A Kick In The Head….

 

unknownJust imagine you are standing there fat, dumb and happy and all of a sudden this roundhouse curve hits you square in the jaw. You are stunned and begin to stagger. As you regain your senses you assess what planet you are on and what is your next course of action. 

Reality sucks! No matter who you are or who your daddy is, you are going to find that bump in the road. Adversity is a part of life whether physical or emotional. You can lose your job or your shirt in some half assed scheme. Your spouse leaves you. You miss that clutch putt. You are a Bear’s fan and the ball bounces the wrong way. Even worse you are a Saint’s fan and you did nothing wrong. TS, mes amis. 

Now it is not that I am heartless. I have been there more times than I care to tell. You are battered and bruised. You are not sure which hurts more, your body or your ego? You feel stupid. You feel alone. How could it possibly be any worse?

Then deep down inside that little spark of a thing we call resilience seems to stir. You assess the situation. Are we talking a glancing or fatal blow? Is it as bad as it seems? Better yet can we somehow devise a plan B? And therein is the difference between an optimist and a pessimist. Glass half full or half empty. images-6

I am always amazed at human emotions. There are people today that wring their hands constantly. They moan and groan about everything large and small. They are convinced the world and humanity are in a nosedive that we won’t come out of. 

There is a pessimist philosophy which is not so much an emotional reaction but a way of looking at life. It feels that progress is irrational and our inability to achieve things with greater results just sets us up for failure and its ensuing discomfort. Yuck!

I do know some that set very low goals for themselves. They figure if they set the bar low enough they either can’t fail or the drop will be minimal. They see me in the gym and say they could never do that. Get up and sing? What are you nuts? They beg off discussions feeling their words and thoughts are rather insignificant. That is their prerogative but I can’t help but feel badly for them. 

Enter the optimist. Stage right. Churchill’s famous quote that “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” I am not sure that is completely true. One does not bounce up off the mat without a little cut that needs to be attended to. But after a little TLC, get over it and let’s move on.

I like to play, “What is the worse thing that could happen?” When you answer that, you ask it again and again until you should realize that things are not quite so desperate as we make them out to be. That is unless Kathy finally says,Adios Big Boy! Now that would be cause for serious concern. 

We look at sports stars like the hated Tom Brady. No?. OK, How about Patrick Mahomes ? The kid is a magician very much akin to Houdini. Politicians? How about Bill Clinton escaping  the Monica thing? I do want to watch carefully  to see how the Donald does in the next three weeks. But time after time people bend but don’t break. c46f09de-ffa0-4f33-888a-76a884d83c24

You can ask is it something special in them or the human spirit? I prefer the latter. Go back to our survival instincts. We fight back. We try harder. We dust ourselves off and get back in the fray.  It is not a super gene but rather an acquired talent. 

The last part is the best. When you look at life and especially here in these United States you can’t help but feel gratitude. When you are thankful you realize all we have. You look around and take everything in and then you laugh at yourself. My daughter Megan has a perfect saying when she encounters someone bitching. “Well that is really a third world problem isn’t it!” How right she is. 

I know people hurt from time to time and some bear more than others. I am not trying to be Pollyanna. But having been on the dark side I can’t tell you how much better it is to look on the bright side. If you are breathing you are ahead of the game. If you had at least one meal today you are better than lot of other people. If you are able swing a golf club who cares what your score is? 

As always

Ted The Great 

Factoids:

Optimistic  people have less stress, better immune systems, live longer and of course are nicer to be around.Pessimism has been linked to mental health issues such as anxiety, stress, and depression

Dr Martin Seligman has clinically proven that optimism can be taught and learned. He has written a book called Learned Optimism. Easy read and a number of pathways to getting you straight.images-8

There are no hard facts on percentages of people who feel optimistic. It depends on the topic. Also we feel more optimistic about our own personal future than about our country or the world. Lastly the people who are most optimistic are the Chinese.

Murders, car wrecks and threatening weather are what sells newspapers and air time on news channels. 

 

Play It Again Sam…

Last night Kathy and I went to the Lyric Theater in beautiful downtown Stuart.
The Lyric is about 100 years old and some of the patrons can attest to that. It is in a word _tws1919 edit (2)unique and the restoration bespeaks a labor of love.

Tonight’s show/concert  was one of many throughout the season. We usually sign up for four or five of them. The main event was a fellow by the name of Arthur Migliazza. Obviously not a stage name. His forte was boogie woogie / ragtime / eight to the bar, piano playing. Looking forward to being entertained I became entranced. 

Whether it is Scott Joplin, Fats Domino, Earl “Fatha” Hines or Jerry Lee Lewis we have all heard this toe tapping, foot stomping music at sometime in our lives. It evolved from negro blues bands in the late 1800’s and found its voice and acceptance in the Roaring 20’s. It gets to you and I think that is why the word “visceral” was invented. 

The man is a magician. His sleight of hand includes chords to the left and melody on the right while pounding the pedals with one foot and keeping time with the other. Oh, and of course he threw in soulful vocal renditions of some classics. Mind blowing. I can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.

As I listened, I slipped into a bit of reverie. I love music of all sorts. I started to go through the genres that I have experienced and they ran the gamut. My teens were in the

images Doo Wop era. You went from the frenetic twist to hand holding submarine watching slow dances. A girl asked me in the fifth grade if I wanted to participate in the latter sport and I didn’t have a clue. I learned fast.

College brought the Four Tops,Beatles, Stones and an introduction to dixieland jazz. Conden’s and Jimmy Ryan’s in NYC were the classrooms and at least I was a good student at something. Even a trip to DAR Hall in DC to hear Ferde Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite gave a little class to my repertoire. 

I won’t bore you with a recitation of the ensuing eras but it fascinates me how music has affected so much of my life. Invariably in the car or at home I tune into something and tune out our crazy world. While driving if I get Bob Seger and the Silver Band on, I hit max on my Bose car system until I see the side windows pulsate and the whompa, whompa of the bass as it gets to your innards. images-2 People might regard me at some kind of idiot from the hood. And for awhile I am.

I am a scientific type so I started researching why this feels so good. Seems our desire for food, sex and sleep is based on a survival thing. In your pursuit of the aforementioned your brain releases dopamine. A funny thing happened on the way to the concert hall. Music though not necessary to exist releases the same little hormone. It is called emotional arousal. And all this time you thought it was puberty. 

Scientists call this an abstract reward and not a tangible one. Music brings back memories both good and bad and that’s okay. If I listen to the Music of the Night from The Phantom or an aria from Pavarotti I know when the best part is coming and I love it. Ditto Hey Jude or Chicago doing Getting Stronger Every Day. How about Mick Fleetwood pounding away in Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow? All symptoms of a misspent youth but who cares?

For the most part all this good stuff costs nothing. Pandora is free and you only get one ad every fifteen minutes. Your car radio dial is chock a block with everything you need. The best part is no one telling you how to do it or about what you just heard. Beauty is in the mind of the beholder. 

a7241109aa606c9b9a236f164b301b5e--light-switches-music-is-lifeSo sometime today or tomorrow just sit back and listen. Get that dopamine going as if it was crack cocaine. Sing in the shower or even out the car window. Far from the madding crowd. It’s your own little world. Enjoy it!

As always 

Ted The Great

Factoids:

There are approximately 97 million songs in existence. Around 1 million new ones come out each year. Pandora is the result of a music genome project and categorizes them by style, musician, or era. I have a lot of listening to do. 

Singing in the shower works because the tiles do not absorb sound but reflect it. The notes bounce off the walls and you actually sound better. Kind of like the reverb button on your old car radio. 

 A new study from the University of London’s Institute of Education has found that exposing children to classical music can aid in developing better concentration levels, self-discipline and social skills.

The music business generated $43 billion in revenue in 2017. That could build the Wall. Sadly, the artists who wrote and performed the grist for that mill received only 12% of the take.