Letting You In On A Little Secret…

For this “Seeking Wisdom” Thursday I am going to give you some of my personal wisdom. Unlike some person we all know, I don’t think I am perfect but I have gleaned a fair amount of wisdom during my years on this earth. Much of it comes from the mistakes I have made, but isn’t that where the really valuable wisdom comes from?

I am letting you Millenials, and anyone else who cares to hear it, in on a little secret. No matter how old you get, you are still a forty-year-old but stuck in a decaying body. It doesn’t matter if chronologically you are in your seventies, you still think and sometimes foolishly act like you are forty.

Why forty? Well, that is the age where, in my wisdom, you become fully adult, if you ever actually become a full adult. ๐Ÿ™‚ The teenage years of making stupid mistakes actually extends well into the twenties. After that, it is a learning process to find what the world and your place in it is actually about. By the time you are forty, you should have pretty well gotten all that stuff down. Of course, the years after that pile on the wisdom but forty is the point that your body starts on its long downhill grade. So you lock your mental psyche on that year.

I was never much of a Mark Twain fan but when we visited his hometown in Hannibal Missouri years ago I came across the words in the featured image above. Personally, I know not a day passes that I don’t feel young.

So, the next time you visit a nursing home, or other places where old people hang out, remember all those folks see themselves pretty much the same as you. You insult them when you baby-talk them or just plain ignore them. A lesson in empathy when it comes to old people is to go out of your way to say hi and recognize their presence. Why? Because someday, and sooner than you think, you will be the one on the receiving end of that transaction.

That is enough of my wisdom for now. I gotta go replenish my wisdom bucket now. ๐Ÿ™‚

What do you think?

Optimist Or Pessimist??

It seems almost impossible to be an optimist in today’s world, especially now that a totally incompetent person leads our version of it. But these times are not the only time we have been severely challenged as a nation.

Are you optimistic or pessimistic about Americaโ€™s future? Iโ€™m optimistic. I say that because there have been many moments in our history when old ideas and old arrangements stopped working and people chopped them up. Those transition moments were bumpy, and it was easy to lose hope, but then people figured it out. Never underestimate the power of human ingenuity.

Source: New York Times

This quote is from David Brooks who leads the way for those of us who still claim to be optimists.

I think too many of us are still in the “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” mode when it comes to hard times. We throw up our arms in defeat. We see our country controlled by the inmates instead of the good guys. Yes, it takes courage to be an optimist now. But, courage we must have.

I admit that we have never had such an incompetent person in the Oval Office, nor have we had a more partisan ruler of the Senate but eventually times change and things return to normal if there is such a thing. We will survive these times as we have all the others. I don’t even want to think that the opposite is even possible.

Several years ago I learn that Mark Twain become an extreme pessimist in the last part of his life. During that time he wrote some utterly bitter and spiteful things that greatly tarnished his literary image. By the end of his life, he had reached a position of cosmic proportions. I now understand how that is possible but absolutely vow to never allow that to happen to me. Pessimism like can destroy life itself if left uncontrolled.

If it is a choice between Optimism and Pessimism, I will choose optimism every time.

Already Started

I’m going to make this Monday talk of politics short and sweet (if that is even possible) ๐Ÿ™‚ I see that Elizabeth Warren has already kicked off the 2020 political season with her announcement that she will likely seek the Oval Office. I am ready to start dreaming of a “qualified” person residing in that round room once again.

Given the current occupant, the bar is so dreadfully low for who are qualified, I image dozens of others will likely put their name in for consideration soon. I would also be willing to bet that the Republican party will also have multiple options even if the current occupant should happen to survive to that time.

I like Elizabeth Warren, she has always been about the average guy against the corporate elite. She reminds me of Teddy Roosevelt in that regard. Another person I would like to see run is Michael Bloomberg. We can never have too many choices. We learned that the last time around.

What do you think?

We The People…

I hope that there is no American over 8 year old that doesn’t know where the title words come from. For this Artsy Saturday I give you the words in shoe laces! They were found at the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville Arkansas.

The Wisdom of Jefferson & His Contempt For Stonewall Jackson

Thomas Jefferson Statue at Monticello

I have let it be know many times here at RJsCorner that Thomas Jefferson is one of my main heroes in life. He, and Will Rogers, are who I chose many years ago to how to cope in the best of times and in the worst of times.

Jefferson had a love of words from a very early age. When it came to the written word he was probably the most prolific of all the founding fathers. He was also recognized, even by himself, to be no better than an average speaker. He seldom spoke extemporaneously. In his time in the Continental Congress, he seldom spoke more than a few words. But when given the time to dream, write, edit and then edit some more he was a master of eloquence. It is a fact that even Lincoln used Jefferson’s writing as a pillar for his own.

I have been looking over his words as found in the book “The Quotable Jefferson” as I seem to do on a regular basis and ran across his thoughts about Andy Jackson. Before I get to them I want to re-iterate my contempt for our 17th President. I simply cannot fathom how the Democratic Party can celebrate him as their founder. I admit that I haven’t read a full-length biography but I have read many things about him and have visited his estate the Heritage and read most of the info there. I know from that that he was a threat to our young democracy due to his rash and boastful bravado.

I also know that a picture of Jackson is now hung in the Oval Office as it’s current occupant thinks himself able to compete with Jackson’s legacy.

Before this gets too long I have to give you the quote from Jefferson on his thoughts of Jackson as recorded in 1824, two years before his death and five years before Jackson occupied the Presidency:

I feel much alarmed at the prospect of seeing General Jackson, President. He is one of the most unfit men, I know of for such a place. He has had very little respect for laws or Constitutions, -& is in fact an able military chief. His passions are terrible. When I was president of the Senate, he was a Senator; & he could never speak for the rashness of his feelings. I have seen him attempt it repeatably, & as often chock with rage. His passions are no doubt cooler now; -he has been tried much since I knew him- but he is a dangerous man.

I don’t doubt that Jefferson rolls over in his grave every time his name is mentioned Jackson.

Free Range Kids…

I am going to tell you a story about when I was growing up in the 1950s and then put a modern twist to it.

I don’t have a lot of memories prior to my eighth year of life. I vaguely remember spots here or there before then. But I do remember when we moved into our brand new $14,000 tract house in the suburbs when I was 8-years-old. There were five of us living in a 900 square foot, three bedroom, one bathroom house. Compared to where we lived prior to that this was a modern mansion.

My new suburban neighborhood was an adventure waiting to happen. We lived 4 blocks away from the Catholic school I attended so I and my two brothers walked that distance every day. There was also a gas station across the street from the school that infatuated me. I spent quite a bit of time watching them gassing up cars, checking the oil, and of course, cleaning the windshield. That gas station proved invaluable a couple of years later when I broke my collarbone trying out for the school football team and as a result, wore a very hot and itchy plaster vest through the summer. With the station hose, I blew a stream of air under the plaster vest to make things at least tolerable.

We lived eight blocks away from the drugstore with a soda fountain. It was on a busy road and we weren’t really supposed to go there but on occasion did so anyway. I always ordered the “suicide” which included squirts of a half-dozen of the flavors available.

Then there was the mushroom factory about four blocks away from home where we loved to climb the freshly delivered piles of dirt which in reality were piles of composted cow manure! We didn’t know that is what they were but that would have made it even cooler. (ha). But, there was that day when I was climbing the trees in front of the factory and fell down on a sharp wrought iron fence due to climbing out on a broken limb. They told my dad in the emergency room that the fence came within an inch of puncturing my lung! But, except for a “bragging” scar no real damage was done. That episode did make me more aware of the dangers around me. That proved to be a valuable lesson I’m sure.

I’m running out of space here but I did want to mention the lumber yard that was about 6 blocks from home. We got much of the material we needed for our adventure projects from the scrap pile there. The owner sometimes gave us small pieces of wood that he cut off customer orders and sometimes we would sneak in on our own to get them. It was kind of like a commando raid for us.

The moral of this story is that I learned to be an adventurous person from my childhood years. I learned what it was like to be out on my own. All those lessons would help shape my adult life.

I was a free range kid…

Finally getting to the point of this story, I saw something recently on the PBS Newshour that the average ten-year-old has likely never been more than two blocks away from his home unaccompanied! There is apparently too much parental fear of abduction and such now. But, the statistics just don’t bear out this fear. In reality, kids are much safer today than they were in my day.

Are we stunting our kids by keeping them homebound and not letting them be free-range as we were in my generation? Are we preventing them from the adventures of discovery? Are we stifling the future inventor and innovators? That, along with the fears should be on the minds of all parents today.

What do you think?