Posts Tagged ‘Humor’

There is a popular link going around Facebook that basically says, “don't worry about other people's lives, go out and enjoy your own”. The premise is that the perception we put out on social media may not be reality. But I have always heard that someone's perception is their reality. Which is it? Are we being real or not? Who am I? Who are you? More importantly, why are you stalking me on my blog that I probably had to beg you to read in the first place? You sicko!
My social media consists entirely of letting you know what I am eating (cheese) and sending out invites to play Candy Crush. However, about a month ago, a friend of mine echoed the sentiment of the Facebook article. He is going through a divorce and his comments were directed at couples who look like they have a perfect relationship…on Facebook. I don’t think he meant it as an attack, but he was specifically talking about my relationship. My wife and I had just had a date and we posted a picture from it on Facebook.
Here is a pic of me and my hot wife:
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Okay… not really. Here is a pic of me and my SMOKIN hot wife:
wpid-2014-07-01-20.28.51.jpg.jpeg

A couple of days later my friend and I were talking about our relationships and the challenges we were facing. It wasn’t quite as deep as the typical male talk that is repeated numerous times a day. You know the one:

Guy: Hey
Other Guy: Hey
Guy: Did you see the game?
Other guy: Yeah, it was ____ (either “awesome” or “horrible” depending on whether OUR team won or lost. Of course, if it was a loss, we also insert an insult about the refs or umpires).
Guy: Boobs rock.
Other guy: Yeah.

This particular conversation wasn’t like that. This was two old friends just sharing sincerely about our relationships. Then he made a comment about the picture posted on our date night. Interesting. Does a facebook post of a husband and wife just enjoying each other’s company create a false impression that they have a perfect relationship? I would hope not, but who knows? My wife and I love each other dearly (when we aren’t trying to kill each other) but we are far from a perfect couple. We argue (too much) over the most trivial, worthless stuff. We’re both stubborn. I get angry too quickly and in my opinion she doesn’t say “sorry” quick enough. As similar as we are, we have very different super powers. I have my super love handles and she has… well I’ll let her fortune-telling tea tell you.
My wife drinks a brand of tea that has a fortune, similar to one that you would find in a fortune cookie, tied to each tea bag.
Here is an example of one of the “fortunes”:
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She had one over the weekend that said, "Your super power is forgiveness." I read that and thought, "funny." Cute, right? The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that it was True. If possible, it was even more accurate than the one I pretend to get each time I read a fortune: "Help! I am being held prisoner in a fortune cookie factory." On a serious note, without my wife's super power of forgiveness, we wouldn't be married today. The fortune describes her to a tea (Tea… get it???). Maybe my super power should be the gift of being very unfunny? Not funny? Funnily challenged? Sexy? Whatever, I guess they are all the same thing!
Anyhoo, if a pic together on social media is supposed to tell who we are (or aren't?) as a couple, what does a pic of just ourself say? I've got friends that literally probably post a "selfie" everyday. Does that mean they are narcissistic? Sure they spice it up by including exciting things like them eating toast, breathing, or rejecting my Candy Crush advances, but almost every day there is a new selfie. If you think your friends are narcissistic, does that make them so? Personally, I don't do the daily selfie (I am still trying to master the nose-hair filter) but I make sure that I flex in every photo that I do take. My secret goal is to have someone ask me, "Have you been doing buns of steel?" Sigh…Someday.
Do the photo's we allow of ourself on social media say anything about us? We don't want the bad ones on their right? 107% of mine are bad ones. If that is the case, maybe that is who I am. What about the people that gain or lose a ton of weight.
This is me:
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This is another version of me (please note the gratuitous use of a recent “after” pic from a weight loss contest):

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Is one version of the same person better or worse than other?

Is beauty really just skin deep? Don’t worry, I am not kidding myself that I am beautiful, but what if we go deeper? I had someone ask me on Facebook last week, “Were you this funny in high school?” I replied with some quip that I am sure was just hilarious, but when I think about her question, my serious answer probably would have to be, “No.” I was usually too busy trying to impress others to just be myself. Now, in my ripe old age of 73, I really just care what people think. Or maybe that is what I want you to think, I don’t know. I know that I’m being judged almost all the time. I think we all are… which is sad. But are WE being judged or are people judging their perception of us?
Take me for example: To the non-religious, I am too religious. To the religious, I am too much of a heathen (the fact that I said “boobs” in this post is proof enough). To the bald or follicle challenged, I have cornrows that they would kill for (unfortunately they just happen to be on my back). The intelligent make up imaginary words about me (like I am going to buy that “halitosis” is a real word). Fish love me and women fear me. To women that I know I’ll never actually meet in person, I give them a description of myself that matches Brad Pitt… unfortunately as he was as in freakish baby form in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
>benjaminButtonBaby      

What about even deeper than that? What could be deeper than our relationships, our appearance, our personalities… I’ll give you a clue: James Brown. I know that to some people the extent of, or belief in, our soul stops right there. But are we just this flesh and bones that we are walking around in? Hmmm… let’s pretend that you are in a terrible accident tomorrow and the lower half of your body is crushed. The doctors have no choice but to amputate. You now have half of your physical body, but are you half the person? No. We are not our bodies. Your very essence, or your soul, would not be halved or even damaged.

What do people smarter than me say about the soul?
Inside us there is something that has no name, that something is what we are. Jose Saramago

Laughter is the sound of the soul dancing. My soul probably looks like Fred Astaire. Jarod Kintz

Whatever satisfies the soul is truth. Walt Whitman

And finally, getting back to the original Facebook article about how people put out false perceptions of themselves to look more beautiful, happier, more exciting: Beauty is the illumination of your soul. John O’Donohue

So don’t worry about how others appear on social media (unless you ever see a pic of me in which case please feel free to inquire about my Buns of Steel). What about you though? Is your soul illuminated? Not on Facebook or some other social media, but in real life. Who are you? No… really?

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I woke up yesterday only to discover a friend of mine was dead. He wasn’t necessarily a good friend, more of a Facebook friend really, but he was a very sweet guy and somehow his life ended on Saturday. I wasn’t really sure at first because all I saw was a semi-ambiguous post from another of his Facebook friends about being in disbelief. That could be anything right? I did what we do when someone passes these days and searched his Facebook page. My fear was confirmed and my friend was dead.

As I perused his page, I saw two things: 1. A ton of remorse and 2. a lot of words about how he was always there for everyone. The remorse was expressed in different forms from different people, but they had a similar theme: “I am sorry I didn’t get together with you for that drink,” “I should have made time for that lunch” “Sorry that I didn’t make time to come see you.” I know one of the last things he said to me when I saw him a little over a month ago was, “We should get together for lunch next week.” We, of course, got “busy” and never had that lunch.

It was almost split evenly because for every post of remorse, there was someone (oftentimes the same person) who wrote that he was always there for them in their time of need. To make matters worse, I get the feeling that his death was self-inflicted. Here was a guy that was always there for everyone in their time of need, and I can’t help but wonder if anyone was there in his. I know I wasn’t. He was a man that prayed for me and especially for one of my daughters. Did I ever pray for him? I THINK so, but can’t say for sure. He was a business contact that had me listed as one of his preferred vendors but I don’t know that I ever did anything to help his business. One of the Facebook posts on his wall could have easily been written by me, “I am so sorry that we missed the signs that you needed a friend. I am so sad…”

His own Facebook style was a lot different than my own. He would Tag some friends and then offer words of encouragement. Instead of being encouraged by his encouragement, I always thought it was a little quarky (I’m ashamed to admit now but I am just being honest). His very last post was, “Have you ever been ‘that’ tired?” Preceded by, “ever do something entirely stupid?” Just four days before his death he took one of those Facebook quizzes. This one happened to be titled, “What will you be remembered for?” The answer he got was his “amazing empathy.” I’m not one to argue with the experts of the Facebook quizzes, but I think I’ll remember him for his smile, his weight loss, his goofy professional photo that always reminded me of a cross between the George Costanza bearskin rug and Uncle Rico’s mall shot where he did his “billowy” pose, and above all his constant encouragement of others.

All of this comes on the heals of my blog post on the importance of encouragement. Encouragement is something that I am definitely trying to work on. It doesn’t cost anything to give but can make such a big difference to the receiver. Not to make light of my friend’s death by any means, but I’ll caution you that there are rules that must be followed when encouraging. I, of course, learned this the hard way as my wife read an admonishing email from our daughter’s softball coach.

Per this authoritative email on encouragment, it isn’t allowed at the softball games. So when little Susie is standing next to the coach who is pitching and the other team’s batter accidentally connects with the ball and sends a slow little dribbler to her, there are things that you aren’t allowed to “encourage” her with. You would think think a little encouragement to not kick the ball and instead pick it up would be allowed, but it isn’t. I thought that I would almost be commended for yelling, “take your finger out of your nose and use your other hand to throw the ball to first” but, nooooooo! Apparently softball games have gone the way of the movies, and silence is golden.

With a little encouragement from my wife last week in the form of, “This email from the coach is directed at you, you idiot!” I did much better this week. When one of our players hit the ball and stood there, I didn’t let out a “RUN!” When our right fielder decided to practice her cartwheels as a ball was hit in her direction, mum was the word from me. I was feeling quite proud of myself until little HeMan showed up with his battle axe. I was doing fine even when he ran on the field. I bit my tongue when he began swinging it at the girls but when he turned to chop off Susie’s hand I unfortunately couldn’t stop myself and yelled, “Not that one!!! At least go after her nose-picking hand!!!”

I woke up yesterday only to discover a friend of mine was dead. He wasn’t necessarily a good friend, more of a Facebook friend really, but he was a very sweet guy and somehow his life ended on Saturday. I wasn’t really sure at first because all I saw was a semi-ambiguous post from another of his Facebook friends about being in disbelief. That could be anything right? I did what we do when someone passes these days and searched his Facebook page. My fear was confirmed and my friend was dead.

As I perused his page, I saw two things: 1. A ton of remorse and 2. a lot of words about how he was always there for everyone. The remorse was expressed in different forms from different people, but they had a similar theme: “I am sorry I didn’t get together with you for that drink,” “I should have made time for that lunch” “Sorry that I didn’t make time to come see you.” I know one of the last things he said to me when I saw him a little over a month ago was, “We should get together for lunch next week.” We, of course, got “busy” and never had that lunch.

It was almost split evenly because for every post of remorse, there was someone (oftentimes the same person) who wrote that he was always there for them in their time of need. To make matters worse, I get the feeling that his death was self-inflicted. Here was a guy that was always there for everyone in their time of need, and I can’t help but wonder if anyone was there in his. I know I wasn’t. He was a man that prayed for me and especially for one of my daughters. Did I ever pray for him? I THINK so, but can’t say for sure. He was a business contact that had me listed as one of his preferred vendors but I don’t know that I ever did anything to help his business. One of the Facebook posts on his wall could have easily been written by me, “I am so sorry that we missed the signs that you needed a friend. I am so sad…”

His own Facebook style was a lot different than my own. He would Tag some friends and then offer words of encouragement. Instead of being encouraged by his encouragement, I always thought it was a little quarky (I’m ashamed to admit now but I am just being honest). His very last post was, “Have you ever been ‘that’ tired?” Preceded by, “ever do something entirely stupid?” Just four days before his death he took one of those Facebook quizzes. This one happened to be titled, “What will you be remembered for?” The answer he got was his “amazing empathy.” I’m not one to argue with the experts of the Facebook quizzes, but I think I’ll remember him for his smile, his weight loss, his goofy professional photo that always reminded me of a cross between the George Costanza bearskin rug and Uncle Rico’s mall shot where he did his “billowy” pose, and above all his constant encouragement of others.

All of this comes on the heals of my blog post on the importance of encouragement. Encouragement is something that I am definitely trying to work on. It doesn’t cost anything to give but can make such a big difference to the receiver. Not to make light of my friend’s death by any means, but I’ll caution you that there are rules that must be followed when encouraging. I, of course, learned this the hard way as my wife read an admonishing email from our daughter’s softball coach.

Per this authoritative email on encouragment, it isn’t allowed at the softball games. So when little Susie is standing next to the coach who is pitching and the other team’s batter accidentally connects with the ball and sends a slow little dribbler to her, there are things that you aren’t allowed to “encourage” her with. You would think think a little encouragement to not kick the ball and instead pick it up would be allowed, but it isn’t. I thought that I would almost be commended for yelling, “take your finger out of your nose and use your other hand to throw the ball to first” but, nooooooo! Apparently softball games have gone the way of the movies, and silence is golden.

With a little encouragement from my wife last week in the form of, “This email from the coach is directed at you, you idiot!” I did much better this week. When one of our players hit the ball and stood there, I didn’t let out a “RUN!” When our right fielder decided to practice her cartwheels as a ball was hit in her direction, mum was the word from me. I was feeling quite proud of myself until little HeMan showed up with his battle axe. I was doing fine even when he ran on the field. I bit my tongue when he began swinging it at the girls but when he turned to chop off Susie’s hand I unfortunately couldn’t stop myself and yelled, “Not that one!!! At least go after her nose-picking hand!!!”

wpid-2014-06-22-17.44.49.jpg.jpeg<
Encouragement… I'm working on it and I encourage you to join me.

The bad news is that I am writing again. The good news is… well… there is nothing good about it. I don’t write good. I don’t even write well. So why in the heck am I going to torture both people that might read this? For two reasons: 1. I’ve been doing some thinking 2. I’m an old goat 3. I’ve been encouraged. 4. I’m apparently terrible at math.
So what the heck have I been thinking? I’ve come to the realization that I’ll never write for a living. I’ll never even make dos pesos from my writing. Through my pondering, I’ve realized that I am not now, nor will I ever be, a real writer… and I’m okay with that. I’m okay with it because I’m rapidly approaching the day that I return these blessed love handles to the Creator. I know I can’t be the only one who as a kid would have just the week before Christmas feel like ten years. I could swear that just yesterday I took a picture for my kids first day of school. I blinked, and today not only is their school year over, but they are already 1/3 of the way through their Summer break.
As time seems to be passing faster and faster, I realize that I am not pursuing any of my passions. I go to work, I come home. The next day I do the same. In between I might lower my IQ (not possible!) while watching some mindless TV show. Or, on a good day, I’ll love my wife or spend some quality time with my kids. Even the best of days turn into weeks, months, years, and decades too quickly. I’m not going to kid myself that writing will change any of that for me, but it comes down to a simple question: Tomorrow you win 100 million in the lottery, what would you do? Of course you would take a trip to Tijuana just for a bacon dog and a shot at a cage match with a midget luchadore, buy a ginormous belt buckle that said “Bubba”, and create a life size pez dispenser of The Fonz that dispenses Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, but then what would you do? Would you stay at your job? I’m going to venture a wild guess that most of us would say no. So if you weren’t working for a living, what would you be doing to be living? My buddy Benny Franklin possibly said it best, “Most people die at 25 and aren’t buried until they’re 75.” Tomorrow if Ed McMahon calls me from the other side to tell me that I just hit his sweepstakes, I would do all the above and then I would write (while wearing only my “Bubba” belt buckle).
So I know what you are asking yourselves, “Who should we make pay for this?” Tread lightly young grasshoppers for they are like spry ninjas powerfully wielding a secret power that all of us have, but rarely use. They are the encouragers. With simple kind words we could motivate people to follow their dreams and change lives. For me it was just a (real) writer commenting, “I hope you are still writing.” Or a friend across the ocean sharing my lame blog with her friends. Or friends or family commenting that they really liked something I wrote. Even my nemesis wife, after about 17 cocktails, will encourage me to write (probably just so I’ll let her go to bed and quit with my Austin Powers, “Do I make you randy?).
So blame those that have cared enough to encourage, but BlogbyFatTom is being resurrected (and hopefully bringing Ed McMahon’s loot with it). I don’t even know what I’ll write about yet. I won’t write about my exciting diets anymore (but I’ll share these words of wisdom I saw on Facebook, “Nobody cares about your stupid diet. Just eat your lettuce and be sad.”) I also won’t write about religion, race, sex, drugs, rock and roll, or anything that might be remotely entertaining or funny. In fact, I can almost guarantee that once again, it’ll be an epic failure. To which I’ll leave you with this quote from George Burns, “I’d rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate.”
So… what about YOU? If money was no object, what would you do???

PRESENTly challenged

Posted: November 17, 2007 in Christian Humor
Tags: ,

I took the kids to their Cousin Alex’s first birthday party today.  We arrived about thirty minutes after the start time, and in true Stafford fashion, we were the first ones there.  Alex’s siblings ran out excited to see their cousins.  I got my kids out of my wife’s sweet ride (a lowered minivan- technically only lowered when I’m in it) and was almost all the way up to the house, when my six year old nephew asked, “Hey, where’s your present?”  My first thought was when did my little nephew become a bouncer but it then turned to gratefulness because I’m sure it would have stayed in the back of the sweet ride if he wouldn’t have reminded me.  I quickly got the birthday present  and was heading back up to the front door when my six year old nephew turned bouncer had to ask, “What did you get him?” I replied, “We brought him some toy that will make lots of noise and annoy your parents to no end.”    I’ve got to be honest, I actually had no idea what we got him, as my wife picks out the presents in our family.  I seem to be more than just a little challenged in this area.  My wife would definitely tell you  that is the understatement of the century.

God definitely knew what he was doing when he picked Stacey for me.  Any other woman would have left me years ago while screaming, “It’s the thought that counts,  My butt!”  Let me recap a few of the more recent actual gifts I’ve given my wife.  Two years ago for Christmas, I gave her a cookbook.  I thought she would enjoy learning how to cook some new meals.  Come to think of it, I think I even threw in a new pan.  I thought it was a pretty good gift and even my wife seemed to like them, until she talked to my sister who said, “He gave you WHAT?”   This past Christmas, I stuck with the book idea but this time I made it a weight loss book.  As a bonus, I even threw in a new bathroom scale.  If you don’t know my wife, she doesn’t need to lose weight.  SHE mentioned that she wanted to drop a few, so I thought I would support her.  What better time than Christmas?  I mean WWJD right?  There is a verse in the  Bible that says that if you even give a cup of water to those in need, it is if you did it for Jesus himself.  I’m sure Jesus probably would have given Stacey the same thing I did for his birthday.  The only difference is that if Jesus gave it to her, my pesky sister wouldn’t have exclaimed, “WHAT? Your kidding right!  Just when you thought he couldn’t do any worse than last year!”  Well I finally learned my lesson last month for Stacey’s birthday.  No books or other tangible items.  That’s right, I probably outdid even myself.  For her 35th birthday, my lucky wife got “The Gift of Intimacy” from her husband.  You see one of the blinds in our bedroom are broken so I offered to get them fixed for her.  That was over a month ago, and the blinds are still broken.  However, I did give her the other gift of intimacy that night (IF you know what I mean…wink, wink). By the way, I didn’t have to wait to hear it from my sister on that one, my wife did a perfectly good job of letting me know what she thought of my gift.

So, I guess I’m asking for help.  Christmas is only a little over a month away and the only thing I can think of is a new ironing board cover.    She keeps hinting at a new wedding band, but that’s not going to happen.  Hers was stolen at one of our Open Houses probably 4 years ago.  Just so you won’t think I’m some mean husband that doesn’t care that his wife’s wedding band was stolen, I’ll let you know the two reasons why: 1. I’m broke (I’m in the mortgage industry-enough said). 2. I think the wedding industry is the second biggest scam going.  Before you ask, the funeral industry is THE biggest scam.  Prove how much you love me by how much you spend on the box that you are going to stick me in and then throw dirt on.  It makes absolutely no sense and I’m going to go on the record right now that when I ultimately lose this battle to obesity, I want the cheapest box they make.  Anyway, the wedding industry is just like the funeral industry.  Prove how much you love me by how much you spend on a rock.  No way, they aren’t going to play me for a fool. 

So, if you have any suggestions for presents that don’t support any scam industries (and preferably are less than $20), PLEASE let me know.