Am I Relevant?….

As I approach my 73 birthday, this little query popped up on my radar screen. It seems appropriate but before you all answer for me I thought I would wrestle with the concept for a bit. Now it seems the term can be used in science, economics and law but I am going to tend towards the most simplistic. Definition: appropriate to the current time, period, or circumstances; of contemporary interest.Unknown

What does all that mean? On a product level you have something that meets the needs of the moment. Whale oil worked back when as a source of energy but today it is forgotten. We used to have Boom Boxes but now we have IPhones. Cars used to have fins and hood ornaments but now are sleek and aerodynamic. Houses even ten years old now seem “dated.” Tastes change and we are susceptible to the search for better and better stuff even if the old ones are more than adequate.

On the world front, nations drift in and out of relevancy. Russia is a great example. From a Cold War superpower to a breakup and now trying once again to be part of the discussion. The British Empire is no longer supreme after it had ruled the world for so long. China, Greece, Spain, Israel, Palestine, South America, all long for prominence and seek their place in the world order. Ergo being relevant.

On the personal front this becomes intriguing. For instance sports or entertainment stars all have their moment in the sun. Is this a brief stint or a lasting legacy? They become our heroes or heroines to be adulated and then tossed aside as yesterday’s news. Some just grow old and others mange to create their own self destruction. The public is fickle and harsh.

My relevance as a human being might relate to my color, race, creed, status or sexual orientation. Blacks, white supremacists, Muslims, Catholics, Jews, Serbs, Somalis, Vietnamese all drift in and out of our collective consciousness.Unknown-1 Gays were lepers and transgenders not even defined a decade or so ago. CEO’s one day had everyone fawning at their every move and now are relegated to relative obscurity.

People don’t go down easy as they seek their former notoriety. We are chock a block with comebacks and reincarnations. It seems the limelight is seductive and heady stuff. You now sit on boards or become a spokesperson. Chair of this fundraiser or that. Don’t get excited. It just means your are writing a bigger check. Wait! Do you know who I am? Sorry Charlie, you are no longer a Star Kist Tuna.

I believe we all desire to be worth something in someone’s eyes. It is a combination of wanting to belong and wanting to contribute in some way. It is that crazy thing called ego by which we define ourselves. We strive. We compare. Everyone keeps score and don’t for a second try to deny it. It makes us complete and yet can lead to our downfall.

The spate of shootings and bombings are more than weird people doing crazy things. I am not condoning their mayhem but for a moment think of their circumstance. Let’s say you were born to someone who really didn’t want you or didn’t have the ability to take care of you. Your early years weren’t filled with cuddles but rather you were beaten or just plain old neglected in front of the TV. No guidance, no role models, no love. You are not relevant to anyone.

Now you say that is the problem with blacks and Hispanics today. They don’t have a family structure. Beware of casting stones. Look around you and see screwed up rich kids as well. Single parents cross economic lines. Psychological problems among our higher echelons of society are in a way more perverse. It comes back to all of us wanting to be relevant and worthy. Or even worse the judge of that.

images-1The crowd is cruel. They make anonymous judgements. They could care less of their outcomes. That taunt and they bully. Some of us have the wherewithal and internal gumption to either fight back or take solace in our own self assessment. Some are scarred for life and decide to take their own lives and others as well to give a final up yours to society. It is at once almost Inevitable and yet so incredibly sad.

When I look at myself I am no longer relevant in many situations. I worked hard on my Creek in Denver but who remembers that guy. Wall Street? Vail? Arizona? A long long time ago. I love young people but I am not sure I am in their purview. That’s not a tragedy but how life goes.

I take great joy in my wife and my wonderful family. I have great friends and am more than fortunate to live where I do and the way I do. But something else has happened.I really don’t take myself too seriously.images-19 I have concentrated on other people’s relevance and probably put my own on a back burner. It’s not so much about me(well maybe a little) but more about them.

I take great delight in reaching out to people. I will say hello to anyone and everyone, much to my family’s chagrin. You can be the biggest celebrity or the checkout person at Publix.You are all the same. I want to make your day. I want to let you know you matter. It is not a put on. You do! If I can get a smile out of some sourpuss or see a glance of recognition from a waiter or store clerk it makes my day. It just what I do and I hope it makes me slightly relevant.

If this sounds like palp you are welcome to your own judgement call. But just think how simple it is. It costs nothing to reach out. Be understanding and welcoming. Don’t try to gauge someone’s relevance to your life. Just think about theirs. Works for me.

As always
Ted The Great


As I have traveled the world I also ask the baristas at Starbucks what percentage of people say please and how many say thank you. The best was Aukland NZ….about 75%. The worst? Vail,CO 0% I said no way but that night we went to a high end bar. I asked the bartender the same. He replied, “They don’t even know I exist.”images-18

Bullying is a complex social phenomena. 28% of kids grades 6-12 report instances. Parents are aware of the bullying about 50% of the time and teachers only about 10%. Suicidal ideation is already present in many that are bullied. It just adds to the problem. Bullies have a higher social status and use it to enforce their will and overcome any objections from observers. Girls are more likely to be verbally abused and boys physically.

There is good reason to be concerned about social connection in our current world. Loneliness is a growing health epidemic. We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s. Today, over 40% of adults in America report feeling lonely, and research suggests that the real number may well be higher. Additionally, the number of people who report having a close confidante in their lives has been declining over the past few decades. In the workplace, many employees — and half of CEOs — report feeling lonely in their roles.




images-7Benefits of Smiling:
• Improved Mood. Smiling can boost your mood when you’re feeling blue, and may be beneficial for people struggling with anxiety and depression. …
• Lower Blood Pressure. …
• Stress Relief. …
• Better Relationships. …
• Stronger Immune Function. …
• Pain Relief. …
• Longer Life.

Need I say more.



You’ll Never Know…

A wonderful old friend of many years is visiting. At lunch yesterday we discussed how we have gotten to this state which on the one hand seems so wonderful and on the other is such an incredible mess. For my part in the conversation I said we have lost touch with one another. Not just by our dependence on the electronic world to entertain and teach us but by our inability or desire to recognize we are in this together.

Our dependence on wealth for efficacy or our disdain for the anything contrary to our beliefs has led to a selfish space where no one else matters. The “Income Gap” is not just for the rich but all of us. I would call it the “Compassion Gap”images-1 and it has so many
implications. It goes to foster gated communities of a different sort. There are really gated minds.  We don’t interact with any one but our kind. We don’t have to take responsibility for anyone but ourselves. Survival of the fittest? Maybe. But as we create winners and losers and we become judge and jury we fail to realize that someday we too could be on the wrong end of the gavel.


I dug back in the archives to something I wrote a few years back. It was during our mini Crash. Some of it might be dated. Among the shootings, the firings of decent people and the unending acrimony, it just seemed apropos. Hope you enjoy.

As always
Ted The Great

You’ll Never Know…..

You’ll never know how much I hurt. My muscles, my bones ravaged by an unspeakable pain. It screams when I turn. It sends mind numbing shots even when I breathe. The cancer eats at every part of me with unrelenting vigor. How much longer? How much further? You’ll never know.

You’ll never know the loss of a child. The emptiness. The hopelessness. Dreams unfulfilled. People never met. Such a sweet young thing. So precious. So vulnerable. That bastard that started her down the road to ruin. Hell would be too good for him.

You’ll never know the abuse I endure. I answer your phone. I get your coffee. I smile for clients because I need this job so badly. Only to go home and face the gauntlet. The onslaught of brute strength that I used to crave. The vitriol of his drunken stupor has replaced words of love. You’ll never know.

You’ll never know the ache in my heart as I drive down the street of dreams. That love nest that we worked so hard for. Room to grow. The papering. The painting. The place of joy. Now it is all gone as we look forward to nothing but despair and unknown. You’ll never know.Unknown

You’ll never know this stranglehold of depression. The world is so bright on the outside and bleak on the inside. I crave sleep to let this horror go. I just want so bad to be so normal. I want to stop crying. I want to be me again. You’ll never know.

You’ll never know the vise of dependency. The booze. The drugs. The wandering of the streets looking for sex. The refrigerator and pantry that beckon like a siren. You call me weak. You tell me to shape up. You want to step on me when I need so much for you to just hold me. You’ll never know.

You’ll never know how cold it gets. The tricks of the trade. What keeps you warmer. Metal or cardboard. I can sleep with one eye open so I don’t get my last worldly possession ripped off. images-3Alcohol can be found in everything from cough syrup to anti freeze. Tomorrow? Maybe. But if it never comes, no one will ever know.

You are so flip. So glib. You have all the answers or so you think. You don’t know how to even ask the right questions. You have grown cold. Aloof. It’s all about you. You are right I need to get a life. My own. But maybe you need one too. You’ll never know .

You couldn’t know because you never look beyond your own world. It’s not about rich. It’s not about poor. No matter your lot in life. You are so brazen to think the world rises and sets on your doorstep. It’s so easy being you. So horrible to be me. You’ll never know.

Life is a spread sheet to you. An algorithm. Solve for X. Prove for Y. There are assets and liabilities. Return on investment and equity. There are no poets or musicians or teachers in your life. Just bottom lines and basis not basses and soulful lines. You think you have so much. You really have so little.

It’s a tough world you say and yes it is. You are quick to convict the murderer unless it’s your own son or daughter doing the crime. You curse the thief but are free to practice white collar crime. You want everyone to get a life but you have none. Pick yourself up by your bootstraps you say, although you know they are worn and frayed. No pity. No compassion. No soul. Just leave it and go to bed. The cleaning lady will be in here in the morning to clean up this mess.

But if I ever find an end, it will taste so good. I will drink from just the simplest of things. A warm bed. A tender touch. A meal so simple yet so exquisite. Maybe it is when God welcomes me home. The pain over. The joy eternal. I tell you of this though I think you will not hear it. You won’t realize that I will pray for you. You are too busy and I understand. You are so smart but then again you’ll never know.

As always
Ted The Great

Estimates are that 3-3.5 million people are homeless every night in our country. There could be up to 1.5 million of those who are children.images-2 Home might be a car or a tent but they are homeless.

There are currently 1.5 million homes in foreclosure as of this moment with millions already having been adjudicated. Many overstretched but so many lost their dream due to illness, loss of jobs or broken families.

Addiction definition: noun
The state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. Think hard. You may be addicted to something.

If you have gotten this far you do know. A little empathy could go a long way in this man’s world. I can’t hope to feel your pain but I am going to work on it. Hope you can too.
I have pushed a different envelope with this one. Let me know.


As I was Saying…

As I Was Saying…

Dementia has set in. I finished my blog last week and then hit delete instead of copy. No doubt it was a masterpiece but I could not recreate it, so it is lost forever in the abyss of cyberspace. It had to do with a wonderful conversation I had with one of my hospice patients. Nothing deep but an education on fruit picking. This wonderful man of 93 had been at work for too many years in the citrus groves of southeast Florida.

He explained the process in great detail including his role at driving the “goat” which is a vehicle that wound its way up and down the rows of fruit trees hauling buckets to be filled. The real gist of the story was you could not pick the bounty until the dew dried. 131a86d920277d4fef31a55d71597842The packing center would not accept it otherwise. It amazed me the wheels of progress had to come to a halt awaiting the vagaries of Mother Nature. Doesn’t happen too often these days unless you happen to be in the path of a Nor’easter.

Conversations in hospice take on many forms from the casual banter to deeply philosophical ones. You never know what is going to happen. It got me thinking as to the whole manner that interaction takes in our lives. The many lines of communication from the spoken to the tacit. From oral to written they shape our beliefs or challenge them if we let them. They set the tone for our days and our future.

Today we all think in terms of hits and likes or dislikes. Face to face is more of a rarity. We get our news in bytes and don’t often take time to digest, savor and deem it worthwhile or not. You get up in the morning and the barrage begins. It is amazing how whatever you hear sets the tone. North Korea launches missiles. Shootings in a Florida school. Trump is on a rampage. Stock market is plunging. Hmm,I guess life is going to suck today.

Going to the gym someone is bitching about this ailment or that. You are on a treadmill and the local sage wants to convince of his political point of view and you are held captive. Then out of the clear blue, you have an unexpected and highly interesting chat about something you have never even heard much less thought of. You are keenly aware and all ears as you learn and a stupid little thing inside of you says this is cool. Your mind gratefully acknowledges the new

Maybe all of this is just me. Maybe my porous cranium is too open to suggestion. Fun for the feeble minded. Maybe I just realized I can have some control over my frequencies and all this chatter is good. I guess when I am bombarded with dire consequences I literally want to change the conversation. Take a different tack. Not always easy.

Now you say just walk on the sunny side of the street. Avoid the gloom and doomers. I think that is admirable but copping out to a degree. I watch the news and have settled on PBS as my option. I tried to watch CNN but the top ten stories are about Trump. Is anything else going on in the world? FOX is FOX. Fair and Balanced is not exactly how I would describe the fare. I am taken by the demeanor of both networks which is a cross between petulant and piercing. My reaction seems to be preordained.

Let’s forget about the Blitzers and Hannitys. Let’s just get a few people together for a cup of Joe or perhaps a nice red. We will keep it light and varied. Not long into it someone throws a topic on the table beyond golf or March Madness. You have an opinion but wait to see what the groupspeak is. Invariably someone takes center stage. You can be sure it is not middle of the road. Do you dare voice a counter? What are you nuts? Dilly, dilly and all that. Cheers!

I profess to be middle of the road with neither side particularly appealing to me. Still I do have my inclinations and truly find it difficult at times to give objective study a try. I think that is more than human. th-20I am a Catholic or at least a Christian. Can I really absorb and analyze an atheist viewpoint? Good question. I am against government largesse and involvement in everything but can I not reach out a helping hand to a poor person or see the good in the hard work of an illegal immigrant?

Everything is not black and white but our methodology says otherwise. It’s my way or the highway. You are with us or agin us. This seems boring and totally uncreative to me. Can you really feel self satisfied in your own thinking if you don’t at least consider an alternative? Here is La La land as we go down life’s highway we seem to be more entrenched and stubborn than ever. Is it because we are wiser or all the more stupid?

I don’t know about you but I feel I have so much to learn. A friend is visiting and she brought a new type of technology for aching bones. No, it is not single malt! I am not a believer yet but I am more than willing to hear her out and even try it. Have you ever been a doubting Thomas to the point you can’t even see a glimmer of discovery in our world ?th-17

Let’s retake the conversation. Not to our own likings but to a mix of ideas and cultures. This is not a Kumbaya moment but let’s not let ourselves being overrun by “the current line of thinking”. If you feel like you are stifling you probably are. Open the windows but don’t jump.


As always
Ted The Great.



Oranges are mostly picked in March and April. A semi trailer can hold approximately 60,000 lbs. Willie and his crews could load up to three trailers a day. He got $100 per trailer. He told me he had whites, blacks and Latinos working on his line. The Latinos were the hardest working by far. Willie was black.

As of 2017 38% of Americans consider themselves consider themselves conservative in their ideology and 38% are liberal. That leaves 24% in the middle or moderate as the case might be. I have searched for tests to say which I am. They are on the internet under “Tests for Liberal or Conservative” Have scored all over the place which means they are invalid or I cannot be defined. Take your pick.

Idealism is the belief that we should adopt moral principles, even if they have negative effects on our lives. The idealist is willing to suffer in order to do what she thinks is right. Pragmatism, on the other hand, is a rejection of idealism. If the Idealist’s principles get in the way, the Pragmatist does whatever is deemed as practical, with no concerns for morality. Now that is something to chew onth-14