Shortarmguy's Emails That Made Me Think

On this page, I will post the most inspirational material I receive on any given day.  So email shortarmguy@aol.com the best stuff you get.  Life can be darn tough sometimes and every now and then you might need a little happiness booster.  I'm hoping this page may accomplish that.  After you read a few of these,  you can push back from your keyboard, throw your arms in the air, wave them back and forth and scream "I'm glad to be alive!"  If this happens to you, please send pictures and I'll post them here!

March 26, 2005

Teacher application

After being interviewed by the school administration, the eager teaching prospect said,

"Let me see if I've got this right. You want me to go into that room with all those kids, and fill their every waking moment with a love for learning. And I'm supposed to instill a sense of pride in their ethnicity, modify their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse and even censor their t-shirt messages and dress habits. You want me to wage a war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, check their backpacks for weapons of mass destruction, and raise their self esteem. You want me to teach them patriotism, good citizenship, sportsmanship, fair play, how to register to vote, how to balance a checkbook, and how to apply for a job. I am to check their heads for lice, maintain a safe environment, recognize signs of anti-social behavior, offer advice, write letters of recommendation for student employment and scholarships, encourage respect for the cultural diversity of others, and oh, make sure that I give the girls in my class fifty percent of my attention! My contract requires me to work on my own time after school, evenings and weekends grading papers. Also, I must spend my summer vacation, at my own expense, working toward advance certification and a Masters degree. And on my own time you want me to attend committee and faculty meetings, PTA meetings, and participate in staff development training. I am to be a paragon of virtue, larger than life, such that my very presence will awe my students into being obedient and respectful of authority. You want me to incorporate technology into the learning experience, monitor web sites, and relate personally with each student. That includes deciding who might be potentially dangerous and/or liable to commit a crime in school. I am to make sure all students pass the mandatory state exams, even those who! don't come to school regularly or complete any of their assignments. Plus, I am to make sure that all of the students with handicaps get an equal education regardless of the extent of their mental or physical handicap. And I am to communicate regularly with the parents by letter, telephone, newsletter and report card. All of this I am to do with just a piece of chalk, a computer, a few books, a bulletin board, a big smile AND on a starting salary that qualifies my family for food stamps!

You want me to do all of this and yet you expect me......

NOT TO PRAY

March 20, 2005

GRANDPA'S HANDS

Grandpa, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. He didn't move, just sat with his head down staring at his hands. When I sat down beside him he didn't acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if he was OK.

Finally, not really wanting to disturb him but wanting to check on him at the same time, I asked him if he was OK. He raised his head and looked at me and smiled. Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking, he said in a clear strong voice.

I didn't mean to disturb you, grandpa, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK I explained to him.

Have you ever looked at your hands he asked. I mean really looked at your hands?

I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point he was making.

Grandpa smiled and related this story:

Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life.

They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor. They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots.

They dried the tears of my children and caressed the love of my life.

They held my rifle and wiped my tears when I went off to war. They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent.

They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son.

Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special. They wrote the letters home and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse and walked my daughter down the aisle.

Yet, they were strong and sure when I dug my buddy out of a foxhole and lifted a plow off of my best friends foot. They have held children, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand. They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer. These hands are the mark of where I've been and the ruggedness of my life.

But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home. And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ.

I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God reached out and took my grandpa's hands and led him home. When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and wife I think grandpa. I know he has been stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God. I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel his hands upon my face.

March 13, 2005

"This is Love"

What love is all about.

It was a busy morning, approximately 8:30 am, when an elderly gentleman, in his 80's, arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He stated that he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am. I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would to able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound. On exam it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound.

While taking care of his wound, we began to engage in conversation I asked him if he had a doctor's appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I then inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer Disease.

As we talked, and I finished dressing his wound, I asked if she would be worried if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now. I was surprised, and asked him. "And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?" He smiled as he patted my hand and said. "She doesn't know me, but I still know who she is."

I had to hold back tears as he left, I had goose bumps on my arm, and thought, "That is the kind of love I want in my life."

 ~ True love is neither physical, nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.

Oh, by the way, peace is seeing a sunset and knowing who to thank.

"The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything that comes along their way."

The Awesome Rock

The secret is to tilt your head to the left until you see the reflection join the rock formation. 

You will see a woman and child praying!!

March 6, 2005

You know that you have grown up in the 80's and early 90's if:

1. You've ever ended a sentence with the word "SIKE"
2. You watched the Pound Puppie.
3. You can sing the rap to the "Fresh Prince of Bel-air", and can do the "Carlton".
4. Girls wore biker shorts under their skirts and felt stylishly sexy.
5. You yearned to be a member of the Baby-sitters club and tried to start a club of your own.
6. You owned those lil' Strawberry Shortcake pals scented dolls.
7. You know that "WOAH" comes from Joey on Blossom.
8. Two words: Hammer Pants
9. If you ever watched "Fraggle Rock"
10. You had plastic streamers on your handle bars... and "spokey-dokes" or playing cards on your spokes for that incredible sound effect.
11. You can sing the entire theme song to "DuckTales" (Woo ooh!)
12. It was actually worth getting up early on a Saturday to watch cartoons.
13. You wore a ponytail on the side of your head.
14. You saw the original "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" on the big screen...and still know the turtles names.
15. You got super-excited when it was Oregon Trail day in computer class at school.
16. You made your mom buy one of those clips that would hold your shirt in a knot on the side.
17. You played the game "MASH" (Mansion, Apartment, Shelter,House)
18. You wore stonewashed Jordache jean jackets and were proud of it.
19. L.A. Gear....need I say more?
20. You wanted to change your name to "JEM" in Kindergarten. (She's truly outrageous.)
21. You remember reading "Tales of a fourth grade nothing" and all the Ramona books.
22. You know the profound meaning of "WAX ON, WAX OFF"
23. You wanted to be a Goonie.
24. You ever wore fluorescent clothing. (some of us... head-to-toe)
25. You can remember what Michael Jackson looked like before his nose fell off and his cheeks shifted.
26. You have ever pondered why Smurfette was the only female smurf.
27. You took lunch boxes to school... and traded Garbage Pail Kids in the schoolyard.
28. You remember the CRAZE, then the BANNING of slap bracelets.
29. You still get the urge to say "NOT" after every sentence.
30. You remember Hypercolor t-shirts.
31. Barbie and the Rockers was your favorite band.
32. You thought She-ra (Princess of Power!) and He-Man should hook up.
33. You thought your childhood friends would never leave because you exchanged handmade friendship bracelets.
34. You ever owned a pair of Jelly-Shoes. ( neon colors)
35. After you saw Pee-Wee's Big Adventure you kept saying "I know you are, but what am I?
36. You remember "I've fallen and I can't get up"
37. You remember going to the skating rink before there were inline skates.
38. You ever got seriously injured on a Slip and Slide.
39. You have ever played with a Skip-It.
40. You had or attended a birthday party at McDonalds.
41. You've gone through this nodding your head in agreement.
42. You remember "Popples".
43. "Don't worry, be happy"
44. You wore like, EIGHT pairs of socks over tights with high top Reeboks.
45. You wore socks scrunched down (and sometimes still do...getting yelled at by "younger hip" members of the family)
46. You remember boom boxes.. and walking around with one on your shoulder
47. You remember watching both "Gremlins" movies.
48. You know what it meant to say "Care Bear Stare!!"
49. You remember watching "Rainbow Bright" and "My Little Pony Tales"
50. You thought Doogie Howser/Samantha Micelli was hot.
51. You remember Alf, the lil furry brown alien from Melmac.
52. You remember New Kids on the Block when they were cool... and don't even flinch when people refer to them as "NKOTB".
53. You knew all the characters names and their life stories on "Saved By The Bell"
54. You know all the words to Bon Jovi - SHOT THROUGH THE HEART.
55. You just sang those words to yourself.
56. You remember watching Magic vs. Bird.
57. Homemade Levi shorts.. (the shorter the better)
58. You remember when mullets were cool!
59. You had a mullet!
60. You still sing "We are the World"
61. You tight rolled your jeans.
62. You owned a banana clip
63. You remember "Where's the Beef?"
64. You used to (and probably still do) say "What you talkin' about Willis?"
65. You had big hair and you knew how to use it.
66. You're still singing shot through the heart in your head, aren't you!!!

February 27, 2005

Juggling

Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air.

You name them--work, family, health, friends, and spirit, and you're keeping all of these in the air.

You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back.

But the other four balls--family, health, friends and spirit are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.

How?

  1. Don't undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. It is because we are different that each of us is special.
  2. Don't set your goals by what other people deem important. Only you know what is best for you.
  3. Don't take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for without them, life is meaningless.
  4. Don't let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future. By living your life one day at a time, you live ALL the days of your life.
  5. Don't give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.
  6. Don't be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect. It is this fragile thread that binds us together.
  7. Don't be afraid to encounter risks It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.
  8. Don't shut love out of your life by saying it's impossible to find. The quickest way to receive love is to give; the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly; and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.
  9. Don't run through life so fast that you forget not only where you've been, but also where you are going.
  10. Don't forget that a person's greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.
  11. Don't be afraid to learn. Knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily.
  12. Don't use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved

Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way. Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery, and Today is a gift: that's why we call it "The Present."

February 20, 2005

Idle Thoughts

Tell the truth. There's less to remember.

Marriage changes passion. Suddenly you're in bed with a relative.

There are two ways to be rich. Make more or desire less.

Goals are deceptive. The un-aimed arrow never misses.

All those who believe in psycho-kinesis, raise my hand.

If the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.

Isn't Disneyland a people trap operated by a mouse?

If you think there is good in everybody, you haven't met everybody.

Tell a man there are 400 billion stars and he'll believe you. Tell him a bench has wet paint and he has to touch it.

War doesn't determine who's right, just who's left.

Wrinkled was not one of the things I wanted to be when I grew up.

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.

Our biggest problem is that nobody wants to take responsibility for anythingóbut don't quote me on that.

The only substitute for good manners is fast reflexes.

Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

Ham and eggs. A day's work for a chicken. A lifetime commitment for a pig.

On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the "escape" key.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

A cynic smells the flowers and then looks for the casket.

Definition of a teenager? God's punishment for enjoying sex.

If your parents didn't have children, chances are you won't either.

Heck is where people go when they don't believe in gosh.

Rehab is for quitters.

I'm not a complete idiot. Some parts are missing.

Never trust a stockbroker who's married to a travel agent.

February 13, 2005

Subject: Wisdom & Age
 
A wealthy old lady decides to go on a photo safari in Africa , taking her faithful aged poodle named Cuddles, along for the company. One day the poodle starts chasing butterflies and before long, Cuddles discovers that she's lost. Wandering about, she notices a leopard heading rapidly in her direction with the intention of having lunch.
 
The old poodle thinks, "Oh, oh! I'm in deep doo-doo now!" Noticing some bones on the ground close by, she immediately settles down to chew on the bones with her back to the approaching cat. Just as the leopard is about to leap, the old poodle exclaims loudly, "Boy, that was one delicious leopard! I wonder if there are any more around here?"
 
Hearing this, the young leopard halts his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees. 

"Whew!", says the leopard, "That was close! That old poodle nearly had me!"
 
Meanwhile, a monkey who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the leopard So off he goes, but the old poodle sees him heading after the leopard with great speed, and figures that something must be up. The monkey soon catches up with the leopard, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard.
 
The young leopard is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here, monkey, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!"
 
Now, the old poodle sees the leopard coming with the monkey on his back and thinks, "What am I going to do now?", but instead of running, the dog sits down with her back to her attackers, pretending she hasn't seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old poodle says: "Where's that damn monkey? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another leopard!"
 
Moral of this story..
 
Don't mess with old farts...age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill!     

Bullshit and brilliance only come with age and experience!

February 6, 2005

I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn't sure I wanted one. I wasn't sure how my customers would react to Stevie. He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and thick-tongued speech of Downs Syndrome.

I wasn't worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don't generally care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade. The four-wheeler drivers were the ones who concerned me; the mouthy college kids traveling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded "truck stop germ" the pairs of white-shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truck stop waitress wants to be flirted with. I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie so I closely watched him for the first few weeks.

I shouldn't have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and within a month my truck regulars had adopted him as their official truck stop mascot. After that, I really didn't care what the rest of the customers thought of him. He was like a 21-year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties. Every salt and pepper shaker was exactly in its place, not a bread crumb or coffee spill was visible when Stevie got done with the table. Our only problem was persuading him to wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus dishes and glasses onto cart and meticulously wipe the table up with a practiced flourish of his rag. If he thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration. He took pride in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to please each and every person he met.

Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truck stop. Their social worker, who stopped to check on him every so often, admitted they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him was probably the difference between them being able to live together and Stevie being sent to a group home.

That's why the restaurant was a gloomy place that morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie missed work. He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart. His social worker said that people with Downs Syndrome often have heart problems at an early age so this wasn't unexpected, and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at work in a few months.

A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery, and doing fine. Frannie, the head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news. Belle Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the sight of this 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table. Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Belle Ringer a withering look. He grinned. "OK, Frannie, what was that all about?" he asked. "We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay." "I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?" Frannie quickly told Belle Ringer and the other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie's surgery, then sighed: "Yeah, I'm glad he is going to be OK," she said. "But I don't know how he and his Mom are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they're barely getting by as it is." Belle Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables.

Since I hadn't had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie and really didn't want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do. After the morning rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand and a funny look on her face. "What's up?" I asked. "I didn't get that table where Belle Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off," she said. "This was folded and tucked under a coffee cup." She handed the napkin to me, and three $20 bills fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters, was printed "Something For Stevie. Pony Pete asked me what that was all about," she said, "so I told him about Stevie and his Mom and everything, and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this." She handed me another paper napkin that had "Something For Stevie" scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds. Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply: "truckers."

That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work. His placement worker said he's been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn't matter at all that it was a holiday. He called 10 times in the past week, making sure we knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy. I arranged to have his mother bring him to work. I then met them in the parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back. Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn't stop grinning as he pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting. "Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast," I said. I took him and his mother by their arms. "Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me!" I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room. I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we marched through the dining room. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the procession. We stopped in front of the big table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates, all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins. "First thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess," I said. I tried to sound stern. Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of the napkins. It had "Something for Stevie" printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table. Stevie stared at the money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his name printed or scrawled on it. I turned to his mother. "There's more than $10,000 in cash and checks on table, all from truckers and trucking companies that heard about your problems. "Happy Thanksgiving," Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears, as well. But you know what's funny? While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes from the table. Best worker I ever hired. Plant a seed and watch it grow.

Inspiration from the past

Inspiration February and March 2005

Inspiration December and January 2005

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Inspiration June and July 2004

Inspiration April and May 2004

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Inspiration August and September 2001

Inspiration Pre August, 2001

 

 
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