What would Abe do?

I’ve always been fascinated by Abraham Lincoln.  He was one of the greatest if not the greatest American president.

In fifth grade there were two kinds of kids.  There were the kids who carried their lunch and the kids who went home for lunch.  I was a “carry your lunch kid”—a baloney, cheese or peanut butter sandwich, two cookies and an apple.  As I would sit there in the lunch room with the other “carry your lunch” kids who were eating their own baloney, cheese or peanut butter sandwiches, two cookies and an apple lunches I always imagined the “go home for lunch” kids eating chicken and dumplings or roast beef or fried chicken or spaghetti and meat balls and maybe a slice of homemade apple pie (I know what you’re thinking, what on earth does this have to do with Abraham Lincoln? Hold on).

One day my friend Bobby, a “go home for lunch” kid, invited me for lunch at his house.  I said yes but told him that I would have to ask my mom.  When I got home and asked her about going to Bobby’s house for lunch she said “Isn’t that nice” and “you be sure to tell Bobby’s mom, thank you” and then she said, “…and you eat everything you’re served.”

“But what if I don’t like…”

“Eat everything you’re served.”

“But what…”

“Ah, ah, ah”, and then she told me a story (back to Lincoln). “When he was a young man, Abraham Lincoln was invited to dinner at a neighbor’s home.  As he was eating he looked down at his plate and saw a worm in his food but rather than pushing it aside or removing it from his plate and embarrassing and humiliating his host young Abe ate that worm.  That selfless act built character and helped make him the man he would become”.  Mom smiled at me and I told her that I understood.

Two days later when I got on the school bus with no lunch I could feel the stares of the other lunch sack kids who knew I was going to have lunch with “them”. By 10 o’clock when we were working on our spelling words I could see Bobby’s mom taking an apple pie out of the oven.  By 11 o’clock I think I started to smell roast beef.  At noon when the lunch bell rang I joined Bobby and the “go home” kids as we watched our “carry your lunch” classmates being cast down into the basement lunch room to eat with the other barbarians.

When we walked in the door at Bobby’s house his mother called from the kitchen, “Hi, boys, go wash your hands, lunch is almost ready “, (I wondered why I didn’t smell apple pie and roast beef).  We sat down as she brought in two plates with a baloney sandwich, two cookies and an apple.  Apparently this was a test to see how I behaved going home for lunch and that they were saving the big meal for the next time I was invited.

I took my first bite of the baloney sandwich just as Bobby’s mom asked, “How was school this morning?”  Luckily she had turned to hear Bobby’s response as my mouth fell open and I started to gag.  I swallowed whatever it was that I was eating and then peeked between the slices of bread.  It wasn’t baloney at all, it was pickle & pimento loaf.  Pickle & pimento loaf sandwiches!  What kind of mother feeds her child pickle & pimento loaf? As I sat there forcing down that sandwich I could see my mother’s sweet smiling face in front of me beaming with pride and I’m pretty sure I felt the strong, firm hand of the 16th President of the United States of America on my shoulder.

I thanked Bobby’s mom for lunch and smiled when she said to come back again. When I got home, after telling my mom that I had thanked Bobby’s mom, I told her what had happened and she said how proud she was and then I think she called Bobby’s mom to thank her.

All of these decades later whenever I hear the name, Lincoln, or see an article about a Civil War commemoration or even look at a five dollar bill I think about Abraham Lincoln and I wonder how strong his character have would become, what kind of man he would have been and what kind of president the nation would have had to lead it during those dark days if at that long-ago meal when he looked down at his plate and instead of seeing just a worm he had found a pickle & pimento loaf sandwich.  It’s probably best for the nation that we will never know.


Eat your dinner

“No, no, no, I don’t want any”, but it was like she couldn’t hear me when the serving spoon came down on my plate with a click, click, click as my mother tried to dislodge a glob of Aunt Ruthie’s pineapple tuna surprise casserole onto my plate.

“It’s delicious”, she said.

“Then why don’t you have any”, I asked?

“I am having some (about a tablespoonful). It’s just that it’s so rich and I’m trying to lose a little weight”.

She thought that I didn’t notice that she had positioned her little serving so that it could be covered by a dinner roll or that green beans with the fried onions stuff.

“I don’t want it”.

“Well, young man, you’ll sit there until you eat it.  Children are starving in China, you know”.

Children are starving in China?  What does that have to do with Aunt Ruthie’s casserole?  They’re half a world away.  Let’s see, if I don’t eat it they starve? So, I guess, if I do eat it they’re okay?  I didn’t seem to make any sense but then what did I know?

With this connection between the Chinese and me I thought about those corny old movies where people appear in the sky at the end of the film.  I could just see a vision of a Chinese kid in the sky smiling and waving to me as if to say, “thanks for lunch, American buddy (but please, next time no pineapple tuna surprise).”

During the last presidential election most of the campaign and news and debates seemed to focus on the economy.  What had happened to the nation’s economy, what could be done to strengthen it and what needed to be done to create new jobs?  To show just how important the jobs topic was Vice President Biden said, “…tackle the number-one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S, jobs.”  Jobs are pretty darn important.

The arguments went back and forth with the usual statements: the loss of jobs was caused by greedy corporations; no, the loss was caused by greedy unions; no, it was Walmart’s demand for lower costs from their vendors or maybe it was because the American people want lower prices.  It seemed that all of the arguments about the movement of jobs to China centered on the cause being on this side of the Pacific (I was actually happy to see this since I started to wonder if I should fear for my safety if the American people ever discovered who was really responsible—I could almost see torch carrying mobs in the streets).

Greedy corporations, greedy unions, Walmart and American consumers may have forced jobs to China but to have those jobs sent to Asia meant that China needed to have a large, strong and healthy population to receive and work those jobs that were being sent over.  A starving population can’t make quality products and that’s where I came in.  I did eventually eat my Aunt Ruthie’s pineapple tuna surprise casserole which made that Chinese kid in the sky smile and wave and then, wouldn’t you know it, that darn kid grew up healthy and strong  and took those American jobs.

My fault.  A nine year old Ohio kid should have done the patriotic thing and just sat there and not eaten that casserole. Blame me.  My bad.



I keep adding apps to my iPhone 5.  It’s incredible what this thing can do but hey, I’m probably not telling you anything you didn’t know.   It just keeps getting better and I always try to make sure I have the latest and the greatest.  If you’re like me you probably think it’s great when something new hits and you’re able to be one of the first to download the app.

Here’s one I just found that you might be interested in checking out.  It’s called, Nice.  What Nice does is give you guidelines on how to improve the way you live your life and how to improve the world around you.  What you do is load in your day by the hour and then pick from a scroll down menu some of the activities that you might be involved in during the day.

Here you go:

It starts when you wake up so I’ll give you some highlights of the guidelines called out by an English lady after you click the activity (I think she might be the sister of the Garmin lady).

“Upon finishing breakfast always clean up after yourself.”

“Today you will enter a number of buildings.  When you see an elderly person or someone who needs assistance hold the door open for that person.”

“After using the bathroom always flush the toilet and wash your hands with soap and water.”

“Wash your hands with soap and water before eating.”

This one is on my wife’s phone (I guess men and women have some exclusive comments), “When choosing your wardrobe remember it is not necessary to fall out of your blouse, dress like a lady.”

“After purchasing an item wait for the salesperson or cashier to say “thank you” and then reply, “you’re welcome.”

“Speak clearly and without vulgarities when talking with family, friends, acquaintances or strangers.”

“When eating a meal always say “please” when asking that items be passed to you and after receiving the items say, “thank you”.

“When eating always chew with your mouth closed.”

Isn’t this something?  I think this app is terrific.  I wonder if it will catch on?  It might make me become my grandparents (lol) but that’s okay because I really liked them.  I guess Grandma and Grandpa must have had an earlier version of an app like this.  Maybe it was on their wall phone.



I can’t remember who said it

While every generation seems to believe that they are members of the most important group to ever walk the earth there are always some who think that they receive no respect from those who came before them.  Maybe the reason that there seems to be so little respect given is that so little has been done which deserves to be respected or done period.  From this belief that there is a lack of respect comes, “People try to denigrate us just because we do what we want.”  Silly, but then this is from people who cannot handle criticism and when they do receive it from someone older, no matter what the reason, it can seem to make life hard, maybe a little too hard and awfully cold.  Some young whiners have even said, “Before I get old like “them” I hope that I die.”

What the youth should know is that older people can remember what it was like to be young and how fragile the young can be as they struggle to learn about life.  The young should also be aware that the older generation isn’t going to fade away and that even if they don’t believe it the older generation really does want to understand what the young have to say.

Thinking about it, is it this kind of unstable thinking and thought process that is the reason for the perceived put downs in the first place?  Maybe.  Then again, maybe the youth don’t even know that they’re causing a big sensation with this incessant talking, talking, talking and talking about their generation.

And so the cycle continues with every generation going through the same thing.  The big difference now is that today’s youth are pretty much on their own and have to sort it out for themselves.  An earlier generation, the baby boomers (probably the wisest of all generations), had the advantage of not only having wise thinkers think for them but also having those wise thoughts put to music so all could hear and learn from that wisdom.  The troubadours of wisdom actually made a whole generation believe that they had something worthwhile to say.  We are seeing the results of that wisdom throughout society today.

Well, that’s what I think.  I probably could have better captured the thoughts I am trying to convey if I had quoted directly from those who spoke to the baby boom generation but I can’t remember who it was who was talking about their generation, baby.

I am not yet ready to announce my candidacy, but I’m close

There hasn’t been much talk, much buzz about my possible run for the presidency in 2016 but that’s to be expected what with it only being the summer of 2013. My plan is to let the other potential candidates slug it out before I hit the campaign trail.

You’re probably thinking, “who is this guy?” My name?  It doesn’t really matter does it since you wouldn’t recognize it anyway.  My barber for the last twenty five years just calls me “boss” because he doesn’t know my name and much of the mail I receive is simply addressed to occupant or resident.

I don’t have name recognition but what I do have is new thinking and bold ideas. What I do have is a platform that I believe the majority of the people of the United States will support whether they are Democrats, Republicans, independents, members of the NRA or Occupy Wall Street campers.  It’s a platform based not on improving things but on eliminating pains in the neck.  Examples?

Upon my inauguration all hand dryers will be banned and immediately removed from public rest rooms.  No longer will you have to stand there listening to a screaming hand dryer and then wipe your hands on your pants.

The National Security Agency (NSA) will use its high tech snooping powers to monitor voicemail messages.  When the message says, “… your call is important to me, please leave a message and I will return your call promptly”, that person will have two hours to return the call before a swat team executes him or her.

Charging for air at a gas station will be grounds for imprisonment for not less than twenty years.

Cashiers not saying “thank you” will be required to go through courtesy training.  Cashiers saying “have a good one” instead of “thank you” will be immediately terminated.

Showing menu items with the description, “this is our take on ….” will be sufficient cause to have the restaurant burned to the ground. It’s either a Reuben or it isn’t.  Saying your take on a Reuben includes lettuce and ranch dressing on grilled whole wheat is just wrong and will be dealt with severely.

The owners of fine automobiles who take up two parking spaces so that they have a buffer on each side to prevent dings and scratches will be forced, along with their family members, to watch shopping carts slammed into that shiny paint.

“Buzz words” (examples: at the end of the day, throw under the bus, outside the box, game changing and buzz word) will have an expiration date attached.  Use of a “buzz word” after that word’s expiration date will cause the entire document in which the word is being used to be erased (another task for the National Security Agency (NSA) which is reading your email anyway).

That’s about all of the platform that I am going to release right now.  It’s new, it’s bold and I think it addresses the issues that have bugged Americans for a long, long time.

I’m charming, I’m always right and I never lie so what else do you need?   I humbly ask for your vote. “Occupant in 2016.”