugh? I mean the kind that leaves you holding your side and gasping for air? As a comedian, I can tell you that was the ultimate compliment. One night, I heard a woman near the front catching her breath and saying, “Please make him stop!” Okay, I heard that a few other times as well, but she was actually laughing.

I always used to tell my audiences that comedy is nothing but reality with a twist. All it takes is a little imagination. Like that sign I once saw on the side of the highway that read, “Used cows for sale.” Um, excuse me? Used how? I mean, it was in southwestern Kentucky. Do I need to draw a picture? At least it didn’t say “gently used.” I’m pretty sure I’d have run off the road.

It’s been said that we don’t stop laughing when we grow old – we grow old when we stop laughing. And still, I’ve met several people who wouldn’t crack a smile at a puppy chasing its own tail. Sometimes, they even go to the comedy club. Together. They charter a bus to make sure they all get there at the same time. And then they sit right up front. Fun times!

And they always have an excuse. “I’ll laugh when I find something funny.” Then go look in a mirror. It’s making the rest of us laugh. Make faces like a three-year-old. Better still, make faces AT a three-year-old. Laughter is contagious.

Another one is, “I have a weak bladder – I wet my pants when I laugh.” Then laugh it up! You’ll have to go sooner or later anyway. And everyone around you will find it hilarious. Or put on a diaper and giggle as you dribble. They’ll wonder what you’re laughing about, and that’ll make you laugh even harder. Voila! Two birds with one stone.

And then there’s the one we hear all too often … “I don’t have time to laugh.” Then you don’t have time to live, my friend. Of all God’s creatures, we are among the few who were blessed with the ability to laugh. And any time we deny ourselves the full gift of life, something inside dies.

Laughter truly is the best medicine. You’ve heard that your whole life, but it’s not just an old wives’ tale. Medical science backs it up. Laughter releases chemicals in your body that fight disease, kill pain, and trigger happiness. It’s impossible to feel bad when you laugh. Okay, the first week after my hernia surgery may have challenged that notion, but you get the idea.

And best of all, laughter is the natural antidote for stress. We all recognize stress as the ultimate buzz-kill, but it kills a lot more than just a good mood. And don’t let anybody tell you they thrive on stress. No, they don’t. As we discussed yesterday, stress releases its own cocktail of chemicals in our body that fight immunity and cause a whole host of other medical problems.

So, if stress is bad and laughter is good, why do we insist on watching 24-hour news instead of an old sitcom? Why do we complain about politics instead of spending time with the kids? Why do we gossip about the boss around the coffee pot instead of telling jokes? The answers to those questions could make the difference between a lifetime of happiness or misery.

I used to close every show by telling my audience that, by the time a child goes to kindergarten, they laugh an average of 300 times a day. Adults, on the other hand, laugh about 17 times a day. Now, if we both live in the same world and both see and hear the same things, the answer should be obvious – they’re laughing at us! Maybe we need to do that a little more ourselves.

Mom once told me to never take anything in life too seriously, least of all myself. The day I took those words to heart is the day I stopped growing old quite so fast. You see, aging is inevitable, but growing old is a frame of mind. Laugh. Enjoy life. Don’t grow old before your time. You’ll be happier in the long run, and so will all those around you.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Can You Spare A Roll Of Toilet Paper?

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

Last night my wife and I were out shopping and I couldn’t help but notice the empty shelves in three sections of the store – disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper. There were a few packages of TP left, and we picked one up. Not because we’re afraid of being house-bound in the near future. Our pre-teen granddaughter will be with us next week. Need I say more?

We picked up a pack of 18 rolls that the packaging assures us will last as long as 72 rolls. Okay, I may be missing something here, but once upon a time it took a really big box to hold that many rolls of toilet paper. I don’t care how many plies you laminate together, a roll pretty much lasts a little over an hour in our house. Maybe a little longer when everyone is asleep.

I try not to make light of people reacting to something that can’t really be quantified right now, and is already disrupting lives in more ways than we may be able to comprehend. And it’ll get worse. But there’s just something a little amusing about people with a few items in one shopping cart and another full of toilet tissue. One lady even asked for an escort to the parking lot. I kid you not.

The last time I saw a run on toilet paper like this was in 1976. The nation was in the midst of a mild paper shortage, and late-night host Johnny Carson joked that the shortage had impacted the TP market. I worked in a grocery store and, for the entire weekend, we couldn’t keep it on the shelves. People were in a panic. Not because of a real shortage. Because of a joke.

Granted, this time it’s not a joke. I do find it amusing that a couple of brands of toilet paper seem to be immune to the panic. And if you go to the camping supplies, there’s no shortage of “rapidly-dissolving” toilet paper. As comedian Bill Engvall asked, just how rapidly are we talking about? From what I’ve read online, rapidly enough. Get some latex gloves while you’re at it.

I don’t think anybody knows for sure how badly this virus will impact us, and how long it may last. And I understand people being a little on the cautious side. Still, it makes you wonder, are they stockpiling food as well? Those shelves appear to be pretty well intact. Sales are brisk, however, in liquor stores, which may explain the increase in toilet paper sales. I’m just saying.

Okay, this is a serious issue. That doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate some of the built-in humor. In fact, few things can trigger the release of immune-boosting endorphins like laughter. That doesn’t mean we don’t take the problem seriously, and that we don’t apply some common-sense preparations just in case. But don’t stop living in the process.

Will you catch Coronavirus? According to most experts, the odds are small. That may change over time, and then again, warmer weather could wipe this out in a matter of weeks. Nobody really knows. And even if you do catch it, there’s a chance you may not even know it. That’s both good and bad. Good for you, and bad for anybody you kiss. So, don’t kiss old folks. Except me.

It’s good to have a healthy fear of things that can do us harm, but don’t let that fear dominate your life. Make the necessary adjustments and go on living. Wash your hands. Cover your mouth when you cough. Don’t sneeze on other people. And, for the time being, avoid crowds. It’s pretty basic – the same things we were all taught as children.

But don’t stop living on the off chance something else will come along and do it for you. Adapt and go on. This virus may be around a while, and it may impact all of us in some way. But fear won’t make it go away. In fact, fear triggers cortisol which can, over time, reduce your body’s ability to fight infection. The more we cower down, the more likely we are to be affected.

It’s natural to be afraid of something we can’t fully understand. Follow your own instincts, but listen to the experts as well. Not politicians – experts. Throughout history, populations have survived countless plagues and pandemics. We’ll get through this one, too. And hopefully with enough toilet paper to go around.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

If You Step Over It, Somebody Will Step In It

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off just right.

It’s Hump Day, and that means the week is half-over. I have to admit, I’m a little proud of the fact that in 10 straight weeks of not having a day job, I’ve never once forgotten what day it was. Funny, when I was working that happened a lot. Most weeks, Thursday came at least twice, along with the disappointment that it was only Tuesday.

Mom always used to say, “Stop wishing your life away.” That was usually in response to my anticipation of attaining a certain age where life would magically be wonderful and all the problems of being six would somehow disappear. “I can’t wait till I’m old enough to drive!” Remember that? Yeah. Turns out Mom was pretty excited about that as well.

With all those new freedoms come new responsibilities. In layman’s terms, additional chores. I still had to clean the carport every time it got messy. Only now, I had to go to the store to buy trash bags. “And since you’re going there anyway …” For a month or two, that was fun. After a while, I began to realize I’d been played. We all were. It’s just part of growing up.

That’s why I wasn’t very patient when one of my daughters would complain about having to help around the house. “I only used one plate! Why do I have to clean them all? And I didn’t leave that dust on the kitchen cabinets!” I’m pretty sure we all handled those objections the same way, with an air of compassion and respect. “Because I said so, that’s why!”

With each trip around the sun, we become more and more aware of the fact that we all share this planet together. And since there aren’t enough houses to go around, some of us have to share those as well. As a family, we all contribute somewhat to the mess. So, it only seems fair that the youngest has to clean it up. That gives them the motivation to graduate and move on.

Okay, I’m having a little fun here. As members of a household, we should all contribute to making our house a home. That means cleaning up after other people, cooking meals we don’t plan to eat, and washing dishes we didn’t use. It also means allowing others to voice an opinion and showing them the same respect we so fervently demand. Just like the Golden Rule says.

The same is true once we step outside the front door. On the job, we’re often asked to clean up messes we didn’t create. We do things knowing the boss will get most of the credit, unless it blows up in their face, in which case we’ll catch the blame. That’s just part of life. But it’s not about glory or blame. It’s about getting the job done and making life better for everyone.

It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child. And, having started life in a small town, I can attest to that. If you dared to wander on the wrong side of the tracks (literally), you can bet somebody would see you and pick up the phone. “Aren’t you Mary Glardon’s boy? I wonder if she knows what you’re doing!” If I had a dime for every time I heard that.

When I was about six, Dad was out of town for a couple of weeks and my uncle brought a pistol to the house for our protection. Mom wanted no part of it. Not realizing it was a real gun, I picked it up and shot a hole in the wall. Dad found out about it before he even got home. As he stopped into the bank to make a deposit, the teller commented, “I hear that boy of yours is a crack shot!”

Okay, that was nothing but small-town gossip with no beneficial intent. But there were other times when people sensed trouble and stepped in to help. Like when Ricky Brace decided to pound me after we got off the school bus. A man I’d never met stepped through the crowd and pulled us apart. My face was black and blue for a month. I never got to thank that man.

Every day, we’re surrounded by messes we didn’t create. Some are more serious than others, but none of them will get any better until somebody steps in to help. It could be as simple as straightening the door mat at a store entrance to keep an elderly shopper from tripping over it. And it could be as life-changing as pulling somebody from a burning home. You just never know.

Yes, it takes a village to raise a child. It takes a family to make a home, it takes employees to run a business, and it takes all of society to build a nation. We all contribute in one way or another. The question is, will we pitch in, or wait for somebody else to do it for us?

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Inner Youth Is Only A Dream Away

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

If you’re ever feeling old, spend a little time around some little ones. I guarantee you’ll feel that much older by the time they leave. Don’t get me wrong. I love the sound of laughter and the little songs they sing. And only a child can look at a dirty sock and see a microphone. Everything becomes a microphone. And their lungs are magically transformed into an amplifier.

On the other hand, if you ever want to feel young again, spend some time around little ones. Laughter is contagious. So are runny noses, but they’re worth the joy that comes from just one of those little hugs. And if you play along with some of their games, you’ll find yourself singing silly songs a little off-key just to make them laugh a little louder. For me, that comes naturally.

In a meeting with some business associates last night, we were talking about how our dreams change with age. When we’re young, we can envision a life filled with things only rock stars and politicians can afford. And there’s little doubt in our mind we can enjoy that life. All it takes is hard work and saving $20 every week. That’s what Dad told us. Dads do that sometimes.

Well, as it turns out, Dad forgot to mention the lottery. Because, for most of us, that’s what it would take to live the life of our dreams. Thankfully, as we age, our expectations start to fall more in line with reality. My first home was supposed to be a mansion, but it turned out to be a double-wide. You know, two trailers connected at the hip, and all that that implies.

Also, the longer we live without those creature comforts we just had to have, the more we realize they’re just fluff. I have two cars. One is new and one … isn’t. If I totaled it tomorrow, the insurance check would almost buy a loaf of bread. But you know what? It runs, and it gets me where I need to go just as fast as the new one. And if it’s raining, I can even clean the windshield.

Then there’s the fact that, the older we get, the more we think about others ahead of ourselves. If you think kids are expensive, wait until you have grandkids. Fancy things just aren’t as important when the little ones need a new iPad. Okay, I’ve never bought any of my grandkids an iPad. We go with the Walmart brand. They don’t know the difference.

But the point is, things just aren’t as important as we age. Still, that doesn’t mean we stop dreaming, nor should we. Dreams are what get us out of bed in the morning and drive us to go that extra mile. Okay, work gets us out of bed, but you get the picture. Everything we do in life is designed to achieve some goal. The trick is to make sure the goal is worth working for.

I remember driving to my grandmother’s house, down dirt roads past tin-roof shacks with no indoor plumbing, and seeing people sitting on the porch next to the washing machine. They didn’t seem to have a care in the world. It’s a simple life. And even those people have dreams. They may not be the same as ours, but they’re still just as important.

We never really lose the ability to dream. But as we get older, it takes a little more effort. You can’t do it in the middle of the workday, or as you try to tend to family matters after work. You need a little quiet time, and maybe even some visual aids. Settle down, ladies – I’m talking about pictures of the life we want to enjoy. Beaches, mountains, even snow if that’s your thing.

There’s nothing selfish about wanting things for yourself, especially if those things can be shared with those you care most about. And it’s those dreams that will energize you to work a little harder, persist a little longer, and keep a sparkle in your eye long after others your age have given up. Want to know the secret to a happy life? You already know. Just do it.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Life Is A Gift – Slow Down And Enjoy It

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

For most of us in the US, our circadian rhythms are all out of whack again. It’s amazing the difference one hour can make. Looking outside at 7:30 and it’s still dark just doesn’t feel right. There ought to be a law. I say we go back to bed and sleep that extra hour until the sun catches up. Funny, morning traffic seems to catch up quite nicely. It doesn’t miss a beat.

I haven’t been out for the morning drive in a while, and I have to admit that was pretty nice. I’ll be back out there in a couple of weeks, though, with one foot on the gas, the other on the brake, right hand on the wheel and left hand hanging out the window. You know … signaling a left-hand turn. You believe me, right?

I always used to wonder about all those people darting in and out of traffic, putting everybody else’s life at risk just to beat them to the exit ramp so they can slam on their brakes and stop right next to us at the light. Hopefully they’re that energetic when they actually get to work. I doubt it. They’re the ones who leave an empty coffee pot and swipe the last donut.

I remember driving home from work one day, and everybody else was going a lot faster than I was. Oh, I was doing the speed limit, but I was staying in my lane and just driving. You know, like an old man. Finally, it occurred to me. It’s not because they’re younger and more agile. It’s because they’re not going home to teenage kids. And apparently, they can afford the ticket.

No matter where we’re going, we always seem to be in a hurry to get there. So much so that, yesterday morning, we set our clocks an hour ahead. If we did that every week, I’d be 102. And, while I hope I can live that long, I’m not in that much of a hurry to get there. Life is going by fast enough, thank you. I’m ready to slow down and start enjoying it a little more.

Granted, there are times when we need to get somewhere fast. Like when you get out of work last and dinner is waiting. I’m kidding. Dinner is never ready. Well, unless you’re running late and it’s something that tastes better hot. And yes, we have a microwave. But some things don’t play nicely in the microwave. Ever try biting into a chunk of silicone?

Still, there are times when we’re legitimately in a hurry. But more often than not, we put ourselves in that situation by choices we made. Like leaving for work at the last possible minute and then expecting everybody else to get out of your way. I know, I sound like my dad. He always used to tell me if the car backfired one time, I’d be late. He was right.

Traffic is a fact of life. Tires go flat, batteries go dead, and every now and then Mother Nature decides to throw a wrench in the spokes. Any one of them can mess up your day. But if we’d just anticipate those things and leave a little earlier, we could start our day with a lot less stress and get to work in one piece. Early. Oh, the horror!  Now I really DO sound like an old man.

Well, here’s the thing. The first person there gets the freshest cup of coffee. The pot’s never empty, you get your choice of the best stuff in the vending machine, and you can pretty much park wherever you want. So, what if you can’t clock in early? Take a newspaper, check your email, read my morning post – whatever. Breathe. Start your day on your own terms.

Somebody once said Heaven must be a great place because we’re all dying to get there. And you know what? You’ll get there soon enough. Even the idiot on the road who’s making your life miserable. But as the title of a 1978 movie suggests, Heaven can wait. It’ll still be there. So will work, and dinner, and the school play, and all the other things we’re rushing to enjoy.

An old Mac Davis song warned, “You’re gonna find your way to Heaven is a rough and rocky road if you don’t stop and smell the roses along the way.” Breathe. Slow down. Take time to appreciate what’s in front of you right now, even if it’s a line of stopped cars. Every minute we rush through life puts us a minute closer to the end. Enjoy it before those minutes are gone.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Stop Beating Yourself Up – Just Keep Moving

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is starting off nicely.

If you missed yesterday’s post, you’re not alone. I did, too. It was just one of those days. I had the best of intentions, and even started to write. But you know what they say about good intentions. I believe they’re used to pave a certain road.

Okay, but I have an excuse. Ever heard that one before? We always have an excuse. Wednesday was a busy day and I had a hard time getting to sleep. That’s an excuse, right? I mean, you need to be reasonably awake to create literary masterpieces with just the right blend of humor and inspiration. If you ever read anything like that, give me a yell. I’d love to learn how.

But Wednesday, after two months of unemployment, I had a job interview. It was my fourth or fifth interview during that time, but this one just felt really good. Okay, some of the others did, too. They do that on purpose, just to get your hopes up. “Dave, that’s exactly the answer I was hoping to hear.” Yeah, I know. And that’s exactly the answer I was hoping to hear. Next!

But this one just felt right. It was with my previous employer – you know, the one that told me I did such a good job they didn’t need me anymore. It’s in a different department, newly formed just for me. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. And they even staffed the department with a bunch of my old friends to make it feel like home. It does. Sometimes, old shoes just fit better.

So, as I sat here yesterday morning trying to write, I kept looking at my email and phone to see if I had any new messages. I got an extra cup of coffee, checked the news, looked at some RV sites, and took my granddaughters to school. Sound familiar? Finally, just before noon, I got the call I’d been waiting for. Time to dust off the old lunchbox and start getting dressed again.

That said, I can honestly tell you I spent the day agonizing over the fact that I never wrote my morning post. Sure, with over 500 previous posts in my archive, I could have pulled out something from the past and posted it instead. Odds are, very few would have noticed.

But I would. When I started this thing, I made up my mind I’d put forth my best effort every day. I’ll admit, some days that’s more apparent than others. If I had a list of writing prompts to work from, it might be easier to think of a new topic each day. But most of this is simply stream of consciousness, with the hope of giving you a touch of amusement and inspiration.

That’s the way it is with a lot of things we do. We have a goal – an overriding objective we’d like to achieve. Sometimes that goal is imposed upon us by other people, and sometimes we dream it all up on our own. But Mom always said if you’re going to do anything, take the time to do it right. The bosses always appreciated Mom. I’m betting their mom said the same thing.

When it comes to the job, we always put forth the effort. It’s pretty simple. Do the job or find someplace else to spend your day. Motivation isn’t really an issue, because somebody else does that part for us. But when it comes to our personal goals, we can’t depend on somebody else to crack the whip. We need to do it ourselves. And that’s easier said than done.

Don’t get me wrong. We usually have little trouble beating ourselves up. But history has proven that beating people up isn’t the best way to motivate them. And we all know, criticism can be especially painful when it comes from somebody we like. Hopefully you like yourself at least a little. You know, enough to care when that person in the mirror starts beating you up.

You learned to walk by falling down. You learned to ride a bicycle by falling down. You learned to talk nicely to your mom by … well … stop, drop, and roll. It works for fires, too. But you get the message. Falling down is just a part of life. What’s important is that you get back up and try again.

Life will get in the way, and sometimes we have to put things off for a day. But that was yesterday, and this is today. It’s what you do with today that counts. Try not to repeat mistakes of the past, but put them behind you and move on. Your goal is still out there waiting. And the sooner you dust yourself off and take that next step, the sooner you’ll get there.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Beating Fear Is Easy – Just Find Something That Scares You More

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a great start.

Two nights ago, we had some pretty intense storms. Nothing like they had in Tennessee, but apparently enough to raise some fears locally. By “locally” I mean here … in this house. I wouldn’t know. Other than a clap of thunder that made me roll over and adjust my CPAP mask, I slept through it. Once I’m asleep, it takes a lot to get my attention.

It was just under a year ago that I was awakened from a deep sleep by loud voices and lights in the hallway. Obviously, something was seriously wrong. I remember thinking, “What has that cat done now?” Anybody who lives with a cat can fully understand that assumption. Then, I heard my daughter clearly say, “Multiple tornadoes on the ground!” Okay, that’s my cue.

To say we live in an area where tornadoes command attention is an understatement. My house was built in 1974. If you stand on the roof and look as far as the eye can see, it was all built in 1974. Or, rather, I should say re-built. There was a perfectly good neighborhood here before then. But in a matter of minutes, it was leveled. So yes, when the sirens go off, we respond.

Apparently, that’s what it takes to wake me up. Not the sirens. I sleep with my hearing aids on the dresser. You could put a siren on the front porch, and I wouldn’t hear it. It was pretty much the same when I was in the Navy. An onboard fire alert meant waking up just enough to see where the fire was. Unless it was under my bunk, I went right back to sleep.

General quarters, on the other hand, was something we couldn’t quite ignore. I’ll never forget the first time I woke up to those dreaded words, “This is NOT a drill!” I haven’t moved that fast since the time my sister walked in while my wife and I were … well, never mind. At least that time I put on the right pair of pants.

Things that alarm one person barely get another person’s attention. And things that get one person’s attention go completely unnoticed by others. Let my granddaughter see a moth, and it’s a full-blown panic. This is the same kid who got her picture taken at the circus with a six-foot snake around her neck. Let me see a snake and it’s a full-blown panic. Priorities. We all have ‘em.

Fear of anything, no matter what, is fear. It’s real. It may be overblown, and it may be unfounded. But to the person feeling it, fear is very real. And, make no mistake. There’s nothing wrong with a healthy fear of tornadoes. Fear of flying insects, on the other hand, can be a little amusing. And fear of snakes just means you have at least two functioning brain cells.

It’s said that the easiest way to overcome fear is to face it head-on. Okay, I’ve faced snakes and I screamed like a little girl. I have little doubt I’d do the same today. Facing down your fears takes desire and commitment, and when it comes to snakes, those two are not part of the equation. Still, I can at least admit my fear is a little silly. Apparently, so can my granddaughter.

Fear can be a healthy thing and, to the extent that it doesn’t interfere with the life you want to live, it doesn’t really hurt a thing. But all too often, all that stands between you and your dreams is fear … fear of risk, fear of the unknown, fear of people, fear of failure, maybe even fear of success. Yes, that last one is real. Much more real than we’d care to admit.

Because success, no matter how we’ve visualized it, means stepping into the unknown. It means living a life that’s different than what you’ve known until now. That change may be subtle or drastic, and you may never know until you get there. So, the real question is, are you ready to face the change, or would you rather just keep doing what you’ve always done?

Sometimes, it takes a five-alarm wakeup call to get us moving. I’m willing to bet thousands of people in Tennessee ran into their basement Monday night without even checking for spiders because something else brought out an even greater fear. It’s in those moments that we completely set aside previous fears for a more important objective.

What’s holding you back from your dreams? Fear of people? Fear of opinions? Fear of trying something new? Well, then find something you fear more – like never reaching your goals or living your dreams. Let that be the wakeup call that drives you past your other fears. More often than not, your fears can be overcome. You just have to decide which ones are most important.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved