Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Measure For Measure

Measure For Measure

I bought a measuring cup the other day. I bought it from the Dollar Store. I paid over a dollar for it, but there’s tax, I suppose. I haven’t used one for years. I have never measured much. Instead, I would just guess. It seemed to work for me most of my life.

Now, I plan to measure things a little more carefully. I need to become a little more precise. I've been flying by the seat of my pants too long.

I need to measure what I say sometimes. People listen – once in a while – and sometimes I say things that fly off the top of my head. At times, I think what I say is just a ¼ cup of mindless banter. They hear a gallon of something completely different, sometimes wisdom, I guess, and sometimes reproach. While I'm just filling in gaps in a conversation with mindless, idiotic snippets of a brain gone momentarily loco, they’re hearing an answer to the puzzle of life.

I need to measure what I write sometimes. People read this blog. That much is certain. Some days, I write thoughtful stuff. Other days, it’s like I'm writing underwater in the deep end of the neighbour’s pool, and on those days, what rises to the surface in bubbles of noxious gas is what you get. Some people can’t tell the difference, and when I write without really taking a measure of my words, some people read that as the truth about me or them or the way we should live. You shouldn't always believe what I write. I don’t.

I need to measure what I hear and read. I may have some insecurities. Don’t we all? Sometimes, when someone says something relatively harmless to me, I react in the strangest way. I bristle. I feel slighted. I feel diminished. Too often, that was not their intention. I need to take stock of exactly what was said and not jump to conclusions. If my son says to me, “You were a great father,” that doesn't mean he’s saying “You’re not a great father now.” I have to listen, measure what the words are, and decide how much importance they should have. The same is true when it comes to reading. Email is the worst. People take shortcuts when writing email. It’s all BTW and FYI. The problem with email is that people want to be brief. Brief is not always good, not if the writer is leaving a bunch of huge gaps in there for the reader to fill in by guess and conjecture. Sometimes, we fill in the gaps with the wrong conclusions. Someone who writes, “BTW, I think you’re really sweet,” doesn’t always mean “FYI, I want to spend the weekend with you.” Then again, sometimes they do. I’d prefer that they’d just say what they mean. Weekend or no weekend? Spell it out for me.

I need to measure what I know about myself. Too often, people see other people as the measure of their lives. How often has someone said to you, “You’re just like so-and-so,” or “You’re exactly the same as me”? No, I’m not. I don’t want to be like so-and-so and I don’t want to be you. Half my life, people would say, “You’re just like your father.” I suppose they thought that was some sort of compliment. It wasn’t. I have always wanted only to be me, and I want people to know me as me. Please believe me when I say, I haven’t patterned my life after any one other person. I'm not Brad Pitt, not Albert Einstein, not Gandhi, not Elvis, not the Beatles, not Bob Dylan, not Madonna (hmmm, how did she get in there?). I'm not trying to be anyone but myself. If I remind you of Dr Seuss, then please forgive me if I don’t accept your measure of who I am. Swab for DNA if you must, but I assure you that everyone is pretty much unique. Dream about being someone else, if you must. That game is not for me.

I think it’s important that each of us buy a personal measuring cup. You can get one at the Dollar Store. Too often, we measure ourselves in the vaguest ways, and then we wonder why we feel vague and a little vacant about our lives.



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