July 2007

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1. Handicapped Parking Spot Enforcer. It’s annoying to see eight empty handicapped spots when you’re desperate for a place to park but it’s even more annoying to see an able-bodied person park in one of those spots because they are too damn lazy to walk 200 feet. Or to see a disabled person waiting in the car while an able-bodied person runs into the store. It’s not an I-Know-A-Handicapped-Person Parking Spot people! The HPSE should also be allowed to police those Fire Lane parkers. They’re not just lazy asshats, they’re self-absorbed lazy asshats. HPS Czar would also be a good position.

2. Director of an orphanage. Maybe I’ve seen Cider House Rules too many times but I think it’s too bad orphanages are out of style these days. With all the horror stories out there about foster care, can orphanages be any worse?

3. Carpenter.

4. General Contractor.

5. Rabid House-Flipper. As you can see, I’ve been watching a lot of home improvement TV shows.

How about the rest of you? Anyone harboring any unusual dream jobs?

Ditchriding

I joined my family up in the mountains at our cabin for July 4th. Originally built in 1889 in the town of Steamboat, it was transported outside town in the 60s by close family friends and my parents acquired it from them shortly thereafter. We’ve been going up there for over thirty years. (Pics by Sarah.)

Cabin

While I was sick and waiting for retransplant, I wasn’t able to get up there so the 4th was the first time I’d seen the place in almost three years. It was nice to taste the mountain air again.

One of my favorite activities at the cabin is recreational ditchriding. (As opposed to non-recreational — the job of maintaining a ditch and its flows.) Recreational ditchriding involves wading in the ditch up and down its length. If you’re feeling productive, you throw in some ditch clearing, pulling branches and other muck out of the water. The photo below shows me and my nephew at the end of a marathon afternoon of ditchriding.

ditch

We rode the ditch about 1000 yards from one end of our property to the other, going back and forth several times. It was important to pass on the art of ditchriding to the next generation. It’s a responsibility I take very seriously! As I instructed Max, there are four rules to ditchriding:

1. The value of a good pair of wading shoes cannot be underestimated.

2. Bring along a dog to flush out the bears as you are moving upstream and downstream. Fortunately, we had two dogs, my Mom’s huge black lab Percival and my yellow mini-lab McCaffrey. Percival liked following us in the ditch while McCaffrey preferred to scout ahead on either bank.

3. Speak softly and carry a big stick…for brushing away cobwebs and pushing aside low-hanging branches.

4. Have fun — and be careful out there. I.e., portage around the culvert. Crawling under foot bridges is permitted as long as you don’t tell grandma and you are very short.

I expect Max to attain Professional Ditchrider status soon and before long he will be traveling the PDT circuit. We are currently seeking corporate sponsorship. Maybe Off! bug spray would be interested.

Who knew sports radio could be a source of wisdom? Today I heard CU men’s basketball coach Jeff Bzdelik being interviewed on AM950 The Fan. When asked how he fired up his players, he said he quoted Calvin Coolidge, saying, “nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.” Coach Bzdelik wanted his guys at CU to know they had just as much if not more talent than did his players at Air Force. Why were they not as successful? What was missing? Hard work, determination, persistence.

That Coolidge snippet slapped me across the face because I know I have to work harder at writing if I want to be a successful writer. Here’s the full Coolidge quote, an extended remix of Thomas Edison’s adage that life is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration:

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

As I was looking through Coolidge quotes I came across another good one:

They criticize me for harping on the obvious; if all the folks in the United States would do the few simple things they know they ought to do, most of our big problems would take care of themselves.

Amen, Calvin. And doesn’t that apply to us more narrowly too, not just to the nation’s big problems but also to all our lives’ little problems? Work, love, our dreams. If only we could do the simple things we know we ought to do.

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