Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Two Wolves: A Cherokee Story about Native Wisdom

Thank you to Amy H. for posting this on my Facebook page tonight. I absolutely love it. First appeared somewhere else, a long time ago:

A Grandfather from the Cherokee Nation was talking with his grandson.

"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves."

"One wolf is evil and ugly: He is anger, envy, war, greed, self-pity, sorrow, regret, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, selfishness and arrogance."

"The other wolf is beautiful and good: He is friendly, joyful, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, justice, fairness, empathy, generosity, true, compassion, gratitude, and deep VISION."

"This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other human as well."

The grandson paused in deep reflection because of what his grandfather had just said. Then he finally cried out; "Oyee! Grandfather, which wolf will win?"
The elder Cherokee replied, "The wolf that you feed."

Friday, July 23, 2010

What I've Learned

As I near my 40th birthday next month, I've realized that there is at least one advantage of being older than dirt... knowledge.

I've learned some great lessons in my first 39.9 years. I hope to apply the wisdom in my next 39.9.

So here are some thoughts from an old, balding, almost 40-year-old guy. Take them for what they are worth.

- You are lucky if you find love and it lasts. If it doesn't last, you we're still lucky.

- When you have some money, enjoy it. It can disappear fast...so there's no harm in spoiling yourself once in awhile.

- Cherish the moments you have with your children. They do, I hear, eventually stop listening to you for a good 5-10 years.

- Appreciate your friends and family when you are with them. None of us are here forever.

- A night of eating, drinking, and making merry can cure all of your ills for the time being.

- Don't hold grudges. Or rattlesnakes.

- Make sure at least once in your life, you allow yourself to wake up and walk along a beach on the ocean.

- Women who wear capri's, a baseball jersey, and a baseball cap with a ponytail are perfection.

- You really can't go back. But it doesn't mean you have to forget.

- Hug your mom.

- When you wake up tomorrow, after you check all your extremities to make sure they work, remember to be glad you've got another day to screw shit up.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Dead Cat

My cat, Rosie* died two years ago this summer.
* (Disclaimer: My sons named her. Not. Me.)

Well so she didn't totally die. Guess she technically has eight lives left.

But I remember her death vividly. I went off to a college friend's wedding in Dallas, and left my cat with my ex wife to have my sons watch her for the long weekend.

After a little bit of time in the NWA/Delta VIP Lounge at MSP Airport, my buddy, Gingo, and I boarded the plane for what was my virgin first class flight. By the time we arrived in Dallas, we were feeling JUST fine.

As we checked into our hotel, hours later than planned due to some beer-fueled detours, I got a phone call from Minnesota.

"I am kind of afraid that your cat is dead," my ex whispered into the phone. She whispers often when talking, both in person and on the phone, but she does it extra quietly when she has really bad news.

"What?" I asked back, mostly because I truly didn't hear what she said.

"I think my dog ate your cat today."

Now, many things flashed through my mind at that moment, but not once did I entertain the notion that her dog - remember the MINI-dachshund? - had eaten my cat.

"I'm betting she is just hiding, she's in a new place, and is likely hiding someplace where the dog can't find her," I said in my slightly buzzed state of calmness.

"Well, I went outside, and I found a carcass. All that is left is a bit of tail, and it looks like the same color hair as your cat had."

Ok, wait, is it physically possible for a mini-dachshund to eat a cat? My intuition said no, and I told her that it was probably a squirrel or raccoon skeleton that the dog had found nearby.

"No, I'm 99 percent sure this is your cat."
The last sentence would keep me guessing.

As I hung up the phone, not sure what I was supposed to do from Texas, my friends in the background were all breaking out in laughter, with all of them very familiar with the kind of relationship my ex and I had going back to the beginning.

"So, there's a chance that my cat is dead, but I'm guessing more likely it just got outside or is hiding." My friends know that I will be making jokes, as will they, about dead cats for the rest of the evening.

The humor was stifled for a moment when I got a second call from my ex's phone. It was both my sons, crying hysterically into the phone about how they hated their dog for eating their cat.

I spent a few minutes reassuring them that we didn't know what had happened to the cat yet, and that she could just be cleverly hiding, or got out, but will find her way back.

The fact that they said they never wanted pets again almost broke my heart. Especially since we didn't KNOW what had happened yet. But I couldn't undo that thought for them at that moment.

The next morning, a rather groggy minded, slightly achy me answered a bright and early phone call from my ex's phone again. "DAD WE FOUND HER! SHE WAS HIDING BEHIND THE FURNACE!" I heard two little voices screaming into the phone in unison.

After a conversation ranging from how they never really thought the little dog could eat their cat, to what kind of special treat they were going to give Rose the dead cat, I hung up and rolled over and tried to sleep.

But every time I tried to, I would start to laugh knowing that this was one occasion I felt very good to be right.

Now, a regular greeting for Rose when we return home from both boys is "Hi Rose, remember the time you died?" or "Hey Rosie, remember when Daisy ate you?"

And I smile to myself. To rip off Harry Chapin as I bid you goodnight, my boys are just like me.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Yippee Ki Yay, Mr. Banker Man, I'm Hittin' The Trail

Dear Mr. CEO of My Bank of 11 plus years:

Please accept this letter as my official two weeks notice as your customer. As soon as I finally get the automatic deposit of my long overdue tax refund, I'll be filling out a withdrawal slip for the full amount of my account that day.

With your recent $25 billion acquisition of one of your failing competitors, I can understand how you may not have time to hear from a customer. No I'm not a commercial customer. Nope I'm not a CEO like you. No, I just have been banking with your place for awhile, and thought I'd let you know why I'm leaving.

I'm sure you are aware that times are tough. I hope that your bonus this year was wisely invested. But if it wasn't, perhaps you can get another $25 billion bailout from the Federal government? Or perhaps get an additional $25 billion tax break for buying another failing competitor?

And during these tough times, your bank has steadily become a place where I am no longer a person, but instead a risk or reward, identified by a routing and account number, and PIN code.

Your personal bankers are not allowed to be personal. They are trained to be robots who follow your edicts passed down through your layers and layers of management to the front line.

I realize that I am responsible for some of my frustrations regarding my bank account with you. I will own that much. But there also comes a time where you have to take some ownership as well. And I don't mean of more of our tax dollars.

Anyway, Mr. CEO, thanks for taking time to read this. I need to run now because one of your competitors is running a promotion to sign up new accounts. I see the bankers there everyday through my job, and they know me on a first name basis, and ask about my kids and my store. They don't just do it because they want my business. They do it because that's what people do with one another. Interact. And give a shit.

So I'm going to wander on down the trail, now, Mr. CEO. I know you've probably got a yacht party or wine tasting or charity event or something to go to. Have a great weekend, and I know you won't lose any sleep over losing my little tiny checking account with you. But don't worry, the feeling is mutual.


Your Now Former Customer.