23 September 2014

Have an Extraordinary Day Or at Any Rate Do the Best You Can


"I have tried to know absolutely nothing about a great many things, and I have succeeded fairly well."
- Robert Benchley

The missus and I were checking out at the supermarket Sunday evening. The young lad bagging the groceries told us to "have an extraordinary day." Excuse me but that's setting the bar awfully high. Plus with only seven hours left on a Sunday before a work day and about two of the hours set aside to sleep it's a daunting task to try to have an "extraordinary day." "Nice" we could do but "extraordinary" was beyond reach. I had a mind to find the store manager and complain. "Tell the bagger to tone it down a bit. He's overzealous in his duties telling people to have extraordinary days. Have him stick to 'nice' or 'good'." But I didn't want to bother. After all if there was any chance that I could in fact have an extraordinary day I had to get on it without wasting another minute.

We loaded the groceries and headed for home and dinner and Boardwalk Empire and preparations for the coming work week and a bit of a read then to bed. Altogether rather ordinary. Best that could be done, really.

I have had my fair share of extraordinary days and fully expect to have more. It's actually pretty extraordinary that I'm ambulatory and conscious during my waking hours and have rudimentary powers of the intellect. These are not things that I take for granted given my somewhat checkered past. Who am I kidding with somewhat. It was a damn checkered past is what it was. That's not to say that there wasn't a whole lot of ordinary mixed in as well. I did used to spend (perhaps waste is a better word) endless hours pouring over my baseball card collection. Not just as a wee tyke but as an adult. I also wiled away far too much time watching some truly banal television shows. In some instances it was because I was at the end of a long drunk and couldn't muster the energy to do anything more than change channels and there were also times when I was too hungover to contemplate any type of physical or mental exercise. TV is damn good at not taxing a person and I still maintain that it is ideal for surviving a really nasty cold or the flu. Then again there are some things on it worthwhile such as English football (soccer to Yanks) Letterman, The Daily Show, Colbert Report, The Simpsons, a few shows like Breaking Bad and of course movies. Sometimes I'll have a Giants game (baseball) or Sharks game (ice hockey) or college football game on but not to sit and stare at, just occasional company.

There was another thing I used to do to excess, sit and watch sports events. This can be a real brain drain especially when there are constant commercial interruptions which there are unless you're watching soccer or you've DVR'd the game. I watched the Cal football game last Saturday. If you didn't hear about it...oh god. The heavily under dogged Bears went into Arizona and built a massive lead only to allow 36 fourth quarter points culminating in a hail mary on the last play of the game to lose by 49-45 despite not having trailed until the final gun. Agonizing. It was the type of game that used to be able to ruin my weekend if not a whole week. Not anymore. It's not exactly water off the back of a duck -- there's a little wiping involved -- but the recovery process is swift and sure. I've got too many riches in my life to let what happens on a college athletic field ruin more than ten minutes of my life. I'll derive as much joy and leaping about as I can from sports spectating but my days of brooding after a narrow defeat are long over.

There's the thing about getting older. If you are a deeply flawed individual like myself you get the opportunity to work out some of your foibles, miscalculations, flaws, errors, oversights, glitches, delusions and blunders. Lord knows I've made enough mistakes to learn from. You could fill a library with the mistakes I've made and if I'd learned from half of them I'd be the wisest person on the planet. But I've done okay in any case. There is a sort of sink or swim nature to life. Sort of. That's kind of sad that I used sort of. And its sort of sad that I used kind of. This whole paragraph has sort of kind of gotten sad. Ya know what I mean? Ya know what I'm saying? Uh. Ya know? But I digress....

We are all lucky to be here. You might say it is "extraordinary" to be alive. I once read that the odds against you being born are greater than the odds of you becoming president once you are born. But then consider some of the idiots that have beaten the odds and become fully formed human beings. You have a look about and realize its not such elite company. Here you are having experienced the miracle of birth and you share the planet with car salesmen, Fox News commentators, people who watch golf, jihadists and public school administrators. Makes you wonder what all the fuss is about. Miracle indeed.

Someone might consider my words and conclude that I'm something of an old curmudgeon. Well what of it. I'm a law abiding citizen (okay I've been a law abiding citizen for most of the last half of my life) and I contribute to society in various ways and I've got friends and relatives among them two children who are pretty swell human beings. I'm not looking for a pat on the back but I am saying that there are worse among us.

Anyway the point of this post is...damn, I actually don't know, do I? Fair enough. Not everything is required to have a point. Let me just do that full circle thing and wish you all an extraordinary day. Hey, no pressure.


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