Friday, August 6, 2010


It wasn’t especially early in the morning. In fact, the sun had been up for at least five hours. But there sat George, in the corner booth of the restaurant, unashamedly pandiculating in front of everyone.

Wait. What? Pandiculating?

Yes, pandiculating. It means stretching while yawning. (And yes, this is the first I’d heard of the word as well, but you’d be surprised at what you can learn from those word-a-day calendars).

But back to George’s pandiculating. He would yawn and stretch this way. Then he would yawn again and stretch that way. He would tightly shrug his shoulders up toward his ears, and you could hear his bones or joints or thoughts softly cracking. (I suppose it was his joints that were cracking, since cracking a bone would be undoubtedly painful and thoughts cracking would most likely be silent.)

He did this for about fifteen minutes before he settled down to quietly read his morning paper and drink his coffee.

And as fascinating as it was to watch George’s pandiculation, it was equally fascinating to watch the others in the diner yawn shortly after seeing George yawn, although they did so without the accompanying stretches.

As George was leaving, I told him I noticed how much he was yawning and asked him if he’d had a “late night” or something. He admitted that for the past week he had only been getting about three or four hours a night for sleep. He also told me he was planning to “sleep the weekend away.”

I envied the possibility of sleeping away a weekend.

More importantly, I decided that getting “enough” sleep should be a priority in life. Especially since not getting enough can lead to all sorts of problems, from weight gain to aging prematurely to loss of concentration. In fact, sleep deprivation can be so extreme that it can even lead to death.

So here’s a suggestion for us all. Get at least 7 or 8 hours of good sleep most nights. That’s typically enough for the average American. (And yes, despite what the self-esteem gurus espouse, you’re most likely “average.” Unless, of course, you’re part of the Eclectic Family, then you’re quite higher than “average.”)

Thursday, August 5, 2010


“I like a balanced life,” he said. “Whether I have many or few things that I am dealing with, I want them balanced. I do not like chaos. I like order. I like balance.”

“So what do you do when life comes along and bumps your balance?” I asked him.

“No. I don’t let that happen,” he said

“You don’t let what happen? Life?”

“No. I don’t let the bumps in life upset my balance.”

“But how do you avoid that?”

“Proper planning,” he said, somewhat smugly.

“So, if your home caught fire and was burned to the ground, you have a plan for that?”

“Well, no. But nobody really plans for catastrophe.”

“So if one of life’s catastrophes bumped into your balance, what would you do?”

“I’d have to adjust, I guess,” he said, as if he had never really considered life outside of his plans. “But I don’t really expect anything like that to happen to me.”

“And why is that?” I asked.

“Because I have a good primary plan and a good backup plan. I’ve got great short and long-term goals and I’ve already started on my Bucket List. So even if something happens I can still maintain my balance, with some adjustment, of course.”

Our conversation drifted on toward less philosophical considerations, but I couldn’t help wondering if my young friend was on to something.

Do plans and goals make for a balanced life?

Well, of course they help. But I believe that a balanced life is more about awareness of life than it is about a blueprint for life.

So as you go through the next week, increase your awareness of how life is effecting you.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


This might be the best euphemism I’ve ever heard for someone not listening to you.

“I’m sorry. I wasn’t paying particular attention to your words.”

It’s what my wife said to me earlier today.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


She was working the McDonald’s counter alone and she looked harried. There was a bit of a crowd rush at a time when lines are usually nonexistent.

The lady in front of me gave her order. “A large fry, please.”

“Would you like fries with that?” the employee asked.

“Excuse me?” the lady asked.

“Would you like fries with your order?” the employee asked again.

“I ordered fries,” the lady said, somewhat perturbed.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” the employee said. “Yes, you did. I’m sorry. Would you like fries with, I’m sorry. I mean, would you like something to drink?”

“No. Just the fries.”

They finished their exchange.

I ordered and received my medium decaf without a problem. But as I walked back to my car, I wondered, “Why do seagulls come so far inland?”

So what does that have to do with the fries order gone awry?

Not much, at least on the surface. But go a little deeper and we may discover how our minds work and where to find ideas for story generation.

It’s been my experience that finding a connection between two disparate things and constructing a plausible story line is a great way to keep the creativity sparks firing.

For example: What if the seagull was the companion of Michelle, the Fry Girl? And the lady was a malevolent creature from the old country on the hunt for the Great Grey Gull. As I walked out of the McDonald’s and headed toward my car, I heard the deadly whistle of a nickel-tipped arrow whiz by my ear. The gull made no noise as the arrow pierced its neck. It merely plummeted silently to the grass. Suddenly, a scream shattered the afternoon air as Michelle ran from behind the counter. “My gull,” she screamed. “You’ve killed my gull.”

And so the potential story goes.

It only takes a few minutes to make these kinds of connections. They don’t have to actually yield a real story. The purpose is to keep your creativity level high. To keep writer’s block at bay.

And you never know when that connection might actually yield a story really worth writing and reading.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Happy Monday Morning Chuckle Time