An Ordinary Post

Ordinarily ordinary

Ordinary. Hmm. A post about ordinary. Usual. Normal. Routine. Vanilla. Common. How do you talk about ordinary without seeming, well, ordinary?

Of course, if it weren’t for ordinary, we wouldn’t have extraordinary. It would just be extra. Everyone likes extraordinary. Some people get the “roar” in it when they pronounce extraordinary, as in “ext ROAR dinary.” And some like to make it into two words, like “extra ordinary.” I wonder why the definition of extraordinary means “unordinary”, and not “more ordinary than ordinary?” I imagine most people would hope to be viewed as extraordinary.

wordcloudOf course, we could be talking about the Ordinary in a Catholic Mass. That’s the part that is the same every time. Sometimes the same word is used to describe the book that defines the order of a Mass. That would be kind of a specialized post, though. Extraordinarily arcane and esoteric.

Or maybe we could talk about going down for the ordinary at the Boar’s Head. In archaic English this referred to a one-choice, one-price meal served at an inn. A sort of old-world blue plate lunch special. We could save up a couple of ordinaries to pay for it. That’s what we used to call penny-farthings here in North America when we were still under the British.

When they read your last will and testament, they used to read it in front of an Ordinary. Now they call them Probate judges. Or we could talk about the area in a coat of arms that contains the ordinaries. That would be kind of dull, though.

In fact, this whole post has turned out kind of ordinary. Dull and uninteresting. Guess that’s why it’s an ordinary post.

When You’re Treating the Symptom

Should you have to be wealthy to be healthy?

Here in the United States, we are once again conducting a life and death screaming match about a symptom of a “disease.” We have performed this opus periodically for the last 100 years. And we will likely perform it well into the next century.

BloodPressure2Each time, the underlying disease is the same. And each time, we scream about a different symptom of the disease. Because we are too timid, too courteous, too lazy, too selfish, or too invested in treating the symptom to even recognize the disease. The disease is health.

Sounds funny, doesn’t it. I’ll bet you thought health was the absence of disease. Well, you are correct. And for 100 years we have been treating symptoms without acknowledging the fundamental question about the disease. Read more ruminating

That Which Is Forbidden

You can’t do that!

“It is forbidden!” Even the sound of it is, well, forbidding. “I forbid you!” Ouch! I think it may be universal that prohibition of something that we desire to have, or something that we desire to do, stings a bit. The free will that we all have bristles when we’re told that we can’t. And if the forbidding seems arbitrary or capricious, it stings all the worse. But if nothing was forbidden, if we could do and say and have all the things we wanted, we would live a chaotic, anything-goes existence. We need some prohibitions to live together.

Alligator_no_swimming
Forbidden, but for a good reason

What is the purpose of forbidding something in the first place? Why are some things forbidden? And why are others not? Why are some things that were once forbidden now not forbidden? And why are some things that were perfectly fine in antiquity forbidden today? Seems rather, well, arbitrary and capricious, doesn’t it?

Read more ruminating

Pity Epitome

The epitome of an epitome

Epitome. Funny little word. Comes to us from Greek via Latin. Via comes to us via Latin, too. Does the English language have any words that aren’t nicked from some other language? I suppose it does, but even some of those seem to be from older languages. My kingdom for a single word that is genuinely and originally from the English language! But I digress. Thanks to Latin, I’m able to do just that.

Aristo
Aristotle

Anyway, epitome. From Latin, via the Greek word epitomē, which derived from epitemnein, meaning “abridge”, a conjunction of epi, meaning “in addition”, and temnein, meaning “to cut.” So, let’s see, “in addition to cut,” maybe “an additional cut,” abridgment, how did we get to where we are with today’s most prevalent meaning, a “perfect example of a particular quality or type?”

Read more ruminating

To All My Buddies

When are you no longer BFFs?

Just what constitutes being a buddy? A bud. A BFF. Can you be a buddy with someone you just met? Or is there some unwritten rule that says you can’t be best buds until some certain period of time has passed? Is it like a probationary period, are you like “buddies in waiting”, or maybe “provisional buddies?” And if you’re buddies, can you fall out of “buddy-ness”, like we humans fall in and then out of love?

I’ve had lots of buddies over the years. There was my buddy Peter, who lived across the alley when I was a kid. I look back on that time, and I think we were inseparable, but then, we weren’t, because I haven’t seen him for decades. Were we really buddies?

Read more ruminating

Post Post-a-Day

Or, After My Failed Attempt at 365 Posts in 2016

Hello again, dear reader(s). Or, rather, “Hi Mom.”

As you may (not) have noticed, I have been absent from these digs for well over a week. Quiet. Silent. Mute. Voiceless. And although I did not issue an Official Proclamation as to my intentions of trying to publish a post every day for a year, I did at least announce said intentions to the voices in my head.

“Hah! A post a day for a year! That’s rich.”

“Shut up!”

“No! You can’t make me!”

“Shut up, I’m trying to talk to my dear reader(s)!”

“You know, rudyblues, if you didn’t proofread this dreck you wouldn’t even have ‘reader’, much less readers! Loser.”

Sorry, I digress. As I was saying, I have failed in my attempt to publish at least once a day for a year. I fought the good fight. Well, I fought. All right, I gave it a shot, how’s that? Probably not my best shot, but a shot none the less. It was a good run. Yes, I suppose you’re right, it was more like a short, fast walk.

I find it amazing how badly the human psyche wants to be right and to what extremes it will go to rationalize a perceived failure. Back in the waning days of 2015 I optimistically said to myself, “Self, we’re gonna publish 365 blog posts next year.” And at that point most of the voices in my head gave a kind of muffled harrumph, with a few “attaboy’s” and “you go’s” from the back of the room. Fast forward to the present and it’s not quite as supportive in there. Rationalizations run rampant.

I’ve spent nearly every waking hour for the past week or more on keeping my day job. As some (one?) of you may have read in this previous post, the heartless, multinational mega-corporation I work for is going through a self-induced, self-inflicted restructuring to please the financier class. This restructuring, which at times seems more like throwing everything out and starting over, is being implemented with a spreadsheet and a battle axe, with the precision of a carpet bombing run.

And what self-respecting restructuring expert would keep someone 50+ years old, who knows how the business works and how the organization operates, when he could keep two 20-somethings and brag about the reduction in overhead (read payroll)? That’s Business School 101, dear reader(s). Elementary school math. If you subtract the biggest numbers first you don’t have to work as hard.

So the layoffs have been coming hard and fast in the first quarter, in order to meet the arbitrary deadline that was foolishly announced so that the stock price would rebound. And it has, and the munchkin twit with the Napoleon complex has had his contract renewed. Most of the layoffs have been from middle management, people nearing the end of their working careers, nearer the upper end of the pay scale. Just a smidge older than me. I’m losing my cover.

And although your humble author is neither middle management nor at the top of the pay scale, he is at that vulnerable age, 50+, that seems to be the target of most of the cuts. Ergo, the recent spate of late nights and long days workin’ for the man. Trying to make myself indispensable at a job that’s ill-defined and unnoticed by those in the seats of the corporate threshing machines. I’m sure my number will come up soon.

Oh, by the way, if you’re a Millennial or a Gen-Xer or even a younger Boomer, please don’t jack with Social Security in the U.S. It works, in spite of what you hear. I’m one of those that the Great Recession of 2007 wiped out. I’m working until I drop. Unless my number comes up. Then I’m taking Social Security and living under a bridge.

Though I’m not religious, what better day than today, the Christian holiday of Easter Sunday, with its promise of redemption, to ask you, my dear reader(s), to forgive my sins and continue reading. Maybe just not as often. I can’t afford to lose my day job.